A Fool And A Storm

1. Ed Champion isn’t won over by Fool, Christopher Moore’s comic spin on Shakespeare’s King Lear, which is enough to warn me away (I considered spending time with the book, but the cover art didn’t pull me in either). In other Lear news, I’m just plain happy that an Anthony Hopkins film version of King Lear has been cancelled. Hopkins was marvelous in Remains of the Day but has been disappointing in many big roles, mainly because he can only play one character, the “Anthony Hopkins guy”. I really wasn’t looking forward to seeing King Lear with an icy stare and trembling lips. Meanwhile, Al Pacino’s Lear may still happen, and while I also don’t need to see a surly over-caffeinated King Lear, I believe Pacino has a greater range of character than Hopkins.

Another requirement for an actor attempting Lear is humility, since the King must play straight man to his Fool and read his best lines while upstaged by a storm. This is why I liked Kevin Kline’s modest Lear, and would be happy to see this one recorded for posterity as well. Historic King Lears we can still enjoy include Paul Scofield, Ian Holm, Laurence Olivier and, a personal favorite of mine, Albert Finney in The Dresser.

2. Not … another … unpublished … Kerouac novel

I am glad the estate is publishing the archives, but I don’t like the hyped-up hardcover release formats and I find it strange how much excited press coverage Kerouac bottom-scrapers like And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks and Atop An Underwood or the new The Sea Is My Brother get, as if any reader would be better off reading these books instead of, say, Big Sur or Desolation Angels or Doctor Sax or Subterraneans or Town and The City or Visions of Cody or Wake Up or even Good Blonde or Satori in Paris or Vanity of Duluoz.

I think Kerouac had excellent judgement about his own work — that’s why he carried manuscripts of so many of the above-mentioned novels in his rucksack for years waiting for the world to eventually smarten up and appreciate them. But the novels he was carrying in his rucksack for years were Subterraneans and Visions of Cody and Doctor Sax, most decidedly not Atop An Underwood or And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks or The Sea Is My Brother. I trust Kerouac’s judgement.

3. I enjoyed Roy Blount Jr.’s well-written editorial about whether Amazon’s text-to-speech feature violates authors’ rights, but I’m really not getting excited about this boring controversy. To quote a description I once read of a 1970s bar brawl between David Bowie and Lou Reed, watching the Kindle team battle the Author’s Guild is sort of like watching two old ladies try to pat fires out on each other’s bellies.

4. Tom Watson, author of Cause Wired, takes on Rush Limbaugh for the Huff.

5. Norman Mailer.

6. Cam’ron is working on a television comedy project, and cites Larry David as an inspiration. I can’t think of many hiphop artists who could make this work, but Cam has the talent and the crude/funny chops to pull it off, and I hope it happens.

7. Apparently Alan Aldridge, the artist who drew the cover for Elton John’s excellent 1975 autobiographical album “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy”, was the Chip Kidd of his time, at least in England.

8. Rambling on. (If you click through you’ll get to Frank O’Hara, but we’re taking the slow route).

9. Jack Tippit’s cartooning rat race, from a 1950s cartoonist’s insider sheet.

10. Laura Albert is writing a new work of fiction at Five Chapters.

15 Responses

  1. The only contemporary actor I
    The only contemporary actor I can envision doing Lear is Eugene O’Neill interpreter extraordiare Brian Dennehy.

  2. Lear is a difficult play,
    Lear is a difficult play, unlike Macbeth which is an ascent into the mad world of power and kingship,quite simple to comprehend.
    Lear is a descent from the madness of monarchy into the realm of common humanity.
    Same story, different journey,with a powerfully different consequence.
    The fool is the fulcrum of the play, a truly karmic character.If Fool is on song, the play is truly a tale told by an idiot of incredible consequence.
    Both plays are very dependent on the qualities of the cast. In essence they are players plays, as opposed to audience plays.
    Shakespeare was also an actor, these two plays enhance the craft of acting; and much more besides.

  3. You can find elements of both
    You can find elements of both the Sea Is My Brother and the Hippos Were Buried In Their Tanks in Vanity of Duluoz.

