Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Music sucks in Pattaya. Old farangs sing HOTEL CALIFORNIA and bar girls dance to boy band love ballads, while Thai bands play dinosaur rock for drunken tourists.
Nothing's wrong with a bad reprise of SMOKE ON THE WATER, except I once hung out in nightclubs and bars in which music meant more than a tune you can sing while drinking beer with your mates, hoping the Viagra will work with your new missus. Pattaya certainly doesn’t have a bar close to Max’s Kansas City, where you could see the Jam, MC5, or Iggy.
Not even close and none of the geezers here care, because most Pattaya farangs are so low-class that their mental playlist is whatever was playing on their car radio i.e. muzak for 9-to-5 existences and none of them ever heard Serge Gainsbourg’s HISTOIRE DE MELODIE NELSEN.
And that’s too bad, because this 26-minute masterpiece set a high-water mark in 1971.
Forget the sexy French lyrics.
Forget Jane Birkin’s breathy interpretation, for her daughter was sexier in LEMON INCEST.
Dig how the guitar and bass weave a groove unattainable in this modern world on pre-packaged CDs, as Serge croons his tale of a Lolita sans the fear of moral outrage. This concept album wiped the floor with the Beatles’ SERGEANT PEPPER.
But they were no longer a band in 1971, but they must have spun this record and said, “We fucked up.”
Horrible to know you will never write anything as good as HISTOIRE OF MELODIE NELSEN.
Worse is to copy the LP like Beck, a talented plagiarist, because he’s no Jean-Claude Vannier, who arranged the 33 rpm disc for Serge, who was the ugliest man in Christendom, yet ended up with Jane Birkin as his sex slave.
The two of them might have had Jimmie Page play lead guitar. That’s the rumor, but the riff sound nothing like his solos with Led Zeppelin or the Yardbirds.
Understated and raw leaving you asking for more of 15 year-old girls on bicycles, Rolls-Royce, defloweration and a dirge about Melodie dying in a plane crash.
It was genius and I advise anyone with any musical taste to pick up this chef d’ouvres, for a song with the line ‘une poupée qui perd l’équilibre, la jupe retroussée sur ses pantalons blancs… (A doll who lost her balance, her skirt pushed up over her white leggings) isn’t getting any radio play in America.
Not this year.
But I got it on right now
Midnight. Gin-tonic. Dark outside.
The LP should have been a big hit, except French music has failed to dent the charts. The only excursion into the Top Ten was by the Singing Nun with her 1963 hit DOMINIQUE. The language is a problem. No teenager wants to dance to music whose lyrics need subtitles.
Tant pis or too bad, for French music has produced hundreds of great songs by Alain Bashung, Jane Birkin, Manu Chao, Julien Clerc, Etienne Daho, Jacno, Jacques Dutronc, France Gall, Françoise Hardy, Indochine, Marc Lavoine, Vanessa Paradis, Les Rita Mitsouko, Alain Souchon, Les têtes raides, Tahiti 80, Téléphone, Sylvie Vartan ad infinitum.
And of course Serge Gainsbourg.
Recently I searched to find their names of the musicians and someone added them to Wikpedia.
# Alan Parker - guitar
# Herbie Flowers - bass
# Douglas Wright - drums
# Alan Hawkshaw - piano
# Jean-Claude Vannier - arrangements, Orchestra Director
# Jane Birkin - vocal parts (and posed for front cover art)
A belated thanks to them for the hours of listening to a gem.
To hear Melodie Nelson go to the following URLhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X5LwFCHNe4
"I finish only with you." These words almost sounds true coming from the lips of a Soi 6 short-timer. She doesn't know your name. Your penis will be forgotten shortly after the apres-sex shower, but farangs inevitably ask, "Really?"
"You #1. Big too." This compliment can earned her a tip for a man, whether he be Thai or Farang, since we like compliments about performance as much as a woman enjoys foreplay.
Saying the right thing could earn another 100 or 200 baht.
"You make me finish. Never finish with man before."
And this is almost the truth. My friend Ort worked Soi 6 and she said, "I never finish. Not one time."
Ort was cute.
She had customers all the time.
4 a day. 5 days a week. 200 men a year.
Not one orgasm and I believed her, since a survey by the condom maker DUREX revealed that 54% of Thai couples failed to reach satisfaction.
"Men only care about men." Ort told me. "Uh uh uh. Finish. Not care about lady."
"I want finish I tok-phet." This was Thai for how a lady masturbate and has something to do with a duck. "Or maybe have other girl help me. Not gay. Not lesbian. Sometimes want finish too lazy to do myself."
"What about with me?"
"You different. I know you long time. We have sex many times. I finish with you because you know what I want."
"I'm a stud." I like hearing the lie, but if you spend 3.9 minutes more on foreplay according to that survey you can be a stud too.
But why bother?
I am a man.
Saturday, January 26, 2013
The Phillie group The Trammps burned up the charts and dance floors with DISCO INFERNO in both 1976 and 1978.
A friend posted this another white boy's story on his Facebook page about DISCO INFERNO.
Back in the day I went to the Boston Arena to see the Trammps. I went with a friend. We were the only two white people in line. There was a huge crowd outside (without tickets). Someone grabbed my ticket out of my hand and ran into the crowd. I tried to follow him the crowd ganged up on me. A policeman broke it up asked me for a description. Realizing the futility of the moment, the officer escorted us to Mass Ave. We were upset so...nipples to the wind...we scurried over to The Shed for drinks.
Within the next hour, at the directive of the Tactical Police Force, the bar went into lock down with the few of us inside. There was a huge riot, as the unruly crowd without tickets tried to force their way into the Arena and went on a rampage through the neighborhood. Same thing happened at the Music Hall when Labelle played there.
