"The autobiography of the only generation I've ever called myself a part of...if they made a movie about us, it wouldn't be like Getting Straight, The Graduate or something. More like Getting Fucked. It took us a little while to realize that there were other purposeful zombies like us all over the place--I can still remember trying to play the Velvets when I lived in a hippie pad and having one of my roommates bawl out, "Fucking faggots!" Another one thought I was gay just because I liked the album; he used to treat me to these knowing leers all the time, especially when I was too fucked up on grass to defend myself, which was a lot of fun."
I went to a party in a loft on Crosby Street in downtown New York City one quiet evening. I remember walking by the #1 oldest cop palace in New York City, over on Lafayette or one of those old warehouse-area streets, like Crosby, off one of whose balconies, t'was said, Mussolini himself made a speech to all his goombahs here in NYC--and I'm sure those goombahs applauded his pompous ass lustfully. I went to this party over by the old Police Headquarters building with Jesus Christ the guitar player. I was so smashed I don't remember nothing but quick-like scenes, each scene frame moving at slow movie speed, coming as though a flashbulb went off and there was everything before me as long as the flashbulb's flare lasted; therefore, in order to remember that scene I'm having to hit, in terms of setting off, a bunch of flashbulbs in a sequential order, you know about ten of them hooked together and going off in a mad one-behind-the-other way so that for ten or so straight seconds I had a whole scene to remember before me, thus clicking off remembrances in my future mind--the mind I'm using now to write this--and, no, I wasn't on speed, by then I was strictly a grasshead--oh, I might snort some coke or brown heroin socially, when with that bolder crowd--and, yes, I knew them, too--you dig, but grass and booze were my particular pleasures in that psycho-hell's-a-poppin' society of downtown outlanders and free spirits of which I was a wanderer admidst them--or I could be whacking away on an electric keyboard at perhaps a party where all these up and coming New York scene rockers hung out and cooled it before hitting the heavier-duty parties that happened way after hours and then ended up at the Pink Tea Cup (the original was on Bleeker just off Seventh Avenue going west) greazin' up--and how free we were in those days and how we ruled that part of downtown--our musics ruled it--our blues were the best in the city and our rock was the best in the city and our lifestyles were what led to the chic-est of lifestyles today in NYC, whether it's advertised as being "the latest" trend," because we old New Yorkers, including us Tex-pats (Texas expatriots), know there's nothing new under the sun--and our old downtown was the most until those really successful Hollywood and Saturday Night Live white guys, those mocking assholes from Chicago, you know, those actor-phonies who made up the black-mocking Blues Brothers, a minstrelsy group who had white popularity enough to get rich off their mockings--and oh how I still to this day hate Dan Ackroyd--he makes me want to puke--sorry--I think all those guys lost their talent--they shot their big wads on Saturday Night Live and then had nothing left but money and drugs and opportunities. Belushi went the druggie route and Ackroyd and his buddies bought into the old loft area in which we partied until these butchers cut us down, brought in their chic-chic Hollywood and rich NYC friends, ran the rents up skyhigh, and made loft-living New York Times fucking "Living" section trendy and attractive to the up-and-coming looking for chicness in their otherwise work-dulled, brainsleeping lives--like corporate lawyers, stock brokers, phony arteestes, and Hollywood schlock like Robert Di Nero who since has pretty much taken over that area down where all that NYC punk and blues and glam and superjazz and hard rock and Jaki Byard's Apollo Stompers were and Richard Hell and the Voidoids were, and oh how I hated Souxsie and the Banchees, F her, and I fell for some violin-playing rock bitch one time--tall and wild Jewish babe hair all tangly and bramble-wild down her back to her jutting Jewish babe ass--and I insult her by referring to her as "some"--damn I know who you are--I'm screaming at her in my memory--and then came the weasel developers and they came and they took that part of New York City over and made it theirs and now it is still theirs and Donald Trump has entered the neighborhood now and now all these developer-competitive-claiming-to-be-billionaire cats are following his privy ass down there--"OH, we must out-Trump the Donald and build and even taller and gaudier building than he built in this once quaint little neighborhood, now modern and buck-making, and giving the rich such a chic place to live and hang out where those kooky, anti-American, leftover hippies, commies, yippies, losers, boosers, drug bums used to hang and smoke their dope and do their fornicating," and, yes, these human-monkies even took over the Ear Inn and made it chic and on the tour bus map ("OH, joy, we're on the tour bus maps now, Praise the Lard, and pass me another developer's check; God, it's easy to give up making art when you're rich.")
Those of us still alive with our sloppy old soggy heads full of whitewashed memories still think we own that area of Manhattan, and we still do in our writings, in our art, and in the music we made and left behind, and it's funny how all those people, including Blondie, have long since faded into the background of life--except in my memories, in my imagination, and now in this writing--memories like the ones I'm digging up out of my past's graveyard--sometimes when I'm writing on this I want to just take the computer and throw it out the fucking window--like Hart Crane used to throw his typewriter out the window when he got frustrated trying to write his poems of frustration--except God that son of a bitch could write poetry...but oh God getting into Hart Crane is another book--and does mentioning Hart Crane make me a "Fucking faggot"?--plus I've already admitted my realistic lusting after Lesbian lipstick chicks--but, yes, sometimes I want to just let this time stay dead and let all these characters be dead--and that's the wonderful thing about being a writer of full-speed-ahead determination, we can, on the flipping of a word coin, kill off or let live characters right and left if we wish; why we can 'round 'em up and massacre whole tent villages of our characters both past and present, closets full of them, but then there I go talking initial-cap Gay again.
