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Monday, November 19, 2012

THE ELEPHANT WALK

Back when cars didn't fly I used to drive a big Ford taxi. Massive thing. The classic four-dead-body trunk. I lived in that car for a while since I was paying rent on the thing anyway. I'd park in the back corner of an underground garage during the day and crash out then troll the streets at night. Roll out around dusk and hit the slick parts of town first. This was when cokeheads were hip. These proto day traders would jump in the back with one of the classier escorts and get me to drive around the block a few times real slow and easy while they snarfed lines.
The crowd got darker after midnight. I'd get some of these top rank Superfly Dee-troit style pimps. Forget old school. These characters were the original ancient, agora strolling wise men and they hung out at a private after-hours club called The Elephant Walk. I had a regular deal to pick up a guy called Mace at the El Mocambo at exactly 1am on Friday and Saturday nights and drive him the twelve blocks down to the club. He was linebacker sized and all done up in purples and reds and pinks and oranges, wearing huge bell-bottoms, skin tight around the ass and crotch, frilly satin tuxedo shirt, a big flouncy cape and way wide brimmed purple fedora with a long black feather. He sported a mahogony cane with a lethal silver hawk's head bludgeon at one end. Of course it pulled out of the cane and became a serrated ten inch blade. Mace claimed he could butcher and dress a whole cow in fifteen minutes with that thing. His fists were covered in big gaudy rings that had smashed and backhanded many a face and head.
After a hard night's work pimping, drug dealing and enforcing, Mace would get in the back of my cab with a couple of his favored girls done up in wildly colorful feathers, frocks and accessorized faffenalia. It was the disco era, when bands like Sly and the Family Stone were big, Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor - and for the pale-faced folk, KC and the Sunshine Band, along with Average White Band.
Mace was already big 'n' tall but wore five-inch gold platform boots with clear plexiglas soles full of blue-tinted water and each sole housed a Japanese fighting fish. He had a tankful of exotic aquatica since these creatures rarely lasted through a single night of being violently sloshed around, especially when Mace found it necessary to put the boots to some malefactor or deadbeat.
Once in the cab, Mace would tap me on the shoulder with the head of his cane and say: "Motherfuckin home, James." He was an early version of the black dude who enjoyed having white people work for him, and Mace paid well. One night he tipped me with a  snub-nose .38 caliber revolver that had been beautifully chromed. I held onto that gun for years before I had to sell it during a particularly rough patch.
The thing about Mace was he ran his empire as if it was an afterthought, like he had other, more important shit on his mind. He always had me drive real slow as he scoped the street, who was doing what and where. He was part of a group of hard-knuckled Detroit pimps who'd expanded their reach to Toronto and took over the main tenderloin drags, Yonge Street and Spadina Avenue. The only time I ever saw him hurry was after shooting a local competitor in a Jamaican watering hole called The Paramount. The victim was a fellow pimp who took three slugs in the back and was dead before his face hit the tabletop.
Mace was would often talk of the Rules of Engagement.
"You read the scene," Mace told me. "I mean you READ the motherfucker. You know shit's gonna go down. You don't vibe the motherfucker, you don't gun him off, you don't grab no fuckin attitude. You keep it all cool and smooth and DO the motherfucker before any kinda eyeballin or any kinda shit talk. It ain't no movie, mothafucka! You hurt the motherfucker bad, real bad. The rest of them faggot cocksuckers gonna be backin off forth-fuckin-with. Never EVER give the motherfucker a motherfuckin chance. NEVER." And then Mace would laugh a huge gold-toothed laugh, just ringing in the cab like a giant clanging church bell. "The righteous survive, brother. Be righteous."

part 2 of The Elephant Walk coming soon...



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Washington Square stickball...

It’s the dead of summer 1975, hot as hell, hanging out in Washington Square among the mob of latter day degenerate hippies, proto-punks, bums, buttboys and frisbee freaks. Beautiful steaming manhole nights. The city’s dead broke and cops are few and far between and those still left are busy on the take.
I’ve been buying handfuls of joints off the black guys at the southeast corner of the Square. Very cordial types, soft spoken, like old time junkies were said to be. I resell the weed to white NYU and Cooper Union kids in the nearby bars and clubs – doubling my money. The fags cruise down here looking for young ass but I’m just too goddamn pretty for that.

So it’s middle of the night in the Square. A bunch of us young dummies, some old drunks, a few of the livelier junkies and a couple drag queens, we’re playing stickball under that giant arch, using a broom handle and a stone with a rag tied around it as a ball, garbage cans for bases, everybody drinking over-fermented homemade wine. I take a couple swings with the broom handle, run around and get thrown out at second. Ce la fuckin vie.
I go sit on the benches and this guy in a pricey camel color sports jacket and dark dress pants parks himself beside me. He looks round and asks if it’d be a good idea to sleep here. We both laugh and I say, “Only if you want to wake up naked or dead.”
 But he doesn’t come off as queer and anyway, I’m not exactly pushing my looks, wearing nothing but dingy white cover-alls, white Converse and a wolf’s tooth around my neck on a leather thong a sad girl from Connecticut made for me. I’d met her on the bus and she was doomstruck and heading back to her parents in the sticks.
So this guy in the expensive outfit eyeballs me, my get up, my long black straight hair, my big schnoz and he says: “My people got fucked over bad but your people got all but wiped out.”
“My people?”
“Yeah, brother. I think I seen maybe three Indians my whole goddamn life – except for on TV. Didn’t you motherfuckers own this turf back when? Traded it for a some fucking beads?”
With my shoulder length hair, black as a raven’s wing, my Cro-Mag brow, my black eyes and hairless chest showing, his idea makes sense. I figure what the hell, why ruin his day.
“Fuckin right,” I reply. “I think my great great granddads got a couple bottles with them beads.”
We laugh again and he shakes his head. “Fuckin whitey…” We muse on that for a little while then he turns to me. “You wanna grab some food? What you feel like?”
“Breakfast. It’s already past four. But I can eat breakfast any time.”
He grunts. “Shit yeah… Malcolm says don’t eat pigs but goddamn that bacon sure taste good.”
“Sure does.”
He holds out his hand. “Horace.”
“James.”
“You don’t got no Indian name, like Chingachgook or that?”
“No.”
“Well, why the fuck not?”
“You got an African name?”
He nods. “All right. True enough. Let’s go. Grab a cab up to Thirty-Fifth, all night diner there with big motherfuckin breakfast, cornbread, fat home fries, all that good shit.”

