Tuesday, 31 March 2009
At the centre of George Henry Longly’s show Mass Damper, in the middle of a darkened gallery, a snake eats a mouse on an endless loop. The DVD is shot on a wobbly camcorder YouTube-style as a young boy’s voice resounds throughout the space, his words sounding eerily calm as he matter-of-factly describes the brutal power plays acted out all across the natural world’s order of things. On the monitor immediately below it, another python struts around its cage gaping its enormous mouth before retiring indoors to its hut. These sounds and visions find echoes across the two rooms and their collected objects, serving to create a disquieting aura around everything while making the usual ingrained gallery-going experience appear suddenly strange and unfamiliar. An orange lamp in the first room’s corner appears as a doppelganger on the video screen, its glow reflected also in the laminated mirror glass of the High Victorian screen opposite. Meanwhile the room next door is bathed in the light of white florescent tubes. The ‘mass damper’ of the exhibition’s title is a component within a building’s structure designed to absorb external vibrations, motion and noise, and the individual elements within the exhibition seem designed to create a barely perceptible tension between one another. Throughout the show Longly has shown a great sensitivity to texture, combining works in cement, silkscreen prints, concrete, plaster and the fluorescent tubes. Describing the show’s schedule, the artist states that every stop on the itinerary for this touring exhibition has been deemed site-specific, every install being subject to change according to the venue’s architecture and geographical location. Through the careful selection and balance of individual components you’re left to ponder how the exhibition space has been negotiated and how, like a mouse to a snake, the artwork has been consumed.
Monday, 30 March 2009
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Saturday, 28 March 2009
Thanks to the valued help of family and friends I'm now pretty much all moved and settled into my new flat. Fortuitously enough I'm able to receive an excellent internet signal, probably the neighbour's wi-fi, so for now the blog is very much back on. Nice one!
Thursday, 26 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Monday, 23 March 2009
Given that I'm still doing rehab in Leeds with my books still in storage back in Dundee, a whole seven-day dedicated writing week was maybe a bit ambitious. Perhaps when I return on Thursday there'll be a pair of special bonus 'weekend' posts still to come, we'll see. Meanwhile my brother Nick has been putting in the hours with his arduous training schedule and has updated his blog accordingly: LINK
Sunday, 22 March 2009
To a greater or lesser extent, everyone depends on stories, on novels, to discover the manifest truth in life. Only such stories, read sometimes in a trance, have the power to confront a person with his fate. This is why we must keep passionately striving after what constitutes a story: how should we orient our efforts to renew or, rather, to perpetuate the novel?
Many minds are no doubt preoccupied with various techniques that will compensate for the surfeit of familiar forms. But what is the point in this – assuming that we wish to find out what a novel might be – unless first of all a ground is ascertained and clearly delineated? A story that reveals the possibilities of life is not necessarily an appeal; but it does appeal to a moment of fury without which its author would remain blind to these possibilities, which are of excess. Of this I am sure: only an intolerable, impossible ordeal can give an author the means of achieving that wide-ranging vision that readers weary of the narrow limitations imposed by convention are waiting for.
How can we linger over books to which their authors have manifestly not been driven?
Extract from the author’s foreword (1957), Blue of Noon
Georges Bataille Wikipedia page
Article on the Hayward Gallery's Undercover Surrealism exhibition: LINK
Saturday, 21 March 2009
For a long time now I have felt that writing which is not ostensibly self-conscious is in a vital way inauthentic for our time. For our time - I think every statement should be dated. Which is another way of saying the same thing. I know of no young man who is not either an ignoramus or a fool who can take the old objective forms for granted. Is there no character in the book large enough to doubt the validity of the book itself?
For centuries we in the West have been dominated by the impulse to classify. It is no doubt because conventional classifications become part of prevailing economic structure that all real revolt is hastily fixed like a bright butterfly on a classificatory pin; the anti-play, Godot, being from one point of view unanswerable, is with all speed acclaimed "best-play-of-the-year"; anti-literature is rendered innocuous by granting it place in conventional histories of literature. The Shakespearean industry has little to do with Shakespeare. My friends will know what I mean when I say that I deplore our contemporary industrial writers. Let them dedicate a year to pinball and think again.
Question the noun; the present participles of the verb will look after themselves. Kafka proved that the Great Wall of China was impossible, it was a perpetual walling; that the burrow was impossible, it was a perpetual burrowing... etc. A "distance theory" of writing could allow for pockets of Stanislavski, of spontaneous prose.
Thus I take soundings. It's a complicated business this living it over again and apart from the forgotten judgments that were part of it. I am engaged in a complicated process of knitting, see myself as one of those old crones who during the Reign of Terror sat in the shadow of the guillotine as the heads fell, and knitted, on and on. Each time a head falls I drop a stitch, and from tme to time I run out of wool and have to go in search of a new ball. It's seldom easy to match colours.
