Thursday, October 24, 2019

"Dean Martin is forever changed for all time because of how Tosches wrote about him."

Sheila O'Malley
Hey pallies, likes as we were searchin' the ol' 'net lookin' for powerful prose related to the recent death of Mr. Nick Tosches, the brilliant biographer of our most beloved Dino we lovin'ly lighted on the self tagged blog of Miss Shelia O"Malley (pictured on the left), "The Sheila Variations."  In times past we have often be deeply drawn to Miss O'Malley's beautiful blog as she has often shared Dino-devotion often remarkably referencin' Mr. Nick Tosches' thrillin' tome, "DINO: Living High In The Dirty Business Of Dreams."

Likes. we woulda invites all youse Dino-philes to put Shelia O'Malley into the search engine box here at ilovedinomartin (in the upper left hand corner of our home page) to virtually view the swankly scripted most Dino-honorin' devotion that we have shared in times past.

Today we are proudly pleased to share Miss O'Malley's most recent Tosches-Dino post, "R.I.P. Tosches" shared below.  Miss Shelia is a profoundly powerful proser and this Dino-devotion once 'gain bears that out in sweet style.  As all youse Dino-holics will read below, in reverently rememberin' Tosches, O'Malley share a notable number of incredibly insightful quotations 'bout our Dino from the Dino-bio, which simply stunnin'ly shows once 'gain just how beautifully brilliant are Tosches Dino-insights.

Likes we have tagged this Dino-gram with what we consider Miss Shelia O'Malley's wonderfully worldly wise words, "Dean Martin is forever changed for all time because of how Tosches wrote about him."  O'Malley nails exactly what makes Tosches Dino-tome outside forever any and all other Dino-volumes that have or will be written.

We solemnly salute Miss Shelia O'Malley for this awesomely amazin' article hugely homagin' our Dino and the man who wrote about him best, Mr. Nick Tosches.  To checks this out in it's original source, likes simply clicks on the tag of this Dino-report.