After we guzzle a big greasy mess and lots of coffee, Horace stands at the curb picking his teeth, the two of us just groovin on the early rush hour. He looks up and down Ninth. “I wanna show you something. I got this business. Come take a look.”
I figure what the fuck and we cab it up Eighth Avenue to Forty-Second. We stop at a block of rotten old five storey row jobs across from where they’ve been building the new Port Authority for fuckin ever. He leads me toward one of these places. A bunch of whores are sitting on the steps, one girl to each couple of steps, while another bunch are out on the street, collaring the herds of white working stiffs coming off the buses and trains to go to their daily toils. Every time the whores out on the street drag their tricks into the building, the next bunch hit the bricks and the whole line moves down the steps.
We go in the boarded-up double doors and there’s whores all the way up, sitting on the stairs, moving down every time the next dozen or so haul their marks into some rooms on the ground floor. Horace leads me up and there’s whores almost all the way to the top – must be sixty or seventy of them. The ones who’ve just finished up their customers climb to the end of the line and rejoin the cycle.
A few of these women look up at Horace and nod or mumble something. A couple are cocky, full of sass. “Who’s your little fella, Horace?”
“Leave him alone. He’s a fuckin Indian.”
“No shit?” says one girl. “Like a real fuckin Indian?” Her and a few of her friends pat their rounded lips flathanded, whooping, then cackle and hack good and loud.
“Shut the fuck up with that shit,” Horace growls. He gestures to me with his chin. “Don’t listen to them bitches. C’mon.”
When we reach the top floor he pulls out a wad of keys attached to his belt on the end of a thin, retractable cable. He opens a big Yale then unlocks a couple deadbolts, guides me inside and closes the door. It a nice big studio with old leaded skylights, slick Italian designarino stuff, lots of chrome and black leather. There’s a real fireplace and a pair of big stylish easy chairs facing some cold black logs.
Horace removes his jacket and carefully hangs it up. “Take a load off.”
He’s fussing behind me as I sit down and comes round the chairs with a couple snifters of choice cognac, hands me one then takes the other seat. On the table between us is a small humidor. He opens it and passs me a cigar and clippers. So we clip our stogies, light up and stare at the unlit fire, just patiently smoke and sip this fine booze at 6am on a hot July morning.
Horace nods absentmindedly. “Yeah…” he sighs, “shit's fucked right up, ain’t it?…”
“Sure is…”



Sunday, July 15, 2012

CLICK BELOW FOR VIDEOS FROM RECENT LAUNCH PARTY...


________________________________________________

And the latest is...

THE GREEN STRIPE...

I’ve been so busy and doing so much running around for the past few months I forgot to note the June 21st birthday of avant-garde Russian revolutionary artist Olga Rozanova. (Yeah, I know, a real red letter day on everyone’s calendar.) Okay, so that’s a bit obscure and these days only art history types know about her but she’s been a great inspiration throughout my life.

Born in 1886, she was dead by 32 of diphtheria but her output was prolific. All kinds of drawings, paintings, collages, performances and reams of writing – most still unpublished. She was a leading member of that group of Russian artists who gave the Revolution its color and emotional depth, and her most famous quote was: “Artists must lead from the front.”

And she put her money where her mouth was, helping lead sometimes violent street battles with the Tsar’s goon squads, all while being a central figure in a movement that created an entirely new way of seeing –Constructivism. Ironically, this visual vocabulary would one day form a key reference point in modern advertising aesthetics.

As a young woman, Rozanova married the Futurist poet Aleksei Kruchenykh and the story is they got even closer when she openly took Constructivist firebrand Kazimir Malevich as her lover, along with having fairly flagrant affairs with the legendary poet Mayakovsky and fellow painter, the equally talented but much longer lived Xenia Boguslavskaya. The bunch of them scandalized the hypocrites of their era by casually flaunting that pure joy for living and working. It’s a powerful, moving piece of history and hugely romantic.

A long time ago when I was a young man I'd stood in a large hallway at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, transfixed by Rozanova’s seminal abstract painting, The Green Stripe. It was hung next to the equally revolutionary work, White on White, painted around the same time by Kazimir Malevich.

When these works were shown just after the turn of the 20th century, reactions were swift and extreme. The paintings caused chaos in Russia’s already stratified intelligentsia. At a time when visual art and its attendant ideologies had tremendous influence, raging debates broke out about the nature of visual representation and the fundamental ideas about what can be considered art. It was the formative period of a visual vocabulary we all now take for granted.

When I saw these two paintings, each about thirty by thirty inches, they were hung in a large entry hall, just outside a gallery featuring several famous non-representational works. I admired whatever curator had put Rozanova and Malevich together like that, just the two of them off to the side, as it were. I appreciated the sense of humor I imagined was behind such a gesture.

I stood there for a long time just daydreaming on the two paintings and performing a sort of experiment of my own, drawing inspiration from two of the most important experimental works in history.

