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

What are you waiting for? Godot? (published 21/09/2009)


As seen on A Piece of Monologue, the Samuel Beckett leather portfolio, “modelled after a document case owned by Samuel Beckett in the 1950s”. Also available, the Thomas Mann briefcase and the Sigmund Freud eyeglass case. Strangely, no sign of a Henry Miller sheath.

ampere’s and (published )


Today’s quick lit [& alt.cult] links from around the web:

The hipster thief, Nick Antosca talks to Tao Lin

& Death of a poet, Gerald Howard says goodbye to Jim Carroll

& Rilke, “frequently vain, self-pitying, obsessive, narcissistic, snobbish, whining, arrogant, childish, demanding, lachrymose and neurotic, as well as being given to tantrums”

& Ten prison novels

& Robert Crumb‘s Book of Genesis

& Umberto Eco on the lost art of handwriting

& Writers’ Autographs

& Passport photos of famous artists

& Robert Mapplethorpe, perfection in form

[Image: Mykl Roventine]

Protest and Survive (published )

“Promo vid for Protest! – the first book on the Beat the Dust Press – label due out in October 2009. It’s a short film about a short fiction collection from “a trio of irrecuperable reprobates of the written word” – Steve Finbow, Joseph Ridgwell and Melissa Mann. This promo vid is Certificate 18 – contains scenes of violence, mentalism, alcohol abuse and wanton feminism that some viewers may find disturbing.”

This year’s Bolaño (published )


Not that I’m not enjoying the still-continuing flurry of publishing activity around the late Roberto Bolaño, but it would be remiss of me not to mention, Hans Fallada, my new favourite dead-author-in-translation (aka this year’s Bolaño). As Lee Rourke points out, Melville House have published three of Fallada’s books, Every Man Dies Alone (published by Penguin in the UK as Alone in Berlin, as reviewed by John Self), Little Man, What Now? and The Drinker, with three more on the way. From the L.A. Times:

The campaign represents something of a calculated risk for Melville House and its publishers, Dennis Loy Johnson and Valerie Merians. Although historical fiction like Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky has proved popular in recent years, there is no guarantee that Fallada’s fiction – sprawling, dark and densely observed – will appeal to modern audiences.


Johnson was first tipped off to Fallada’s writing a few years ago, by a friend, the designer Diane von Furstenberg. He tracked down a few titles, but others proved elusive; eventually, he took a trip to Germany. “Every time I’d finish one of the books,” he said, “I’d think, ‘Why is this out of print?’ I was shocked that I’d never read these books. And now we’ve got the chance to get them out there.”

3:AM Reloaded (published 20/09/2009)

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

Fiction: ‘Sound Bites’ by John Barker & ‘Nature’ by Avital Gad-Cykman

Poetry: ‘The Muse of the 21st Century’ by Maria Rezende (courtesy of 3:AM Brasil) & ‘Four Poems’ by Andrew Buchanan Jackson

Non-fiction: Travis Jeppesen on Girls Against Boys for ‘Friday I’m in Love’ & Andrew Stevens spends ‘Saturday Night at the Movies’ with Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Reviewed: A 3:AM mini-review of Jim Krusoe’s Erased & Max Dunbar on The Orwell Diaries, Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth & Iain Banks’ Transition:

There was always a clear delineation between Iain Banks’s mainstream and science fiction, but you still feel there’s a link somewhere. In his literary fiction, Banks constantly pushed at the borders of the real, exploiting the possibilities of geology, consciousness and human craftmanship to create considerable mortal marvels. From the first line of The Crow Road, when Prentice’s grandmother explodes, you are rambling with Kenneth McHoan in a Scotland of magic and wonder, looking out for Slow Children and the sound you can see. His science fiction, where Banks isn’t even bound by terrestrial physics, remains astonishing in its imaginative power.

Sadly, men are made weak by time and fate and the later Banks novels exhibited weaknesses that multiplied like bindweed. There were too many scenes of middle-aged drugtalk, political rants that in their stridency became somehow insincere, calculated setpieces of profound flirtation that would have been moving were they not so formulaic.

Banks was always a fine concept artist, but recently he has been letting the ideas do all the work, without benefit of good narrative or believable characters. Transition has been rightly hailed as a return to form.

The Missing Links (published 19/09/2009)


Jean-Philippe Toussaint interviewed in Le Monde. His new book (La Vérité sur Marie) is reviewed in Libé. * The background to Lindsay Anderson‘s If….. * Steve Aylett is good for you (BBC World Service interview). * Twitterature. * In praise of depression. * The road to recovery for Edwyn Collins. * Welcome to Word Dissolution. * Jim Carroll, the musician, and Tom Clark‘s tribute. Ben Myers also mourns the passing of Carroll. * Sam Jordison on Generation X. * David Byrne‘s perfect city. * China Mieville‘s London. * Disco Discharge. * The state of British erotica (which includes an interview with James Bridle of Bookkake). * London loves. * An interview with Tao Lin. * A literary map of San Francisco. * John Robb on post-punk revisionism. * Andy Hunter on the future of independent publishing. * Mad Men, the return. * The return of the Brutalists. * Situationist skinheads. * Stewart Home on Zanzibar Films. * Poetry from 3:AM‘s Richard Cabut. * Groping Japanese style. * How Margaret Thatcher changed pop culture. * Simon Callow on Dorian Gray. * Jonathan Ames is Bored to Death. * Nick Cave reads from David Eagleman‘s novel Sum, as recommended by Stephen Fry. * Rotten Leaves magazine. * Soft Skull buys novel off Twitter.

[Follow 3:AM on Twitter for more links.]

A Thousand Cranes Can’t Be Wrong (published )


To mark International Day of Peace on 21 September, Saatchi True Blue will present The Cry of a Thousand Cranes, an installation consisting of 1000 origami cranes by Offbeat Generation artist Matthew Coleman.

Cranes are the Japanese symbol of peace, and the work, inspired by the story of Sadako Sasaki, promotes the support of individuals, nations and governments in their efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

21-27 September, Saatchi & Saatchi. Reception Windows, 80 Charlotte Street. London W1A 1AQ.

[Pic: Andrew Gallix.]

Saturday Night at the Movies (published )

By Andrew Stevens.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot (1986) is rightly enjoyed as a found footage gem and secondary source backdrop for a much-analysed and oft-revived era. I barely need to hype it up here, so established is its cult reputation. This was the Reaganite actuality of heavy metal, the solidly blue collar weekend hedonism of prosaic Middle America, a million miles from the bleached coiffured sex acts and Jack Daniels marathons of the Sunset Strip; a place where hatchet-faced and screechy-voiced women proclaimed their desire to “jump the bones” of Judas Priest’s still firmly-closeted (outside the industry, at least) Rob Halford.

In fact, the MTV coverage of Halford’s decision to come out in 1998 possibly ranks as a companion piece to HMPL, Kurt Loder’s linked commentary between interviewing dejected Priest fans outside suburban record stores, destroyed to know that their past hero worship could now potentially be construed as at odds with their homophobic certainty, a direct challenge to their internal conception of self.

But HMPL‘s true value is not only the fact that it allowed the likes of FUBAR (2002) to follow, but the displacement between the audience’s enjoyment of innocent knowing humour and the endearing emotional attachment and passion of the fans it depicts, a quality we cannot readily identify two decades on. Mark Wahlberg had nothing on these in Rock Star (2001, though Wahlberg’s bandmate in the film, Jeff Pilson, actually played at the HMPL gig as part of opening act Dokken.)