Saturday, February 27, 2010


Thursday, February 25, 2010


In a Foreign City - poem by Elizabeth Jennings (1926 - 2001)

yellowing text scan Penguin Modern Poets 1 (Penguin Books, 1962)

jennings indexed at poetic justice hyperlink click to in a foreign city screen read

youtube city movement televisual association

from beat generation ballads sequence

Monday, February 22, 2010


Found photographic print stirred images southeast London's light industrial estates 1960s borders of Bromley and Lewisham. Location date source origin image not known - unlikely its southeast London. Found print twenty years ago anyway. Image provoked first scribblings written twenty years before that.

Early jottings awful although medium, the 'exercise book' with feint lined pages, were blogform at time. Filled with notes and drawings, publication in electronic blogform adds visual reproduction of text. Extract made with fountain pen and blue ink. Quink-textual.

When I studied English Literature one of my tutors, Mike Holly, told me story. As former English teacher in secondary education he was curious about one boy diligently writing at back of class through every lesson he tried to teach. He eventually confronted pupil to find opened James Bond paperback on desk. Boy was copying Ian Fleming word for word into series of exercise books. "Why are you doing this?"
"Because it makes the book mine."

from beat generation ballads sequence

Jean Cocteau said that. Cocteau is quoted in opening to Ernst Fischer's first chapter on 'The Function of Art' in Pelican original The Necessity of Art.

Factory girl Peter Butler was born at the Mothers' Hospital Hackney April 24 1957.

Adopted, brought up, and schooled in southeast London - UK secondary comprehensive system during early 1970s seemed to have failed Pete completely. Into fights with male English teachers, kicked out, then rounds of building sites and local factories at fifteen. Don't understand cos Pete could write what he meant, spell and put apostrophes in right place most of the time.

Employment for boys and girls looking for more permanent employment could be found health, postal and transport sectors. More temporary work found in shops, offices, warehouses and small factories dotted over urban junkscape of suburban redevelopment.

Pete eventually found work building cycle frames for Holdsworthy in Anerley. He enjoyed open-air working encouraged in good weather. This changed when works moved to custom-built factory without windows at Cambridge Grove demolished for warehouse-building after years as milk depot.

Back in the day I said to Pete I needed to make art go to work and he looked at me and said, "Like Elvis Presley?"

Yes. Just like Elvis.

from beat generation ballads sequence

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Publisher Graham Keen planned British 'Underground' comic starring paperback writer William Burroughs collaboration for comic character "Mr Hart". London St Martin's School of Art student Malcolm McNeill was selected for job.

It was known among publishers and editors Bill didn't do "lunch". Innocence and Experience were also to learn Bill didn't like comics. This was 1969-1970 when US underground comix seemed appropriate milieu for radical counterculture artwork. A compromise was reached between publisher, writer and illustrator. McNeill produced work in narrative-caption style of Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant 'Sunday Funnies' adventure strips Burroughs remembered from 1930s.

On return USA Burroughs acquainted himself with Kansas beat generation and work of S Clay Wilson.

When Burroughs lived in London early 1970s paperback writer enjoyed "snack" with Mottram. All photographs apart from cover snap apparently failed to process successfully.

Aloes Books, London 1975.

Allen Fisher writes about other contexts for Burroughs' visual-text production here.

disbanded after issue 4. American underground comix found UK audience early 70s within pages of Mick Farren's and Edward Barker's Nasty Tales and Felix Dennis's cOZmic comics.

from beat generation ballads sequence

Sunday, February 14, 2010


'visual associations' from beat generation ballads sequence

Friday, February 12, 2010

'Funny Valentine' drawing from beat generation ballads sequence

Forty years before beat-lit supergroup Moorcock, Sinclair & Moore played standing-room-only London concert to new audience young psychogeographers - Michael Moorcock's free-to-use pop anti-hero character 'Jerry Cornelius' appeared as comic-strip in International Times (it or IT) 1969. Archive gives access to all IT's 'Cornelius' comic serials from hippie era.

Moorcock-edited New Worlds magazine remains little known driver '60's cultural revolutions East and West depicted in fiction, poetry and graphics. 'Jerry Cornelius' was visually represented by Malcolm Dean in black & white lo-fi. The it strip, initially scripted by Moorcock and drawn by Dean in his individualized style coincided with final issues of Marcus Morris' exemplar full-colour Eagle comic.

Besides, 'Jerry Cornelius cartoon' wasn't comparable with other juvenile adventure or funny weeklies, US comic books, nor syndicated daily newspaper cartoons and serials.

