The Voidoid was Richard Hell’s first novel, a long-lost artefact of the New York punk scene.
The Voidoid was written in 1973 in a little furnished room on East 10th Street. I was staying with Jennifer (“my thoughts and me are like ships that pass in the night”) in her apartment down the block overlooking the graveyard at St. Mark’s Church. Every day I’d take a cheap bottle of wine with me across the street to the $16-a-week room I’d rented. for writing. The method was I’d keep going till I got to the end of a single-spaced page, which was pretty far. I’d wake up an hour later and have to drink. A lot of water. Sometimes afterwards if I had some extra money I’d go to the pharmacy on Second Avenue and buy a bottle of codeine cough syrup and come back and lie on the cot again. The Neon Boys were stalled because we couldn’t find a second guitar player…
I still like this book a lot. It’s smirched up with Maldoror, but I relished that and flaunted it because Lautreamont was my brother. In fact when I typed up the final draft, I imitated the format of the New Directions edition of this book and jammed the text in thick dark blocks inside big WIde ma.rgms. I wanted to lay it all bare and expose it there; the paper sheets like settings for something, weird jewels, filthy aerial night photos, which when you looked inside them came alive. That’s what I wanted. I hope it does something for you. I still can’t help wishing it could do something intense.