Last Stop, Tijuana

Henry up early at 10AM, awake but still dreaming of far-away places somewhere in the USA or Mexico.

By 11AM  quickly cleaning up and packing a few pairs of chinos, some sweat-shirts, a parka and a pair of flip-flops, some high-top Converse All-Stars and a swimsuit into an army-navy bag.  He had an ounce of weed, an eightball of cocaine and some heroin, —after all, what was a bus trip without good dope?

On the way to the Queens Bus Station to catch a bus somewhere, anywhere—to be decided at the ticket counter. 

Henry buys a ticket to California, it was a long way from New York City, but he had times on his hands.  

Boarding the bus, putting his bag in the overhead rack, taking an aisle seat in the back of the bus so he could get to the pint-size toilet in the rear of the bus quick to smoke and snort dope. 

The bus heading south through Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Henry plenty high already, pulling into Paducah, Kentucky that evening, a lovely small town with a lot of green trees. Henry gets off the bus to clean up in the station and then walks across the street to a small liquor store called Stan’s, picking up two fifths of Jack Daniels, Stan packs the bottles real nice in paper bags, twisting the paper tops tight.

Henry back on the bus notices a priest at the window seat next to his seat, a handsome guy with a full head of messed-up black hair and dark horn rim glasses. The father shakes Henry's hand and introduces himself saying, “Nice to meet you I’m Father Murphy.” Henry passes the padre an opened bottle of Jack Daniels still in the paper-bag saying, “I”m Henry how about a drink?”The padre says, “I would love a drink Henry, it has been a long day.” 

Father Murphy taking a long hard swig, he could drink alright.

He tells Henry that he is going to visit his sister in Taos, New Mexico—the bus in Arkansas now on Route 66, Father Murphy was thoroughly waisted, Henry saying,” Hey padre whataya say we go back to the john in the rear and smoke some weed, the padre follows.

In the john Father Murphy says, “Henry I haven’t smoked dope in long time, I like it, it brings me closer to the Lord.” Henry laughing and saying, “Cheers padre!”

Father Murphy a very hip priest, he later tells Henry he is a Jesuit on his way to South America to do missionary work. 

The bus stopping at a small cafe in Allen, Texas— Henry and Father Murphy getting out to eat breakfast, sitting in a booth, Father Murphy saying, “I forgot how good food taste when you’re stoned, you can enjoy every bite!”

Back on the bus the padre falls asleep—that evening the bus pulls into Taos and Father Murphy says goodbye to Henry, “God Bless you Henry!” And he gives Henry a silver Saint Christopher's medal, the traveler's saint. 

Henry sitting alone all the way to Arizona, the bus stopping in Phoenix, going into the terminal to eat a ham and cheese sandwich, then going to the bathroom where he smokes some refer and does a few lines of cocaine mixed with heroin. 

Back on the bus, the window seat is empty, so he spreads out some, passing out and waking as driver the driver taps him on the shoulder saying, “Last stop bud, San Diego everybody off the bus.” 

It was morning and the sun was shining as Henry got off the bus with his army-navy bag in tow. He heads straight to the beach, not far from the station.  On the beach he lights a joint, takes a few drags, changing into a swimsuit. He then skip-steps to the shore and dives shallow into the ocean, the salt water cleansing his body and soul. 

Later making his way to low-life San Diego and finding a cheap room for the night. Wandering the streets and going into a bar full of noisy Marines, keeping a low profile, the soldiers drunk and looking for trouble—Henry doing his best to be a shadow figure, slipping out early.  

Getting a good night's sleep and heading to the bus station in the morning for the short trip to Tijuana. The bus stops at the border and Henry walks to US Customs, he dumps what dope he has left into some bushes at the side of the road. 

Breezing through customs and catching a taxi to Tijuana, finding a cheap hotel and scoring some weed from the driver for a few pesos, Acapulco Gold. He checks into a dump called “Hotel Del Rio,” only fifty Pesos a night, deciding to hole-up in his room until evening, drinking Mexican mescal till he passes out.

He wakes up at 11AM knowing Tijuana is an all night city, going out to the first dive he can find, a place called, “The Donkey Club.” It is full of Mexican whores, sitting in dark places with toilet tissue on their laps, begging you on with their eyes. 

Henry starts talking to lovely older gal with long dyed red hair and painted lips and she says, “My name is Rosita baby, I’m here on holiday, my family owns a small ranchero in Central Mexico, I’m here to make a few Pesos for my family and then go home.”

Henry says, “ Ok doll how about we go out and get something to eat? I could eat a donkey.” Rosita laughs and the two go to a street side taco bar and order hand patted tortillas with beans.

