Slim Gaillard
Following Tommy



RE: Slim Gaillard

Thanks for the Slim-areeni-mo.

So many years, and so little changes.

Slim was in Seattle a couple of times in the late 70's. Saw him often at a club in Pioneer Square the name of which I have forgotten, but remember the seating being on low ottoman-like stools. I made no friends when arriving for the first time, too loudly perhaps, asking "Where do the adults sit."

Sometime after seeing Slim --- he was actually keeping his gigs --- I went to New York. And what should I see but an ad for a club uptown where Slam Stewart was playing with Bucky Pizzarelli. So there I went. Once I was seated (it was a dinner club) I asked whether I could have a word with Slam. What was I thinking?

Shortly, I was invited upstairs, where Slam, Bucky, and the club's manager asked what I wanted. Well, Slim's playing again, keeping his appointments, and what would it take to arrange a gig with the threesome? They were befuddled. I clearly was over my head, and out of my league, or any league. And though I tried to explain that I did not represent Slim, they gave me their cards and suggested I give them a call once I had talked it over with Slim. Needless to say, when I returned to Seattle, Slim was no where to be found.

It just occurred to me that Slim may have been a Yaqui shaman. I have a recording of an informal presentation that Carlos Castaneda did at the UW. Castaneda tells the story of meeting "Don Juan" the first time in a bus station. His friend had told him that "Don Juan" spoke Spanish, but the truth was it was gibberish, what Castaneda describes as a kind of glossolalia. The strangest part, though, was that "Don Juan" seemed to believe he was actually speaking Spanish. You catch my orooni? Vout Orenee!

--- C. Reinsch
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From: Bob Hartley


RE: Richard Saturday's review of Following Tommy


Please pass along my thanks to Richard Saturday for his review of my novel, Following Tommy. Although, due to the bleakness of the story, Mr. Saturday did not recommend the book, his review of the setting, story, characterization and subject matter was quite complimentary.

Saying the book is... "not only good, it's too much" brought back a vivid memory.

Many years ago, I was watching a film critic give his review of "At Close Range." He praised the acting, the writing, and the directing. In fact, he was quite impressed by the film, but, because of how bleak the film was, he just couldn't recommend it.

Based on that review, I went to see the film the next day.

Mr. Saturday may be right that the book, due to its bleakness, isn't marketable. But I was attempting to write the American tragedy and there is a very long track record of writers who wrote very bleak stories that have had a lasting affect (Eugene O'Neill, Nelson Algren, John Steinbeck, Jack London, and, of course, Shakespeare come to mind).

So, again, please thank Mr. Saturday for me. His was the best "bad" review I've ever received.


--- Bob Hartley

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