September 09, 2005

The Rings of Saturn

Amy Evans, acevans@olemiss.edu
Oral Historian, Southern Foodways Alliance
Oxford, Mississippi

The Ninth Ward neighborhood in New Orleans has been on the tip of many tongues over the course of the past two weeks. This area, also known as the Bywater, is the part of the city that has been under the most water since Katrina hit and the levee broke.† Just down-river from the French Quarter, this is an historical neighborhood that many famous residents have called home: trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, the musical Lastie family, poet and author Kalamu ya Salaam, and rock-and-roll legend Fats Domino, who was rescued from his house in the Ninth Ward just last week. But on the corner of Saint Claude Avenue and Clouet Street, there is another star in this neighborhoodís galaxy.

The Saturn Bar is a humble little building with a small sign and a few bits of neon lighting the way to the corner door.† Inside, the light from the neon soon reveals an array of treasures from wall to wall and ceiling to floor. OíNeil Broyard is the caretaker of its contents; he is a native of the city and has been at the helm of this neighborhood joint for more than forty years. When his regulars come calling, youíll find him behind the bar, popping the cap off of an Abita or pouring a little Wild Turkey. But if itís slow, heíll be busying himself somewhere among his vast collection of baseball caps and garage sale paintings, tending to his flock of animals, or fiddling with his urban garden. With the time Broyard spends cultivating seeds, he could garnish more cocktails than he cares to even sell. He has a collection of fruit trees, a few vegetables and dozens of tomato plants. There have actually been times that Broyard has reaped such a harvest that he would share the bounty with his customers, regulars and tourists alike. He even grows mirlitons, a squash thatís used regularly in Creole cooking and a vegetable that is celebrated each year with the community-wide Mirliton Festival.

What constitutes the fabric of a community? The streets? The buildings? The businesses? The people? These things are certainly part of the warp and woof of any neighborhood. But what about the corner bar? Clouet Street is under water, but The Saturn Bar beckons to all of us as a reminder of the small treasures tucked in and around a city like New Orleans and the role that they can play in a neighborhood like the Ninth Ward. Itís not Galatoireís or Commanderís Palace. Itís a little brown building with a door that opens to a community. Itís the thing that connects that community to the rest of usóand to the rings of Saturn.

While there have been so very many losses to mourn these last two weeks, we can now allow ourselves a hint of celebration: OíNeil Broyard and his beloved Saturn Bar have survived the storm. Now, he and his flock wait for the streets to dry up and for their neighbors to return.

Link courtesy C. Taggart & S. Hochman!

A tribute to Brother Theodore!


Doug of Pinataland is presenting a tribute to Brother Theodore.
Here’s the info-

WHAT: Tribute to Brother Theodore

WHEN: November 11, 2005, 7pm

WHERE: Barbes, Park Slope Brooklyn 376 9th Street, corner of 9th and 6th Avenue, near the 7th Avenue F stop
718 965 9177
http://www.barbesbrooklyn.com

HOW MUCH: Free

Who was Brother Theodore? Caustic curmudgeon, outrageous
metaphysician, philosopher of gloom, and certainly one of the
funniest and most influential monologuists of the 20th century.

On November 11th at 7pm the life and work of this truly unique
performer will be celebrated with screenings of rare clips
(including his legendary apperances on the Dick Cavett and David
Letterman shows), an excerpt from an upcoming documentary, and
guest speakers offering their thoughts on this maddening and
beloved “genius of the sinister”.

During his life Theodore Gottlieb garnered the admiration and
friendships of such people as Billy Crystal, Norman Mailer, Eric
Bogosian, and Woody Allen. His television appearances have spanned
from Merv Griffin to numerous appearances on Cavett and Letterman,
and his diverse movie experiences joined him with Alfred Hitchcock,
Orson Welles, and Tom Hanks. His one-man Off-Broadway show ran for
17 years.

Born in 1906 in Vienna Austria, Theodore was indulged by his
wealthy business-owning family, and spent his youth as “a no-good
playboy and chess hustler in the great Expressionistic days of
Berlin”. Theodore’s ideal lifestyle came crashing down with the
rest of Europe as the Nazis came to power. The fortune disappeared
overnight and Theodore and his entire family were placed in
concentration camps; he would be the only survivor.