They head back to Henry’s hotel room and smoke dope and drink mescal till late, the two getting very wasted and passing out. Wouldn’t you know it? Henry wakes up the next day and all his money— out the door with Rosita!

He calls Ruby his regular waitress at Chaim’s Deli in Queens collect from a phone booth asking her to wire him a couple hundred dollars Western Union, so he can get home to Queens. 

Henry bummed out but not at all surprised by the turn of events, making his way the San Diego Bus Station, purchasing a ticket back to New York City, staying drunk the whole way, home in six days     

The fucking puta Rosita had ripped off his Saint Christopher medal, Henry figured she was planning on doing some traveling.



Bukowski claimed the majority of what he wrote happened in his life.

To make himself more picturesque for the reader he did little to elaborate on himself.

Heinrich Karl Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany in August 1920.

In 1924 the family of three left Germany and moved to LA. Young Charle's father bought a two bedroom bungalow on Jefferson Park Road not far from Hollywood. In 1924 LA was paradise, there was plenty of work in agriculture and building, but the palm trees and clean orderly ways of America 1924 passed the freaky immigrant family by.


Bukowski’s mother dressed young Charles in velvet trousers, he was a mark from the start, getting shit canned from both ends. His old man, “The Nazi sergeant Hymie” would strap him endlessly if he missed a blade of grass after mowing the lawn. Buk would have to fight for his life at Virginia Road Elementary School as well. 

Bukowski hated the world already as a young man, he would brew his juice while lying in bed looking at light patterns on the ceiling, listening to Brahms or Mahler. Like other outlaw literary geniuses, the struggle to get through daily life forced him to go into his inner mind. 

Bukowski began writing as a boy, he sensed life wasn’t going to be a picnic. He was attracted to the solitary nature of writing, it helped him to gain perspective, writing became his foil, but his hammer was booze. 

By the age of 15 he was a full-time alcoholic, he could buy booze anywhere, he looked 33, his face long and drawn like a deathly horse head, full of deeply rooted acme, people found him hard to look at. 

One night he came home to the family house drunk, he broke a lock to get in unnoticed and was greeted by his old man. Hymie immediately began strapping Charles with a leather belt, the metal end. Bukowski puked on a new white carpet in the entryway (Perhaps the most famous puke scene in modern 20th Century American Literature). Somehow 15 year old Charles gathered the strength to get up, punching Hymie in the gut, ending the confrontation.  

During the ruckus his mom packed a small cardboard suitcase, pushing young Charles out the door before Hymie could get up. This cheap cardboard suitcase would become a right of passage metaphor in Bukowski’s stories. He used the suitcase for years, too poor to buy another. At one point it became so worn he painted it with liquid shoeblack.

After graduating from LA High (he didn’t bother to pick up his diploma feeling the ceremony was superficial and inane) Buk enrolled in LA City College, now living free from his old man, the sadistic Hymie, free to drink whenever he pleased. He began his barfly life in a small dumpy room over the “Starlight Lounge” while studying journalism and literature. He liked true grit author’s like Upton Sinclair and Ernest Hemingway, supporting himself by working part-time as a janitor at Sears. 

Buk was apolitical throughout his life. His twisted fucked up early life made him anti-social and he rooted for the bad guys out of spite. During World War II he wrote a short story in support of Hitler which got him in trouble at LA City College. Of course, Henry didn’t give a shit about Hitler, but he discovered the joy of tweaking and outraging the mainstream, it was easy for him and would bring him joy throughout his life.

After a year at LA City College in 1942 this butt ugly, outrageous and anti-social genius hit the road. He was writing full time now sending stories to the rags of the day, “Popular Mechanics” and “Thriller Detective.” He was in search of the glue of experience that would help sharpen his writing chops. Henry caught a bus from LA to New Orleans, he only had thirteen dollars in his pocket.

While traveling in the forties he would often run out of money and live on candy bars. Later in life at a reading, he was asked what the secret to his success was? Buk saying,” One candy bar a day.” 

When he got to New Orleans he lived in a tar paper shack lit by a single light bulb. Buk couldn’t hold down a job, preferring to booze it up with bums and whores. Eventually taking a job on a railroad gang and leaving New Orleans. On the way to Texas, he found a paperback copy of “Notes from the Underground” by Dostoevsky. It related to the struggle of the Russian poor with the Czarist elite, reminding Charles of his days at LA City College. 


The following is a bit from a Bukowski poem illustrating his rage against the machine as well as his frustration from being on the shit end of the capitalist system most of his life. It is from “Factotum,” written in the sixties. 

