Tag Archives: William Burroughs

RIP Monique Mercure (1930 – 2020)

Monique Mercure was a Canadian actress.

In the scene above she is Fadela, the housekeeper in Naked Lunch (1991) who chases away the penis-buttocks-cartilage centipede.

The scene is known as the mujahideen’s scene, because that is the name of the typewriter.

In this particular scene actress Judy Davis sits on the lap of Peter Weller. They represent Burroughs and his wife. They take a drug named majoun. Judy Davis is typing on a typewriter. On the paper Arabic words appear. Peter Weller tells her to write dirtier prose, meaning more erotic, more pornographic. As the words become filthier the typewriter starts to enjoy the prose more. It starts undulating under her fingers, giving way, until it finally opens up and shows its fleshy vaginal innards. Judy Davis introduces her hands. She licks Peter Weller’s fingers. A penis emerges from the innards of the typewriter. They start kissing and making out.

Next scene. Judy and Peter are in bed together. Clothed A penis-like centipede with buttocks and cartilage jumps from what appears to be a cupboard with them in bed. We Just before it jumps there is a shot of ‘it’ showing other vagina-like orifices. It flaps around them in bed in a bizarre threesome, making squishy sounds.

A woman comes in with a whip. This is Fadela played by Monique Mercure. She chides the centipede, chasing it outside. It jumps from the balcony and when it hits the ground, it transforms into the typewriter.

William Burroughs @100

William S. Burroughs would have celebrated his centennial tonight had he not died one summer day in 1997. I haven’t read all that much by Burroughs (I haven’t read all that much, actually), although over the summer I bought a second hand battered version of Queer in Turkey, which I enjoyed a lot and a couple of years ago in the Pyrenees I read Cities of the Red Night.

And of course I’ve seen Cronenberg’s film adaption of Naked Lunch.

There is one citation which nicely sums up his work. Burroughs is talking:

“‘Nihilism, unrelieved despair and negationmisanthropypessimism‘ – very much the same set of clichés that greeted Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night, which to my mind is a very funny book, in a picaresque tradition stretching back to Petronius and to The Unfortunate Traveller by Thomas Nashe. I have always seen my own work in the light of the picaresque – a series of adventures and misadventures, horrific and comic, encountered by an antihero.” 

 And then there is this hilarious film fragment he did with Antony BalchThe Cut-Ups, which surprise, surprise is still up on Youtube: