A Memoir of Maurice Girodias
by William Levy
“Numberless are the world’s wonders,
but none more wonderful than man.”
— Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus
For over half-a-century whenever authors met talk would eventually come around to the maverick Maurice Girodias and his Olympia Press. Did you or didn’t you? Did you or didn’t you hit him for money? Did you or didn’t you hear about what he had just published? Written. Done. Amazing really. Awesome. He seemed to internationally float about on some magic carpet surrounded by a suave fog both elegant and dangerous, ecstatic and ironic. For all the writers who claimed Maurice “ripped me off” there was an equal amount that used him. For every novelist like J.-P. Donleavy — who had a justifiable vendettic rage against Maurice and spent an enormous amount of time and energy pursuing it, finally buying back the rights to The Ginger Man at public auction — there were versifiers like Christopher Logue. Plagiarist or premature post-modern deconstructionalist? According to a rare bookseller’s catalog, Count Palmiro Vicarion’s Book of Limericks was “in fact, almost entirely lifted by Logue from G. Legman’s then recent The Limerick, from a copy borrowed and not even bought.”
In the 1950s, almost everything one wanted to read was published in Paris by Maurice. And banned. Lawrence Durrell, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, “Pauline Reage &/or Dominique Aury” aka Anne Desclos’ Story of O, Marquis de Sade, Jean Cocteau, Vladimir Nabokov, Chester Himes, Alexander Trocchi, Terry Southern, “Akbar del Piombo” aka Norman Rubington, “Harriet Daimler” aka Iris Owens, Nikos Zorba the Greek Kazantzakis, “Wu Wu Meng” aka Sinclair Beiles‘ only novel Houses of Joy, Gregory Corso‘s only novel The American Express, Philip O’Connor’s Steiner’s Tour, Raymond Zazie dans Le Métro Queneau and Georges Bataille to name just a few. American graduate students earned their tuition by renting out reading copies to undergraduates of the books published by Olympia Press. So when I arrived on the Left Bank during the summer of 1960, having reached the age of my majority, the first thing I did, like so many others of my generation in search of meaning, was head for the bookstalls on the quays along the Seine to buy my Traveller’s Companions, green-covered copies of Henry Miller’s Tropics and William Burroughs’ dust-jacketed The Naked Lunch. I never expected Maurice and I would have our short season together. That was almost a decade later…
In a frenzied state, Heathcote Williams and I crashed a party being held at formidable dark and solid rooms in Fulham. We had just published the inaugural issue of Suck: The First European Sexpaper. Our mission was meeting Maurice who, we were told, would be there. There he was, a slender well-proportioned dapper mannequin, with slightly graying full carefully combed Napoleonic hair, inquisitive arched eyebrows drawing attention away from worried sad eyes and a modest smirk balanced between high drollery and fanaticism, immaculately dressed, as he invariably was, in English wool and French silk and linen.
Waving a copy of Suck in front of him like an umbrella, Heathcote pushed and shoved his way through a scrum of admirers surrounding Maurice, dragging me after him. We presented our mag. Maurice looked it over carefully. In a soft, low-pitched drawling voice, lightly accented, he pronounced:
“You will become rich and famous and see all the best jails in Europe.”
His prophecy was only one third right. The last third, as I educationally discovered. I was later to realize doing business with Maurice corroborated my first impression. Dealing with him was a rich delicacy like smoked eel, an acquired taste, delicious when consumed in small slices.
A year passed. Suck continued to appear and we had just put on the extravagant and successful Wet Dream Festival, as it turned out, the world’s first sex film festival. Our readers, and artists from all over the world, came together for days and nights of sin and cinema.
By then I had re-located in Holland. After dodging several raids of the police breathing heavily while looking for obscene publications, I had been caught, arrested, jailed and deported from Great Britain. Maurice had re-located in New York, having been forced to flee an increasingly priggish France, when I received his letter. “I will be in Amsterdam. Will you be there?” he asked. “The San Francisco Festival,” he went on enthusiastically, “was very interesting. I hope yours went well also!” Always building castles, he proposed: “Next year we must have twelve such festivals around the world, plus an international one to award an international prize.”