“….the days of 
the bosses, yellow men
with bad breath and big feet, men
who look like frogs, hyenas, men who 
walk as melody has never been invented,
men who think it is intelligent to hire and
fire and profit, men with expensive wife's
they possess like 60 acres of ground to be 
drilled and shown-off—“

By the early fifties, Buk had returned to his beloved LA. He had been writing since the forties, sending manuscripts to editors all over America. None were accepted, his work contained unheard of radicalism sex and realty, rarified stuff in the fifties.

On off hours Buk would write and listen to Mahler late at night in his room above “Sunlight Inn” He didn’t go to the beach once during all his years in California, he was light years away from “Muscle Beach” mentality. His toxic and mercurial voice was alive in the alley and on the bar stools of the “Sunlight Inn.”

One day Bukowski got a letter from Barbara Frye, editor of the “Harlequin Review” out of Wheeler, Texas. She told him that she thought he was the greatest poet since William Blake.  They corresponded for two days and she asked him to marry her. Barbara was missing two vertebrae from her neck and couldn’t move her neck from side to side, she looked neckless. She came to LA and Charles married her, the next edition of “Harlequin Review" had eight of Henry’s poems in it. 

In seven years the marriage was toast, the years of marriage were like scenes out of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?” Frye would constantly talk shit to him barking,” Why don’t you get off your ass and stop drinking? Go get a job.” Bukowski was published in the “Paris Review” by this time, next to Sartre. 

John Webb spent three years in jail for a dope charge and robbing a bank. Inside jail, he developed a love for literature and poetry and became the editor of the prison paper, which was used mostly for ass wipe and rolling joints. 

When Webb was paroled he contacted William Burroughs, Henry Miller, and Lorenzo Ferlinghetti as well as other underground writers of the time, urging them to contribute to his new avant-garde rag “The Outsider.” His wife who called herself Gypsy Lou worked with John on the rag.

In the early sixties, John and Gypsy Lou contacted Bukowski saying, “ We love the realness of your work, it’s not phony at all, you seem honest and down to earth.” In short time the couple published Buk's first book of poetry, “Factotum,” a crafted and artfully bounded edition made with handmade paper.


Bukowski took to the flower power scene of the sixties like a dog takes to a cat. He was hired to write short stories for a rag called the "LA Free Press" published by John Byran. He loved to ass whip the other writers calling them, "Scummy, commy, hippy shit. Buk's thinking was more in line with the Hell's Angels than the hippies. 

Bukowski met Neal Cassidy of Beat fame through John Bryan. Cassidy was on his way to Mexico in a Plymouth V8 wagon. The three of them went for a ride, Cassidy the X parking lot attendant could back a semi truck into a donut hole. Cassidy took the wheel, Buk sat in the back seat and Bryan rode shotgun. Buk offered Cassidy some whiskey from a pint and Neal slugged it like a pro, Buk then saying, “ Have another taste?” Charles felt OK with Cassidy because he drank.

By the early seventies “ Notes of a Dirty Old Man” was published by Ferlinghetti’s “Black Sparrow Press.” This wasn’t Charles best book but it was a big seller and brought him world fame and moderate wealth. He continued to live the barfly life, drinking 24/7. He bought a track house in San Pedro, a mansion compared to the rooming house shit holes of the last thirty years. He also bought his first car, a BMW which he kept till he died.

He would drive the BMW to the Santa Anita Race Track and drink beer covered in a paper sack as he watched the working stiffs driving in the opposite direction to work on the freeway. The crotch of his chinos would often get wet with beer by the time he got to the track. He would walk to the betting window looking like he pissed his pants, he liked the look.


So ran the profile in “People Magazine” on Charles Bukowski when the publicist of the film “Barfly" sent out the media blitz. A film which would have never been canned without the help of Dennis Hopper’s Venice Beach friend Barbet Shroeder. The stories surrounding the production of the film are legendary, Shroeder was part Mossad hitman and part insane. He pushed the film through, showing up at Golan and Globus’s suite in the Beverly Hill’s Hotel with a chainsaw threatening to saw the room up if they didn’t give him the money for the film.

When “Barfly” began screening in theaters around the country it changed Buk, he would strut around his house loaded, feeling the part of the sheik of Sunset Blvd. But his constant inner companion was a sad man that pussy and booze couldn’t kill. The part in “Barfly” where Henry Chinowski (hilariously played by Mickey Rourke) is up late at night musing, listening to Mahler, feeling his heart and life around him, was spot on Bukowski, there was a sensitive and hurt soul inside the wild man. 

Bukowski respected Hollywood Stars as much as he respected hippies. The only films he liked were,”All Quiet on the Western Front” and “ Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?” He once met Arnold Schwarzenegger at an industry party and called him a “Piece of shit” in German.  And there was the time Sean Penn, who was in awe of Bukowski and a regular visitor, brought his wife Madonna to Buk’s Sand Pedro place. His neighbors knew him only as a weird drunk, a little girl who lived next door later asked,” Mr. B was that Madonna at your house?”

