PAPER & INK #4
A LOSER A SINNER
Places to read zines #1.
When you lose your kindle on holidays and you’re in a pub in Wales.
What a place to read a zine dedicated to Identity. Just outside this window is Conwy Castle. For those who have never heard of it, Conwy is a walled city on the coast of North Wales that was built to subjugate the Welsh. Edward 1 wanted them to be his subjects, he was a little upset, they didn’t recognise him as King, manhood issues etc. Anyway, amazing structure and strategies if you’re into that kind of thing. A kind of economic warfare existed. I’m more interested in the stone and lichen, days of bandits and bedlam, paths made between the trees. Trade came from the sea, so they picked a great location. Who are the winners? Identity. Language and culture is so strong inside these walls. Dragons hide in the beams. It would be fitting to just leave this zine here in this pub, in Conwy. Maybe continue its travels around the world, but I don’t want to have a gap in my collection.
Identity covers so many facets in life. Sexuality, politics, heritage what bands you like. We all need something to identify with even if it is nothing. In here, Joseph Ridgewell bangs the drum first, summoning the ghosts of family and bloodline. Susan Lelliott’s special coming out with Somebody’s Daughter is beautiful. On A Scale Of One To Ten – How Fucked Up Are You? Is damn good. Jennifer Chandon has an exploration of personalities and more to be discovered. Alice Ash’s You is a great study about identity, self esteem and the search for the one. Mark Safranko’s Rainbow Connection is a perfectly paced sense of self, life’s trials and sadness, comfort and joy. A strong elongated piece from Jared A Carrie and Lucas Howard’s, Name, Occupation – ‘we don’t even need a consciousness to exist in someone else’s dream’ are beauties.
Terence Corless held me. The Life And Times Of The Infamous Mario Botticelli, a skewiff air floats as he talks about his life, feelings and love. A glimpse in a round about way of what shapes us, what we are supposed to ‘like’ fed by media, his life static beyond a twilight zone. Rude Girl’s A Stream Of Conciousness Apparently reminds us just how alone we all are and how we all should be fine with that. Gwil James Thomas’ Nicknamed is a great giggler. His sense of humour regarding the basic form of our identity, ones name, is a right chuckle. Aptitude by Raef Boylan is a perfect example of identity re education. His story rises above the fear of not being good enough, his self deprecating epiphany, regret and identity seem to share a bench. The editor himself gets a stage as well. Martin Appleby finds himself in a ménage a trios of mistaken identity and a glimpse of what might be if he was the other Martin Appleby.
Some edgy pics pounce occasionally, Crystal Square by Alexander Bratell although dark, stills punches and Rebecca Snotflower on the back smells like zine spirit. Because is an excerpt from Dean Lillyman’s novel Billy And The Devil. A fitting piece because he seems so lost, his identity is onion layered, a great excerpt from an extraordinary book. Akua Mercy and Sonya Cheney sit side by side. Love lost and how it effects the self. Andrew Climance tells it in black and white, a snippet from the Squid Inc Publishers poetry collection ‘No Cans or Cartons, No Hot Or Smelly Food’. Lastly, a surprise for me. I know of Jose Arroyo’s artwork via the great literary zine PUSH. It was a joy to read his piece The Years Have Taught Me Nothing, killing time with a health check, his observations and unique look at the whole process and what it stirred in him was another standout.
Zines are usually limited runs, so you need to get in early. Hey, all available issues could have already been snaffled up. Just in case, check out Paper and Ink Zine’s website http://www.paperandinkzine.co.uk/ and look out for Issue 5 which should be out soon.
by Abbie Foxton
I am the overawed spectator living in endless fear of the apocalypse. My angst is a coiled freak, watching quietly from the corner. Looking out into the dark and cold I feel the Void behind me. All around, a dome of mist envelops us.
It’s true what they say. Standing still in the forest, everything else moves. I hear the wallabies frantically bounding the bush. A bowerbird tilts its head back, beak wide with blue gifts for a swooned female. Cockatoos soar high and noisily adorn the scribbly gums in a brambly ruckus. I hear the loud, lush patter of rain filling sandstone cups for all to sip. One overflows and trickles between my legs where I crouch just inside the cave.
