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      [2.12.06] [3:AM]
    For this year's 3:AM Xmas Bash we'll be joined by Iain Sinclair. He'll be joined by Nicholas Royle and Stewart Home (making his fourth appearance at our Xmas event).

    Come join us before the season gets too much.

    Monday December 18, from 7pm
    The Wheatsheaf
    25 Rathbone Place
    London W1T 1JB

    Oxford Circus/Tottenham Court Road tubes
    Free entry

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    [Utahna Faith]
    He reaches around the bottle of tequila on the nightstand and grabs his billfold. "Here," he says giving her four five hundred peso notes. "Tell the medico to take care of your problem."

    Rocky Point Crabs - 1978

    There was one thing she hadn't told him, she says, as she stands at the open doors looking out at the sea.

    He shudders as a crab scuttles across the red tile floor. The whir of the overhead fan blends with the sounds of the evening surf rolling down the beach. "Come back to bed mi chica bonita, you're blocking the breeze."

    She stretches, her narrow back glistening in the moonlight. She skips over and curls up next to him, her head cradled in his arm. His finger traces a triangle on her breast, connecting three small freckles. Her youth saddens him.

    "Una cosa?" he asks.

    "Ah, muchas cosas Jefe, but this es muy importante." She holds his hand to her breast and nuzzles his neck.

    "Es tarde ahora. Mañana?"

    "I went to the clinic today."

    He exhales slowly. His body deflates like a tired balloon. This girl, he will miss.

    He reaches around the bottle of tequila on the nightstand and grabs his billfold. "Here," he says giving her four five hundred peso notes. "Tell the medico to take care of your problem."

    "But Jefe, the doctor said..."

    "I know what the doctor said." He takes the bills from her and puts them in the pocket of her apron hanging from the bedpost. "Those Catholic doctors always say that. Two thousand pesos will change his mind." He pushes her down and buries his face in the soft tangle of her pubic hair, his tongue probing her.

    "Ah Jefe," she murmurs, "you really do love me."

    He shivers. The scuttling sound is closer now.

    Len Joy lives in Evanston, Illinois with his wife and three children. For fifteen years Joy owned and operated an automobile engine remanufacturing company in Phoenix. In the last year his work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Antithesis Common and In November, Joy took third prize in the Canadian Writers' Collective Short Story Contest.

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    [30.11.06] [3:AM]
    Following National Unawareness Day earlier this month:

    "Stuck in a boring job? Same shit everyday? No future? Life just passing you by? Drowning in debt? Bored to tears? Ambition shriveled? Dreams quashed? Slowly becoming a white collar zombie? Lost the keys to the playground? Are you in the driving seat or gagged in the boot? When you were a child, is this how you hoped your life would be? Stuck in the endless cycle of work, home, TV, work? Maybe one week in the sun if you're lucky? Do you feel like you're prostituting your life to the highest bidder?"

    Sadly nothing to do with the now-defunct Decadent Action but Monday 29th January 2007 is National Phone In Sick Day.

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    [29.11.06] [3:AM]
    Tom McCarthy (pictured) will be talking about his novel Remainder on Matthew Crockatt's 'Lit Bits' show tomorrow afternoon (30/11) on London-based arts radio station Resonance FM (104.4 in Greater London or worldwide), between 15.00-15.30 (GMT).

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    [27.11.06] [3:AM]
    Continuing on the year end list theme, Simon Callow in The Guardian hails Bruce Benderson's "harrowingly autobiographical" The Romanian, "one of the most devastating and unsparing accounts of amour fou I have ever read, providing at the same time an extraordinary glimpse into Romania's past and present."

    Meanwhile, over in the New Statesman's list our good friend Sukhdev Sandhu pays tribute to Brandon Stosuy's affectionate "tear-inducing, pumped-fist-raising tribute to the downtown literary scene that flourished in the two decades before Giuliani turned Manhattan into a mausoleum." Up Is Up But So Is Down (which also features, appropriately, Bruce Benderson). In the same list, Tom Hodgkinson of Idler fame lauds our own George Berger's Crass: The Biography, which "gives a good account of the bohemian household that produced the influential anarchist punk band as well as a series of avant-garde artistic projects."

