Howl

Sydney July 2015 (4 photos)

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness,
starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking
for an angry fix …”

So begins the 1955 poem Howl Part 1 by Irwin Allen Ginsberg, an American poet and one of the leading figures of both the “Beat Generation of the 1950s” and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed militarism, economic materialism and sexual repression and was known as embodying various aspects of this counterculture, such as his views on drugs, hostility to bureaucracy and openness to Eastern religions.

In 1956, copies of Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” were seized by San Francisco police and US Customs. In 1957, the poem attracted widespread publicity when it became the subject of an obscenity trial, as it depicted heterosexual and homosexual sex at a time when laws made homosexual acts a crime in every U.S. state. California State Superior Court Judge Clayton Horn determined that the poem was of “redeeming social importance”. He ruled that “Howl” was not obscene, adding, “Would there be any freedom of press or speech if one must reduce his vocabulary to vapid innocuous euphemisms?”

Maid

And the beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da

“The Beat Goes On” was written by Sonny Bono and recorded by Sonny & Cher. It was issued as a single and appeared on their 1967 album In Case You’re In Love. Does the woman’s face in the above street art remind anyone else of Cher?

The beat goes on

This was a mesmerising piece of street art I found in a small lane. I found myself staring into it.
A familiar hypnotic tune came into my head…

And the beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da

My head started spinning. I was being sucked into the artwork. I ran around the corner to get away from it. To no avail…

The beat goes on 2

And the beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da

There’s nothing ordinary about this suburban street art. I wonder where the artists get their inspiration. On the other hand, it’s easy being a street photographer. Inspiration is all around. You just have to see it.

And the beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

And the beat goes on …

Image

73 thoughts on “And the beat goes on …

  1. Of course it’s Cher ! – just … black, for some reason. Shoulda been red, as I remember. 🙂
    Amazing street art, LD ! – never seen any of it.

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  3. Ha! I saw the first line of your post and thought you were riffing off TMBG’s “I Should be Allowed to Think.”
    I think it is good that a street photographer is spending some time shooting the street. These are great fun.

    • I’d been meaning to go this area for quite a while, but finally got around to it when I found out there was a very nice pastry cafe in the area. The things we do. 🙂

  4. Silent messages there for us to listen to. Thank you for introducing Irwin Allen Ginsberg and his poem, Dragon. It’s hard to imagine how the people like Ginsberg living through the era that was so close-minded. Great post. Inspiring, indeed!

  5. Lovely works of street art. I found the black and white one very mesmerising…so hard to take my eyes off it 😉 Maybe for street artists, they have to feel for inspiration, be in tune with their feelings to get inspired.

  6. Whew! You sure do put yourself in the line of fire. 😉 But it’s all for good reason. Fantastic shots. As for Ginsberg…I was disgusted to find out that he was a member of No-Am-Ma-Bo-Lo-As. Really can’t stomach him anymore.

    • Hey LD – I realize that it was probably not cool of me to post that about Ginsberg. I figure you (like most people) didn’t know that about him. But it is a rude comment in the context of your post. I understand if you delete it. Sorry.

    • Thanks Julie.

      I’ll have to plead that I wasn’t aware of that last bit of information. I’m not surprised at your reaction, and I now have that same feeling, similar to my feelings about Rolf Harris, Bill Cosby, etc. I’m glad this post was mainly about the street art, rather than the individual. There are a lot of things in this world that we would prefer didn’t happen. Thank you for the information, though. By the way, I’ve removed the link and adjusted the full name of the organisation to the first 2 letters of each word. I’d prefer not to have people googling that Association to be directed to my blog. Not the kind of visitors I want. I hope you understand.

  7. A couple of photographer friends and I talked to a graffiti artist in an alley in Albuquerque (really!) and he said this: I just follow where the paint leads me.

    Then he declined to be photographed. He said, “I had permission to paint THIS one, but the others…”

    • Yes, I saw a couple of paintings being done whilst out. These artists were commissioned by the local government (with approval from the property owners) and the works were subsequently advertised. I guess those works were planned well in advance but often it may be a case of just going with the flow.

  8. The last photo on right side is equally mesmerising as the second last. Where do they start painting, from the middle? Do the artists see it in their mind’s eye first? I admire them 🙂

  9. Oh wow!!! I love this street! 😀 What a place to live, with all that art! That female face does look a lot like Cher, apart from the eyes. I think Cher has dark eyes. Strangely, in some images she appears to have brown eyes and on others she has slightly green eyes. Knowing Cher and her cosmetic changes the green ones might have been contact lenses. It’s got to be inspired by Cher though. Wish I could do faces like that – on a wall!! 😉

    So interesting you’ve got some art inspired by the the poem ‘Howl’ I only just discovered that in an animated poetry video on You Tube about a week ago – what a bizarre coincidence! Here’s the video -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM9BMVFpk80

    It’s quite a heavy going poem, but so interesting, so deep. I can understand people getting quite upset by the poem in those days, the words get really graphic!! Not remotely offensive to me, but I’m sure some people today would still find that a bit too much. I’m amazed I’ve never heard of it before now, I’m always looking for poetry videos to share in various places on the internet.

    And such a great piece of street art too – they all are! And the psychedelic patterned one, eye popping!! How on earth did the artist do that without getting a headache!! 😀 Great talent though, thanks for showing us a little corner of the world we would never know about. I shall be dreaming about this street now!

    • That video is very well done. I suppose animated poetry is a natural extension of the art form given the development of music videos. I only discovered the Howl poem after seeing this art and googling the first few lines. I can understand the poem being offensive to many people back in those days, and probably today still to some.

      It was quite an eye opening experience in that street. The art was so detailed and must have been so hard to paint. I guess they sketched the patterns out first – a labour of love, I suppose. Typically street art gets renewed every so often, but I hope these remain for quite a while.

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