I’m watching him. Not far off, thrashing the greasy tube of a death adder against the rocks. His black hair is shining wet and slicked all the way down his back. A few more tenderizing slaps and he tears off the serpent’s head.
I don’t even flinch. How could I, after all that’s happened?
He’d tracked us down, deep in our labyrinth of trails and trees. He’s in no hurry. He’s already won this little game and now needs merely to take his reward. Flesh to feast, to fuck, I can’t say. Either is fine.
I can’t break this almost-trance. This fascinated stare. I trust whatever it is, my blood rushing with an endorphin sedative that soothes all fear. It dulls the dark knowledge that these may be my last moments on Earth.
Magenta got away, at least. She’d run into the cold fog. He had howled then, just behind me. Then nothing but my feet smacking the mud and grunt after grunt of my breath. I was sure he’d come wailing into the cave soon enough, but no. He merely left the treeline and now toys with me.
He bites the snake and pulls it like toffee until his teeth rip through. He chews and grins and runs forward. I will my heart to beat faster, for my muscles to fill with panicked juices, but I can only fall back as he barrels into me.
He straddles me, the tail of the adder coiled loose between my breasts. He gets his fingers in the gnawed hole and strips the meat from the spine. He bites off another piece and throws the rest with a slap against the cave wall. Leaning close, he holds the meat between his teeth and grabs my face in his hand. He squeezes my mouth open and spits. He claps the other over my lips, ignoring the snot sprayed against his palm as I try to breathe and chew.
When he sees my throat ripple, swallowing, he’s quick and absolute. He tears my shirt, wrestling with my bra until it confounds him and he leaves it tangled, one cup folded over my breast and pulling the nipple. I cry out. Taking this as encouragement, he digs furrows down my belly until his fingers hook in the waistband of my khakis. I slap my own hands to his and squeeze, rubbing my thumbs over the backs to calm him. I guide him to the brass buttons and help his pluck each one loose, all the way down.
Another fierce movement, peeling them off my legs and over my muddy hiking boots. My knees come up as I plant my heels in the dirt. I put my hands on the insides of my thighs, my heart finally going, the sweat beginning to bead on my forehead.
He slaps a hand to the crotch of my panties, making me gasp. His thumb runs up the groove, somehow knowing right where to press, where to swirl in slow strokes. I run my hands up my body with a low moan and grab my bra. I shrug it overhead, leaving my arms there, limp, fingertips twitching Morse, perhaps making notes. Perhaps to relive this, if I live through this.
He pulls a few hairs closing his fist over my panties, getting a squeal, making my back arch as they’re torn loose with the yawning rip of lace and elastic. Then his head is between my thighs, his rough, fat tongue lapping me up. He snuffles, trying to burrow the tip in deeper, trying to lick me clean. Then it slithers out and I feel a finger, then two and he fucks me. A blade slicing against the roof of my pussy while his tongue slathers over my clit. His other hand slides up to my tit and clamps on, the nipple pinched flat between finger and thumb.
I convulse and my dead arms lever down to clap the back of his head. I grab his thick, knotted hair, like handfuls of rough rope and pull him closer. I come on his face and cry out in another language.
Like an ape ‘uh-uh-uh’ he scrambles over me, hair in my face, infrared eyes glowing into mine. We stare at each other within the curtain of his black, stinking hair. I run my hands up his back as the head of his cock bulges out my lips. Then he slides the whole sinister length of it into me and I drag claws slowly back down.
My calves fold under his ass and pull him in, harder and harder. His teeth find the curve of my neck and shoulder, canines popping the skin. He licks my throat and breathes on my lips. He would never know what to do with a kiss.
We stare and fuck and moan in the dark cave, and there is no living after this.
by Abbie Foxton
Book Review: Witchkiller Of Oz by Eric Sennevoight
It needed to be done. Someone had to sex this up, bring it kicking and screaming into the 21st century. A reworking, homage, pastiche, you guessed it, Witchkiller of Oz starts pretty much on the same yellow road. Our heroine, Dorothy and her posse of woe-is-me’s get bitchin’ to Oz and beyond. Same old premise, though these twists and curves are one hell of a ride. Had I made a big mistake downloading this? Two pages in I knew I hadn’t. This story rips through reality, complete with its own soundtrack and a culture that pops. It is post post modern if there is such a thing and well if there isn’t, like the narrator, we are just going to make this shit up as we go.
