Saturday, December 21, 2013

tequila & the solstice

in years past it would be quite warm in oakland this time of year and
pirate & i would sit on the porch drinking tequila sunrise, of all things.
i remember this vividly on several december 25, & its true that today
is not that day, but pretty damn close. but the solstice no doubt warrants
such action, tho its rare for me to drink tequila. and thus today may have had
the odd gin/tonic, and many glasses of burgundy. but today is just starting
and lunch was some boring ravioli. dinner will be another matter!
on my post office walks of late, a lot of word scramble enter me noggin
and i always intend to return to the citadel here and type them into this
machine so all of you can read them. well, win some, lose some. as there
hasnt been an entry for some months. most of you know how to contact me
directly for the odd story every now and again, eh??
oh, i forgot to mention that it is 61 degrees or so in providence today,
very oakland like!! may this tropical warmth continue!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


these notes from here in providence, 25 june...several weeks prior to the july heatwave...
finnish foolishness arrives w/ a swedish flag & those blooze & yellows soak us thoroughly & the heat arrived camelback just the other day - we'd been in brooklyn & new york lingers day after day & well into the evening & on into the nite...manhole covers leaping about carelessly w/ pudding splattered on their drawers & the serbian gypsy chicks couldnt get there on time for even a spoonful...romantically dark rum & a splash of lemonade work wonders as the muffler dismantles itself ceremoniously...chairs & a blouse undone as the mercury rises

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

metal machine music*

sometime during the heatwave of july i wrote to hexit that i would post some words about the metal machine music recording by lou reed, issued sometime in 1975. but that was then, and those words havent yet appeared. it is the perfect hot weather record for me. then, and now. even today, which may have topped out at 87, was just right. the disk player was fucked momentarily so i dug out the vinyl....quality superb. of course one had to flip the record every 20 minutes or so. and i didnt make it to side 'D', as something came up. i also had velvet underground on the jukebox a lot this summer.  more great hot weather music. but a week or 2 ago, another musical craving came to me. something i also experienced the first time on the delta that glorious hot summer of '75. and that is steve reich's magnum opus 'drumming', the 3 LP set, which also includes 'six pianos'  and 'music for mallett instruments, voices and organ'. again available on disk, tho it was hard to find for a while. this leads into my next word collage, to be posted soon. as i try and make sense of something written long ago...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

suddenly choking carrot soup or standpipe siamese

greenpoint arrival was probably 4.30 & we opened the wine, some cheap burgundy i had brought down from providence & there was a delay while we waited for h to get back from another island but it was good to be back on freeman st & we journeyed over to manhattan ave to a fish joint called 'lobster' (original, eh?) & we sat out back at those picnic style tables, tho we had ordered our food first, & it arrived very quickly, some kinda fish sliders and a slew of opening foods, was it the oysters or the deep fried shrimp or.....and the rain began & we ordered more food....m & h were drinking beers, & i think a & i were with a pint as soaked on the 2 blocks back to freeman, tho we stopped off to get friday wine, & vodka. / was there still rain on friday or was it clouds &......the day passed, & i realised how fond i am of greenpoint & we walked about: up manhattan, side streets, and down franklin. eventually, dinner time arrives as it does most daze & we went straight to karczma on greenpoint ave, a polish joint & i tremble now to relay only a bare skeleton of what may or may not have happened but suffice to say we were very well fed and there was enough to bring back for saturday lunch. but friday nite was still to come & were we dosed or was the music and company that much fun? ha ha.....lets just say we might have been sluggish to get our saturday goin'....heh heh.....but the weather had improved....& we put our shoes on & stumbled over to franklin to le gamin, a french joint of some reknown. it had just opened for the evening & the staff seemed flustered, but once we let them know we were in a decent mood & that we would put up with only a variant of shenanigans they got their shit together PDQ and served us a very decent meal with 2 half liter carafes of red wine. /  there is so much more i could tell you about all of this, but it will have to wait for a fortnite or so, but should you be in the area, do wander in to karczma: you wont be disappointed!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

