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Interviews » Embracing the Bull: An Interview With Lydia Lunch (published 05/10/2008)

05.jpgYou have to figure out a way because there will be so many things always against you, against the individual, against someone who wants to radically create. It’s going to be the few who make a career out of complaining about everything that pisses them off, and there is only room for maybe one or two of us. I’d encourage everyone to do it, but to make a career out of it? Good fucking luck! So, in other words, do as I have done: create without a budget and find a way to get it out. You’ve just got to be stubborn. I don’t care what your age is, you’ve got to be a fucking bull. Embrace the bull. Take the bull by the horns, cut its balls off, sew them on to the fucking base of your spine and get going. It’s that easy.

Simon Friel talks to Lydia Lunch.

Reviews » So Real It Hurts (published 05/10/2019)

Since first emerging from the No Wave scene of late-70s/early-80s New York that also spawned seminal artists like Sonic Youth and Swans, Lunch has remained an uncompromising figure in music, literature, film and spoken word. Undiminished by ever-shifting cultural trends, she continues to challenge, provoke and disturb. As she puts it herself, ‘If all this is just too brutal for you to bear…just remember; it’s going to get worse before it gets better’. Life is short, the world dangerous, time precious, and Lunch doesn’t hold back. If you don’t get it — ‘tough shit’.

Chris Brownsword reviews Lydia Lunch‘s So Real It Hurts.

Reviews » Gore Capitalism: The Politics of Tony Montana (published 05/06/2018)

Tijuana is where the violence is insane, everywhere and involves everyone. Readers of Bolano and Sergio Gonzalez Rodriguez know all about this. Violence there is no longer a peripheral, accidental side-effect of narco cartels and corrupt politics but a lethal structural feature of a weak, broken state. A culture of depraved machismo feeds it, leading to elaborate and theatrical killings and perverted snuff-sex death. The black tears of the innocent are washed away in its white noise carnage. The porno psycho-murder entrepreneurialism seeps into the international markets of everything. A faux blankness silences the helpless keening of its victims. We, the happy consumers of the deranged products of these cults of hallucinatory death feign ignorance or are genuinely outraged. Whatever, enough of us, like addicts and nihilists, mercilessly continue to buy.

Richard Marshall reviews Sayak Valencia‘s Gore Capitalism.

Reviews » Make my day… and night: a review of Punk is Dead (published 25/10/2017)

Andy Blade, singer, reminisces declaring, punk’s not dead, it’s in a coma. His is the most honest appraisal in the book. From the seminal NOW FORM A BAND chord instruction in Sideburns fanzine, he says the louder, messier, Oi! side of punk – which won out with bands like Cockney Rejects, Sham 69, Boomtown Rats, UK Subs – taking its throne because Punk Rock itself is intellectual, and its ‘art angle had been dispensed with for the simple reason that art intellectuals generally don’t sell shitloads of records, and arty intellectualism does not go down too well in places like Wrexham, Luton, Milton Keynes, or North Wales – because the general public live in these shitty little places, and they don’t get it.

By Kirsty Allison.

Essays » Reactionary Sentimentalism Part 3: Prague (published 30/09/2017)

“They’re afraid of the old for their memory. They’re afraid of the young for their ideas – ideals. They’re afraid of funerals – of flowers – of workers – of churches – of party members – of good times. They’re afraid of art – they’re afraid of art. They’re afraid of language – communication. They’re afraid of theatre. They’re afraid of film – of Pasolini – of Godard – of painters of musicians – of stones & sculptors. They’re afraid. They’re afraid of radio stations. They’re afraid of technology, free floating forms of information. Paris Match – Telex – Guttenburg – Xerox – IBM – wavelengths. They’re afraid of telephones. They’re afraid. They’re afraid to let the people in. They’re afraid to let the people out…”

Louis Armand on Underground Prague.

Essays » Reactionary Sentimentalism Part 2: Berlin (published 27/08/2017)

There is more reality in Berlin than any other city” – precisely because Berlin is the paradigm of the divided city, that primally conflicted zone in which the conscience of the race (to paraphrase Joyce) uneasily dwells: “the sun shines on the divided city, / today, as it did on the ruins in 1945 / & the ‘Front City’ of the fifties, / as it did before there was any city here, / & as it will when there is no longer / any city.” As Heiner Müller once said, “Berlin is the ultimate. Everything else is prehistory. If history occurs, it will begin in Berlin.”

Louis Armand on underground Berlin.

Essays » Reactionary Sentimentalism (published 14/07/2017)

Lydia Lunch relates the broader cultural impact of the moment: “I wasn’t expecting the toilets at CBGB’s to be the bookends of Duchamp’s urinal, but then again maybe 1977 had more in common with 1917 than anyone at the time could’ve imagined. The anti-art invasion of Dada… & the Surrealist pranksters who shadowed them had a blast pissing all over everybody’s expectations. The anti-everything of No Wave was a collective caterwaul that defied categorisation, defiled the audience, despised convention.”

Louis Armand on the passing of the New York moment.

Essays » Lumpenproletariat. Writing Attack/Antisystem/Subliterature (published 03/01/2017)

These are properly “deconstructive texts” in the sense that they burlesque rather than conventionally critique: they occupy the very language of disenfranchisement that is otherwise employed to demonstrate that they do not really exist. There is nothing of a Foucauldian paradigm here: this is not some pretence to an authentic voice of the excluded, a critique of the history of reason from the POV of the madwoman in the attic. The truly subversive character of the sublit project is that it is first and foremost a “locus” of détourning action – a radical poetics – a tropism. While the theorisers of the recuperated avantgarde toil to contain and expropriate the thing they imagine subliterature to be, their grasp necessarily comes up empty: there’s nothing to grasp, in any case, but a hologram of their own transgressed image, which they are more than adept at attending to.

Louis Armand on the Sublit Project.

Reviews » Sounds » Post Punk Then and Now: a review (published 22/12/2016)

Post-punk is a term that most immediately relates to a period of cultural production that ran from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s. A difficult term to pin down in the categorising stakes, ‘post-punk’ most specifically recalls a musical genre typified by agitated and spiky sounds. While this can be attributed to innumerable bands (Magazine, The Fall, Gang of Four) it is the hollow and haunting soundscapes of Joy Division that exemplify the resonance of Fisher’s term Capitalism Realism.

Guy Mankowski reviews Post-Punk Then and Now.

Buzzwords » Hot on the Heels of Lunch (published 03/11/2014)

Following on from Lydia Lunch‘s recent reading in the series at the University of Chicago Center in Paris, on November 25 Jack Sargeant will talk about William Burroughs in the World Beyond Literature and screen Andre Perkowski’s Nova Express. Based on William S. Burroughs’ quasi-science fiction cut-up novel of the same name, the film is […]