Rickie Lee Jones (1978)

“REAL LIFE”

Slunk back, Chuck stretched out his arms and draped it over Rickie who sat beside him on a broken down couch riddled with tears and unidentifiable stains. The eccentrically dressed pair, who were enjoying the third day of a five-day drunk, had just returned to their dingy West Hollywood apartment for lunch after several late a.m. eye-openers at Danny’s All-Star Joint to continue an argument about Beat Poetry. Kind of Blue played softly on the hi-fi in the corner of the bare-wood floored room.

“It’s wrong to romanticise dilapidation,” began Chuck with the emphasis that only George Dickel can inspire. “To celebrate aimlessness.”

“Why not, baby?” slurred Rickie, she paused to light a clove cigarette and exhaled dramatically. “Even T.S. Eliot admitted he was ‘no lord attending’. We aren’t all heroes, can’t all be kings and lead armies. Most of us are under-riders who kiss boys behind the magazines.”

Rickie had a laid back way of speaking which alternately rushed and lagged as if her ideas were coming fast but jumbled. To hear her talk, you might guess she was “Mac” Rebennack’s mush-mouthed younger sister straight outta N’awlins, that is if you didn’t know she was born in Chicago and raised in Phoenix.

“That is exactly the kind of nonsense I’m talking about,” Chuck countered simply as he rose to fetch a couple of Mickey’s Big Mouths from the fridge. “No. Most of us are quietly desperate (to paraphrase Eliot again), not loudly desperate. We somehow get through the day, work, eat, shit, watch TV, listen to top 40 radio, go to bed. This idea that somehow people with berets and soul patches live in places called ‘Coolsville’ and grandly hold forth in the bars and street corners on existential matters while listening to jazz music in the middle of the day is frankly cartoonish.” He opened both bottles and handed one to Rickie.

“Me, I like Bugs Bunny,” replied Rickie with perfect timing before taking a slug of the malt liquor. “It takes a lot of thought and money to make good cartoons, to produce something that slick. And you have to have A-list people to help you, lover. Yeah, there are plenty o’ shitty ‘toons like the Smurfs and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe; but, you know, you can learn more from Daffy Duck than Julian Barnes any day.”

“Anyway, Cecil and Bragger are comin’ over with Sal from the barrio soon. We’re goin’ to Nyro’s Nook to talk about our failed dreams and I don’t want you lousin’ things up with your ‘realistic’ view of life. This isn’t ‘real life’, baby. It’s much more interesting.”

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Published in: on January 26, 2012 at 10:09 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] I have Merle to thank for my enthusiasm for George Dickel‘s whisky (alluded to in the Rickie Lee Jones post). His quip (in the excellent The Tenacity of the Cockroach) that he keeps “a shot of […]


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