Monday, January 30, 2012

The Last Bukowski Book

 I finally found the last Bukowski book I haven’t read yet:  ‘Hollywood’.  There it stood high atop a hill of books, a shining beacon into the dull, smoggy haze of my valley.  It was right up there on the top shelf and a ladder climb was necessary to reach the damn thing.  I asked the clerk at St.George’s Bookstore in P’berg if customers were allowed to climb the ladders and rummage through the top shelf books.  ‘Break a leg’ he said.  ‘Great,’ I thought, ‘at 260 lbs. I bloody well might.’

I climbed down the rickety ladder clutching ‘Hollywood’ in my cold, clammy palm (it was minus 5 outside and I sweat anyway.  That’s how one gets cold and clammy palms.)  I couldn’t believe it, so I had to say it out loud.  “Wow!  I finally found the last Bukowski book I haven’t read!  I’ve been looking for years in every English language bookstore in Europe!’  The clerk flashed me an unimpressed smirk.  Perhaps he was waiting for me to fall off the ladder to add some Vaudevillian amusement to his quiet bookstore wasted English degree life.

‘Hollywood’ was written by Monsignor Bukowski, the High Priest of the Low Life (I just made that up and I expect it to soon be added to his long list of titles, right under ‘The Drunk Poet Laureate’) while he was writing the screenplay for the biopic film ‘Barfly’ about his drunken life as a writer or his life as a drunken writer, not sure which.  It’s a bit hazy (heh).  I have always idolized Bukowski and the film ‘Barfly’ is considered by me and several of my closest friends to be the All Time Best Movie to Pass Out Watching After Drinking.

The book was also in the used section, which is unheard of for Bukowski books in the English language bookstores of Europe.  Usually you can find a Bukowski book or two (usually ‘Ham on Rye’ or ‘Women’) for the nicely marked-up premium import price of 20 or 30 EUR per book.  So I was doubly pleased to find ‘Hollywood’ at the nicely marked up, premium USED import price of only 6.50 EUR.  Sure, that’s triple what you’d pay in any second hand bookstore in the States, but hey, we’re not.

Once I asked a Prague English bookstore clerk why I could never find any Bukowski, Kerouac or Hunter S. Thompson in the used section.  And why they had only new ones hidden behind the counter, requiring me to ask about them every time and thereby looking like some kind of drunken wannabe writer stereotype.  He flashed the international smirk of the wasted English degree clerk and said ‘Cuz lowlife mutha fuckas kept stealing them all.’

So now I have it in my grasp, the Holy Grail of Holy Shit, what promises to be a great mix of the bacchanalian excesses of one of the most famous modern writers and the cocaine-and-hooker-fueled corruption of the California Casting Couch.

I can’t wait.  I’m almost afraid to crack open the damn book.  Because the mother fucker just might be in Deutsch.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Best Spaeti in Berlin

When you want to buy things at night in Berlin, you go to the spaetkauf (late shop), or spaeti for short.  In short order you get your fix:  caffeine, nicotine, alcohol.  The best spaeti are open 24 hours for your addiction pleasure.  Some spaeti are open round the clock, while others tow the line and close at a more respectable midnight.

In order to have a Best Spaeti you must necessarily have a Worst Spaeti.  The worst ones are on the main streets and have internet cafes and telephone booths inside.  This is great if you happen to be completely without internet connection in the 21st century or like to make phone calls inside of sweaty wooden boxes.  That’s ok if you do.  I’m not your judge.  These bad spaeti charge double for the same beer you would buy at the good spaeti. And it's piss warm.  Even the ones in the back of the fridge.

The Best Spaeti in Berlin is on a side street off of the four streets junction in Northern Prenzlauer Berg.  The four streets meet and change all in one intersection:  to the North, Schoenhauser Allee becomes Berliner strasse; from the West, Bornholmer strasse hits the intersection and moseys on into Wisyber strasse proper.  This rare occurrence of major streets meeting and changing names is referred to as a Deutschenklusterfick.  Just as was depicted in Scorcese’s “Gangs of New York”, four gangs met at a crossroads to fight it out:  The Shoenhausers, the Bornholmers, the Real Berliners and the Wisbyers. The leaders of each gang all died in the muck and mud of the intersection and...

After the battle the men were mighty thirsty.  The survivors drank beer at a spaeti around the corner.  This historical spaeti had a cardboard cutout of a fine young damsel holding a beer and sign which read ‘160 brands of beer.’

To this day you can find it.  This is my favorite spaeti because you can get Bavarian monk beer in devilishly strong varieties.  If you’re feeling a bit peckish you can get warm German and Russian food made by a guy with a mullet and a greasy apron.  I won’t tell you the name of the Best Spaeti in Berlin because A) I may not remember the name; B) the responsible blogger doesn’t lead the tourists to The Good Shit.  But you’ve got the history, the intersection, and, hopefully by now, a powerful thirst.


(hint: you walk down Schoenhauser Allee until it becomes Berliner strasse.  Then you take one of the side streets nearby.  Look for the cardboard chick with the beers.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Sum Total of Human Knowledge on Strike

I was just now going to wikipedia, as one does when, well, you know.  I was probably looking up some factoid to include in the non-bullshit segment of the Dunkin’ Berliner Blog, just to make sure I had my facts straight, in order to keep this here blog from tumbling into the Abyss of Total Bullshit (or bullscheisse as the locals say).  I got the Wikipedia Blackout Page.

And it started off as such a good day:  9am, down to the donut pusher; drei pfannkuchen mit kirsch, bitte, chuckles from the staff at my lousy pronunciation, me clearing my throat and throwing such a DRRRRRReeeiiii at them that the staff and customers had the biggest chuckle that this here one man donut theater has ever witnessed in the presence of fresh donuts; back to the flat to push the last bit of code over the cliff and launch my long-awaited (mainly by myself) new photography website into the cyberwaves; bowl of Turkish coffee Czech style, throw a fistful of espresso and boiling water into the biggest fuckoff coffee mug I could find at the Boxhagener flea market for under ein Euro, a veritable Cornucopia of Christian Crank, as it were; chase out the cobwebs and become the productive human I always knew I would be; last bits of website done by noon, all contacts in address book spammed profusely by 1pm.

Met my photographer buddy for tea and crumpets (I don’t even know WTF a crumpet is but it looks good when I write it); discussed the downfall of Western Civilization and/or the need for more work in the barren Berlin wastelands; went out for Vietnamese food; returned home...

BLACKOUT.  I couldn’t get The Knowledge.  Instead, I got the stark blackout page announcing a protest of some dumbass legislation in Amerkkka about the internet.   I’m not going to analyze it overmuch; I’m just an educated hick from Sacramento with a penchant for deep fried lard pastry and too much time on his hands.

For the record:  I tried to contact my Congressman but I don’t have one; if I did I’d surely be on his hit list.  I wanted to fb the hell out of it, but I was thrown such a shit storm of illegible captcha that I thought the Black House was taken over by Sharia law.  Try this:  hit refresh over and over in the captcha form.  Watch it degrade into a bigger and bigger mush of squiggly lines.

“And they were singin’ bye, bye Miss American Pie, drove a Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.”

“You can have my [insert sacred item here*] when you pry it from my cold, dead hand.”

[Fade to black]

*suggestions:  donut, gun, internet, brain, money, doobie, booby, crucifix