I knew this old fag called Gordon. A lovely man with a brilliant, sizzling mind. He was tall and very handsome and incredibly rare - a real honest-to-jodhpurs New York WASP. He was the scion of a banking family, extremely old money – a Knickerbocker who’d been born, raised and continued to live in a massive two-story apartment in one of the prime Forty Good Buildings on the Upper East Side, overlooking Central Park. We’d met in the doorway of a seedy bathhouse near the Mud Club, down in the Bowery when it was still a fairly sinister locale. I’d been hesitating, reluctant to enter the place. Gordon appeared behind me and turning, I could see he was more or less thinking the same thing. Back then he was in his late 50’s and still in very good shape, sandy hair sprinkled with gray. His light blue eyes and Mephistophelian eyebrows always ready to cock and smirk.

I was just a young lout with various pretentions but for some reason Gordon took a shine to me and it wasn’t even sexual. He was circumspect about that, telling me he agreed with Burroughs that there wasn’t one good fuck in the whole generation, meaning my people. But he delivered these lines with a nice tongue-in-cheek twist, softening the blow by adding the odd self-deprecating remark.

Gordon decided there was a job I was suited for. Being the member of a set who were far, far ahead of their time, he told me about an army of brainy, beautiful highly accomplished women over forty who ran all manner of museums, galleries, institutes and organizations to do with the arts, philanthropy, culture and foreign aid. Even back then, these entities were run by women and fags, the only difference being in that era, a few respected middle aged straight males would be at the top, fatherly types acting as Directors, Chairmen and the like. But the ground troops were, like today, mostly women, with some fags thrown in to keep things stylish.

So Gordon took me shopping for some suits, shirts, ties, shoes, cufflinks and so on. Nothing fashionable, mind you, all of them classic Saville Row cuts. Throw in a good haircut and I looked like a younger version of him.

“Now,” he told me after our Candide/Dr. Doolittle trip. “These women work very hard but get very little from their husbands, who are too busy at work and then too tired after performing for their mistresses. The wives do find boyfriends occasionally but rarely someone younger so they end up with a slightly less tedious version of their husband. It’s an atrocious state of affairs. Therefore, my boy, you shall be a beam of light in their lives, a moment of levity and lighthearted pleasure.”

He went on to teach me much about manners and deportment but most of all Gordon taught me to watch and listen - to read people, how much each of us reveals without realizing. “Being cocky in public,” he instructed me, “is only useful in very limited, very subtle doses. However, in private, when combined with a fetching shyness, can be extremely beguiling. In other words, your job is to make it all about her. You will be compensated in ways you could never have imagined.”

He was right of course. I’d been hustling older women since I was a young punk. I mean, I did have girlfriends my own age but older, very accomplished, very smart, very savvy women have always been in a league all their own. Well, let’s face it – all those brains and all that experience have got to be worth something. And it was never a money thing. There was that but it was more about the fact they were really, really good at something they cared about. It can be a powerful aphrodisiac all on its own.

So I was standing there, contemplating these two incredible works of art when I heard the measured clickety-clack of high heels on the polished granite floor. Remembering Gordon’s training, I didn’t look and continued to consider the paintings. I picked up her scent as she went by, just a few feet behind me. It was hardly noticeable, just a hint of old school Number 5.

About ten minutes later I heard her heels approach again, sounding very business-like. I still didn’t look. Several more minutes passed before I heard her come by once more. The steps were a bit slower this time then stopped. I heard her speak before I saw her.

“Pardon me, I couldn’t help but notice you’ve been standing here for some time. Do you need any help?”

It wasn’t the most original line I'd ever heard but better than trying to be cute. I turned and she was in her little black Chanel number, nice black pumps, not too much heel. This was work, after all and dressing like Stevie Nicks may have worked down in the village but not up here. Her brown hair was up in a loose bun and she was holding some files. Not cradling them the way an underling would but down at her side. She was most likely close to fifty but looked younger – and not worked on. She had the kind of clear skin and sharp eye that shaves off years at an age when it matters most. Her tongue went up and licked her front teeth, doing it mouth closed.

“I was wondering about The Green Stripe,” I said.

She brightened at that. “Yes?”

“I’ve heard there are two copies of this painting – both done by Rozonova but one larger than the other. Do you know if it’s true?”

Gordon had given me this little tidbit when I’d expressed an interest in Russian Revolutionary art. I’d learned everything I knew about the subject from a very switched-on art critic friend in Toronto, JB Mays, one of the first people to grasp how big the Costakis Collection of Constructivist art would become after it exploded onto the scene.

I held up a palm as if in apology, then reached out. “I’m sorry, my name is Basil.”

She demurely shook my hand. “Elizabeth.”

We were having a grand ol’ time with our little minuet. The ever so slightly cynical purse at her lips and the almost imperceptible arch of her eyebrow were already sizing up my game and she was happy to play along. I could have sworn she shook her head about one degree and let out a short breath, already far down the road where she’ll be screaming with laughter after I pull her panties to her knees and drag her ass across that big living room floor, lock the insides of my elbows against the backs of her knees and pull her soaking pussy toward my cock, getting so off on her pout, mouth parted and just sucking up all my mad drive, all my need to feel her cunt on me, have her scent rise to my lips, her claws dig into my ass when she reaches round her parted thighs to hang on for the ride - all that very good shit.

Elizabeth’s head dipped a bit then slowly swung toward her office at the end of the long hall. A couple of her staff loitered by the reception area, trying to look busy while stealing glances at us. She turned back to me with a dazzling scarlet lipstick smile.

“As far as anyone is concerned” she told me, “we’re acquaintances. And we’re going for lunch. I’ll get my bag.”