By 1987 Bukowski's health was getting worse, years of boozing was catching up with him. He was writing his last novel “Hollywood” about the making of “Barfly,”  amazed still that he made it in Hollywood.

Writing kept his pain at bay for a while but his body finally gave in to booze in March of 1994. Considering the voracity of abuse he directed at himself it was amazing he lived as long as he did. 

He wrote to find a way to cope with everyday life, he reveled with losers, he was a 1000 to one punch drunk champ driving in the opposite direction who beat the odds.    


We Three Kings

Sometimes the best Christmas memories are unconventional and have less to do with garlands, cozy fire places, Christmas cookies, eggnog, the giving of stuff, and have more to do with love, magic, and seeking out first-time adventure.

Henry went to Acapulco with his parents in 1966 for Christmas Holiday. They stayed at The Las Hamacas Hotel, on the bay in Central Acapulco. 

The Las Hamacas, had the best breakfast ever, freshly baked french roles, avocados, eggs, fruit and Mexican coffee, served on tables with white linen that surrounded the pool.

On Christmas Eve, after  breakfast Henry walks across the street to a taco bar and orders a pineapple margarita, sitting at at a small table on the beach, he puts a hand full of pesos in a juke-box, it was filled with 45 RPM records, the hippy music of the day— Sopwith Camel, Strawberry Alarm Clock and Jefferson Airplane. 

Henry, 15 years old, easily tempted, astute lover of everything sensual, fresh fruit and flowers, psychedelic music, incense, exotic and erotic literature, always reading— Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anis Nin, William Faulkner, William Butler Yeats, Langston Hughes, John Cheever, Kerouac and the Kama Sutra   

He notices a young couple approaching, crossing the street, coming from the hotel. They were walking arm in arm. Henry leaning in their direction asked them to sit down with him. 

They were from Pasadena, California, brother and sister, 15 and 16 years old. Their names are Juan and Moon. Moon fetching, willowy, wearing glasses, long hair, new breast, nymph-like, a child who had recently become a woman, Juan very hip, lean, tanned, with long sideburns, a surfer.

After a few drinks, Juan senses there is someone nearby, a shadowy figure the locals called the magician. Juan walks down the beach with the magician, when he comes back he has a bag of golden buds, Acapulco Gold, ganja.   

It was dark out and the trio walks back to the Las Hamacas Hotel, going to Henry’s room and sitting on the floor as Juan rolls a joint, they pass it around and smoke. It was Henry's first time, they go outside and sit on the edge of the pool with their legs in the water. 

They could smell the ocean and the scent of Lotus flowers— piquant and pulling. They place fallen flower peddles into the pool, which creates ripples, circles expanding outward, chakras perspiring, opening up, attuned, flora magnified a thousand times. 

"Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!"  Yeats

On Christmas Day the trio wakes at sunrise and take a taxi to a beach out of town. The beach a run-down movie set where the TV series, Tarzan was filmed years before. 

The beach is packed with local Mexicans on holiday. The huts used on the Tarzan set had been annexed by the locals, they used the huts as cantinas that served, grilled fresh fish, Parrot, Red sea bass, beer on ice, tequila and soda. 

Henry, Juan, and Moon just wanted to drink beer, they were all in their mid-teens, the vendors would serve anyone beer, the trio drank Corona with limes and body surfed in the ocean. 

Henry and Moon talked about life, "What is life?" Existence, is there a God? What kind of music do you like? They bonded mentally and physically, both were virgins who were blasted on beer and pot. 

At sunset, they catch a taxi back to the Los Hamacas Hotel. They were tired and wanted to rest, going to Juan’s room that had single beds. Henry and Moon laid in one bed, Juan was passed out in the other. 

Henry and Moon, breathing hard start to deep kiss, fumbling about confused, taking off their clothes and getting naked.  

Henry finding Moon’s vagina and lubing it with coconut oil, with an effort he goes inside her. Moon surprised, shocked and not feeling much, Henry coming in 15 seconds, enjoying the smell of her vagina juices.  

They hug, laugh and drink more beer, feeling in sync, full of the joy of sex.

Henry realizes he has forgotten Christmas dinner with his parents. He and moon walk to the pool for a swim, his mother, Liz corners him, he knows what is coming, Liz saying,

"Henry where have you been all day, your father and I have been worried sick about you, we think you have been up to something, you didn't leave a note" 

and so on—

Liz smacks him in the face forcefully in front of Moon, Henry is embarrassed more than hurt physically.

