Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Toby

Tobias "Toby" Allen



So... I use to know this guy. We were roommates, briefly, down in New Orleans in this giant haunted (heh) house on St. Charles Ave. He was quite the odd fellow, with modest pride. Toby.
I met him on the front porch of a mutual friend over on Constantinople St. He was staying with the chick, who's name I now forget, but not Toby. If I recall correctly, he had just moved back to New Orleans from Seattle. (He liked to go back and forth between the two cities.)
He looked like a filthy surfer dude from California (Northern, not Southern) - chin length stringy beach blonde hair, blue eyes, perpetual tan. He had a wicked smile, but with no actual evil intent. He wouldn't even kill a roach. He did, however, have a passion for the evil. Mainly - serial killers. He collected their art. Wrote about them. Befriended them. He even created a board game - Let's Play - http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/visualart/348657_deadlygame25.html !!!

He and I clicked over the common focus we shared on the West Memphis Three (WM3.org). He was "friends" (prison type pen pals), with Damien Echols. Eventually, he would make introductions between Damien and myself, which was much appreciated and correspondence between us, for a time, commenced.
I always had the morbid interest in serial killers... Toby was just someone who took it many more steps further than I. He collected their art. He corresponded with them. He took calls from them, visited them, pursued them. His top three conquests - Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. He was planning to go up to try and see if he could get a visit with Dahmer, but... well, we all know how that story ended soon after his incarceration.
Anyso, he and I took refuge in this old house on St Charles Ave. It use to be a gentleman's quarters for traveling salesmen types to there were a few residents. Anne Rice made a big stink about us because apparently she grew up across the street from it, and it inspired her to write some stupid Memnoch vampire book, and she didn't want a bunch of neredowells inhabiting what she considered a sacred landmark.

Here's the house:



It wasn't this nice and polished up when we lived there. It was 1000$ a month for the whole thing. It was mainly kept within the same concept as it was first used, but chicks were living there as well. During the few months I lived there (yes, only a few - I couldn't handle that life style for very long), there was a new face almost every week that lived there.

John Wayne Gacy and Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker) use to call him collect. I answered the phone a couple of times for each. Gacy always had this creepy way of bellowing out his name when the recorded prompted him *Inmate, state your name,* like it pissed him off that he had to do as told or something. Ramirez has a thing for Asian girls, and Toby took it upon himself to lead him to think I was Asian. I think that was even creeper.
Ramirez use to draw cartoon characters on his letters to Toby. Once he told me he would send me a drawing... I (fortunately?) never got it.

Anyso, to get to the point of this part of my tale, Toby had this painting that scared the bajebus out of me. He and I shared a bedroom (no... we were always Just Friends), and this face would stare at me as I slept - the background and the eyes glowing in the dark at me:


Elvis by John Wayne Gacy

I'm not 100% positive this is the exact painting... but I am 97.3% positive it is. I remember the background to be a more orangy color... but the computer image could play trick with my eyes or what have you.


Ok... so, I believe it was around summer of 1998 that Toby picked up and moved back West to Seattle. We lost touch, which isn't all that surprising. It's been 10 years.
However, when I was on my travels in 2000, I did hunt a bit for him... and have done so on and off (mostly off) over the years.

In 2000, a documentary came out called The Collectors came out about Toby and his friend/partner Rick Stanton (whom I believe I met once when he came down from Baton Rouge to hang out with Toby), and their art collecting and exhibition. (I've not been able to get my hands on this documentary, but would love to.)
This was the last I ever saw of anything pertaining to Toby.

Years passed... every once in a while, I would try and find him thru Myspace or google searches or whatnot. But, never could get anywhere. All I would come across was the Collectors sites.

This morning, for no real reason, I decided to do a google search for Tobias Allen. The third link read:

Should the Mariners Be Charged with Manslaughter? | Slog | The ...
Sep 12, 2007 ... According to the Seattle Times, police identified the body as Tobias Allen, whose death authorities will attribute to suicide. ...
http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/09/should_the_mariners_be_charged_with_mans

In the above link was a link to the following page containing the following:

Last Days -

FRIDAY, AUGUST 31 [2007] The week continues with an exceedingly well-documented Seattle suicide, first noted around 11:00 p.m. last night, when 911 dispatchers received a call about a body seen floating in Lake Washington. According to the Seattle Times, police identified the body as Tobias Allen, whose death authorities will attribute to suicide. According to his MySpace profile, Allen was a 39-year-old single Libra with a penchant for the Mariners, existential drama, and exclamation points. "Most days it feels/seems that most people are mindless fucking sheep," wrote Allen in his MySpace blog on June 15 [sic throughout]. "I'm talking about the people that actually waste presious oxygine talking about Paris Hell-ton. Who gives a fuck? Vapid little bitch... look, now I'm doing it! Thank the powers that be that the aurora bridge is only minutes away. I may need it soon!" By August 4, things were looking up: "Just when I was ready to give up on another summer.... my sweet sweet M's start kicking ass! I'm about to grin, or cry, or something. This has been one of THEE LAMEST summers of my life, to date. I was really going nuts. Then the mighty M's start kickin some ass! I guess, if they can do it, so can I! I have to see the end of the season! Maybe I will turn 40...." He didn't. RIP Tobias Allen, whom interested parties can see in the 2000 documentary Collectors, chronicling the nation's premier serial-killer enthusiasts. (In addition to Mariners and MySpace, Allen appreciated art made by serial killers. Go figure.)





