RARA-AVIS: Re: Gerald Kersh

From: Richard Moore ( moorich2@aol.com)
Date: 02 Feb 2005

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Steve Novak <Cinefrog@c...> wrote:
> Merci for this wonderful update about...many things...and those
extracts of
> noir, tough books...
> My stay in Louisiana was in a small city right between NO and Baton
> from July 69 to June 70...I was just married to a lady from that
town who
> had been the American assitant in my University in Pau, France.
> Her father is the one who introduced me to many US sports (football
> archie manning-old miss and Bradshaw-louisiana tech and pete
maravich in
> basketball...etc

Thanks Steve and I've enjoyed your posts as well. Your mention of Pete Maravich gives me an opportunity to get this thread back on topic. As a student at the University of Georgia I saw Maravich play when Louisiana State University came to Athens. Maravich was signed by the Atlanta Hawks of the professional National Basketball Association. Ralph Dennis, the author of the Jim Hardman series, wrote a novel loosely based on Maravich. The novel was ATLANTA and it was published in 1975 as a paperback original by Popular Library, the same company that published the Hardman books. It is much longer than the Hardman books (318 pages) and seems clearly intended to be a book that would break Dennis out of the genre novel ghetto. While Popular Library packaged it as a mainstream book ("...the most enthralling blockbuster novel since AIRPORT and HOTEL"), I bet Dennis' agent tried to place it with a hardcover publisher. There is crime and corruption in the novel and it is worth seeking out, especially by fans of the Hardman series.

By the way, I have no progress to report on getting the unpublished Dennis novels in print. The lawyer for the estate of Dennis's sister
(who tragically died last year)has to get a rather simple change made in Georgia but although he tells me it is in progress, I know of no progress. I will continue to press the issue and may call one of her children to see if they will add a voice to my urgings.

> My marriage did not last long but we are still good friends and I
keep a
> deep fondness for that time, that place and the people there. I
> Roosevelt Skykes because I followed music when in France & UK in
the years
> before and mostly because he was idolized by the black Assistant
> in the Junior HS in Gonzales, who was a mean pool player and had
> clothes and a gold front tooth with a cut star in the middle that
showed his
> white front left tooth in the cut...A groups of us (teachers) went
> times to see him play and also to other taverns either in NO or in
BR or
> even in Lafayette. I wish in retrospect I had know more about him
at the
> time.

Roosevelt Sykes toured Europe often beginning in 1961 and later as a part of the American Folk Blues Festival in 1965, 1966 and 1972. He also recorded in Britain and France and was the subject of a Belgium film "Roosevelt Sykes--the Honeydripper." I have a later film someone made with him in New Orleans.

> An other memory in the crazy carnival in Feb 70: it was a true
rendition of
> what you get glimpses of in Easy Rider (the film)...except in much
> violent!...I had been in nasty soccer crowds in UK and small
villages in the
> French Southwest (where I grew up), with rampant fighting and
> this was very very wild, totally unpredictable, and completely
tangled with
> the racial tensions. It was that year that schools were
desegragated in the
> parishes down there and, as a teacher in a public HS I had to cross
loud and
> vociferous white pickets in front of the school for months...There
were wild
> groups obviously looking for each other all along the parade and so
> people on bad, bad trips and many wild looking bickers pushing and
> everybody in sight...It was very scary and culminated in the brick
> landed in the mouth of local hero and trumpet player Al Hirt as he
stood on
> a float.

Those were bad times indeed. You reminded me that on my first visit to New Orleans in 1965 I noticed two Sikhs who were also enjoying a visit to the French Quarter. They were tall and wore turbans and really stood out from the crowd. The next day I read in the Times- Picayune that after I saw them they were assaulted by a group of toughs who thought the Sikhs (who had dark complexions) were Negroes integrating the nightclubs of New Orleans. It was a time when the white, knuckle-dragging idiots were enabled to practice their crimes in public without fear of prosecution. It shamed me then and it shames me now.

You mention the soccer riots in the U.K. I lived in Brussels when they had some sort of multi-country football tournament and some U.K. teams were playing. Let me tell you the Belgium police are as tough as they come. They had military-style vehicles with water cannons parked in front of the hotels and when some toughs slipped out and tried their hooligan stunts, they woke up with lumps on their heads in a Belgium hoosgow and when I left a few weeks later, some were still trying to get released.

>his was just a follow of the August 69 NO Pop Festival which was
> quite wild itself (I only went one afternoon and much prefered the
> atmosphere for any style music...to this day).

Let me recommend to you (and the other Rara-Avians) the movie "Hard Times" starring Charles Bronson and James Coburn. It is a very nice period piece about illegal, bare-knuckle boxing during the Great Depression. It is one of Bronson's best movies and Coburn is also in fine form. Strother Martin has a great time playing a defrocked doctor who serves as Bronson's cut man at matches. Early in the film, Bronson and Coburn go out into the hinterlands of Louisiana for a match that is being held at a local festival. The band playing at this gathering is that of the King of Zydeco Clifton Chenier--a special treat in a delightful movie.

> Merci for all your info, your love of noir writing and your
memories of
> Louisiana.
> Steve Novak
> le Montois de Dé´˛oit

And thank you for your's and my apologies for being so off-topic. There are times when things here cause me ro rif from point-to-point without always touching noir and hardboiled fiction.

Richard Moore

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor --------------------~--> In low income neighborhoods, 84% do not own computers. At Network for Good, help bridge the Digital Divide! http://us.click.yahoo.com/S.QlOD/3MnJAA/Zx0JAA/kqIolB/TM

RARA-AVIS home page: http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/
  Yahoo! Groups Links

<*> To visit your group on the web, go to:

<*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:

<*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Feb 2005 EST