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

The new word for modern (published 23/08/2009)


Following launches in Berlin and Oslo, Broken Dimanche Press are throwing a party exhibit for The Kakofonie in Dublin this Tuesday (25 August).

Featuring work by artists, writers, musicians and architects from over seven countries [including 3:AM‘s Karl Whitney], The Kakofonie strives to overcome the linguistic, artistic and geographical boundaries that often surround traditional literary revues.

In this issue we have a whole host of work in English, Italian and German, as well as drawings, polemics, poetry and text art and even one of Charlie Stadtlander’s original crosswords created especially for The Kakofonie, totalising our feuilleton status in case our new readers were in any doubt.

Vernissage 001.3: Tuesday August 25, 19 – 22h
Pygmalion, South William Street, Dublin 2

3:AM Reloaded (published )

Arthur Morrison

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

Fiction: ‘The Wood Tick’ by Adam Graupe

Reviewed: Andrew Coates on David Szalay’s The Innocent, Richard Marshall on Laura Oldfield Ford’s Savage Messiah zine, Max Dunbar on Shahriar Mandanipour’s Censoring an Iranian Love Story & John Houghton on Arthur Morrison’s The Child of the Jago of 1896 and its contemporary relevance:

The experience of reading the book today, in the papyrically fragile pages of the 1946 Penguin edition, is to be transported back to a dead age, and yet be struck by how pitifully little our collective ability to describe and discuss life in poor places has moved on from the assumptions and prejudices of Morrison’s day.

Like many fact-based but fictionalised accounts of Victorian poverty, there is a dual sentimentality at work in The Child of the Jago. Morrison’s portrayal of his central characters is essentially sympathetic. Young Dicky learns very quickly that the only way to survive is to “spare nobody and stop at nothing”. Yet he is constantly troubled by the harm his thieving causes others, as symbolised by the Ropers’ stolen clock, which is given an almost Freudian resonance. His attempt to escape the Jago with a legit job, in which he takes great pride, is thwarted not by any personal defect but by the seemingly endless hunger of the slum to drag its children back into its maw.

In other passages, Morrison’s descriptions of drunken courtyard brawls, promiscuous family arrangements and pitched mob battles serve a more salacious purpose. The characters who are not the focus of the author’s pity are much more venal than the just-about-salvageable Perrots. As Orwell put it in his essay on Charles Dickens, the heroes are saved, but the author “delights in describing scenes in which the “dregs” of the population behave with atrocious bestiality” and the general description of slum life gives “the impression of whole submerged populations whom he regards as being beyond the pale”.

Through this second descriptive method, which plays on a very different emotional register, Morrison like Dickens give his readers a vicarious thrill and allows them to sidestep any moral responsibility. If only these people would stop stabbing and fucking each other, then we could help them.

The Missing Links (published 21/08/2009)

peterdribendogErnest Hemingway‘s drinkable feast: Most tributes to Hemingway cite his vastly influential writing, but his globe-trotting adventurousness also made him a trailblazer when it came to cocktails. * Inglourious Basterds: World War II according to Tarantino (see also, the 10 most historically inaccurate movies) * Rashomon the movie, diagrammed in an attempt to figure it all out (via London Review Blog) * The Collagist * Huxley vs. Orwell (via @kenbaumann) * Mick Sacks in conversation with Dan Clowes: “I’ve been called everything from a “graphic novelist” to a “comic-strip novelist” to just a “cartoonist.” I’ve always preferred “cartoonist,” because that seems the least obnoxious. I used to tell people I was a “comic-book artist,” but they’d look at me as if I’d just stepped in dog shit and walked across their Oriental rug. I never knew what to call myself, but I was always opposed to the whole “graphic novelist” label. To me, it just seemed like a scam. I always felt that people would say, “Wait a minute! This is just a comic book!” But now, I’ve given up.” * Pádraig Ó Méalóid asks 16 comics professionals (including Neil Gaiman, Bryan Talbot, Dave McKean) the question, “What’s your opinion of the term ‘Graphic Novel’?” * “Is it time to burn this book?” Slate on Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451, the comic * The trailer for Astro Boy * Two takes on Nelson Algren‘s Entrapment & Other Writings (see also, An American Nightmare: The US versus Nelson Algren by 3:AM‘s Darran Anderson) * Steve Almond‘s Bad Poetry Corner, a wonderfully bad poem written by Almond, his younger self or another bad poet * Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s mini-renaissance: Allen Ginsberg gave me an early version to read, it was a manuscript that was more or less gathered up from under the bed and the pages shuffled together, and that was considered a great breakthrough as a literary technique. The junkie mentality was a death consciousness, a consciousness totally ridden with death and evil and I just didn’t see any reason to disseminate that consciousness. So we didn’t publish Naked Lunch and thereby didn’t become millionaires. I didn’t have the benefit of knowing that [William] Burroughs would develop into a great writer.” (via @ohellwithemma) * Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard talk about their Jack Kerouac project * Kenneth Cox, founding member of Leeds Surrealist Group, on Ghérasim Luca‘s The Passive Vampire * Martin Amis, the “the oldest enfant terrible in town”? * George Walden on David Peace: “Like so much of our officially proclaimed Renaissance, Peace’s originality is embarrassingly passé. Capital letters screaming at you? Where do you start? Wyndham Lewis in Blast and Hubert Selby Jr in Last Exit to Brooklyn come to mind at random. Textual fooling around, in oCcULT mode? Well, Apollinaire wrote in circles a century ago, when it was innovative, then there was Raymond Queneau. Lines crossed out? Done two centuries ago, in Tristram Shandy. Reading Peace can be dispiritingly like watching a naughty YBA lady putting fried eggs on her tits in the belief that it puts her up there with Tristan Tzara. Sad really, all the more because when Peace is not playing at being quirky and original, his work can be much more interesting than that of the YBAs. (via @StuartEvers) * Follow 3:AM on Twitter for more links.

Rip It Up & Start Again (published )


As part of the Edinburgh Book Fringe, Word Power will be hosting a reading (this Saturday at 4 o’clock) by Jenni Fagan (who will be launching her new chapbook Urchin Belle) and the renowned writer, activist and troublemaker Kevin Williamson (In a Room Darkened, Rebel Inc.).

They will be joined by 3:AM‘s Poetry Editor Darran Anderson who will be reading from his forthcoming books Tesla’s Ghost and The Ship is Sinking, as well as discussing poetry from the ditch from Rimbaud to 3:AM.

It’s free and there will be drink (first come, first served).

For the Book Fringe’s other upcoming events (including Edwyn Collins and Tom Leonard), check out the full listings here.

All the way from go to stop (published 20/08/2009)


There’s now a rather natty site for Max Décharné’s expanded and reissued Straight From The Fridge, Dad, his dictionary of hipster slang gleaned from all manner of pulp novels and exploitation flicks (on No Exit Press). Cathi Unsworth will be interviewing the louche lexicographer for 3:AM in due course.

Like duh (published )


The Daily Mirror have this week rendered their tacky gossip franchise 3am (no relation) into a 24/7 news operation. Um, haven’t we been here before?

Anyhow, next week at 3:AM:

* Robert McCrum to take over from Kerry Katona Iceland ads role?
* Gruesome twosome: Martin Amis and Isabel Fonseca
* Tom McCarthy’s Boujis escapades with Jordan
* Zadie Smith in THAT dress
* Is Stewart Home Belle de Jour?