Sunday, November 28, 2004
John W. Gallivan III
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Kill Kennedy, Get $100,000
You Are L.H. Oswald
Friday, November 19, 2004
(Roger Post's) Happy Holidays!
SFSG : Cats!
It is Friday, just before noon, and the spring sun is shining from a blue sky. there is a bit of a spring time chill in the breeze off the rio platta but it is hot in the sun. i woke up this morning to possible new evidence of the elusive manolo, bearer of the keys to the roof. about nine, directly above my head, a fight to death broke out between a floor buffer and several robotic nutrea. it ended with one of the nutrea breaking through the dry wall and tumbling down the crawl space into the wall behind my head. then i got up, checked in on austin and realized that the son of a bitch gets a gleaming swath of morning sun across his bed. so i had a shower and a bowl of honey nut cheerios and a very strong mate. we were recently informed that we have been drinking our mate at chicken shit strength, so we have been trying to up the ante. for those not in the know, mate is the argentine national drink, a tea like beverage made from the crushed leaves of an indigenous plant. mate doesnt have any caffeine, but it does have a powerful toxin with effects similar to those of crack cocaine and valium combined. we were not able to drink mate in the Job and or November Rain period of our lives in Buenos Aires because we lacked the propper tools. Like a junky, an Argentine carries around a complicated kit enabling him or her to spontaneously indulge in a little mate mate. The kit consists of
a. a hollowout out gourd, or if you are a pussy like Austin, a beautiful lathed wooden goblet, sometimes sheathed in silver
a.2. i love austin and only use such crude epithets because we have recently learned that the Argentines like to call each other outlandishly rude names. example. the local term used to address small children is bendejo. which is asshole for those of you on your way to cancun.
b. a metal straw that widens at the end to a teaspoon sized, perforated knob through which the filtered mate is sucked. because mate is consumed at 4000 degrees, the straw quickly becomes hot enough to melt human flesh and therefore is commonly held, smoking, between the teeth.
c. a thermus filled with waters gleaned from the sun.
if you look closely in photos from the cuban revolution, you will realize that hard ass mo fo che guevara carried his fancy little silver lined mate kit all the way across the continent of south america. what a pansy!
we have now been in our wonderful apartment for about ten days. there is a common discrepancy with dates at our house because austin uses a different method of counting than i do. somehow we always end up with different numbers. i dont know who to trust since austin is better at math but he does have a masters degree in philosophy. i was about to call it maths to make fun of the british but i am trying not to make fun of the british anymore because i am reading john keegans history of world war one and the british are so much better than the french, particularly in such enterprises as stacking frozen mud, sleeping in frozen mud, breathing poison gas while submerged in frozen mud, and managing to subsist, when all other stores are exhausted, on frozen mud. the apartment is lovely, and since we have not been evicted yet, we are confident we wont be evicted. the one unpleasant surprise, and like a navaho rug, everything has one, is that somehow while visiting the apartment we failed to notice that a multistorey building is being erected next door. since ground was just broken, we calculate, according to the argentine working hours, the project will be finished about 2338. lucking for us, the argentines start work about nine and quit about ten thirty, so if we arrange our sleeping schedules right, we manage to shower through the working day.
here is a list of quaint observations from the new David Hockney period of our lives.
a. David Hockney rules!
b. our neighborhood, about halfway between Alta Palermo and Palermo Holywood, is really swank. there are yves st laurent, christian dior and ferrari stores. speciality german delies. even heinz ketchup. there are also women who live up to the reputation of this fine land. in san telmo, scene of the November Rain period, most of the women were imported from such fine locals as Bolivia, Romania and other countries whose names end with ia, but the closer and closer to the Christian Dior store one goes, like Zenos arrow, the closer one approaches female perfection.
c. because people in Palermo have jobs, albeit from nine to ten thirty, that involve pursuits other than collecting other peoples garbage, many dog owners hire professional dog walkers. a common sight on Avenida Scalabrini Ortiz is a bedraggled Argentine in a climbers harness strapped to a squadron of twelve to sixteen purebreds.
d. because dogs effectively run buenos aires, the cats of the city are a persecuted race. the only place dogs are not allowed is the botanical gardens. since the botantical gardens are fenced with iron spikes, gated and patrolled, the cats of the city congregate on its sunny lawns to pass the day. the botanical gardens are filled with, literally, dozens of cats. they lie about sunning, pruning, napping, wandering, stretching, yawning in calico bundles and long haired mounds. an old woman frequents the botanical gardens to feed the cats. she leans forward precipitously and scatters food by the handful to a posse of kitties who wait in a semicircle like patient birds.
