DANNY: And so I opened each of the editions that I have and you know there’s a whole section in the book called, “Piss Factory.”
That’s when I had the electric light bulb!
And I went through them all and sure enough, I say to myself, “Where is he getting this from, he seems to really know Please Kill Me and he’s no fool. You know, he did get my address and he’s a teacher at the University of Barcelona, so he’s not making up this thing to antagonize me or rile me or make me call the police.”
Sure enough there were eight “Piss Factories”—or something about urine—but I was looking in all the foreign dictionaries just to make sure, and sure enough, it was “piss” in all of the languages. But the Spanish translation said, “Mierda Factory.”
Even though I don’t speak Spanish, and even though I did give a lecture at the University of Barcelona…
LEGS: Ha, ha, ha.
DANNY: …to a large group of people who I was told spoke and understood English. They did not. But mierda…
GILLIAN: Because merde is “shit” in French.
DANNY: Yeah, and forget it, if you know Italian you don’t even need to learn Spanish. They’re almost identical. But there it was: “mierda.” Of course I ran to the Spanish/English dictionary and there it was again: it was “shit.” And so I figured that out, and then I was at Gillian’s house and her…do I have to say his name?
DANNY: Her lovely husband Jim Marshall…came over and said, “Here’s a book you should read,” because I was on my way to Barcelona by then and it was the Robert Hughes book, Barcelona.
LEGS: Right, yeah.
DANNY: And he said, “Read these pages,” and it was about how the Catalonians worshiped—well, they didn’t exactly worship shit, but it’s like a big part of what they talk about.
You know, “These apples are divine; did you have a good shit?”
DANNY: You know, “Where do you get your car washed? I’m going to take a shit afterwards.” It’s part of their culture; they even have a little statue called a Caganer that they even include in their nativity scene. Little men taking shits. I have two of them left.
GILLIAN: You gave us one, yeah.
DANNY: I did?
LEGS: Of guys bending over taking…
DANNY: Not bending over—squatting. You don’t bend over to take a shit. Who bends over? What species are we?
GILLIAN: [Pointing to Legs] He’s a lizard.
LEGS: Leave me alone. Danny, just answer the fucking question…
GILLIAN: I don’t like this visual I’m getting. All of the sudden I’m getting a visual…
LEGS: That’s right, pick on the poor little guy.
DANNY: So then Jim [Marshall] says to me—and you know because he knows everything—that the Please Kill Me Spanish translator is from Catalonia. He’s Barcelonan and Catalonian and so he must be from this wonderful, yet shit-obsessed civilization that is in the northeast of Spain. And sure enough, it was true.
So Pedro called the other day and left this message raging drunk or stoned or something not at all attractive, and thank God I wasn’t here to pick up the phone.
Before, we’d been skyping and he’s holding up pages of Please Kill Me on the Skyper and we’re doing all this before I got there and then I had to FedEx an English copy because I said, “You can’t question me about your translation…”
Remember, I said to you, I said to Gillian, “This guy is amazing. He’s turning piss into shit; it’s like Jesus with the wine and the water…”
And Gillian said, “Wait, I have to hang up immediately and write a poem.”
Ha, ha, ha! And on the back cover of Please Kill Me there’s something about Jesus…
GILLIAN: “Please Kill Me does for the Ramones what the disciples did for Jesus.”
DANNY: There you go. It’s a Jesus moment for Please Kill Me, and it’s true. So, I thought that was all…
LEGS: So you got to Barcelona. Were there a lot of people squatting taking dumps in all the stores? Did you see the statues everywhere?
DANNY: No, where I saw the most of them was in a store in…
LEGS: It was a dildo store.
DANNY: No, it wasn’t a dildo store. I never said that. It was a store where we looked at a showcase of dildos. Also, a store that sold leather jackets, sneakers, underwear, baby food, suits of armor…
GILLIAN: Suits of armor?
DANNY: Medieval weaponry…
DANNY: Yes, fabrics, and cans of corn…
LEGS: And dildos.
GILLIAN: Didn’t your new friend’s father own the store?
DANNY: Yes, it’s in the town of Moda, which is a border town where French people come to take advantage of Spanish prices, quality, variety, dildos, I don’t know, because…
LEGS: It’s cheaper.
DANNY: …the border goes through the main street of the town and all the cars have French license plates. And this child was educated in France, so he grew up trilingual, because if you’re from Catalonia you have to speak Catalan, and you have to speak Spanish and you have to speak French. And then they have to learn English. So, that was a fourth language. I don’t know what else he speaks. You know, these European kids are pretty smart.
And they just walk around with copies of Please Kill Me. He knew it as well as you do, because when I got to his house there was the English copy that I had FedExed to him with pieces of yellow reminder paper slipped in. There was so many Post-its—whoosh, you could whoosh…
GILLIAN: Like a flipbook?
DANNY: You could fan yourself with them. That’s how many. I don’t know why he didn’t just…why did he bother? They were on almost every page and then he was giving a lecture with me as the guest, and the University gave me a hundred Euros to speak to these kids.
