The Exorcist movie poster

Here's my open letter to Campus Partners, OSU's development arm which recently bought nine acres of High Street, from 14th to 17th, promising to raze and re-do the entire area real pretty-like.
  Ahem, dear sir(s) and/or madame(s),
  It's recently come to my attention that my way of making a living, indeed my gay (1890's sense) lively, lifestyle of music and commerce is soon to go the way of the buffalo, the Indian, the Edsel and Don Kirshner Presents Rock Concert. Is there any way you can build around me?
  You don't seem to understand the cultural impact of your actions. The kids crave authenticity. Suburbia, for all its delivery of paradise and safety, simply does not belong on High Street. High Street is supposed to be a little bit wild, a little bit dangerous and a whole lotta untamed. Lemme tell you a little story.
  Many years ago, when there was a booming record business and I could afford a manager and the occasional Saturday off, I got a call from my intrepid man, Blue, who told me a young mother wanted to speak with me about the scary Exorcist movie poster in the window. Apparently her five-year-old brat saw it and that was unacceptable to her. It was of Linda Blair, shortly before her character told the priest "your mother sucks cocks in hell" and then rotated her fucking head. (Gnarly!).
  Well, I told Blue to tell her I'd be back to work Monday and we could talk. Sho-nuff and I'll be darned, right around 2 pm a mommy-looking female came in and turned to me as I sat with my back to the window, a bare foot away from the alleged offender of a piece of printed paper. However, mentally prepared, I got the jump on her. "I take it you are the concerned mother who called to talk about the Exorcist poster?"
  She said yes, politely, with a fine and phony knowing smile, sure she was going to neuter the The Go Man's proclivity to display shock. Inside my mischievously malicious mind, I set my ambush.
  I immediately faked an overly compassionate concern for her stupid kid and asked urgently, "I heard--is your child alright, is he OK?"
  Like a dummy, she relaxed, smiled, nodded her head and said, "Oh, he's fine."
  To which I fired back, "Then we don't have anything to talk about. Get out."
  She just about shit. She instantly got pissed and began sputtering about her lawyer coming after me and blah blah blah and so forth woo-woo-woo, and then stormed out.
  Chalk up one for the good guys, right?
  See, we gotta keep High Street safe for Exorcist posters. It's like the freak shows we weren't old enough to see when I was 10 years old at Cuyahoga County Fair in neighboring Berea. but we literally lifted up the tent cloth and peeked anyway. Columbus needs a freaky street, Parsons Avenue can't have all the fun, can it?
  Somehow I don't think I'll be able to persuade you. Thus it is I have a few suggestions to revolutionize your taming of this shrew call High.
  First one is, open up the process to students and longtime High Street weirdos such as myself and the guy who hawks the homeless newspaper and maybe Bernie's barflies in particular especially the old bag lady in a tube top who pisses herself so bad she has to use a pint of Kentucky whore's cologne to camouflage the stench the way Mediterranean sailors wore perfumed scarves around their necks to hide the fact they were sailing and rowing in essentially wind-powered wooden poop buckets.
  We need ideas not conformity. We need color and imagination and human-friendly simplicity that makes us want to congregate and be. How come we end up with shit that looks like some Mormon's idea of a dazzling night out in Salt Lake City before they roll up the sidewalks and the bums are stacked in a corner?
  We need a gun store! Yeah!
  Go to the architectural school and offer a prize to the most bizarre design, say something along the lines of a giant football-shaped coffeehouse and name it The Maurice Clarett Halfway House. Or speaking of house, a year-round Halloween horror-fun-house that's a huge replica of Woody Hayes's head with ball cap. Enter through his giant left ear, travel through his brain, exit his huge loud mouth. Many an alumni on acid would love it.
  We need to be different, no more of this South Campus Gateway bullshit for the goody-goodies. Nobody loves the Gateway. Everybody loves what's left of the old High Street. I've spent my life hustling on the strip. There is never a dull day. There's always some kind of commotion--a bank robbery, an altercation between street people, petty scammers scamming the sheltered, dogs crapping anywhere but the street, litter flying like a tornado's debris, nut jobs talking to thin air--life is a carnival, two bits a pop.
  The Short North ain't bad. But it's a little bit too calculated. I think only people with bad credit should be rented to.
  The School of Art should be given free reign and every bad idea given a shot. We should show the Short North Gallery Hop that their displayed artists haven't got a lock on talentlessness. We should have free live art creation...naked bodies in windows painting huge canvasses with butt cheeks dipped in pastel latex tones. And of course, a string of competitive indigenous tattoo shops imported from Brazilian rain forests. We could make High Street a mecca for miles around, people as far away as Covington, Kentucky, would drive-by and puke.
  Bluegrass festivals should be held on street corners. A petting zoo on the way to school is exactly what the stressed-out Adderall-addicted co-eds need to calm their alleged bi-polar disorders. Reality, from 14th to 17th, could be seriously altered. We could create a fifth dimension like The Twilight Zone episode where the little girl disappears into a wall. Instead of concrete we could have woven free-trade mats from Colombian narco-guerrillas' wives.
  Some how or other we need to get Tom Waits involved.
  We mos def need an exact replication of Papa Joe's, pre-suspicious fire. Bring back the good ol' days they were so much better than they are now. Resurrected youth is better than no youth at all.
  And while we're at it, bring back Crazy Mama's, 24-hours, serving the Keith Richards 'rock'n'roll' breakfast special, with a pint of Swiss vampire blood. You gotta problem with that? And always, but always keep Buckeye Doughnuts no matter what. Prince once stopped in there after a show.
  The School of Music should have a seven-nights-a-week club where the sheltered jazz brats could learn what the real world is like and play in front of punk crowds leftover from Bernie's who make the notoriously critical audiences of the legendary Apollo in Harlem look mild in comparison. Nothin' like a thrown brick to make you improvise a little more brilliantly.
  Same with the classical snobs we're educating. Put them in front of free-admission walk-ins and yo, suddenly it's either matter-or-die, no more subsidized dead white males. We could turn the Top Ten upside down and suddenly Ohio State is one huge avant-garde cultural factory where the elites meet the proletariat and the revolution will be Go-Pro-ed, YouTubed and emulated from SoHo to Berkeley. A permanent Community Fest year-round.
  So, yeah, I'll miss all this. I'll miss the obnoxious politically correct do-gooders who decide I'm the asshole when they see me doling out justice ala ape law on a deserving shoplifter and decide to call the cops on me. And once when the bank next door was robbed the color pack in the money exploded and there was cash and red powder everywhere. And once there was a knife fight between bums outback in the middle of the night and there was blood all over the air conditioners and a blood trail to the street. I'll miss all that.
  But OK, my final non-negotiable is the following: when the wrecking ball crane is set up and ready to swing, I would be allowed to push the hired former-tow-truck-operating redneck out of the way, slide into his seat and take the first smash myself. As the former King of High Street, it would only be appropriate.
  That and a sumptuous relocation fee. I've spent a quarter-of-a-century in this shit hole, baby. I've paid my dues. If I'm to retire in the 'burbs I wanna retire worry-free.
  I'll miss being the biggest asshole on High Street. Priceless.

Yours truly,

Johnny Go

owner, legend in his own mind

Johnny Go's House O' Music

1900 N. High Street.

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