Gone, finished, closed, shut forever. Though less well known than CBGB, Webster Hall, The Palladium, the Continental, it gave birth to much LES culture. Over the last few years, the Pyramid Club struggled to stay alive. Then came the Covid-19 death grip.
UPDATED: To get the drift of “Aufzeichnungen über Aussenseiter” by Carl Weissner, I’ve been typing pieces of text into google translate. It’s a helluva time-consuming job, as if re-setting type you understand. Matthias Penzel, who edited the collection and wrote an afterword, tells me I should have better things to do with my time. But it’s more than worth the effort.
UPDATED // To rate collectors by the use they make of their collections rather than simply by completeness, or by the rarity and excellence of individual items, makes great sense. Jed Birmingham’s new series about collectors of Burroughsiana is essential reading for anyone interested in the usefulness of collecting books of any kind, not just those by Williams Burroughs.
When a book begins like this, notice must be taken: “I woke up, New Year’s Day 1970, in a straitjacket. I had no memory, of anything, at least not at first. I was in an asylum on Long Island after taking an overdose of some pills a shrink gave me. Slowly awareness arose. … I asked to have the jacket removed and they did. Bit by bit memories came back. I could recall details of my childhood. I remembered I’d married Cathy, my girlfriend, months ago when she turned eighteen … In a few days I felt normal.”
In all the press coverage I have seen of Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Meghan and Harry, it has been treated as a tale of personal tragedy, a terrible racist family squabble, for the British royals — but not one mention of the larger tragedy at the heart of Heathcote Williams’s “Royal Babylon,” namely the immense damage caused by the monarchy’s greedy, rapacious treatment of peoples and nations the worldover.
One by yours truly, “Your Obituary Is Waiting.” It’s a collection of “deformed sonnets,” with German translations by Gregor Pott and “flypaper collages” by Norman Ogue Mustill as counterpoint. The book design by Robert Schalinski, the paper, and the print quality are to die for, no pun. The other is “The Return” by William Cody Maher, also bilingual, with German translations by Walter Hartmann and photos by Signe Mähler, designed by Ralph Gabriel. And again the quality of the production is stunning. Furthermore, in a joint production, Moloko and Sea Urchin Editions have released “The Ex-Terr Poems” by Ed Sanders with his drawings, in an English-only edition, designed by Anneke Auer. I haven’t seen the book itself but I would bet the quality of the artifact matches the others.
Some would call it visibility. If you’re talking books, how about millions upon millions of Youtube views for a reading from Supervert’s ‘Necrophilia Variations.’ A dozen years ago when that video had two million views, I called it “viral reading.” Three years later, on Dec. 30, 2015, the video had 18.6 million views. Today it has some 28 million views. So what has this meant for selling the book?
William S. Burroughs was not a Buddhist: he never sought or found a “Teacher,” he never took Refuge, and he never undertook any Bodhisattva vows nor—for that matter—did he ever declare himself a follower of any one faith or practice.. He did not consider himself a Buddhist. But he did have an awareness of the essentials of Buddhism, and in his own way, he was affected by bodhidharma.
VACCINE: It’s not a matter / of knowing we will end— / though it’s no fun, / that is not the matter— / everything will end. / The matter is, / there’s no cure for that. / When death is deleted / by coding—digital, / genetical, biochemical— / whatever combination / it takes—something else / will provoke us. Freud / thought it perpetual.