Our feature today – “A New Kind of Bohemia“, segment two in a six-part series by Kevin Alexander, made in 1999 for Canadian television, Rebels – A Journey Underground.
(The other episodes, incidentally, are also well worth catching – see here)
From the episode synopsis – “Following World War II, a new period of post-war social complexity overtook America. It was during this turbulent, often repressive Cold War time that Jack Kerouaccoined the phrase “beat” and gave birth to a new literary movement. This film follows the activities of this new breed of writer – Kerouac, (Neal) Cassady, (Allen) Ginsberg, and a handful of outsiders who became known as the “Beat Generation”.”
Narration is by Kiefer Sutherland.
Harold Norse appears at approximately 26 minutes in and tells a delightful story about his first meeting Allen:
“I met Allen Ginsberg at 3 or 4 in the morning on a subway train going to the Village, from where I was.. had been.. I don’t remember, and he walked into this empty car and sat down opposite me and started reading from a book and I.. and, as the roar of the train subsided at each subway stop, I could tell that it was Rimbaud that he was reading and I said, “The Drunken Boat – Rimbaud”, and he looked up and he said, “You’re a poet!”- and that’s how we met. We ended up in my room, a little freezing room in Greenwich Village.”