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

3:AM Reloaded (published 31/05/2009)


What you (may have) missed on 3:AM recently:

Fiction: ‘Ever After’ by Nicholas Hogg, ‘The Elect’ by Gavin J. Grant, ‘The Silent Lily’ by Letícia Palmeira (courtesy of 3:AM Brasil), ‘Dog’ by Jeremy C. Shipp

Flash Fiction: ‘Piglet ‘ by Anne Elliott, ‘This is Only a Test’ by Tiff Holland

Reviewed: Max Dunbar on David Aaronovitch’s Voodoo Histories, Pete Carvill on Jon Hotten’s The Years of the Locust, Beth Harrington on Tahar Ben Jelloun’s Leaving Tangier & Charles Thomson on Jane Kelly’s Inside

Non-Fiction: Ewan Morrison on How Not To Be a YBA:

I was there, I saw it. I saw Damon Albarn schmooze with Tony Blair, I saw Damien Hirst on a magazine cover against the British flag. I saw the great, old, dead empire try to rise again and proclaim the Young British Artists proudly as it’s own. To be honest I wasn’t quite there. I was, usually, a good few hundred feet away but I witnessed many of my friends, enemies and drinking buddies become YBA stars, and, in retrospect, I am glad that I dropped out. All the hysteria was too much for my paranoid self and all very confusing; I took to my bed for several years in the early 90s as the media proclaimed a renaissance in British Art and so am glad not to have suffered the complex burden of being a success of any kind.

The Missing Links (published 30/05/2009)

stationwowChris Gray leaves the 21st century (more links to be found here). * James Wood on Quadrophenia: “[S]ometimes, now, at the age of 43, it feels strange to enter its world. Quadrophenia is itself a nostalgic album — it wants to be there, back on those beaches and in those Soho clubs of the early 60s. So when I listen to the album now, nostalgia is doubled, since I am looking back at my own youth, and also back at the Who’s youth, at an era when I was not even born. I become nostalgic for a rebellion I never experienced and for an England I never knew. But if this seems merely touching, and even a bit silly, is it clear that conformity and ‘settling down’, whatever that would mean, is the better alternative? Is it hypocritical to be old while also singing ‘But thank God I ain’t old’? I don’t think so”. * Discovering Gerard Evans (aka George Berger). * Orton in Brighton. * Neu!. * “Social change seems to be driving everyone bonkers.” Scarlett Thomas reviews the new Sarah Waters in the NY Times * Ed Champion reviews Palahniuk‘s Pygmy for the Chicago Sun-Times * Walrus talk to Reif Larsen * An interview with Tana Janowitz: “Many things have happened [on a book tour] but one thing that stands out is I was in Minneapolis and there were three people who came to hear me read/speak and there were many, many chairs set up and the staff disappeared and then the fourth person arrived and he resembled a murderer or serial killer and he sat in the front row and he had a metallic suitcase and I began to read and he opened his suitcase and I thought now he will take out a gun or knife. But instead he took out a book and began to read it. But it was not my book and he was not reading along to himself with what I was reading. It was a completely different book by a different person.” * The LRB has a brand spanking new blog. * Jake Arnott talks to Scotland on Sunday: The Devil’s Paintbrush seems more self-consciously literary than The Long Firm, perhaps a deliberate attempt to move away from the crime writing label. “One of the advantages of people pigeonholing you is that you can try to avoid it,” admits Arnott. “I have never wanted to be stuck in any particular period or genre.” So is it important to him to have an intellectual strand to his writing? “I’d love to be able to jettison it. I do want to be driven by the emotional.” In fact, he says, there is a need as a writer to embrace things that are illogical or absurd, or, like the occult, hidden. * Joe Meno in Identity Theory * Interview with painter and writer Harland Miller * The Fiction Desk remember Rebel Inc: Rebel Inc. started in 1992 as a magazine, founded by Kevin Williamson, intended to bring the DIY punk ethos to Scottish literature. The magazine provided a voice for a new generation of Scottish writers, including Irvine Welsh, and within a few years had moved to publishing books.” * Ferlinghetti: A documentary * Saving Salt publishing: just one book * The Tao Lin shitstorm * Back to 1989.

