Copyright 2019 Francis DiMenno





Bands:Book my band, we are number one/Take me on, I’m the best around/Drink all the beer and wine you choose/Drown yourselves in yards of booze/Book my band we are really fun/Please give me an extended run/Drink all the beer and wine you choose/Drown yourselves in yards of booze/Promise us a guarantee/They just booked us down the block/Let your father pay the tab/Get the owners out of hock


My club should be filled/With happy stage divers/But you have filled it with connivers!/Shut up! Shut up!

I’m almost out of here/Getting sick of beer/I have booked this place for three years/Now I’m 30, now I’m 30…/



Book my band or we can’t get booked/Pay up front or we’re going to walk/Someone said that your Daddy’s rich/Pay up front or we’re gonna talk/I’m in the tank and I can’t make bail/Stranded here and I can’t pay rent/Someone said that your daddy’s rich/Take the loot and let’s all get bent/Will you book will you pay me Budd,/Will you book will you feed me Budd,/Won’t you book you can pay my bills,/Won’t you look you can cure my ills


I don’t like you—or your music/It’s all too damn—confusin’/Book yourselves!



My father is crazy, thinks that I’m lazy/Thinks that you are scary/I think that he’s right and I’m going to leave/


Then I’ll have to stay up all night,/Stay and knock on your door all night


You can try, you can try,/But I won’t let you in no-how



I do not love to know him/If I even turn him on/He’ll never change—/he’s so deranged/I haven’t got a wink of sleep/He’s knocking at my door/Oh, how I’d love to lose him/Can’t he see how he hounds me/A crazy man, a lazy man,/If he doesn’t treat me like a whore,/Is he a fairy boy—/or just a bore?/Should I go berserk,/ should I lose my keys,/I should break my leg,/I should break his knees/Oh how I hope he’ll go away/Hope he’ll leave me be—/I for one think that he’s crazy/It’s a part of his condition/He has always been/So mad, so crazed,/ I’m so amazed/That he can book a show/He doesn’t know/I always hoped he’d give me up/Wished he’d leave me be/But since the day he’s met me/He’s been almost single-minded/I’m his hope—his only hope/I’ll drive him mad—I’ll go away/I’m going to have to go/He makes me mad/He makes me sad/His love is bad



If I start to book I have to have control/I can’t be treated like some kind of scruffy prole/I’ll have to stop the work I’m doing on my book/I can’t be treated like some sort of nerdy schnook/You can’t afford to pay me what you really should/So my reward will be to try to do some good/I just hope that I’m/Paid for all my time/

I have to book I have to be the only one/People might start to say it isn’t fun/I would be surprised if Billy thought so too/Billy is the one who hooked me up with you/You can’t afford to pay me what you really should/So my reward will be to try to do some good/I just hope that I’m/Paid for all my time

Michael you’re a vet a couple years at work/Eric you’re my roommate and you’re not a jerk/We have to make a profit/We have to pay the crew/And if it means don’t pay the bands that’s what we gotta do/You can’t afford to pay me what you really should/So my reward will be to try to do some good/I just hope that I’m/Paid for all my time


I don’t want to hear it, of course we will pay you/Just don’t make me count receipts at the door


His dad has the papers he needs to commit him/You know his habits—habits and more.


We’ll tell everyone it’s an interim booking


We’ll pay you a salary, Fridays at four/We just need to know when he’ll be at Foley’s

Mike:If they catch him drinking


They’ll put him in jail.


I don’t need this assignment


Think for a minute—you’ll get paid from the bar.


I don’t want this assignment


You might as well do it/You’re the best one so far


Think of the bands you could bring with your bookings/Hardcore and reggae;/ Upside-Down Cross/And if you hate reggae and if you hate hardcore/Then simply don’t pay ‘em cause you are the, you are the, you are the boss.


On Saturday he is always at Foley’s/Far far away from the Moynihans and Smoleys


Let’s go get him, let’s go get him


Club staff:

We don’t want to have to mind our manners/We just want to eat and drink for free/And we want to get all our pay each Friday/That’s the only think on which we all agree/Glad we work here part-time at the Middle/Glad that all our friends get in for free/Glad that we can give all the bands the what for/That’s the only thing on which we all agree


I’m nuts/I’d fire you all /except I have no guts/I think just for tonight/ I’ll get wasted/Taste a side of life I’ve never tasted/I’m nuts/This is my mind I lose/Losing my mind with booze/If I can forget myself when I get drunk/I must be mad thinking I can forget no/Can’t get her out of my head/I’d get out my blank checkbook, give my whole allowance/If I could share her bed!/Who will take over?/ Who will take over?

Club staff:

Not I? Who would? Impossible…


FSAD will expose me in one of his columns/He will tell stories—and that’s all he’ll do/One of my new hires/One of my club bookers/Will see I get fired

Chris:What do you mean, ‘fired’?You will be committed


Why don’t you call my dad


I don’t even like him


Hurry, time’s a wasting


Maybe I should call him


I don’t care if you call him


Once you employed me/Now you deplore me


Go, call my father


You want me to call him!

I don’t even like him

Why should he commit you?/Maybe you deserve it!


So what? Shut up!/ Go and call/Who cares if he commits me—/I need a rest—Go!

Club Staff:

We don’t want to have to mind our manners/We just want to eat and drink for free/Pay is by the hour give us lots of power/That’s the only thing on which we all agree/Always hoped I’d work here at the Middle/Glad that all our friends get in for free/Glad that we can put all the bands in their place/That’s the only thing on which we all agree/


You—impresario!/You can’t promote a show!/To make things even worse/Everyone already knows/You’re a crazy lunatic/And you love a crazy chick/A crazy lunatic/A crazy lunatic/And you love a crazy crazy/ crazy Loony chick.


Go call him! Go call him!/He’s on call, waiting for you!


Every time you book the club I don’t understand/How you let the Foul-Mouthed Elves get so out of hand/You’d have managed better if you’d had them banned—

Club staff:

We don’t want to have to mind our manners/We just want to eat and drink for free/And we want to get all our pay each Friday/That’s the only think on which we all agree/Glad we work here part-time at the Middle/Glad that all our friends get in for free/Glad that we can give all the bands the what for/That’s the only thing on which we all agree


Will no one buy a drink for me?Cathy? Jen? Ralph?

Will none of you drink to me?Cathy? Jen? Ralph?



I’d only like to mention/I’m under so much tension/It wakes me up it’s safe as coffee/Vivarin—it’s not a drug/Wakes me up, it has changed me not a bit/How I hate booking/Once, I was alert/Now, I’m tense and hurt/Listen surely I’ve attracted/ notoriety/Booked for three years,/ now I’m thirty/Did it every week for just a buck and change/But if I quit/Let them sign the papers,/ do the things they ask of me/Let them talk and talk and talk/ and smear me in the press/Happy to go, happy to go by God/Happy to leave, happy to leave by God/Why should I quit/Are they going to care that I booked three years without a break?/Will they say that I was just an omnipresent fake?/There’s a thousand reasons why I should go ahead and quit/OK, I’ll quit/Just see me quit/See how I quit/Once I was alert/Now I’m tense and hurt/After all, I booked for three years/Now I’m 30/Why then am I bored and restless/I need rest and I never got it/Now I’ll interrupt/Let them lock me up/I will let them sign the papers/Tell the world I have the vapors/Take me bind me hold me lock me up/—Before I lose my mind


There he is—drunk as a coot.


Do you really want to take this job?

Club staff:

Billy’s nuts, we’re taking over now/Hang on, Chris, we’re gonna side with you


Put away your pens/It is time for me to go now/I lost money, now I’m gone/Why are you so obsessed with booking?/Stick to drinking from now on

Club Staff:

Tell me Bill what the doorman makes/What is the length of an average set/Do you know what the soundman takes/Do you know how the price is set?/Do you think you will ever book/Are you planning to write a book/Do you think that McLean’s is vile?/How do you view an insane asylum/Come with us to see Doctor Pike/You’ll just love the loony house/You’ll just love seeing Doctor Pike/You will puke in the Doctor’s house/Come on Bill this is not like you/Some people say there’s a missing screw/Your support staff plans to stay/You might book again some day/Tell me Bill what the doorman makes/What is the length of an average set/Do you know what the soundman takes/Do you know how the price is set?/Come with us to see Doctor Pike/You’ll just love the loony house/You’ll just love seeing Doctor Pike/You will puke in the Doctor’s house/Now commit him, get him committed/Now commit him, get him committed

Dr. Pike:

Billy you must realize/The tests and medicines waiting you/You say that you need a break/To get a handout, well is it true?


That’s what I said, I said I was


There you have it Billy boy/You’re as crazy as a louse/Chris, we thank you for the info/You can go and live in Billy’s house/Now commit him, get him committed/Take him to Carolyn/Take him to Carolyn/Take him to Carolyn/Take him to Carolyn



I think I read some story—I remember/It was about that man who quit the club/I recognize the name


I don’t know who what when where how you know me/And if you’re talking ‘bout poor Billy—/I hardly know the guy


Then how come I am sure I read that story/Under your by-line too—/and everyone knew


I told you that I only recently just met him—

Old man:

But I read that piece—the by-line at least!


I hardly know him!


FSAD don’t you know what you have done?/You’re saying Chris has won


I had to do it, don’t you see/‘Cause he’ll be booking me

Layla:It’s what he told us you would say/How’d he know, anyway?



Who is this former boss/Blockading up the hallway?/Who is this former boss?


Billy Budd, Middle East head


Oh, so this is Billy B.,/I am quite surprised to see/You are so tiny, act so whiny/We all know that you can diddle,/But do you run, help run the Middle?


Is that what they say?


That’s what they used to say/.No I do all of the bookings./Rock is in trouble here,/‘Billy Budd Middle East head’./Why does someone with your job/Dress like such a total slob/An amazing loss—this shabby boss./Since you used to book the club,/I don’t want to see you, Bub/You’re Chris’s boss! You’re Chris’s loss!


Hey Billy yo Billy Billy Billy yoBilly hey Billy, yo and why/Hey BB, BB, please explain to me/Why your booking schedule has to die?



Billy I am quite dismayed to see you in this state/I have fired you twice before but this time seals your fate/We’ll book reggae, play the Grateful Dead,/Anything but Billy’s bands, they’ve put us in the red/So you are the Budd, you’re the great Billy Budd/Prove to me that you’re no dud—get the crowd to buy my suds/If they start to drink more you can manage the floor/Come on, Billy, My Bud./Billy, I just can’t believe the bands you’ve booked in here,/Let them tear the place apart and drink up all our beer./Oh, what a pity, if we lose our shirt/And I will bet reporters come to dig up all the dirt/So you are the Budd, you’re the great Billy Budd;/Prove to me that you don’t drink,/ I’ll Offer you a case of Swinkle./If you stop drinking beer then/I’ll let you book here;/Come on, Billy my Bud./I only ask things I’d ask any of the staff/What is it about you makes us all just want to laugh/Oh, I’m a waiter, when they call in sick,/I’m dying to be shown that you aren’t just another dick/So you are the Budd, you’re the great Billy Budd;/Will you dance the whole night long/If they play your favorite song/Can’t you dance any more?/Why are you such a bore?/Come on, Billy, my Bud./Yo! Don’t you take my advice?Are you some kind of Christ?Y/ou’re a joke! You sit and fidget!/You’re nothing but a midget!/Show him the door,/ he can’t work here no more./Get out now, Billy my Bud!/Get out of my club!/Get out now, Billy my Bud!



My God he called me he was three-quarters drunk/He talked so goddamn long about supporting Funk/He talked for do damn long he almost turned my head/Now he’s gonna wanna come book Chucklehead/I don’t believe he knows I tried to do some good/I’d gladly let him do the booking if I could/Don’t believe…do good…let him…if I could


Why don’t you go and get you some coffee/I don’t understand—go get some rest/All that you said—have more coffee/The staff turned against him—that’s what you said


What you have done will be the joy of the club scene/They’ll write you up in the Herald for this/And not only that we pay a buck and a quarter/And rent in the bargain—how can you miss?


Bill, I know you are half dead/But I only did what you hired me to;/Bill, I’d write for The Nation/But now I’ve been saddled with the booking of this/I have been saddled with bands from the South,/I shall be stuck booking Upside-Down Cross/I have been saddled with bands from the South,/I shall be stuck booking Upside-DownUpside-Down, Upside-Down, Upside-Down Cross!

