American Education

From US poet Peter Wild’s 1971 collection Wild’s Magical Book of Cranial Effusions.

American Education

God doesn’t like us.
trying to learn
without ever knowing,
because of competition.
everyone is equal;
let there be no one speaking
in his native tongue,
let there be no one sitting
in the back row, lower lip drooping
when the principal comes, or in the front row
feeding on his own dreams

Peter Wild

Smack My Crack

Nick Cave, William Burroughs, Tom Waits and more on a compilation reviewed in Sounds, 6 June, 1987.

Smack My Crack (Gioro Poetry System GPS538)***

By all accounts ‘Smack My Crack’ is a weird compilation of critically acclaimed experimentalists. The artists involved read like a subversive chamber of alternative horrors.
Swans pursue the fetishes they’re well known for – masochism, sadism and all the usual flesh on chains topics – to an intense barrage of savage percussion, which some say is the musical equivalent of being raped.
Then there’s William Burroughs, this cranky movement’s chief guru, giving some good advice about life in general, whilst Tom Waits and his bourbon soaked croak come up with a tale of low life self-indulgence.
I suppose it’s all meant to be symbolic of society falling apart as capitalism collapses to the bleak and stark tinkerings of Berlin’s favourite DIY-ers Einsturzende Neubauten. But no, it’s just a load of bloody noise. This is music as a powerful tool, a statement about the meaningless of it all, but I’ll forgive you if you consider ‘Smack My Crack’ to be a worthless exercise in arty crap.
Nick Cave, incidentally, contributes a reading of an exercpt from The Ass Saw The Angel. What does it all mean? Who knows, and more importantly, who cares?

Ron Rom

Viv Stanshall

That most English of geniuses, Viv Stanshall, reviewed live in Melody Maker, 9 December, 1978.

Viv Stanshall
LSE, London

What a revolting lot they are down at Rawlinson End. Old Sir Henry is undoubtedly the most unpleasant of a bunch of feuding aristocrats who make the exploits of the Capulets and Montagues seem like an episode from The Good Life.
Vivian Stanshall is the man we have to blame for the weird tale that is the basis of his latest album “Sir Henry At Rawlinson End,” and on Friday and Saturday night he regaled packed houses at the LSE with a stream of words and music that were both clever, witty and at times utterly baffling.
His long narration, read with difficulty from an ill-lit lectern, was verbose and at times impossible to understand, but it all added to the existentialist, surreal atmosphere. And when the jokes and key lines pierced the torrent of similes and metaphors, the laughter came in free-flowing gusts from an eager, patient and attentive. Viv broke up his tales of doings down at the mythical manor house with bizarre musical interludes, furnished by an orchestra including Andy Roberts on guitar and Roger Spear on home-made percussion.
There were moments when Viv left us all behind, but that great raping, stentorian voice, capable of articulating the most profound nonsense carried us all forward through a jungle of verbal delights. And they cheered him to the echo for a most stimulating safari, climaxing with the entire cast of characters being violently sick.

Chris Welch