misc book thread

Started by jenkins, August 13, 2013, 02:18:30 PM

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i was sitting alone there in the diner having a parade in my emotions to celebrate the upcoming release of harper lee's go set a watchman, thinking how it's going to be an important cultural moment of the year, a book that'll get people talking about books, then since i haven't read about the book i traveled to wikipedia, and soon landed on this nytimes article that reminded me there tend to be some various reasons that moments worth celebrating are also worth questioning:

Harper Lee's Condition Debated by Friends, Fans and Now State of Alabama

Quoteinvestigators interviewed Ms. Lee last month at the assisted living facility where she resides
QuoteAnd the spectacle of a very public debate about Ms. Lee's mental condition and true intentions has added an operatic blemish to what should have been a triumphant moment for HarperCollins and the millions of fans who have clamored for decades for Ms. Lee to produce another book.

A lot is at stake, including the legacy of one of the country's most beloved authors. Many wonder whether "Watchman," which was rejected by a publisher in the mid-1950s and then rewritten as "Mockingbird," will turn out to be a flawed, amateur work when it is released in July, and a disappointing coda to a career that has been defined by one outsize hit.
QuoteMs. Lee — known to many as Nelle, her legal first name — had a stroke in 2007 and has severe hearing and vision problems.
QuoteWhen he asked her about her new novel, he said she seemed to be "in her own world" at first, and asked, "What novel?" Reminding her of "Watchman," he told her "You must be so proud," and she responded with "I'm not so sure anymore," Mr. Flynt recalled.
Quotewho visited Ms. Lee last fall after the death of her sister, and said she was largely uncommunicative, lying in a fetal position in bed in the middle of the afternoon.

but oh idk, these are my favorite quotes:
Quotehe is not prepared to judge whether Ms. Lee is capable of consenting to publish the book. "It's a call only God or a doctor can make," he said. "I am more concerned that Nelle is content than the discussion of her cognizance."
Quote"I just don't know why people would be so negative," he said. "We are a poor rural county and this new book puts us on the map again."


^is this old news to everyone? when i brought up harper lee irl recently, i was made fun of for chatting old news

so i bought adventures in immediate irreality and it's so good. it's going to become like the book of disquiet to me i predict, in that i might not ever finish it but i'll continue to think of it and read from it when i need to remember the way it looks at the world

i don't think you people would think i'm exaggerating when i say i see so much of myself in this book. quote from an intro:


While checking to see which Fante books were in stock, a typical bookstore procedure of mine, and Factotum being the last book I finished, 1933 Was A Bad Year the last book I bought, yesterday I ended up learning about a graphic novel titled Fante Bukowski.

It came out on Aug 8. I read it in a half hour while eating a cafe snack. It's a graphic novel, it reads like an adult's teen book. There are things like that to say. Or I mean, I just said that, but also this book has stayed in my feelings in a way I've enjoyed.

It's approximately the fourth graphic novel I've read, ever. I read Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, felt satisfied. This was unusual for me. I was clearly being marketed. I was against it! I mean, R. Crumb drew around Bukowski writing.

I just figured this Fante Bukowski guy was destined to be a phony or a second-fiddle at best.

I'm sorry but I just derailed and I'm not even talking to anybody. So ok, I wanted to find a page to use as a quote, to contextualize the tone, mood, voice, oh you know, of Fante Bukowski, the graphic novel I read and could hypothetically create a strongly appreciative post in tribute to now, and I was specifically going to describe the writer and how by sampling Saint Cole too I think he's crafty at portraying the hard life, and Amazon doesn't have a Fante Bukowski page sample so I was on Google Images, and so what distracted me was bumping into this photo of Bukowski wearing a Star Wars t-shirt:

I was super into being excited about seeing that photo. Then I wondered if it was real. I could imagine a Star Wars/Bukowski fan making it, putting it on the Internet, it not being looked up as it gets passed along, a photoshop which breezes into reality, then I saw this photo:

and I wondered if that was the shirt that was Photoshopped, then I wondered if that was the chair, and the cat is new of course but I realized the glasses were new, then wait that photo is unrelated, chill cat tho, and this was a real head-scratcher:

Then I landed on two Bukowski forums. One said the photos were from Das war's, a photography book with Bukowski on the cover, but the other forum was chatting about something I forgot to read about but links to a photo album named after Thomas Hoepker.