  4. I’d also like to see Brian
    I’d also like to see Brian Dennehy as Lear. Saw James Earl Jones do it and was knocked out. Pacino would be good in the role.

    Hopkins has no range? Hannibal and Nixon certainly weren’t repressed british servant types.

    Kerouac/Burroughs’s Hippos was lighter fare, to be sure, but an enjoyable read and worth getting. Its publication was delayed not because anyone thought it too flimsy – but because Lucian Carr had been promised that it wouldn’t appear in his lifetime.

  5. Dan — yeah, a serial killer
    Dan — yeah, a serial killer with an icy stare and a trembling lip, and Richard Nixon with an icy stare and a trembling lip. Then there was Pable Picasso with an icy stare and a trembling lip, and …

  6. Ha ha, no, Frank, I actually
    Ha ha, no, Frank, I actually read that in a magazine! I believe it was Crawdaddy magazine, or possibly Circus, or maybe it was National Lampoon (in which case maybe it never actually happened) …

  7. I recall the Bowie/Reed
    I recall the Bowie/Reed fight. It was ’78, after Crawdaddy’s demise.

  8. Bun Fight At The OK
    Bun Fight At The OK Coriolanus

    Act one scene and heard another one in a Rock’n’Roll theme bar in New York City.

    DB..Wot u lukin at creep features.
    LR..Frankenstein b4 the nose job..u wearing marrianne’s frock again, mick will be livid.
    DB..u keep saint mick out of your bizniz
    LR..A couple of schlocky frocky horrors an’ he’s anybody’s bizniz. Honky the tonky’s’ not the problem, u. r. Coming over here 2 the land of the freezy’n’squeezy with your abstract haircut concoctions,an pokin” your Ziggy’s where Ziggyies shouldn’t be pokened.If Morrison was here he’d incinerate your dangling elliptical globes for that rotten remake of a remark.
    DB..Goodness the gracious,and golly my miss mollies the Big Apple has a rhymin pawn broker that can juggle his goldenballs while drinking his pina colada. My my what a vicious enchilada the USA has in thee.
    LR..You keep my ‘Vicious’ outta ur Sid,or ur next walkie talkie will be on ur mildly sildie, punkette, u got that. An’ where in gods good copulation did you get the mullet that anoints your kippered features.If fish had face like that they’d emigrate to deserts.
    DB..That’s it, I’ve had enough of ur Sweet Janus…
    LR.. Don’t u believe it…
    DB…thats the camel that smoked a straw hat.
    Hod me back,or I’ll moider dis bum wit my sparkling vernacular, and the odd rhymin couplet with a quik 1 2.. on the dangling microphone. The Vicious verb is jolly well going to get his come uppance and downance. The twin faced wretch is for a hand knitted jumper off the high stoolie tonightie, by jovie.
    LR..Oh no, not the anglo saxon knitting pattern…. Quit the jon bovi it didn’t work for hymn and even less for the smoked herring.
    End of scene 1

    Scene 2. Enter barman Little Richard cigarette in place.

    Lit..Do either of you two gentlemen have a match ,or, am I just guessing.

    To be continued by anyone who wants to write scene 2 for three people.

  9. Laura Albert rides again!
    Laura Albert rides again! Hallelujah! Thanks goodness she didn’t let the bastards grind her down! No matter the name on her fiction, it’s superb.

  10. Shakespeare’s quite simple,
    Shakespeare’s quite simple, really. It’s always about language, the rest is showbusiness.

  11. do either of u2 gentlemen
    do either of u2 gentlemen have a match or am I just guessing that rock stars don’t incinerate the heather like they used back in ma Hamburger days. Typical, the worlds full of veggie meat loafs. The more pop tarts change the more they remain the same.

    DB.. Wot u talkin’ ‘bout Small Dick, u fink I’m fick? Or even finkle an fickle.

    L R. Yeah, u said it, an’ we don’t need much help from our friend to believe it.

    Lit. Don’t you go takin’ the name, or the wurdz of the fab 4 insectz in vain. Ah know’d them when they wuz larvae.
    Stickman’s crazy, Leftie’s lazy, Smiley’s hazy, an Speccy’s a mystery. .Imagine an enigma an’ you got him.
    Stole mah suits an mah style, the hairdo number is an original sin. Still don’t know how they done it without beltin’ the ol’ joanna. A regular bunch of banjo banging bandits, thatz what they are. an thatz what we become, thus fames misfortune makes insectz of us all.

