Sunday, April 3, 2011

How (not) to be a Beatnik...

"The Well-Equipped Pad" according to Time magazine 30 November, 1959. Staged photograph to go with an ungenerous assault on the Beats called "The Only Rebellion Around: But the Shabby Beats Bungle the Job in Arguing, Sulking and Bad Poetry" -- so says Paul O'Neil Life staff writer.

The photograph numbers the objects in the "pad" and provides descriptions for "squares". Can you dig it?

"The Beat's entire 'pad' or household, as re-created in studio shot using paid models, contains all of the essentials of uncomfortable living and consists of the following: 1. Beat chick dressed in black, 2. coal stove for heating baby's milk, drying chick's leotards and displaying crucifix-shaped Mexican cow bells, 3. naked light bulb, 4. hot plate for warming espresso coffee pot and bean cans, 5. marijuana for smoking, 6. posters from old poetry readings and jazz concerts, 7. paperback library of Beat classics, 8. crates which serve as tables and closets, 9. hi-fi loudspeaker, 10. typewriter with half-finished poem, 11. bearded Beat wearing sandals, chinos and turtle-necked sweater and studying record by the late saxophonist Charlie Parker, 12. ill-tended plant, 15. current jazz favorite of Beats, Miles Davis's Kind of Blues, 16. guitar, 17. record player, 18. Beat poetry leaflet (Abomunist Manifesto), 19. bare mattress, 20. bongo drums for accompanying poetry reading (guitar is also used), 21. cat, 22. Beat baby, who has gone to sleep on the floor after playing with beer cans".

I have finished and emailed off my Prospectus today (!) and I am now working on the oral and PowerPoint presentation. I thought I would take some time out to share this hyperbole with you. Farewell weekend.


  1. oh man, that was great! particularly this line: "Beat baby, who has gone to sleep on the floor after playing with beer cans", ha.

    well done on the submission! Not long to go now ...

  2. It is great isn't it? If you look closely at number 5, the "marijuana for smoking" looks more like thyme or lavender, and it is in a vase! Priceless.

    Yep, only three years to go...

  3. Hilarious! Oh dear, what were they thinking? Will we look back and find such shames amidst the archives of our youth?

    I also love that feel it important to point out that these people are in fact 'paid models'. Just in case, perhaps, the models grandparents happen upon the image and faint immediately upon discovering their grandchild is in fact a dreaded beatnik? Is the drunken baby also a paid model, or a beatnik?


  4. Congratulations Fiona! Great laugh too :) Kx

  5. Just surfaced from the murky depths of noir! This is very funny, I love the baby, nice touch! I wonder if it was the "models own". Congrats on sending your prospectus off, it's a stressful time.

    Lv Sam

  6. Useful information shared. I am very happy to read this article.

  7. Hahaha, too funny! I know the Beat dude in the pic. He's my Dad.


I heart comments...