October 29, 2008

More Drink = Less Reading

More information has been forthcoming about next week's reading. The evening runs only from 7pm to 8.30pm so don't be late. The "PP" in the title "3:AM-PP" stands for Pen Pusher magazine, of course. Other people reading include Lana Citron and Joseph Ridgwell plus the previously mentioned sculptor Andrew Logan plus "Marie Murphy on vocals and Lizziness on Bond Girls" (I'm not quite sure what that means or entails, but I'm sure it'll be fun).

Anyway, the address (again) is upstairs at The Green Carnation, 5 Greek St, Soho. If you want more info and are on facebook, check the page for it here. Oh, and it's next Tuesday 4th November...

October 28, 2008

Ivor Cutler, Looking For Truth..

...while a young lady waggles his squeeze box. The Poet Laureate of Spam in existential beauty shock..

October 24, 2008

Cormac McCarthy - "The Road," God and Toothpaste

Finally got round to reading "The Road" this week and it does most of the things it says on the tin, even if I'm slightly concerned about how many times it's acceptable to use the verb "to lave" in a book (I would have said once, but McCarthyland is no country for old pedants). Anyway, once I'd finished blubbing and tearing my hair out and promising to remember to turn off all the lights behind me, I couldn't also help wondering about America and the God Thing. I mean, really the only reason the boy doesn't get spit-roasted and eaten is because he stumbles across some Chrissies. And his papa gives God and the Carrying The Fire thing quite a working over, too (someone should do a fan fiction version about a Salvation Army brass band). Following hot(tish) on the heels of the publication of David Foster Wallace's commencement speech (?) to Kenyon College in which he seemed to say that if you didn't worship one god or another you were doomed to a life of misery, and a US presidential election in which everyone's pastor has been scrutinised, I was wondering if there's anyone left in America who doesn't believe in God? Or, even better, who - placidly, calmly, without screaming - doesn't believe in any Big Thing?

Talking of ol' Cormac, I was having a writer's whinge to a friend a few month's back about my general lack of success and, to cheer me up, he used McCarthy as an example of a writer who had spent years toiling in obscurity before his rise to the tippety-top.

"Yeah, it got so bad, apparently," he told me, "that to eat he had to steal the toothpaste samples from other people's mailboxes." My family will sleep sounder for that...

"More Colgate, darling?"

My (weakest) Link Contributions To The US Presidential Election

I'm not American so I have no idea whether the Huffington Post is a Good or a Bad thing but I enjoyed this post from Larry David. And for US election commentary combined with major conceptual art figures and bad German pop, go here. Yes, that's Joseph Beuys on Ronald Reagan. Dancing. And check out this Grauniad analysis of the Presidential "Bend Sinister". Don't say you never learn anything here...

October 20, 2008


What could give a Londoner more pleasure more simply than a selection of random cut-ups of lurid Evening Standard billboard headlines? Other than Boris Johnson being crushed to death beneath the collected works of Pliny, of course...

October 13, 2008

Drinking and Reading, Reading and Drinking

All you lucky souls in London Town have the chance to hear me reading again in November. I'm going to be doing my 10 minutes at 3AM:PP on November 4th. It's the second night promoted by the esteemed peoples at 3:AM (of course) and is put together and marshalled by the formidable Sophie Parkin (don't pitch your tent near hers - I mean this literally, not metaphorically). Anyway, the night involves one fiction person (me), one non-fiction person (the sculptor Andrew Logan), two poets and two musicians. The other names haven't been announced yet, but I'll pass them on as they come in... Anyway, details: Upstairs @The Green Carnation, 5 Greek St, Soho, from 7pm. And no, I don't know what the PP stands for...

October 08, 2008

Multi-Story Revisited

You may or may not remember that I told you in a past post about the strange story-relay Matt Thorne asked me to contribute to along with Ewan Morrison, Chris Manby, Stella Duffy, Alison Macleod and, of course, his good self. The result was called "Messenger," I said, and was published in the new issue of Another Magazine. But I also said you couldn't read it there and it turns out I was wrong. Go to "Literature" on the menu at the top of the page and then "NEW Another Document" on the far right of the menu that appears. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "Download Another Document (PDF)" and it shall be so. The whole thing is edited by Dan Crowe (Zembla man) and contains writing from AM Homes, Willy Vlautin and many other good and worthy individuals...

Holy Roll-Outs

And just in case you're reeling from the sheer artiness of yesterday's post, here's a YouTube classic - much Christian ecstatic dancing cut to a d&b soundtrack. "Somebody make some nooiiiiise!" (With thanks to Infinite Livez for the link...).

October 06, 2008

Ubu Roi!

How to acknowledge a link w/out looking like you're name dropping, part 99. I recently read "The Broken World" by Tim Etchells and enjoyed it so much that, like the sad fanboy that I am, I 'befriended' him on Facebook. Recently Mr Etchells posted a link to www.ubu.com, describing it as "YouTube for the avant garde" and he wasn't wrong. If you've never been to the site I'd highly recommend it as it's an absolute treasure trove of 20th Century art, music and writing, with hundreds of audio clips and films. So far, some of my best finds include:
"Film" by Samuel Beckett starring Buster Keaton, which I haven;t seen for the best part of twenty years.
John Cage Meets Sun Ra, which I didn't even know existed.
And a doddery Bill Burroughs making his 'shotgun paintings,' because it's funny.
More will undoubtedly follow...

October 02, 2008

The Irresistible Rise of Roberto Bolaño

A sneak preview of Roberto Bolaño's poetry in translation is available here. It's taken from the collection that New Directions are publishing at the beginning of November. The American edition of the English translation of "2666" follows at the end of the month from Farrar, Straus & Giroux, with the UK version traipsing in from Picador next January. I can only hope that Picador bother to print it properly. I recently bought "The Lazarus Project" by Aleksandar Hemon in hardback and it looks like they bashed it out on a dot matrix printer that was a little low on ink. If you're going to ask people to spend fifteen or sixteen quid, surely you should make some kind of effort?