I turned back to the paintings as her heels clicked away.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Three way on Soi 11


I met this middle aged Aussie couple last night at an Irish pub on Sukhumvit Soi 11 – Bruce and Sue for fucksakes. She’s got the short sensible wash & wear hair, he looks like a car wreck victim.

Sitting between them was a dark northern girl who was so pleased with herself, as if she’d single-handedly raised the village pig to mighty fruition and was damn proud of the fact.

Bruce confided in a drunken sort of way. He and Sue took early retirement in Thailand a couple years ago, bought a nice condo down by Pattaya. Right on the beach, he said. He hates Bangkok but came up to take his wife and the girl shopping.

Their little pal, Aom, is giggling into her hands, all tee hees and rolling eyes. Sue pats her on the arm and leans in to whisper something with a gossipy smirk, her eyes going to a pair of hunky young louts who are fixated on the tennis match on TV, both with pints of beer poised at their lips as a crucial point is decided.

Bruce is fairly well lubricated and gestures with his head.

“My girls here, they’re good mates. We’re doing the bloody Oxfam with Aom, support the whole tribe for next to nothing. Got her as a maid and well, Sue’s operation wouldn’t allow for anything down below so I got to shagging this little creature. Simple peasant girl, she does her best. Sue doesn’t mind, appreciates it in fact. Takes the pressure off her, doesn’t it? When Sue gets back from her massage therapy mid-afternoons, we play bridge. Aom’s learning fast.

Sharp little beggar, she is. Still have no idea what she’s saying most of the time but it doesn’t matter. We get on all right. I go for a drink with my mates down at the pub and don’t need to worry about Sue. Aom’s a good companion and calls me on the mobile if they need anything. Usually in the afternoon, before our tea, I’ll have with Aom while Sue’s at her massage therapy. Did I mention that? Got to give the girl credit. Knows we should keep things nice and civil, only when Sue’s out of the house and that - a bit of modesty.

Yeah, Aom does all right by us. I give her eight thousand baht a month and she supports her whole bloody clan. Went up to the village with her last Christmas. Her kin know what’s what and they did the old kowtow, glad we’re taking good care of her, send back some dosh. Yeah, it’s working out all right. Can’t bin the old girl, can we now? No, Sue and me, we’re mates from back when. The three of us do just fine.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

DAREDEVIL LESSONS IN OL' BANGTOWN


People tell me the real Thai name for Bangkok is Krung Thep. Well, that’s the short form. The actual name is about forty words long and translates into one of those nauseating academic romantic monikers white pinheads like to apply to ‘exotic’ locales – ie: While tromping through some ‘developing country’ or other, Whitey Pinhead stumbles across a geek in a loin cloth who spends his nights hunting the meaty rats found in whatever region cuz he can’t stand the day time sun and heat. So Whitey Pinhead will codify the geek’s deal as: “He who has sacrificed the light to eternally hunt the dreams of the Sahlamara (or other appropriately non-Western sounding moniker) night creatures.” It’s the kind of deft turn of phrase that makes the stodgy members of thesis boards in the petrified halls of academe wet their pants. Okay, maybe not wet their pants – but slightly damp for sure.

And that’s all fine and well but let’s face it – you ain’t gonna beat a name like BANGKOK. Even Thais, who consider it a foreign appellation, seem to really get off on emphasizing the last syllable, giving it a nice menace; bang-KOK.

Us palefaced types use a bunch of alts; Bangs, Bangtown, Bangville, Bangers (no, not pronounced Banjers), Bang’o’rama and many other variations. My fave at the moment: Bangtown.

All my riding buddies back in Norte Americana will laugh their asses off when they see the pic down below, me astride a Yamaha 125 Mio scooter. No, of course I’d never have believed that I’d ride a scooter in anger but there’s no other way in Bangs. Either that or sit in traffic and spend half the day going three blocks in air conditioned comfort.

One useful trick is to pull in the mirrors before you go zipping through gridlocked cars and trucks. It took a little while but by following the local scooter-taxi operators/stunt riders, I learned a few techniques that are serving me well.

There’s no way you could ride a big screamin’ sportbike in Bangers and get anywhere fast. Well, maybe on the toll highway at 3am but that’s it. In the clogged streets of downtown Bang’o’rama, a sportbike is way too wide and far too powerful. The thing would just overheat. On the scooter, I sometimes get closer to drivers than their own husbands or wives have been in weeks or months. I’m told Bangkok’s gridlock rush hour traffic is also quite the meet market. Girl riders get numbers shoved at them by bored car drivers all the time, while one guy told me a woman reached out her window and wrote her number on the back of his hand with a felt-tip pen. She apparently turned out to be a real gem and they’re now in the midst of a very hot, very fulfilling relationship. Yeah, I think we’ll keep the name, Bangkok.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

BANGKOK LOW SEASON

Stop me if you've heard this one.
An angry young early retiree enters a Bangkok night club called Deader Than Dead.
A 140 decibel bass line electro-loop damages bowel linings for blocks.
A few scattered customers pray over their drinks at the bar
or sit with backs to the wall,
marble-eyed and heads tilted back as if at the dentist.
It never gets any more crowded.
Establishments on either side pump,
the floors slick with lube.
Member of the writhing dance crowds in these joints
will suddenly disappear as if dropped down a manhole,
and never stand back up.
No hands reach down for them.
It's too dangerous -
the same way it's too dangerous to reach for a drowning man
while in the water next to him.
He'll try to stand on your head in a last desperate thrash for air,
so you stay away and throw life jackets.