    DB. Wotz Small Dick talkin’ about.. If it aint Rock’n’Roll ah dunno why he bovvers. Never took ‘im for a blinkin’ intermologist, 2 frutti on the cosi fan tutti for a cutie like me.

    LR. The things in heaven an earth u don’t know would fill heaven an earth, ur a regular Major Major Tom Tom banging on thin hair. Ur the last poor Yorick in this bar, Fish Face.

    DB. If ah knew wot woz u woz prattling on about, I’d smak u. An we aint talkin’ snow white here, even though we know ur a midget on the fidget, big time. Bolt on features.

    DO. You cant insult the 4 evangelists like that when there’s an Osmond on the joint

    Lit. Hark, a blight at yonder window. How would u like me to insult them?. The teeth speaks in parabolics, we are shaved by the bald intervention. Let me tell you something about the joint u keep pounding, the 2 2 solid flesh flesh can drive you blind if u don’t wear a seat belt.

    DB. A very profound comment Small Dick, wotz it all mean.

    LR. A bit above me as well.

    DB Everyfinks above u midget features. Beg ur pardon , ‘vertically challenged features’, play ur cardz right an my agent’ll get u some work as ventriloquists dummy on Coney Island. Gottle a gear, gottle a gear. Don’t u just love the chorus

    LR. Ah’ll kill him slowly. Right now, if he’s not careful. Limey Creep.

    DB. Is that a small threat I see B4 us.

    DO No violence! No violenc! I’m a Mormon orthodontist

    Lit. Could’ve fooled me with that one. Then again u do bring em out one at a time, thatz family

    DO. No violence, no violence, gentlemen please, I’m a Latter Day Saint.

    M. My oh my sweet angelus, there’s 2 professional virginz in da houze.

    DB. Someone turned my wine into water. Woz that u or the LSD wif the teef?.. Maddie, great 2 see u,. How long u bin waitressing here..Better than touring wiv Guy the Gorilla, huh.

    M. Guard ur venerable beadsz Ziggy, theyre in danger of benediction from sharp short prayer of contrition and contraction of the heeling kind…

    DB. Whoz Ben an’Dick iz they rock starz I aint heard uv.

    LR. Sock it to im Maddie. Straight in the marriage prospectz, we’ll all be like virginz then. Be another Rock’n’Roll miracle. An saint Doggo will get hiz Bono wrapped around his cake hole.. Howzat sound for pc a veggie Thankzgiving.

    M. Painful, but am a believer, if it’ll get Donnie an Marie into a fur coat an back in the treez in time for Thanzgiving,Cool. Being born again Monkeez iz probably a smart career move for them.
    They’re a couple uv shakez an shimmiez’ behind Einstein’s theory of Relativez in showbizniz. They’ve got the teeth and the outfit, all they need now iz for the banana bunch to get back together again .Be like another Eden for em.

    DB Thatz very profound Maddie, uv you bin reading or taking the Tablet again

    M. It’s a Catholic thing

    LR. Ive got the tee shirt….but thatz another velvet kickass thing.

    DO. U keep my teeth out of ur religion.An my sister out of ur fur coats,.an ur velvet sinning underthings..

    Lit.Those tombstones in your cavern have their own commandments engraved upon them. Tell me more about the velvet underwear sounds like it breaks at least three of them. An for Chrissakes stop smiling u frighten the paying customers.Wot a set of railings…..

    DB Haz anyone seen my make up case? U haven’t been eating the pancake again, Louie? It’ll make u seem sensible, an a change ‘ll be az good az getting arrested for being drunk in charge of a Rock’n’Roll chocolate biscuit band..

    LR. Ah, such sweet confectionz match ur pickled onion eyez. Sweet Romeo of this parish, shame about the halitosis makez the milkfloats bloat ur thighs.
    Lit. Thatz it, ah swear it, all u gotta be iz white. I’m outta here, my shiftz over. Someone call the manager, he needz a new head waiter, an am not talking John the Baptist despite the present fruitcake company. Amen an goodbye

    DB Bye Small Dick, ur on the christnas card list, nice fella.
    JJ. wotz gin on rnd here.am jj Hcknbush the mangr uv ths estblshmnt, werz ma jhn the bptst hed wtr gon.

