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Classical Gas is an independent web site and is not affiliated to any of the clubs or organisers of the events featured. Words and Pictures by Michael unless attributed otherwise. Michael is a proud member of the MCC, ACTC, Dellow Register and Falcon amongst others, but does not represent their views nor the views of any other organisers or clubs.


"And the animals looked from pig to man and from man to pig, and from pig to man again but already it was impossible to say which was which." - George Orwell Animal Farm

She's dark and lovely and passionate. And very, very kind."
"And exclusive as a mailbox," I said.
---The Little Sister (Chapter 19)

"Tall, aren't you?" she said.
"I didn't mean to be."
Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.
---The Big Sleep (Chapter 1)

"The big foreign car drove itself, but I held the wheel for the sake of appearances." --Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 9)

"The house itself was not so much. It was smaller than Buckingham Palace, rather gray for California, and probably had fewer windows than the Chrysler Building. I sneaked over to the side entrance and pressed a bell and somewhere a set of chimes made a deep mellow sound like church bells. A man in a striped vest and gilt buttons opened the door, bowed, took my hat and was through for the day."-- Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 18)

"It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window."--Farewell, My Lovely (Chapter 13)

"From thirty feet away she looked like a lot of class.  From ten feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from thirty feet away."--The High Window (Chapter 5)

"Then he picked the glass up and tasted it and sighed again and shook his head sideways with a half smile; the way a man does when you give him a drink and he needs it very badly and it is just right and the first swallow is like a peek into a cleaner, sunnier, brighter world." " ---The High Window (Chapter 15)

"I'm an occasional drinker, the kind of guy who goes out for a beer and wakes up in Singapore with a full beard." --"The King in Yellow"

"Across the street somebody had delirium tremens in the front yard and a mixed quartet tore what was left of the night into small strips and did what they could to make the strips miserable. While this was going on the exotic brunette didn't move more that one eyelash."--"Red Wind" (Section 5)

"The main hallway of the Sternwood Place was two stories high.   Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armour rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn't have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair.   The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere.  I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him." - "The Big Sleep" (Chapter One)

"The corridor which led to it had a smell of old carpet and furniture oil and the drab anonymity of a thousand shabby lives"--The Little Sister (Chapter 9)

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Ana's that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."-- "Red Wind" (opening paragraph)

"It was one of those clear, bright summer mornings we get in the early spring in California before the high fog sets in. The rains are over The hills are still green and in the valley across the Hollywood Hills you can see snow on the high mountains. The fur stores are advertising their annual sales. The call houses that specialize in sixteen year-old virgins are doing a land-office business. And Beverly Hills the jacaranda trees are beginning to bloom." - Raymond Chandler - "The Little Sister" - 2nd Paragraph.

"Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl's clothes off." - Raymond Chandler

"I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn't need a gun, you'd better take one along that worked." - Raymond Chandler

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." - Raymond Chandler

"I looked down at the chessboard. The move with the knight was wrong. I put it back where I had moved it from. Knights had no meaning in this game. It wasn't a game for knights" - Raymond Chandler - "The Big Sleep"

"I went out to the kitchen to make coffee - yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. The life-blood of tired men." - Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye"

"The stores along Hollywood Boulevard were already beginning to fill up with overpriced Christmas junk, and the daily papers were beginning to scream about how terrible it would be if you didn't get your Christmas shopping done early. It would be terrible anyway; it always is" - Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye"

"Well?" she asked me quietly. "How did you get along with Father?".
"Fine. He explained civilisation to me . I mean how it looks to him. He's going to let it go on for a little while longer. But it better be careful and not interfere with his private life. If it does he's apt to make a phone call to God and cancel the order." - Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye".

"Her hair was a lovely shade of dark red, she had a distant smile on her lips and over her shoulders she had a blue mink that almost made the Rolls-Royce look like just another automobile. It didn't quite. Nothing can." - Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye".

"Out there in the night of a thousand crimes people were dying, being maimed, cut by flying glass, crushed against steering wheels or under heavy tyres. People were being beaten, robbed, strangled, raped and murdered. People were hungry, sick, bored, desperate with loneliness or remorse or fear, angry, cruel, feverish, shaken by sobs. A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness." - Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye".

"I went on out and Amos had the Caddy there waiting. He drove me back to Hollywood. I offered him a buck and he wouldn't take it. I offered to buy him the poems of T. S. Elliott. He said he had them already".  Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye".

"I was beginning to think perhaps you worked in bed, like Marcel Proust."
"Who's he?". I stared at her. She looked a little pale and strained, bit she looked like a girl who could function under strain.
"A French writer, a connoisseur in degenerates. You wouldn't know him."
"Tut, Tut," I said. "Come into my boudoir." - Raymond Chandler - "The Big Sleep."

"I understand you are a private detective?"
"I think you are a very stupid person. You look stupid. You are in a stupid business. And you came here on a stupid mission."
"I get it," I said. "I'm stupid. It sank in after a while." - Raymond Chandler - "Farewell, My Lovely"

"I like smooth shiny girls, hardboiled and loaded with sin." - Raymond Chandler - "Farewell, My Lovely"

"That's the difference between crime and business. For business you gotta gave capital. Sometimes I think its the only difference."  Raymond Chandler - "The Long Goodbye".

