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


 

Birth of a Zimbu

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Birth of a Zimbu by Christopher Schulz is another addition to the growing collection of artworks based on William Burroughs’ The Wild Boys (1971), in this case a 52-page collection of “visual reveries made from collaged parts of dated gay porn, ancient ruins, and other various unrelated sources.” The book costs $10 and may be previewed and ordered here.

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The Zimbus are Burroughs’ solution to the problem of reproduction (or regeneration) among the Wild Boys, his army of eternal teenage boys at war with the world at large in a dystopian 1988. Warfare means casualties so in order to maintain their homosocial, homoerotic tribal existence they gather at special times to perform sex-magic rituals that summon the “Zimbu” spirit forms of dead Wild Boys. The Zimbus are incarnated as new Wild Boys after being inseminated and fully materialised.

Burroughs wasn’t short on fantastic concepts but his ideas are often delivered and dismissed in a few lines. By contrast, the creation of the Zimbus is given pages of detailed description, the separatist, semi-human world of the Wild Boys being one to which he devoted a great deal of imaginative attention. I’ve linked before to Phil Hine’s essay, Zimbu Xototl Time, which examines the Zimbu idea at some length, drawing comparisons to similar ideas in anthropology and other fiction. If I ever get round to finished the long-gestating Wild Boys portfolio I may be able to show some Zimbu manifestations of my own.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Seward/Howard
Thot-Fal’N, a film by Stan Brakhage
Mr Bradly Mr Martin Hear Us Through The Hole In Thin Air
The Last Words of Dutch Schultz, a film by Gerrit van Dijk
Burroughs at 100
Nova Express, a film by Andre Perkowski
Decoder, a film by Jürgen Muschalek
The Burroughs Century
Interzone: A William Burroughs Mix
Sine Fiction
The Ticket That Exploded: An Ongoing Opera
Burroughs: The Movie revisited
Zimbu Xolotl Time
Ah Pook Is Here
Jarek Piotrowski’s Soft Machine
Looking for the Wild Boys
Wroblewski covers Burroughs
Mugwump jism
Brion Gysin’s walk, 1966
Burroughs in Paris
William Burroughs interviews
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire

 


 

Posted in {art}, {books}, {burroughs}, {collage}, {gay}.

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3 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by The joey Zone

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    And speaking of Burroughsian links on this site & Wild Boys like Franz and Howard: The essay entitled “Architects of Fear” can NEVER be read by enough people. As timely today as always, Sir.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    Ha, thanks. I look at that now and think it could be better written but then that’s often the case with any piece of your own writing. I like the train of associations, anyway.

    I wish I could remember where I read a description of Burroughs in the 1990s; something about his enjoying living in Kansas, spending time shooting his guns and reading HP Lovecraft. If that piece of trivia is unlikely to turn up then I’d like to know whether he kept a copy of the Creation Books Starry Wisdom in his library. I’m sure Creation sent him a copy, and I like the idea of my Call of Cthulhu strip being in his house throughout the 90s.

  3. #3 posted by Ian Bell

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    Thanks John for this further discussion of Burroughs. His ideas come and go from the margins of my thinking – so these prompts to delve further are welcome!

 




 

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