Monday, December 2, 2019

Eve Babitz's Bummer Bob


Blog reader Cristiane brought this book to my attention recently. Eve Babitz was once a fairly common name in Hollywood. This book is described as partially fictive, but this short chapter on Bobby B seems accurate. if you have any interest in reading the book it can either be read on-line or downloaded here.

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BUMMER BOB

"Hi," I said. What was her name?

It was another one of those faces, a friend of Karen's, I pieced together, and someone else, too, that guy Bob.

She and Bob had been close and I always saw them at Cantor's together when LSD was the rage. Everyone would leave the Strip at 2 when the clubs closed and go to Cantor's en masse so blasted out of their heads that if you asked someone what time it was they backed away, wide-eyed, as though you'd presented them with a philosophical impossibility. Bob was adorable but so obnoxious that he wore his nickname on his lapel. He'd had it made into a button and it said, "I am Bummer Bob."

Bummers were when the acid had something in it that didn't agree with you. It was anything else disagreeable and a drag as well, so you can't say he didn't tell you. Except that he looked like an archangel. Bright.

People said he was a narc and a thief, but I knew he wasn't sophisticated to be either of those when I let him stay at my house once for a week with his white dog. He needed someplace to stay, nobody would talk to him, and even though I didn't sleep with him, he was beautiful and couldn't help it that he was such a bummer. He never understood anything and always asked the wrong questions. He was so unable to understand anything and he shorted out so many trains of thought that people thought he was a narc. He never took anything from my house when he stayed there, he even tried to buy food.


He left L.A. and I had heard that he'd moved to the country.

After I came back from New York and was up in San Francisco, I ran into him one night in the Fillmore. He was playing guitar in a band, and the leader of the band, my friend, had complained of him and how disruptive he was.

"What else can you expect from someone called Bummer Bob?" I asked.

"I never heard that before," he said.

"That's what he's called," I said. We were upstairs at the Fillmore, and there was Bob, dressed dramatically in black with a top hat and a cape. A look of sudden surprised hospitality flooded his face when he saw me, completely the opposite of the black cape, and he said, like a kid, "Wowie, Evie!"

My friend, the leader, was amazed later, he'd never seen him look like that before. Shortly thereafter, Bob left the group in a lurch and quit rock and roll or said he was going to.

"It's just as well," I told my friend.

Now, I faced this girl in Ohrbach's and I couldn't remember her name. She'd just been, like me, a friend to him when no one would be. She'd been more than me because she'd loved him, I thought, and he had telephoned her from my house every day because he

cared about her. It was a time when no one cared about anyone, so I noticed.

"Have you heard from Bob after he went to San Francisco?" I asked her. It was 5 years later, but she still had this dewy kind of thing about her.

"He sent me a Christmas card," she said.

It was sweet, I thought, that no matter how much of a bummer he was, he held onto the amenities like Christmas cards and daily phone calls.

"How nice," I said. "Where is he?"

"Haven't you heard?" she asked. She looked struck with pain.

"What's he done?" I knew he must have done something terrible from her face. Something ... really terribIe.

"He's been ... in San Quentin. He's the one they call Cupid in the Manson family, the one Manson's supposed to have tried to free by the other murders ... "

Bobby Beausoleil had romped with his dog in my house. He'd worn a sign that said "I am Bummer Bob." I'd let him stay but hadn't slept with him because anyone who called themself that, I figured, must have the clap or some other expensive social disease. He didn't understand. He sent Christmas cards from Death Row.

"What'd he say?" I asked.

"Merry Christmas."

"Oh, God," I said, helplessly thrown back into the archaic idiom that even he had used to describe what he was. "What a bummer!"

She looked away quickly, she was crying in Ohrbach's. I still don't remember her name and I just touched her shoulder goodbye.


28 comments:

GreenWhite said...

Better writing than I expected.

Robert C said...

Nice anecdote - agree well written. Don't recall an Eve Babitz back then regarding a popular well known name. Perhaps within the artistic world. Bummer Bob … hmmm … sounds like he's got depression.

AustinAnn74 said...

Obnoxious then, obnoxious now.....go figure....

beauders said...

Well they are last in line but these guys ruined their own lives when they committed the murders. Bobby Beausoleil had the look, the ego and possibly the talent to be a rock star, what a waste.

Unknown said...

Love's Johnny Echols on "bummer bob"
https://murdersofaugust69.freeforums.net/thread/1285/johnny-echols-talks-bobby-susan

ColScott said...

Ummm Eve Babitz is one of THE legendary writers guys and she has very large and lovely breasts

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/03/style/the-eve-babitz-revival.html

J-Dog said...

Thought this was worthy here.
In the chapter called "Choke" she wrote this :

“I dressed next to her in gym (on my other side was this nice girl named Cathy whose only flaw was that she was kind of gullible and that kept me from being too shocked when I saw her in Life magazine crouched under a rock as one of the “Manson Family” and called Gypsy).”

Excerpt From: Eve Babitz. “Eve's Hollywood.”

GreenWhite said...

Thanks for the EB link. I was unaware. My focus in school was the Victorians. I subconsciously wanted to ensure I'd never have a conversation with anyone about books maybe. I did spend time drunkenly ranting at english major coeds that Bukowski was a sanctioned copy of Fante. They acted interested. I dunno. And before that I probably read Less Than Zero 29 times in high school. I thought my LA lit game was passable. Clearly not.

CrisPOA said...

Eve is better known by her photo with Marcel Duchamp, playng chess in the nude. (She is nude, not him!)
She's an excelent writer in my opinion, and has a unique style.
I love the way she tells the stories of Hollywood. She kind of mixes her stories (her life perceptions especially) with what was going on in that era.

