how often do you think bukowski drank?

From that afternoon in Jimmy Hatcher's basement, or was it Baldy, hell, I don't know. By about 1940, after his dad had chucked him out, I'm pretty sure he must have tried to drink every day. By the time he met Jane Cooney, it had to be just about every day until his gut busted open. Take a few weeks/months off, mix wine with milk, and fast forward to 1986 or so. By then, Linda Lee had him in control, but still boozing every day with her, only not balling whisky, just wine and beer.

So, from about 1940-1994, I'd estimate about 95% of the days.

Amen to that.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
Founding member
I'm guessing about 77%.. like someone else I know....:rolleyes:
 
Purple stickpin is right about this, it's not unusual in working class life to live like this.

Not that I would have any personal experience in this.
 

ROC

It is what it is
Yup, I can personally vouch for this kind of intake.
If you have a 'problem with alcohol', you drink 5, 6 or 7 days a week. Every week.
And when you don't drink, it's either because you can't get to booze or you are too sick from it to look at for a while... not because you want to lay off it per se.
Wow, writing that down was kind of weird.

Hic!
 
I don't agree with this. Binge drinkers often have a 'problem with alcohol' yet they'll mostly go on a bender then not drink for a while. Bingers aren't normally regular drinkers but tend to go beserk when they do
 

ROC

It is what it is
You don't agree with wot?
I was describing myself (obviously, I thought) and, as such, you don't have much of a leg to stand on - like me sometimes!
I really don't know how much Buk drank, of course... I'm just saying 5, 6 or 7 days a week is very definitely possible.
I tend to think (having read all his words) very probably the case.

Just me.
 
I think much depended on whether he had a reason to drink, they way he wrote it was not so much a leg to stand on, more something to whittle away the hours

i'm quite interested to know whether you guys in America have a similar social problem with binge drinking like us Brits do
 

mjp

Founding member
He was not a binge drinker, though he would get more drunk than usual when faced with a social situation that he was uncomfortable in. I think that's clear from all the stories of him misbehaving at parties or other gatherings.

I would think it was unusual for him to not drink on a given day, and that quite a lot of "regular" people are the same way. Not drinking to slobbering drunkenness, but a few drinks.
 
He was not a binge drinker
Spot on. Buk was, plain and simple, a drunk. Later in life, Linda Lee moderated him a bit, but other than those few weeks in '55, and when he quit in '93 I think it was, he probably drank every day if there was booze to be had and money to get it.

One of his classic stories was when his girlfriend (Linda King, I believe it was) kept breaking pint bottles of Cutty Sark, and he'd have to go down to the package store and get a new one, and then she'd break that one. I guess the stores closed for about 2 hours each night from ~4-6 AM, and he waited until 6 AM and got more. He then called her and told her "The liquor store will now be open for the next 22 hours" or some such. I think that bit was in "Women."
 
in one of his books i remember him saying he usually has 300 hangovers a year. I mean he got drunk for 10 years straight and didnt even write. He could drink us all under the table.
 

mjp

Founding member
I mean he got drunk for 10 years straight and didnt even write.
Well, not exactly. 1949 - 1955 he only had one poem published, but that one publication suggests that he didn't stop writing completely. But even if he did, that's six years. After almost dropping dead in 1955, he hit the typewriter hard and never stopped again.

If you look at the timeline, that period is also where he worked many of the jobs he would later write about, at the lighting and other factories, and the art supply house.

1942 - 1944 is when he did his traveling, and it was the only time he left Los Angeles for any extended period of time - but he also wrote during that period.

There is a thread about dispelling Bukowski myths. You should check it out. ;)
 
Speaking of lighting factories, I love the one where in the middle of trying to keep up with the production line he suddenly yells "sunbeam" and other people join in yelling "sunbeam" and they end up laughing their heads off (at the stupidity of it all, no doubt) :D:D:D
 

Gerard K H Love

Appreciate your friends
At least where I live, We Do. I'm not a binger though. I want to spread my drinking out over as long a life as I can.
I lived in North Dakota. There is nothing else to do there but drink. Nice people, though and good fishing. You must drink with nice people and drink when you fish.
 
Based on what I've read about Buk's childhood - I think drinking was pretty much part of his life since he was a youngster. Seems like he drank to kill the painful childhood memories... there's an interview from the time he was writing 'Ham/Rye' (in 'Born Into This') when the interviewer asks about his childhood... and before Buk could answer - you see/hear Linda pouring him a tall glass of wine...

Reminds me of a Malachy McCourt book I read a few years ago when he wrote about his alcoholism:

"We spend so much of our adult life searching for the happy childhood we never had..."
 

mjp

Founding member
I lived in North Dakota. There is nothing else to do there but drink.
The Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois - that group of connected states all take their drinking seriously. There are bars on every block. Everywhere.

Growing up in Minnesota I thought it was weird that my father was a truck driver, mechanic and bartender, while other fathers worked in offices (my step-father was a construction engineer - a mostly white collar gig).

Eventually I realized that most kids fathers were truck drivers, mechanics and bartenders. If not bartenders, their counterparts on the other side of the bar. That part of America is something else.
 

1fsh2fsh

I think that I think too much
Founding member
The Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois - that group of connected states all take their drinking seriously. There are bars on every block. Everywhere.
Gotta include Michigan in this group. a few years ago I lived in a town of about 2000 rednecks in the northern part of the state. well known for its fishing. (hemmingway, used to live and fish in that area) they sold T shirts at the local trading post that said: " Indian River Mi. , a quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem". actually I always like that saying. Its so true!
 

mjp

Founding member
You're right, Michigan needs to be in there. That's better anyway, because now we can just refer to those states as The Seven Swizzlers.
 
I'm very proud to note that Mass. (my home state) is second to Wisconsin in percentage of drinkers.

I'm in Northern Calif. and am surprised at the lack of bars on every corner or proper liquor stores.

No wonder all these folks are on drugs here.
 

the only good poet

One retreat after another without peace.
I lived in North Dakota. There is nothing else to do there but drink. Nice people, though and good fishing. You must drink with nice people and drink when you fish.
and drink like a fish. that's what i thought you wrote.

there's a carver poem about viewing a photo of his father as a young man. the "old" man is holding a string of perches and a bottle of beer.

it ends something like:

father, i love you, but how can i say i like you.
i who can't hold my booze either
and dont know the places to fish.


i like that one.
 
Jim Harrison

I'm a big fan of Jim Harrison, who used to live up in the upper part of the lower peninsula. I myself live in the lower part of the lower peninsula. Hemingway fished and hunted in the upper peninsula. Both Hemingway and Harrison liked to drink as much as they liked Michigan. Well, Harrison still likes to drink.;)
 
Top