Other than a couple of bruises, I was fine and ended up having a great time at the bar. We got SHITFACED with the bartender. I kept my crackah ass outa that area for a long time after that. See what you did to me with that post Bobby?......(I hate that fucking smiley face) But I'm smiling so there it is...IJS
Even the Trammps weren't all-black.
Their horn player was white to get them gigs at white clubs.
That's the way it was in the post-apartheid era in Amerika.
To hear DISCO INFERNO, please go to this URL
Some cities are best defined by songs such as APRIL IN PARIS or AUTUMN IN NEW YORK, but Hamburg defied music, as the North Sea's winter besieged the harbor city with endless rain, cold, and darkness. Every day the night conquered a few more minutes of light and our once-popular club on Epperdoffer Weg was deserted by the attractive youth, the esoteric intelligentsia, and the wicked rich, who sought comfort in their homes rather than BSirs.
The sleek nightclub had been designed to mimic CLOCKWORK ORANGE's milk bar.
THe fashion people of Hamburg had loved it throughout the summer, but they had been replaced by pimps and off-duty prostitutes from the Reeperbahn. Neither liked to pay for their drinks and my share of the profits shrank to nothing.
Henri, the DJ from Paris, and I were counting the days until we called it quits, only I wasn't telling management about my departure in case I wanted to come back after the holidays. Good-paying jobs for foreigners without the proper papers were difficult to find in Europe.
Only one person deserved an 'auf wiedersehen'.
I had been seeing Astrid since early October. The blonde twenty year-old was studying fashion at the University. Her dramatic overbite and an aquiline nose stole any chance at being called beautiful, but Astrid was very accommodating in bed.
"I may be leaving," I told her after a lengthy session nearing dawn.
"Are you going for good?" She dressed conservatively for school and stuffed her night clothes in a large leather bag.
"Yes." I lay in bed thinking that I'd miss her in Paris.
"And you are not coming back?" Her body belonged on a runaway model.
"Not a chance." I had had enough of Germany for this year.
Claudia kissed me on the lips and I returned to sleep.
That night SS Tommy showed up at the bar early. We had few customers. All of them avoided the six-foot enforcer for the GMbH. Astrid stood at the door dressed in a fur with very little else underneath. She normally never showed until after midnight.
"What's this." The total came to almost 10,000 DMs or $6500 US.
"A bill." His scarred finger jabbed the top of the 'rechtung'.
"I can see that." I had learned German in high school. The list consisted of charges for sex. "What's it have to do with me?"
"This is what you owe for the nights with Astrid." With his long blonde hair and steroid muscles SS Tommy resembled a monstrous transvestite bulldog.
"Astrid? I didn't know she worked for you."
She smiled at me with a crooked grin. I hadn't seen this coming.
"Not all our girls work the Eros Center." His gang ran a string of 200 women on the Reeperbahn. Each one had sex five times a night. 200 DMs times five times two-hundred women came to $100,000 a night. SS Tommy owed three Ferraris. "Is everything in order?"
I checked the bill again. Each act was itemized by date.
"She never said anything about working for you," I said in rough German.
"Everyone in Hamburg works for someone." Zuhaleters were well-known for their violence and SS Tommy had a well-earned reputation for a short fuse.
I had to offer him a gesture.
"Here are the keys to my car."
SS Tommy took the car keys for 5000 DMs. I had paid 7000 six months ago.
"Where's it parked?"
"At the mechanic shop."
Two days earlier I had driven the orange VW into a tree. The mechanic said last rites over the chassis. It was a total write-off,
"Warum?" asked SS Tommy.
"Just getting a turn-up." It was an easy lie to tell.
"Das ist gut, but morgen 5000 more." SS Tommy grabbed my arm in a claw grip to insure that I had to pay him the rest of the money tomorrow or else.
"Of course." My shoulder muscles went dead, as his fingers dug into my flesh. The pain radiated through my body. He wanted money not a car.
"I'll give you a free night with Astrid." SS Tommy clicked his fingers. "Stay with him. I don't want him running out on me."
"Jawohl." She was good at taking orders as are all Germans.
I told the manager that I was going home early. I rubbed life back into my arm, as we left the club. Everyone avoided me, as if I had the plague. No one had friends, when SS Tommy was your enemy.
Back at my apartment Astrid acted, as if nothing had changed between us and I suppose that it hadn't, except I had 5000 DMs were under my bed.
SS Tommy wasn't getting a pfennig.
Neither was Astrid.
After a glass of sekt she went to take a shower, promising me a night to remember.
"Maybe I do 1000 worth."
"That would be nice." I smiled sipping my glass of pesudo-champagne.
As soon as the bathroom door shut, I grabbed my cash and wrapped a wire hangar around the doorknob, trapping Astrid inside. Within minutes I packed a bag with my clothes. I didn't have much to show for six months in Hamburg, but I didn't need much in Paris.
I heard thumping on the bathroom door.
"Chus," I shouted heading for the door, leaving a note on the kitchen table to SS Tommy.
The bed, chairs, table, and everything else were his.
I liked this deal better.
I bent over to take Astrid's underwear. I liked her smell.
A minute later I caught on Mittelweg.
"Bahnhof." It was only ten minutes away from Mittelweg. No one was in the station. The night was cold. I bought a ticket for the 2:34am train to Paris.
After that I hid on the platform like a spy fleeing Nazi Germany.
The southbound train pulled out of the station on time. My compartment was empty. The train stopped at every station. The towns sounded like battlefields. I didn't sleep until we passed through Dutch customs.