Liz begins sermonising again, she is juiced on Martinis,

"Henry you missed Mass, this is Christmas, A time for families to be together, to pay respect to the Lord, I can smell beer on you, go to confession tomorrow!” 

Slapping Henry a few more times and walking off to meet his dad, Bob, at a local club.

It was the best Christmas every as far as Henry was concerned, no churches or crucifixes, no cozy fires, no fat dinners, just the magic of new love discovered. 

Juan, Henry, and Moon— We Three Kings, or Two Kings and a Queen.


The Making of Exile on Main Street

The Stones exiled themselves from the UK to France in 1971 because of high British taxes, consequently, Exile on Main Street was born. 

They looked for studios in Paris and couldn’t find any they liked. They had a old BBC van that was equipped with a studio that could be parked by any theater or empty loft.

In the end, Keith Richard's house Nillcote in the south of France seemed to be the best choice, near lawless Marceau and Mafia Italy. Philipe Lymen, part of the Stone's tribe could make smack runs into Marceau, or into Mafia controlled Genoa. 

Once in France they felt like true expats, alone with nothing to lose, they were in a Catch-22 situation making Exile, close to bankruptcy, it was sink or swim, fight or flight.

Mick and Bianca Jagger (who was pregnant) were living in Paris. The musicians, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mike Taylor, Bobby Keys were scattered around the globe. Mick decided that they should move into Nillcote.

Once at Nillcote ready to record it was the positivity of their leader Mick Jagger that was the glue that held the thing together and got the ball rolling, his constant happiness and vision, his easy-going style, his ongoing joy of the whole process.

Keith on the other-hand was muddling through a junk habit.

Once they began recording and writing, it was a constant struggle, Keith would sleep all day and wake up in the middle of the night, then eating some fruit and fixing.    

The band had to be ready and waited for Keith,  This unnerved Jagger who felt Keith would do better to adhere to some kind of a schedule.

Mick would sit in the basement jamming during the day, fabricating lyrics and music, truly missing his best friend Keith who was sleeping or on the beach with Anita Pallenberg.

When Keith did work he was a taskmaster when a song was ready, a sensation or consciousness swept through the musicians, Keith would start staring at Bill Wyman, who would tilt his bass up 15 degrees towards the heavens, THAT WAS THE SIGN! A few takes latter the final cut was put in the can. 

The bewitching open party atmosphere is a major part of putting "Exile" together. It was an ongoing party in an egalitarian Tolstoy-like  Gypsy camp, there was no security, cool people would walk in and out. Anita Pallenberg (Keith's wife and constant companion ) reminisced later about walking into the living room and seeing a guy with a huge baggy full of smack sitting on the sofa. Of course, that was a ticket to get in on the endless partying with the family, but things got dark later.

Bobby Keyes who was from Texas and the band's sax player never mentioned seeing junk, but admitted seeing plenty of booze and ganja, all being used 24 hrs a day, this was a good old boy trying to put a positive spin on shit.  

Keith had a family whose job it was to score smack for him in Marceau. Tim Lyman would make trips between borders to supply and then use junk with Keith and Anita. Lyman's son Nicolas's (only 11) job was to roll joints. Nicholas later said when interviewed in the 90s that the scene felt dark to him at times, but that he could feel and see the charisma emanating from it all. 

When it was time to record they backed the studio van (an old BBC van) up a tiny alleyway through untrimmed trees, parking it and running the wires through the ground floor of Nillcote. It was weird, everyone had to play apart from one another in different sections of the basement, the horn section connected to the studio from a hallway, Bill Wyman was wired outside of Keith's section, walled off.

Once the recording began Nillcote was having power outages, one of the technicians realized that that amps of electricity coming from GDF Suez, a Southern France electric company wasn't enough to keep the studio juiced up. Amazingly he goes outside to the electric train track that what near Nillcote and splices their line, from then on the BBC van studio and the recording going on in the basement was devilish hot.   

Considering the cramped and broken up studio conditions it was amazing they got anything done, but of course what came out of was one of the most original and best blues/rock albums in history. 

Keith had a Jamaican maid and chauffeur, Matta and Jumbo Jack. Matta looked like a voodoo priestess and Jumbo Jack was as big as Howling Wolf and wore a top hat.

Matta was a gambler and loved to play dice, she would organize crap games and got rich winning money from Jagger and Richards. Jagger got the ideal for the song "Tumbling Dice" from the crap games with Matta.

Bianca Jagger wore a white silk dress without underwear, she radiated multicolored auras, she was the sun at the corp of Exile and to Mick's joy pregnant, he to this day loves fatherhood and family.  


The Stones were in debt near bankruptcy, tax under Labor was 83%. It was impossible for them to live in England, and the powers at be were threatened by the Stones.

