Once upon a time Kerouac was asked what he meant by Beat. His answers had little precision and were kind of vague, but he'd achieved status sufficient for everyone to assume he knew exactly what he meant by Beat. By this time of course there was a whole thing about Beatniks and black polo neck sweaters, record labels, books, shocking interviews with the bourgeois media, black and white television and the plethora, so it didn't really matter what Kerouac reckoned he meant by Beat. A difficult time for some of us, we had hard decisions to make, whether to become a Mod, a Rocker, a Teddy Boy, or a Beatnik and soon enough you found out that the authentic Beatnik did not call him or herself a Beatnik. He or she was just Beat, and everything about Beat was glorious except for the bongo drums, which could be incredibly irritating around two in the morning. Meanwhile older people were talking about the rot having set in, and would often say things like "hanging's too good for them," and "bring back the cat," a reference to the cat-o'-nine-tails.
Now that I am an older person, I realize I have absolutely no idea which of the
many possibilities the young people are exploring today. A visit to town tells
me nothing, and certainly there's no one saying anything like "daddy-o" or
"digging it man" on a street corner. So maybe it all happens at night, but more
likely this amazing paucity of visible self expression has to do with the evils
of Social Media. It all happens in the ether and all that remains are the
occasional convoy of large angry looking sweaty middle aged men hogging the road
on their motorcycles and the odd callow youth with what look like Bull testicles
attached to the tail-hook of their pick up truck. Granted both are well worth a
"throw away the key" but all the same I sometimes feel robbed of the generous
opportunities for self expression showered by my own generation on previous
generations of older people. And that's "Straight from the Fridge" which for
those concerned is an infinitely more subtle and much cooler way of saying
something like "Ain't that the Truth," but who really knows.