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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

3:AM TOP 5: PAUL EWEN 06/20/2005

Paul Ewen was born in New Zealand in 1972. In 1995, he moved to Asia where he worked for 6 years. He now resides in Tufnell Park where he is completing his first book, a handy guide to London pubs. Paul's work has appeared in 3:AM as well as in this year's New Writing anthology. He was a reader at our 5th birthday gig in London. Paul is currently listening to:
  1. "Tokyo Glitterati", Vector Lovers -- Vector Lovers
  2. "Jim Dodge Dines at the Penguin Cafe", Touchpool -- Lucky Pierre
  3. "Fear and Resilience Prefuse 73 Remix", Fear and Resilience -- Pedro
  4. "Nico Suave", The Enthusiast -- Evil Ed
  5. "Galang", Arular -- MIA



LITERARY MELTDOWN 06/09/2005

This year's Meltdown Festival (11-26 June) in London is curated by Patti Smith (pictured). Apart from all the great music, there'll also be lots of literary events: Peaceable Kingdom: War and the Innocent (Wednesday 15 June at 7.45pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tickets: £10). This evening will be "dedicated to the misunderstood and feared populations of 'foreign' wars. With Tilda Swinton (pictured), Jon Lee Anderson, Joseph Strick (film) and Patti Smith. * Pages From Chaos (Thursday 16 June at 7.45pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tickets: £15 - £17.50). This event will be dedicated to William S. Burroughs. Readings by Alan Moore and Iain Sinclair (pictured), performances by Marc Ribot (solo) and Patti Smith, J Spaceman and Matthew Shipp (performing as a trio). * An Evening with Richard Hell (Saturday 18 June at 8pm, Purcell Room, Tickets: £12.50). The great Richard Hell will be reading from his new novel, Godlike (out next month) and other writings. * John Giorno and Janet Hamill (Tuesday 21 June at 7.30pm, Purcell Room, Tickets: £10). John Giorno is a "proto-punk, gay, Tibetan Buddhist poet" who starred in Warhol's Sleep. Janet Hamill is a poet and painter who, apparently, influenced Patti Smith. The Coral Sea (Wednesday 22 June at 7.45pm, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tickets: £12.50 - £15). Patti Smith will read from The Coral Sea, the book she wrote in honour of Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith also features in Mapplethorpe's 1978 short film, Still Moving, which will be screened. There will also be performances by Kevin Shields and Cat Power. * Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (Thursday 23 June at 7.15pm, Purcell Room, Tickets: £10). A talk with Sandy Pearlman (who produced The Dictators and The Clash and founded of emusic). * Stand Bravely Brothers (Thursday 23rd June at 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall, Tickets: £25 - £30). A tribute to Bertolt Brecht including Patti Smith, Antony, Dresden Dolls, Marc Almond, The Finn Brothers, Martha Wainwright, Sparks, Tiger Lillies, David Thomas and the London Sinfonietta. * Songs of Innocence: Lullabies, Poetry and Poetry Songs For and About Children (Saturday 18th June at 7.30pm, Royal Festival Hall, Tickets: £22.50 - £25). With Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, Sinead O'Connor, Tori Amos, Beth Orton, Kristin Hersh, Marianne Faithfull and Tim Booth.



BITTER HEARTS & WILD STRAWBERRIES 06/09/2005

A former 3:AM collaborator is launching a literary fanzine called Paris Bitter Hearts Pit. Send submissions here ("Avoid the academic, the sentimental, the bland"). Over in New Orleans, 3:AM's Utahna Faith will soon be publishing the third issue of her fine literary journal Wild Strawberries which you can already order here.



