W.S. Burroughs Excerpt:
RE/Search: Do you ever practice with an air pistol?
William S. Burroughs: I’ve got one, yeah. A Diana, I believe. It’s got a gas cylinder, you’re always running out of them. And it doesn’t work exactly, I’ve got to put some sort of wad in it to make it engage. But it’s alright, I practice with it a lot.
R/S: Just shooting at targets?
WSB: Yeah, I’ve got a loft, and the walls are three feet thick. So there’s no hassle. Usually I put up a telephone book as a backing. It’ll chew a telephone book to pieces in about…oh, several days shooting and the telephone book is in shreds! It’s pretty powerful, it’ll imbed itself in wood, soft pine…It’s good practice.
R/S: Except you don’t get the feel of recoil…
WSB: Somebody says that he solved the whole problem of recoil by balancing the forward movement so there’s no recoil. I saw a picture of this in Soldier of Fortune…
R/S: I’m interested in turning points in history-like, in Cities of the Red Night there’s that story of Captain Mission, which presented an entirely different possibility for the Americas which didn’t happen…
WSB: Well, there are lots of those turning points or dates; important, crucial dates. One of them is certainly Systemic Antibiotics. Because before that, if you got an infection, you were dead!
R/S: I think the birth control herb you mentioned could be equally important–
WSB: Absolutely. And, of course, August 6, 1945. Godalmighty, the Atom Bomb. Was that a date! (laughs)
[At this point, several people talk briefly to W.S.B. Jello Biafra, lead singer for the Dead Kennedys, asks if William is familiar with the cancer cells of Henrietta Lacks, that keep reappearing in laboratories all over the world. S. Clay Wilson asks an unbelievably gauche question: “Bill, when you stared at your foot all that time when you were strung out in Morocco or wherever it was–did you have your shoe on or off?” WSB answers with matter-of-fact politeness: “Oh, no, I left my shoe on. I’d rather look at my foot with the shoe on than off…”]
R/S: What do you think of the hardcore survivalist movement in this country? Stockpiling dried food, weapons…
WSB: It could be I suppose a good idea, but then there’s the question: You might not be able to get to your stash! [drily] And then you gotta be able to defend it and all that! I remember we had the bomb shelters, and then that sort of blew over. But I’m sure a lot of people are doing it… You have several priorities: your first priority is weapons, second is drugs, third is tools. Antibiotics…
R/S: When you say tools, do you mean like water purification devices–
WSB: No no no. I mean tools. Hammers, saws. If you don’t have them, it’s very bad!
Genesis P-Orridge/Throbbing Gristle Excerpt:
RE/Search: What was your most horrifying experience?
Genesis P-Orridge: Most horrifying (laughs). Do you mean what’s my biggest fear? [long pause] Being betrayed, which leads to the fear of being betrayed again. And the feeling of not being able to trust people when you want to.
R/S: What was your funniest?
GPO: (musingly) Fun-ni-est. I don’t know, I don’t remember funny things much. They’re kind of very transient; they’re funny at the time and then you forget them…Well, I do. Don’t know…I’m not that bothered about things being funny. It’s nice when they are, but it doesn’t worry me much. So I guess that’s why I don’t really remember them so well.
R/S: What was most shocking?
GPO: (long pause) I don’t know. I expect the worst of people, so it’s very hard to be shocked. Don’t know. I’m sometimes surprised at how banal people are, or how stupid people are. But ‘shocked’ is a very extreme feeling, isn’t it? I don’t know. It implies so much importance to something, and I don’t think I give anything quite that importance, nothing individually. I’m shocked, I suppose, by the fact that I’m even alive. I mean, I find the whole idea of being alive and that you’re going to be alive for so long and then you’re going to get older and die–that’s just really impossible to understand or grasp…very strange. Every day I think about that. How weird it is thinking, I’m going to die, I want to exist…I actually died twice!
R/S: Twice? Came back twice?
GPO: Some people wish I hadn’t, I think! I’ve stopped dying. Next time, I reckon, will be the real one. Third time, I’m lucky…
R/S: What happened?
GPO: While I was dead, you mean? Nothing at all. I remember hearing a doctor say: He’s already had it, there’s no chance. Or something like that.
Interviews with pioneering cut-up artists William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and Throbbing Gristle . . . proposes a ground-breaking, radical cultural agenda for the ’80s and ’90s.”
–Jon Savage, London Observer
Well crafted . . . boldly designed to keep the eye moving . . . challenges the conventional approach to journalism and biography.”