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DAILY BUZZWORDS

Artwork by Sardax

CUTTING-EDGE LITERARY NEWS FROM AROUND THE GLOBAL VILLAGE

by Andrew Gallix

COPYRIGHT © 2004, 2005, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

THE MISSING LINKS 02/22/2005

Chris Mitchell of Spike magazine fame has launched Pornlit. Mark Amerika (see our two interviews with him here and there) is mentioned in an article about digital art over at Post-Gazette.com: "…This corner of the art market is still embryonic, with demand being driven in part by the falling prices and surging popularity of new TV sets and flat-screen computer monitors. Prices for the works are fairly low, in the hundreds of dollars to the low thousands. But a few works have commanded more. Recently, Colorado-based artist Mark Amerika sold an edition of his piece, Filmtext, to a private collector for $10,000, a price believed to be one the highest so far for an Internet-based work. The piece has a science-fiction feel; users poke around in a bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape." Dozens of bands have been called The Dogs (including a legendary French one from Rouen), but anyway click the link for the latest. Our friend Charles Tomson the Stuckist continues his fight against Saatchi. On the subject of talented friends: have you read the latest issue of failbetter.com yet? 3:AM collaborator Guillaume Destot fronts a new garage rock band called SöE: listen to them here and check out the pictures from their first major gig in Paris. JG Ballard on Hollywood: "Hollywood has taught us how to behave when falling in love, standing up for our beliefs, defending our families and seeking a better life. Most of us, mysteriously, have accepted its guiding hand, in countless ways of which we're largely unaware. Watch yourself the next time you kiss, or weep with emotion at a baby's birth. A Hollywood cue card is present somewhere. It's as strange as if we took our deepest beliefs and sense of a just life from Euro Disney rather than Canterbury cathedral. But perhaps we do." Extraordinary pictures of Oscar Wilde and his family/friends. British blogs top ten. Steve Almond, whose brilliant new anthology of short stories will be published in April, has written a column for MobyLives: "Republican readers -- isn't that an oxymoron?" Susannah Breslin, the Invisible Cowgirl herself, writes to us promoting her new Porn Happy book and blog (do you see 3:AM in Susannah's long list of links?) The NME Awards (see the pix) and a few more features about Pete Doherty who gets spanked by Miranda Sawyer. Moleskin fethishists and the Wandering Moleskin Project. Then there's the Moleskin flickr group and Steven Mitchelmore's article on the subject. Prolepsis in Jonathan Coe's The Rotters' Club. The Ways With Words literary festival will be held from 1-6 March this year (Cumbria, England). Poems by Nick Laird aka Mr Zadie Smith whose debut collection, To a Fault, was recently published to rave reviews. Zembla editor Dan Crowe recently wrote in The Times, that To a Fault "has quickly become a must-have for your Ligne Roset bedside table. Not only has the 29-year-old Laird bagged a £100,000 book deal for his forthcoming novel, he has recently returned from his honeymoon in the Seychelles with perhaps the most beautiful and brainy creature of all: Zadie Smith." A locomotive is named after the late Joe Strummer. The Man Booker International Prize nominees. A profile of Kazuo Ishiguro as well as an interesting interview. The king of Gonzo, Hunter S Thompson, has apparently committed suicide. More here, here and, especially, there. 3:AM was vaguely associated with Thompson through the whole Asterisk hoax which is chronicled here.






