Skip to main content

Lux Interior Has Died

Sad news. The great psychobilly performer, Lux Interior, who, with partner-in-music Poison Ivy made up the bruised core of The Cramps, has died. American "trash culture" has lost one of its major iconoclastic icons. I saw them perform once in Montreal, in the late 1980s, and it was weird and inspiring. No one who was anyone then had not danced to "Human Fly".

The Cramps' style (they never cramped mine) was very influential, I think, on Canadian poetry of the 90s, in the sense that they were at the vanguard of a movement to reintroduce, or reinretroduce perhaps, a B-movie subculture to greater prominence, in the way that Vampirella did. This led to the rediscovery of Ed Wood, Bettie Page, and other lost figures on the sordid margins of the Eisenhower Era.

This love of creepily backstreet Americana was also part of what drove David Lynch and Tarantino. This was very much in my mind when I began my cabarets, and it was a part of the zeitgeist, then, for poets and performers to think of themselves as in dialogue with the more offbeat characters and trends of the 50s-60s cheesy Los Angeles subculture.

Perhaps no North American poet (other than David Jaeger or David Trinidad) has better caught this tone and theme than Montreal's own David McGimpsey, who put his own stamp of revaluation on hamburgers, bad TV, and relics of the golden age of trash, in formally brilliant verse. My anthology, for DC Books, Future Welcome, was very much a part of this attempt to imagine what a "B-poetry" style might be like - that is, a style of poems that, like other aspects of trash culture, made no qualms about aiming for sensationalism, thrills, pleasure, while avoiding any interest in taste, decorum, or lack of deviation from the norm.

While a "trash poetics" is not my only poetic interest, it is one of them, and I continue to reserve the right to write stuff I like, that speaks to that part of the brain that also loves the kitsch, the camp, pulp and junk.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…