It was Christmas Day and Danny the Car Wiper hit the street junksick
December 22, 2008 3:07 AM   Subscribe

'Junky's Christmas' by William S Burroughs (Part 1, Part 2)

More Christmas themed short films courtesy of Cyber Cinema ('the best short films on the web') at The Guardian
posted by fearfulsymmetry (15 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Double.
posted by waraw at 5:29 AM on December 22, 2008


I like the way the main links says "FULL DOWNLOAD: Junky's Christmas" and then it turns out that the download is just a text file.

We don't appreciate text downloads anymore. We expect a download to be a movie, some software, or at least a PDF.

Once again Burroughs is challenging my reality.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:41 AM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


Heroin Addict Christmas
posted by tomcooke at 6:25 AM on December 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


I remember seeing that several years ago on television, but I only caught the tail end, and was rather confused, but still intrigued. Thanks for the links, it was great seeing the whole thing. I love Burroughs.
posted by IvoShandor at 8:58 AM on December 22, 2008


A strangely redemptive tale from William S. Burroughs.
posted by kozad at 9:31 AM on December 22, 2008


I don't wish to alarm anyone, but Part 1 contains some intelligent and insightful Youtube comments.

I even read the second page.
posted by fullerine at 10:02 AM on December 22, 2008


Man, I love Burroughs. I've never seen this before or knew it existed. The story is from the book Interzone (which collects his material from the period between Junky/Queer and his later stuff, when he was living in Tangier), and was recorded for his album "Spare Ass Annie" (the film may use the same recording, I'm not sure).
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:29 AM on December 22, 2008


My legs, Senor...

I believe the story is a reworking of material he'd packaged earlier as 'The Priest, they called him' -- which appears all over the place. In cut-up form in Dead Fingers Talk. As a stand-alone story in Exterminator.

I used to to love him a lot, but then I read his cat book. Seeing that tough, cynical old homo disappear into a crazy cat lady as old age got the better of him knocked him off the pedestal I'd mounted him on -- a process that began with reading his whining, emotionally blackmailing letters to Allen Ginsberg.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:21 PM on December 22, 2008


What is the deal with 'junky' vs. 'junkie?' I thought the latter was preferred? Doesn't the former connote something like 'cluttered?'
posted by fixedgear at 1:46 PM on December 22, 2008


PeterMcDermott - Aw, kitties!
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on December 22, 2008


Not sure if it is the same on Spare Ass Annie but it is the same (only slightly/immaterially remixed) on The Operator's Manual--the radio interview disk accompanying the rollout of SAA...it's all I have at work. I will say adding Franti to the Wilner + Burroughs combo was an excellent idea that made SAA as groovy as Dead City Radio was theatrical.

Also, had never seen this video so thank you for the links. Me likey!
posted by Fezboy! at 3:38 PM on December 22, 2008


Burroughs has always been an old softie at heart. Even when he had a group of younger beatniks fawning over his every word and he put on that "wisened old junky/criminal" act, he still wasn't cut out for it. There's a story about how he went out "rolling drunks" in New York with a friend of his, and when he kicked some guy they robbed in the ribs, he felt so awful about the experience he never went rolling drunks again.

He was often shockingly irresponsible, using other people, ignoring his own son, and yeah, shooting his wife in the head while drunkenly showing off to friends. But he never tried to pretend he was above it, or rationalize his behavior in any way. Like he said in one interview, "I'm sometimes asked if I have any regrets. And I say yes, I live with regrets every day of my life". He attributed the shooting death of his wife to possession by the "Ugly Spirit", the darker side of himself, and "the only way out was to write my way out."

I was never a big fan of the cut-up material, although it's nice to read as a strictly meditative exercise. I think his strongest narrative works was the Red Night Trilogy. Still stuns me every time.

Merry Christmas, Bull Lee.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:52 PM on December 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think his strongest narrative works was the Red Night Trilogy.

Oh yes. Place of Dead Roads is stunning.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on December 22, 2008


There's a story about how he went out "rolling drunks" in New York with a friend of his, and when he kicked some guy they robbed in the ribs, he felt so awful about the experience he never went rolling drunks again.

That story is in the book Junky, sort of, except in the book he ("Bill Lee") quits because they almost get caught and he barely makes any money doing it anyway.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:47 AM on December 24, 2008


That story is also recounted by Burroughs personally in his biography, where he said he found the sound of the guy's ribs cracking when he kicked him "sickening". Not trying to say the man was a saint or something, but he did find the practice of rolling drunks distasteful when it came to violence, as opposed to just going through some passed-out guy's pockets.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:58 AM on December 24, 2008


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