Pawnography (published )


Tom McCarthy (pictured) and Simon Critchley have published the International Necronautical Society‘s “Interim Report on Recessional Aesthetics” in the June issue of Harper’s Magazine. Here’s a short extract:

There is an anti-monetary tradition in philosophy that extends from Aristotle’s Politics to Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx, wherein money is the principle of corruption of all social relations (an ideal communist society would be one purged of money altogether). Yet there is an opposing tradition, culminating in the thought of Levinas and Derrida, in which money operates, to quote the Bard again, not simply as “Thou common whore of mankind” but also as “Thou visible god,/That solder’st close impossibilities./And mak’st them kiss”—that is, as both ontological and ethical enabler. The INS celebrates this second view and finds its supreme literary expression in Finnegans Wake, which we would urge the president and his aides to keep by their bedsides at all times. Not only is Joyce’s masterpiece suffused with monetary language (“shelenks,” “haypennies” and “dogmarks,” “sylvan coyne” and “ghinees”); it is also mired in the rhetoric of debt: of pawnshops, unpaid loans, “wallstrait” crashes, and what Joyce, theo-neologizing, calls “deblinity.”

The most debt-ridden of the Wake’s characters is Shem, who “lives off loans.” Shem is both an artist and a forger. Perusing other writers’ work, he decides

to study with stolen fruit how cutely to copy all their various styles of signature so as one day to utter an epical forged cheque on the public for his own private profit

—the “cheque” in question being the text itself, the “profit” that ensues being self-evident (Joyce’s work, the most celebrated in the history of prose, not only sells decades after his death but also inspires other writers to write, critics to publish, teachers to teach, and so on). For Joyce, then, the creative act—an act of forgery—translates the negative space of debt into positive, “epic” productivity, returning us to credit. The implication for the president is simple: far from cracking down on counterfeit currency, he should encourage its circulation, since it gives the economy the creative fillip it so badly needs.

The Funnies (published 29/05/2009)


Jonathan Ross reviews Craig Yoe‘s Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman’s Co-creator Joe Shuster: “Never, as far as I know (and I know more than most adult males would admit to knowing about such cherished juvenilia), never in either an ‘Imaginary Story’ or while under the influence of red kryptonite did Superman seek out and enjoy a damn good thrashing at the hands of a perfectly turned out old-school dominatrix.” + Suicide Girls interview Bob Fingerman: “Think The Road, only funny. Not a lot of laughs in Cormac McCarthy in general. Although who knows, he might be a real cut-up if you actually get to meet him.” + At CBR, Chris Staros talks Alan Moore‘s Century 1910 [reviewed here on 3:AM] + ‘Totally Tintin‘, the Economist on the Hergé museum & the BBC report from the venue + The Mr. Men as superheroes (or vice versa) (h/t @brunobatista) + In Bookforum‘s ‘Fiction Forward’, a bunch of graphic novelists illustrate a story [Chris Ware, Dash Shaw, Lauren Weinstein, Gabrielle Bell] + May’s Words Without Borders is a Japanese special & includes an excerpt from Yoshihiro Tatsumi‘s A Drifting Life.

Plan C? (published 28/05/2009)


Trying times for the independent presses as Plan B announces its last issue. Having seen a number of our favourite music mags go under in recent years, this one was particularly mournful, as Artrocker put it in response, it was “a fanzine on steroids” and “the magazine you moved onto when the skinny jeans got too tight”. Apparently plans are afoot for a web version, though Artrocker themselves claim to be in fine fettle and defiant of similar commercial pressures. If you’re feeling particularly charitable towards what was almost a public service in music journalism then by all means take a few back issues off their hands.

Your attention is also drawn to the Vagabond “online music festival” over at artrocker.tv, which includes poetry from Alan Vega of Suicide and Alec Empire (on their 3AM stage, no less.)

Intermission (published 27/05/2009)

Courtesy of Lee Rourke’s SPONGE!:

I read this at this this year: