Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 70 Kerouaction: On the Ideal Bar

Day 70 in The Beat Handbook is titled, "On the Ideal Bar." It was inspired by the above passage from On The Road. I have to say, this is one of my favorite entries in my book. However, I'm not going to paraphrase or even allude to what I wrote. Instead, I am going to quote Old Bull Lee's (William S. Burroughs) description of the ideal bar (from the pages previous to the above).

"The ideal bar doesn't exist in America. An ideal bar is something that's gone beyond our ken. In nineteen ten a bar was a place where men went to meet during or after work. and all there was was a long counter, brass rails, spittoons, player piano for music, a few mirrors, and barrels of whisky [I note here that this spelling means Scotch, not Irish Whiskey, although I wonder if Jack knew the difference or cared] at ten cents a shot together with barrels of beer at five cents a mug. Now all you get is chromium, drunken women, fags, hostile bartenders, anxious owners who hover around the door, worried about their leather seats and the law; just a lot of of screaming at the wrong time and deadly silence when a stranger walks in."



Fast Walk to Fresno said...

Re: "whisky" vs. "whiskey" – this is not necessarily so that he was referring to Scotch. While it is true that "whiskey" is universally used in Ireland and "whisky" in Scotland, there is less spelling consistency in American whiskies. For example, Jack Daniels is spelled "whiskey," while Maker's Mark is spelled "whisky." I think Kerouac had to pick one and perhaps just used whatever was on the bottle of the brand he had drunk most often or most recently.

Rick Dale, author of The Beat Handbook said...

Good point, Jimmy. America confuses the world again.