Maurice was staying at a small expensive hotel in Amsterdam South, an efficient charming place near the Concertgebouw. Before going to dinner, we met there for a drink, to share visions and have a business talk. Yes! We spoke about creating sex festivals everywhere, pulsing concupiscent vortices joined together — by vibrating ley lines — all over the world. How Olympia Press would publish Suck in America. Specific details of these shared redemptive enterprises were hammered out. We talked numbers. Calculated profit and fun and giggled quietly.
Just before we had to leave for the restaurant, I showed Maurice a book I had brought with me. For those that remember, then President Richard Nixon had appointed a four-star commission to investigate pornography. Finding it not difficult to find fact to support the obvious, they concluded in three-hundred and fifty pages that sexually explicit material was at best — like all art — a divine intrusion into human affairs and, at worst, innocuous clichés and kitsch: solitary masturbation being its predominant effect. Nixon, of course, denounced his own commission. But since, by law, the text of US government printed matter is un-copyrightable, an enterprising soul had made a lavish full-color Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography (1970). Greenleaf Classics, Inc. of San Diego, Maurice’s sworn enemy, published it. Photos of sperm squirting on faces? Yes. Sucking? Yes. Fucking? Yes. Hetero and homo? Yes. Groups? Yes. S&M, B&D? Yes. Whips and chains? Yes. Animals? Yes. Children? Yes. Etc.? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Even underground cartoon strips salaciously ridiculing authority. The mind boggled. All the juice that-is-the-case was there ornamenting a dry summary written by civil servants, academics, clergymen and judges. Maurice looked through it. Humphed. Humphed again. Finally, he had to concede:
“It’s a brilliant job. Whoever did this is going to jail.”
And indeed, a voice foretold. A short time later I picked up an American magazine and saw a photo of Earl Kemp, the book’s editor, under arrest. He was handcuffed, each arm held by burly federal marshals who were shoving him into the back seat of a car. Later he received a prison sentence of one-year for “conspiracy to mail obscene material” yet luckily served only the federal minimum of three months and one day.
At the restaurant, we met our dinner companions. Joop, an amiable, jivy hustler. Tall, blond and wiry he seemed to be a pimp. Christiaan had a giant head only sparsely covered with hair, bulging eyes and identified himself as the owner/manager of Luxembourg’s most avant-garde bookshop. The third was Maurice’s Dutch agent for Olympia Press. Gerrit Komrij — who went on to become world-famous in Holland as the country’s poet laureate, or dichter des vaderland, an enormously popular and controversial acerbic literary man of the philosophical villain school — was then a jeunesse dorée, yet to be published poet, with a cherubic crooked face, like a slightly melted wax angel, and the measured alert manner of a Beatrix Potter mouse.
Maurice and Gerrit discussed business. Joop murmured all the while into Maurice’s ear, presumably about the corporal dramas he had on offer. Being the only one left Christiaan — a less than convivial companion — latched onto me. A linguistic xenophobe, his pet theory was that Luxembourgian wasn’t merely a dialect, but a separate language. His conversational technique was to lean on his bony elbows, thrust his phallic head forward across the table and speak loud in a pauseless monotone. Like all bores who have set pieces rather than anecdotes, he offered up one example after another of a veritable etymological lexicon of particular words whose morphogenesis was neither French nor German. I was thinking of the secret agent in Naked Lunch whose cover story was translating the Koran into Provençal and who would sometimes pull cover in company and go on for hours on the subject. And thinking how the fuck do I get out of this conversation when I found an opening.
Maurice and Gerrit seemed to be talking about something called The Wild Boys, a new book by William Burroughs. It hadn’t been published as yet; Maurice had the manuscript and was looking to sell foreign rights.
“Oh, I’d like to see that!” I exclaimed.
As the evening ended Maurice and Joop said goodbye and drove off together in the direction of the Wallen, the red light district, in pursuit of earthly delights. Christiaan disappeared along a canal into the mist-shrouded night reciting avant-garde poetry in Luxumbourgian. Gerrit and I walked to a nearby gay café, his choice, on the longer of the Leidse Side Streets to have a nightcap and exchange addresses and telephone numbers.
Suck continued to appear. Among many other exclusives, we proudly gave first publication to chapters from The Wild Boys. Since sex and power are rarely far apart I considered it part of our program.
