William Burroughs’ texts provide us with one of the most self-conscious of guides through an addicted world which is violently dislocated from linear time, while at the same time undermining the reliability of such a guide. In this Gothicised world we cannot trust the account of the addict; but this also implies that we cannot trust ourselves in the moment of addiction to reading. While we are secretly communing with the texts, we are also liable to ‘forget’, or to ignore, the outer parameters which comprise the moral universe; we are freed but, paradoxically, we find difficulty in reporting the content of this freedom. Here we find an essential link, which can also be found across Gothic fiction, to the notion of ‘psychotic rapture’, and a dislocation between the force of the messages ‘broadcast’; to us from the outside and the alignment of these messages with the counterforce of the world of experience.
The exhibition Off Beat: Jeff Nuttall and the International Underground (8 September 2016 to 5 March 2017) showcases the archive of Jeff Nuttall (1933–2004), a painter, poet, editor, actor and novelist. As the exhibition illustrates, Nuttall was a central figure in the International Underground during the 1960s through to the early 1970s. During this time he collaborated with a vast network of avant-garde writers from across the globe, as well as editing the influential publication My Own Mag between 1963 and 1967.
Celebrated as a leader of London’s ‘Underground’ in the 1960–70s, and a leading British poet and performance artist of his time, Jeff Nuttall found fame through his critique of post-nuclear culture, Bomb Culture, which provided an influential rationale for artistic practice through absurdism but lost that recognition a decade or so later. Less well recognised, and with greater influence, is the distinctively visceral sensibility underlying much of his creative work, notably his poetry that draws on Dylan Thomas and the Beat Movement, his graphic drawing and luscious painting styles, and his pioneering performance art. This article argues that it is through these artistic expressions of visceral intelligence that Jeff Nuttall’s art and its long-term influence can now best be understood. It is intended to complement the Jeff Nuttall Papers in the Special Collections of The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, University of Manchester, deposited by the gallerist and poetry publisher Robert Bank (1941–2015), to whose memory this article is dedicated. Further papers have been added by Nuttall’s friends and relatives.
corner from his workplace at the nearby Macclesfield Unemployment Office and close to his local pub, the Prince Albert. At home he would read Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Gogol, Kafka, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hermann Hesse and Crash by J.G. Ballard, the latter about car crash sexual fetishism. Another favourite was Ballard’s 1975 work, High-Rise . There was also William Burroughs, whose books, Naked Lunch and The Wild Boys , which were two of Curtis’ favourite works. Burroughs ‘nuclear style’ prose and apocalyptic, non
Chapter 6 Will Self: under the influence In fact, Banks’s success as a storyteller is largely based on a readiness and a capacity to assimilate such a diverse menu of already-existing literary techniques: modernism and postmodernism, dirty realism and surrealism, fantasy and science fiction, William Burroughs and Edgar Burroughs, all seem equally integrated in the various burrowings and borrowings of his imagination. (Nairn, 1993, 133–4) Will Self has emerged as one of the most important and indeed most industrious of British authors of recent times, having
be reviewing … The clever title/cover design lead you to expect some wit, but Vague is mostly humourless, the only laughs come from some cartoons that turn out to be cribbed from a Newcastle fanzine called Viz Comics’.4 Vague was summed up more favourably by Ray Lowry in The Face as ‘an above average, funny collection of opinions and bitcheries about post-sporran music trends. In issue 13 there was a really amusing cartoon section (by Perry), a William Burroughs primer (by our counterculture columnist Pete Scott), a hippy-bashing Glastonbury piece, WOMAD report and
the collection range in style, they are brief, sparse, and hermetic. For the most part, they are inspired by travel or inward reflection. They give off a sense of quietness and reticence, communicated through their well-wrought minimalism. In this way, they far more readily display the influence of Robert Creeley than of Jarman's university-era heroes Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs. The poems are quite succinct, ranging from three lines to thirty-six, save for the longer ‘Words Written Without Any Stopping’, which is reproduced in two
them reliable –that’s the 129 130 The end-of-the-century party paradox. Earthquakes, stabilized economies, treasury crimes, the shroud of communism, displacement, colonization, scrubland, ice deserts, wide-open spaces, depth charges all come to mind when describing the visceral impact of his output. And there’s politics to spare, couched in the language of cut-ups, fold-ins, drop-outs. William Burroughs’ much-vaunted tape experiments have nothing on Tackhead’s missile emotion dance floor stormers, they just form the basic inspiration blocks. As
(1976), which features Hujar’s black-and-white photographs of Palermo’s shrivelled mummies juxtaposed with warm and soulful pictures of art-world friends and companions including William Burroughs, John Waters, David Wojnarowicz, Divine, and Thek, Susan Sontag wrote: We no longer study the art of dying
Madchester may have been born at the Haçienda in the summer of 1988, but the city had been in creative ferment for almost a decade prior to the rise of Acid House. The End-of-the-Century Party is the definitive account of a generational shift in popular music and youth culture, what it meant and what it led to. First published right after the Second Summer of Love, it tells the story of the transition from New Pop to the Political Pop of the mid-1980s and its deviant offspring, Post-Political Pop. Resisting contemporary proclamations about the end of youth culture and the rise of a new, right-leaning conformism, the book draws on interviews with DJs, record company bosses, musicians, producers and fans to outline a clear transition in pop thinking, a move from an obsession with style, packaging and synthetic sounds to content, socially conscious lyrics and a new authenticity.
This edition is framed by a prologue by Tara Brabazon, which asks how we can reclaim the spirit, energy and authenticity of Madchester for a post-youth, post-pop generation. It is illustrated with iconic photographs by Kevin Cummins.