:: Buzzwords Archive: January 2009. Click here for the latest posts.

Silver Jews R.I.P. (published 25/01/2009)

…I guess I am moving over to another category. Screenwriting or Muckraking. I’ve got to move on. Can’t be like all the careerists doncha know. I’m forty two and I know what to do. I’m a writer, see?
If I continue to record, I might accidentally write the answer song to Shiny Happy People…

Further: Peter Wild talks to David Berman / Silver Jews at Drag City.

Punk rock at the vaults (published 24/01/2009)


“Wild” Billy Childish and The Musicians Of The British Empire play the Shunt Vaults, London, tomorrow evening:

On Sunday the 25th January Shunt Gigs is proud to open its doors to Billy Childish and his band – The Musicians Of The British Empire (Drummer Wolf Howard, Buffet Nurse Julie on Bass, and that sound system).

They’re here to remind the next generation what a real rock n’ roll band sounds like. Let’s start the year off the proper way. The poets don’t like his poems. Other artists don’t like his paintings and musicians don’t like his music.

Birdy (published 23/01/2009)

To celebrate the release of his novel The Bird Room, 3:AM‘s Chris Killen is “embarking” on an online book tour. So far, he’s called at Dogmatika, Bookmunch and Meet at the Gate, where he catches up with fellow writer Steven Hall:

Steven: I have a really clear memory of reading the first chapter of The Bird Room when you emailed the manuscript to me. I was sitting cross-legged on my living room floor and by the end of the first page I was completely sold. I remember looking across to my girlfriend and saying “Oh, shit. This is really good. Like, really good.” I was amazed when you told me that you hadn’t had any interest from the agents you’d showed it to, because the brilliance of the book is all there the minute you start reading. What the hell’s wrong with the publishing industry, Chris?

Chris: Thank you. That’s very nice of you. I don’t know. I don’t want to sound full of myself but I think The Bird Room is maybe not like other ‘popular’ contemporary novels, or at least not ones in this country. My influences are mostly cult writers. So maybe it was something that people (agents) looked at and were unsure where it would fit in the current scheme of things. It is not set in an exotic location. It is not a coming-of-age novel from a young foreign woman’s point of view. You don’t ‘learn anything’. I don’t know.

I think there are some good small presses in this country — Social Disease, Snowbooks, Salt — that are willing to take some risks.

And there’s Canongate, of course. From meeting them and talking with them, they genuinely seem excited about the idea of taking gambles on things — publishing because they are passionate about something, more than because they think it will sell thousands of copies. I feel very lucky that they read my novel and liked it.

You can catch up with the tour here, read the reviews (thus far) in the Irish Times and, of course, right here on 3:AM.

3:AM Top 5: Christiana Spens (published 22/01/2009)


Christiana Spens, author of last year’s The Wrecking Ball, has produced a very original graphic novel entitled The Socialite Manifesto: One Day in the Life of Ivana Denisovich which comes out next month. Christiana is currently listening to:

1. “Cheap + Cheerful” — The Kills
“I’m sick of cheap and cheerful — I want expensive sadness…” Recession Ballad. Not really.
2. “Cryin’” – Aerosmith
I first listened to the song in the summer, I just loved the video with Alicia Silverstone where her bag gets stolen. And then one day, at the time I was still obsessed with the song, the same thing went and happened to me — my bag got stolen in Vienna — so despite the slight setting change, I could really relate! Also there was a boy involved in my story and hers.
3. “Yard of Blonde Girls” — Jeff Buckley
Makes me want to be blonde again, also just a great song.
4. “It Never Rains in Southern California” — Albert Hammond
I downloaded this track by mistake when I was trying to buy a song by Albert Hammond’s son… but in recent days I have been listening to it quite a lot, because apparently it does rain in Southern California, it pours and it pours, which makes me feel better about the weather here.
5. “I Need Some Sleep” — Eels
When I’m insomniac I usually end up listening to this one at some point, but I don’t know that it really makes me fall asleep, it just makes me depressed I’m not asleep yet and reminds me why I’m not.

The Missing Links (published 21/01/2009)

witch2300Christiana Spens has a spanking new website. * According to Louise Wener, [Luke] Haines is a malevolent Tiny Tim tossing stink bombs into Britpop’s shiny toy shop”. * A hidden history of King Mob. * Edmund White on Rimbaud and Verlaine: “Rimbaud was an impossible guest. He took to nude sunbathing just outside the house. He turned his room into a squalid den. He mutilated an heirloom crucifix. He was proud of the lice infesting his long mane and even pretended he was encouraging the vermin to jump on to passers-by. Verlaine was delighted with Rimbaud’s antisocial antics, which recalled to him his own younger excesses before his marriage”. * Patrick McGoohan escapes for the last time. * Roadrunner twice. * Chloé Delaume talks about her new book. * Nightclubbing. * Susu Laroche rocks. * A very interesting new site devoted to Jocelyn Brooke. * Jah Wobble goes in search of Sid. Jon Savage (whose The England’s Dreaming Tapes will be published by Faber this year) goes in search of Wobble in search of Sid: “Sid was offered up as a sacrificial lamb by the people around the Pistols. None of them would have gone over the top. He was their kamikaze pilot, and they were all too happy to strap him and send him off”. Alan Parker wonders who killed Nancy in his new film (out next month). * Ben Myers on literary band names. * 60 books in 60 days. * Fluxus, or the “aesthetics of the Khmer Rouge”. * Bettie Page is no more. * 30 years of Rough Trade. * More on Steampunk. * Is William Burroughs really “the most overrated cultural icon of the late 20th century century”?: “Some cultural figures achieve vast proportions in their lifetime not so much by their works as their voice, attitude, persona. This is a phenomenon we take for granted in popular culture but it has a more ambiguous and often more pernicious effect in the “high” arts. It can be extraordinarily difficult to separate work and personage when someone is giving interviews, posing for photographs, being a cult. Then death comes, and the talent’s true size is revealed. Derek Jarman may have been interesting but are any of his films worth watching again? Joseph Beuys? Genius! Beuys’s works get better and better as the intrusive image of the man himself fades. Harold Pinter? It’s still too soon for that one”. * Salinger turns 90. * John Betjeman as gay icon. * A very good interview with 3:AM‘s Lee Rourke at Vulpes Libris courtesy of Kit Maude. Lee also features in Brighton’s The Argus. * The Rude Boys will soon be back in town, along with Winnie the Pooh. * “A callow, androgynous, blonde-quiffed youth in funny trousers and a scarf moving into the country mansion of his best friend, a middle-aged sailor? A sweet-faced lad devoted to a fluffy white toy terrier, whose other closest pals are an inseparable couple of detectives in bowler hats”: Matthew Parris claims Tintin is gay. * Woody Allen sounding surprisingly like HP Tinker at times. * It’s the 70th anniversary of John Fante‘s Ask the Dust: “It’s amazing to think, though, that if a young Charles Bukowski had missed Ask the Dust during his time in the LA library, the book’s later success might never have come about: it likely would have stayed out of print and Fante would probably be remembered, if he was remembered at all, as another burned-out old screenwriter and failed novelist. Instead, he’s seen today as a powerful pre-Beat writer who wrote one of the most influential and important novels of the last, well, 70 years”.