- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
Page numbers refer to editions with 369 pages, where the story begins on page 1. Not sure if there are other editions with variant pagination. Please let us know otherwise.
"...the phone began a God-awful clanging."
See page 34. Doc's phone at the office is diffident; his phone at home clangs. Is this ambivalence about his work, while reality intrudes noisily on his home?
These lyrics have some similarities with "Shaft" by Isaac Hayes:
- Who's the black private dick
- That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
- Who is the man
- That would risk his neck for his brother man?
Soul Gidget makes a brief appearance on page 362 of Bleeding Edge.
signifyin on your mama
"Signifyin" is a verbal strategy employed in the African-American culture. The idea was developed most fully in Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s book The Signifying Monkey. Signifyin indicates a kind of play or trickster technique. "Yo mama" jokes also appear in Mason & Dixon (pg. 445) and Against the Day (pg. 12).
Wild Man Fischer
Mentally ill Los Angeles street musician who was discovered on Sunset Strip and signed by Frank Zappa to a record contract with Bizarre Records. Died June 16, 2011. Was mentioned also on page 309 of Vineland.
YouTube video of WMF performing "My Sweet Little Cathy" 
Pink's bills itself as "Hot Dogs to the Stars." It's been in the Hollywood area since 1939.
Pinks -- famous for its chile dogs -- was sort of a best-kept secret in the 1960s and 1970s, particularly for stoners quelling late-night hungers. Now its popularity has made it way too busy -- with hour-long lines.
"This Guy's in Love with You"
A nitpick, perhaps, but this single was actually not a Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass release. It was credited to Herb Alpert. If deliberate, this may have been to show how little Doc followed that kind of music. Wikipedia
"Stick around, Barney"
See entry, p. 102
Velveeta, a notoriously plastic "processed cheese product" is probably fueling a roundabout slang joke on "cheddar," used recently to mean money, specifically a pimp or dealer's money. Hence, Jason Velveeta is not really a very good pimp.
As cheeses go, Velveeta is fake, soft and easily melted. "Jason" is a quintessentially middle-class white first name. Velveeta is also associated with middle-class white culture in its most unhip and soul-free form. See, for example, this recent spoof news story.
When Jason Velveeta and Doc are walking down Sunset, Pynchon writes "They walked up past the Chateau Marmont to Hollywood Boulevard ..." You can't get up to Hollywood Blvd. past the Chateau Marmont on Sunset since at this point, there are no cross-streets between the two; Hollywood Blvd. has become residential and winds up into the Hollywood Hills.
O Cangaceiro A Portuguese word rooted in "canga," meaning "yoke," that means "brigand" or "highwayman." In Brazilian Portuguese it carries the meaning "braggart."
A bossa nova-style song written by Jobim. Stan Getz's version was a hit in 1962. The title translates as "off key" or "out of tune."
a curious sort of hippie chick approached the piano, her hair short and tightly permed
Remove that "hippie," and the picture is remarkably like that of Janet Leigh in the mid-'60s movie version of An American Dream (1966). Leigh doesn't sing Schwartz & Dietz, but the character's bossa-nova style performance of a Johnny Mandel song is much like the music described here.
Little Black Dress
Simply cut, often short, cocktail dress . It's worth noting that the dress our singer is wearing is described as being from the 1950s, since the most famous, perhaps, little black dress of them all was worn by Audrey Hepburn in the later 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's.
I can sure relate to that lyric, man
And here are the lyrics to "It Never Entered My Mind":
- I don't care if there's powder on my nose.
- I don't care if my hairdo is in place.
- I've lost the very meaning of repose.
- I never put a mudpack on my face.
- Oh, who'd have thought
- that I'd walk in the daze now?
- I never go to shows at night,
- but just to matinees now.
- I see the show
- and home I go.
- Once I laughed when I heard you saying
- that I'd be playing solitaire,
- uneasy in my easy chair.
- It never entered my mind.
- Once you told me I was mistaken,
- that I'd awaken with the sun
- and order orange juice for one.
- It never entered my mind.
- You have what I lack myself
- and now I even have to scratch my back myself.
- Once you warned me that if you scorned me
- I'd sing the maiden's prayer again
- and wish that you where there again
- to get into my hair again.
- It never entered my mind.
Introduced in the show Higher and Higher in 1940, where it was performed by Shirley Ross. Famous renditions of the song in the '50s and '60s that may have inspired our singer in the Little Black Dress were done by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis (as a jazz instrumental), and Leontyne Price (!).
Listen and let Peggy Lee break your heart, too.
Dietz & Schwartz's 'Alone Together'
These lyrics are also relevant to the scene, and to Inherent Vice as a whole:
- Alone together, beyond the crowd,
- Above the world, we're not too proud
- To cling together, We're strong
- As long as we're together.
- Alone together, the blinding rain
- The starless night, were not in vain;
- For we're together, and what is there
- To fear together.
- Our love is as deep as the sea,
- Our love is as great as a love can be,
- And we can weather the great unknown,
- If we're alone together.
Introduced in the revue Flying Colors (1932), the song has had famous interpreters, including Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles. There's another important D&S allusion in an upcoming chapter, folks. TP a connoisseur too of Broadway show tunes--who knew?
"...Doc bought himself and Coy cachaca with beer chasers."
Cachaca is a rum-like beverage made from bagasse, the crushed fiber of sugar cane that is left over when sugar is made. It is a national symbol of Brazil and the basic ingredient of caipirinha.
Samba do Avião
Song by Antonio Jobim. Title translates into "Song of the Jet." Lyrics, in English translation, are a tribute to Rio de Janeiro as seen from a returning airplane. Substitute Los Angeles for Rio and the connection with certain parts of Inherent Vice become even more obvious.
He walked down to the Arizona Palms and had the All-Nighter Special.
Arizona Palms most likely refers to Carolina Pines Jr., on the corner of La Brea and Sunset in Hollywood. The coffee shop was fairly popular with families in the 1950s and with teens and hippies in the 1960s. It closed in 1971.
then sat through the dawn
Morning, the thirteenth day of the narrative, Sunday, April 5, 1970.