Sunday, June 24, 2007

it's been an orgy

On Friday I finally managed to drag myself down to Kayo Books and buy my father a belated combination Father's Day and birthday present. Ever since I discovered the one-of-a-kind Kayo Books, specializing in ancient, lurid paperbacks, I have never had a problem shopping for my father, who cannot get enough old Westerns, the older the better.

I myself have an obsession with out-of-print Richard Stark novels, and normally I have terrible luck at Kayo. Usually I pick up a dozen or so Westerns dating from around WWII for my father, and I ask the owner, "Excuse me, I just don't see any Richard Starks here", and the owner inevitably says, "Oh, we normally have so many, but a big collector came in yesterday and got every single one." But this time, I found FIVE Starks I hadn't read, one a hardback reprint from the U.K., from which I learned that in the '90s a British publisher put out hardback versions of all the out-of-print Starks AND that my favorite, "Slayground", was actually filmed, starring one of my favorite actors, Peter Coyote. How did I not know that? I suspect it may not have been a shining hour for either the author (who never seems to mention that film, while he does bring up that Robert Redford played Dortmunder in the film version of "The Hot Rock" from time to time) or the actor (similarly Peter C. did not mention it in his autobiography, while he certainly did rattle on about being in "E.T.") I'll have to make some inquiries with the Film Noir Society people. I can't let this go, as the combination is so striking of my beloved author with the actor I once had a bit of a fixation upon [In the waning days of my first marriage, I saw "Bitter Moon" and developed an interest in Peter Coyote. I figured that since he lived in Marin, perhaps I would cross his path sooner or later, and then we'd be cavorting about in pigs masks together. In fact, he literally did cross my path once, but it wasn't until I was re-married and in the ninth month of pregnancy with Iris Uber Alles, lumbering through a peace demonstration in Berkeley in the blazing heat. I was huge, sweaty, and having contractions, and the long-suffering Sober Husband was stressing over whether he'd be able to get me to the car before I either had the baby or a psychotic episode, and just then, my once beloved Peter Coyote swept by, giving us a dismissive look as though pregnancy were politically incorrect (and come to think of it, pregnancy is pretty politically incorrect in these parts)].

In any event, over the past few days, I've read four Richard Starks, even going so far as to read one of these priceless antiques while caramelizing onions, at risk of olive oil splattering those rare pages (nothing stays in archival condition in my home, alas). This immersion in the world of the ultimate noir thug, Parker, is having a bit of an effect upon me. Like Parker, a man of few words, I'm not feeling so chatty, and it's becoming more and more clear to me that I should start stashing little funds here and there for rainy days, assemble some fake IDs, and put together a string. Of course, my fingerprints have been on file ever since I took the bar exam, but having his fingerprints on record with the State of California hasn't held Parker back.

1 comment:

mahog said...

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