There was mention of a photo of both of them wearing the Star Wars t-shirt. The t-shirt appears to be real. She's Linda King, "a poet, playwright, and artist working in painting and sculpture who was immortalized in the poetry and prose of her former love Charles Bukowski. During the 1970s, King edited the little magazine, Purr."

It was mentioned on both Bukowski boards, which boards didn't mention the links of the other, or the same info, so I don't think they were conversationally linked, and they both mentioned hearing Bukowski cried during Star Wars.

Ok so while looking again for the page to quote I bumped into this:

I'm going to concentrate and here the quote is I know which one I'm going to pick, ok I'll describe it first, this is from after the end of the story, this is the post-credit sequence in the book, and the abrupt quality of the message, together with how quickly I found and read this book, it does hit me in a funny way I mean:

That's not what a photo of me would look like, but I get that feeling, the worry and the whole bit, you know. And by the end of Fante Bukowski I was roped into the writer's style, his style, different from the actual Fante Bukowski, which name is described within the book as fake and the real name given is also not the writer's name, and by already being magnetized to this storytelling format and certain other aspects I was able to appreciate a graphic novel from a perspective I don't usually, so he got me hook, line, and sinker and so ok, ok. Mice.


this is honestly from page 43 of Let's Pretend This Never Happened:

art as life as art.

it's almost like i'm trying to break off my roof, because i am trying to break off my roof, my current non-work time spent writing and congruently reading Let's Pretend This Never Happened, The Indian, The Neighborhood, I Love Dick, along with the many other books i pick up to sample this or that. i do this because if i read one thing for too long while writing i begin to sound more like the thing i'm reading, which bothers me, it makes me feel like i'm creating a chart which isn't what i want to create.

I Love Dick i have a physical copy of, the other three i mentioned are on my phone to read while i'm wherever doing whatever. i bring I Love Dick with me when i go eat. many people stare at its title then stare at me. some people ask questions. on top of that the author is named Chris Kraus but is female. the name of the publishing house, which she co-started, is Semiotext(e). so basically the book can start an interesting conversation in a second flat, and can also cause people to engage in unusual pondering.


how's everyone doing at being caught up on the epigraph conversation? within the past week i shared an epigraph page of mine. zero people here seemed to care, i can't tell, well -- you know, i'd like to count Garam's positive comment about font selection as related to the topic of epigraphs.

since i told this place about my epigraphs, i first trimmed them down to one, now currently the whole epigraph page is missing. the page i said i definitely loved and would never change is absent. whatever, i'm still thinking about it, and i'm always afraid of anything.

today i picked up Lily Tuck's The Double Life of Liliane. Tuck won the National Book Award for another book. here's her beginning:

two dedications, two epigraphs and a prologue.

it's interesting to me that the themes her epigraphs represent are similar to mine, and similar also to Skullcrack City:

i'm worried about people not liking/needing/appreciating three epigraphs, here's a book with three epigraphs and a dedication. people, i've left out a dedication, give me some credit. (currently considering nixing the epigraphs and dedicating the novella to my mother.) the Skullcrack epigraphs bothered me actually, but in this weird way in which what actually happened was they stayed in my thoughts and i ended up being inspired toward three epigraphs.

so these things on my mind, i see this book:

ok that's his old book with a new cover. i open it up to take at look at how it begins, this is how it begins:

a dedication (to the previous owner of New Bev), and five epigraphs that fill a page and require me to use two screenpics.

i should just dedicate it to my mother, i don't know. i still don't trust a dedication/epigraph combo. and really one short, sweet epigraph works best, in terms of reasons it does, but i'm too excited for that now. i shouldn't even be thinking about epigraphs maybe, i forget.