THE MISSING LINKS 02/16/2005

Another American legend bites the dust: Arthur Miller in pictures. The Guardian's Top 10 literary blogs. Chloe Veltman on Morrissey's god-like status in The Believer: "As the singer up on stage leads the bacchanal of flailing bodies in a rousing chorus of 'Hang the DJ! Hang the DJ, Hang the DJ!' the scene resembles something of a cross between a room full of lagered-up soccer hooligans and The Sermon on the Mount". London's Notting Hill is to be paved with poetry. Novelist Matt Thorne is writing music journalism for Comes With a Smile magazine. There's an interview with Dennis Cooper over at Bookslut. Incidentally, Cooper will soon be publishing Richard Hell's new novel, Godlike, which is set in the NY poetry scene of the 70s (read an extract here). Britain's 'happy slapping' craze. Period detail in Jonathan Coe's The Rotters' Club. Susannah Breslin, who used to write for 3:AM and then just vanished, is interviewed at Suicide Girls. She says that she's turning Fetish Alphabet into an illustrated anthology, but I don't expect 3:AM will get namechecked! Neil Boorman of Shoreditch Twat fame has launched Good For Nothing, a lifestyle freebie distributed in London's hipper pubs, clubs and boutiques.



WATERMARK 02/16/2005

Middlesex University Press have organised an annual literary competition since 2002. This year's judges are Penelope Lively, Ali Smith, Gerard Woodward (fiction), Sheenagh Pugh and Hugo Williams



SPREAD THE WORD 02/16/2005

London-based Spread the Word ("Literature Development For London") is planning its fourth creative-writing competition, "Micro-Story", which will reward flash fiction of up to 50 words. Check their website for more details.



THE PARISIANS IN LONDON 02/16/2005

A quick follow-up from our last Top 5: French urch rockers The Parisians will soon play two London gigs. On 24 February, they'll be strutting their stuff at the Elbow Rooms (89-91 Chapel Market, Angel, Islington), and two days later, you can catch them at the Tap'n'Tin (Railway Street, Chatham, Kent).



3:AM TOP 5 02/07/2005

They're mates with the Libertines! Alan McGee is said to like them! They're French! They're The Parisians and they're currently listening to:
  1. "Nude as the News" -- Catpower
  2. "Young Lions" -- The Constantines
  3. "Little Sister" -- QOTSA
  4. "Speed to Roam" -- RTX
  5. "Revolution Over the Phone" -- The Mardous



THE MISSING LINKS 01/30/2005

Dean Carter -- the next Britpublishing sensation, it says here: " A few months ago, 28-year-old Dean Carter was a small cog in a very big machine. Hidden away in the basement at the grand old publisher Random House, he spent his days sorting mail sent by fans to such eminent writers A S Byatt and Tom Wolfe. Now, after a series of lucky encounters, he is the recipient of a five-figure, two-book deal, has senior publishers saving his emails as collectors' items and could soon be considering film deals from the likes of Brad Pitt and Robert De Niro. His first book -- a novel for teenagers about a journalist marooned on an island with a serial killer -- is set to be Random House's next big hit. Mr Carter, who could could soon be sorting through sackloads of his own fan mail, always wanted to work around books. Three years ago he started work in Random House's post room, and began formulating plots in his mind as he delivered trade magazines to the staff. He was so shy he never spoke about his hobby, but colleagues gradually came to notice that his global emails, complete with jokes, puzzles and a long-running soap opera about the fantasy lives of the staff, were more than necessarily erudite. Charlie Sheppard, a commissioning editor for children's books, picks up the story. 'I sat opposite him at the office Christmas party, and realised who he was,' she says. 'He's painfully shy and must just come alive when he writes. And that's what editors look for. I said, 'You must be a writer; you obviously feel the need to play with words,' and I asked him to write something for me.'" The controversial Underground Literary Alliance are going into blogging big time. A production of Oscar Wilde's Salome creates an uproar! A history of the heavy metal umlaut (link via Splinters). Nerve.com founder interviewed in Gothamist. TS Eliot's widow. The Others are interviewed in The Independent: "These teenagers weren't there in '77 so it's their chance to have a bit of punk time." Talking of which, the Gang of Four are back (their gig at the University of Leeds is reviewed by Simon Price in the Independent on Sunday). America's sexiest plumber. Tim Adams reviews Ian McEwan's Saturday. The future of rock is female! Former Happy Mondays (and Celebrity Big Brother winner), Bez, is interviewed/profiled in today's Observer: ". . . There's an argument that Bez -- Mark Berry to his mum -- winning Celebrity Big Brother was a victory for the acid house generation. For the thirtysomethings whose lives were changed irrevocably by the explosion of acid house culture at the end of the Eighties, an explosion in which Bez and his band Happy Mondays played an intrinsic part. But it wasn't just a bunch of old ravers who voted for 40-year-old Bez. The demographic of such reality shows means that if you've got the North behind you, you're laughing. And Bez certainly had that vote. There was a groundswell of public goodwill for a man who openly admitted he was only in it because his financial situation was so dire. He only entered the house because he was worried he might be about to lose his home. . . . Next, we're off to the Great Eastern Hotel to do an interview with the Daily Star. As we get out of the car, we're approached by a homeless guy in his mid-thirties with a tattoo of a spider's web up his neck and a severe-looking dog in tow. 'BEZ! Bez, mate!' he exclaims, grasping Bez's hand, genuinely overwhelmed. 'You did us all proud mate, we was all rooting for you. You showed 'em all. Meet my dog, we're the angels of Liverpool Street, we are.' Bez meets the dog, who also seems aware that this is a significant moment. 'Can I have your autograph, Bez?' says his owner. 'Have you got a pen, mate?' he asks me. I give him a pen and start searching for a piece of paper. 'Nah, don't worry, just sign my neck, Bez, please.' Next to the spider's web, he scribbles 'All the Bez!', searches his pockets, finds a crumpled tenner and gives it to the guy. . . .

