Saturday, 31 January 2015

What i read in January

January was Manuary in Villa Lile-Pastore. There was really no desperate need for me to participate in a whole month of reading only dudes, but y'know, brotherhood. What happened was this, last year my reading habits strayed dangerously into the weiner camp, too many novels about boys sulking, boozing, taking themselves seriously, and falling for nasty femmes...all that testosterone can seriously increase the risk of being a dick. There are times when you've got to look at yourself and say hey champ, you are not doing your bit for the world as you want it to be. Likewise there are other times when it's equally as important to say screw it, you owe the world jack, but you do owe yourself the wondrous thrill of reading Joyce Carol Oates, or Megan Abbott, or Dorothy B. Hughes, Edith Wharton, Michelle Tea, Toni Morrison, Elizabeth Bishop, Amy Hempel, Diane Di Prima, Mary Gaitskill etc. So anyway, at the end of last year for 2 months i only read female authors, and it was of course high-rankin'. Anyway, my darling squeeze had the opposite realisation, she was worse actually, her page-to-weiner ratio scored abysmally low, which is why Manuary. 

Goat Mountain by David Vann
Extreme butchosity and bad camping times in the wilderness. This was grim and hypnotic.

Franny And Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Salinger can do no wrong.  Manages to be both frothy and profound, and probably somewhere in it you'll find the meaning of life.

Selected Poems - Kenneth Fearing
Really enjoyed this.  Fearing's poems are almost pop-arty; a collage of modernity, whitmanesque riffs, and the language of hardboiled noir.  

The Riverside Villas Murder by Kingsley Amis
I think if you're going to do Manuary right you ought to read at least one arrogant misogynistic alcoholic prick. *Enter Kingsley Amis* Enjoyed this, not his greatest work, and morally way off, but fun.   

The Primal Urge by Brian Aldiss
My first Aldiss, and an early one. Not great, kinda pointless, like an extended joke with an actual punchline in the last paragraph. Still, the Sixties. Sigh.

Raw Material by Jorg Fauser
Tale of communes, student politics, struggling to be a writer, sex, opium, and booze. An outsider gem from the German 70's counterculture, funny, cynical and probably all true. 

Coffee, Tea, or Murder? by Donald Bain
I've read a few of these and this was by far the crappest yet. Shame on you Donald Bain. Shame. On. You.

(Here's what Sian read...go have a look)

Friday, 30 January 2015

What I've been listening to...

Jessica Pratt
Mystic bedsit baroque folk, I'm loving her more than is appropriate.
Listen to: Half Twain The Jesse

Sturgill Simpson
Hell yeahs. Sounds kinda like Waylon Jennings. Sometimes he sounds like Waylon Jennings having a major cosmic epiphany, but y'know in a cheap motel room or something country.
Listen to: Turtles (All The Way Down)

Mayonnaise by The Woolen Men
This song's been stuck in my head all week, fucker's catchier than syphilis.

Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
Biker-psych heaviosity, they are so great it makes me want to puke.
Listen to: Death's Door

Lana Del Fucking Rey
If her mindblowing Kerouacian intro and accompanying video to Ride doesn't make you weep you're a dick.
Listen to: Ride

Hall of Mirrors by Vum
Loving this song right now. A dark psychedelic L.A soundscape, 
a bit hypnotic and woozy. Don't know anything about this band, derp.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Books i might read in February

I might read these books next month, but who knows for sure.
They're all right here waiting to be picked up, like kittens, or a sandwich.
Have you read any of them? Any good?

Sister Golden Hair by Darcey Steinke

California by Edan Lepucki

A Meeting By The River by Christopher Isherwood

The Catherine Wheel by Elizabeth Harrower

Women by Chloe Caldwell

Signs Preceding The End Of The World by Yuri Herrera

Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Matching Mole - O Caroline

Robert Wyatt, post-Soft Machine (Machine Molle in French...) wrote this with Dave Sinclair from Caravan - absolute legends the both of them.  We used to listen to this a lot in my mate's camper, which was knackered and permanently parked at the end of his road, and was the scene of more bonhomie and madcap experimentalism than a school night usually warranted. If the mood's just right though, if it's grey and drizzly out, and you're feeling a little nostalgic, then this song will rise through the years and the rainsoaked weeds and the taste of TUC biscuits, cigarettes, cornershop wine, chewing gum, and there you'll be, 16 years old, wishing you knew a girl named Caroline.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Why I Love James Rockford

On a quiet night like this I like to watch some Rockford Files.  Rockford's great.  His mid-70's golf-casual L.A-chic houndstooth blazers, wide-lapelled shirts and tan loafers combo is a powerful look which I believe only a man of his specific build (cirrhotic ex-jock at a roadside diner) can really pull off.  He's modest, honest and he lives in a trailer.  He's not sneakily endearing like Columbo, or intimidatingly sexy like Kojak, he's just a regular guy trying to get by without too much trouble - something we can all relate to in this goshdarned world.  In my favourite episode The Big Ripoff, Jim gets roughed up by some goon that looks like Roger Waters.  He gets beaten up in most episodes, which is always difficult to watch as you know how little he enjoys it.  Not that he can't defend himself, he's got some chops.  I'm watching The Big Ripoff tonight.  It's something you can watch over and over again and not feel too bad about.  I like the bit where he says he's working for the Avocado Growers of America.  I'm totally allergic to avocadoes guys.  

