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

Friday I’m in Love (published 31/07/2009)

By Tony O’Neill.

I love this clip. I love everything about it. The grainy Granada TV logo at the beginning makes me wonder who saw it the first time around, and what kind of astonished reactions there were in houses all over the North West when Screaming Jay emerged shaking his voodoo stick with a bone through his nose, before launching into this frantic, schizophrenic rendition of his classic ‘I Put A Spell On You’.

There is no excuse for any musician not to be as charismatic and as crazy as Screaming Jay Hawkins. If you can’t compete with Screaming Jay, then pack up your fucking instrument and go home. I’m talking to you, Chris Martin, and in fact all of you pale boring, insipid VH1/MTV bands who look like you’re trying to sell me American Apparel rags instead of, you know, making MUSIC.

The song was originally a ballad, but so the legend goes, he and his backing band were so fucked up on wine that they recorded the guttural, pounding, primal version of the track which became (in)famous. Screaming Jay was reportedly so wasted that he couldn’t remember the session at all, and had to relearn the track by listening to the playback the next day.

Hawkins reportedly fathered 57 children in his lifetime, most illegitimate, and yes as the old cliché goes he pioneered the whole “shock rock” thing. But although I dig Screaming Jay, and Screaming Lord Sutch, I feel pretty bad holding them responsible for shit like Kiss and Marilyn Manson. Screaming Jay had soul, and whether he was screaming love songs that sounded like veiled death threats, operatic numbers about not being able to take a shit (‘Constipation Blues’) or crazed numbers about devils and creatures of the night (‘Little Demon’) Hawkins had a level of commitment and that turned this whole thing from a potentially hokey sideshow into something much more precious. There is nothing camp or ironic about Screaming Jay Hawkins, and for that I am grateful.

The Missing Links (published 30/07/2009)

winkThe Not the Booker Prize. * Charles Manson gets in touch with Phil Spector. * New Hormones. * The Rumpus interview Jonathan Ames: “Maybe my work isn’t a cry for help. It may just be a baby’s need to cry or a dog’s need to bark.” * William T Vollmann profiled: Mr. Vollmann, who just turned 50, is a loner, a bit of a recluse, despite being married and the father of a daughter, and a throwback: a wandering, try-anything writer-journalist in the tradition of Steinbeck or Jack London. Some people think he’s a little nuts. * Peter Murphy‘s soundtrack to John the Revelator (read 3:AM‘s interview with Peter Murphy) * Narrative talk to Junot Díaz. * “Drawing a good picture is like telling a really good lie – the key is in the incidental detail.” An interview with Shaun Tan. * Kerouac will declared fake by Florida judge. * Jake & Dinos Chapman‘s sham exhibition. * Why isn’t crime writing taken more seriously? * Noah Cicero on the death of the novel. * Neojaponisme on Haruki Murakami‘s 1Q84 (via Conversational Reading) * Amusing margin musings. * How an editor’s pencil created Raymond Carver‘s literary style – and how his wife has undone it (via Arts & Letters Daily) * Much ink has been spilled on the question of why so many writers are alcoholics. Of America’s seven Nobel laureates, five were lushes—to whom we can add an equally drunk-and-disorderly line of Brits: Dylan Thomas, Malcolm Lowry, Brendan Behan [sic], Patrick Hamilton, Philip Larkin, Kingsley Amis, all doing the conga to (in most cases) an early grave. When novelists sober up (via @MaudNewton) * 3:AM‘s Andrew Gallix on Tom McCarthy & the INS.

3:AM Press (published 29/07/2009)

3amps

Next year 3:AM Magazine will celebrate its 10th anniversary and to get the festivities rolling, we’re launching 3:AM Press.

3:AM Press will be a boutique imprint, publishing stylish, quality books. We aim to revive lost traditions of radical publishers and avoid market-driven trends. A niche social publisher, we will operate from Paris and London and with writers from all corners of the world. A list of our first titles will be announced shortly.

More info here.

The Missing Links (published 28/07/2009)

blondemirrorJoe Orton and the Sex Pistols. Also: the Pistols’ first interview. * Will Self does Richmond. * Check out the interviews not included in Jon Savage‘s fascinating The England’s Dreaming Tapes. * David Peace interviewed in the Times: “After that he has a plan for one more book that he won’t discuss and then will stop. ‘I would hope I would be finished by the time I’m 50. I’m 42 now. I think 12 novels is more than enough.’ He might ‘do something completely different. Might become a priest.’ Seriously? “Kind of. …’”. * Mick Jones‘s Rock’n'Roll Public Library. More here. * ‘As I Lay Down’, a short story from Erotomania author Francis Levy (via @TwoDollarRadio) * An interview with Dalkey Archive‘s John O’Brien: “We hit upon the word “subversive” because we were frequently asked to describe the fiction we publish and both of us felt that it was in fact “traditional,” if one considers the history of fiction. We might appear to be “avant-garde” only in comparison to what is popular or taken seriously in the last several decades, but we are not avant-garde if you think of such writers as Cervantes or Laurence Sterne. If Sterne were writing today, he would be labeled a postmodernist, but what sense would that make, given when he was actually writing? But I absolutely do not think of a Sterne or a Joyce as “experimenters”: they didn’t experiment, they made these remarkable books whose ingenuity and art are rarely seen in other writers or matched. Their works are finished and complete achievements, not experiments.” * The Wizard of Oz at 70. * Stewart Home reminisces: “I don’t remember what I did that New Year, my recollection of the following one is much better since I was back at the Electric Ballroom to see in 1980 with a double-bill of The Lurkers and Adam & The Ants. Musically this was a much better night than Brian James and The Police a year and two days earlier. That said, while the Ants were playing a girl who was standing close to me tried to pull Adam off-stage, and rather than taking it out on her, the bouncers beat me up. Then, because I looked a mess with my bloodied face, I got pulled by the filth on my way home”. * Thomas Pynchon‘s Inherent Vice reviewed: “Pynchon, although most literary critics still insist that he is the one, has become a relic – the man formerly known as the greatest living novelist, revered but not read. Yet he seems more alive, more of our time, than Roth”. Don’t miss 3:AM‘s exclusive interview with Pynchon, coming soon. * François Gallix (3:AM editor Andrew Gallix‘s father) discovers an unpublished, albeit unfinished, Graham Greene: “It was a gem of a find, a long-lost unfinished murder mystery tale containing the classic ingredients of a country house, a dead body, bloodied weapon and a cast of upper-class suspects. It was also handwritten in Graham Greene’s distinctive scrawl and included the Catholic themes that were hallmarks of much of his work. Just one problem: the novel didn’t have an ending”. * Big Rich Kids retrospective over at Punk 77. * Richard Williams on how Miles Davis‘s A Kind of Blue became one of the most influential recordings of all time. * An interview with Leonard Cohen: “Non, je ne regrette rien. I’m blessed with a certain amount of amnesia and I really don’t remember what went down.” * A new movie adaptation of Knut Hamsun‘s Hunger set in modern Hollywood (via @millerwalks). * Jeremy Clarkson solves Britain’s overcrowding problem: “My gut reaction is that we must at least consider the possibility of conquering France. There are good reasons for this. First of all, we can be assured the French will not put up much of a fight — they never do — so casualties would be small. And second, the fact is they don’t need all that space. And we do. Certainly, I can’t see any reason why they don’t hand over Lesser Britain, or Brittany, as they insist on calling it”.