I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World
by Mike Edison, Faber and Faber Inc., 338 pages
Mike Edison is like a character in a noir film. He’s walked the dirty streets of a lot of dirty towns, meeting a lot of dirty people along the way. And he’s had an absolute blast the whole time— making a career out of living.
I Have Fun Everywhere I Go is a spirited romp through the cultural intestines of urbanism. As you may deduce by the title, this 2008 memoir— now available in paperback— is a joy ride into the fun part of hell, where it’s never too hot and enchanting devils greet you at every stop. In the first chapter alone, our hero tries LSD, gets into a wrestling match, has a drug dealer stick a shotgun in his face, and lands his first writing gig for Wrestling’s Main Event magazine. By chapter two he’s writing pornographic novels at the rate of one a week — including one, Mandy’s Shame, that I’m pretty sure I read!
Edison is a New York-based writer, editor, and musician whose résumé includes editing stints at pot magazines ( High Times), porn magazines ( Cheri and Screw), and, in a more tame vein, beverage magazines ( Soft Drinks & Beer). He’s also played various instruments in various bands, including the Raunch Hands and the Edison Rocket Train. On a less serious artistic note, he did comedy acts and music shtick that inspired audience members to throw bottles at the stage.
Reading this memoir is like hearing your favorite raconteur let loose with a few decades’ worth of outrageous stories. What’s great is, when Edison is recalling events that happened to him when he was 14, his voice is like he’s 14, and so on and so on. You see the writer mature as he faces love, loss, depression, and various creative battles in the workplace. He’s a worker bee, and he learns as he goes along, figuring out how to handle all aspects of producing a magazine. He befriends dopeheads and centerfold girls and makes enemies of the powerful in publishing and politics. Maybe he crosses lines when it comes to free speech, but he makes a powerful argument that to protect that right means to exercise it, regardless of how others respond.
The people he meets are generally likable crackpots of the first order. To Edison’s credit, he paints a balanced portrait of everyone, finding the good in the bad and the bad in the good. He’s great with personal description, noting that while Bobo the Porn-Writing Clown was not a real clown, he dressed like one: “He insisted on wearing OshKosh B’gosh overalls, inappropriate for anyone past puberty who doesn’t spend his mornings squeezing the milk out of cow tits. That his shoes did not explode was an unfortunate oversight.” And he has an eye for the ironic and the absurd, recalling how the boss of High Times forbade pot smoking in the office, even though the magazine published a regular Trans-High Market Quotations section (“LSD— Fresh from the lab, $2-$4/tab.”).
— Robert Nott