Thursday, January 24, 2013

William S. Burroughs: Ghost at No. 9

A series of experimental films featuring William S. Burroughs (1914-1997), most brought to fruition by Anthony Balch, involving Brion Gysin and others. Locations include Paris, London, and New York City. Titles include: Towers Open Fire, Ghost at No. 9, The Cut-Ups, Bill and Tony and William Buys a Parrot. 

On first look, they seem a bit strange, but on second thought, they are like splashes of cold water to the face. Time to wake up from our lullaby of daily stock quotations, weather reports, unemployment figures, team rankings, local news, the latest sales, the latest political and celebrity cock-ups and other "normal indicators" of life in modern society. Everything's a cut-up.

Our natural tendency is to try to make narratives, stories, out of our surroundings. But do these "indicators" reveal anything deep about our lives? Or do they just provide a shimmering, ultimately "unreal" sense of continuity? Ask the Buddha, or The Man Who Fell to Earth.  

Or if not the Buddha or a David Bowie persona, how about Talking Heads: 

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?

"Once in a Lifetime," Remain in Light (1980).

Today's Rune: Fertility.

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