I'm not sure about keeping epigraphs, but I do love them and find them important for me when I am writing. Right now, my epigraph is from The Amber Spyglass. It is the end of a sentence. It is: "...and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness."

I'm against too many epigraphs, though.

Just Withnail

Quote from: Drenk on November 05, 2015, 02:32:25 PM
I'm against too many epigraphs, though.

Don't know if they still count as epigraphs when they come at the end, but I find the barrage of quotations in the "Brief Anthology of Quotations" at the end of Sontag's On Photography to work very well because they're so many.


hopefully this conversation has been directed toward an outside perspective and also it's a trick to chat about myself. has anyone thought of that before? hold on lemme concentrate, i'm going to "think out loud" about this:

this used to be second or third and sometimes it's alone and now when there are three it's always the top. it's so philosophically summarizing. are you jealous or you like whatever? i'm worried it's been used... the thing here is this describes both Boogie Nights and Trainspotting for example. this directly describes a certain core those movies share. sums 'em up. sobut, we've seen both movies, it's also true they have like one or two differences.

so the quote is a possible pivot, but it lacks a tone. but one can easily lack a tone. sometimes it's better to lack. a really great way i read it recently -- you're master to the words you don't use, you're slave to the words you do. who said it? maybe dr. phil i don't remember.

it's ok not to give a tone, it's ok not have have a fucking epigraph, it's also maybe-ok to have two or three. the second one now is:

when recently i cut them down to one, i cut them down to this one. it gives tone and philosophy and that's helpful in my opinion. i'd say the writing that follows mirrors this quote in many ways i adore enough that i did the writing. its tone also points to my intended tone, a reality of type, for example this quote perhaps describes Shadows in Paradise, La Vie de Bohème, and the Leningrad Cowboys. this is Spanish-language literature, a fantastic deep-love type that's being heavily translated now, since it's so good it's gotta be shared, but also the idea of being in a city is vital, the idea of a city is a global ideal, and a person walking through sadness tends to be a distinctive quality of certain Scandinavian art that i appreciate.

so now we're in the land of overthinking and we're on epigraph three. feel how light it is. it's the lightest. i miss its lightness when it's not present. it's light enough to feel like air, which is also the problem with using it.

but all three at once, that doesn't feel overall light. now i want to track down a single epigraph that has the quality of all three but, mmmm, if the epigraph wasn't found through a natural course i can't trust it. looking up my epigraph! can't do it. gotta find it. finding these three while writing helped me write, so i like all of them but -- well there you go, that's the edit, what felt good at the time and what do you want to look at a decade from now?

Quote from: Drenk on November 05, 2015, 02:32:25 PM
Right now, my epigraph is from The Amber Spyglass. It is the end of a sentence. It is: "...and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness."

see, i'm jealous you took the end of a sentence. and yeah, that's a great epigraph. it describes the theme and does exactly what an epigraph should do. it's pure. remember when Spielberg describes liking a movie idea he can hold in his hand? i can hold this book idea in my hand through its epigraph.

oh i want to read the whole thing! are you really writing it? i truly hope so.

i must admit there's a bit of preliminary groundwork i'm laying through my epigraphs. as to say, the book's theme isn't quite able to be held in one's hand. because i'm writing it. i think the second epigraph illustrates such form nicely. that's an epigraph that could have an epigraph, which is kind of, you know, because i'm writing it. there's a certain place outside theme and story, and outside being outside those things, which is where i want to be. i think launching the reader into the prose without hinting at this might give the piece a rougher time.


Quote from: jenkins<3 on November 05, 2015, 05:03:29 PM

oh i want to read the whole thing! are you really writing it? i truly hope so.