    End of act 1.

    Anyone for the second act.

  12. M Da bruvverz liberation
    M Da bruvverz liberation front running da joint in abbreviated textilz

    JJ Savz on spling mstakz an bd grama, ur Madji. Uv u wpd the tablz.. Thaz y u xst, a naturl born watrezz, wiv atchood chune ur gum in mefid stile.

    DB.KOOL!. Git it wrong an itz right .Wot u fink shorty. Applied to the perpendicular even u could look dicriculously vertically enhanced, U could b a sort uv stand up comedy act, might even b a career movie fir u.The bolt thru the neck an the spot welded earz would enhance your appearance. An’ u wont have to play with ur banjo anymore, probly get more noddy time 2

    LR.Touch my perpendicularz an ah will incinerate ur dangly bitz, Very very slowly.This is the dawning of the age of aquariumz.
    Ur time has arrived..Ur fish food, plankton featurz. Ah’ll make u a Luca Brazzi u cant defuse, an that will be yr biggest bang since ur mackerel got tangled in ur fishnetz.

    DB. Oh wot a dangled web u weave, do u do a hypotenuse as well?

    JJ. Gmen gmen plz, therz ladeez an Mrmn teef prznt, mnd ur mnsyllabik uterenzz An u kp ur Pythagorus out o diz bar.
    Or Her Madji mak toast uv u all. Thatz the kind of gal she iz.
    No one diz notty verbz wi da Madji.U just ask Guy da Gorilla or Donny teef.

    LR. Ur probably right about that, couldn’t imagine it. That would be like a nun on a tricycle

    DO. Doh???

    LR. A Virgin on the ridiculous whichever way u view it.

    M. Guard ur rude mechanicalz, I heard that.

    JR.Never mind the sex mechanicalz kick em in da Bollox

    DB. Here u who u in let?

    JR. Nobbdy am ur punk burglar, woz u pectin Perry friggin Comatoze. Sufink minging in yr ‘amsanwich or ur uz kosher Am the Prinz uv Rotten stuff u keep shuvvin up ur nostril.Hello Noddy howz da clonez that pawned a fouzan seqinz .An Lou the shoe the one pinned idol.Wurshpt ur missing peg an Noddyz sistrz mormon nikkerz..Ufinkz ah zound like Zorro.Somefink appning mistah Jonah u knoz wot it iz. An Madji ma favrit kafflic bint, shame bout Godzilla da jurassic fella. Couldve bin avoided .Strangled im at the wedding an enveloped wi me. Alas itsz not 2b am back 2b in kosher .Thatz hamlet in an eggshell, cracked up to hell.The moolah still good after all these yearz in Donnyz sistz pantos Ahm a punk in paradiz n ah luv it coz ah know wen n wer 2 shuv it.

    JJ. Spkn lik a idjit biting hiz own tale welcm 2 da compny therz stndin rm upsterz
    Ur day iz mad punk ur nitz les so.Da ghost iz in da da korner he sez he noz u. A vishuz ghost, unlike me he diznt lik u, wot kind of punk izzzat

    M.Therz no punk like an old punk, an thatz no punk at all .U are very age specific, an uve passed ur sell by date an ur bar codz bin cancelled. Now u stay like all of uz, or else u do an Elvis an finally leave the building.Thatz show bizniz,on the ship of foolz an we’re all on it. The Titanic still sailz at dawn. An I see u bot a tikit.

    To be concluded.

  13. DO. A ghost has just unleft
    DO. A ghost has just unleft the building

    TC. Hav some sympathy for thiz divil.or.ud stil be countin chikinz in da scrambled egg factory that passes for ur imaginazhun

    DB. And wot u r when the labl getz bak

    JR. Yeah wot he sez wiv tulipz on’

    M. Tulipz, mista Rotten?

    JR. Ah kin be romantik. Lifz not all vomit.

