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.
SUNDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 1–2PM ‘There is a certain economy to relationships, one reflected in the language that often surrounds talking about them. Lets call it emonomics. People talk about “investing” in relationships, cutting their losses, also the word “value” (multifaceted as it is) features heavily in all sorts of self-helpish communications. When people consider their […]
Benjamin Myers has made a short film to accompany his new novel Turning Blue. Described by author Cathi Unsworth as “a queasily compulsive evocation of a wild and brutal Yorkshire landscape, informed and haunted in equal measure by the shades of Jimmy Savile and his monstrous deeds and the East Riding’s lost boy of crime […]
Rough Trade East, London E1 Wednesday September 21, 7:00pm In support of his forthcoming memoir, Playing The Bass With Three Hands, published by Faber & Faber on September 1st, author Will Carruthers will be appearing in conversation about his chequered career, which has frequently veered from the sublime to the ridiculous and rarely lacking a […]
George DuBose Madonna XI George DuBose, b 1951, Morocco. Lives and works in Cologne. Photographer and graphic designer. George DuBose has photographed and designed more than 300 album and single covers for artists such as The Ramones, Kid Creole and The Coconuts, XCLAN, RunDMC and Melissa Etheridge. More than 50 projects he was involved in […]