Reports from the Bibliographic Bunker
Jed Birmingham on William S. Burroughs Collecting
In the introduction to the bibliography of his work prepared by Joe Maynard and Barry Miles, William Burroughs spoke about how the “little mags” were a lifeline for him at a time when he had very few hopes for publishing his work. One of the most important of these independent publications was Jeff Nuttall’s My Own Mag: “1964… No. 4, Calle Larachi, Tangier. My Own Mag…smell of kerosene heaters, hostile neighbors, stones thudding against the door. Jeff Nuttall sent me a copy of My Own Mag and asked me to contribute. I recall that delivery of the first copies to which I had contributed was heralded by a wooden top crashing through the skylight.”
RealityStudio is proud to present a comprehensive archive of Jeff Nuttall’s influential zine. This archive features every page of every now rare issue, bibliographies, context and discussion by Jed Birmingham and Robert Bank. Special thanks are due in particular to Bank, curator of jeff-nuttall.co.uk, who provided the imagery and ample documentation of the archive. In an essay, Bank also explains how Nuttall’s cartoon “Perfume Jack” provides evidence for the publication history of My Own Mag.
To explore My Own Mag, you can read the essays and bibliographies listed below. You can also view every page of every issue of My Own Mag by following the links to each issue.
- My Own Mag: Index of Names
- My Own Mag: A Bibliographic Nightmare by Jed Birmingham
- William Burroughs, My Own Mag, and Tangier
- Perfume Jack Solves the “Nightmare” by Robert Bank
- Perfume Jack Archive
- My Own Mag Bibliography by Maynard & Miles
- My Own Mag Bibliography (pdf) by Iain Sinclair
- The Evolution of the Cut-Up Technique in My Own Mag by Jed Birmingham
- The My Own Mag Community (subsection)
- Yay!: A Moving Times Supplement
- Jeff Nuttall Statement (Spring 1965) (pdf)
- Jeff Nuttall – Poems I Want to Forget (1965) (pdf)
- Presentation on William Burroughs, Jeff Nuttall and My Own Mag for Use in the Classroom (PowerPoint)
My Own Mag Archive
My Own Mag #1
No Burroughs appearance. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 1. Copies of this first issue were sent to Ray Gosling, Anselm Hollo, and William Burroughs.)
My Own Mag #2
“From H.B. William Burroughs” (2:3) (C93) January or February 1964. The cover describes it as “An Odour Fill Periodical.” (Bunker Note: Sinclair 2. Acknowledged by Burroughs as his first appearance in inscription at Lyon Sale. Gosling believed this to be the first issue.)
My Own Mag #3
No Burroughs appearance. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 3)
My Own Mag #4
“Warning Warning Warning Warning Warning Warning Warning Warning Warning” (4:4) (C94). Contains a 32 square grid manuscript. The cover describes the issue as “very late edition” and it is burned away in part on the bottom. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 4)
My Own Mag #5
“The Moving Times” (5:3-4) (C100). Described as “Special Tangiers Edition,” the cover has a full-page drawing of William Burroughs wearing a fez. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 5. Bomb Culture and Bank’s reading of Perfume Jack supports this conclusion)
My Own Mag #6
“Afternoon Ticker Tape” (6: 1-2) (C95). The Burrough (p. 1-2) edited by WSB and mimeographed by Nuttall, and it appears as the last two pages of My Own Mag. Run-off pages from the My Own Mag insertion were sent by Nuttall to WSB in Tangier who issued them there in Ex 3, Tangier 1964. A folder containing a variety of loose and stapled sections in no fixed order, one of which was The Burrough. Described on the cover as “Cut Up Issue,” most pages have been cut into eight squares which are stapled at edges to backing sheet. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 6)
My Own Mag #7
“Bring Your Problems to Lady Sutton Fix” (7:2,4) (C97); “Over the Last Skyscrapers a Silent Kite” (7:7-9) (C98). The title of the magazine is on page three and shows through a hole burned on first page. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 7. Burroughs cut-up comes from an article dated May 1964. I suggested that this could be issue 8. As the date for the Festival and Bank’s essay proves, such a reliance on Burroughs to date the magazines is a mistake.)
My Own Mag #8
“What in Horton Hotel Rue Vernet” (8:9-10) (C99). Described as “Special Festival Issue.” (Bunker Note: Sinclair 8; Burroughs’ cut-up includes a dateline from April 1964 prompting me to suggest this issue was Issue 7. As the date for the Festival and Bank’s essay proves, such a reliance on Burroughs to date the magazines is a mistake.)