I don’t know how to know him,/I just wish that he’d ignore me;/He’s just a boy, he’s just a boy/He’s not a boss, he’s just the same/As any one of us/I wish he’d go/When I’m cold and dead he will haunt my dreams/With his petty moans and his careless schemes/I don’t know what to do/My God, I took away this pest’s post/I should have known he’d get upset/Joe, I will never know why you chose me to book/All these foul cruddy bands/I have lost my mind/I have lost my mindI/ have lost my mind/I have lost my mind/I have lost my mind/I have lost my mind/I have lost my mind/I have lost my mind/I have lost my mind


Good old Chris/Good old Chris



So Billy B. is once again in here/And why is this—McLean’s was out of beer?


We turn to Joe/ please go and smell his breath/Next thing we know/ he’ll be on crystal meth


Talk to me, Billy B./You have snuck back here/Drunk a non-alcoholic beer and been detected/Listen Billy, my friend,/Where is our schedule?/What about—December?


I have got no bookings left to do/I’m done, done, done


Talk to me, Billy B.


I will call you with my bookings/If I think of one


Then you can book?


It’s you that say I can/I book the best/And find that I am banned


What is the best?/Is it without a flaw?/Then why play here?/When they can see Don Law?


Boot him, boot him


What do you mean?You’d fire Billy B.?


We’ll do the other bookings! Boot him out!


He likes the songs—and people like to sing


We’ll do the other bookings! Boot him out!


There is no reason—/we’re breaking even/We had a dry spell but now we’ll fill the venue/Billy’s misguided—thinks bands important/But to keep you staffers happy/Here’s his severance—

Mob:Boot him out! X 16




Where are you from Billy,What do you want Billy, Tell me…./You’ve got to be careful/You’re unemployed they tell me/Why do you not speak when I offer you a job/If you would stay quiet and only not dress like a slob/


You don’t know nothing/To hell with you and your whole damn family too/We’ve booked through March and you can’t change it—


You’re a fool Billy B./What can I do now?


Joseph, boot him out!/Nabil is angry!/ You have a duty/To run the Corner, boot him out now!/Nabil is angry/He’ll move to Boston/Even Chicago—/boot him out!


Don’t let me stop your great immolation/Leave if you want to, you misguided Satyr/I wash my hands of your destitution/Quit if you want to you innocent numbskull!


Voice of Chris:

Every time I book for you I don’t understand/How you let the bands you booked get so out of hand/You’d have managed better if you’d had them banned/If you booked today the business wouldn’t be dropping/Central Square in ’88 wasn’t used to club-hopping;/Don’t get me wrong,/ I only wanna know:/Billy Budd, Superstud,/Why’d you put on all those filthy duds?/Billy Budd, Superstud,/Would you admit your career’s a dud?/Tell me what you think about the people in charge?/Joey Incagnoli’s crowds are not quite so large/Cathy is she where it’s at? The Doughheads made out/,Could Martin move a mountain or was that just his clout?/Did you mean to quit like that are you just a clown or/Did you know this mess you left might close the place down?/Don’t get me wrong,/ I only wanna know—/Billy Budd, Superstud,/Why’d you put on all those filthy duds?/Billy Budd, Superstud,/Would you admit your career’s a dud?



Dad commits me/Thinks I don’t know what I’m doing/Who is my father?/ Where is my father?/Vegetarian Platter, why have you forsaken me?/I am thirty./It is finished./Father, into your hands I permit the Commitment.




Hi Francis,I have a question about your friend Billy Ruane.I’ve been through all the obituaries, tributes, testimonials, and accounts I can find, and it sounds like he was incredibly energetic,charismatic, and intensely likeable personality. But it doesn’t sound like he was bipolar. Bipolar sufferers aren’t manic, and certainly not persistently manic, in any popular sense of the word. They typically experience brief periods of mania — a few weeks at most — followed by periods, often years, of crushing and debilitating depression that leaves them essentially vegetative. If they’re creative, lucid,energized, and productive, it’s only for very short periods. Mostly,they’re extremely depressed, able to participate in normal routines ona limited scale, and then only after years of drug therapy and intensive psychotherapy. (And alcohol would make it impossible to recover.)I have nothing against Billy Ruane; in fact, I wish I’d known him. But I’m an unimpeachable source on bipolar disorder, and I get wary whenever the popular imagination suggests that it makes you intensely creative and insanely energetic and fun — the life of the party, if you will. It does not. What it DOES do is make you depressed and suicidal. In fact, 1/3 of bipolars commit suicide — higher than the unipolar rate — because it is a horrible, horrible affliction. I’ve only known a few bipolars, leading carefully disciplined lives,who’ve escaped the real horrors of the disorder. The rest are never symptom-free, and many of them are just plain zombies.So I’m just asking: was he really bipolar?Thanks,Bob Risko

Francis DiMenno November 2 2010 at 11:38pm

Bob, it’s like you’ve been reading my mind. I have been mulling over the same information myself and asking myself some of the very same questions. All the more so because I am currently writing a full-blown memoir about Billy Ruane. I was even thinking of pestering a psychiatrist schoolmate who knew Billy peripherally as to whether the diagnosis holds any water at all. Because I think people tend to use the term ‘bipolar” as a catch-all term for any sort of manic or depressive behavior. And it’s not scientifically valid to simply slap such a label on people…. Short answer: Maybe. Billy was, indeed,manic. Egregiously so. But–usually–he could switch it off. I have observed this many times. He was also prone to depressive episodes. He seldom allowed people to see this, but I was one of his closest friends for quite some time, and I saw aspects of it. It is possible you could diagnose him with Borderline Personality Disorder aka Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. Maybe even ADHD. Possibly PTSD. Or even Ganser’s Syndrome. I really don’t know. I was a public health librarian for two years, but I only know enough to know that I am not qualified to make such a diagnosis.

Francis DiMenno November 3 at 12:00am

The more I read up on it, the more I see it as BPD.

Bob Risko November 3 at 1:04am Report

Well, you knew him, and keen observation is as much a part of the scientific method as anything else.

Francis DiMenno November 3 at 1:11am

I would be leery about making any definitive pronouncements, but your comment has given me a good deal of food for thought. Perhaps, once written , and with your kind indulgence, I can share my floundering and by necessity preliminary conclusions for your appraisal.






Vivarin ad from October 1985: “Wake…UP! If you don’t graduate…we’re through!”

Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, andspend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter,stinking nauseous puddle water.  ~The Women’s Petition Against Coffee,1674

This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion.  Ideas begin to move like the battalions of theGrand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place.  Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind.  The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, theshafts of with start up like sharpshooters.  Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder.  ~Honore deBalzac, “The Pleasures and Pains of Coffee”

Coffee is a beverage that puts one to sleep when not drunk.  ~Alphonse Allais


Back in the drug-suffused sixties I was but a lad of tender years, and the kaleidoscopic array of substances on offer were of little interest to me, although I was quite taken with a frantic–if not in fact,frighteningly manic little broadcast ditty which went thus:Get a little lift, take Vivarin That’s V-I-V-A-R-I-NGet a little lift, take Vivarin! Not since reading Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” in which Jurgis Rudkis serenaded his Lithuanian family with his maddeningly repetitive rendition of “In the Good Old Summertime,” had I been so entranced by the stupefying potential of cheap music.But the ghouls at the Vivarin ad agency weren’t quite through with me yet. Witness the following, highly sentimental 1985 scenario, which Ihave taken the liberty of dubbing, “If You Don’t Graduate, We’reThrough!”

For those of you without the benefit of advanced computer technology such as Youtube, I will summarize this poignant playlet .A young woman has, judging from her sweater and high-prole-cum-bargain-basement- bourgeoise feathered hairdo,haphazardly hunkered down at the local institution of higher education. Let’s assume she lives in the Jan Miner Dormitory at Palmolive Dish Liquid Community College. This busty but slightly drab midinette is apparently hell-bent on landing a spoiled and rather dimwitted young scion of the middling to lower-upper mercantile class.(I am assuming that the stolid hunk’s pappy made his bundle with some dumb-ass minor-league scam, such as selling slightly used popsicle sticks to second graders, or hawking off-brand auto parts to purblind septuagenarians, or palming diluted Penicillin off onto impoverished bohunks, or some such.) Unfortunately for the young lady, her big plans for matrimony–and a life filled with screaming brats and her future husband’s alcoholic shenanigans–threaten to be derailed by the Big Stupe’s inability to pass his final exams.This, so far, is the backstory.Into his den she strides, happy as a daft moggy with a catnip collar,when she espies Lunko fast asleep with his head on his desk, with presumably only hours to go until the big test.She then delivers the following deathless line of monologue with all the ferociousness of the power-crazed Barbara Stanwyck in “The Violent Men”: “Wake UP! If you don’t graduate, we’re THROUGH!”Thoroughly duped and cowed by this display of feminine animus, he lethargically croaks, “I’m bushed!”It is here that the sweater girl lashes into her dozey Romeo with the forceful avidity of a god-intoxicated Maenad preparing to give suck to a wolf cub. “Heah,” she crows, “Revive with Vivarin…helps wake yew UP.” And then the shameless hussy literally wraps her sinister pink coils around the half-wakened dumbbell’s hapless neck while proffering what might as well be labeled, in boldface letters, “THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT.”At which point the hearty voice of Zeus from out of the clouds booms out the information that “Government-appointed experts” have approved the stuff as safe. (Presumably this omnipotent voice is referring tot he omniscient Food and Drug Administration, which has, in fact,grudgingly allowed that the principal stimulating ingredient in coffee, tea, cocoa, aspirin, soda pop, and even ice cream is, in fact,generally recognized as safe.) Goaded by the shrieking caffeine Harpy, the young fellow, still in the throes, it seems, of having been wakened from a badly-needed restorative dream, rather groggily endorses the rather sinister pills with the dubious encomium, “Revive…with Vivarin!” Alas, the master playwrights writing circa long-ago October 1985 have tragically left us with only a fifteen-second fragment. Here’s the suspenseful part. What happens next? Some of the greatest literary minds have grappled with this conundrum, but nobody yet has emerged with a definitive answer. The dramatic question needing to be resolved is as follows: Does Diploma Boy actually marry the Vivarin whore–or do they break up three days before he gets the sheepskin?I’m guessing the former. I’m hoping the latter.


NoDoz:Active Ingredients: Each caplet contains: Caffeine (200 mg)Inactive Ingredients: Benzoic Acid, Corn Starch, FD&C Blue 1,Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Mineral Oil(Paraffinum Liquidum), Polysorbate 20, Povidone, Propylene Glycol,Simethicone Emulsion, Sorbitan Monolaurate, Stearic Acid, Sucrose,Titanium DioxideDo not give to children under 12 years of age. For occasional use only. Not intended for use as a substitute for sleep. If fatigue or drowsiness persists or continues to occur, consult a doctor. The recommended dose of this product contains about as much caffeine as acup of coffee. Limit the use of caffeine-containing medications,foods, or beverages while taking this product because too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, and,occasionally, rapid heartbeat.Vivarin:1)Kmiller, you are correct in assuming that V is ‘just caffeine’. All info on the net confirms this.Old personal users do beg to differ. Before the late 90s. V had 160mg dextrose as active ingredient plus a ‘secret’ active ingredient the makers called ‘Stimucin’. Stimucin was advertised on the front of the box throughout all owners of the product from 1969 to the time of SmithKline Beecham. This company was purchased in late 90s (when V. enjoyed 58+% market share) and the new company made the change with no info given about the change; in fact, launched a $20,000.000 Advertising campaign for new users.Just a guess, but the ‘just caffeine’ product was substituted for the original because the original was perfect for some ADD users and cheap, without a perscription; it was too effective. Around the time ADD became better recognized, medications such as the prescribed $200.+ per bottle Provig** debuted, the “original” over the counter,V, available everywhere for under $6.00 per box for 40… disappeared with little tracable information.Good for the company. Not good for those who have found nothing as effective, prescribed or not. 2) 2d2, I love a good conspiracy theory, but I think I’m going to have to scuttle this one. (BTW, I did self-medicate with this many, many years ago!) An online check shows an application for the term Stimucin was filed 4/83; JB Williams Co (which also registered the name Vivarinin 1969, and which sold Geritol as a quick fix for fatigue and was sued by the FTC for false advertising!) conveyed rights to the name to Beecham in 3/84 (I’m guessing the online records don’t go back to when JBW registered it); and the name was registered to Beecham as a trademark in 11/84. Beecham merged with SmithKline in 1993. The trademark office description of the “goods and services” called Stimucin: Caffeine Sold Only as an Integral Component and Active Ingredient in Stimulant Tablets.So, there ya go. It’s all marketing. And thanks very much (!?!) forgiving me something to hyperfocus on at the expense of everything else I had to do today. ;D3) (Who’s we?) It’s caffeine and always was – and this old personal user was one who was there and knows. I don’t think we’re saying that caffeine’s not effective to some degree in helping address ADD issues of mental energy and focus. What I am saying, though, is that there was never any additional active ingredient or “secret” formula to Vivarin, although the company that trademarked “Stimucin” clearly wanted people to think so. Of course we all know diagnosed and undiagnosed ADDers who self-medicate with Starbucks. It makes some sense: caffeine blocks adenosine reception in the brain (binding of adenosine causes drowsiness) so neuron activity is not slowed down and you thus feel more alert. The increased neural activity sets off production of adrenaline, which is what gives you a boost. Caffeine also increases dopamine levels in the same way that amphetamines do (but milder) to make you feel good.

