Posts Tagged ‘drink’

Xmas Card From A Hooker

Monday, February 18th, 2013

post_display_open-uri20120810-2993-4kugxrShe approached me in a dive bar in Savannah called Pinkies, the most beautiful girl in the world, or at least my portion of it. Came on like a young Debbie Harry, all popcorn coloured hair and candy floss lips…all the fun of the fair.

She hailed from somewhere to the southwest and the singular thing about her was she had actually been born a boy, given name Joseph S. Baumgarten Jnr. “If I gets to liking you, you can call me Gentry.” I pondered a little on that name and asked if it was after the country singer Bobbie Gentry. She steepled her tiny, delicate hands under her chin and pouted. “No, you fool, because I is descended from gentry.” I didn’t question that unlikely statement.

I asked her how she made ends meet. She came over all Blanche Dubois, “I depend on the kindness of strangers.” She asked me if I wanted to “swing by her place” – a discount could be arranged – “being as how I was so kind ‘n’ all.” I said that wasn’t going to happen but I’d buy her a few drinks in exchange for her company.

Her voice as she settles to telling her story is like warm butterscotch but when she’s bitching it turns into splintered toffee. All angles and grit:

“Ain’t nuthin’ new to my tale hunny, daddy found me in his girlfriend’s dress – haute couture baby – I was fixing on trying on some Chanel pumps when I caught sight of his reflection in the window, he was all kinda frozed with anger. He didn’t hit me, he just hurt me, said I was none of his making.”

That self same day she dealt the few cards she held and they came up night train to Anywhere, U.S. of A. She was just north of fifteen-years-old.

It’s late now and the Pernod & blackcurrant is slurring her words into one sticky mess. The night has turned maudlin in a mellow warm way. We have moved to a booth and she has taken to smoking menthol cigarettes with wonderful affectation. In the half-light she has managed to morph into Cameron Diaz. It’s all there in the still dazzle of her fading smile. She owns it’s time she caught some beauty sleep, asks me again if I’ll sweeten her night, only this time it comes free. Again I shake my head and ask her this last question, how old are you now?

She feigns shock and then bubbles into laughter, all chocolate and smoke. “I’m twenty- seven next birthday.”

But she is lying and soon too she is crying, for lost time, for the waste of it. Just as abruptly her eyes beam with hope, she bites on a cherry blossom nail and says:

“I’m gonna do me some settling down, find me a good man, a big boned boy of Boston Irish stock, hair like spun gold, like to wrap me in his arms and keep me close.” With that, and a peck on the cheek, she ups and leaves.

I call “go well Gentry” but she doesn’t turn round, she’s already off searching for heroes. Looking in all the wrong places. Looking in all the wrong places.

 

Gone to the Dogs

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

It’s more than fifteen years since Teenage Dog Orgy ground to a sudden unseemly halt. We were writhing around on the floor of an Edinburgh nightclub playing an incongruous version of Feed The World. More accurately, we were welding the lyrics of Feed The World onto one of our soundscapes – for soundscape read god-awful racket – and somehow along the way it had morphed into F**k The World. The management considered this to be in bad taste and, as the saying goes, pulled the plug on us. This deterred us not one jot, we soldiered on gamely with an acoustic guitar and four-part, ahem, vocal harmonies. We had settled into a Zen like repetition of the F**k The World refrain, when bouncers started appearing from all corners, beady of eye and firm of intent. I like to think that the chorus of boos that greeted our eviction from the venue had everything to do with the bouncers over zealous manhandling of the four of us, and nothing whatsoever to do with the performance that had gone before.  

It had all started so well. We conceived the band as a break from our day jobs in bands that were trying to achieve some sort of commercial success i.e. compromise. There would be no compromise with Teenage Dog Orgy. The rules were simple: no songs; no rehearsals; no concert should last longer than 20 minutes; we would all take equal amounts of amphetamine sulphate before going on stage so we could all play at a synchronised breakneck speed; on leaving the stage, we should ensure that amps were at full volume and all guitars leant against them, thus creating hurricanes of deafening feedback whilst we exited the venue through the crowd and the front door; we would not return to the venue. Oh, and employ a great sound engineer to make sense of the senseless. Our mission statement was – leave them wanting less – how could we fail?

