The Comic Strip Presents ... TV - Jack Kerouac - Amiri Baraka - Gregory Corso - Allen Ginsberg - Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats TV - The Party's Over 1965 - James Fox TV -
These weekends are so wild, Alan. Just driving anywhere we like with so many crazy artists and poets like you and Kicks. It’s such a trip. Aaaargh! The Comic Strip Presents ... The Beat Generation, Dawn French, Channel 4 1983
The Beat Generation, that was a vision that we had, John Clellon Holmes and I, and Allen Ginsberg in an even wilder way, in the late forties, of a generation of crazy, illuminated hipsters suddenly rising and roaming America, serious, bumming and hitchhiking everywhere, ragged, beatific, beautiful in an ugly graceful new way – a vision gleaned from the way we had heard the word ‘beat’ spoken on streetcorners on Times Square and in the Village, in other cities in the downtown city night of postwar America – beat, meaning down and out but full of intense conviction – We’d even heard old 1910 Daddy Hipsters of the streets speak the word that way, with a melancholy sneer – It never meant juvenile delinquents, it meant characters of a special spirituality who didn't gang up but were solitary Bartlebies staring out the dead wall window of our civilization – the subterraneans heroes who’d finally turned from the ‘freedom’ machine of the West and were taking drugs, digging bop, having flashes of insight, experiencing the ‘derangement of the senses’, talking strange, being poor and glad, prophesying a new style for American culture, a new style (we thought), a new incantation – The same thing was almost going on in the postwar France of Sartre and Genet and what’s more we knew about it – But as to the actual existence of a Beat Generation, chances are it was really just an idea in our minds. Jack Kerouac
Suppose we suddenly wake up and see that what we thought to be this and that, ain’t this and that at all? Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums
It’s a sort of furtiveness ... Like we were a generation of furtive. You know, with an inner knowledge there’s no use flaunting on that level, the level of the ‘public’, a kind of beatness – I mean, being right down to it, to ourselves, because we all really know where we are – and a weariness with all the forms, all the conventions of the world ... It’s something like that. So I guess you might say we’re a beat generation. Jack Kerouac
But yet, but yet, woe, woe unto those who think that the Beat Generation means crime, delinquency, immorality, amorality ... woe unto those who attack it on the grounds that they simply don't understand history and the yearning of human souls ... woe in fact unto those who make evil movies about the Beat Generation where innocent housewives are raped by beatniks! ... woe unto those who spit on the Beat Generation, the wind’ll blow it back. Jack Kerouac
John Clellon Holmes and I were sitting around trying to think up the meaning of the Lost Generation and the subsequent Existentialism and I said, ‘You know, this is really a beat generation.’ And he leapt up and said, ‘That’s it, that’s right!’ (Existentialism & Beat Generation) Jack Kerouac, interview Playboy
Dude playing piano: How would you define the word beat ...?
Kerouac: Well, sympathetic. ibid.
Jack Kerouac lived his life in constant restless activity. He observed and then reported in lucid poetic stream of consciousness detail. ibid.
Rejection haunted Jack wherever he went. ibid.
Then a complete silence fell over everybody; where once Dean would have talked his way out, he now fell silent himself, but standing in front of everybody, ragged and broken and idiotic, right under the lightbulbs, his bony mad face covered with sweat and throbbing veins, saying, ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ as though tremendous revelations were pouring into him all the time now, and I am convinced they were, and the others suspected as much and were frightened. He was BEAT — the root, the soul of Beatific. What was he knowing? Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The so-called Beat Generation was a whole bunch of people, of all different nationalities, who came to the conclusion that society sucked. Amiri Baraka
Beat means to have all the blather knocked out of you by experience, suddenly seeing things as they are. Beat doesn’t mean a broken spirit, on the contrary, it’s scourged of external blather! Gregory Corso
Nobody knows whether we were catalysts or invented something, or just the froth riding on a wave of its own. We were all three, I suppose. Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through universities with radiant cool eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,
who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,
who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,
who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,
who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night
with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls ... Allen Ginsberg, Howl
In the early 1950s the nation recognised in its midst a social movement called Beat Generation, and a novel titled On the Road became a best-seller. Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats, geezer at guitar, Sky Arts 2013
This film is a story of some young people who chose to become ... beaten. It’s not an attack on beatness. The film has been made to show the loneliness and the unhappiness and the eventual tragedy that can come of a life lived without love for anyone or anything. Living only for kicks is not enough. The Party’s Over 1965 starring Olivier Reed & Clifford David & Ann Lynn & Katherine Woodville & Louise Sorel & Mike Pratt & Maurice Browning & Jonathan Burn & Roddy Maude-Roxby et al, director Guy Hamilton
Me? I’m just a dead fly in the soup of the tycoon’s banquet. I’ve got a nuisance value – sticking pins in pomposity. ibid. Reed
In the middle of the twentieth century a city in the new world arrived on the global stage. It quickly became the most influential and exciting place on the planet, a place with more energy and originality than everywhere else put together. Dr James Fox, Bright Lights, Brilliant Minds: A Tale of Three Cities I: New York, BBC 2014
I think it all got started in one remarkable year: 1951. This was the year when the city’s irrepressible creative spirit exploded into life. When the world’s greatest jazz musicians pioneered modern music. When Jack Kerouac gave the beat generation a voice. And Marlon Brando redefined modern cinema. ibid.
‘Madison Avenue was a passionately wonderful place to work.’ ibid. Jane Mass copywriter
By 1951 the pressure to conform was immense … New York, the consumer capital of the world, was also home to the biggest rebellion against 50s conformity. ibid.
Kerouac’s novel went on to become a bible for the beat generation, a handbook for all those who wished to rebel against American authority. ibid.
Bebop was certainly the soundtrack of the counter-culture. ibid.
Without New York in 1951, modern life would be very different indeed. ibid.