Meanwhile, back at the Deader Than Dead
the angry young early retiree has burst in like a boxer coming out of his corner
to commit the inevitable coup de grace.
Maybe not an utterly exhausting 30 second flail of adrenalin,
fists, blood, grunts and broken teeth -
but a loud confrontation that provokes him into a torrent of
bitterly hiliarous bon mots that disarm his wary opponents would not go amiss.

But no one notices him walk in.

He yells an oath at the unmoving back of an old alcoholic,
repeating the uninspired taunt until the creature shifts
and he realizes it may have once been a viable female.

The bartender is leaned back against the mirrored bottle shelf,
arms crossed and a face like a Kurosawa witch.
She's never even worn gray.

The angry young early retiree drinks only beer but under the gaze of the bartender
instead orders a drink named after a car.
It is a long time before he receives an impossibly difficult thing
garnished with many sculptured pieces of exotic fruit,
artfully arranged to appear to be floating over a wide glass with a tiny opening.
The imbiber is forced to use the long pink articulated straw provided.

One sip and the angry young early retiree is overcome with the knowledge he will soon
fall in love with the bartender, a beautifully made up katoey who
will unfurl like a flower at the scent of sincere romance
and morph into the spitting image of Shakira but far far sexier.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

THANKS TO ALL...

My deepest thanks go out to everyone who came out to the four shows in Toronto and Montreal and to Tightrope Books for doing an incredible job on publishing MOUNT ROYAL. The book is beautifully printed and bound and is already moving well.

I'm back in Asia now and tired from several weeks on the road but feeling good and ready to settle in to work on the next one... HOW TO FUCK YOUR PSYCHIATRIST.
You can read some early notes and chapter drafts, etc at EXPLICIT CINEMA.
They aren't finished pieces of writing but will give you a good idea of where this thing is headed. The plan is to have a finished manuscript by the end of this coming winter and to have the book see the light of day in the fall of 2013. But as always, Inshallah...

The e-book version of MOUNT ROYAL should be out by mid-August and I'll be doing some podcasts soon and an audio book version is in the works as well, along with some more videos of others reading excerpts. So much to do and yes, I still feel like one very lucky dude...

Thanks again to all and now that I'm back in Thailand, I'll again be posting regularly.
Stay well, my friends, and remember to give the occasional nod and wink to our old pal, Lucem Ferre...

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Friday, June 8, 2012

TO VIEW VIDEOS OF REVIVAL BAR LAUNCH PARTY ON JUNE 06/12...

Intro & Chapter 1 of Mount Royal: there's nothing harder than love

Anecdote about a parasite creep called Joe Douchebag

The Sphinx, excerpt from Mount Royal: there's nothing harder than love

Biftek, excerpt from Mount Royal: there's nothing harder than love

Excerpt from my next book, a novel-in-progress called: How To Fuck Your Psychiatrist,
coming from Tightrope Books, fall of 2013

AND... Check out the lovely and fetching Rebecca read a passage from...

Just so charming!



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Only Time Will Tell...

First printed copy...

Haven't posted in a while. Back in Toronto from SE Asia. I'm here for 6 weeks to launch my novel and like i said on Facebag, compared to Thailand this place is like going to church every fucking day. First thing that struck me is how quiet it is. Noise wise - but also in terms of psychic reverb. It runs at almost imperceptible levels.

I catch the odd spike from individual people but there's no generalized easiness you find over there, when an entire country doesn't give much of a shit about small stuff. Maybe it's cuz large personal financial debt isn't a birthright? Who knows. Whatever it is, coming back to Toronto after 8 months of walking through streets where the sensuality's so thick you can cut it with a machete, this place feels positively eunuchoid. Talk about your cock softening gloom. Well, when everybody's ass is owned by the bank, they must be pretty goddamn sore.

But there are a few glimmers of light. I was watching Steven Leckie, the legendary former Viletones singer, in a YouTube interview and he said something that kind of encapsulates what I'm getting at. He said that these days Marlon Brando's brooding would be considered dysfunctional and something would have to be done about it.

I'm staying with an old friend in High Park and there's something that's just too much to bear about watching these nice young white couples with their nice young white babies and their fuel efficient cars and their overvalued beautiful homes - there's something pathological about them. A kind of unacknowledged hysteria far beneath the surface. You know that statistically speaking, a certain number of them will be pedophiles and psychopaths but at the moment they're happily loading strollers into their sporty new hatchbacks, their officious little wives having given up sexuality for motherhood - too stupid to realize one actually feeds the other.

Hey, maybe everybody just needs a good black and blue and bloody ass-whipping to get their priorities in order. Maybe I'm just biased but it seems to have worked on some friends of mine and me. And I don't mean some fetlife bullshit paddle with rivets and wearing Texas Chainsaw skin mask. I mean a friendly, easy going thing with dad's old black leather belt, made supple and soft with time and use. But that might just be my own personal sense of salvation and won't work for everyone. Oh, well. Their tough luck.

So if you're in Toronto this Wednesday June 6th, come out to the launch party for my new novel, MOUNT ROYAL: there's nothing harder than love
It's at the Revival Bar at 783 College Street, a block or so east of Ossington.
Doors open at 7:30pm and I'll be going on at about 8 and there's no cover.
I'll read you a bunch of dirty shit and then we can get down to the serious business of drinking, dancing and bullshitting. See you there...




Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tightrope Books presents Toronto & Montreal release parties!

you are invited to release parties for...