Along with Junkie. Naked Lunch, Ah Pook Was Here! and the essays such as “Electronic Revolution,” “Invisible Generation,” and the “Academy Series” in Mayfair magazine, I judged The Wild Boys to be a blueprint of Burroughs’ how-to-do-it ectoplasmic revelation of the algebra of need and control, of control mechanisms and controllists. Time is the enemy. It is in these works that Burroughs presents an animated unity, that is, the enabling myth or “illusion” is defined and valorized. How to extend levels of experience by opening doorways at the end of a long hall. (Stylists and the “cut/up or shut/up” fundamentalist tribe might want to argue for the inclusion of The Soft Machine, Nova Express and The Ticket That Exploded, the futurist, cyber/political space trilogy also all published originally by Olympia Press.)
About this time, I received the first of a series of Maurice messages.
Through my colleague Jim Haynes in Paris, I heard Olympia Press wouldn’t distribute or publish our mag in America. Something about Maurice’s American financial backer and partner being afraid to take the chance. Our first deal fell through but the possibility of cooperating on creating global lust celebrations was still on the table.
Distinguished books I saw published by Maurice during this period included Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane di Prima, Acid Temple Ball by Mary Sativa and The Amphetamine Manifesto by Harvey Cohen. Months went by. Then I received a long, panting letter from Olympia Press’s Park Avenue address. Talk of playing with a stacked deck! I felt like the not-innocent victim Lucien Chardon dit de Rubempre‚ being addressed by Balzac’s arch-tempter Vautrin. Filled with semicolons, hyphens and parenthesis, Girodias dealt a hand that also might be labeled “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”
Although Maurice had edited The Olympia Review (ground-breaking), The Olympia Reader (one of the most impressive anthologies of the Sixties — a decade of anthologies) and The Black Diaries; An Account of Roger Casement’s Life and Times with a Collection of Diaries and Public Writing (as politically and sexually relevant for troubled Ireland today as it ever was), most of his own writing was business correspondence. And it is in this context, as writing, that I offer up an example of how he used the epistolary form. Cloying, albeit with comity, he appealed at once to greed and idealism. It was an invitation, so to speak, to meet rich old ladies and, at the same time, to create a New Jerusalem.
“I’d like to discuss an idea with you which I feel might prove rewarding to both of us,” was his opening gambit.
“It seems doubtful that there will be a second San Francisco Erotic Film Festival, and I conceived the idea of starting an Olympia Yearly Festival in New York this coming October. But why not try to co-ordinate our efforts and work out jointly one single Festival?
“For instance… The Festival would take place in Amsterdam, where awards would be granted, but the films selected would first be shown in a preview, to take place in Frankfurt, throughout the Book Fair, and then, immediately after the Amsterdam Festival, the whole program would be sent to New York for a general presentation (and perhaps to other American cities); the entire package of films selected as entries would be exploited commercially wherever possible as a regular program; we (Olympia) would finance the entire operation (which would be very heavily publicized internationally), including, say, $5000 in awards — and in exchange we would retain all book or press and magazine rights, and 2/3 of the profit left by the commercial exploitation of the films selected for the Festival; all of this implying of course that the standards for selection should be made to exclude purely porno films, and should be governed, by valid esthetic guidelines as well as erotic ones (pretty much as happened at the San Francisco Festival). One last condition is that the Festival should be named after Olympia: But isn’t Wet Dream synonymous to Olympia Press, etc.?
“I think the entire thing holds together businesswise — and we could get together a very fine selection of films, by appealing to filmmakers from every place from San Francisco to Japan. But will you agree on the necessary middle-of-the-road policy, and are you ready to dashingly enter the world of business? So far as I am concerned, I see in this project a substantial profit to be made, plus some good publicity for my firm – but I also like the idea for all the possible developments it might lead to esthetically.
“And of course, if you feel that you don’t want to be bothered by that exploitative project and the pomposity of it all — never mind!”
What an absorptionist! Maurice was trying to swallow Suck. Just the way he had conjured the Merlin group in Paris during the Fifties. This was an offer we could refuse. Middle-of-the-roadism is a position I reject on the principle that anyone standing in the middle of the road is going to get struck down by traffic. From both sides.
