Seymour Krim could not find his matches. He was a nonstop smoker and he carried his cigarettes in his vest pocket. His cockeyed hat slooped over his nearsighted eyes. His cigarettes were always handy. However, he never could find his matches. That is how we became friends.
One day at Bleecks Bar, he looked at me and asked:
“Do you have a match?”
“Seymour, you never have any matches.”
It was true.
I gave him some matches. The trademark said Hotel Astor on Broadway.
Then, I continued talking.
“Seymour, I can no longer call you Seymour. To me, your are Matchless Krim.”
Matchless Krim was matchless in so many ways. The writer Norman Mailer called him the best writer of the Beat Generation. Matchless Krim knew Gregory Corso, Alan Ginsberg and other “Beats” of the 1950s. You may have read his book, “Memories of a Nearsighted Canoneer.”
When I met Seymour Krim, he was fiftyish, well-known on the literary circuit and the star of the New York Herald Tribune. I was a graduate student at Columbia University in my early twenties. It was 1965.
We met at the Artists and Writers Restaurant (more familiarly known as Bleecks). It was the bar frequented by journalists in New York City, especially when the New York Herald Tribune was “put to bed.”
One night, after the Trib was put to bed, Matchless Krim and I met at Bleecks. The theatre critic Walter Kerr had just submitted his theatre review and he headed home.
….to be continued