Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jean Genet Is Dead

The Spanish Cemetery, Larache, Morocco

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bloomsday Comes But Once A Year

Bloom with careful hand clutched his flower.
Smell the almost no smell. Language of. Yes. We are here to read. Sweets of sin, old sweet song.
Sighing, he peered out into the gathering dusk.
I am a. I am a.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Ancient history, this - but one minute ago is history and yesterday a thousand years gone.
The Democratic Convention, Chicago, 1968 - significant both for the brutality with which Mayor Daley's police force/stormtroopers and the National Guard attacked the assembled ranks of civil rights campaigners and peaceniks gathered to protest and for the attention concentrated on these events by the media ( not least of which because of the indiscriminate beatings handed out to a large number of journalists and reporters).

An interesting enough series of events in and of themselves (many echoes of today, how we got here, what happened along the way), but where my obsessions really come into play is the decision of the editors of Esquire magazine to employ three certain individuals to cover the convention - namely, get this for a rum old crew, Jean Genet, William S. Burroughs and Terry Southern. Add to this the presence in Chicago of Allen Ginsberg leading a carnival of freaks (distributing acid-spiked honey to the crowd a speciality) and you have a recipe for real chaos. Ginsberg chanting his "Om" and handing out flowers to the police, Burroughs walking around recording ambient sound in order to make a series of tape cut-ups and bring about a profound disruption in the Convention process itself, Genet pugnacious and alert, Southern turning a cynical eye on all around him.
"I can't wait for this city to rot" opined Genet, "I can't wait to see weeds growing through empty streets."

Genet, Burroughs and Ginsberg man the barricades

The legend of Genet ... in the U.S. illegally, he wound up the hippies by expressing his sexual attraction to the jackbooted, helmeted riot police; at least twice he stared down a cop about to billy club him. At one point, he later recounted, on the hoof from the police violence in Lincoln Park he ran into an apartment block and rang a doorbell at random - to be greeted by a young man in the middle of writing a dissertation ... on the ouvre of one Jean Genet. Or a beautiful young black woman, depending on how the mood took him.
Genet later said of the police (speaking from a considerable experience of police behaviour, as Burroughs pointed out) that he'd never seen such expressions of blood lust on human faces.

Burroughs and Genet - neither capable of joining movements, neither in favour of a policy of non-violence - their intervention in any debate a very poisoned chalice. If the young people, Genet would later tell Burroughs, ever achieved their aims he would no longer be with them.

Reality TV

Burroughs, Genet and Ginsberg together - my heart lifts when I see these photos ... three such valiant old buggers - each off on a frolic of his own.

Southern and Burroughs

Two Sgt. Pepper's cover stars ... I always used to say, buy the album, keep the sleeve, throw away the record.

Genet and Ginsberg had two very different conceptions of flower power

Thursday, June 07, 2007


Boyishly sexy 45.
Did somebody call the doctor?
Your fantasy is my business.
Always horny and ready to schlupp.
Willing to travel.

Horny 55.
Bubblebaths and immaculate body service.
Very well equipped.
Eager to please.
My place or yours.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Signed W.B.

I've always had a soft spot for Wilfred Bramble - his elegant performances in the great Steptoe and Son are matched only by his iconic and extremely moving appearance in Terence Davies' majestic Death and Transfiguration, playing an aging gay Catholic facing death.
For me, also, there is the added frisson of a marked resemblance to William S. Burroughs - which is always something guaranteed to snare my attention and fire my imagination. Whenever I see a photo of the Steptoes I reimagine it as an image of Burroughs and fellow Beats putting themselves about, on and off the road. Two down-at-heel totters from Shepherd's Bush are magically transmuted into low-life adventurers in Tangiers or Mexico, or speeding along the highways of the America of their dreams.

William S. Burroughs showing Jack Kerouac the biggest load of horse he ever did see

Albert Steptoe on the lookout for junk

William S. Burroughs facing down the critics

Steptoe and Son ... purveyors of fine old tot

Burroughs explaining to a distraught Kerouac that the Naked Lunch ms will have to be retyped

There are a few beguiling points of intersection between Burroughs and Bramble - the facial congruity, the air of the dignified aging queer going gently to seed, the shabby gentility, the sense of a gay identity formed before Stonewall and Gay Lib, even the brief intersection with one Paul McCartney and The Beatles (Bramble as Macca's grandad in A Hard Day's Night (what on earth did he make of Beatlemania?), Burroughs featuring as a Sgt. Pepper's cover star and being loaned the use of a recording studio by the aforementioned Macca). Both occupied an odd and incongruous position in the "swinging Sixties". What a funny old world it is.