Hell Is Other People
I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp:
by Richard Hell
$25.99 List Price
Speak, memory: “Nan’s pussy got damp but not soaking wet,” the musician Richard Hell recalls late in his new autobiography, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp. “It was slick, like a squeaky rubber duck.” There are many shivery, illicit pleasures in this louche memoir of bygone bands and lost downtown haunts, including the author’s anatomically vivid, clinically surreal descriptions of past conquests. Hell writes of meeting—in a late-’60s poetry class taught by José Garcia Villa—a “sad, hysterical girl with red capillaries on her nose and cheekbones, and large breasts that looked like twin Eeyores.”
Think about that image for a second. Google “Eeyore” if you need to.
Anyway, he’s a breast man, Hell, that much is clear. Here’s him waxing ecstatic and resentful on a former rival, Patti Smith:
She was a natural-born sex waif and a pretty-assed comedian. She’d step out with her hand on her tight-cocked hip, all casual, if in-your-face, and jack out mind and body gush, giggling at herself like a five-year-old, under her deep-set eyes and her coal-black shag, begging to be fucked, skinny as a rod, massive tits deceptively draped in her threadbare overlarge Triumph motorcycles T-shirt, and then twirl away, denying you in favor of Anita Pallenberg.
The author kept journals in those years, back when a teenager named Richard Meyers left behind a rootless boyhood in Lexington, Kentucky, to come to New York City, intent on becoming what he became: a poet, an artist, a musician, a drug addict, a man who carried a dead turtle in a jar from one unfurnished apartment