Browsing All Posts published on »February, 2008«

Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground

February 29, 2008

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In his absence, Dark was the Night has had a life of its own. Inspired, in part, by an English hymn by clergyman Thomas Haweis (“Dark was the night, and cold the ground / On which the Lord was laid / His sweat like drops of blood ran down / In agony he prayed”), it is a largely wordless lament for the last hours of Christ, from Gethsemane to Golgotha. It’s night music, best listened to in the rare dark hours that the modern world allows us as a slight reprieve from daylight, work and money, cinematic in the thoughts it conjures up, heart-breaking and exquisite in equal measure. It’s returned in Piero Paulo Pasolini‘s classic The Gospel According to St. Matthew (soundtracking the last moments of a repentant broken Judas), the aforementioned Ry Cooder’s soundtrack to Paris, Texas and is echoed in the songs of Tom Waits. Darran Anderson on Blind Willie Johnson.

Three sheets to the wind

February 21, 2008

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Posthumous collections are a mixed blessing. For every lost masterpiece discovered (The Trial, The Third Policeman), there are a thousand dead-horse floggings. Sometimes it's best to leave a legend alone, to cease digging around a dead writer's bones. Given that this is Charles Bukowski's eighth collection from beyond the grave, it's with some trepidation that we approach Come On In! For the uninitiated, Bukowski wrote about one thing: Bukowski. In lesser hands, this would be an egotistical cul-de-sac but given his talents and hard-drinking barfly existence Bukowski’s accounts are, for the most part, fascinating. Darran Anderson reviews Charles Bukowski's Come on In!

Underwater Kissers

February 18, 2008

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She wasn’t expecting to hear from him. She’d lived in this town by the sea for nearly two years now. From her bedroom window she can see the long abandoned pier that stretches out into the grey sea, a sea that was meant to be blue, but nothing was how she had expected it to be here. Here was meant to be her new home, but in all the time she has been here it has never felt like home to her; it has felt as unwelcoming as the boarded up chalets that once sold candyfloss and rock to sticky fingered children. She misses the sound of children playing in the street. Children aren’t brought here to play and build sandcastles; they are driven through and they are brought to the next town over. The next town over is feeding and entertaining and housing people. The next town over is being useful. By Emily McPhillips.

Blackburn. Durham. Tadcaster. It’s brutal up north.

February 14, 2008

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"Indie publishing can learn a lot from indie record labels, as opposed to the music itself. I’m not anti-mainstream publishers in any way, but I am anti-snobbery, anti-apathy and anti-traditionalist. Culture is ever-evolving so it stands to reason that the industries that support it (whether the music industry, the art world or book publishing) need to evolve with it too. There will always be a place for independent publishing. There will always maniacs publishing pamphlets, diatribes, poems, essays, stories or manifestos." Darran Anderson interviews the Brutalists.

Munch Cycle

February 14, 2008

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But I see a pinpoint madness in your pupils passion banging on thick frosted glass disheveled hair sleepless red-rimmed eyes weeping actual tears or not over the terrible dream of creation cold studio floor leave the paintings out in the snow until they fade and harden facing the truth of love women sickness death and loss and the horrible reality of the days when it’s impossible to tell any of these things apart. By Rob Woodward.

Writing as a compulsion

February 8, 2008

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"I’ve been writing stories, plays, and poems ever since I can remember – probably around the same time I learned to read. I know I can be very self-deprecating about it sometimes, but I actually take writing quite seriously and have dedicated my entire life to it. I’ve supported myself as a writer ever since I finished university, doing every kind of writing job you can imagine – ghostwriting, porn, journalism, commercial writing… Sometimes I get frustrated, because people have a tendency to regard my style as primitive or undisciplined. But I put a lot of thought and work into all of my poems and novels, and have never attempted to publish anything that I felt uncertain about just to get it “out there.” I think I’m actually quite careful as a writer, and the question of style is of utmost importance to me." Matthew Coleman interviews Travis Jeppesen.