a new hat in belgrade

in april 2007 i flew to belgrade, ostensibly on my way to dubrovnik, but for many reasons belgrade seemed the best port of entry that year. friends fetched me at the airport, and we went directly into town for a late lunch. or did we go directly to their apartment? ah...hindsight tells me i was taken directly to the apartment for lunch and many liters of wine. the weather was perfect, and by that i mean warm (at least 70 degrees) and a portion of blue sky. the apartment was in the old quarter, near the danube. evening rolls around and its time to go out for drinks. there is a main esplanade in belgrade....and this is where we sat, drinking even more wine. but that isnt what i am writing about. the next day i was on my own as my hosts had something boring to tend to. i dont recall if it was a family obligation or otherwise, but knowing i was a talented traveler, they left me on me own. and i went out walking and found myself in what i thought was a district similar to where we had been the day before. the river was in sight. but was it the danube or the sava? we will never know, but i went walking and turned into a narrow old, tattered dorfman blew off my head, and several locals went to fetch it for me, yet simultaneously ushering me into another narrow lane....this was, i later found out, the gypsy or roma quarter. these wonderful roma took me to their cousin's haberdashery and within minutes i had a new hat for only a handful of serbian coins!! even another lunch of lamb livers and red wine soon followed...i long to return to belgrade!

Friday, May 10, 2013

william s. burroughs' unforgettable characters

in 2001 xochi publications in brisbane, australia published 'william s. burroughs' unforgettable characters: lola "la chata" and bernabe jurado' in an edition of 123 copies. this handsome book included an essay by michael spann concerning burroughs' time in mexico, 1949-1952, and included an original piece by burroughs not yet published in english regarding his most unforgettable character: bernabe jurado. jurado was the lawyer who helped burroughs with several legal issues, including the accidental shooting of burroughs' wife, joan.
the book quickly sold out and has been unavailable for the past 10 years or so, but for quite pricy copies showing up on the internet from time to time.
inkblot publications have reissued this classic, with an expanded essay by spann, an introduction by jack sargeant, and the burroughs piece from the original printing. highly recommended, and a very handsome paperback edition, 68 pages, $10 plus shipping to the destination of your choice! please write to us with any questions:

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

street shots*

New York City Photographs 1970s

Rich Allen

Rhode Island: City Pound Press, 2012



as an oakland native, when traveling from coast to coast or even overseas -
& all of these travels were done frequently back in the day, i was frequently
asked by those i knew and those i didn't know: 'how is san francisco' and i always
told them 'i don't know' cause i am from the east bay, which is oakland and berkeley.
& don't get me wrong, i adore san francisco, more now than when i lived across the
bay but it was always too damn cold!
but whenever i was away, a city that made a big impression on me was new york
city, and this was from approximately 1977-1985. i visited as often as could be
arranged, usually on the way back to california from europe.
the first stay was in 1977, and i stayed at the tudor hotel for a week......that
glorious 3rd week of august '77...a month after the blackout riots and the week of
the death of elvis...breakfasts were 99 cents until 11 and new york seemed to me to
be the pulse of the world, & this coming back from the first time seeing london &
paris... even tangier.
there is now a bit of nostalgia (of course!) for a broke new york city of the '70s
for many, many reasons.
rich allen's superb book of primarily black & white fotos will take you (hell, it will
take us all) back to a new york that no longer exists. allen found himself in new york
city as an aspiring filmmaker, tho circumstance dictated he take up photography while
working as a bike messenger, and living & loving, fathering a child, & just out there
living. living on the edge...he had absolutely no fear of what made new york interesting
whether its the hells angels (who were his neighbours) or the other somewhat shattered
down & out denizens of fair gotham. no one seemed to object to allen photographing
primarily human subjects, regardless of how they felt that day. a good photographer
gains trust from his or her subjects. allen has succeeded.
the book is divided into 2 parts: 'street shots' and 'hooky' and includes an 11 minute
DVD on the making of 'hooky'. ah yes, the kids of east 3rd street. disagreements with
the angels about the abandoned lot. even a few colour fotos! this book is just too fucking
real and belongs in better book collections everywhere. allen should be given a grant
from then & now for preserving what needed to be preserved. and has now published.
just the other day nick tosches phoned from sophies tavern on east 5th st, ostensibly to
order some 60s rolling stones stuff but really just to talk about old new york city.
the book will leave one wanting more.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

