OPERATION ANTI-BEATNIK

I got a newsletter in today from the very cool Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company. I've only been there once and it was a long time ago too so it's high time I went back. With one eye on my last post about things not being as relevant/cool/important as they once were, I'm going to steal their first paragraph here and tell myself it's OK because if you're not on their mailing list, you can fix that by going to that link and filling in the box on the top right of the page.

It goes like this: 

For almost three years in the late 1960s, Shakespeare and Company was barred from selling books. This was due to a bureaucratic imbroglio attributed variously to CIA influence, to the Paris Préfecture’s “Operation Anti-Beatnik,” and to simple bad luck in business. Undeterred, George Whitman kept the space open as the “Free University of Paris,” hosting discussions, concerts and readings, including one with poets Langston Hughes and Ted Joans. In May ’68, when the quartier famously erupted in clashes between students and riot police, the bookshop was perfectly situated to become a refuge, intellectual as well as physical. As Molotov cocktails flew across rue Saint-Jacques, the shop sheltered people fleeing riot police, and stayed open all night to host political debates. In our history book, the poet Christopher Cook Gilmore describes hiding out in the bookshop one night, watching from the upstairs window as students unfurled a huge red flag from the top of Notre-Dame. Standing next to him, George said: “Isn’t this the greatest moment of your entire life?”

Which says a lot about the bookstore, its owner, beatniks and the French. This is why Shakespeare is still open, still highly regarded and still on my radar when hundreds of others are a distant memory of averageness. If I ever get around to making a video series like Old Weird America (see same previous post as mentioned before) this is where I'll begin... because a man needs an excuse to go to Paris like he needs an excuse to buy another Gretsch. 

Books huh. 


Meanwhile, the running continues and my knees are screaming at me to stop. They're not in a good way but they're going to have to suck it up for another six weeks because we're finishing this little challenge one way or another.

I came back from my run last night (the playlist for week three is here) and crash landed in front of Lost In Space on Netflix. The first few episodes were pretty good so I stuck with it as something that passed before my eyes while I recovered and then... episode five we hit a jackpot.

Not only were we rewarded with giant lizard/dinosaur type things but also a fist fight between them and The Robot - and that my friends, is sometimes as good as life gets. A large mug of tea and a cage fight between a lizard and a robot. Ain't nothing wrong with that.