Friday, March 05, 2010


1968. Comic-book artist Cap Stelling notes familiar refrain in William Burroughs' introduction to Corgi paperback The Naked Lunch.

Room for One More Inside, Sir.

Bell ring old black and white film. Like film's influential episode featuring ventriloquist and dummy - original riff appeared in the Cavalcanti and Crichton 'tales of unexpected' movie Dead of Night. Line first uttered by Miles Malleson as Charon-like transporter of doomed souls, witnessed by featured player able to observe, yet avoid, fatal predestination. Imagined visual association: young Jeff Nuttall hallucinating older Jeff Nuttall played by Malleson - another writer-dramatist and cameo actor.

1973. Cap Stelling, waiting in Whitehall for number 12 bus from Shepherd's Bush to depths of Penge - catches sight of St Louis paperback writer reading menu displayed on restaurant window near Great Scotland Yard. Burroughs is chuckling at contents ... yes, around quarter-past-four in the afternoon ...

Stelling's submission to The William S. Burroughs Scrapbook, an ambitious full-colour Seventies visual art project not to reach publication was drawn on lined paper in blue felt-tip pen, cut from lined exercise book -

from beat generation ballads sequence

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