Patti Smith spoke at a church in Berkeley and did an impromptu musical performance. Her self-deprecating humor was exquisitely charming. Her book, M Train, is about nothing. Really, on page one, first paragraph, first sentence, she writes, “It’s not so easy writing about nothing.” (Smith, 1). I devoured M Train. I was on vacation in New Mexico reading it, at my Aunt’s ranch, sitting on the porch, drinking coffee out of my deceased Uncle’s mug. Everything felt so connected, so immediately relevant. And yet, I suspect I would relate to this book and connect everything wherever I was while reading it.
Frank Owen‘s Clubland: The Fabulous Rise and Murderous Fall of Club Culture delves into drug dealer Angel’s murder by club kids Michael Alig and Robert “Freeze” Riggs. It objectively states the facts and points to police reports and witness statements. Owen was a journalist for The Village Voice and wrote an article on Special K, which was at the time the new drug in the club scene. As a result of his research he became friendly with some of the dealers, promoters, club owners, DJs, and club kids. Writing with authority he allows the outsider a glimpse into the club scene and what can happen behind the scenes. But the book leaves a lot to be desired.
Clay died. We dated when we were younger. We loved each other so very much. You never love someone like you did when you were 22. I hadn’t spoken to him since last year but I thought of him every day. The last time we spoke he wasn’t himself. And I sunk into a deep depression. I couldn’t face the reality.
William S. Burroughs‘ Junkie is written tight and clean, just like I like it. But there is no humor, no black humor, nor any dry humor. The book is dark and hopeless, just as Burroughs’ addiction is. There is no redemption for his narrator; he never changes. But without Burroughs’ strict attention to detail, without his lack of repenting, we would not have the literature we have today. He wrote about gay sex easily without explaining it or making it dirty or salacious. He just wrote about his life. He created a whole new genre—cult culture.