The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Civic Portraiture #23

James Ellroy


layne said...

Where on earth do you get these? Colour me impressed.

Tom Sutpen said...

A number of months ago I went looking for info on when Ellroy's latest novel (which was supposed to materialize earlier this year) would be out (apparently that's not going to happen until the end of 2008), and on one of the many Ellroy fan sites I found this arresting (arrested) image.

As the man himself would put it, he was one stone cold crazy motherfucker in those days.

Vanwall said...

Weren't we all? ;-)

Tom Sutpen said...

Well . . . in them days I was a wee tyke, so I didn't know from breaking into houses around Hancock Park and heisting whatever was in the medicine cabinet (I'm not sure if that's the offense which got Ellroy pinched on this occasion, but chances are it was something along those lines).

I betcha I coulda done it, though . . . if I applied myself.

Nate said...

Does anyone know what year, this is from? Quite the photo at any rate.

Richard Gibson said...

Tom - you know that BBC doc - didn't he say he would go around sniffing underwear as he was breaking in and stuff like that?

I know I have left a comment about this somewhere before but I heard him talk over here at a crime film festival, it was excellent. He introduced a film he'd gone to see but (if I remember correctly) never watched it all - 'The Sleeping Car Murders' - I would love to see this film again. Anyone got any ideas or seen it?

Tom Sutpen said...


I'm not sure what year this was, but my bet is it was sometime in the late 60s, when he was perpetually zilched and zorched on T-bird and inhalers.


Yeah, he wrote about that in his autobiography. But I think the panty sniffing was reserved for those times he'd break into the pads of women he knew in High School and the like (the guy was a true weirdo . . . not that he isn't still a little bit strange; he just deploys it more creatively). The drug heists were executed in random houses.

I used to have a copy of The Sleeping Car Murders. No longer do. I'll scout around for you, though. Might be around.

Nate said...

Tom: that makes sense, I was thinking it would have been in the early 60's

You guys probably already know this but Ellroy is on a commentary track with Eddie Muller on the DVD of Crime Wave that is coming out soon. I can't wait to hear it!