LEGS: What did you have, Danny?
DANNY: I think I had a little bit of white powder; I think it was cocaine. I wasn’t well and it sort of fell out of my wallet. Then they started holding open the seams of my toothbrush bag. It’s really old, the lining is all…
DANNY: …and four little joints fell out.
LEGS: They arrested you?
DANNY: They were so polite and gentle and everything.
LEGS: They were?
DANNY: They walked alongside of me to a little office and this nice young Mountie and a nice lesbian Mountie who was really eager, like what’s her name? Rhoda’s mother…
LEGS: Bea Arthur?
DANNY: No, like thirty years younger. How do you…what’s…[screams out] Nancy Walker!!! When she was so eager to get Rhoda married off…that’s how eager this Mountie lesbian was to be a good polite Canadian Mountie.
LEGS: Nancy Walker?
DANNY: I can’t describe her, she just had that sort of lesbionic-Canada-of-the-Mountains air about her…and he just asked me for a long statement and the Queen was on the wall above them just looking down on us all, so you just feel…you know, you’re busted in a foreign country with drugs in an airport and here’s the Queen…how bad can it be?
LEGS: Did it feel comforting, the Queen being there?
DANNY: Very reassuring. Because I consider myself English. My mother’s family was all English so it just felt right and then—oh, I was changing planes at Toronto airport—so that’s where I went to go through customs. And the first thing they ask after they find my stash is, “Where are you going?”
I said that I was in rock & roll and I was up all night and I had to be in Ottawa tonight to see my folk-singer perform in the capital for the prime minister.
They said, “Well, what plane are you taking to Ottawa?”
I said, “It should be taking off in just a minute,” and they called and had the plane to Ottawa wait for me at the gate. I mean, this is a foreign alien-government-police-force.
LEGS: It’s like the shuttle.
DANNY: Yeah, I mean, it’s the most important, you know, of all of the cities west or east of Saskatoon. And they held it and I went running and I…you know, “Mr. Fields, yes, we’re waiting…”
And I immediately made a call to someone who got me Keith Richard’s lawyer. And I was never, God bless them, never charged with bringing it into the country, this white powder, or whatever. I wasn’t sure what it was.
And then the lawyer said, “You should have said it was amphetamine, that’s not illegal here. And then they would have said, ‘Proceed.’ Instead of, ‘Empty everything out.’”
You know, “We’re waiting for the lab results, sir.” Then it was an appearance down in Miskatonic or something, where the airport is.
DANNY: Now they have an actual airport downtown! So anyway, four months later I had to appear in court, and there’s me, in a three-piece suit, facing the judge…
DANNY: …and the judge said, “I see you went to Harvard Law School,” and the little government clerks are snickering, going…“There he is, busted for drugs, Harvard Law School…”
GILLIAN: Do you think they thought you were lying?
DANNY: No. They just thought that it was ironic.
LEGS: That the guy from Harvard got caught with pot.
DANNY: They didn’t exactly graduate from Harvard Law School I presume—but then again, neither did I. So I was fined four hundred dollars and that was it. Now for the next seven years I was supposed to call the Canadian Embassy before I came into Canada because I was guilty of a drug offense. But I hadn’t really had an occasion to go back till way longer than that. So it’s a happy ending story because the Queen was involved.
GILLIAN: The Queen was involved in what?
LEGS: In the story.
DANNY: She’s hanging over the thing. So I didn’t get hysterical or turn people in or do anything. I was perfectly cooperative with the Mounties.
LEGS: So…how did Please Kill Me change your life?
DANNY: Well, okay…you know, I looked around and all my friends were old or dead or living in California and I had decided it was time to start collecting newbies.
DANNY: So I thought, well, start fishing in fertile waters, and so these two guys were the keys to the coolest crowds.
LEGS: John Cameron Mitchell and…
DANNY: …Justin Bond because they both had so many fans. And it was all the cutest sissies in town who gravitated to them—you know, they were like the little sons of Warhol stars.
LEGS: Were they worshiping at your feet?
DANNY: No. No one in New York was worshipping at my feet. Worshiping at my feet was that kid in Spain…do you know what it cost me to send a paperback copy of Please Kill Me, in English, to Barcelona?
GILLIAN: Well, if you sent it FedEx—probably seventy-five bucks.
DANNY: Ninety-four dollars. Paperback. How else do you send…
GILLIAN: You could have mailed it.
DANNY: I couldn’t put it in a mailbox, I don’t know how.
GILLIAN: No, you go to the post office.
DANNY: Oh, really? Well, they just sent me a questionnaire and they’re thinking of closing our post office and moving it to an awful, horrible building not far from the Printing House—one of those big, ugly, white 7th Avenue South buildings. You know, would we mind?
GILLIAN: “Would we mind?” Fuck you.
DANNY: But anyhow, we know what I went through with the “Shit Factory” stuff and all that. And it was all because of that that I went to Spain, ultimately.
GILLIAN: The “Shit Factory” stuff was all because of Please Kill Me?
GILLIAN: Can you elaborate a bit on “the Shit Factory?”
LEGS: Yes. Can you explain “Shit Factory?”
GILLIAN: Five sentences or less.
DANNY: Okay, I got an email from someone who said, “Hello, I want to make a movie about you,” comma, “fiction,” comma. “From the Doors to the Shit Factory. I’m a twenty-one year old graduate student at the University of Barcelona,” blah, blah, blah…
You know, I like to be intrigued by an email from Barcelona that says,
“I want to make a movie about you…”
DANNY: I mean, I don’t care if you’re Spanish.
[Gillian pours herself a glass from the bottle labeled vodka and takes a sip]
GILLIAN: Danny, this is water.
DANNY: I know. Betty Ford. Is she dead? She’s dead?
