“No collector could ever love a work of art as much as a fetishist loves a shoe” — Georges Bataille. Mark Hudson reviews the Hayward Gallery’s Bataille exhibition: “In some respects Bataille, who married twice and had two daughters, led a mundane, even boring, librarian’s existence. But he did literally mean it, he did believe in his own transgressive philosophies in a quasi-religious sense”. * According to Roy Wilkinson, the “time has come to boogie with Betjeman“: “Today, DJs aren’t the only fans of these albums. The singer Nick Cave describes them to me as ‘beautiful, fantastic stuff. You have these blissed-out memories of Betjeman’s youth over wah-wah guitar. It’s odd and brilliant — and far more exciting than a lot of the modernist writers who shunned him at the time. There’s this comic gravity that I’ve certainly found inspiring regarding my own work.’ For Madness frontman Suggs — who named a Betjeman track, ‘On a Portrait of a Deaf Man’, as one of his Desert Island Discs — the albums were no less influential. ‘You have these lovely images of somewhere like Hampshire,’ he says, ‘but you also have this darker undercurrent — and this fantastic music. That was what we were trying to do with Madness: show English life, but say it’s not always jolly and, hopefully, have a few good tunes’.” * 3:AM‘s Richard Cabut has published a great review of Punk Rock: An Oral History in The Telegraph: “It is interesting to see how the protagonists are connected with the larger social sphere through private acts: wide-eyed Tony D, the editor of the fanzine Ripped and Torn, newly arrived from Scotland, eating his first kebab after watching the Damned, for him an experience as memorable as the gig itself; the No 16 bus journey which took London SS and Clash guitarist Mick Jones from his grandmother’s tower-block flat to the band’s Praed Street headquarters. Such moments give real flesh to the voices, allowing us to identify with them through the small events of everyday life”. * Andy Warhol‘s screen tests. * Reading totty. * Jake Arnott interviewed and his latest novel (Johnny Come Home) reviewed. * On the “ultimate art gallery above” (Emerson). * Stewart Home reviews three TamTam Books by Vian and Gainsbourg (see TamTam’s blog here). Dennis Cooper recently described the imprint as “easily one of the best, most original and valuable independent presses extant” and its boss as one of his “personal heroes”. * The world of Jacques Tati. * Edmund White in Nerve on pornography (“Pornography has to be written according to very strict rules, with no variety of language, no metaphors, and no stopping to reflect, because you’ve got to keep that hand moving”) and the dumbing down of gay America: “I think gay people are just as dumbed-down as the rest of America. Maybe more so. It used to be, gays would all stand around in their tight Brooks Brothers suits, drinking martinis and having opinions about everything. That was what it was to be gay — at least, to be middle-class and gay. If you were working-class and gay, you went roller skating, or dyed your hair blonde and worked as a waitress. Now there’s no pressure on anybody to read or have an opinion. There’s pop culture, and there’s a gay slant to pop culture, but high culture? Forget it”. * Rebecca Ray on the “narcissism by proxy” of parenthood: “Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate kids. I hate parents. I hate the assumption of moral superiority that comes with giving birth; men and women imbuing their mini-me s with entitlement and expectation from the world, which they’d never dare claim for themselves”. * The death of the literary smoker. * The Don Quixote of Kensington. * From blog to book. * Bitchy Brecht. * LitPAC. * ICA — The Show. * Steve Aylett talks about his “old-fashioned Voltairian satire” in Bookslut. * The songs that saved his life. * That Girl Who Writes Stuff goes West. * Louise Wener on motherhood. * Jack Kerouac‘s Book of Sketches. * The 100th anniversary of the birth of TH White. * Reading and gender. * Hanif Kureishi on political theatre. * Underrated writers. * New Irvine Welsh play. * A Will Self MP3 to celebrate the new editions of part of his back catalogue. * Splinters on the BFI’s Free Cinema DVD. * Alan Warner interviewed: “‘In some ways, I’m an enemy of language, always questioning its limitations,’ he muses wistfully. ‘We encounter the world and tame it through language, but behind that is another world’”. * Waterstone’s list of books that deserve to be rediscovered.
First posted: Saturday, April 29th, 2006.