“Low types they must have been, their pockets full of poison and antidote.” –Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable

 

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It’s the first half of the 1980s. There’s a deceptively stupid, smiling old man rabid to destroy the middle class in the White House and his more intelligent female equivalent at 10 Downing Street. The new world order is crushing art through irony and the most recent artistic resistance to capitalistic conformity, punk rock, through co-option; selling out is suddenly desirably de rigueur while hipness becomes a synonym for the poseur, as if neither art nor love had ever existed in the western world. Poison and Antidote is nine interrelated Bohemian tales of a motley troupe of painters, musicians, writers, performance artists, and druggies negotiating the shark-infested waters of 1980s San Francisco à la Henri Murger, James Joyce, Morrisey, and Flipper.