So... wow. Dead. Gone.

I don't find it all that far fetched of Toby to commit suicide. I find it somewhat hard to believe that he would do it over a baseball team, tho. Not going to expound much on who he was, personally and privately. He was a wonderful person with a great heart. But... he, like many, had his own issues, that are not my business to tell others.
All I know is that it kinda sucks having this confirmation that he ain't around anymore. Though it wasn't a big mission, the fact that I've attempted to find him over the years, despite my failure every time, kept him going in my life, even if I hadn't seen him in a decade.
And, at least three times since his death, he was still alive as far as one person was concerned. Now that I found him (sort of), I could say *Ok, done.* But, it just leads me to wonder what kind of send off he was given by his friends.

Hmmm... maybe I should contact his old buddy Rick?

Anyso... there you go. Toby Allen. Sorry.

14 comments:

Kimmie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kimmie said...

I knew Toby and have been searching for him for years as well off and on and today was just another search. I just found your blog. I had no idea. I found him on myspace but his page displayed goodbyes from his friends. Now I know why. I should have looked for Sonya, she would have let me know. You couldn't have said it any better about how he stays with you; he stayed with me. I have been looking for Toby and others that I lived with in that house for years now. He had a sweet and gentle soul . I'm sad. This is Kim. That's the house. I lived downstairs and then moved upstairs in the back bedroom (where the vampire sleeped). At the time, Toby shared the room in the hall upstairs. We enjoyed long nights at Igor’s, quiet nights reading all the letters from convicts and keeping up with the latest on Damien as well. I still have a flyer Toby gave me regarding Damien to help set him and the others free. Even accepting phone calls from his girlfriend on occasion who was seeking comfort and advice from Toby. I would love to know who this is, please contact me and we can reminisce together!! I loved that house and think about every day. It was fascinating to live there, but even more so were the people who came and left. The Lundi Gras parties and parades Fat Tuesday. It was a time in my life that has been etched in my soul forever. I would love to hear from someone. It was such a transient house that it was very seldom that anyone knew each other’s last names.

Sincerely
Kimmie

Uncle Johnny's Apocalypse Watch said...

Hello, my name is Johnny, I was friends with Toby for over 20 years. We were more like brothers of another mother. He was staying with me before he killed himself. I wrote him often when he lived on St. Charles and remember a lot of funny stories about strippers, booze, art and strippers. I have an excellent photo of Toby sitting in front of his Ed Gein painting, in what appears to be the dining room. His sister, Mary and I planned his send off which was beautiful and terrible. Toby had festooned me with the basic instructions, songs he wanted played, cremation, etc. I am happy to share what I can of his last days, theory's as to why, etc and what remains of his unique art...I have a blog which I will post a short story about the day after his death as soon as it's done. Which it nearly is...I was pleasantly surprised to find your blog entry, it was quite cool. Email me if you like, of course I have a fucking facebook page, look under Jonathan Shawnessy...and please check out my blog,"unclejohnnysapocalypsewatch"...Fare Thee Well, Johnny...

Fog said...

Just ran across all this and it sucks to start out a new year like this... (Well-Maybe a little worse for Unkie Tobias)My bro was good friends with him and he was certainly an amusing lil bastard.
He was always freaking cool to me and that sort of skin-jawbone smile he had I will always remember. I have an old-old birthday card from him which he made and is really cool... "Happy Birthday Man-Son...Man-Son..."

Anyway-He was trip to say the least... He even sang a few tunes with one of our basement bands and fun as hell. My last memory of him was at SeaTac and just as well leave it at that. He remembered me which was nice but the bastard still owes me 20 bucks... Pay up mutha! Oh just kidding... He is probably swimming around the depths of hell laughing his ass off at us. The Mariners still suck but who cares??

Toby was a real gent when you got right down to it and his outward interests certainly did not match nor speak to the cool-Kind character we was. No article or blahg post will do him justice.

nicole said...

I know this post was made over 2 years ago but I just found it. I am one of Toby's niece. After reading this post I feel as though I learned so much about my uncle that I never really knew. The man I knew was one who was always there whether physically or in spirit. I remember many of an Mariner's game with him where even though I really didnt pay attention he explained all the team stats to me and made me watch the game even when I was more concerned with the cute boys sitting behind us. I remember when he was here for the Holidays he was always the first to encourage us kids to open presents or sing the christmas carols. I know I am probably rambling and for this I apologize.

