:: Buzzwords Archive: February 2010. Click here for the latest posts.

The Missing Links (published 28/02/2010)

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Viv Albertine on life after The Slits. * Michel Houellebecq and “depressive realism”. * A documentary on the Situationist International. * Pardon My French. * The TLS goes punk. * Zadie Smith review. * The Runaways movie (trailer). * The death wish at the heart of fiction for teenagers. * Feltham Made Him. * Derek Jarman‘s In the Shadow of the Sun (1980, with music by Throbbing Gristle). * 60 Writers / 60 Places. * Simon Critchley on Terence Malick‘s work and on Beckett‘s only film. * Martin Amis accused of “social autism” (sic.). * No bad time to be a writer. * Gavin James Bower‘s rules for writers. * A guide to online fiction. * John Robb on Mott The Hoople. * Sam Jordison on the joys of browsing bookshops. * A new Ben Greenman story. * Philippe Garrel‘s Le Révélateur (1968). * Colin Ward‘s Guardian obituary. * On Barthes‘s Mythologies (via). * The New York Times on Macmillan’s DynamicBooks. * Iggy Pop on writing. * Pictures of London from the 50s to the 80s. * Will Self on conspiracy theories. * Debord‘s “Exercise in Psychogeography“. * Marianne Faithfull on William Burroughs (from 2004). * The new Joshua Cohen. * (We Are) Performance. * Writing advice: the Best Of. * Motorway Services Online. * Horror fiction and sexism. * London Transport films. * A review of the Billy Childish exhibition. * Stuart Evers on the great literary walk. * Public Image Limited begin their US tour. * Famous literary drunks and addicts. * The first ever film version of Alice in Wonderland (1903), * The unlikely life & sudden death of the eXile, Russia’s angriest newspaper (Mark AmesGoing Postal reviewed). * James Frey is John Twelve Hawks? * Zach Galifianakis & John Wray talk Lowboy. * Alan Kelly on the work of Poppy Z. Brite. * Paper Darts magazine. * Justin Taylor on the Bat Segundo Show.

3:AM Reloaded (published )

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

3:PM Magazine: ‘Stuff -A Tale For Children’ by Ewan Morrison

Fiction: ‘Two Flash Fictions’ by Scott Garson

Poetry: ‘Three Poems’ by Jacob McArthur Mooney, Nigar Hasan-Zadeh in Maintenant, SJ Fowler’s series on contemporary European poets, ‘Two Poems’ by Nigar Hasan-Zadeh

Non-fiction: J.G. Ballard is 3:AM‘s Cult Hero

Reviewed: Nick Garrard on Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City, Max Dunbar on Roy Mayall’s Dear Granny Smith, Marc Headley’s Blown for Good & Patti Smith’s Just Kids:

The opening line of Patti Smith’s Horses – ‘Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine’ – still retains its power to tighten the blood. For me the record is about being sixteen, sitting by the window of an attic bedroom in a town I wanted to leave, listening to Smith’s savage vocal coming through on a shitty hifi and one dodgy speaker, ribbons turning on the dayglo green cassette with its handwritten label. The album filled me with passion and purpose every time I heard it. I couldn’t listen to ‘Birdland’ without feeling like I was actually there; and at sixteen I had no idea where Birdland was.

Autobiographies are notoriously self-serving, providing an opportunity for public figures to rake up old grudges and settle arguments of no value or interest to anyone but the author and their past and present intimates. (Think Alan Partridge: ‘Needless to say, I had the last laugh.’) Smith’s book is a fine corrective. On a July day in 1967, the twenty-one year old Patti Smith left her dying New Jersey town and got the Broadway bus to Philadelphia. The fare to NYC had almost doubled since her last visit. Thinking of calling home, Smith went into a phone box, where she found a mislaid purse containing more than enough to cover her journey. Just Kids is full of moments like this; flashes of coincidence and deus ex machina that no writer would dare use in fiction, but that frequently obtain in real life.

3:AM Cult Hero: J.G. Ballard (published 27/02/2010)

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“When in doubt, quote Ballard.”