Albert Einstein, a close friend of Theodore’s mother, was
instrumental in Theodore’s release to the United States in 1942.
Penniless and without practical skills, Theodore was eventually
drawn into the theatrical world where he unleashed his
extraordinary brand of absurdist philosophy and diabolical fantasies.

Please join us for an evening of appreciation for this all-but-
forgotten actor, performer, and virtuoso of hilarious gloom.

INFO COURTESY P. RELIC!

More damning revelations from inside the Bush administration

Cheney ‘cabal’ hijacked foreign policy
By Edward Alden in Washington
Published: October 20 2005 00:00, Financial Times
Ôøº
ÔøºVice-President Dick Cheney and a handful of others had hijacked the government’s foreign policy apparatus, deciding in secret to carry out policies that had left the US weaker and more isolated in the world, the top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed on Wednesday.

In a scathing attack on the record of President George W. Bush, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to Mr Powell until last January, said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice-president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.

“Now it is paying the consequences of making those decisions in secret, but far more telling to me is America is paying the consequences.”

ÔøºMr Wilkerson said such secret decision-making was responsible for mistakes such as the long refusal to engage with North Korea or to back European efforts on Iran.

It also resulted in bitter battles in the administration among those excluded from the decisions.

‚ÄúIf you’re not prepared to stop the feuding elements in the bureaucracy as they carry out your decisions, you are courting disaster. And I would say that we have courted disaster in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran.‚Äù

The comments, made at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank, were the harshest attack on the administration by a former senior official since criticisms by Richard Clarke, former White House terrorism czar, and Paul O’Neill, former Treasury secretary, early last year.

Mr Wilkerson said his decision to go public had led to a personal falling out with Mr Powell, whom he served for 16 years at the Pentagon and the State Department.

‚ÄúHe’s not happy with my speaking out because, and I admire this in him, he is the world’s most loyal soldier.”

Among his other charges:

‚ñ† The detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere was ‚Äúa concrete example‚Äù of the decision-making problem, with the president and other top officials in effect giving the green light to soldiers to abuse detainees. ‚ÄúYou don’t have this kind of pervasive attitude out there unless you’ve condoned it.‚Äù

■ Condoleezza Rice, the former national security adviser and now secretary of state, was “part of the problem”. Instead of ensuring that Mr Bush received the best possible advice, “she would side with the president to build her intimacy with the president”.

■ The military, particularly the army and marine corps, is overstretched and demoralised. Officers, Mr Wilkerson claimed, “start voting with their feet, as they did in Vietnam. . . and all of a sudden your military begins to unravel”.

Mr Wilkerson said former president George H.W. Bush ‚Äúone of the finest presidents we have ever had‚Äù understood how to make foreign policy work. In contrast, he said, his son was ‚Äúnot versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either.”

‚ÄúThere’s a vast difference between the way George H.W. Bush dealt with major challenges, some of the greatest challenges at the end of the 20th century, and effected positive results in my view, and the way we conduct diplomacy today.‚Äù

FEMA boss busy fine dining while New Orleans drowned…

FEMA Official Says Boss Ignored Warnings

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: October 20, 2005

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Emergency Management Agency officials did not respond to repeated warnings about deteriorating conditions in New Orleans and the dire need for help as Hurricane Katrina struck, the first FEMA official to arrive conceded Thursday.

Marty Bahamonde, a FEMA regional director, told a Senate panel investigating the government’s response to the disaster that he gave regular updates to people in contact with then-FEMA Director Michael Brown as early as Aug. 28, one day before Katrina made landfall.

In most cases, he was met with silence. In an Aug. 29 phone call to Brown informing him that the first levee had broke, Bahamonde said he received a polite thank you from Brown, who said he would check with the White House.

”I think there was a systematic failure at all levels of government to understand the magnitude of the situation,” Bahamonde said.

The testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee contradicted Brown, who has said he wasn’t fully aware of the dire conditions until days later and that local officials were most responsible for the sluggish response.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who chairs the panel, decried the testimony and e-mail released by Bahamonde on Thursday as illustrating ”a complete disconnect between senior officials and the reality of the situation.”

