“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at
dawn looking for an angry fix,”
It was a question on University Challenge and it brought with it some memories of Allen Ginsberg in Newcastle woven through me.
The reading I recall was unusual. For some reason the Morden tower was shut, so instead of sitting around on the floor we were in a kind of Victorian lecture theatre at the Miners Institute on Neville Street. It started with Tom Pickard, then Tony Jackson, who seemed to try very hard to look like Mr G. There were some really good friends there that night – everyone I’d have wanted. Tina, Jane L, Duffy… Hell we were cool.
Bladerunner – my Big Film
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die”
Just echoes that bit at the top from Howl
So how did someone like Ginsberg come to be reading in Newcastle (more than that one time too)? Basil Bunting was the Newcastle Poet whose reputation in America attracted some of its greatest poets here, along with many home grown greats too. Tom and Connie Pickard were instrumental in getting BB back onto the local scene. He lived in Wylam and commuted by train to the Toon. Last week I was talking to a woman who happens to live in Basil Bunting’s house in Wylam. Coincidence.
Now I’m going to try to find some lines that have come back to me from others:
“Tony Jackson is a walking Jungle…. Tony Jackson can cry.”
(could be Adrian Mitchell)
“I’ve seen darryl adams cry.”
I can’t find any web reference to the Miners institute reading. Shame. It used to be on University of Northumbria’s website and I put a link to it elsewhere, but it’s gone. I must remember that internet sources aren’t permanent like reference books…
Tears in rain.