...and don't miss
Poetry and Prose from John Thomas and Philomene Long
The Beats: an Existential Comedy
Eavesdropping on the Boardwalk
Gas House beat HQ
Clair Horner self-published his booklets of poetry, aphorisms, and Carlinesque linguistic conundrums (along with some really dumb puns) in batches of 1000 copies. "If you want a castle in the air, you must look up someone in the false estate business," is a good example of the fun he had with the language.
He used to frequent the Boardwalk, selling his books to tourists, especially around Dudley, because he was an habitué of the Venice West Café. We know he was in Venice in 1960, because one of the first things Vaughn Marlowe did when he arrived, was listen to Horner, who would have been almost 40 then, read at the Gas House.
Apparently he read on KPFK radio at least once. John OBrien also mentions knowing Horner, back in the day, and his memoir includes a photo which is actually a still from Leland Auslender's film, Venice Beach in the Sixties: A Celebration of Creativity.
The books included:
I was fortunate enough to get hold of a copy of Please Don't Trudge on the Fudge. I say fortunate, because I collect quotations, and this little book is a gold mine of them. It provides eminently quotable lines on the subjects of pets, relationships, politics, sex, genius, humor, age, suicide, creativity, racism, money and more. Horner was a hard-core atheist, so of course he had a lot to say about religion - a veritable storehouse of one-liners any anti-religionist would be proud to repeat.
I don't totally endorse a lot of what he says, but then, that's true of anybody. He had disagreeable opinions about homosexuality, feminism, the penal system, and a few other subjects. He also mined an unhappy marriage for subject matter.
Some people spell Horner's first name with an E at the end, but in his own books he spelled it with no E, so I expect that's the right way. By all accounts he was a fun guy to hang out with, possessing a quick wit and a raunchy sense of humor. He lived to be at least 58, because that's mentioned as his age in the 1979 book.
Clair Horner was my father; my parents were divorced when I was 10 years old. Clair took off with me and we went to Florida for a year. We were tracked down and I was returned to my mother in 1957. He went to Venice after that. I have great memories of that year. Clair was a few decades before his time, a very talented and complex person. He lived his life as he on his own terms. He built model airplanes with 8 ft. wing spans that we would put in flight and chase with the car. We had a large living room in an old farm house that would be full of “Dirty Dan the Space Pirate” in B29-looking space ships fighting more modern-looking space ships all drawn by hand that moved by rolls of the dice, we saved the galaxy many times. He did sculpture, cartoons for the newspaper, worked as a radio announcer, sold vacuum cleaners, hustled pool, raised gardens, etc. He took great pride in converting preachers out of their faith and he could give you a verse of the Bible that would tell you the opposite of the one you picked. From what my mother tells me he had an IQ of 166, loved women and playing with your mind. He wanted to be a stay-at-home dad, do his artwork, and raise us kids. People convinced my mother, a Christian school teacher (not a match made in heaven) that that was not normal. Of course he was not the norm in 1957. I do have all Clair’s books. His father Warren was a College Professor and Preacher and was a published poet in the 30’s.
I live on a planet full
Horner in 1979
It's well to know what's
FOR MY FRIEND
I'd like to put everything I have
© 2004 - 2012 Pat Hartman