Dawn brightened the gray skies on a landscape of ruined steel factories of the Low Countries. These industries had been destroyed by Japanese competition. The decay stretched from border to border into Belgium. The wet of the winter carried the corruption of rust and concrete. It smelled of death and I pulled out Astrid's panties. They were French silk.
The conductor announced our ETA in Paris was 9:23am.
After arriving at Gare Du Nord I took the Metro to St. Germain, where I booked a room at the Hotel Louisiane and then breakfasted at the Cafe de Flore
Cafe du lait, croissant, and a Calvados said Paris and I sang APRIL IN PARIS to myself. SS Tommy would never find me here.
Astrid's panties were still in my pocket. I stole a whiff and inhaled the fading fragrance of cinnamon and sweat with a tang of herring. We had had a good thing for a few months and I smiled thinking that I would never see her crooked smile again.
And that was a good thing for this winter, especially since I couldn't see that far into summer.
For that was Hamburg's season to shine.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Back in the 1970s rebellious young people fled their hometowns to find solace with like kinds in the East Village. The last decade had depopulated the Lower East Side and we found new lives in the forlorn tenements.
In 1976 I escaped Boston in a stolen car and my girlfriend from West Virginia joined me in Spring of 1977. Her best friend, was another aspiring actress from Louisiana. Mine was Anthony a photographer from Long Island. We didn't go out on double dates, since Ella was living with a film maker in a Chinatown loft.
Alice was funny and pretty. She looked like Shirley MacLaine in THE APARTMENT. I tried to be faithful, but working at a punk nightclub, I ended up being a philanderer like Fred McMurray. I pretended that she didn't notice the perfume and lipstick on my shirts. The best lies are those we tell ourselves.
With the coming of warm weather in 1978 Ella and Alice decided to run a movie night atop the four-story building on Chrystie Street. The double-feature was FROM HELL IT CAME and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS. I thought that the event would be a flop, but the two women attracted men like snakes to a hot rock, plus entry and popcorn was free with cans of Schlitz $1 each.
Her foppish emcee was dressed like a carney barker and welcomed each guest with a biting diatribe.
"And here's Tandy Chamer with the fabulous movie star Sheila Mackin."
She was the darling of the B movie set and he played naked with his art band.
By show time over a hundred people were crowded onto the roof of the loft. They represented the high society at the downtown art scene and drank with an abandon reserved for an Irish wake. The first movie was screened against the back of billboard on the lower neighboring building.
It was like a drive-in without cars.
Pithe comments and screams enlivened the night as did Ella and Alice who had dressed up as vampish zombies for the occasion. The emcee kept up a running commentary over the movie's dialogue. He was very funny.
After THE END Tom spun records for the crowd. My pseudo-sister Kim danced with her beau Amos to James Brown's SEX MACHINE and Alice pranced across the tarred roof with Susan. This was their evening and I sulked against the wall with Anthony.
We worked together at a nightclub and he said, "Let them have their fun."
"Why not?" I grabbed another two beers and dropped $2 in the donation bucket.
Handing Anthony his beer I noticed Tandy Chamer get up on the retaining wall.
On the other side was a thirty-foot drop.
He danced on the narrow top. Anthony looked at me and we grabbed him off his perch.
"Leave me alone. I do this all the time." The man looked a little like Orson Welles' thin doppelganger.
"Stay off the wall." His dancing on the edge of the abyss was not my idea of fun.
Alice came over to join us. Her hazel hair was damp around her angelic face. Her skin glowed with breathlessness. The evening was a big success. My friend Klaus had agreed to perform at a big sow north of the East Village, another one of her projects. The B52s and Blondie were scheduled to headline the event. I was going to be security with Anthony.
Tom segued from Sly's SEX MACHINE to Otis Reading'S SATISFACTION. The roof wavered under the feet of the dancers. New York spread out beyond this building, but this had become the center of our universe and that cosmos shrunk the moment Tandy got back up on the wall. He was dunker than before and Alice said to Anthony, "He's going to fall."
Her last word nudged him over the brink and he disappeared from sight.
None of us heard the thud of impact.
Anthony, Alice, and I rushed to the wall.
Down below a man was sprawled facedown on the roof. His leg looked funny, but not in a funny sense. Blood was gathering around his head.
A woman screamed.
It was blonde actress.
The emcee joined us as did Tom.
This wasn't good.
"Call the police." I told him.
"What are you going to do?" Alice asked shivering with fright.
"I'm going to help him." I wasn't a hero, but 911 wouldn't get the cops here fast and the body beneath us was lying with a pool of red.
The scaffolding behind the billboard was six feet from the roof. I had leapt nineteen feet to win a AAU meet in Boston. That had been eight years ago. Six feet was within my reach.
"I'm coming with you." The emcee stood beside me. He was wearing white bucks. They had good traction. "He's my friend."
"I'll go first."
I ran across the roof and jumped into the air. I caught hold of the struts and swung onto a plank of wood, then turned to stretch out my hand to the emcee.
He might have been a little timid in real life, but he fearlessly flew across the gap between safety and danger. I caught his arm and he said, "Thanks."
We had an audience and above the applause Steven's wife was screaming like a pig with an electric prod up its ass. David regarded me and said, "Women."
Within seconds we descended to the roof and hurried to Steven.
"Damn." The emcee hugged himself to fight off his queasiness. His friend was fucked up.
Tandy's face was flatter than Kansas. He was drowning in his own blood. Sirens neared Chinatown. They were coming here. Professionals wouldn't be here fast enough. It was up to me and David.
We crouched over Steven. Blood bubbled from his mouth.
"Tandy, can you hear me. It's Dink."
A painful grunt was his answer.