Vivarin:Active Ingredients (in each Tablet): Caffeine (200 mg). InactiveIngredients: Carnauba Wax, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, D&C Yellow 10,Aluminum Lake, Dextrose, FD&C Yellow 6 Aluminum Lake, Hypromellose,Magnesium Stearate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Polyethylene Glycol,Polysorbate 80, Starch, Titanium Dioxide.Nausea, stomach upset, insomnia, restlessness, nervousness, tremor,headache, lightheadedness may occur. Large amounts of caffeine may aggravate ulcers, cause frequent urination, flushing, muscle twitch or irritability. If any of these effects continue or become bothersome,inform your doctor. Notify your doctor if you experience: dizziness,depression, rapid breathing, chest pain, confusion, fatigue. Abrupt stopping of caffeine intake after several weeks of regular daily use may cause withdrawal symptoms such as headache, anxiety or muscle tension within 12 to 18 hours. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.



JANUARY 4, 2019
Copyright 2019 FRANCIS DIMENNO

The first breath of adultery is the freest; after it, constraints aping marriage develop. ​–​John Updike


The first Christmas young Billy Batchelder Tallent spent away from his family was during his first form year at Stropmuth Manor. A week earlier, his family sent him a telegram telling him that he might be better off staying “up North” for the holiday, since things at home were still “unsettled.”

To his surprise, after recovering from the disappointment, Billy found that he didn’t miss Christmastime at the old homestead. Not at all. 

He thought about the Yuletide doin’s last year at that time.

He didn’t miss the darkies hammering away at the banjo, an instrument which hurt his sensitive ears because it was impossible to keep in tune.

He didn’t miss having to kiss his bucktoothed girl cousins under the mistletoe, nor having to endure their caterwauling attempts to play the piano.

He didn’t miss his drunken Uncles trying to chaff him because he was still an apple-cheeked boy-child and not a full-grown man.

He didn’t miss his fat and slovenly Aunties pinching his cheeks between their clawlike talons and remarking that he was a good boy.

He didn’t miss the presents, which, ever since he was nine, consisted mainly of scratchy and uncomfortable clothing, and leather shoes which always pinched his left or his right foot. 

He didn’t miss hearing his father rage at his mother for having spent too much money that month.

He didn’t miss hearing his mother sneering at his father because he wasn’t a good provider.

And hearing his father calling his mother a damned trollop and slamming the door and going to the stable and mounting his horse and riding off to the next town, Chump Junction, to drink raw whiskey in a log shanty with fellow reprobates and bemoan his fate. He didn’t miss that.

He didn’t miss having to eat at a table with his odious younger cousins, many of whom were mere idiots, or, even worse, malevolent, uncivilized savages. 

He didn’t miss the Tallents. The Tallents were mostly corn-fed dolts.

He didn’t miss the Batchelders, either.

The Batchelder boys, on his Mother’s side, tended more toward savagery. Their folks were allegedly “fine stock,” who lived in town and kept many servants. This meant, mostly, that the Batchelder boys were spoiled rotten, and accustomed to having their own way. All except his sanctimonious Cousin Leo. 

Leo Beecher Batchelder always dressed in a sombre black jacket and derby hat and a starched white shirt, and maintained a prim and pious demeanor around adults. The ladyfolk spoke approvingly of him someday being a preacher. The menfolk held their tongues. They were leery at his reputation of being a “goody-good.” 

However, among his younger cousins Cousin Leo revealed his true self–an ornery, unscrupulous bully with such a filthy mouth that he even shocked young Billy, who fancied himself a practiced aficionado of low expressions. 

Cousin Leo, alone with Billy’s Father in the dining room: “Sir, I was wondering if perhaps, with your kind permission, Sir, prior to the magnificent feast you have laid out, and, not meaning in the slightest to usurp your role as head of the household, if, Sir, I could perhaps offer a little prayer of grace to bless the assembled souls joined here today to celebrate the birth of our Lord.”

Billy’s father, who was already half drunk, even though it was only two in the afternoon, thought this was a splendid idea, since he didn’t want to be put to the trouble of saying grace, and he clasped the young prodigy around the shoulders with a beefy arm and gave out with a companionable grin and a blast of whiskey breath.

He then offered young Leo a sip of mulled wine. Cousin Leo declined. As the ladies began flocking into the dining room, Cousin Leo then recited an insipid “poem” which was making the rounds among the Teetotal set:

​​I’m a little Temperance boy, 
12 years old! 
And I love Temperance, 
Better than gold! 
Every little boy like me, 
The Temperance Pledge should sign, 
For God loves little boys who don’t love wine!  

But Cousin Leo became a very different person when he cornered young Billy in the pantry. 

“Christ, Tallent, what a dump your Paw has here. Jesus H. Fuck–when are you chawbacons gwine to get some indoor plumbing? We got hot water and everything. But I see you’re still dropping your load in a stinking outhouse. Them niggers of your paw’s are so lazy they oughta be lashed until they drop. Say, Tallent, I hear yore Pappy sired a nigger boy with a tawny wench. I hear he’s just about your age, too. I hear he’s sharecroppin’ for the Mullins over t’ Chump Junction. I also heard a big black Jigaboo tried to kiss your sister, and they had t’ lynch him. Is any of this true?” 

Billy got so angry at hearing such slurs that, even though he was only ten years old, he was about to clobber Cousin Leo, but Cousin Leo backed up and said, “Naow, don’t get hot, there, Master William. I didn’t say I believed it. It’s just that I hear lots of folks talking. I’m wonderin’ if you heard.”

“Now you listen to me,” said Billy Batchelder Tallent to his Cousin Leo, as he pulled out an enormous knife and held it under his chin. “You see this Arkansaw toothpick? I use it to castrate hogs. And it would surely do a job of work on you. And it will. If you ever so much as breathe a word about my family. Ever again.”

And so it was that as Billy Batchelder Tallent shivered in his cot at Stropmuth Manor on Christmas morning, he decided that he didn’t miss the home folk at all. No, the Monks had the right idea, all right. Who needs a family? All they’re good for is to drag you down. A man ought to be free, and that was that.

His housemaster was fond of reading at morning House Mass the following Bible verses:

​​And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

His housemaster added, in an editorial comment, that he wholeheartedly approved of such behavior. He said it was a passage which every young man should seriously ponder.

And Billy Batchelder Tallent did, indeed, ponder it.
​But what if he were weak? What if ​he did find himself​, though ill luck,​ in the unfortunate position of having to support a family​?​. Then he ought, at the very least, to have lots of money so that niggers could do all the hard work, with a wife to oversee ’em, while he and his like-minded cronies sat around and took a companionable snort or two and chewed the fat.

​A life of comfort and ease! ​Without women! That was the life for him!








I recently bought some cough drops at the bargain store. An off-brand: Fisherman’s Most Bitter Enemy.​​​

Brought to you by the makers of Fisherman’s Delicious Codeine Cough Syrup.
Also try: Fisherman’s ​Brand ​New Friend Who Lives at The YMCA.    
And: Fisherman’s Hook-For-A-Hand Stump Ointment…With Lanolin!

There were many other choices:

Greenpeace Friend…now in three dolphin-free flavors​!​
Fisherman’s Estranged Fiancee Who Knows All His Little Secrets And Will Tell Everyone
Fisherman’s Special Friend The Downy-Cheeked Cabin Boy Who Smells Good. 
Fisherman’s Good Friend Bluto Who Knows How To Rig A Hammock to Sleep Two. 
Fisherman’s Monomaniacal Captain Who Vows Revenge on an Albino Whale and Gets Everyone Killed.
Fisherman’s Aimless and Peripatetic Existence Now That East Coast Codfish Quotas Have Decreased by 95 Percent.
Fisherman’s Trust Fund That Nobody Knows About Because He Wants To Prove Himself As A Man By Facing The Terrors Of The Briny Deep.  
Fisherman’s Enigmatic Comrade Who Was Present at The Bay of Pigs And Who Knows Who Killed Kennedy But Has Been Sworn To Secrecy.

​129 WAYS TO GET A HUSBAND (1958)​​



My High School roommate William Hagan thought of this…back in 1974!​​​​




Roberta Davies​:​ We’ve been discussing bad Christmas movies in another place, and I wrote this about “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”:

It was made on a budget of nothing for a low-rent Florida amusement park called Pirates World, and was shown as an attraction there. Essentially, Santa is stuck on the beach in Florida, where it’s too hot for him to move his sleigh. Nobody can help until the Ice Cream Bunny — which I assume is the park mascot — comes riding up on his fire engine. That’s basically the whole plot.

The bits about Santa and the Bunny are used as a framing device to present another children’s film — either “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “Thumbelina”, although it could theoretically be anything — cut into the middle of it, or sometimes presented after the Santa plot. The inserted fairy-tale film is longer than the Santa story.​




The upshot of it is that oligarchs, working with politicians, hoodlum cartels, and intelligence agencies, have been dosing proles and entertainers since the opium wars, and it’s still going on.

Lots of interesting nuggets. E.g.: The dentist who dosed Lennon with LSD worked for MI6.

Et cetera.

It draws heavily on two works: Acid Dreams, and Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon.

Just about everybody in the Laurel Canyon Scene of the 60s and 70s were connected to the military in one way or another. And MK-Ultra is fact, not fiction.



Some interesting stories about the Charlatans, née the Mainliners (!).








DECEMBER 28, 2018
Copyright 2018 FRANCIS DIMENNO

At fifteen life had taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place,was as honorable as resistance, especially if one had no choice.–Maya Angelou


In his first form year, which corresponded to the public school
seventh grade, Billy Batchelder Tallent told me that he was kept so
busy memorizing twenty Latin words and twenty Greek words and twenty German words and twenty English vocabulary words every night for six days a week that he scarcely had time to sleep, or indulge in any but the briefest ruminations about what had been done to him by the Keysars. Any spare time that was accorded him was spent either in praying or in singing psalms or in indulging in physical exercise. In
the autumn, the boys played rugby; in the winter they were encouraged
to ice skate, and in the spring they played baseball, a newly popular
sport. It seemed rather odd to Billy that many of the Monks who
coached the games also participated in them with the boys. Upon mature reflection, he realized that some of these men were in their early twenties, newly graduated from Seminary, and were still in their
youthful prime, and so it was small wonder that they too wanted to
take a hand in joining in the recreation. Like all the boys, Billy
knew for a fact that that the Monks shaved their heads, took cold
showers, woke at 4am, observed a rule of silence in the monastery, ate saltpeter with their meals, and spent a good deal of their time in contemplative prayer, but he didn’t know very much about the inner lives of the monks other than those salient facts. When he first arrived at Stropmuth Manor, he thought that many if not all of them were most
holy men indeed. But it wasn’t long before he was disabused of that
childish notion.

The other boys were the first to point out the flaws and shortcomings
of the monks who held them prisoner at their school. One sere and
rather grim iron-haired monk who was the Master of one of the
dormitories (called “Houses”) was known for liking a drink or two or
maybe more, and for spending Friday nights in a drunken stupor from which he was on no account ever to be disturbed. Billy made the mistake of rousing him early one Saturday morning to ask him an inconsequential question, and was surprised when the elderly priest roared in irritation at being awakened at 7am on a Saturday.

