Author Topic: Beat Generation [split topic]  (Read 4320 times)

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Beat Generation [split topic]
« on: March 02, 2020, 05:32:43 PM »
I’m a couple of chapters into Barry Miles’ biography of Allen Ginsberg.  I wanted something big and long and good (oo-er) and it certainly is that. 

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 05:41:35 PM »
I am also doing a biography, but mine's about the early years of Van Halen so is significantly less long than yours. But Van Halen are much better than Allen Ginsberg, so I'll take it.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2020, 05:58:16 PM »
I'm not having that, it's like saying cheese on toast is better than Radio 4 - you need both in your life.  (But I admit Ginsberg's cover of Little Dreamer was a bit shit.)

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2020, 07:33:47 PM »
I'm not having that, it's like saying cheese on toast is better than Radio 4 - you need both in your life.  (But I admit Ginsberg's cover of Little Dreamer was a bit shit.)
I'm sure Ginsberg would have approved of the sentiment of "Hot For Teacher", too. But you're right, of course.

Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 06:11:15 PM »
I'm going to try On the Road again and see if I can tolerate the shitty way Kerouac writes about women. If I keep wanting to punch him I'll have to put it away for another five years.

kalowski

  • Maclunkey
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2020, 06:27:44 PM »
I'm sure Ginsberg would have approved of the sentiment of "Hot For Teacher", too. But you're right, of course.
"Hot for Pupil" more like.

ToneLa

  • New Jack City
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2020, 08:52:23 AM »
I like the idea of the Beats far more than I've ever liked their output.

By far the most interesting part for me is Neal Cassady (Kerouac certainly seemed to think so) - him cropping up with the Merry Pranksters (as described in the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) is surreal really. He is such a dynamo, but there's a sad element of him being a "dancing bear" being an instrument of pills (the Pranksters seemed to almost be spiking him, though I doubt he needed much encouragement) and living the gimmick... as well as a shit dad who everyone tries to dress up as "not cut out for the square mould" (vs just grow up mate). It's... interesting

I'd rather read Cassady's letters than another attempted slog through the comparatively square On the Road - a book I feel doesn't fucking move.

Ginsberg's better, output wise. "Howl", mainly.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 10:00:54 AM »
According to Miles, within a week of their first meeting, Burroughs was already telling Kerouac to move out of him Mum's and cut the apron strings.

Personally I find the whole thing endlessly fascinating, more so as I get older.

timebug

  • Father of Serge
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2020, 09:25:23 AM »
Tried 'On The Road' when I was a teen and all my trendy buds said it was great. hated it and couldn't get past the first twenty pages or so. Tried to revisit it a couple of times over the intervening period; still no go. Load of toss I.M.O and there are far beter books I need to get to!

Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2020, 11:00:26 AM »
At this point I've heard more criticism than praise of On the Road.  Consequence of not being timeless, maybe.

Must revisit Ginsberg.  Kaddish is incredible.

Is 'And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks' worth a go? 

ToneLa

  • New Jack City
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2020, 11:07:32 AM »
The negro streets eh lads.

Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2020, 07:32:53 PM »
Never really vibed with Kerouac but Ginsberg and Burroughs wrote some amazing stuff. Howl and Naked Lunch made a huge impression on me when I read them as a teenager and ten years on parts of them still blow me away.

kalowski

  • Maclunkey
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2020, 08:54:23 PM »
I read On the Road when I was about 20, smoked a load of dope and wrote a poem called "In the Green Tea Room".

Wish I still had that notepad, would love to read whatever nonsense I wrote.

Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2020, 11:26:05 PM »
I think I, like a lot of people, prefer the beats in theory rather than in practice. They really remind me of that time in your mid to late teens when you start to discover stuff for yourself (or copy stuff that artists you like speak about). Loved the idea (i even used to buy Beat Scene magazine!) but the books are generally a bit shit. Not sure who is and isn't actually Beat, I did like Bukowski, Brautigan and Fante but Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg left me cold.

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2020, 05:06:42 PM »
I'm going to try On the Road again and see if I can tolerate the shitty way Kerouac writes about women. If I keep wanting to punch him I'll have to put it away for another five years.

You could try something like ‘Maggie Cassidy’ instead which is a very tender, almost romantic book or even some of his poetry. 

Personally I’m not really bothered by the mistreatment of women in his books because he’s just writing what happened.  Having said that ‘Visions of Cody’ is a bit much where he expands on his own conflicting urges.  But then again, ‘Visions of Cody’ was arguably maybe never really meant to be read so it’s a tricky one.

Sin Agog

  • Dogs fucked the pope; no fault of mine
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2020, 12:37:44 PM »
Please to be recommending Ed Sanders in The Fugs writings of 'Tales of Beatnik Glory'.    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50386.Tales_of_Beatnik_Glory

Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2020, 11:10:28 PM »
I’m a couple of chapters into Barry Miles’ biography of Allen Ginsberg.  I wanted something big and long and good (oo-er) and it certainly is that.

Great book.  Barry Miles is very good at presenting links between people and events without slipping into mindless sycophancy.  Top anecdotes as well like the time Ginsberg was being mugged in New York so he started chanting to try and calm the muggers down.  One of them turned to him and said “look we only want to rob you but if you don’t shut the fuck up I’m going to kill you”. 

I’d recommend it if you’re REALLY into this sort of thing but if it’s more of a passing interest ‘Screaming with Joy’ is a nice short overview.

Or, if you only have eight minutes then this is a really good listen, an extraordinary opportunity to spend time with poet Allen Ginsberg, as he explains Jack Kerouac’s theory of writing.  Be sure to skip in to 1.11, the woman introducing the clip has the most irritating voice I’ve heard for years. 

Nice how all the Beat lot loved cats:







Captain Crunch

  • Twister, Dustbuster, Hospital Bed
Re: Beat Generation [split topic]
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2021, 10:23:20 AM »
Couple of new things:

The Joan Anderson letter was published last year.  Horrible cover and I think ‘holy grail’ is a bit much but should be interesting:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joan-Anderson-Letter-Neal-Cassady/dp/1913606333/ref=sr_1_1?crid=37GCDBTA4DQ6X&dchild=1&keywords=joan+anderson+letter&qid=1613125132&sprefix=JOAN+ANDERSON%2Caps%2C302&sr=8-1

And a new Ginsberg tribute album featuring Thurston Moore and Yo La Tengo:

https://allenginsberg.bandcamp.com/album/allen-ginsberg-s-the-fall-of-america-a-50th-anniversary-musical-tribute

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