Brendan Behan's 90th birthday

blinding

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I had a very accidental and pleasing event some years ago. As I said, i try to indulge myself every year so with a bar stool and O'Brien. This particular day in the late 90s saw me in the middle of a six month assignment just outside San Fran. Place called Sunnyvale. It is a Saturday and I drag myself to the train for a trip into San Fransisco itself. I find a comfortable stool in a place which has taps on the counter and generally a Victorian feel.

The bar was called Vesuvius. Unknown to me at that time, while I was enjoying a great work of literature I was sitting in the place where Kerouac started to write "On the Road".

But - and this may sound like a trend - the afternoon had different connotations.

While I was reading at the bar, the barman and the barmaid staged a very odd conversation right in front of me. He asked her what time she was finishing work at and what her plans were afterwards. She replied that she was finishing within the hour and had zero plans. He expressed mock surprise that such a beautiful young woman had no plans on a Saturday. It was all very arch.

I looked up from my book. They were directly in front of me, with him jerking his head in her direction.

I took the hint (more of a direct order in reality), and suggested that this Irishman knew little about the city and could possibly profit from a local guide.

That was the second time that a copy of O'Brien ended up in the pocket of a jacket of mine hung on the chair of a beautiful young woman.

The book should be diamond shaped and pale blue.
Was she a Hooker that worked in a Bar ? ?
 


soubresauts

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I had a very accidental and pleasing event some years ago. As I said, i try to indulge myself every year so with a bar stool and O'Brien. This particular day in the late 90s saw me in the middle of a six month assignment just outside San Fran. Place called Sunnyvale. It is a Saturday and I drag myself to the train for a trip into San Fransisco itself. I find a comfortable stool in a place which has taps on the counter and generally a Victorian feel.

The bar was called Vesuvius. Unknown to me at that time, while I was enjoying a great work of literature I was sitting in the place where Kerouac started to write "On the Road".
Was it not the Vesuvio Cafe? Anyway, sooner a volcano name than an earthquake name.

And I'd imagine that Jack started to write his book while he was still on the road, no?

Your editor should make these corrections when you submit your draft. You are writing a book, aren't you?

Better to be an impoverished writer than a Silicon Valley nerd who tries to control how people live their lives.
 

CatullusV

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Was she a Hooker that worked in a Bar ? ?
No. My impression of such an arrangement would be that there would of necessity been an exchange of money between us for the purpose of obtaining sexual services. No such exchange of cash took place.

Perhaps you would like to make the accusation directly to her?
 

CatullusV

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Was it not the Vesuvio Cafe? Anyway, sooner a volcano name than an earthquake name.

And I'd imagine that Jack started to write his book while he was still on the road, no?

Your editor should make these corrections when you submit your draft. You are writing a book, aren't you?

Better to be an impoverished writer than a Silicon Valley nerd who tries to control how people live their lives.
Vesuvio. Yes.

The rest of your post? What the...?
 

Antóin Mac Comháin

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And I'd imagine that Jack started to write his book while he was still on the road, no?
I think he wrote it at home in 2-3 weeks? Castaneda and Huxley were more my cup of tea, or I never got around to Ginsberg and Kerouac. Pirsig had the same On The Road thing going on, minus the shadow of Burroughs and he turned me off the other pair. There's a great documentary on Netflix called Murder Mountain which charts the establishment of a commune in the 1960's into the 21st century.
 

GabhaDubh

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Was she a Hooker that worked in a Bar ? ?
Several years ago, I was in San Francisco for business. A old school friend who was a teacher out there, met me for Happy Hour at my hotel on Nob Hill. To put it in perspective the price of a Coke, could buy a couple of Pints back home. To our Left was a stunning woman in a black evening gown. Couple of cocktails later, my friend decided that he had chance of getting lucky. I discretely asked the Bartender her hourly rate, turns out it was more than my nightly room rate. My friend was devastated, he thought it was his Irish charm.
 

CatullusV

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Just persiflage.

It's a long time since I was in Silicon Valley but I take a jaundiced view of what Messrs Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. are up to these days.
Oh, I hate those machines. Believe me that I barely spent a comfortable moment in Silicon Valley. I work in IT - but very old IT.
 

Antóin Mac Comháin

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The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge by Carlos Castaneda. Audiobook HD

Carlos Castaneda A Separate Reality Conversations with Don Juan Audiobook

Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda. Audiobook

For fans of the Beat generation.
 

Dearghoul

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Do you have The Best of Myles? It was an anthology of Flann O'Brian's newspaper columns and I took it down a few days ago. Still fresh and hilarious after all these years.

I can;t find the ones where he suggested:
  1. that we Hide Ireland Again, in the manner of Daniel Corkey, and
  2. that the whole country go to bed for a week, except for bread men and milkmen.
These prove to me that Myles was decades ahead of his time, and it is his spirit we need today. :)
Indeed, and that's great reading.

