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by Andrew Gallix



New Puritan Nicholas Blincoe (pictured), who took part in our first 3AM event last summer has edited a book entitled Peace Under Fire (Verso), "an intensely moving account of two years of life and resistance under occupation in Palestine" (2002-2004): "It is woven together from the diaries, interviews and speeches of Palestinians, Israelis, as well as English and American 'internationals' of all faiths and none". Frances Barber, Jeremy Hardy, Alexei Sayle and Louise Delamere will be at the book launch: Wednesday July 14th at Cecil Sharpe House, 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1, 7.30pm. Entry is £10 (all proceeds will go to the International Solidarity Movement). For reservations contact Richard Thomas. For further information, contact Nicholas Blincoe himself.


A story by Steve Almond. James Joyce's saucy love letters. The Guardian on America's conservative punks. The Others play a guerrilla gig at the BBC.

TIME GENTLEMEN! 07/07/2004

The Observer's recent "Men Uncovered" issue was fascinating at times. Mark Simpson answers questions about metrosexuality and retrosexuals while novelist Jonathan Coe reflects on the "New Man fiasco": ". . . For a few bizarre years, it seemed that men -- consumed with liberal guilt -- were actually being expected to feminise themselves in order to atone for centuries of unspecified gender crimes. . . . Reminiscing about this period with a novelist friend recently, we both agreed that we had managed to get just about everything spectacularly wrong. We misread the signs. We reinvented ourselves as caring, empathetic, non-predatory males -- and doubtless became, incidentally, much better people in the process. We acquired reputations as good listeners, wise counsellors, useful shoulders to cry on. It became common practice for women (I had only just learned to stop calling them 'girls') to come to me for consoling chats when they were being messed around something rotten by their bastard boyfriends. Note, however, that it was the bastard boyfriends who were getting to sleep with these women on a regular basis, rather than my wise, caring, coffee-providing self. Surely some mistake, I found myself thinking, as the latest satisfied customer departed my clinic, en route no doubt to another night of fantastic sex with her shallow, unsuitable partner. Leaving me murmuring to myself the line from a Smiths song which became my mantra during the mid-1980s: 'And if you're so very entertaining ... why are you on your own tonight?' Maybe that was the root of my problem: someone who takes Morrissey as a role model is never really going to feel comfortable with simple definitions of masculinity. . . . If I'm confused about masculinity, in any case, I think that puts me in pretty safe company -- the company of every other thinking male in the country. Because after the New Man debacle came the 1990s wastelands of Lad Culture, and where does that leave us now? Our sexual politics are in the same state as our national politics: confused, moribund, rudderless. Is it time to try to recover some essentials, to see if there might possibly have been some virtue in that baby we so ruthlessly threw out with all the chauvinist bathwater?

Two things prompt this question. First, when I was researching my biography of BS Johnson, almost every woman I interviewed who had known him (and often dated him) during his bachelor days spoke warmly about the same qualities: his kindness and old-fashioned consideration. And that triggers off a memory of the second thing: my first girlfriend, back in the late 1970s, and how, whenever I went back to her parents' house, I always had to contend with the slightly frightening figure of her grandfather sitting in a corner, armchair-bound. He'd had a stroke, and was unable to speak very much or very well, and although I tried to make conversation with him, I always became tongue-tied. For weeks I was convinced that he disapproved of me, for some reason, and then one evening I overheard him discussing me with my girlfriend. It was a serious, even momentous conversation, and perhaps aware that he hadn't much longer to live, he was giving his blessing to the relationship. 'He's a gentleman,' he kept repeating. 'He's all right -- he's a gentleman.' I glowed for days after hearing that. I knew it was the highest compliment he could have bestowed. I never really understood what he meant. Or perhaps I did once understand, and have since forgotten. Like everybody else."


As you know, the Mirror have stolen our name. Please sign our online petition which will be forwarded to the thieves once we get enough signatures. Right now, we've reached the grand total of…8!

