By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Partially at the behest of his girlfriend, partially to take a crack at Hollywood, Farren moved to Los Angeles in 1990, thinking there might be a place for a crazy English anarchist after the success of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. As he had in New York, Farren needed a venue in which he could hang his hat and rant. And, like Trouser Press editor Ira Robbins, I was stoked when Farren expressed an interest in writing for the Los Angeles Reader, where I was managing editor in 1993. When I was a suburban wannabe punk growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Trouser Press had been my travelogue to the outside world. I was a serious disciple of “Surface Noise,” with its hard-boiled, melodramatically apocalyptic style. I too gave Farren a column, “Panic in the Year Zero,” but paid him a princely sum of $100 on publication — a big deal for a paper known to wait up to two months to dole out editorial checks.
The Readerindulged Farren’s soapbox: TV, conspiracies, Howard Stern, TV, UFOs, TV, smokers’ rights, TV. And like countless others before me, I got to know Farren while seated next to him on a barstool, at L.A.’s finer taverns — the Formosa, the Three Clubs, the Cat & Fiddle. He held court in his high-pitched middle-class queen’s English, the wizened old coot giving the kid advice. I drove him home when he was too pissed to stand up, pretended not to notice when he spat up on the bar, and held him steady when he wobbled. I treasured his history with the underground press and his curmudgeonly, almost quaint stance against authority.
As a non-driver in a city with dreadful taxi service, Farren may have planted himself in the one place on Earth that’s safest for him. Los Angeles has certainly given him a chance to glean some adult perspective. Now, at last, Farren may be learning to manage himself. He’s even planning on joining the Horror Writers Association, if only for the pragmatic purpose of getting health insurance. It seems Farren’s ready to grow old gracefully. Which amazes even his best friends. “The astonishing thing about Mick Farren,” says Dennis, “is that he’s still alive.”
Mick Farren & the Deviants play Saturday, November 24, 8 p.m., at the Garage, 4519 Santa Monica Blvd., Silver Lake.