Sunday, March 15, 2009


I have just finished reading 2 biographies on the late Jack Kerouac, both taking interesting standpoints, one totally suppressing the notion that he was both bisexual & homophobic, the other accepting his sexuality while not even attempting to hide his homophobic tendencies. He was a complicated man, he tried Buddhism but could still be racist,sexist & homophobic in equal measures & while I make no attempt whatsoever to try to condone his attitudes ( which I resent ) I have to accept he left the world some brilliant novels & performances of his poetry.He also left behind some very mundane drivel, as addiction to alcohol ruined his talents. Unfortunately he was typecast by his second published novel "On the road". When it was released, this leader of the beat generation was in to his thirties & not the wild twenty year old who had hitched across the USA looking for adventure. He was not even Dean Moriarty the main protagonist. Though that did not prevent droves of fans pestering him looking for the legend.

The public & his publishers wanted more of the same, which he was not prepared to give them, after all, the novel was six years old when published. By the time he wrote "Big Sur" he was trying to get away from the hangers on & his personal demons. In this novel he attempted to hitchhike from Big Sur to Monterey & achieved only one lift in 9 hours. A fact he dwells on, stating how cars were now full of adults & children with no room for the lonely hiker. Times & The USA had changed.

His drinking was the death of him, although he moaned about it & hated himself as only alcoholics can, he never sought help, poisoning himself slowly. This got me thinking about all the creative people I know who are or were addicted to something. Why ? I thought, do you have to slowly kill yourself to achieve a creative state of mind & produce great work ? Or is there a simpler explanation ? In that these people have films articles & biographies written about them so everyone knows about their dependencies ? People who do not stand out in the public eye live the same kind of lives with the same addictions yet are not spoken about.

Tamsin was a friend & a head waitress in my restaurant, a feisty, fun loving member of the team. She finally achieved her life long ambition of becoming a police woman & left to join the Met in London. It was while she was here that the drinking became a real problem in her life. She was eventually suspended & sacked after been caught intoxicated in a squad car at 10 am one morning.
The loss of her career & the humiliation that went with it, signalled her decline in to the abyss. I lost track of her 6 months or so after this incident & was sad to learn a couple of years ago she had died from internal bleeding caused by liver failure. This after years of struggling to achieve sobriety.

No biography for her, but a life just the same ruined by addiction, one of many out there I suspect. I am not going to lecture or preach about alcohol, I enjoy it too much, I use the story to give Tamsin some kind of brief biography, Something to think about when the next celebrity checks in to rehab.

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