"We can't leave him like this or else he'll drown." My paternal grandfather had been a surgeon in WWI. I had read his medical books and asked, "Can you move your feet?"
His feet wiggled weakly.
"His back isn't broken, so we have to turn him over to keep from suffocating in his blood." I wasn't asking, but telling and Dink nodded before grabbing hold on his friend's crimson-stained shirt.
"One, two, three."
The two of us turned Tandy onto his back.
"Tandy, move your feet again," Dink begged with tears in his eyes.
Tandy obeyed his command and then swooned into a deeper depth of unconsciousness.
Flashing lights splattered against the walls. The FD and PD were here. A woman kept screaming above. It was the blonde actress.
"Do you need anything?" Anthony yelled from Tom's roof.
I looked at Dink.
He nodded in agreement.
"Two beers and tell that woman to shut her hole."
A minute later the police took control of the scene.
The firemen strapped Tandy to a gurney. EMS said he would live.
Dink and I climbed the billboard back to the roof. Tom and Ella were relieved to not have a death on their hands. Anthony and I drank more beer.
Alice never said anything about Tandy's fall.
We broke up at the end of 1979.
I was at fault for not knowing what I had.
I ran into Tandy several times. He stared at me with distrust. He couldn't place me in his universe.
One night at the Mudd Club he hobbled up to me. The fall had been bad enough that Tandy now resembled Truman Capote more than Orson Welles, mostly because he never gained Orson's weight.
"I know you from some place."
"No, not really."
"No, I want to know."
I refused to answer him, but he grabbed my leather jacket and repeated, "I want to know."
"I was the person who turned you on my back."
He looked in my face and walked back to his wife without a backward glance.
I related the story to Anthony.
"Just goes to show you that all good deeds will go to be punished."
And that's the damned truth.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Several years ago while surveying 5,529 heart attack deaths in Asia, Dr Wong Teck Wee discovered that 34 fatalities occurred during sex and 27 of those deaths occurred while the male was engaged in an act of illicit sex i.e. adultery. The Universiti Putra Malaysia cardiologist concluded from these findings that stress of illicit sex could lead to sudden death due to the narrowing of the artery and insufficient blood supply to the organs or even worse your merciless wife walking into the hotel room with a shotgun or machete.
That’s a shock to the system.
But all things considered kicking off in the sack is not a bad way to go as long as you come before you go otherwise it’s coitus interruptus fatalis, which is how Nelson Rockefeller, the former US President, departed from this mortal coil. On January 26, 1979 Nelson was riding male superior atop his mistress, Megan Marshak, when his heart overloaded from adrenalin, stopping almost every body function other than breathing.
Nelson was a big man and the 26 year-old aide had to squirm from underneath the portly politician, but rather than dial 911 for help, she telephoned her girlfriend, news reporter Ponchitta Pierce. Neither helped the ex-VP from his sprawled position on the floor as they discussed for the better part of an hour.
“To 911 or not 911.”
911 won in the end.
Too late for Nelson Rockefeller who expiated in the ambulance.
His corpse was cremated 18 hours after the coroner pronounced him DOA, mainly since his wife, Happy, was anxious that the Medical Examiner might find traces of sexual activity, however everyone in New York understood how Nelson went out of this world.
In the saddle.
I wish that his demise could have been at the hands of his wife Happy or a mob of rioting convicts, for Rockefeller's draconian laws have ruined millions of lives in the Empire State and his order to retake Attica prison resulted in many senseless deaths.
Law and Order.
For an adulterer.
Even better would have been for Nelson to suffer death by stoning.
That's the old punishment in the Bible.
And I would not hold my hand, for I am not a sinner like him.
Faithful to Mem forever, and not only because she dosed me with a Thai love potion.She swears that's not true, but I know better. She's the only one who I want to kill me with sex. And believe me we've tried and will try again. Love potions cost the giver too.
Monitor lizards are native to SE Asia. These carnivorous predators are related to the famous Komodo Dragon and varanid lizards are cooperative hunters like raptors in JURASSIC PARK. According to the Bangkok Post monitor lizards cluster in the city’s secluded water pipes and up to two hundred of the two-meter long beasts reside in each city district.
Many urban Thais regard the sighting of a hia or monitor lizard as the harbinger of bad luck in spite of the legend about warning humans of crocodiles. Down south on the Isthmus of Ka country folks keep the miniature monsters as domestic pets, for crocodiles still wander the mangrove swamps lining the peninsula.
”They keep increasing in numbers because these reptiles have few natural enemies, and their food is always plentiful,” a Thai reptile expert said, “Water monitors eat almost anything; fish, eggs, and even rotten meat.”
The only lizard in my hometown south of Boston was Jim Morrison singing 'crawling king snake', but in 1991 I stopped at Malaysia’s Tioman Island in the South China Sea, which the Lonely Planet referred to as a tropical gem. Jungles blanketed the hills and the sea was an invisible sheet of clear gin with beach sand gleaming white in the midday sun.
European backpackers overstayed their visits on this paradise. The beer was cold and the bungalows were cheap.
On my second week there I met a Swedish blonde traveler. She liked my poetry and we spent four nights together.
“This means nothing.” Velda was telling the truth. Nothing meant anything to devotees of the sun other than the next highlight on their world tour. On the fifth morning we were through.
“I want to sleep alone," the slim Swede announced on the fifth morning. Velda didn’t even kiss me good-bye and I expected that she would leave on the morning ferry for the mainland. I slept in late and hit the bungalow bar at noon.
“Beer for all my friends.” There were only three Germans at the bar, but I loved that line from BARFLY.
Before the beers arrived, a scream screeched through the trees.