THE MISSING LINKS 06/07/2005

A great new London litblog called Short Term Memory Loss. Definitely one to watch. * Four-Eyed Bitch on the last star-studded (Jonathan Safran Foer, Dave Eggers) Book Slam: "Last night's Book Slam...well, how was it? Give me a moment while I clear my lungs of the sticky air of reverence and hero-worship that descended on the Great Eastern Hotel last night. . . . It was an okay night, but there was just so much reverence that I felt like I was gasping for air sometimes. I swear to god that every word uttered by Dave Eggers was punctuated with the kind of laugh only deserved by the holy trinity of Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, and Lenny Bruce. There were a lot of people there who looked as though they don't like to strain their eyes reading for fear of cracking their under-eye shadow concealer." * Matthew David Scott, a 26-year-old English teacher, is said to have written the first chav novel. (American readers go here.) * Julien Temple is interviewed over at Suicide Girls. Apparently, Godard was a fan of The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle: ". . . The problem for them was that kids were worshipping them and kneeling down in front of large posters of them and praying. They were not meant to be worshipped but meant to inspire people to get up and do a similar thing. The idea of the film was to knock that notion on the head and confuse truth and reality in an infuriating way so fans would get angry again. . . . Jean-Luc Godard told me he loved it. He called the way it was edited the future of film. That was amazing. Soon after he said we were both attending a film festival and I saw him sitting at a café by himself. I walked up to him and said 'Mr. Godard' and he said 'Fuck off'. That was all he said. That's the way heroes behave. . . . No one has come up with anything more modern than them. I don't think you can live without that punk feeling. I think the Sex Pistols were just one manifestation of ideas that are constantly around and bubbling under. People have to find new ways of expressing themselves rather recycling the 'punk' look. But I think the attitude is just as modern as it ever was and just as important." * Jeff VanderMeer has a blog. * Charlie Williams has a blog. * Pete Doherty in Trafalgar Square pix. * The latest issue of Failbetter includes a story by Steve Almond (from his latest anthology) and an interview with Sam Lipsyte. * Rebecca Ray talks to the London Line about eating from bins, squatting and her second novel. * Ari Up of Slits fame has a nice website. Punk poet Simon Cheetham has a favourite Slit, but it's not Ari up. He also has two poems about Mark E Smith on his website. The Fall also get the full Believer treatment. * Lionel Shriver wins the Orange Prize while Ismail Kadare pockets the first international Booker. (I actually spotted him in the Latin Quarter -- as I often do - the day before the announcement was made.) * Lots of cool Britlit links at ReadySteadyBook. * Another one not to be missed: Book Coolie. * Spike interview Erol Alkan. * Dee Rimbaud is a very talented artist and poet, as you probably already know, but you may not know that his website now hosts the AA Independent Press Guide which is a great resource for writers.



3:AM TOP 5: HILLARY RAPHAEL 06/06/2005

Neo-Geisha Hillary Raphael's interview with 3:AM will be posted soon. When she's not promoting her book I Love Lord Buddha (Creation Books), being interviewed by Suicide Girls or avoiding the flirtatious attentions of Italian men, she listens to:
  1. "Dubkiller", Index -- Greater Than One
  2. Korean Monks Chanting Sutras
  3. "Black (William Orbit Mix)", Remixed -- Sarah McLachlan
  4. "Tyotto No Sukima",Baby Step -- Anoa
  5. "Gay Bar", Fire -- Electric Six



