Skip to main content

philly's fergie

Jason Fagone's recent story about Fergie Carey in Philadelphia Magazine caught my eye, and reminded me of my own adventures in and around his pub.

Almost all of my early stories were written in Philly, the city of brotherly beer. At Doobie's at 22nd and Lombard, I'd sit and scrawl, and I probably looked like a lunatic if anyone noticed at all. Later, maybe the next day, I'd type my stories on an old Apple IIc computer. I stared at its nine-inch monochrome green screen from the mid-eighties until the late nineties, when a dirt-cheap computer deal, with an agreement to purchase a few years of internet connectivity, finally freed me from old-machine captivity.

Back to the early nineties, at some point Fergie's Pub opened up and that became another place to go drinking and writing, writing and talking, and more writing. I was in these bars a lot, Tangier Cafe and McGlinchey's, too, but wouldn't say I was too much of a drinker. The food menu at Fergie's was part of the attraction for me.

It was a late afternoon or early evening, and only a few of us were at his new pub, and Fergie was tending to the place on his own. I was sitting at the bar, most likely drinking a Yuengling Lager or Lord Chesterfield Ale, and I had a typed story out. It was "Over Fifty Billion Kafkas Served," one of my favorites from that period, and this led to that, and Fergie asked if he could read it, or I offered, and so he was behind the bar reading my story. After a minute or two, I told him it felt weird to see someone reading my story, and so with alacrity, he moved from behind the bar and continued reading behind my back. Literally. I'm not sure if this was just Fergie being the generous guy we all knew him as, knowing our names, pouring our pitchers, etc., or the story was engaging enough, but he took another 10 minutes, and then popped back to the bar and told me with certainty that someone would publish it. That made my afternoon although it wasn't until nearly 20 years later that I found a home for the story.

The last time I saw Fergie, I think, was in the new Borders Bookshop on a winter holiday break between semesters. I was up from South Carolina, staying at my Mom's, and this was possibly Christmas Eve or close to it. Perhaps it would be a more poetic memory if this was at the old Borders at 1727 Walnut Street where I got my start in scribbling on my days off or mornings before the 1 to 10 p.m. shift. But this was the Borders location after they got chased off Rittenhouse Square by Barnes and Noble and opened up at Broad and Chestnut, the one they were in when the whole chain finally went kaput. Anyway, I was headed from the second to third floor, and Fergie was coming down the escalator, and I said, "Hey Fergie," and he said, barely missing a beat, "Hey Alex." I don't think I'd seen him for years, and it was impressive that someone with such an amazing inventory of names in his brain could still remember a customer from so long ago.

So there you have it.

To Fergie.



Great story about our dear Fergie, Alex.
I, too spent some time at the watering holes you mentioned, although for me the draw was neither food nor beer but the cute and geeky guys I worked with (circa 1994-1998), their friends, and the usually friendly atmosphere.
(At Fergie's Pub, I did enjoy the burgers, nachos, and beer.)
Fergie's was also one of my early venues as a singer-songwriter.
Fergie always remembers my name, and your mentioning this points out how significant and special it is ti witness, warming and gratifying to be on the receiving end.
I think it's a testament to the beauty and miracles that can happen when we follow our bliss and do what we love; our natural talents come out.
Clearly, Fergie was born to own bars, remember names, and make people feel at home. Thanks for writing this :-)

Cassendre Xavier

Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Russian Novels!

L.U.S.K. is excited to feature a guest post from Aisha O'Connor-Fratus, writer, editor, parent, and blogger at Hell's Domestic Backside. Enjoy this list of Aisha's ten favorite Russian novels:
1. Anna Karenina (Lev Tolstoy, 1873 to 1877). Anna is rich and bored. Anna hates the way her husband chews his food. Count Vronsky—played by Christopher Reeve, so handsome) sweeps Anna off her feet! But things do not end well for Anna.
2. The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880). Not about a traveling circus acrobatic troupe. Its sweeping explorations of God, free agency, and morality are timeless and haunting. My favorite part is Ivan’s reciting of the poem “The Grand Inquisitor” in which Christ is resurrected during the Spanish Inquisition.
3. Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky, 1866). Life-long graduate student Rodion Raskolnikov tries to justify an unspeakably immoral act with eugenics and hey—a guy needs to eat.
4. Rudin (Ivan Turgenev, 1856). Dmitry Rudin talks the talk, but…

The Writing Life Starring Iain Levison

Iain Levison's Dog Eats Dog was published in October, 2008 by Bitter Lemon Press and his even newer novel How to Rob an Armored Car will be published by Soho Press in October, 2009. Back in '00 or so, L.U.S.K. first discovered Levison's A Working Stiff's Manifesto in hardcover with its original subtitle, "Confessions of a Wage Slave." That memoir established Levison's scalding wit and ability to hold the attention of an ever-tweeting audience. It was later released as a trade paperback with a supercharged second subtitle, and Levison has managed to survive, publish, and publish again. With long-terms roots in Scotland and Philadelphia, Levison currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he commits literature and carpentry as much as he can.

USK: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and when did you first identify as a writer?
IL: Writing is the only thing I've ever been any good at. Well, the only legal thing. Early on, I realized t…