Velda ran into the bar. Her long blonde hair was a Medusa snarl and her voice hit a soprano high on every word, as she explained, “There’s a lizard in the bathroom.”
The Malays working at the restaurant laughed about a lizard. Tioman was crawling with lizards and snakes, but I understood her fears, for my mother was scared of insects. If one got into the house, she would cry, “There’s a monster in the bathroom.”
I figured that Velda was just as hysterical as my mother and grabbed a broom.
“I’ll get rid of the lizard.”
“He's more bigger than Gecko.” The terror had stripped away her high school English.
“I’ll take care of it. Show me.” I followed her down the path to her bungalow. The A-frame stood in a palm grove perched next to a tidal inlet. Mangrove trees sank their roots into the brackish swamp water. It was good breeding place for lizards. The buzz of mosquitoes hummed from the swamp and Velda pointed to the bathroom door.
"He's in there."
"Don't worry, this will only take a second." I figure she had discovered a little gecko. Lizards were non-existent in Sweden.
“It's my middle name.”
I peered inside the room. The bathroom door was shut. I heard nothing and figured that the gecko had escaped through the ceiling. I tiptoed across the floor, broom in one hand. I yanked on the bathroom door expecting to find only a toilet, instead thick-chested monitor lizard bared slimy teeth with a hiss.
The broom dropped to the floor, as I slammed the door shut.
“That is a big lizard." I ran outside to Velda. "You want to stay at my place?”
“Yes, but no sex."
"None at all." I grabbed her bag and she moved back into my place for another week.
I thanked Jim Morrison the Lizard God for those extra days and nights.
I had seen the Doors at the Boston Tea Party in 1968. I didn’t tell that to the Swedish girl. Velda didn’t realize that I was in my late-30s. The twenty year-old's skin was as smooth as river-polished stone. After her departure to Koh Phi Phi, I spotted the monitor lizard lazing in the sun.
I bought a dozen boiled eggs from the warung and fed them one by one.
It was the least I could do for a cousin of Jim Morrison.
Anything else would have been bad luck.
Friday, January 18, 2013
In 2004 I missed a connecting flight in Tokyo. The passengers from my 747 were transported to a Narita hotel. We were given drink and dinner chits. I dined with two attractive Singapore business women coming back from New York. We drank several beers in the bar and I asked the about their lives at home.
"We work and ship. That's what Singapore girls do?" Suzee had lines growing in the corners of her eyes. She was pushing 35.
"What about boyfriends?"
"No boyfriends." Suzee shook her head in disgust. "We work too hard and Singapore men work too hard to have time for us."
"Do you go to clubs or bars?"
"No, we shop, we eat, we sleep and in the morning we go back to work." Suzee's friend was in her late-20s. Something about her thin lips said that she had never been kissed by a man or woman.
"And what about when you were in New York?"
The two laughed together and Suzee fingered the rim of her beer glass. "We worked, shopped, and ate, but not too much, because we don't want to be fat like Americans. Sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry about." My countrymen were verging toward a majority in obesity, but even the fat people were having sex. "What about another beer?"
"Sorry, no, we have to go work a little before we sleep."
They excused themselves, giving me their extra drink chits. I went to bed with a good buzz and in the morning caught an early bus to Narita to catch my flight to Bangkok.
Singapore gained further attention for their inherent prudishness when Singapore Airlines announced that sex would not be tolerated in the luxury suites of the new Airbus A300.
"Passengers will be asked to refrain from sex," an official explained to a press member examining the double beds in the giant jet's 12 luxury suites. "All we ask of customers, wherever they are on our aircraft, is to observe standards that don't cause offence to other customers and crew. Nothing different applies for our Singapore Airlines Suites customers."
This proclamation must have disappointed sexual adventurers seeking the thrill so eloquently described in Erica Jong's novel FEAR OF FLYING.
"So they'll sell you a double bed, and give you privacy and endless champagne and then say you can't do what comes naturally?" Tony Elwood said while flying with his wife with aboard the inaugural flight from London to Singapore. Julie Elwood added, told The Times of London. "They seem to have done everything they can to make it romantic, short of bringing around oysters. They shouldn't really complain, should they?"
People have been having sex in airplanes without the luxury suites.
Mostly in the bathrooms, which are very cramped quarters like the backseat of a VW, only you can't stand in a Bug.
The ban is useless, because people will do what they want and the beds in Airbus A300 have already been baptized by Airbus employees.
They are French and Paris is tres sexy.
If Singapore Airlines is serious about the sex ban, then they will have to hire sky marshals to enforce their edict.
Not for a city-state that requires everyone to wash their hands after going to the bathroom and where the police have dogs to sniff out violators.
The canines could easily be trained to sniff out something else too.
The crime of high-altitude sex.
Other Singapore laws
No chewing gum
No gay sex
No bungee jumping
So obviously no chewing gum to work up a spit to lubricate your gay partner's nether gate before engaging in sex whilst bungee jumping.
Very bad people, but they were fun and sexy too.
Maybe one day the past will catch up to the future.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
While the newly opened Retail Plaza in the basement was an abject failure, the Oak Bar continued to attract power brokers, celebrities, and faces seen in the pages of the newspapers and magazines.
When Susan Lucci, the soap opera queen, entered our subterranean jewelry store, my young 'work wife' asked the diminutive TV actress, "Does anyone tell you that you look like Susan Lucci?"
"All the time." Her mouth expressed a sweet smirk at my blonde work-wife's innocence.
"Are you Susan Lucci?" Vanessa gasped like she had been thrown out of the Space Shuttle into zero atmosphere.
