Tuesday, February 15, 2011

said the ticktockman

>  who are the brain police ? <

"When I was a little kid, and I was going to East High in Cleveland - my dad had died in '49, and my mom and I were living there - I cut school one morning and I went to, I think it was Halle Brothers, down in the public terminal, the Cleveland Terminal Tower. And John Steinbeck was on tour, and he was speaking... and I couldn't get through the crowd... 
it was deep... 

Because there stood John Steinbeck, who was an ex-prizefighter - I mean, he looked like a fire plug! He was a tough guy. He worked like I had worked! I had ridden on boxcars, worked on demolition teams, and driving truck, and crops, and all that shit. But I was a little skinny squirt of a thing."

A failing Harlan Ellison muses on the nature of epiphany - sometime during the 1950s, underneath the observation deck of the watchtower - in a 90 minute interview from his California home, September 2010.

As I remarked, in a reply to a comment in an earlier post:

The smoke has always been as much out as in the bottle. Too much volatility. The cork won't settle.

"The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailors, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones..."

- Henry David Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience" (1849) as reprinted in the preface to "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman", 'Galaxy' magazine, winner of the Nebula Award, Best Short Story, 1965.

"...the end will take care of itself."

- Harlan Ellison, "Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman", 1965.

This reading, reissued on The Harlan Ellison Recording Collection, in 1981, is long out of print. Paired with a reading of "Shatterday", written in 1975, both sides to the original Alternative World Recordings imprint - AWR 6922 - can be sourced on Digital Meltd0wn.

HARLAN ELLISON: REPENT, HARLEQUIN! SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN from "Harlan! Harlan Ellison Reads Harlan Ellison" LP (Alternative World Recordings) 1976 (US)



Your driver said...

Thoreau has never let me down.

Anonymous said...

I DLed the rar
two MP3's and a couple nice images.
This was back in the days when audio cassettes, aka: audiobooks, were hitting market popularity, if I recall correctly.
A great find I'll add it to my collection of Nimoy reciting Desiderata, and Silverstein reciting his Great Smoke Off - somewhere in all that, I have Tom Snyder: Charles Manson interview as well as Dr. King's "I Have a Dream."

If interested, there's Les Crane's Desiderata as well as the National Lampoon spoof mixed in this old Show from 9/17/09 Musically Speaking

The aged wheels of anamnesis have engaged, turning slowly in the back of my worn mind, flashing bits of youthful aspirations; pleasantries indeed.

ib said...

If only because his civil disobedience was never televised.

One look at the bahaviour of Robspierre - the soap opera of the French Revolution - was enough to convince him of the need for a complete overhaul.

Before she lost her head, Marie Antoinette sold Twinkies by the basket. She was the darling of the sponsors.

Thoreau wasn't one for celebrity.

"He was bred to no profession; he never married; he lived alone; he never went to church; he never voted; he refused to pay a tax to the State: he ate no flesh, he drank no wine, he never knew the use of tobacco; and, though a naturalist, he used neither trap nor gun. He chose, wisely, no doubt, for himself, to be the bachelor of thought and Nature. He had no talent for wealth, and knew how to be poor without the least hint of squalor or inelegance..."

Or so claimed Emerson.

Where Robspierre tried the language of the courts - and came unstuck - Thoreau was not shy to try a little poetry.

There is something very Jonathan Richman about Thoreau. Maybe it's a New England thing.

ib said...


Thanks for the Shel Silverstein, and the pointer to that Kill Ugly Radio podcast: some excellent stuff in there, I'm looking forward to paying it close attention.

Your mention of Leonard Nimoy reciting "Desiderata" comes full circle to Thoreau again. In as much as it brings to mind his rendition of eden ahbez's "Nature Boy", which I cribbed - I believe - from Record Robot, and included in a post exploring its provenance.

Sadly, it [the post] was a casualty of those pogroms visited across the web a couple of years back.

I doubt George Alexander Aberle would have much approved of that Kristallnacht. Or DMCA fueled jackbooting. Given his rejection of all worldly goods. Just more offshore banking business as usual.

As for Charlie. Well. His sickly shadow falls over the Bleachers. The family, too, from time to time. Crazy as a bedbug, but, to quote Beer N. Hockey, "an enduring brand". From Vincent Bugliosi's sensationalised account of Helter Skelter to NBC's channelling of the pallid ghost from Vacaville Prison.

Löst Jimmy said...

I have a bias but I adore Steinbeck's book Zapata, the film script for Brando's Zapata directed by Kazan. What a world

ib said...

Viva Zapata!

Kazan was a wonderful director. And a sharp writer, too. Which tends to get overlooked.

I read "The Arrangement" in my teens. I have never reread it, but it chimes with John Cheever's earlier short story "The Swimmer".

The film adaptation of "The Swimmer" itself is like a full stop, period, on that whole preceding chapter. An aberration.