March 29, 2008
TODAY I HOPE I ACCIDENTALLY GET HIT BY A BUS. THAT WAY, PEOPLE WILL LOOK BACK ON EVERYTHING I DID IN MY LIFE AND THINK ABOUT HOW SPECIAL IT WAS BECAUSE I GOT ACCIDENTALLY HIT BY A BUS AND KILLED. THE DRIVER WOULDN’T HAVE TO FEEL BAD BECAUSE IT’D BE AN ACCIDENT. IF S/HE DOESN’T KILL ME. I AM PREPARED FOR THAT TOO— WHEN THEY GET OUT OF THE BUS TO CHECK ON ME, I’LL BE LIKE “COULD YOU PLEASE ROLL OVER MY HEAD AND FINISH ME? I AM IN PAIN” By Sam Pink.
March 23, 2008
Alasdair Gray recently spoke of his fascination with the works of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, explaining, to the effect, that in the paintings the end of the world took place in hospital waiting rooms, the Last Judgement in the high streets of small towns. It’s the commonplaceness of the backdrop and cast that set off the terror in Munch’s masterpieces. We recognise the abyss as just a few steps from the world of bus timetables, credit cards and gym membership. The idea that miracles and damnations are occurring all around, as we tick off each mundane domestic triviality, is the backbone of the singular collection Before The Rain. These are everyday stories, only that day is the day your life falls apart, when the opera side of the soap opera makes itself known. Darran Anderson reviews Before the Rain.
March 20, 2008
“Fragments,” Barthelme said, “are the only forms I trust.” Fragments are how Lee Rourke describes his short stories, and the form serves him well. The twenty-eight stories in Everyday take the reader on a trip through the seamier side of London and, as Andrew Gallix writes in his introduction to the collection, treat us to a (un-) healthy dose of “pigeons, pints of bitterness, work, Islington, gratuitous violence, boredom, Hackney twits, psychogeography, pigeons, Hoxton twats, anonymous crushes on public transport, class war, urban alienation, media whores, pigeons, happy slapping, sexual frustration, City yuppies, the threat of terrorism, immigrants from Eastern Europe, boredom, work, binge drinking, pigeons, pigeons and more pigeons.” In other words, modern city life. Susan Tomaselli reviews Lee Rourke's Everyday.
March 16, 2008
A great artist? To be sure, there’s a naive charm to the work. Taking weeks to design the sleeves, Mike constructed the jackets from posterboard, measuring the dimensions so they’d be exactly the right size, drawing sketches (first in pencil, then pen) even adding fake promotional stickers, lyric sheets, gatefold sleeves and nearly every other detail imaginable, including the cardboard records, an afterthought as the covers were too flimsy: “I thought about putting old beat-up records inside of them and transposing my own labels on top of those, but then that wouldn’t work because the bands on the record wouldn’t correspond to the number of songs I had. So I decided to make my own.” Susan Tomaselli reviews Mingering Mike: The Amazing Career of an Imaginary Soul Superstar.
March 8, 2008
I can smell the pepper of his skin. It is three a.m. Everyone who lives here is asleep. I know he isn’t. He is lying in the dark like I am. He is two floorboards away. We’re both cocooned in sleeping bags, so I feel safe, like our spaces are well defined. But the way he’s breathing is filling the room with anticipation, and even though I sink myself down into the fabric, I don’t feel like I have a chance at escaping. He starts it with a whisper. It’s harmless enough. But underneath the Are You Awake is a conspiracy he wants to drag me into. I know this even as I say the word Yes. Even though I say it as quietly as I can, I know it’s loud enough to count, to be heard. It signals my engagement, my acceptance of the rules. By Emma J. Lannie.