December 8, 2020
Well, it’s nearly time after a fair number of swell quotes to say so-long (for now – he’ll be back) to Raymond Chandler, with one last Cocktail Talk from a story within the collection Trouble Is My Business and Other Stories, this time “Red Wind,” which starts with the below quote that has a wind indeed in it. It’s a twisty kind of tall, beginning with that wind and a bar that’s across the street from Chandler’s PI Philip Marlowe’s apartment. Then there’s a lady, various angles, and lots of gumshoe-ing. Start it off with the below, and then read the whole story whydontcha? Oh, and also don’t miss all the other Raymond Chandler Cocktail Talks, cause you deserve to read them.
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that, meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.
I was getting one in a flossy new place across the street from the apartment house where I lived. It had been open about a week and it wasn’t doing any business. The kid behind the bar was in his early twenties and looked as if he had never had a drink in his life.
–Raymond Chandler, “Red Wind”
December 1, 2020
As said in the “Goldfish” Cocktail Talk Part I, this particular Raymond Chandler story (from the Trouble Is My Business and Other Stories collection, and also don’t miss the “Trouble Is My Business” Part I and Part II Cocktail Talks, and for that matter, don’t miss other past Raymond Chandler Cocktail Talks) winds its way eventually up the coast all the way to Seattle, and so is nearly automatically near-and-dear to me. But it starts down the coast a ways, and also starts a little rough for one character (that’s your warning – the below quote is a little, oh, violent at the beginning), but then heads to Brooklyn. With Brooklyn Scotch, which, I have to admit, I’ve never heard of! So, now I’m very curious, and hoping the below makes you curious, too, and that curiosity leads to some Brooklyn Scotch history.
They had been burned raw on the soles. There was a smell of scorched flesh in spite of the open window. Also, a smell of scorched wood. An electric iron on a desk was still connected. I went over and shut it off.
I went back to Kathy Home’s kitchen and found a pint of Brooklyn Scotch in the cooler. I used some of it and breathed deeply for a little while and looked out over the vacant lots. There was a narrow cement walk behind the house and green wooden steps down to the street.
–Raymond Chandler, “Goldfish”
November 24, 2020
We’re still taking our fall tour along Raymond Chandler lane (don’t miss the “Trouble Is My Business” Part I and Part II Cocktail Talks), with Raymond Chandler of course, and have now made it to Seattle – which, coincidentally, is where I tend to sometimes hang my hat. So, as you can imagine, when I read the story “Goldfish,” in the book Trouble Is My Business and Other Stories, and Chandler’s PI Philip Marlowe ended up heading to Seattle, WA, well, I was tickled. And then they drank apple brandy! And then fish, and before that a mystery long-told, and I won’t want to say anymore cause you need to read the story – if I haven’t sold it, this quote will.
“Too early for apple brandy, ain’t it?” he whispered.
I told him how wrong he was. He went away again and came back with glasses and a quart of clear amber fluid. He sat down with me and poured. A rich baritone voice in the kitchen was singing “Chloe,” over the sizzling.
We clinked glasses and drank and waited for the heat to crawl up our spines.
“Stranger, ain’t you?” the little man asked.
I said I was.
“From Seattle maybe? That’s a nice piece of goods you got on.”
“Seattle,” I agreed.
— Raymond Chandler, “Goldfish”
November 17, 2020
Well, when I earlier (as in last week pals) had a “Trouble is My Business” Cocktail Talk post, I’ll bet those of you who bet made a bet at your local bookie that I’d have another one on its heels, and, well, here we are! I feel we’re gonna spend a few weeks with Mr. Chandler and Mr. Marlowe now that we’ve opened the tab. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Today, we’d still in the story “Trouble is My Business,” and we’re still in Scotch land – not a bad land to be within.
He opened the door, went out, shut it, and I sat there still holding the telephone, with my mouth open and nothing in it but my tongue and a bad taste on that.
I went out to the kitchen and shook the Scotch bottle, but it was still empty. I opened some rye and swallowed a drink and it tasted sour. Something was bothering me. I had a feeling it was going to bother me a lot more before I was through.
–Raymond Chandler, Trouble is My Business
November 10, 2020
He’s been relentlessly imitated (poorly, in the main), some dated by the years, and translated much in language and form, but somedays, you just get the urge to read a little of the real Raymond Chandler and slip into the gumshoe world of Philip Marlowe. At least I do! And recently I did take said slip and slipped into a few stories staring such and written by such. I’m not sure much intro is needed – if you don’t know Chandler, then let me say there’s not much I can say that hasn’t been said better by others, or even turned into a film that does the same. Let me just say that the book I picked up (I have pretty much the whole hard-boiled batch) is a story collection headlined by the story “Trouble is My Business,” and the below quote is from the same story, and is about talking and drinking Scotch, and that you should read past Raymond Chandler Cocktail Talks.
“She laughed disinterestedly and I slid past the end of her cigarette into a long rather narrow room with plenty of nice furniture, plenty of windows, plenty of drapes, plenty of everything. A fire blazed behind a screen, a big log on top of a gas teaser. There was a silk Oriental rug in front of a nice rose davenport in front of the nice fire, and beside that there was Scotch and swish on a tabouret, ice in a bucket, everything to make a man feel at home.
“You’d better have a drink,” she said. “You probably can’t talk without a glass in your hand.”
I sat down and reached for the Scotch. The girl sat in a deep chair and crossed her knees.
–Raymond Chandler, Trouble is My Business
February 14, 2017
You’ll discover, as you spend hours and hours here, that there are a lot of Raymond Chandler Cocktail Talks – go read them all now, to get my views on the great writer, and to read more sweet booze-y quotes. WAIT! Don’t go read them all yet, cause the below quote is actually already in that list of posts. But it seemed so ideal for Valentine’s Day (in a, oh, vaguely sarcastic sense, but it’s all funtimes here!) that I couldn’t resist posting it again. Read it once, below, and then go read all the other swell Chandlerisms on the site.
Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.
— Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye
December 23, 2014
I’ve had a fair number of Raymond Chandler Cocktail Talk posts, which you might expect cause the hard-boiled tend to have serious imbibables when they’re not talking sharp, solving crimes, getting smacked and dealing out smacks, and cuddling the ladies. The High Window is no different, and one of the tops of the Marlowe realm I believe. I recently re-read it, and found all sorts of choice whiskey moments, and drinky times. This one’s a champ. I hope Mr. Chandler got at least a bottle of Four Roses because of it. And it’ll help you get ready for serving multiple drinks round the holiday season.
I got a bottle of Four Roses out of the kitchen closet and three glasses. I got ice and ginger ale from the icebox and mixed three highballs and carried them in on a tray and sat the tray down on the cocktail table in from the davenport where Breeze was sitting.
–Raymond Chandler, The High Window
February 11, 2014
I’ve had a few fair cocktail talk posts from Mr. Raymond Chandler, one of the few true masters of American detective and hard-boiled stories. And I’m guessing you know him already, because he’s pretty knowable, and, well, I think a lot of you. So, I won’t stand here gabbing, and instead just go into this amazing gin quote from The Lady in the Lake (which the New York Times no less called “one of his best”). I’ve felt a bit the way Mr. Marlowe feels below (and yes, I’m calling a fictional character “Mr. Marlowe.” But I think he deserves that, real or not).
I smelled of gin. No just casually, as if I had taken four or five drinks of a winter morning to get out of bed on, but as if the Pacific Ocean was pure gin and I had nose-dived off the boat deck. The gin was in my hair and eyebrows, on my chin and under my chin. It was on my shirt. I smelled like dead toads.
–Raymond Chandler, The Lady in the Lake