Nicholas Royle on Ballard’s distinctive prose:

The buildings and infrastructure are as important as, if not more important than, the cast of characters. The settings – the M25 and its miniature familiar, the Brooklands race track; the glowing dome of the Metro-Centre itself; Sangster’s school; Julia Greenwood’s hospital – are imprinted on the mind as much by constant repetition of their appearance and qualities as by the author’s use of active verbs when referring to them: “The Metro-Centre withdrew behind me…”, “Giant floes of black concrete emerged from the darkness”. Inanimate objects are described in ways that can make them seem more alive than the characters observing them: “Eddies of scum circled aimlessly, exhausted by the attempt…”

Ballard’s satire is grimly funny. It makes you align your facial muscles in something closer to a grimace than a smile. In one of two jibes at Auntie, we are told that the Metro-Centre’s cable channel has ratings higher than those for BBC2. (Ballard’s most recent exposure on terrestrial TV was as the subject of ITV’s South Bank Show.)

For fans of Ballard, Kingdom Come is a rich source of pleasure from page one. His distinctive prose immediately sets up expectations of a particular kind of content. Ballard has gone through the phase of having the adjective that describes his own work applied to that of other writers, so that now it is used by reviewers tackling new work by Ballard himself. By holding back most of his work from publication during his lifetime, Kafka managed never to be saddled with the adjective Kafkaesque while he was alive. Ballard’s work, however, is increasingly described as Ballardian.

More: Ballardian / V.Vale‘s tribute to Ballard / Jonathan Lethem on the “poet of desolate Landscapes” / Spike Magazine‘s “Extreme Metaphor: A Crash Course In The Fiction Of JG Ballard” / Crash at the Gagosian Gallery & Iain Sinclair on the exhibition

ampere’s and (published 26/02/2010)

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

Are “literary untouchables” any cop?

& James Joyce‘s perverted commas

& Sex at the museum, swingers in Vienna art hall [via @artkrush]

& Hamlet would have ended much differently if Ophelia had a sassy gay friend

& No dustjackets required, Peter Robbins on the new trend for decorative boards

& Man’s inhumanity to man, Aleksandar Hemon‘s 5 favourite books [via @Dalkey_Archive]

& Phase action, Steve Reich interviewed

[Image: Aquirax Uno]

Stuff (published 24/02/2010)

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When the box of stuff arrived in the huge grey palace of the central committee, the officials prodded and sniffed the contents, before passing it on, perplexed, to the scientists. In air-tight rooms with reinforced glass windows, the stuff was burned, frozen, melted, cut, blended, squashed and exploded with careful measurements being taken. As the scientists gathered their results, they became afraid. So did the central committee as they read the report. They had no choice but to present their findings to the glorious leader — a big old man with a deep voice and grey hair from the burden of ruling the country all his life. ‘What?’ he raged, ‘a thing of no use, it is not possible!’

Ewan Morrison, the celebrated author of Ménage and other novels, showcases his first short story for children in 3:PM Magazine. “Stuff” is an allegory full of humour and scathing satire — think Brothers Grimm meet George Orwell. The author is interviewed in 3:AM here.

Totality for the Tots (published )

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Hip-lit for cyberkids sounds really corny, I know, but you get my drift. What we want to do with 3:PM Magazine — which we launched this week — is find out if authors who usually write for adults can express themselves fully when addressing a younger, pre-teen audience. We are also interested in seeing if experimental literary techniques can transfer successfully to fiction for children: who’s going to write the first nouveau roman for kids? Apart from that, we intend to ask writers what children’s books still influence their work (see Stuart Evers‘s essay on the Bumper Book of Football Stories) and develop the site’s visual side, so any illustrators willing to work for love, please contact us. Never mind Harry Potter, the revolution starts here.

ampere’s and (published )

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

The staggering work of Publishing Genius, a look at the US indie publisher

& Casanova’s diaries, coming to Paris next year

& Lee Rourke interviews Jonathan Lethem

& Slate‘s audio book club on Don DeLillo‘s White Noise

& Matthew Battles on Robert Darnton‘s The Case for Books

& The Jazz Loft Project Radio Series

& Dazed talk The Night of Pan with Brian Butler

[Image: Caustic Cover Critic on Floc'h]

Viva Fitzrovia (published )

A film by Paolo Seddazari:

Like many Londoners, I felt a sense of loss and outrage on passing the site of the Middlesex Hospital. A building that once dominated the skyline raised to the ground. Walking a little bit further I passed the offices of the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association. In their window I saw they had a petition going — towards property developers Candy & Candy, who planned to build luxury flats on Ground Zero called…Noho Square.

A sense of outrage welled up inside of me. It was then and there that I decided to make the short film Viva Fitzrovia as audio-visual support for this petition. The subsequent property crash led to Candy & Candy selling off their interest in the site. So the petition then became redundant, but not the sentiments of my proposed film — to highlight the threats to our heritage posed by corporate culture and to celebrate the area of London that we like to call Fitzrovia.