Last Night's Radio: William Burroughs - Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted

Laurie Anderson presented a very personal portrait of that mad old buzzard and dead Beat boy, William Burroughs, on BBC Radio 4 last night.
This was a really astonishing piece of radio - an outre intro to the man's life, thought and work.
Anderson knew how to exploit this sonic medium, and gave us a cut-up of Burroughs' spoken word performances and some real far out music.
She said she loved the way big, bad Bill burst onto the stage of staid 50s America; "It was like the day your crazy lost uncle arrives, pounding at the door... oddly familiar and yet completely alien."
She's clearly in love with "grandpa", a man who fashioned a glitttering literary career out of his queer junkie outsider schtick. When Anderson mixes Bill rapping about control over her own O Superman, that record is finally outed as a beautiful hymn to him.
She's also clearly in love with the sound of his voice, "an odd splice of voodoo doctor and car salesman."
I think I'm in love with Laurie Anderson's voice, so this show was a slice of radio nelly heaven.
Or maybe it was a virus from outer space?
Go on, have yourself a listen.

Fascinating factoid: Bill really was bonkers. And posh. Nothing he ever slurred or growled ever really troubled real power.

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