On October 21 of 1969, with the grog-battered liver misshapen and warped and slumped around his gallbladder like the folds of a heifer's arse stretched about the head of a fried sparrow, with his skin yellowed and his skull afire, Jack Kerouac let fly his last lilting haiku from atween the sheets in St Anthony's hospital, Florida, or front the telly in his living room, depending on who tells it. Kerouac, who had spent the past twenty years etching the blueprint for an original, spectacular, incendiary, wholly holy form of writing, he died the predictable, depressing, sad, uninspired death of the Renegade Writer.
That this man who dedicated half his life to kicking and pulling and tugging and spitting and lashing and thumping at cliché should die a cliché himself… God above, the irony of it all. Sure wouldn't it have you chuckling something wicked if it didn't break your bastard heart.
But there you go, such is life.
Now, couple nights past I was musing along these lines with my ladyfriend, Beautiful Ms Gillian, debating the ins and outs of Kerouac's life and death and weighing up The Work against All The Other Guff and pondering off and on with regards the shower o' insufferable, stuck-up goons wandering the train stations at all hours high on every click and every other clack of Kerouac's much-mythologized typewriter. "Those individuals" I yapped in-between pulls on a Mayfair King Size, "Those elitist, pompous tools, they are surely The Establishment's revenge for the Beat Generation."
"Have your fun" The Powers What Be done glowered, "But by Jesus you'll pay for it, I tell you that. And your children will pay for it. And their children. And their children's children. Then, it'll take a break on account of the children of those children will most likely be too busy playing with their second willies. But their sprogs, oh boys-a-boys, they'll pay a thousandfold what you paid. And the price? The braying and blowing of a thousand yaps in unison all gibbering wild about how On The Road changed their lives and do you know who you are, I bet you don't and no-one knows nothing 'till they've heard it told 'em through a fugg of stewed 'shroom."
The final victory is that no one will ever again read On The Road or Big Sur or even Howl or Naked Lunch or The First Third and if they do, they won't mention it in public, and why?
"Why?" asks Beautiful Ms Gillian.
"Because one o' them bastards might overhear, and next thing you know it's 'Oh, but you've never read it until you've heard it read, and you've never heard it read 'till you've heard it read on acid, and…' Saint's preserve us, sure it'd turn your head."