e. flowers in buenos aires are very cheap. the other night austin and i attended a party after having a friend over for dinner. during the cooking phase of the dinner, i somehow managed to drink the better part of a bottle of bombay sapphire and ended up a little wet in the soul. at the party, i somehow managed to speak english, managed not to get trapped in the elevator, and left early. later, i would learn that austin, in delicately slipping a cd from a shelf, managed to pull over an entire bookcase and smash all the glasswear thereon. to this, he gave an eloquent apology in english to a stunned audience of incomprehending argentines. while this was happening, i was several blocks away, staggering home, when i came across the flower market. it was either being taken down or set up because the streets were littered with stems, blossoms and polyeurathene. a flower vendor said something to me and after my usual, though slurred, fuckoff, i decided to inquire about prices. the fine fellow sold me two dozen three foot long multiblossomed red flowers that resemble irises for a meager fifteen pesos, or, five dollars. i was wandering home with this enormous bundle under my arm when i realized i would need something to put the flowers in if i actually made it home. after asking in what i am sure was a magnificent porteno dialect at every flower shop on the block i managed to buy a white plastic bucket for ten pesos, a ludicrous price. because the vendor experienced a sudden bout of arab merchant guilt, he took apart my bouquet, cleaned each long stem, added greenery and two of us spent a lovely, besotted half hour tearing the loose leaves away and perking up the blossoms. the flowers barely fit through the door of the taxi that took me home and the to put a perfect dot at the end of the sentence the driver was a dead ringer for brian kubarycz.
f. veal is the other white meat. this week, austin and i consumed nine veal chops, four pounds of roast beef and two steak sandwiches. on tuesday, not knowing what to have for lunch, i visited the supermercado and for the whopping price of 5.84 pesos, or 1.90 dollars, purchased four veal chops, a box of tomato sauce, an onion, a bagette and a bottle of wine. the next day, not knowing what to have for dinner, austin and i settled on a large roast beef. the following day, i repeated the veal excercise, only to discover several of the very thin chops were turning green. never peckish, i fried them and boiled them in tomato sauce. last night, after having two delightful steak sandwiches for lunch, austin and i picked up a beautiful two pound section of tenderloin and roast it to perfection. this morning i found austin hunkered over a farewell to arms with a plate of scrambled eggs and a slice of steak in front of him. last nights beef was the best, in part because of the sound beating i gave it with my bare fists after i broke the tenderizer with brutal overhand swings. during the Job period I watched dirty harry for the second time in a month, gleefully realizing how much the villian, Andy Robinson, looks like Peter Golub, so i have done some recent studies in how to kick the shit out of a piece of meat.
that is all for now folks. i am sure there is more quaintness out there and i promise i will keep my eyes and ears open and report back when the information is at its most crucial.
In a Time of War
Jewels from History of World War One by John Keegan
The afternoon of 22 April, 1914 was sunny, with a light east-west breeze. At five oclock a greyish-green cloud began to drift across from the German towards the French trenches, following a heavy bombardment, and soon thousands of Zouaves and Algerian Riflemen were streaming to the rear, clutching their throats, coughing, stumbling and turning blue in the face.
The first trench raid appears to have been mounted on the night of 9, 10 November 1914 near Ypres by the 39th Garwhal Rifles of the Indian Corps. Fierce irruptions into enemy positions under cover of darkness was a traditional feature of Indian frontier fighting and this first murderous little action may have represented an introduction of tribal military practice into the "civilized" warfare of western armies.
More often, the first shelter was an existing ditch or field drain; when deepened, or as rain fell, these ready-made refuges filled with water and proved habitable only at the expense of great labour or not habitable at all, as the 2nd Royal Welsh Fusiliers discovered south of Ypres in October 1914.
On 1 May, when the soldiers of the 1st Battalion the Dorset Regiment clug to the firestep of their trenches as gas seized their throats and the German infantry pounded towards them across no mans land, the scene must have been as near to hell as this earth can show.
In the event, the states of Europe proceeded, as if in a dead march and a dialogue of the deaf, to the destruction of their continent and its civilization.
Posted by Andrew Haley
Two Poems By Andrew Haley
So during the period of time Austin and I spent in the Hotel, which is called either the Job period or the November Rain period, we watched a lot of BBC. One program we saw was a superb documentary by David Hockney called Secret Knowledge about the History of Western ART! This lead me to believe David Hockney rules. The other day at the mall I spent some time looking through a book of Hockney portraits. It is true. David Hockney rules! So here are two poem from the David Hockney Rules phase of my life in Buenos Aires.
Poem for David Hockney
I am twenty three years old and I
wear glasses. I am twenty three years old and I
wear glasses. I
am twenty six years old for the love of fraternal
affection and I should wear glasses.
This should probably wait
for the twenty four
red flowered stalks in the white
bucket. This should probably have eyes I
started noticing have black lines, flesh
lines, junctions of flesh and eye ball,
joined for vision sights of sidewalks
bulging outwards -- cupolas, planetariums,
all sides pregnant with possible
future holds for us. Exciting!
I walked down the sidewalk today in Hockney
Vision. I walked down the sidewalk today
in Hockney Vision. I walked down
the sidewalk today and beautiful girls
turned around and everybodys eyes were out
looking for the possibilities.
WHY I WISH I WAS A PAINTER
Aunt Margaret would like me better or anyway might feel compelled
to challenge me to duels or whip me like Rodin wishes he could have whipped Camille
or maybe even I could hoist one of her naked goths
up in the scaffolding to pose as Barabas or whoever dribbled next to Christ.