THE MISSING LINKS 06/02/2005

Three new interesting lit blogs: Four-Eyed Bitch (linked to Suicide Notes which should be commended for its title alone), Bookworld and Dogmatika. * The latter presents the new issue of Zembla. Not content with rising from the ashes, the Britlit glossy is also launching a magazine for kids called Little Z. The Independent reports, however, that Zembla remains "short of cash and, as befits the mag's cutting-edge style, money has been saved in a series of inventive ways. The cult transvestite author J.T. LeRoy, for example, has contributed an article on the shoe designer Manolo Blahnik, for which he was paid with a pair of high heels provided gratis by the cobbler himself. Many pictures have been provided free of charge and services offered in exchange for advertising. Harold Pinter has been less helpful. The mag has discovered an old blues lyric by the playwright in the British Film Institute archive. Pinter has said it can be published, but only on condition that they pay him £250 -- more than they can comfortably afford. 'We offered to do everything for him, even clean the windows of his sizeable north London home,' says Zembla's deputy editor, Phil Oltermann. 'But the suggestion was met with silence. In the end we had to cough up the cash, so it'll duly appear in our new issue.' (Zembla editor Dan Crowe was recently interviewed in 3:AM). * John Harris looks back on another arts zine that went tits up: The Modern Review, purveyors of "Low culture for highbrows": "'The whole enterprise was driven by one fairly simple idea,' says Young. 'And that was that critics had a responsibility to take the best popular culture as seriously as the best high culture. It doesn't sound remotely radical now, because the entire broadsheet press is stuffed with Oxbridge graduates writing about The Terminator. But in those days, it was a new idea.'" Here's the best bit: "'Why did it close down?' muses Julie Burchill. 'Well, no fucker would buy it, I'd imagine.'" * Bookslut's Jessa Crispin has her own column in the Book Standard. * Foyles are opening a new book store at the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank. * The little Suicide Girls minxes feature in the new Louis XIV video. * G-strings: the health risks. * Ian Rankin profiled. * Scarlet magazine showcase "cliterature". * Pete and the Pirates: the next next big thing? * Is Stewart Home the elusive Belle de Jour? asks the Guardian. * Remember The Prats? * Pete Doherty's latest poetry reading. * More on Bookslam, this time in The Indie. * Twats on microscooters. * Penguin at 70. (See also the Penguin race row.) * The new Wallace and Gromit trailer. * Open Wide magazine. * Time Out claims that The Clash's legendary Rainbow gig in 77 was the best London gig ever. * The Rock Snob's Dictionary. * The most beautiful women of the last century. * The great Invisible Brit Lit Blog debate gathers momentum. * The indie yuppie phenomenon. * The Dennis the Menace exhibition. * Better Than Hamlet: "non-fiction essays on living poor and young in Paris". See also Metro Stories. * Crass's Penny Rimbaud is in Vice magazine: "I genuinely believe that if it hadn't been for Crass and the movement which grew out of it, punk would now only be remembered as another old dame in the rock and roll pantomime; just the same old attitudes dressed up in a different costume. The Pistols certainly didn't do anything more radical than Elvis Presley, the only difference was that Elvis could handle his drugs better than they could. Crass wanted to change the world, and in some respects we did, but nowhere to the degree that we set out to." * Christopher Logue, one of the founders of Merlin who has been working on his own version of The Iliad for the past 40 years, is interviewed in The Indie: "Does he feel like one of Britain's most august poets? Logue suddenly looks sad. 'No. Of course I just feel how second-rate I am, compared to people like...' Like? 'Milton. Pope. Shakespeare.' I suggest that this may be one of the drawbacks of writing in English. 'I know,' he says. 'Imagine if Shakespeare was French. We'd never hear the bloody end of it. There'd be streets named after him, and the Grand Shakespeare Prize, and the President of the Republic would quote from him all the time... it'd be a scream!' He pauses for a minute at the door before saying goodbye. 'And imagine being a Greek poet,' he says. 'And being saddled with bloody Homer.'" * Nick Laird profiled. * Sean O'Hagan on Joy Division. * Political philosopher Ted Honderich: "I ask Ted if the story about Ayer and Mike Tyson is true. The tale goes that the pair were both in a New York nightclub, and Ayer demanded Tyson unhand a woman whom he thought was being intimidated by the boxer. 'I'm the heavyweight champion of the world,' said Tyson. 'Who the fuck are you?' Replied Ayer: 'I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic at Oxford University. Who the fuck are you?' 'I heard it from Freddie,' says Ted, 'but he did exaggerate his stories.'" * French weekly Les Inrockuptibles is devoting an entire issue to Michel Houellebecq. It comes complete with a DVD which includes a lengthy interview as well as the novelist's erotic film La Rivière. * There's a previously-unpublished interview with James Joyce in the latest issue of Granta.