Jeff Nuttall's and Mal Dean's visual poetics became part of newer narrative form (commercially marketed twenty years later as 'graphic novel') .

Graham Keen, member of it's editorial collective heard voice of Blake with idea for comic book imprint Innocence and Experience. As with poetic Children of Albion - comics for the 'Underground' in Britain emerged.

Word got out metropolitan scene paperback writer and cut-up practitioner William S. Burroughs - My Own Mag, International Times contributor, Underground Press supporter/subscriber, London resident - sought visual collaborators for new and perhaps older work.

Invisible generation British illustrators/comic artists excited.

Five years later Allen Ginsberg figured Burroughs needed superhero rescue from London. Hippie generation poet considered psychogeographic capital of Blighty may have done aging beat writer's head in.

from beat generation ballads sequence

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Beat generation became invisible generation merry old England 1966.

Bob Dylan played Manchester Free Trade Hall looking like poet John Cooper Clarke 1979. Donovan have-you-ever-tried-to-be-like-Bob Dylan-1965 closed '66 with Sunshine Superman.

Beatles produced Revolver. Paul McCartney helped start English underground paper International Times (it or IT). This recently completed internet archive is remarkable catalogue counterculture activity UK 1966-1986, documenting hippie & punk eras up to 1980s absolute beginners beat surrender, plus one-off anarchist anti-Tory shout 1994.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Jeff Nuttall died January 2004. Through work in 1960s International Times (it or IT) and writers forum press - visual, verbal, c(art)oon, zine collapsed in singular form. His pioneering Physiodelics, My Own Mag, Oscar Christ and the Immaculate Conception often came from different beat inspirations & source materials to North American underground comix with origins in US pulps, tijuana bibles (8-page sex cartoons), sick humor and horror comics.

Nuttall's poetry and prose fiction wasn't populist. But as broadsheet critic in emerging multicultural poetry scene he produced puff-friendly observations for poets' work including a young Bill Griffiths.

Nuttall's urgent spidery style of drawing was conventional in terms of technique. Yet every scratch of Jeff's pen and splodge of ink seemed to represent paraliterary challenge to text-heavy editorial regimes determined to edit out marks interfering, mocking, obscuring, or not doing job in illustrating body verbal.

Bob Cobbing's writers forum published last of Nuttall's poetics supper moves unlight, viper along with Jeff's own chapbook compilation of 1960s reprints (image above) in March 2002.

Jeff Nuttall enjoyed parallel careers as teacher in secondary modern and art school education, and as actor in several tv sit-coms and films. As well as a definitive Friar Tuck he played Dr Mikhail Arkov in James Bond movie The World Is Not Enough. He plays dead for most of his time on screen. This is movie where Robbie Coltrane plays 'Zukovsky'. And as Jeff Hilson speculates - a Nuttall suggestion to script-doctoring team?

from beat generation ballads sequence

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Cheap and nasty, poorly written, badly drawn and painted - US sex, crime, humor and horror comics published under English imprints were readily available to children from sweet shops in UK after the Second World War.

backside to Unwarned published in South London (undated)

A moral panic in both USA and Britain during the early 1950s resulted in censorship.

Humour Variety No. 171, Micron Publications, Sussex (undated post-decimal reprint)

A Christian vicar from Lancashire, Marcus Morris, divined to conceive Eagle for boys and Girl for girls.

Reverend Morris' publications were UK technological revolution in comics. Glossy gravure print demanded high quality colour and black & white artwork for mechanical reproduction. Produced new generation of commercial artists. Only best science fiction writers Arthur C Clarke scripting futurism from shores of Blighty.

In US, sex and crime stories horror, satirical humor - read by beats 'n' hipsters inspired Mad magazine and late 1960s 'Underground' comics or 'comix'.

Hackney-based publisher L Miller produced compilations of lost 1950s horror and humor. Still sold to children in 1969 English backstreet sweet shops when Children of Albion "Poetry of the 'Underground' in Britain" was available on high street paperback stalls and Britain's beat generation had Blake's eyes in their hands.

Monday, February 01, 2010


WB Yeats heard voice of Blake. Allen Ginsberg heard voice of Blake. Michael Horovitz heard voice of Blake.

No beat generation beginner Royston Ellis. Perhaps he never heard voice of Blake. Anselm Hollo, Lee Harwood and Tom Raworth though. One Barry Tebb contribution 'School Smell' and seven from Ted Milton including "Coleman's 'Tomorrow is the Question'".