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Monday, July 8, 2013

RAW hosts Brion Gysin in Ireland

Brion Gysin invented the cut-up technique for altering prose which later was popularized by William Burroughs and later adopted by Robert Anton Wilson. (I think I've finally gotten that right, after screwing up in an earlier blog entry and attributing the technique to Burroughs.)

An entry on an Irish blog describes how in the early 1980s Gysin left Paris, stayed with Robert Anton Wilson for two weeks and then took a place of his own in rural Ireland. The bemused natives, who may not have been familiar with Gysin, were given a demonstration of his famous literary invention:

"He appears to have lived an idyllic life while there, going for long walks alone, befriending locals and going fishing with them and even spending one day helping them save turf on a nearby bog. He did not hide his more radical ideas from them either as one night in a nearby pub, Gerties in Keshkerrigan, he reportedly mutilated that week’s edition of the Leitrim Observer while demonstrating his cut-up technique at the bar. This incident was remembered with good humour when recounted to me by the owner of the bar who told me that the sentences he created were very humourous."

I found this entry after Nick Helweg-Larsen pointed me to this blog entry, which also concerned RAW and explained how Wilson inspired a writing project. Thanks, Nick!


Oz Fritz said...

Gysin was a very colorful character, definitely underated as an artist. He was also the one who brought The Master Musicians of Jajouka to the world after Paul Bowles turned him on to them. He opened a restaurant in Tangier called A 1000 and 1 Nights specifically to give the Master Musicians a regular venue to play at. He also told his friends The Rolling Stones about them.

It's interesting that he lived with RAW for a short bit. I would love to hear what they talked about.

michael said...

This seems like a real find! I had no idea Gysin spent time with RAW in Ireland.

Although there's obvious evidence of Gysin's genius, he apparently was prickly and not a happy guy. I had those impressions, then I saw the documentary on The Dream Machine and it pretty much confirmed what I suspected. Still: he deserves credit for the cut-ups and as an artist and catalyst and noticing talents and championing the extraordinary.