Monday, 20 May 2013

Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman is an author, humanitarian, tequila baron, gubernatorial candidate, irreverent raconteur, Peace Corps veteran, cigar smoker, animal rescuer, country singer, fellow coffee lover and a man who can count among his friends such luminaries as Bill Clinton, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and (slightly unfathomably) George W Bush. 

I'm currently engaged on a project that I've been meaning to undertake for several years, namely to re-read all 19 of Kinky's mystery novels in sequential order. In all but one of these, the star of the tale is a fictionalised version of the Kinkster himself, aided and abetted by the Village Irregulars, characters based on a loose group of his real-life friends and acquaintances. The books are engaging, laugh-out-loud funny and extremely moving. Kinky has the enviable talent of having the reader sniggering on one page, before bringing them up short on the next, with a touching one-sided conversation with his cat or a real-life memory of a loved one who has been 'bugeled to Jesus'.

Some Texan advice from the Kinkster

In 2003 I attended a book reading by the Kinkster in New York, where he was launching 'Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned', the one novel in which his own character is not featured, although the narrator's voice is still very much Kinky's. After the event I was lucky enough to meet the man himself, along with his fictional sidekick, real-life friend and fellow author, Larry 'Ratso' Sloman.

A couple of weeks ago I renewed my acquaintance with The Kinkster, when I caught a great show on his solo UK tour. Kinky effectively abandoned songwriting at the end of the 1970's, but still takes his songs out on the road from time to time and bolstered with readings, wry observations and the occasional wince-inducing joke it makes for a hugely entertaining evening.

Leading with the campaign slogan 'Why the Hell Not?', Friedman unsuccessfully ran for the office of Governor of Texas in 2006 and is currently gearing up for another run at the post. Meanwhile 'Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned' is being developed as a potential movie and, excitingly, rumour has it that a new Kinky Friedman mystery novel is on the horizon - the first since he killed his fictional self off in 2005's 'Ten Little New Yorkers'! And me? I'm currently re-reading 1989's 'Frequent Flyer', book 4 out of 19. A long way to go, but enjoying every minute.

8 comments:

John Medd said...

Snap!

The Swede said...

Nice one John! I have to admit that on that day in 2003, I did indeed press a total stranger into taking a shot of me with Ratso and the Kinkster with the ol' instamatic. Kinky throws his arm around my shoulder, chews on his cigar and looks cool, Ratso appears to be wearing a dead man's pyjamas while I look like an overwhelmed dork.

Old Pa's Corner said...

Can we have that picture published please....now!
I am intrigued must get the first book

The Swede said...

The books are highly recommended Old Pa, but the photo most definitely isn't!

Singing Bear said...

Kinky and Ratso! That's quite something. I'm not really acquainted with Mr. Friedman's music, which is probably rather shameful and didn't even know he was a novelist. Quite a character.

Singing Bear said...

Hope this comment catches your eye.I didn't want to crowd out Old Pa's comments section with further off-topic chat but I did want to respond to your mention of the new Deep Purple album (wouldn't it be good if all us blogger pals had a 'forum' where we could post such things? Just a thought). Back to DP - haven't heard it yet. It's good? I did buy their last new album (which some years ago now) and that was just OK. To be honest, I have problems with Purple sans Blackmore and without Lordy as well just makes it even harder. However, Steve Morse does his thing on the guitar and he's pretty darned good at it. Since RB left I've bought and enjoyed *some* of their newer music but you've got me all intrigued about this one. Tell me more!

The Swede said...

Mark Radcliffe played a track called 'Above & Beyond' and I was stunned. I'm so far out of the contemporary Deep Purple loop that this may be the kind of stuff they've been playing for years - proggy with a (dare I say it) folk tinged delivery from Mr Gillan.

I checked out the rest of the LP (on YouTube) and though that song isn't necessarily representative of the album, at least 2/3 of it sounded very good indeed on first hearing.

Terrible cover though!

Singing Bear said...

Oh yes, the cover is awful. I must spend some time listening to the record now. Thanks.

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