Thursday, October 04, 2007

Were You, or Have You Ever Been?

In 1957, Judge Clayton Horn threw out the obscenity case against Allen Ginsburg's Howl, saving City Lights publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti from 50 years in jail.

If Ferlinghetti had served all that time, yesterday (3 Oct) would have been the day he stepped back into the light of freedom. In tribute to the poem, the publisher - and the clear-sighted justice - broadcast Howl yesterday... and only broadcast it online, as WBAI-FM were afraid of getting smacked down by the FCC, the New York Times reports.

With fines of up to $325,000 in their arsenal, the FCC have succeeded where the 1950s courts failed -- but the internet follows in Ferlinghetti's footsteps. Following a run of 1950s-set movies (Good Night and Good Luck, The Notorious Betty Page) this seems like clear evidence that the US is heading back to the days of UnAmerican activities -- which bodes well for another Beat-inspired revolution.

To Pacifica and all who sail with her, DL says: "Good night, and good luck!"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tori Gets a Tan

Clyde, one of Tori Amos' myriad characters from her new album American Doll Posse records in her blog that she left the Australian leg of her tour with a copy of Shaun Tan's amazing illustrated book The Red Tree. Which is weird, because DL just picked up a copy of that book at the truly incredible Salts Mill bookshop, while attending a reading by SF Said, author of Varjak Paw as part of the Saltaire festival. Delirium, as Sandman fans will remember, was based on Tori by her friend and fan, Neil Gaiman.

It seems strange but perfect that this should happen the week I saw Theatre de Complicite's A Disappearing Number at the Barbican, with texts by John Berger -- as I'm reading Berger's new book, Hold Everything Dear. Complicite's show, which makes mathematics into poetry, works from the idea that everything is connected, both figuratively and literally.

The same day, I get an email from my Australian friend, the brilliant playwright and poet Jasmine Chan, who introduced me to Tan's work with a copy of The Arrival which - in true DL style - greets visitors to my flat, who get drawn to its beauty, but has yet to be read. Now I feel that I must, to participate fully in the connectedness.