Customer Reviews: Notes of a Dirty Old Man
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on January 26, 2001
This is essential a collection of works Bukowski wrote for a column. As such it reads like a collection of short stories. It's a good book to keep beside the crapper, especially if you are expecting a visit from your in-laws. Very frank writing of the dark side of life: sex, drugs, alcohol - the good stuff! I love Bukowski's style. If you are easily offended by dirty words and candid talk of sexual deviancy I highly recommend you read this book (or just about anything else Bukowski has written) and get over your hang-ups. It's just a book!
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on January 18, 2000
Some consider Charles Bukowski overrated... some think of him as an unhearalded genius. This collection falls somewhere in the middle. Initially I read this book ravenously, and fell in love with about half of the stories. Since then I have revisited it with a bit more care, and I continue to fine amazing beauty in the way Buk Takes jagged, rusty words and puts them together with duct tape to create these urban scenes. The greats could never have done this, None of them knew LA. This book seems to do the imposible. At once it honors the city of angels with an incredibly accurate rendering of what LA is, and it makes you hate the city all the more for the same reason. This is a great place to start reading Bukowski.
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on June 23, 2005
This is the one that made me think Bukowski wasn't just another pretentious scruffy looking poet-writer. And the impression it made on me was inestimable. It was the same reaction I had when I read those other `notes' from that other 'sky, the man himself, Fyodor Dostoevsky.

It was a shock to know that there were other people in the world who had thoughts like mine... that life was mixed, nothing was cut and dried, muddled, beauty was touched with horror, love was tainted with hate and other passions that would sometimes lead to actual murder and that it wasn't that bull shown in the movies, society wasn't as rational and good as I was told, that there was always something awful under the surface of things, that God could be dead, that I was full of contradictions and instincts which had the power to overtake me -and perhaps the whole of humanity was afflicted with the same inconsistent nature, that there seem to be no meaning to life (with or without religion) and the universe was a blind absurdity, everything shocked me, and on and on... but in the center of all this was the fact that I was living, that I had the ability to feel and the power to say no.

The world seen through Bukowski's eyes is a terrible and beautiful place at the same time. The whores, the drinking binges, the alley fights and the insanity of the man of the streets is a life lived at its most direct and extreme. It is life uncluttered by the niceties and civilities of the numbed life most of us, under the confines of comfy blankets, PC's, cell phones, the latest fashions, million channel TV, etc., lead. It is a life I myself experienced for twenty five years, and at times it is still a preferable life to me than the desensitizing one I may live today. So in a sense Bukowski `celebrates' life and not wholly -wholly- leaves us a portrait of self destruction and nihilism. This is a POSSIBLE life, he seems to say to me, this is a life I've lived and lived it the way I wanted -at least the way I saw fit for a man in my position: ugly, poor, abused, disenfranchised. And I agree.
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on August 9, 2004
The first time I read Charles Bukowski it was in Spanish. The words still remain in my mind and once I got the opportunity to read him in English... I was speechless and shocked at how no one ever had dared using the English language like he has... How could you play with words so much and yet make them all fall in place so gracefully?. So crude, yet so insightful. Bukowski can express himself in terms of crap and intellect all in one paragraph. Any of this man's work is worth spending time on. =)
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on July 16, 2008
This is the fourth Bukowski novel I have read after Women, Hollywood and Post Office. It is essentially a collection of vignettes written for the CITY PRESS which was an underground newspaper in the late 60's where Bukowski was given more or less carte blanche to indulge in and write about any subject/theme/fantasy/issue that turned him on. The book takes a while to get used to as the relative themes of the vignettes form somewhat of a jagged and haphazard thread from one to the next. However a weird pattern in respect of subject matter does eventually emerge. What totally surprised me was that Bukowski showed some excellent ability to analyse and understand contemporary american politics at the time in a realistic and honest way by discussing for example the clamp down on civil liberties by the government arising from say the historical milestone kennedy assasination. Bukowski never pities himself and some of the vignettes are poignantly sad but never self indulgent. I liked the fact that out of the misery and sadness of one short came the next one which was upbeat and the next one which was weird and then the next one which was comical. Bukowski no doubt loved booze, sex, horses and of course writing and this collection of shorts gives the reader the inside twisted track into the workings of a brilliant author's crazy and unique mind. Read it flat out on a lazy Sunday and soon you will be hitting that jack daniels, reaching for your shot-gun, checking into a shady motel and........well best I stop now and leave the rest up to you to discover. Unforgettable this book is, really it is.
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on February 4, 2005
Hey Charley I'm pregnant

