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

The Field (published 22/03/2009)


‘This all began with her. When I told her about the field she just laughed so I never mentioned it again. I remember picking up the telephone and hesitating, and Trish encouraging me.
She said, “It’s something you always wanted…”’

An exhibition at Transition Gallery in east London will run from 2-31 May 2009 to coincide with Gary O’Connor’s first novella, The Field (Transition Editions, £8.50). The installation, we are told, will extend the text “with visual, olfactory and auditory elements”.

The author will be reading extracts from The Field at the following venues:
7 May: Transition Gallery, London E9 (7pm)
9 May: Kettles Yard, Cambridge
14 September: Cafe Writers, Norwich
Two more London readings will follow (dates to be confirmed).

O’Connor is a visual artist who has produced a number of publications to accompany his artworks. He is a regular contributor to Garageland magazine and his short story, “Soft”, was included in The Alpine Fantasy of Victor B and Other Stories.

Straight Outta Plaistow (published 21/03/2009)

Related: Guardian blog on Richard Allen / The Richard Allen Project

3:AM Reloaded (published 14/03/2009)


What you (may have) missed on 3:AM this week:

Fiction: ‘Monroe Had Read Books Her Entire Life’ by Katie Manderfield & ‘The Gravediggers’ by Lee Rourke

Poetry: The return of Van Gogh’s Ear, Darran Anderson’s column. This time ’round, mobster and artist Dutch Schultz:

To edit Schultz’s monologue is to misrepresent it. It’s the very freeflowing nature of his babblings that provides the impact. Here is the human mind cut adrift from reason. On the brink of expiration, his speech turns both haunting and mundane, both feral and humdrum. There’s a certain outsider art-style fascination with it, the voyeurs’ pleasure that we all get upon hearing people’s last words as if they give us some great insight into the void and as if they reaffirm to us our very condition of being alive, however temporary that may be. Regrettably, there’s no audio recording, just a dictation on paper which inevitably loses some of the tone of his sentiments. Maybe there’s nothing to learn about dying from Schultz’s last words, no enlightening pearls of wisdom to impart. It’s certainly no Tibetan Book of the Dead. To seek some kind of truth in everything however is an unfortunate consequence of the age of materialism. Instead, this is art for art’s sake and the heart-gouging, eye-defiling mobster is the unlikeliest of dandies.

Reading the transcript, you’re firstly struck with its antecedents in literature, however illusory. You sense in his words the Dadaists and their Surrealist offspring with their cult of the unconscious and the accidental, employing all those Freudian methods from slips of the tongue to dream interpretation, all those melting clocks and ghostly mannequins. There’s Antonin Artaud tapping into the Holocaust and collaborationist guilt like it’s the national grid and blazing and shrieking like some unhinged desert prophet before an assembly of well-dressed Parisian dignitaries. And where else would you encounter a dying mobster ranting about French Canadian Pea Soup than in the novels of Richard Brautigan? Schultz probably never read a book. He, more than likely, thought writers were all cunts. But that’s the strength of Schultz’s last words; they have side-effects he never intended.