GILLIAN: Yeah, she’s dead.
LEGS: You’d be intrigued?
LEGS: You’d be intrigued?
LEGS: So, did you write back to him?
DANNY: Wait a minute—so I wrote back and said, “Who are you? How dare you? I have never seen such a rude internet transmission in my life. How did you get my address? How do you know who I am? And what is…why are you spewing obscenities at me such as ‘Shit Factory,’ which has no meaning other than to revolt me. You disgust me, you disgusting person.”
So you know they’re going to come back when you write something like that. It’s like putting a piece of fish in front of a cat.
So then he goes, “I’m so sorry,” blah, blah, blah, “I did not mean to be rude. My name is Pedro, and I want to make a movie about you and, to answer your question—I don’t know why you’re so surprised—’Shit Factory’ is in Please Kill Me.”
This is the most bizarre and interwoven story.
Okay, so he knew about me from Please Kill Me—from the chapter “Shit Factory.” What? So, I called Gillian and I said, “Did you ever hear the phrase, ‘Shit Factory?’”
She wasn’t the only person I asked, like maybe three or four people. Maybe I have Alzheimer’s; I don’t remember every poetic description I ever said in my life, but I still thought, “Okay, we know what the Factory is, and we know what piss is, and we know Patti Smith’s first single was ‘Piss Factory’, but there’s no ‘Shit Factory?’” Maybe in Salò. Salò is on DVD now. Are you excited?
GILLIAN: Yeah, Megan was talking about that the other day.
LEGS: What swallow?
DANNY: Salò. SALÒ.
LEGS: Salò, what’s Salò?
DANNY: One of the greatest movies ever made. One of the sweetest and most romantic movies ever.
DANNY: It’s based on the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom.
LEGS: Which is not my favorite book.
DANNY: But this could be your favorite movie.
DANNY: Well, this is a movie that is loosely based on the book, in that people devise means of torture that are erotic and effective. What more could you ask? And, you know, Pasolini was a very great director. It was the last movie he ever made. It was so controversial that it’s been unavailable…
GILLIAN: …and it just came out this month…
DANNY: I have it on a 12-inch laser disc, remember when they made movies on those? Then I got a copy from Paris on a regular DVD. Because you couldn’t order it, because it didn’t exist, but now it exists with a lot of extras.
GILLIAN: Oh yeah?
DANNY: This always happens after something is banned for being a piece of shit. It’s like, “Shhh, you’re lucky we even put it in a box or a sleeve…”
It’s like The Velvet Underground Live at Max’s record. There’s one album left in their contract, so Atlantic gives them ten thousand dollars, and then they’re through with them. It’s not until twenty-five years later that the album becomes a huge deal.
DANNY: Good deal. Barely stick it in an envelope and mail it out—then years later it comes back as highly collectible; highly historical…Can something be highly historical?
DANNY: All those things—like Lou Reed’s last night with the Velvet Underground. You continue to hear about it. Don’t make me talk about it. Please don’t ask me to talk about Lou Reed…
DANNY: Anyhow The Velvet Underground Live at Max’s is just an occasion recorded with a piece of crap like that [gestures toward Panasonic cassette recorder on the table]. She had one and she sat in the back. Does this make big clunks when you press it?
GILLIAN: Who is “she”?
GILLIAN: Oh, Brigid Polk.
DANNY: She sat way in the back of Max’s near the window opposite of the stage and just pressed it down. Now they’re re-releasing it with a booklet, with a box like Proust.
LEGS: Remembrance of Things Past, huh?
LEGS: Remembrance of Things Past.
DANNY: Yeah, “boxed” like Proust—that’s a phrase from Auntie Mame. Because between Auntie Mame and All About Eve you’ll have everything you’ll ever need to say about anything in your life. Really. You’ll never have to say an original thing again. It’s like that book I’m reading…um…Remembrance of an Island or Possibility of an Island.
GILLIAN: What’s that?
DANNY: By the Belgian. And the biggest literary sensation in France.
LEGS: What’s it called?
DANNY: Possibility of an Island.
LEGS: Possibility of an Island?
DANNY: It’s translated. Funny about translations, you have to ask Poopsy in Paris what she thinks, I’m so curious to know this. You’re still in touch with her?
DANNY: She’s so wonderful.
LEGS: Poopsy in Paris?
GILLIAN: I’ll have to email her: “Danny calls her Poopsy in Paris.” So is this the book that influenced Iggy?
DANNY: Yes, this is the book that inspired Iggy. Possibility of an Island by Michel Houellebecq. So anyway, back to “Shit Factory.” I had Gillian on the phone and I said, “Something is occurring…”
She could not figure it out. I couldn’t figure it out. “Something is occurring to me about that phrase ‘Shit Factory’—could he be referring to the part of the book named ‘Piss Factory,’ like Patti’s first single?”
I mean, do you realize that in the Spanish translation it’s the “factory of mierde,” which is Spanish for “shit!?”
How many languages has the book been translated into, anyway? I have the Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Finnish editions—and then of course there are the British and American editions.
LEGS: There’s a Swedish version. And Japanese.
DANNY: Is there Hebrew?
GILLIAN: There should be. You could do that, Danny.
DANNY: Hmm, I don’t know Hebrew—you should ask Craig Karpel. He should do it; he is the best person in the world to do that.
The point is, it’s in all of the romantic languages except Romanian. Is there a Romanian?
GILLIAN: No, there’s a Czech.
LEGS: There’s a Czech.
GILLIAN: And Russian.
LEGS: Russian. And there’s a Hungarian.
GILLIAN: There is?
GILLIAN: I don’t have a copy.
DANNY: Wow. That’s impressive. You’ll have to send it to Zsa Zsa.