Another "New Bukowski" is here. (1 Viewer)


"The law is wrong; I am right"
Rolling Stone just found us another "New Bukowski", it seems. Boy, are´nt we lucky? I wonder how many new Bukowski we have heard of so far. I´ve lost count. :D

How Legendary Tattoo Artist Jonathan Shaw Became the Next Bukowski

Jonathan Shaw traveled the world and inked up Johnny Depp's crew before turning his life into a stunning memoir

By Alex Morris April 28, 2015
Forty years ago — long before he was a world-renowned tattoo artist, or a beloved cult author — Jonathan Shaw was a teenage heroin addict and part-time hustler, "raised by wolves" on the streets of Los Angeles. He was also writing for an offshoot of the Los Angeles Free Press, where poet-novelist and lowbrow icon Charles Bukowski had a column. "We were both screaming-drunk one time," Shaw, now 61, says, "and Bukowski said to me, 'You're just a fucking punk kid living in Hollywood. Who wants to read about that? You need to get a fucking life so you have something to write about.' Then we went to blows."

Nonetheless, Shaw, the son of big-band jazz star Artie Shaw, took Bukowski's words to heart, eventually (or rather, repeatedly) kicking heroin and hitchhiking to Central and South America, where he spent the next decade working as a deckhand and later a tattoo artist ("Tattooing is a great refuge for scoundrels"). In 1987, he landed on the Bowery and opened Fun City, New York's first storefront tattoo parlor. Never mind that tattooing was illegal in New York at the time, or that the Lower East Side was still such a "lawless place" that Shaw kept a gun strapped to the underside of his chair.

Shaw ran with — and inked up — a crew that included Johnny Depp, Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch, and unwittingly helped turn his underground passion into a mainstream industry. In 2002, he sold Fun City to dedicate more time to writing. His 2008 debut novel, Narcisa, about a man who is hopelessly hooked on a beautiful young crackhead, immediately won acclaim and famous fans like Depp and Marilyn Manson. Its title drawn from the name of a "junkie whore" Shaw once knew in Tijuana, the book "emerged" out of a long-forgotten cache of notebooks from Shaw's youth that he stumbled upon while working on his (unfinished) memoir, Scab Vendor.

A few years ago, Shaw was hanging at Depp's house ("I think Patti Smith was there at the time") when his old friend mentioned that he was in talks with HarperCollins about starting an imprint and that he'd like to rerelease Narcisa. Shaw reworked the original version into a new edition that was released in March — a sprawling, bloodletting tome that's already being compared to Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac and even Bukowski.

"For me to publicly celebrate your abilities as author, artist, connoisseur, madman, thug, pirate, villain, Buddha, sage, Satan, gypsy and most solid of brothers, is an honor and a pleasure I have dreamt of since our teeth began rotting in unison," Depp wrote in an e-mail to Shaw, who is now plotting a spoken-word record with help from Cat Power while continuing on with his memoir, which has expanded into multiple volumes. "Fuck, I write better than Bukowski," he says. "I think he would appreciate that."

From The Archives Issue 1234: May 7, 2015

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Is this guy Danny Valdez's father? They share the same understated view of themselves.

I honestly can't think of anything less interesting than a junkie, or a junkie's story. They are so boring, sitting around drooling and burning holes in the couch as they nod off.

Look at it this way, everyone knows, or has known, a funny drunk. No one has ever said, "That Pete, he's a really funny junkie."
Your obvious commentary on one Pete Farndon has not gone unnoticed. :wb:
More to your point, Burroughs' work isn't drool-derived to me, but it does take a certain detachment to appreciate. And that appreciation is difficult to dredge up at best.

I will say that William Wantling's poetry is a bit erratic, but has its high points, to be sure. Not that I would have invited him to Thanksgiving dinner or somesuch...
I knew J.S. back in the day. Complete asshole. And like MJP said, being a junkie does not translate well into literature. Especially a trust-fund junkie from Hollywood who's father was Artie Shaw. I think his mother was a movie star too. I'll read Danny Valdez cover to cover before cracking this one opened, and that aint happening any time soon.
This seems to be exactly the kind of book the larger presses like to "gamble" on. Like a remora that gloms on to a shark, take one part fame or infamy and thunk add thunk a buncha thunk recognizable thunk names and you've got yourself one of the few recipes big publishers still "risk" putting out. Porn star memoir? Reality-TV starlet's cook book? Serial killer tell-all? Viral internet meme? 400+ pages of selfies? Sure! They'll take all comers.

Everyone else is welcome to the slushpile.

I have a lot of nerve to continue to be surprised.
I read the article a few days ago and though to myself, "Man, the Bukowski forum would eat this alive." and didn't post it just to see how long it would take to pop up here. Yeah... I aint gonna read Mr. Shaw... No thank you.
This is one time when I have to say that the forum is wrong.

Shaw is a fucking genius. This book is about about a guy, right? And this guy, he rides a motorcycle and he's in love with a crackhead-philosopher-prostitute. I mean, as if this weren't cool enough already! But get this: he's addicted to this woman like a drug. How is this not the most creative thing ever? Like, I have literally never heard a metaphor like this before. It's so fucking original it hurts.
He said he writes better than Buk. That puts the nail in the coffin right there. To aspire to be as good a writer as Buk is another thing entirely and I might give that kinda writer a chance.
i think the thing these people don't realize is that bukowski DIDN'T have an interesting life. he worked shitty jobs, drank, lived in shitty apartments, and got by. even the myth of himself isn't interesting. there's no bullshit about how he hung with such and such a crew or worked the oil fields of cambodia or norted coke with a tribe of rebellious monks in mongolia. that's what makes bukoski a genius - that he wrote the way he did based on the life he did live. this idea that you have to be some type of wild person with a wild story in order to be the next bukowski doesn't make any sense.
I honestly can't think of anything less interesting than a junkie, or a junkie's story. They are so boring, sitting around drooling and burning holes in the couch as they nod off.
When I was a kid I had occasion to be in the company of a woman who was an addict. I don't know if this is common, but she would nod off and her cigarette would burn to the filter without dropping the ash. The ash would balance there, like a complete cigarette but grey. I found that quite remarkable.

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