I have a grand plan : I will become David Hockney.
If it doesnt work out I will settle for Jacque Louis David
and walk around the Alta Palermo mall asking the blond Argentines
if they will pose naked on the barricades howling Shri Krishna Go Vinda
Hare Murare. Or anyway draw their pert little noses.
Europe After the Rain. A real Rothko right there on the dry wall
where the street light Rothko would settle if this werent a poem.
Real poets would come over for dinner and I would seduce them
and pour brandy in their bubble baths and paint them laughing.
I could move to LA and paint swimming pools. I could stay
in Buenos Aires and paint soccer player mullets on our backs
so they would love us and introduce us to Nicole Neuman
who I would paint naked in a triptich just for you.
Christopher Walken building an android
Past top favorites were, "Brave Cone Dog," "TheAnguish" and "King of the Cage." Bird has added anumber of new paintings, including the amazing,"Lazy Sunday Afternoon" which featuresChristopher Walken building an android anddrinking TAB.
Anyhow, you can now get this shit on T- shirts,mousepads, trucker hats and more at:
or just by linking from his website.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Ben Bush on Solex
The Laughing Stock of Indie Rock
Arena Rock Record Company
Solex is the alter ego of Dutch record store owner, Elizabeth Esselink, who pieces together loops and samples from the crappy, unsellable CDs in her store's discount bins, to layer under her own clever, almost English proficient vocals. After three brilliant solo albums for Matador, Solex has gained a new label, a live band and a male vocalist. These additional musicians appear on every track on Laughing Stock, but not in the way one might expect. They comprise just one of the many fragments of source material Esselink cuts and pastes to make songs. The musicians' presence gives the album a messier and livelier sound than its predecessors.
The album is full of fluxing sounds -- slide guitar, muted trombones, kettle drums, portamento keyboards -- the pitch sloshing up and down. "Yadda Yadda Yadda No. 1" overlays a truncated "Lowrider" bassline, with spanked guitar, gurgling antique synths and cowbells. "Fold Your Hands Child You Walk Like an Egyptian" overdubs buzzing flies on a clattering staccato march. On "The Boxer" Esselink sings in an impertinent school girl voice while left hooks and right jabs pan back and forth across the stereo. With headphones, the fight between the right and the left channels literally boxes your ears.
The album's final track is more organic than any of Solex's previous recordings. Shifting from Mazzy Star sleep-a-delic country into foot-stomping southern rock, "You've Got Me" is achingly pretty. After singing backup for most of the album, Stuart Brown, with a voice that sounds like Leonard Cohen and Barry White tongue kissing, takes the lead for this anomalous track while Solex sings reverbed Motown backup. Over the course of this seven-minute rock epic, Brown's lyrics start to sound awfully familiar -- "Nobody told you how to unfold your love/You were inverted, too/They bought and sold you" -- and the album's practical joke becomes apparent.
Esselink has never actually met Stuart Brown. She claims he is a mind-bendingly sexy, 6-foot tall Australian, who mailed her a recording of his a cappella rendition of the entire white album, which she has spliced up making it sound as though the two are intoning duets to each other. Through out the album it is apparent that Solex takes immense delight in making music and the feeling is infectious, making for catchy hooks that will carve a canyon through your brain as they repeat themselves.
Is there any greater pleasure than pop music rendered fresh by the hands of an eccentric? When the bubble gum has lost its flavor Solex wraps it in mint leaves.
Some of you might want to read some of these articles, some might not
and that is just fine.
I'm attaching an interview with Dennis Cooper that is going to be
appearing in the spring issue of Fourteen Hills SFSU's grad lit journal.
Dennis Cooper writes incredibly disturbing, fascinating and weirdly
skilled novels. They aren't for the faint of heart, but they certainly
are a memorable read. Anyway, he has some interesting things to say, so,
uh, check it out.
Also, here's a review of the new Solex album that is going to be
appearing in a forthcoming issue of Bitch magazine. Solex is a one woman
band from Holland who makes music from samples of Jeopardy and the crappy
CDs in her record store.
Sorry about the mass email and clogging your accounts with some large
Your cause is righteous,
525 42nd St.
Oakland, CA 94609
word count: 4,400
Filled with bored kids, heavy metal, violence as communication and brutal sex, Dennis Cooper's books read like a bloody head-on collision between Georges Bataille and Christopher Pike on the only strip of highway in a vast arid teenage wasteland. There are no survivors in the mangled vehicles, but the car's tape decks are still blaring raunchy guitars.
The George Miles cycle, Cooper's five-book magnum opus (Closer, Frisk, Try, Guide, Period) aren't sequels to each other but instead are linked more by obsession than plot line. Each book in the cycle is a complete stylistic makeover from the others, fluxing from sensual to cartoonish. A touring rock band that murders their dimwitted fans; a young zine writer sexually abused by both his gay adoptive fathers; a narrator, disturbingly also named Dennis, who dismembers beautiful young men who resemble an old love he can't shake. Awful things happen in Cooper's books, but they are also oddly revelatory and imbued with a strange kind of tenderness and compassion.