We Remain,

Yours In Dino,

Dino Martin Peters

R.I.P. Nick Tosches

Rest in peace to sui generis writer, whose books blaze with such individualism, such unforgettable prose, such high-flung sweeping paragraphs – so hard to paraphrase – impossible to parse out – he’s almost intimidating. His style is so his own, so depth-full, so intriguing and intricate. He weaves complex webs with his sentences, drawing you further and further in, until you can no longer sense the way you came in, the passageway back out is obliterated. Reading his stuff is a tonic – reminiscent of reading, say, Hunter S. Thompson, or Tom Wolfe or Lester Bangs – people with such a personal style you’d recognize their prose in a blind sample. It’s a dominant style. It refuses to allow you wiggle room. It’s you and the writer, alone in a room together, and they monologue at you. It’s not a conversation. So few writers have a real personal style. Style is something that can’t be taught (in my opinion). You have your own style or you don’t. Style comes from within. Style also comes from being well-read, from knowing the pathways carved by writers before you, from stealing/borrowing/imitating/learning from what they have done. You incorporate/reject all you have imbibed yourself. Style is not a “personal brand” as they say now. It is unique, style comes from the individual, style is the way the thoughts, feelings and perceptions, the collation of ideas, the of research – synthesizes, talks together, argues, reflects, leaving you the reader with a deep impression of understanding, maybe even – in Tosches’ case definitely – revelation. Dean Martin is forever changed for all time because of how Tosches wrote about him. So we have the real Dean Martin and we have Tosches’ Dean Martin. Tosches’ style is so strong I feel like I need to stay away from it if I am working on something similar, an in-depth piece about someone I love and know a lot about. I wouldn’t say I steal from him, but I would say he exists as an inspirational example, a high watermark of the form I would like to enter into myself: the RIFFS on well-known popular figures, but riffs with such a strong underlying structure, riffs based on KNOWLEDGE not just FEELING.
Two identical quotes come to mind.
The first is from Poetry magazine editor Harriet Monroe on E.E. Cummings’ poetry: “Beware his imitators.”
The second is W.B. Yeats’ warning in re: Jonathan Swift: “Imitate him if you dare.”
Tosches exists in the same protected category.
The padrone of Steubenville, the man who oversaw it all, the one to whom the Irish and the Jews and the rest paid tribute, was JamesVincent Tripodi, whom no one ever described as a gentleman. Botn in Italy in December 1899, Vincenzo Tripodi had established himself early and violently as the demon lover of the Democratic bosses, as the evilest dark breeze in that lush and fruitful garden. He lived at 638 Broadway with his wife. They called her Mae or Mabel, but her name was Amelia. She too had come from the other side, and was a girl of eighteen with Tripodi married her in 1926. There were semi-legitimate businesses: the J.V. Tripodi Restaurant on North Sixth Street, the beer distributorship that had grown out of a Prohibition monopoly. But Tripodi’s sub-rosa interests were everywhere his will decided them to be. He knew others of his kind, men in Cleveland, Detroit, New York. They would come to his daughter’s wedding and embrace him. But he neither sought nor cultivated their company, desiring no such shadow other than his own in the garden he held as his sacrosanct domain. He would end it many years later as he had begun it, with his hands and his will, blowing out his brains with a thirty-eight, alone in his garage, on a wintry afternoon in December, 1987, eleven days before his eighty-eighth birthday.
Tripodi was the first of many such characters whom Dino would encounter in his life: men — America called them the Mafia — who sought to wet their beaks (fari vagnari u pizzu, as the Sicilians said) in the lifeblood of every man’s good fortune. He shared many traits with these men, traits born of the old ways: the taciturn harboring close to the heart of any thought or feeling that ran too deeply; that emotinoal distance, that wall of lontananza between the self and the world; a natural, unarticulated belief in the supreme inviolability of the old ways themselves; a devout sense of Catholicism, based upon the power of its rituals and predicated on God’s special forgiveness for the sins of those whose faith was founded in the ancient, sacred grain of the old ways’ moralita. He shared these traits with them, but he did not share his money with them; and the more he came to know them — and he came to know them as few would — the more he hated them for the predators they were, and the more intent he became on beating them at their own racket. It was not a matter of bravado. He did not share that trait with them. It was a matter, rather, of menefreghismo. Deep down, that, as much as anything, was what he was, a menefreghista — one who simply did not give a fuck.
It is impossible to watch Dean Martin movies or listen to Dean Martin songs (and I’m a huge fan) without thinking about “menefreghista.”
Or this:
His schoolmates had never really known him. Even his loving familiy could not tell for sure what lay within this kid who moseyed around among them with a hat on, singing. There was a pin-tumbler sidebar lock on his guts that no one could pick. That was just the way he was, and it was just the way he always would be.
Unlettered and rough-cut, Dino possessed both wiles and wisdom beyond his years – anyone trying to fuck with his mind or his body or his soul found this out forthwith. But the wisdom served by those wiles was an annihilating wisdom. It was the wisdom of the old ways, a wisdom through which the seductions of reason and love and truth and all such frail and flimsy lepidoptera would in their seasons emerge and thrive, wither and die. The sum of Dino’s instincts had to do with the old ways, those ways that were like a wall, ways that kept the world lontano, as the mafiosi would say: distant, safely and wisely at bay. That was how he liked it: lontano, like the flickering images on the theater screen that gave him pleasure as he sat alone, apart from them and unknown to them, in the dark.
