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

Readymades & book shreddings (published 24/03/2010)

The Shoreditch Shredding Machine Massacre 2: Ridley Road Variation,
Stewart Home @ FormContent,
51– 63 Ridley Road, London E8 2NP
Thursday 25 March
6-9pm / Free
Background here.

ampere’s and (published )


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

Striking new Edgar Allan Poe collection by Eric Mongeon

& Literary London on your iPhone

& Bob Dylan, messiah or escape artist? [via]

& For Further Information, a micro-press for variable conditions [via]

& Killer Covers [via]

& Ten parallels between South Park‘s Eric Cartman & Ambrose Bierce‘s The Devil’s Dictionary

[Image: ‘Artist & Mirror I’ by Eric Gill]

3:AM Top 5: Dan Rhodes (published 23/03/2010)


Five books that loomed large while I was writing Little Hands Clapping

1. The Young Visiters by Daisy Ashford.
Whenever I’m writing a book I reach a point where I can’t understand why anybody would want to read about a bunch of imaginary people doing make-believe things. The whole exercise seems like a great big waste of time, and to get over this I return to my favourite fiction, to remind myself that there is a point to it. One book I always reach for is The Young Visiters. It’s just perfect.

2. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.
The prose is terrible. The characters are cardboard. Everything that happens is preposterous. But in spite of all that it’s a page turner of the highest order, and I would so much rather read something that made me want to read on than something that ticks all the ‘literary’ boxes but is a thankless trudge. It was tragic that people took it seriously though — it’s Scooby Doo for grown-ups. This is entertainment, a dirty word in some houses, but not mine. I had no hesitation in chucking a load of action and plot in Little Hands Clapping, alongside the more serious stuff.

3. Rendezvous In Black by Cornell Woolrich.
Woolrich’s output is a mixed bag, but his best work is top quality suspense. I read him a lot while writing Little Hands Clapping, and I think he fed into the book. His speciality is having an ordinary Joe haplessly stumble into a situation that results in their life spiralling out of control. Rendezvous in Black, from 1948, is as good a starting point as any, not least because the main character is called Johnny Marr, and at one point he has a fight with a man called Morrissey.

4. The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe.
Like Little Hands Clapping, this is a German suicide novel. I’d read this in 1998 and 1999, and deliberately didn’t return to it until after I’d signed off the book. It’s every bit as wonderful as I remembered, and on reading it back I realised I had made what must be subconscious nods to it — a sunny and attractive character called Lotte, the name Klopstock… These look like deliberate, thought-through references, but they aren’t. Go figure.

5. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan.
Sometimes it helps to read a book that is relentlessly terrible. It’s energising to have something to fight against, and knowing you aren’t the worst writer in the world can lift the spirits. This book is a pile of dog’s mess. The ‘themes’ aren’t so much spoon-fed to the reader as bellowed at them with a loud hailer, the characters are dull people dismally written, their world is devoid of even the possibility of humour, and don’t get me started on the spunking scene… or the ending, for that matter — the main character’s life turns out so unsatisfactory that he ends up owning only a share of a house in France, unlike McEwan, who owns a whole house in France. Holy smoke this is a bad read. But what really makes me angry isn’t so much the book itself, it’s the way the literary establishment queued up to kiss its dreary arse. “Oh Florence.” “Oh Edward.” This book is the enemy.

[Further: Dan’s 2006 Top 5 + 3:AM‘s 2003 and 2007 interviews with Mr Rhodes + Pic: Dan at 3:AM‘s 2003 Xmas bash at the Aquarium Gallery + Little Hands Clapping recently won the 2010 EM Forster Award]

ampere’s and (published )


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

James Campbell on The Letters of Sylvia Beach

& Barry Mileslife in books

& An Otto Dix retrospective

& Twin Peaks 20 years on

& The Redactive Poetry Project [via]

& Atención, on numbers stations

[Image: Swimming Scientifically Taught / via]

ampere’s and (published 22/03/2010)


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

Will Self on Bulgakov‘s The White Guard

& Myna Classics, introducing “forgotten gems of English literature to an otherwise unsuspecting public.” [via]

& Cy Fox’s Wyndham Lewis collection

& The story of O in design

& Huffington Post interview Bookkake‘s James Bridle

[Image: R. Crumb’s “Fuck” wallet]

The Missing Links (published 21/03/2010)


Morrissey to Linder: “I shall love you till that final stretch of sand that the sea never quite reaches is finally swathed by crashing waves. Or, perhaps longer . . . if there’s time.” Linder: “[Y]ou and Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley and others were so very, very smart. All finding different ways of saying, ‘Yes, but. . . .’ It had less to do with talent than with genius — musicians and singers, but with the minds and eyes of novelists”. * Fire up the Quattro. * Semiospectacle. * Free 60s soul podcasts. * The Ghostsigns archive. * Unseen images of a lost London. * Hop-picking in Kent (video, 1929). * Some of Ken Russell‘s pictures from the 50s. * The Terry Richardson controversy. * Dirty Modern Scoundrel. * Lucian Freud at Pompidou. * Translated Fiction blog. * The England Writers team. * Alex Chilton RIP. * Carol Clerk RIP. * Oi oi oi! * Rose Tremain: publish less. * Bill Drummond on Belfast. * Antique typewriters. * Urban explorers. * The disgrace of British universities. * What makes a bad book bad?. * Carol Ann Duffy‘s poem for Beckham. * Publishing the unpublishable. * Umbrella Factory. * Fiction: short is sweet. * Earthquakes: authenticity and reproduction. * Six simple tips for writing a literary manifesto. * A homage to American Psycho. * The Orange Prize longlist. * The future of publishing (video). * iPad: UK publishers sceptical. * Kim Fowley: stupidity is an art form. * The Runaways‘ fashion legacy. More here.

3:AM Reloaded (published )


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

Fiction: ‘Herd’ by David E. Oprava

Reviewed: Max Dunbar on John G Hall’s Bang!, Jennifer Burns’ Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right & Glenn Fitzpatrick’s Arts and Mines: From Hell and Beyond, A Personal Odyssey

Non-fiction: Léo Malet is 3:AM‘s Cult Hero, Andrew Stevens spends Saturday Night at the Movies with London Kills Me, ‘Throwing Shadows on a Wall’, Aaron Lake Smith on the internet & permanence

Interviewed: Five questions for Alan Kelly, Karl Whitney talks to The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps author Eric Hazan:

The English subtitle, I’m not sure I like it so much, because it looks backward, like a historical guide, which the book is not – at least, I didn’t want it to be that. I don’t know if I succeeded. But walking and the city is not a new story, but it’s not such an old story either. It begins at the end of the 18th Century with Rousseau, with Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, with Sébastien Mercier. Before, of course there were people who walked in the city, but the city was not the subject of literature, of writing. There were no guides. There were excellent historical books on Paris since a very very long time [ago]. But even in novels which are located in Paris, there was almost nothing on the city itself. It was not a subject, until the end of the 18th century. Since then, yes, of course: every book which is located in Paris has many figures walking in the city; it’s become completely usual.