A collection of short stories by Charles "Hank" Bukowski, first published in 1983 by Black Sparrow Press. It's the typical Bukowski short story collection with loving, but not necessary pleasant, portraits of Californian people living at the lower end of society.

All around were cheap, roach-filled rooms, but nobody seemed to be starving: they always seemed to be cooking things in large pots and sitting around, smoking, cleaning their fingernails, drinking cans of beer or sharing a tall blue bottle of white wine, screaming at each other or laughing, or farting, belching, scratching, or asleep in front of the tv. Not many people in the world had very much money but the less money they had the better they seemed to live. Sleep, clean sheets, food, drink and hemorrhoid ointment were their only needs. And they always left their doors a bit open. (from Hot Water Music)

The book is full of bad jobs, bad love affairs, bad living conditions, alcohol, and a strangely upbeat, don't care undertone. Several of the people are unrecognized artists and poets, and I'm sure Charles Bukowski himself have contributed a lot of the raw material, just as in his stories about his alter ego, Henry Chinaski. The stories are filled with cynicism, stoicism, and a lot of drunken rebellion against whatever part of society you can get your hands on.

"There are so many," she said, "who go by the name of poet. But they have no training, no feeling for their craft. The savages have taken over the castle. There's no workmanship, no care, simply a demand to be accepted. And these new poet all seem to admire one another. It worries me and I've talked about it to a lot of my poet friends. All a young poet seems to think he needs is a typewriter and a few pieces of paper. They aren't prepared, they have had no preparation at all." (from Hot Water Music)

I remember reading this book in Swedish when I was younger, and it was called "Badkammarmusik" or "Badrumsmusik" (I cannot remember which, I gave away all my paperbacks when I left Sweden, and it seems as if his books are no longer available in translation in Sweden (shame on you Norstedts)). I laughed a lot, got disgusted quite a bit, but found one of my all time favourite Bukowski short-stories, "900 pounds". It's well worth reading. Goddamn it, I think I'll have to go out and buy myself a new copy.

Hot Water Music contains:

Main sources:

  • Charles Bukowski: The Biography Project: http://www.popsubculture.com/pop/bio_project/charles_bukowski.html
  • Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski: http://www.blacksparrowpress.com/hot_water_music.html
  • Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/
  • Bukowski Bibloigraphy: http://www.charm.net/~brooklyn/Buk/buk_bib.html