Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Buon Viaggio

Stick a fork in my skinny white ass, I’m done. At least, I’m done for the next 10 days – by the time you read this, I’ll be with the Lovely Ladies in Italy, first in Bergamo, for the wedding of the lovely Lisa Armstrong and the equally fragrant Michael Heraghty, and then on to Lake Garda (right) for a week. Looking forward to it …
  It’s been a busy, busy year – I really can’t remember the last time I looked forward to a holiday so much. The month I spent in the Greek islands with my brother, maybe, ‘researching’ a novel. If that novel is ever written, it’ll be about White Russians, and the entire soundtrack will be the Stones augmented by Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer.
  Met a guy on Ios during that holiday, actually. He walked into the Orange Bar barefoot, wearing a three-quarter length coat and white duck trousers, naked from the waist up, deeply tanned. He was rough around in the edges, and was the spitting image of El Dudalero Lebowski. That was the start of the White Russians, if memory serves. Anyway, I bought a round of Caucasians and brought one over to him. He just looked at me. I said, ‘Y’know, the Dude always drinks White Russians.’ He said, ‘Uh, sorry, man?’ I said, ‘The movie, The Big Lebowski.’ ‘Sorry, man, never heard of it.’ ‘You’ve never heard of The Big Lebowski?’ Cue shifty glance right and left. ‘I’ve, uh, had reason to be out of the jurisdiction for some time now.’
  So, Italy beckons, and I can’t wait – I’m already seeing long, lazy evenings on village squares drinking too much wine and eating too much pasta. Poor old Lily’s routine is about to be knocked into orbit … It’s the first proper holiday I’ve had in 12 months. The last holiday I had, I got stuck on a road-trip from Toronto to Baltimore with John McFetridge, who spent the entire nine days teaching me the rules of baseball. Or Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing. Or some such thing ... There were rules, I remember that much. So that doesn’t count.
  I’ve only ever been to Italy twice before, once to Sicily, the other time a stop-over at Milan airport, where I was accosted by an Alsatian sniffer dog and an armed cop, demanding to know what drugs I was smuggling, this at 8am, while I was hungover in the basement of hell, having flown out of Athens before dawn after a full night’s drinking with some Australian photographers. Sicily was nice, if I remember correctly … The best bit was when I discovered that ‘the bill’ in Italian is ‘il cunto’. I was storming into restaurants to pay for strangers’ meals after I heard that …
  Anyway, I’ll see you all back here some time near the end of the month. In the meantime, here’s Don Henley’s The Boys of Summer. Roll it there, Collette ...


Josephine Damian said...

"The best bit was when I discovered that ‘the bill’ in Italian is ‘il cunto’. I was storming into restaurants to pay for strangers’ meals after I heard that."

LMAO over that one, Dec.

Have a great time, but hey, this means you'll miss the festivities at No Alibis next Friday. Bummer.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Geez, I could have saved you some money. It's spelled "il conto."
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Stuart Neville said...

Have a great time, Dec.

Dana King said...

I don't know what he did, but you have to respect a man with the aplomb to say he's been out of the jurisdiction for some time. That's class.

Enjoy the trip. Keep Lily away from the Italian lechers. Aileen can make her own decisions about them.