Artist : Jack Kerouac
Label : Counter Culture Chronicles, The Hague
Year : 2015
Counter Culture Chronicles #7
Silkscreened sleeve and insert
Limited edition of 50 copies
Postage & packing not included
Counter Culture Chronicles #7 contains two interviews of Jack Kerouac, both interesting but for different reasons. The first one is an interview by Charles Jarvis and James Curtis which was broadcast on 8 October 1962 on WCAP radio in Kerouac’s hometown Lowell, Massachusetts. Jarvis and Curtis set out to interview Kerouac about his new book ‘Big Sur’, but find themselves taken for a ride by a relaxed and high-spirited Kerouac. The conversation swerves from serious to light topics with Kerouac talking freely and driving with one hand on the wheel. Lowell, Massachusetts, Kerouac’s childhood friend George Apostolos and yoga are subjects that are stopped at, as are Kerouacs books ‘The Dharma Bums’, ‘Dr Sax’ and, briefly, ‘Big Sur’ and ‘Visions of Gerard’, which was being prepared for publication. On the way Kerouac gives insight in his style of writing, the underlying ideas about improvisation and revising texts (‘Once God moves the hand, you go back and revise, it’s a sin’), and about the literary influence of Marcel Proust on those: ‘I wanted to do it just like he did, but fast’.
The B-side of the cassette contains the second part of the 1962 WCAP interview with Kerouac expressing strong opinions on Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. It is followed by an older and very different interview of Kerouac by heavy-weight journalist and writer Ben Hecht which was broadcast on television in October 1958, shortly after the publication of Kerouac’s ‘The Dharma Bums’. At the time, one year after the publication of ‘On The Road’, Kerouac’s star was rising whereas Ben Hecht was the granite literary institution of an older American generation. The interview is a clash of generations. Hecht, grown cynical after two world wars and the holocaust, wants to arm wrestle Kerouac and, certainly, he proves the tougher, more streetwise of the two writers. But despite his weight and his desire to pass Kerouac and the entire Beat Generation off as weak escapists, he doesn’t get enough grip on his opponent (or chooses not to) and allows Kerouac to gracefully slip off the hook.