"Most of the time." Susan Lucci's beauty emanated from beneath her botoxed skin.
"Congratulations." My work-wife stammered out her best wishes to Lucci being Lucci. Her face was a nice color red.
"Thank you." Susan waved good-bye and wheeled a turn on her spike heels. Without them she would have been less than five feet tall.
We later told about this encounter with the star of ALL MY CHILDREN to the other salespeople trapped in the doomed Plaza Collection.
They laughed at my work-wife's offering 'congratulations'. Her husband loved her for more than her smarts.
"I didn't know what else to say." Vanessa had worshipped Susan Lucci from her couch for years.
One afternoon David Beckham and his wife Posh visited the hotel. The paparazzi rioted outside the entrance. Fans screamed out his name. The madhouse lasted for hours.
Celebrity has its perks, but power demanded different accommodations from the public and one evening in February the Secret Service locked down the hotel for the arrival of Bill Clinton, the former president of the USA, who had a table reserved in the Oak Room.
Agents in black suits roamed the hotel. They surveilled guests and workers with suspicion. Bill had been a popular president, but men in high places retain their enemies after retirement.
The secret service agents ignored me, obviously judging a fifty-five year old diamond salesman to be harmless. They were right. I was no assassin.
I thought about going up to the Oak Room to gawk at Clinton, but customers kept me busy during his visit. As the closing hour approached I went to washroom at the rear of the Retail Collection. The owner of Leather Spa said that the ex-president stopped for a shoeshine.
"He tipped Segundo $10."
"He wore handmade loafer from England." Segundo knew his shoes.
"A good tipper." A shine cost $4 at their stand. "Is he still in the Oak Room?"
"Far as I know."
"Maybe I'll stop up there for a drink after work."
I headed into the men's room.
There wasn't an attendant on duty, but the facilities were clean.
I stood at a stall and unzipped my fly.
Two seconds later a taller man joined me. His shoulder almost touched mine.
Male toilet manners require strangers neither touch nor talk to another man during their time before the porcelain god, so I dropped my eyes to the floor, only to notice that my neighbor's shoes were highly buffed loafers with tassels.
It had to be Clinton and I left my gaze to the left.
"It was Bill.
He was peeing next to me. I checked the toilet area. There were no Secret Service agents in sight. Some things a man has to do on his own.
The former president smiled at me and I involuntarily peeked into his urinal.
Bill frowned and lowered his broad shoulder to block my view. He shook his member and then strode out of the men's room after washing his hands.
Exiting from the washroom I expected to be accosted by his security detail. The only people in the hallway were Segundo and his boss. They pointed upstairs to indicate the direction of Bill's departure. I nodded and returned to my shop.
Vanessa was ready to go.
"What took you so long?"
"I ran into Bill Clinton in the bathroom."
"Hillary's husband?" Women looked at men different from men.
"I peed next to him."
"And did you look at him?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know look at his schwanze?" Vanessa was a nice girl from Moscow, but she wanted to know. "My husband says all types of men check out him. Did you look at his penis?" It was a reasonable question.
She was my work-wife, not my real wife, so I told her what I would have told anyone.
"No." A gentleman never talk about woman's age and other things too.
And checking isn't a gay thing either.
It's just something you do.
Of course gays think that all men are part gay.
So you never know.
Most Americans will never meet their President. The layers of security are supposedly impenetrable with a phalanx of Secret Service agents preventing any unauthorized encounters, but the screen around Barack Obama failed at a state dinner in 2009, when two party-crashers gained access to the White House and once inside poised with the President and several VIP. The woman intruder got close enough to Joe Biden to play with his nipple.
This breech of security would have never occurred under GW Bush.
The White House was under a lock-down. Staff understood the nation was at war. The President was safe.
Bill Clinton never had his safety compromised during his two terms.
George Bush Senior was not so lucky in 1990.
The president was visiting New York for a find-raising dinner at the Sheraton on 6th Avenue. Police blocked off the area from protesters and I explained my rendezvous to the police commander at the barrier, who allowed me to pass. I was wearing a tie.
Security within the hotel was tight. Phillip Brooks was sitting at our rendezvous point. We watched executives and GOP supporters arrive for the event. After several drink we decided to go over to Times Square. It still offered sin back then.
The front entrance was packed with arriving guests, so I suggested that we exit through the parking garage.
The first line of police ignored us.
We were in suits.
The second phalanx was more alert, but we stepped through the Sheraton's revolving doors just as the presidential limousine pulled up to the curb. Secret Service surveyed the entrance. George Bush emerged from the back. He was in a tux. I had never been this close to a presidential and called out softly, "Mr. President."
Everyone's head turned my way.
"My sister-in-law says hello." She had worked for the CIA.
"Oh, really." George recognized her name. She had been his secretary while he served as director. "She's a good lady."
"I know. She married my brother."
"Well, you wish Patty and Frank my bests." George Bush shook my hand. His flesh was warm.
"I will, sir." I smiled that he could remember my brother's name. "Have a good night, sir."
"You too." The president proceeded into the hotel and a Secret Service man approached to ask who we were.
"Just private citizens that's all."
Philip and I left into the night without a backward glance, which is always best when the Secret Service are looking your way.
They know guilty and neither Philip nor I were close to innocent.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
"Black is beautiful." was a phrase coined by John Sweat Rock in 1858.
Steve Biko resurrected the words during his struggle against apartheid in South Africa and American blacks adopted the slogan for their liberation movement in the 60s and 70s, however judging from the lack of black models on the covers of fashion magazines any dedicated follower of fashion would have to recognize that the world's leading fashion houses are still practicing Old Dixie's color line when the choice comes to white or black girl to sell beauty.
