The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club

“I’m one of the few who voted for Obama because he was a friend of Bill Ayers.” -JW    

I too am one of those few.    

 

     

My freaky filmmaker friend, Tim, and I recently started a two-person book club. We dubbed it “The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club,” after a surreal conversation we had in highschool in which Tim asked me, out of nowhere, “What would you do if you woke up and Mrs. Butterworth was at your bedside? She’d have to be on yer pillow cause she’s rather short.”    

I’ve always had a soft spot for the absurd and so I have a soft spot for Tim.    

“I didn’t have to worry about fitting in with a crowd I didn’t want to hang out with in the first place.” -JW    

 

Both fans of John Waters, we chose his new book “Role Models” as our first MBBC selection. “Role Models” — the latest of several memoirs by the filmmaker, writer and professional outcast — focuses on people who have inspired or influenced Waters. The book begins with >surprise!surprise!< Johnny Mathis then moves on to reformed Manson Girl Leslie Van Houten; later comes Commes des Garcons designer/deconstructionist Rei Kawakubo who crashes into various hillbilly heroes from Baltimore such as Ester the barmaid and Lady Zorro the lesbian stripper.    

    

“Nothing is more impotent than un unread library”   

John Waters writes about reading the way a junky waxes poetic over crack.  

I’ve just finished the chapter “Book Worm.” Love love! Waters is a notorious and obsessive bibliophile, owning nearly 9000 volumes of wordy goodness.I can’t wait until he writes a whole book like that chapter, where he’ll delve into one weirdo tome after another. That would be a fantastic book! Waters has smart, obscure taste in literature and continually surprises me with his thoughtful insights.    

The chapter on Little Richard is next. I can’t wait.    

I saw Little Richard not too long ago. It was a free show, just a few blocks from my house, in the U of TX quad, so we meandered over.    

   

I’ve seen many old greats and I’ve learned not to expect too much. I saw Hasil Adkins at The Continental Club, paid a penny too, he played maybe two longs and left the stage. I’ve seen Ramblin’ Jack where he’s talked all night tellin’ one great story after another but there was one raspy time where he sang a song, coughed, sang another song, coughed and took a bow. I think it was James Chance that left the stage in a hissy fit like he waz Fred Alan Wolf at a physics conference. (Wolf’s hissy fit worked out well for me. I chased him out and we chatted all afternoon. He set up his laptop in the shadows of a patio umbrella and semi-patiently explained to me his theory of the thalmus gland as rudimentary time machine. I Heart Fred Allan Wolf!)    

Little Richard did not disappoint.      

Little Richard glittered like an LSD rockstar. The old man rocker took that place down to the ground. Holy hell! I fuckin’ cried. Yep. I wept as Little Richard sent spasming waves of energy through a crowd of cheap, clueless college students.  Seeing Little Richard that soft summer evening was a spiritual thing. I had my own Little Richard religious experience.      

"Saint Richard" by Vicki Berndt

So far the Mrs. Butterworth Book Club mostly consists of gushing to one another on facebook about just how fucking great Role Models is and how much we love John Waters as a way of life, posting killer quotes as our status updates and generally annoying the rest of our facebook friends.    

Screw those less-enlightened folks whose only knowledge of John Waters is “he has something to do with that fat drag queen who ate dog shit in some movie that no one’s ever seen.” If that.     

Makes me wanna scream, “Divine ate the dog shit! The film was Pink Flamingos! John Waters was the director! Fuckface!”    

I’d throw in that fuckface at the end, just for extra measure, like the cherry on top of the sundae or the pretty that flatters please.    

No, I kid. Really. So what if they’re morons who wanna wait (who CAN wait) until Role Models comes out in paperback. Whaddo I care? I don’t, cause I kid, but it is funny how things have changed and yet stayed the same. Tim and I hung with different crowds in highschool. We might never have spoken if our inner freaks hadn’t had such magnetic pull and now, all grown up, I have so much more to say to Tim than to the gorgeous girls I once hung with (who are now smiling mothers posting owen mills portraits all over their facebook pages, with not one free moment to read and if they read they certainly wouldn’t read Waters’ odes to Manson girls, trannie derelicts or Johnny Mathis.)     

   

The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club has only two members but that’s more out of necessity than design, being that no one else has expressed an iota of interest.    