I had to endure the Wizard of Oz far too many times growing up and although there are some great scenes, full of trippy abandon, musicals ain’t my bag. Bites of Baum’s 1900 tome is somewhere in here, so where the hell is all this going to go? Is it sacrilege? A blatant rip-off? Who cares, I laughed my ass off, and enjoyed every chapter of this freaky fest. Strong narrative, voices plant themselves inside your head like the Great Oz himself. I found myself asking why is this book talking to me and why am I talking back? Author, Eric Sennevoight , seems to get the reader involved in the process of storytelling and asks the question “How can we fuck with this and make it into something else” My fate is sealed, I want more of this, and I want the full technicolour.
The omnipotent storyteller’s love/hate relationship with Dot is what drives this tale so well. Cruel and kind in equal measure. It moves fast and as wild as bat winged monkeys. One thing that definitely hasn’t changed is Toto, he is still as annoying as he was in the movie. This re imagining of a classic is excruciatingly clever. Amazing word feats. Wonderful wordplay. Alluring acts of awesome alliteration and self-knowing holds one captive, Sennevoight’s irreverence and warped sense of humour is addictive.
His re-telling is still cutely retro, though remnants of Garland’s emphatic Kansas sweetheart are hard to find through the cigarette smoke, booze and bloodfest. Timeline is 1982 but that is not as important. Political climate, caricatures, psychology and philosophy never seem to change. Heroes, villains, myths and monsters, they are all there, what shifts in this new adventure is Dorothy. All mouth and attitude, this bored, angst riddled, surly, ungrateful, door slamming, space gun wielding, revolutionary is a real breath of fresh air.
Our surroundings, shiny route and dark woods, change a little as well. Instead of existing in another country we are in another dimension and I am a sucker for alternate universes. It was easy to transform into another member of this hairy, rusty, straw gang ready to fight off whatever obstacles the narrator wants to throw at them. A metaphor, a parable, a realization of paths, fate can only be found out in the doing. Flaws? Pfft. Hundreds and yet none. Suspend your disbelief, free your mind and your ass will follow.
Links to Sennevoight and his work, here:
Nuclear Medicine Facility. Two hours, waiting. Kandinsky’s poetry strokes the walls and the chairs are extra comfy. It wasn’t going to take me long to make myself at home. I flick through some airbrushed dreams and watch the conga of shuffling patients on their way to the zapping room. Arms high linked to vines of iodine, stilling me in a room of pings and Manilow.
I look up at a large sign. No Mobile Phones. WTF? I rummage in my bag for entertainment. There is an unopened bank statement, lip gloss, tampons and a yellow highlighter. I start to draw. Bored, I dig deeper – Salvation! Right at the bottom, packed up against a hardened single serve cup-a-soup is Issue 14 of PUSH. Brilliant! Requiring no electricity, I do a quick head check, tuck legs under and glimpse the nurses station just in case I’m breaking any other rules and open it’s stiff face.
That was my first taste of PUSH. The cover all urban beauty boarded & condemned, but with a facade you just know is still well lived in. It’s a compelling pic by Paul Talling and for this eye, derelict is very chic and close to my heart. PUSH was shoved my way when I stumbled upon the excellent review by Kit Cayliss on the Best of The First Ten Issues Anthology launch – Momentum And Memory: PUSH Magazine – Poetry At The Gates http://thequietus.com/articles/16959-push-literary-zine-football-west-ham-fanzine-joe-england. I was curious as to what I had been missing and especially keen not to miss out ever again. That ten issue celebration, bound in blue, is now on a plane heading my way http://eastlondonpress.bigcartel.com/product/push-the-best-of-1-10. That’s another beautiful quirk of a zine. Limited runs sell out quick. When they are filled with writers like these, you want to be ready to pounce. Now that I am addicted to the format of Literary Zines, I need the pure stuff, the original short runs that keep paper and print alive. A quick blink through the contributors info has me excited. Names I know, towns and football teams I can empathize with.