Every day I take the C train from Lafayette Street in Brooklyn. I see beautiful sisters of every description, some of them are skinny as the runway models. Their faces resurrect the souls of Nefettitti.
If I weren't so old, I'd hit on them. Designers blame agents and agents blame fashion editors for this Jim Crow throwback.
"We're just following orders."
Throughout the 70s Nickie Barnes ran a Harlem heroin empire under the protection of the Lucchese crime syndicate. His godfather 'Crazy Joe' Gallo helped Barnes create 'the Council' to run the trade north of 125th Street and Barnes earned the nickname 'Mr. Untouchable' for his skill at beating charges and evading arrests. Neither the DEA nor rival gangs could touch him and President Carter ordered his AG to bring down the drug kingpin.
The Feds were too square to catch Mr. Untouchable in a compromising situation, however a blonde-haired NYPD officer with a dirty reputation ensnared the gangster in a dope deal.
Facing multi-life sentences of Life Nicky Barnes served his time like a man, until he discovered that a council member was seeing his old lady and his investments were being sapped by his friends. He dimed over 150 of his associates as well as his girlfriend and Rudy Giuliani rewarded his snitching with a reduced stretch of 35 years.
The NYPD cop instrumental to the bust was given his gold shield and Johnny Z seemed destined for great things.
In the autumn of 1979 a sniper on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 10th Street had shot two people. One of them was dead. A cop had been wounded attempting to batter down the door of the barricaded apartment. The 9th precinct cordoned off two blocks and the precinct captain called for back-up.
I watched the confrontation from the back of the St. Mark's Church. It was a warm day for October and none of us had anything better to do than provide a target to a crazed sniper.
Help came in a black unmarked Chevy.
A tall blonde man in a dark suit got out of the passenger side and he was the mirror image of Clint Eastwood, if the movie star had rattlesnake blood running in his veins.
The nearby officers greeted him with firm handshakes. The captain put his arm around the newcomer's shoulder and then pointed to the sniper's perch.
The tall man pulled out a .38. He checked the cylinder and nodded to the captain.
As he walked away, I asked an officer whom I knew from the restaurant next to the precinct on 5th Street, "Who was that?"
"Johnny Z." The uniformed cop spoke the name with fearful reverence.
I had heard the rumors and followed Bobby Z from a distance. He didn't have to show a badge to get through the police line. All the cops knew who he was.
Standing at the 2nd Avenue Deli the renegade pushed back his blonde hair like he was going on a date.
Twice he looked at his reflection in the deli's windows before entering the sniper's building from the rear. Johnny Z walked like he had weights on his ankles, then climbed the fire escape with the agility of an escaped ape.
Within seconds he was in the building.
A minute later two shots rang out from the sniper's apartment. A rifle flew from the window. It shattered on the street and Bobby Z waved his hand from the building. His audience applauded his swift work.
Back on the street several officers patted his back, as he headed toward 1st Avenue. His glare toward the civilians warned them that they had never seen him. The newspapers never reported the incident.
Someone that cold has enemies and a year later Johnny Z raided a Harlem apartment and shot dead several innocent people. One of them was a grandmother.
THe detective protested to his superiors that his informant had given the wrong address.
The media suggested that the killings were an execution.
No one believed a rogue cop and only his previous heroics and numerous line of duty injuries saved him from prison.
Johnny's pension couldn't cover his debts, but the NYPD took care of their own and Johnny Z was unofficially employed by various precincts to enforce payments from dealers, gambling halls, brothels, and after-hours clubs. The killer also convinced wrong-thinking cops to maintain the blue wall of silence and his name was spoken by the cops of the 9th Precinct with a hush, as if he were a ghost, but he was no phantom.
In the autumn of 1981 the International on West 25th Street was an after-hours club in the city. I was working the door with Benji, a massive Jamaican street fighter, whose arms were scarred from Trenchtown machete wars.
I thought I was a hard guy just standing close to him. At worst I could take a punch.
The International opened an hour before the legit clubs' closing time. Scottie from the Ritz operated the bar. The registers sucked money like crooked slot machines. By 4am the converted garage was packed with those people not willing to release their hold on the night. Entry cost $10 and drinks in a plastic cup were $5. We paid no taxes. Customers bribed me with cocaine and money. I was rich every night and broke by the next afternoon.
Everyone wanted a piece of the action and the local precinct was insisting on a bigger cut from the door.
Arthur the owner thought that $500/night too was generous a donation and stiffed the bagman.
Crooked cops have their own value system and I was nervous about how they would right this situation in their favor.
The next night an unmarked car rolled down the deserted block. I nudged Benji. He recognized the ride.
"Police." The only time on-duty cops cruised the street was to get their pay.
"What we going to do?" A velvet rope offered little protection against the obvious.
We were running an illegal club.
"Are we fucked?"
"This isn't official." Benji read the scene with criminal vision. This Chevy had only one man behind the wheel. "It's worst."
"It's Johnny Z. This white boy tougher than a bag of nails." Benji muttered under his breath, as if the ex-cop could read lips. Benji's 300 pounds on a 6-2 frame intimidated most white people into crossing the street, especially since he was strapping a 45.
Bobby Z got out of the car with the engine running.
"Watch the car," he said to Benji. "I don't want no one stealing it."
“Where’s the owner?” Bobby asked me, surveying the street without seeing any threat.
"He's inside." I was in no mood to lie.
I opened the ropes and went inside the crowded club.
"Let me guess." Johnny Z scanned the room and then said, "The guy in the black suit at the end of the bar."
"That's him." I lifted my hand to warn Arthur.
"Don't be smart." It was the only warning I would get from him.
