Greetings from Miss Shitsville

Greetings and salutations my sweet readers and sycophants. Recent events have brought it to my attention that this blog has been sadly neglected of late. You might have imagined, being a dedicated reader, that I abandoned the thing when my life became utterly peaceful and pleasant and I had nothing left to bitch about. That is not so. One thing that I have learned trekking lonesome through this appalling world is that there is always stuff to bitch about, points to belabour, and – of course – that whenever you feel like you actually might possibly be starting to feel happy, there’s always some dick on the horizon just waiting to come along and fuck it all up for you. Trump or whoever.

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It’s another blue blue cloudless day as I sit up here in my rooftop garden looking down through the palms at the shabby figures in the street. It was about this time last year my cousin Frankie Shitsville and I moved into a new apartment together. This as you can imagine was a necessary move since I had solemnly sworn never to visit Shitsville Ranch again while my father Archie Shitsville lived there (or lived at all). The place we found was top floor of a glorious Art Deco apartment block, built on a corner, which in typical deco style has some bizarre sculpture on the front that looks like a radio antenna Frankenstein might have harnessed for his electrification experiments. We can see the city skyline above the green green green of two parks lined with old established trees; directly opposite are some fresh minted apartments in a pseudo-historical style – sloping slate roofs, arched windows, rows of chimneys (chimneys!) – vaguely reminiscent of the rows of white Regency houses you might see in London, all renting at over $1000 a week to doctors and lawyers and the well-dressed elderly who don’t see any contradiction in wearing bedroom slippers and pearls on their days out, or the fact that a row of genuinely old houses was no doubt demolished to make way for these sparkling, faux-ancient abodes for the dull faux-gentry. Looking right there is a railway bridge and a wall of Russian brutalist style, and a row of park benches where one likes to sit and sip and smoke and watch pedigree dogs cavort through the blue shadows and autumnal leaves.

Two blocks up there is what Frankie informs me is a world famous icon in sport, and signs pointing every which way attempting to engage my interest in visiting something called the MUSEUM OF SPORT (shudder); in fact it’s so world-famous that red double-decker buses trundle round my apartment block every half hour thirty-six times a day. The recorded lecture drifts up to me as I smoke on my balcony looking across at the faux-chimneys. Often I notice the tourists craning their little heads to peer up at me in my finery and disdain before the bus mows on. I suppose they imagine they are getting a glimpse of local colour. But God only knows what the world would be if I was truly representative of the population.

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The road to Casa Sinatra

Nancy SinatraI had to see Nancy, no matter what. I did try persuasive and reasoned, impassioned arguments for a while but to no avail. Then, as I nudged some shingles between my boots and smoked my fiftieth cigarette, it occurred to me that Security guards like to speak in riddles. To get the answer you want, you firstly have to ask the right question.

‘No pink Cadillacs,’ said Steve. ‘Yep,’ said Ernie. Then I said, ‘How about I leave the Cadillac here? Can I go in without it?’

And the gate opened, shrieking on its massive hinges.

Before me rose a long drive of blazing white shingles, which shimmered with dust catching the last of the light and heat. The entrance was bordered with olive trees and cherry tomatoes in giant terracotta pots. It was easy to imagine Frank Snr here, pottering around pleasantly like an old Italian man. But the scent of citrus and the shade soon gave way to the famous Sinatra talent for cunt acts.

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Now, most people do not approach Casa Sinatra on foot; the drive went on for some time, winding up the hillside, through a rocky, desert garden. It was rough going, with the pebbles reflecting heat and shifting under my Beatle boots.

On and on and on and on. The road took several scenic detours past various points of interest in the desert mountainside garden. There was a natural rock formation, a rock feature, a tumbled dyke, a pile of smoothed heaped stones; a wilderness area for small desert beasts, ornamental cacti and aposematic lizards which crawled idly over the crumbling walls, occasionally poking out their muscular purple tongues to spit out a shell or a bird’s leg.

Next the drive took me to a view facing west; a view facing north, a modernist pagoda, an outcrop of rock hanging over a quarry.

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I passed several Frank Snr memorial statues which showed him at various stages of his career, cast in bronze or carved in malachite or rising out of the living mountain. (The statues buzzed with the sound of security cameras, concealed in Frank’s suit buttons or prismatic blue eyes).

item0.rendition.slideshowVertical.frank-sinatra-01-portraitAbout two hours later, thirsty and fagged and sunburned and grey with quarry dust, I finally reached the second gate.

Continued next post: The Second Gate At Casa Sinatra 

The Tannhäuser Gate at Casa Sinatra

tumblr_m0nuhqcrMW1r48hglo1_1280Casa Sinatra sits on top of a mountain that overlooks a silvery bay; Nancy used to say that on fine days it looked like the ships were hanging in the sky.

