PUSH’s second anthology is now officially launched and ready to rumble. Many back issues of this brilliant lit zine are now out of stock, but these anthology’s are a great place to find some of the writers, images, poems and interviews that editor Joe England has put together over the years.
You can pick up a copy here
Ahh Summer in England, memories of living on The Fylde. Seagulls so big they could carry a small child over the crear soaked fences and into the sky if they were hungry enough. Epic pub crawls from Lytham St Annes to Fleetwood. Local bus rides to Lidls for 9p beans and jars of Glabveh or whatever was on special and looked liked it contained something edible. I was broke but having fun. Trapped living, working and renting in England. I lasted all through winter hanging out for my Illuminations bonus. That was the year someone stole one of the horses from the giant Merry-Go-Round near Bispham. Something snapped my romantic notions of this old seaside resort that day. The place started to look a little tired, it felt like it was giving up. Even the fish and chips started to taste…different. I did love living there though. Spent loads of time in bars with carny folk and real characters. Usually runaways from all over. I met a girl called Juanita, wasn’t her real name, think is was Susan, all gums, very popular lass. So, why I am getting all nostalgic and rabbiting on about donkeys? Well may you ask, but it’s cause this weekend PUSH editor extraordinaire Joe England has donned his ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hat and is strolling down the promenade as I type this. Joe’s been checking out some choice punk survivors and the new breed at the Rebellion Festival, Winter Gardens in Blackpool this weekend. This Rebellion festival has an epic line up this year. The Misfits, Sham 69, Buzzcocks, Hugh Cornwell, The Sweet for bloomin’ sakes. You wouldn’t have had to ask me twice to go to this local event. Now back home in Sydney, I have my vinyl addiction to keep me company, getting my Brit Lit kicks through great zines like Joe’s PUSH. I hope to read all about his adventures on the Literary Stage where he was talking all things, well… lit, including his 2nd ‘Best Of ‘anthology PUSH 2 via East London Press. I finished reading my PUSH ‘Summer Special’ ages ago. But I was waiting for this particular weekend to share it. The stories inside with the big bright red flashing Waltzer on the front cover will whip you harder than the wind from the Irish Sea. It has a great cover, makes ones eyes wide with memories. Mad times at the Pleasure Beach, honorary ‘Sandgrownun’ me, though think this one is from another time, another pier.
Regular PUSH contributor Michael Keenaghan’s piece is one big bender. The Death Of A Party centres around reminiscence, London brit pop, real stories, slight twists. All the biggies are there Blur, Oasis – remember that war. It’s about being in bands, and not quite making it. It’s about struggle and the roller coaster of addiction. Then there is Robert Chalmers Hot Dogs With Everything written with a beautiful brogue that cannae be described, it will leave you gobsmacked. I really enjoyed the interviews in this Summer Special that Joe has interspersed throughout the lit. Three interviews help you get your breath back from the insanity of the stories. Great meaty pieces, his relaxed style gets some decent star copy. Thurston Moore’s one, for me, the highlight of this issue. And right up there was the interview with Bluebagger, author of Ultraviolet, A Glastonbury Tale who shared the stage with Joe at the Rebellion festival. His book is more about “the unseen culture that only those who went to festivals in those days would know about”. There is also Ian Cusack’s great chat with long time acquaintance Johny Brown from The Band Of Holy Joy about his 38 years “involved at the margins of the music industry”. Cool to know and look forward to their album release next month. As per usual, PUSH, packed a nice little issue to wind out the lighter days with. Ending with the superb J Currie’s Locked Up and Mark SaFranko’s The Trouble With Cars, I know I am really going to be craving this excellent calibre of writing while Joe and PUSH zine are on a short (I hope) hiatus. Supposedly tackling other stories and his other love, West Ham football club. In the meantime, a few quid and a plane ride away, I have PUSH 2 anthology to purchase and read to keep the lit fiend in me satiated until its return. I know it will, I asked Gypsy Lee to take a look in her crystal ball.
Literary Zine number 16
Opal card, check.
Money, just enough.
Note book, yes.
Pen, you never know.
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. No 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!
literary ZINE no.14
editor Joe England
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 its 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.
(this issue is sold out but will be included in future anthology) 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
I always enjoy your reviews. I hope all is well with you. 🙂
Thanks Peter, yes, all well in my woods.