The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Joints #31


The Penalty Box / Chet's Last Call
Boston, MA.

6 comments :

John said...

The Penalty Box is located on Causeway Street, directly across the street from the Boston Garden (hence the name) and North Station, the commuter rail station servicing the North Shore suburbs of Boston. It's still there - virtually unchanged from what is depicted here. There used to be a porno theater in the narrow vacant lot at the left edge of the photo, but it was torn down at least 20 years ago, to be replaced by . . . nothing. I used to walk by the Penalty Box every morning on the way to work after getting off my train. It was always open, and it was not unusual to see a couple of guys sitting at the bar, in suit and tie, briefcases on the floor, having a cigarette and an "eye opener" at 7 o'clock in the morning. Tough way to start the day. This part of town has seen a lot of "upgrading" since the new Garden was built in the 90's, so it is sort of amazing that the Penalty Box endures. Must be the ambiance.

ElNeato said...

the "special knock' gets you in at 7am kinda dying breed place….oh bukowski

cheers

Frank Coleman said...

I don't live in Boston anymore, but I heard it was torn down.

http://www.vanyaland.com/2013/09/17/rumor-the-penalty-box-in-the-north-end-first-home-of-the-pill-plus-chets-last-call-the-causeway-upstairs-lounge-finally-coming-down/

?

John said...

I don't get over to that part of town as much any more, but I am informed it is closed, but not torn down.

sabutin said...

"...sort of amazing that the Penalty Box endures?"

It ain't the ambience.

It's the ownership.

I flat out guarantee it is...or was, because the boys are beginning to get a little long in the teeth...mob-owned. They hang on forever.

"Gentrification? Them idiots need our services too. Fuck 'em."

Used to be next to a porno theater?

Sharing the building w/a liquor store?

Bet on it.

I used to work in Boston mob joints when I was a young musician in Boston in the late '60s. Ahhhh...the stench of the old Combat Zone!!! Incomparable. All's I have to do is look at that joint to smell what's been up.

Betcha the second floor could tell some tales.

Bet on that as well.

Later...

S.

Peter Yezukevich said...

In the '90s and beyond (a bit), this joint hosted The Pill, the greatest dance night in Boston.