Friday, 17 June 2011

Charles Bukowski

Focus On Charles Bukowski

Jackie Collins
Hanks Bukowski was unusual in the world of literature, he was unusual in that he never actually wrote anything. But he talked about writing, about all the stories and the poems and the books that he was going to write, talked about them constantly, so much that people just started believing in them. Then the stories and the poems and the books started appearing, nobody knows how. Maybe people believed so strongly that they were compelled to write and publish them off their own backs, just to relieve the cognitive dissonance. Maybe he actually did write them. I don't know. I can't remember. That whole period is a blur.

It was in 1971 that hard-drinking celebrity postman Charles "Hanks" Bukowski decided to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a writer. However, after weeks of struggle the dream was still no closer to reality, so he joined the New York Dolls instead. Their only hit, a cover of Tommy Steele's Flash, Bang, Whallop!, was recorded at his insistence.

Alan Titchmarsh
Although he was the architect of their brief success, Hanks never quite fit in with the Dolls. No-one really knows anymore how he came to be in the band. One thing's for sure, though: with him around, the New York Dolls never ate a dull lunch. Hanks had a peculiar gift for sandwiches. His creativity and inventiveness were astounding. They were real works of art. Fucking amazing sandwiches.

By 1975, the Dolls were over. However, Bukowski drew on his experiences with the band for his semi-autobiographical debut novel, Music Industry (1978), which detailed the gritty, blue-collar rock 'n' roll adventures of his fictional alter-ago, Chuck Hankowski. It was an immediate bestseller, and was followed by two sequels of sorts in what was to become known as the 'trilogy': Factato (1981) and Bees (1985).

Niles off Frasier
Bees were Hanks' real passion. Man, he loved bees. And that was the first thing he did, when the money from the writing started coming in, he got himself a big old apiary. He used to take those bees out - "release the bees!" he'd yell, with this huge grin, this look of pure, innocent joy. His face would be so soft and beautiful. And he'd take them for walks, take them around town while he conducted his business. Wore them as a beard. That was his party piece. "Hey, Dave, d'you like m'beard?" "Oh, Jesus, Hanks..." And they were so angry, the angriest bees I'd ever met. Real assholes. They used to sting him, sting him up real bad. I hated them for that. Hanks doted on those asshole bees. He wouldn't stand for that kind of behaviour from a human, but he tolerated it from his bees. He loved them that much - knew every one of them by name. And that was how they repaid him.

Nevertheless, beekeeping gave the notoriously self-destructive Bukowski's life a sense of meaning he'd never known before. By 1987, he'd given up drinking, and for the next decade devoted himself to his new vocation. Then the internet came along.

Bukowski first started using the internet as a means to connect with other amateur beekeepers. But it wasn't long before this seductive new technology began to appeal to his worst instincts. Bukowski soon took to sitting up all night in his underwear, lurking in AOL chatrooms... and also, inevitably, drinking.

The bees were neglected. But without their stabilising influence, and chained to his computer, Bukowski's literary mojo returned. He produced a new novel, his last, and a work which many consider to be his finest.

Extract: Internet, 1997
The Internet is society's toilet. A place where those who can't cut it in the real world can go and float around with all the other shits. But the rules are the same. If you don't look like them, talk like them, smell like them or taste like them, you're a misfit. Grab your coat and leave, they don't want you around. I never fit in the real world or the Internet. But you get used to that feeling, and you make them used to you.
BigBallsChuck20 gets himself a whisky ;)
user71853 hey chuck i think u shuld take it easy w/that stuff
SoundgardenRule (Admin) yeh, chuck. time 2 call it a nite huh? u've had enuff, buddy
BigBallsChuck20 fuk u, i'll tell u when i'v ehad enough, n00b
SoundgardenRule (Admin) alrite, chuck - i've warned u b4. ur barred
BigBallsChuck20 left the room

But in 1998, disaster struck. Arguing with his wife one hot summer afternoon, Bukowski, drunk and raging, flung his computer through the open kitchen window. Landing among his cherished bees, the computer naturally caught fire in the heat of the LA sun. The entire apiary was destroyed.

Duff McKagan
Hanks was a broken man after that. The only healthy passion he ever had, killed by the poison that had blighted so much of his existence. Crestfallen, he retired silently to his bed that night, and that was where he stayed for the last six weeks of his life. In the final days, we gathered by his bedside and took it in turns to remind him of everything he ever did wrong. He liked that. It reinforced his self-image. He always used to say, "no man should die a stranger to himself."

