if:book‘s very interesting The Golden Notebook Project. * Pictures from Gavin Watson‘s Skins & Punks. * Litro have revamped their website. * Tony O’Neill‘s excellent new novel is one of Sebastian Horsley‘s books of the year in the New Statesman: “And I thought I was depraved. The hand of God, reaching down into the mire, couldn’t elevate Tony O’Neill to the depths of depravity. Just when you think he has scraped the bottom of the barrel of indecency, he lowers the bottom. Down and Out on Murder Mile (Harper Perennial, £8.99) is funny, moving and completely authentic. It is a map of hell with directions showing his readers exactly how to get there”. I have reviewed Murder Mile in this week’s issue of the Times Literary Supplement. * “The Girl Who Ate New York” by HP Tinker (whose ashes will be “scattered over Audrey Tautou when she isn’t looking”) in Melissa Mann‘s Beat The Dust. “Featuring figureheads from the Brutalists and the Offbeat Generation,” Beat the Dust gets a review in the December issue of Dazed & Confused. * Sam Jordison: “To dig a buried gem from obscurity is to stick one in the eye of time. Death loses some of its sting as you revive the spirit those departed writers breathed into their words”. * Richard Hell talks about his autobiography on his website: “I’m about half way through writing my autobiography (which’ll go up till about my mid-thirties I think — now I’m at 1974, CBGB’s beginnings, and about 180 pages) and pieces of it are appearing here and there. Also, believe it or not, I’m in the studio. It’s an intense project that we’ll get to describing here soon, but I’m loving it, and it includes the guitar players Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell, and Ivan Julian, and my singing and writing, and will result in an album”. Hell also reviews Edmund White‘s Rimbaud biography in the New York Times: “Because that’s what distinguishes Rimbaud: of all poets, his writing is the most alive, even now and here, in another language more than a hundred years later. He learned very much from Baudelaire, and in many ways Baudelaire remains his master, but Baudelaire was a poet of ennui (and dreams), while Rimbaud reels with the most robust — if often contemptuous — vitality (and dreams). This is a function of his peasant, punkish ultra-confidence in the value of his pure (unegotistic) honesty, as an adolescent seeing through the adult hypocrisy and convention veiling the sensual, unsane world; a boy to whom language was understood as inextricable (to the seer) from reality, and who knew how to wield those words, existence itself. He didn’t have to try to translate his perceptions into language; he understood that he must see in language, and he saw with the supreme, paradoxically unformed, fluid ego of an adolescent”. * Nile Southern aka Terry Southern Jr. is interviewed in the latest issue of Nude magazine. * Did Kenneth Williams kill his father? * 3:AM‘s Lee Rourke reviews Jean-Philippe Toussaint‘s Camera in the TLS: “Unlike most narratives, where action is viewed through the eye of an author’s lens, Toussaint’s exposure is the final picture, the end result, slowly developed in negative to capture events in reverse”. Lee also reviews Olivier Pauvert‘s Noir for Bookforum and Irène Nimérovsky‘s The Courilof Affair for The Guardian. * In praise of UbuWeb. * Sam Jordison on And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks: “Pretty much the first thing Kerouac has his narrator think on when he hears about the murder was how ‘I used to imagine what it would be like to kill someone and how I used to write thousands of words to create that pattern of emotions. Now here stood Phillip beside me, and he had actually done it’. (See the review in the Times.) * The other day I took part in a radio discussion about the Offbeats with the very talented Gerry Feehily. You can listen to it here (in French). Mr Feehily also took part in the recent Battle Of Ideas festival in London. * Will Self in Time Out on Blake, and London: “Off his trolley, nude in his garden. People said he was what it would be like if a bad artist were a genius and that’s very London – London is what a city would be like if a bad city were a city of geniuses”. * Ex-Fall Brix Smith‘s London boutique. * Here is the picture I took of Tom McCarthy at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris) back in February 2007 which now appears in the special anniversary issue of The New York Review of Books (celebrating 45 years in print). It illustrates Zadie Smith’s article about Netherland and Remainder which has proved a little controversial in some quarters.
First posted: Saturday, November 22nd, 2008.