3 A.M. LITERATURE
Literary oriented articles, stories, essays, and documentaries as featured in previous editions of 3 A.M. MAGAZINE.
THINK OF THE CHILDREN
"Every so often, a novel is published that is 'clever'. Not clever in that it trades in plot for astrophysics or requires an entrance exam before you're allowed to purchase it. Clever in that it defies you to take issue with it, so as to suggest that the elaborate wordplay at hand and inventive style is in some way groundbreaking and any failure to grasp its significance on your part, be you reader or reviewer (or both, even) infers some level of inability to 'get'." 3:AM Literary Editor Andrew Stevens casts his eye over two new books about nine year olds.
MEXICAN NEW WAVE
"Friction Books possesses the rather self-assured and provocative boast of its intention to publish 'books that burn, books that cause controversy and get people talking' and while we will have to wait for Galloway's no-holds account of 'The Battle of Bethnal Green', the first instalment of radical sentiment comes in the form of a Mexican detective novel. Paco Ignacio Taibo II's inclusion on Galloway's roster might appear surprising at first glance as there is little allusion to New Labour lickspittles or Neo-Conservative war-mongering in any of its 245 pages and the partially-disrobed lady on the cover might raise an eyebrow or two among his Muslim associates." Andrew Stevens examines the first offering of a new fiction imprint with a difference.
SPANKING FOR ENGLAND
"There's a striking difference between England and America here that goes all through cinema, especially U.S. depictions of 'the golden times of youth' or whatever are always (right from Citizen Kane and Wonderful Life) small-town, close-to-the-soil, classless. Ours are Edwardian upper-middle. And in every U.S. film, the Hero has to prove his blue-collar cred (even if he's a bigshot lawyer or the President himself) by e.g. smacking a baseball out of sight. Whereas in the UK we seem happy to accept Hugh Grant's dithering shtick as 'normal everyday Englishman'. Pinter marries into the nobility, Scruton goes hunting: to a middle-class Englishman there simply IS no other model of success than a mad sub-Austen Georgians At Home fairytale." Andrew Gallix interviews James Hawes, the author of Speak for England.
DEATH OF A TWIN
"Suicide is generally seen in a very negative way and, though it is tragic and devastating, I've learnt from losing my own twin that there's a positive and magical side to it as well. It is actually a very courageous thing to do. To leave can be braver than to just stay here and struggle on, never knowing whether you'll ever be happy." Zoe Paxton interviews Diana Evans, author of 26a.
PRETTY AUTHORS MAKE GRAVES
"I only trust the ugly writers, anyway. Deep down, those are the ones who have earned their wrath. All the rest of them, the pretty boy and girl authors, screw them. Or, better yet, don't screw them. Get them all hot and bothered. Tell them you know Terry Gross, you once dated her former personal assistant, and then leave them there, lathered up, grinning, in a hot cloud of their own fabulous bone structure." Read Steve Almond's "brief polemic addressing personal aesthetics and the authorial mission" in which the novelist argues that ugly people make pretty things.
ANOTHER BRILLIANT FLUKE
"And what did I get? Another absolutely hillarious and enjoyable read. The story starts off a little slower, bringing in a lot of information about whales and their singing patterns before hanging a harsh left and dragging us into evolutionary chaos and promiscuous whaley-girl sex." Jim Martin reviews FLUKE Or, I Know Why The Winged Whale Sings, by Christopher Moore.
WRITING FOR ALL
"I think these days, fashion always references literature or art because fashion ultimately feeds off the history of literature and the history of art. They need to associate with those values. It's one of the reasons that Zembla will be able to keep going and finance itself because it's an intelligent outlet for their advertising campaigns." If fashion ends in passion, Dan Crowe is the best-dressed man in town. The editor of Zembla talks to Richard Marshall about the present and future of literary magazines.
AN INTERVIEW WITH DOUG MIERS
"The only way to change the way most people think about comics is to create a new craze, something so big and so revolutionary that the literary community will be forced to reassess its preconceptions. We have to get comics out of the shops and into the hands of the millions of potential readers who would never venture into a comic shop." Richard Marshall interviews Prophecy Anthology's Doug Miers.
"I always have lots of zany ideas for promotional stuff as publication nears, such as last summer I was all set to declare myself 'Writer in Residence of Cheadle Bleach Works (Disused)', as a stunt. Have my picture taken down there with a laptop and a hard hat. In the end I didn't do it. Maybe next time. I have no patience with up-themselves authors who complain about having to trail round a few bookshops signing stock. Who was it recently invented some machine that will enable her to sign a book from 5,000 miles away? Margaret Atwood. Get off your arse, love, and sign it in person. Publishers and circumstance made you a bestselling author. Give a little back." Jake Purbright interviews Nicholas Royle.
