Hear E.E. Cummings Read “anyone lived in a pretty how town” and Paul Krassner Recalls: “The Day I Met Lenny Bruce!” – Boing Boing

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds


Episode #4: “To Forget to Remember”

Welcome back to Spoken Word with Electronics. I hope this week has gone well for you, all things considered. Here’s some audio theater:

This week we lead off with an uncommon recording of E.E.Cummings. One of my favorite poems of his is anyone lived in a pretty how town. It was first published in 1940 and has some interesting resonance today. He has a beautiful speaking voice, which surprised me, a blend of Oscar Wilde with Truman Capote, just with no capital letters. (E.E.’s name was often capitalized, unlike his poems)

Here’s the track:

Side A: E.E. Cummings Reads ‘anyone lived in a pretty how town’ — with a Yamaha Loop and a Metasonix R55 VCO

Music for this track is a blend of a few things, but primarily a loop from a Yamaha Reface CP (GREAT FUN) along with other yamaha-based loops recorded over the last few years, and a Metasonix Voltage Controlled Oscillator, specifically the R55. The R55 (and its current version, the RK7) is based on a very unpredictable thyratron tube and is a wonderfully unpredictable source of noise and completely unique. It’s not unlike a tesla coil with sound. You can hear it floating through this isolated track at a gentle dissipating scrape about halfway through. Plugging an LFO into its VCA can produce a wonderful snoring sound; this is audible in the ending third of the track. Posted as a bonus item:

Side B: “There’s no laws against blasphemy. That’s why they get you on obscenity.” – An audio interview with Paul Krassner about the first time he met Lenny Bruce

Side B for this week continues the interview with Paul Krassner, started in Episode Two and Episode Three. Now we’re getting into the good stuff. Paul was, of course, a good friend of Lenny Bruce’s. Few people have heard about their first encounter, however, involving one of Lenny’s first busts, a dip into psychology with Albert Ellis, and Paul’s jokes about prank shops. Of particular note, is the interview with Albert Ellis, which gave Lenny a glimpse at the first time he’d seen an F-bomb dropped onto a printed page. If you think we’re restricted now to being stuck at home, imagine getting arrested for cussing?

Mindbender trivia: If you’re curious about Robert Anton Wilson’s early past, he conducted the interview with Krassner, likely adding a little voltage to the questions. Here’s the full document Lenny Bruce was amazed to read. And here is the issue of The Realist that Paul distributed in front of the theater on Lenny’s behalf.

Have a listen below:

Side B: Paul Krassner Interview, Part 3: “The First Time I Met Lenny Bruce!”

For those interested, I’ve put up a collection of self-written/performed spoken word tracks up on Bandcamp, called This is the TRUTH! (Music for Pandemics and Home Cooking) – Have a good week, Ethan

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