IAN SVENONIUS’S EXPERIENCE AS AN ICONIC underground rock musician—playing in such highly influential and revolutionary outfits as The Make-Up and The Nation of Ulysses—gives him special insight on techniques for not only starting but also surviving a rock ‘n’ roll group. Therefore, he’s written an instructional guide, which doubles as a warning device, a philosophical text, an exercise in terror, an aerobics manual, and a coloring book.
THIS VOLUME FEATURES ESSAYS ON EVERYTHING the would-be star should know to get started, such as Sex, Drugs, Sound, Group Photo, The Van, and Manufacturing Nostalgia. The book will also have black-and-white illustrations. Supernatural Strategies will serve as an indispensable guide for a new generation just aching to boogie.
You can order Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group: a how-to guide at Akashic Books.
Writers need stability to nurture their talent and unfetter their imagination. Too much chaos dilutes the talent and diminishes the productivity. Writers like Norman Mailer squandered too much time and effort on making his life the story - when in fact he should have been writing it. J. G. Ballard was well aware of this, and he had the quiet certainty of a 3-bed, des res, with shaded garden and off-street parking at front. Yet, Ballard’s seeming conformity to a middle class idyll appeared to astound so many critics, commentators, journalists, whatevers, who all failed to appreciate a true writer’s life is one of lonely, unrelenting sedentary toil, working at a desk 9-5, or however long - otherwise the imagination can not fly.
That’s why I have always found suburbs far more interesting places than those anonymous urban centers. Cities are about mass events - demonstrations, revolution, massacre, war, shared public experience. Suburbia is about the repressed forces of individual action. It’s where the murders are planned, the orgies enjoyed, the drugs devoured, the imagination inspired. Suburbia is where dysfunction is normalized.
And J. G. Ballard was very aware of this.
Future Now is a documentary interview with J G Ballard, made in 1986 not long after he had achieved international success with his faux-biographical novel Empire of the Sun. Opening with a brief tour of his Shepperton home, Ballard gives an excellent and incisive interview, which only reminds what we have lost.
The things humans purchase for their babies are usually meant to say more about the parents than the child, but who cares?!? They’re cute little human waste machines you get to adorn with cute little accessories, like HTML for Babies until they get old enough to listen to Justin Beiber and roll their eyes at you all day!
It’s never too early to be standards compliant! Show your little ones HTML markup code along with letter forms to get them started on the visual patterns and symbols that make up the essential building blocks of the Web. The first in a three-volume set, originally designed by a NYC Web Designer for his baby, this beautiful book is a fun and colorful introduction to the world of web design for babies.
There is no footage of George Orwell, no recordings of his voice, just assorted photographs, and of course, his writing, his brilliant writing, which forms the basis of this Emmy award-winning documentary George Orwell - A Life in Pictures.
This documentary recreates Orwell’s life through a series of imaginary film clips, fictional archive news stories, and the sort of documentary films Orwell may have made. Chris Langham is Orwell and he brings a warmth, intelligence and humanity to the role.
Best known for his star performance in The Thick of It, and his work with Spike Milligan and The Muppets, Langham has become a controversial figure of late as he was sent to gaol in 2005 for downloading hard core child pornography. He said he did it for research, for a character he was playing on a TV series. Well, you would, wouldn’t? You’re not going to say it was just for the hell-of-it or, you wanted to knock one out, are you? But Langham has served his time and accepted responsibility for his actions. However, this knowledge can make this excellent documentary problematic to watch, though Langham’s performance is superb, and the content of this documentary - George Orwell’s writing - essential viewing.
Though this all perhaps raises a bigger question, as to whether creative works can be viewed separately from the lives of its creators? Can we read William Burroughs without considering the senseless murder of his wife, or his use of young boys for sex? Can we read Philip Larkin’s poetry without thinking about his racism? Or, look at Eric Gill’s vast output - from religious sculpture to typeface - without thinking he sexually abused his daughters and fucked the family pets? Unlike these reprobates, Langham has served his time, and all we can do is to be aware of what has happened, before choosing our own response to it.
Ultimately, the issue is perhaps subverted by the importance and quality of Orwell’s writing, which Langham brings brilliantly to life.
Just in time for the Aztec calendar to run out (and let’s not forget Christmas, of course) comes Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine, a collection of Mick Farren’s primal ‘up against the wall, motherfucker’ style of rock and roll polemics. One man’s literary life spent railing against the machine lives between these covers. The hidden history of the twentieth century and beyond. He was there and you weren’t. Listen up, children!
Within these pages you’ll meet the likes of Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash, Chuck Berry and Gore Vidal, and steam open correspondence between the author and Pete Townshend. And, much more importantly, you’re about to go one-on-one with a world-class raconteur… If this kind of mess-around seems like your cup of meat, then prepare your relaxant of choice, kick back and dig in. The greasy ’oodlums are at your door.”
