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Reviews » Louis Armand’s The Combinations (published 16/08/2016)


Roland Barthes dreamed of Armand’s book when he writes: ‘only allude to writing before going off somewhere else’ where writing becomes a quasi-linguistic function existing already in excess of itself, ‘rehearsing the contemporary tropes of the semioticians’. For Barthes the photographic image can’t be made into an analogue for something else because it is the analogue of the impossible, ‘an image whose detonation is … finally reducible only to the reflexive movement of its own enframing, between two shots, two anachronistic moments. ‘ It represents ‘the perfection and plenitude of its analogy.’ And that analogy risks being mythological and artefactual. ‘an issueless predicament of nothing.’ Armand’s novel is a sequence plenum of this Barthean process.

Richard Marshall reviews Louis Armand‘s The Combinations.

Buzzwords » Essays » Brexit at 3:AM (published 26/06/2016)

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of vast public events, especially if we didn’t support them, as the majority of the UK population (‘remain’ voters + abstainers) did not. My question is one that I’ve been asked several times since Friday: what can writing do in the face of this situation?

Reviews » Skank: The World’s Most Dangerous Comic Book (published 15/05/2016)

Back when Skank and Attack! Books were rolling there was a sense of writing as being hardly the point, words being an excuse to present a comedic matter that doesn’t always rescue silence but gets close, with sentences just a further excuse to find such words; and through the fog of anguish which is the obvious mystery of life, they worked to prove these claims of comedy over tragedy, to float that idea out and test it. Punk felt like that too. That sensibility is here in this book.

Richard Marshall reviews Bobby Joseph‘s Skank.

Reviews » Dear Reader, I Spit On You – A Book and an Exhibition (published 08/02/2016)

What is this? Is it a novel? Is it an anti-novel? Is it an anti-anti-novel? Is it a comic book about the exploits of an outrageous superhero – Bukaka? Is it a joke? It is perhaps all of these things and none. Brener/Schurz use the rubble of literature to further destroy capitalist power structures.

Steve Finbow reviews Bukaka Spat Here by Alexander Brener/Barbara Schurz.

Reviews » Enthusiasm (published 23/12/2015)

He works in the limits of what he calls, as an abbreviation for the complexities, ‘enthusiasm.’ Of course there’s not a single proposition attached to that label. But it is something ‘not limited by anything & the imagination of flight is apparently a mild head cold to the viral germ warfare we ought suddenly employ when thinking about what we might do with our future time…’. That is the ultimate focus. No summarized norms, epistemic stances calibrated to measure the dreamed metaphysical ghouls, maybe even harness them, or drive a stake through to a heart, or a yacht to navigate territories. ‘Water/ doesn’t need a boat you arrogant fuck.

Richard Marshall reviews S.J. Fowler‘s ‘Enthusiasm.’

Reviews » Trolls (published 25/08/2015)


Philips argues that there is only the thinnest of lines between trolling and sensationalist corporate media. The main difference is that Trolls do it for leisure and for no pay whereas corporate media do it as a business strategy and get paychecks. She claims that they are comfortable fits within the hypernetworked digital media landscape. Trolls use the internet technologies creatively and expertly. They align with corporate and social media marketers. They mobilize the dominate cultural tropes of adversarial and (mainly white) male gendered notions of success, dominance, western entitlement, expansionism and colonialism, and embody the key values of the USA – life , liberty and freedom of expression.

Richard Marshall reviews Whitney Phillips’ ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things. Mapping the Relationshp Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture.

Reviews » Sam Dunn Is Dead & Theory of the Great Game. (published 05/08/2015)


For them the situation required blood and moon crazyness to redirect social synapses into something thrillingly new, refreshed and collective. They indulged in experimental metaphysics and took copious drugs to this end. They saw no point in merely building a left wing political party or joining up with a Surrealism that seemed at times to be nothing more than just another idealist protest group. Instead readers of the magazine were to come face to face with themselves. The idea was ‘to make them despair.’ What they suspected was that the avant-garde-ists and all their potential allies were largely acting in bad faith and were merely concocting intellectual and artistic distractions.

Richard Marshall reviews Bruno Corra’s Sam Dunn is Dead and Rene Daumal & Roger Gilbert-Lecomte etc’s Theory of the Great Game.

Buzzwords » An Evening with University of Greenwich writer in residence Paul Ewen, and special guests (published 19/05/2015)

Greenwich Book Festival Old Royal Naval College Friday, 22 May 2015 from 7pm onwards Paul Ewen (pictured), author of Francis Plug – How To Be A Public Author, recently longlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize is very proud to host an evening with three of the UK’s most unconventional writers, all working outside the literary […]

Essays » Paperback nasties (published 13/05/2015)


In Suedehead, Joe Hawkins’ milieu shifts from Plaistow in East London, with its ‘poverty and hardship’, to a West End pad and dalliances with more affluent women, where he’s all of a sudden stepping out wearing a bowler hat. But what we’re dealing with is a more enigmatic prospect than Skinhead, as suedehead itself represented a more tailored approach to the skinhead aesthetic, with its velvet-collared Crombie, houndstooth check suits and brogues.

Intros to the digital reboot of the New English Library, by Andrew Stevens.

Reviews » beautiful losers (published 11/12/2014)

To wring success from failure, and printed beauty from online ephemera, and then to strike the balance between weightless comedy and surprising scholarly depth: let’s just say The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure does more than a book of humour is required to do. Taken as a whole, it brings to mind the spontaneous pleasure of a barstool conversation with an overeducated but unpredictable, boozy and boisterous, wholly unpretentious friend.

Julian Hanna on C. D. Rose‘s The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure.