Writer, artist and Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley has died of a suspected heroin overdose, just days after after a play based on his memoir opened in London. As Toby Young says, “I’ve met a few Soho characters in my day and most of them were drunken bores. Not Sebastian.” He continues:
“He styled himself an artist, but his true genius was for conversation. Aphorisms and one-liners came pouring out of his mouth like gusts of fresh air, blowing away received wisdom and herd opinion like so many cobwebs. He was steeped in the works of Oscar Wilde, but could just as easily quote Balzac or Flaubert. I never spent an evening with him without having to write down something he’d said immediately afterwards.”
Asked by 3:AM‘s Sophie Parkin as to why Dandy in the Underworld couldn’t have a happy ending, Horsley replied, “Because anything that consoles is fake. You see, the good ended happily, and the bad unhappily, that is what fiction means.”
Today as people everywhere are raising a glass in honor of Bloomsday, Joshua Cohen traces the heirs of Joyce’s Ulysses, from Wales to Russia to Turkey to Argentina:
I wrote a book called Witz. It’s capacious (800 pages). It’s complex (puns in a dozen languages: fun in a daze of longuages). And it’s about a Wandering Jew – the Last Jew in the world.
A friend of my father called after having tried a page to say, “It’s like the Jewish Ulysses.” That wasn’t a compliment. Problem is, James Joyce‘s Ulysses is already the Jewish Ulysses; featuring, as it does, Leopold Bloom – that Dubliner born Jewish, raised Protestant, converted to Catholicism to marry Marion “Molly” née Tweedy, who at the end of the novel says “Yes” a lot. That’s what I said to my father’s friend. “Yes,” I said, “yes.”
That wasn’t a compliment either: I knew he wouldn’t get the reference. I began wondering. If Ulysses was the Jewish Ulysses – and the Irish Ulysses, too, one would think – shouldn’t other cultures have Ulyssi of their own? Having worked as a weekly book reviewer, I came across marketese like this all the time: “Known in its nation of origin as the Icelandic Ulysses” – publicity talk for “a difficult but ultimately rewarding novel by a dead man from Reykjavik.” In other words, the summa of a culture.
The best work of art, in any medium, that I’ve come across this year is Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s film Zidane. Almost exclusively following Zizou through an entire football game – a game during most of which he’s not really ‘doing’ much other than meandering one way and another or indulging his nervous tick of scraping the top of his foot against the grass – it’s a brilliant disquisition on time, event-space, mediation, consciousness and, of course, repetition. During half-time we pan out from the stadium to find out what else is going on in the world during the game, and see, among footage of various trade pacts being signed, space missions being launched and so on, the inevitable image of a roadside bomb in Iraq’s aftermath – and one of the blood-soaked, screaming victims is wearing a Zidane t-shirt. I think it’s a major masterpiece.
For a limited time, 3:AM is pleased to welcome submissions of fiction and prose for online publication.
The editors share a particular interest in writing that is linguistically and formally experimental. We value the bold, the considered and the deft.
The window for submissions begins today March 21st 2017 and will remain open for four weeks: the closing date for submissions is April 21st 2017 (GMT). Any work sent after midnight on this date will not be considered.
Filmmaker Beth B is crowdfunding her documentary on NYC noise institution (and sometime 3:AM contributor) Lydia Lunch via Kickstarter: Ultimately, the film will frame Lunch’s music and performance through the lens of the various philosophical themes that have obsessed her for years: sex, violence, drugs, deviance, porn, feminism, misogyny, lust and love…a rule breaker not […]
The 2nd English PEN Modern Literature Festival: 30 writers, poets, novelists, playwrights and artists come together to continue English PEN’s relationship with innovative contemporary literature over one extraordinary day. The writers will present brand new poetry, text, reportage & performance, each celebrating and evidencing the struggle of a fellow writer from around the world, currently […]
17th of March to 30th of April 2017 WE ARE CUTS, a Soho institution since 1984, at 33A Dean St, proudly presents LES P’TITES FEMMES DE SOHO THE PERFECT ESCAPADE an art show by Anne Pigalle We live in a time where the ruling elite and the landowners, who own the urban spaces, and only […]