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

Friday I’m in Love (published 24/07/2009)

By Nick Garrard.

Dear old Vivian Stanshall – a mess of the loveliest sort. Intelligent, avuncular and effortlessly funny, his rich-as-chocolate-cake tones graced some of the strangest records ever produced. He made his name in the 60s as lead singer of the Bonzo Dog Band, an explosive live act best described as a British Mothers of Invention, albeit with tunes you could actually hum.

When the Bonzos split in the early 70s, having released five albums and scored a solitary hit with the Paul McCartney produced ‘I’m the Urban Spaceman,’ Vivian flitted from project to project, all the while battling panic attacks and increasing alcohol dependency. Perhaps the best known of these was the Gormenghast-meets-Wodehouse madness of ‘Sir Henry at Rawlinson End’ which became, variously, a radio serial, record, film, stage play and book.

The 80s were less kind to him and this, here, is the first song from ‘Crank,’ a half hour return to form broadcast on the BBC back in 1991. Typical of Stanshall, the puns come thick and fast and through a jumble of music and monologue, the silly and sublime mix with an increasing sense of disappointment. Tragically, Vivian died in a house fire in 1995, prompting the repeat of the ‘Crank’ special, this time featuring an obituary by long time friend and supporter, John Peel.

[Ed. adds: here’s Neil Innes doing ‘I’m The Urban Spaceman’ on Rutland Weekend Television.]

3:AM Asia: Dirty Laundry (published 23/07/2009)


It’s always good to note the transference of the cosplay meme to the west and SuicideGirls has more than risen to the challenge with their Comic Con round up.

The Missing Links (published )

missinglinksAn extract from The Death of Bunny Munro, Nick Cave‘s new novel. * Tom McCarthy interviewed (along with Johan Grimonprez) in the summer edition of Bidoun: “There’s a kind of beauty that terrorizes us, a kind of terror that is beautiful. After September 11, people like Stockhausen — who called it “the greatest work of art imaginable for the whole cosmos” — got into so much trouble for drawing attention to the most blatantly, glaring obvious aspect of the event, which was its aesthetic dimension”. * Whatever happened to the avant garde? * Gordon Burn 1948-2009 (Ben Myers on Burn’s Born Yesterday: The News as a Novel) * Why can’t art simply shock? (More on Dash Snow here) * Travis Jeppesen on Gilbert & George in Berlin. * Barry Gifford & Rue 89 talk Sailor & Lula. * Justin Taylor‘s Codex Seraphinianus, follow-up. * Seth on classic cartoonists & illustrators. * Bookmunch interview Patrick Neate. * Download the first issue of The Kakofonie, a new European cultural review (based in Germany and edited by John Holten) which publishes work in various languages. It includes a great piece by 3:AM‘s Karl Whitney on Georges Perec and the Rue Vilin. * The always very entertaining Jean Hannah Edelstein on Opium Magazine‘s first London Literary Death Match (which 3:AM was initially meant to take part in). * Tao Lin guest blogging over at It’s Nice That. * Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard collaborate on a Jack Kerouac project. * Jeffrey EugenidesVirgin Suicides at sweet 16. * Siouxsie and the Beeb. * On Lolita and how George Weidenfeld defied the sceptics. * Don’t touch A Moveable Feast. * Arabic title turns “gay” to “pervert”. * How to arrange your books (see also, On Arranging Books by Color) * WellMedicated ‘s 45 beautifully designed book cover picks. * Printed blogs are the future of publishing. Again. * Ridley Scott: “After 2001: A Space Odyssey, science fiction is dead.” * Couplandisms. * Tjinder Singh (of Cornershop): “The health benefits of a good tea cup are continually applauded & demoted, but I certainly feel tanned. However, due to the tonnage that I drink I’m a furry old, copper kettle myself, still longing for Lyons tearooms to return as much as vinyl records and Willie Rushton”.

Bowing to the Inevitable (published 21/07/2009)


For Richard Eoin Nash, the future lies in niche social publishing communities, over at Publishing Perspectives:

The question increasingly arises in today’s media: can publishing be saved? No. It cannot and should not. There are plenty of non-profit publishers that exist to create and distribute the un-economic content. For-profit publishing should not be saved — it should figure out new business models, ones that offer services that both readers and writers want and are happy to pay for. We cannot wait for a deus ex machina to descend.

Books earned their place in our civilization because for millennia brave entrepreneurs and innovators (Gutenberg’s name is remembered, many others are lost) ignored or overcame the cultural and legal obstacles to new reading technology thrown up by the establishment culture of the time. It’s now time for those entrepreneurs to step forth and continue the glorious democratization-by-technology of writing and reading in the Digital Age, just as they did in the analog ones before.

You can read more on his project and business model here.