A longtime resident of Los Angeles, fame is as much a part of the air he breathes as the carbon monoxide particulates. As a journalist, Cooper has interviewed Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio, Courtney Love and John Waters. His most recent novel, My Loose Thread, began as a non-fiction examination of high school shootings before taking on a life of its own.
14: In an interview with 3am magazine you said, "On a personal level, the novel cycle is a kind of ongoing argument with myself: Why should or shouldn't I do the things I fantasized about doing? I wanted to figure that out myself and not rely on the standard, moral, religious, and legal rights and wrongs, because . . . I'm an anarchist by philosophy, I believe everyone has everything they need within themselves to make the right decisions. Anyway, I'm less afraid now that I'll go insane and do something fucked up to myself or someone else, but I'm hardly free." I was intrigued by that and wonder if you could talk about that transition any further?
DC: I was just a really screwed up, weird kid and I don't know why, but things happened to me that got me fascinated with violence and somehow in relationship to sex. When I was a little kid I was living with my grandmother in Texas. She lived next door to a church and I went over to watch this wedding. There was this walkway into the church with these tiki torches along the side, and there was this little girl there. She was my age, so she was eight or something, and she was just so beautiful. She had blond hair and this frilly dress and everything, and as I was watching, this tiki torch fell over and she just completely went up in flame -- her whole body, and then I just disappeared. I don't even know what happened. I don't remember it. The police searched for me for two days and they finally found me hiding.
Stuff like that and when I got hit in the head with an ax and it was with this boy I was having an affair with. It completely destroyed his life and he turned into this drug addict and committed suicide. Then there were these serial killings going on all the time and I just found them so fascinating. I don't know why. I read de Sade. So, there were all these things that made me wonder about myself and also I couldn't talk about this stuff, because no one I knew seemed to have the same take on any of it. They would just be like, "Oh, that's disgusting," or "That's gross," or "That's scary and I don't want to think about it." And then I wanted to be a writer so all those things just coalesced and I just thought, "Well, this would be a way for me to figure it out and also to be an artist." It kind of gave me a reason to be a writer. That's why I did the cycle.
I made all these plans for years before I did it and then my friend George Miles, who was so important to me, died. I didn't even know he was dead, but I always wanted to do something for him. He was so fucked up and I was like his caretaker and I saw how brilliant he was but no one else did. I wanted to write this kind of monument to him. It was pretty scary for awhile, writing it and forcing myself to have certain experiences so that I could understand what I was writing about, but it all helped me figure out the difference between fantasy and reality, between fiction and non-fiction.
14: You describe yourself as an anarchist in that statement. I was wondering what you thought of anarchist movements that are going on right now? Do you see the idea of "anarchist groups" as an oxymoron?
DC: Well, I'm completely and utterly and totally behind it. I'm very pragmatic and to me anarchism is a philosophy. I don't think it's realistic from my point of view. It's very utopian. You can't strip politics and culture down to punk or something and start over. It doesn't work that way.
To me it's just a way to negotiate the world, how to think about power and how to use power, and the idea that everyone is inherently good. It's not people who are bad, it's the system, it's structure. I totally admire and love people who actually go out and try and change things. I don't know if it does any good, but I'm completely behind it.
14: Do you shy away from group association?
DC: I don't believe in collective identity at all. I just don't. It's fundamental to me, but then the pragmatism sets in, and even saying I'm an anarchist is identifying myself as something. I just don't find any use for terms like "gay." I'm not going to say I'm not gay or make a big fuss about it because it's just pointless. There's no way you can even subvert that kind of stuff, but I just don't buy it. I'm also just a strange person. I'm kind of introverted and odd. Maybe it's because I grew up during the hippie thing and it just freaked me out. It was all so conformist in its weird way and it made me really resist that idea.
14: So, you're working on a new novel. What's it about?
DC: It's my attempt to write something that is none of the things people think my books are about. It doesn't have any sex or violence or obsession or gay characters. It's a strange book. I always wondered if I could do one. Anyway, I got this idea. It's about a father, who's a stoner, and his teenage son is a stoner. They go out driving, and they get into this car accident and the son is killed, but by some weird coincidence no one realizes that the son was in the car. He wanders off in a daze and dies. Basically it's this father going insane, dealing with this secret and what it does to him. He builds this folk art monument to his son in his yard. He starts playing this video game his son liked, and the game is infected by his son's presence, and the characters in the game are sentient creatures. It's a weird book. People have wanted me to do this for a long time, and I thought it would be interesting to get all the sex and everything out of it, and see if I could actually get an idea. I really like video games and this came up.
14: What kinds of video games do you play?
DC: Well, I'm a Nintendo guy. Nintendo is as close as it gets to the art of the video game because it's very innovative. I'm not into the whole Splinter Cell kind of stuff; I'm into adventure stuff, puzzles. I'm interested in the space inside video games. The structures of them. I like the XBox and some of that other stuff, but basically I'm a Nintendo guy.
