RARA-AVIS: Demon Dog in Hogtown

From: William Denton ( buff@pobox.com)
Date: 30 May 2001

James Ellroy hit Toronto and gave a short show at the Hart House Library tonight. I met a friend there an hour early and got primo seats, eight feet off his right, and the rest soon filled up. About 200 people were there total, mostly young men.

He started five minutes early. He said he was the Demon Dog with Hog Log, the Something Ick with the Donkey Dick. He greeted us as pimps, pedants, pederasts, prostitutes, punks, and other p-things. It vibed heavy shtick. He said we should each buy one, two or three thousand copies of his new book, which would guarantee us regular sex with the person we most desired, a free ticket into Heaven signed by Reverend Ellroy, and that Toronto would for the first time ever rule the world. That last part didn't go over to well.

He read two chapters from THE COLD SIX THOUSAND, four and forty-seven I think. He stood with his legs spread wide, spoke loud, and played it up. I noticed he had on new brown leather walking shoes and the laces were so long he'd tucked them into the sides. After the reading he took questions. There were a few fanboys who wondered about movie adaptations and whether he'd like to work with Tarantino, but he blew them off. He said his work kept on getting better, his new book was his best, and would only be eclipsed by his next. "Content dictates style," and that was why he used the crazed bebop riffs in WHITE JAZZ. "Chandler wrote about who he wanted to be, and Hammett wrote about who he feared he was." What character would he least like to meet in a dark alley? "They're not REAL." The questions came quickly and he had fast answers for them all. What was his opinion of George W. Bush? He'd voted Republican, but he and Bush had a deal: he doesn't tell Bush how to run the country, and Bush doesn't tell him how to write his books. He hates Clinton with a passion. I got in one of the last questions: what about Ross Macdonald? "Ross Macdonald wrote ONNNNNNE BOOOOOOK, but from THE GALTON CASE on it was a GOOOOODDD BOOOOOOOK." He ranks him over Chandler but under Hammett.

He closed it off after half an hour, and then started signing. He didn't wait for a chair, he just started grabbing books and scribbling. All in all, an entertaining evening, but if he's anything like that in normal life it's a wonder he has any friends.


William Denton : Toronto, Canada : http://www.miskatonic.org/ : Caveat lector.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 30 May 2001 EDT