I have been tweeting recently with someone calling herself Slum Goddess. I immediately asked if she was an East Village Fugs fan. As it turns out she is an expat American, living in London, whom some juvenile judge had banned from Greenwich Village when she was fourteen. Her screen name is drawn from a Tuli Kupferberg song, the chorus of which is:
Slum Goddess put away that knife
Slum Goddess come and be my wife.
Slum Goddess of the lower East Side
For those of you too young to remember even parts of the sixties. The Fugs, led by Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg, were the original underground rock band. They took their name from the euphemism that Norman Mailer’s publisher had forced on him when he published The Naked and the Dead, in the days before the fuck barrier had been broken. In those days when obscenity was still a challenge to the establishment, their name and some of their lyrics issued a clarion call. They were also interested in poetry and their rendition of William Blake’s “A Sunflower Weary of Time” still remains one of my favorite interpretations of Blake.
This twitter exchange sent my mind spinning and sent me back to my last night in New York before I went to Botswana in the Peace Corps. I and several of my compatriots went pub crawling through the East Village and ended in up in the offices of the East Village Other where we duly made “southern African correspondents.” I don’t think any of us ever filed a story.
I remembered people I hadn’t thought about in years and wondered what had happened to them, but not enough to google them and find out.I remember the brash, confident, and fairly foolish young man I had been with more fondness than chagrin. But mostly I marveled at how memory can serve up images that seem really fresh, even though I know they are over 40 years old. I regret nothing have done, but know that too many of my days have not rendered up images that will sustain me. I was happy to discover this one still does.