:: Buzzwords Archive: September 2008. Click here for the latest posts.

McCarthy Goes Gray (published 23/09/2008)


Writer and artist Alasdair Gray in conversation with novelist and artist Tom McCarthy on Friday 17 October, 3pm at this year’s Frieze Art Fair, Regent’s Park (London).

The Funnies (published 22/09/2008)


The First Post excerpts Stickleback, a ”vivid mix of Conan Doyle and Lovecraft” [h/t Andrew Stevens] + Comics Reporter on the Ignatz Awards 2008 + du9 interview Kevin Huizenga: ”There used to be a magazine named Destroy All Comics that I read when I was a teenager, and it would mention old strips from time to time, and that got me interested. In college I bought the Smithsonian Book of Newspaper Strips, and that was very inspiring. Also, I was lucky enough to live near a library that had a good collection of books that reprinted older comics, but I didn’t really begin reading those books until I was in college. 
Unlike some cartoonists I know, I don’t scour E-bay for old newspaper clippings or travel to flea markets or anything like that. I’m not very obsessive when it comes to collecting.” + Huizenga’s Amazing Facts [via Journalista!] + The LA Times review the Jonathan Ames/Dean Haspiel collaboration The Alcoholic: The book is brilliantly executed with a boldly scabby story that is both demoralizing and relevatory and, amazingly, deeply funny at times. The Alcoholic gives us a tortured soul who is bottled up in more ways than one, but that humor and a truly wicked honesty keep the pages turning. + Dennis, no longer a Menace: “The comic has certainly changed over the years. For example, every strip used to end with the rogue of the piece being punished in some way – usually a smack across the head or a slipper across the bottom. This sort of corporal punishment became outdated and eventually it was phased out.” + Two interviews with T. Alixopulos: ”Even for radically different subject matter, you’ll see the same storytelling tricks. You’re still speaking the same language, even if you’re telling a totally different story. There’s definitely a language of comics, and a certain vocabulary that people use. Some people try to deconstruct it, or subvert it in some way, or create their own, or make comics that are more difficult to read. Some people use it as the elements of storytelling that are established.” + The Times profile Osamu Tezuka + Rod McKie on mini comics + Chester Brown, Libertarian politician: Seth told me that, after he heard I was into this, that something died within him.” + The Holy Consumption collective (Paul Hornschemeier, Jeffreey Brown, Anders Nlsen, John Hankiewicz) is no more + The world’s oldest comics + The Hooded Ulitarian asks, is Kim Deitch great or awful? [via C/R] + The C/R interview Sublife’s John Pham: ”I read a bunch of books, interviewed some people. Drove around and took pictures. I interviewed some friends who were coke users, as well as a Southerner who was raised as a segregationist. I read a bunch of books about White Supremacists and their ilk. The story is set in Los Angeles so just living here can be seen as equal parts research and inspiration.” + Zak Sally on DFW: ”for what it’s worth, i’m going to join in the chorus; the loss of David Foster Wallace is a terribly sad thing. i remember when Infinite Jest was making a sort of insane amount of waves for a “literary” novel clocking in at over a thousand pages; it seemed like it, and DFW, were everywhere. Wallace was being touted as “the new Pynchon” and the “voice of a generation” and all the pictures i saw of him looked like he was a grunge rocker. a grunge rocker with a PHd.”

Tales of the Decongested vs. SYNT (published 18/09/2008)

Dual reading night at The Gallery Space, 3rd Floor, Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0EB, 26th September, 7pm.

Tales of the Decongested’s Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone and Paul Blaney have kindly given over half of their regular end-of-the-month Friday evening to See You Next Tuesday: The Second Coming‘s sex-riddled contributors.

For £3 (£2.50 concessions) have a glass of wine and listen to Tales of the Decongested readers: Christine Bacon, Crispin Best, Isabel Bermudez, Polly Card, Jacqueline Cattaneo and Elen Lewis.


Followed by SYNT – The Second Coming readers: David E Oprava, Martin Reed standing in for Vanessa Gebbie, Jo Horsman reading a story by Sara Crowley, EP Chiew, Grant Perry and Steve Finbow.


Here’s a hint – they just might be going to the pub afterward.

Shark attack (published )


Via Disorientations, the brilliant Robert Hughes dissects Damien Hirst:

The presence of a Hirst in a collection is a sure sign of dullness of taste. What serious person could want those collages of dead butterflies, which are nothing more than replays of Victorian decor? What is there to those empty spin paintings, enlarged versions of the pseudo-art made in funfairs? Who can look for long at his silly sub-Bridget Riley spot paintings, or at the pointless imitations of drug bottles on pharmacy shelves? No wonder so many business big-shots go for Hirst: his work is both simple-minded and sensationalist, just the ticket for newbie collectors who are, to put it mildly, connoisseurship-challenged and resonance-free. Where you see Hirsts you will also see Jeff Koons‘s balloons, Jean-Michel Basquiat‘s stoned scribbles, Richard Prince‘s feeble jokes and pin-ups of nurses and, inevitably, scads of really bad, really late Warhols. Such works of art are bound to hang out together, a uniform message from our fin-de-siècle decadence.

Hirst’s fatuous religious references don’t hurt either. “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever”, the sale is titled. One might as well be in Forest Lawn, contemplating a loved one – which, in effect, Hirst’s embalmed dumb friends are, bisected though they may be. Consider the Golden Calf in this auction, pickled, with a gold disc on its head and its hoofs made of real gold. For these bozos, gold is religion, Volpone-style. “Good morning to the day; and next, my gold! Open the shrine, that I may see my saint!”

His far-famed shark with its pretentious title, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, is “nature” for those who have no conception of nature, in whose life nature plays no real part except as a shallow emblem, a still from Jaws. It might have had a little more point if Hirst had caught it himself. But of course he didn’t and couldn’t; the job was done by a pro fisherman in Australia, and paid for by Charles Saatchi, that untiring patron of the briefly new.

The publicity over the shark created the illusion that danger had somehow been confronted by Hirst, and come swimming into the gallery, gnashing its incisors. Having caught a few large sharks myself off Sydney, Montauk and elsewhere, and seen quite a few more over a lifetime of recreational fishing, I am underwhelmed by the blither and rubbish churned out by critics, publicists and other art-world denizens about Hirst’s fish and the existential risks it allegedly symbolises.

See also, A dead shark isn’t art, the Stuckists’ super shark auction for £1,000,000 (a saving of £8,500,000 on Hirst’s).

Sod that (published )

Sam Jordison reads from his new book Sod That! 103 Things Not To Do Before You Die (and you can read 3:AM‘s interview with him here).

Untitled Books (published 17/09/2008)


Launched by Viola Fort and Katie McCalmont (“two twenty-seven year olds who got bored of boring jobs and hearing about rubbish books”), Untitled Books is both a new type of online bookshop (“Books are arranged in themes such as Desire, Intoxication, Great Adventures and Violence”) and a monthly literary webzine which they describe as “a cross between a British McSweeney’s, a young Paris Review and a New Yorker for the iPod generation”.