:: Buzzwords Archive: May 2012. Click here for the latest posts.

Self-employed urbanists (published 22/05/2012)


To call a city a slough of despond, or a great wen, or a cesspool, is to give it a functional identity, to fix it in the mind as surely as Bradley Headstone is fixed in Dickens’s novel. The city, like the people in it, lends itself to this sort of moral abstraction. Oddly enough, cities, for all their big-ness and complexity, get tagged with hard-edged images much more readily than small towns. What mental picture is conjured by, say, Chicago or Sheffield? Isn’t it more definite, more dominant, than that of Banbury? … One might add that, in England, the single feature of the city which has adhered most strongly to writers’ minds is its dirt, and dirt is one of the few objects whose moral connotation is as definite and public as its physical characteristics. The presence of dirt provides us with the elusive key we have been seeking, and the English have been quick to seize on dirt as the single defining quality of the big city.

— Jonathan Raban, Soft City (1974)

‘One Day in the City’, the UCL Festival of London and Literature, takes place on June 15 (tickets available here).

The line up includes Iain Sinclair, Chris Petit and Will Self.

The Missing Links (published 21/05/2012)


Unprinting. * Tom McCarthy and Ben Marcus at the Horse Hospital in London on 7 June. * Ten short films by Stewart Home from the 80s and 90s. * The making of The Rings of Saturn. * Walter Gropius on Utopianism (MP3). * Alain Badiou: a life in writing. * Why Alain Badiou stopped voting. * Five works of theory you should consider reading. * The beginner’s guide to Deleuze. * Boris Groys: under the gaze of theory. * Mitchelmore reviews Gabriel Josipovici‘s The Story of a Moment. * McKenzie Wark interviewed. * A tumblr devoted to writers’ routines. * Ten years without Joe Strummer. * Sam Jordison on Hemingway in Paris. * Silver Jubilee Day (The Times). * The Paris launch of Her Royal Majesty 12. * Rosy Lamb paints Harriet Alida Lye (video by Sam Gordon). * Malcolm McLaren‘s cowboys t-shirt: mystery solved. * The Washington D.C. punk revolution. * Patti Smith in Warhol‘s Interview magazine, October 1973. * A necessarily unfinishable novel. * End of Oulipo, The? * Ben Myers on A Clockwork Orange. * Ben (now Benjamin) Myers interviewed. * A Death in Mexico by Jonathan Woods (trailer). * Donna Summer R.I.P. * Christiana Spens’s daily artworks. * The Smiths dub style. * Epic tea time with Alan Rickman. * Akotombo‘s new album, False Positives. * A new Banksy in London. * Banksy artwork destroyed by builder. * Children’s TV shows on the BBC (in pictures). * Jerry Nolan‘s Rolling Stone ad, 1969. * Alice Bag profile. * London timelapse. * George Steiner podcast. * An interview with David Arnoff about his punk/post-punk era photographs. * On the new Clarice Lispector translations. * Oldest porn in history? * 1950s Calendar Girls. * Danny Byrne reviews Karl Knausgaard (My Struggle). * John Cheever reading “The Swimmer,” 1977. * Roxy Music, live at the BBC, 1972. * René Clair‘s Paris qui dort, 1925. * An interview with Lars Iyer. * Factory Records exhibition. * Alain de Botton: in defence of self-help books. * Bukowski woodcut. * An introduction to phenomenology. * The King’s Road music and fashion trail. * The Fitzgeralds in Hollywood. * Prince Philip’s top 10 gaffes. * Ed Piskor‘s Wizzywig (book trailer). * Dennis Hopper and Iggy Pop get their tits out. * Classical nudes get a 21st century makeover (see top pic). * The mermaids of Florida (see other pic).

3:AM In the Mix: Stanley Invites You for a Quick Refreshment. (published 19/05/2012)


A touch of the Decemberists and an even stronger nod in the direction of Neil Hannon‘s melodramatic, elegant pop : Scottish indie rockers Stanley are one of the very good surprises I found in my inbox in the past few months. Their Debut album is out and promising.

Check out their video, for single “Sandwiches and Tea” and their track “Join Hands” on their Soundcloud.