Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Charles Montgomery: Return to the volcano

In 1936 Malcolm Lowry found the inspiration for his literary masterpiece, Under the Volcano, in a sleepy town in central Mexico. He also drank himself to the edge of sanity. Charles Montgomery went looking for his ghost.

EXCERPT: For full story and photos, see Vancouver Magazine, October 2002.

…I pushed through a shuttered doorway into a Lowryan hallucination. El Danubio cantina was filthy and packed with sad-eyed cowboys, greasers in Mike Tyson T-shirts and businessmen nursing Coronas. A wrinkled mariachi wandered the tables with a guitar, his crooning barely audible above the rhythmic yelps of techno-cumbia blasting from the juke box.

A waitress in pink short-shorts winked at me with her one good eye.

I took the only seat left, under the Madonna poster--that's Madonna with the push-up bra, not Madonna and child--beside a man who had apparently just returned from the toilet. He had two fresh palm prints on his T-shirt. The man pulled his shirt down across his belly and introduced himself. Senor Felisiano – translated roughly: Mr. Happy – grabbed the waitress by the thigh and pulled her to the table.
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