The Junky’s Christmas

So far, my selection of Yuletide favourites has included songs about excessive wine-consumption, a pregnant, jailed prostitute and a critique of the commercial aspects of the season. However, I’ve decided to lighten things up today with a fifteen-minute, spoken-word tale of a heroin addict’s desperate attempts to obtain some kind of a high on December 25th. Merry Christmas, folks! The track is called The Junky’s Christmas and is narrated by its author William S. Burroughs with musical backing provided by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphopricy. It appears on an album called Spare Ass Annie & Other Tales that he did with the hip-hop act in 1993. It was also made into a 20-minute claymation short that year, with Burroughs again providing the narration. The story had been published in book form in 1989 as part of a collection of the author’s short fiction and early writings entitled Interzone. It tells the tale of a destitute junkie named Danny who has been released after three days in the drunk tank and follows him as he spends Christmas day trying to score drugs or else the cash to buy them. The original short story is full of crackling dialogue and simple but effective language and adapts itself well to both visual and verbal media. The use of music in the version below complements Burroughs’ narration quite well and even includes musical quotations from well-known hymns and carols at certain points. Despite the nature of its characters and its subject matter, The Junky’s Christmas is worth sticking with until the end and possesses a lot more of the Christmas spirit than you’d think. Look out for a song that does something similar on Saturday and a more upbeat one tomorrow

The Junky’s Christmas – William S. Burroughs

The 12 Songs of Christmas Archive