Saturday, January 13, 2007

Celebrity Shrug Match

Besides local politicitans, which people are well-known in New London? We are obviously using the 'well-known' definition loosely. Besides local politicians, what citizens make a difference in Connecticut's Whaling City? Obviously this is another bar set low, since many people make more of a difference in this community than those employed in its government.

After landlords, New London's predominant caste is its artists. These two set the tone and the tenor of what develops downtown especically, but also farther afield, from Hodges Square to Neptune Park. These two cast the mold of how New London is seen in the world.

New London's personalities are more important than its elected leaders. People make a city, not a charter.

David Spinelli is a pilgrim from Berlin, Conn. who has landed on New London's shore. He has lived here a little less than a year. He is a quiet man who has insinuated himself into a number of the city's subcultures. He means no ill. He is more cure than contagion. He is a modern gentleman who brings a global sensibilitiy to his immediate surroundings.

Whalehead King is a man who has flourished where he has found himself transplanted. He has folded his soul into New London's spirit. His city is his self. No one knows New London like Whalehead King, who knows New London like the back of his eyelids.

Mr. Spinelli proposed to Mr. King that the two match wits and talent in a duel of poetry. Words are New London's favorite medium whether set to music or to coffee shop bustle. Would our man-about-town accept the stranger's challenge? Yes. Mr. Spinelli chose three themes and the two agreed to write three poems, read them in public, face to face, poem for poem, head to head, may the best man win. Length is limited to a half-page per subject so as not to try the audience's patience.

Mr. Spinelli is too unknown a quantity to predict. Mr. King's work is as parochial and folksy as an aristocrat of the gutter can muster. No one knows what the results will be. Odds favor Whalehead King, but the Spinellli Factor looms to upset rational predictions. When the night is done a new head may be crowned as New London's Bard.

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