Extract from Cain's Book
Alexander Trocchi Wikipedia page
A Revolutionary Proposal: Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds
Friday, 20 March 2009
Every book I’ve ever written begins and ends with Lesley Ann Downey. Every single one. Every thing I’ve fucked has been a stab at the idea of her somehow in my pathetically empty hands. Not as flesh and hair and precisely examined childhood but as simple, personally degrading pornography. It’s the only way I know her. It’s the only way I know of her. Almost all of it in badly reproduced black and white. I have more color photos of her mother than I do of her. It’s nothing to say something has value as pornography. The universal possibilities are rudimentary. I’m not really working backwards, I’m trying for more. I’m getting better at it and I’m finding her little worth increases constantly. How ugly it would be to say my life changed inexorably after seeing the photos of her darling little smiling face juxtaposed to the details of her torture and murder and burial. And how thin my excuses and denial would sound… I don’t want to talk about what was. About my first time fucking some willing same-aged thing or the first time I saw a photo of a naked child being sweetly molested. I’m not interested in trawling backwards so that you can point out where I’ve been locked all these years… It must seem like I’m trying to explain myself. It must seem like I’m desperate enough to finger hypocrisies and social inconsistencies. I’m bored with remembering my low-impact arrest. Much more then you are. I know what Andrea Dworkin sounds like when she talks about her rape in every fucking book. I am not bored with Lesley Ann Downey’s very careful positioning on the bed of some stranger’s shitty dilapidated house.
Extract from Peter Sotos, Selfish, Little: The Annotated Lesley Ann Downey
Peter Sotos Wikipedia page
Discussion at Barbelith Underground
Peter Sotos Day on Dennis Cooper's blog
Thursday, 19 March 2009
He is very good at salad-dressing, this waiter. We eat with him and his wife next day. There he is, with his fat back and thick neck, mixing the dressing. He uses sugar in the German way. His wife watches him, looking spiteful and frightened.She is thin and ugly and not young. The waiter mixes the dressing for the salad very slowly at the sideboard. I can see myself in the mirror. I look thin - too thin - and dirty and haggard, with that expression that you get in your eyes when you are very tired and everything is like a dream and you are starting to know what things are like underneath what people say they are.
I hadn't bargained for this. I didn't think it would be like this - shabby clothes, worn-out shoes, circles under your eyes, your hair getting straight and lanky, the way people look at you... I didn't think it would be like this.
Jean Rhys, extract from Good Morning, Midnight
Jean Rhys Wikipedia page
Jean Rhys day on Dennis Cooper's blog
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
As I've another seven days left in Leeds without a good deal of stimulus I hereby dedicate this coming week to a selection of writers whose work I admire. Each day will feature a picture, a short extract and a link or two.
"It’s you, my Gillette … They haven’t killed you … You’re here … next to me … Speak, my darling."
And between these broken phrases, the fragment of the word, which he constantly reproduced, returned again and again, like a response.
Speaking in hushed tones, Canterel led us quietly away, so as to allow this salutary crisis to run its course in peace.
From Locus Solus, translation Mark Ford
Raymond Roussel Wikipedia page
Jerome Boyd Maunsel, The Book I Read, Frieze magazine
William Clark, A Lovely Curiosity, Variant magazine
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
Extract from Iceberg Slim, Pimp:
When I got back to Milwaukee, Mama and the street, my mind was straitjacketed into the pimp game. Back in the joint I had dreamed almost nightly. They were cruel playets.
They were fantastic. I would see myself gigantic and powerful like God Almighty. My clothes would glow. My underwear would be rainbow-hued silk petting my skin.
My suits were spun-gold shot through with precious stones. My shoes would be dazzling silver. The toes were as sharp as daggers. Beautiful whores with piteous eyes groveled at my feet.
Through the dream mist I would see shaped huge stakes. The whores' painted faces would be wild in fear. They would wail and beg me not to murder them on those sharp steel stakes.
I would laugh madly. Springs of scarlet would spurt from their behinds as I joyfully booted them crotch first onto the sharp spikes. They would flop around like dying chickens. They would finally fall away in a welter of blood into two red halves.
When I awoke my ticker would be earthquaking inside me. The hot volley of the savage thrill lay sticky wet between my trembling thighs.
I had other terrible dreams. I would be very tiny. A gargantuan Christ, in a sea of light, would be towering above me. In his anger his eyes would be blazing blue suns. His silky platinum hair would stand on end in his rage.
A shaft of the purest white light would shoot from the tip of his index finger. He would point toward a woman. Her back would be turned to me. He would hand me a barbed leather whip.
