Thursday, January 29, 2015

BOOK REVIEW! TINY TIM---TIPTOE THROUGH A LIFETIME by Lowell Tarling (Generation Books, 2013)

Being on a longer (and stranger) than usual Tiny Tim jag, I figured that it would be best to part with some hard-begged to get hold of this biography of the World's Forgotten Eunuch. It was done up by some Australian guy unknown outside of his prison/colony who got to know Mr. Tim more'n any of us ever would and y'know what, this Lowell Tarling does a pretty good job capturing the madcap manner of the one called Khaury, As usual I'm left begging for loads more since frankly, a whole lot was left outta this admittedly pretty swell read but why complain since there's a Tiny Tim bio out and it ain't gonna cost you an arm and a bottle of skin conditioner like you thought it would.

Yeah you could say that Mr. Tarling spent too much time talking about his personal relationship with Our Hero and his various tours of the Antipodes and he neglected to remind us of the things we already knew about, but at least on the second count I wouldn't mind being reminded about  a whole lot of these things again. A whole lot more than I wish was left of the floor which did ruin this book a spell like, why no mentions of Tim's 1963 appearances with the equally New York underground-bred entertainer Moondog that transpired during the month of April which produced a boffo pic of the two along with the manager of the club they were performing at (still on the hunt for that 'un). The MERV GRIFFIN appearance where Tim got booed during the height of antiwar angst because he was wearing a hardhat and singing patriotic World War I songs (even earning the ire of Dick Shawn) would be considered mandatory Tim histoire but that's left out as well.  Or how about his performances at Max's Kansas City during the spring of '76 where former Stiletto Rosie Ross was the scheduled opening act, or for that matter his appearance on Al Goldstein's cable show where Tim's moral and sexdrive storm fronts probably did a huge colliding of tornado intensity? Leaving information like that outta a bio is akin to if someone would write one about me and leave out the infamous skidmarked underwear incident!

And of course the lack of rare photos (wouldn't mind seeing some of Mr. Tim with his long locks during the fifties) and other showbiz paraphernalia woulda helped termendously. Those little bits as well as a complete discography are what really woulda made this a Tiny Tim book to reckon with, but we have this and maybe I shouldn't be the crybaby complainer as I tend to be given my lofty rank as an arbiter of what should and should not penetrate into your sacred realms.

But hey, Trilling certainly captures the whole nutzoid genius of Tim who, while seemingly going through life half-corked went further with his career than the rest of those mad geniuses who just starved in garrets only to be remembered as trailblazers long after their need for pilfered hamburgers expired for good. After all. Tim was the boho who didn't even know he was who was wearing his hair long even before Che Guevara, Chet Helms, and the rest of those guys who claimed they had long hair before the Beatles let their locks grow. The guy who was puritanical to the extreme  (making my own reactions to various 80s-on sexspurtations seem bawdy in comparison) yet acted in Jack Smith's NORMAL LOVE and admitted in public that he wished he could have been as well-endowed as John Holmes. The one who, had the late-sixties glitz and decadence scene not happ'd, probably would have spent the rest of his days haunting the same clubs he began in over and over until even that novelty wore off. And hey, a guy who was more like me than you'll ever know considering how he too used to scarf up comic books and that two of his three favorite comic strips were DICK TRACY and NANCY (the third, MUTT AND JEFF, never ran around here though if it had I get the feeling that I would have liked it a whole lot more'n any of you woulda!).

But he was Tiny Tim with a hit record and plenty of sixties/seventies television appearances that at least kept him in the national spotlight, and even after his fall from grace he was on the go somewhat even if it meant HOWARD STERN and JENNY JONES appearances...anything that at least got him out to his adoring public or whatever it was that was jelling in Tim's definitely 30s/40s-bred imagination.Yeah he was a freak and a relic that serious minds (read, yr parents) couldn't handle but in many ways that's what made up a good portion of the "charm" that got an equally once-uncaring self-respecting turd like myself to finally sit up and take notice.

But wha' the hey...what I'd  really like to see is something like an oversized softcover book entitled TINY TIM'S MUSICAL MEMORIES SCRAPBOOK, some real old-timey collection covering Tim's entire lifetime musical or not with all of the rare photos and hypesheets and printed memorabilia done up in a style that woulda appealed to your old sixty-year-old aunt back 1971 way only she woulda preferred one about Guy Lombardo 'stead of some long haired hippie type no matter how flag-waving he was. I think Tim woulda liked to have seen a book such as this as well and perhaps its not too late for someone to sneak a project like this out on an unsuspecting public, at least while those of us who grew up with this guy on tee-vee and did funzy impressions of him complete with soggy mops on our heads are still alive and thumping. It would make a boffo flea market find in the year 2040, and somehow I'm stubborn enough to stick around that long if only to pay the sum of a good fifty-cents from some unsuspecting ten-year-old gal who'll undoubtedly be selling the thing along with the usual stacks of cook books I hadda sift through in order to get this prized possession! Money consciousness transcends all time, and don't you just know it!

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