My Own Mag #9
“Extracts from Letter to Homosap” (9:11) (C101); “Personals Special to The Moving Times” (9:12) (C102). Has a special “Fall Out Shelter” cover and a brown-green stain running down the front. A small square has been cut from bottom of front page. “Special Post-Election” issue. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 9)
My Own Mag #10
All British Issue; No Burroughs appearance. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 10)
My Own Mag #11
“Dec. 29: Tuesday Was the Last Day for Singing Years” (11:14) (C105); Letter to Jeff Nuttall (11:12) (C106); Collage (11:13) (C107). In the form of a letter to Nuttall. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 11)
My Own Mag #12
“The Last Words of Dutch Schultz” (12:12-14) (C111); Letter to Sunday Times (12:15-16) (C113). (Bunker Note: Sinclair 12)
My Own Mag #13
“The Dead Star” (13:7-13) (C122). One of 500 numbered copies. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 13)
My Own Mag #14
Burroughs provides quotes to a Carl Weissner piece. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 14)
My Own Mag #15
“Nut Note on the Column Cut up Thing” (15:15) (C137); “WB Talking” (15:15) (C138); “Quantities of the Gas Girls” (15:16) (C139); Untitled (15:19) (C140). (Bunker Note: Sinclair 15)
My Own Mag #16
No Burroughs appearance (Bunker Note: Sinclair 16)
My Own Mag #17
September 1966No Burroughs appearance. (Bunker Note: Sinclair 17)
Written by Jed Birmingham and published by RealityStudio on 28 February 2006. Updated with Moving Times (MOM Parody) on 13 March 2009.
Source: My Own Mag | RealityStudio
I found this link on the Middle Earth Facebook group. Tom Rapp was part of a great late 60s band called Pearls Before Swine. They were one of my favourites. He was a really great songwriter and a big influence on me. He wrote a song called Rocket Man which inspired Elton John to write his version, which obviously became a big hit. Tom’s was better in my opinion, though.
Tom Rapp, a civil rights attorney and musician best known for his late-’60s and early-’70s recordings under the name Pearls Before Swine, has died while in hospice care at his home in Melbourne, Fla., his publicist confirmed to NPR Music. He was 70 years old.
Like many of his generation, Rapp was inspired by Elvis and The Everly Brothers. But it was hearing Bob Dylan‘s “Blowin’ in the Wind” in the early ’60s that finally galvanized him to begin writing music in earnest. (A possibly apocryphal tale goes that Rapp and Dylan actually competed as children in the same talent contest, with Dylan placing fifth, Rapp second.)
Pearls Before Swine’s first record, One Nation Underground, released in 1967, wore that influence plainly on its sleeve — not so much the fraught Hieronymous Bosch extract that adorned its cover, but in the Xeroxing of Dylan’s vocal delivery (with the addition of Rapp’s notable and endearing speech impediment) heard on the song “Playmate.” While Rapp may have been emulating on the mic there, the rest of the music on “Playmate” is woven with forward-thinking threads of psychedelia and garage rock. Further on, Rapp steps into his own, even presaging punk’s approach to institutional fealty (don’t) in the lyrics of “Drop Out!” and an avant-garde approach to a cursing word, spelled out in Morse code, on “(Oh Dear) Miss Morse.”
The album would go on to sell “about 250,000,” Rapp told NPR Music’s Bob Boilen last fall during a conversation centered on its 50th anniversary reissue. Despite the impressive sales, Rapp and his bandmates received next to no money from them. Bernard Stollman, who ran the label ESP-Disk’ that released One Nation Underground and its follow-up, told them that “the CIA and the Mafia were putting [the records] out themselves,” and so the sales weren’t ending with money in the pocket of ESP-Disk’ and, by extension, Pearls Before Swine. (Or many of the label’s other artists, the story goes.)
Rapp would go on to release eight more well-regarded records — Balaclava, the follow-up to One Nation Underground, perhaps highest among them — before utterly disappearing from music in 1974, not long after opening a concert for Patti Smith.
Infused with the spirit of the counterculture, but not willing to take his own advice and “drop out,” Rapp headed to college and, from there, law school, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1984. Rapp was a civil rights attorney in Philadelphia until 2001, after which he returned again to Florida. His practice emphasized reining in corporations and local governments.
As much as his music, Rapp’s work as a lawyer and his attitude towards his rediscovery in the popular imagination were illustrative of his spirit. Nearly 17 years ago, Rapp’s career was profiled for Weekend Edition by Peter Clowney. Rapp was bemused at the bloom of his late-in-life celebrity, treating it with a humbled, arm’s-length detachment, the attitude of someone who had long since filled his life.
Describing that rediscovery, which began around 1992 while he was in Philadelphia, Rapp said: “They call me a psychedelic godfather and they have these articles about how I’m a legend. The way that works is, you do some albums in the ’60s that are OK, you go away for 30 years, and you don’t die — then you’re a legend.”
During that piece, Rapp shared his “lessons from the ’60s.” They began with a dark half-joke: “One of the lessons of the ’60s was that assassination works.” He continued: “Love is real. Justice is real. Countries have no morals; you have to kick them to get them to do the right thing. Honesty is possible and necessary. And everything is not for sale.”