Like a crash of summer thunder he would command, 'Punish this evil woman. Destroy the devil inside her. The Lord so directs thee.'
Eagerly I would grab the heavy whip in both hands. I would bring it down with all my force on the woman's back. She would just stand there. The scarlet would drain down from her slashed back. She would be standing to her knees in a river of blood.
She would turn her brown agonized face toward me. It would be Mama. I would be shaking and screaming in my sweat. It was horrible. I could never cut the dream off until its end. It had to run its fearful course. The dreams about Mama came until her death.
Monday, 16 March 2009
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Some lovely photos here by the French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. They show abandoned buildings in the former East Germany.
"Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies
and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.
The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at
some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires.
This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time : being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.
Photography appeared to us as a modest way
to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state."
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Match of the Day aside, I really never watch any television at all. Having posted about the Red Riding series, and having now got partway through, I'm pleased to see so far it lives up to the hype. Mark Fisher has written a very good article for Frieze magazine here: LINK and has posted a footnote here on his k-punk blog. Interesting to note the soundtrack issues, so here's hoping any DVD release will choose TV-unfriendly dissonance and electronic noise over the generic broadcast fare.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Extract from Iceberg Slim, Pimp:
I opened my eyes. I saw glinting stars of dust whirling like a golden hurricane through a bright shaft of noon sun. I looked through the open bedroom door. I saw the runt sitting at the livingroom window. She was doing her nails. She lifted her eyes from her nails. She looked into the bedroom.
I said, 'Good morning, li'l freak puppy. I'm gonna call Silas to run across the street for ham and eggs. Are you hungry?'
She said, 'Yeah, I'm hungry, but the way he moves around it would take him a week to cop. I'll slip on something and go myself.'
She went to the closet and slipped on her blue poplin rain-or-shine coat. She took a fin off the dresser and held it up for my consent.I nodded my head. I heard the door shut when she went out.
I lit a cigarette. I thought , 'I wonder if Melody has the heat looking for me. I've only got a day or so left before Glass Top takes me to Sweet Jones. I'm gonna cool it. I'll stay right here in the hotel until Top calls me.'
The phone rang just as the runt came through the bedroom door. She put the plates wrapped in wax paper on the dresser. She picked up the receiver. I got up, took my plate and started to eat with a plastic fork.
She said, 'Hello. Oh, Chuck, how are you, sweetie? I was just thinking about you, lover. No, I can't. I wish I could come out for a few drinks, but my brother won't be home from work until six. Mama's not well at all. I have to stay here during the day to take care of her. I could slip out around seven. Yeah, I could do that until eight for twenty. Bye, bye, sugar blue eyes.'
She hung up the phone and her coat. She sat naked on the side of the bed eating.
I said, 'Bitch, I got an idea for that cat of yours. You gotta take a stiff brush and brush the hair straight down every time you think about it. Put some hair grower on it until you got a four-inch cone. Your tricks will pant to bury their beaks in it. It will make your cat unique with that extra dimension.'
She mumbled, 'Where on earth did you get a jazzy idea like that?'
I said, 'Bitch, ain't you hip yet? I'm a pimp with great imagination, that's all.'
Thursday, 12 March 2009
A few photos from the catwalks of Milan, London and Paris. Maybe some interesting menswear was on display someplace this year but sad to say I've yet to see any photos of it. Anyhow, feast your eyes on some carefully selected choice snaps of nice things:
Viktor & Rolf
John Galliano for Christian Dior
Comme des Garçons
Backstage at John Galliano
Viktor & Rolf
John Galliano for Christian Dior
Comme des Garçons
Backstage at John Galliano
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
W Heath Robinson, illustration for The Conqueror Worm, 1900.
Edgar Allan Poe, The Conqueror Worm
Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.
Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly-
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
That motley drama- oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.
But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.
Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Nick's running mate Gav
As discussed previously, my brother Nick is preparing to run the London Marathon in April. He has updated his blog with a post on his progress: LINK
This week's epic post is a story of footballing injustice, sleet, rain and many miles of running.
Sunday, 8 March 2009
Just a note of reminder:
You can now submit work for consideration for future issues of
Yuck ‘n Yum to: email@example.com
The deadline for submissions for the Spring ‘09 issue is Monday the 16th of March.
Yuck ‘n Yum can be viewed online and/or printed off on your home printer. The printed image must be black and white, and high contrast images work best due to differing print qualities. You can submit one piece for both methods, or you might prefer to produce something separate for the online version. This can differ slightly from the printed version, but will complement or reference it – something that takes advantage of the media it is presented in, such as an audio project, a short video piece or animation for example. It’s totally up to you.