Ajerseydevil said...

She wrote an exellent article for Esquire magazine on the Manson murders August 1 1994 available online

starviego said...

Can you post a link?

JWD said...

Esquire article - https://classic.esquire.com/article/1994/8/1/the-manson-murders

starviego said...

Thanks!

starviego said...

A quote from that short article:

"My friend M., a tailor who made suede clothes for Sharon and Roman Polanski, had been up to their house on Cielo Drive with her husband, and she said, “Some weird kind of evil flirtation stuff was going on between them and us. My husband was necking with Sharon, so I never wanted to go back up there again.” "

Dan S said...

"If i were looking for motive, I'd look for something much more far out, not the usual." Just what a playboy who didn't want to be a married father so he murdered his pregnant wife would say

GreenWhite said...

I dunno, Dan. Sandy chased Paul Tate into a phone booth at the trial while trying to tell him that Sharon wasn't supposed to be there. Why would she and others from the "Family" stick to that line for so long if Roman was involved in the murders at Cielo?

Dan S said...

No i don't really think he was involved. When i ask cui bono it points to him and when you read stuff like in that Esquire article you think there's a lot of his relationship with Sharon that's been white washed. His lie detector test is a pretty odd read too.
Hey i even consider that long essay about the murders being a false flag event and Sharon being still alive as living in disguise as her own sister (patty) to be plausible.
As for what Sandy good believes: lol, wutta maniac!
But no, i don't really believe Roman did it.
In the same breath though, if you believe satanic ritual abuse/ murder a la john decamp and the Finders, then fuuuuuck, any thing horrible is possible and i don't put anything past powerful people.
Mostly i have a sick sense of humor (my dad is a Jew and my mom a Nazi's daughter so my gestalt mind is all fucked up). Gotta get ready for work now butt I'll post the true motive later tonight

grimtraveller said...

GreenWhite said...

Why would she and others from the "Family" stick to that line for so long

Well, let's examine exactly who has stuck with that line for so long.......
Furthermore, Sandra Good really cannot tell anyone a damn thing about the murders and who should have been where and who shouldn't, not because she was in jail at the time, but because she has admitted to two reliable {ish} sources that she didn't know about them. Not only is it in Squeaky's book {I count it as reliable from the point of view that her and Sandra were close}, but she told this to Robert Hendrickson back in about 1971. It's such an assumption that everyone in the Family knew everything that was going on. Do you or I know everything that goes on in our own families ?

Dan S said...

there's a lot of his relationship with Sharon that's been white washed

Ha ha, not that it's anyone's business !

I'll post the true motive later tonight

We await Daniel, with baited breath !!
By the way, have you told Leslie and Pat ?😉

starviego said...

GreenWhite said...
"Sandy chased Paul Tate into a phone booth at the trial while trying to tell him that Sharon wasn't supposed to be there."

Sounds like they had some idea who would be there that night.

Dan S said...

Misplaced frustration with being the jock at band camp and then charlie showing em how it's done

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Dan S.
I am looking forward to read about what you think is "the true motive" behind the murders at Cielo Dr.

I believe everyone who reads this blog knows where my 2 focus points are pertaining to
The Charles Manson Case & Saga.

I've had some correspondence that I have yet to corroborate regarding this case. It's very, I'll just use the word "interesting." Some of it corroborate's more of what
Alisa Statman says in her book, "Restless Souls."
I still don't understand why
Ms Statman has me blocked on Twitter. I've been very supportive of Ms Statman here on this blog.
Oh well.

On an OJ Simpson Case thread that I comment on, on Twitter, Debra Tate has tweeted about The Manson Case & The OJ Case. Ms Tate has been very respectful & courteous.

I've been watching some of
Stoner Van Houten's YouTube videos.
I believe he's
pro Squeaky/Sandra Good/George Stimson ect.
Stoner has his opinions and that's ok. He has said a few things that have REALLY caught my interest.

Anyway Dan S, again, I am looking forward to your opinions.
Thanks.

Mario George Nitrini 111
-------
The OJ Simpson Case

Dan S said...

See above....Watson overcompensating, the jock at band camp. Then labianca was Charlie reasserting himself

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Ok, thanks Dan S,
Got it.

Mario George Nitrini 111
-------
The OJ Simpson Case

Dan S said...

Case closed lol

grimtraveller said...

starviego said...

Sounds like they had some idea who would be there that night

Sandy in particular had no idea that there was even to be a "night."
Besides which, how would any of the Family have possibly known Sharon's proposed movements that night ? And if they did know that she wasn't meant to be there, the implication is that she wasn't meant to be targetted so why kill her ? Is Sandy saying it was a mistake ?
The entire notion is bullshit but as ever, it appears that there are those desperate to believe.

Dan S said...

Case closed lol

Where were you in '69/'70 when the world was calling out for answers Dan !?

Misplaced frustration with being the jock at band camp

It's not even really a motive, much less one for murder. Particularly with Bobby under arrest for murder just a couple of days before.

Dan S said...

That's what a jack ass "Crazy" Charlie Watson was. Technically you'd file it under copycat but the motivation for the main murderer was trying to impress his peer group (just like stealing all those type writers - he only needed 2 for the scavenger hunt and he stole 20- in his frat days)

Unknown said...

THATS THEEE EXACT REASON THIS HAPPENED. TOO MUCH LUGGAGE. PLUS THE BABY WASNT HIS OR JAYS-A LOVE CHILD FROM ONE OF THE PEOPLE ROMAN FORCED HER (SHARON) TO MAKE LOVE TO. THATS WHY NOONE WANTED TO TOUCH THIS. ITS TOO OBVIOUS.

grimtraveller said...

If they think that they can sell it, then they will.