Sunday 17 February 2002

Nanci at the Cafe Trieste

Just after four on a muggy February afternoon in Sydney, the kind of unpleasant humidity the Japanese describe as mushi-atsui. What could be better than an iced coffee? For some reason, the second sip brought back a memory of the Cafe Trieste in North Beach in January of 1988. I ate breakfast there a few mornings before heading off to the Macworld Expo. In 1988, it seemed to be the only place in San Francisco that served proper espresso.

It was on the same trip that I discovered Nanci Griffith. On the opening day of the Macworld show, the counter where I had to pick up my press pass either didn’t accept credit cards or couldn’t change a $100 bill or something. I wandered up to a record shop on Market Street to buy a Keith Jarrett CD and get some change. When I walked inside, I was captivated by the voice coming through the store speakers. I asked a woman behind the counter who it was. “I have no idea,” she said wearily and pointed to a young man at the back. “Ask him. He’s from West Texas. He plays her all the time.” I bought three Nanci Griffith CDs and walked back to Macworld. Ever since then, I play her music all the time myself.

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