”His urgent reports did not appear to prompt an urgent response,” Collins said.

In e-mails to various FEMA officials, including one to Brown, Bahamonde described a chaotic situation at the Superdome, where many of the evacuees were sheltered. Bahamonde e-mailed FEMA officials and noted also that local officials were asking for toilet paper, a sign that supplies were lacking at the shelter.

”Issues developing at the Superdome. The medical staff at the dome says they will run out of oxygen in about two hours and are looking for alternative oxygen,” Bahamonde wrote in an e-mail to regional director David Passey in a call at 4:46 p.m. CDT on Aug. 28.

Less than an hour later, Bahamonde wrote: ”Everyone is soaked. This is going to get ugly real fast.”

Bahamonde said he was stunned that FEMA officials responded by continuing to send truckloads of evacuees to the Superdome for two more days even though they knew supplies were in short supply.

”I thought it amazing,” he said. ”I believed at the time and still do today, that I was confirming the worst-case scenario that everyone had always talked about regarding New Orleans.”

Later, on Aug. 31, Bahamonde frantically e-mailed Brown to tell him that thousands are evacuees were gathering in the streets with no food or water and that ”estimates are many will die within hours.”

”Sir, I know that you know the situation is past critical,” Bahamonde wrote.

Less than three hours later, however, Brown’s press secretary wrote colleagues to complain that the FEMA director needed more time to eat dinner at a Baton Rouge restaurant that evening. ”He needs much more that (sic) 20 or 30 minutes,” wrote Brown aide Sharon Worthy.

”We now have traffic to encounter to go to and from a location of his choise (sic), followed by wait service from the restaurant staff, eating, etc. Thank you.”

National Guard readiness eroded by Iraq: report on Yahoo! News

Reuters

By Vicki Allen

U.S. National Guard units are under-equipped and increasingly unready to help in domestic disaster relief because essential gear is left behind after service in Iraq and Afghanistan, a congressional report said on Thursday.

Heavy demands on the Guard since September 11, 2001, have caused “declining readiness, weakening the Army National Guard’s preparedness for future missions,” the Government Accountability Office said.

It said the Pentagon’s strategy for the Guard was “unsustainable and needs to be reassessed,”

The report said Guard officials believed the response by its units to Hurricane Katrina last month “was more complicated because significant quantities of critical equipment, such as satellite communications equipment, radios, trucks, helicopters and night vision goggles, were deployed to Iraq.”

Guard troops and other relief workers complained that they did not have the equipment to communicate properly for days after Katrina swept ashore, destroying phone and radio links.

The Bush administration has dismissed concerns expressed in Congress that foreign deployments had hampered the military’s ability to respond to domestic disasters. “We’ve got plenty of troops to do both,” President George W. Bush said last month.

The report said the Army National Guard estimated its units had left for follow-on troops overseas in Iraq and elsewhere more than 64,000 items valued at more than $1.2 billion.

STRAINED RESOURCES

The report said the Guard could not account for more than half of those items and had no plans to replace them as Pentagon policy required.

That left non-deployed Guard units with only about one-third of the equipment they needed for overseas missions, “which hampers their ability to plan for future missions and conduct domestic operations,” the report said.

The Army National Guard was formed as a part-time force, with its members living civilian lives while doing periodic military training. But the Pentagon has relied heavily on these troops in combat roles in Iraq.

The Pentagon says 78,000 of the roughly 440,000 National Guard troops nationwide are deployed overseas, including many from the states hardest hit by Katrina.

The extensive use of Guard equipment overseas has “significantly reduced the amount of equipment available to state governors for domestic needs,” the report said.

Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who chairs the House of Representatives Government Reform Committee, said Hurricane Katrina showed that “the National Guard is our nation’s first military responder, and I find it unfathomable that they are approaching equipment bankruptcy.”

While the GAO said the Pentagon was taking steps to improve the Guard’s equipment readiness and balance its roles in domestic and overseas operations, it had not yet put money for that in its budget.

