Skip to main content

bill-knowles
16th September 2011

A day in the life of… Dean Moriarty

Bill Knowles decides to kick off our frankly moronic new running feature, attempting to live out a single day as a literary character. He chose Dean Moriarty, from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. I make sure to wake up late. Because that’s what Dean Moriarty would do. I don’t shave, and go find a roadside […]
Categories:
TLDR

Bill Knowles decides to kick off our frankly moronic new running feature, attempting to live out a single day as a literary character. He chose Dean Moriarty, from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.

I make sure to wake up late. Because that’s what Dean Moriarty would do. I don’t shave, and go find a roadside cafe to get a coffee and some apple pie. I roll a cigarette and contemplate the day ahead. 24 hours as the semi-fictional contemporary of Kerouac and Ginsburg. Soon I will step onto the pavement and, for a second, consider the open road ahead. Then head south. All the way to Withington.

I have no second wife to leave, so instead I just don’t tell my housemate where I’m going. I arrive, unexpected, on a friend’s doorstep, wondering whether he has whiskey and amphetamines, tales from the Great Midwest or beat poetry to recite. He doesn’t, but does have an Xbox 360 and cigarettes. Jazz cigarettes. So I stay and play FIFA. Because, I decide, Dean would want to.

Later that evening, I tell my friend that we need to find women and music. I suggest Mexico City and ask him if he has a Cadillac. He does not, so we are forced to compromise. We get the 142 into town.

We go looking for a smoky jazz bar, and arrive at Matt & Phreds in the Northern Quarter. The music is wild. I sit at a table and start drumming along to the beat until people eventually shush me. I go to the bar and ask how much a Manhattan is. The bartender tells me it is seven pounds. I quickly decide that, actually, Dean would probably prefer to go to The Deaf Institute tonight, so we leave and go there instead. I buy three drinks for myself. This, I decide, is somewhere I will truly get into character.

The next day I wake up early, because I’ve left my curtains open and way too much light is streaming in to the room. My head hurts. I stumble downstairs to get some orange juice and paracetemol. Then I begin to try and remember, as I turn the TV to E4, my day as Dean Moriarty.

Bill Knowles

Bill Knowles

Former film editor (2011-2012).

More Coverage

Pairing Books With Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department 

To celebrate Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour coming to the UK, we’re here with the perfect book recommendation to match some of our favourite songs!

Audible plunges listeners into the depths of George Orwell’s 1984, leaving me dazed and hooked

Andrew Garfield stars as Winston Smith in ‘George Orwell’s 1984’, bringing Airstrip One to life through Audible’s dramatisation and leaving listeners craving more

The problem with publishing

We often view publishing as a way to make our voices heard on a public scale, but what if it is these same industries creating silence, too?

Spotify vs Audible: The battle for audiobook dominance

With streaming giant Spotify making its first steps into the world of audiobooks, could your next Spotify wrapped be dominated by Sally Rooney and Dolly Alderton rather than Taylor Swift?