i tipped my fuzzy hat to raymond chandler by ordering a gimlet in brooklyn last week. i botched the recipe* when i accepted the drink with ice, which could account for the mayhem that followed later that night; i mean, i'm only 75% likely to drag a random christmas tree down the street on my own. i was feeling a bit bereft, though, as i was about to finish the simple art of murder. unless i become a serious pulp archaeologist and start hunting down old issues of black mask, i'm running out of chandler - which is a damn shame. i am extremely picky about who is** and isn't*** allowed to write about california, and chandler makes most of the good guys look like amateurs. to borrow a phrase from a subway poster that always makes me giggle, when chandler is on fire, no one can touch him.****

(from "the simple art of murder," a 1944 essay on detective stories)

There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that. The growth of populations has in no way increased the amount; it has merely increased the adeptness with which substitutes can be produced and packaged.

Other things being equal, which they never are, a more powerful theme will provoke a more powerful performance. Yet some very dull books have been written about God, and some very fine ones about how to make a living and stay fairly honest.

(from "the king in yellow")

Steve stared into her eyes and said softly: "I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard."

(from "pearls are a nuisance")

I bent over and took hold of the room with both hands and spun it. When I had it nicely spinning I gave it a full swing and hit myself on the back of the head with the floor.

(from "smart-aleck kill")

There was a smell of food and liquor and perfume and face powder. The dance floor was an empty splash of amber light and looked slightly larger than a screen star's bath mat.

(from "nevada gas")

Francine Ley said: "I didn't have anything to do with it, Johnny." Her voice was as dead as the summer before last.

so if you live in los angeles i wouldn't mind having a look in your basement, is what i'm saying.

*per terry lennox in the long goodbye, "a real gimlet is half gin and half rose's lime juice and nothing else. it beats martinis hollow."

**joan didion.

***thomas pynchon. i will find you, pynchon.

****(without tongs.)


tanthalas said...

:) :( :X :! :o

kidchamp said...

had i the patience to work it out, i'd make an ASCII gimlet. easy on the ice.

Hovav said...

Wait, you live in New York. You should be able to get a proper gimlet -- or any other cocktail, for that matter. Pegu Club, Death & Co., P.D.T., Clover Club, Milk & Honey ...

kidchamp said...

the lethal cocktail, as it were, of instant gratification and sloth was what sealed my fate, H; i needed to make the gesture IMMEDIATELY, but i was unwilling to replan our evening to accommodate it. ironically, our good friend lesley is queen of cocktails in these parts. i must never tell her this story.