Footage has just emerged of Allen in Finland in 1983 (and of Burroughs too, for that matter) – both snatches of interview(s) and brief glimpses of readings. The footage is from Finnish YLE tv. Allen is seen reading, spiritedly, from “America”- a line at a time, followed by Finnish translation (Burroughs is glimpsed reading sections from A Place of Dead Roads – “and swear to me that you will never wear a policeman’s badge”). The video accompanies an article on the Beats in Finland in that nation’s newspaper and can be accessed here>
AG: My conscience says “tell the truth in Finland”
Interviewer (Karri Kokko): What is the greatest danger?
AG: Greatest danger is lying to Finland
Interviewer: What do you call worthless?
AG: Worthless? – Looking at other people with your own idea and insisting that they live up to your idea, rather than simply accepting and recognizing them for being themselves..
Life is not pure entertainment. We are born in bodies. We suffer old age and sickness and death. We have sexual lives. We all go to the bathroom every day We all smell flowers every day. We all eat everyday. We weep every day, (or laugh every day). If a poet is going to actually write about real life you will have to include everything that people do everyday and understand everyday. Otherwise, it will be some kind of baby-fiction for little children, and fiction for insensitive people is what builds up police state. When you avoid the truth of life, when you avoid the facts of how we relate to each other , what our real life is, we wind up lying to each other and building a state which is a lie, building a society which is a lie.Unless people are truthful, not forcing it, not pushing it, but simply truthful to their own minds, we’ll always live in a state of paranoia because there’ll always be some missing suspicious element that we don’t understand.
Interviewer: What do you find ugly?
AG: Nothing living is completely ugly if it’s really there.
“The universe is down. So..the universe contains suffering. So you look around at the rain and you look around at the down and you begin to appreciate the down, what can you do with the down by accepting the down and working with the down because the down passes away anyway. And anyway, it turns out to be an empty dream, so the only thing you can do is be gentle to the down and gentle to the rain coming down in the leaves of the trees in the rainy night in the middle of (the) Hungary.”