I was shocked to hear of Ted’s death, having met him in Paris in March, first outside the Shakespeare and Co bookshop and later at his regular cafe in Blvd St Germain, he seemed in good spirits and looked well. He was looking forward to getting some income from a book he was preparing and hoped to use the money to visit the African countries he had not yet got to. he said then he ‘would have a smile on his face’ implying to die happy. He had flown to Paris on Concord having got some rich guy to pay for the tickets in return for a painting by him.
I have photos of Ted with me and my wife. Maybe they are the last photos of him. (see below)
Ted inscribed a book I bought off him that I will treasure. He was concerned about the auction of his friend Andre Breton’s flat contents, mentioned the auction of Kerouac’ OTR scroll and that he had once, when down on his luck, asked an agent to sell a letter from Jack to him to the highest bidder. He got $500!!
He said he would not sell any more of his papers and would leave them to an institution. He had a tear in his eye when speaking of a son in Gibralter, I now hear he had 10 children!
My link with him was that I knew a lady he lived with in the sixties when she was a student leader (of ’68 days).
Interestingly, Jack Kerouac gave up ‘the road’ just as he became famous in 1957, but Ted got on the plane! Going off to live in Paris, Morroco, Timbuktu, etc, a man of the world!!
A great man. TEDUCATE YOURSELF!!!
First pic is Ted in his favourite Cafe Laquette, Blvde St Germain, Paris, where he worked writing late afternoons every day, in this corner. This was in March this year. The other people are my wife Sveta and myself Keith Scotcher of London. (I’ve written a little, there’s a play available on internet). The second is us when we met outside the Shakespeare and Co. bookshop a couple of nights earlier.
A line from Tuli Kupferberg’s
GREENWICH VILLAGE OF MY DREAMS;
Charlie Parker & Ted Joans talking in Sheridan Sq Park
& its cold man!
We sat outside Shakespeare & co
March 2003, Monday evening, Paris
waiting for a reading to start
and there, sitting on a post
his throne he later said
a white bearded black hipster beat
complete with black beret
writing in a notebook.
(A TRUE HIPIKAT)
I kindov knew right away who he was
but he started to leave
and I dared to ask
‘are you reading tonight?’
‘No’ he says, having already looked at the gathering
and he was right, it was boring
all Laurence Durrell and stuff.
We agreed to meet later at the Cafe le Rouquet
where we talked
and agreed to email.
So, THIS is Ted
who I’d been looking out for
for ten years, since French Olivia
had shown me his book and on the cover
this black dude, nude.
This is TED
who knew Kerouac and Ginsberg
and all those other angelheads.
Jack who had suddenly become famous
for On The Road, having just given it up
to find a home and commit SLOW self murder
while those who misread The Road
went looking for America
not realising Jack had told them exactly where it was
Meanwhile, Ted jumped On The Plane
not wanting to be part of a time-stuck cult
‘specially it’s token black,
and befriended Andre Breton in Paris
student leader of ’68 CRS-CS riot streets
a girl who shocked her Bougival bourgeois family
by living with a wild black poet.
While in desolation America, Neal and Jack were dying
Ted was finding the world.
I had looked out for him
just missing him several times
Compendium Books, Camden Town
Shakespeare & co,
always he was there, just weeks before
even mentioned him in a play about the sixties
yeah, Ted Joans, JOANS with an A.
Now I had his email
Got back to London, proud of my new friend
and sent a message
Too busy I guessed, realising my own small importance
must be patient and wait
Still no reply
Where is Ted?
Paris, Seattle, Morocco, Timbuktu?
Then I heard the news.
Shocked, it sank in
Now I know where Ted is
with The Bird