The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Walking in the footsteps of the Beat Generation

The Lowdham Book Festival is a healthy, bouncing nine years old at the end of this month and whilst looking forward to I was remembering some of my visits there in the past. One such day began with a ticket to see a presentation and book review of Walking in the footsteps of the Beat Generation.

The day had a musical theme with talks about the work of Bob Dylan’s Wicked Messenger, The History of the Guitar in the 20th Century and a feature on Nick Drake.

I arrived in time for talk by author, Sydney Davies revolving around his book, Walking in the footsteps of the Beat Generation, a presentation about the great writers of that idiom such as Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and others.

This area of writing is one that I’ve always been interested in but never actually pursued and after hearing a recording of Kerouac’s rick tones reciting some of his best known work, I resolved to order On the Road – his best known work, without further hesitation.

Jack Kerouac

The stories of the Beat Generation writers were inspiring in the way that their conceptualising was very freewheeling and lacking boundaries and I enjoyed the thought of this. Kerouac’s style, with it’s lack of punctuation and stream of conciousness outpouring style which he called ‘automatic writing’ seemed much easier to listen to perhaps rather than read, but nevertheless very rewarding.

Shortly afterwards, local Blues writer, Roy Bainton gave a presentation on the history of that music and presented some interesting and little known information about the genre. Ray was decidedly off-beat and casual in style and very enjoyable for all that.

I managed to ask the only post-talk question he had time to field when I requested who he believed to be the most faithful of the British blues guitarists to the genre. His immediate reply of Eric Clapton was no real surprise although Eric seems to labour amidst middle of the road record racks these days. It was but a few seconds later however when I received the name that I’d been expecting, that of Peter Green – for all his problems a true student of the blues and in particular his great hero, Robert Johnson.

A nice memory or two then of an interesting afternoon over at the local village amongst the literatie whilst I look forward the coming year’s events. Long may it continue.


June 13, 2008 - Posted by | Ripping Yarns | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The Beats in India

    Soul of Asia Program

    Saturday June 14, 2008

    Discover what drew the Beats to India and how they inspired successive generations of Westerners to turn to the East for spiritual and creative wisdom, music, poetry and wild paisley bed spreads. The precursor to a journey that later inspired others such as the Beatles, Philip Glass among others.

    Participants include Allen Ginsberg’s fellow travelers and poets Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger, poets Sunil Gangopadhyay, John Giorno, Anne Waldman, and Ed Sanders, musician Steven Taylor, and authors Pankaj Mishra, Eliot Weinberger, Gita Mehta, and Bill Morgan. Based on Deborah Baker’s book “A Blue Hand: The Beats in India,” the program will focus on the Indian journeys of the Beats in the 1960s.

    For a full schedule see:

    Purchase Tickets:

    $20 Members, students w/ID and seniors, $25 Nonmembers


    By Phone (M-F 10am to 5pm) 212-517-ASIA (2742)

    ©2008 Asia Society | 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NY, NY 10021| 212-288-6400

    Supported in part by Harold and Ruth Newman

    Comment by AsiaSociety | June 13, 2008

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