Archives For October 2017

Beat Generation and How They Defined the Pop Culture in the Years to Come

The Beat Generation was born out of protest against conformism and amid desperate searches for meaning and purpose. There are, perhaps, few other literary and culture movements that had as much ambiguity surrounding them. Jail time, nomad lifestyle, drugs, obscenity charges, and psychiatric institutions – all of those were indispensable parts of the cult. And yet, the Beat Generation had a significant impact on a whole number of aspects of life in the times when it was born, as well as in the years to come. It transformed the view of art, music, and literature and sent them into directions they wouldn’t have gone on their own. Their legacy is still alive and plays a significant role in the art development of today. Continue Reading…

Cool Cats: Beat Poets and their Feline Friends

For some reason, if you look back through literary history, it seems most great authors had a fondness for cats. Purrrhaps* that’s because being a writer often requires a rather cat-like existence… but more likely it’s just a case of confirmation bias. The internet loves cats, therefore there will be enough photos of authors and cats circulating online to convince us that cats are somehow muses to the greats of literature. But whichever of those options is true, certainly enough of our great writers have had close relationships with felines to make it seem as though cat-ownership is somehow a pre-requisite for literary brilliance. Continue Reading…

Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

In Off the Road and Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Mickey Harper explores the influence of the Beat Generation on the American counterculture during the period 1956-1973. He explores the rise and fall of various countercultural movements through an exploration of literature from this period. The three central texts he explores are Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971). Continue Reading…

Who Owns the Dropper Owns the Fix: Out to Lunch with William Burroughs

It was summer 91, I think, when sharing a joint on a brick fire escape after a night of acid-tapped cartoon lunacy, my friend Steve exhaled smoke into the Manchester morning and casually asked if I’d heard of a writer called William Burroughs. I hadn’t, but that moment was my first gleaming of what was to become a deep, unremitting love for the man J.G. Ballard called ‘True genius and first mythographer of the mid-twentieth century’. Steve passed the joint and disappeared indoors – momentarily leaving me staring, rabbit-eyed, into the headlights of reality – before returning with a tatty, yellowing paperback. ‘Read this,’ he said, thrusting the well-thumbed pages at me. ‘You’ll love it.’ Continue Reading…