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A Visit From the Goon Squad


“An American Boy”: Bosco as a young man, trying to become a rock star in New York. Haunted by the fact that he walked out on his wife and young daughter. Falls for a journalist writing a profile of him.

“Where Are You Going?”: Rolph in his twenties, in New York, having joined an experimental theater group to work on a project that involves walking up to total strangers, asking, “Where are you going?” and — if the strangers are willing — following them to their workplaces, or homes, or wherever. As I write this, I realize that this was basically the project of my book: to walk up to strangers and follow them home.

“Eyes and Ears”: My first attempt at a PowerPoint. Susan (Ted Hollander’s ex-wife) is a market researcher/spy whose job is to create a log of how people spend their time on airplanes. Her boss is Dolly Peale, who lives in the same upstate town. Susan visits her feckless son, Alfred, in Chicago, and has an accidental meeting with Ted, who is now involved with a Columbia professor writing her new book on pauses in rock and roll songs.

“Artifact”: Sasha in college at NYU. Thinking a lot about a fragile boy named Leif, whom she met and tried to rescue while traveling in China. Sasha goes to a party at Bosco’s loft after a Conduits gig and steals one of his Columbian artifacts. He confronts her and suggests she get help.

Other Songs That Mattered

With Pauses:

“Faith” by George Michael
“Good Times, Bad Times,” by Led Zeppelin
“Please Play This Song on the Radio” by NOFX
“The Time of the Season,” by the Zombies

Other Important Ones:

“Cemetaries of London” by Coldplay
“Unsquare Dance,” by Dave Brubeck
“The Passenger,” by Iggy Pop
“Sideways,” by Let’s Go Sailing
“Black and Red,” by Negative Trend
“Wish you Were Here,” by Pink Floyd
“Mother Mother,” by Tracy Bonham
“No More Heroes,” by the Stranglers