[Jandek] The Bowery, Beacon Hill, Biography

Matthew Elliott soccerdude219 at yahoo.com
Sun Jul 15 13:58:18 PDT 2007

Seth also pointed out that Beacon Hill is a "skid row" in Seattle, though the much-disputed "Providence connection" leads me to think he's referring to the Boston region, which is anything but a skid row- quite upscale. Perhaps that's what he means by juxtaposing it with the Bowery in those couple of songs. "I've been on the Bowery, been on Beacon Hill," he says, as if to mean "I've been rich, I've been poor". In an earlier song, "Quinn Boys", he says "Meet me in the Bowery, goodbye Beacon Hill", perhaps suggesting that he's rejecting a rich upbringing to live a bohemian life. If Jandek started recording in the late 60's as most of us believe, he was probably around to the time of punk rock, 75-78, when he recorded "Quinn Boys" (on Blue Corpse, and reduxed on You Walk Alone), so the idea of the Bowery as a place for a young inconoclastic rocker to go would make even more sense- or would it? I don't know, I've only seen a documentary on the Ramones that gave me that
 impression. I believe Jandek spent some time in NYC, perhaps when he was writing those seven novels that got rejected by New York publishers. The most dissapointing aspect of Mr. Smith's secrecy is that he's probably had a very interesting life if his music reflects even an iota of it, but we will never know anything about it. And of course this is just how "Corwood" wants it, but let's be real for a second here: how many of you would like to know the details of Jandek's life? I know I would.
  Which leads me to another question: if Jandek suddenly published his autobiography, would you read it? Another scenario: a crack team of investigative reporters find "Nancy", etc. and piece together the story of Jandek's life without his consent. Would you read that book? Or would you rather just make up your own story?

Alex Cook <cookalexv at gmail.com> wrote:
      From: Michael Mellor <miquelotjr at yahoo.co.uk >
Subject: [Jandek] Re: jandek Digest, Vol 55, Issue 151 - Somebody in the Snow
   rambling around New York's seedier districts amidst the clatter of drums. The Bowery gets namechecked, and Beacon Hill, then on track 10 a place I can't help but imagine as St. Mark's Place: "yeah (huhuh) I read about your bargain basement / at the corner of the street…" 

great review of a great record. I just wanted to add my two cents on one minor point 

Beacon Hill is in Boston, and the famous bargain basement he refers to is likely Filene's Basement, which resides on a very busy corner in Boston 
Alex V. Cook
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