WTM #1041: Hipness is a Crutch, What’s the Disease


bart-jkwReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies 
15 December 2008 // 17.00-19.00
“As I grew older I became a drunk. Why? Because I like ecstasy of the mind. 
• Jack Kerouac [the ending quote to my novel Beer Mystic]
Talatta (Uit het Sienjaal) > Spinvis vs Simon Vinkenoog [1]
Death & Resurrection in the King’s Chamber > Scarab [2]
Thanksgiving Prayer > William Burroughs [3]
Last Pages of “On The Road” > Jack Kerouac [4]
Purple Heart > Charles Mingus [5]
American Haikus (exc) > Jack Kerouac & Zoot Sims & Al Cohn [6]
Nightwalker > Trentmoller [7]
Night & Day > Red Norvo [5]
Chasm > The Adderley Brothers [5]
Moan > Trentmoller [7]
The Beat Generation > Jack Kerouac [8]
Fantasy: The Early History Bop (section 1-5) > Jack Kerouac [8]
Slim’s Jam > Slim Gaillard [8]
Stoney Street > Amon Tobin [9]
Fantasy: The Early History Bop (section 2-5) > Jack Kerouac [8]
Subconscious-Lee > Lee Konitz [8]
Blues & Haikus > Jack Kerouac & Zoot Sims & Al Cohn [10]
Manteca > Dizzy Gillespie vs Lowlives [11]
Oh, Baby > Jack Kerouac [10]
From On the Road > Jack Kerouac [12]
Day by Day > Jack Kerouac
Jack & Neal > Tom Waits [13]
October in the Railroad Earth > Jack Kerouac [10]
Paris > Cujo [9]
Jack Kerouac interviewed by Ben Hecht [14]
Bowery Blues > Jack Kerouac [10]
Gregorian Chant > Charles Mingus [5]
I Had a Slouch Hat Too One Time > Jack Kerouac [10]
Charlie’s Mood > Charlie Parker [5]
On the Road Blues > Jack Kerouac
Yasawas > Amon Tobin [9]
3 Stooges in Times Square > Jack Kerouac
images-1” I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.”
• Jack Kerouac
[1] Ja!, Excelsior, 2006, The astoundingly durable Dutch Beatnik heretic and wise old buffoon here works with a big [Dutch] recording star.
[2] Crooklyn Dub Outernational Presents Certified Dope, Vol. 3, WordSound, 1999. Very dark, dreary, end-of-the-world dense dub that is the perfect soundtrack to Brooklyn after dark as you wander away from your distractive busynesss or the gay-lit restaurant, inside a bar or elsewhere, where you might have sought companionship but as soon as you walk outside in late-night Brooklyn you are assaulted by this overwhelming feeling of dread, that the buildings will collapse or that they will disappear over night or that being lost and finding your way differ by only a hair. This is the soundtrack for that feeling. Those butterflies in your stomach have balled together to die in the pit there.
[3] This is pure lucid rancor of the first poetic order as he turns the hypocrisy of straight white American society on its head. Like Miles Davis & Bob Dorough’s perfect antidote to the empty sanctimonious desperately seeking ritual to stave off the fact that it is all kind of vapid and senseless and we don’t even realize that this is why the kids begin to resent us because we prefer to play these games of hide and don’t seek. Lying in lieu of a better strategy. The poem deserves to be printed in its entirety
Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
American guts.
Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison. Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and danger.
Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot. Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.
Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.
Thanks for the KKK.
For nigger-killin’ lawmen,
feelin’ their notches.
For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces. Thanks for “Kill a Queer for
Christ” stickers.
Thanks for laboratory AIDS.
Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.
Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind the
own business.
Thanks for a nation of finks.
Yes, thanks for all the
memories– all right let’s see
your arms!
You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.
Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.
[4] Totally on the other end of the spectrum but nonetheless tasting the same existential despair in a romantically more entwined hopelessness than the proactive despair that Burroughs converted into venom and that did Kerouac in. Yes, I used Kerouac as a style and attitude template through the later 1970s and still find it thrilling to read his best works but even with him the real thing is kind of relative to how much you believe the hype.
[5] Jazz Groups, Brilliant Jazz, 2006.
[6] Poetry on Record, Shout Factory, 2006.
[7] Last Resort, Poker Flat, 2006.
[8] Jazz of the Beat Generation, Jazzfm, 2003.
[9] AKA Cujo, Super dynamically talented jazz cruncher in an easy beats manner. Saw him at the Northsea Jazz Festival several years back in one of the smaller tents. He was truly mashing up styles, jazz, and all sorts of mis/preconceptions about how jazz should sound and thus he was not popular with the international crowd of jazz lovers.
[10] Bought this on cassette in the early 1980s while walking around with VH in leopard high heels I think on Spring Street and there was always this guy hawking all of this great rare bootleg beatnik and jazz stuff and I forked over $10 or so at the time for 2 cassettes and it was a worthy purchase.
[11] Orange Presents The Best of Verve Remixed, Verve/Universal, 2005.