Never was there a more pressing need for 'The Myles na gCopaleen institute for the post war world'
 

CatullusV

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A few years ago - maybe fifteen years ago - my partner and I took a trip to Salzburg as a New Year treat (thank you, Ryanair for tickets costing one cent plus taxes). The place was beautiful. On one of the days we visited an art gallery. It tended to the modern. There was an installation there. Something like a small marquee. Inside it was a mockup of a living room. There were a couple of comfie chairs, a lamp or two, a rug, a coffee table.

There were also two wall of bookshelves, which was the point of the exhibit. The bookshelves were filled with books of a certain specificity. They were books which should be read but rarely are. Thus, you had worthies such as Dickens, Tolstoy, Shakespeare. Darwin featured.

Visitors were invited to add to the exhibit either by making suggestions or actually adding a book.

O'Brien, to my great surprise, was there. My surprise was on the twin bases that, firstly, I was surprised that his works had such recognition, and that secondly he is nothing if not an easy read. Still, it was recognition.
 

CatullusV

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I think he wrote it at home in 2-3 weeks? Castaneda and Huxley were more my cup of tea, or I never got around to Ginsberg and Kerouac. Pirsig had the same On The Road thing going on, minus the shadow of Burroughs and he turned me off the other pair. There's a great documentary on Netflix called Murder Mountain which charts the establishment of a commune in the 1960's into the 21st century.
Pirsig had his moments, although his writing could be too dense for a sustained sitting. The first chapter of "Zen and the Art of..." is a beautiful exposition and almost reminiscent of Maupassant with its descriptive detail. Yet, like some German or Danish breads one small slice is enough.
 

owedtojoy

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A few years ago - maybe fifteen years ago - my partner and I took a trip to Salzburg as a New Year treat (thank you, Ryanair for tickets costing one cent plus taxes). The place was beautiful. On one of the days we visited an art gallery. It tended to the modern. There was an installation there. Something like a small marquee. Inside it was a mockup of a living room. There were a couple of comfie chairs, a lamp or two, a rug, a coffee table.

There were also two wall of bookshelves, which was the point of the exhibit. The bookshelves were filled with books of a certain specificity. They were books which should be read but rarely are. Thus, you had worthies such as Dickens, Tolstoy, Shakespeare. Darwin featured.

Visitors were invited to add to the exhibit either by making suggestions or actually adding a book.

O'Brien, to my great surprise, was there. My surprise was on the twin bases that, firstly, I was surprised that his works had such recognition, and that secondly he is nothing if not an easy read. Still, it was recognition.
O'Brien's problem is that he never got out of Dublin, and never acquired international stature like Joyce, Yeats or Beckett. Behan did, but was eventually drawn back to Dublin. Seamus Heaney was of a different era entirely.

When "At Swim Two Birds" did get some internation renown, many dismissed it as sub-Joycean pastiche. Only later did it receive the recognition of a great comic novel in its own right.

I often feel Joyce never returned to Dublin because he dreaded sinking into the provinciality, the isolation artists suffered and the eternal pub-round. If he knew of O'Brien, I am sure he did not envy a civil servant and part-time writer with a weakness for alcohol.
 

CatullusV

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O'Brien's problem is that he never got out of Dublin, and never acquired international stature like Joyce, Yeats or Beckett. Behan did, but was eventually drawn back to Dublin. Seamus Heaney was of a different era entirely.

When "At Swim Two Birds" did get some internation renown, many dismissed it as sub-Joycean pastiche. Only later did it receive the recognition of a great comic novel in its own right.

I often feel Joyce never returned to Dublin because he dreaded sinking into the provinciality, the isolation artists suffered and the eternal pub-round. If he knew of O'Brien, I am sure he did not envy a civil servant and part-time writer with a weakness for alcohol.
Aye. O'Brien is at least included in the Oxford Book of Humorous Prose and is given quite a tribute in it. I find it difficult to convey my admiration of his writing. One of the pleasures of my life was meeting a woman who had never heard of him. Her being French, that was permitted. I drip fed her his works over time. She married me in the end. Despite At Swim Two Ducks. She never took to that.
 

Antóin Mac Comháin

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Pirsig had his moments, although his writing could be too dense for a sustained sitting. The first chapter of "Zen and the Art of..." is a beautiful exposition and almost reminiscent of Maupassant with its descriptive detail. Yet, like some German or Danish breads one small slice is enough.
I don't think it's for everybody and I didn't read any of his material beyond that book, in a similar way that Castaneda isn't for everyone. If you don't like A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, you won't like the rest. His material wasn't penned with novels in mind. He was an anthropologist. I liked the Kerouac reading above, but can't imagine myself reading him.
 


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