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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dancin’ Beats


The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww! ~ Jack Kerouac


Again my recent reading has been centered on my exploration of the Beat Generation: you know, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, et. al. I’ve just completed re-reading Kerouac’s On the Road for the fourth (or is it the fifth?) time. But this post isn’t about the cool words of the Beats. It’s about the music of the Beats.

I’ve long been aware of the prose, poetry, and music of the Beats. One way or another, it was all blues and jazz:

Once there was Louis Armstrong blowing his beautiful top in the muds of New Orleans; before him the mad musicians who had paraded on official days and broke up their Sousa marches into ragtime. Then there was swing, and Roy Eldridge, vigorous and virile, blasting the horn for everything it had in waves of power and logic and subtlety — leaning into it with glittering eyes and a lovely smile and sending it out broadcast to rock the jazz world. ~ Jack Kerouac


A Zen History of Jazz ~ Shorty Petterstein


And then there is the dancing—a kind of dancing we seldom see these days. The kind that my mother and father danced. I understand that my dad was a great dancer; not only on the dance floor, but also on roller skates. This kind of dancing:



video

In can’t conceive of doing that kind of dancing on roller skates.

18 comments:

  1. Self-education may be the only kind that truly sticks with us throughout our lives.

    That sort of dancing always looks like so much fun! On roller skates, though - I'd break a bone or two. And the music! It's impossible to sit still.

    Thanks for the well-wishes, and I send them back to you.

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  2. I completely agree. Often I find myself wishing I was of that generation. I love the essence of this post.

    (Now if only I could pick up my copy of "On The Road", and start reading it for the FIRST time!)

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  3. I totally agree with Cyberhostage. I really enjoyed this post. I loved the music, dancing, and also need to read "On the Road". I just hope my fellow inmates don't find out: they tend to exploit any perceived lapses in "traditional" masculinity.

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  4. I could never dance like that. One the Road I read a long time ago. I may reread it.

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  5. I love the roller skates. It reminds me of a girl who was in my college class back in New Orleans. She wore skates to get around campus. I don't know how she did it, because so many of the sidewalks are broken up by tree roots and things. Not an easy task. I would have killed myself.

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  6. PS - I also cannot imagine dancing like they do without falling on my butt. I can't imagine your dad on skates! Or my dad or mom!!

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  7. I've never gotten around to investigating the beat generation and its works.

    I suppose Mr. Kerouacs work should be added to my ever increasing queue of books to read. From the excerpts, it seems he writes with a very pleasing imagery and cadence.

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  8. BIG SMILE after watching that dancing! Music and dancing bring people together in community better than almost anything else.

    We need more of that!

    Have you ever been known to dance, Nick?

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  9. Thanks, Nick. I seem to learn something new every time I read your blog.

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  10. I remember bebop dancing. I did some when I was young. But I was not as cool as those kids.

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  11. OK... this would be very hard to do... I can hardly stand in roller skates let alone start dancing...remember Silvester in "The Bishop's Wife" starring Loretta Young and Cary Grant? I would be like him but without an angel... haa haa..
    Nice post Nick!!
    Later,
    The Bach

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  12. Nick,thank you for this grand posting.I do not think that dancing could be done on roller skates nor could men that wear their trousers around the rear ends could do this dancing as well thy would be picking themselfs up off the floor.
    That's my satory and I'm sticking to it.

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  13. I know nothing about the beat generation. I need to read some of the writers.

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  14. Years ago I met Allen Ginsberg. That was quite an experience. I rather wish I had met Jack K., too.

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  15. I wish I had that kind of co-ordination ! I'm a horrible dancer !

    ~Susan

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  16. On The Road is one of those books I've always meant to read, but haven't got around to.

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  17. Nick, you always have been a sort of beatnik.

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  18. That dance is one hell of an exercise routine!

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