I'll quote David Foster Wallace quoting DeLillo:

QuoteThe best metaphor I know of for being a fiction-writer in the middle of writing a long book is Don DeLillo's "Mao II," where he describes the book-in-progress as a kind of hideously damaged infant that follows the writer around, forever crawling after the writer (i.e. dragging itself across the floor of restaurants where the writer's trying to eat, appearing at the foot of the bed first thing in the morning, etc.), hideously defective, hydrocephalic and noseless and flipper-armed and incontinent and retarded and dribbling cerebro-spinal fluid out of its mouth as it mewls and blurbles and cries out to the writer, wanting love, wanting the very thing its hideousness guarantees it'll get: the writer's complete attention.

I'm just beginning, and it is more than deformed—it's almost non-existant, but it's trying to get my complete attention. It will be in french, though! I have never really written seriously in english. I will probably try one day! Anyway, you'll have time to learn french before I finish that project, I'm sure! I am a slow learner and a slow writer...

And I would keep the "I tried to see how I could run off into my own words" as the only epigraph; it is, I think, a powerful evocation. The rest has to be contained in the words.



Quote from: Drenk on November 06, 2015, 07:17:32 AM
And I would keep the "I tried to see how I could run off into my own words" as the only epigraph; it is, I think, a powerful evocation. The rest has to be contained in the words.

well ok so now you've put that into my head. that's what i was asking for. but no matter the final selection i hope you read it all and love it. deal.

Quote from: cronopio2 on November 06, 2015, 07:53:43 AM
so you read Tavares? cool

yeah, and i shouted out to you when i posted it in the other thread.


the name of the poetry book is Witch Hunt #1, this is its trailer. it was shot on an iPhone 4s using an app called 8mm. i think it feels like a John Waters short. the music is part of what influences this feeling. and the tone, and the theme, and her face. maybe Kenneth Anger. one of the better book trailers i'v seen, and it's for a poetry book.

Kodak is about to release its digital 8 milli. i'm the type of person who continues to most like the movies where i can feel the human hands. and i think the capabilities of art forms are as open and endless as the humans that make them, and i like when people like things, since i tend to like things too.


this is 6/7/2016 and i hope it's a crossover capable of generating shared reading interest:

a Daniel Johnston biographical graphic novel written by Scott McClanahan and illustrated by Ricardo Cavolo. this is glorious.

Two Dollar Radio are a ma/pa publisher i've mentioned here before. they're a high-level legit indie publisher. great stuff. i'm very much looking forward to this 1/10/2017 book release, another writer who has been around already:

i made this post instead of ordering a shirt and a book.


Bill Drummond is an interesting fellow. He was manager for Liverpool bands Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes for a while, before switching gears and making some pioneering sample-heavy chill out albums in the Acid House years under the KLF/JAMs moniker. Under another pseudonym they released a deliberately terrible, schlocky disposably formulaic single just to see if they could get it to number 1. They managed it, and wrote a manual on how to make your own number 1 single. Many people followed its rules and got their own number ones. During a live performance at an awards ceremony they shot blanks at the audience with machine guns, dumped a dead cow on the red carpet and fucked off. They would use their own money to place full page ads in various national newspapers exclaiming 'ABANDON ALL ART'

They were the biggest selling singles act in the world in 1991, and went on to delete their entire back catalogue and burn a million pounds of their profit (almost all of it) on the isle of Jura. Just about everything they made from their music career they erased.


Art pranksters basically. Not enough of them around anymore. His book, 45, is fantastic. Here's a bit;

QuoteI'm on the train down to London with a journalist who's been doing an interview with the band. Chit chat chit chat. He asks me why I think so much talent has come out of Liverpool. Blah blah blah. Instead of giving him the usual social commentary about dole queues, seaport to the world and the Celtic soul of the city, I go straight into hyperdrive, letting whatever rubbish that wants to rush out of my mouth:
"It's the Interstellar ley line. It comes careering in from outer space, hits the world in Iceland, bounces back up, writhing about like a conger eel, then down Mathew St in Liverpool where the Cavern Club - and latterly Eric's - is. Back up, twisting, turning, wriggling across the face of the earth until it reaches the uncharted mountains of New Guinea, where it shoots into space. Deep space. You know what ley lines are? Those things that hippies are into, imaginary power lines across ancient Britain, lines that can be traced by Saxon churches, stone circles, burial mounds, that sort of stuff. But just boringly straight and static. Well, this interstellar ley line is a mega-power one. Too much power coming down it for it not to write about. The only three fixed points on earth it travels through are Iceland, Mathew St in Liverpool, and New Guinea. Whenever something creatively or spiritually mega happens anywhere else on earth, it is because this interstellar ley line is momentarily powering through the territory.