A KIND OF LOVING
"Authors were concentrating on the typical rather than the exceptional, relating the mundane details of everyday life and the frustrations experienced by those with huge limitations placed on them because of their backgrounds, families, social conventions and, ultimately, themselves. The stories were littered with dead-end jobs, unwanted pregnancies, stifling families, shotgun weddings and sexual frustration. The style differed greatly from author to author, but the common factor was the overwhelming and brutal honesty of the writing. There are no typical heroes and villains here. Just people in all their confusing, mixed up glory." Suzy Prince breaks out the Babycham and waxes lyrical about her enduring passion for the British Kitchen Sink fiction of the Fifties and Sixties.
HISTORY, PORN, AND ADVERTISING - AN INTERVIEW WITH THOR KUNKEL
"I used to hang out with the "wild bunch": GIs, punks, LSD-astronauts, junkies, you see, speed-freaks came in all sizes, and we used to meet at the Burger King or in a small alternative movie- theatre watching every Sunday morning Kubrick's Clockwork Orange in the original English version. I mean every Sunday, because the film ran for years. Funnily enough, we called normal people "the zombies". It was not some on-going joke, I think, we believed it. We thought they were all dead. Brain dead. Everything was so sick and mind-warped, and I tried to capture some of it in my first novel." Jake Purbright interviews German literary upstart Thor Kunkel for 3AM.
REVIEWGENERATOR (PATENT PENDING)
"ScriptGenerator©®™ is perfectly observed and a stunning indictment of contemporary cultural production values. The computer programme of the book's title treats the narrative assembly process as just the same as any other, a string of variables just waiting to be arranged. Therefore the discovery of such a programme spells the end of the creative profession for good, rendering writers entirely redundant. Anyone who's witnessed people in public places glued to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code can only wonder if this is such a bad thing?" Andrew Stevens reviews Philippe Vasset's highly innovative ScriptGenerator©®™ for 3:AM.
THE LAST GENERATION OF CHAIN SMOKERS
"The story focuses mostly on Crane, the terminal slacker who seems casually amused watching his life leave him for sunnier climes. It's honestly a little hard to relate to him for most of us. He's like a calm Sid Vicious burning out on center stage. But there is a warmth and depth to him, and from time to time you cannot help but feel for him." Jim Martin reviews Stephen Creagh Uys's novel, The Last Generation of Chainsmokers.
"A reviewer once wrote of Trocchi's Young Adam that he expected to see 'Camus was here' written prominently at the end of it. We simply have to substitute Camus for Brett Easton-Ellis (for whom homage is dutifully acknowledged in this instance) today. Why else would there be so much commentary on the sexual mores of the New York swinging scene post-9/11?" Andrew Stevens reviews Frédéric Beigbeder's new novel, Windows on the World.
THE VULGARIAN INVASIONS
"Chaps are a cult in the sense that there is an understood dress code and attitude, similar aims and ethos among the followers. A definite reaction to something, in this case the status quo of modern culture. It isn't as political as, say, punk, but it does say: we don't like what we see around us and we are not a part of it. We are a part of something of our own creation." Andrew Stevens interviews Gustav Temple of The Chap magazine for 3AM.
WORDS FOUND WRITTEN ON THE STEAMED-UP WINDOWS OF LATE-NIGHT BUSES
"Smoke's take on London is a sideways, arch-eyebrowed, cheeky-grinned, somewhat geekish one. It loves, and craves to find, peculiar places and desires to expose secrets or hidden stories of the city that haven't been told on a grand scale. It's not a gravely serious, intellectual take, but a romantic, enthusiastic and often humorous one. We find that plenty of people are as odd as we are." Andrew Gallix interviews Matt Haynes and Jude Rogers of Smoke magazine.
NAKED & FIZZING WITH LUST
"Calling me a sexpert is a little like calling George W. Bush an intellectual. It would be nice to think so, but the facts just ain't there. That said, I do write about sex, obviously, which, I guess, is one of those things like: Well, if you can't have sex, at least you can write about it. Actually, only a small percentage of my stories have what we in the literary game call "hanky panky". To me, sex is interesting emotional terrain, dangerous terrain, which is where I want to be spending time as a writer. Writing that doesn't feel dangerous on some level frankly isn't very interesting. But, just to be clear, I'm always aiming for the place where a character, or characters, are in emotional danger, and this happens much more when they're naked and fizzing with lust." Andrew Gallix asks Steve Almond a string of pompous questions.
HISTORY AS PORN
"Unit S-21 was a converted Bauhaus-style college building in the suburbs of Phnom Pheng where in the 60s Pol Pot had lectured on Rimbaud and De Sade. In 1976 it had been converted into a torture and killing centre." Richard Marshall reviews Stephen Barber's Annihilation Zones: Far Eastern Atrocities of the 2Oth Century.
ELIOT GREEBEE IS A SLEAZE
"I don't know if this is a book about the failing of ideologies, a lesson about the dangers of straying from our individual faiths, or the masturbatory aid of a very sick person, but it works." Jim Martin reviews Aaron Zimmerman's By The Time You Finish This You May Be Dead.
PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A CANDYFREAK
"After my story collection was done, I spent a year trying to write this big, important novel. It was a total bust. I didn't love the characters, I didn't know them from the inside out. I was just pushing them around, hoping they'd bump into meaning. So I didn't know what to do. I got bummed out. And, as usually happens when I'm bummed, I started eating all this candy, and thinking about candy, and a few of my friends -- the ones who weren't terrified -- said, maybe you should be writing about this. I resisted the idea for a while, because I thought, you know, how can candy be deep? How can it be a subject worthy of my writer angst? The thing that tipped the balance was touring the factory where they make Necco wafers, which is near my house. It was like a religious experience." Read our first interview with Steve Almond by Amy Cox Williams.
AN INTERVIEW WITH TRAVIS JEPPESEN
"If you don't believe in something, then it's impossible to get out of bed. It doesn't matter if that something is religion, art, love, or even something more trivial. That's a beautiful thing. If you don't have it, then there's a hole that you eventually fall into. Or you go out actively looking for something to be a part of, something to believe in. Once you've found it, it may or may not leave you feeling disillusioned in the end." T. Cole Rachel interviews Spiv Driver Travis Jeppesen.
AN INTERVIEW WITH GRANT JARRETT
"The problem with the kind of traveling I did, and my state of mind at the time, was that I never really took much notice of where I was. I was obsessed with other things, and I was always right there to spoil the fun. Still, parts of Europe were stunningly beautiful, and when I stopped to look around, or allowed myself to experience something outside my narrow focus, I had moments of joy, and, on rare occasion, a fleeting sense of calm." Elizabeth Glixman interviews Grant Jarrett, author of More Towels, In Between the Notes.
FOR ALL THE FUCKED-UP CHILDREN OF THE WORLD
"Certain embittered ex-members would have you believe that I'm somewhere twixt Hitler and Ghengis Khan, but Erik, I think recognised that there needed to a driving force, giving direction and that many of the roles I took on early on for necessity, management for instance, were thankless tasks. But readers will have their own interpretations." Leading figure in the English Pop Underground Sonic Boom writes exclusively for 3AM on a new history of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized.
THE TALENTED MS RILEY
"I think it feeds something evil in me because at this point it's quite a negative experience, it requires a certain fortitude because I'm not seeing anything new, I'm rarely surprised. I feel like I've finished with writing about people in bars, but I can't seem to leave. I just refuse to get a job. I like to have time to think and to write. So I'm there for the foreseeable.". Gwendoline Riley, Britlit's "Camus in hotpants", tells HP Tinker why she still works in a bar.
KEEP WARM THIS WINTER - MAKE TROUBLE
"I've come to the conclusion in my older years that beauty is the best weapon we've got. It's the one thing that the powers can't replicate". Richard Cabut interviews Jamie Reid, the self-styled "socialist druid" who turned the Sex Pistols into a work of art.
"What worries me is the professionalism of everything. If you want to succeed in writing you get an MFA. The older writers I taught, those who had been around a bit, had an advantage. The younger writers were still writing the right of passage, high school stories and I'd say to them 'Get a job! This will give you something else to write about. You've got to write about something else, get some experience.'" Alan Black interviews the undisputed heavyweight champion of Scottish literature, Irvine Welsh who recently turned to boxing.
"The Accomplice novels -- Only an Alligator, The Velocity Gospel, Dummy Land and Karloff's Circus -- form a quartet, episodes in an over arching plot. The books are infused with countless in jokes, subplots (many play out in the space of a single paragraph) and encoded allusions to… well, everything; the other books in the series; politics; the bible; Yeats; Sanskrit esoterica. All delivered with a satiric smirk and an unhealthy dose of certainty." Alexander Cavell dissects Steve Aylett's Accomplice novels for 3AM.
FREEDOM & MEMORY: THE RAY LORIGA INTERVIEW
"I was looking the other day at this new pack of cigarettes they make with 'Smoking Kills' and I want to make one with the slogan 'People Who Don't Smoke Die Too'. People who don't smoke are not going to live forever. I don't see the point of it. I'm told that smoking can take away ten years of your life but those are the worse ten years, stuck in a wheelchair, all alone, not being able to talk, losing your sight -- so who cares?" Richard Marshall interviews Spanish novelist, screenwriter & film director Ray Loriga.
SWIMMING AGAINST THE MAINSTREAM
"Our underground roots are important to us. We feel that in an increasingly insincere world, zines are the last bastion of authenticity, a medium that still manages to support divergent views without corporate or government largesse. I can't think of any other medium with such broad representation as the underground press, where you hear from people in the trenches: poets living in basement apartments, prisoners cadging stamps through the mail, broken-hearted teenage girls, volcanic political polemicists, and even the occasional upstart literatus . The medium attracts rebels, people opposed to censorship and meddling middlemen and the crushing respectable mediocrity of monopoly media." Andrew Stevens interviews Michael Jackman of the Underground Literary Alliance.