Another one of the monks, a rotund and jolly fellow, spoke in a highly
affected voice, was always correcting the boys’ diction, coached the
boys in the annual production of school plays, and was jeered at among
the older boys for being “minty”. Billy had no idea what that meant.
But he took care to never be alone in the same room with the man. Who
found, early on, a fatal flaw in Billy’s acting ability. “You can sell
a part, Tallent–but you can never forget who you are when you’re on
the stage. You’re always Billy Tallent–you never play the part. I’m
afraid you’re rather hopeless as any kind of actor. Maybe you should
be in charge of the properties this semester.”

And yet another of the monks was, to all outward appearances, rather
insane. A stooped and white-haired old fellow who resembled most a
sort of superanimated leprechaun, he was in constant motion, and,
according to the other boys, was engaged from sunup to sundown in
constantly solving abstruse mathematical problems. When he spoke, it
was with the far-distant voice of someone who did not–quite–occupy
the same plane of existence as ordinary people. He told Billy, upon
meeting him, that he would certainly excel in algebra and such minor
studies, but that the mysteries of the calculus were not for one such
as him, and perhaps it was just as well, because every genius has a
touch of madness and Billy would be just as happy and, perhaps, far
happier, if he didn’t strain his mind and end up landing on the
farther shores of mental abstraction. Billy had no idea what he was
talking about, but, again, upon mature reflection, decided that the
monk was warning him not to end up like him, which was advice that
Billy was glad he had followed, howsoever inadvertantly.

It was in the second half of his first form year that Billy was
assigned a new English teacher, Brother Damianos. He was a short, dark man, possibly of black Irish descent, who had an inconspicuous but noticeable hunch to his back, and it was clear to Billy from the
outset that the little man had little or no use for him. “A charity case, that’s all,” is what he overheard Brother Damianos saying to Brother Martin. Billy wondered what that meant. Surely his father paid the school well enough to teach and board him? When he had a moment to think about it, Billy realized that what Brother Damianos was referring to was his precipitate departure from Hickory Hollow. And the reasons for it. And he grew bitter against Brother Damianos. And the feeling was reciprocated.

In his second form year at Stropmuth Manor, young Billy Batchelder
Tallent was no longer plagued by the unwanted attentions of O’Goyne,
who had finally graduated, but he had to endure the hellish English
poetry class taught by Brother Damianos. Who, for all his airs of
being an aristocrat and child prodigy who graduated from Ivy at age
nineteen, was a terrible teacher of poetry. Simply put, the man had no
rhythm. He was incapable of inculcating anybody with a love for verse,
because one got the strong impression that he didn’t care for it very
much himself. Boys can always tell when a teacher lacks enthusiasm for his subject, and will respond accordingly. What Damianos liked to talk about instead was politics. Specifically, that form of politics in
which the United States was portrayed in the best possible light, and Great Britain in a far less favorable fashion.

In fact. Brother Damianos was not far from being a jingoist.




Just so everyone knows, I have a DRUIDIC TREE in my living room (not
a holiday tree), my kids are getting SECULAR HUMANIST PRESENTS (not holiday gifts) and we will eat SCANDANAVIAN PAGAN FESTIVAL DINNER (not a holiday meal), and I will attend a PAGAN SATURNALIA (not a holiday party). I will also very cheerfully wish you a MERRY FEAST OF THE SON OF ISIS! (not happy holidays). By the way, I have no prejudices I am willing to admit regarding weird and repugnant traditions celebrated by people who are unfortunate enough to celebrate cultural conventions different from my own. So if you want to have a Happy Hanukkah, by all means do so. I very grudgingly respect that. If you want to have a Blessed Kwanzaa, I also extremely grudgingly respect that. But as for me, I want to have a Merry Celebration of my FEAR OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE, so
I ask YOU to respect that! Repost if you agree. If you cannot find it
in your heart to agree, then give my regards to Pope Julius I.

The gingerbread man is a pain in the ass. I don’t want to catch him–I
just want to crush him.

 Abe–gimme a man!

…the debate soon turned ugly, with Douglas personally attacking
Lincoln, suggesting that if Lincoln were elected to the Senate, he
would pit the states against each other over the question of slavery.
In an attempt to change the tone of the debate, Lincoln responded with
a childhood story. When he was growing up in Indiana, his mother would occasionally be able to get her hands on ginger and sorghum to make gingerbread – special treats given the family’s relative poverty. One day, his mother made some gingerbread, and out of the batch she had made young Abe three gingerbread men. He took them outside to eat them under the shade of a hickory tree.

As he was sitting there, the young boy of an even poorer neighboring
family came along and said “Abe, gimme a man.” Abe gave him one of his gingerbread men, and the boy devoured it in two bites while Abe was still biting the legs off of his first. “Abe,” the boy said, “Gimme
that other’n.” Lincoln wanted the other for himself, but he gave it to
him and the boy devoured it just as before. “You seem to like
gingerbread men,” Lincoln observed. “Abe,” he replied, “I don’t s’pose
anybody on earth likes gingerbread better’n I do – and gets less’n I

Turning to Douglas in the midst of the debate, Lincoln said he
couldn’t understand how he had so completely misunderstood his
positions, and noted that he had been blindsided by Douglas’s
flattery. Recalling the debate, Lincoln noted “I was not very
accustomed to flattery and it came the sweeter to me. I was rather
like the Hoosier, with the gingerbread, when he said he reckoned he
loved it better than any other man, and got less of it.”


Say what you will about Hitler, but at least he made an honest woman
out of Eva Braun.






Jerry Lewis wasn’t funny. At all. You examined him with the same
clinical interest as a disease.

Jerry Lewis was a relic of a savage past when we used to publicly laugh at freaks, spastics, and crippled animals.

As a snarling, vicious, narcissistic talk show host in Scorsese’s The
King of Comedy, however, he was tops.

Jessie TeWinkel
8/21/2017 4:52 PM EDT
I worked for the Muscular Dystrophy office in Irvington, NJ one year –
Jerry’s hometown, as people claimed with pride though he was actually
born in Newark. He worked as a teen in the drugstore around the corner from me. The entire MD staff quaked with fear when they were notified Jerry was coming through town. All work stopped while everyone ran around doing Jerry’s errands and finding goodies for him, only to suffer his temper tantrums. When he wanted to play golf, the staff had to notify a golf course to clear everyone off the links and close to the public while Jerry played alone. The most memorable incident was the time the town arranged for a homegrown episode of “This Is Your Life” for Jerry. Out on stage came his old teachers, his coach, his
neighbors – and he professed not to remember any of them. I was never
there in the office when Jerry was present, but I was glad of that.

Did Emmett Grogan rape [Abbie Hoffman’s] wife???

Background – he does what he does, free, and anonymously. He does not
seek credit. He becomes an underground legend. Other people use his
name and no-one knows who the real Emmett Grogan is. But people
respect his ideas and the fact that he carries out his ideas
privately, day after day, on behalf of those less fortunate.

He meets up with revolutionary activists. One day, he meets with one
activist from the race war, a guy who asks him about his ideas. Emmett
speaks too freely and gives away his papers with ideas on them.

Then the guy uses his ideas as his own and goes on record with them.
Emmett goes to his house to talk about it; the guy is not there; his
wife is. The two men talk on the phone and the man turns Emmett’s
phrase on him – ‘Its free because its yours.’ Emmett asks if
everything in his place is his to take. The guy says ‘Take it all, its
free man.’

Quote – Emmett hung up and walked to the front room where Abbott
Hoffman’s wife, Anita, was sitting on a mattress on the floor watching
TV. Blah blah blah. Emmett got himself a can from the refrigerator and
watched the movie and talked with Anita for a while, before he took
what he had to take, to show Abbott Hoffman how something ‘free’ could be stolen, and what it felt like to have it taken.



If I were caught molesting children, I suppose I would want to scream too. The reason he thinks he didn’t do anything is that his “alter”
actually did it. Fed wine to kids. Hung babies outside of windows.
Maintained a pedophile palace. That’s why he’s so “confused.”
Brainwashing through Deprivation of Basic Needs:


Repetition of received wisdom.
Catch phrase from shitty sitcom.
And yet…
Why are you fat-shaming me?
I suppose now that the big tragedy has actually happened you are finally happy.
That’s not…
Why bring religion into it?
But I…
No, you’re the fascist, my friend.
That isn’t…
I think it is you who are the one who is crazy. Get help.
Who put the firecracker up your ass, fatso?
Now that’s just…
I can see you’re getting very worked up. Take a smoke break, crackhead.
Why don’t you…
You are a lousy excuse for a human being.
Coming from you…
Why don’t you go back to biting the heads off of chickens for a bottle
of cheap wine?
If I ever meet you in person I’ll give you a punch in the snoot.
Well, we’ll…
Someday your antics won’t seem so cute, buster. Better shape up before
it’s too late.
And as for you…
I can’t believe that a grown-ass man like you still argues like a sullen child.
You aren’t…
If only your mother had laid off the sauce when she was pregnant with
you. Then we wouldn’t be having this argument, because you’d be smart
and funny, instead of tragic and subnormal.
Why can’t you…
There’s no persuading a headstrong fool. Goodbye, Sir.
Yeah, well…

SHUT UP! SHUT UP! It is a WORLDWIDE OPEN SECRET that you are an agent

Saying Made In Japan is Deep Purple’s best album is a lot like calling
someone the cleanest whore at the Mustang Ranch.


Copyright 2018 Francis DiMenno    


​​“Death closes all: but something ere the end, 
Some work of noble note, may yet be done….”

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses” 

Shortly after Billy’s hiatus at McLean’s Hospital, by about December of 1990 the first, old crowd was being pushed aside in favor of newcomers who were, in fact,
long-time locals rather than transplants from elsewhere. Some of these
folks like Cathy Houlihan, Dave Sheehan, and Jessica Victor became
very dear friends of mine. Others, not so much. No matter. Eventually, many of
the newcomers were gone as well. The music and entertainment business chews you up and spits you out pretty quickly. You have to have a certain temperament to endure it. Somewhat akin to that of an EMT or an ambulance driver or a
fireman. Truly, fireman is most apropos. In a nightclub, you are
always putting out small fires. In chapter four of his autobiography,
Dick Gregory several paragraphs to this topic, and although he is
writing about the late 1950s in suburban Chicago, his description of
the rigors of low-level show-biz still rings true today:

In January I loaded everything into the car and headed out to Robbins.
Opening night was only hours away. Halfway out, I realized I had no
change. At seven o’clock I opened the doors of the Apex Club and
leaned back with a smirky smile to watch the people trample each other
in the mad dash to get in.

1990: Rumor that Billy had Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love staying at
his apartment.

It was some time at the end of October 1990, Billy was committed. We
all saw it coming for about the past four months.

November 1990: In my home studio I shot a tribute (I use the term
loosely) to Billy Ruane titled “Billy Budd, Superstud.” It was a 20
minute film later shown on CCTV. It was essentially a parody of Jesus
Christ Superstar with a soundtrack consisting of compositions based on
sampled excerpts from the JCS LSO recording accompanied by pictures of
Superman in shackles, pictures of Superman in prison, a poster of
Superman with Stalin’s head taped on, etc. [See APPENDIX ONE.]

​​“I have all that money can buy. I want more people, but no more
things.”—E.M. Forster

Following his commitment, Billy was more or less absent from the
Middle East for a considerable spell. The Sater Brothers offered the
booking job to soundman Mike Higgins and myself, but we wisely turned
it down. We, along with Eric Doberman and Jennifer Cares, were
essentially already responsible for many of the day to day musical
operations of the club. Furthermore, we decided that we had virtually
no practical experience in booking, few of Billy’s contacts, and
little if any of his charisma or expertise. Chris Rich was recruited,
with, by his own account, Billy calling many of the shots regarding
booking decisions from behind the scenes. From late 1990 to 1992,
Chris oversaw the Middle East booking as it hosted many innovative
acts, along with the open mike for new talent—initially, for all comers
but, under Martin Doyle and later Dave Sheehan, in particular a
showcase for comedy. The Saters pulled the plug on the comedy open
mike in December of 1994—just as (it seemed to me) this unlikely time
(Saturday afternoon) and venue (a rock club) was starting to gain
traction among area comics. By the time this happened, Chris Rich,
Martin Doyle, and Dave Sheehan were all long gone.

