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We Are Getting Closer…

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There’s a great interview with Tony O’Neill in Gothamist:

“The only way to stop people from getting high is to make society so great, so perfect, that the idea of getting high would be silly. To make life so wonderful for ordinary people that they don’t feel the need to smoke crack until their eyes bleed. But of course, instead of a noble idea that that, we’ve decided to take people who have a medical problem, criminalize them, and lock them up. Freedom is a mental thing. When you are high enough that you aren’t hungry anymore, you are free. When you are high enough that seeing the president’s dead-rodent face on the television doesn’t make you want to smash your fist through the screen, you are free. When you are high enough that the total absurdity of our lives in this country, on this planet, is not powerful enough to drive you completely insane, then you are free. When you live completely outside of the moral constraints of acceptable society, then you are truly free. The lifestyle is hard, and sometimes it will not feel like freedom, but even a man in a prison cell can be free if he is free in his head. Being free of all of the day-to-day bullshit that grinds us down in America is the best kind of freedom there is.

…It takes a lot of years, and a lot of drugs to make an addict. Lindsay Lohan can get back to me when she’s dug around in her femoral vein trying to shoot dope before she can talk to me about addiction. That girl is no more an addict than she is a singer.

Songs From The Shooting Gallery…is the most personal thing I have written. A lot of those poems were written as it was all going on. I found a lot of them in old notebooks with bloodstains on them; I mean I’d literally be cracked out in the bathroom taking notes at time.

…I would lower the rents and property prices so that people other than rich kids can move into the cool neighborhoods. I would tax the fuck out of the extremely rich and stop the poor from paying taxes. I would open up free health care clinics. I would replace the NYPD with the cast of the police academy movies. I would put William s Burroughs, Dennis Cooper and Dan Fante on the required reading list for schools. I would lower the legal drinking age to something civilized like 18. I would tear down all of those ugly NYU buildings. I would make Coney Island a historic landmark. I would ban ironic mullets and Shania Twain songs. I would improve the quality of our radio stations. Amsterdam style coffee houses replacing Starbucks. Replace the MTA’s staff with friendly people. Stop anybody whose ambition it is to be a politician from entering into politics. Lou Reed for mayor of New York. All art galleries and museums subsidized by government and free admission for all…”

On 21 June, Tony will be reading with Tommy Trantino (Lock the Lock) at
Mcnally Robinson, Prince Street, NYC. On 28 June, he will be reading at a 3:AM event at the KGB Bar alongside (inter alia) Noah Cicero, Tao Lin (see our recent interview) and Ellen Kennedy. Tony’s Songs From the Shooting Gallery 1999-2006 will be published by Burning Shore Press on 11 June, followed shortly by the UK edition of Digging the Vein in July (on Wrecking Ball Press).

493767063_46213fc9d4_m.jpgThere’s also a great interview with Paul Ewen in Fridaycities:

“I first got to know my way around London by using a pub guide and by visiting the best pubs in different areas. Because I was using it so much, I sort of got into the vernacular of the pub guide, and when I started writing in these pubs I was visiting, the pub reviews became a kind of scaffolding for my stories. I do all my writing (and editing) in pubs, even if it’s non pub related. I like writing after a few drinks, and I find it can put my head down in the most crowded, noisy pub and get quite a bit done. In a way my writing is a justification for spending lots of time in the pub, but I like watching older men in pubs who are simply there to think. Pubs are good places to get your head together. I am asked to leave London pubs quite often, but only because I am the last person there after closing and I want to keep writing and they want to close up. Usually I am most amenable, and it’s very seldom I run around the bar shouting, YOU’LL HAVE TO CATCH ME FIRST!”

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In today’s Guardian Review (“From the Blogs” column), Sarah Crown quotes two Offbeat snippets:

“‘I went out the other night!’ says Sean at The Midnight Bell. ‘It was fun. I went to a book launch for Paul Ewen’s London Pub Reviews. …They’re shortish pieces, a few pages long, in which the narrator-reviewer goes to a real London pub, and then imagination and reality get into a muddle and narrator is ejected, arrested or assaulted. …It’s published by Shoes with Rockets, which is essentially Paul: he had offers from houses I like a lot, but decided to keep control. The book looks terrific. …We’re very, very far from old-school self-publishing here. There’s a lot of this coming up this year. …Social Disease is the most obvious example coming out of web world, but there are other things brewing. Small presses have been around forever, yes, but this I think is something new: costs are down, design tools are more easily available, and, if still hard work, it’s all a bit more possible…”

And here’s the second one:

“‘If you’d have asked me one year ago if a literary scene existed and was alive and kicking…I’d have laughed at the very thought,’ reflects Lee Rourke over at Scarecrow. ‘But now, one year on…it seems to have happened right under our noses. …I don’t really care for names, but two seem to have emerged: the Offbeats and the Brutalists. Both these movements encompass a varied and capable horde of writers. …Three very determined independent publishers have emerged also: Social Disease, Wrecking Ball Press, and Burning Shore Press. Each of these publishers is crucial; they take risks, they shun current trends. …[T]his gathering of like-minded individuals, who all eschew the current trend in publishing, have acted alone. …We have, more or less, turned our backs on the conglomerates; we ignore those vainglorious money-men. …Long live the dissenters I say!'”

8416506_93f6d5a62a_m.jpgIn other Offbeat news, there’s a brief review of HP Tinker‘s The Swank Bisexual Bar of Modernity in Pulp.net:

“The first two pages of the story ‘You Can Probably Guess My Trajectory’ may be enough to prove that when HP Tinker is writing, all trajectories are unguessable. One thing you can be fairly certain of, and that is, in whichever direction the narrative suddenly veers, famous people from the past and present are fairly likely to materialise. Thus, in a surreal channel-hopping daze, it is possible to witness the arrival and swift departure of Wagner, Lewis Carroll, Jay MacInerney, Max Ernst, Magritte, Brett Easton Ellis, Aldous Huxley, Paul Gauguin, Simone de Beauvoir, Tom Paulin, Thomas Pynchon, Robin Williams, and Ezra Pound, all pirouetting against a backdrop of the author’s sleeve notes on minimalism, Hitler Youth, pornography, Morrissey and Britpop, among other things. A mash-up worthy of investigation.” Read 3:AM‘s review here.

First posted: Saturday, June 2nd, 2007.

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  1. Hey, lovely. hope for an interesting time, at last.

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