"There have been a lot of very bad 'metrosexual' articles. In the US I've almost been credited too much, at least since the NYT fingered me as Patient MetroZero. In the UK however it appears as if most journalist writing about metrosexuals -- and there have been scores of them -- know how to use Google. Which does tend make you suddenly rather less easy-going about your own paternity. Maybe the dramatically different responses on opposite sides of the pond has something to do with American journalistic professionalism. Or maybe it's just that it's much easier to sue in the US." Andrew Stevens interviews Mark Simpson, author of Saint Morrissey, about Northerners, Top Gun and the 'metrosexual'.
TRICKING THE DEVIL
"Collateral Damage is a swift but penetrating attack on the swooning self-abnegation that has afflicted the USA since September 11th. To many Americans there is nothing more to say about the event beyond howling; thinking has been replaced by feelings, sensibilities expanding upwards like vapours knocking out their brains, and everyone's awash with this maudlin weepy stuff. Americans like this become daft, pompous ham actors, and it would be just pathetic were they not a superpower with Armageddon in their handkerchiefs." Richard Marshall reviews Collateral Damage, Bad Wisdom, How To Be An Artist.
ALL HAIL MATT THORNE
"I don't know where we are now. I think this is one of the most confusing times I can remember. In a way pop culture has failed, you can't really pick up on one thing, one programme and say this reflects what's happening." Matt Thorne talks to Richard Marshall about his new novel, the new realism and the New Puritans.
"It stands out as not only a classic amongst anti-fascist literature, but also as an existentialist work as well. The well-established detachment of the protagonist is propelled by the evocations of everyday life in Sicily, capturing the sounds and smells with its descriptive prose." Andrew Stevens reviews Elio Vittorini's Conversations in Sicily.
"London has always been seen by the rest of the country as, basically, a 'bolshy' city. This extends right through the period of the book [Violent London]. Even institutions like the London County Council in the late 19th century were immediately dismissed by central government as a hotbed of radicalism. That's always been the fear of central government, that if you give Londoners power they'll abuse it." Andrew Stevens interviews cultural and political historian Clive Bloom.
GOING TO DOLPO
"To me, though, this book is just the honest retelling of an incredible journey taken by a pair of travellers, one Western and one Eastern, as they walk the long and dangerous road from Pokhara to Dolpo in the Tibetan Himalayas. It's a journey of personal development, amazing scenery, too much millet, spiritual discovery, and little calcified balls of incredible discomfort." 3am chief editor Jim Martin reviews Timothy Doyle's incredible story.
A BORN WRITER
"More an outsider than a literary upstart, Cooper's reputation was forged over the course of his five-book cycle that began with Closer and ended with Period . He is a literary figure in the society that regards Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer as part of its cultural heritage. In the America of Okalahoma bombings, high school shooting sprees and Bin Laden's demolition job on the World Trade Centre, it is Cooper who faithfully represents the mainstream." 3am chief editor Andrew Stevens reviews Dennis Cooper's My Loose Thread.
THE NEW BAWDY
"The wise advice of American creative writing teachers is actually neutering. It's much better to risk making a complete arse of yourself in the hope that out of that will come something truly odd and possibly great. Polite realist tendencies aren't enough. Do something else." Toby Litt tells Richard Marshall about losing his voice and hair, creative writing, the break-up of Czechoslovakia, the New Puritans, Virginia Woolf and his latest novel, Finding Myself.
"In most cases one will find a number of aspiring authors who should simply be medicated. Others might do with a jab to the kidneys. Others would be better suited to a regular job in the suburbs. Some are charming but untalented. Some are moody and behave badly. This is because they are sociopaths. That is why they are writers. Charles Bukowski has a wonderful poem about a writer's conference in which he explains that once you take a writer's typewriter away all you are left with is the mess that got him or her writing in the first place." Richard Marshall interviews Ernest Hilbert.
CURIOUS GEORGE ET LA PARIS REVIEW
"When I first learned I was on a speaker list that included George Plimpton, I felt my status jump a few notches. Here I was, a peon worthy enough to be featured alongside a writing icon -- an icon whom I had never read, but an icon still! I proudly displayed the conference brochure in my work cubicle, for all to see -- my photo underneath Plimpton's, his photo above mine, Plimpton and me, me and Plimpton, basking in the glory of all things Plimpton!" Jane Friedman on the recently departed George Plimpton.
THE NOVEL AS A MENTAL PICTURE OF ITS ERA
"I use the hermaphrodite in this book not to solely talk about intersex conditions, but more. The hermaphrodite is a correlative to adolescence, to illustrate a period everyone goes through. Adolescence implies being confused about identity and being confused about sexuality to a certain extent." Bram van Moorhem interviews Jeffrey Eugenides, author of Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides.
