Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cold Chow Mein...

Recently I was playing the Tom Waits Game with Nate Flexer's deliciously deranged 'The Disassembled Man'. I counted 3 direct Tom Waits references, but I may have missed a couple. Let me know if you found more.


Maybe it's being disconnected from the constant novelty of the internet for a few days after moving apartment, but it made me reminisce about my first trip to Hong Kong. I was about as excited as I ever get for anything, but the thought occurred: What is there to actually do in HK? I mean, there's no Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Tate Modern, Secret Palace, MOMA, Empire State Buildings or anything of a par. In fact, apart from the movies and the je ne sais quoi, what is there?

As would any sane man, I asked myself the question: What would Tom Waits do?

And St Tom in his benevolence has given us the answer: Shore Leave, a Hong Kong drizzle in Cuban heels.

I don't wear Cuban heels, but otherwise I didn't do too bad on my HK/TW to do list.

in bad need of a shave    - check. No problem there.

and so I slopped at the corner on cold chow mein   - Oh yes. Multiple success.

and shot billiards with a midget
until the rain stopped    
-  Ok, I wouldn't quite call him a midget. And we didn't actually play billiards. This one is harder than you'd think.
and I bought a long sleeved shirt   
- Yes
with horses on the front    
- No
and some gum and a lighter and a knife  
- Yes, and yes. But no knife. Too 70s.
and a new deck of cards with girls on the back 
- Aha. Yes, a collection of Japanese erotica playing cards. Unfortunately they were heavily censored.
and I sat down and wrote a letter to my wife  
- skipped this one, as S.O. and I were sharing a room there didn't seem much point.

and I had a cold one at the Dragon   - Couldn't find THE Dragon, but certainly A Dragon
with some Filipino floor show   
- I've seen too many of those already, thanks
and talked baseball with a lieutenant
over a Singapore sling  
- Not a Lt. but otherwise yes. Hurray for Singapore Slings.
and I wondered how the same moon outside 
over this Chinatown fair
could look down on Illinois
and find you there  
- Don't know anybody in Illinois. Not very well, anyway. But close enough. I think I saw the moon. Or a moon. Something round, after several or more Singapore Slings.


Other occasions Tom has helped me out: I've never fallen in love with a Gun Street girl (again), never trusted a man in a blue trench coat, dangling from a rope of sand was enormous fun, and he helped me to fall out of windows with confetti in my hair. To date,  I have also never driven a car when I'm dead. Can't wait for my forthcoming trips to Singapore, Underground, and the Red Barn.

God bless our Tom.

3 comments:

  1. Nice piece, mate. I love Tom Waits but have never thought about playing the Tom Waits game. I'll have to try that next time I'm stuck somewhere.
    Andrew
    www.pulpcurry.com

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  2. Waits is the music for lonely, deranged people. I love him.

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  3. Tom Waits seems to be theme of the month. Just as I come to reply I find another reference - less subtle than Nate Flexer's game of 'insert your favourite lyrics into your novel' - in my current read: Josh Stallings' 'Beautful, Naked & Dead':

    "I called the cops from a payphone outside a liquor store. When they asked for my name I said it was Tom Waits, and that I lived at the corner of Heart Attack and Vine."

    Lonely and deranged? Guilty as charged, only round here we call it well-adjusted.

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