Friday, January 29, 2010


Mrs Butler will never be able to listen to Elvis Presley again as long as she lives.

Lisa and Peter Butler bought a subscription to Tears in the Fence from issue one. For twenty years (1984-2004) Tears was the only English-based publication (Dorset) Pete regularly read apart from Elvis Monthly (Nottingham). He also wrote for Elvis Monthly.

'The Forgotten Gems' © Peter Butler, Elvis Monthly No 296, September 1984

Apparently Pete had volunteered views of both himself and his missus on sexual identity and desire for the King as research project for Elvis Monthly. Google search (peter butler + elvis presley) lists this Cambridge University Press doc as abstract with html full version readable online (scroll Page 11 for Butler reference).

A hand-written letter from Tears to Peter, dated 16th October 1993, enclosing issue 11, is bursting with as much encouragement a combined reminder of subscription renewal and editorial rejection can muster -

Please keep sending your poems. One or two have come close to being accepted ... By the way, one day I would like to do a music issue and will contact you for a contribution ...

'Ballad of Lisa and Pete' from beat generation ballads sequence

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


On contemporaneous google blog post (January 20), Chris Goode suggests Jeremy Hillary Boob Ph.D. may be unkind caricature of scholar and poet J.H. Prynne as featured in animation feature Yellow Submarine (1968). 'Die A Millionaire' pronounced DIAMONDS-IN-THE-AIR (Kitchen Poems, 1968) may have appealed to late Erich Segal scripting millionaire Beatles' movie after Lennon toon 'Lucy in the sky with ...' (1967).

If voice of English beat generation John Ono Lennon hadn't died a millionaire, and still be living today, he may be judge on American Idol or guest on X-Factor, even before Paul McCartney bantered with Simon Cowell...this is all a rather silly supposition really...dunno why I'm even going there...still...still...

"Now here's the thing" as they like to say on those tv shows - if the Fifties were chosen nostalgic decade for the Eighties (that first retro-conscious, postmodern, "ironic", back-to-the-future decade for baby boomers), and Sixties chosen decade for Blair's Britpopping Nineties, followed by Seventies nostalgia decade in reality-televised recessionary N00ughties - a suppositionary logic follows - Eighties will be recycled as nostalgic decade for Twentytens and -teens with ironic "1950s mini-decade" portal embedded.

Absolute Beginners will be staged as musical. Auditions on Graham Norton and Andrew Lloyd Webber-hosted reality tv show to find a Colin and Crepe Suzette. Winners congratulated by new Etonian political leaders of old Blighty. That's sci-fi like Torchwood that is.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My First Days On Junk by William Lee, reprinted in The Beat Generation & The Angry Young Men, 1958.

Paperback writer bios from The Beat Generation & The Angry Young Men, Gene Feldman and Max Gartenberg, 1958.

An Absolute British Beginner at half a crown, 1959.

On the Road in England for a full crown, 1961.

slim volume of Penguin Modern Poets 5 available in blighty for three shillings and sixpence, 1963.

and long may they rot at three shillings and sixpence, 1966.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

beat generation ballads hyperlink

all young poets were old once and wore dark romantic beards

Note: Original link to Liverpool's Mersey Beat page archive featuring young bearded Royston Ellis back in the day has been removed since original post. Another link here - far more knowing though.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Church was little known although influential SF theory/poetry/fiction magazine network codpiece published "for the World's edification". Edited by Cyril Simsa with Patrick Ballin's idea for 'Bakunin tao' drawn by Debora as back-cover design ©1980.


Jamming! was edited by Anthony Fletcher from Crystal Palace when zine categories mashed into DIY publication after punk. Back in the day before Helen, Olly and Martin the Sound Man made SE19 postcode of comedy podcast with Answer Me This! Cate Blanchett-have-you-ever-tried to-be-like-Bob Dylan-1966-John Cooper Clarke-grandchild-of-albion stands up reading poems. He could be mistaken for a stand-up comic. That's modern comedy. That's poetry. That's 1980s, 1990s, n00ughties popular frontism.

Also back in the day N10 zinester Cyril Simsa generously provided Jamming! with cute strapline 'A new optimism for the '80's'. His duplicated radical artzine Amanita conflated zoology, science-fiction, music, poetry, anarchy and social theory.

Jamming! attracted a poetry scene in London, Leeds and Birmingham.

It got folks making poems public, through homemade books as much as performance, including myself and Peter Butler. Some of it was shit but some of it wasn't.