A RIOT OF OUR OWN 07/05/2004

Andrew Stevens on 3AM's summer shindig in London:

"The 3AM Magazine summer shindig, A Riot of Our Own, was held at the Stuckist Gallery in Shoreditch, East London last night. The event also included the awarding of the inaugural 3AM Good Sex Prize, won by Mounsi's The Demented Dance (Black Amber, 2003). Mounsi's reading was interpreted from the French by his agent, Georgia de Chamberet (also editor of XCiTés: the Flamingo Book of New French Writing). Readings also took place from Tony White, Clive Murphy and Colin MacCabe, while The Fucks and Mark Sampson provided acoustic entertainment. In addition to Mounsi (pictured), Tony White was also shortlisted for the prize for his novel Foxy-T, which like The Demented Dance was published to acclaim last year and deals with complex issues of ethnicity among the marginalised youth in the inner city of a nation's capital (Paris and London respectively). For that reason alone it was worthwhile to see the authors discuss each other's work and reflect on the overlaps. (First posted on Buzzwords Deux.) The event was supported by the Institut Français.


This is how Kultureflash announced 3AM's third event in London:

"3AM Magazine has been on the go since 2000 and is showing no signs of blear. For the uninitiated, it's an e-journal that dips its snout in the trough of quotidian life and comes out with factual and fictional accounts filed under regular headings such as "Fat Man on the Left", "Fetish Alphabet" and "Parisianism For Beginners" that are worth the truffle hunt. Eclectic and odd, 3AM tells us what the zeitgeist is while it still sounds like a foreign language. The magazine's Summer Shindig this year is at the Stuckist Gallery, another home to admirable artists of great conviction whose metier still leaves us a little confused. The event is billed as "a literary event with turntables or turning the tables on literary events" and boasts a fine line-up in word and music. Readers include Godard aficionado Colin McCabe and the man who coined the term "metrosexual", Mark Simpson, whose latest offering, Saint Morrissey, was put together without any primary research whatsoever but with the devotion of a dyed-in-the-wool fan. Mark Sampson, Sweetie and The F*!ks of Angular Records are playing acoustic sets and there are DJs to boot. In keeping with the smoke and mirrors mystery of the affair, entry is free, but you must rsvp to attend."


Porn for the ladies. Check out The Reading Experience. AS Byatt on a new English translation of The Idiot. In 1979, The Observer published a list of 80 young people who would "define the country's culture, politics and economics for a generation"; they have done the same thing in today's edition. The new list includes Pete Doherty (24) of The Libertines, Alex Kapranos (29) of Franz Ferdinand, novelist Hari Kunzru (35; see his website), poet Alice Oswald (37), Mike Skinner (25, The Streets) as well as novelists Helen Walsh (26) and Sarah Waters (37). John Carney on the late Robert Quine: "Robert Quine played guitar in a certain way on a few songs that made me believe in beauty, poetry, and romance. He executed a guitar solo in the middle of a song called 'Blank Generation' that for me defines what music is all about. And I am talking specifically about the version of 'Blank Generation' that appears on that LP which Sire released in 1977. It's an LP that also features 'Love Comes In Spurts' where Quine's guitar opens up possibilities that have only barely been realised since by the likes of the The Fall, Subway Sect, Blue Orchids, Pop Group, Josef K and Fire Engines." Another (yawn!) Shakespeare controversy. Martin Amis argues that English football is crap, but praises Rooney: "When he smashed in his first goal, from that distance, from that angle, it was the way he shaped that stayed with you -- like a gorilla, with fully demonstrative menace. Zidane twists, Henry glides; Rooney thunders. He is neither vicious nor undisciplined, but his is a game of applied violence. The sportsman he most resembles is not another footballer: it is the pre-decadent Mike Tyson". Can a CD-rom help you write a novel? blank magazine sounds really, really good. The Slits and Métal Urbain reviewed in Tangents. Pop and politics. Summer reading tips from the likes of Monica Ali, Jonathan Coe, Douglas Coupland, Hari Kunzru, Zadie Smith, Marina Warner, Irvine Welsh and many others. The International Anthony Burgess Foundation has just been inaugurated in Manchester. The programme of this year's Clerkenwell Literary Festival which runs from 8 to 14 July (London). Unveiling The Libertines' new album. The Times Literary Supplement on B.S. Johnson. Prospect's list of Britain's 100 top intellectuals. Iain Sinclair on H.G. Wells's The War of the Worlds. An interview with Alex Garland. Which literary characters would you prefer to date? And what does it say about you? Billy Childish on the joys of Chatham in Kent. Is Michael Moore a sanctimonious git?