14: Do you invent a lot of writing experiments, setting up rules for yourself?
DC: Many, many -- it's the only way I write. I don't think I'm a natural writer. It takes an enormous amount of work to get the prose right. It's pretty sloppy when I start. It's very rare that I can write something that doesn't need to be rewritten 150 times before it works. I mean, it's like, I'm from LA and I sort of write like I talk. I'm like kind of vague and lazy and then I have to go back and fix it up, so I always need to have in my head a form or structure.
The whole George Miles cycle is this incredibly complicated structure that was there from the beginning that I had to fill in to write those five books. I'm interested in things that are like puzzles in a way. I'm as interested in structure and form as I am in content and I like the idea of them being kind of mixed together, giving each the same value. I think you can get at things with style and form and structure in a way that you can't with content.
14: You had the whole five-book cycle planned out before you started it?
DC: Essentially, yeah. Well, it had a lot of flexibility. Each book was basically determined by where I was at that point in my life. I won't go into the whole elaborate idea of it. I wanted there to be five and I wanted it to go in a circle. I wanted the first one to be the world and everything in the other books had to come out of the first book. So, nothing could appear in any of the later books that wasn't in Closer and then I wanted the books to sort of slowly dismember themselves until there was nothing left, and that would be the end. I wanted each one to concentrate. Frisk is about sex, libido; Try is about the heart; Guide is about the mind, cerebral. All the young characters had to be mutations of George Miles and he had to return to being George Miles at the end. Yeah, there's like a million rules, but within that the books would be determined by where I was or what I was interested in at the moment as I was writing them or who I knew.
14: The narrative plot structure of the final book, Period pulled the doors off my head when I read it.
DC: I saw that as like the skeleton ride, because it was like I was removing things each book and I had so little available to me by the time I did Period. That's why it seemed like a magic trick. Because it was just a skeleton and I had to put the skeleton together. All of the books have exactly the same structure and a lot of the structure is really buried and so when you get to the last one it is almost all structure, or it's structure with this emotion attached to it. Little fragments of the things that are left. Yeah, there was so little to work with that it had to be just a zombie or skeleton book. I have all this stuff I work from, but you don't have to know all that. It's just what I do.
14: When the movie Kids came out I remember thinking about how many of the actors couldn't buy a ticket to see the R-rated movie they were in. Do a lot of people the age of your characters read your books? Does it seem like they're getting something good out of it?
DC: Oh, yeah! I write for young people. Young people and teenagers are not taken seriously as a subject very often. People the age of my characters completely seem to get it. I mean, yeah, maybe some of them aren't interested in the formal aspect of it, but I don't think you have to be. Adults tend to concentrate on the formal stuff and that's one way to look at it but younger people just kind of get the emotions and the content. The formal aspects are just working on them without them paying attention. I've always felt like the best reaction I get is from young readers. I get a lot of letters and email and it means a lot to me. A lot of them want to be artists of different kinds and it means a lot for them to get some recognition from some cool adult. I think I am often misperceived as this kind of amoral monster, and it's very gratifying when young people understand that I'm not.
14: There's such a vacuum of the adult world in your novels it's hard to picture you at a day job. What sort of work have you done to support yourself?
DC: I've never had a day job. My parents are pretty rich and I must admit that that worked in my favor, because I think out of guilt and the awfulness of my youth, they supported me for a long time. I never really had to work because I just forced that. Since then . . . I mean, I'm really broke. I have nothing. I don't have any money at all, but I just write. I do my writing, I write articles, and occasionally I'll guilt trip my mom into lending me some money. But I've never had a day job. I've taught a little bit.
14: What do you think of teaching creative writing?
DC: I've never done it. No, I was teaching art. I really love art, and I'm an art critic. That's probably the main thing I do. I am just really interested in visual art and most of my friends are visual artists and so I taught sculpture at UCLA for a few years. I don't sculpt, but my work is very influenced by sculpture, especially Period. The whole way I think about form, space and negative space. Having a lot of friends who are sculptors, a lot of the principles in their work became interesting to me. It's just a very innovative form. A very alive form. There's a lot of experimentation. It's like music where it's way far ahead of other art forms in terms of breaking ground and trying out things. So I think I'm interested in it partially because it just seems so alive and so constantly mutating.
14: How did your work in journalism impact your fiction writing?
DC: I didn't really start writing journalism until after I wrote Try. That's when I started writing for Spin. At that time, there was this great editor there, Craig Marx, and he really helped me become a journalist. And I think after that it became interesting to me the difference between non-fiction and fiction.
More than anything else journalism helped me understand how you can use a sense of narrative drive. Of course, the books after that became less narrative. So, it's a funny thing, but I felt like I understood narrative drive enough that I could take it apart. In a way it made it easier because you can't spend six months writing an article. You have to write it pretty quickly -- maybe I got a little more loose with myself about the prose.
14: How did you practice writing dialogue for the more recent books? Did you work from tapes ever or transcribe conversations?
