On March 4th 1987, a most extraordinary funeral took place. Snuffie, the Gangster Woof of Amsterdam, was laid to rest. That was all so long ago, that only a large handful of you had the pleasure of meeting, and in some cases coming to know, my little dog guru. A few others have heard tell of him. To the vast majority the name itself is new. Snuffie and I were together for just over six years. I’d inherited him from my dear French junkie prostitute friend Elisabeth Lemoine, who died at far too young an age in early January 1981. Her tale is ultimately tragic. Whereas Snuffie’s is, and shall always remain, glorious. But the two are intertwined, at least to begin with. Hopefully one day I’ll get round to telling both their stories in full. For now, however, I’d simply like to introduce you, via a series of somewhat surreal photographs, to the ceremoniously stylish manner by which Woofie took his leave. His body left us, and his barks. Yet his spirit, and his special brand of uncanny canine wisdom, live on.
And so I give you, at last online,
HONOR THY WOOF
The Snuffie Memorial Exhibition
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IRA COHEN, who sadly passed away earlier this year, did many wondrous things in his life. (I am borrowing the word ‘wondrous’ from William Levy; he used it with reference to Ira’s works in an essay entitled “The Art of Hate,” which appeared in his book Natural Jewboy, Ins & Outs Press, 1981.) But one of the things Ira definitely did not do was write The Hashish Cookbook. Hence, contrary to popular but terribly misinformed belief, Ira was also not the pseudonymous author Panama Rose. That was instead Ira’s then-girlfriend Rosalind. We’re talking Tangier, Morocco, mid-1960s. Rosalind invented the recipes, Rosalind wrote and designed the book. At Brion Gysin’s suggestion. Meaning that it wasn’t even Ira’s idea. What Ira did do, in New York 1966, was publish the book under his Gnaoua Press imprint and sell it. 10, 000 copies in six weeks. Oh yes, and then over the years usurp authorship credit, by allowing everyone who wasn’t there at the time (and thus knew better) to believe that he was Panama Rose. This ruse, this historical lie, became such a cornerstone of Ira’s personal mythology that practically all the obituaries led with it: in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Independent, as well as a touch more coyly in the Guardian.
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Hi there music and film lovers!
Whether doo-wop is your thing or not (although after this it probably will be!), here is one short film you’ll definitely want to see.
For 20 years (1987-2007) the American writer William Levy, aka Dr. Doo-Wop, deejayed what was undoubtedly one of the premier doo-wop radio programs anywhere. Now Michiel Brongers has posted his excellent 2008 film about Bill the DJ on the internet for all to see. For free. Ready for a wild ‘n woolly 15 minutes?
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