A few years ago, I became obsessed with the Beats. I loved the fact that, in one of Americas most conservative decades, this tribe of folk ate glass, drank wine, got naked and, more importantly, documented it. I loved Kerouac, particularly: I loved his sadness and his joy. I loved Ginsberg too, in spite of the fact that much of his poetry made me feel uncomfortable and some of it was, quite simply, unreadable.
Burroughs, however, was more difficult: he is a hard man to love. I think it was Kerouac who called him reptilian, a description that couldn’t be more apt. I tried to read Naked Lunch on several occasions, and to tell you the truth, I am not sure if I ever did get all the way through it. I did read his biography (written by the wonderful Barry Miles) however, and found that to be much more entertaining.
I think that if I ever really throw myself into Burroughs work, he is gonna have to read it to me. He has a wonderful, cold voice; it is a voice that nightmares are made of. I found this video today, which captures the voice and captures the people as well, several years after the beat generation ended. Hope you enjoy.