I was reading Scott Esposito’s entry about attention span when I did exactly what he described by linking to the Village Voice so handily displayed on his blog roll. Ah, the Voice. Once reviled by the establishment, but loved by poor students, not for their calls for revolution as much as their compendium of cheap apartments. There was a time when leafing through the Voice outside the Peacock Cafe on Greenwich the loafer could posture as Henry Miller until the lady who owned the joint chased you away with “get a job, ya bum.” She’d probably dealt with the real Henry in her day and wasn’t tolerant of impressarios of youthful weltschmerzen. She wore her white hair drawn into a bun, and when she served Italian coffee always said, “this ain’t the library.”
But it was. One of the neighborhood’s casual rich always left the Voice discarded for an incoming tide of students, writers, and actors. Buying coffee was the price of admission into the Peacock’s Florentine depths; the ornate wrought-iron chairs were remarkable for their tiny size and discomfort. Gregory Corso was rumored to have slept there, but he was a beat, they could sleep anywhere.
That was then. Today I read Alexis Soloski’s review in the Voice of Megan Abbott’s novel DIE A LITTLE. According to Soloski, Abbott’s novel, “reclaims noir from male mouths and pens.” She goes on to say that “few psychological thrillers, by writers of either sex, offer such material, sensual, delicious catalogs of food, clothing, hairstyles, and especially kitchenware.”
I’m not sure what this means; I haven’t read the book and the subject of my essay was the Voice. Jim Fusilli’s books have good food between the pages; his turf is Tribeca though, and possibly the Voice doesn’t have a correspondent south of Canal. Still the engram of half-forgotten images lingers: smoldering dames, trench-coated guys, Bogie and Bacall, the fate of nosey fellas. There’s no hot artichoke hors d’oeuvres in noir. Until now.