Monday, September 14, 2009

Mind Chew Melt

Working on the pilot script and series arc, where with the help of my lovely collaborator, I've broken through a large gray wall that has stymied me for weeks. Still, as I've repeatedly said, this is easily the hardest project I've ever tackled. Shoulder separation and broken teeth are the least of it. So today is a linky day.

Brother Buck does some remembering of his own, writing about our move to Manhattan 27 years ago this week. Jim gets it pretty much right, including the description of my car, a rotting tank that delivered us to our new lives amid the junkies and bad poets. (Within 48 hours of our arrival, the beast was stripped then stolen -- a sacrifice to the Lower East Side gods.) We did indeed get stopped in Jersey, my car violating various laws, or so the Jersey troopers said. It was a dented, rusted monster, but it ran well for the most part. The troopers weren't interested in my car's durability; they were convinced that we were running stolen goods and packing loads of drugs.

The latter part was true -- well, an ounce of weed I'd bought in Indianapolis. Back then, I regularly smoked while driving, my ashtray filled with roaches and freshly-rolled joints. I'm sure the troopers got a sense of this while searching the car, its interior absorbing years of smoke. But fortunately for us, there were no roaches to be found, and when the cop lights flashed behind us, I shoved the ounce into an 8-track tape cassette under the passenger seat.

If the troopers had dogs, they would've easily found the weed. But they relied on their own noses, and gave up after seeing the dozens of 8-tracks littering my car. As Jim says, one tried to get us to confess to possession. Having discovered the ACLU only a year or so before, and having been in similar situations while in the Army, I knew better than that, as did Jim. Today's cops wouldn't be as easy to bluff.

Jim Carroll is a person who died. A contemporary of Patti Smith's, celebrated by Ginsberg and Burroughs, Carroll embodied 1970s NYC downtown culture. I knew nothing of Carroll until I saw him perform on "Fridays," February 6, 1981. I instantly loved The Jim Carroll Band, as did my friend and comedy collaborator Mike Owens, who owned a cassette of "Catholic Boy" which he constantly played in his yellow VW bug, rotating with Squeeze's "Argy Bargy" and The Clash's "London Calling."

Here's a photo of Mike, Jim, and me in 1980, fucking around for a friend of Mike's, who was, as memory serves, going to shoot some comedy video of us, which never happened.

And here's The Jim Carroll Band on "Fridays." Not the best visual quality, but the sound still cuts. "It's too late to fall in love with Sharon Tate." Ditto Jim Carroll.