Monday, January 15, 2007

Bedtime Stories

IndoMonday 15 January 2007, from 8pm
133 Whitechapel Rd
London E1 1DT

The first of a new series of spoken word nights at Indo, Bedtime Stories will feature readings from Adelle Stripe, Lee Rourke and Clive Murphy. Compered by Heidi James, there’ll be music from Zan Fracaroli and fanzines on sale by Zakia Uddin.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas comes but once a year

3:AM Xmas Bash

For this year’s 3:AM Xmas Bash we’ll be joined by Iain Sinclair. He’ll be joined by Nicholas Royle and Stewart Home (making his fourth appearance at our Xmas event).

Come join us before the season gets too much.

Monday December 18, from 7pm
The Wheatsheaf
25 Rathbone Place
London W1T 1JB

Oxford Circus/Tottenham Court Road tubes
Free entry


(Yes, sorry, we know. These are busy times. We’ve been reading loads of good stuff. It’s just writing it up. It takes time.)

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Remember, remember…

Trocchi Evening

Hope to see y’all there…

In other news, we’re afraid there’s going to be a bit of a hiatus in these parts for a while. Plans are afoot, and you shall be the first to know them.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

The Unfortunates

The Crown

Last night’s Value This Man event was a grand success. Even though events beyond our control forced us to spend most of the night skulking around outside, it was fantastic to see so many people assembled in one place to pay tribute to a favourite writer. Salman Rushdie wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much, but pretty much everyone else did.

The Crown

The panel, or whatever they were, from left: Philip Tew, author of B. S. Johnson: A Critical Reading, Jonathan Coe, author of the Samuel Johnson prize-winning biography of B.S. Like A Fiery Elephant, Paul Tickell (hidden), director of the film adaptation of B.S.’s Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry, and David Quantick, journalist and enthusiast (his review of Malry here), who was invited out for a drink by an audience member during the Q&A.

The Crown

And on the right, Johnson’s widow Victoria, who graced us with her presence. Yes, the Crown is that shiny (Hey! It’s a really warm evening! Let’s sit in a gold-plated box for three hours!), and yes, it was so well-attended we had to sit on the floor.

Particular plaudits must go to Paul Ewen, Lee Rourke and Andrew Stevens for setting up the event, especially the latter who pulled it off on the night with such aplomb. Keep an eye on Through A Glass Darkly for the hotly-rumoured next event.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Like a fiery animal of some description

‘Value This Man: the work of B.S. Johnson’ is scheduled for the evening of Thursday August 17 and will feature Jonathan Coe, Paul Tickell and David Quantick in conversation, as well as other special guests and possibly even some screenings. It all takes place from 7.30pm, upstairs at The Crown Tavern, 43 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1. The entry fee is £2.00.

Find out more over at Through A Glass Darkly.


In other news: together with Ben (from Splinters), Steve (from This Space), Mark (from RSB) and the eponymous Spurious, STML’s James gets annoyingly flip interviewed over at Bloggasm.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One day you’re going to wake up and your liver will be sat by the bed with a very, very concerned expression

Prometheus, right. Nice guy, bad press. You know the old legend: he populated the planet and pissed Zeus off by making Man in the image of the Gods. The final straw, the story goes, was when he stole fire from Zeus’ hearth and gave it to the shivering peoples, carrying it down Olympus in a cone of slow-burning Fennel.

The legend is wrong. What Prometheus stole was was not fire, but firewater. Prometheus gave to men the secret of making alcohol, the one thing that could truly make them feel as Gods. The Tree of Knowledge was a vine: man learnt to ferment, brew, and distill its fruit. Fennel is native to Southern Europe and the countries of the Mediterranean. In Greece, home of the legend, fennel is used to flavour ouzo and its precursors, raki and arak. It is one of the ‘holy trinity’ of herbs used to make absinthe, along with wormwood and anise.

The proof is in the punishment: for his crime, Prometheus was sentenced by Zeus to be chained to Mount Caucasus, where every day the great eagle Ethon would arrive to gnaw on – get this – his liver. Fixed in the burning Central Asian sunlight, sweating, thirsting, aching, regenerating each night his battered organ, Prometheus is taking on the greatest of all hangovers, suffering for our sins, a scapegoat for all our Friday nights. His one attempt to pacify the furious Zeus was to teach the humans to make sacrifices to the Gods; violent, bloody festivals that became orgies of drinking and debauchery.

All this is a round-about way of saying that the 3:AM party was fun, and more than a few people are feeling a little delicate today.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

See you tonight, hopefully

Edgier Waters Launch Party
May 29, from 8pm
Upstairs @ The Old Blue Last
39 Great Eastern Road
London EC2A 3ES

Old Street or Liverpool Street tubes

3:AM’s Edgier Waters anthology, featuring the magazine’s best fiction, essays and prose from the past five years, will be published by Snowbooks in June. To mark the occasion, the launch party for the book will be hosted on May 29 at the Old Blue Last in Shoreditch.

