The Amazing Adventures of Bob Brown: A Real-Life Zelig Who Wrote His Way through the 20th Century

By Craig Saper | Go to book overview

6
Let There Be Beer, Wine, Snacks, and
Radical Social Change, 1932–40

Cook-books have always intrigued and
seduced me. When I was still a dilettante in
the kitchen they held my attention, even the
dull ones, from cover to cover, the way crime
and murder stories did Gertrude Stein.

Alice B. Toklas, Alice B. Toklas Cookbook, 1984

… the expression “It’s gravy,” for
something extra … any juicy reward
obtained without effort.

Cora, Rose, and Bob Brown, 1939

… years of tossing up snacks and tossing
down drinks in cafés and home kitchens
of all foreign capitals …

Bob Brown, 1937

… one of the most unusual museums
in the United States.

News report on “The Museum of Social Change,”
curated and organized by Bob Brown, 1935

In 1932, the party continued in London. Sergei Eisenstein had recently published an essay that mentioned the earliest serialized movie, What Happened to Mary, and Bob’s avant-garde friends learned of his connection to the films. They celebrated by parading from pub to pub, hoisting Bob up on their shoulders as their temporary hero. Bob continued to see himself as part of the expatriate avant-garde scene but, at the same time, felt forced to publish in a more marketable genre than modernist poetry. In London, Bob wrote fictionalized accounts of his life at the

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