I heard recently that a friend of a friend, owner of a cassette recording of Allen Ginsberg reading from 1964, had converted the recording and uploaded it to YouTube. The recording is below, cut into four sections. It was recorded at Better Books in London. Included are the following poems, along with some fascinating/humorous commentary from Ginsberg. Continue Reading…
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Looking at the world around us through Beat eyes
A couple of days ago, Michael Stipe took the stage to introduce a night of celebrations of the life of Kurt Cobain and the music of his band, which arguably was a 1990s updated upon the Beat Generation, and gave a beautiful speech, dedicated “for the fags; for the fat girls; for the broken toys; the shy nerds; the Goth kids from Tennessee and Kentucky; for the rockers and the awkward; for the fed-up; the too-smart kids and the bullied.”
He went on to say, “We were a community, a generation… in the echo chamber of that collective howl, and Allen Ginsberg would have been very proud.”
Indeed, Ginsberg would’ve been very proud. Nirvana came about, as Stipe said, at a time when people lost within a harsh society were in need of a voice. Where Ginsberg gave his voice to the millions in the fifties and sixties, Nirvana lent theirs to disaffected kids (and adults) in the nineties.
It seems sometimes silly to speculate upon what the dead would think of the living, but in this case it’s hard to imagine a man with a heart like Ginsberg’s not empathizing with today’s downtrodden.
The whole speech is worth listening to, but if you can’t be fucked, skip to 5:26.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of William S. Burroughs, Barry Miles – a friend of the late, great American author – has put together the definitive biography of the man’s life. In this video John Tytell, author of Naked Angels, one of the first books about the Beats, talks to Miles.
In the seventies and eighties, William S. Burroughs began to tour America doing public readings. These were, to him, performances. He spent a long time preparing for them, and talked at length on subjects close to his heart. He also read from his books, and answered questions from enthusiastic fans. Some of his performances were recorded by the good people at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and this one was put on YouTube:
Another Huncke video! And why not. The man is a delight to listen to. Thanks to Laki Vazakas for the link.