Hello! I have returned! Well, I’ve been back since the very end of November but shhh.
I did lots of things including Bizarrocon (bizarro fiction convention in case you didn’t know), the Peculiarium, the Lovecraft Bar, Voodoo and Pips donuts, Powell’s Books (the biggest used and new book shop IN THE WORLD) and the creepy clown room at the Funhouse Lounge.
I also met some really great creative people, listened to fantastic stories and was overwhelmed by the response to my own reading, from the book I can officially announce is out next year: Fortune Box, with Eraserhead Press. I took part in a panel and learned from the others, and it’s all below! Enjoy.
I’m off to Portland, Oregon on Saturday for Bizarrocon and donuts. I’ll be gone for about three weeks but when I return I’ll be full of writerly information and other helpful things.
I’ve read in a couple of different places that Portland is “becoming like Paris in the 1920s,” all the writers and artists are flocking there. I don’t expect it to look the same as 1920s Paris, even Paris doesn’t look the same as 1920s Paris, but I hope to be inspired by a similar artistic atmosphere.
The Années folles (crazy years) was a time between wars where everyone who wanted to make art, dance to jazz or just get a drink (America was under Prohibition) converged on the city. Gertrude Stein held court at her artistic salon (described in her book The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas), Andre Breton was leading the Surrealist movement, and Anais Nin was a brief fixture of the Montparnasse cafe scene.
If you wanted to get a glimpse of dancing girls (*whisper* in the nude) you could pop off to The Folies Bergère. One of the headliners at the time was Josephine Baker, a woman of colour treated like a second class citizen in her native America and a star in Paris.
Tracking shot in the 1927 Clara Bow movie Wings:
Below is a promotional film for Josephine Baker’s ‘new’ show. Contains 1920s boobies:
Paris was known for the latest fashions:
And finally, a silent travelogue through all the city had to offer. Toodle pip, and I’ll see you on the other side of my own adventures!
Merry Halloween my little apple carts, may all your disturbing dreams come true and your stomachs explode with sugary delights. I asked people to send me their own crappypastas, which are terribly written internet horror stories. Enjoy!
Hello my little veggie cocktail sausages! I thought I’d share with you a BBC radio show of one of my favourite parody satirical poets (is that even a thing?) Tim Key looking into one of the most fascinatingly odd Russian absurdist writers, Daniil Kharms.
The BBC info reads:
“Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) is one of Russia’s great lost absurdists – a writer whose world still alarms, shocks and bewitches more than half a century after he died in prison during the siege of Leningrad.
In his short, almost vignette-like writings, nothing is sacred or as it seems. His narrators dip in and out of moments, describing curious, often disturbing events before getting bored and leaving his characters to their fates. Old ladies plummet from windows, townsfolk are bludgeoned to death with cucumbers, others wander around in search of glue, sausages or nothing. By turns pointless and harrowing, they are funny. Very funny. And they are funny now.
Comedian, Russophile and crumpled polymath Tim Key has been entranced by Kharms’ beautiful, horrible, hilarious world for years. But is there more to Kharms than a series of curious happenings cooked up by an eccentric mind in a troublesome world? Key suspects there is. And he’s prepared to delve.
As he delves, he encounters Noel Fielding, Alice Nakhimovsky, Matvei Yankelevich, Peter Scotto, Tony Anemone and Daniil Kharms.”
So, without further fannying about, here it is. Enjoy!
First up… guess who’s novella/connected short stories were just accepted?! No, me, I meant me.
Not so long ago I posted a couple of sites where you could read Aleister Crowley for free, and threw in a UK documentary for chuckles. It’s a little over the top and sensationalised but still interesting.
Well, it seems it was part of a series called Masters of Darkness, and I’ll share the others with you now on the equally bizarre alchemist and mathematician John Dee, sadistic Marquis De Sade and ‘mad monk’ Rasputin (not an author, you got me, but come on, he’s fascinating). There’s a book about him I’d really like to read which apparently cuts through the myth, which I’m endlessly in favour of.
I’ve also added a documentary about Issei Sagawa, the student of avant-garde literature who murdered and cannibalised his girlfriend and, due to a technicality, served only fifteen months. Yep… He now makes his living writing and talking publicly about being a cannibal.
I missed an exhibition in London of John Dee’s library a year or two ago, I’m still annoyed about it.
The Marquis De Sade (disclaimer: Andrea Dworkin talks a lot of tripe)
First off I just heard that The Wicked Library podcast will be reading the short story on my previous post in December, so that’s exciting. It also kind of illustrates the point of today’s post.
A while ago I shared some online interactive horror stories (look through if you haven’t already, they’re very good). The evolution of storytelling is an endlessly fascinating subject for me, from folk tales passed by word of mouth to the invention of the printing press to creepypasta and reddit. Now we can upload a book immediately onto the internet for anyone in the world to read or add a piece to a collective mythos like the SCP Foundation.
In the video below Fredrik Knudsen (whose YouTube channel is a very interesting mix of weird fiction and oddball internet personalities, you should follow him) tells the story of Mother Horse Eyes, the author of strange and disturbing reddit comments which developed into something unexpected.
Look out for the moment when Mother Horse Eyes reveals themselves to be a Douglas Adams fan.
Next up is an interview with Don Coscarelli, director of the film adaptation of David Wong‘s John Dies At The End. He discusses how the book started off as a series on Wong’s website and was recommended to him by an automated Amazon robot.
In 1954 Roald Dahl’s short story The Great Automatic Grammatizator, in which a computer writes a novel, was published. In March 2016 a short novel by a Japanese AI “almost won a literary prize…” though the narrative of robots rising to overtake their human overlords falls apart under inspection. Much of the work was done by humans and the first rounds probably had fairly simple requirements. Still, pretty darn impressive.
By the way I recommend following the twitter mentioned in the article, Magic Realism Bot, it’s highly entertaining.
To finish off here’s a video I uploaded today of my adventures with online interactive horror fiction. Toodle pip!