On reflection, any traveling I have done has always taken me east from the UK; Greece, Egypt, Jordan, Germany, Israel; a subconscious decision to head into morning rather than the setting sun? Maybe. It is odd therefore that one of my favourite travel writers, if you can use the term for someone who was essentially a hitchhiker in his own country, is Jack Kerouac. Whilst reading about his road adventures through what he defined as the Beat era of post war America, his hedonistic travels involving bars, music, women, drugs and thrill seeking of the modern era, my own adventures have been more based on visiting much more ancient cultures, visiting biblical and classical locations. The reason that I bring this up is as part of my blogging regarding the new house as recently a friend of mine returned from a business trip to America where he was lucky enough to visit The City Lights Book Store in San Francisco. Whilst selling underground literature, left field poets and non-mainstream taste in books, it was more famously the place where emerging writers and poets, such as the people who would become central to the Beat movement would hang out (apparently it was one of the first places in the area to have a coffee machine) and try out their new works. As a house-warming present he brought me back a poster of Kerouac and Neal Cassady, the central characters of On The Road who appear under pseudonym as Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty.
In a house full of more ancient and oriental facing references, from pictures of Rameses The Great at The Battle of Meggido, to a collection of Turkish Hats, From East European bank notes to a brace of Indian cavalry sabres, it is nice to have a touch of the more recent occident looking down on it all. Two road warriors of the modern age, breaking through a whole new underground wild west and immortalised in this famous picture of youth and brotherhood. I’ve always likes the idea of seeing America, the America off of the tourist trail, the trucker bars and the southern bayou’s, the railway yards and the down town cafes. Maybe one day I will but for now I have Dean and Sal’s presence to remind me of a road that beckons.