There are three great walls in concentric rings going around the mountain, built originally as defenders of Nancy’s most precious pearl. As I pulled up to the gate at the foot of the mountain, two security guards appeared from the plastic bushes and bade me stop.

Scifi-2-650x974They both wore reflective specs, sailor pants and shirts so small they could have been henchmen in 60s Batman. ‘Good evening, gentlemen,’ I said pleasantly. But they were not having a particularly good evening.

Henchman # 1 (let us call him Steve) leaned over the door and breathed sourly into my face, while Henchman # 2 (let us call him Ernest) went round behind me and said, ‘Yep,’ while sneaking peeks of his bulby forearms in the shining hubcaps of my pappy’s sugar-sweet pink Cadillac.

When he had temporarily done with using his mouth for breathing, Steve said, ‘What are you doing here?’

‘I’ve come to see Nancy Sinatra.’

‘She expecting you?’

‘No. I just thought I’d pop over.’

‘Yep,’ said Ernest earnestly, and spat gum onto the gravel.

‘This your car?’ said Steve, leaning against the bonnet.

‘Sure…’ said I.

‘It’s just that we got very particular instructions not to let a pink Cadillac pass,’ said Steve.

‘Oh, really,’ said I.

‘Yep,’ said Ernest.

‘Well,’ said I. ‘Is it the make or the colour you object to more?’

That got him. ‘Don’t really know,’ said Steve. ‘Hang on a minute there.’

So Steve gestured to Ernie and Ernie came round to the front of the car and then he phoned up to the house. Now both men were leaning on the hood like a couple of hep cats. There was a crackle on the phone. Ernie said, ‘Yep, yep.’ Then the henchmen conferred saying rhubarbrhubarbrhubarb. Then Steve turned back to me and said, ‘Both. No pink. No Cadillacs. No pink Cadillacs. The order was to shoot on sight.’

As a matter of fact I could imagine Nancy coming home after she broke up with Archie,  saying, ‘If you see a pink Cadillac coming up the drive, shoot to kill,’ over her thin shoulder, with a Menthol stuck to her bottom lip. I don’t suppose she meant it really, but then again she was quite upset, and my father certianly has a knack for provoking people to murder.

More to the point, the things that Sinatras say have a way of happening. In his Mafia days Frank Snr set up a very intricate protection racket around his daughter, comprised of many cells which went on dividing and adapting like the most protean virus. He has been dead for fifteen years but there’s no doubt that the number of defenders of Nancy’s elderly virtue still go on multiplying like the worms and bacteria eating out his ol’ blue eyes.

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Now as the great gate rose before me, I saw it as Archie must have seen it all those years ago when he first starting paying court to Nancy. There were spotlights roaming over the wall, and illuminating clumps of sagebrush on the hill, which left a residual glitter on the back of your eyes when the spots moved on; a shadowy shape hanging in the darkness below flashed a strange green light in from the sea. Then a volley of shots sounded from one of the security towers, and all of the birds rose up, screeching.

Fuck me. Archie was always going on about attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, and c-beams glittering in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate…  So this was it: the Tannhäuser Gate, first defence of Casa Sinatra.

It is always a little unsettling to discover that people you believe to be mad aren’t quite as mad as you thought they were.

Continued next post: The road to Casa Sinatra

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But in your dreams whatever they be / Dream a little dream of me

Nancy does Jane Fonda and Jazzercise in the Rec Room

Nancy does Jane Fonda and Jazzercise in the Rec Room

I couldn’t take anymore. He was never going to let it go. He was going to sing tunelessly into the mournful wind forever. I took to bumping my head against the table-top to block the pain in my ears and knock some cells out.

But it wasn’t long until Archie and Greg Stone returned to Casa Estonia to play mandolin-banjo versions of Lana Del Rey. This was my chance. I jumped into the Cadillac and rolled on down the hill to see Nancy.

Casa Estonia

Casa Estonia

As I drove I was still trying to think of a plan; but short of murder or suicide, the only other option was to get down on my hands and knees and put my face on the floor and plead with Nancy from the bottom of my withered soul that she take the mad bastard back.

Casa Sinatra was built in the 50s along the lines of a model prison, with a central guard tower and five diverting wings. One wing is the bedroom wing; one is a mile-square Rec room with sunken lounge, heated pool and a nice floor for jazzercise; one wing contains an oratory, where Frank used to practise his little-known trick for ventriloquism; one is an atrium full of succulent specimens harvested from the deserts of the world (the atrium is mercifully free of rat’s heads); the fifth wing contains a rococo-style restaurant capable of seating 400, which Frank Snr would fill with paid actors, so he could pretend to be an anonymous Joe while he ate. People in planes permitted to fly overhead often remark that the building hangs on the cliff-face like a star.

Continued here: The Tannhäuser Gate at Casa Sinatra

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