My high school offered Typing 101. The class was taught by a woman. Every students were male. Xaverian-Westwood was all-boy. I was a math major. My foreign language was German. Typing 101 was for football players. Our team was State Champs.
9-0 in the Catholic Conference.
I took Creative Writing instead of Typing 101.
I never fathomed the effect of this teacher on this championship team, until I moved to New York in 1976.
I showed up at 55 Remsen Street in Brooklyn expecting a greeting from Ro.
The soft-skinned artist from the coalfields was the reason that I left Boston.
"You look like an angel under candlelight."
Love. Sex. New York.
A magic formula.
Her ex-boyfriend answered the knock on the door.
"Ro's not here."
"Where is she?"
"She left to studying art in Paris.
I recognized the film
Sorbonne. Painting. PETRIFIED FOREST.
Going back to Boston was not in the cards and I moved into an apartment with a gay impresario from the Riviera Cafe. James Spicer had an extra bedroom in Park Slope. He had a typewriter. I wrote a screenplay about a hang glider thief.
My typing was shit. My grammar was even worse. I should have paid attention in English 101 or taken Typing 101 with the football players.
They were 9-0.
My fingers sought letters on the keyboard like an elephant attempting to play Chopin. I typed with beauty instead of precision. My instrument was an Olivetti A series. I wrote the Detective Poems on this machine.
In 1982 I deserted Reagan America for France.
My job - physionomiste at the Rex Club.
The boite du nuit was financed by Actuel, a counter-culture magazine backed by an aristocrat ne'er-do-well. His New York writer Bernard Zekri liked my poetry. My broken meter was very very punk five years after the ANARCHY IN THE UK.
Violent Femmes, Toure Kunda, the Slits, the Bush Tetras and numerous other bands performed at the Rex. I met the underbelly of Paris. Models, drug dealers, artists, undercover flics, writers, poets, dancers et al. They came from everywhere. Paris was the center of the world outside of the USA.
A German from Hamburg asked if I could transcribe his girlfriend's interview of Bryan Ferry for Vogue. Vivaca was a top model from Georgia. A girl that beautiful never had to take Typing 101. Jurgen offered 1000 French Francs for the job. Almost $200US. I said yes and took the Metro from the Marais to 16th Arrondisement. I arrived at noon.
Jurgen lived in a small house on Rue de la Tour.
He sat me in the white-walled living room with my typewriter.
A tape recorder lay on the table.
"Do you need anything?" Jurgen was a playboy.
Three years older than me.
No one knew what he did for money, but he drove a 67 T-Bird.
Same as Dennis Hopper in Wim Wenders' AMERICAN FRIEND.
"Some champagne and a glass. Crystal, if possible." I meant the glass, however Jurgen smiled and left the room. He returned with a bottle of Cristal-Louis Roederer and a single crystal flute. He thought that I was cool. I thought the same and we became friends to the end, despite my shitty typing and today I opened a bottle of Prosecco with my landlord, Andy Pollack. It was before noon. I finished my fill before 2pm.
Here's to you, Jurgen and all the bad typers in the world.
It's Post Time.