Monday 23 May 2022

A despatch from John Baxter in Paris observing the goings on at Cannes

 No one seems to have noticed that the woman protesting at the Cannes Festival two days ago has the word “SCUM” inked on her rear. This was the acronym for the Society For Cutting Up Men, the hate group conceived by Valerie Solanas who, in June 1968, set out to murder Maurice Girodias, head of Olympia Press, but not finding him, shot and almost killed Andy Warhol instead. SCUM was assumed to have died with her in 1988. Perhaps not so……

John also sent the note above to a number of other friends. He then received this in response from movie/tv writer/director 
Michael Elias.


In the 60s if you were a performer or personality and couldn't get on Johnny Carson, or Merv Griffin, there were a few local shows that were available - Alan Burke, Joe Franklin, I can't recall the others.  Burke was conservative and confrontational, but he booked comedians and he liked me and my comedy team partner - we would go on his show, do a sketch, and banter for a few moments. One night Valerie Solanas was a guest along with us. I knew her slightly - we turned up at the same places in the East Village, Washington Square -  or the Living Theatre. We did our routine, then it was Valerie's turn.

Burke introduced her, got her to talk about SCUM,  then dived in with a nasty abrasive attack. At one point Valerie said something like "What the fuck does that mean?"

Burke: "What did you just say?"

Valerie: "I said, fuck. Is that a crime?"

Burke: "This interview is over."

Valerie: "Why? Because I said fuck? Don't tell me I can't say fuck."

Burke: "You can't. Get off my show."

Valerie: "You're kicking me off the show because I said fuck?"

Burke; "Leave immediately."

There was a 20-second delay then, so everything stopped.

Valerie: "Fuck you."

Stagehands advanced, and she got up and left.

When we came out of the studio Valerie was waiting on the sidewalk. 

Valerie: "Can you believe what that asshole did?"

Me: "Valerie, you can't say fuck on television."

Valerie: "I'm tired of taking shit from these assholes."

A few days later she shot Andy Warhol."

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