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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

William Burroughs interviews

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With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker (1982) by Victor Bockris. Design by Neville Brody.

If it’s interviews you want, some of the most entertaining are in Victor Bockris’s collection of conversations between El Hombre Invisible and the various New York notables ferried round to sit at Burroughs’ table in his Bowery Bunker. The British edition published by Vermilion was always preferrable for its Neville Brody cover design beside which the US original looks very dull indeed. The encyclopedic Burroughs site Reality Studio has copious lists of earlier Burroughs interviews. They also note the occasions when he put on his journalist hat and went out to interview someone equally famous, usually at the behest of a music magazine. A couple of those pieces are online thanks to the diligence of various fans.

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Diamond Dogs (1974), a blend of Lou Reed, George Orwell and William Burroughs.

One such is the 1974 interview with David Bowie for Rolling Stone in which Bowie discusses Burroughs as an influence while Burroughs informs the singer that the heroes of his latest novel, The Wild Boys, favour the Bowie knife as a weapon:

Bowie: Nova Express really reminded me of Ziggy Stardust, which I am going to be putting into a theatrical performance. Forty scenes are in it and it would be nice if the characters and actors learned the scenes and we all shuffled them around in a hat the afternoon of the performance and just performed it as the scenes come out. I got this all from you Bill… so it would change every night.

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A year later Burroughs got together with Jimmy Page for Crawdaddy magazine where the discussion circles around some of the same subjects, notably the writer’s obsession with sound as a weapon. There’s also this comment from Burroughs which is the kind of thing that always gets my neurons firing:

Antony Balch and I collaborated on a film called Cut-Ups, in which the film was cut into segments and rearranged at random. Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell saw a screening of the film not long before they made Performance.

Roeg later directed Bowie, of course, and is one of the dinner guests in With William Burroughs, while Jimmy Page and Donald Cammell both appear in Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. The connections go round and round… Read the whole piece in a post I made a few years ago at the late, lamented Arthur magazine site.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire

 


 

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