CURB SERVICE, a Memoir by Scot Sothern 


From Soft Skull Press

Available at Amazon or a bookstore near you

"Scot Sothern is the real thing. This is damn good writing." 
- Dan Fante 
... a masterful memoir, full of truth-telling, ugliness, beauty, tragedy, and humor. Curb Service is brave, funny, and heartwarming in ways you can't see coming.” 
—Bill Fitzhugh, author of Pest Control 

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A New book of stories and photographs by Scot Sothern

SAD CITY excerpt at GUP Magazine


The Wrestling Matches - 1975
When I was a little kid I used to like playing around with my pop’s photography equipment.  The coolest thing was the flashbulbs.  They were the same size as a regular light bulb and filled with spidery filaments. They screwed into a circular reflector and they made a pop when they fired.  My grandmother, Mamaw, lived upstairs.  She was perpetually nervous and it was great fun to sneak up behind her and scream LOOK OUT.  One time I changed all her light bulbs with flash bulbs.  She yelped each time she flipped a switch and I couldn’t stop giggling.  I was kind of an asshole but she seemed to love me anyway.
When I made this exposure nearly thirty years ago full-body tattoos were unusual.  Looking at it now the impact has softened with time.  I remember riding up an elevator with the tattooed woman in the hotel where we were in San Diego.  There was an all-american family stuck with us for the ride, mom and dad and two bland children.  I don't remember what my tattooed model was talking about but she kept saying motherfucker, loudly, until the little family unit scrunched away from us into a corner.  In the room, with just the two of us, she didn't say it anymore.  I hope she has kept her edge over the years but I also hope she has lost some of her anger toward dorks.


My Pop - 1972
 In the sixties, when I was an adolescent, my father had a photography studio in the Missouri Ozarks.   He shot a lot of weddings and paid me fifteen bucks to go along and hold an extra strobe light with a car-battery-sized battery on a strap.  The flash had a doohickey that tripped my light from the strobe on the camera, so I walked around hitting people with flattering highlights.  The weddings were mostly done in dumbass churches so while my dad was time-exposing the ceremonies I would take one of the twin-lens Rolleiflex’s out to the car and photograph a dime store picture we had of Jesus, a very nice looking guy by the way; leading-man material. My pop had spray-painted a portion of the picture black and matched it up  with a homemade vignette on the camera lens then double-exposed, the bride and groom in a soft candlelight pose with Jesus, that handsome devil, looking down on their nuptials from heaven above.  My pop sold a lot of those shots.  He had a whole arsenal of goofy gimmicks that kept Sothern’s Studio flush and our lifestyle cushy.  I could have stayed there and inherited the studio, lived a comfortable life.  At my age you sometimes look back at the missed opportunities and regrets, but in this instance it’s nice to know I made the right decision.

Guy With Budweiser - 1975
Sisters I met late one night while wandering around a motel filled with working girls.