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.
Red Gallery 3 Rivington Street London EC2A 3DT August 18-28 A photography exhibition documenting the five years Chris Low spent immersed in Tokyo’s underground punk scene: its faces and places, bands and fans. Having played for a number of punk bands popular in Japan Chris was welcomed into the thriving Tokyo punk community and was accorded […]
By Nick Ashton. Whilst most of Andy Blade’s peers have disappeared up their own backsides by now, he continues to defy expectation, releasing music that is far more edgy and vital than anything Morrissey/Lydon/Weller/Jones/Strummer et al, have ever produced. Blade’s command over an audience — large or small (as is the case tonight) — comes […]
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 […]