Lady of the Canyon

Sunday October 16, 2005 – The Observer

When Joni Mitchell arrived in Los Angeles from Canada in 1968, she landed in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. In an exclusive extract from his new book, Barney Hoskyns tells how the hipsters who all hung out together in Laurel Canyon fell both for Mitchell and her music – and turned Sixties rock on its head

Joni Mitchell was a stranger in a strange land – twice removed from her native Canada, new to California from America’s East Coast. She was strange-looking, too, willowy but hip, a Scandinavian squaw with flaxen hair and big teeth and Cubist cheekbones. Men instinctively knew Joni as a peer. They also sensed a prickliness and a perfectionism.

In tow with Mitchell was Elliot Roberts, nÈe Rabinowitz, a rock’n’roll Woody Allen with a hooked nose and an endearing devotion to his single cause – Joni Mitchell. ‘Elliot pitched being my manager,’ she recalled of him. ‘I said, “I don’t need a manager, I’m doing quite nicely”. But he was a funny man. I enjoyed his humour.’

This odd couple had come out to Los Angeles from New York, where the Greenwich Village folk scene was petering out before their very eyes. Roberts, an agent for the Chartoff-Winkler management company, had previously worked in the mailroom of the William Morris talent agency with the even more ambitious David Geffen. Elliot decided to jack in the world of agenting after Buffy Sainte-Marie, a client, dragged him to see Joni perform in late October 1967.

Joni had already crammed a lot into her short life. She’d been married to a fellow Canadian singer, Chuck Mitchell, and given up a daughter for adoption – an abandonment that ate at her like a wound. Songwriting served as therapy for her pain. ‘It was almost like she wanted to erase herself and just let the songs speak for her,’ reflected her novelist friend Malka Marom. Joni’s unusual open guitar tunings also set her songs apart from the folk balladry of the day. ‘I was really a folk singer up until 1965, but once I crossed the border I began to write,’ Mitchell says. ‘My songs began to be, like, playlets or soliloquies. My voice even changed – I no longer was imitative of the folk style, really. I was just a girl with a guitar that made it look that way.’

‘Elliot became wildly excited about Joni, and he introduced me to her and I became her agent,’ recalled David Geffen. ‘And it was the beginning of her career – it was the beginning of our careers. Everything was very small time.’ Established stars queued up to cover songs from the Mitchell songbook. ‘When she first came out,’ said Roberts, ‘she had a backlog of 20, 25 songs that most people would dream that they would do in their entire career … it was stunning.’

In America and in England, people sat up and noticed the blonde with the piercing prairie soprano, the idiosyncratic guitar tunings, and the wise-beyond-her-years lyrics. When Roberts and Mitchell went to Florida to play the folk circuit, guitarist and singer David Crosby came to see her at the Gaslight South. ‘Right away I thought I’d been hit by a hand grenade,’ he reported later. There was something about the way Mitchell combined naked purity with artful sophistication that shocked Crosby – the sense of a young woman who had seen too much too soon. He set Joni in his sights, bedding her that week. The affair was never likely to last.

‘These were two very wilful people,’ says photographer Joel Bernstein. ‘Neither was going to cave in. I remember being at Joni’s old apartment in Chelsea in New York and I heard this commotion on the street. And it was Crosby and Joni screaming at each other on the corner. It gave me a real sense of the volatility of their relationship.’

The volatility did not obscure David’s deep admiration for Joni’s talent, nor his awareness of the obstacles she and Elliot were encountering. ‘Everything about Joni was unique and original, but we couldn’t get a deal,’ says Roberts, who took tapes to Columbia, RCA and other majors. ‘The folk period had died, so she was totally against the grain. Everyone wanted a copy of the tape for, like, their wives, but no one would sign her.’

Roberts arrived in Los Angeles in late 1967, knowing few people in the city but using Crosby’s endorsement as a calling card. Joni followed close behind. Immediately she was received with open arms. Epitomising the hospitality was B Mitchel Reed, the disc jockey whose KPPC-FM radio show was the pipeline of all cool sounds in LA. Reed put Roberts and Mitchell up in his rented house above the Sunset Strip on Sunset Plaza Drive.

Joni wasn’t sure about Los Angeles. She was used to crowded sidewalks, teeming urban life – the bustle and commotion of Toronto and Manhattan. She didn’t like it that people went everywhere in their big gas-guzzling cars. But once she and Elliot got into Laurel Canyon, up among the cypresses and eucalyptus trees that lined the bumpy, snaking roads, she started to see the City of the Angels as the ‘new golden land’ that had seduced so many outsiders: the land of David Hockney’s painting A Bigger Splash, of exotic palms and dry desert air and the omnipresent vault of blue sky.

