Monday, 28 December 2009

Naked Lunch

by William Burroughs.

Yes, enough of all this seasonal warmth and good cheer, let's have something scary, transgressional, fucked-up and apocalyptic.

Read it as a teenager, one of those rites of passage, experimental reads, the cover of which shows how big and clever you are when you open it on the bus. I was desperate to read this after Maddie at sixth form college mentioned it with a shudder. She'd had a visceral reaction to it. "Couldn't finish it" she explained "It made me puke."

To be honest, I can't remember much about it - it's his fevered, disjointed imaginings about the junkie milieu and is paranoid, conspiracy theory, hallucinatory stuff, but he was a genius, no question. He also got away with shooting his wife dead - they were playing William Tell, (as you do), and the bullet went astray.

The book that made more of an impression on me was called Queer, about the pains of getting over someone (whilst simultaneously trying to kick heroin.) Incredibly painful and raw. Nowadays I steer away from this kind of downbeat material - when you're younger I think you are more resilient about reading dark things, maybe because you have less experience of real darkness in the world.

Anyway, I'm way behind with leaving these on the tube, I keep forgetting. Any suggestions for others places I could leave them gratefully received...


  1. I agree with you, about the darkness. I positively enjoyed gloom in my younger days but now, if well written, it disturbs me and if not, why let it into my mind?

  2. I didn't like Burroughs much until I heard him reading his stuff. He sounds like such a genial gentleman, to hear that stuff spilling from his mouth is nothing is not entertaining.

  3. Hello Z, yup me too, give me sweetness & light these days...

    Did you ever see him in Drugstore Cowboy Billy? He looked like a gent too.