GILLIAN: I love what you told me that he’d ask you a question and you’d answer in two sentences and then he’d go on for five minutes, “translating” what you said.
DANNY: I know, he would throw in all these other people that had been in my life in one way or another and had nothing to do with the answer that I just gave. I wish I had the poster or whatever the school sent out. What a racket. I would love to do colleges.
Listen, I’m sick of talking about Pedro, let’s get back to the party. I mean, I cringe when I think about this VH1 documentary coming out Friday. It’s called Andy Warhol: Master Revolutionary—along with Muhammad Ali of the 20th Century. What else was…
GILLIAN: Black Panthers…
LEGS: Black Panthers and Woodstock, I think.
GILLIAN: Oh, Woodstock.
DANNY: Woodstock, yeah.
GILLIAN: The Woodstock.
DANNY: Yes, the Black Panthers and the Woodstock. That’s like Miss Teen Indiana—saying that.
DANNY: Miss Teen South Carolina.
GILLIAN: Oh, she’s the one…
DANNY: …that said the Iraq.
GILLIAN: Oh, that was amazing, that was amazing.
DANNY: The South Africa, the Iraq; it’s just wonderful.
LEGS: It seemed at the moment that Please Kill Me came out there were a lot of comebacks; like the Patti Smith Group got back together, and…
DANNY: Well, Patti’s husband died…
DANNY: Well, there’s a good reason to get your band back together, unless there’s no one left to get back together with.
But a lot of these comeback tours were all disasters except for Patti, who carried through. Did anyone tell you about the anti-Please Kill Me sentiment in some circles?
LEGS: Really? Tell us.
DANNY: Well, it’s your “Shit Factory” story, which I told at a very glamorous, democratic, liberal and brilliant couple’s party…and they have some connection with Patti Smith…and I told them the “Shit Factory” story because the story requires one to know what the “Piss Factory” is.
[Gillian opens her purse and takes a plastic bag out]
DANNY: What are those, mushrooms?
GILLIAN: Almonds. Want some?
DANNY: No, but you know what I just read? That almonds can cure scratches in the floor—I read it in “AOL Housekeeping Tips.” Every time I see an almond I think about that terrible scratch…[Points to corner of room]
GILLIAN: Oh, yeah. Do you want me to try it?
LEGS: You guys are going to stop this interview so you can try to fix the floor with a nut?
[Gillian gets on her knees and begins rubbing a scratch on floor with an almond]
DANNY: …is it working at all?
LEGS: She wouldn’t know how to do it.
DANNY: Well, whatever happens, leave me an almond and I’ll try later. They were so definite on the subject. So all these years, worrying about those scratches on your floor, and you can just scratch it with an…[mumbles]
DANNY: And you’ll never notice…
GILLIAN: [From the corner of the room] Danny, it’s kind of working!
LEGS: It’s kind of working!
DANNY: It’s actually working?
[Gillian mumbles something about this “changing her life” before seating herself back at table]
LEGS: So, you were talking to this influential couple?
DANNY: Talking to whom?
LEGS: This influential couple about the “Shit Factory.”
DANNY: Oh yes, and they both know Patti very well and so I asked them that when they went to Spain, did people ask them about “Shit Factory?” And if so, don’t you wonder what they are talking about?
I mean, we did invite her to sit down at a table with us the very first time she was ever at Max’s, so I’m entitled to have a Patti Smith story.
DANNY: And of course I had to talk to them about the way it fit in with Please Kill Me, because my friend in Barcelona who only knew the Spanish translation—enter “Shit Factory”—wrote to me and said to me the words “shit factory” in English…which, if you think about it, is maybe the first time it was ever said.
DANNY: You know, how many people walk around Spain talking about the “Shit Factory?” So, they say this even if they’re practicing English—say they’re English majors—and they take it in English conversation, and the teacher asks, “What are you currently reading? And what is your favorite part in it?”
And the student says, “Oh, I am reading the Please Kill Me, and I am especially liking a Shit Factory part. I like very much to see Shit Factory.”
GILLIAN: “I like very much to see Shit Factory?”
DANNY: Right? That would be the first time it was ever said in English. And also whoever is doing the history of Please Kill Me through the ages has to find out the first time that someone in Spain said, “Shit Factory.”
LEGS: But you were talking about the influential couple…
DANNY: So, anyhow, yes, let’s get back to that. I was just thinking about the implications of the story and how much it means for Patti’s literal, and literally, heritage.
GILLIAN: Who said that?
DANNY: I’m saying that now as an aside. That’s why I’m telling these people who are connected with Patti Smith and who are friends of mine—if anyone’s going to appreciate this story, they’ve all been to Spain with Patti Smith, hello…they never knew this?
You know, they’re aware of this book and I said, “My God it’s a whole section in Please Kill Me called ‘Piss Factory’,” and the man said, “Ah, we don’t, you know…” and then his wife said, “We don’t really like that book…”