Keith felt that they were edged out of their own country (UK).

The album was raw and edgy, the reviews were terrible. 2 years later it was called the best rock n roll album ever. 

Mick felt the PRESS was very disruptive to his and Bianca's personal life.

Charlie Watts suffered culture shock at first but remains in France today.

When the band felt the album was finished, Keith said it was getting cold outside and winter was coming, the tape was in the truck and everyone left quickly. 

The French Government was scared of the devilish voodoo going on at Nillcote and stayed away from the place.

The stones felt like exiles and they knew they had to do this album, but they never knew it would be as great as it is.

There was no mention anywhere where the money was coming from and who and who was funding the project.

The Stones were the center of the rock n roll universe in the 70s when rock music was revolution. 

The whole gathering, family, players, technicians, cooks were a tribe.

Charlie says Keith was a true Bohemian, a rasta man living from day to day, not sweating the small shit.

The bands best music came when they didn't think they were being recorded.

Bobby Keys was an open-minded, loving and accepting good old boy, somewhat straight compared to the rest of the Stones, but totally in the Nillcote family groove.

Mick Taylor wasn't making any money but was digging it all.

It was so hot in the basement at times that Mick wrote a song and sang it while playing piano "Where's our Ventilator?"

A French guy went to Nillcote to visit for a day, he was dumb fucked and awed, he ends up partying with the tribe for six months.

Ian Stewart, who was a stride piano genius, often called the 5th Stone and the founder of the band was never mentioned because he wasn't at Nillcote.

Keith does an interview after shooting junk, he talks intelligently but is wain, pretty cool huh!

Charlie and Mick went back to Nillcote to look around in 2010. Mick said to Charlie on film, "There was no master plan," and "It's a boring old recording session, who gives a shit now." 

Mick was the anti-christ of rock n roll in those days, Alan Ginsberg crowned Mick the KING of the flower movement.

Keith & Mick can play like a foot stompin balls to the wall John Hammond in duo and they often do, even now.

The Stones love Ray Charles and country music. 

Rock is a beautiful Navajo blue turquoise stone on gold caldron to mix things up in—Keith

The basement was the center of the universe, drink-in Jack, smoking ganja, snorting cocaine, they could play as loud as they wanted, but it was like recording in a sauna.

Pallenberg calls it a labor of love.

When Bianca and Mick were married it was supposed to be a secret but didn't stay a secret.

Bobby keys could play all reed instruments and he taught Charlie about time settings: 2/4 mostly, to count 2 counts to every 4 beats in a measure, 1+2+. 1 and 2 and down on the 1 & 2, up on the ands. Charlie was a quick learner who rarely plays out of time.

Nillcote was never empty, but there were few disruptions, amazing considering there was no security. 

The band and the party goers would only eat one large meal a day, you could drink Pernod, spring water, Jack Daniels, fresh juice, or champaign. There would be a large table of food, everything under the sun Shepard Pie, roasted chicken, ham, tacos, beans, rice, Yorkshire Pudding, waffles, avocados, olive oil, pecan pie, you name it. 

Charlie Watts said later recording Exile was hell for everyone, but not for Keith, laugh!

Keith would sleep for a whole day, so when the band and players went to bed, Keith would just work with whoever was there. Usually Jimmy Miller, who adored Keith and would stay up with him, he could play drums some. Affable good old boy Bobby Keys would stay up too.

The Stones music is from the heart, it is true, played with open hearts and empty minds.

Keith's Mum once said that Keith was born with an utterly amazing ear, Mrs. Richards was just being modest. Listen to "All Down the Line" Alternate Take, it rocks you to the bone. Don Was said later that they opened up "All Down The Line" Alternate Take as far as you can.

Mick keep saying, “There is no control."

When the band split to LA to edit the finished Exile taps, they felt drained emotionally. 

Casino Boogie, the lyrics, were inspired by the William Burrough’s cut up method, Mick would write 3 to 8 word phrases with a felt tip pen and cut the paper into pieces while singing and sing them the way they came out. 

Anita Pallenberg says it was a beautiful world, she and Keith liked to go to a deserted beach at Nillcote and smoke ganja while Keith jammed, both sitting cross legged on an Indian blanket.

Charlie Watts says they mixed the album constantly over and over again in LA. Mick and Charlie designed the album cover.

They used the beat photographer Robert Frank's photos for the cover. 

The driving of cars and the walking around in funky urban areas while on the Exile tour in the USA was filmed in black with Super 8 by Robert Frank. 

Mick doesn't like anything you did yesterday he is interested in tomorrow, that keeps him going.

