Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Literary Punks

There has always been plenty of writers who wannabe rock stars, the Beats however, kind of were rock stars before rock stars had been properly invented.
What with their obscene poetry and their vulgar prose; their drug taking, their sexual exploits, and their insistence on describing all others as 'squares'; punk seemed a suitable bedfellow.

But Ginsberg was essentially a blues man.
He spoke like a blues man, he looked like a blues man.
Yet Punk, like William Blake, must have spoken to him; and his response was 'Birdbrain'.

Released in 1981, this 7" 33⅓ single reveals Ginsberg in a Jello Biafra mood rather than one akin to Dylan.

The Gluons nicely chug along in a Hawkwindesque kind of way, supplying harmonised 'Birdbrain[s]' as a refrain; but they are really just a backing band and the tune only exists to allow Ginsberg to speak, shout, debunk and pontificate to his potential new admirers.

The Gluons reward is the B Side: 'Sue Your Parents'.
It doesn't feature Ginsberg, and suffers enormously as a consequence - sounding like just another generic new wave number.

Allen Ginsberg and the Gluons (1981)

Birdbrain
Sue Your Parents

Vinyl rip @320kbs here

Speaking of Hawkwind...

Of course the Deep Fix weren't Hawkwind (but with Nik Turner playing sax they didn't half sound like 'em); Michael Moorcock wasn't Bob Calvert (although he wanted to be); but then when you invent people for a living, reinventing one's self seems a natural progression; for Moorcock, reinventing one's self as a rock star was inevitable.

Adopting a bubble gum style with a space rock edge the two tracks zoom by.
They sound like classics; nuggets from a bygone age, hits from another dimension.
Somehow familiar, but fresh.
Spacey!
Michael Moorcock's Deep Fix (1980)

Dodgem Dude
Starcruiser

Vinyl rip @320kbs here

To end this post I thought I'd make available a fascinating little curio; one that concerns the late Tony Wilson and the late Ian Curtis.

A long, long time ago there was a journalist who worked for a magazine called The Face, his name was Nick Kent, and post Ian Curtis's death, Kent, who was interviewing Wilson, supposedly asked Wilson how he felt about the death of Curtis, the singer of Joy Division, a band Wilson managed.
Wilson supposedly answered: "Ian Curtis dying on me was the greatest thing that's happened to my life".
I said 'supposedly' because Wilson claimed he never said it; Kent then admitted that he made it up.
But that didn't stop it being printed in The Face, and many people, especially those who felt particularly empathetic to Curtis, have hated Wilson ever since.

Here is a recording from an experimental arts festival held in London at the beginning of the Nineties (sorry I'm vague - they were vague times...), where Wilson is heard riffing to Kent's original article and morphing the words into a piece of post-modern poetry before a rather subdued and baffled audience.

Situationists, huh!

Tony Wilson - "Ian Curtis dying on me was the greatest thing that's happened to my life"

Cassette rip @320kbs
Single mp3, get it here

10 comments:

stuckinthe70s said...

thnxs for the moorcock - steve.

icastico said...

Cool post.
My mind goes right to Jim Carroll for some reason.

Mona said...

Used to have Nick Kent & the Subterraneans single on Demon 'My Flamingo' now a holy grail. Really good lyrics were apparently inspired from an interview he did with lou Reed. NK also said he played guitar on Flamin Groovies 'Slow Death. They said he didn't. If you or anyone has 'My flamingo' I would love to hear it again.
regards/

roy rocket said...

No 'My Flamingo' I'm afraid.

He's an interesting character is Kent, he still writes the occasional piece for the Guardian; most of his writing for the Face was incredibly scathing and he always seemed to despise the people he was interviewing... he probably had a point.

Jim Carroll reminds me of Hubert Selby Jr, and so it goes on...
Shanti, roy

malcolm said...

I used to look out for Nick Kents pieces in NME even if they were a bit "wordy" , some might even say , at times a tad pretentious? Used to have me reaching for the dictionary sometimes. Something you wouldnt need with Gary Bushell.
I`ve also scoured the `net for the Nick Kent single & found one or two vinyl copies for sale knocking about but I ended up downloading from Amazon for £1.58![less than $2]thats a bargain. Supporting the artist maaaan!!!

roy rocket said...

It's great when you can - but the greatest support to any artist is interest; without that, they're fucked.

I do not believe a track for £1.58 is a bargain, and I just wonder where that money will go...
Regards, roy

Mona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mona said...

Roy/
Courtesy of Malcolm for you!
Regards/

That should be better!!!

the saucer people said...

Well that's two singles that i have been wanting to hear for the past 30 years crossed off my checklist and the late Tony Wilson situ-rant is something I had no idea existed...till now!

I was watching a BBC thing on When Rock N Roll grew up or something like that featuring various "rockers" and the like who were famous in the 60s and are now in their 60s.....anyway, the usual nodding heads with Nick Kent featuring quite heavily for some reason....for the last few interviews I have seen of him always seem to feature this floppy beret type hat which can only mean he is now as bald as a coot....

....as someone 'thinning' myself I would never normally ridicule such a thing but for making up the Ian Curtis line I think it is the least he deserves and while we can (de)contextualise it in a po-mo post-structuralist 'treatise on death of a rock star' kind of "ironic displacement" I think he was a true arsehole for saying that and I have read too that it caused TW some serious problems over the years....

thanks for a 3 out of 3 quality arcane digi-cultural artefacts, a most splendid post!

roy rocket said...

Thanks for your feedback.
Glad you enjoyed the post and the material.

TW was so readily ridiculed by the then topical music press; it's really only now with hindsight that we recognise what an important part he played in defining contemporary culture.
Peace be upon him.

Shanti, roy