Those close to him could sense it: He was there, but he was not really there; a part of them, but apart from them as well. The glint in his eye was disarming, so captivating and so chilling at once, like lantern-light gleaming on nighttime sea: the tiny soft twinkling so gaily inviting, belying for an instant, then illuminating, a vast unseen cold blackness beneath and beyond. The secret in its depth seemed to be the most horrible secret of all: that there was no secret, no mystery other than that which resides, not as a puzzle to be solved or a revelation to be discovered, but as blank immanence, in emptiness itself.
There was a picnic in Beatty Park. Roozy had gotten hold of an eight-millimeter movie camera, and they were all going to be in pictures. No one who saw that movie ever forgot it. The camera captured the silent laughter of the Crocettis and the Barrs. It followed Dino’s friends back and forth as they ran and fumbled, threw and jumped in a makeshift football game. There was merriment everywhere, but there was no Dino. Then the camera scanned to the right, to a tree off in the distance, and there he was by himself under the tree, away from it all, caught unawares and expressionless, abstractedly toying with a twig, sort of mind-whittling it. That was Dino, all right; the Dino inside the Dino who sang and swore and loafed and laughed.
He was born alone. He would die alone. These truths, he, like every punk, took to heart. But in him they framed another truth, another solitary, stubborn stone in the eye of nothing. There was something, a knowing, in him that others did not apprehend. He was born alone, and he would die alone, yes. But in between — somehow — the world in all its glory would hunker down before him like a sweet-lipped High Street whore.
It’s interesting, because today is Coleridge’s birthday (my post about him here), and I was thinking yesterday – when I heard the news Tosches died – that the only writer I can really think of to compare Tosches to – the only one who was doing what he was doing – is Coleridge. You can feel Coleridge’s influence in Tosches’ stuff (most explicitly probably in Tosches’ book The Last Opium Den), but it’s elsewhere too. Tosches lives in a dreamspace/nightmarescape behind his mind’s eye, where he fixates on his topic, he fixates on it to the degree that everything else falls away. He was one of the most obsessive writers on the planet. Nobody could write like he did and not be totally obsessed.
Hellfire, his extraordinary biography of Jerry Lee Lewis (how amazing that JLL has outlived him), sounds like it was written at gunpoint. In the preface, Greil Marcus wrote: “the ending of Hellfire is as bleak and terrifying as one will ever read in a biography of a person not yet dead.” Yes. Tosches digs DEEP into the Pentecostal “hellfire” world Lewis came from, pouring all of his knowledge and insight into the subject, every paragraph more urgent than the last. IN a recent list of “rock and roll biographies” published by The Guardian, Hellfire was Numero Uno.
That boy, that fourteen-year-old boy up there, sat there, rocking, howling a song that was about nothing but getting drunk and fucking up, and all the people there started howling along with him, loving it. For that boy, that fourteen-year-old boy up there, was making the sort of music that most folks had only heard in conjunction with the Holy Ghost, but the boy wasn’t singing about any Holy Ghost. He was singing something he had taken from the blacks, from the juke-joint blacks, but he had changed what he had taken, not so much the way someone might paint a stolen pickup to hide his theft, but rather the way that Uncle Lee had changed those cattle into horses: changed it by pure, unholy audacity. And he had changed it into something that shook those whitefolk, something that would hae shaken Leroy Lewis and Old Man Lewis before him. And he was doing it, that boy was not old enough to shave, right out in the open, in broad daylight. And as he was doing it, Lloyd Paul was running among the crowd with a felt hat in his hand, and people were putting coins into the hat. When Jerry Lee quit playing, Lloyd Paul gave him what was in his hat – almost thirteen dollars. Jerry Lee and Elmo lugged that great jangling mass of copper and silver home in a sack and poured it on the table before Marnie, and they grinned and laughed through their noses like highway thieves as they beheld it: hosanna.
I mean, GOOD GOD.
Nick Tosches was only 69 years old. I got excited every time he published something. I still haven’t read it all, and there are magazine pieces I missed, like this hilarious poem he wrote for Esquire, shared by my pal Larry Aydlette on Twitter. James Franco was on the cover of that particular issue of Esquire, and the editors asked Nick Tosches for a poem. Tosches had no idea who Franco was and would not allow the editors to “fill him in.” What he wrote is so hilarious but also so deep about … celebrity and fame and “consumption” of media. He Who Is Of Name.
A giant. I will miss him deeply. I will re-read him forever. It’s a well I dip into constantly.


Danny G. said...

Man o man. pals! Seems like Nick Tosches inspired & influenced many other writers with his cool cool swag for scriptin'! DEF I NATE LY the master! Will be missed.

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Danny-o, Mr. Tosches is the master storyteller of the Dino-tale...but then look at whose life, times, and teachin's he was proclaimin'.....our most most most beloved DINO! Keeps lovin' 'n sharin' our one, our only DINO!