:: Buzzwords Archive: April 2010. Click here for the latest posts.
The Real Election (published 30/04/2010)
Underpass! (published 29/04/2010)
Can you help me occupy my brain? (published )
Cathi Unsworth will be reading (alongside some others) at the new To Hell with the Lighthouse literary night (Gavin James Bower and Evie Wyld read at the last one), which takes place at Peter Parker’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Club on Denmark Street (where The Rolling Stones recorded their first album, The Kinks did ‘You Really Got Me’ and Black Sabbath laid down ‘Paranoid’) on 10th May, with a 7.30pm start.
Adventures Close To Home (published 28/04/2010)
Will work for books (published )
We’re looking for a Fiction Reviews Editor to cover novels, novellas, chapbooks etc for 3:AM Magazine, at least four a month. Some books we would ask you to review in addition to your being able to review texts of your choice. Interested? Familiarise yourself with 3:AM, then send a brief letter of application to stomaselli at gmail dot com detailing relevant experience and a link to a review you’ve written or the text of a review you’ve written pasted in the body of the e-mail. Thank you to everyone who’s got in touch. You’ll hear back from us shortly.
3:AM Cult Hero: Albert Cossery (published )
“So much beauty in the world, so few eyes to see it.”
Andrew Gallix on Cossery:
All his life, Cossery sided with those he felt God had forgotten: petty thieves, pretty prostitutes, exploited workers and hungry vagrants. He despised materialism and eschewed the rat race. In Proud Beggars (1955), usually considered his masterpiece, a university professor finds peace of mind by becoming a bum, proving that beggars can be choosers. In The Lazy Ones (1948), a character stays in bed, out of choice, for a whole year. Another decides, on reflection, not to take a wife for fear she might disrupt his precious sleep patterns. In an early short story, the inhabitants of an impoverished neighbourhood even take up arms against all those who prevent them from snoozing in peace until midday.
For the author and his lovable rogue’s gallery, sleep, daydreams and hashish-induced reverie are endowed with mystical qualities. Idleness is more than a way of life. It offers the greatest luxury of all: time to think and therefore the chance to be fully alive, “minute by minute”. The overt message of these people whom God has forgotten (but who themselves have not forgotten God) is that paradise is not lost, but most of us are too busy to bask in “the Edenic simplicity of the world”.
More: An extract from Splendid Conspiracy (New Directions) / Cossery’s The Jokers (NYRB Classics, July 2010) / Graphic novel extract from Proud Beggars in Words Without Borders, translated by Lulu Norman / ‘A Voltaire of the Nile’, Lulu Norman’s obit of Cossery in the Independent / The Times obit / Albert Cossery’s Last Siesta in Paris
3:AM Top 5: Nik Perring (published 27/04/2010)
Nik Perring is a writer from the north west. His short stories have been published widely, including 3:AM, SmokeLong Quarterly and Word Riot. Not So Perfect, a collection of 22 short, short stories will be published by Roast Books in June. The last five songs Nik has been listening to are:
1. ‘Edward is Dedward’ – Emmy The Great
“A recent discovery courtesy of Last FM. Deceptively simple and wonderfully catchy with some of the most moving words I’ve heard in a long, long while.
2. ‘Nitrogen Pink’ – Polly Scattergood
I’ve loved Polly’s album since I bought it at the end of last year. Nitrogen Pinkss just brilliant and seems to generate a wonderful, swelling energy of its own. It speeds up a few times as well. I love that.
3. ‘Buried in Teeth’ – Mariee Sioux
About as perfect a song as you’ll find, in my humble opinion. Dreamlike and beautiful.
4. ‘We Are the Pigs’ – Suede
I’ve loved this for about fourteen years. It’s anthemic and bold and superbly crafted. Dog Man Star was, I think, the first record I loved. This particular track contains a moment of guitar perfection.
5. ‘Five Years’ – David Bowie
Another old favourite. I love that this is a story. In fact I love it so much that I wrote a story based on it as a humble sort of tribute.
And though not technically one of the last five I listened to I’ve been listening to Suede‘s ‘To The Birds’ an awful lot of late since discovering the live version from Love and Poison is up on Youtube. I think it’s better than the one on the record because of Brett’s whooping at the end.
<< Rewind: Mark Amerika (published 26/04/2010)
When you say that postmodernism was killed by the popular media engine, do you mean that it was absorbed into mainstream culture ?
What happened is that there was this palette of writerly effects, artistic effects that were employed by writers and artists which, by employing them, would maybe deconstruct some of the normalcy that came with mainstream culture. Of course it took no time at all before mainstream culture looked at these practices and devices and put them to its own use so that it kind of neutralized their potential effect.
Could you give us an example?
In music, it happened with Sub Pop. In film you can look at the radical works of someone like Stan Brakhage who did scratch films in the sixties. You look at what he did and then you see that those are now inserted arbitrarily into any type of MTV music video. And with writing, the sort of self-reflexive metafictions of the sixties and seventies that were at that time considered pretty radical, yet part of a long tradition that goes back to Cervantes and Sterne.
Look at a TV show like Seinfeld, the writing there, the whole show is about itself, it’s about nothing and it’s about itself. It’s probably more like Beckett than any novel that can be written nowadays because it’s already been done, nobody can write a novel like Beckett anymore, not even Beckett, nobody would try to, because it would be ridiculous, and yet you can see its effect. I’m not saying that the writers of Seinfeld were noticeably influenced by reading Beckett, I’m just saying that the influence of that kind of writing is so absorbed into the culture that we don’t even recognize its effects.