Among dozens of flyers circulating on the scene I passed this one on to Peter Butler when he moved to Denmark.

from beat generation ballads sequence

Next post I'll scan Patrick Ballin's graphic A Bakuninist Tao from back cover Cyril Simsa's New Church zine. It's cool.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Peter Butler once asked me what Beatles single I'd like best. I said 'Paperback Writer' coupled with 'Rain'. The 1980s re-release backside has moptops enclosed behind what looks like refugee cage in Patrick McGoohan - 'The Prisoner' episode. Or maybe they are looking in.

My exchange of correspondence with Peter Butler in Denmark began in early 1984 and ended just before he took his own life on May 24th 2004.

I have one fat off-red folder March 1984 - March 1986, one bulky off-green folder May 1990-December 1999, one slim yellow-manila folder January 2000-May 2004. Peter replaced his manual typewriter with an electric model in 1995. The font changes. I didn't keep everything and didn't keep copies of own responses which were generally handwritten.

Ever the skilled builder, Peter constructed a wooden gallows platform in the bedroom he shared with his wife Lisa, without any assistance from morbid internet sites. Peter abhorred computers and the internet - electronic soccer games really got his goat. Peter's self-exile had turned into a disturbing and disturbed psychogeographical state exile, which was terrifying to witness for his wife and young children as he began to grow a long beard. Final photographs of him from 2004 resemble Osama bin-Laden lookalike and I won't shame google-blog with any of the images.

Peter was promptly diagnosed with clinical depression and became erratic with prescribed medication. As difficult to negotiate way out of as prison in physical and political nation-, US line, or European Union member-states. He'd refused US working visa and maintenance employment solicited at Graceland for him by close US friend and Elvis contact Bill Burk, so Pete must have been in a very bad way.

I've kept most of Pete's letters (handwritten and typed), cuttings, photocopied pages from obscure US popular music zines he always enclosed in large mail-art envelopes with annotated cassettes of music compilations, including rare Presley recordings like hysterical laughing Elvis on take of 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'.

Pete believed he would one day sit at the right hand of the King. That's the King. Elvis Presley. Alongside John Ono Lennon, George Harrison and Billy Fury. In proximity of couple Holdsworthy cycle factory work colleagues, best mate Harry Sharp, and Blue Banton who died tragically young - and 'Busby's Babes' upstairs since 1958.

If that was Pete's final quest I hope it's true for him.

from beat generation ballads sequence.

Friday, January 08, 2010


William Lee - dented suitcase and typewriter case tucked under his feet - leaned against the creaking headrest of an Earls Court hotel bed after interrogation by London airport immigration officials. Lee turned dial to switch on small black and white television set end of bed.

Lee the paperback writer was on the nod.

On England's only commercial tv channel Patrick McGoohan is Danger Man - secret agent John Drake. Drake flies to Switzerland in pursuit of missing agent Hagan. In plot freelance western agent Hagan is suspected of working for hostile mob. Changing his face and identity to avoid recognition whilst remaining bankrolled by west in Zürich.

Benway-character Dr Brajanska grafts the face of dead patient Wallace, murdered by hostile mob, onto Hagan at Brajanska's sinister Einbeck clinic. Wallace's remains are given to local undertaker, Buchler, whose premises are destroyed by suspicious fire, along with Buchler himself - whom mob believe burned to death.

Dark empty room in clinic. Close up of Lee. Shadows dancing in background. Disembodied voice on slowed-down tv tape. Could be male, female, non-human, half-man half-animal.

Paperback writer awakes from horrible dream. He is sitting in shabby London hotel room. Woman with vacuum cleaner is noisily moving chair around. She finds Lee huddled on chair covered with blankets.

MRS JOHNSON: Mister Lee. Mister Lee. Wake up, Mister Lee. It's gone midday. You said you were going to the British Museum, Mister Lee.

LEE: Yes, the matter of the Akkadian Deluge cuneiform. Tablet of Lapus Lazuli. Thank you, Missus Johnson.

MRS JOHNSON: It's cold and foggy out there. Be sure to wrap yourself up nicely, Mister Lee.

HOTEL CONCIERGE (enters room with rolled cigarette hanging from mouth): What time of day you call this, Lee? When you going to clear out (placing vase of plastic flowers on table). Ideal Home Exhibition coming soon. Bookings for respectable guests.

from beat generation ballads sequence

Monday, January 04, 2010


A Peter Butler Elvis and John Ono Lennon decorated envelope from Denmark (June 9, 2000)

on envelope backside 'the legend continues,' with added dedication to 'Britain's finest...'