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.
27 May 2016 6:00 pm | Studio | ICA Pierre Guyotat has been a unique figure in art and writing over the past 50 years, inspiring innumerable artists, film-makers, writers and choreographers. Foucault, Pasolini, Genet, Barthes, Derrida and many others lauded his work in the 1960s and 70s, and protested against its governmental censorship in […]
The Removals, the directorial debut of 3:AM contributor Nicholas Rombes (author of the brilliant novel, The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing), premieres on May 4. The movie, which tracks two agents as they try to undermine and escape the ideological confines of total media, was produced by the book publisher Two Dollar Radio. It’s part […]
Bertie Marshall‘s new novella, From Sleepwalking to Sleepwalking, is now available. It is part of Publication Studio’s Fellow Travelers series, which “extends the pioneering work of Paris-based Olympia Press’s Traveller’s Companion series of the 1950s and 60s” by presenting new works that have been “effectively ‘censored’ by the market”. You’ll find pictures from the launch […]
Joanna Demers on drone music. * Esmé Weijun Wang: “In deciding to keep certain parts of my book in untranslated Chinese, I was making a commitment to including some readers and likely excluding most others; I was also making a commitment to the possibility of being unintelligible”. * Can an unfinished work of art be […]
Becoming Marianne Moore: * John Berryman: a poet of deep unease. * Stéphane Mallarmé‘s terrorism of politeness. * Tony Conrad RIP. * Tony Conrad: “For one piece, he cooked celluloid in a pan and ‘projected’ the film by hurling the contents at a wall. It still wasn’t far enough”. * Tony Conrad obit in frieze. […]