Our funding covers web expenses and the printing of sample copies. Free paper editions are available at the launch and sent out to various galleries etc. Yuck ‘n Yum is not run for profit and so work is accepted on a voluntary basis.
Yuck ‘n Yum is supported by the Dundee Visual Arts Award.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Trawling recent posts on Dennis Cooper's blog, this field trip into the archives of 'Feast of Hate and Fear: A Warehouse of Social Deviance' is a definite highlight. It contains a few texts from the wrong side of the tracks by the likes of Aleister Crowley, Philip K Dick, Varg Vikernes, Peter Sotos etcetera and so forth. Anyone with a taste for this kind of thing is sure to find something of interest: LINK
The original Feast of Hate and Fear site is itself very much worth a look: LINK
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Back in the early 90s 'Intelligent Dance Music' wars, the renowned Sheffield record label Warp was on a great run of form. This Warp Bleep Era Tribute Mix I cribbed from the Robots For Robots forum and it contains a great many much-loved gems: LINK
1. The Step - Yeah You (Robert’s Mix)
2. Sweet Exorcist - Testfour
3. LFO - We Are Back
4. Sweet Exorcist - Clonk
5. Nightmares on Wax - Sal
6. Nightmares on Wax - Aftermath
7. Forgemasters - Track With No Name
8. Nightmares on Wax - A Case Of Funk
9. Nightmares on Wax - I’m For Real
10. LFO - Track 4
11. Nightmares on Wax - Aftermath (LFO Remix)
12. DJ Mink - Hey! Hey! Can U Relate?
13. LFO - LFO (Leeds Warehouse Mix)
14. Tuff Little Unit - Join The Future
15. Nightmares on Wax - Biofeedback
16. LFO - Groovy Distortion
17. LFO - Mentok 1
18. Nightmares on Wax - Dextrous
19. The Step - Yeah You
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Good news as the college's exhibitions department has secured funding for the Nine Trades project. From their press release:
We are delighted to announce that The Scottish Arts Council awarded Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Exhibitions with £112.5k of National Lottery funds towards inspiring ‘more, better and wider’ participation in the arts.
‘Nine Trades of Dundee’ is a project engaging those who would not normally participate in the arts by bringing trade and art together. ‘Nine Trades of Dundee’ will commission nine artists to work with trades people in their work places across the city to collaborate on new work. Each selected artist will share the same trade skills as the group they work with. We will keep you posted as the project takes place!
Monday, 2 March 2009
During my convalescence I've been very grateful to borrow a couple of books by the American crime writer James Ellroy.
"Good evening peepers, prowlers, pederasts, panty-sniffers, punks and pimps. I'm James Ellroy, the demon dog, the foul owl with the death growl, the white knight of the far right, and the slick trick with the donkey dick. I'm the author of 16 books, masterpieces all; they precede all my future masterpieces. These books will leave you reamed, steamed and drycleaned, tie-dyed, swept to the side, true-blued, tattooed and bah fongooed. These are books for the whole fuckin' family, if the name of your family is the Manson Family."
Extract from James Ellroy, White Jazz:
Charles Issler, confessor - front-page-hot female snuffs. 'Hit me! Hit me!' - known to bite Homicide bulls who wouldn't oblige.
Michael Joseph Krugman, confessor - the Jesus Christ 187. His motive - revenge - Jesus fucked his wife.
Beaucoup confessors - find a pasty in LAPD print file. Some INSTINCT working through-
Donald Fitzhugh - queer stuff confessor, Thomas Mark Janeway - kiddie molestations strictly. That INSTINCT THING worked me over - almost a taunt. The Wino Will-o-the-Wisp: strangler/mutilator/stumblebum slayer. No hard candidates-
I woke up. THAT INSTINCT big:
The Kafesjians knew who trashed their pad - if I framed some geek they'd fuck things up.
Sweaty sheets/sweaty files/that rap sheet I glommed late:
George Sidney Ainge, aka 'Georgie'. White male, DOB 11/28/22. Pimp convictions '48, '53 - fourteen months County time total. Gun sale rousts '56, '7, '8 - no convictions. Last known address 1219 S. Dunsmuir, L.A. Vehicle: '51 Caddy Eldo, QUR 288.
Touch to Glenda: 'Georgie Ainge will slap you around just a little bit more than a smidgin.'
I shaved, showered, dressed. Glenda smiled, saying stall things for now.
Sunday, 1 March 2009
As part of the hype surrounding the forthcoming TV adaptation of David Peace's Red Riding novels, there's been a very well-informed article by Justin Quirk appear in this weekend's Guide. Certainly looks to be well worth setting the video for this Thursday evening.
Digging around related events, the Stefan Kiszko case of the time proves real life to be just as harrowing.