To Lost Generation aficionados, Jimmy "the Barman" Charters needs no introduction. For those of lesser faiths, he tended bar at one of the Paris expatriates' favorite watering holes, the Dingo. In this reprint from 1934, Jimmy reminisces about those legendary days, and nearly everyone who played a part in them gets a nod. Many of these stories won't be found anywhere else.To Lost Generation aficionados, Jimmy "the Barman" Charters needs no introduction. For those of lesser faiths, he tended bar at one of the Paris expatriates' favorite watering holes, the Dingo. In this reprint from 1934, Jimmy reminisces about those legendary days, and nearly everyone who played a part in them gets a nod. Many of these stories won't be found anywhere else. Jimmy serves his memories the same way he served drinks: some straight up, some on the rocks, and some with a twist. Hemingway's introduction alone makes it worth the price.-- MR...
|Title||:||This Must be the Place|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
This Must be the Place Reviews
I finished reading This Must Be The Place, an autobiographical book by Jimmie Charters yesterday. I read it quickly – mainly because I was off work and also it is short and easy to read. To the lay person this is a boring book. The stories he could have told he boasts about not telling – this was written in 1934 when discretion was something to be valued. So who was Jimmie Charters and why did I read his boring book? To me it wasn’t boring. Jimmie was a bar man in Paris from the early twenties until the early thirties. He worked mainly in Montparnasse. He was from Manchester and being English gravitated towards the bars which catered for Anglo-Saxons. So Jimmie poured beers for Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Isadora Duncan, Aleister Crowley, and many more. We don’t get any real inside information on these people – although Hemingway wrote the introduction and used it to take a serious dig at Gertrude Stein.What I got from this was a series of sketches of Paris, and Parisian bars, as they were in the thirties. I’ve used these bars an amalgamated them into one for the Salazar books. In my current Salazar WIP there are a lot of scenes in The Dingo Bar (one Jimmie worked in, also the place Hemingway met Fitzgerald) My Dingo bar is not the real Dingo though – mine is also The Jockey, The Falstaff, and every seedy bar I’ve ever been in (and I’ve done some serious research in this field). This book was worth reading, some of the sad stories are really interesting. It was released as a bit of a cash-in on the fame of Montparnasse and the clients Jimmy had in his bar. That does come across but doesn’t spoil the book too much.
Jimmie the Barman was not a man of letters or philosophy. But he provided drinks, thoughtfulness, and friendship to many who were. His memories of his years as barman in several bars in Montparnasse are filled with many of the people we've come to know from other such memoirs, but these are from a different perspective, and not just because he was behind the bar.For one thing, whether it is his intention or not, he talks as much about the social history of the time as he does about the people he knew, which makes this, in a way, a little more interesting than some of the other memoirs. For instance, near the beginning he talks about an American woman, new to Paris, who had sat down on the terrasse of the Rotonde, hatless and smoking a cigarette. In those days, women in Paris never went out hatless and never smoked in public. The manager came out to say that if she wanted to smoke, she would have to sit inside. Of course now it is exactly opposite. But on that day, the young lady wanted to enjoy the sun on the terrasse and did not care to move inside. Jimmy explains, "Soon a crowd collected. The onlookers took sides. Several English and Americans loudly championed the girl. Finally the girl roe to her feet and said that if she could not smoke on the terrace she would leave. And leave she did, taking with her the entire Anglo-American colony!""But she didn't move far. Across the street was the Dôme, which up to that time had been a small bistro for working men, housing on the inside one of those rough green boxes which the French so flatteringly called a billiard table. Accompanied now by quite a crowd, the young lady asked the manager of the Dôme if she might sit on the terrace WITHOUT a hat and WITH a cigarette. He immediately consented, and from that time forth the Dôme grew to international fame and became the symbol for all Montparnasse life."As Jimmy also says, "But into this book I can put what I have seen and remembered and leave it to the critics to add the theories."And a fine job he has done of just that.
How could you read the introduction that Ernest Hemingway submitted for this book and decide to include it anyway? At a mere two pages in length, 95% of it is used to complain about Gertrude Stein, who he does not name, referring to her as "the salon woman." Other than that, this book is an easy read with some interesting stories, as well as some good pseudoscience about alcohol consumption.
OK so my mind likes to live the literary Paris of the '20's so I am not very discriminating about what I read on this subject.But Jimmy Charters takes you back there in real time and it's wonderful.