William Burroughs Stuff
January 12, 2010 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Photographs of some of William Burroughs things by Peter Ross. A short interview with Ross about photographing the stuff. (The other picture collections on Ross's site, are worth looking at, too. (Eg., brains)
posted by OmieWise (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Reading material: Guns and Ammo, Soldier of Fortune, and American Rifleman magazines; Medical Implications of Karate Blows, German Uniforms of the Third Reich.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on January 12, 2010

What a fascinating old guy he was.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:09 PM on January 12, 2010

I must give the Cities of the Red Night trilogy a re-read soon - IMHO his best work.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on January 12, 2010

The one I found oddest was the typewriter: the idea of him preferring the family brand somehow doesn't fit with the mythical figure implied by the rest of the items.
posted by Dr Dracator at 12:58 PM on January 12, 2010

Re: number 9 - I had no idea Burroughs shopped at Hot Topic. Huh.
posted by nosila at 2:42 PM on January 12, 2010

When I was in high school, a friend of mine and I drove up to Lawrence, Kansas, determined to find Burroughs. He was probably 82 at the time, and we would have been 16.

When we rolled into town, the first thing we did was to look him up in the phonebook. There was a recorded message that said that he most assuredly, definitely, without recourse, did not want visitors, and this means you. We ignored the message and drove around town, asking random people in parking lots where he lived. Eventually, we narrowed it down to a neighborhood, then a street.

We knocked on one door, and Burroughs himself answered, wearing a robe and some tattered pajamas. We nervously asked him if Burroughs lived there, knowing very well that we'd just found him. He gruffly retorted, "Yeah, you're talkin' to him." We stammered out something about how we wanted to meet him, and he invited us inside for a cup of tea.

We ended up spending about 5 hours that day talking with him about his life and experiences. He showed off a number of his prized possessions to us over the course of the afternoon. Included among them were several scorpion paperweights, a "dream machine" made by Brion Gysin, a bunch of shot-up paint cans and the paintings he'd made from shooting them, and his orgone accumulator. That was an outhouse covered in successive layers of metal and organic material where he assured us that he had had "countless spontaneous orgasms." His ashtray was also full of dozens of joint roaches.

He also made a point of showing us his bedroom. He reminded us that it was getting late and the sun would soon set. He invited us to spend the night, pointing out that he was a skinny old guy and there was plenty of room in his bed. We declined his entreaties and made the 4 hour drive back home that night. I've always wondered if we shouldn't have just gone for it. This is a long way of saying that I recognize that quilt.
posted by hilaritas at 3:33 PM on January 12, 2010 [8 favorites]

I liked those photos, thanks!

Reminded me that years back, in NYC, I used to have one of those hoodoo skull candles. Love those things.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:40 PM on January 12, 2010

I don't get the gun obsession, and I probably never will. After what happened to him, one would think he would have reconsidered their value in his life. But no.
posted by belvidere at 4:03 PM on January 12, 2010

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