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

3:AM Reloaded (published 27/06/2010)


What you (may have) missed on 3:AM this week:

Non-fiction: ‘Obscenity is Whatever Gives a Judge an Erection’, Charlotte Young on the Semina book launch; ‘Syntheses of Resistance & Transformation’, John-Patrick Ayson on Joseph Beuys’ I Love America.. & Harold Jaffe’s Jesus Coyote

Reviewed: Cathi Unsworth on Barry Miles’ London Calling: A Countercultural History of London since 1945; Trev HAGL on Steve Bruce’s The Best Seat in the House: A Cock Sparrer Story; Andrew Stevens on Ian Thomson’s The Dead Yard: A Story of Modern Jamaica

Interviewed: Chris Killen talks to Zachary German:

Chris Killen: Stylistically it is consistent throughout, written in a very pared-down, minimalist way – “Robert turns off the light. Robert turns on the light. (etc)” – Did you find these stylistic choices ‘trapping’ or ‘freeing’? How did you come to choose this style to write in?

Zachary German: I found that style very freeing. I am easily overwhelmed when looking at a blank Word document, and it is a lot easier if I know exactly what I’m going to write. So I can just say “This is what happens” and write that down, in a very specific format. The part I like the most is the editing I do later, where I change the word “Robert” to the word “He,” or vice versa, things like that. Having very small, specific choices seems fun.

CK: Is the character of Sam actually Tao Lin? And in Shoplifting From American Apparel, is Robert you?

ZG: Oh… it’s just a novel, Chris.

Friday I’m in Love (published 25/06/2010)

By Andrew Stevens.

The Hollies’ flat, opportunistic cover of her and Chip Taylor’s ‘I Can’t Let Go’ lacked the fat bass chords and swinging chime, while her version of The Troggs’ ‘Any Way That You Want Me’ positively stole a pensive march on tea-addled Reg Presley’s original. What is it about Evie Sands’ foot-tappers that continues to set her apart from her peers? ‘I Can’t Let Go’ later lent its signature riff to Spectrum’s amour-drenched ‘How You Satisfy Me’, round about the time Spiritualized were riding high with their debut single, the Troggs cover (which acted as a memorable interlude within the certain awkwardness of Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know). Most recently Sands has played with Caledonian indie pop mainstays BMX Bandits. Serious Drugs indeed.

“I have never read a Blue Book. I prefer books… in a yellow covers.” (published 23/06/2010)


Next Thursday, John Calder discusses a brief history of the Yellow Book. Beloved by the Aesthetic and Decadent movements, the Yellow Book contained contributions from Arnold Bennett, George Gissing, Henry James, Max Beerbohm and was associated, through Aubrey Beardsley, with Oscar Wilde, of course.

The Calder Bookshop,
London SE1
Thursday 1 July @ 7:00pm
Entry £6/£4 (Booking advisable)

3:AM Cult Hero: M. Ageyev (published )

“Instantaneous happiness on a scale I had never dreamed of before.”

Andrew Stevens on Ageyev’s 1934 classic:

That Novel with Cocaine could be ascribed to Nabokov is hilarious in itself. But such rumours were common currency when confronted with whom to credit with authorship of this soi-disant “Dostoevskain novel of ideas,” as the author concerned simply did not step forward. In any case, it was the novel’s narcotic association and reputation years after the event which led to such speculation (emanating from an Updike comparison with Nabokov’s style). Many consider the novel to be the work of Marc Levi, a Russian émigré working under a French identity, who either died in Paris in 1973 or returned to Russia only to suffer under Stalin, depending on which version you prefer to believe.

What is known is that Novel with Cocaine was published by “M. Ageyev” in Numbers, a Russian émigré journal in inter-war Paris, as “Confessions of a Russian Opium-Eater.” This immediately places the book in the De Quincey tradition of the picaresque drugs confessional, both books being mined substantially in later years, most notably by the Beats.

Further: CultureVulture‘s review of Novel with Cocaine / Novel with Cocaine in Slater Bradley’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams / New Statesman on the out-of-print Penguin edition with Will Self’s introduction / M. Ageyev is on Facebook