Re: RARA-AVIS: 77 Sunset Strip

From: Patrick King (
Date: 12 Feb 2008

Well, here's one crime novel that deals with the beat counter culture. Or at least the author meant it to:

There are many not-so-old crime novels that deal with the bee-bop jazz scene, which the beat movement emerged from.

I'd say the absents of beats in golden-age crime stories has more to do with the fact that many of the authors, themselves, were from that scene and perceived that readers were neither interested or accepting of that culture. These authors wrote for money, after all. They wrote books they believed people want to read, not necessarily what they, themselves, want to write. Lawrence Block was a close friend to Blues Guitar virtuoso, Dave Van Ronk. Block actually penned a parody song that Van Ronk performed frequently: Georgie On the IRT. Van Ronk, by his own admission was a Communist and a radical. Van Ronk states this unequivocally in his autobiography THE MAYOR OF MACDOUGAL STREET, compiled by Elijah Wald after Van Ronk's death. Block pens the forward to it.

The beat scene in New York and LA in the early fifties would be a great backdrop for many crime novels.

Patrick King
--- jacquesdebierue <> wrote:

> --- In, Patrick King
> <abrasax93@...> wrote:
> >
> > I never met anyone who actually talked like
> Kookie.
> > The media at the time had a serious love-hate
> > relationship with beat counter culture. In my
> > recollection, none went far enough to actually
> explore
> > it.
> How about crime writers? I don't know every Gold
> Medal that was
> published, but hipsters do seem conspicuously absent
> from what I've
> read, which is a fair amount. Not only hipsters but
> the jazz scene in
> general, as well as the early rock'n'roll scene. In
> other words, most
> crime novels of the 50s and 60s seem to take place
> in a world that
> leaves out no less than what was really happening...
> I had never given
> much thought to this but in retrospect it seems
> clear.
> One might conclude that we've come a long way as
> regards a more
> realistic portrayal of society in crime fiction.
> What do you guys
> think? Just like you can no longer get away with a
> TV script that is
> _totally_ invented cardboard.
> The thought that things have improved may cause a
> lot of anxiety... I
> think we need to devote some months to writers who
> are alive and even
> young!
> Best,
> mrt

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