Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Face On The Fork - Iain Sinclair (The Beat Scene Press 2012)

Bought this the other week from Beat Scene Press - a booklet written (and signed) by London's Number 1 psychic geographer (I think that's what he is...but I'm not sure what it means...perhaps he holds sessions in a tent on Hackney marshes where, for a fiver, he predicts your future journeys in London...maybe).

It contains impressionist snapshots of encounters and connections with Burroughs, starting in 1962 through to visiting him in Lawrence in '95. I like this from 'Gozo Winter 1967':  'The sense of Burroughs - image falling, word falling - was of a man in a room. Or a photograph of a man in a room, sucking all the colour out, tapping dead veins...........He is courteous, he responds, but he is not really there.'

Whilst being fully aware of the Burroughs industry's potential for producing books with only tenuous connections - I can't wait for the forthcoming memoir by Bill's gun-seller - I find it hard to resist. In the absence of actual work by the man, it's all we Burroughs junkies can get.

The first essay, 'Dublin. Winter. 1962', reminds me that some writers were lucky enough to live in an age when it was possible to write to Burroughs, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Paul Bowles and Jean Genet in the hope of forging connections, as Sinclair did when touting for contributors to his new magazine, Albatross. Burroughs, however, was the only one who responded, sending the text that's reproduced in this booklet and scanned below. 'We shared the three thin sheets of Burroughs text, each one, from the blue airmail envelope.' Albatross never materialised.

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