    (Picture: Bruce Benderson.)

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    [26.11.06] [Andrew Gallix]
    Becky Ohlsen reviews Tony O'Neill's Seizure Wet Dreams (published by Social Disease) in Bookmunch:

    "...His no-holds-barred descriptions of junkies shooting up and, worse, searching around in vain for a vein in Seizure Wet Dreams are so detailed, so visual and specific that I reckon even somebody without needlephobia would squirm. The nasty vein thing is just one part of the grimness that makes up the book. There's also the whole doomed life of junkies thing, and the depraved and mercenary sex-for-money thing, and the no future, unforgiving isolation of the cold cold world thing, the we wouldn't do this in the first place if life weren't so sick all over (especially in politics) thing, and the everyone in the world is a junkie for something thing... In short, the many stories and poems in O'Neill's book add up to one relentlessly oppressive and depressing picture of junkie life. Imagine yourself, just for example, staring at the vein running up the side of your flaccid and useless prick and wondering if you could get a hit there...' Yup.

    Surprisingly, though, it's not all grim-and-dim -- there's some really funny stuff in here. The problem is that the funny parts feel completely out of place. (The other problem is that some of his joke Several of the stories start out in gritty reality and then go off the rails. One of these, titled 'I am a writer; that is, I write reports,' drags you in with its unflinching pictures of desperate junkies and world-weary dealers. The characters are believable, the action feels real, and the writing is sincere and poignant despite its harsh subject matter. But then suddenly at the end it devolves into an absurdist dream of a televised presidential debate gone wrong (or so, so right), culminating in an
    Exorcist-style crucifix penetration on stage: 'The president's face purses slightly as the Lord's feet creep into his asshole, nails and all.' It's hard to argue with the awesomeness of such a scene, but when it comes at the end of a story that started out all serious and absorbing and bracingly real, it's jarring. And O'Neill does that a lot. ...But when he's being straightforward and sincere, O'Neill can be great. The poem 'Hey Randal' is one that works, a lament for a long-lost friend that never abandons its initial tone just for a laugh. 'Almost Blue' is another good one, a story that captures the self-defeatist tone of an addict going through the motions of trying to quit without really wanting to, partly because he can't imagine who he'd be or what his life would look like if he did: It's a disconcerting experience when you've been shooting dope for a few years to get your first taste of methadone. You feel...nothing. You spend the whole first week waiting for the sickness to hit. You don't feel good, you don't feel bad, you just...exist. And then you have to figure out what you're gonna do with your day. No scoring or getting the money to score with so that's a good 12 hours of the day you have to contend with. And no sitting around, stoned and content or laying out your syringe and spoon and balloons of dope like a geisha about to perform a tea ceremony. What did you do before? It was a different time, a different person and you don't give a shit what that asshole did with his time.'

    O'Neill is at his best when he follows his ravaged, junk-sick narrators through their urban wastelands in a desperate attempt to find anything they can get to stave off the inevitable horror of not being high. They describe their own self-destruction and the way they navigate the harsh world with an impassive, detached tone that prevents them from ever sounding mawkish. O'Neill's flights of fancy are sometimes entertaining, but mostly distracting; it's the serious, sincere reporting from the front lines that makes the book."

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    [Andrew Gallix]

    In today's Observer, Rupert Thomson chooses Tom McCarthy's Remainder (3:AM Magazine's Book of the Year 2005) as his favourite book of 2006:

    "There are echoes of Beckett, Flann O'Brien too, perhaps, but in the end McCarthy has a precision, a surreal logic and a sly wit that is all his own. It will be a long time before you come across a stranger book, or a truer one."

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