Jesus Christ had gotten us into this loft party on Crosby Street; we came as guests of Chris Stein, though it wasn't his party, it was somebody else's party, a gentrified couple, he greying at the temples and wearing a blazer and she willowy thin in a chic clinging designer job with long, long grey hair that though given her an old-age look also made her sexually attractive, though once you had to face her affected outlook on everything but mainly herself, F her, your fantasies of bopping an hot older babe blew up like car bombs on the streets of old Baghdad--but this gentrified pair, these Gatsbys, that's what they were, Gatsbys, they had a truly swinging loft full of cool shit and there was a brand new motorcycle, a blue one, a big one, sitting in their huge-wide livingroom space and then some safety-pin-pierced punker freak without his shirt on--and, GAWD, he had safety pins through his nipples, through his navel, he was a totally pierced dude, safety pinned up tighter than a baby diaper on a baby with diarrhea--a totally pierced nerd--and this stud tried to fire up that motorcycle and he kick-started it hard and it chugged a bit, sputtered, let go a rumbling blast and then belched out a tornado-looking roaring-out cloud of thick jelly-like toxic smoke, carbon monoxide with motor oil giving it its black body and we all assumed we were now all going to die of carbon monoxide poisoning, though the party didn't flinch a bit, though, yes, it freaked the freak out and he freaked out by saying he wanted to bury his head in a bucket of ice water he was so ashamed. And from somewhere across that gentrified couple's loft came a bull-monkey-sounding bawl, "Try stickin' your fuckin' glam head in the fuckin' toilet bowl, you feather-fetish fucker"; it was a gruff yet whiny voice. I couldn't see who the voice was but I knew it had come from the side of the room I'd seen Matty Quick and Mitch Leigh hanging out on earlier, the punk side of the otherwise "jazzy" room (Herbie Hancock was accepted by those early rockers and Coltrane and Mingus); there were even some Pachucos and their chicas there talking loudly about how Latin music kicks white punk ass and all white punkers are takin' it in both their mouths and their asses, males and females. Another Gay reference. Well, shit, come on, the punkers were rather faggy. Remember, I'd seen Velvet Underground before it was really famous, though those bands started out famous, which was easy to do in New York City in them thar days. Even my music career had a chance at blossoming at the same time Matty Quick was exhalting his new band to me, "This may be it," he kept sayin'.
Then the band I was in, we started getting gigs when Matty and Jesus Christ talked Robin Rothman into going out and booking us.
Robin was at the Crosby Street party, too; yep, I saw her skinny ass over with Matty and yep Rick was there and Robin was a skinny punk; she wore leather constantly: Leather pants, leather jacket, black teeshirt, a Ramones shirt a lot. The Ramones were still rather New York City famous at that time and Robin was Joey's woman, and there was still CBGB; Blondie was also still at CBGB (just as when they were the Stilettoes they were still at CBGB), and Blondie had just gotten a big break with a 45 single and they were going to tour England with Iggy Popp, I kid you not, but I didn't know Blondie from the Stooges or Mink deVille , though yes I did know Blondie because Jesus Christ knew Chris Stein and he had a crush on Deborah Harry, a New Jersey chick who was known around the Village first as a folksinger before and she and Stein hooked up and formed Blondie.
So this is my point about being a writer and one day waking up and being confident you are a great writer and that not only are you a great writer but you are a unique writer--and you are confident that NOBODY writes like you--just the way you do--and that's what I mean by knowing you're a writer and not having to become a writer because some school of writing has told you you write kind'a cleverly and then you get to college and some resident professor takes you under his or her wing--and shit, next think you know you're writing just like the professor.
It's like when superdrummer Max Roach got accepted to Julliard and when ask about what courses he should take there they said, "Oh, don't worry, Mr. Roach, we'll enroll you in our percussion department and we'll TEACH you how to play the drums." Max look at the prof with an expression of "you gotta bekiddin'." "Man, I'm already one of the greatest drummers in the world. What the hay you mean you're gonna teach me how to play the drums?" He said he took composition courses instead.
Can art be taught? Man, that's one for the rhetorical books. Taught? I rebel against that word. I was not taught to write, I just liked to write, found it to be my voice--private if I wanted to keep it private or public if I wanted to compete with the millions of other sad goons and goofs who dream of being writers every day of every week. They never write much even if they do write books that get published. They never write the bales of pages writers who have to be writers do and they write those bales 'cause they love writing and they write all night and all day sometimes and they write until they are stale and stiff and mentally depraved and so they then drink themselves to sleep--or they drug up on Seconal and knock themselves into a little life-saving comatose state until they have to get up off the floor and start writing again.
That bull-monkey, gruff, whiny voice that had blurted out that put down of that punk freak and his faulty motorcycle act, that guy was a writer; I just knew it just from the tone and meaning of his voice and the words it spoke; a writer like me, too, dammit; and that voice was over there among the Punks somewhere--among the Noise rockers, Richard Hell was around in those days--was he at the party? I can't remember; there were tons of musicians and artists and writers and roadies and hangerson there--why, there was a girl I knew who used to work for Dusty Hoffman--damn, another dude beat me to her; she usually left a party with the first guy she met who started hitting on her and this guy got to her first, damn, and then she was gone for that night and I had to go sniffin' elsewhere for love. Toodle-do, I was headin' over to the Punk side--there was a damn cute older-looking blonde wearing only her underwear overthere...see how naive I was about Punk and power pop?
Debbie back when...not bad, right, a keeper....
for The Daily Growler