That’s fine with us, right, Tim? All the more dog shit for us!    

Today I went to type out a few sentences on Tim’s fb page and try as I might it wouldn’t post. Old school friends were im-ing me and I was losing patience in fine Luddite fashion. The pups were barking to announce guests and the Robot was calling from the other room. Frazzled, I copied my note to Tim and stuck it into my open wordpress window under quick-post for safekeeping….which has me thinking….hmmm. I was gonna review the book for y’all anyway so why not post my thoughts here and then send the links to Tim? Maybe some of you are reading Role Models too and wanna pipe in? Maybe Tim and I can convince you to read Role Models? Even if you’re not reading the book, please join the discussion and tell us about some of your own role models, heroes & muses. What about an infuriatingly brilliant nemesis…anyone got one of those? (I sure do. Don’t I, Sugarbear?) 

Waters sez "Read this"

If you’d like to join our very informal Mrs. Butterworth Book Club, we’d be glad to take on new members with a taste for the odd in literature and in life. We’re keepin’ it simple. See!  Here’s my fb note to Tim:    

Hey Tim! Checkin’ in to the Mrs. Buttersworth Book Club… am just about to start the Little Richard chapter on p.183, had a houseguest for a couple weeks and fell behind.    

All that stuff about the Manson’s O-MY! I never knew they’d sneak into houses and move the furniture. So trickster, I love it, but stabbing someone 16 times? Nah, not for me.    

All the Baltimore stuff in the bar chapter was a riot. I have some these “artsy hillbilly” friends from Baltimore and they tell the craziest stories ever. Plus I loved The Wire and Homicide, both set in Baltimore. Homicide was brilliantly cast by Pat Moran, whom Waters mentions repeatedly as “My friend, Pat Moran”.    

That stuff about lunatic mothers and the craziness those kids grew up with? I found all that to be just waaaay too familiar. Great reading tho. Great writing!    

 Finally, while I consider myself to be a big reader, life-long, I must confess to not having read even one of his five recommendations. Have you? Guess we know what we’ll read next in the MBBC, huh? Which one do you suggest? The pervy kid or the deluded ladies? Or pages and pages of dialogue? I’m up for any and all!    

I’m not a huge fanatic as far as his films go but as a man, as a mind, John Waters is thrilling.    

He’s also a hell of a writer and a real storyteller.    

This book has been a treat. I’m loving it. I’m devouring it.     

“Tennessee Williams wasn’t a gay cliché, so I had the confidence to try to not be one myself. Gay was not enough. It was a good start however.”    

 ** The Saint Richard painting is by Water’s soul-sista Vicki Berndt whom we’ve featured before on Cream Scene Carnival. Role Models is available at amazon and so is the Waters pick: In Youth is Pleasure by Denton Welch, with a forward by William Burroughs.    

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One Response to “The Mrs. Butterworth Book Club”

  1. Tim Stickle Says:

    Ok Dia,
    I’m a totally novice/ignorant bafoon when it comes to fashion. I simply wear whatever’s comfortable and as a result prolly look like a slobbasauras rex-type bohemian creature. All the same, the chapter on Rei Kawakubo and her Comme des Garcons empire made me laugh and intrigued me more than any other chapter (thus far) in Water’s wonderful “Role Models” book. Now – please note my first sentence – I’d NEVER even heard of Rei Kawakubo until this book AND STILL have yet to look her (or her bizarre- sounding couture) up on the web. Yet, from how Waters described her and her “to-hell-with-everybody” creations, I must confess that I already LOVE HER dearly. What struck me most was what must be her formidable force of WILL and conviction in all of her fashion terrorism. “Have faith in your own bad taste.” Waters gleefully chirps on page 101 and those ARE words to live by, lol. And shit, I’ll be damned if I end this lifetime before visiting that Dover street store of hers in London! It sounds like a beautiful nightmare come to life/warped amusement park! That she describes it herself as an “ongoing atmosphere of strong and beautiful chaos” had my curiosity as well as my own demented sensibilities yearning for a peek! And Waters’ own “wish list” for Rei had me howling! Dia I love you and Mr.Waters and I think we should make a solemn vow to go to that Dover store in London one day. smootchie-bootchie, ala rootchie! tim

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