AN INTERVIEW WITH POET, PAINTER & PUNK SEXTON MING
"I think there is this thing about me. I will deliberately not go with the flow. If someone tells me to do something, I will go and do the opposite. I've always been like that. It's some kind of rebellion instinct in me or something, I don't know. I think that's why I enjoyed punk so much when it came out because it just totally appealed to me. Sticking your finger up to the system." Richard Marshall interviews poet, painter and punk Sexton Ming.
A REVIEW OF DIE TINKERBELL DIE BY SARAH MURPHY
"Also, despite the darkest corners of the experiences that we are privy to, there still comes across a sense of appreciation for the good that was there (the rare times that it was). Never self-pitying or self-congratulatory the narrator tells each story with a sense of humor and a quiet appreciation for having lived to tell the tale." By Deborah Staab.
TRENDIER THAN THOU
"If Hasbro ever decide to do a new version of Monopoly based on the creative industries in London, then Brick Lane and Hoxton Square could easily supplant Park Lane and Mayfair as the premier property hotspots in the capital, whereas Aldgate East and Shoreditch tube stations could replace Fenchurch Street and Euston BR stations (they could retain Liverpool Street, obviously), with Whitechapel Art Gallery and the White Cube replacing the utilities." Andrew Stevens reviews two new East-End focused novels by Tony White and Matthew D'Ancona.
A SMALL BUT SATISFYING KICK IN BLAIR'S NUTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH DAN RHODES
"Far too many books are written by writers who are writing because they are writers and that's what writers do. So many new books seem to be sloppy and half-arsed, and as a reader I find that deeply offensive. How dare they waste hours of my life with their ill-executed pap? I've signed more gagging clauses than Tom Cruise's butler, so I have to be careful what I say. I have many, many enemies in the London book world! I would rather die than turn into Salman Rushdie or Maggie Gee." Dan Rhodes, the hottest young novelist on the block, tells Andrew Gallix about his sentimental manifesto.
AN INTERVIEW WITH TC BOYLE
"I do feel that literature should be demystified. What I object to is what is happening in our era: literature is only something you get at school as an assignment. No one reads for fun, or to be subversive or to get turned on to something. It's just like doing math at school. I mean, how often do we sit down and do trigonometry for fun, to relax?" Peter Wild interviews TC Boyle.
"It's like a punch in the mouth. You don't know where it came from or why, and it sends you reeling." Jim Martin reviews Being 2000 by Michael Joshua.
"Bonneville Stories drops tale after tale of nihilistic glee in your lap." Jim Martin reviews Bonneville Stories by Mark Doyon.
ASK THE LUST: AN INTERVIEW WITH DAN FANTE
"Hubert Selby Jr's Last Exit To Brooklyn changed my life. Selby is God -- like a punch in the face. I fucking love Selby… then there was Eugene O'Neil. The day I saw Long Days Journey Into Night . I was twelve years old and I knew, leaving the theater that day, that I would become a writer. I knew it like I know Jesus wore straw shoes. A good book sticks with you. You drag it around in your head, chew on it, and somehow morph the fucker into your own consciousness, to remain there as a sort-of 'new' piece of you, of your experience. Hubert Selby did that for me." Ben Myers interviews Dan Fante.
FLEEING THE RESTORATION IN A NEW ORLEANS BAR AT 3AM - AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDREI CODRESCU
"Wakefield is a story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the coolest fucking stories ever written. It's about a guy who's a drone in London in the end of the 19th century. He puts his pack on and takes his umbrella under his arm and he goes to work, and he disappears. He goes away for twenty years. Nobody knows what happened to him. One day, he knocks on the door, and his wife opens the door, and he's back. What happened to Wakefield? Wakefield rented a room in the neighborhood for twenty years, and watched his wife, and he saw her grow old. He changed his appearance a little bit, so nobody recognized him. I have my own Wakefield." Utahna Faith interviews Andrei Codrescu.
TWO AMERICAS PASSING STRANGE - AN INTERVIEW WITH SALLY MACLEOD
"It's been a long time since Lou Reed sang 'I Wanna Be Black' but it goes on. And it's not politically correct to say so, but there you are. I think black people know more than enough about white people but things in the other direction are not so equitable. I was amazed when OJ Simpson was acquitted. I wasn't amazed by the fact that he was acquitted, but by the white reaction. It was very disheartening that white America couldn't grasp that those doubts about the police tampering with the evidence would be enough to convince black people that yes, this ties in with what we know about the situation in America, and we're going to acquit on that basis." Richard Marshall interviews Sally MacLeod.
THE ROAD TO PERDIDO: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHINA MIEVILLE
"I feel very much to be a London writer. The presence of London is central to everything I write. The writers -- the usual roll call, it's Moorcock, it's Iain Sinclair, it's Thomas De Quincy, it's a fairly standard lineage -- London is one of the cities that refracts peculiarly intensely through fiction. London is a strong influence on me but just as intense is fictionalised London in all its forms. The second and third books are not set in London, they're set in fictionalised worlds but they are pretty obviously derived from London." Richard Marshall interviews China Mieville.
