R. Hell Site Forum Message
dirt, dad, decay
|Posted on:|| 16 Feb 2003|| |
Here I go, risking making an ass out of myself for the sake of what's a good conversation - hope I can do some justice to it:
One major note of my personal attraction to Hell's writing is precisely in the organic tone of it; I hope I can express something like what I intend, here... Despite a totally cerebral presence, when you're reading much of his diverse stuff (with "nature" references or not), hell seems organically present there, and a facet of that is obviously the employment of the natural world, the unselfconscious references to and honoring of places of origin (as in, no, he did not spring fully formed into being on urban streets and has no need to anchor his work there and nowhere else). Oh, he'd hate that, I think. I mean, not honoring in the Oprah Book Club sense, you know, just, for instance, the not hesitating to write the poetic tie between, say, crusty blood from shooting up and a visceral memory of cave-diving from childhood, in what I think is a marvelously evocative passage. Or the monograph on Meyers Sr., which, lacking any experimental edge or punk-rock theme (the perfunctory initial dissing of the sacredness of family ties etc., to me, seems far more personal than ideological), is one of my favorite Hell things, for the sheer honesty of it. Tho the not-draft-dodging-story is running a close second at present for autobiographical asides (see earlier thread, anyone who missed it). This tendency seems self-evident and, indeed, natural, but is worth mentioning, in fact as a fully different tone and flow to the small musical cannon referenced in this conversation - or it's perception in pop culture, maybe. Because, musically speaking, actually, loads of that small body of work is infused with a very kind of honest sensuality or physicality that is part of the draw of the music, certainly for me, anyway, that is distinctly, well, Hellish. And that's to say it's also a fully different beast from really self-aggrandizing sex-pop. or whatever I'm trying to say. that thought may have failed.
There's apparently a documentary about the fifties that included a song called "beat generation" or something that is supposedly more than a little evocative of "blank generation", and I mention this not to cast any aspersions, but to say that if this were the case, it is another layer that falls roughly in this organic context if we were to learn that as a little kid in Kentucky, Hell heard this beatnik-bongo-song or saw it on TV and something of it stuck consciously or subconsciously with him to find another life through him as what's often called the seminal anthem of punk. Please take this with a grain of salt, someone told me she'd seen this thing, I have to look into it, it's just a kind of interesting idea and possibility; I don't want to be presumptuous, just conversational.
So, I guess I could just say "I like Richard Hell." and leave it at that, but I felt compelled to respond to one of the better intellectual contributions anyone's made to this forum in a while (thanks james).
And as far as flesh figs go, yeah, that's an almost uncomfortably great image, one of my personal favorites, easy as it is to latch on to. The cows want feeding, guess I better wrap this up...
back to R. Hell Site Forum Board