William Burroughs Conversation – 12

William Burroughs at The Beat Hotel – photo: Harold Chapman

continuing from here

AG: Ok, as Ted Morgan says, we’re now ahead to “58 in Paris, 57-58 in Paris

GC: What does he know about ’57,’58?

AG: Well that’s what he’s asking us to talk about that.

GC: Well, alright..Give it a shot.

AG: So, first is Michaux. You were in the Rue Gît-le-Cœur hotel (The Beat Hotel) first I think. Then you went up to Amsterdam. We followed you to Amsterdam from Tangier (because we couldn’t get a place in a hotel)

GC: Right, right.

AG: We all came back and stayed for a month in Gît-le-Cœur, in “57.

GC: Right.

AG: And at what point did you come to Paris, Bill?

WSB: Oh, I think about 1958.

AG: Early ’58?  Peter was still living there.

WSB: Early ’58. No,  probably late ’58, early ’58, because Naked Lunch was published in Paris in 1959 in the early summer.

AG: Okay, but I had left by then.

WSB: Yes.

AG: So I would guess you came in ’58 because I left in ’58 and we shared time there.

WSB: I think so. ‘(5)8.  Yes, exactly.

AG: So the situation was what?  You were in.. Which room were you in?

WSB: Well, I’ve been in practically every room in there hotel. Are you asking me or Gregory?

AG: Now Gregory where were you?

GC: I’ll give you my room.

AG: Were you in the attic..

GC: I was in the attic

AG: First.

GC: I had the top-shot floor

AG: So the photographs I have of you in the attic are from ’57, ’58?

GC: That’s from ’57, yeah.

AG: You weren’t there in ’61, in the attic room?

GC: I came back later.

AG: To the attic room or other rooms?

GC: I don’t think so.

AG: Okay, You were in the attic, I was on the second floor, Bill on the third.

GC: Well, I’ll tell you what, he did what I couldn’t do.. Everybody, when they found out who the fuck he was…

WSB: Who was I?  I was nobody, for god’s sake

GC: Oh no, no, it was coming out, that Beat Generation shit was coming out. So, knock-knock on his door. They know he’s the wise man, the knowing man, so he’s got to be polite to say “Yeah, come on in”. But, he’d get their ass out fast, and he showed me how he did it -He said, “Gregory, you don’t say “I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you”, you keep it quiet and you look at them, and they get so uncomfortable they got to run out.”  It sends their spirits out! – “I gotta go” – and Bill says, “nice meeting you!”

AG: I remember you had a theory of how to get rid of people.

WSB: No, excuse me, that was Mack “Shell” Thomas’ recipe.

AG: Mack “Shell” Thomas?

WSB: Mack “Shell” Thomas. He says, he’d.. he showed me how you get rid of someone. He said, “I put their spirit outside the door”. Yes, it was not me who said that.

GC:  ..out the fuckin’  door.. ah, alright,  “get out of here”..ok…

AG: So what’s the technique of doing that?

GC: Well, look, look at him! – Do you see Bill’s eyes and lips move, man?

WSB:  Well, you move his spirit outside the door! What do you think is the technique. You picture him as outside the door and if your picture’s strong enough he soon will be. That’s all.

AG: I seem to remember you did it by simply looking at people without..  totally immobile faced, without making any response at all until they got jittery and left

WSB: No, no . Well, that was..

AG: ..a later development!

WSB: That may have been a development, no, but Mack Shell’s, Mack Shell’s recipe was that.

Audio for the above can be heard here beginning at approximately forty-two minutes in and concluding at approximately forty-five-and-a-quarter minutes in

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