Thursday, September 9, 2010

I am Arturo Bandini

The magnolias say "Hi!"

John Fante, Dreams from Bunker Hill
Dr. John, Tribal
Robert Plant, Band of Joy (from NPR)

I am Arturo Bandini, or at least this morning I was. Wrenched up in a panic. Inner compass pointing toward magnetic Everything. I got choked up over that stupid U2/Green day "The Saints are Coming" song. I'm as Go Saints as someone who really doesn't care about football can be but if I am undone by a U2 ballad and it's not 1987 and I haven't been sitting out all night in front of Paradise Records to buy tickets for their Thanksgiving show then something else is awry. I just need to wade out to the shore and shoot crabs with a pellet gun like Fante's (and literature's) greatest hero Arturo Bandini did in The Road to Los Angeles. Blow off a little steam. As much as I love that book and the other two from the Arturo Bandini saga (Ask the Dust and Wait Until Spring, Bandini. Is  Full of Life about him too, though?) I'm only now just getting to Bunker Hill. There is more sex and less ecstatic madness in our hero during the years Bandini (and Fante) spent writing for the movies, but the two to cross paths. In a Hollywood church, praying for work that will fulfill him:

I murmured a Hail Mary and found it interrupted by [his boss' secretary] Themla Farber. Hail Mary full of grace and Thelma Farber naked in my arms. Holy Mary, Mother of God, kissing Thelma Farber's breasts, groping at her body and running my hands along her thighs. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death and my lips moved to Thelma's loins and I kissed her ecstatically. I was lost, writhing. I felt my body kneeling there, the hardness in my loins, the fullness of an erection, the absurdity of it, the maddening dichotomy. I arose and dashed out of there, down to my car, and drove off, frightened, shaking, absurd.
It is maybe important to note that Fante had been four years blind and two years legless from diabetes when he dictated this book to his wife Joyce from his sickbed. It made me want to go back and read Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, a book hilariously commandeered by the maddening dichotomy of boners. That book weirdly came up in a Daily Show clip making the rounds, about the idiot in Florida who wants to burn Korans on 9/11.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Weekend at Burnies
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

To said idiot: if you do go through with it, can you at least stack them in a way to spell out the world hubris in flames?

Y'know, the new Dr. John album is pretty tight, and I'm not enough a fan to categorically think that of his every recording. As is this from his 1971 album The Sun, Moon & Herbs.

The Robert Plant album isn't bad either - I believe Robert Plant will eventually do an album with Los Lobos and through that some eighth seal will be broken and it will all go Next Level on us - but NPR is probably the exact right place to listen to it, if you dig. Anyway, I feel much better now, Thanks, everybody.

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