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With William Burroughs: A Report From the Bunker

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  314 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Burroughs, the eccentric, brilliant artist who burned the bridge with logic and wrote the classic Naked Lunch, has a court recorder in Victor Bockris. Bockris has collected into a cogent whole the man's most brilliant moments of conversation, thinking, and interview repartee. This fascinating material, gleaned from the fertile time at Burroughs's New York headquarters, the ...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published 1996 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published November 1st 1979)
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Lynx
Victor Bockris and his tape recorder capture interesting conversations Burroughs had with an array of impressive minds such as Lou Reed, Alan Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Andy Warhol and Susan Sontag to name a few. These excerpts cover an array of topics that Burroughs fans if given the opportunity to sit down with the man would ask including his writing methods, opinions on other authors, current events, and his personal life. Those looking for a more linear biography of Burroughs life and career sho ...more
Joseph
Jan 23, 2016 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker by Victor Bockris is a collection of interview notes from the 1970s and 1980s. Bockris is the author of several books on the people in the New York underground -- Patti Smith, Lou Reed, and John Cale. He wrote on the Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol, and Keith Richards.

Bockris is a man who was in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people. This is the second book of his I have read. The first was the unauthorized biography of Pa
...more
Eric
Apr 01, 2012 Eric rated it really liked it
This marks the hipster-apex of Burroughs-related works. You'll get a sense of the era and the scene as much as any deep understanding of the man.
Richard Jespers
Jan 08, 2015 Richard Jespers rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed most of Burroughs’s nuggets about writing:

“Read and reread Conrad constantly—a gift of transmutation, like Genet.”


“Sinclair Lewis said if you have just written something you think is absolutely great and you can’t wait to publish it or show it to someone, throw it away.”


“Somerset Maugham said that the greatest asset that any writer can have is longevity.” “Involvement with his own image can be fatal to a writer.” “Creativity comes from a series of shocks in which you are forced to look a
...more
David Corvine
Feb 20, 2014 David Corvine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could have done with less Bockris and more Burroughs but still a valuable source for students of WSB.
Matthew Langley
Jan 01, 2013 Matthew Langley rated it it was ok
Burroughs from the fan-boy position - ok in parts but not extrodinary
Dan
Aug 17, 2010 Dan rated it it was ok
Shelves: interviews
Joan Lee: I’m shooting up your bug powder [...:] It’s a very literary high.
Bill Lee: What do you mean it’s a literary high?
Joan Lee: It’s a Kafka high. You feel like a bug.
(Dialogue from David Cronenberg’s film adaptation of William S. Burroughs’s Naked Lunch).


“The only evidence that this conversation ever took place here is the recording, and if those recordings were altered, then that would be the only record.” (William Burroughs).

“Certainly of the Beat Generation, Bill was the one that no one
...more
Kirk Johnson
Jul 22, 2015 Kirk Johnson rated it really liked it
This book mostly eschews the interview approach, instead recording Burroughs' conversations and meetings with various celebrities and important persons of the day. While the book is full of sycophancy and while sometimes everyone brings the worst out in each other - an earlier conversation with Burroughs, Warhol, and Ginsberg is tragic - some of the conversations, especially those near the end, are almost enlightening.
Gabriel Soll
Jan 27, 2016 Gabriel Soll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(full disclosure, I received a reviewer copy of this book, but that does not influence my review -- if it were horrible, I'd tell you).

This book is not for everyone...then again, neither is Burroughs. I believe that this book will illuminate some interesting back-story about the author and his mythos for those who would be interested to read it. While I find the personae fascinating (hell, medically he is a wonder that he survived) I don't know that this will hold the interest of someone who isn
...more
Andy
Oct 29, 2008 Andy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Burroughs fans
Every bit as entertaining as any novel by Uncle Bill, Victor Bockris leaves no stone unturned in his conversations with Burroughs. It's all here: the accidental death of his wife ("that gun was a piece of junk"), his cut-up writing methods, special consultant to beatnik movie "Heartbeat". He dishes the dirt on his fellow writers too: Genet, Robbe-Grillet, Henry Miller, Samuel Beckett, etc. There's a killer anecdote on every page, for real. Highly recommended.
Ryan
Nov 06, 2007 Ryan rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: sicophants, and psychofans too
thought this book was interesting just cause burroughs is interesting. then i realised it was written by a hanger-on, a scenester. forget that guy! thats my opinion.
Theo Lafleur
Aug 02, 2011 Theo Lafleur rated it it was amazing
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William Seward Burroughs II, (also known by his pen name William Lee; February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, painter, and spoken word performer. A primary figure of the Beat Generation and a major postmodernist author, he is considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century ...more
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