Friday, 10 June 2011

Company Flow

(Company Flow/50mg) First time - Intense

I had been hearing about company flow for a while so I decided to order some from a reputable online supplier of 'research chemicals' :)

As usual, ate a light meal at 4pm, then ingested nothing else besides water and cigarettes for the rest of the night.

21:00 - Alone in the flat, put on some trippy tunes, chop out a line on my coffee table and settle back into the sofa. After a few minutes start to feel a noticeable glow. Mild dissociative effects 20 minutes later. Just over 30 minutes in, external world becomes very distant.

22:00 - Everything has broken down into pixels, the divisions between objects no longer discernible, significant or even real. The pixels are lilac-grey in colour, and vibrate at low frequency. I hear voices with great clarity, as if speaking into my ear. They say things like:
- "all is one - your secrets are ours now"
- "everything you think you are, you are not"
- "you are ridiculous"
- "you think what you do is OK, but it's not OK"
- "did you remember to put the bin out?"
- "don't bother coming back"

23:00 - I've started to come back. Realise I'm in my bedroom, with no memory of how I got there. Wearing only a nappy. Look at my wall-clock - the numbers now go up to 49. I pick up my notepad and write the following:
"I pick up my notepad and write the following:
""I pick up my notepad and write the following:
"""I pick up my notepad and write the following:
""""I pick up my notepad and write the following:
"""""I pick up my notepad and write the following:
""""""I stop writing.""""""
I stop writing. I just about manage to prepare another line, and start going back under almost immediately. Possibly made a mistake. Everything breaks down again into pixels.

01:00 - Rain?... white noise?... Room shifts 45 degrees right... shifts again 12 degrees upwards... The sound of a drum... Ghosts... A rooster explodes... Bedroom... mirror curls up like melting plastic... Man shouts: "goodbye to these!", beats himself in the balls... Mum voice: "oh, I'm very disappointed in you"... Boss voice: "I've heard all about your behaviour, and I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go"... Burning works of a once-respected academic... crowds around the bonfire... man in the flames... "now wander the hinterlands forever..."

02:00 - The pixels are slowly blurring, changing colour, melting back into discernible shapes, then more detailed objects. I am now wearing the formal evening dress of a NASA pilot circa 1968. The world still fizzes quite violently.

03:00 - Some semblance of reality has returned. I am completely naked, and realise with some alarm that I am sitting on my parents' sofa. I can hear wailing somewhere in the room, and a man I think is my dad is bellowing into my face: "look what you're doing to your mother, you little turd!" He keeps asking me questions. I respond with straightforward answers, but he just tuts and mutters: "bloody gibberish." He leaves the room, saying: "I'm doing something I should've done a long time ago, lad." I drift off into a haze, day-glo mist and neon swirls. Out of the fog appear fantastical creatures... long legs, bright colours, shifting patterns, huge, swivelling eyes... One of them is carrying what looks like a drill. Something jerks my head forward. I hear my dad's voice: "blood come out, muck come out." I try to move, but can't. A sudden, searing, white flash of pain concentrates all of my being into a single point in the back of my head. "Blood come out, muck come out. Sit still, lad."


What do you think about what you've just seen? How did it make you feel? Think about the different characters. Was Dad right to do what he did? Why do you think he did it? Think about the nightmare of drugs. Would you take drugs? Would you take drugs with me? Don't be frightened, I'll look after you.

Get into groups and talk about what you've seen today. Why not make up some characters and a story of your own? Then maybe you could take some drugs. And then come and see me. Okay?

Sponsored by the Drugs Promotionatory Council of England

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Residents

June 3, 2011

To the Occupants of Number 44 Davnet End,

It has been brought to my attention that your house is on fire.

In line with paragraph (a) of subsection 48 of the Residents' Charter, I am obliged to remind you that your friends and neighbours take great pride in the community that we have built here and will regard with concern any modifications which may adversely affect property values or attract undesirables. Failure to comply with any request from the Residents' Association will lead to action being taken against you and your family.

You are new here, we realise that you may not yet be familiar with the Charter, and for this reason we do allow newcomers a grace period of up to 6 weeks in which to properly integrate. This letter is, of course, a formality. I am quite sure that the fire is due merely to an oversight on your part and that you fully intend to remedy the situation at the earliest available opportunity.

On a lighter note, I must tell you that your daughter is a delightful girl. She looks young, but she smells mature.

I look forward to your house not being on fire.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Stevert Crosb
Chair, Moonlight Barrows Residents' Association