Monday, February 05, 2007

Chemical Gardens In Rusty Shit People

It's all go this time of year ... no sooner has one (just about) recovered from the Joycean Saturnalia and, what do you know, it's time to strap it on and celebrate the birthday of William S. Burroughs.




... Wild Bill Burroughs ... what did Ballard call him , the hit man of the apocalypse? Amid the sex and violence, amid the hard-core cut-ups and fold-ins, amid the hipster and narcotic vernacular, there is a wonderfully nostalgic, elegiac strain in Burroughs (for all that you have to wade through pages of green lizard boys from Venus getting fucked while being hanged to savour it) ... the more interesting for being found in the work of a man who, to the casual observer, may be deemed to have left his human side behind. Few seem to realise how moving his writing can be.
Renegade from a background of money and privilege, self-described queer and junky, noted wife-killer, eminence grise to the counter culture for some five decades, life-long adversary of the Ugly Spirit ... the public mask existed quite apart from the serious and dedicated writer ... the greatest master of the Word since Joyce, the man who made literature come alive again.

9 Comments:

Blogger El Duderino said...

Hail to the priest! I picked up a copy of 'Wild Boys' in the local library when I was about 10, cos it looked like SF from what I read on the back. I've been shooting smack and buggering children ever since.

1:43 AM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

It's the Burroughs affect ... it's been working for centuries ... to paraphrase Roy Kinnear.
Yes, I got into Burroughs through SF ... particularly Ballard's championing of him ... cost me a fortune in KY.

7:20 AM  
Blogger kek-w said...

Similar story, I'm afraid...like Lurch, I prob. picked up a copy of "Wild Boys" in Bonus Books, Yeovil. "Exterminator" knocked my socks off when I was about 16/17; set me on a strange trajectory that ended up w/ me starting to write myself. It was almost inevitable, really.

11:37 PM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

I remember buying the old Panther paperback of Nova Express in Dark They Were And Golden Eyed, that and a book about Captain Beefheart ... I walked out feeling 10 feet tall.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Dr Anthony Donovan said...

Not easy lifestyle choices to pull off, I should think, El D; especially in tandem.

10 feet tall, Anthony - I know that leaving-a-bookshop-feeling. Nicely put.

10:46 AM  
Blogger El Duderino said...

'Dark They Were' is going back a bit. There was intelligent life before Forbidden Planet.

Has any other writer used the word 'jism' as often as Burroughs?

3:14 PM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

Dark They Were ... I loved that shop, and Compendium in Camden ... both sadly now gone.

Ha ha ... Burroughs and his jism fixation ... in more ways than one.

3:47 PM  
Blogger kek-w said...

Dark They Were and Golden Eyed....worra shop!

...now yer talkin'!

9:32 PM  
Blogger St Anthony said...

Dark They Were ... it was heady stuff to venture within when I was a whippersnapper.

7:21 AM  

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