Tag Archive: William S. Burroughs

UNKNOWN PLEASURES by Peter Hook (Simon & Schuster, 2012)

joyPop-pickers of a certain age and diehard hipsters out there surely won’t have missed that the title of yesterday’s post on Ricky Gervais’ ‘Afterlife’ featured a quote from the Joy Division song ‘Heart And Soul’.

This track, from their second and final album ‘Closer’, includes the tortured lines: “Existence, well what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can. The past is now part of my future. The present is well out of hand”.

Anyone pausing to reflect on such lyrics would probably conclude that the author was either a) deeply troubled or (b) that he had been reading a little too much outsider fiction. Both of these were true of the band’s tortured lead singer Ian Curtis who hung himself on 18th May, 1980. Continue reading

THE ADDICTION directed by Abel Ferrara (USA, 1995)

I wanted to see this movie since, according to the Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw, it is the best film ever made.

I like Bradshaw’s reviews and more often than not agree with his opinions. I especially like the fact that he doesn’t take an elitist position; he is as likely praise the merits of Toy Story as the works of Tarkovsky.

The Addiction is a vampire movie like no other. Actually it is better to see it as an intense existential drama with theological overtones rather than as a straight horror film.

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Ban censorshipIn the 1970s, I recall listening to a radio interview with the ‘beat’ writer William S. Burroughs in which he was asked if he thought that censorship was ever warranted.

Obviously, this was a question that the author had more than a passing interest in since his uncompromising accounts of hard drug use and gay sex meant that his novels constantly fell foul of obscenity laws.

His answer to the question was a categorical ‘NO’. In his view, censorship was never justified.

At the time, I thought his was an overly extreme position. Surely there were some instances where censorship was needed to protect the public from words or images which, to use the words of the 1959 Obscene Publications Act, “tend to deprave or corrupt persons”.  Now, I am inclined to agree with Mr Burroughs. Continue reading


How do you get new writing ideas? It’s been around for a while now, I think, but I’ve only just discovered Wordle ,  a neat online toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. It strikes me that it could be used as a great teaching resource or as a kind of digital version of William S. Burroughs’ cut-up technique to generate a fresh way of  looking at tired  texts.

Here’s what I came up with from the lyrics to The Beatles’ Yesterday:


Do you come here often?

Along with Terry Gilliam, David Cronenberg is the one of the few directors whose brain is warped enough to attempt a screen adaption of the nigh unfilmable junky novel ‘Naked Lunch’ by William S. Burroughs.

It was made in 1991 but I’ve only now gotten to see it for the first time and discovered it to be a bizarre combination of the source text, Burroughs’ own life and  ‘Metamorphosis’.

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