MOUNT ROYAL
there's nothing harder than love

the new novel by Basil Papademos

Live show, followed by Q&A and book signing in...
TORONTO
WED. JUNE 06, 2012
@ REVIVAL
783 College St.
Doors Open 7:30pm
----------------------
MONTREAL
MON. JUNE 25, 2012
@ FOUFOUNES ELECTRIQUES
87 Ste-Catherine Est
Doors Open 9:00pm
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LOOK FOR SHOWS THIS AUTUMN AT:
Pete's Candy Store, NYC
Boit 999, Athens
Ubud Literary Festival, Bali
Bangkok Lit Festival



PRESS RELEASE:
Tightrope Books launches...
Mount Royal: there's nothing harder than love
by Basil Papademos
A hilarious ride through addiction, sex,
music, movies, madness and more.
If a book ever needed a parental warning sticker, this is it.

Release parties in Toronto and Montreal June 2012

William S. Burroughs described earlier writing by Papademos as “morally dangerous.” The novel is a wildly entertaining roller-coaster ride, which combines ferociously clever slapstick, frenetic satire, and scorching love scenes to expose a turbulent 1980s Montreal. Mount Royal follows petty thief, drug dealer, and ladies’ man, Johnny Carp, as he explores his sexuality and unearths political cover-ups. The book examines issues of sexual power and individual identity, and the effect of history on us all. Concluding with the 1989 Montreal Massacre, the novel is, at its core, a bittersweet romance–a love letter to a time and a place.

Basil Papademos is the author of the novel The Hook (Emergency Press). A former resident of both Toronto and Montreal, he currently lives in Bangkok.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER WRITERS


This is something I've written for literary mag, Open Book Toronto, answering the question:  How does reading other writers of fiction inform your work?
Here goes...

A more direct way to phrase the question might have been: How does reading other writers of fiction influence your work? I’ve sometimes heard authors say they make a point of not reading other writers while they’re in the middle of putting together a new book or story because they don’t want their “voice” being influenced. Sure, I get that but I do find it a bit precious – and anyway, it assumes the author has total control of everything he or she is communicating.
When I’m working on piece of writing, I’ll read all sorts, old favorites and new material, vaguely hoping my own stuff will get a boost of some kind. If a piece of prose truly reaches me, maybe its effect will be visceral and not just cerebral - I mean make me feel differently, see things differently. Something like that can help validate unformed and even unrecognized concepts of my own and bring them to life. Besides, I’ll take all the help I can get.
But what I really love is when a writer tells one story on the surface - the direct narrative – but then there’s a whole other set of meanings beneath, working between the lines, so to speak. Handled by a skilled practitioner, an entirely different tale emerges. And I don’t mean symbolism – more like what amounts to a parallel world of unanswered questions and mysterious possibilities. The beauty of that is to wonder how much the writer consciously intended and how much of this submerged story is the reader’s projection.
In the same way, I get a big kick out of a reader mentioning something they understood from a passage I’ve written but their interpretation wasn’t what I’d meant at all – at least not what I thought I meant. So it can be the reader who tells the writer what the story is actually about, forcing the writer to reconsider their own motives and methods.
It makes me appreciate writers who always push the outer edge of that tenuous ground, not entirely sure what exactly they are revealing about themselves and what is being communicated with absolute certainty. Among modern fiction writers, someone like Jeanette Winterson gets to me that way, or John Banville, William Burroughs, Angela Carter and Michel Houellebecq, to name a few. It’s a thrill to see them handle an idea so deftly and work it so subtly. Like a great rock’n’roll hook, on the surface it might seem simple but can evoke an unexpected emotional response that takes you to places you’ve never been and could not have predicted.  



Friday, April 13, 2012

SONG KRAN: Spring Break Thai style!

How To Fuck Your Psychiatrist - Part 6: Now up at EXPLICIT CINEMA

This past week all of Thailand has been celebrating the beginning of the new year with something called Song Kran. Also known as the “Water Festival”, it  started out as quaint fertility ritual heralding the beginning of the rainy season. However, Chiang Mai veterans told me it’s degenerated into a massive drunken water fight that results in several thousand deaths and maimings every year. Kicking off in mid-April, it goes on for about five days. In the south it’s not the be-all but here up in sleepy ol’ Chiang Mai, it’s the year’s biggest blow out.
    A week before Song Kran got going, I had a boozehound and a cokehead yelling at me about how great it is. The cokehead got hysterical, kept shouting: “You can’t be cynical, Baz! You HAVE to go!”
I don’t usually take advice from cokeheads – and of course she didn’t stay in Chiang Mai for the festivities but that’s another story. Anyway, I thought I’d check it out and basically, what we have here is Spring Break as practiced around the globe – people getting drunk and acting out. Like elsewhere, the idea is to swill great amounts of low-grade alcohol and behave like a binge-drinking halfwit. But the Chiang Mai difference is you stand on the road with massive waterguns while others stand in the back of passing pickups trucks, also armed with massive waterguns and have these massive water fights –  using stinking filthy canal water. Meanwhile, other combatants hurl buckets of ice every direction.
   Forewarned, I put on a full-face Dakar helmet with dark visor locked down, board shorts, Caterpillar work boots laced up tight and armored riding gloves for landing with hands on road, if it came to that. I also sanded the sidewall edge of my dirtbike’s tires, for better wet grip.
   Here in the outskirts it was fairly muted, a few kids on the roadside meekly chucking little plastic buckets full of relatively clean looking water. But down in the old city, within Chiang Mai’s ancient moat and walls, it was pretty much a shitfaced madhouse. Perhaps the universal language is not music but acting like a tittering idiot while wasted on alcohol. That seems to bring down all language barriers in a big hurry.
A central theme of Song Kran seems to be that if you see a scooter or motorcycle coming past, it’s a real laugh to hit the rider and passenger with a powerhose or big bucket of ice, temporarily blinding them. I saw a teenaged girl riding a scooter take a face full of ice and slam head first into the tailgate of a pickup without even slowly down. Even the ambulance was hosed and pelted with ice.
One guy hurled a plastic bucket of water at me then threw the bucket, bouncing it off my helmet. I instinctively booted him in the chest with the flat of my left foot as I rolled past and sent him sprawling into his friends. I was told you’re not supposed to get annoyed or angry with people constantly hurling toilet water and ice in your face or pouring it down your back. You’re supposed to laugh along with them. Which is why most expats who’ve live here through several Song Krans either leave town for the week or get supplies and hole up at home, avoiding the whole moronic affair. Me, I lasted a couple hours of getting soaked and bombarded with ice and almost wiping out a few times. Good thing I’ve ridden drunk so often in the past – all that  practice came in handy.
Oh, and if you do want to know about the legitimate cultural origins of this festival, go do a goog-wank. I’m sure some pinhead has plenty to say about it, with linked footnotes and everything.
   At least with Spring Break in places like South Padre Island, Daytona and Cancun, you can rely on seeing – or maybe even getting - some random public sex but not in prissy ol’ C.M. Nope, sorry. No girls flaunting their awesome tits and no boys showing off their hot butts. Though I did see one white chick with blonde skull-braids flash a single breast. Thanks, kid.
   Of course your average Thai is far too demure for something like that. Perhaps they could invite the endless mob of illiterate peasant kids who work as criminally underpaid whores in this otherwise morally pristine society. Now THAT would spice up the party. But pay them something decent for a change. After all, they are the hardest working people in the whole country.

