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View Through the Window of a Subway Car

- Unauthorised biography of Tom Waits -


[Pogled kroz prozor metroa]
Taš Print, 1991
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Serbian language

After seven years of gathering material and doing research (this was before the Internet, even before computers — at least in my corner of the world), this book was finally printed in 1991, when the war in Yugoslavia had already started.

When I first stumbled upon a Tom Waits record — in Amsterdam, thirteen years before — I discovered a very masochistic side of me: every time I played his songs they would hit a painful spot, yet I had to repeat the experience. Very soon I knew I had to do a book about him, but there was always another, more urgent project.

The American media largely ignored Waits’ early years, and it was difficult finding even the most basic details about his life. Letters to his publishers were never answered, and even his agents played deaf. So I told practically everyone I knew that I was collecting everything related to Waits, and people started sending articles, interviews, reviews, news, and records.

On two occasions I tried to send a copy of the book to Tom Waits. Once, Jim Jarmusch was in Belgrade for the Film Festival. His host was Emir Kusturica, and through him I arranged a short meeting. I gave him two copies of the book and a short letter for Waits, but I doubt it ever got to him – Jarmusch had a glass full of vodka in his hand at all times. Second time it was after Waits’ concert in Toronto, and I prepared a neat little package, but they thought I was a groupie, and the furthest I got was the third assistant of the second stage manager in the night shift.

Published in 1991, this is — for the record — the first biography of Tom Waits ever done, in any language. Books about him are still very rare, mostly due to his rather relaxed treatment of his interviewers and his preference to purposefully distort the facts from his private life.

I never got around to translating this book into English and offering it to the publishers in the West. I can't remember why.


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