    LR. Cooda fooled me

    TC. Ur zeroes wivout a me to remind ur summat mor dan foldn stuff .Im the sin of ur original filthy lucre da sourz of so much booty which evva way u deny it.
    JR. Well well boil my bollocksz in snowhite cola.If it iznt da dwarf ghost of ur last Christmas past it. No rekage shu’d b wivout im.

    TC. My hanz are clean n my mind iz my pocketz stuffed wi plenty. Thatz rock.n’roll. I like it.
    Ah just love a world blinded by spectaclez. Da ol glasses darkly workz first time evry time. Line em up one a minit, thatz y we’re in it Two for da show, we look after numma 1. thatz alaways d name of da game .Charity’z for foolz an poverty an all that concerned touching. Cheap thrillz an Faustian bargainz. Ah luv it cos ah sell tikitz to the nozez pressed agaisnt the glasses.

    M. U really are quite creepy

    TC. True, ahm so not unlike youz.
    Innocence is yr only virtu
    Don temt ursel t shuvel it
    U could regret da experienz
    We r all in it fur da bred
    Da rest is king creole
    Gon gon gon wi da birdeez
    An other kindz uv roknrollaz
    Ur wotevva u wanna col it
    But I put on da show
    Itz me dat sellz da tikits
    An u dat duz da bizniz
    Fir da skremerz in da front row
    We kant exist wivout eech uz
    Conjoined at the tikit
    Seprated at da payout.
    One fir all an all fir da money
    De rest iz showbiznezz
    An derz no bizniz lik dat bizniz
    Datz da one that steelz ur soul
    Datz wot we col roknroll.
    Da sumerz day iz not ur way.
    Dat bard hiz had hiz day
    Da poet ritez anuvva way
    Who carez az long az dey pay
    An we get da profitz
    Thatz wot reely matterz
    So it iz an so they say
    To da noses prezed agenst da glaz
    Buyin tikitz fur da rokstarz past
    An uvva kindz uv bitz n pieces
    Uv flazhin titz an uvva fitz
    Uv swerin punkizh idiotz
    Lukin dangerruz wiv innocenz
    On tv prime time subsistenz
    An ivry fing so conzangwiniz
    Dizpizing me ur serpent
    In ur self kinstrukted eden
    Fir offrn u da apple free
    An u iz da one dat bot n bit it
    Forcin me to sell it an ur selfz
    An ah even didn’t get to bit it
    Fir that u pay wiv evry tikit
    Dat a kin sell 2 keep u in it
    Datz our bizniz an we luvit
    Thatz ok an ah kin deal wit it
    U jiz turn up an a sellit.
    Ur da preshus product
    That makz idiotz uvall uv uz
    Gon nevva be diffrnt
    Soulz have neva bin cheepa
    And am ur bruvverz keeper
    Ur ghost at ur feasting
    Da spectral creep at da party
    Thatz roknrolla don u jiz luv it?
    An if datz da questchun
    Am da answer, liv wivit.

    JJ. He speekz da truth in unluvly fashin.
    Elvis perished wiv hiz quiff.Wen he joind da army
    A outlaw shorn ov hiz lox. A rebel wivout a hair cut.Da colonel kept him going, a kind of rocknroll resusitation.
    Who evva herd ov it.

    LR. Ur begnin 2 frighten me

    DB. U do sumfink 2 me 2
    More dan we wid do 2 each uvva

    TC. Datz not difficult

    JR. Az long we get da moolah.

    TC. A reptile afta my own wallet.

    DO. Am a in lego with the devil.

    M. Not wiv dat hair cut.

    TC.Catch y a’ll later. Wiv ma alligator
    Shoez, Blue suede no longa da fashn.
    Not sinz ma boy died. An wot a smart career mov
    Ah couldn’t hiv schemed it betta
    U gotta watch evry body in dis business. Sum uze worth mor dead than alive, don u jus luv eternity. Payz betta 2
    An y becum very dead famous.
    Sum peeple could get jealouz
    Da green eyed godz my favrit deity.
    Da livin n da dead makz no diffrinz. Da noses at da glasses buy de tikitz any how. Life stopz, but da show goz on for evva.

    Fifth act to follow.

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