HARDBOILED NIPPLE: THE FRICTION BOOKS LAUNCH 06/02/2005

3am's Andrew Stevens reports from the frontline: "'It's not bad for two men and a dog starting out' said the newly-elected maverick MP launching his new publishing venture last night. 'Who's the dog?' then came the cry from the crowd. Naturally, I could only be at the launch of George Galloway's Friction Books ("books that burn, books that cause controversy and get people talking" claims the PR material) in an Indian resturant on Brick Lane E1, the House of Commons authorities cancelling their previous offer to host it in Parliament at the last minute. "If I was to take you now to the dining rooms in the bowels of the House of Commons you would find virtually every one of them booked by a Member of Parliament sponsored by a commercial company" claimed Galloway, though the free chicken tikka and Cobra lager served in the sunshine was infinitely preferable to a goblet of state-subsidised Stella in a dank committee room in any case. Although I was transfixed by the presence of Pauline Melville, more familiar to me as Vyvyan's mother in early 80s BBC sitcom The Young Ones than in her latter-day career as a successful writer, Jon Ronson's appearance suggested that he might have Galloway in his sights as the subject of his next offbeat documentary. Or he may just be a fan.

Relieved to hear that the alcohol was complimentary (lest I invite any comparison to Christopher Hitchens, most leftist bashes charge a fiver in the name of 'solidarity'), I listened to Galloway's plans for Friction, which he compared favourably to the Left Book Club of the 1930s. The first book "to burn" will be An Easy Thing, the translation of popular Mexican hardboiled writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II's first novel. One female reporter asked about the "hardened nipple": a partially-disrobed woman of presumably Central American origin on the book's cover, though I didn't hear Galloway provide an answer. This is more than relevant as much of his party's pitch consists in appealing to the religious sensibilities of the local Muslim population. Galloway hopes to follow the novel with The Battle of Bethnal Green, a sensational account of Galloway's recent election campaign and Senate committee appearance which is bound to be the book of choice for many an armchair liberal, à la Michael Moore's Stupid White Men. He also spoke of a third book in the pipeline, an account of the McCarthy era seen through the eyes of a Hollywood insider. Hollywood is also relevant as Galloway plans to release a DVD of his blistering appearance in front of the US Senate recently, an event which drew admiration from even the detractors of the cigar-chomping self-confessed womaniser. On the balance of what I witnessed, ostensibly a gathering of literary luvvies for Galloway as opposed to an Audenesque rally, it's possible to still take issue with some of the man's more 'unusual' facets and history while applauding the remit of the publisher. I hope."




3:AM TOP 5: VICKY GRUT 05/26/2005

Vicky Grut, who won both the Asham and Ian St James awards in 1999, is currently completing her first novel. Her story, "Stranger", is featured in this year's New Writing anthology (Picador). Vicky was one of the guests at 3:AM's 5th anniversary bash.
  1. "Am I Cool Now", Muted (Anticon) -- Alias: "There's a line here that I really love: 'It's only popular on the internet…'."
  2. "Don't Tell Me That", Chunnel Autumnal (Matinee Recordings) -- Pipas: "Quirky and always intelligent".
  3. "Ontario Plates", Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn (Constellation) -- Do, Make, Say, Think
  4. "C'mere", Antics -- Interpol (Matador).
  5. Music For 18 Musicians -- Steve Reich (Nonesuch Records): "This isn't really a track, but whenever I need pace and energy in a piece of writing, I'll reach for American composer Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians -- driven, insistent, brilliant stuff".