Special guests include:

Tom Gidley in conjunction with Bruce Gilbert of Wire
Tony White
Jeremy Reed
Daren King
Paul Ewen

More details here.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nothing… Everything!

“A famous British chemist, Dr. Charles Henry Maye, tried to determine exactly what man is made of and what is man’s chemical worth. Here are the results of his scholarly research. The amount fat found in the body of an average human being would be enough to make seven pieces of soap. There is enough iron to make an average nail, enough sugar to sweeten a cup of coffee. The phosphorus would yield 2,200 matches; the magnesium would be enough to take a photograph. There is also some potassium and sulfur, but the amount is too small to be of any use. Those various materials, at the current rate, would be valued at around 25 francs”
The ‘Critical Dictionary’ Definition of Man, Documents, no. 4, 1929

And so to the Hayward for Undercover Surrealism, an exhibition that claims to recapture the subversive climate which surrounded Georges Bataille’s legendary Documents magazine. The Hayward’s on a bit of a roll at the moment, following the sublime glow of the Dan Flavin retrospective and last year’s Eyes, Lies & Illusions and Africa Remix, but Documents‘ blend of extensive essays with carefully chosen, wildly juxtaposed images is a hard one to capture in a gallery space. As the objects themselves take the place of the magazine’s illustrations, the theories which connected them are lost, and the exhibition feels more like a cabinet of curiosities than the theoretical exegeses of Documents. Lucky, then, that the original contributors to Documents were so wildly, deliriously curious.

Picasso’s Three Dancers stand contorted beneath the jiggling chorus girls of a Buster Keaton movie. Dali’s Baigneuses, blancmange-like structures embedded in the sand, hang next to a seventeenth-century anamorphic painting of St Anthony of Padua, as they did in Documents and at the seminal Surrealist arrival at MoMA in 1936, suggesting an art which must be approached from a new direction (Bataille said of Dali that the only appropriate response to his canvases was to “squeal like a pig”). An artfully-cut Brancusi head sits on a plinth beside a stone smoothed even further by natural processes. Giant enlargements of toes, plants and crustaceans adorn one gallery. Giacometti sculptures fuck in the corridors.

Documents was home to many Surrealists denounced by the autocratic Breton. They sought not to explain the movement, but to tease and feed it, and identify its pre-echoes in ethnography, musicology, and the natural world. Bataille himself worked in the Department of Coins and Medals at the Bibliotheque Nationale, many of his collaborators in other departments. Breton denounced him as a ‘staid librarian’. Bataille responded by writing the first draft of Story of the Eye on the back of used library tickets.

One of the last and best parts of the exhibition is the film strand, a 30-minute cycle of scenes from films by Surrealists, or in which they found inspiration. So you get the still gasp-inducing eyeball-slice from Dali and Buñuel’s Un Chien Andalou, alongside early footage of tribal ceremonies from Benin and Marc Connelly and William Keighley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Green Pastures. The latter, made in 1936, dramatises bible stories from the perspective of an African-American child, and the scene included shows turbanned, angel-winged mammies chiding their cloud-riding offspring across the plains of Heaven, before paying homage to a black-suited, deep-voiced God apparently played by Morgan Freeman’s grandfather, providing a neat link back to one of the first exhibits: an Abyssinian church mural where a black Solomon recieves the Queen of Sheba. (The cycle is endless: elsewhere in Documents, an ethnographer describes the charcoal doodles left on the walls of the churches by Ethiopian children bored rigid by day-long services. In a comment that resonates strongly with all radical art practice, he notes that “even though the children are soundly beaten if discovered, the walls of the churches are nevertheless thick with their designs.”)

FantomasAnother discovery, who pops up in various forms surrounding the exhibition, on film, in paintings (notably Magritte’s Le barbare), and in the writings and philosophy of the Surrealists, is Fantômas. Fantômas was a master criminal, master of disguise, the ‘Lord of Terror’, the ‘Genius of Evil’, and the anti-hero of a series of detective thrillers written by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain which appeared in France in the 1910s. Endlessly pursued by the obsessed but helpless Inspector Juve, he appealed to the Surrealists and other avant-garde artists due to his smashing of safe society, including such tricks as releasing plague-infected rats into Paris, and his overturning of the conventions of genre fiction – unlike the known worlds of Wilkie Collins or Agatha Christie (who postdates Fantômas), Juve operated in a miasma, forever outwitted and confused. Guillaume Apollinaire said: “From the imaginative standpoint Fantômas is one of the richest works that exist.” We’ve got a copy on order.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Put away childish things

Through A Glass Darkly

In case you haven’t heard:

A collection of authors read from work set in the London pub. Including: Matt Thorne, Tom McCarthy, Heidi James, Lee Rourke, and Paul Ewen.

Wheatsheaf Pub (Upstairs room), 25 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia 7.30pm Thursday 13th April.

In association with Scarecrow, Sohemians, and 3:AM.

We’ll be there, weeping quietly into our pint of Pride. But then, that could be any night of the week.

[UPDATE: Check here for the Grauniad’s report of this rather excellent event, with photos available here.]

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