Thursday, November 10, 2011


 “I don't think there is any truth. There are only points of view. ”  Allen Ginsberg

While in Sweden I watched a film starring James Franco called Howl.

Named after the poem Howl by Allen Ginsberg, the film has Franco playing the part of Ginsberg retelling the story of his life and times surrounding the  release of his controversial poetry.

As a young poet growing up in the 50's struggling with his sexuality.  He's confused until he realises he is homosexual after he falls in love with his friend Jack Kerouac. Back then if you were gay, you were crazy and quite often were thrown in the loony bin and given electroshock therapy to 'fix' your brain. 
The poem Howl, is a based on Ginsbergs experiences of growing up with a mentally ill mother, his idenity, his sexuality, his lovers, friendships and society.  Most noteably he writes of his friend Neal Cassidy who me met in hospital. A fellow homosexual.  While Ginsberg did not receive electroshock therapy, as he promised Doctors he was turning straight and would marry a woman (he was clearly lying) his friend did receive this treatment. Ginsberg watched Neal friend become a shell of a man, as slowly his brain was fried.

The movie follows the story of the poem (book) going to trial for Obscenity. The poem uses 'obscene' language which is questionable in society.  It is asked if some of the language needs to be replaced with less offensive terms before it can be returned to shelves.
I'm not writing this as a movie review. Just sharing a story of an artist whose words touched me.

“Concentrate on what you want to say to yourself and your friends. Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness. You say what you want to say when you don't care who's listening.” 

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