William Faulkner, 1956: “The writer’s only responsibility is to his art”. * Fiona Shaw and Simon Critchley talk about nothing. * All hail The Organist. * An interview with Christine Schutt: “The trick I’ve employed in the last five years is to have characters chatter away and then in the next draft take out every other line. Oddly enough, the speech has more life, more surprise”. And also: “Again, a lesson from Gordon Lish, whose method is to write one sentence strong enough to live by, and then to query this same sentence for its most powerful or interesting or provocative word. In the next sentence you either embrace the word or reject that same term, and so then you move on, sentence by sentence”. * The consecution of Gordon Lish. * A review of Gary Lutz‘s extraordinary Divorcer. * New issue of [out of nothing]. * Nicholas Rombes on Zero Dark Thirty. * Alien phenomenology. * B. S. Johnson on video. * Deborah Harry wrestling on stage, 1983. * Deborah Levy‘s cultural highlights. * Stardust: “Whether the human race spreads to the stars, or we remain on Earth and the crust of our planet is blasted away into space when the Sun swells into a red giant…either way, our supernovae-forged atoms will be cast back out into the galaxy that created them. Some may not find comfort in that, but there is still a remarkable poetry in it”. * Lars Iyer: “For me, what writers up until the period of late modernism could rely upon was the prestige implicit in the idea of literature. What contemporary writers, in my view, need to contend with, is the marginality of literature within our culture. Kafka did not believe in religion but he could still believe in art. That same belief in art today, if not grotesque, is based upon a great capacity for denial”. * Lee Rourke: “Why is everyone flagrantly writing in cafés?” * Six rooms for Enrique Vila-Matas. * Susana Medina‘s wonderful Red Tales is reviewed here. * Sheila Heti: “The problem with a lot of contemporary novels is that you feel they don’t know why they’re making up a story. They’re just making up a story because that’s what you’re supposed to do if you’re a writer”. * On Rilke‘s The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. * When Man Ray met Lee Miller. * Andy Warhol‘s Polaroids. * David Lynch on his favourite photographs. * Bowie nights at Billy’s, 1978. * Michel Foucault on the archaeology of knowledge, 1969. * Adam Biles interviewed: “I was actually extraordinarily reluctant to write about Paris. As a setting for books it has been overdone, wrung dry, and is extremely difficult to write about without lapsing into cliché. Most writing about Paris is pretty horrible, a fervent box-ticking exercise. Eiffel Tower — check! Croissants and coffee on a terrace at dawn – check! Allusions to Hemingway, Miller, the Beats — check, check, check! I would be damned before pissing into that swamp”. * Alone in America. * Literary feud in Tallahassee. * David Winters reviews Martin Hägglund‘s Dying for Time: Proust, Woolf, Nabokov: “Our lifetimes, too, are traversed by ‘nothingness,’ since every moment we live through ‘must extinguish itself as soon as it comes.’ Time is always passing away, each successive second negating the one before, such that ‘the present itself can come into being only by ceasing to be.’ In this sense, ‘extinction is at work in survival itself.’ Thus the epiphanies we find in Proust do not transcend time. Rather, these memories retrieve the ambivalent rhythms of persistence and disappearance that animate actual life. Proust’s real revelation is not that memory makes us immortal, but that life is at all times destructible”. * Love will tear us apart. * An interview with Peter Hook. * An extract from Unknown Pleasure, Peter Hook‘s Joy Division memoir: “It all started with the Sex Pistols. I saw them twice in 1976 — two gigs weeks apart at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester — Bernard Sumner (our guitarist) and I went together with a couple of friends to the first gig, and at the second gig I bumped into Ian Curtis, who would become our lead singer. They were only on for half an hour, but when they finished, we filed out quietly with our minds blown, absolutely utterly speechless, and it just sort of dawned on me then — that was it”. * Punk at the Met. * Sid on Nancy: “Even has sexy feet”. * Why love hurts. * On Erwin Schrödinger. * Literature’s weirdest relationships. * On uncreative writing. * How to be a critic: “[A] book to me is primarily a verb, not a noun, an event first and only secondarily an object”. * How literature saved his life. * When Ian McEwan‘s faith in fiction falters. * A brief history of the wah-wah pedal. * On D’Annunzio. * Shooting unfilmable books. * Foreign subcultures. * Agamben on Blanchot. * Who is David Bowie?. * Takovsky online. * The passion of the concept. * In praise of depressing books. * A review of Stig Sæterbakken‘s Self-Control. * An interview with Nico Vassilakis. * Asemic writing. * Talks on curatorial and urban practice, including Clémentine Deliss. * An interview with the Bush Tetras. * Steve Almond‘s smutty Valentine. * John Cage. * Brian Dillon on Light Show and the essay.
Pic: Elliott Erwitt‘s Acropolis Museum, Athens [via].