How to make a faffy little Thai girl wipe out on her scooter

South Padre Island: Going head-to-head.
Sadly, something you'll  never see in prissy ol' Chiang Mai

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

FISTS OF FURY - Part 2

While splabbing on about whatever in my previous post, Fists of Fury Part 1, I never got around to the actual point...
Okay, so here's the deal. A month ago or so my publisher got an email from this alleged boxer/poet/playwright/all-round tough guy, Combo - a creep I know in Canada. I'd threatened to torture and kill him for reasons outlined in my previous post - basically he's an asshole who treated his gf like shit - and i happened to have a crush on her but whatevs, that's a whole other story.
His email to my publisher was a proposal for a boxing match between he and I at the launch party for my upcoming novel, Mount Royal. However, he did say he'd require 3 months warning so he could get back into fighting trim. It's been a couple or four decades since he's heard the bell of pugilistic manliness ring in anger, etc.
My publisher laughed her ass off when she told me about it. She never quite believed my so-called exaggerations about what a jackoff Combo could be. His emails sealed the deal - he officially became a completely untenable idiot in her books. Till then she'd harbored an illusion he might be a legitimate human being. As if.
But the best part is - and this is just a fucking scream - a week after his first email wanting to fight me, he writes back to my publisher and tells her he regrets he won't be able to take part in this boxing match he's proposed because his doctor has advised him his back is too fragile. What a big fat drag, eh?
Last year around this time, I'd threatened to run him over with a tow truck I was driving back then to try to make a living (don't bother - long hours and dangerously abusive customers for shitty pay).
I had my reasons for want to hurt Combo, as I've outlined above and in my previous post, but also because  he called Mike Tyson a "ghetto punk." It's too bad Combo won't be able to work himself into a 175 pounds of coiled steel because that means while his fit and buff self is waiting at the bus stop to go to the book launch party where he plans to beat my brains in, I won't have the chance to come racing up in a tow truck, jump the curb and run him over without even slowing down.
Or as another legendary "ghetto punk", Jack Dempsey, was reputed to have quipped: "If you fight fair, you fight once."

Monday, April 2, 2012

FISTS OF FURY + other tales of abject misery

Before I get on my high horse about committing grievous bodily harm via email, you can click on this link to read: HOW TO F*CK YOUR PSYCHIATRIST 5

Okay, now on with Fists of Fury + miserable tales of abject stupidity or whatever...
A while ago my publisher writes me a tipsy email about this idiot we both know. This guy and me - let's call him Combo - we'd had a bit of a run-in. I got all fired up and felt like I really had no choice, no option - so I threatened to kill the asshole, run him over with a tow-truck I'd been driving at the time -really shitty way to make a buck, by the way.
Combo he had some claim to fame, was an ex-boxer or something, played an 'old school' tough street dude persona to the hilt. Well, he pulled that act with good girls; well brought-up women with plenty of brains but somewhat naive about how venal guys can really be and with the nicely bred manners to not dump these creeps immediately.
With other guys around Combo kept his trap shut. He seemed to hang his whole schtick on having worked at a car factory for a summer and having had one big deal boxing match where he beat the living shit out of some bald old fool.
Combo mostly got on my nerves cuz of how he mistreated his girlfriend, just using her in the worst ways possible, taking up all her time, money, attention, freaking out if she didn't immediately answer his eight thousand daily phone calls, that kind of Pass/Agg bullshit, really gross to watch. He'd just sweat and hang onto her elbow in public, always shooing her away with lines like: "You've got that appointment to go to, right?"
And she'd look non-plussed for a second and then look crestfallen when she realized she's being told to get lost cuz some guy friend of Combo's is paying attention to her - as in her specifically.
She was passive and nice enough to do as she was told. Combo refused to discuss her and always acted like he barely knew her when the chick was his conduit to anything to do with the real world.
Now the really stupid part is my 'attacks' on Combo happened over email. Some of them while I was still back in Canuckistan and some while I was overseas. No, really. I'm not kidding.
I wrote him and threatened to run him over with a tow truck and he writes back and says - get this - "I never thought I would do this but I'm calling the police. I am old and sick. You have no right to bully me."
I kept at him, threatening all kinds of castration and mayhem and he actually goes to the cops. Unbelievable but true.
And you'll love what the cop at the precinct desk told him. I laughed my ass off - I'm sure the cop did too.
Okay, imagine this scene:
A guy walks into the station, goes up to the desk. Some bored cop is reading The Sun, shaking his head about those hopeless, overpaid morons, the Toronto Maple Leafs. He hears somebody clear his throat. Glances up and sees Combo - who looks like he's slept in his clothes for the past decade.
The gimp's got one of those big, wide-eyed looks on him, like he's caught in the high-beams of a big ugly tow-truck speeding toward him in the dead of night - that kind of look.
So Combo's mouth goes dry suddenly, can barely get his lips apart, white spittle at the corners and the cop's instantly annoyed, thinking: "What's this asshole want?"
He listens to Combo's tale, some guy on the other side of the world is threatening to kill me... via email.
"Where'd you say this guy is?"
"Vietnam."
"He's Vietnamese?"
"No, he's Greek."
"Ya don't say? Have you asked him to stop?"
Combo, the tough guy, street heavy ex-boxer looks around, still unblinking. "Uh.... no."
"Try that and lemme know what happens."
"Uh... okay."
The cop goes back to his paper, half grinning to himself, again shaking his head, thinking: "And I thought the Leafs were useless fucking retards."
A younger cop saunters out to the counter from some back room and lifts his chin at the slowly retreating Combo who barely squeaks out the words: "Um... is that it?"
"Yeah," the cop says without looking at him. "Try what I said and report back." He turns and mutters to the younger cop. The two of them stare at Combo as he tentatively goes toward the door, unsatisfied with the outcome but unable to think of anything else to say. Well, he has just been told to fuck off so there isn't much left to do but fuck right off.
Anyway, a few months later - oh, in the meantime I'd threatened to punch out a friend of his - this fat little moron called Howie who got his rocks off screaming at a couple women I know whenever he'd run into them at lit events and the like. Howie would just walk up to them and start flipping out in their faces, super ugly and aggressive and just losing his shit on them. So I wrote HIM from overseas and told him to stop that shit or I'd straighten him out when I got back - or I'd get a couple friends of mine to pay him a visit and teach the stupid fuck some manners. Apparently, he's stayed away since then. It's too bad in way. I would have enjoyed running into him at some boring lit gathering and giving him a nice fat open-handed slap, the same way you spank a hot girl's ass - nice red hand print - but this time across Howie's fat cheek. What's he gonna do, call the cops? And say what? "That man slapped  me." The cops would see me smiling and nodding and saying; "Yeah, I gave him a little love slap. Don't worry, it's a domestic. He's my boyfriend."
The cops would shake their heads and grin and look at each other. "Fuckin fags..."


Monday, March 19, 2012

Just for Tonight...

Maybe time to begin posting a couple more excerpts of Mount Royal. Christ, the thing's been cooking in the back shed long enough. Really, publishing is like watching grass grow. 
just for tonight
But, hey, it took so long and was backed up by enough talented friends and associates that it might turn out okay... So here's an excerpt that includes a dire approximation of my old colleague in the photos...

...The moment I hang up somebody starts riding the door buzzer, going crazy on the thing. I run down ready to flip out. It’s Hennessy. His usually crafty features are sweaty and distressed. He skips around me and heads upstairs, starts to rattle on about some government yenta who wants to be double-teamed. The Hen says he’s haggled her up to a hundred and fifty bucks over the phone, but she gets right of first refusal upon seeing the merchandise in person. With almost zero endorphins in my blood, the idea of performing three-way sexual calisthenics with some extra feisty stranger holds about as much appeal as a steak knife colonoscopy.
“She’ll slam the door in our faces,” I tell him. “You look like stepped-on cat shit. Christ, your skin’s not even brown. It’s gray.”
Hennessy adjusts his oversized bowler and brushes off the ragged black suit. “You aren’t exactly appetizing either, you know. I wouldn’t vomit on you if I was paid.”
“Well, that would depend on how much, wouldn’t it?”
“If you have any bright ideas, Johnny, I’m listening.”
“Okay, okay. So where is this hot-to-trot character?”
“Outremont. She’s a doctor, part of the inner sanctum at the Ministry of Culture.”
“Inner sanctum of my ass. Will she write for us?”
“She’s not that kind of doctor.”
“What the fuck? I’ve never understood this pretentious academic bullshit. What good is having Doctor in front of your name if you can’t write a goddamn narcotics prescription? It shouldn’t be allowed. It’s phony advertising.”
Hennessy sighs at my kvetching. “Can we go now?”

When we get to Outremont the deal seems like it might be okay. Nice Modernist box house with mellow Nordic box furniture. The quasi-doctor bureaucrat doesn’t gack at the sight of us. She wears a black cat-suit, which isn’t the best outfit for her short, wide physique, but what the hell, the woman’s pleasant enough as we sit in some sort of ante-room, chatting. Who knows, maybe she’ll do most of the work. But then we find out what she really wants is to have us double-team her husband across his home-office desk while she plays audience and jerks off with some adult toys. I glare at Hennessy. He gives me a weak shrug. Oops.
Hubby’s a snarky, cavey chested middle-aged guy. He’s already down to nothing but a pair of blue and white Y-fronts and has patches of gray hair on his shoulder blades. “Where did you find these two specimens? They look like refugees from a palliative ward.”
“You wanted something street,” his wife bitches at him. “So I found you something street.”
“Yes, Montreal street. Not pox-infested Calcuttan gutter!”
He turns up his nose, looks away and points at the door. The doctor lady walks us out. She gripes under her breath, offers a few mumbled apologies and fifty bucks as compensation. After we score from Benny the Bike Thief, Hennessy runs off to a sociology class at Concordia. The Housebroken Dog As Consumerist Metaphor in Late 20th Century Western Society.