Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. (Amsterdam, part 3).

I found the flea market off the canal near City Hall. I was playing Tourist, which I never have a problem with, when suddenly the prerecorded lady’s voice on the canal boat said something about “…one of the biggest flea markets…”, so I jumped off that boat as fast as Tourist Boat Captain could toss the rope on the dock, and sure enough — a decent flea market! Nothing to go search an ATM over, but some OK stuff. The used porno there ruled. Just take a look at some of it. Gold Rush #2 on the left certainly is tame next to Shit Mania — Lipstick Lesbians #2, which features (in order listed on the cover) shit, pissing, shit eating, vommiting [sic], pee drinking, and, finally, lesbian action. (How about that “sic” I managed!)

Now, if I got the job to design the cover of Shit Mania — Lipstick Lesbians #2 I woulda listed the action from tame to hardcore, so my list would have looked like lesbian action, pissing, piss drinking, vomiting, shit, and shit eating — in that order. I think I would have played with the typography a little and started with a 10 or 12 point font for “lesbian action”, but by the end of my list, “shit eating” would have been about 72 point, and bold, both words underlined, and an exclamation point at the end. But hey…that’s just me.

I had to hurry to the International Adult Webmasters Convention, cause that’s the whole reason I’m here. Every hour I spend at a flea market feels like five minutes to me, and today was no exception. The next thing I know I’ve got to find the hotel this deal’s at, and I have no idea where it is, and no one I asked had even heard of it, which kinda threw me for a loop cause it’s as big and corporate as you get. Maybe no one cares about US corporate hotels based in Amsterdam. Wouldn’t that be great?

I wound up finding the place, and still had 1/2 hour before check-in even started, so I made friend with Thumb Lord and we walked across the street to a coffee shop. He’s a local and he explained marijuana laws to me, which, come to think of it, is really an explaination I didn’t need, cause I paid attention to the beginning of Pulp Fiction. But it made for good conversation between me and my new pal.

I bought a latte and two pre-rolled joints of “Pure Skunk” for 3€ each. I can’t roll a joint to save my life (a friend once called a joint I rolled a “wind tunnel”) and no way I’m gonna buy a pipe and smoke it, so I opted for the pre-rolled, which was a good choice cause they’re amazingly well packaged.

Both tables on the sidewalk were taken, but some in the smoking room — right by the door — were totally open, so I made myself comfortable and enjoyed my coffee and weed. That’s when The Thief sat down next to us.

He looked sorta like a Russian Thug you’d see in any movie with Russian Thugs, but this thug was Irish, and he was loud and belligerent after he sat down next to me to start rolling his joint, he asked, “Are you here for the show?”

“Yep. I’m Billy and I shoot porn. I live in LA”

“HA! You fool. It’s almost done for you, lad.” He was referring to my job, and paysites in general, but then he turned it into a jingoistic sort of rant. Wait…that’s not the right word. But you know what I mean, I think. “It’s pretty much done for you and yours. You and your country. I know. I was just there. 15 million unemployed in California alone, and Obama doesn’t know shit. He can’t fix this. You’re going down. You need to start doing what I do.”

I didn’t want to ask him what he did for a living or how he made his money, but I didn’t want to be rude, so I did, and that’s when he told us — me and Thumb Lord — using the best metaphorical rhetorical bullshit he could muster, that he steals content to make his living. It took him a few times of explaining his complicated thievery before I made him finally come out and just admit it, and after he did I wasn’t sure if was going to sock him in the head, or just walk away, or sit there and smoke my dope and quit paying attention to him…which was what I ended up doing.

I’ve decided I don’t like Pure Skunk. It’s kinda speedy, and I hate anything that makes my heart go pitter-patter; or, as William S. Burroughs once said, I don’t take any drugs that make me want to chew the carpet. (I’m paraphrasing him the best I remember). So I’m really stoned and really pissed, and it was time to get in line and register, but I didn’t want to, cause I was in no condition to start networking, so I sat there and wished away The Thief. I opened the bag of records I scored at the Flea Market (New Boots and Panties!! by Ian Dury (a super clean early (first?) pressing on Stiff, Peter Gabriel’s second solo record, a really early Kink’s record that was pressed in Germany, and June 1, 1974 featuring Kevin Ayers, John Cale, Eno, and Nico…which I grabbed cause a friend once told me years ago that “only junkies own that record” as he showed it to me, and I haven’t seen it since.)

Most of the time Porn Stars show up at these shows, and I was really hoping to run into some of the foreign girls I’ve worked with (like maybe Cecilia Vega, or, even *gasp* Annette Schwartz (even though she’s officially retired)) but not a tramp in sight — and the only reason I’ve even mentioning this now is I have to make my cheesy title work.

Cause here’s how The Gypsy fits in: a few hours later I’m on the #5 back to my little hotel in the Museum District when one jumps the tram. It’s a dude, but he looks kinda like a chick, cause he’s wearing bright red lipstick (smeared all over his face) and his fingernails are polished black and I can’t tell if he’s wearing a long black wig — or it’s his real hair — and he’s got all this dumb, dangly jewelry and rings on every finger and thumb and the stupid floppy hat and he’s hanging on to a shopping bag filled with nothing at all and he stinks and after he jumps the tram he turns to a very nice, very middle-aged woman standing next to him and hisses, “do you love me?” He’s speaking English, and over and over he’s telling Very Nice Lady “you love me, don’t you? How about you let me eat your clam?!” I’d laugh if Very Nice Lady wasn’t cowering in fear, and the tram was packed. Gypsy knows he’s scaring her shitless, and he’s feeding off it, so before you know it Gypsy’s pulled some sort of black shaker thing from his filthy vest and he’s shaking it over Very Nice Lady’s head. Is this dopey fucker casting some sort of spell over her?

Before you get confused on what “black shaker thing” is, let me clarify, cause I just went to Wikipedia and did a search on musical instruments, and it’s called a shekere; it’s a percussion instrument from Africa. But I didn’t know that then. And when Gypsy pulled the shekere out and started shaking it over her head and talking more shit to her, I watched all the people standing around her, cause I was just waiting for someone to do something, but the only thing that happened was everyone’s eyes got really big and their mouths dropped, and really, that’s about it. As in no one did anything at all — including me.

So what happens to an American that kicks a gypsy’s head in on public transportation in The Netherlands? I hate fighting, too, but I thought about this as the tram stopped…and put an end to it all. A bunch of people left and a bunch more came in, which took the wind out of Gypsy’s sails, and that was that. He quit.

It sobered me up, too. I jumped off the tram a few stops after — right past the now-silent Gypsy — and walked the couple blocks back to my room.

I wish I had a record player in here. I really want to listen to June 1, 1974.

2 thoughts on “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. (Amsterdam, part 3).”

  1. Awesome Billy, great blog. Next time when you are in Holland, i will teach you how to roll your own joints 🙂 Great that you survived the kamikaze trams (lol)

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