“The movie is called Barfly, and it’s about me, because that’s what I was, a barfly,” Bukowski explained. “You ran errands for sadists and let the bartender beat you up, because you were the bar clown. You filled people’s days with your presence, and maybe you’d get a few free drinks now and then. ”
We were hunched down with our elbows on the padded edge of the bar, talking quietly like conspirators. Linda, Bukowski’s child bride, was taking down mental notes of everything.
“The way I became a barfly,” he said, “was, I didn’t like what I saw in the nine to five. I didn’t want to become an ordinary working person, paying off the mortgage, looking at TV, terrified. The bar was a hiding place, to get out of the mainstream. ”
“Did you decide to become a barfly, or did you just look up one day and see a barfly in the mirror?” I asked him.
“I can’t answer,” he said. “It was kind of a subconscious decision. Meanwhile, I was a writer on the side, selling short stories to dirty magazines. I gave up the writing after a while and concentrated on the drinking. I refused to accept the living death of acquiescence.”
Roger Ebert’s Movie Home Companion, 1989 Edition: Full-Length Reviews of 875 Films on Cassette