"Whenever The Bunnymen do a brilliant gig, we know it's because they were on the line. Sometimes it's only there for a couple of songs. Sometimes it pumps through one bit of the world for a dew days, even a couple of years."

I decide to shut up before I get too carried away, and get a couple of teas from the buffet. When I return, the journalist is making notes. He tries to draw me out on this interstellar ley line stuff. I'm thinking that he is thinking, "I got a nutter here - I wonder what other crank theories I can get out of him?" I make light of what I have already said. But inside my head I'm going, "Of course, it all makes sense: interstellar ley lines, why had I not realised before?" Another part of my brain is going, "You fuckin' eejit Drummond, get a grip." And yet another is going, "Why did I pick Iceland, Mathew St and New Guinea?"

These are the reasons why. When I was 17, my sister and I hitched a ride on an Icelandic trawler in Grimsby. The crew had sold their catch their and were heading back home. It took us five days. Jane and I spent the summer there, exploring the island. It blew my mind. The lunar landscape like Arctic deserts, the geysers, the bubbling sulphur pools, the rocks that could float in water, the whale fisheries, the volcano where Jules Verne started his Journey to the Centre of the Earth, the Icelandic sagas (I was reading the Penguin edition as we hitched our way around). But the place that affected me the most was this bit only 60 miles north-east of Reykjavik. I can't remember its name, it's a wide valley, an uninhabited wilderness with parallel crackes in the ground. Big cracks, giant cracks, some hundreds of feet deep, some filled with crystal clear water. At certain points you could leap across a crack, at other points they might be 20 feet wide. But these cracks, and there were a lot of them, went on mile after mile, following the flow of the valley. As I said, it blew my mind. My sister told me that it was the beginning of the Atlantic rift, where the new world of the Atlantic rift, where the new world of the Americas and the old world of Europe and Africa had been ripped apart. Geographically speaking, Iceland is neither the Old World nor the New.

It was as if we were in a land that was still in the initial throes of creation, where molten rock flowed and the rocks moved and life just about clung to its edges. The landscape was unsoftened by time, vegetation or man's master plans. Hard, harsh, cold, violent and threatening. My kinda landscape. A landscape for Odin and Thor, a landscape for the Old Testament God without olives, sunshine and the tender thighs of Hagar. So. If an interstellar ley line is going to hit the world anywhere it is right there, splitting the New World from the Old World.

Next. Mathew St, Liverpool. As I said, both the Cavern Club and Eric's Club were in Mathew St. One of the things I liked about Liverpool at the time was that it had neither respect for its heritage nor any realisation that this heritage could be exploited. At some point in the mid-70s they flattened all the Victorian warehouses down one side of Mathew St and filled in all the cellars to make a car park. That was the end of what had been the Cavern Club. Nobody cried. No petitions were signed. It wasn't until the mid to late 80s that a heritage trail of Japanese and Americans bursting with cash started turning up, demanding to see where those four lads that shook the world had started.