In retrospect, I was lucky to last at the Middle East as long as I
did…from the summer of 1988 until December of 1994. (The then bookers
apparently decided I was too expensive to keep on the payroll, and in
early December I was given 30 days’ notice.)

Circa 1992. Unfinished ms. about Billy. A lengthy story which I
planned to turn into a novel, though I don’t believe I ever finished

The great purge of Billy from the Middle East took place in 1995. In
Lost Illusions, Balzac says something very apropos:

When you have ruined your life and your digestion in order to give
life to this creation of yours, you will see it condemned, betrayed,
sold and swept into the backwaters of oblivion by the journalists, and
disregarded by your best friends. Will you be able to wait for the day
when your work will emerge again into the light of day? Who will
resurrect it, and when and how? –cited in Grana and Grana, eds., On
Bohemia: The Code of the Self-Exiled, p. 402.

Chris Rich:  ​​The post-McLean period was all about others profiting
from the work he did as he was marginalized personally by the very
buffoons and grifters now making the biggest displays.

I more or less lost touch with Billy after that. I would see him
around town, but certainly not daily, as before. By March of 1995 I
had given up my apartment at 494 Mass. Ave. and had more or less
relocated to Providence RI, where I performed comedy monthly at AS
220, with periodic forays to Cambridge to perform at venues such as
Jack Powers’ Stone Soup at T.T.s, Liberty in Central Square, and
Mickey Bliss’ Club Bohemia on the Cambridge-Somerville line. But it
wasn’t the same. After the spring of 1998, I went on hiatus from
comedy, except for occasional forays such as private parties or a
one-off club gig at places like Club Bohemia or the Lizard Lounge. By
then I was in graduate school and about to get married. I was simply
too busy.

[Circa 1998]​​… if he was your friend, you had an ally, who would make
other people help you and work with you, regardless of individual
clubs, profits and losses and all the other BS.
—Darcey Leonard

In the spring of 1980, Billy met my future wife in Boston. He was “on something”
as she remembered. He hitched a ride along with me, her, and her
friends Kathy McCarthy and Peggy.  We took him to the train station.
He didn’t want to go to the train station. We offered to take him to
the jazz club where a friend of Cathy’s was playing. He didn’t want to
go there. We offered to take him back to the train station. He didn’t
want to go there. Eventually, we dropped him off at the bus station which,
at that time, was on Providence Street.

1999. Billy at my wedding. He asked to attend. I suppose he heard
about it through my friend and former roommate John Hansen. He
promised to “behave”. Meaning, in his case, to not ruin the wedding
reception. He did not. He was, in fact, the life of the party.

My wife said he was “turning cartwheels”.

I now reflect how curious it is that he had a perception about how he
himself was perceived. And that to some extent he could turn such
behavior on and off at will.

Russ Gershon: [Billy rented a room across from him in Somerville as a
storage space.] ​​Billy sublet about 600 square feet of space from me in
Somerville from 2002 – 2004, which he intended to use as storage and
as an office for archivists to organize his voluminous collections.
Instead, he had some people install shelving up to the 12 foot
ceilings and fill up the place with boxes of CDs, LPs, video
cassettes, books, printed matter, you name it.  Nobody returned for at
least two years.  Billy was consistently late with the rent and kept
raising his own rent out of guilt.  Finally, he decided it would make
more sense to move the stuff to cheaper storage bins somewhere.

​​”Our final experience, like our first, is conjectural. We move between
two darknesses.”
 —E.M. Forster.

The last time I spoke to Billy was probably in 2004, during the time
of the Afghanistan and, specifically, the Iraq War. It sounded to me
like he was cracking up. It was a long, incoherent phone call. A long,
psychotic ramble. I have since tried to push it out of my mind. I say
psychotic because Billy seemed delusional. Billy was talking as though
he were a major player on the world stage. He was going to call his
connections in New York and Washington. He was going to see to it that
this war came to an end. The only thing I remember exactly from his
call was that I recommended to him that he take a look at the 1982
book The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda by
Edward S. Herman. It was a source he was familiar with, but had
forgotten. “Oh yeah, that’s a good one,” he said. Eventually, he rang

Advocate literary magazine reunion. 2005. Mary Rhinelander was there, I think.
And others. All of them asked about Billy. Sadly, I had little to
report other than that he was in a bad way, based on that phone
conversation. I had my own problems at the time he called, and could
not engage with his to the fullest degree. We all have our own
problems. Billy needed someone who wasn’t burdened with their own
problems to listen to him. An honest broker. George Perk​in​​s
served that purpose for a time. Later on, Pat McGrath served that
purpose as well. But Pat was only one man and I suspect that even a
dozen would have barely been enough. Maybe Billy’s father was
correct to insist that he see two psychiatrists a week.

Pat McGrath took over Billy’s affairs in 2002.

PAT MCGRATH: ​​You have to ​​strategi​s​e with people. And Billy had a lot
of fun the last eight years, I know. It wasn’t matter of, oh, he lived
some kind of diminished existence. He did all kinds of wild shit. But
I just didn’t ever let him get what he wanted most of all — which was
that crazy mania.

As mentioned previously, the great purge of Billy from the Middle East
took place in 1995. In ​April of ​2010 Billy was trying to get involved with the
Middle East again.

The following correspondence was forwarded to me by Nick Blakey,
when he learned that I was writing this memoir. I have not edited the
correspondence, but have felt compelled to regularize the nearly incoherent
spelling and grammar for clarity.

(All passages are quoted by kind permission of Nick Blakey.)

Billy Ruane Date: April 16 at 11:40am


If it [already] isn’t clear from the three [previous messages] and the third [message] the most explicit in this , but also the longest [message] and the one you may
not have got through reading, ..and [actually] I pulled any specific
references , cause I don’t want this to be about the
individuals I’m thinking about,

I’m saying to the Middle East what I’ve said before, but this
time with real rage at Joseph , Millen and Virr and with
Nabil on my side, that I feel the place needs one or a pair
or ombudsmen, not booking agents, which of course is a
draining job,. and why in November of 1990 , the summer of
1999 and the summer of 2001 I wanted out or in the middle
case a simplification to bebop jazz which I may find (in
combo with large ensemble) at the Rosebud [American Kitchen and Bar] down the line..​..​

It takes a toll and I don’t understand people who don’t
burn out from it…they are zombies and Joseph has become one
too… and I can’t deal with them and don’t want to ….I’ve
not set foot in the place since September 2008…and won’t,
unless I see core moral and peripheral behavioral reform
there.. and i am not t he one to do it, [because] Nabil’s suport
is fragile….I am considered a lunatic to be indulged only
so far….

You and, even if you have had differences, Barry Hite are
the most caring and honorable and at core ethical people I
know in the business….not seeming shysters and bullies like
the ones in current employ…for the Middle East and the
restoration of quality of ethos that was requested, I [was]
interrupted, sadly in the second case not to recover my
own momentum in life….and I’ll be damned if I’ll see it [be]
the corrupt slaughterhouse that it has become when I know
that I was brought in, however prematurely dismissed once I
brought in new personnel to reform it..

Whether for legacy or just out of loathing, I want to see
a better managed and ethically responsible institution, and
I can only effect it , especially at this point, through
third parties who have legitimacy and respect…legitimacy
at this point can only come from Nabil’s support….

And right now, I feel I have it..and can transfer it to a
vicar/agent or two, as I would have in 1995 , when I
wanted committees to review procedure an dto consult on booking
ideas in different genres , etc. then the knife in the back
and see ya later..

Nabil, giving me his email to show these shitheads that what
I write for them is not a ping pong game where they get to
put oil on the ball to fuck with me, but is conducted
publicly under his nose…and in front of his eyes…and
where for now I’ve told the nitwits not to bug me with their
inane and pompous responses but to take their fucking
whining about what I have written to Nabil and see how he
responds… and if he finds an iota of value in their
bitching, he’ll bring it back to he would to you
and if you have a partner (as i have found with Pascucci in
the past and Nabil now, it helps to deal with the gang fuck
that these critters like to perpetrate when challenged) to
the two of you for mediation….

The role involves oversight of ALL contracts for equity
issues,.. consolidation of all booking data technologically
yor the owners , so it isn’t the proprietary [information] of scumsucking
booking agents who then can blackmail the club with taking
their marbles to another club if challenged.. invitation and
encouragement of criticism of the club’s operations from
bands, booking agents and patrons….

Kicking scum ass and having the authority to do it and if
called for, recommend[ed] firing of egregious offenders, but
that, ONLY after making sure they can’t take club assets
with them that leave the club in the lurch….

Booking only if you want to bring in individual shows or
push for them or performers. But basically oversight
and tyranny over the scum that sit on their little Olympian
thrones in the booking office and answer to no one and
frustrate even the owners , never mind enrage outsiders
like myself to the point of not wanting to go even to TT’s
except a couple times a year, cause it’s too close to the
shithole and its sewer workers..

Interested if it’s a paid position with real clout? I hope
so… get back to me….

thanks , all best, billy

Billy Ruane Date: April 16 at 11:57am

I asked you your opinions of Millen and Virr….you hinted
at this in the past I’d appreciate expansion….also your new
phone number.. as with any others, I don’t deal with people
who won’t allow a phone number….I’m not a fucking secretary
…and if others want to type at me, I want and come to insist
on the ability to respond verbally….and for brainstorming,
especially stuff like this, where it seems all my emails, as
tends to be the case with email , never mind typo-ridden
screeds like mine, did not even manage to communicate
what I was looking for in forwarding to you….however                                            implicitly… the notion of ombudsman didn’t seem to
come through, so I had to be that much more explicit in
the email above. I do not like that I have to repeat myself
and do feedback correction til i want to smash shit in
email… when i want to talk to someone I request it and if
you can’t deal with talking to people .. in collegial never
mind tense situations, maybe what I
hope for isn’t possible, but I believe in you I do in
Barry…and am even thinking Aliza from Truth Serum                                        [Productions] may have a role to play… but the joint is                                               a boy’s club and going eyeball to eyeball to eyeball​ I want the smartest and
ultimately toughest minds in place… and the ones who don’t
give a flying fuck about laying into weasels… as you have
seen in my emails, I’m on a tear and hoping to put a little
fear if not shame and respect in the weasels… but I can’t
do it alone nor even just with Nabil as a partner….I know
how long he lasts under pressure.. and what happens when he
snaps… how many times I’ve seen it…another reason you
want a partner or two to back you up…people will turn on
you there…and you need a partner to back you up that you’re
on the same page with after consultation….that is
recognized as informed and thoughtful…. please pop me a
phone number…I will do my best not to abuse it…I seem
to have a recent fluency in writing ,
but resent being caged and tied to the keyboard by anyone,
especially people I want and even need to have a more
flexible and even potentially charged and specific dialogue
with … I have little time and less patience for
misunderstandings in email from failure to get it…never
mind with typo-proofing what I write… the inevitable
omissions and transpositions from the nerve damage to my
right hand and the servant-like obligation to correct them
for others…are all the more reason I resent those who
relegate me to this medium only… I should hate for that to
be part of a relation with you I value and hope to enhance
if you consider working with me on this slash and burn, if
necessary, project..

Thanks for trying to decipher these last two emails that
I’ll be damned if I’ll typo correct unless there is
something you in your opinion, [you] significantly can’t figure

til soon , all best, billy

Billy Ruane Date: Friday, April 16, 2010, 1:07 PM

I hope you guys don’t mind the transparency in emails ..
these, especially from both of you are private with me,
but if there’s any chance of either or both of you working on
this project, I want to keep us all on the same page, as I
would hope you two would do if working with one another…
right now, sequence of response is important…as was, I
hope, going back to the source of my disgust with Millen for
his very partial response (have one performer contact his
Godship ) out of at least ten suggestions.. and then zip when
I asked why he didn’t bother to comment on the others, never
mind thank me for the suggestions… cocksucker….

        later, all best ,billy

Nick Blakey Date: April 16 at 12:42pm
I do appreciate your kind words but unless the money was
unbelievable – and I mean unbelievable – I would not go back
to the booking world at all, partially because I also have
no idea what the kids want anymore. It is also something
that I could not even consider doing until early 2012 once I
have my degree (I’m slated to finish end of 2011). Stress is
bad bad bad bad bad for me with my condition now – and man I
can’t even drink anymore – plus with Amanda not getting any
better the less stress the better. Call me the Peter Dayton
(yeah if only) of booking…Dayton swore once he left music
he would never return…and…he…hasn’t…for better or
for worse…

Billy Ruane Date: April 16 at 1:02pm
“because I also have no idea what the kids want anymore. “

who gives a fuck what they want.. i want nothing to do
with the kids.. this isn’t about booking’s about
bringing adults to kick presumptuous gods in their own mind
kiddie booking agent ass … where’s the stress in tearing
assholes if you have at least one owner behind you…Joseph
is as bad as the kids he employs… he’s virtually their role
model… fuck him for now… as i told him..