I’m eased into what looks like a woodcut print, two footballers by Jose Arroyo, which brings me to publisher and editor Joe England. Joe sells PUSH the old fashioned way, outside games and gigs, a tradition the likes of Sniffing Glue, When Saturday Comes and many other passionate’s championed. What’s left is offered online and word of mouth. There is a heart to PUSH that is rarely represented by the mainstream publishers, you won’t see this in digital format. This is all about texture, great writing you can easily dip in and out of, mark with tea rings and thumbprints. Mine is already a mess. I’ve pulled it out on trains, buses, in queues, and at lunchtime shared with co-workers whose quick skims have turned into “can I borrow this”.
No wonder. Writer P.A. Levy comes out with an early goal with The ‘We’ Lies. This couple is drifting. Its ‘West Ham V’s Simone Weil’ storyline is as beautifully real as it is poetic. Michael Keenaghan’s Cally Blues is as tense as the last kick in a penalty shoot out. Great drama, real banter which seems to be a common thread in a lot of these pieces. English poet Tim Wells’ Thai Crack Chicken Lady is a delight, warm as chilli fingers, his style has left my belly grumbling. Wayne Holloway’s epic King Bun flies with a montage of image. For me this has a touch of the ‘Shaver Mysteries’ about it, a forteana life of it’s own truth or fiction. Set in the 1930’s Georgie Boy Pallen is angry and might be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. His story is to be continued, an old style trick of serialisation that I love. Writer Dean Lilleyman’s Seventeen smacks ya. He mouths off fast leaving one breathless and smiling, gasping at the adrenalin rush of words that is magic. Another bonus of all these writers is finding all their other work, their own literary releases. Like Joseph Ridgewell. His submission 7/7 ‘s look at mass panic in the London underground, survival instincts and a first hand witness to tragedy gave me goose bumps and crystal eyes. Just another writer whose work I will investigate.
Paper & Ink Zine’s Martin Appleby’s piece is as quick and sweet as a Buzzcocks B Side lament. Paul Reaney has your life laid out in two pages. Jim Gibson introduces us to a nasty piece of work called Skeb Again? Johno’s old friend, crazy as a cut snake, and on the streets, is a chilling read. You feel his anxiety and just know this ain’t going to end well. Punk Aesthetics now plagued by his “Creeping Nihilism” Gary Budden’s Up And Coming was another stand out. Last night at The Stockwell Arms, “standing in venues where the term shithole would be an aspiration”. Generations there for the send off, even those with “Jackets a bit too clean, badges yet to rust”.
The final pieces Gwil James Thomas’s Dick Head Poem I immediately loved and Ian Cusacks The Bogus Man. Bryan Ferry is god and the price of love is painful when pheromones are calling. Raymond Gorman’s Friends & Enemies sits centred and doesn’t budge with the strength of conviction. John Tait’s Snake Blood Shots broke my heart while Ford Dagenham did the summing up on life with his lyrical Living Jism.
PUSH 14 was well worth the fiver. My copy is already scarred from sharing an inch away from my knives, dogeared in battle, stained and shelved now. I sniff and yearn for England. Now over read and rough handled it makes a pretty addition to the words I found inside.
You can find all things PUSH via http://www.pushmagazine.co.uk/index.html
Connect w Joe England via twitter @JoeEnglandBooks https://twitter.com/JoeEnglandBooks
The Restless Main – Felix Ratcliff
Over the years one accumulates quite a hefty backlog of blogs to follow. Some blogs die, others sit and don’t do much for months, maybe years. There are bloggers, like myself, that post in spare moments, procrastinating, adding bits like clay until it’s ready to burn. There are also those writers one admires because of a certain discipline and dedication to their art. Writers that I tend to rely on to inspire me or just simply enjoy their company on the page. I see them all the time, a beautiful compulsion to work out mind bugs or just share moments that may make a connection.
Your Squinting Face
by Felix Ratcliff
The first post of yours I read was from the beginning of your blog from Feb 2010 called Water’s Edge . Such a wonderful piece to set the tone and pace. They were bulkier yarns then, these days they are more streamlined, encapsulated…why?
but also one where you can observe nature, people, culture etc. I’m happiest when I’m in or near water. Its energy, light, colour etc inspire me in new and different ways each time I engage with it.