Also a lot had changed since Maurice and I had last seen each other. Heathcote Williams’s schizotopia, the play AC/DC, was a smash hit at The Royal Court on Sloane Square, it won the prestigious Evening Standard Theatre Award, and he was about to go mad, commit himself to a lunatic asylum. Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch had just been published. She was traveling around the world doing a super job of promoting it, as well as Suck, and was about to become over-exposed, lose her nerve, find herself in the very miserable and very false position of having to lie to protect her recently acquired status. Jim Haynes, our brand ambassador, was collecting statements of sexual liberation at the grand café La Coupole, every midnight, and negotiating with American publishers. I was writing The Virgin Sperm Dancer; the Ovidian story of a boy magically turned into a girl for one day only and her sexual awakening in Amsterdam. In addition, we were all preparing for our 2nd Wet Dream Festival. There was a publisher in Leiden who wanted to give a substantial advance for a book about our Festivals, and the only demand they made was insisting on getting invited to all (wink, wink) the parties.
We generally agreed that as soon as someone starts with the contrived premise of setting up a hierarchy of values between “porno” and “erotic” they are asking for trouble. It is a typical confusion between levels of meaning, or orders of abstraction, as Count Alfred Korzybski, who developed a non-Aristotelian system and theory of general semantics, would readily recognize. Like saying we want, for example, landscapes (a referent) but only those with the attribute of beauty, or ugliness (a sign). One characteristic is represented in the image itself, the other subject to a multiplicity of conscious and unconscious filters unique in each individual. Porno as a genre is always sexually descriptive in content, but may not be especially arousing. This is obvious. Erotic is always arousing, ecstatic. Yet only in the creator’s intention or in the effect on the viewer, not necessarily in the work itself. Eroticism does not require the carnal. One can imagine some people becoming sensually stimulated by an ashtray randomly filled with cigarette butts. Alternatively, falling into orgiastic spasms upon entering a post office and gazing at the official portrait of a queen or president. “I’d like three stamps and a package of Kleenex, please!” No one can fathom the absolute mystery of joy. Coming from the “love generation”, we believed, simply, that to write about love and exclude sex was a useless labor.
Besides our festival was called Wet Dreams and wet dreams are, by definition, spontaneous orgasms, dreams money can’t buy. We wanted the right to show films that were vulgar, sublime, comic and surreal as well as aesthetic. The performances as well as the sexual adventures and misadventures, the entelechies and epiphanies of the hundreds of people who came, were as important to us as the extensive film program.
Always the cavalier, however, Maurice had allowed us the opening to dismiss his proposal as mere bombast. We did.
A week later William Burroughs phoned from London.
“Hello, Bill,” he croaked.
“Hello, Bill,” I echoed.
“Where did you get that manuscript of The Wild Boys?” he asked.
“From Gerrit Komrij.”
“Who’s that?” He cried out with exasperated incredulity.
“He’s Maurice Girodias’ agent in Holland.”
“You mean Maurice gave you permission to publish it?”
“Well, not exactly,” I sputtered. Even back then, Burroughs and I had known each other a long while, over a decade. We had first become acquainted in 1960 and in 1961 at the now famous, albeit then deeply shabby “Beat Hotel” on rue Git le Coeur in Paris, had seen each other in New York at his loft on Centre Street and also often in England, and he had generously given me manuscripts to publish in other magazines I edited, The Insect Trust Gazette (USA) and International Times (London).
“Your book came up at a dinner party. I asked to read the manuscript and Maurice gave his agent, this Komrij, permission to give it to me. I took it on my own to publish it,” I admitted. “Out of admiration for your work, Bill. I wasn’t trying to harm you.”
“I know. I know,” he said. “It’s just that I have a contract with Girodias and want to get out of it. He owns all the foreign rights but must have individual permission from me, or my agent. This might be the loophole I can use.”
We left it at that, but more conundrums were to follow. Of course. Maurice was one of those who send out missive multiples. I got on the “copies to” list of a stiff and angry three paragraph one sent to William Burroughs. Authors denying the validity of a contract was something not unfamiliar to Maurice, and he started off with an account of the legal ploy being played out against him:
1. “When I met Anthony Gornall last week in London, he told me that the editor of Suck Magazine informed you that I was the one who authorized him to publish an excerpt from The Wild Boys in their last issue.”
This must have been a very garbled, self-serving re-accounting of the telephone conversation between Bill Burroughs and myself.