THE MISSING LINKS 05/26/2005

"Learn something and party all night" (Evening Standard): get ready for this year's Port Eliot Lit Festival (22-24 July). * 3:AM's Andrew Stevens and Andrew Perry analyse London nightlife "through the bottom of a glass". * Best Life magazine will publish a "lost" Jack Kerouac play in July: "Kerouac even sent the play to Marlon Brando, Mr Lord said. Kerouac was desperate to collaborate with the actor, and wrote a letter to him in 1957 urging Brando to appear in a play adaptation of On the Road. Brando never responded, and the two only met once, in 1960, when Kerouac enrolled in the Actor's Studio. But his foray into acting was shortlived. After 15 minutes he asked, 'Don't they give you any drinks in this place?' Spotting Brando he invited him for a drink. Brando refused." * It's the 25th anniversary of Ian Curtis's death. * 3:AM's Ben Myers has a great morality tale in Pulp.net. * Lots of reports from this year's Hay Festival. * As the Paris Review goes commercial, one of its former editors, Brigid Hughes, is about to launch a new literary magazine called A Public Space. * Strangely enough, I wasn't even aware of the fact that the mighty Alasdair Gray has an official site (link via Splinters). * Art prankster Banksy makes it into the British Museum. * Brace yourselves for Art Brut's debut album. The band that was dropped by Rough Trade also appear in the London Line: "'We used to stop songs in the middle and explain what they were about. But by being bad, we've learned how to pretend to be good. And we know how to make two chords go a lot further than we used to.' . . . That two-chord simplicity is matched by the directness of Eddie's lyrics, which have led to misconceptions about how many levels of irony he's working on. The answer is: none whatsoever. 'People get this idea that Eddie's taking the piss,' says Chris. 'But I'm deadly serious,' butts in Eddie. 'Emily Kane is a real person, she's not made up. And it's not comedy -- it's heartbreaking. I couldn't even bring myself to sing that song at first.' When they performed Emily Kane at gigs last year, with its stabbing refrain of 'I'm still in love with my old flame', Eddie would plead with the audience that if any of them knew where Emily was, to beg her to get in touch with him. Eventually she did; she agreed to write the press release for the single, and they met up for the first time in 10 years. 'Fortunately it turned out that I wasn't still in love with her, which was a relief,' he says. 'What I was actually in love with was being 15 years old, and getting very drunk.'" * Everett True's blog. * Is 50 the perfect age to write a novel? * Pete Doherty evicted from his flat (more Doherty here). * Jonathan Safran Foer's childhood crisis: "All writing, he believes now, is autobiographical. 'Has to be. There is nowhere for it to come from but from the author. Every character, every event -- even if the book is set in Japan in 1400BC -- is autobiographical.' And though you don't write to learn about yourself, 'that is what happens. When you read something you have written, you have to confront some of the lies you have been telling yourself.'" * 3:AM contributor Guillaume Destot's excellent new Paris-based band: Camelia Ashbach. * The New Writing Ventures (for writers resident in England). * The Sunday Times reckons spoken word is hip as fuck right now (article by Johnny Davis): "Samantha Morton ferrets through her Kiehl's goodie bag. Marianne Faithfull holds court on the front row. And Madonna, we're reliably informed, is on her way. We're not at a fashion show or the opening of a new boutique, club or restaurant, but the rather more prosaic Foyles bookshop on Charing Cross Road, London. It's Monday teatime. Luring the A list from their walled gardens to the bit behind the non-fiction is the author JT LeRoy, a former rent boy turned US literary sensation. . . . LeRoy might have his doubts about these events, but he will have to get used them. 'Spoken word' -- prose and poetry read aloud, in front of an audience -- is on the rise. . . . 'It's incredibly democratic,' says Patrick Neate, the Whitbread-winning novelist who, with Everything but the Girl's Ben Watt, runs Book Slam, a monthly club in west London. 'Anyone can get up on the mike and perform.' Book Slam regularly features literary heavyweights -- Dave Eggers and Jonathan Safran Foer are both upcoming -- alongside new, often unpublished voices. 'The scene's getting bigger because there's no counterculture any more,' says Neate. 'These are people who have no interest in engaging with mainstream industry, who don't want to be journalists or write a book or deal with a record company, who are saying, 'You know what? I'm a good writer. I'll write spoken-word stuff and go and perform it.' The music reference is apt, because Neate has built his night not just around authors and poets, but DJs and musicians. 'I call it clubbing for grown-ups,' he says. 'You get a bit of intellectual stimulation, but you do so over a bottle of white wine. It's not rarefied. Some people have been surprised to hear Public Enemy records blaring out. But what I'm trying to do is create a hip night, something that allows funky people to access books and book people to access funk. God, I sound like my dad.' . . . You will find similar events at, for example, the Green Rooms, in Manchester, or The Drum, in Birmingham. Or the authors can come to you. Newland took his Tell Tales posse -- 'a collective of short-prose writers' -- on the road last year, performing 35 dates. 'Publishers say that collections of short stories don't sell,' he says. 'So I was well aware that we would have to go on tour and raise our profile.' . . . In terms of finding new audiences, spoken-word nights are 'absolutely essential', says Matt Thorne, a Man Booker-longlisted writer and a veteran of Tell Tales and Book Slam. 'Writers are thrown into the mix with patois poets, soul singers and DJs. It's a really useful way to meet a new audience. There are so many books published these days: how else are people supposed to know what they might like to buy?' Charlie Dark, the man behind Blacktronica, a London-based collective of writers, DJs and musicians, is also convinced about the increasing hipness of spoken word. 'Going to a poetry night is cutting-edge,' he says. 'Clubs have become like supermarkets: they're not underground or rebellious any more. Clubbing is what the bloke next to you in the office does.' The increased popularity of spoken-word nights is because 'we're all part of the iMac generation', reckons Dark. That is, we no longer have to wait for someone else to publish, record or film us; we can do it ourselves, using our home computers. . . . The Verb, Radio 3's Saturday-night programme was established as a direct response to the new wave of spoken-word events. 'Literary programmes tend to be rather high-end and po-faced,' says The Verb's editor, Mohit Bakaya. 'We wanted to do something to acknowledge the new audience. Something that wasn't fusty.' . . ."



