Interview :: The Bebop Apocalypse
February 18th 2013
Hey hoopy frood, the Bebop Apocalypse is a celebration of beat culture and jazz (and red wine) held at 107 Projects in Redfern. We spoke to the guys behind it, both on-air and off-air, and got pretty inspired. If you wish your best friend was Neal Cassady too, read on.
Ash (Flog): So I have a huge hangover and I blame you guys, $5 glasses of wine go down pretty well with beat poetry.
Nick: Yeah, I’m still pushing for bourbon.
A: Less of an awful hangover.
Hunter: Yeah and you know, drinking an old fashioned, it would be a classy 50’s thing to do, get Makers Mark on board.
N: Maybe we should shift to bourbon for next week’s show.
H: My uncle makes moonshine…
N: It’d be hilarious, moonshine, get a tankard of moonshine. We could have pewter mugs.
A: That would be sick! But you’re getting a bit medieval; maybe pewter mugs won’t go so well with beat poetry.
H: We’re getting more into pirate territory.
A: So, I guess the whole Beat culture goes through revivals… ‘On The Road’ came out recently, that renewed interest – were you guys playing off that? Was it kind of a trigger for the show?
H: No actually, that movie hasn’t really been discussed that much, and there’s Howl with James Franco, but we haven’t really gone into that, it’s been pretty much about the works.
N: I think we’re more about recreating what they were doing at the time, and sort of channeling the poets themselves, you know, getting that sense that we’re in downtown New York in the boroughs watching these poets’ stream-of-consciousness.
A: I like the way you guys did it, with all of the ensemble onstage throughout every reading.
N: Well it’s like they were jamming, y’know, on their old recordings you can hear them just playing around and bouncing ideas off each other and it’s so casual and cool.
A: Is it like that for you guys, do you feel like you’re jamming even though it’s a performance of someone else’s work?
N: Well it’s really changed for me in the last couple of days, getting Andrew Scott along, the pianist – the jazz has really settled in some of the things I haven’t quite understood. Especially with the piano, I thought America last night was just so beautiful.
H: And Andrew looks like Ginsberg.
N: It’s continually morphing, we want to continue to grow it til we have a whole jazz band.
A: Are you both big on spoken word poetry?
N: I remember back a few months ago when we were first reading the poems, it didn’t excite me that much. I thought “yeah, I get this”, but I didn’t get the depth of it. And as soon as we started performing them and listening to each other, it was really in the spoken word that they came alive for me.
A: Do you think that beat poetry in that kind of vein can really exist in this day and age in Australia? I mean, what would we write about?
N: I think the same problems are still there, I think that’s what’s so interesting about the show, all the poems that we read, they’re talking about issues that they had then, but its still very much the issues that we have today, y’know, consumerism…
A: “them Chinamen, them Chinamen and them Russians”?
N: You know, we’ve got this same weird kind of paranoia – about different countries now, but the same feelings are still there and the same illogical paranoia from the government is still there.
A: So it’s still relevant, I guess that’s why Beat culture still strikes a chord decades later…
N: I was saying last night, think we’re gonna need more shows!
Marcus Graham (and Miles Davis) came in to chat to Stephen Ferris about beat poetry and gave us a few live readings…
WHAT :: The Bebop Apocalypse – a night of beat poetry and jazz.
WHEN :: Friday 2nd March – 7pm
WHERE :: 107 Projects, 107 Redfern St Redfern
HOW MUCH :: $15 on the door – includes a glass of red wine (event)