NO COMPROMISES: AN INTERVIEW WITH JACK SERGEANT
"I grew up in the eighties and was a bit too young for punk, I really respected people such as Crass for their willingness to do things and disseminate information, likewise Black Flag's work ethic impressed me greatly. But I also liked the whole idea of just pursuing your own interests and ignoring everything else, and in the end I saw punk as too fixated on a scene and so on, so I was more drawn towards the kind of unclassifiable elements such as Throbbing Gristle, the Birthday Party and so on... people who had no allegiance to a 'movement'. If I learned anything from that period it was the belief that one should not compromise." Richard Marshall interviews Jack Sergeant.
TRUTH IS FICTION: SMOKING WITH CAMUS
"As soon as I laid eyes on Catherine, tiny, in a black and white patterned skirt, big beige bubble coat, large black knit cap set haphazardly on her head, sad eyes a bit magnified by glasses, I felt like rushing up to her and giving her a big bear hug. But in Paris, people don't hug friends, nevermind complete strangers with a weird gleam in their eye and big bags from staying up half the night reading L'Etranger and trying to listen for the silence of the world behind drunken singing voices, garbage trucks and the howling wind. Yeah, uh oh, here comes a Camus fan." Read this interview with Catherine Camus, daughter of the Nobel Prize winning author.
GIRL IMAGINED BY CHANCE
"If I was to come up with one word to describe Girl Imagined By Chance, I'd say compelling would be it. A close second might be different, or possibly challenging, but both of those fail to communicate properly that this book is worth the challenge, and the things that make it different are the things that make it good." Jim Martin reviews Lance Olsen's latest book.
A REBELLION AGAINST EVERYTHING IN OUR CULTURE THAT IS MADE NOT REAL
"One thing that we haven't rushed to do is become commercialized. It's not like we're not considering that, but that sort of possibility has always been in my mind second or third compared to the real purpose of the Site. I think a lot of that gets distracted when you start adding commercials, and that's where a lot of it starts becoming more flash. There's a temptation to do what you can to bring in more people, because then your advertising revenues go higher. To do more stories that have less substance but more flash. You know, headlines that grab people's attention, not because they deal with an issue, but because they deal with a name that everyone knows. To deal with more popular Mainstream topics because you now that they'll bring in an audience, and they will." Jake McGee interviews Shlomo Sher, creator of Get Underground.
"My favorite thing was to have him take me to buy my Star Wars toys. It was really hard to get him to go do it… we bought the "Millennium Falcon". That was a big deal for me because he never went anywhere, and never left his house. I didn't realize what a big deal it was then, but the older I get, the less I want to go anywhere. We live in the mountains, on a dirt road, in the middle of nowhere." Annie Knight interviews Tessa, Chris and Ranea Dick.
A DOUBLE ENTRY
"Because it's a film about a little man, in a way, who does big things, we wanted to make him look big. We wanted to take him seriously so he wasn't just some snotty little bank clerk born and bred at the bottom of the Hammersmith flyover." Richard Marshall interviews film director Paul Tickell. The interview is followed by "The Urge to Destroy" in which Paul Tickell discusses BS Johnson's masterpiece Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry.
"I spent 20 years feeling that there was something that should be happening in my life, and accepting that it would do so when the time was right. Always that sense that it hadn't happened yet and yet the sense that it would was always there, until, ironically, I eventually decided in 1997 that I was obviously wrong, that there was no major thing going to happen of the sort that I had felt would, and that I must be mistaken. I resolved therefore to accept that my lot would be the humbler, but nevertheless still worthwhile and rewarding path of the children's poet. Nothing else had appeared. Three weeks or so after that resolution, something erupted inside me -- galvanised by an art article I read -- a fever for art, which I had considered to be safely dead and buried in my life." Max Podstolski interviews Charles Thomson, leader of the Stuckist art movement.
INTERVIEW WITH PAUL McCOMAS, AUTHOR OF UNPLUGGED
"As I have said before, depression knocks the pieces off the chess board and gives you the opportunity to put them back in any sequence you desire. The desert is that chess board to me. When you come back from there qualitatively changed, I think "recovery" becomes a misnomer. It's more like "uncovery", uncovering the person beneath the illness and the coping mechanisms that surrounded the person's true personality." Charles Shaw interviews Paul McComas.
AT A HARD RIGHT ANGLE
"We believed we had a mission. We were Young Turks, over-talented, disrespectful; mavericks spurring ourselves and others to go ever faster, ever further. Now, of course, the Young Turks have turned to old farts, the wild horses to tame swaybacks. But we're still out there trying our best to give a good ride." Richard Marshall interviews James Sallis. This piece was part of our feature on James Sallis.
