Disquiet Junto Celebrating Burroughs

The Disquiet Junto this week celebrated what would've been the 100th birthday of William S Burroughs, who popularised the cut-up technique of composition in literature and other media.

This Junto really excited me because it was something I'd been meaning to try out. My partner has been making cut-up poetry in recent months, ahead of an exhibition that opens today. She hadn't considered this would coincide with Burroughs birthday, as she was drawing her inspiration from Tristan Tzara.

Funnily enough, I'd suggested to her on Friday morning that we could create an application that would automatically compose cut-up poetry from text. She argued against the idea, saying the process of putting together a piece using the technique relied on editorial judgments but also human intent. This is the sort of argument I'd expect from Burroughs, who promoted the technique as a kind of magical process. So it was curious to end up doing something similar following Marc's instructions.

My local newspaper is The Irrigator and their lead story concerned a couple of botched break-ins that happened in the main street of Leeton on Thursday morning.

At first I wasn't sure about the lyrics I'd composed following the Junto email, when it arrived on Friday afternoon. But I liked the chorus better than the third line in the lead story from The Area News that day, and settled on a chord progression before my partner arrived home from hanging the exhibition. I thought the verses were crap though and she suggested I consider a more punk delivery.

Since I wasn't going to be able to play the guitar fast enough, I decided to MIDI the track and ended up with this electro-sorta hardcore. When I got to recording the lyrics on Saturday morning, I'd forgotten the melody I had in mind. So I belted them out a couple of times while getting the microphone levels right. What you hear is my third take.

P.S. Here's a cut-up I made at Jo's exhibition.