Underground Man has been rediscovering his records, so last night I found myself listening to
Catholic Boy, the late Jim Carroll's 1980 album. I think this track 'City Drops' is about my favourite.
And it took me back about 15 years ago, when I was speaking to a small group of senior girls at a Catholic secondary college in a rural Victorian town. I was talking about my novel The Serpentine Belt, and mentioned the influence Jack Kerouac had on the writing of it.
'You've probably never heard of him ...' I began.
One of the girls said, "I have. I've read Jack Kerouac.'
A brief quiz assured me she wasn't having me on, and our conversation continued later, after the session. She asked me if I'd read Jim Carroll, The Basketball Diaries. I said I hadn't, but that I loved his album, Catholic Boy. 'Catholic Boy!' she exclaimed. 'You have Catholic Boy!'
Just one of those exchanges that make going into schools surprising and delightful.