notes on america

regardless of the cult surrounding On the Road at the moment (recently cinematically transformed into a contrived teen drama submerged in a stylised sick-pool of self-indulgence), Jack Kerouac is a predictable weakness of mine.

a hitchhiking Marlon Brando-pisshead with a talent for immediate expression he’s perhaps the embodiment of a hipster wet dream, but also an incredible writer whose talents go beyond the current obsession with ‘retro lifestyles’ and the appliance of ‘vintage’ to anything of the past that looks remotely cool. the appeal of On the Road is obvious – a riotous trip of jazz, drugs, sex, alcohol – but in other words also a slightly pretentious repetition of supposed male-exclusive amusements.

Dharma Bums and The Subterraneans on the other hand deal with issues of alcoholism, alienation, race and identity within a society of assumed affluent progress. the novels present alternative ways of living and thinking, discarding the normative roles synonymous with the American dream of extreme suburban boredom. The Subterraneans is also an everyday love story, which I like since it’s authentic and beautiful and could happen to one of us if it hasn’t already.