notes from art's crab shack

i was due to fly to oakland today but have postponed due to general lethargy, apathy, dreamy presence from melting snow or what have you. the trip has been delayed. and thus the thoughts of those days will continue but for now a few words from the word scramble/collage, recounting in a certain sense those days indeed.....
excerpt from 'tropical delusion'
& little i devour these old oakland pages/& here is a large stack of handwritten notes which i apparently wrote in varying degrees of reality &/or intoxication at art's crab shack on broadway btwn 40th and 41st. gerard lived above art's from 1982-1984 with his first wife godolieve, affectionately known as lief. while the notes are occasionally illegible i have done my best to present some of them here:
certainly nautical mustard fried smoky windows & our hostess sucking off - - those foggy july daze & by late afternoon/ before the fog rolls back in...the doors to art's are open...tobacco wafting until low tide...she sings...bent piano keys crumble...adobe & a pith helmet...shooting up down the corridor...lost up the hill or were we in the piedmont lounge...what was her name...savage succulents screwed to oblivion & a poached omelette to go...'this ain't new york city!'...and the taxi saunters towards chinatown for out of print herbs & remedies. transparent piano keys & the proposition from a muddy haired harlot w/ sweat stained mini skirt & an ink lesion...we sit down day after day...waiting, always waiting & el nino...summer ' fog that year my dear!

*spiece grinders for all!* & even then as the heat can quickly dissipate into a significantly milder reality & it may have been dear tatiana who i would often see...just over there...table 6 at art's crab shack in oakland...methamphetamine evenings soon to be mornings warped out sex & a sidecar to go. oh, do cut out another line & we were off...there were never phone conversations of substance...only to arrange for powder drinking & very weird sex/that glorious summer of '85...the forgotten summer...certainly '83 has received a lot more words...& why not...the el nino year...that will never be forgotten...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

happy birthday brion gysin!

yesterday was brion gysin's birthday. i probably first came across his name on the liner notes of the brian jones joujouka record, which i purchased early in 1972. the british pressing. and his name would show up every now and again, often in 'rolling stone' magazine, which was quite hip in those days and published interviews with burroughs and gysin, plus paul bowles. the named hinted of a very magical person, and not just because of the unique spelling. by 1975 i wanted to know more and had started collecting books by william s. burroughs. gysin's name was everywhere. in 1977 i went to tangier to see paul bowles,  who gave me gysin's address in paris. in 1979 gysin wrote to me with
information about the festival at joujouka. on may 5th of the next year i was at gysin's paris apartment listening to everything from his tales of moroccan music, to burroughs, to the stones. i wrote a piece about that visit which is in one of these journals over here. the may 5th visit was followed up with a visit in mid june i now realise. the article combined a summary of the 2 visits. oh, most of you havent read the piece, and i will post it in the coming days. in 1982 i started a publishing company called inkblot. to publish my own works plus those of brion gysin. by '84 i was back in europe for 6 months or so and spent a lot of time with brion, mainly in june and september. we were working on a book of his short stories from morocco in the early '50s. later published as 'stories'. brion didnt quite know what to make of me, being young and, uh.....not quite comfortable in my own damn self. but we would drink whisky (american bourbon), smoke whatever he had on hand, and talk of all hither and yon. once we went to 'flunch' for dinner. he showed me some new drawings he was working on. then we would go out for coffee. not too far from brion's place on rue st martin, across from the beaubourg center. was it the rue sebastopol? we got there one nite and the place was closed. 'how will we get to sleep without coffee?' brion proclaimed! we found another joint for an espresso or 3. i went back to my hotel de nevers, near the luxembourg gardens and slept quite well for a change.  heres to ya brion!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

welsh rarebit

i first heard of bob cobbing sometime in 1983, and wrote to him at his home in london. inkblot magazine had just begun and i was looking for material for the 2nd issue. sometime that spring cobbing wrote and sent words & pictures. he also mentioned he would be in oakland in july and could he and clive crash at my flat. no problem, as small as it was.  i picked them up at the train station probably in july. they had several performances in san francisco. good stuff! and nice folks! that same week i took them up to kpfa at 4.30 on saturday morning where they performed several sound works. i still have a tape of this. course i didnt sleep much as bob was quite a snoring machine. where did i take them to drink? i just dont recall tho the obvious choice would have been bertolas. we kept in touch and i hit london october 1984, where bob and his wife hosted me at their north london house. each nite we would go to the pub. ostensibly bob had cut down on drinking and was allowed just 2 pints, plus a shot of american whiskey. if his wife was involved in the snooker he would sneak himself a third pint or a 2nd shot. when we returned to the petherton road house bob always cooked something. 'spoiled egg, spoiled fruit or spoiled welsh rarebit' would be his question. i think i often opted for the rarebit, which to my delight is broiled cheese on toast!