This is about oversight of the office… they micromanage
the poor club employees… hell, it’s even about making sure
the employees who deserve it have proper wage and benefit
packages  (yourselves included ) .. it’s about making the
fucking snake put an ethical and decent joint to the best
of your abilities… more than that, who can ask. The
Serenity Prayer, for whatever it’s worth, talks about the
things we can do and the things we can’t… but you got to
give it a try to find out…especially in partnership…
potentially with Barry Hite…who is a very big guy and takes
no shit… not that you do .. .but it’s about the stomach for
it… and the ability to deal with the stress that you rightly
cite. [T]hat is why a bad cop partner can be a wonderful thing
… keep thinking about it..and let’s see how my bombshells
play out..or if they are ignored, patronized and
condescended to  usual and successful denial strategies
which of course keep me at a distance  indefinitely) of the scum..

I sent you the full series of emails , which start with me
trying to give Millen booking suggestions in a concise and
polite way… and then become irked at this very minimal
response and then zero response…this was April 1 and 2…
then two weeks later, the gloves come off. And he can eat
shit… for all I’m conerned… hopefully I’ve given him (and
Virr , to a lesser extent and a good helping to Hoskins) a
generous buffet….

later,all best, billy

Billy Ruane Date: April 16 at 6:32pm
What you feel , Mr. B, as Bogart would say in C’blanca,
don’t add up to a hill of beer cans or whatever he said….

What matters as this plays out, is how these inbreds (Middle
East family = cult of Hoskins with Joseph his enabler and
guide) feel.

They’re circling the wagon (Nabil, the last holdout for me)
and working their forked tongues to tell him at that he’s a
fool to stand by me…and that i (and my intrusive no-count
vidoeographers, all I really care about as they
unfortunately know… one thing left to lose, anyhow).

Rosemary’s baby or that Durrenmatt The Visit (Der Besuch
der Alte Dame, if [I] remember correctly) where the
truthteller gets stoned… or soemthing like that….

Scapegoating is the herd instinct, especially the self-
protective, self-entitled, opportunistic herd, however

As my affinity and fondness for Hunter Thompson must be
clear by now, I adapt to “the scum also rises…up” ([William                                     Faulkner], my spiritual daddy, who died a week before I was born,                            after whom I was no doubt named, Wilhelm Reich on “the mass
psychology of fascist piglets”) and does its best to keep
critics down… I expect nothing less of these greaseballs.

Let’s see how Nabil takes my emails and if he succumbs to
the parasites who want to benefit ego and money wises off
his institution where he slaves over felafel to little
thanks while his no-count bully of a brother basks at his
​​Stammtisch [GERMAN: an informal group meeting held                                              on a regular basis, often in a restaurant or pub. -ed.]​.​

in sycophantic chicks who trade flattery at least
for free admission and drinks…and flattery….

This could be fun (what more than calling scum on their
shit…I live reminding Hoskins I’ll call him a little fuck
at the drop of a hat… he hates it.. .puffs up his chest does
the jolly green piglet), money and a sense of decency as
it were….

I hope you’ve enjoyed my correspondence so far..and you
have so many emails to look forward to..

I would ask nothing of you without Barry as a bad/ tough
cop… what a wonderful bad cop. Heh… if only… and that’s
maybe a maybe….

But you do have the most finely honed sense of morality
…and we have, however little we interact, a good friendship
I’d say for life.. mutual respect that at least I can’t
imagine being affected by anything that could go down on your
end, and I do my best to keep yours….

In short, Mr. Blakey, you’re a gentleman and really
egregiously so….

Even Nabil agreed with me that Mark Hamilton made a lousy
ombudsman cause he’s a cynical go-along getalong from the
Model Cafe community where pigs feed, and those that flatter
themselves affect social climbing to Deep Ellum…[a neighborhood                          composed largely of arts and entertainment venues near downtown                         in East Dallas, Texas.–ed.]​.​

You wonder [why] I never go there… scene of such porcine
behavior by Hoskins, I shudder to remember, or delight, as
he never showed his truth self so nakedly under his beard of
unctuous suck up veneer….

Lord Hobo for this Cantabridgian when I want barleywine on
tap…which is always, along with old ale, my preference….
Mideast can’t raised above P[abst] B[lue] R[ibbon], probably                                      stocking that grotesque Naragansett by now….

Anyhow, don’t close your mind til more shoes fall…I don’t
expect Nabil to survive the pussy whipping he will get from
the gnats what buzz around him… but hope springs eternal
and so does loathing….

F##k fear (Facebook wouldn’t send this message before…
maybe it’s monitoring for cuss words) … it’s for
timorous craven employees afraid to stand up to their greedy
bosses… and infest that booking office like roaches..

later, all best, billy

​​O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!  The courtier’s, soldier’s,
scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword; The expectancy and rose of the fair
state, The glass of fashion and the mould of form, The observed of all
observers, quite, quite down! And I, of ladies most deject and
wretched, That suck’d the honey of his music vows, Now see that noble
and most sovereign reason, Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and
harsh; That unmatch’d form and feature of blown youth Blasted with
ecstasy: O, woe is me, To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!

​–​Hamlet 3:1

Was Billy suicidal? When I was at the dedication of Billy Ruane Square on December 1st, 2018, Andrew Morvay, a friend of Billy’s, told the following tale:

​​One afternoon at 494 Mass Ave. in, I think 1984, possibly 1985, a
fellow, in town from New York, M., dropped by to hang out. I had met
him there but didn’t know him very well, a friend of G., he was a
couple of classes back at college, possibly also acquainted with Billy
and interested in the music scene that both were a part of. Billy
showed up soon after, I think unexpectedly, as he often did around
then. I don’t quite recall, he may have first proposed going to hear a
band in Boston which didn’t pan out, or we just went directly to his
apartment in the Back Bay on, I think, Dartmouth St. to see it.

Billy’s place was in an old brownstone (before these had the life
renovated out of them) several floors up. Stairs with old carved oak
railings led up around an unexpectedly grand central hall for a
building of what were then rental apartments. His flat, with lovely
worn old woodwork and high ceilings, was sort of a large open studio,
and lined with his astonishingly vast record collection. After
showing, playing some records, Billy became increasingly upset and
agitated over a rough patch or breakup with his girlfriend which he
felt had a feeling of finality. We tried to console him, but he wound
up into even greater agitation and sadness. Suddenly he ran through
the large open doorway that lead to the hall and stairs and started to
climbed over to the outside of the railing three or four floors up. We
rushed after him begging, trying to stop him but he got over and and
continuing in despairing tones, hung, hands on the rail, feet on
outside edge of the floor, over space. We reached after him as he
moved and flailed, hanging by one hand or the other. Finally we got
his arms, but as we did, he let go completely, and hung just by our
grip.  I had a terrible feeling I might not be able to hold on to him.
With some difficulty we managed to pull him back to safety. He didn’t
resist, or assist, but came over like a heavy rag doll. I was a bit
stunned, out of no where, this life and death moment, with an inkling
that he had at least slightly enjoyed it. Back on the actual floor
Billy seemed better as though this had been cathartic. After some
hesitation and talking with him, enough to feel  he was safe for the
moment ,we left. I remember saying something that felt pointless and
exchanging a look with M., wondering what had just happened.
Though Billy for years to come was happily a frequently visitor at
494, that evening never came up.

I also had an opportunity at the dedication to speak with Pat McGrath.

Apparently, Billy was not in the best of health. He had an enlarged heart. About one week before he died, he felt pressure in his chest, for which he was hospitalized.

But he left the hospital against medical advice.

It is also known that he was taking methamphetamine, guanfacine (a medication
used to treat ADHD, which he abused) and Avapro (for the treatment of high blood pressure).

It should go without saying that a person with high blood pressure should not be prescribed methamphetamine.

One of Billy’s doctors, Andrew Stoll, M.D., was reprimanded and compelled to sign a VANP (a Voluntary Agreement Not to Practice Medicine), which lasted nearly eight months. See: Docket No. 10-415, of:

During the time immediately preceding his death, two of Billy’s other doctors, and Patrick McGrath, were working to get Billy committed. As Pat told me, they were too late by a matter of hours.

In a somewhat gruesome bit of irony, Billy died just before Halloween, on October 26, 2010.  I was told that he had overdosed on his medications and had died of a heart attack.

He died on the same day as Paul the Octopus, “whose correct predictions
of the outcomes of eight World Cup 2010 games fueled his meteoric rise
to stardom.”

Meg Ormond: ​​He was a true philanthropist—giving directly–no
middlemen– to the real people who needed help. God Bless him!

Anonymous: ​​We all recognize Billy’s extraordinary generosity and
bottomless (and often exasperating) enthusiasm for life. But Billy’s
true genius, and it was genius, was his skill in making each one of us
the center of the universe while we were engaged with him. He had the
rare and unnamable capacity to make everyone feel like… a rock star.
The seemingly instantaneous assessment that we really could be in
reality what we thought we were in our hearts and minds. Billy
constantly accosted this shy girl with way too much eyeliner, who went
to shows Upstairs at the Middle East three or maybe four nights a
week, always alone and reading a book between sets. He was relentless
in pulling me out of my self-exile and into the world, united in our
love of books and rock and roll.

Lauren Leja: ​​Billy was a human gyroscope, a ceaseless cheerleader,
that crazy, badly behaved uncle at the weddings that we all took for
granted but could never imagine life without.

“Cloaked creatures of the starlight strip the slain.”—Thomas Hardy, The Dynasts.

Chris Brokaw​, as​ interviewed at the wake by Brett Milano:

​​He found value in the smallest and greatest of gestures. But I think
he found the constriction of expression to be the greatest affront to
humanity, and he fought that constriction without compromise. He often
paid dearly for that stance; but he took his place in the world
unblinkingly and without apology. That said — and despite his refusal
to utter ‘the L word’ — he loved and was loved as fiercely as anyone
I’ve ever known.

Russ Gershon: ​​Billy was a larger than life character and used his
flamboyance, intelligence and wealth to keep people at a certain
distance, or at least in a position he could control, much as he used
all those resources to try to keep his own pain under control.  What
struck me at his funeral was that despite the veils and the
smokescreen he put up, so many people still felt a really personal
connection with him and were truly touched by his humanity.  Sure,
everybody has a collection of Billy stories involving extreme
behavior, one wilder and funnier than the other, but they also have
stories of the music, books and movies he turned them on to, and of
course the random generosity he showered on people in the name of
making something worthwhile happen, whether it was extra money in the
pot on a pathetically under-attended gig, or taking ten people out for
an extravagant dinner, or lending out the condo, or who knows what
else. Billy turned himself into a cartoon figure and annoyed the hell
out of everyone (including all of us), but his essential goodness was
not lost on people.  And the residue of that was what I witnessed at
the wake, much more than the freak show one would almost have

As I mentioned at the outset, I have tried many times to write about
Billy. I knew deep down that he was not going to be with us for a very
long time. A short story I began in 1980 but never finished was titled
“Tell Old Bill”. It was about Billy’s death. The title was taken from
a fine old song definitively rendered (in my estimation) by Dave Van
Ronk, in his inimitable style.

Tell old Bill when he comes home this morning
Tell old Bill when he comes home this evening
Tell old Bill when he comes home
He’d better leave those downtown girls alone
This morning and evening so soon

Bill left by the alley gate this morning,
Bill left by the alley gate this evening,
Bill left by the alley gate,
  and old Sal says, “Now don’t be late.”
This morning, this evening, so soon.

Sal was home, she was baking bread this morning,
Sal was home, she was baking bread, this evening,
Sal was home, she was baking bread,
  when she heard the news old Bill was dead,
This morning, this evening, so soon.

Oh no, that can’t be so this morning,
Oh no, that can’t be so this evening,
Oh no, that can’t be so,
Bill left here ‘bout an hour ago,
This morning, this evening, so soon.

You know, they brought Bill home in the hurry-up wagon this morning
They brought Bill home in the hurry-up wagon this evening,
They brought Bill home in  the hurry-up wagon,
And poor old Bill, how his toes were a-dragging,
This morning, this evening, so soon.


​​”The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to
live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same
time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, butburn,
burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders
across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlightpop and
everybody goes ​’Awww!​’​”
—Jack Kerouac, quoted by Mary Lou Lord

Mary Lou Lord: Billy was found sitting in his chair, computer on. We
put some clues together and realized that “Lucky Old Sun” was the last
song he must have heard before he passed.

Up in the mornin’
Out on the job
Work like the devil for my pay
But that lucky old sun got nothin’ to do
But roll around heaven all day.
Fuss with my woman, toil for my kids
Sweat till I’m wrinkled and gray
While that lucky old sun got nothin’ to do
But roll around heaven all day
Dear lord above, can’t you know I’m pining, tears all in my eyes
Send down that cloud with a silver lining, lift me to paradise
Show me that river, take me across
Wash all my troubles away
Like that lucky old sun, give me nothing to do but roll around heaven all day
But roll around heaven all day
Send down that cloud with a silver lining, lift me to paradise
Show me that river, take me across
Wash all my troubles away
Like that lucky old sun, give me nothing to do
But roll around heaven all day—Lucky Old Sun

You have to wonder: what if?

What if God’s mad clown had found everlasting love; what if he had been
successfully treated for whatever demons were consuming him (there
were demons; he simply never spoke of them); what if he had something
to truly fulfill and stabilize him; what if he had found a place in a
world which seemed to have no place for one such as him?

But that would be the subject for a fairy tale. And we live in a
mostly colorless world. One made more so, now that he has gone from us
soon, so soon, far too soon.

Jim Sullivan: ​​[The wake] extended to ZuZu… more than a few of us
thought that Billy might burst through the door, shirt untucked, chest
sorta bared, eyes darting every which way, at any minute.

Johnny Angel Wendell: ​​The more I think about it, the more I like the
idea that Billy’s ashes were thrown all over the audience at the
Middle East at his memorial. Beats being shot into the moon or sun.
The folks there all claimed to be close to Mr. Ruane, well, if they
complained about him literally down their shirts and pants, they were
lying. Good for his family that they recognized his loopy sense of
humor over conventional decorum.

Ultimately, I suspect, Billy cured his hatred for the world’s
cruelties by letting the world consume him.

Nita Sembrowich: ​​Like William Blake’s London, Billy Ruane was “a Human
awful wonder of God.” He paid an exorbitant price for the
extraordinary wealth, tangible and intangible, that he showered on
everyone he knew. Perhaps it was karma. I’d like to think that Billy,
a free spirit, is now free. Otherwise, this story is just too sad.

We must pity him. And we must also pity ourselves. We now face a world
without Billy.

More than one person has described him as “a force of nature.”

I am reminded of Hosea 8:7: “For they have sown the wind and shall
reap the whirlwind.”

​​Ah well, it’s only over. And there’ll be nothing can we call our own
but death. That small model of the barren earth which serves as paste
and cover to our bones. For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground and
tell sad stories of the death of kings.
—Dalton Trumbo, Executive

​​A simple fact entered my head one day and put an end to my revolt
against the Deity. It occurred to me that God was not engaged in
corrupting the mind of man but in creating it. This may sound like no
fact at all, or like the most childish of quibbles. But whatever it
is, it brought me a sigh of relief, a slightly bitter sigh. I was
relieved because instead of beholding a man as a finished and
obviously worthless product, unable to bring sanity into human
affairs, I looked on him (in my conversion) as a creature in the
making. And lo, I was aware that like my stooped and furry brothers,
the apes, I am God’s incomplete child. My groping brain, no less than
my little toe, is a mechanism in His evolution-busy hands.
–Ben Hecht

​​So many morall maters, and so lytell vsyd ;
So myche newe makyng, and so madd tyme spente ;
So myche translacion in to Englyshe confused ;
So myche nobyll prechyng, and so lytell amendment ;
So myche consultacion, almoste to none entente ;
So myche provision, and so lytell wytte at nede ;—
Syns Dewcalyons flodde there can no clerkes rede.

–John Skelton, “Speke Parrot,” 1521


“nothing in the world is any good unless you can share it” –robt.
mitchum, ‘out of the past’

“love ’em all, brucie. love ’em all” – -walter matthau, ‘strangers
when we meet’

“weirdo, weirdo. shakes pepsi bottle to get in heat.” — nicholas eberstadt


Memoir, I have discovered while writing this one, is a slippery
thing. When you’re young, the blessing and curse of writing is that it
eats up a lot of your time, of which you have plenty, but you don’t
have any memories of having lived your life for you haven’t yet fully
lived your life and so you don’t have much to say. The blessing, and
curse, of writing when you’re older is that you have much more to say,
but it eats up a lot of your time, of which you have little.

Memoir differs from fiction. Fiction may be based on real people, as
in a roman a clef. Incidents can be wrenched out of their original
contexts and rearranged into new ones, to serve the story the author
wishes to tell. Memoir also differs from biography. Though both are
based on fact, memoir also relies more on memory, and is more
subjective; closer to fiction, without actually partaking of it. By
subjective, I mean to say that memoir is based much more upon
reconstructions of what happened, rather than solely upon actual
documented facts. Also, in memoir, the author is given more leeway
both to choose the facts he wishes to report and to interpret them as
he sees best.

OK, I’ve read my Montaigne. Though not enough of him.

There were places in this story where my part in it diverged from my
subject’s and where therefore my direct involvement was nonexistent. I
have tried to fill in those gaps, as needed by direct quotes from
people I have reason to believe were actually present and on the
scene. I have not, however, made unwarranted assumptions about how
people thought or why they acted.  As Caroline Weber has said, “In the
absence of textual proof, it is not ‘safe to assume’ anything about a
historical figure’s unrecorded viewpoints.”

All of the people described herein, whether named or not, are real;
not composites. Certain of the incidents herein are composites, but
clearly identified as such. I have changed some names of some
individuals and omitted the names of others, but have otherwise
represented what they have had to say as accurately as possible.



DECEMBER 21, 2018
Copyright 2018 FRANCIS DIMENNO

The various codes which were presented to you at Crossgates –
religious, moral, social and intellectual – contradicted one another if you worked out their implications…Broadly, you were bidden to be at once a Christian and a social success, which is impossible.–George Orwell


I imagine that the reason the Tallents sent Billy north to Stropmuth Manor School in the wake of the Hickory Hollow Massacre was that he was in peril of his life–seeing as how it was his accusations of the Keysars–accusations, one should note, that he never recanted—which were what caused the whole foo-fo-raw.

I might as well tell you now that, much later on, me and Billy
Batchelder Tallent ended up sharing a jail cell together. And that
Billy later confided to me that he didn’t even tell the half of what went on at the Keysar family’s log cabin. Because he knew that if he had done so, that first, no one would believe him, and, that second, if they did believe him, that he himself would have been tarred with the infamy he imputed to the Keysars, and that, thirdly, if they did believe him about what the Keysars were up to off there in the deep backwoods, that they, those good men of the town, would have wiped every last one of the Keysars
off the face of the map, and Billy didn’t want that, as “I kinda
felt sorry for the chillun.”.

I also suppose that the Batchelders and the Tallents were also under the mistaken impression that by sending young Billy to get some schoolin’ up East, they were also doing him some kind of enormous favor by removing him from his country bumpkin origins and exposing him to some genuine culture.

But Billy had already absorbed a great deal of another kind of
culture. Billy told me–on pains of my breaking a sacred promise if I ever told another living soul about it– that the Keysars indulged in all kinds of devilish practices, and in secret rites, far far worse than the Masons. Like how they’d sit around a cracklin’ fire, stark nekkid, eating pork and drinking from a jug. Only Billy swore that it warn’t pork but human flesh they were forcing him to eat, and that the contents of the jug included piss and shit and blood, as well as popskull corn liquor and some other ingredient that made his head swim and caused him to see visions.

He said that he was forced to watch while Paw Keysar “cornholed” his daughter Flossie Mae, and then Paw rubbed his head and told him that that was the way to do a gal if you didn’t want to get her knocked up. Paw Keysar then proceeded to accord him the same treatment, though Billy begged me to keep this a deep dark secret because he didn’t want the word to get out. He mentioned that Paw used lard to ease his passage along.

Now, Billy might have been making all of this up, and I almost hoped, for his sake, that he was, but it sure didn’t seem that way.

Needless to say, he arrived at Stropmuth Manor emotionally unprepared for the impact of being farmed out. But, because he felt both tainted and abandoned, he behaved in the most extraordinary way. They weren’t soon going to forget HIM. Of that, he was more than certain.

His first year at Stropmuth Manor, when he was in the first form, he had to obey every sick and depraved whim of the boys in the sixth form. Fortunately for Billy, most of these lads were none too
imaginative, and mostly assigned to Billy the chore of emptying their spittoons and chamber pots.

But he was also occasionally ordered by a perverse upperclassman named Ogoyne to chortle his own bollards, as well as those of Ogoyne’s. It was this very same Ogoyne who was very fond of leaving the house during the wee small hours and howling at the moon. Nobody knew who, or what, this mysterious individual was. None save Billy. As Ogoyne’s fag, or servant, Billy was privy to the knowledge that Ogoyne was the culprit, but he contrived to keep his mouth shut. Even when Ogoyne would tell him dark and lurid tales of crazed Indians who roamed the woods at night, and of horribly deformed infants born as bastard sons to the monks, who were kept in dungeons below the school, and of a mysterious figure Ogoyne referred to as the “the three-fingered Mo.” When Billy Tallent asked Ogoyne what a “Mo” was, Ogoyne smacked him on the head and told him to mind his business, but grudgingly conceded that it was short for “Morphodite.” Which sounded like a truly terrible thing to Billy, even though he had no idea whatsoever what a Morphodite was, or what he did.

And yet, for the most part, there was very little of that sort of
wolfish behavior among the more normal upperclassmen, because the
monks allowed the boys to take periodic trips to other schools, and
even the first formers were permitted to attend the fiercely
chaperoned bimonthly cotillions held by the girls’ schools on the

Not only was Billy homesick, and missing his native clime and native foodstuffs, but he was also rather rattled by his growing realization that there was an old, inexplicable evil in the world for which books and sermons provided none but the most simplistic, and ultimately unsatisfactory explanations.

He discussed his doubts and anxieties with a monk in the confessional during his first week at school, but the monk accused him of being a wretched scamp and demanded to know his name. At which point Billy fled, hoping against hope that the priest had not gotten a good look at him.

Every time certain topics were broached in the classroom or among his fellows in the dormitories or on the playing fields, Billy’s ears began to ring and he fancied that he heard strange voices which were issuing contradictory demands to both lash out against his tormentors, or to hide from them. These included words such as “meat,” “fire,” and “bread.” The Priests noticed his odd behavior, but said nothing. They had all been appraised of his reported ordeal at the hands of the Keysars. Some of them believed his story, and others were quite skeptical. Those who were skeptical tended to give him a hard time, and treated him with disfavor–notably the Latin teacher and the Ancient History teacher. These were subjects which Billy abhorred, and saw no practical use for, unless he were studying to become a Doctor or a Lawyer or a learned Professor in Classics, which was a path he was decidedly not inclined to take.

Only the English teacher, Brother Jacques, seemed to be at least
halfway human. He was a pale, soft-spoken young Monk who failed to
maintain discipline in his class and was roundly criticized by the lay faculty on account of it. Nearly all of the other teachers were
horrors. The Greek teacher tended to smack his infantine charges with a ferule at the slightest hint of a syllable out of place. The German Teacher was a Prussian of the old school who believed in iron discipline, though he fed the boys doughnuts and small snifters of brandy after the completion of their mid-term examinations. The mathematics teacher was a wry, wiry martinet of a Monk named, appropriately, Brother Martin. Using sheer terror, he managed to drum algebraic formulae into the heads of the most recalcitrant dunderheads–no mean feat.

And then, of course, there were the endless catechism classes. Of
which more anon.