‘Driving around up in the canyons there were no sidewalks and no regimented lines like the way I was used to cities being laid out,’ Mitchell recalls. ‘And then, having lived in New York, there was the ruralness of it, with trees in the yard and ducks floating around on my neighbours’ pond. And the friendliness of it: no one locked their doors.’ As for Elliot Roberts, he’d grown up in the Bronx: how bad could this paved paradise be?

‘Elliot would sleep on my couch at 8333 Lookout Mountain,’ says manager Ron Stone, then owner of a boutique in West Hollywood. ‘At the same time, Crosby had been tossed out of the Byrds and was mooching off me. We’d smoke a joint and play chess. He was my entrÈe to all of this.’

When Roberts officially left Chartoff-Winkler he asked Ron Stone to work for him. To Stone it looked more exciting than selling used leather jackets to the socialites of Beverly Hills. ‘Right away it was like Elliot and Ron could take a New York entrepreneurial viewpoint on the whole thing,’ says Joel Bernstein, who would soon be taking photographs of Joni. ‘I think it was really eye-opening to these guys that you could come out here and live up in Laurel Canyon in little wooden houses where you didn’t even need heating or air-conditioning… and you could still do business.’ With Stone as his new aide-de-camp, Roberts trotted off to Reprise Records.

A Mitchell demo session was green-lighted on condition that David Crosby produce it. ‘David was very enthusiastic about the music,’ Joni says. ‘He was twinkly about it. His instincts were correct: he was going to protect the music and pretend to produce me.’

The sessions that eventually became Joni Mitchell could not have been more auspicious. Recording at Sunset Sound, Mitchell and Crosby kept things stripped and simple: in the main just Joni, her guitar, and such well-worked songs as ‘Marcie’ and ‘I Had a King’. The two had now officially split up. ‘They each described to me crying at the other through the glass in the studio,’ says Bernstein. Sitting in on occasional guitar and bass was Stephen Stills, who was across the hall with his group Buffalo Springfield. His bandmate, the dark and brooding Neil Young, was known to Mitchell from her apprenticeship on the Canadian folk circuit. Sharing a uniquely dry Canuck humour, Young and Mitchell had an easy rapport. ‘You gotta meet Neil,’ she told Elliot. ‘He’s the only guy who’s funnier than you are.’

Roberts wandered down the hall to meet Joni’s compatriate. Stories about Young’s moodiness made him wary, but Elliot was pleasantly surprised when the singer turned out to be approachable and affable. Joni and Neil compared notes on their respective musical journeys. If Joni’s tastes didn’t stretch to the febrile rock the Springfield played, she could sense the electricity in the air – the vibrancy of the scene and the exploding of talent on and off the Sunset Strip.

Mitchell divided her debut album into two loosely autobiographical sections – a conceit easier to bring off in the days of vinyl LPs. The first side (‘I Came To the City’) commenced with ‘I Had a King’, a song detailing – with more than a trace of self-protective bitterness – the break-up of Joni’s marriage. Part Two (‘Out of the City and Down To the Seaside’) found our heroine in the country, by the sea, settled in rustic southern California. ‘Song to a Seagull’ summarised the theme of the album, with Joni recapping on her urban adventures and subsequent departure for the sea. The song played perfectly on the image of Mitchell as a kind of a fairy maiden striving to float free of human need. The final song, ‘Cactus Tree’, pointed forward to deeper themes in the singer’s subsequent work: themes of romantic love, of female autonomy, of commitment versus creative freedom. Describing three lovers – the first almost certainly Crosby – Joni ‘thinks she loves them all’ but fears giving herself completely to any of them. These were important issues for young, liberated women in the 1960s, rejecting a society where women had tended to live somewhat vicariously as caretakers to men. A self-proclaimed ‘serial monogamist’, Mitchell would struggle for years with the conflicts between her desire for love and her need for independence.

