Saturday, 3 September 2011


Every quarter Beat Scene magazine turns up at my door, more like a groovy uncle than a foxy new girlfriend, but it’s fiercely loyal, dependable, and I always put the kettle on to enjoy a few hours in its company.

It brings me news and tells tales of days of yore. For example, it reports there will presently be two film adaptations of, in my opinion, Jack Kerouac’s best two books: On The Road and Big Sur. I’m fairly ambivalent about these types of projects. Whether good or bad, they’ll come out and disappear, most won’t even notice, but a handful of observers will go back to Jack himself and possibly the Beats in general. They need all the help they can get these days. When Jack needed help he didn’t get much. As far back as 1959, Beat Scene editor Kevin Ring observes in his thorough account of Jack’s relationship with his agent Stirling Lord, “Jack was disappointed that film adaptations of his books seemed slow in materialising”. Jack, at the time his star shone brightest, already needed the money; ten years later in near poverty and tatters, he drunk himself to death. Ring’s account is close to a classic be-careful-what-you-wish-for story.

Happier news comes in the shape of an excerpt from a forthcoming Charles Bukowksi collection; lots of book reviews; articles about Ed Sanders, Gary Snyder, Janine Pommy Vega and more; and, especially for David Beckham, a 1987 interview with Allen Ginsberg.

A bumper 68 A4 page edition for a four pounds sterling. I’ll drink to that. Find ordering details at

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