Saturday, August 30, 2008
Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg
I've been reading Tom Wolfe's "Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", all about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters and their bus trip back and forth across the US. I just finished Larry McMurtry's "The Last Picture Show" which was okay but disappointed me.
I started the Kool-Aid book because I read somewhere that the bus stops at Larry McMurtry's house along the way. Unfortunately it was only a one page stop.
Kool-Aid needs skimming, because it's such an extended trip and trippy writing can be pretty boring. Sometimes it's good though.
So why the video? Hey that's Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg. Neal Cassady was the inspiration for Jack Kerouac's main character, Dean Moriarty, in his great novel "On the Road" which I've now been through I think four times since we have the audio version which we play on our drives to Colorado, and I'd already read it before that.
Bear with me-- you've seen my beret and must know I was a junior beatnik in the 50's. This is the first time I've seen real footage of Neal Cassady and could hear his voice. They're at City Lights bookstore in San Francisco.
After driving back and forth across the country with Jack Kerouac and inspiring his book, Neal Cassady then drove the Merry Pranksters' bus back and forth across the country more than a decade later. In "Kool-Aid Acid" there's a story about Ken Kesey meeting Jack Kerouac in New York, with Neal Cassady there too, kind of a cultural turning point, and it wasn't a happy meeting, too much jealousy!