Keith did junk to hide from the glare of the press, it was his halo/armor. He felt like junk hid him from the world and protected him. No doubt because when you take junk you feel like the coolest person on earth. The shit was a shield for Keith, he lived in his own universe at Nillcote and still does live in his own Beduin cushioned library universe at his mansion in Connecticut. 

Today Keith Richards is a book freak with an unreal vocabulary who no longer is a junk. He still enjoys a smoke of ganja and snort of Rebel Yell!

Aside: When the album " Exile on Main Street" was released I was one of the first to buy it. I smoked ganja, drank German Beer and listened to it over and over.



It was Parta the Act Folks

It was a hot summer afternoon in Queens, sometime between 1980 and 1990. Henry was working, drinking Coors beer and smoking hashish as he listened to the Mets play the Dodgers, a doubleheader on 715 FM WOR, radio. 

The Met’s had lost the first game 25 to 4 and were down by 7 runs in the bottom of the 6th in game 2.

Henry oh-so pissed, his hands shaking so badly that he couldn’t type, so he does an Elvis on his radio, taking a hammer to it, smashing it into little-bitty fragments, putting them into a metal trash can and sprinkling lighter fluid in the can and setting it ablaze. 

When the fire dies down he takes the trash can full of ash and singed parts to his apartment balcony and empties the contents over-board, thus, exorcizing the demons that possessed the Mets that afternoon. 

In the weeks to come the Mets starting winning again, making it to the playoffs even.

After the exorcism, the vibes were normal in his apartment. So he goes to work, writing a piece on the poet, magazine editor, and bon mot, Dorothy Parker for the underground rag, HEADBANGER. 

Dorothy Parker was born on August 22, 1893, in Upper Manhattan. Both her mother and step-mother died of consumption when she was young and her father, Martin Rothschild went down with the Titanic in 1912.  She was educated in boarding and finishing schools until she dropped out in 1914, she was only 14. 

Young Dorothy was erudite and sophisticated beyond her years, at 14 she published a poem in Vanity Fair, at 22 she was an associate editor at Vogue. 

In 1919 she founded the Algonquin Round Table, a group of writers who would meet at the Algonquin Hotel weekly for lunch and literary tete-a-tete. The group of brilliants included Dorothy, Robert Benchley, Harpo Marx, George S. Kaufman, Edna Ferber, Noel Coward, and Tullulah Bankhead to name a few.

The Algonquin Round Table was referred to as the Vicious Circle and Edna Ferber called the group The Poison Squad and she said— 

They were actually merciless if they disapproved. I have never encountered a more hard-bitten crew, but if they liked what you had done they did so publicly and whole-heartedly. 

From 1926 to 1936  Dorothy published 4 books of poetry, including—

Enough Rope, Sunset Gun, Death and Taxes and Laments for the Living. 

In 1934 she married actor Allen Campbell in New Mexico and the couple moved to LA and became screenwriters for MGM and Paramount working on a lot of easily forgotten films.

Dorothy was a lifelong socialist and was called to testify before Eugene McCarthy in 1955, a victim of the Red Scare period of American History, wisely pleading the fifth. 

In 1959 she was inducted into the American Academy of Letters and she began teaching at California State College in LA. The same year her husband Allen Campbell died of a drug overdose. Both of them struggled with booze and dope in their lives. 

On June 6, 1967, Dorothy Parker died of a heart attack in her New York City apartment. She was a supporter of civil rights and she willed her entire literary estate to Dr. Martin Luther King. When Dr. King was shot later that year the NAACP got her estate.

She wrote about urban sophisticates, her sentiment on human inanity was satiric. She was a chain-smoker with red painted lips who wrote the most dazzling stories, articles, and poems without cracking a smile. She was macabre but she had a sense of humor.

Dorothy Parker was blessed with a brilliant wit and she was born to write, her quotes were one of a kind and ahead of the times, here are a few— 

Résumé Razors pain you, Rivers are damp, Acids stain you, And drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful, Nooses give, Gas smells awful. You might as well live.

I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone

You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.

I like to have a martini, Two at the very most. After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host.

Henry wraps the Dorothy Parker bit by 800 PM and faxes it to Dave Spleen at HEADBANGER. 

He cleans up, taking a whore’s bath, rinsing his crouch, underarms, and hands with water and then dressing quickly—  purple cut-offs, red socks, blue gym shoes, a yellow Bruins T-shirt, nothing the ensemble didn't match in any way, but it was colorful. 

He walks the short distance to Chaim’s Deli.  

The deli was built in the early 60s, it was a single story brick building on the corner of a downtown street. The entire front of the building was windowed, Henry like to sit by the windows and watch people walk by.  

