Essays, Interviews, Observations, Pop Culture, Stories, and other Dodginess

December at a Chicago Dive Bar

Posted on December 23, 2016



Last weekend Chicago was greeted with a winter blast. I attended a holiday party in Bucktown. Due to the lack of debauchery myself and a few friends headed over to Bob Inn in Logan Square (some say it’s in “West Bucktown”). Across the street from the legendary Fireside Bowl.

I’m not a Bob Inn expert. I’ve been there about a dozen times over the last few years. It’s been featured in some of my writings. But it’s an elegant dive bar. And dive bars like this add to the atmosphere when they decorate for the holidays. It’s a good place for some entertaining asides. Once I met a cute punky girl there named Chloe who had silver and green hair and told me she had an antidote for “bad ass.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant but I brought her a can of Half Acre Daisy Cutter anyway.

It seems as if the bar’s old timers sit on the north end of the bar, while young punks and hooligans and other tattooed youth are on the south end and at the pool table. The last few times I’ve been there I’ve seen a different cute brunette girl with black-framed glasses. Sometimes they’re sitting at the leather booth on the east wall facing the bar. It’s a good booth. A good place to sit next to girls like Chloe and whisper cerebral and visceral things in her ear.

Bob Inn is also where I talked about Christmas music with reclusive author Clive Javanski and Aidan (also bandmates in “UK Grief”). And Mosquito, who is this time of year is literally a walking ugly Christmas sweater.

“Merry Christmas Will Do” is still one of my favorite holiday tunes. You can’t download it anywhere. It is available on some compilation CD “Yuletunes.”

I don’t have anything that plays CDs.

It’s a pretty simple power pop gem with the great line, “You don’t have to say you love me, I know that that’s not true. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas will do.”

At Bob Inn that night I ran into a Wendi. We had a little fling about a year ago. If Anne Hathaway had a slightly less attractive younger sister, that would describe Wendi.

After a few beers I said the first part of the Material Issue song to her.

“You don’t have to say you love me, I know that it’s not true.” 

Before I could finish she walked away, gave me the finger and said “Merry Christmas will fucking do.”








Liffey at Murphy’s Bleachers

Posted on November 24, 2016

I took a break from writing and drinking on the Saturday after the Cubs won the World Series to visit Murphy’s Bleachers, across from Wrigley Field, where I did a little writing and some drinking. Here’s a few pics from that day. More Dodgy stuff coming soon.


Aidan at the Warpaint show

Posted on October 18, 2016

Aidan was late to the Warpaint show.

“I had to deliver fucking paint,” he said.

Thalia Hall, Sept. 30, in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Warpaint on tour in support of their new album “Heads Up.” I was there first. After a few trips up and down 18th Street I found a free parking space just a few blocks away from the hall in front of a liquor store called “Trebxl Liquor’s.” At least that’s what the sign said. Apparently they have low prices and only accept cash, and have interesting spelling.

As I was walking past the alley next to Dusek’s Board and Beer, which is in the front of Thalia Hall, I could hear the sounds of Warpaint’s “Undertow.” I was running late because I was helping my neighbor, Mrs. Weregun, get rid of a raccoon that found its way into her place. I was more worried for the raccoon.

“You’re worthless if you can’t this this animal outta here,” she said, with a cigarette in her mouth. “You’re a shit. Going to a concert with that stupid hat.”

I was tempted to leave Mrs. Weregun in the company of the raccoon. But I really felt for the raccoon. And it looked like it regretted sneaking in there, and left as I left.

“Great, both of you assholes go,” she said.

I walked into Thalia Hall and after using a really nice empty bathroom I grabbed a 3 Floyds Yum Yum beer at the bar in the back just as the girls were starting one of my favorite Warpaint songs, “Love Is to Die.”

Aidan walked in shortly after. He grabbed a beer and told me he was late because of his job and delivering the fucking paint from Bridgeport to “fucking Indiana.”

He also said he paused outside the hall to watch a man who was choking on a moth that apparently flew into his mouth.

Seeing Warpaint was inspiring, musically, as Aidan and I plotted our next UK Grief recording.

A Christmas record based on “It’s A Wonderful Life.” It would be a little punky, with some “hee haw style” thrown in.

Potential titles include “Help You Down,” “The Life and Death of Mr. Gower,” Mary’s Legs,” “Youth is Wasted on the Young,” and “Naked Harry.”

After the show we hung out at Punch House with a few gals we met at the show. One said she was a Cam Girl and despite being really pretty she had hairy legs. She said that it “was her thing” on the Cam.

When I got to my apartment I saw a silhouette of Mrs. Weregun in her window, doing some kind of weird “I’m getting electrocuted” dance to music that from what I could tell, sounded like some kind goth circus. I averted my eyes and went inside my place, heated up a leftover Egg McMuffin, and listened to the new Warpaint album. I turned it up for “New Song” and did my own little dance.


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