BOMB CULTURE by Jeff Nuttall


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Doomsday doodles? Epiphanic flak Mr. Nuttall is an Englishman, a poet and an artist who's been associated with all that's been going on--behind the avant-garde and his book somewhere between an inventory and a polemic, covers the scene in terms of pop, protest and art. Quite naturally he's concerned over the collective, irrational violence which was triggered by the bomb. In many ways the British opposite number of Mailer (from whom he quotes extensively), he's very comparable in his self-directed self-exposure--the q.e.d. me-ness of it all. Also because he's a powerhouse communicator or overcommunicator with all the sprawling intellectual continuity and splashy effects that is implied. He presents here the antigestalt as manifested in the new gear and the new idols (the Beatles the ""biggest single catalyst""; but they are joined by his good friends Ginsberg and Burroughs and Alex Trocchi and R. F. Laing); and in various aspects of today which he calls very rightly the psychopathic NOW. Ultimately he turns away from all this ""destructive sickness"" and ""loss of wonderment"" declaring that the ""freakout is over."" Salvation however seems equally in limbo--a ""European sense of classic form and rational serenity"" coupled with Fun Palace designer Cedric Price and the Archigram group's Plug-In City. They're hard to reconcile, and so are some of his silly assertions (Jung as America's Whitman). Primarily he's addressing his own postbomb subculture codified here as ""the generation gap that the bomb created."" They will have to be reminded, along with Mr. Nuttall, that they'll have lots of classic repudiations like ""crabbed age"" which antedate such a loose claim.

Pub Date: July 18th, 1969
Publisher: Delacorte