Ruby his regular waitress and fuck buddy comes to his booth and says,

Henry, what the fuck? You look like a clown, just add some white face and a red nose and you can get some Bar Mitzvah gigs. Henry says,

that's funny Ruby, if you like bustin my balls, go ahead, I can assure you it doesn’t bother me, but why not stick to what you do best, sucking cock? How about somethin to eat, I’ll have some Milwaukee style hopple popple, a large bowl of borscht, some toasted rye bread and a Jack Daniels and soda.  Ruby says,

You're so mean, and then he says,

look, if you wanna play hardball, you gotta be able to take a hit, and she says,

I was just kidding, I didn’t know we were playing hardball, Mr. Macho Man. 

Ruby does an about face and walks to the kitchen with tears in her eyes. 

Henry reckons he overreacted,  still wound up about the Met’s losing earlier. When Ruby comes with his order he tries to smooth things over, but it doesn’t fly, Ruby ignores him. 

He pays his bill and leaves hoping Ruby will get over it. As for her cock sucking, she was top notch. Ruby’s sister Gilda taught her to wrap her lips around her teeth when giving head, causing added friction, the effect was out of this world.  

It was 900 PM, he would catch the subway at Flushing Station and go to a joint called Off the Wall Cafe in the Village. A bar and cafe featuring live performance art. 

There was nothin like a good freak show to get ya goin.

At Flushing Station he reaches the platform just as the subway is coming, he walks in and sees the car is empty. The car was empty all the way to the Village, he thought about the stuff of life, coming up with utterly nothing.  

Henry an atheist who thought the gods were too zany to be taken seriously. 

He reaches the Off the Wall Cafe, it was a short walk from the station. There is a 30 dollar cover charge, he says to the doorperson who is a tomboy, 

whose performing tonight? Marcel Duchamp? The doorperson says,

no Duchamp has been dead for 70 yrs ass hat,  Marina Abramovic is here do you know her? Henry says,

not personally. 

He pays the cover and walks into the cafe. The place is dark, the brick walls are painted black, the air is thick. He sits at the bar because the tables and booths are filled with Cooper Union students and sadist who got off watching Maria hurt herself in creative ways. 

Henry had seen Abramovic perform at MoMA more than once, but never at a cafe.  

Maria walks into the cafe trying to keep a low profile, she has a celebrity in tow. Henry didn’t know who the celebrity was, but he could feel the collective buzz of the crowd. Maria and her friend disappear into the make-up room in the back.  

At the bar he orders a double Jack Daniels and soda, in a few minutes, Abramovic comes back into the cafe alone. She is dressed in a wrap around piece of thick, rough, grey flannel that was a gift from Joseph Beuys, she looks very plain, she sits a few stools from Henry and he says, 

Could I buy you a drink? 

Marina orders a pitcher of Martinis which are on the house and moves closer to Henry, so they are touching. She has Frankincense oil on her body and smells good. She relaxes as she sips her Martini, she says to Henry, 

I know you, I have seen your picture in HEADBANGER, the underground paper, I like your stories! Are you here to do a review on my show tonight? He says,

No, but I will,

Henry wondering why an internationally famous artist with reviews and articles in The New York Times, Interview Magazine, The Village Voice, TATE ETC., and Art News to name a few, cared about the free local rag HEADBANGER? So he asked her,

Why would you care Maria? And she says,

When I perform, what I do to my body, hurting myself, I do to get out of my body and bring the audience with me! What I do is for everybody in the world, it's a prayer and an exorcism. Henry says,

I know the feeling, I’ll use that in my story about tonight's performance, she then says, 

oh, thank you Henry, you’re a doll, gotta go, it’s showtime!

An hour later she walks to center stage, she and a friend are carrying a large red wooden star, made out of 2 by 4s that are connected, it is open at the center. They set the star which is soaked in petrol on the ground and light it. 

Henry, nervous, wanted to run out of the place, and he hoped the joint was well ventilated.

As the star burns, she cuts off pieces of her hair, fingernails, and toenails, placing them at intervals on the fire. Then cutting off pieces of her grey flannel dress, putting the cloth on the fire as well.

To Henry’s amazement, she steps into the center of the burning star, she is surrounded by flame and the smoke is filling the room. 

No one in the cafe could see she had passed out due to smoke inhalation. Eventually, someone rushes to her aid, calling 911, taking her out of the cafe to street level where the paramedics worked on her. 

The crowd runs out to street level too, stunned, hanging around anyways to see the action.

The manager jumps on the hood of a car and shouts at the crowd through a bullhorn saying, 

it was parta the act folks! Thanks for coming! Have a good night! 

Henry wasn’t sure if passing out was part of Marina’s act? But he would write it up that way to sensationalize his HEADBANGER STORY.