Sunday, May 14, 2017

John Doyle writes

(Song for a Drifter on the BART, San Francisco, 15/2/12)

I've no idea what his name is;
I know he smells nearly as bad as me,
that wax-jacket pong of girder-thickened grease
and those scientific unknowns -

the 60s purple - and Texas oil-black.
He sits near me, U.S.A Today telescoped beneath his paternal arm,
it's not as if the poor bastard can read,
more like that possessive pre-fetishisation,

like John Wayne's paper in The Shootist.
A day was more than sentence, word, perhaps even life -
the world and man welded to tumbleweed streets;
he thinks "you and me baby, 24 hours, then midnight, everything just dies".

Perhaps this train's his pumpkin carriage,
and the cancer, like Duke's, will give him a few more years.
Tonight he'll sleep near Union Square, 
the glistening stones 

like stars where John Bernard Books lay down his head;
When I pass him in the morning, he's the same ethereal mass 11 stories down,
except when I get closer
he's vivid enough for a name;

I'll call him Chester,
I'd like to think mom and pop thought that way.
Men were called Chester when haircuts were tight
and station-wagons licked picket-fences

like stars graze heads
and cherubic city-stone.
He calls me, "hey sir, you were on that train yesterday..."
The Top Cat theme-tune, Nelson Riddle

and buzz-cut hairstyles 
ignite my brain,
and Chester finds another few stars 
ruffling through his hair
 Image result for john wayne shootist pistol paintings
 The Duke - - Sharon Cummings


  1. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is a rapid transit elevated and subway system that connects San Francisco with cities in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties. With an average of 433,000 weekday passengers and 128.5 million annual passengers, it is the fifth-busiest heavy rail rapid transit system in the US. Some of its coverage area was served by an electrified streetcar and suburban train system called the Key System, which had regular trans-bay traffic across the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. A new rapid-transit system was proposed to take its place in the late 1940s, and formal planning for it began in the 1950s, when the Key System had been dismantled in favor of highway travel. Some funding was secured in 1959, and passenger service began in 1972. Union Square is a 2.6-acre (1.1 hectare) public plaza in downtown San Francisco, though the term is also used to refer to the shopping, hotel, and theater district that surrounds the plaza for several blocks. It was originally a tall sand dune, before the square was set aside in 1850 to be made into a public park by the city's first American mayor, John Geary. In 1903 a 97 ft (30 m) monument to admiral George Dewey's victory at Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War was dedicated; executed by Robert Aitken, the statue at the top of the monument, "Victory," was modeled after Alma de Bretteville, who soon became one of the city's richest women. Between 1939 and 1941 the world's first underground parking garage, designed by Timothy Pflueger, was built under the square.

    USA Today was founded by Al Neuharth in 1982 and is the flagship publication of the Gannett Company. Its dynamic design influenced the style of local, regional, and national newspapers worldwide, through its use of concise reports, colorized images, informational graphics, and its inclusion of popular culture stories, among other distinct features. It has a weekly circulation of 1,021,638 and an approximate daily reach of seven million readers.

  2. "The Shootist" (1976) was John Wayne's final movie, concluding a career that began during the silent film era in 1926. Directed by Don Siegel, the screenplay was written by Scott Hale and Miles Hood Swarthout, the son of Glendon Swarthout (who had written the 1975 novel on which it was based).The all-star supporting cast included James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Richard Boone, Hugh O'Brian, Harry Morgan, John Carradine, Sheree North, and Scatman Crothers.In 1977, The movie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction for Robert F. Boyle and Arthur Jeph Parker, a BAFTA Film Award nomination for Best Actress for Bacall), and a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Howard).The story detailed the last days of John Bernard Brooks, a notorious gunman who,like Wayne himself, was dying of cancer, although Wayne survived until 1979.
    Nelson Riddle was an arranger, composer, bandleader, and orchestrator whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s who won an Academy Award and three Grammy Awards.In 1950 Les Baxter hired him to write arrangements for a recording session with Nat King Cole; one of the songs,"Mona Lisa," written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston for the movie "Captain Carey, U.S.A.," was credited to Baxter, but Cole and Riddle continued to work together for years.By 1953 he also began working with Frank Sinatra; their rendition of the 1932 jazz song "I've Got The World on a String" by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler revived Sinatra's career. In addition to his continuing work with Cole and Sinatra,and others, he also recorded his own instrumentals, including "Lisbon Antigua,, which held the #1 position for four weeks in 1956. Much of his work in the 1960s and 1970s was for film and television, including his hit theme song for "Route 66" and the music for the "Batman" television series, though the theme was by Neal Hefti. After five nominations, he finally got an Academy Award for scoring the 1974 version of "The Great Gatsby." He closed his career by arranging three albums for Linda Ronstadt, and he won Garmmies for two of them, "What's New" (1983) and "Lush Life" (1984).
    "Top Cat" was an animated television series by the Hanna-Barbera studios that first ran 30 episodes from 27 September 1961 to 18 April 1962.Top Cat (voiced by Arnold Stang imitating Phil Silvers as Sgt. Bilko, from a recent hit TV show) was the leader of a gang of Manhattan alley cats living in Hoagy's Alley: Benny the Ball (Maurice Gosfield, who had played private Duane Doberman on "The Phil Silvers Show"), Fancy-Fancy (John Stephenson),Choo Choo (Marvin Kaplan), and Spook and Brain (both by Leo De Lyon). The theme ("The Most Effectual Top Cat") was composed by Hoyt Curtin, who was the primary musical director for the Hanna-Barbera studio from its beginnings with "The Ruff & Reddy Show" in 1957 until 1965 and then again from 1972 until his retirement in 1986.


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