In the eighties I managed a cafeteria in a dormitory on the Boulevard St. Michel in Paris. We only served a continental breakfast in those days, but earlier in the century the dorm provided three hot meals a day for its several hundred residents, and the abandoned institutional kitchen in the basement was a source of spooky fascination.
Kind of a "Shining" vibe here.
A bin full of sawdust, for what purpose I don't know, unless it was for that time-honored tradition of absorbing vomit off the floor upstairs:
Drawers full of unused silver. Bet that drawer is empty today.
The building's main elevator would take you down there, but the only way down from the cafeteria was via a very rickety old spiral staircase, and it was dark as hell down there. I am not ashamed to admit that I was scared shitless every time I had to go down there by myself.
As always, click to enlarge! (Images copyright Scott Phillips, 2010)
Friday, April 9, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Just out from McSweeney's: Millard Kaufman's last novel, Misadventure. Kaufman had a brilliant Hollywood career, helping to create Mr. Magoo, writing the screenplay for, among many other fine pictures, "Bad Day at Black Rock," and even serving as a front for his blacklisted pal, Dalton Trumbo. His acclaimed first novel, "Bowl of Cherries," came out when he was ninety, and sadly its follow-up is being published posthumously. But what a followup! Eddie Muller, the Czar of Noir, says:
"Millard Kaufman understands that in a noir world—like, say, Los Angeles in the 1980s—the only hope for sanity is a sense of humor. Having lived through the city's earlier and equally absurd mid-century mores, he is more than qualified to skewer and roast its later incarnation. For a man in his nineties, Kaufman writes with all the verve and venom of a precocious 25-year-old; his story is good—but his storytelling is a non-stop delight."
I believe the book was written circa 1980 (see Eddie's reference to its time frame) and updated shortly before Kaufman's death to set it between the two Gulf wars. Here's my blurb, which will, I guess, appear on the paperback, having been written too late to appear on the jacket:
"Though it's only Millard Kaufman's second novel, 'Misadventure' came after a lifetime of writing about the light and dark sides of humanity, and in it the dark side plainly has the upper hand. Fast, nasty and funny as hell, it's a brand new classic of the noir genre, and I wish the author had lived on to write ten more just like it."
Like I said, it's a gas! So head on out to your local independent bookseller and buy a copy already!