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big city life – Mattfix

Text by Duke Maines


Last year I finally moved out of NYC, after ten glorious years.  Well, seven anyway, which were my days in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.  The other three were so-so, in Manhattan.  But now I have space, room to move, air to breathe, less rent, and a distinct lack of graffiti on the wall next to me, and it has been a joy.

Reminds me of one of my favorite songs, huge in Europe but not as well known in the States:  Big City Life, by Mattfix. Here is the chorus:

Big City Life
Me try forget by
Pressure nah ease up no matter how hard me try
Big City Life
Here my heart have no base
And right now Babylon deep on me case

My quest to depart the city was spurred on by the pandemic, as was ‘the great resignation’ where people explored their own existential being and made moves that perhaps they had been thinking about for some time.  The song speaks to this as well:

People in a show
All lined in a row
We just push on by
It’s funny
How hard we try
Take a moment to relax
Before you do anything rash

Motivated, hard-working individuals can get consumed by the day-to-day joys and pressures that our schedules provide. During the best of times, these are exhilarating moments where we enter a state of Flow.  But during the worst of times, tensions rise and often the people we work with become obstacles to our own quest to achieve.  At least that is the mental model we adopt during those moments.

As everyone faces this challenge, we must remember that we are all human beings, and we cannot forget to take time to know, even love, one another:

Don’t you wanna know me?
Be a friend of mine
I’ll share some wisdom with you
Don’t you ever get lonely
From time to time?
Don’t let the system get you down

Imagine what it must be like if you are a person of color, openly gay, or identify as a non-binary person in the workforce.  A huge disadvantage of course, operating in an environment of people who may not appreciate how the environment in which they operate and the decisions and actions they make lead to an exclusionary system.  It can be like a prison of sorts:

The Linguist across the seas and the oceans
A permanent itinerant is what I’ve chosen
I find myself in a big city prison
Arisen from the vision of mankind

Designed, to keep me discreetly
Neatly in the corner
You’ll find me with the flora and the fauna and the hardship
Back a yard is where my heart is
Still, I find it hard to depart this Big City Life

But hey, NYC is still close by—I’m one hour away.  Hard to distance myself too much when artists like Dean Wareham and Luna come to perform at Le Poisson Rouge.

Til our next installment.