Saturday, July 07, 2007

'Pataphysics and Kerouac's 'Pull My Daisy'

When I was a student, in my long overcoat from Oxfam, and even longer scarf, I used to fancy that I was into surrealism. I wasn't quite sure what I liked about it - its general craziness I suppose. Perhaps it was the whole 'emperor's new clothes' thing, in that I secretly felt like the whole thing was just a piss take of over-intellectual pomposity. At least that was the spirit in which I had a go at creating some of my own, when I had the job of authoring the CDROM of 'Index to Theses' back in 1990, and inserted an abstract for a non-existant PhD by Slim Gaillard. I can't remember much about it, other than that sparrows were involved. Anyway, the catalogue of 'Atlas Press' caught my undergraduate eye in some ad, and I ordered 'The Immaculate Conception' by Andre Breton, to grace my college bookshelves. I'm sure I tried to read it, though I don't think the paperback's spine ever really got broken. There was something beautiful about it.

Then a couple weeks ago, I was invited to a book launch by some author's agent friends, at the Boogaloo pub in Highgate, where I found myself at a table next to Alistair, the founder and publisher of the Atlas Press. Today, at the Bookartbookshop in Hoxton, they celebrated their 25th anniversary - and the shop its 5th. Apart from an amazing cake,

the highlight of the evening was Stanley Chapman, President of the London Institute of 'Pataphysics, reading some poetry from his new translation of "The Deliquescences of Adoré Floupette".

The whole thing reminded me of other wonderfully eccentric characters I have known, like Patrick the Plasterer, and David Amram - who I met at the Cork Jazz Festival a few years ago. He told some great stories of his days with the Beat poets, Ginsberg, Kerouac and so on. They did some of the original Jazz and Poetry gigs back in the 50s, and made a film called 'Pull My Daisy' in 1959. I'd always meant to try and track it down, but had never bothered, until tonight - and here it is.

It all seems to be the right thing to be doing at the end of George Melly's last week among us.


At 8:28 pm, Blogger PeteP said...

just wondered if the Patrick the Plasterer you refer to is the Patrick Newsom I knew who sadly died in the early nineties - had a coinference I sponsored in Christchurch Spittle fields


At 11:45 pm, Blogger Ivan said...

I was also a friend of Patrick the Plasterer Newsom.... "The purest of pure waters"!

At 10:22 am, Blogger Big Buzzard said...

Hi Pete and Ivan - the very same Patrick the Plasterer.

I sang with / for him in one of his concerts at Christchurch Spitalfields, followed by a party in Fournier St.

I was president of Merton College Music Soc - and in the file of letters I inherited, were several from him - some illustrated. All asking to do a concert in chapel - all ignored by my predecessors. I replied - he came and did one of the most magical we ever put on.


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