—Charles Shaar Murray (from his foreword)
About the Author:
Mick Farren was born on a wet night at the end of World War II. During his long, occasionally hallucinatory, and sometimes hell-raising career, he has published twenty-two novels (including The DNA Cowboys Trilogy). He has also published more than a dozen non-fiction works on topics that range from music to drugs to conspiracy theory (including Give The Anarchist A Cigarette). An unreconstructed rock & roller, he continues to function as a recording artist and songwriter. He has also made detours into anarcho-agitprop like editing the underground newspaper IT, and defending both his liberty and the comic book Nasty Tales through a protracted obscenity trail at the Old Bailey.
He was part of what is now called (by some) the NME golden age, during which time he helped explain punk to people who still thought Rick Wakeman had merit. As a lyricist, Mick’s words have been sung by Metallica, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Brother Wayne Kramer, the Royal Crown Revue, and the Pink Fairies.
Publisher Headpress are offering a very limited stamped, numbered and signed deluxe edition hardback of Elvis Died For Somebody’s Sins But Not Mine, only available from their website, and for the special price of £28 until December 3. There’s also an unsigned hardback edition selling £20, but I sez get yours autographed. Why regret not getting it signed?
And just in case you were wondering, here is a list of the drugs found in Elvis’‘s body when he died, included in the book as a piece of found poetry:
Codeine—at a concentration ten times higher than the toxic level
Morphine—possible metabolite of codeine
Methaqualone—Quaalude, above toxic level
Phenyltoloxamine—Sinutab (a decongestant)
Below, Mick Farren talks about the underground press in London with John Peel in 1967.
If you’re like me and want to replace your extensive poster collections with something slightly more grown-up, you may want to go with these awesome embroidery hoops of your favorite pop culture icons. They might be a bit twee, sure, but I figure this is a nice compromise between decorating like I’m still in college and actually developing mature taste in art, which frankly, sounds like a lot of work and money.
I’m common and vulgar, but I’m common and vulgar with a Bachelor’s Degree, dammit.
With the holiday shopping season about to shift into high gear (I’m sure I’m not the only one who heard Christmas carols prior to Halloween… what’s that all about anyways?) here’s an early tip for that thoughtful, philosophical type on your list, the newest book by our esteemed, super-smart pal Charles Hugh Smith, Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It:
Things are falling apart—that is obvious. But why are they falling apart? The reasons are complex and global. Our economy and society have structural problems that cannot be solved by adding debt to debt. We are becoming poorer, not just from financial over-reach, but from fundamental forces that are not easy to identify or understand. We will cover the five core reasons why things are falling apart:
1. Debt and financialization
2. Crony capitalism and the elimination of accountability
3. Diminishing returns
5. Technological, financial and demographic changes in our economy
Complex systems weakened by diminishing returns collapse under their own weight and are replaced by systems that are simpler, faster and affordable. If we cling to the old ways, our system will disintegrate. If we want sustainable prosperity rather than collapse, we must embrace a new model that is Decentralized, Adaptive, Transparent and Accountable (DATA).
We are not powerless. Not accepting responsibility and being powerless are two sides of the same coin: once we accept responsibility, we become powerful.
You haven’t heard of him, and that’s probably for the best
Even if you’re not a comics fan, you can appreciate the steady stream of train wrecks featured in Gone and Forgotten.
Many of the pieces are simply characters that never made it past a couple issues, like “Dash Dartwell, the Human Meteorite,” who has super-human speed, but eschews the cool superhero garb for a fancy suit. There’s also “Minimidget,” whose power is… being very small. That’s really it. It makes sense; there’s sort of a finite amount of superhuman powers one could have, and when the writing ran a little thin, introducing a new character might have seemed like the way to go.
What’s more interesting for comic fans though, are the horrible plotlines, spinoffs, and projects of our old favorite characters and canons. For example, did you know there was a Spider-Man musical? Oh no, not that one. We’re talking a 1975 rock opera album, Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero, that makes that U2 detritus look like La Traviata. It’s clearly one of Stan Lee’s more experimental projects, and while this sort of daring creativity is the reason the man is a genius, we’re talkin’ about some very dated stuff, to put it kindly.
I’ll spare you any more bad puns, but this is legitimately the best thing to come out of Fifty Shades of Grey. I never thought I’d say this, but without a doubt, I will be buying this parody cookbook. Fifty Shades of Chicken: A Parody in a Cookbook, is exactly what it sounds like, with spot-on imitations of the horrible prose that got so many lonely housewives all aflutter.
The way his apron hangs from his hips already has me all wobbly. But as he coats my thighs with sticky liquid I can hardly contain myself. Is it the wine, or is my aroma starting to drive him crazy too? He heats me up fast, it won’t take much too?
He heats me up fast, it won’t take much to finish me off now. His lips quirk up to a smile. My own juices are mixing with the coating and running all over the place. I get the strangest, sweetest, hedonistic feeling up and down. It’s epicureanism run wild!
He spreads my thighs out on a plate. Sticky hands and at least five wet napkins. What will the housekeeper think? Who cares?