Death of Robert Quine, the Voidoids' guitarist. Alex Garland interviewed in The Daily Telegraph. No sooner has Pete Libertine returned to England than he is arrested for possessing an offensive weapon (sic). The Stonehenge festival is 30 years old. Jim Lewis and Jeffrey Eugenides discuss modernism in Slate. Martin Jacques argues that democracy isn't working. The Futureheads' debut album is reviewed in The Observer. Read about Jonathan Coe's biography of B.S. Johnson in the New Statesman. The reformed New York Dolls take Meltdown by storm. Stella Vine's blog. A new Billy Childish exhibition at the brilliant Aquarium Gallery in London (9-28 July). The Economist on Bloomsday. Novelist Steve Aylett has released an album entitled Lord Pin. "Meet Joe Blog": Time magazine on the blogging phenomenon. An interview with J. G. Ballard. James Wood on the Booker nouveau. The Stone Roses top The Observer's 100 greatest British albums poll. Novelist Aleksandar Hemon on "Espionage Lit". Franz Ferdinand hit the million mark. English football anthems. Tiny Mix Tapes is pretty cool. Julian Cope in The Guardian. Panda porn. The Others' blog. Two more interesting lit blogs: Bookdwarf and Rake's Progress. The return of Louis de Bernières: "I only write when I feel like it. I don't ever have writer's block -- I just sometimes don't feel like writing. And if I don't feel like writing, I won't bother. So sometimes, I can go weeks or months without doing anything." Dave Eggers' short shorts. Punk, poet, model-cum-film director Richard Jobson is interviewed in The Observer: "It was his older brother, Francis, who died recently and to whom the film is dedicated, who initially hipped him to the right sounds and the right clobber. The violence, though, he took to all by himself. 'There's a mechanism in the male dynamic that's drawn towards that stuff,' he says. 'I find it really odd when people deny that. It seems almost unreal now but for a young guy living in a completely grey world, it was an incredibly liberating experience in many ways and one that translated beautifully for me into rock'n'roll.' It was punk rock that lifted the 16-year-old Jobson out of the gang and on to the stage. . . ."


Our third event in London will take place on 3 July at Stuckism International, 3 Charlotte Road, London EC2 (nearest Tube station: Old Street); doors open at 7pm. A Riot Of Our Own will bring you readings by Michael Bracewell (When Surface Was Depth), Tanuja Hidier (Born Confused), Colin McCabe (Godard), Mark Simpson (Saint Morrissey) and Tony White (Foxy-T). There will also be live music by The Fucks, Sweetie and Mark Sampson (courtesy of Angular Records) as well as DJ sets from Tom Hirst and Andrew Perry. If you wish to attend our summer shindig, please shoot us a message as it's an invite-only affair this time.


Last month we announced the launch of our inaugural Good Sex Prize as a tongue-in-cheek riposte to the Literary Review's famous award for bad writing on sex in literature. Andrew Stevens, who came up with the idea in the first place, wished "to champion literature that manages to convey sexual themes and incidences without appearing excessively pornographic or out-of-context".

Our all-star judging panel was composed of (in alphabetical order) Steve Almond, Andrei Codrescu, Jessa Crispin of Bookslut, Richard Hell, Tom Hodgkinson of The Idler, Toby Litt, Neal Pollack, Jude Rodgers of Smoke, Scarlett Thomas, Matt Thorne and Peter Wild of Bookmunch.

The panel were asked to choose from selected passages from the following shortlist: Frederic Beigbeder, £6.99 (Picador, July 2003), Stewart Home's Down and Out in Shoreditch and Hoxton (The Do-Not-Press, February 2004), Michel Houellebecq's Lanzarote (Heinemann, July 2003), Mounsi's The Demented Dance (Black Amber, July 2003), Ben Myers's The Book of Fuck (Wrecking Ball Press, February 2004), Adam Thirlwell's Politics (Jonathan Cape, August 2003), Helen Walsh's Brass (Canongate, March 2004) and Tony White's Foxy-T (Faber and Faber, July 2003).

The winner was the extract from Mounsi's The Demented Dance. The joint runners-up were Tony White's Foxy-T and Helen Walsh's Brass. The prize will be awarded at 3AM Magazine's forthcoming event in London on 3 July. You can read the winning extract here.


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