THE MISSING LINKS 05/15/2005

Sean O'Hagan recently interviewed cult author Chuck Palahniuk: "...'I like to cut to the chase,' he says. 'I try to tell a story the way someone would tell you a story in a bar, with the same kind of timing and pacing.' To this end, he listens a lot. While other writers might go to the library, Chuck goes to Starbucks. 'You hear the best stories from ordinary people. That sense of immediacy is more real to me than a lot of writerly, literary-type crafted stories. I want that immediacy when I read a novel,' he says, sounding evangelical. 'I don't want all that other extraneous stuff, all those abstract, chicken-shit descriptions.… There are people out there who will not read books, but somehow they'll read my books. They serve them in a way most fiction doesn't. I give them a less filtered form of entertainment. I acknowledge some unacknowledged parts of our lives, which, as a culture, we don't tend to talk about.' Other interesting excerpts concerned Fight Club ("It's all me. I'm the guy who had the Ikea catalogue in my drawer at work."), romance ("'I write nothing,' he says without a trace of irony, 'but contemporary romances.'") and his forthcoming anthology, Guts, which he describes as "a food book" revolving around "everyday horrors" à la Edgar Allen Poe. This, however, was the best bit: "I really believe it's the moments we can't talk about that become the rest of our lives. It's the moments we cannot process by telling a story that destroy us in the end." * Michel Houellebecq was recently interviewed by Les Inrockuptibles. The controversial French novelist has just finished writing his new novel in southern Spain. He describes La Possibilité d'une île as his best work so far. It will be published in September. * Check out Tony James (ex Generation X & Sigue Sigue Sputnik)'s online diary on the official Carbon/Silicon website: "NME was like a religion in the 70s. It had its star writers (Nick Kent, Charles Shar Murray ) and its own mad style with the 'next week box' and the 'lone groover'. The writing was sooo great and I always devoured it cover to cover." Carbon/Silicon (which also includes former Clash Mick Jones) made their radio debut on Andy Kershaw's show on 15 May. * The Huffington Post has gone live. * London's brilliant Nude magazine now has an equally-brilliant website. * If you're a Londoner, you've probably seen them around town: The Fairies. * 3:AM's HP Tinker ("an accidental byproduct of Simon Prosser's controversial attempt to genetically engineer a brand new radically hip Brit Lit author by cloning the narrative technique of William Burroughs with the social largesse of Kingsley Amis") enraged a best-selling novelist (to the extent that he threatened to sue!) when Pulp.net published his Literary Top 10. The incriminating extract has been deleted, so here's another extract: "Film guru Colin McCabe. Nice chap with a big booming voice who mentioned 'Jean-Luc' rather a lot: 'Jean-Luc is a highly complex human being...'; 'Jean-Luc loves the company of small children...'; 'Jean-Luc is very partial to a sweet sherry in the afternoon...' and so on. From this I deduced that: a) Colin knew Jean-Luc Godard, and b) Colin knew Jean-Luc Godard. McCabe did, however, produce the best opening gambit I have ever witnessed, live, in front of a small audience. Namely: 'When Hanif Kureishi asked me to appear in the film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid... as myself...' Which, as opening gambits go, I fear may never be beaten." * The latest US literary sensation, Mrs Safran Foer aka Nicole Krauss (more here) is interviewed by Gaby Wood in The Guardian. On other writers (including her husband?): "I honestly kind of avoid meeting other writers. When I was younger, I was amazed by writers and I thought they were some kind of angels. But when writers get together, sadly, they tend not to talk about the great philosophical issues of the day, but rather, who is your publisher and did you see that awful review that so and so did? It's really disappointing." On nostalgia: "When the word nostalgia was coined in the 18th century, it was used to describe a pathology -- not so much a sense of lost time, but a severe homesickness." * Don Letts's new documentary, Punk: Attitude, recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. * Novelist Jonathan Coe makes it on to this year's BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction thanks to his extraordinary biography of BS Johnson. * There's no stopping Chris Mitchell of Spike magazine. He has just launched or relaunched three websites in a row: thelastmiles.com (an online companion to George Cole's The Last Miles: the music of Miles Davis 1980-1991 which reasses the artist's late output), peterjames.com (which has been completely overhauled to coincide with the author's latest crime novel, Dead Simple) and bookboost.com which does what it says on the tin. "Authors are basically getting zero help from publishers to get the word out about their work these days," says Chris, "and there's loads of ways to do that online, so I figured it was a natural move, really." * Also in Spike, a fascinating interview with Tony Wilson (who has launched a new incarnation of the legendary Factory Records called F4) by Craig Johnson: "We actually I'd say, were responsible for removing the world's greatest rock and roll writer for about fifteen years, which is Greil Marcus, from rock'n'roll. He got a copy of our first record and stuck a Durutti Column sticker on his deck and looked at it for two years thinking 'What the fuck is this?', and finally discovered it was a Strasbourg (Andre Bertrand) political cartoon at the end of which he got completely involved in it and became buried in it and became the world expert on Situationism." * Maverick British MP George Galloway is launching his own publishing house called Friction * Novelist and Exquisite Corpse supremo Andrei Codrescu writes about 3:AM editor Utahna Faith's pierced navel: "U. consulted the mirror for a minute, then asked my opinion of her new navel. 'You'll never be naked again,' I said. The piercing thus concluded, U. decided to begin writing a novel the next day, the navel being the onomatopoeic trigger that she'd ritually chosen to jumpstart the process." * Did you know that Stu P. Didiot died in 2003?







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