Friday, January 29, 2010

Tommy Rawlings on Jim Carroll

In Memory of Jim Carroll PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tommy Rawlings
Thursday, 17 September 2009 09:35

Tommy Rawlings Talks about The Music and Life of Jim Carroll


Catholic Boy

Dry Dreams

The Basketball Diaries


By Tommy Rawlings

Jim Carroll was an old friend. It doesn’t matter that I never met him. His words were alternately inspiring, entertaining and painful. He was an accomplished poet, singer, musician, songwriter and man about town.. He is best known as the author of The Basketball Diaries.”

I Write Your Name

Praying Mantis

Pools of Memory

I Write Your Name Praying Mantis Points of Memory

“The Basketball Diaries” address his adventures as a teenager in the sixties. Jim had a love of basketball, poetry and New York City. He also had a fondness for drugs. The diaries read as a long tone poem about the politics of hanging out and the hierarchy of cool. It begins as an obsession with poetry and basketball and sadly ends with an enduring obsession with poetry and drugs. It chronicles his life, dreams and nods. It is an intriguing mixture of reporting and surreal images but ultimately it is about his words.

I first read the book as a teenager and have reread it every year since. His love of the game and words mirrored my own. I too traveled far and wide and scavenged the city streets in search of a game. His descriptions of the beauty of the game are often lost in his image as a junkie or his accomplishments as a writer but it’s all there. There are many that would tell you that it is a decadent tale of a juvenile delinquent. At it’s heart it is a story of innocence both lost and found and a search for purity.. There is a fragment of a poem, found in his pocket and written on a scrap of paper that has haunted and enchanted me since I first read it. “little kids shoot marbles Where the branches break the sun

Rhino Compilation - World Without Gravity: The Best of the Jim Carroll Band

Into graceful shafts of light… I just want to be pure.” I remember reading it for the first time and I felt like the mysteries of the universe had been revealed to me. The secrets are in the shadows and the meaning in the spaces. His words had resonance and were laced with nuance.

His words were also rock n roll and so it was only natural that he should turn to music as a further expression of his art. He made three records in the eighties. Jim’s first and best was, “Catholic Boy” it contained his paean to lost friends and twisted dreams, “People Who Died.”. It was an extension of the diaries and salute to those who didn’t make it. It was about people without another outlet for their misery or joy. It was requiem and a celebration of their lives.

World Without Gravity

Velvet Underground

Jim’s voice was on a record before he ever sung a note. Listen closely to the Velvet Underground live at Max’s Kansas City and you’ll hear his voice in the crowd shopping for drugs. A scenemaker, poet, athlete and author, Jim was a man of letters, a man of words.

Jim Carroll was an old friend and it doesn’t matter that I never met the man. His words led me into dark places and showed me a way back to the light. His words took me to a place where “the city drops into the night” and to a place where I always, “just want to be pure.”


Cool rare Jim Carroll stuff

The Basketball Diaries The Basketball Diaries

Last Updated on Friday, 18 September 2009 17:11

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