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Presence like a cheetah rather than a chimp.

January 7, 2011 \pm\31 10:30 pm

Jim Carroll said that. I believe he lived it too. Well for the most part [this video is classic]. I’m especially amused by the loose narrative of the babysitting odd-couple of Jim and Lou Reed. Two ex-junkies and a baby…how’d that movie never get made?!

I had the fortune to see Jim Carroll read and perform several times, the first back in 2000 in NYC at the Bottom Lounge. He read for half of the show and then sang, accompanied by Lenny Kaye on guitar. Most assuredly a cheetah then. Critic Stephen Holden of The New York Times in 1982 decreed Jim as “not so much a singer as an incantatory rock-and-roll poet.” Like Lou Reed, he had a mesmerizing power, evident on songs like “People Who Died” from “Catholic Boy,” a poetic litany of his dead friends that became a hit on college radio and part of the soundtrack for “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.”

Carroll is recognized for more than the Basketball Diaries’ fast-breaking outlaw chronicles and the JCB’s punk anthems, he was a poet in the surrealist tradition of Rimbaud and a third generation New York School poet in league with Ted Berrigan and Anne Waldman. Besides being a diarist, poet, songwriter, and performer, Carroll is also, posthumously, a novelist.

Personally my favorite reads by him are Forced Entries, a second collection of diaries depicting the downtown art scene of NYC 1971-1973; and Fear of Dreaming which contains His first two books of poetry, Living at the Movies and the Book of Nods.


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