And for a while we didn’t. Knickers were thrown on stage at our debut, which was attended by rather a lot of girls, causing us to immediately regret that rule about leaving the venue and not returning. Our fourth gig numbered among its throng three eminent professors from Edinburgh University, one of whom had written an almost unreadable academic treatise on Bob Dylan. We were in the middle of playing Noise No3 when I decided to vacate the stage and have a chat with them. I handed my guitar to a guy in the front row, telling him to, “Just thrash it.” Professor Day surveyed the crowd, observing wryly, “Isn’t it Barthes who postulates that if there is such a thing as artificial intelligence then there must also be artificial stupidity?” Whilst Professor Nicholson offered a metaphorical bon mot about, “Deconstructing and reconfiguring the wheel.” At this I noticed that the chap I had left playing my guitar was doing a decent job of deconstructing and reconfiguring said guitar. He was bouncing it on the floor and catching it on the way up – it has to be admitted the resulting noises were in no way detrimental to the overall racket that was bleeding from the stage. I headed back to rescue the much-abused instrument.

Things rapidly deteriorated. The late John Peel announced on air that if anyone could get the wonderfully named Teenage Dog Orgy into a studio he would play the results. A journalist, referring to one of the major league noise merchants of the time, said, “They are not fit to lick the mighty Teenage Dog Orgy’s boots.” It was never meant to be like this, we were meant to be dreadful. Properly, comically, dreadful. We went into the studio. At this point we had never heard ourselves. The live stuff was just a blizzard of feedback, speed psychosis, alcohol and egos. This was different. At the playback we all looked dumbstruck and then burst out laughing. We were dreadful! The unheard lyrics, when not borderline obscene, were downright actionable and the music…well, the music. If molten lead seeping through urine soaked mattress had a sound, this would be it. The journey from here to being barred from our last ever gig was swift and sure. We had achieved what we set out to achieve. We went out in a blaze of mediocrity.

A Naughty Boy

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

One of the curious things about this column writing game is that a lot of people assume everything you write is made-up. This couldn’t be further from the truth, every word is hewn from the granite of ones own humiliating and, usually, downright embarrassing experiences. Which is why my partner – I’ve been told to say partner rather than girlfriend, because girlfriend makes me sound young – cringes whenever she reads my scribbling. A brief flick through the 49 Leithers that have gone before, prove she has every right to be concerned. In fact, if we were married and she filed for divorce citing mental cruelty, I’d probably get banged up for 25 years. No parole.

As evidence I offer, with not a scintilla of pride, Issue 3. Where I was first sick on a girl; then managed, in my drunken fumbling, to knock her headfirst of a gate and finished up burning her arise in quicklime on a bowling green. Sounds like the work of a serial killer, rather than someone trying to woo his schoolyard crush. Issue 4 found me poured on to the Edinburgh train in Pitlochry, a bottle of whisky to the wise. With, for some reason, 5 kilos of chanterelle mushrooms in a basket. I woke as the train crossed the Forth Rail Bridge, there were mushrooms all over the aisle and people, very kindly, tried to tip toe round them. I say kindly, because I was splayed all over two seats with my, ahem, ‘tackle’ hanging out of my trousers. My fellow travellers would have been perfectly entitled to take a more judgmental approach. A pistol whipping would not have been out of the question.

Issue 6 saw me win the girl and, surprise, surprise, lose the girl, after failing to make it to three meetings. To one of which I plead extenuating circumstances, I was upside down in a hedge, in the lawns of a palatial hotel, er, drunk. Our last attempted liaison went so badly pear-shaped that I woke up the next morning in a pigsty, in the middle of winter, hugging a pig for warmth. Which was, gentle reader, my first ever one-night stand. Issue 21 offers up the disastrous radio tour of the Highlands. The one that culminated in a gig in Inverness, where I was asleep behind my guitar amp after six songs and the drummer had put his kit together so haphazardly that the bass drum rolled off the stage into the lap of a guy in a wheelchair. Lastly, but not leastly, Issue 33. Where your correspondent decides to do a bit of culture vulturing at the Edinburgh Festival. Fisticuffs with a minor poet and a kerfuffle involving a D List celebrity, out of which nobody emerges with much merit, ensue. As a postscript, I feel it incumbent upon me to make no mention of the column entitled, “Teenage Dog Orgy.”

So how did I first volunteer for this, very public, humiliation? Mr. Peter Laing, our then editor, popped into my place of employ, whilst The Leither was but a twinkle in his eye. He was noticeably rubicund of feature and obviously a few brandy and ports to leeward. “Who writes the rather amusing blackboards outside?” He hiccupped. I told him that would be me. “Could you expand them?” What, make the blackboards bigger?  “No, no, no, expand the words dear boy, the words. This is no time for persiflage.” Of course, as ever, he was right. And here, red-faced, nonetheless, I remain.