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Tom Phillips: An Interview

Tom Phillips, Adam Smyth and Gill Partington, 11 October 2012

... you see this as part of a tradition of book-making. You read that Paris Review interview with Burroughs [in 1965].TP: I went to see Burroughs. The two dead people I got to show this book to: one was Richard Hamilton who died this week; the other was William Burroughs was died ...

Straight to the Multiplex

Tom McCarthy: Steven Hall’s ‘The Raw Shark Texts’, 1 November 2007

The Raw Shark Texts 
by Steven Hall.
Canongate, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2007, 978 1 84195 902 3
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... London flash Morse-encoded passages of Merleau-Ponty across the city). Most of all, Hall draws on William Burroughs. Burroughs asserts his belief that ‘the word is a virus’ at every second turn; in essays such as ‘The Invisible Generation’ and The Electronic Revolution he outlines methods by which playback from ...


Christopher Hitchens: Andy Warhol at MoMA, 12 October 1989

... either a runaway boy or a drifter, joining a Legion where no questions need be asked. That’s why William Burroughs was such a tangible influence on Warholism. And speaking of the feral, affectless manner, I can never forget Burroughs telling a film interviewer that, when he was a boy, mothers would warn their children ...

It Rhymes

Michael Wood, 6 April 1995

The Wild Party 
by Joseph Moncure March, with drawings by Art Spiegelman .
Picador, 112 pp., £9.99, November 1994, 0 330 33656 8
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... was published in 1928, and again, in a slightly self-censored version, in 1968 – says he asked William Burroughs what he thought. ‘It’s the book that made me want to be a writer,’ Burroughs said. But was it poetry? ‘Of course it’s poetry. It rhymes.’ It is ‘closer to “Frankie and Johnny” than to ...

Genderbait for the Nerds

Christopher Tayler: William Gibson, 22 May 2003

Pattern Recognition 
by William Gibson.
Viking, 356 pp., £16.99, April 2003, 0 670 87559 7
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... that good.’ It’s an effortful business, and, it seems, a full-time job, but hardly unusual in William Gibson’s futuristic fiction, which often features characters whose sensitivity to ambient data borders on the supernaturally acute. His last but one, Idoru (1996), introduced Colin Laney, an ‘intuitive fisher of patterns of information . . . the ...

Monster Doss House

Iain Sinclair, 24 November 1988

The Grass Arena 
by John Healy.
Faber, 194 pp., £9.95, October 1988, 0 571 15170 1
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... he demand, beyond the desirability of a strong quote for the dust-wrapper, any comparison with William Burroughs and Junkie. We are told by MacCabe that Healy’s reading habits favoured trash-factory crime fiction. Therefore, it is presumed, he dropped naturally into ‘the hard-boiled cadences of a Hammet [sic] detective novel’. It is regrettable ...

Oms and Hums

Julian Symons, 22 March 1990

Ginsberg: A Biography 
by Barry Miles.
Viking, 588 pp., £20, January 1990, 0 670 82683 9
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... among the students. It was also when he was 17 that he met and was impressed by the much older William Burroughs; a year later he encountered Jack Kerouac. He read Hart Crane, adopting and adapting the passion for rhetoric, but ignoring Crane’s attempt to comprehend the culture of the past in a vision of contemporary America. He ignored also ...

Time Longer than Rope

Greil Marcus, 16 November 1995

... Wrong; it is the sound of drugstore speech in Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1949; it’s the sound of William Burroughs waiting out a blizzard in a depot fifty miles north of Wichita. ‘Yes, that’s ol’ Junkie Bill, over by the stove there, just whittlin’ on his penis,’ says the station master, while Bill mumbles to himself:The buyer has a steady ...

By Chance the Cycladic People

Anne Carson, 25 April 2013

... did not sleep. 5.3. That moment when everyone sees exactly what is on the end of their fork, as William S. Burroughs said of celebrity. 15.1. See me leaving you better hang your head and cry, she liked songs like that. Honkytonk influence. 16.3. All of her leapt before her eyes. 8.1. They worried about this and kept ...
... when he was only 23 and his brilliant book The Speakers attracted the admiration of Harold Pinter, William Burroughs, Anthony Burgess, V.S. Pritchett and more, he has gradually achieved the status of super-wizard in a community of nomads, pilgrims and seekers after truth. For two years he successfully ran the Ruff, Tuff, Cream Puff Estate Agency (founded ...

Remembering Janet Hobhouse

Elisa Segrave, 11 March 1993

... version about her godmother, Panna Grady, her mother’s best friend and a friend and patron of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. Janet was both disarming and bossy about showing her friends her work. When I first read the account of her arriving at boarding school with her mother, I was staying with her in Key West, in a house she had rented from ...

Here/Not Here

Wendy Steiner, 4 July 1996

... scar. How can the celebrity outsider maintain a sense of his identity, or painterly authority, when he is his own subject-matter and his audience sees that subject-matter as ‘other’, less than ‘us’? Basquiat’s solutions to this dilemma are often brilliant. In the triptych Zydeco (1984), for example, a cinematographer in profile looks through the lens of his movie camera ...

How long?

Hilary Mantel, 27 February 1992

The Literary Companion to Sex: An Anthology of Prose and Poetry 
edited by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 415 pp., £18, February 1992, 1 85619 127 3
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The Love Quest: A Sexual Odyssey 
by Anne Cumming.
Peter Owen, 200 pp., £15.50, November 1991, 9780720608359
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... and departs for North Africa. In the course of her travels over the next few years she will meet William Burroughs and Paul Bowles, and a number of other people who she hints are famous but who must be protected by pseudonyms. She also encounters any number of eager organs. The first belongs to a man who had just come third in the Tour de France, a fact ...

Aberdeen rocks

Jenny Turner: Stewart Home, 9 May 2002

69 Things to Do with a Dead Princess 
by Stewart Home.
Canongate, 182 pp., £9.99, March 2002, 9781841951829
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... He wasn’t going to pick up a hard-core following or sell over the long term like Guy Debord or William Burroughs. He had no devoted readership and little chance of remaining in print for long, let alone being republished in thirty or forty years’ time. In short, a typical midlist author. Is this sour grapes talking? Who knows? It is certainly true ...

Sick Boys

Jenny Turner, 2 December 1993

by Irvine Welsh.
Secker, 344 pp., £8.99, July 1993, 0 436 56567 6
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... what happens next. This episode is very funny in its grossness, a sort of realist version of William Burroughs’s talking arsehole routine. But it is also, like the talking arsehole routine, much more than merely funny. As I have said already, one of the most exciting things about Welsh’s book is the way it draws you right inside a community of ...

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