Saturday, May 8, 2010

RE: WSB and me

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/harriet/2010/05/william-s-burroughs-shoots-william-shakespear/

Someone told me this vid was up on Harriet. Will likely be the only trace of me on that site.

I am in jean jacket helping put up the target backstop in background and my voice on tape couple times. One of many many times I went shooting with William in 1980's. This location up north of Lawrence close to Tonganoxie. Looks like Jose Ferez had brought Ralph Steadman into town. He had William shoot a drawing of Shakespeare. Never saw that target again. Later the two of them 'collaborated' on a print. Steadman made the print and sent it to Lawrence and William shot and signed it. I guess that is collabortion. William was generious whenever, people wanted him to shoot something and there were lots of them. Left to his own desires, William shot targets...paper NRA targets and made notes on them of weapon used etc. Others came around and made stuff for him to shoot....wooden things, t-shirts, books, art stuff out of paper and metal...all of which he did as asked but never did he make stuff to shoot unless it was someone else's suggestion. Oh he shot pumpkins, beer cans, bottles, spray paint cans...yes...but not other stuff . The only time I saw him get somewhat engaged was when S. Clay Wilson brought some targets he had drawn for William to shoot. They were pretty crude and funny drawings.

Note that William is explaining to Steadman how to load a magazine for a pistol...and it is very important to know how many rounds go in and how many come out...especially when you are at a range with lots of folks. Forgeting a round in the chamber is how a lot of folks get shot. William was about safety and being aware. My theory as to why William was somewhat obsessed with target shooting was that he was trying to improve his aim every since the day he shot his wife.

I like what he did with the target...he walked right up to it and acted like he was gonna pop Shakespeare in the forehead, then turned and paced back as if in a dual...which is pretty funny....which William was always. Of course he knew and often quoted from Shakes.

Those days out in the country shooting were the best...and when he had old friends with him like George Kaull the sculpture it was a classy afternoon. Shooting, a drink to "steady your hand"more shooting, inside for a joint and some nosh. Back to town. We never did get stopped and that was probably a good thing...two 80 plus year old guys with sacks full of guns, vodka, pot and ammo along with a couple layabout 50 somethings. Humm. It was a big deal...a phone call to me "Jim lets go shooting. Call George and see if he can go." Picking up William, making sure the cats were fed and settled, making sure to have the vod and coke or go to store, check ammo, stop and buy more, check targets, load van, pick up George. Crackers and cheese. Drive our to location. Set out all the guns and ammo and set up stuff. Fix drinks. etc. etc.

There were the high points like S. Clay Wilson and Hunter Thompson who came to shoot and the low points mostly ahole band persons who more than anything wanted a picture of them and WSB shooting. William was mostly a good host. But never talked much about it afterward.

Once some over amped chicago punk guitar player spotted a snake in the grass and yelled to someone to shoot it. William moving as quickly as he could, totterd over and yelled: "Don't fucking shoot it. For gods sake. Leave it alone."

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