Tuesday, 31 May 2011
The remote backwoods of Alaska are not remote enough for Gary, one of the troubled central characters of David Vann's recent hit novel Caribou Island. Gary wants to retreat further from civilisation. His plan is to sail out across a lake to the uninhabited Caribou Island, build a cabin by hand and ... well, that's it. Just being on an island will, he thinks, be enough. Because that sense of detachment from mainland society – being able to view from a removed distance – is all he craves.
As with Vann's previous book, Legend Of A Suicide, which primarily concerned a man and his son relocating to a cabin on an Alaskan island (there is a pattern emerging here) and the dire circumstances that followed, the place – in this case, the island – is the star of the show. Stoic, enduring, self-contained, tough: it manifests all the qualities that the men in Vann's novels (and indeed so much of American literature, from Thoreau and Twain through to Kerouac, McCarthy and Proulx) aspire to.
Islands occupy a significant space in literature. ..
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Friday, 20 May 2011
From Open Wide Magazine, whose new anthology features a new short story by me entitled, This Must Be Just Like Living In Paradise.
Open Wide Magazine issue twenty-five, the tenth anniversary print edition, out now
This glossy paperback is filled with ninety-four pages of writing from forty-three of our favourite contributors of the last ten years.
Featuring poetry from: Rebecca Schumejda, William Taylor Jr, John Dorsey, F.N. Wright, J.J. Campbell, Adrian Manning, Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, Dan Provost, John Sweet, Nathan Graziano, Idris Caffery, G. Emil Reutter, Bradley Mason Hamlin, A.D. Winans, Iris Berry, Jayne Lyn Stahl, Graham Nunn, D.B. Cox, R.C. Edrington, Lyn Lifshin, Jack Phillips Lowe, K.M. Dersley, S.A. Griffin, Jason Mashak, Arlene Ang, Debbie Kirk, justin.barrett, Heidi James, James D. Quinton, Owen Roberts, Peter Finch, Steve Urwin, Ben Barton, John G. Hall, Jessica Stilling and Glenn W. Cooper.
And fiction from: Ben Myers, Drew Gummerson, James D. Quinton, Marc Barber, Angela Morkos, Jo Mortimer, Natalia Cherjovsky and Danny Rhodes.
The magazine costs just £5 (plus £1.00 P&P for UK buyers - P&P for Europe is £2.00 and the rest of the world is £3.00). It can be purchased only via paypal, which accepts all major credit/debit cards. You can follow this link - www.openwidemagazine.co.uk/
Miss it, miss out.www.openwidemagazine.co.uk
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Monday, 16 May 2011
It’s a bad time to revel in the alternative. It’s a bad time to demand meaning in culture. Access to credit and other freedoms of the post-industrial West have created surplus leisure time which we now choose to fill with useless cultural artefacts in the name of art. But not everyone is an artist and music is perhaps the guiltiest party of all as band after band toss another album into the void, each digital file or circular piece of plastic a little more meaningless than the last.
Jean Baudrillard said “We are no longer in a state of growth; we are in a state of excess”, an assertion that is plain to see as our ears become clogged up with empty noise made by self-aggrandising whippersnappers we call rock bands, most of who do little more than hold a mirror up to the very recent past, then frame it, sign it and sell it as an orginal...
Ben Myers goes to see Wild Beasts play Leeds Brudenell Social Club, and exults in their breaking from catastrophically moribund indie norms. Read on....
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
I just stumbled across an old short story that I had completely forgotten about, which was published in 2005 by Pulp.net.
I think even six years ago the story was quite old. It's called Bodies Without Spines.
I'd also forgotten that Pulp.net published an anthology in 2006 for which I wrote some words for the cover. I've never actually seen the book but I'm cringing slightly at the pull-out quote that I just spotted on Amazon. Still. If it felt right at the time...
Monday, 9 May 2011
As I write rain is falling on the roof like a rusty nailgun.
A thousand rusty nailguns.
Summer rain: the best kind of rain.
The birds sing right through the metallic din.
I've started writing a new novel. Since I finished writing Richard two years ago I've worked on two new works of fiction. As mentioned, it looks like one of them will be out in 2012. I have one of two titles in mind for it but can't decide which to go with. The other novel is currently hanging in that strange limbo - it is finished but it is not very good and therefore cannot see the light of day for a long time, if ever.
So I'm ignoring it and working no something new. For the first time in my life I have it planned out from beginning to end. Normally I just start writing blindly and am surprised as anyone as to what happens next. This one - this one I know how it ends. But it's early days and talking about such things is usually a curse.
Aside from that I've been doing some freelance writing. Some of the work has entailed writing words for the official programmes of a couple of the big music festivals this summer.
I've also just done a small piece on Tyler, The Creator for Mojo, plus reviews a bunch of bands including Pete and The Pirates and Holly Golightly. Also look for an interview I did with former pornographer and writer Robert Rosen about his new book Beaver Street for Bizarre magazine's forthcoming Porn Issue. Oh, and I have written a big feature on the career of Kate Bush for Classic Rock's spin-off magazine Prog. That's on sale any day now. I did somrthing on her for NME too, but I think I mentioned that,
I've been playing/reviewing the new Wiley album (new single below) which I highly recommend and last night went to see Wild Beasts - probably my favourite British band right now (and certainly influenced by Kate Bush) - play in Leeds. Their new album Smother is out today.
I just watched the film The Arbor (below) - amazing, harrowing, moving, depressing and immaculately delivered. Apologies for all the film clips of late. Bare laziness.
Sunday, 8 May 2011
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Friday, 6 May 2011
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Wednesday, 4 May 2011
the desperation of it all
the need to be seen in all
the right places, to be
published in all the right
pages, to drink wine at all
the right parties; to suck
only the cunts and cocks of
those that matter; to maintain
a "strong online prescence" via
"social networking and other
misc. media outlets", to be
featured in an article about
"the future of literature"
that divides opinion and is
a trending topic on Twitter
for 5 to 10 minutes; to call
yourself a poet or author on
forms or in conversations with
strangers, to sneer at those
more successful than you, to
sneer at those less successful
than you, to be bitter and
twisted and drunk and foolish,
to quote literary theorists you
know they haven't heard of, to
dismiss great books you haven't
read, to discuss bad books you'll
never write, to lose it all in
bottles and powder and pills
and ashtrays and cocktail parties
none of this has anything to do with being
all of it is done for the desperation of it all.