Literary Zine number 16

Keys, check.
Opal card, check.
Money, just enough.
Phone, charged.
Note book, yes.
Pen, you never know.
Lipstick, red.
Zine – Go!

PUSH number 16. West Ham’s latest pin up girl, Debbie, on the cover *drool* and in full colour, really brings out those sky blues. I see the fist and know Tim Wells is in the house. The Column Inches. Could be about a woman, could be about West Ham, either way love is confusing and his piece is solid and self knowing. Zines bring out the real in a sugar coated saturated mainstream. Nothing could be truer than when this harsh play by p.a.levy turned my gut one page in. A hard hit. “I’m electric, the ghost is cold” Someone so hurt, that their idea of love is a “far flung magical kingdom” shocked me in Deeds Not Words In Five Acts. Mesmerised by the pain, repulsed by the realities. For a few moments, I had to look at buildings, to stop the images I had just witnessed. Then I read it again. Compelling. I moved locations, and settled into the sun to see where else Editor, Joe England, would take us. CHVrlkIUYAAtNEO.jpg largeNo amount of light was going to save me. I was now resigned to the fact that I was going to be entering into these writers dark matter, this wasn’t going to be easy. Anette Roller’s maternal word beauty lifts her character’s predicament of lies and promises, pain and rage in Handsome Devil, when madness enters the room. I’m seeing a theme, or maybe not. All I feel is trepidation, like a curry, hot, the flavour too good to surrender from the heat of it, I continued. Simon Dent’s Gunships sad truth and Michael Pederson’s crazy pub convo in …Meadowbank, poignantly leads into Geraldine Quigleys, The Mark Of The Hydra. Religion, politics and grudges, how punk saved the life of a boy from Derry. This issue has a cheeky centre in Jenni Doherty. Strange String Fellows, a symphony of saucy poetics, gongs, strong. Onto Ian Cusack and one hell of a lucky bugger in Them That Are Carried. It is an excellent story of one man’s walk through life. Peter Burnett’s There Are No Apple Bastards In Larkhall laments sectarian songs, still fighting old battles that chant forever. Michael Keenaghan‘s Easy Money like a modern kitchen sink, dramatising the young, desperate and gullible. It left a sadness in my smile. I’m beginning to discover what a terror Dean Lillyman must have been or still is. Shenanigans written with his unique perspective is wonderful, misspent youth revisited. This issue is filled with ‘right dodgies’, and no better than characters Darren and Wayne in The Chain. This has Joseph Ridgewell‘s fingerprints all over it. A test of ‘just how fucked up can I make this character?’ which leads to ‘just how fucked up can he make my mind?’ as I hop on city rail home. Now, every face I see has a sordid secret and a soundtrack to go with it. Ford Dagenham’s Laugh Our Death Away, should be sung, so emphatic, so true. Then there is Amelia by Martin Hayes. Unobtainable and tragic, suddenly I see a theme again. Is this love? Once the cover closed on PUSH sixteen, its heartsick voice squeezed back inside its sleeve. Fifty odd pages stayed in my mind for a long time, a few more authors discovered, more words I must find.

A short note on images.

The cover photography of Hukins/Lilleyman. Individually they have their own fresh eyes, their passion for it shows. Jose Arroyo’s intricate woodcuts displayed in this issue in panels, a collage of deep emotion. The nicks in the wood, his heart shown. Always worth a walk and wander is the photography and work of Paul Talling and his love of derelict London.

Remember short press runs means get in quick!

buy PUSH issue sixteen here

Zines & Journals

Night Of The Six Gun Gorilla

Just a short ride after his debut novel Voodoo Bosch, Weird West author Frank Fronash revisits the legend of the

Six Gun Gorilla

The stories of the weird west are passed like folklore. They are folklore, just more recent. Night Of The Six Gun Gorilla could be just that. Well, it is exactly that. Author Frank Fronash tells a tale that might be some campfire urge of the cowboy age. As the flames dance, we are told about the gorilla that was once this, that once did that.
Readers forget, stories don’t have to confound to be interesting. Complexity is a shaded scale. While a gorilla taking his revenge might seem to demand some greater logistics, this author handles them deftly. O’Shea, (the gorilla in question) is resolved in a mere sentence in the first chapter.
From then on, the reader is left with a fast draw and a loyal heart and when your hero is a bloodthirsty nightmare like O’Shea, you don’t need anything else. There he is BOOM, spare me the bullshit.
9_vXQNVI.jpg smallAnd that’s what I love about the weird west. The good weird west. The weird west that understands its roots. No time for getting pedantic, no hair-tearing, no struggle for a hero’s soul.
O’Shea doesn’t even know if he has a soul. O’Shea doesn’t care one way or the other. He understands “The gorilla had plenty of words, little as he knew what most of them meant” Villain or hero, O’Shea doesn’t spend his every waking minute wandering around wondering. He has a job to do and is gonna get it done.
There are no deliberate pulling of heartstrings, but I felt waves of emotion as the bloody turns of phrase, turned the page. Greed & gundowns, horses & hoorahs, savagery & yes, sweetness. This book takes you to those extremes, shouting out in front for the next scene, before diving behind a rock as it plays out, bullets smacking the ground around you.

This is not my usual book, even for weird west, but it’s now a favorite. I will definitely be keeping my spurs on for riding headlong into O’Shea’s next adventure.


You can find Frank’s work here.

Book Review