I once did some work for the man who designed Bluewater, which led me to read Clearwater, a book by Will Ashon. I liked it. So I wanted to take his portrait. By some curious twist of fate this translated into “shall we make an iPhone app”.
So we did.
It will be available soon from all good iTunes stores for iPad, iPhones and iThings. It features 89 very short stories by Mr Ashon and because every book needs a cover and because fate has already played a hand, why not, I thought, ask Timothy Hunt better known as Fickle Fate to draw some nice pictures for it. Which he did. Which was nice.
So there you go. My first iPhone app featuring stories from Will Ashon and a drawing by Timothy Hunt. I’ll let you know when you can buy a copy.
Perhaps a celebratory portrait is in order?
My previous post on The Erotic Book Club choosing ‘Girls’ as their read of the month included a link to an except, actually a whole story from the book, and concluded mentioning Ewan Morrison’s ‘The last book you read’ also being a potential EBC monthly pick.
If you enjoyed the Nic Kelman tale then I would strongly recommend Morrison, they share an honesty and a compassion in describing flawed characters whose know their behaviour is damaging but can not stop themselves. Redemption not being a likely option.
Luckily The Beat have ‘Clean sheets and a view of the Hudson’ taken from ‘The last book you read’ online. Recommended.
Redux. Double redux. Two previous posts combined. Nic Kelman’s ‘Girls’ is brutal, compassionate and unforgiving, unflinching, cruel, and understanding. Comprising short stories on the motives and fears which drive middle-aged men to sleep with teen girls, whose love for their wives is in direct proportion to their perceived notions of youth and beauty. And at times pretty saucy. I found the book compelling enough to kick-start me into writing. Can’t think of higher praise.
The publisher Serpent’s Tail have one of the stories online so you can have a read for yourself.
And if found interesting enough buy a copy, for The Erotic Book Club have chosen it as their book of the month and will be discussing it at the book club’s next meeting, to be held at 8pm on Thursday 25th February at Donlon Books.
The Erotic Book Club. Donlon Books. Unit 3, 210 Cambridge Heath Road. London, E2 9NQ.
They suggest bringing a bottle of wine along to share and help loosen tongues. Their future reading list also includes Ewan Morrison’s ‘Swingers’ whose short stories ‘The last book you read’ was another major contribution in inspiring me to start writing. Men behaving badly. But well read.
From the studio window the view consists only of fields of white as snow blankets all in sight, and allows me to bind together two disparate strands. Like “Fifteen feet of pure white snow” as Nick Cave sings; like the vista of an absolute pure aesthetic Heaven. For this white Christmas I was bought two books.
‘Sum – Forty tales from the Afterlives’ by David Eagleman and ‘The Death of Bunny Munro’ by Nick Cave. ‘Sum’ has been on my wanted list since reading his article on Death Switches. To summarise (sorry) a death switch is a device that is deployed should it’s owner not check in after a set period, say for instance a month after checking out. There is a web site that allows you to send an email from the afterlife should you fail to respond to prompts.
Alongside implementing supernatural communication he has written ‘Sum’ which details forty possible scenarios we might face after death. An ideal companion for short commutes, each meditation only a few pages long, leaving time for a moment of reflection on our longer mortal journey.
Cave’s ‘Bunny Munro’ appears to mainly be about vaginas.
Now how, you ask, am I going to merge these disparate works into a single entity?
Bet you thought death was going to be my cheap glue, but no… here’s Nick Cave reading the first tale from ‘Sum’…
Litzines are made for the internet, no more stealing paper and toner from work. No more lurking by the photocopier. With digital publishing the notion of the issue dissolves slightly, 3am runs continuously, adding content at whim (great story by Alan McCormick just added), it is perhaps becoming the heavyweight contender with advertising and an editorial team.
Others soldier on as labours of love for as long as unrequited desire permits, Dogmatika is no longer active, a shame, but the printscape is constantly shifting with titles coming and going (Corium Magazine looks promising). The ease of electronic publishing does not however guarantee a satisfying read: the relentlessness of reading submissions, a good eye for a fluid aesthetic layout, the dedication to publish regularly. All of this is required, and wrought just for the love. And the love of literature at that. Not the bar-soaked slutty drug-fueled sticky shallow love that one could choose to pursue instead, to endure those unnoticed unrewarded dark hours of the lonely night. (note to self…)
There are some great litzines and their editor’s love and toil should be reciprocated, but in a strictly fluidless way mind. Ben Tanzer produces This Zine Will Change Your Life. It’s good. What I really like about it is his approach to the issue.
New editions are alerted via RSS or email, consisting of a single page: a story or a few poems; an mp3; and illustrative photography. No need to navigate, a little expresso hit, in-tray manageable. Building into a good body of work if you want to trawl the archives, Chris Killen is in there for example.
So here’s a shout-out for that zine, bookmark or subscribe.