Although the album now sounds earnest and worthy, the power of Joni’s swooping, pellucid vibrato and idiosyncratic, questioning chords is right there. ‘Joni invented everything about her music, including how to tune the guitar,’ said James Taylor, one of her many later boyfriends. ‘From the beginning of the process of writing she’s building the canvas as well as putting paint on it.’

In March, with the album about to be released, Crosby presented his protÈgÈe to his peers. His favourite gambit was to host impromptu acoustic performances by Joni, usually at the Laurel Canyon homes of his friends. ‘David says, “I want you to meet somebody”,’ recalls screenwriter Carl Gottlieb. ‘And he goes upstairs and comes back down with this ethereal blonde. And this is the first time that everybody heard ‘Michael from Mountains’ and ‘Both Sides Now’ and ‘Chelsea Morning’. And then she goes back upstairs, and we all sit around and look at each other and say, “What was that? Did we hallucinate it?”‘

Eric Clapton sat spellbound on the lawn of Laurel Canyon neighbour ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot as Joni cooed ‘Urge For Going’, a song inspired by the death of the folk movement. Crosby was at her side, a joint in his mouth and a Cheshire-cat smile of satisfaction on his face. ‘Cass had organised a little backyard barbecue,’ says photographer Henry Diltz. ‘Because she’d met Cream she invited Clapton, who was very quiet and almost painfully shy. And Joni was there and doing her famous tunings, and Eric sat and stared at her hands to try and figure out what she was doing.’

The following day Joni performed on Reed’s KPPC show in Pasadena and answered questions that whetted LA’s appetite for the new neo-folk star. So much did Reed talk her up that her first live dates in town were all sell-outs at the Troubadour.

‘Like Neil, Joni was quiet,’ says Diltz, who photographed her soon after her move to LA. ‘A lot of these people were quiet, which was why they became songwriters. It was the only way they could express themselves. It was very different from the Tin Pan Alley tradition, where guys would try to write a hit song and turn out these teen-romance songs about other people.’

Joni found a perfect place of retreat in Laurel Canyon. In April 1968, with money from her modest Reprise advance, she made a down-payment on a quaint cottage built into the side of the hill on Lookout Mountain Avenue. Soon she had filled it with antiques and carvings and stained Tiffany windows – not to mention a nine-year-old tomcat named Hunter. Within a year her songs were setting the pace for the new introspection of the singer-songwriter school.

On 5 July, 1968, Robert Shelton wrote a New York Times piece about Mitchell entitled ‘Singer-Songwriters are Making a Comeback’. In it he noted that, while the return of solo acoustic performers had at least something to do with economics, ‘the high-frequency rock’n’roar may have reached its zenith.’ Nine months later, folk singer and Sing Out! editor Happy Traum came to a similar conclusion in Rolling Stone. ‘As if an aural backlash to psychedelic acid rock and to the all-hell-has-broken-loose styles of Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin,’ Traum wrote, ‘the music is gentle, sensitive, and graceful. Nowadays it’s the personal and the poetic, rather than a message, that dominates.’

It was time to turn inwards, and Joni Mitchell was leading the way.

California connections

Joni Mitchell
Now semi-retired after falling bitterly out of love with the music business.

Elliot Roberts
Manager. Still with Neil Young, and has managed Spiritualized.

David Geffen
Mogul. Launched Asylum in 1971 and became the Croesus of LA rock. In talks to sell his DreamWorks empire.

David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash
Rock’n’roll survivors. All wrote about their relationship with Joni. Crosby survived cocaine abuse, guns, jail and a liver transplant; Stills has just made his best album in years; Nash was named Amateur Photographer of the Year in 2003.

Neil Young
Rock’n’roll enigma. The greatest male singer-songwriter of the Seventies still treads his own wayward path.

Frank Zappa
Freak-out supremo Once threw Mick Jagger out of his Laurel Canyon home for being drunk. Died from cancer in 1993.

James Taylor
Singer. Joni and James were on each other’s records all the time in the Seventies. Taylor still records and tours.

Cass Elliot
Singer. Introduced Nash to the Canyon scene at Joni’s house. Died in 1974.

? ‘Hotel California: Singer-Songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the LA Canyons 1967-1976’ is published by Fourth Estate on 7 November, priced £14.99. To order a copy for the special price of £13.99, call the Observer Books Service on 0870 836 0885