Monday, July 22, 2013

The Bohemian Love Diaries by Slash Coleman

The Bohemian Love Diaries by Slash Coleman
Copyright 2013
Lyons Press - Memoir
249 pp.

As a whacky [sic] thank-you for helping me with my courtship, I paste Gerry's photo on a piece of paper in the elevator of our apartment building with the words, HAVE YOU SEEN ME? I'M LOST above his phone number.  It's meant to be nothing more than a clever joke, the landlord calls him, and they have a conversation that the landlord describes as a Laurel and Hardy routine:

"Hello, I've found the guy in the photo."
"What photo?"
"The photo in the elevator."
"There's a photo in the elevator?"
"Yes, it's a photo of you."
"Of me?"
"Yes, you.  Did you know you were lost?"
"I don't think so."
"Well, if you are, I know where you are . . . "

~p. 163, "Love in Boxes"

The Bohemian Love Diaries is the memoir by Slash Coleman that focuses as much on his crazy life as the son of an artist and a Holocaust survivor and an artist in his own right as his love life.  He begins his story with a nutty incident about his dad trying to buy beer after midnight on a Saturday and, actually, the only way to really tell you about it is to pull out an excerpt.  The actual storytelling is much better than any description I can come up with.

My dad stands to one side, shirtless, wearing bleach-spotted jeans with a deerskin loincloth on the front and his Nazi soldier helmet with fake pigtails on his head.  He holds an open can of Schlitz in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth.  With his thick black beard and roadkill clothing he looks like a cross between Ringo Starr and Daniel Boone.

Harvey, with his crazy red hair and greasy face, stands on the other side, the rest of my father's case of Schlitz under his arm, a cigarette also in his mouth.  [. . . ]

As a John Wayne devotee, I know exactly what's going on here.  Neither side is willing to shoot for fear of being shot in return, yet neither side wants to relinquish his weapon for fear that his opponent will shoot.  If my dad attempts to grab the case of beer, the manager may take off running, leaving Rosario free to call the policía--which will put a damper on our trip to Alaska.

I'm not thinking about where my sisters are or where my mom is or how many times I've been in this same exact place before.  For all I know, this is how every seven-year-old kid across American spends Saturday nights with his father, and I'm determined to make the most of it.  

pp. 2-3, "The Great Escape"

The whole book continues in that vein, some of the stories so over-the-top that you know the author is exaggerating at least a little bit for effect, but you're so thoroughly entertained that accuracy of memory is not a concept you want to even approach -- why ruin the fun?  From quirky childhood antics to adulthood spent drifting around in pursuit of art and love (the story about how he went from being "Jeffrey" to "Slash" alone is worth your dime), each chapter is an individually entitled essay that tells a complete story from a particular time in the author's life.  The result is a book that skips over years, where necessary, but is never, ever dull.

This made me laugh:

"That's the way it works in Alaska, Professor," he says. "If you take a piano lesson, you're a pianist. If you have a Band-Aid, you're a doctor." 

p. 117, "Devil Moose"

I've heard similar statements when we've been in Alaska, so I should probably take back that comment about accuracy.

Recommended especially to memoir lovers and people who like reading about an eccentric lifestyle.  Quirky memories of an artistic drifter who just wanted to find love. A bit over-the-top but in a good way.

Cover thoughts:  That cover is a hoot.  And, it definitely fits the tone of the book.  Love it.

©2013 Nancy Horner. All rights reserved. If you are reading this post at a site other than Bookfoolery  or its RSS feed, you are reading a stolen feed. Email for written permission to reproduce text or photos.


  1. On my end table as we speak. Looking forward to this one!

    1. I think it's right up your alley, Andiloo.

  2. Oh, I do like the sound of this one!

    1. It's tremendous fun, Jenclair. I really enjoyed it.


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