Country singer and erstwhile novelist Kinky Friedman is a busy man. with a novel and a gig at
Glasgow’s Big Big Country festival
up his sleeve. He speaks to Andrew hdeehan.
‘Texas people only know two Jews.‘ says Kinky Friedman. ‘Jesus and me. And I'm the only one they know personally.‘ Friedman. 50-year-old former Peace (‘orps volunteer. semi-retired country and western singer and cult detective novelist. is loud ol‘ the comparison. ‘Both of us are of the Jewish persuasion. Neither of us really had a home to speak of. Neither of us was married. Neither of us actually held down a job. We both basically travelled around the world irritating people.‘
Friedman and his hand The Texas Jewboys‘ linest moments included the touching ‘They Ain‘t Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore‘ and the feminist-
unliriendly ‘(iet Your Biscuits In The ()ven And Your
Buns In The Bed‘.
"The Jewboys just irritated Americans from ‘73 to
‘75.’ he says. ‘l guess we were just equal opportunity
offenders. We were simply a country band with a conscience. which of course is a ridiculous notion. I mean. I wrote the ﬁrst pro-choice country song.‘
He continues: ‘l'm ambivalent about being a country and western singer. Lately I‘ve come to realise that anybody who even uses the word ‘ambivalent‘ shouldn't have become a country and western singer in the ﬁrst place.‘
But the Kinkstcr. who had joined Willie Nelson and
l l l l
Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue. became road— weary and began searching tor a illk‘sl} le ‘that didn‘t require my presencc’. He returned to a l ill trailer on his lathch ranch outside Kerry illc. Texas. w here he morphed into the country and western llorolhy Sayers.
In his latest novel (iotl llleyy .lo/m Hay/1c. liricdman is once again ensconced in his Lower Manhattan loll where he decides to lind a l‘riend‘s birth-mother. a search that triggers a tsunami ol cover-up. blackmail and comic badinagc. l’resent but liar from correct are the Village lrregulars: Ratso. ‘my llamboyant llea-markct lriend. editor ol .‘y'azronal l.(ll)l/l()(lll. and somewhat weatherbeaten Doctor Watson“. McGovern. ‘largc lrish society columnist tor The New York Daily Neirx‘ and master of the magical background check'. and Rambam. ‘thc investigator who‘d spent time in federal never never land'.
Friedman is in preparation for his next incarnation.
"This is going to be a power decade for the Kinkstcr.'
he says. Look out for the Kinky Friedman tribute album. with contributions from Bob Dylan
Kinky Friedman: Klnkster at large
i party waiting to happen. 'l'here's no truth in the rumour that the date on his carton has expired' —
'l'ownes \ an '/.andt and (lay (‘lark lie and Willie Nelson have written a lilm script
called ('ow'boys .ln' Sct'rclly l‘il'l’qlll’lllll' l’oml 0/ limit (ll/1m: "They suggested Riv er Phoenix play . mcf he .says'. ‘Then River stepped on a rainbow and
died. John ('andy also wanted to be in it. and he stepped on a rainbow loo. So I pulled the project. It seemed like death was stalking the Kinkster. Now Hollywood is back again and I'm trying for Meryl Streep. .‘\t lcast she‘d get the accent right.‘
Meanwhile. he sits and smokes his cigars. much to the consternation ol the Angelinos. "The whole area is drowned in chemical smog. and all the inhabitants are concerned about is an eccentric luckhead
‘smoking a cigarf he says. (iml lllcss .lolm Hay/1e by Ivar/(y Fray/mart ls
/)1.Illll.\ll('tl by l-‘abt'r .lml [ﬁber in paperback original
! a/ («W/U. brat/man will (ll’la'ar at 1/10 lily lily ' (binary [mural in lllr' ()l(l l7ralrna1rkcl. Glasgow on i / .laa.
W AGONY AHD ECSTASY
From the heights of Housing Benefit Hill, c. J. Stone has looked down and out to the underground. To the places of fierce dancing and hedonistic pursuit, of post-miners’ strike protest and quasi-mystical happenings. And, understanding that the underground is good, he has gone among the people who inhabit these places and partaken of their rituals.
In Stone’s column in The Guardian’s Weekend section, he uses anecdotes about real people’s desperate lives to illustrate the sorry state sections of our society have lapsed into. However real the people, to many of its middle- class readers the column is as much a warning of the late that could await them should they fall, as a lesson in
; sociological tact.
; happening to us.
C. J. Stone: fiercely relevant
Fierce Dancing, however, touches on i more universally experienced issues. ‘ (in road protests and club culture: on places where the reader can say ‘been j there, done that’, however marginal ; they may have been to the scene. It is i not a warning of what might happen to 1 i you, but a description of what is
Stone’s ability is to get down and dirty with his subjects without either dehumanising or glamorising them. The style may err on the whimsical side, but there are important things being said here, of a culture which is only ‘underground’ because it has been rejected by intolerant authorities, not by choice.
Choice is not something which Julian Madigan claims to have been able to exercise in his descent into the agony of his drug taking, charted in his book The Agony 0f Ecstasy. One joint and he E
was hooked into a cycle which took him through the rave culture and
leave him dependent on religion. How Madigan must detest those like Stone who have taken drugs for pleasure and who can leave them at will. Sadly, Madigan could not. His book is a cautionary tale for those whose kids might be dabbling in ecstasy. Although Madigan’s experiences are valid, such parents would do better to read Stone’s. The police brutality which occurred in a Wiltshire beantield on 1 June 1986 is more important than an individual’s escape from one dependency to another. (Thom Dibdin) Fierce Dancing: Adventures In The Underground by C. J. Stone is
The Agony 0f Ecstasy by Julian Madigan is published by Poo/beg at £5.99.
underworld drug deals and beatings to
published by Faber and Faber at £5. 99.
The List 3- lb May NW» 89