DC: No. There's not much dialogue in the first couple of books because at first I thought that dialogue was a trope and bullshit and just this phony device, so I didn't really know how to do it. It's something I had to work really hard on. Actually, to go back to your other question, doing journalism might have helped with dialogue because I really love to do interviews. I love editing and shaping them. I think that might have really helped me get a sense of a spoken language that has a colorful quality but is also refined. Because Leonardo DiCaprio and those other people I interviewed don't speak perfectly and I had to give them a little polish.
14: In the past you've mentioned the Frontline episode about Kip Kinkel, a 15-year-old who killed his parents and opened fire on his classmates at school the next day. I was reading the transcript of the police interview with him and noticing the discrepancy between the officer's well-formed sentences and Kip's confused simple responses. It seemed representative of the way language gives adults this power advantage over kids.
DC: Yeah, unbelievably amazing. Some of the most beautiful and devastating stuff I've ever heard. Really, absolutely unbelievable. My Loose Thread completely came out of that confession. I thought that was just spectacular. I mean it made me write that book.
14: When Kinkel talks about how he told his mother he loved her right before he killed her, it reminded me of the connections between love and violence in your books.
DC: Oh, yeah, and there's that amazing chorus he kept repeating: "I had no choice, I had no choice." So pure and so unrefined and so beautiful. That was my goal. Yeah, I couldn't come close to recreating something as powerful as that confession, but it gave me this goal to shoot for. I'd really been researching and researching how to write that book and it just made it so obvious that this was the way to do it. Because it was the first time in all that I'd read, in all that I'd researched, that I just felt completely why he did it, or I didn't care why he did it.
14: What did you think of Bowling for Columbine?
DC: I really admire Michael Moore. I think his character of the blue collar lefty is such an important character, and I admire the hell out of him. Sure, he's probably a self-serving egomaniac. Who cares? It's very effective. I like Bowling for Columbine, of course. He's a little dorky sometimes for me and I honestly thought the Charlton Heston thing was cruel and cheap, but I liked the movie a lot.
My work is published in Europe and so I'm always going over there and it made me realize how significant of a figure Michael Moore is. He helps people over there understand what the hell's going on over here.
The documentary is such a vital form these days. I think the best American director is Errol Morris. His movies are more brilliant and complex than anything going on in fiction films. People are so desperate to have their sense of right and wrong reinforced, and he doesn't let them have that. Documentary filmmakers have just hit this period where they're taking a lot of chances formally and mixing things up and just much more innovative.
14: It always strikes me as funny that the quote from William S. Burroughs ("Dennis Cooper, God help him, is a born writer.") is on all your books and yet in some of the essays in All Ears you're really critical of him. How do you feel about that blurb always being on the cover?
DC: It was not my decision. I really like the early Burroughs; I really, really like all that 60's stuff. It's not that. The only thing I don't like, and it isn't about Burroughs, himself, is the way he turned into this stereotyped marketing tool. I just didn't like what happened to him.
I never really blamed Burroughs because he was getting older. He was a lonely, strange man and these people around him were plopping him down in Ministry videos or whatever. He didn't even know what was going on, but I just hated it because I felt like it took all the purity out of his work. The later books are really awful and everything, but, I mean, I admire him. He wasn't a huge influence on me.
I was really touched and honored that he liked my writing, but the problem is that I hate this whole Burroughs connection people always throw at me. I'm always compared to Burroughs. "The New Burroughs." I just don't see that much similarity. Having that blurb on my books all the time just reinforces that. Personally I wouldn't have wanted it on there but it wasn't my decision.
14: Try almost reads like a parable in which the rock critic has this vampiric relationship with the fans or the music.
DC: The most vile character in the book is the rock critic.
14: As an art critic yourself, what do you see as so horrible about the act of criticism?
DC: I don't. It was just part of that book. It identified the distance between things: the difference between Ziggy's relationship to Husker Du and Robin's relationship to Slayer and then the critic's relationship to rock music. I had started to write some criticism, and journalism when I was doing Try. I was understanding the difference between what it means to be a music lover and a music analyst. I guess in that work criticism becomes an enemy; reducing things to structure, relating things to history, instead of having a spontaneous response to something.
14: I heard your collaboration with John Zorn on the album Weird Little Boy started out with music he had composed for the Ice-T movie Trespass, but which the film company had rejected.
DC: Initially, he told me, "I want to work with you and do a collaboration. I've got this music and I don't know what to do with it. How about I send it to you and you write a text to go with it, and we'll put it out as like a book/CD."
I was really close with Casey McKinney and I've always thought he was a brilliant writer. He and I were writing all kinds of collaborative articles for magazines. So, we wrote this text together and sent it to John, and he said, "I really like this text, but I don't think it has anything to do with the music I sent you."
I had seen something completely different in it. After a year where nothing happened, he said, "Well, I got this idea that we're going to create a soundtrack to go with your text."
It was like the opposite of what was going to happen originally. He got some musicians together and they made this kind of weird, peripheral, hard-to-listen-to, odd record and then that came out. Yeah, it had a funny flip-flop to the whole thing.