Throughout the 70s the creative youth of Liverpool hated The Beatles and all they represented. The shadow the Fab Ones forecast over popular culture was too dark and big for any bunch of likely lads in Liverpool to find a patch of sunshine and set up their stall. The weird thing is, it was almost at the same time as the old Cavern Club was filled in that a local promoter called Roger Eagle got Eric's going in a cellar directly across the street. And it was from us lot who cadged our way into Eric's that the music press perceived a whole new Liverpool scene blossoming forth. Not that it ever came to that much. Frankie goes to Hollywood were never going to revolutionise the minds of a generation, define an age and find a cure for boredom. But they were fab. Anyway. As I said, they flattened all the warehouses down one side of Mathew St. But there was one at the bottom they didn't. Back further in time, maybe late 75 or early 76, I wandered into this last standing warehouse. There was a bloke in it trying to hammer a nail into a piece of wood. He told me he was a poet. HIs name was Peter O'Hallaghan. He had short grey hair and a moustache and talked like a man who Knew.
"Karl Gustav Jung had a dream and the dream went like this: he found himself in a dirty, sooty city. It was night and winter and dark and raining. He was in Liverpool. He was with a bunch of mates, walking up through these dark streets. Up from the docks, heading for the town, the bars, the bright lights, Lime St. Jung and his mates found themselves in this small, cobbled square. A number of dimly lit streets converged on this square, and in the centre of the square was a small pool, and at the centre of the pool an island. Like I said, it was a shit night, rain, fog, smoke and just the odd gas lamp. But that small island was bathed in pure sunlight. On the island, a lone tree was growing, one of those sort people have in their gardens with tulip-like flowers, but he knew his mates couldn't see the tree or even the pool. One of them remembered somebody who had moved to Liverpool from Switzerland, and now they'd seen the place he couldn't work out why anybody would want to move here. But Jung, in his dream, thought "I know why", and then he woke.
"And Jung interpreted the dream, just like Joseph did for Pharoah, 'cause that's what he did for a living. Jung reckoned the dream represented his life at the time. Drab and dreary, unclear, unpleasant. Everything in it was shit, going nowhere. But that year in the sunlight was like a vision of almost unearthly beauty. It was that vision that kept him alive, well not literally, but you know what I mean. From that he reckoned Liverpool to be the Pool of Life. According to legend the 'Liver' is the 'Seat of Life'. If he had ever visited Liverpool in reality he might have thought differently. The dream was a turning point in Jung's life. A watershed. The goal had been revealed. Throughout this dream he understood that within yourself is all meaning - and something about an archetype being found there. That the journey was to the centre of your own whatever-it-is. The sunlit tree was his true centre, its roots drinking from the Pool of Life, the fountainhead. Whatever shit is going on, you can find your way there."

Peter O'Hallaghan didn't look like a hippie, more a Scouse Beat. So he was OK with my prejudices of the time. I didn't really understand what he was on about but it resonated and I remembered it almost word for word, which is unusual for me. O'Hallaghan then told me he too had had a dream and in this dream he could see the spring bubbling forth from the cast-iron drain cover in the middle of the road where Button St, Mathew St and a couple of other roads met. The morning after his dream he came down to Mathew St, and sure enough there was a manhole cover. He did some research at the library and discovered there was a spring there that had been covered in Victorian times and channelled into the city's sewerage system. On the corner of Mathew St and Rainford Gardens was a warehouse with a 'To Let' sign. He went to the bank, got a loan, got the lease and was now setting up the Liverpool School of Language, Music, Dream and Pun. He had commissioned a bust of Jung which would be set in the outside wall of the building.

I jacked in my job building and painting stage sets at the Everyman Theatre and became a pupil of the school. Moved all my tools and my workbench into the basement of the warehouse. The ground floor was divided into market stalls under the name 'Aunt Twacky's', selling groovy tat, second hand records and brown rice. On the first floor O'Hallaghan, his cousin Sean and a sculptor called Charles Alexander opened O'Hallaghan's Tea Room. It soon became the creative hub of the city. For the price of a mug of tea a generation of dole-queue dreamers spent their days discussing the poems they had written, the books they were writing, the happenings they were staging, the bands they were forming.

The people of Liverpool were proudly insular; none of my fellow pupils at the school sipping their mugs of tea gave a shit whether anybody in London ever heard of their existence or if any quarter of the media ever documented their creativity. All that mattered was what other people thought within the city state of Liverpool. Every day people staged impromptu performances, happenings, readings, installations, exhibitions, while Peter O'Hallaghan communicated his wisdom from behind the tea bar. Ken Campbell, the iconoclast of British theatre, arrived and decided it was the place to set up his Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool. I was enlisted to design and build the sets for the company's premier production, a twelve-hour adaptation of the Illuminatus trilogy of books.

