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This Must Be the Place: Memoirs of Montparnasse by Jimmie "the Barman" Charters, As Told to Morrill Cody

This Must Be the Place: Memoirs of Montparnasse by Jimmie "the Barman" Charters, As Told to Morrill Cody - Morrill Cody, Hugh D. Ford, Jimmie Charters I finished reading This Must Be The Place, an autobiographical book by Jimmie Charters yesterday. I read it quickly – mainly because I was off work and also it is short and easy to read. To the lay person this is a boring book. The stories he could have told he boasts about not telling – this was written in 1934 when discretion was something to be valued. So who was Jimmie Charters and why did I read his boring book? To me it wasn’t boring. Jimmie was a bar man in Paris from the early twenties until the early thirties. He worked mainly in Montparnasse. He was from Manchester and being English gravitated towards the bars which catered for Anglo-Saxons. So Jimmie poured beers for Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Isadora Duncan, Aleister Crowley, and many more. We don’t get any real inside information on these people – although Hemingway wrote the introduction and used it to take a serious dig at Gertrude Stein.What I got from this was a series of sketches of Paris, and Parisian bars, as they were in the thirties. I’ve used these bars an amalgamated them into one for the Salazar books. In my current Salazar WIP there are a lot of scenes in The Dingo Bar (one Jimmie worked in, also the place Hemingway met Fitzgerald) My Dingo bar is not the real Dingo though – mine is also The Jockey, The Falstaff, and every seedy bar I’ve ever been in (and I’ve done some serious research in this field). This book was worth reading, some of the sad stories are really interesting. It was released as a bit of a cash-in on the fame of Montparnasse and the clients Jimmy had in his bar. That does come across but doesn’t spoil the book too much.