Another Hopkins Guy. David Carr & The Night of the Gun.
Friday night at a party in the West Village I was introduced to Brett Anderson, who writes for the Times-Picayune. We started out talking about the newspaper’s tragic turn and restaurants – as he reviews them – until our host says, regards both of us, “He’s from Minnesota, too.”
Where from turns out Hopkins. No shit. He went to Blake twenty years after I went to Hopkins High. I rarely meet people from Hopkins, infrequently visit and have strong feelings about the place. A few minutes later he introduced me to David Carr of the New York Times, who’s also from Hopkins.
“Just off Baker Road,” he tells me.
“Shady Dale Drive,” I tells him.
We could have rigged up a tin can telephone.
“Immaculate Heart of Mary.”
Mr. Carr, three years younger than me, has written a memoir called Night of the Gun that I am remiss at not having read. He recounts the time after I left “Cheese Town”, the 1980s, when he was a cub reporter and cocaine dealer. We spoke for a few minutes, he reverently about Steve Kramer and Pete Jesperson, my buddies in high school, and John Strausbaugh, our neighbor in Brooklyn, who occasionally writes for the Times. I asked him if he knew my brother-in-law, a casualty of the times and place, and he said he only knew of him, which rather surprised me. He must have known local legend Marsha Berry, the most beautiful girl in town, whose father Al was the local connect’s East Coast connect for the best drug in town. Hopkins is a small town.
Serendipity aside, Hopkins was not the big story Friday evening. A couple of days previous, David broke the story of S.I. Newhouse’s slashing the staff and diminishing print copies of the paper to three days a week. Brett, who’s landed a Harvard grant that’d required a leave of absence anyhow, must have been one of the first to know. It’s a big digital decay story. Presently, I’m up to here with that story. Neither am I in harmony with his dismissive attitude toward print. Romantic he calls it.
I was reminded of the excerpt of Night of the Gun I’d read in the Times Magazine. I’d meant to read it and got sidetracked. I don’t know why but I got a thing for Hopkins/Minneapolis suburban white trash dope stories that turn into successful parenting stories. When/if we meet again I’ll have read his book, a best-seller, which it heartened me to see are selling for even less than my book on the second-hand market.
His website for the book, imbedded with a nifty mix of self-slanderous ephemera and short vids, is true crime compelling.