The rains were heavy. Late one night while I was hard at work building sets in the cellar, water began to seep through the walls. The seep grew to a gurgle. The gurgle to a flow. I was ankle deep and my bench began to float. The spring under the manhole cover must have been flooding. 'The sewers can't take it, captain.' The Pool of Life was coming to get me.

Ken Campbell taught me to entertain the possibility of everything. I was 23 years old - a very good age for entertaining possibilities. O'Hallaghan dreamed new dreams and moved on. Aunt Twacky's closed down. The tea room moved downstairs and changed its name to The Armadillo. In the year of '78 it seemed like a million bands formed in Liverpool. Most of them never left the imagination of their members. If they had nowhere to rehearse or even no instruments to play, they all could sip mugs of tea in The Armadillo. The movers and shakers of this scene were all to be found holding court at their seperate tables. The idea of this being the Pool of Life was a very entertaining possibility.

So that's why Mathew St, Liverpool.

New Guinea?  I've never been there. But my great-great-uncle on my mother's side, a certain Oliver Tomkins, was a missionary. He went out to New Guinea to spread the Word but got put in a pot and eaten by savages with bones through their noses. Then when I was a boy there were the pages of the National Geographic, with their colour photos of New Guinea tribesmen; the phantasmagorical figures with nightmare masks, dancing with demons and up to all sorts of pagan witchcraft. Bodies painted, skin pierced - and all this was real, not some Hollywood film. It was all going on now. It was there in the pages of the National Geographic. My grandad had given me a stack of back issues. I kept them under my bed. Who needs the Dandy, the Beano, Hotspur and Victor when you've got the National Geographic?

At 17 I saw a French film, Obscured by Clouds. Pink Floyd had done the music. It was about a bunch of French hippies who had got this map of New Guinea. In one bit of the map, the central highlands of the island, there was a white patch with no cartographic information, just the words 'obscured by clouds' (but in French). This was, I learned from the subtitles, the only bit of the world left unmapped. These hippies set off to get there. They climbed up through seething, writhing jungles, met up with the savages that I had met on the pages of the National Geographic, climbed further up into the mountains accompanied by Pink Floyd music. And, just like my missionary forefather, were never seen again. It was a shit film, but it left its mark. Seventeen's a great year for having marks left.

So in my subconscious, New Guinea must be the place where all taboos are broken, where all the demons run round free. Where the unknowable areas of the soul will forever be left unexplored, dark and dangerous, and if you attempt to get to know or tame them, you pay for it big time. So if that interstellar ley line was going to leave this earth somewhere it had to be from those unchartable jungle-covered highlands in New Guinea. Makes sense.

Iceland and New Guinea are both islands, mystical things in themselves. On opposite sides of the world, the antithesis of each other in every possible sense: geographically, historically, mythically. All of this adds to the fact that these two islands have ended up symbolising to me the very yin and yang of the human soul. So far apart thatk, in some strange way, they almost meet.

So, back to Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. In my secret world I began to identify the souls of the two bands with the two islands: The Bunnymen, Iceland; The Teardrops, New Guinea. The Bunnymen: cold, grey, honest, northern, dour, unformed, harsh, hard-working, cloaked in a glacial splendour with a halo of northern lights, and with roots deep and mystical. The Teardrops' soul was less the band's than Julian Cope's alone, a soul with the uncontrollable creative energy of the jungle. A soul with a thousand masks, dark and devious, light and seductive. A soul charmed by birds of paradise and poisoned by belly-going serpents. A soul being born, fornicating, dying, all at the same time.


this one gets filed in 'humor' btw. when i see other people on other message boards i wonder about their post count and level of commitment. as far as i can tell, we're a rather humdrum internet collective, in terms of how fucking weird and intense the internet can become. i won't read this book but it made me think of this place and what i mean is i already lived it.