As we leave the building and jump back into the car, several builders cheer from their vantage point high up on scaffolding on the building opposite. 'Go on, Bezzzzyy!!' . . ."




GÜLCHERMANIA! 01/26/2005

Everybody seems to be talking about Le Nouveau Rock'n'Roll Français (Chronowax), the compilation which is meant to do for froggy rock what Rapattitude did for Gallic rap in the early 90s. It contains 22 fair-to-middling titles by 22 bands -- ranging from garage rock to electroclash -- selected by Ludovic Merle, JB Guillot and Sean McLusky (the guy who exported his Sonic Mook Experiment gigs to Paris a few years ago). The Parisians (who are mates with the Libertines) are not included. Neither are Gülcher, Laurence Rémila's Parisian art-rock band, who will soon be releasing a single on FutureNow. Rumour has it that they are now provoking scenes of near hysteria at their gigs. More Gülcher news here.



THE MISSING LINKS 01/26/2005

Douglas Coupland is interviewed in nerve.com. He talks about Eleanor Rigby, his latest novel, and his forthcoming sequel to Microserfs, among other things: "Before Starbucks, there was no place that lonely people could go by themselves without feeling like freaks. Now they glamorize it, like getting a latte while being lonely will make people wonder, 'Ooh -- who's that mysterious person?' I look at people with laptops in coffee shops and think, 'Oh, they're writing their first screenplay -- and they're lonely'. The Blog T-shirt! The Fever: has their time come at last? The Guardian has launched Shoptalk, a new section devoted to bookstores. Here, the manager of the London Review Bookshop, bigs up the little shops. McSweeney's are publishing The Polysyllabic Spree, based on Nick Hornby's monthly column in The Believer. Andrei Codrescu is interviewed in Identity Theory: "Where I was born and where I grew up, jokes were the only oppositional culture, and in 1989 when the regime collapsed, it was possible to have comedy on television. It was possible to have satirical newspapers, and all of a sudden the culture of the joke disappeared. So with it disappeared a kind of cohesion to the society which before was based on a kind of oral shared whispering of bad things about Nicolae Ceausescu and the Communist Party". Pete Doherty talks about his love for Kate Moss. Read an extract from a new story by Geoff Dyer in the first issue of Swink magazine (link via my good friend Andrew Stevens).



