Delft Public Library

Trip Start Mar 02, 2006
Trip End Jun 22, 2006

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

I'm writing this evening from the artists' area "backstage" at the Delft Public Library, where I'm making a guest appearance with Mark Ritsema and Raskolnikov at a Herman Brood Memorial Concert in the Library Theatre. But first, I wanted to confirm the two gigs Ben Schot has for us introducing an evening of films about Sun Ra: at Extrapool, Nijmegen, Saturday, March 25th (we're on at 8:00 pm, screenings start at 8.30) and at Huishoudschool, Den Haag, Friday, March 31st (acte de presence at 5:00 pm).

Also, I'd like to insert a short pitch for donations to the Golden Bard Travel Fund (the title was lifted from Edward Sanders) from everybody who can stand to throw a few dollars at the arts in the person of your reporter. I have my place to stay now at The Dolphins, but my daily bread is down to a little pile of crusts and I can use all the help I can get. It took me a while to figure out the donations aspect of this TravelPod, but it's set up now and if you can help just go to the "I wanna make a donation" part and do what they say to do. Thanks! Every meal is a blessing. I will be happy to send books and/or CDs in return. A $100 contribution, for example, would bring a signed copy of the extremely rare hardcover edition of GUITAR ARMY: Street Writings/Prison Writings, out of print since 1973.

Okay, tonight's concert: Herman Brood is described as Holland's last authentic rock and roll star; he came to prominence in the mid-'60s as keyboardist with the hit Dutch band Cuby and the Blizzards and went on to a blazing solo career as a recording artist, bandleader, composer, pianist, singer, painter, poet, public character and dope fiend of intense flamboyance before he ended his short life by leaping from the top of the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel in the summer of 2001. Here's a little more on this character from Wikipedia:

Herman Brood (pronounced "Broat"), born in Zwolle, November 5, 1946; died in Amsterdam, July 11, 2001, was a Dutch musician, painter and media personality. Brood was the Dutch personification of sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. He started his own group, Herman Brood and His Wild Romance, in 1977 and had his first hit single, "Saturday Night," the next year from his best known album "Schpritz" (a play on the German word for injection needle). But even more than his music, it was his outspoken statements in the press about sex and drug use that made Herman Brood famous in the Netherlands. Brood relished the media attention and became the most famous hard drug user of the Netherlands. In the 1990s he took up painting and became as successful as a painter as he was as a musician. Brood swore off most drugs, reducing his drug use to alcohol and a daily shot of speed. When, in 2001, he found out that he had only a few months left to live, Herman took matters into his own hands and, depressed by the failure of his drug rehabilitation program, committed suicide on July 11 by jumping off the Amsterdam Hilton at the age of 54. Now he is primarily known and loved for his contributions to public art, particularly for creating murals in different public places in Amsterdam.

For some reason someone at the Delft Public Library has gotten away with staging a memorial concert for the late artist that will feature Daniel Boissevain, the star of the movie now being shot of Brood's life story, with a Herman Brood cover band; the artist's long-suffering manager, Koos van Dijk, somewhat of a local folk legend in his own right; and Raskolnikov, Mark Ritsema's band from Rotterdam playing a program of Brood compositions with Mark on guitar and vocals, the great Willem van der Wall on slide guitar, Peter Jensen on bass, Ron 'Drumbo' deBruin on drums and your reporter as guest poet. Should be a lot of fun, and they're going to show some film clips of Herman Brood as well.

I came over to Rotterdam on the train yesterday evening, had another fine dinner with Anneke Auer and Ben Schot and their daughter Puck, caught the tram over to Ritsema's and sat up for a while ranting and raving about things in general and modern music in particular while we listened to a bunch of Sonny Rollins recordings for Riverside and Contemporary from 1956-57. That was the shit, and in the morning Mark was working up the music for the show that night and played me some Herman Brood numbers I enjoyed. I've seen Brood's paintings and murals around Amsterdam, and when I was in the AMC hospital in Holendrecht with a foot infection in 2004 I used to look at one of his striking paintings that hung in the hallway every time I came off my ward. By this time Willem, Peter and Drumbo have come over to Ritsema's for the rehearsal and I've listened to them work up the Herman Brood material, so I've got a pretty good feeling about the show tonight and I think we'll have a ball.

Adam Brook and Jaimi have trained over to Delft from Amsterdam to vend our artistic wares at the show, and I'll probably catch the train back to Amsterdam with them after the concert. Sunday evening Henk Botwinik and I are going to cut our first John Sinclair Radio Show together since I've been back, and I'll write more about the show in my next post. And hey, Happy Indian Sunday and St. Joseph's Night to everybody in New Orleans!

