A stimulating piece in the New Statesman on William S Burroughs' Naked Lunch to mark the novel's 50th birthday. By Duncan Fallowell, natch. Click here. He writes: "At a time when gay people are very visible but homosexuality has been ring-fenced, Burroughs’s erotic explosions still wrong-foot many of his so-called fans."
My favourite bit of the book, which I now feel I once read before it was written, is the talking arsehole. And a question is asked in its dizzying text if I recall correctly: Can you laugh and come at the same time? Answer: Most definitely. Madame should know.
It tickles me that Burroughs believed in an afterlife - always underplayed by fashionable literary atheists - and was a proponent of anti-authority Chaos (or Xaos) Magic. This interview in 1987, when he was 75, is worth reading, click here. A sample:
Q: If you believe there’s an afterlife, wouldn’t it make this life less important?
Not necessarily, it would make it more important, much more important. Because what you do now will determine what form your afterlife will take. What one does right now is the way one does everything. And if you’re not taking, as it were, advantages of educational opportunities here, you’re going to be in a much worse position.
Do you find meaning in this life?
Everything means something. You walk down the street and you see something, that’s because you were there at that particular time and that has a meaning for you. A found meaning. I think anyone who doesn’t believe in ESP just hasn’t opened his eyes. Good god, ‘cause it happens all the time. It’s not an unusual occurrence that happens to a few people, it happens all the time. Anybody good at anything uses it.
Kathy Acker's interview with Burroughs on his montages and writings