[12] This I got off Youtube.
[13] the nurse was dumpin out her purse lookin for an envelope and / jack was out of cigarettes we crossed the yellow line / the gas pumps looked like tombstones from here / felt lonelier than a parking lot when the last car pulls away / and the moonlight dressed the double breasted foothills in the mirror weaving outa negligee and a black brassiere / the mercury was runnin hot and almost out of gas / just then florence nightingale dropped her drawers / and
stuck her fat ass half way out of the window with a wilson pickett tune / and shouted get a load of this and gave the finger to the moon / countin one eyed jacks and whistling dixie in the car / neal was doin least a hundred when we saw a fallin star…
[14] From Youtube. Something you don’t want to see if you don’t want heroes deflated by their own sad performance. It was not even meant to be a performance. Hecht even led with patronizingly simple questions, which JK couldn’t field in any hip, casual, or even vaguely intelligent manner.
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”
• Jack Kerouac
This was in honor of one of those characters who molded me in my fandemonium and rapacious reading of his oeuvre. JK died 21 October 1969 – thus a little back but needed a unifying focus for today’s show – of whatever physical ailments we can all Google. But what he died of was despair, an angst amplified by his inability to conquer his crumbling myth and instead fell victim to his fiction. Death by writing.
I remember in late high school and early college pilfering copies of Big Sur and Subterraneans and Desolation Angels and On the Road in a crazed focused intimacy. I remember how impressive Dr. Sax was when I had a bout of measles and huge fevers which led to madcapped reading and insanely long sessions of writing beyond Sax into a new mythology. And then being mystified by the resulting poem to such an extent that I did not recognize it as my own. I remember cabbying and poetry readings in Ann Arbor and seeing Tom Waits and how the lifestyle, the falling for every pretty face and every femalely come on and living and writing in my cab, handing out poems to my fares and early attempts at eliminating sleep from my schedule. I remember going with VH as part of a post-honeymoon trip camping up in the Adirondacks and then heading to Lowell Spring 1983 where we did not know where JK was buried and so went to the local university and the English dept. And asked an English professor where I might find his grave. He had no idea he was buried here in this little gray town of sad-roofed houses. We found the cemetery and then found a caretaker who led us to the modest plot. I had VH who was dressed in her vintage punk gear even though we were camping and roughing it. We felt we were part of something else right where the seam gets sown between beat and punk but boy were we kidding ourselves.
In the photo I am wearing junk store recycles, a coat that was much the object of speculation at parties: was it a choir jacket or some Civil War jacket or… The sneakers were from this amazing Asbury Park discount store where they had like 10,000 square feet of space for a store full of old shoes and Converse hi-tops for $10. Over a period of 2 years I bought 6 pairs all in different colors. At that time it was important to show how unimportant firsthand status clothes were by insisting on the stylistic hegemony of mix-n-match junk. How important our selves were stitched to our looks and how we projected and defended those looks. IN 1983 NJ that was difficult to dangerous. Being spat upon, having objects, cans and profanity thrown at us from passing cars.
It was a cold blustery day in 1983 early spring Lowell. Lowell was as drab as Rimbaud’s Charlesville and you see the oppressiveness of one’s geographical context being the inspiration to prevent being crushed by life’s uselessness. Kerouac’s grave was amazingly modest, a flat slab of granite. That’s it. Later that night in a cheap hotel we read JK back and forth to each other with – unless I’m making it up – a bottle of Jack Daniels and strange forage vegie snax and nuts and raisins…


2 thoughts on “WTM #1041: Hipness is a Crutch, What’s the Disease

  1. Lars worked in a bookstore with David amram’s sister and so we went to see him perform, I remember seeing Pull My Daisy in a little theater in Paris and it was real interesting to go see David Amram perform at Cornelia Street Cafe, he was the one Jack Keouac connected with to perform together jazz and poetry and di soundtrack for Pull My Daisy. When I was completely immersed in photography Robert Frank was one of my triumvirate along with Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Cartier Bresson and was lucky enough to see a retrospective of his work – a big one – and buy catalogue, and Candy Mountain is one of my favorite films of all time, although its been hard to get people to share my enthusiasm. My freind and his brother I kinda went out with once who had this whole group of cohorts and were from Charleville, could do the local accent for us.

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