Monday, 12 January 2015

So What - Little Wings

"Sometimes people let the same problem make them 
miserable for years when they could just say, so what?  
That's one of my favourite things to say.  So What."
-Andy Warhol 

What - William Eggleston
William Eggleston

"Have you ever felt like a phone call that's been disconnected?"
-Shannen Doherty

John Broadley
John Broadley

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Lizzie Skurnick Books

Last year I read a novel by Lois Duncan called Debutante Hill (1958).  It was Duncan's first book (she went on to write the novel I Know What You Did Last Summer in 1973which if you've seen the movie you already know is about NEVER letting Freddie Prinze Jr drive your car) and it is one of the very first examples of Young Adult fiction.  Which makes sense right, Teenagerdom as a cultural experience is a Fifties phenomenon.  Anyway, I thought it was pretty good - preppy, kinda charming, plenty of debs, cliques and going steady.  So not far from contemporary YA in its themes, but y'know, much tamer (originally it got rejected because an underage kid drinks a beer, natch) but charming, so you might want to give it a go if you're a Fifties-groupie or something.  Here's a picture of Lois playing the accordian.  Is she the greatest or what?

Anyway, the reissue of Debutante Hill is just part of the story, because Lizzie Skurnick Books are currently reissuing a bunch of lost and forgotten YA classics from the Thirties through to the Eighties and they are quite lovely-looking. That's decades-worth of angst, right there.  You want them.  And since they span such a fuckload of years they cover a tremendous range of teen and social issues from racism, teenage pregnancy, LGBT issues, all the kinds of love, grief, addiction, necking, and probably how to sneak booze into Prom without getting caught (no one wants a repeat of Donna's performance in Beverly Hills 90210).

I especially like the look of this one from 1978...

                  Book Cover

Friday, 9 January 2015

Emma Stone dressed like some kind of awesome Amish boho fortune-teller alert!

Emma Stone by Tim Walker

Photo by Tim Walker, for W Magazine

Laurence Vanay

If, like me, you sometimes like to pretend it's the Seventies and you're in space then you should get ready to fall in love with Laurence Vanay.  Her first two albums have just been reissued on Light In The Attic.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

My 10 favourite books i read in 2014...

My reading habits have changed a lot over the last ten years.  When i was 25 i mostly just read the Beats because i was a purist and didn't really believe in the novel.  I'm less of a purist these days, who's got the time?  Still love those Beats though, gosh.  If i could go back in time and hang out with my 25 year old we sure as shit wouldn't be discussing books.

(By the way, the first novel on this list is possibly the best book ever written, no kidding, and Tom Spanbauer is totally the greatest author on the earth right now, and i'll fight anyone that says otherwise.)

I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer

'The glorious mystery of the man who touched me in a place 
that wasn't there before he touched it.'

Incandescence by Craig Nova

"The driver's got the Broadway heeby-jeebies...
he's held together with coffee and Tums, wine and aspirin."

Young Man With A Horn by Dorothy Baker

'They were crazy about each other, and crazy.  They were groggy tired, too, all the time, and the pulse-beat of either one of them would have been a thing to record and think about.'

The First Bad Man by Miranda July

'Clee thought her pink boxers covered her but they didn't.  If she was sitting cross-legged I could see the edge of her dark blond pubic hair and sometimes more.  One morning I saw a flash of labia, pink and hanging loose.  Not the tidy, concealed meat that I had been imagining.' 

Engine Summer by John Crowley

'The better you tell an old story, the more you are talking about right now.'

Park Avenue Tramp by Flora Fletcher

'she had a face he would remember, and he would see it in the darkness above his bed, tonight and possibly nights afterward, and a long time from now, between a beer and a bourbon, he would wonder suddenly if she were dead or alive and what the diagnosis had been.'

The Death of Sweet Mister by Daniel Woodrell

'"You wake up in this here world, my sweet li'l mister, you got to wake up tough.  You go out that front door tough of a mornin' and stay tough 'til lights out - have you learned that?"'

The Children of Dynmouth by William Trevor


The Vengeful Virgin by Gil Brewer

'She wasn't what you would call beautiful.  
She was just a red-haired girl with a lot of sock.'

In The Beginning Was The Sea by Tomas Gonzalez

'Sometimes, particularly when drinking, J. felt as though he might explode with joy.  Lights, sensations, visions and insights coursed through him like fen-fire.  His belly warmed by this feeling, he went on sitting there for a long time, drinking and pushing deeper into the night.'

Green Light is go! Party down.

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