So Jim Carroll died.
In 1997 I saw him perform both spoken word and his music at the Magic Stick in Detroit. He told a story about meeting William Burroughs and how his father once met the famous gangster, Dutch Schultz, and his fear that Burroughs would call him out based on his description of Schultz’s desk by saying something like (and imagine Jim Carroll doing a really good William Burroughs impersonation as you read this), ‘You dumb bastard, Dutch Schultz had a cherry desk not walnut!’
Mike Watt opened the show doing some of his solo work. He was drunk. Very, very drunk.
In 1998 I finally condescended to watch the movie version of The Basketball Diaries. it was better than I expected although I still believes that the ending is total crap.
In 1995 I bought my copy of the book, the only edition I could find at the bookstore in Port Huron was the one with Leonardo DiCaprio looking like a teen pin-up on the cover. I stole some construction paper from my mom’s craft supplies and made a book cover that I glued on. There was one passage about writing and how it was like starting with an empty room and the words were the building blocks and the paint and the furniture. I can’t find it right now, but i still remember reading it at 18 and thinking, ‘Yes.’
In 1997 I brought my construction paper covered copy of the book with me to the show. On the back I had written, ‘I just want to be pure.’ At the end of the show, people rushed up to say hello and or get autographs, and I looked down at my mutilated copy of the book and decided just to put it back in my bag and leave it. I should have gone up to the front of the room and at least shaken his hand and said thanks. I regret not doing that.
And, of course, in 2009, I am sad that he has passed but glad that he lived longer than many probably expected. And glad that I bought that book, even with its stupid cover and glad that I got to see him perform even once at a smelly pool hall in Detroit.