Last night I was listening to Kerouac as I was falling asleep. His voice of mud and old guttered breathing through a tube in a dirt swamp really puts me into nappy land. I love the way his voice changes from black guy playing saxophone to a child, to some old white guy at the race track picking up tickets to see if he found a winner amongst the rubble.
But I have this cd, I don't know the name, it's one of the those stupid college kid cds that the mass marketers sell to the frosted flake, taco bell, "whoops I'm ten minutes late for class" but I have on patch work pants and a black tie and now I know that old is, "an Indian tapping along on the wet streeet with his cane. Looking at the oranges in the stores, on his big day waiting for the dogs to be let out." kids. All those knuckle heads, gobble it up just like me.
I was noticing last night that Jack had this real love for Pop culture and would substitute it in in place of the real thing. I mean it's easier to say someone danced like Joe Louis then it is to really describe how he danced. And maybe it's more exact to say it that way(the Joe Louis way), but it's not timeless, because icons die.
But. that's now what bothered me, what irked me was his mention of the "Bop" generation and how it would be adored by all these Jazz musicians and great minds. Now, the "beat" generation, for all I know, was a success and created a nice new school of art of which Jack was a part of but when he starts to describe his own art like so many pretentious(sp?) people do, then it made me kind of turned off. It sort of made me think of his phoney little friend Alan Ginsberg and his claims of fights and drugs and women in the Bronx but to look at him would allow us to know he was from Jersey and never scrapped with anything more than a poodle after dark and maybe smoked marijuana a couple of times but that one squinty eye he has now came from him being the tipsy kid at the party who probably fell off of a 2nd story balcony. I remember reading the Viking Kerouac reader and seeing letters from Jack. They were all about money and where to vacation after his next advance. There was no intimacy to the art there was no real touching it all felt so greasy and plastic like eating off of dirty dishes when reading that. Like Jack had just been doing it all for money and that makes it all askewed. That makes all the inferences about hobos, brown paper bags, and that beautiful muddy voice seem so flacid and impotent. It takes the zing out. It takes the heart from the body that was his work. When I look at it I don't see the intensity. After listening to his love for Pop culture, making of his own art, writing about money...it all chimes together to become a little blop not a "bop" on the beat movement.