BRUCE BENDERSON: A 3:AM EXCLUSIVE 01/23/2005

Bruce Benderson talks about his new book, The Romanian, which recently won the coveted Prix de Flore in France:

"It took me four years to write my longest book to date, a memoir that I entitled The Romanian: an erotic memoir, and the book finally ended up at 480 manuscript pages. A significant part of it was written simultaneously with it happening, while I was in the drama of the nine-month relationship that inspired the book. Many reviewers have asked me whether I was motivated to pursue such a risky involvement only because I wanted material to write about, but what happened was much more spontaneous than that. I fell in love at first sight and felt motivated to write about it, starting on the first morning of the encounter. The two parallel impulses -- obsessive passion and obessive writing -- continued hand in hand, each nourishing the other. I knew the book was 'alive' because I was living it in a literal sense.

The Romanian recounts my disorientating passion for a Romanian vagrant, discovered on the banks of the Danube while I was in Budapest, where I'd been sent in late 1999 by an online magazine to do a report on Eastern European brothels. Three months later, I followed him to Bucharest, and we set up house there for approximately four months. Eventually, my journal of this experience also became the story of a love affair with a culture, and the book now recounts a journey into the heart of Romanian culture and history, colored by the vicissitudes of my passion.

Once the book was finished, I spent two years trying to sell it to American publishers. Most agents and editors had the same response: they appreciated the core story of passion but felt that the historical sequences -- which tried to establish a parallel between my love affair and the scandalous love affair of King Carol, the last king of Romania, for the Jewess Lupescu, during a time of rising anti-Semitic fascism -- were too contrived and distracted from the main story. Only some brave literary magazines, 3:AM Magazine among them, published excerpts of the book.

While I was trying to publish the book unsucessfully in America, my usual French publisher, Payot & Rivages, took it. The book was released in France in September 2004 under the somewhat absurd title Autobiographie érotique, to glowing reviews. The most interesting aspect of this was the fact that almost every single French critic lauded the historical sequences, marveling at how well integrated they were with the main story. This was the exact opposite of the reaction of the American editors and agents.

In November 2004, I became the first foreign writer to receive the Prix de Flore, a French literary prize always reserved for young French writers -- Michel Houellebecq and Virginie Despentes among them. It was the tenth anniversary of the prize, and the judges argued that although the book was a foreign translation, it had been published only in France and written by a writer who spoke French fluently, which I do. Because this French prize came at a time when Franco-American relations were excessively strained, I was touched by their selection. In one way, it was telling America off by saying, "See, we've recognized the value of a book that you Americans haven't even bothered to publish". But there was also a covert gesture of friendliness to America in their choice, which in my eyes had some poignancy.

For me, the book was the culmination of thirty years of cultural fantasy. From my teenage years I'd been rather alienated from the Anglo-Saxon literary tradition and had been more apt to read French literature in translation than the great British and American classics. My writing is partly inspired by Baudelaire, Huysmans and the nouveau roman, but I'd never dreamed that any of my great respect for French culture would be returned.

When I came back to New York after receiving the Prix de Flore, Ken Siman, an editor from Tarcher, a division of Penguin USA, made an offer for the book. It will be published in the U.S. in 2006." (Pic: Bruce Benderson in Paris by Andrew Gallix.)




3:AM TOP 5 01/23/2005

Shit-kicking teenage gospel punks The Sound Explosion are currently listening to:
  1. "Armed Love" -- The (International) Noise Conspiracy
  2. "Sgt Peppers Lonely hearts Club Band" -- The Beatles
  3. "Hot Buttered Soul" -- Isaac Hayes
  4. "Infinity Land" -- Biffy Clyro
  5. "Contraband" -- Velvet Revolver

The Sound Explosion's eponymous album will be released on Captains of Industry in March. A single, 'Street Freak' / 'Night Train To Morning', is out now. The band continue their UK tour throughout February.








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