But oh, that gets tiresome. There are these other boxes, boxes with, well, stuff. I do accumulate stuff. Stuff tends to be the documentation of memories. Which is a good thing: I didn't remember getting a large poster for the Residents' album Third Reich and Roll with a letter from them on the back. I do remember going to a San Francisco art party with my pal Hudson in the mid-'70s and us wandering around looking for someone interesting, and Hudson spying four guys standing together and saying "Those guys are the Residents," only to have all four say in unison "No we're not!" So I've seen them without their eyeballs. I bet that poster would bring something on eBay. If I could only figure out how to use eBay, that is.
But like I said, this is documentation of memory. For instance, I think I was on assignment, probably for Creem, at Willie Nelson's horror-filled 4th of July extravaganza at College Station in 1974 when Charlyn Zlotnik caught me and some other low-lifes backstage.
|L to R: Himself, Joe Nick Patoski, unknown, Patrick Carr|
But wait, there are other pictures here. Dozens of me cooking gumbo, as if that were some kind of remarkable event. Hell, now that I'm back in Texas I'll probably do that again relatively soon: I'm out of the land of eight okra pods for €7.00 now. There are pictures of bands snapped during performance, but who are they? More than that, there are scads of posters, lots from a band I was going to produce called No Sisters, who really were four brothers (and one drummer), and who almost got signed to A&M right after I moved to Texas. (They went for D-Day instead, because their wealthy manager was absorbing the expenses). At some point I'm going to have to sort through these posters, because I'm certain some of them are worth money, and I have multiple copies of some of them, too. Ah, but here's another photo of me in my back yard in Sausalito taken by my long-vanished friend and colleague AJ Bernstein.
|Gentleman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. A year later I was in Texas. Probably saved my life.|
And a pub. The Bell, it was called (like about 60% of the pubs in England). Mel the Bell was the landlord, and I was a novelty: no American had actually stayed more than a day in North Marston, and since I had Pete's imprimatur, and bought my rounds as a decent pub-drinker should, I was accepted. What I was drinking, at any rate, was ABC Bitter, a lovely drink with lunch and after dinner, and just the thing to dissipate any lingering tension from working for The Man. I met a lot of fine folk there, including Rob Gurney, Pete's running buddy, and a budding mariner at the time. He's a full-fledged captain now, and has places in Aruba and Belgium, but has held on to the family farm. Pete lives in Dingwall, in remote Scotland, and pretends he loves it. He was down visiting the captain recently and tells me that ABC Bitter is no longer made, that in fact that whole brewery complex in Burton-on-Trent has been eaten alive by The Man and the Aylesbury Duckling is no longer seen on glasses or ashtrays. Which is a shame, because I have a pint glass and it's chipped. That, too, was in storage.
The candle is a very wry piece of post-modern commentary, although it just looks like a bust of Lenin made out of mud. Waxy mud. But I had one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments in 1990, when I drove from Berlin to Prague what seemed like moments after the Velvet Revolution. At the time, the word was that it had been a bloodless revolution except for one student who'd been shot dead. Immediately a wall with a huge John Lennon graffito on it became a place of pilgrimage and hundreds of candles burned there in his memory. Now, it appears that some people knew the truth, because if Wikipedia is to be believed, this guy, Martin Smid, was fictional. In the spirit of punk -- or something -- a bunch of entrepreneurial students cleaned away the candle wax, melted it down, and, with some molds they'd found, cast candles of Marx, Lenin, and so on, and then sold them on the sidewalk. I bought one because although I didn't know all the story, the involution of the idea of recycling memorial candles into an ironic icon of the now-defeated enemy sold for profit appealed to me. And yes, that was an amazing trip.
But before I get sucked into that, what about this (sorry about the framing)?
|The real action's on the back.|
Then there are other souvenirs of I know not what: the odd duo of a wind-up sushi chef who chops at a fish (which wriggles its way out of range of his knife) while reading what is presumably a how-to-cut-sushi book and an enamel advertisement for Casanova Cigaretten, showing a scarf-wearing Boston terrier smoking a cigarette and blowing a smoke ring. I must've gotten the latter at a flea market before moving to Germany, but the other is anyone's guess.
And then there are memories that go back much, much further.
|Tammany? Los Angeles 1911? I swear I wasn't there.|