“Ya got dope, ya got hope”
said William S Burroughs. Better to burn out than rust away was the beat poets' credo. And they lived it. They all slept with each other and tried every drug going.
William S Burroughs: I felt the touch of a higher power when I became a morphine addict. Best thing I ever did for myself. Without drugs, I could have become one of those 'write the great American novel' types.
Birth Of The Cool is not an apology for decay or drugs. Rather, John Turnbull's intimate understanding of the beat poets' alienation and attacking the of 50s and 60s establishment creates a warmth and empathy with their tormented romance with wild, reckless and poetic freedom. All the more heroic for its outrageous bluntness.