AN INTERVIEW WITH T COOPER, AUTHOR OF SOME OF THE PARTS
"...I guess for me, it's important to see characters rendered solidly in their geography. I know New York very well, and it was where I wanted most of this book to take place. As for Los Angeles, it was hard I guess, not to let it slip in. It's such a weird fucking place. People are just so strange there in their little ways and needs and wants. The cliches that surround the character Taylor, especially, were intentional on my part." Matthew Wascovich interviews T Cooper.
FEAR AND TREMBLING IN DEEP CLEVELAND: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK KUHAR
"He gave his poems to the ages and expected they would dissipate like vapor. But the ages wouldn't let them dissipate. You know, I took a trip out to Whitehaven Cementary on Cleveland's east side and visited levy's grave. The place where half his ashes reside, that is. I kinda milled around, read a poem out loud, then just sat and meditated waiting for a message to arrive from him in the great vibrational beyond." Matthew Wascovich interviews Mark S. Kuhar, editor of Deep Cleveland Junkmail Oracle, on outlaw poet d.a levy, and what it means to live and die in Deep Cleveland.
SEX IN THE BRAIN: AN INTERVIEW WITH MITZI SZERETO
"Pornography does not have any real artistic value: it's brainless and disposable. It's simply a tool to sexual stimulation. Junk food for the libido, if you will. Erotica involves the brain. It seduces the reader, whereas porn masturbates the reader." Richard Marshall interviews Mitzi Szereto.
THE GONZO SEINFELD CONNECTION: AN INTERVIEW WITH ASTERISK
"Instead of responding to each of these letters, I could write one letter and fax it to a few newspapers. But I'll write it as if I were Thompson and I'll accuse myself of plagiarizing him and I bet I can do it without any plagiarism whatsoever, but do it in such a convincing Thompson voice that all his rabid devotees will believe it's actually him." In a 3AM exclusive, Matt Demazza interviews master prankster Asterisk.
BURN BABY BURN: A REVIEW OF THOMAS CLABURN'S REFLECTING FIRES
"I enjoyed reading Reflecting Fires, and as there were no large drawings of penises, nobody on the bus looked at me funny when I turned the pages." 3am's Jim Martin reviews Thomas Claburn's Reflecting Fires.
DAWSON'S CHIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK DAWSON
"I'm fairly nihilistic most of the time. My second book is much more upbeat and, while I had a great time writing it -- and everyone who has read it seems to enjoy it -- I'd have to admit to enjoying the stuff I'm doing now more: bleak, morally ambiguous, almost pornographic in parts, downbeat, no happy endings in sight." HP Tinker interviews Mark Dawson.
AN INTERVIEW WITH NICK MAMATAS, AUTHOR OF NORTHERN GOTHIC
"I was interested in creating a character who becomes a violent racist by being swept up in not just the violence around him, but in being swept up by society and broader circumstance. Too many fictional racists are nothing but that one trait: "I hait niggrah!" because, well...no reason. Racism in the real world is too often reduced to an individual pathology." Matthew Wascovich interviews Nick Mamatas.
GIVING ANARCHISTS CIGARETTES:AN INTERVIEW WITH MICK FARREN
"I guess we've got to work without theory and see what happens. It's like developing the unions, it was arrived at, but only by a whisker at times. So I'm really, really happy people are saying 'Fuck McDonalds!' -- but I don't have to say 'Globalisation bad, anti-globalisation good'." Richard Marshall interviews Mick Farren.
BAD BLOOD BOY: AN INTERVIEW WITH PSYCHO CINEMA'S CHRISTIAN FUCHS
"When I stared to watch these types of movies I was coming from the horror film, splatter film side of things. It was the gore and the macabre. But that interest stopped after a while, after watching so many horror movies I got more and more interested in the psyche of the killer. What drives a person like this?" By Richard Marshall.
LITERARY L.A.: THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE
"All of the four great literary works of the last century that Los Angeles had a hand in were works of apocalyptical vision. They had been written during the Depression and the Second World War, and were thoroughly Los Angeles productions. The four works are also quite dissimilar. Doctor Faustus, Mann's novel of gloom and doom, was inspired not only by what was going on in his homeland, but also by the proximity in L.A. of Schoenberg, the granddaddy of avant-garde music." Read an excerpt from Lionel Rolfe's new Literary L.A..
SNUGGLING UP TO QUEEN VICTORIA: AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHEL FABER
"I do want readers to trust me. And yet I don't want to offer them a safe, predictable ride. The literary scene seems to be divided between "trustworthy" authors who give their fans a Big Mac that's totally unchallenging, and more ambitious authors who treat their readers with high-handed indifference. I want to earn the reader's trust while remaining unpredictable." Peter Wild interviews Michel Faber whose second novel is out in October. The first half of this interview appears in Bookmunch.
A LITTLE BIT MORE UPSTAIRS: AN INTERVIEW WITH COURTTIA NEWLAND
"I get some stick for using dialect. They say that I'm making it up. I'm trying to be street wise! Trying to be cool! Making words up, whatever! They don't realise that it's authentic. It'll take a long long time before people realise just how authentic the book is. There isn't another book that chronicles London in the last century -- turn of the century -- more realistically." Richard Marshall interviews Courttia Newland.
GOD IS A CUNT OR A COAT: THE CLERKENWELL LITERARY FESTIVAL
"The theme was 'Play', the mood one of roistering and capering -- you've got it, this wasn't your average literary wank fest of the great and the good or the moderate and the middle-brow. This was smart, scrofulous and sexy, bizarre, big-mouthed, big-brained and ever so slightly wired. And oh so definitely weird." By Richard Marshall.
CHRISTOPHER NULL STOLE MY LIFE
"He stole the stories of so many of us when he wrote this book, and I bet not a few of you will read this and be as surprised as I was to see yourself looking back at you from the pages of the book." Jim Martin reviews Half Mast Christopher Null's debut novel.
THE NAKED LENS: A REVIEW OF JACK SARGEANT'S NAKED LENS: BEAT CINEMA
"Once you've read this stuff, you want to get out and see the films he's investigated and test them out. You also want to get in on the projects, you want to do something yourself. This is the sign that the book works. Sargeant has done a job on the reader, he's made you feel lazy and stuck in a dumb habit and that you don't measure up to what is possible at a whole other level. Which is what good writing should do -- cross a border and break things up." Richard Marshall reviews Jack Sargeant's Naked Lens: Beat Cinema.
THE ABSURDIST: AN INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD STRANGE
"Of course it was punk that destroyed my band. There we were all set to go and then we had the gig where the Sex Pistols were invited to support us, and I knew as soon as I heard the Pistols that we were finished. We were suddenly too old and we couldn't do anything about it. I was 25 -- and too old for rock! Everything we were trying to do was blown away that night. It's not often that you can actually point to the exact time and place where one generation gives way to the next." Richard Marshall's first interview with the extraordinary Richard Strange.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JAN MLADOVSKY
"Initially, the Iron Curtain was simply there and one had to deal with it, it was a fact of life for me as much as for everyone else, I didn't even notice it. But then gradually the existence of that 'curtain' became quite a traumatic experience. Not before, but after I came here. I have never been in the position of not being able to cross it, of not being able to go back as many people were. For me I was able to go back and forth and that became the difficult part of it. It made me so aware of it. Each time I crossed over the boundary it was a reminder of its existence and what it meant, this is what most people could not understand. Some probably thought it was quite exciting, like having the best of both worlds. So I had to acknowledge that I was affected by it. By doing so, I also, in some way, acknowledged that art travels across boundaries. And that's perhaps why, years later, the theme found its way into Magnet." Richard Marshall interviews Jan Mladovsky.
THE MADMAN'S MAGNIFYING GLASS: AN INTERVIEW WITH COLLATERALLY DAMAGED MARK MANNING
"Can you imagine what it's like going to Arts School in Armley? Armley's like the most brutal working-class place, and I like drawing and poetry. I really like the people there, I don't hate them or anything, they're my people, my kin. It's just that they didn't have time for me. They just thought I was a poof. What are you doing drawing? Why don't you get a job in the chippy? Marks and Sparks or something? Art College? It's where the poofs go. I'm like Billy Elliot." Richard Marshall interviews author and rock star Mark Manning.
A CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON OF CHICAGO'S DEFIANT THEATRE COMPANY
"See, truth, like dope, is a controlled substance. And this homegrown comedy speeds through decades of social policy to figure out just who's bogarting the facts, rolling in the profits, and mainlining the opiate of sensationalism. From beatnik jazz clubs to the halls of Congress, the mud of Woodstock to DEA headquarters, the coke labs of Central America to the Oval Office -- Dope takes you on a whirlwind tour of the Drug War's dens of iniquity as well as its halls of power. You get to decide which are sleazier. We're puffing on the politics of drug control, and by curtain call, you'll be waiting to inhale." Charles Shaw chats with Christopher Johnson, playwright, actor/director, founding member of Chicago's Defiant Theatre Company, and author of the new play DOPE
AN INTERVIEW WITH GREG EVERETT, AUTHOR OF SCREAMING AT A WALL
"And drugs are definitely an easy answer to the dangerous lack of stimuli most teenagers and college students experience. There's nothing going on intellectually or even emotionally. Drugs and alcohol provide some kind of fucked up chemical stimulation that doesn't really take the place of intellectual and emotional stimuli, but it fills the void and obscures the need for those genuine stimuli, leaving people experientially retarded and never realizing their full potential." Charles Shaw interviews Greg Everett,author of Screaming at a Wall, Associate Editor of Newtopia Magazine, and owner of GrundleInk Publications.
ART OR DESIGN? AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK WU AND STEFAN WOELWER
"The difficulty is that we can replicate our work so quickly now. As soon as a page is online it can be duplicated. Everything can be copied many, many times. So which is the original and which is just a copy? It's tricky to find out sometimes just who started it." Richard Marshall interviews Mark Wu and Stefan Woelwer.