Then Maurice riposted:
2. “This is absolutely not true, and I met Jim Haynes two days ago in Paris who told me that he had been authorized to use that piece by yourself [Burroughs] and by Mike Sissons. He further confirmed that he had not obtained the manuscript itself from me or indirectly through Olympia.”
Everything was getting prolix. Who were Anthony Gornall and Mike Sissons, anyway? Lawyers and agents? Never met; never even heard of either of them, then or since! But that’s one great thing about working on a project with Jim Haynes. Deniability. Whenever it gets heavy, which it usually does, Jim can go in and calm down everyone with his good ol’ boy southern charm and make the absurd seem plausible.
Maurice petulantly perorated:
3. “I hope that this disposes of that small but unfortunate incident.”
Well, I never found out how this was resolved, whether or not Girodias and Burroughs kissed and made up or went their separate ways.
I did find out that in dealing with Bill Burroughs there would always be third mind agendas, and not for the first time, there would always be special requests supporting his interests while sacrificing mine. It had happened years before in London when in the late Sixties Bill asked me to ax an investigative article I had announced in International Times aiming to prevent the nationalization of culture, an expose that would reveal private secrets of public interest about the insidious Lord Goodman, Britain’s most powerful unelected politician as chairman of the Arts Council and the prime ministers’ personal attorney and hatchet man. He and Harold Wilson’s Labour government wanted a total monopoly on the arts and they were prepared to use the full coercive power of the state to enforce this domination. Now was payback time, however. Burroughs owed Goodman substantial favors, big time. As I only later found out Burroughs had made a Faustian deal. He gained permission to stay in England in return for dropping his then lover Mikey Portman, and not seeing him again. Goodman was the godfather and trustee of this dissolute and spoilt young aristocrat, i.e. Mikey, and crucially also represented the Portman family whose assets included owning, since the 16th century, about one hundred acres of land in London north of Oxford Street. Bill seductively purred over the phone to me, not once, but twice: “Arnold Goodman is our friend.”
On yet another occasion, also while editing International Times he phoned to offer me an article mildly critical of Scientology — only the week before he had, all of a sudden, appeared at the office on Betterton Street, off Drury Lane. He scared my secretary who thought this dour older man wearing a suit and tie must be the police. As usual, looking like a specter, Burroughs could have passed himself off as the demonic, misogynist Mr. Jones in Joseph Conrad’s novel Victory, or a doppelganger for the strange and imposing figure The 3rd Viscount Halifax. Bill was carrying a black case containing an E-meter looking for someone at an underground newspaper to Clear with the near impossible caveat, that they had not taken any drugs in the last thirty days. Scientology was Burroughs’ latest obsession with fads and fallacies in the name of science following his own apothegm: “Anything that can be done with chemicals can be done by other means.” At any rate, delightedly I scampered down to his flat on Duke Street St. James’s dodged the Reichian Orgone Accumulator in the hallway and picked up the manuscript. Then two days later he phoned again asking me not to print it since its lack of total obsequiousness might upset L. Ron Hubbard. These asperities diverted me in my green time and I found it difficult to place Bill Burroughs on the side that believes any challenges that contradict militant gray paradigms must be silenced, shunned, or demonized. Who controls control? Indeed!
Also, in dealing with Maurice Girodias there would always be hidden minefields, unresolved passions, booby traps, contracts and wills waved about by shrill solicitors who represented giant insects from another galaxy, absentee thought lords, lost manuscripts from Aubrey Beardsley and Frank Harris found in pumpkins, Czarist promissory notes, smooth assistants lurking in the background who want to find out everything you know for the price of a cheap Indonesian dinner, ghosts in the catalog, a never-ending concealment of revelations and revelations of concealment.
As much as I genuinely respected, even liked, both of these aesthetic outlaws and gentlemen rogues the path they had taken and what they had accomplished, I was relieved, at the time, not to get more involved.
