William S. Burroughs
Call Me Burroughs
With the advent of audio books and books on tape, literature has lost much of its mysterious allure. No longer is it a rare treat to hear an author reading their work; if anything, it’s an expectation of all popular writers that their work be presented in audio form. For the blind, this is ideal, but for some readers, the concept doesn’t appeal. Yours truly has never intentionally sought out an audiobook over the pure joy of reading a book, and the only ‘books on tape’ I’ve listened to were over-the-top readings of trashy romance novels.
What makes Call Me Burroughs such a delight is that its release allowed the world to hear and experience the man behind Naked Lunch, one of the most bizarre books of the Twentieth Century. Released in 1965, it would mark the first of many recordings Burroughs would make—he would pioneer spoken word over the next few decades, working with everyone from Bill Laswell and Laurie Anderson to Kurt Cobain and Nike. Call Me Burroughs finds him by himself, reading from Naked Lunch on one side, and reading from Nova Express on the second. It is certainly enthralling to hear the master surrealist and beat writer read his work with his gruff, disinterested, aging voice, as he tells his tales about people from the wrong side of the tracks of Perdition.
Burroughs was the real deal, and so is Call Me Burroughs. The delight in hearing him live again and sharing his vivid, unique writings in his own words and his own intonations makes this an even more heady experience.