Monday, April 13, 2015


Enjoyed catching up over the weekend with English-born, Sydney-based author, lecturer and film festival curator Jack Sargeant at the launch of his new book, Against Control (published, in English language, by Swedish imprint Eight Millimetres). Sargeant’s fascination with - and studies of - the works and philosophies of William Burroughs are well known to those who move in such circles, and in Against Control the author has gathered together a selection of some of the best pieces he has written on Burroughs over the years, some of which have seen publication in magazines like The Fortean Times and The Wire, others transcripts of lectures which Sargeant has presented on the topic. 

Because I feel a closer connection to their subjects, I’ve always preferred reading Sargeant’s true crime and film-related books (such as No Focus, Lost Highways and his cult classic 1995 study of the Cinema of Transgression, Deathtripping). But even as someone who has never been completely seduced by the Cult of Burroughs, I still found Against Control to be an interesting and engaging read, well-written, intellectual without being head-scratching, and binded together by the author’s ideas, ruminations and interpretations on a variety of Burroughs-related subjects. 

Against Control traverses such touch-points as Naked Lunch at 50, the infamous flicker and dream machines,  a look at some Burroughs-related music/spoken word releases, and his work with the Master Musicians of Joujouka in Morocco (the Master Musicians later famously collaborated with Rolling Stone Brian Jones in 1968). A slim hardcover volume doted with some black & white photographs, it should be appreciated by scholars and admirers of its subject, while also offering the uninitiated several interesting drop-off points for themselves to further investigate and lose themselves in.

Available from Eight Millimetres: