January 2, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Little Sister

Welcome back (to me, I suppose, since I haven’t blogged for a bit due to 2012 holiday cheer-ing)! There’s no better way I can think of to return to reality after a lovely holiday season than a couple Raymond Chandler quotes from one of his lesser-known beauties, The Little Sister. It’s all about Hollywood, Manhattan Kansas (really! Let’s go Kansans), ice picks, and weed. Nice, right? Oh, to ease you in, the first quote is booze-ific (or, booze-specific), but the second is just awesomely literary. Not sure, now that I think about it, how that eases you in, but I just wanted to put in the second quote. And, well, I write these posts. Happy New Year!

I went in. A gun in the kidney wouldn’t have surprised me a bit. She stood so that I had to practically push her mammaries out of the way to get through the door. She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight. She closed the door and danced over to a small portable bar. ‘Scotch? Or would you prefer a mixed drink? I mix a perfectly loathsome Martini,” she said. ‘Scotch is fine, thanks.’

‘What’s that?” She tried to throw me out with the point of her chin, but even she wasn’t that good. ‘Browning. The poet, not the automatic. I feel sure you’d prefer the automatic.’

–Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister

April 26, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Pearls Are a Nuisance, Take 3

The following two quotes, the last of those from the Raymond Chandler book Pearls Are A Nuisance, which I talk about more in Take 1, below Take 2, which is below this post right here and now. These quotes are from the final story in the collection, “The King in Yellow” and include one about drinking light and one about drinking heavier. Not a bad way to end up, though I think Mr. Chandler would be more happy with the latter, were he still around to drink with (sadly, not the case).

The red-haired girl said: ‘The drink’s on me. I was with him.’

Steve said: ‘Coke with a dash of bitters,’ to the waiter.

The waiter said, ‘Madame?’

‘Brandy and soda. Light on the brandy, please.’ The waiter bowed and drifted away. The girl said amusedly: ‘Coke with a dash of bitters. That’s what I love about Hollywood. You meet so many neurotics.’

The maid came back with a copper ice bucket. She pulled a low Indian-brass tray-table between them before the davenport, put the ice bucket on it, then a siphon, glasses, and spoons, and a triangular bottle that looked like good Scotch had come in it except that it was covered with silver filigree work and fitted with a stopper.

Dolores Chiozza said: ‘Will you mix a drink? in a formal voice.

He mixed two drinks, stirred them, handed her one. She sipped it, shook her head. ‘Too light,’ she said. He put more whisky in it and handed it back. She said, ‘Better,’ and leaned back against the corner of the davenport.


Pearls Are A Nuisance, Raymond Chandler

April 22, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Pearls Are a Nuisance, Take 2

You can read a little Raymond Chandler screed below, as well as more about the book this quote is take from, or you can just slip down a little less and get straight to the goods. This is from the second story in the collection, “Finger Man,” a story that stands as one of the first appearances of a well-known hard-boiled detective, Mr. Philip Marlowe, and may be the only time (that I can remember) he’s drinking tequila. Which I heartily approve of, by the way.

‘You don’t play?’ the bartender asked me.

‘Not on Tuesdays. I had some trouble on a Tuesday once.’

‘Yeah? Do you like that stuff straight, or would I smooth it out for you?’

‘Smooth it out with what?’ I said. ‘You got a wood rasp handy?’

He grinned. I drank a little more of the tequila and made a face.


Pearls Are A Nuisance, Raymond Chandler

April 20, 2011

Cocktail Talk: Pearls Are a Nuisance, Take 1

I like (as maybe detailed before on this blog) Mr. Raymond Chandler, though some noir revisionists aren’t as high on him as, say, Dashiell Hamnett. I say pooey on them—why not read both authors, as well as the many others writing in the pulpy pulp era (at least the other good ones, of which there are many). I’ll admit there are one or two Raymond Chandlers that don’t rise as high as, say, The High Window, but I’ve gotten at least a kick and usually more from every book of his, which is why I was jazz’d recently to find, in Italy of all places, a copy of a Chandler book called Pearls Are A Nuisance, which collects three short stories of his that I hadn’t read (at the time this paperback was published, the book was only available in this British version). In honor of the find, and of Mr. Chandler’s usually hard-drinking leading men, I’m going to have three Cocktail Talks with quotes from the book, one day for each story in the book. These first two are from the title story, with one being the beginning of a drinking bout (around the narrator getting his, um, tail kicked), and the next a charming description of the after-effects.

A wet towel began to slap at my face. I opened my eyes.

‘Listen, kid. You got two strikes and no balls on you. Maybe you ought to try a lighter bat.’

‘Brandy,’ I croaked.

‘You’ll take rye.’ He pressed a glass against my lips and I drank thirstily. Then I climbed to my feet again.

At five o’clock that afternoon I awoke from slumber and found that I was lying on my bed in my apartment in the Chateau Moraine, on Franklin Avenue near Ivar Street, in Hollywood. I turned my head, which ached, and saw that Henry Eichelberger was lying beside me in his undershirt and trousers. I perceived that I was also as lightly attired. On the table near by there stood an almost full bottle of Old Plantation rye whisky, the full quart size, and on the floor lay an entirely empty bottle of the same excellent brand. A cigarette had burned a hole in the brocaded arm of one of my easy chairs.


Pearls Are A Nuisance, Raymond Chandler

October 20, 2009

Cocktail Talk: The Long Goodbye

I can’t get enough of The Long Goodbye. Maybe it’s cause I’m a big Raymond Chandler fan. Maybe it’s cause I think his creation Philip Marlowe is a big dollop of hard-boiled fun (some like Sam Spade or the Continental Op better. I say, “why not have all of them?”). Maybe it’s cause I have a soft spot in my hard heart for the Robert Altman movie version of the Long Goodbye, starring the genius, Eliot Gould. But maybe, just maybe, most of all, my liking of the Long Goodbye is because of this quote (which I featured in good ol’ Good Spirits, and which is admittedly a rough-around-the-edges, smelling-a-bit-like-bourbon, not-what-you-take-home-to-the-parents, quote. But great, so great, anyway):

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

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