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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:01 pm
by Ted
Charlie wrote:There was a powerful novel by a Scottish junkie, Cain's Book - I think the writer's name was Alexander Trocchi - which I did manage to finish, despite feeling uncomfortable most of the time.


I couldn't get started with that one - its been sat on my shelf for about 25 years. Wasn't there a film with Ewan Mcgregor of one of his stories?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:04 pm
by Ted
Adam Blake wrote:Only if you have money and a regular supply of clean heroin.


Maybe. But the purest alcohol in the world would still have killed Kerouac at 47.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:07 pm
by Papa M
Charlie wrote:I tried reading On The Road when it was the thing to do, and probably never admitted to anybody that I never managed to finish it.


I re-read On The Road every few years. I read it again last year and still found it an easy and thrilling ride.

I've read plenty of other Beat books that are pretentious and inpenetrable.

I think you should give it another go.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:12 pm
by matt m
I don’t have much time for the William Burroughs of Junkie and Naked Lunch. While they both have some extraordinary moments, I think they’re quite callow. It’s when Burroughs's fully fledged cut’n’paste/collage technique properly kicks in that his writing becomes the protoplasmic modernist experiment it’s celebrated for.

So for me, it’s The Soft Machine, The Ticket That Exploded and Nova Express that cut it among his books. Prose that’s experimental in the literal sense – trying out different things with and upon language.

Why I asked the “sinister influenceâ€

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:05 pm
by Hugh Weldon
matt m wrote:

[quote]But there’s a whole other thread in that “the-art-they-made-versus the-life-they-ledâ€

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:34 pm
by Adam Blake
Hugh Weldon wrote: Would we be proud to let people know we had Burroughs shooting up in our kitchen or a drunken Kerouac sleeping it off on the couch?


I like to think that Oscar Wilde would turn up on your doorstep at about 11:30 just when you were going to bed because you had work in the morning. He'd drink all your booze, smoke all your fags and borrow a tenner off you before wandering off at about 5am. But you wouldn't mind...

Jim Morrison, on the other hand, trying a similar trick...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:38 pm
by Papa M
Hugh Weldon wrote:I knew a guy once who proudly told me how he had Butch Hancock drinking tea in his kitchen the previous week. Would we be proud to let people know we had Burroughs shooting up in our kitchen or a drunken Kerouac sleeping it off on the couch?


I had Townes Van Zandt steadily get drunk on my couch once. I'm not proud about it but I'm happy to be able to say he was here.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:41 pm
by Adam Blake
Ari Up for afternoon tea nearly got me evicted! (should this be in the gratuitous name dropping thread?)

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:52 pm
by garth cartwright
Papa M - how did u have the late great TVZ on your sofa? I interviewed him in NZ in the 80s, he was sober and not much fun. He like Burroughs came from a wealthy family and seemed determined to live a very self destructive life. But some fine songs. Ari Up Adam? Is she still a very cool Rasta girl?

Charlie, as with Saban's last album u should reattempt On The Road - one of the GREAT novels of the 20th C. Yes, Kerouac became a very miserable character and never matched that book again but the beauty of the writing, whether in describing friendship or travel or landscape or music or US cities - I have used it as a travel guide for my recent US expeditions and believe it stands as a masterpiece.

It was Jack K who named both The Naked Lunch and Howl (I think i'm right on this one) - he was extremely talented as a young man then let his insecurities take over and became a nasty drunk. Burroughs I tend to avoid tho he had a certain creepy way with words. Ginsberg - wonderful man and poet. Miller - Tropic Of Cancer is as great as Orwell says Adam; try again.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:03 pm
by Papa M
garth cartwright wrote:Papa M - how did u have the late great TVZ on your sofa?


We used to sometimes do hospitality at my place when we put events on in Brighton. My favourite American guests at home were Terry Allen with BJ Cole, and Flaco Jimenez & his band.
Terry is one of the most interesting and charming musicians I've ever met.
Flaco drinks beer!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:08 pm
by Adam Blake
garth cartwright wrote: Ari Up Adam? Is she still a very cool Rasta girl?.


Hah! She's a bleedin' nut case! By far the loudest person I have ever met. If very cool Rasta girls can be Bavarian nut jobs then, yes, she is.

As for Miller - yes, I can see why George liked him so much. But George was an expert in literature and, as he put it, "able to deal with uncomfortable truths". He liked things like Miller's description of having sex with a woman when you desperately want to pee because it was truthful and because no-one had ever written like that before. But Miller's uncomfortable truths read too much like pornographic misogyny to me, and I don't care enough about the scene he's describing to put up with it.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 4:56 pm
by Ted
matt m wrote: his writing becomes the protoplasmic modernist experiment it’s celebrated for.


Brilliant.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:07 pm
by Hugh Weldon
Protoplasmic?

Sounds clever, but it's just the stuff cells are made of, innit?

Hemingway said to be a good writer you needed a built-in bullshit detector.

I suspect Burroughs was more of a bullshit-disseminator, but I'll take another look.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:17 pm
by Ted
Hugh Weldon wrote:Burroughs .


Its more of a problem with the avant garde than with Burroughs isn't it? Giving up on sentences, tunes and recognisable images has diminishing returns I reckon - the first time anyone pulls it off, it's genius. But who needs more than one cut-up Burroughs book? One Evan Parker record? Visual art I'm not so sure about...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:19 pm
by Adam Blake
"Avant garde is French for bullshit" - credited to John Lennon (before he met Yoko Ono)