What better name for a bar in Amsterdam than "The Happy Drinker." In 1986, I encountered the phenomenon of walking under streetlights late nights and having them suddenly go out - there I stood, bewildered in darkness. I began to notice these outages occurred again and again. On some level I played with the idea that I was maybe causing these outages by my inebriated proximity to the streetlights. I started to note every outage incident. These notes became the early seeds of the novel, excerpts of which were first published in Lowest Common Denominator as "Confessions of a Beer Mystic" and were fleshed out in the South of France in 6 weeks and documented in the Article Shout at the Ground.
Beer Mystic is about beer but also about living under the charm of synchronicity as makeshift faith. As Jung noted, the more you fixate on coincidence, the more it behaves like synchronicity or a belief in the meaningfulness of coincidence. The book has lived many lives. It was accepted by Welcome Rain [NY] in 2000 for publication. Had multiple beers with the publisher over lunch in a Chelsea restaurant to celebrate, only to have Welcome Rain go belly up shortly after. The dense terrain of the NY mindscape: a shattering clutter of almost unprocessable phenomena. Think of how mind must trick the spirit to reprocess all that noise, dissonance, static, sirens, car alarms, dissing, revving, screaming, ambition... Beer Mystic concerns a side of late-1980s NY that has gone relatively under-explored - that of the have-nots struggling outside the velvet ropes of power and fame in Depression-era 1987. Think of 24-Hour Party People with beer. Think of Horse Badorities [Fan Man, Kotzwinkle] or Tales of Beatnik Glory [Ed Sanders] 20 years later. Think of Beer Mystic as Don Quixote kicked in the butt by Bukowski. As Kingsley Amis taking a wrong turn.
⇠ Beer Mystic cover, design: bart plantenga, artwork: David Sandlin