bogarting the big sleep

two words: marlowe neophyte

I am thoroughly initiated.  Chandler had me at clock socks and ‘Victorian hypocrisy’ p.14.

As for Philip Marlowe, I love that drunken misogynistic homophobic philandering shamus like a woman loves a project. He sling-slanged his way right into my heart. His combination of inmate charm and desperate need for a home-cooked meal and warm bath is irresistible; he is the male equivalent of the hooker with a heart of gold. He is the knight who tossed his armour, now he protects us from ourselves with his  scoundrel smarts and peculiar but incorruptible code of honour, asking only for whiskey and an ice-cold kiss in return.

In all seriousness, this novel is written by a man for men, but the rest of us can get in on the joke.  It reads like a brilliant screenplay,

-She has a beautiful little body, hasn’t she?
-You ought to see mine.
-Can it be arranged?
-You’re as cold-blooded a beast as I ever met, Marlowe. Or can I call you Phil?
-You can call me Vivian
-Thanks, Mrs. Regan.
-Oh go to hell, Marlowe p.54

with equally brilliant snippets of prose,

It was about 10:30 when the little yellow-sashed Mexican orchestra got tired of playing a low-voiced prettied-up rumba that nobody was dancing to. The gourd player rubbed his finger tips together as if they were sore and got a cigarette to his mouth almost with the same movement. The other four with a timed simultaneous stoop, reached under their chairs for glasses from which they sipped, smacking their lips and smacking their eyes. Tequila their manner said. It was probably mineral water. The pretense was as wasted as the music. Nobody was looking at them. p.116

The novel is fast-paced and witty,  and as full of twists and suspense as it is of cigarette-butts and empty highballs. It’s heavy on caricatures and light on consequence: a great toilet read, but one you want to hang on to. It is as disposable as it is collectible.

bogart and bacall in the big sleep

The Big Sleep has wormed its way into my subconsciousness leaving me utterly conflicted, like a Lady Gaga song. I wish I could get it out of my head, that I could stop thinking and posing like I’m in a noir flick. Giggling femme fatales make me and Marlowe both ‘sick’, but goddamn they’ve got style! Their capers, like a grown woman thumb-sucking, are unforgettable, and try as you might, you just can’t get enough of them.

As for me? I’ll be snapping up any Marlowe that comes my way.  I am as sweet on Chandler as Owen was on Carmen. But look where that got him.

don’t smoke in bed-nina simone
telephone-lady gaga feat. beyoncé

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