At The Fair
More than two years later Maurice and I had another encounter. Standing at the Suck booth at the Frankfurt Book Fair I was somewhat mesmerized by watching the surging waves of earnest crowds flow by under the harsh industrial neon light when all of a sudden Maurice was in front of me. A con man is someone who does you wrong, then forgives you for it. He greeted me in the most friendly manner. Maurice, fifty-four years old at the time, introduced me to his companion, a long-limbed, stunningly beautiful nineteen-year-old Puerto Rican girl whose sunny high yellow color and glossy black hair was set off by a skimpy haute couture fashion outfit of tan suede leather. He gave me a thirty-page pamphlet Between Books: A Manner of Press Release. At the bottom of the cover was printed “Maurice Girodias, Frankfurt Book Fair 1973”. Leading me off to the side, he placed his head close to mine, as if in a huddle, and asked in a near whisper:
“Do you know where I can get some hashish?”
Flipping his chin over his shoulder, Maurice explained:
“It’s for her.”
“She wants some for us to smoke back in the hotel room.”
I put Maurice in touch with some German friends, read Between Books and published a large excerpt in the Last Suck. He must have figured out by now not to give me anything really good he didn’t want to see in print.
Between Books tells the bizarre story of his then thirty-four years in publishing, why he had no books at that year’s Fair, complete with vitriolic ranting against a host of adversaries (including a notable philippic against the France of De Gaulle, Malraux and Pompidou) and filled with collectible snippets of Maurice’s yin/yang — high philosophy and snake oil salesman spiel. Defending the so-called “sexual revolution”, and himself, against the slings and arrows of tendentious commentary, Maurice wrote:
“The books I published in the fifties, in particular Henry Miller’s, have opened the world to sexual freedom. The consequences of that revolution are immense, endless and continuously developing through more and more advanced stages, reaching more and more deeply into our knowledge of ourselves. The sexual liberation was necessary to restore a true vision of the human person, of the boundless riches of nature, and to permit the exploration of internal reality we hold in ourselves. The sexual liberation has brought back truth and authenticity, freedom and brotherhood. Without it the ecological revolution would not have been possible.”
At the end, he predicted:
“The terrifying acceleration of history brought us by technology can be overcome by a revolution of the mind, a poetic revolution. Politics are the enemy; they reduce everything to a false two-dimensional image of our needs and our fate. We need much more than that.
“It is on the level of the paramyth, of the philosophical dream, that we will find all the answers that we need. The blinding utopia! And I have no doubt that very soon the first examples of the new literature, of the new esoteric fiction, will appear and that it will immediately change the face of the world, by magic as it were.”
During the next seventeen years people come and go talking about the Maurice show. Disillusioned with America he drifted back to Europe. He began to compose his memoirs under the title Une Journée sur la Terre. The first volume L’Arrivée, and re-written as The Frog Prince, was published in France and America. A 110-page clothbound Olympia Press Bibliography was published in England. An interview with him appeared in Gargoyle, a magazine from Washington, D.C., edited by Richard Peabody, which mentioned Maurice had married an extremely wealthy woman of the high-class Cabot line of New England. Sometimes he could be convinced to signify and speechify before a small group of Parisian amatores liberum at the Village Voice Bookshop on rue Princesse. I saw him credited as having helped Michael Zwerin with translating Round About Close to Midnight: The Selected Jazz Writings of Boris Vian. Generally, Maurice was keeping a low profile. Doing more writing, they said.
Then in the summer of 1990, I received the news he had died. I remembered something Maurice himself had said about Mason Hoffenberg, co-author with Terry Southern of Candy. “Mason is dead,” he reluctantly admitted, “but he is not that dead.”
What better tribute can you give a person than to say they died at their post? Maurice died at his post. Massive heart attack, instant death, while giving an interview on French radio to promote Les Jardins d’Eros, the second volume of his memoirs.
I couldn’t make it down to Paris for the funeral but a correspondent wrote that Jim Haynes was there as was Michael Neal, the erotic bookseller and cataloguer, and a few others and that it was an exceptionally sad affair with nobody saying anything and unsuitable music. Too bad. Leaving the music to someone else, I would have declaimed a panegyric funeral oration. This Kaddish would have gone something like:
Here lies another immortal bawd,
Who chose the pen over the sword.
Now he’s played the next to last card,
His ashes are sowed all over the yard.
He came as one endowed with grace,
He brought advantage to this place.
Written by William Levy and published by RealityStudio on 5 May 2014. William Levy can be contacted at email@example.com
A look at his background, works, and activities is available by Googling “Mutable Sound William Levy.”
Films featuring him include: