Platinum JJ

Platinum JJ

“Hello Miss Rose,” I heard from across the street as I was rushing to a lunch date at the Russell Street Deli in Eastern Market.

JJ was in town from Austin, visiting his brother. Not for long though. By the time I write this, JJ will have arrived in Singapore to record an album.

Recording an album in Singapore sounded rather important, I told JJ. “Anything I might have heard of?”

“A few of the records I made with my partner MC Breed went platinum,” he said. “Heard of 2pac? We made a track with him in the early nineties. Gotta Get Mine.”

My Detroit Fairy Godmother

My Detroit Fairy Godmother

“After this we are going to get a drink,” Justin announced to me as we made our way to Bagger Dave’s Burger Tavern in downtown Detroit last week. “Because that, Rose, is what adults do.”

Justin and I spent time together on a Wednesday, but to Justin, who works unconventional hours at Ford, it was technically a Friday – the beginning of his weekend.

Justin and I met through an extremely close mutual acquaintance last September. Armed with what seems to be a very Detroit mixture of kindness, generosity and cynicism, he has had my back ever since.

Justin, in short, is my fairy godmother.

Erik at Thomas Magee

Erik at Thomas Magee

I walked over to Thomas Magee, a new bar in Eastern Market, this Tuesday. It had been a long day’s work and I needed a beer. A Ghettoblaster beer to be precise.

I was met by a pretty cool team of staff, including Erik, pictured here, who is the owner.

Erik is from the east side of Detroit and his past seems to have involved a substantial amount of traveling due to boxing. He is a Newcastle football supporter (as in soccer) and has quite impressive niche knowledge about the game.

Erik said he wasn’t completely sold on me yet, but was willing to give me a try. After a few beers – yes, definitely more than one – and a chat with a charming firefighter, I headed home. Erik gave me a hug on my way out. Friendship may not have been there yet, but I felt sure I was off to a good start.

Oneita and the Spanish Documentary Crew

Oneita and the Spanish Documentary Crew

I took this photo last weekend while doing my weekly market shop.

I wasn’t completely sure, but it felt like a camera crew was filming me as I was selecting red and yellow peppers. Just a few minutes later, my suspicions were confirmed when I heard my name being shouted out a few meters away.

Oneita (pictured here on the left) was enthusiastically making her way towards me with cries of happy new year and welcome back. She told me she was showing a Spanish documentary crew round the city. Angel (on the right) was part of the team.

I may be a newbie to the city, but I am pretty sure Oneita is somewhat of a Detroit legend. She worked at the Detroit Free Press for years and threw it all in amid a bench tagging scandal. She now drives a taxi. She also has a tee-shirt business and I believe is writing a book. Her super cool fashion sense speaks for itself.

Megan with the Socks

Megan with the Socks

Megan was standing outside her letter press studio Salt and Cedar in Eastern Market when Alfie and I walked by. We had just been buying some beer round the corner (local microbrew Bell’s Brown Beer to be exact – which is heavenly – but that’s a story for another day) and Megan invited both of us inside to have a look.

Megan says she and her husband have lived and taught (as professors) around the country, but have found no place more vibrant and artistically inspiring than Detroit.

“We’re escaping the winter to Georgia,” she told me later. No place is perfect I suppose.

Shanad at the Butcher’s Inn

Shanad at the Butcher's Inn

Shanad did a brilliant job of politely chatting to me while balancing on his red ladder and giving the Butcher’s Inn a new coat of paint.

Shanad works at the Chrysler plant, but paints in his spare time. A good way to earn some extra cash. He said he wasn’t convinced white and green were the best colors for this facade, but he was following orders.

Rumor has it if you go to the Butcher’s Inn at 7am, you will find it filled with butchers having pints after completing a day’s work. Their own version of happy hour.