and living on 9th street

Above a dirty bookstore

Off Euclid avenue

I stopped taking dope

I quit drinking whiskey

My old man plays the trombone

And works out at the track

He says that he loves me

Even though its not his baby

He says that he'll raise him up

Like he would his own son

He gave me a ring

That was worn by his mother

And he takes me out dancin

Every saturday night

Hey Charley I think about you

Everytime I pass a fillin' station

On account of all the grease

You used to wear in your hair

I still have that record

Little Anthony and the Imperials

But someone stole my record player

How do you like that?

Hey Charley I almost went crazy

After mario got busted

I went back to Omaha

To live with my folks

Everyone I used to know

Is either dead or in prison

So I came back to Minneapolis

This time I think I'm gonna stay

Hey Charley I think I'm happy

The first time since my accident

Wish I had all the money

We used to spend on dope

I'd buy me a used car lot

I wouldn't sell any of 'em

I'd just drive a different car

Depending on how I feel

Hey Charley for chrissakes

Wanna to know the truth of it?

Don't have a husband

He don't play the trombone

Need to borrow money

To pay this lawyer

And Charley, hey

I'll be eligible for parole

Come valentines day

-Not that anyone would notice, but you sit in your dingy apartment reading this collection, the light coming from a single lamp with no shade, certain thoughts come to mind. You realize many, many things and come to an understanding and an appreciation of things that I think many people either never do, or either are in constant denial of. That's a constant theme with Buk, I think. Hell, I don't know and I'm dam* sure no deep-thinker about such things. But, the bottom line is that Buk, like Tom Waits, can never do wrong. Never. Ignore anyone that says otherwise or tries to come off with some, "Well, this isn't his greatest work..." or the...."this is inferior Buk." That's all absolute garbage and all of those individuals who make such statements - combined - could not produce in a lifetime, anything of such beauty that Buk produced in a day. Period.

Get this, treasure it, cherish it and you will understand.
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on January 15, 2016
Bukowski is not fit for human consumption. I would not recommend him to any of my friends save the sickest, most depraved among them. To say he is a misanthrope would be a euphemistic compliment to this degenerate. And so in my list of all time favorite authors it would have to go Irvine Welsh, Charles Bukowski and Kurt Vonnegut. One of my favorite lines in this collection of pieces written for a struggling Los Angeles rag was, "If I'm intelligent at all I'll stay out of the woman game. But it's difficult. I had four perfect years of solitude and then one knocked on the door."
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on December 28, 1998
Buk, to me, is at his best in the short story format. This collection in particular is a must for any Bukowski fans. These stories are examples of the Buk at his best, drinking, living and farting...
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on February 27, 2016
I had never read Bukowski before this book. Had a free moment the other afternoon and decided it was time to crack this mother open.........15 pages in I called my boss, told him there was no possible way I was working that night, then proceeded to drink my way through this masterfull piece of mid-century lit. Highly recommended for fans of Hemingway, Thompson, Vonnegut, Bradbury etc...
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on June 27, 2016
A lot of disjointed slices of life. Bukowski is a beat poet who hates Burroughs and Ginsberg and that elevates him in my book. Solid, sometimes hilarious prose. Not for the faint of heart. Lots of dirty, awful and degrading sex in this one.
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