"Yes, sir. I showed him the way.
"I won't be long." Johnny Z went to the bar and slapped Arthur once. My streetwise boss fell to the floor in a slump.
“500 a night.” Johnny Z helped Arthur to his feet. "You got that? I'll be here every night to make sure I get it too"
"Yes." It was the only right answer.
The extra $500 came from allowing less desirable customers into the club for $20 each. 25 people might not seem many, but these entries proved to be trouble time and time again. Benji and I handled each intruders with force.
Johnny Z watched from the bar with amusement. All he had to do was tell the trouble-makers to leave. None of them ever questioned his command.
Johnny Z was bad news. His mission were mired in violence. He had a past, present, and future which he couldn't outrun. He was above the law, but Johnny Z misread the shitstorm coming our way.
The International was hot. The FBI were investigating police corruption. Arthur wore the wire for Internal Affairs. Our partners were Russian counterfeiters. The leader was going out with my ex-girlfriend. I was still in love with her. Benji thought I was a fool and so did Johnny Z.
"You." Johnny Z motioned for me to come over to him.
"What's wrong? Are you blind?"
"No." I knew what he was talking about.
"You should get out of here before it's too late to leave."
"What about you?"
"Tonight's my last night. It should be yours too. One more thing. That girl is never coming back to you.
The truth didn't sound any better coming from a bag of nails.
I gave my notice.
Arthur shrugged like I should have gone long before that.
I left for Paris within the week. I had a job at a nightclub in Les Halles. It was called Les Bains-Douches.
OVer the next few months I heard about the International from Scottie. Viktor Malenski's corpse was found outside the club and the FBI raided the premises a day after New Year's Eve. The Special Investigations Unit arrested two bagman for the cops. Johnny Z wasn't one of them. 30 precinct cops were dismissed without charges. No one was saying who killed Viktor.
I stayed in France for five years.
By 1990 I was out of nightclubs.
A friend, Richie Boy, hired me to work at his diamond exchange.
Part security, part schlepper.
Sleeping regular hours was a treat, although the money wasn't close to what I coined at the International, so when Scottie offered a job at his club in Beverly Hills, I accepted without reservation.
A free place to stay, good money, drugs, beautiful women, palm trees, the Pacific Ocean, and a chance to meet a film producer for my stories sounded like a dream come true.
The Milk Bar opened in January of 1995. Its New Yorkishness guaranteed an overnight success.
I met Prince, the husband of the Pakistani president, Mickey Rourke, and a good number of plenty drug dealers. My cocaine use was minute to minute. Our bouncer, Big Bernard, was a skyscraper of a Haitian. His big smile was a calling card to get into films. Everyone in LA was after the same thing.
Fame and fortune.
Bernard was a pussy hound and he had a tendency to disappear inside the club.
Scottie would come out to watch my back.
Beverly Hills was rich and soft, but gangbangers cruised the night looking for ripe targets and we were flush with cash.
Scottie was no gunman.
Neither was I.
We were in LA for easy pickings and so was our past.
One night we were talking about old time at the door, when I saw Scotty's eyes widened in disbelief.
"Damn." Scottie's mild expletive echoed Benji's 'damn' from over a decade ago.
"Let me guess."I didn't have to turn my head. Scottie's voice said everything. "It's Johnny Z."
"In the flesh."
"Damn." I turned around hoping Johnny Z was a mirage, although tipping 300 pounds the ex-cop was more a fleecy cloud. He walked with a limp, which could mean many things, but most of all that I could outrun him if necessary.
"What you looking at?"
While his blonde hair was retreating from his forehead, his voice had not lost the menace
"Nothing. I wasn't saying anything until I had to say something.
"I know you." The ragged face came from drinking for more than his health. The pummeled knuickles were the souvenirs of forgotten beatings. He was no pussy cat.
"That might be right." I kept my disatance.
"From where?" he asked with nervous apprehension looking over his shoulder. He suit shined from too many ironings.
Two well-dressed men were nearing the entrance. They looked like move producers with extraordinarily young skin from a thousand rejuvenation procedures.
"You busted Nicky Barnes," I said the legend.
"I was only small part of the operation." Johnny Z was uncomfortable that his past had tracked him down. Drug dealers had long memories. "Did you know Nicky?"
"No." Nicky Barnes was before my time.
"We had the International in New York." Scottie had never liked how Johnny Z had sucker-punched his best friend.
"That was a long time ago." The name of that infamous club jolted his memory.
"Not that long ago."
"A lifetime ago," the heavy ex-cop licked his lips, as he said, "I'm looking for work in films as a cop expert. No one out here knows about that shit. They think I'm a decorated cop. I am too, but if they were to find out other things, I'd be screwed."
"So you're asking a favor?" Scottie was fishing for an edge. Johnny Z might be over the hill, but he had friends here and in New York.
"Yes," he hissed in agreement to whatever we asked of him later.
"Then come on in. Your friends too. Free of charge."
"I'll make good for you." Johnny Z ushered in his friends. They tipped the bartenders with largesse. When he left alone, Johnny Z duked me a c-note.
"Can I ask you a question?"
"You told me to leave before the fed raided the International. That saved me a lot of trouble. Why you do that?"
"I did that?"
"Sorry, I don't remember you at all."
"I suppose that's a good thing."
"yeah, I guess it is." It wasn't easy being as hard as Johnny Z. Even nails get rusty and I wished him good luck> Scottie and I never saw him again.
Over the years I've read that he's got a good career as a consultant out in Hollywood, but I never collected his favor and I was better off for that, because no matter how out of shape Johnny Z gets, it's always best not to owe anything to a bag of nails.
THey have sharp ends.