Holidays are traditionally a time for reading, and since I have broadband whilst away, the less popular pursuit of sorting out my plethora of unreviewed browser bookmarks. Now I am able to combine both these past times in a single post…
Ewan Morrison’s new novel Ménage was published a month a go, I mention this for two reasons. First, he was perhaps the final contributing factor in starting me writing, but secondly and more importantly for the world at large, he has contributed a short story to the online lit-zine Dogmatika.
Read ‘Dogs’ by Ewan Morrison here:
A beautiful ceramic dildo. I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, and having not seen it turn up elsewhere in the blogsphere decided the time is right. It’s was created by furniture and lighting designer Davy Grosemans at Das Ding and the design studio Oooms.
For me the first thing to discuss is the quality, Das Ding (apart from having a logo like a butt plug) are high-end award winning product designers, it’s manufactured by the European Ceramic Work Centre – a centre of excellence for artists to explore work in ceramics. Neither of these companies are normally involved in the sex trade. Oooms, who make a very droll memory stick from real sticks have produced a great range of dildos and exciters before, so it could be argued they have a touch of under the counter about them.
It’s a sumptuous object or at least looks it (I can’t afford one at the moment to vouch for this) and seems very well designed, I’m presuming the cork allows it to be filled with warm water on a winters evening. It’s certainly not under the counter in sensibilities, and in fact the description on the Ooom site suggests that it would be a talking point if you left it out on the mantlepiece. Exactly. It is not an object made to be hidden away and yet it is unlikely many people will display it as they would any other piece of Delftblue pottery. For the simple reason it’s used to masturbate with when not being admired.
Bringing us to the second topic – self-pleasure – one assumes practically everybody does it and yet there is very little public acknowledgment of the practice. (Girls are way ahead on this one with their Anne Summers parties, but I’m thinking of a more general public admittance). One can buy sex toys as a couple and mention you watch ‘porn for couples’ but nobody really admits to ‘spending a few quite moments with oneself’.
For instance on Amazon there are book reviews by customers, and furthermore there are erotica books whose only purpose to aid a little nighttime under-the-duvet relief, but are there many reviews of these titles by people using their real names? No, not really, although they are a few brave types who have – I salute you! Obviously one is using euphemisms here, after all we’re talking about, not writing filth. Although a review of ”…made me cum in buckets really quickly” may be accurate, a simple “very effective” will suffice. It’s the admittance, or rather the public lack of, that I find intriguing, not being explicit about it, after all it is a matter that occurs in private much like visiting the toilet. Now with the latter subject some people show no hesitation or restraint in discussing the finer points, something I’ve never quite understood.
Before reaching closure with my final aside I should put my money where my mouth is. I particularly enjoyed the ‘Wicked Words’ short stories from Black Lace, let’s just say it doesn’t matter too much that the stories are short.
When I originally saw the Milkmaid with it’s connotations of admittance and display, it led me to thinking about literature, which prides itself in tackling taboos and thorny subjects head-on. And yet there is very little mention of masturbation in books outside of erotica. I don’t mean descriptive passages, just a character during the course of a novel indulging in some self relief. Authors will go to great lengths describing the preparation of a breakfast meal, or the choosing of a jacket, but very rarely will a protagonist masturbate to relieve stress for instance, which could show a side to their character as much as other plot devices. When it comes to sex writers show no abounds, but it’s always sex between two or more.
I’ve been trying to think of books where masturbation is used within the plot, and so far I’ve come up with ‘The Illuminatus Trilogy’ by Robert Shea and Robert Anton and Geoff Ryman’s ‘253’. There must be more? For instance ‘The colour of memory’, an excellent tale of friendship amongst ennui by Geoff Dyer features plenty of aimless drug smoking, staring out of windows and general realistic trivia of modern life yet no-one has a wank in it. A friend mentioned that they thought Madame Bovary might have masturbated but alas I haven’t read it.
Is it because masturbation is seen as a sign of failure? Not managing to have sex with someone, and having to do it on your own. I’m married and enjoy sex as often as I can but every now and then a bit of self pleasure brings it’s own rewards, a lie-in with a hangover is vastly improved with a wank, being stuck on your own in hotel room can always be enlivened with some self indulgence, and if you’re on the continent you might even find a television program you don‘t get at home to inspire you.
Its seems very odd to me that something so enjoyable so be seen as failure, even the new trendy sex shops play to the couples angle, I have only seen the marvelous Coco de Mer suggest solo pleasure with a series of fantastic adverts showing people’s facial expression during a petit mort. I would love to photograph a series of portraits like these, the mask drops away, but I will be very surprised if any of my friends would volunteer.
So…note to self, need to make sure any future stories I write allow for non-gratuitous masturbation within plot lines or character development, and to photograph my own orgasm portrait – a self-portrait perhaps, would anyone agree to photograph me at the point of release? (discreetly under the covers of course).
It’s a bit of a shame that www.beautifulagony.net isn’t simply a gallery of faces enlarging full-screen into a truly beautiful celebrations of the self, shining through in that single second of ecstasy, and instead delves into videos and ‘confessions’ becoming something much more voyeuristic. Any brave souls out there who fancy exchanging camera duties? And if you know of a novel that features masturbation do leave a note…