Thursday, June 21, 2007

On the Road, 2

As I've said before, I'm reading through Jack Kerouac's classic work On the Road. I'm not really wishing to do a formal review of the book. I just want to give some impressions as I go along.

Sal, the narrator of the book, decides to travel cross-country from New York to California so he can meet up with his friend Remi. Remi has promised an outstanding voyage in the Pacific on a freighter. After a false start that leads him nowhere but back to New York, Sal is on his way. He spends the night at an anticipated city - Chicago. I love Chicago, so I'm anxious to read about what Sal does there. Sal describes his first walk around the city:
The wind from Lack Michigan, bop at the Loop, long walks around South Halsted and North Clark, and one long walk after midnight into the jungles, where a cruising car followed me as a suspicious character.
I stop reading. "...bop at the Loop." What is Jack talking about? Is "bop" some kind of drug reference? I decide to get up off the couch and head to the computer so I can do research. I find on entry on "bebop" in Wikipedia:
Bebop is a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and improvisation based on harmonic structure rather than melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians' argot some time during the first two years of the Second World War. Hard bop later developed from bebop combined with blues and gospel music.
Ah, jazz. A musical form of which I'm sadly ignorant. I don't even have a Miles Davis CD.

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