William Burroughs – Conversation -13

William Burroughs and Madame Rachou at The Beat Hotel – photo: Albert Durrazzo

AG: Hey, so what went on in that hotel? There was a Madame Rachou, who was the concierge, who was very friendly. There were others living there..

WSB: Well, good heavens, there were all sorts of people living there, there was Brion, there was Brion Gysin

AG: Brion Gysin

WSB: There was Nick Smart

Nick Smart – photo: Harold Chapman

AG: Nick Smart? Who was he?

WSB; He was someone from Washington

GC: Nick Smart looked like Nick Smart

WSB:  Yeah

GCL Handsome, young..  fucking CIA Washington fucker!

WSB: There was all.. a whole interesting group of people in there at that time

AG: (Now) Guy Harloff was a Dutch painter who married Peggy Guggenheim‘s daughter,  what was her name?

Guy Harloff – photo: © Roberto Masotti / Lelli and Masotti Archive

GC: Guy Harloff?
WSB : Sharon, Sharon, Sharon.
GC: He did not do that. He married Kay Boyle‘s daughter
WSB : She is Kay Boyle’s daughter
GC: Right.
WSB: Sharon is Kay Boyle’s daughter
GC: That’s what I’m saying – Guggenheim!’
AG: I thought it was Peggy Guggenheim
GC: He said Guggenheim
AG: I thought it was Guggenheim
WSB: They’re related
GC: That’s right. Get the facts right.
WSB: (Well), I got the facts right.
GC:  You did,  He ain’t, man
AG: But close, close, they’re related, apparently.
WSB: They’re very closely related, seriously (they were, I don’t know, I think they’re all dead now).

Ted Morgan:  Lawrence Vail married Peggy Guggenheim, and then Kay Boyle.

AG: Okay, so it was the child of Peggy Guggenheim and Lawrence Vail, I think.

Lawrence Vail (1891-1968)

GC: Alright,

AG: So it was Guggenheim. [Editorial note – Sharon was actually the daughter of Kay Boyle and magazine editor Ernest Walsh]

Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979) in her gondola in Venice

GC: Let’s give one to the Guggenheims. Here we go. This is 1957 again. These two guys are invited to Venice to Guggenheim’s place and they fuck up, they both get kicked out. So Gregory’s the last one to go – “Gregory, you’re gonna make it, Gregory”. The way he got kicked out was so stupid. The faggots that were around Peggy Guggenheim went up to Bill and said ,”What do you think of Peggy?” –  (and he said), Oh, I’d suck her cunt anytime”!

WSB: Oh, I never said that!

GC: ..and he went “Whoah!,  and he went and told Peggy!

WSB: I never said such a thing!

GC : – and poor Bill!  – he ain’t gonna suck her cunt, right?,  but Bill, you know being..playful.. alright..

AG: It was Doctor Benway speaking actually!

GC: Ginsy, Ginsy and Orlovsky do the next shot . The next shot is that it’s hot…
AG: No, no, no, we came.. She came visiting Alan Ansens house in Venice.  And we served lunch, and it’s very hot in Venice in summer..
GC:  Right.
AG: …and Peter threw the towel across the table..
GC: the table.
AG: …for me to wipe my sweat, or something…
GC: …sweat, and it came back into his sweat…and it went into her fuckin’..whatever-it-was..
AG: It did not. No, it did not. It did nothing ..And she got offended.
GC: ..or (into) whatever it was that she was eating, man..
AG: No it didn’t.
GC: That’s what she told me.
AG: Well then she’s hallucinating.
GC: So she said “Out with them!”
AG: No, she was..
GC: So, finally, I get invited.
AG: No it wasn’t “Out with them”.  Let me finish
GC: Alright, go ahead.

AG: Out with Peter . She wouldn’t allow Peter in her palazzo, but she invited me but I refused to go without Peter.

GC: Of course.

WSB: Quite right.

AG: And because.. Nothing had happened. She and..  Peter tossed a towel across the room, it didn’t fall on her spaghetti.

GC:  Right, she was dumb. Nothing happened with him (Burroughs), either. Nothing happened with me. But there’s three times she allowed me..

AG: Ok, ok. Well what was the third?

GC: Well the third is the last shot.  Alright, she has this Mario Marini statue on the Grand Canal and its got a detatchable dick, ok?

AG: “The Horseman” (Editorial note – “The Angel of the City”  (“L’angelo della citta))

GC: So they have a big party. John Gielgud‘s there, all her fuckin’ artist friends, all that shit – and, the dick is gone in the morning!  Who does she call up?  – The dopey fuck, right? – She goes, “Hey, where is it?” –  “Where’s what?”

WSB: She says,  “You know what I mean,”

GC:  She says,   “You know what”.   So I told her. I said, “I’ll tell you where you can look for it” – and hung up!  Forget it. It was Huendeberg (?) who took it, an artist, a German who’s name was Huendeberg..

AG: Ah!

GC: I don’t play with art.

AG: I think we should… there is one really crucial story…

GC: What’s that got to do with him (Burroughs) – him, oh yeah,  being kicked out by saying “I’d suck her cunt”, that’s not…
WSB: I didn’t say it.
AG: He didn’t say it. He denies it, he denies it.
WSB: It’s out of character.
GC: You said something. You got kicked out.
WSB: Oh well, I was.. you know, I got a little drunk or something but, never..I never said that. Well, alright, go on..

Audio for the above can be found here, beginning at approximately forty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-nine-and-a-half minutes in

One comment

  1. Thanks for this. All beat dialogue like this is written in stone Just what we want to read, these days, to remind us. Especially if you are stuck in a golden valley in the UK during Lockdown. I was under the roof of Git-le-Coeur at this time. One day, the world will be able to handle Gregory like they’ve learned to handle Ginsberg & Burroughs. He is the genius, and still talking today like he always did (as I remember).

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