:: Essays

Excerpt: Quadrophenia: A Way of Life published 31/03/2017

Outside of Toyah’s mum’s wardrobe, the film’s producers were taking the acquisition of clothes very seriously. One company approached to secure the necessary period pieces was called Contemporary Wardrobes. More than just a clothes-hire operation, they’d earned a reputation by supplying genuine items for films and other productions. Overseen by two former Mods, tailors Jack English and Roger Burton, they recalled their joy at being called in for duties on the film for a Who fanzine in 1979.

By Simon Wells.

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Cities in Cinema 3: Fargo published

From the start, the Coens root the film in the terroir of their home state. The characters’ names are Scandinavian and native American (Minnesota derives from a Sioux language name for the Mississippi river). They watch the Gophers play ice hockey, choose between meatballs and torsk for lunch, and express anger by scraping ice from their windscreens more forcefully than normal. Jean’s teenage son has a picture of Whitesnake of his bedroom wall, alongside a poster of “The Accordion King”.

John P. Houghton‘s latest column for 3:AM.

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Impossibility and the Limits of Art published

Is art as unbounded as to be able to create anything ? “Art has no limits”, one might think. Members of the society I am part of follow certain rules—and perhaps some of those rules are also followed by members of other societies—but I can easily sit in my chair and write about alternative societies where those rules are not followed at all. The objects in our environment usually fall when they are dropped. But I could shoot a movie in which objects just stay up in the air. The laws of nature, like social rules, do not put constraints in our creativity. We are pretty much free to avoid them in our imagination.

Luis Rosa on impossibility and art.

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Der Amerikanische Freund: Petit/Wenders/Jarmusch published 18/03/2017

It wouldn’t be bad to ban the American cinema for a while. Three-quarters of the planet considers cinema from the angle and according to the criteria of American cinema… People must become aware that there are other ways to make films than the American way. Moreover this would force filmmakers in the United States to revise their conceptions. It would be a good thing.
– Jean-Luc Godard

Louis Armand on avoiding American cinema.

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Sheena is a Trump Rocker published 17/03/2017

All of a sudden, however, everyone’s a fucking expert on fucking everything. Twenty year old kids coming across like they’ve been up against the political rockface all their lives, loving the sound of their own voices on YouTube, as they put the world to rights, eulogising away in their irritating, squeaky, upspeak manner, telling us what ‘the thing’ is, and letting us know how messed up the rest of us really are. This supposedly well meaning movement, peopled almost exclusively by the pampered middle classes of all ages, and their whiny offspring, are bound together in their utter hatred of Brexit and Donald Trump.

By Andy Blade.

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Excerpt: In Echoed Steps: The Jam and a Vision of Albion published 13/03/2017

The first Riot Stories publication to host Weller’s poetry would be the first issue of December’s Child. Weller had already utilised the back pages of the songbook for All Mod Cons to host some of his poetry, and with the burgeoning market for poetry fanzines in an ascendancy, he’d already contributed a few poems to several publications. While adept in imbuing his songs with his poetic words, it was clear that a lot of his verse would benefit from a far wider canvas.

Simon Wells on the literary influences of Paul Weller and The Jam.

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Dancin’ With Manson published 06/03/2017

Trained up by years spent in Army Intelligence, Tate calmly picked out daughter Sharon and her friends from the graphic crime-scene photos taken on the morning after the murders. Tate’s appearance as first witness was a skilled piece of scheduling by the prosecution team, focusing the jury on the personal loss suffered by the victims’ families.

Excerpt from Simon Wells‘ recently republished book on the Manson ‘Family’ trials, Coming Down Fast.

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Cities in Cinema 2: Gomorrah published

Yet Napoli is more than a neutral stage. The people we encounter are the essential products of the city’s toxic soil, corrupt institutions, dysfunctional housing estates and decaying public spaces. Don Ciro, Pasquale, little Totò; they all issued from the cankered kennel of the city’s womb, and are every bit as poisoned as the peaches thrown into the gutter by Franco.

John P. Houghton‘s latest column for 3:AM.

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(Identity) Politics & Prose published 04/03/2017

Let’s put one thing up front: using one’s genitals or epidermis as a way to gain political legitimacy is corrupt; to think with them is intellectually shallow; to adhere one’s aesthetic to them when making art is absurd. I’m not concerned here with a case for or against any one political movement that also has literary and theoretical roots, like Feminism, but rather how this awareness enters into literature, where it appears and how it shapes the writer’s sense of duty––meaning that how we choose to think about aesthetic value in art can become dependent on our non-literary allegiances.

Jared Marcel Pollen on identity politics and literature.

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‘Broken’ Matt published 01/03/2017

‘Broken’ Matt is the nearest wrestling gets to poststructuralist philosophy because there’s no essence underneath—just more and more stuff: another story, feud, or challenge; another broken chapter in a larger broken drama; like a kaleidoscope on repeat. This stuff keeps us watching and our psychic investment in ‘Broken’ Matt accrues value—social media magnifying the stories, feuds, and catchphrases—a psychic investment allowing tributaries of profit to flow at ever-increasing volumes. Wrestling needs stories for this reason. Wrestling is a technology to guide the flow of story—and the flow of money.

Paul Walsh on ‘Broken’ Matt and the politics of wrestling.

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