For now, here is the main piece I'm doing tonight with Raskolnikov in honor of Herman Brood, it's #75 in the book of monk and it's called "brilliant corners":


"brilliant corners"

for steve hager & paul krassner

out of the darkness
of the second world war
before the soldiers came back
to turn america

into a vast suburban wasteland
dreamed up by real estate developers
with huge dollar signs in their eyes
& nothing at all in their hearts-

out of the darkness
of american life
in the first half of the '40s
when the only rays of light

were cast in nightclubs
& after-hours joints
illuminated by the music
of the most adventurous of americans-

thelonious monk at the piano,
charlie parker on saxophones,
dizzy gillespie on trumpet,
kenny clarke at the drums,

brilliant corners
of modern civilization
flooded with light
& intelligence,

a bright beacon
through the desolate landscape
of post-war america-

& sitting in the corner
at minton's playhouse
in the middle of the night
digging the band like crazy,

a hip football player
& would-be sportswriter
from lowell, massachusetts
who also wrote stories

for the school paper, like
"lester young
is 10 years
ahead of his time,"

so well known at minton's
in harlem
that the cats on the set
named a song after him,

jean-louis known as ti-jean
or jack, the great bard
of modern america

who would turn
the genius rhythms of bebop
into dynamite literature-
on the road,

doctor sax,
the subterraneans, dharma bums,
mexico city blues, the scripture
of the golden eternity

a vast trembling body
of visionary writings
that re-shaped american life
in every possible way-

& allen ginsberg,
fellow student at columbia,
son of a poet schoolteacher
& a mad red housewife,

incipient bard of the future
from paterson, new jersey,
who would see the specter of blake
in his dormitory room

& hallucinate a solitary rose
on the clothes hanger in his closet
& inscribe great visionary odes
on the windows of our skulls-

"sunflower sutra,"
"kaddish" & hundreds more-

kerouac & ginsberg
looking for their kicks
among the petty criminals
& dope fiends of times square

(kerouac was arrested
as an accessory to murder,
ginsberg went to the nuthouse
to beat a stolen property beef)

& they met up with their mentor
in this seedy milieu,
a street-level philosopher
& junkie & queer, a renegade

from the genteel environs
of upper middle class life
in the city of st. louis,
a member of the family

that invented the adding machine
& on his mother's side,
the man who founded
the public-relations industry,

william seward burroughs
turned the language
& pointed it back

at the squares
who had stripped it
of its meaning, & blew up the sky
with his revolutionary writings-

naked lunch,
nova express,
the soft machine,
the ticket that exploded-

kerouac & ginsberg
& burroughs
in new york city
in the years after the war

when bird ruled the music
with his magnificent recordings for dial
& savoy, & dizzy's big band
was playing "things to come"

& "cubana bop," & thelonious monk
would make the first recordings
of his incredible compositions
in the fall of 1947

& a young man from denver
blew onto the scene
straight off the front range
of the rocky mountains

with enormous western energy
& fast-talking wit, & the ability
to park a car
anywhere he wanted-

neal cassady
drove across the landscape
like a metaphor
for change, turning literature

inside out, & making life itself
a complex work of art,
immortalized by kerouac
in on the road

& visions of cody, & by ginsberg
in "howl" as 'cocksman
& adonis of denver, secret hero
of these poems,'

author of the first third
& a human bridge
who connected the '50s
with the '60s

from behind the wheel
of a bus named furthur,
pushing america farther
than it had ever gone

before, with a new vision
of a new world
given life
by the practice of its dreamers,

propelled by allen ginsberg,
tireless proselytizer
for the creations of his friends,
who schlepped their manuscripts

from publisher to publisher
for 10 years, until on the road
& naked lunch
were finally brought to press

& howl was arrested
& tried for obscenity
& the beat generation
was in time magazine

& young people in america
suddenly wanted to know
they could get some marijuana,

& a road out of the stasis
began to open up
in front of us-
& we followed it

& we followed it

-new orleans
november 15-19, 1999/
november 20-22, 1999/

new orleans
december 11, 1999/
january 31/february 8, 2000/
january 11 & 14, 2003/

january 8, 2004/
march 18, 2006

In Honor of the Induction
into the Cannabis Hall of Fame of
Jack Kerouac
Allen Ginsberg
William Burroughs
& Neal Cassady
at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam,
November 23, 1999

1999, 2006 John Sinclair. All rights reserved.
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