14: Was the original music a little more straight? Jazz or something?
DC: It was soundtrack music. It was very exotic and I guess he thought it was really sensual and Casey and I did not go that direction. Casey's straight, I'm gay and he's interested in different things, and so sex didn't get in there. I think John was a little disappointed. A lot of times when people ask me to do something, they want me to do sex or violence, because that's what they think I do. We thought what we did related to the music, but he didn't. I don't know if you've heard the music from Trespass, but it's day and night. It's kind of oriental jazz.
14: What was the first place you were able to publish your fiction?
DC: It was probably some kind of gay magazine. There was this whole gay literary thing going on at that time. It was much more like, "As long as you're gay we'll publish whatever you want to write." Whether it was crap or really weird and experimental.
14: Is there any particular type of response you're hoping to elicit from your readers?
DC: When people ask me where they can get snuff films, that's not the right response. I want people to think about the things I write about in a way they haven't before. It's really complicated stuff. If people come away having had an emotional reaction to the plight of the young characters, that's usually enough for me. But, of course, ideally people understand every aspect of them. I just don't like it when people think the work is amoral, because I think that's so lazy. That's their problem, not mine, because I think the work is extremely moral.
14: What did you think when you first saw the images of Abu Ghraib?
DC: I probably saw it first as it popped up in my Yahoo news. They were just some of the most disgusting images I've ever seen. And just part and parcel of this administration's vile, evil and disgusting, prick-like consciousness and behavior and so they were just absolutely apalling -- on every level they're so apalling. And, of course, I, like anyone who has any brains, hoped that it was going to bring everything down, but at least we know that whenever the Iraq War is mentioned in the future that will be the first images that will be associated with it. They were just nauseating.
14: You always ask your inteview subjects if they're political. What's your current political involvement?
DC: I don't exactly know how I'm doing it other than dialoguing with people. I can't even think of anything more important than getting rid of that prick. [G. W. Bush]
I mean, I'm 51. This is exactly like the sixties except there's the Internet and people know that marching in the streets is stupid and it doesn't do any good. It's exciting that for 20 years my friends and I rarely talked politics and now it's all we talk about. It's just such an amazing time. I've gone to some marches and stuff and I support MoveOn. I'm not exactly sure what to do exactly except demand that everyone I know vote.
14: What do you love?
DC: My boyfriend, Guided by Voices, the Dodgers, cold sesame noodles. I love a lot of things. My friends. You know.
Handel this Messiah?
Monday, November 15, 2004
Feigning Death =?
Can anyone tell me what these guys are Shooting At?
Friday, November 12, 2004
Christopher Cook Gilmore
RIP Christopher Cook Gilmore
This is an obituary for a friend of mine who i just found out died last summer. there are two links to two other obits, plus the photo attached is of Chris in his boat, the rubyat, in the fishing harbour of essaouira, morocco, where i visited him in the winter of 1998.
Christopher Cook Gilmore died June 29, 2004 in Margate, NJ of a brain tumor. Gilmore was a poet, novelist, world traveller, sailor and merry prankster. The son of a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Gilmore served in the US Marine Corps and worked for the AP in England before beginning a life of wandering adventure that took him from Saigon to the Sudan. He spent much of his time in the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, France, where he read frequent installments of his "Paris Blues". He often wintered in Essaouira, Morocco where he built a 30 ft sloop dubbed the Rubyat. Gilmore bragged that he had not held a day job since the 1960s, yet published numerous novels, stories, pornography and a teleplay on the life of Ernest Hemingway.
Caption for photo
Christopher Gilmore in his boat, the Rubyat, in Essaouira, Morocco.
All Young Dudes
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Austin and I now proudly inhabit a 3 ambiente, 2 bedroom furnished apt on the sixth floor of a white cement building on a leafy residential street two blocks from the plaza palermo viejo, three blocks from the botanical and zoological gardens, and 4 blocks from the syrian restaurant we enjoyed several weeks ago at the start of ramadan. The apt is spacious, sunny, wood floored, and well furnished with couch, chairs, table, beds, desk, dishes etc. The kitchen has a puissant gas stove with manual shutoff switch, old refrigerator of the type Cherry got stuck in on Punky Brewster, stone counter and stone floor with attached sunny, glass shuttered laundry room with one of those manually rising and lowering laundry machinations previously seen in Godard movies. The kitchen is attached to the living room which sports french doors that open onto sixth storie empty space, a brown couch, three blue floral print chairs, coffee table, a tea service slash bar service, wooden shelves that hold our meagre reading collection which somehow has developed a serious thematic slant towards world war one, table with benches, horrible wall paper of the sort seen in the backgrounds of matisse portraits, and numerous prints of 18th century english fox hunting scenes.