And just in time for Xmas:

For people who like that sort of thing, that’s the sort of thing they will like.


I like the recently introduced line of Angry Man™ Dinners.

You preheat the oven to 2000 and you just stick that sucker in there and forget all about it and the house burns down and I’m fucking glad.

I especially like their ads:
Brought to you by Angry Man™ Frozen Dinners:
“I’ll Kill You All!”

Also brought to you by…MEAN CUISINE™.

The Frozen Dinner that says “Fuck You!”


After Elvis’ death Colonel Parker marketed Always Elvis Wine with the slogan, “The Wine Elvis Would Have Drunk, If He Drank Wine”?

Also marketed were “Love Me Tender Dog Chunks” and “Elvis Sweat”.

Credentials are always “excellent”. Unless they are “impeccable.”

The little drummer boy exerts hypnotic mind control over barnyard animals.

He’s also a stage hog.

You Get Down by the Pool Hall Clickety Clack (Sister Song)

You got a lot of manners
Lots of manners and grace
But if you don’t watch out
I’ll poke your eyes from your face
Now you wrote my sister a twelve-line sonnet
There’s a train leaving here and I want you on it
Now you tell me you’re misunderstood
I understand that you’re no damn good


False Gods will bring the devil the blues
And the blues would not themselves excuse
Don’t come from the blues if the blues are empty
Hell is filled
Don’t slander me, my my my don’t slander me nil

Earth is filled only for you
Earth is a toy, here’s a toy for you
Perfection for a perfect Jew
Don’t slander me, my my my don’t slander you

Let the red lights riot, let the red lights riot
The Martians won’t put you in a bad zoo

A bad form of the blues are nothing is not too hot for you
Not too hot, not too hot, not too hot for you


“I told you I’d come back! Remember Buchanan?”

“But you’re not Buchanan!”

“I don’t look like him, but I am him
Don’t you recognize the voice Jim?
I promised to see you die, and I will! ”


All bats are is Dracula vampires
Vampires in rain
Vampires in the lightning for Dr. O’Chane
Dr. O’Chane


Did you know that Quincy Jones knows the identity of JFK’s killer?






Even Steely Dan coughs up an actual tune once in a blue moon.

But not Zappa.

Zappa makes music for people who think they should like music, who
feel guilty about not liking music, but who don’t really like music
very much, and so they treasure up a bunch of Mr. Zappa’s aural
declamations and fancy themselves to be sophisticated connoisseurs.

Anyway, I’m punishing myself by once again ploughing through the works of Steely Dan, trying to find anything other than their first album that I can stand to listen to.

I’ll have to admit that I’m finally beginning to actually not
actively loathe Steely Dan. Even though I hate their smugness. They
give the impression of walking around thinking that their shit tastes like chocolate ice cream. Plus, there’s all the pathetic goofs I have argued with who think that if you don’t like Steely Dan you are somehow lacking in pop music gravitas.

But Steely Dan still impresses me as a gateway drug to actual jazz
played by people who actually know how to play jazz.

I do like “Dr. Wu”, but only because of its similarity to the chorus of the much later song “Raisans” which Dinosaur Jr. released on their album “Your’e [sic] Living All Over Me.”



For some reason, I am inordinately fond of this Steely Dan song:

However, overall, I prefer Steeleye Span to Steely Dan.

I wonder how often they are confused? And is this a source of
frustration to either band? Like Upton Sinclair getting upset because his name was so often confused with that of Sinclair “Red” Lewis–all the more so since the latter once drunkenly stood in a church and dared God to strike him down, much to the horror of the teetotal Upton (and what the hell kind of name is THAT?) as related in his tome “The Cup of Fury,” which was a somewhat meanspirited (see what I did there?) expose of all his drunken writer pals.

Diving Stocks.

RI Restaurants are closing.

The Great Dying.


DECEMBER 14, 2018
Copyright 2018 FRANCIS DIMENNO

I probably deserve a bit of a kicking. And having been to boarding
school, I’ve learnt to enjoy a good beating. –James Blunt


Seven years after the Hickory Hollow Massacre, after the Pattent family and the Tallent family and the Miller family had all successively suffered highly suspicious tragic accidents, most of them involving the original participants in that raid, the members of the Batchelder family began suffering mysterious mishaps which also seemed to be strictly coincidental. Particularly William (“Billy”) Batchelder Tallent, whose childnapping accusations which he levied against the Keysars resulted in nearly the entire Keysar family being wiped out.

To say that his was a troubled life would be an understatement. After his alleged ordeal at the hands of the Keysars, he spent several weeks wetting his bed and walking in his sleep. He grew out of that, but soon started in to burning down small fields and wooded areas on the mountainside. When confronted with this
misbehavior, he was at a loss to account for why he did it, and was
under the strong impression that he hadn’t done it at all, if one were to take his vociferous denials at face value. Well, boys will be boys. But when Billy graduated from burning anthills with kerosene to obsessively shooting songbirds with a twenty gauge shotgun, his folks thought that it was time to take him in hand, and dust his britches for him.

That medicine didn’t take. Billy moved on to killing stray dogs and
cats, and hiding them deep in the woods. When hunters discovered these bodies, a trap was set, and soon enough it was discovered that Billy was the culprit. The local circuit-riding Preacher-Man, a Nosrap named Brother Blackard, suggested that Billy be sent away to some sort of boarding school. But the only school that would accept the boy so late in the term was an all-boy’s monastery boarding school situated on an small island off the rocky coast of New England. It was called Stropmuth Manor. Its advertisements referred to it as “The Eastern Gate of Paradise,” and stated that “many a famous man has attended this fine institution,” –though the advertisements didn’t name any, offhand.

Thereafter, upon arriving at that place, Billy allegedly suffered
untold torments. The New England winters alone were a trial to a lad who was accustomed to going about barefoot in all seasons and swimming nekkid in the local river practically the year round. Also, although his parents were well-to-do gentry when compared to the run-of-the-mill farmers and merchants of Hickory Hollow, they were decidedly fourth-rate and small punkins in the finance department when compared to the many uppity scions who populated that godforsaken Manor on a hill. Furthermore, Billy had to venture from Hickory Hollow, a town where everybody knew everybody else and was related to at least half of ‘em, to a school in the far north where he knew not a solitary soul, and where he was roundly
teased for his thick southern accent and hayseed ways.

First, the other boys were always on Billy about his habit of saying “Yes Sir” and “Please” and “Thank you” to all the monks. This was seen as sheer brown-nosing, and him seeking to curry favor. It did him no use to explain that this was his upbringing.

Next, of course, they monks tried to break him of the habit of always talking about “niggers”. Just to make gentle conversation, mind you, Billy would say things like “My Grandpaw beat his nigger coachman half to death,” or “We always used to box the ears of our lazy niggers,” or “My brother was shootin’ at rats and he killed an old nigger by mistake. Later on, we gave his family a ham.”

I will admit that it’s a word that glides easily off the tongue of a native of the Southron. But it loses a great deal of its music up

No Sir, that sort of talk didn’t fly among the abolitionists, who
allegedly loved the colored man so much that they didn’t want to have anything at all to do with him, and so their servants was all Irish women, usually named ‘Bridget’ or suchlike, and usually they was about 100 years old.

Billy had also formed a bad habit of using cuss words, and of course, the Monks was four-square against profanities of all kinds, and they abhorred commonplace blasphemies like p’isen itself. The only difference between him and the other hapless wretches who had been shipped off to that school was, of course, that the others used such expressions only amongst themselves, while Billy didn’t seem to care who heard him give out with the good god damns and the sons a bitches.

Nor was Billy any too cleanly, which scandalized both the Monks and
some of his more particular classmates as well. It seemed as
though he warn’t any too careful about keeping his linen washed; nor was he particularly fond of bathing.

Now, Billy, like every boy of the south, was an inveterate consumer of chewing tobacco, but he soon discovered that up north, among the elevated precincts, such a habit was considered vulgar, so that he had to learn to content himself with smoking a corncob pipe, which was also considered vulgar, but was at least marginally more acceptable. He also learned that corn whiskey was mostly unheard of up in those parts, and so he had to cultivate a liking for hard cider and brandy. All this, of course, was among the boys. The monks frowned upon such vices.

It took considerably longer to break him of home-grown expressions
such as “Set a spell,” and “Damn Yankees,” and “Hogs et the baby,” and “That’s how the cow et the cabbage.”

Billy never completely lost his taste for that good southern cuisine. But there was no none to be had. No pone, ner pork cracklins, ner greens fried in bacon drippins–up north, it seemed, they didn’t know how to eat, as everything was boiled, or pickled, and usually smelled like fish, or potatoes, or corned beef and cabbage.

The biggest shock, however, was that Billy was expected to drink
water. At first, he was after havin’ none of it. “Any man who would drink water,” he sputtered, “why—there’s no tellin’ what else he might do!”

But water was what was on offer—and occasionally, some very weak
tea—and water was what he had to drink. This did not suit the
disposition of young Billy one bit, I can assure you.

Yessir—many a lad was sent to Stropmuth Manor to get religion and
morals, and maybe pick up some Latin and Greek along the way—and many a lad came out after five or six years as an ever worse sinner than could ever be imagined.




You know, what really gets me is all those commercials for toilet
paper. “20 per cent softer than the leading brand.” The leading brand. Do you know what “the leading brand” is? In most of the world, the leading brand is sticks, bark, and leaves. And in some places, that’s not even the leading brand. That’s the luxury brand.

And then you look at the toilet paper packaging, and it always has
these pictures of these cute bears. Mama bear, Papa bear, and the
little boy bear with the horn-rimmed glasses. That’s a real nice
touch. That means he gets his furry little ass kicked every day by all the bad bear cubs who go to the bear elementary school when they’re not rooting through dumpsters and eating out of garbage cans.

And, apparently, not all bears shit in the woods. Some live in
designer homes and dress their pre-pubescent daughters in stiletto

But let’s be real. We all know that bears don’t use toilet paper. Do you know what bears really use to wipe their ass? I’ll tell you what bears use. That’s right–sticks, bark, and leaves…

…and the occasional very unhappy raccoon.

Just what I like to see: bears with pieces of shit blotter clinging to their blubbery assholes.





NOVEMBER 16, 2018

Problem drinker? I drink. I fall down. I get up. No problem!

Popeye’s Island Adventures | Episode 1 | Follow the Spinach |
Oh dear God. Popeye’s creator, E.C. Segar, would turn over in his
grave at the autistic antics of these dumb assholes.

Do I have something against autism?

Yes. In a cartoon sailor best known for muttering what sounded an
awful lot like profanities under his breath. Now he doesn’t talk at
all. In the next cartoon, I’m sure he’ll be moaning and hugging

A plane made of wood? Son of a beech! Holly shit!
Wooden yew know it. But…are you knots? That would be boring. And you would only be making an ash of yourself. I don’t think folks would cotton to such a corny move. Especially your elders, by gum. I’m stumped. Maybe it is a problem best pondered in the halls of

Let’s face it: Some people REALLY love Pomeranians.

Incidentally, Pomeranians bite. Especially when you try to cut their nails. They make this little noise that sounds like AKKK.


Is it just me, or does Cat Stevens sometimes sound like he’s singing to retarded people?

And this song sounds like a paean in praise of a much-needed bowel movement.

In which Andy Capp acts like a brain-damaged loony criminal, much to Flo’s consternation and my infinite enjoyment.
“Ow! Yer stupid animal! Yer bit me!”

Cream of Tobacco
Bit o’ Housefly
Tofu a la Mode
Spider Brickle
Sex With Yogi Berra
Fossil Feast
Synthetic Kryptonite
X the Unknown
Farting Through Silk
Funeral Parlor
Yello Sno
Lemony Bleach
Incense ‘n Peppermint
Chicory Wine
Minty Floss
Phillie Blunt
Liquid Aminos
Janitor in a Drum
Hot ‘n’ Spicy Garlic Oil
Sea Urchin ‘n’ Blowfish Sashimi
Listerine Original Strength
Portuguese Man O’ War
Wookie Crisp
Injun Joe’s Remains
Roast Beef Hash
Simple Green
Pork Rind Crackle
Chocolate Sweepins
Canned Creamed Corn
Red Man
Bangers ‘n’ Mash
Bitter Almond Surprise
Aqua Velva
Gum Arabic
Library Paste