My Uncle Tobys passion of serial killers was something he was always open with me about. He would explain books to me all while making sure not to scare me to bad afterall he didnt want to get my parents mad. Because of him I do have a slight fascination of serial killers and what makes them tick. I have played his board game only once. A truly different experience as we played it on Christmas Eve.

I miss him greatly and I wish that I truly could have enjoyed him as an adult. My thoughts wonder to him at the strangest times. When I see a book or hear a band or seeing art I think he would enjoy.

Thank you for Writing about him He will always be missed.

Toby's niece Nicole

desert mermaid said...

January 2012. I'm sorry it has taken me so long to find this blog, but I'm so glad I did. I've been caught up in my own personal whirlwind of life. It's nice to see you all sharing your memories of Toby.

Toby was an old friend of mine in Seattle. He was unique, talented, exasperating, loving and beautiful. I am a proud owner of one of his original board games. I consider it a brilliant commentary on our messed up society.

It's taking me some time to come to terms with his death. Looking forward to seeing more posts about him as they trickle in. He should always be remembered. I think he'd like to be famous, even posthumously.

Betsy Dowling

Sami said...

I often return to this post when I am thinking about Toby and looking for insight. I drive past lake Washington and the beach on a twice weekly basis. At times I wander down to just think about him and try to remember everything I loved about him. I think what I loved most about my uncle was that he cared about his family. He would spend time thinking about gifts or interesting facts and information for us. When I saw him he always had something to say or show me that he sought out simply because he knew it interested me. My favorite thing was one year he gave me a squeaky nun for Christmas. I am strong in my faith and Toby knew that so he gave me this in humor. That nun still sits on a shelf in my room. Even in his death Toby taught me. He brought our family even closed together. I still wonder why but mostly I just thank him for the time that we had.
Thank you for this post. Like my sister Nicole this helped bring some insight on a side of my uncle I did not get to see. Rip Toby you are missed

SeaKath said...

I went to grade school and junior high with Toby and he was just a really nice guy. He had the same attitude and style you describe in the older Toby. He and his friend Frank used to entertain the class on rainy day recess (was the Seattle area of course) and Frank would stand in front and take his arms out of his sweater and Toby would stand behind and put his through. Then Frank would tell a story and Toby would act out the motions with his arms. We used to love it, some of the best stand up I've seen, and this from junior high kids. I was thinking of him and went to look him up and found out that he was gone and was sad. I went to visit the park on Lake Washington the last time I was in Seattle. I like to remember him as the funny kid in junior high with his buddy Frank and their , "we just swallowed the canary" grins when they were telling their stories.

Sonja Riley said...

I was reflecting back with my old friend from NOLA and we got to talking about Toby. We googled his name andfound this article. I was roommates with Tobias in the house on St Charles. We called it "The peanut butter princess house". It was a house of all girls for a long time but when my girlfriends moved out Toby and a couple guys from my band moved in. That house in the pic is not the house Tobias lived in with me, our address was 1500..something? We had some good times there. It was a great time to live in New Orleans. Ill never forget Tobys "Death Row Art Show" and the time I answered the phone and Gacy was on the other line calling for Toby!!
I am so sorry to hear about the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his passing. I will always cherish the memories I have of Tobias and the time we spent together in the mansion. The stories he told are still clear in my mind and I am so grateful for that.

Thank you for writing this, I really appreciated finding it. Sonja Riley

Sonja Riley said...

On further inspection, that might be the house. The photos Im looking at have a house next door...I have a bunch of photos from that time if anyone is interested x

James Powers said...

It would be really Really REALLY Cool if someone had a copy of the movie and a few of his friends made called Nick-o-teen

Alaskatux said...

Continuing this for historical reference...Johnny died in 2012. They were quite the pair he and Toby.

Toby really was the real deal, exquistely weird and authentic. He burned bright while he was here.

Tasha Bardwell said...

I still miss you Toby. I wish you could have while seen these posts while you were still alive. I love you, you wonderful and insightful weirdo. God Speed. They played most of your songs but they forgot your favorite. The one you requested, and I couldn't help...Because I couldn't remember the damn name of it. Its that Smuckers lemonade tea time song...shit. Ive been trying to figure out the name of that song for 8 years now. It's easy to remember the year you died; my son had just been born. I wish you had just come out to stay with me. Malcolm could have driven you for a visit at least. I still feel unresolved about my self-absorbtion that year and the year before. I am so sorry I wasn't a good enough friend. Or even a friend at all. You would have been so suprised at how many people loved you...you were so damn silly!! How come you couldn't see it? And look at all of the mourning women! ahh...Godspeed my friend. Good luck next time.

Tasha Bardwell said...

Also...pretty sure Malcolm Woosley has a selection of those old Flybreeders movies. (Like Nick a Teen). Look him up.