"We can't win. Criticised when we increase our pension, criticised when we increase our pay, criticised when we sell peerages......."

"He was a large man and wide. Not young nor handsome, but he looked durable. Above the sky-blue gabardine slacks he wore a two-tone leisure jacket which would have been revolting on a zebra. The neck of his canary-yellow shirt was open wide, which it had to be if his neck was going to get out" - Raymond Chandler - The Little Sister.

"I got up and went to the built-in wardrobe and looked at my face in the flawed mirror. it was me all right. I had a strained look. I'd been living to fast" - Raymond Chandler - The Little Sister

"They say lust makes a man old, but keeps a woman young. They say a lot of nonsense" - Raymond Chandler - The Little Sister

"There was a sad fellow over on a bar stool talking to the bartender, who was polishing a glass and listening with that plastic smile people wear when they are trying not to scream." - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"I didn't mind what she called me, what anybody called me. But this was the room I had to live in. It was all I had in the way of a home. In it was everything that was mine, that had any association for me, any past, anything that took the place of a family. Not much; a few books, pictures, radio, chessmen, old letters, stuff like that. Nothing. Such as they were they had all my memories." - Raymond Chandler - "The Big Sleep."

"A club owned the lake and the lake frontage and if they didn't want you in the club, you didn't get to play in the water. It was exclusive in the only remaining sense of the word that doesn't mean merely expensive. I belonged in Idle Valley like a pearl onion on a banana split." - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"The first Divorce is the only tough one. After that its merely a problem in economics" - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"Then she lowered her lashes until they almost covered her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air" - Raymond Chandler - The Big Sleep

"Off to my left there was an empty swimming pool, and nothing ever looks emptier than an empty swimming pool. Around three sides of it there was what remained of a lawn dotted with redwood lounging chairs with badly faded pads on them. The pads had been of many colours, blue, green, yellow, orange, rust-red. Their edge bindings had come loose in spots, the buttons had popped, and the pads were bloated where this had happened. The diving board over the empty pool looked knee-sprung and tired. Its matting covering hung in shreds and its metal fittings were flaked with rust." - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"I lay on my back on a bed in a waterfront hotel and waited for it to get dark. It was a small front room with a hard bed and a mattress slightly thicker than the cotton blanket that covered it. A spring underneath me was broken and stuck into the left side of my back. I lay there and let it prod me." - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"You can't tell a doper well under control from a vegetarian bookkeeper"  - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"We've become a nation of con men, living by selling double glazing to each other." - Fred Dibnah

On Marriage "For two people in a hundred its wonderful" - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

She sighed. "All men are the same."
"So are women - after the first nine." - Raymond Chandler - "Farewell, My Lovely"

I was sitting on the side of my bed in my pyjamas, thinking about getting up, but not yet committed. I didn't feel very well, but I didn't feel as sick as I ought to, not as sick as I would feel if I had a salaried job." - Raymond Chandler - "Farewell, My Lovely"

"My head hurt and felt large and hot and my tongue was dry and had gravel on it and my throat was stiff and my jaw was not un-tender. But I had had worse mornings." - Raymond Chandler - "Farewell, My Lovely"

"I like the neat bottles on the bar back and the lovely shinning glasses and the anticipation. I like to watch the man mix the first one of the evening and put it down on a crisp mat and put the little folded napkin beside it. I like to taste it slowly. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar - that's wonderful" - Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"Cops are just people," she said irrelevantly.
"They start out that way, I've heard."
- Raymond Chandler - "Farewell, My Lovely"

"'I grow old...I grow old...I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.' What does that mean Mr Marlowe?"
"Not a bloody thing. It just sounds good."
He smiled. "That is from the 'Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.' Here's another one. 'In the room the women come and go / Talking of Michael Angelo.' Does that suggest anything to you, sir?"
"Yeah - it suggests to me that the gut didn't know anything about women." -
Raymond Chandler - The Long Goodbye

"What are you rebelling against Johnny?"
"What have you got?"
Marlon Brando as Johnny the biker in "The Wild One"

"One moment please. Whom did you wish to see?"
Degarmo spun on his heel and looked up at me wonderingly, "Did he say 'whom'?"
"Yeah, but don 't hit him," I said, "There is such a word."
Degarmo licked his lips, "I knew there was," he said, "I often wondered where they kept it."- Raymond Chandler - The Lady in the Lake

She flushed. Her hot black eyes looked mad. "I don't see what there is to be cagey about," she snapped. "And I don't like your manners."
"I'm not crazy about yours," I said. "I didn't ask to see you. You sent for me. I don't mind you ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a Scotch bottle. I don''t mind you showing me your legs. They're very swell legs and it's a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don't mind if you don't like my manners. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings ...." - Raymond Chandler - The Big Sleep

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