The living room attaches to a microhallway which enjoins the two bedrooms and the bathroom. Bathroom has heavy old porcellin pieces, bath tub, bidet for toilet side scotches, and a flushing mechanism that makes a wonderfully odd sucking sound. My bedroom is long and dim with western looking windows onto interior court yard. It has a funny bed that looks like a psychoanalysts couch. At the other end is a small wooden desk where the action will happen once i get my machine. Austins room ( i leave out the alofted commas just for you ) is square, very bright, has a view onto
somebodys garden and into the neighboring 13 year old girls room. I am hoping for some psyop experiments on Austins part. The east wall of his room is covered floor to ceiling with closets, the south wall is a closet, and the west wall has a small lamp with a red lightbulb. These details strike me as omens.
The building is cool. One of the 50s white cement towers which compose BsAs marvellous labyrinthine skyline. We are on the sixth of seven floors, or seventh of eight if you do it The American Way. There are two old elevators with manually opened and shut sliding grates. When I ride up and down I think of Jackie Kennedy losing her virginity in a Parisienne elevator all those years ago. Last night after numerous celebratory bombay sapphire martinis we found the roof which is unfortunately locked. Allegedly, somebody named Manolo does something to the building for which we pay him a small fee. I plan on finding this man and forcing him to unlock the roof so that I may bathe in the South American summer sun. That is, once it stops raining.
We are both excited to explore Palermo, the barrio prefered second to San Telmo according to international concensus. Palermo Viejo, a collection of pricey restaurants with odd colored paint jobs advertising their trendiness, expensive houses and horny teenagers, lies nearby and is one of those places that lends status to an address. Which brings me around to the usually fruitless, but necessary plea that accompanies having an address in a foreign country.
Please send notes, clippings, books, information on the first battle of ypres, the correct pronounciation of aisne and ourcq, maps of belgium, french wine, danish cheese, adams peanut butter, tobasco sauce, heinz ketchup, compromising photos, news, laughter, bargins, pleas, valentines, pornography, happiness, love, etc. to
Austin Booth and Andrew Haley
Piso 6, Dept C
I am unsure whether or not we can receive international calls, but if you
would like to try, our phone number is 011 54 4832 4263. We are two hours east of NYC, so try not to call us at six thirty in the morning unless you have to or you
either are personally familiar with the Sundin Richards - Charles Simic story or have called me in the past just to say it snowed.
Austin and I signed and paid the first three months of a six month lease, so we will be here at least until dan walton and matt davis birthday, which you can easily find at imdb. between now and may we would be delighted to receive visitors. buenos aires is a lovely, inexpensive, gigantic city at the bottom of the world. we are here and life is short.
I hope this message finds you all as happy as I am.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
State of the Union
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Revenge of the Sith
Emily on Nov. 3rd 2004
comforting to say today? Cause I'm feelin' mighty
beat down by these electoral developments, and it
didn't help hearing Terry Gross's interview today
with Hendrick Hertzberg (Senior Editor at the New
Yorker which I love and trust), who was
practically slitting his wrists over the
airwaves. So in desperation I cry out to all my
What shall we do now?
How shall we stand it?
and- I've asked it before and I'll ask it again-
From Russia with Love
America's finest are storming
Falluja house by house...
I wonder where that little girl is whose been
abandoned by her father to fight the infedels,
she is crowed against
a stone wall in a denuded basement with the shouting and fire above.
A family drives through Mcdonalds ardering vanilla swirls all round
Johnny also wants chicken
as they make thier way to the
where they will order huge buckets of popcorn and 32 oz. soft drinks
Punk in Drublic
Friday, November 05, 2004
I think we need to get a little comment forum going.
I believe that the American Public just gave to a proven-dangerous tyrant a writ of absolute power to enact the Neocon Revolution
As my faith in America deteriorates, I keep reading quotes from various officials about "rebuilding unity" and "coming together" as a nation. Meanwhile I receive emails from friends saying things like "despite our differences, we musn't forget our common humanity."
Primarily, let me say that I am still in shock. That said, Bullshit.
We the people have given an evangelical, rationless lunatic a mandate to push forward his platform of fundamentalism. "Morals Based" America is a hateful, bigoted, backwards shithole.
Abu Graib. WMD's. Osama? World Criminal Court, Kyoto Protocol, ABM, Halliburton, Iraq?
Anti-Gay, Anti-peace, Pro-empire, Pro-Profit-at-any-cost, etc. etc.
What the fuck happened?
Hooray for the "Compassionate Conservatism" of Moral Zealotry. Hooray for the electoral college and government by the people. Hooray for the lines that we have drawn between one another and the line that is drawn which separates us from our would be allies.
So do we, the disgruntled up-and-comers join government or do we get out?
As far as I can tell, the only positive ramification of this election is what it will do for punk rock.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
From Some Old Document
The History of the present [leader] is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.
…He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the Tenure of their Offices, and the Amount and Payment of their Salaries.
…He has erected a Multitude of new Offices, and sent hither Swarms of Officers to harass our People, and eat out their Substance.
…He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to Civil Power.
…He has combined with others to subject us to a Jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution, and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
…For depriving us in many Cases, of the Benefits of Trial by Jury:
…For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
…For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all Cases whatsoever.
He is at this Time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the Works of Death, Desolation and Tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous Ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized Nation.
In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble Terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated Injury. A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.