October 25, 2010

IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO GROW UP:

Even when I loved it, I secretly knew Beat poetry was rubbish (Lucy Jones, 25 Oct 2010, Daily Telegraph)

When I was a teenager, I spent hours loafing around my patchouli-soaked bedroom reading Beat poetry, listening to Jack Kerouac and Allan Ginsberg's benzedrine-fuelled babbling on CD, pinning pictures of Neal Cassady to my wall. I felt that these were my people and cursed my Eighties birth for being too late. My friends and I bought into the lifestyles of the Beat Generation, their libertarian values, their coffee and cigarettes, their berets and black turtlenecks. We dreamed of swapping Chelsea for San Francisco and felt our tortured middle-class souls were matched by their world-weary, anti-conformist cynicism. We traded dog-eared editions, scrawled quotes on to our exercise books and adopted Howl as our creed. In short, we thought we were extremely cool.

I have a confession to make: I could never actually finish Kerouac's On the Road. I found it unreadable and shallow, but continued to cite it as the best book of all time and carry it around in my pocket to keep up my beatnik image.


The end, as in Hunter Thompson's Hells Angels, is the only good thing about the book.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at October 25, 2010 5:28 AM
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