Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aimless Reading: The K's, Part 6.2 (Jack Kerouac)

The Dharma Bums
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Kerouac, Jack
The Dharma Bums

Purchased for Lori at Talking Leaves...Books. Lori went on a brief Kerouac jag a few years back, so most of these were bought for her to read. Many Kerouac fans have told me that this is the one to read, but I still haven't gotten around to it. Maybe someday. I used to have a copy of Mexico City Blues, some of which I like a lot, but it seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

During the year I spent in Ecuador, I brought with me a mixed tape made by a friend. Like many mixed tapes, it had the feeling of an attempt to articulate something, a kind of audio-collage-essay-poem. It was given to me by P., a friend who when I left NYC that summer was in such despair that I wasn't sure I would ever see him again. The content of the tape shifted back and forth between spoken word and music.

I don't remember all of it, but I do remember the music included Frank Zappa, John Lennon, Nirvana, Spike Jones, Iggy Pop, and others. Most of the spoken word pieces were recordings of the Beats. It had Allen Ginsberg reading, "America," and William Burroughs' 'Thanksgiving Prayer."

At the very end of the tape he included Kerouac's famous reading of the final scene from On the Road on the Steve Allen Show. I remember there was a humorous splice right after Kerouac said, "Dean Mo-Ree-Ahr-Tee." It was Curt Kobain's voice saying, "Thank you, I'm a rock star," then the Kerouac piece played a second time before the tape ran out..."Nobody, nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody, except the forlorn rags of growing old..."

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