Hand Job 10

There is a lot of spirit in this issue. I’m sensitive to these things and this seriously vibrates with the stuff. Poetry, photography, short stories and performance, all here. I slowly peel back the clear plastic sleeve to see who’s inside. Hand Job Issue 10 gave a call out for all things a little…um, strange. An ‘Occultist Realism’ theme. You know, something Alistair Crowley could peruse while dunking biscuits in his tea. Jim Gibson and Sophie Pitchford searched far and wide on this one. No stone circle was left unturned. The tin foil hat brigade reject slips were sent out quick, leaving them with a stellar bunch of writers to accommodate the page. CmmNHI7UEAAmKfbSo, we start with Granton Leviathon. I grab my blanket and get stuck in. Like Renwick’s grandchildren, I stare up into the old man’s face and let the tale unfold. ‘Tell us of the Granton People eater’ we whisper. We are all ready for a candle-under-the-chin story, but my ears are settled on what is going on next door. Magdelena is frustrated. Promises of a new home, a new life back in her homeland once they save enough money is not coming quick enough. So she kicks her no good husband out into the cold night. A lighthouse and a six pack is his destination. Will he meet the monster himself? Of course! No one writes domestic squalor with comic accents quite like Joseph Ridgwell can. Funny, edge of your seat and nasty, his Granton Leviathon is a great start. Another component of this surprise package of a zine is the bonus poetry performance CD of artists who have been in this and past issues. Joseph turns on the mic and bursts out first with his do-it-yourself, no airs, no graces, just himself and some chintzy back up tapes. It has all the clunks and amateur fades of a bitter bingo caller. I dig it muchly. 8mm is all tequila and mucho macho, and reminds me of his brilliant novel Burrito Deluxe. He spins a few on this bonus CD, Arose From The Dead, The Kiss and Satan’s Garlanded Pimp, all with cheek, irreverence and fun. I’m excited because I have Raif Mansell in my ears at the same time reading him. I remember other poems of his when I was catching up on the evolution of Hand Job. Bang On is a lesson in synonyms and love ‘the moon was hanging with the sun in the sky‘ a touching poem of a father and daughter, and the influence from all that surrounds them. His soft delivery exactly what the title suggests. A Waiter In Kingston Upon Thames just as thoughtful and hopeful. The Holy Hydron Collider is next forming a weird synchro as I can hear the popcorn festival of Angels & Demons on the background telly as I type. So its links to the Hadron Collider and the god particle is pretty fresh in my mind. Ben Williams confirms that these scientists’ gods are in for a bollocking, theories fly by like short stories, their own gods dangling from their keyrings. Time for some photography and Hand Job‘s own Sophie Pitchford nymphs it in the buds and brambles of nibbled mushrooms and shows us some nature shots. We ask the forest for answers, we see them in the trees and soil. Onto The Shine Of John Donne where ‘everything glistened like the inside of a drunk God’s puppet-theatre’ I’m an avid follower of Miggy Angel‘s work. His poetry, photography and collaborative ventures are exceptional. This metaphysical story on the stairs glows like a dustbin fire and tears into you. No truer tale could teach as much. Besides hosting a premiere performance poetry night called Speech Therapy every month, Miggy is also editor of the wonderful ‘not for profit/for prophecyBurning House Press community. It is a must to explore this supportive and encouraging project. Azeem Ali’s symbols and simulcrae have me staring for a while and ready to tackle Dead Witches and that old chestnut fear of being different. Cody Yeo brings the rituals of both parties through a tight dialogue and brings to the fore the truer evil. Ian Cusack’s The Wicker Man is as mad as putting a toad in your mouth. I love its cantakerous rant. Terence Corless never stops impressing me. So pleased to read his short story Gladys. An intriguing, mystical, sad and joyous mind bomb of a story. Bonus thrill is his aural contribution Taking It In produced by Penny Ashdown with Music by Matthies -LS. Thoughts swallowed when the sensurround kicks in. There is a cool abstraction by illustrator and collager Blair Frame, his contribution If Death Can Fly, So Can I swirls with everyone’s own meaning. Dean Lilleyman reads like a hallucination with Moon Burns The Sun. A ritualistic trance into another realm, shifting shapes raw and instinctual, in and out of his own night sweats. The poem Changeling by Michael Murray skips inside its folkloric beat ‘with crumbs for dreams and a blob of butter where my heart was’, loneliness is a strange creature. Thrilled to see a piece from Dean Cavanagh. This poem I’ve read dozens of times. Like a casino floor of Dante’s that’s been closed for renovations. The dice man’s reflection twists in a modern fury of randomness and manipulation leaving me with a beautiful fear, a calm inside an uncontrollable future. Yvette Robinson and Jennifer Skip’s photography looks like a switched on absurdist revival. Closer investigation reveals a deeper meaning on gender, body image and the media. Their photography from promotion during The Festival Of The Body held in Leeds in March stops me in my tracks. More words and Michael Murray is resurrected inside the vivid world we enter in dreams and vice versa. Onto the world of a cashless society. Paul Case’s story of Mr Fitzjohn’s frustrating transformation in The New Bank shows the futile circle we get ourselves into. The pages now thinning I see Jason Jackson’s name. His childhood once again reminisced. A haunting of Worms so perfectly recalled, where dream becomes real becomes dream, just perfect. The words keep flowing as I pop my headphones back on and get all snug inside Holly Watson’s (The Conventry Conch) The Carboot story. This has me in stitches. Later, she has Nanny Pams Jeans on. Holly sounds exactly how I read her in my mind. The sweet, straight delivery of her own prose has perfect comic timing. She just has to share more of these aurally. Holly is getting quite a fan base with everyone I share her work with. Listening to her read is just a joy. Hollow Hyms – Captain Of the Rant Vs Hair Explosion blasts nice bass beats between a spleen let loose, waxing on the homogenisation of our world, his passion wilted with frustration. The orchestration around the strong lament is enough to take this to the level of an extraordinary recording. CmmNDXPUIAAtSWpIan Cusack pops in between lunch and records this exclusive Universe Of Life. Having read Ian over the years, it is a delight to hear the strength and nuances on the lines he has cooked up. He is a great story teller, his no thrills intros like calling the next patient inside his surgery. Poisoned is grim, but what a story, I adore this CD so much, hands free, all ears. Dean Lilleyman’s I Get Into Town Early, is a piece from his novel Billy & The Devil. I have heard him recite many pieces before, usually uncomfortable squirmers, absolutely fantastic. His latest The Gospel According To Johnny Bender has been launched and ready to check out. Meetings And Tales by Yessica Klein and read by Anya Oderyakova flies over your mind. Words rest where they are needed. Line by line, the delivery is mesmeric. Lay on the grass, let the light in. This is a beautiful collaboration. When I first heard the collaboration of We Bleed Ink I was gobsmacked.  The poetry of Miggy Angel (Words/Voice)  combined with the brilliant sound sculptures of John Freer (Instruments/Production) are mesmerising. Freer’s audio poise is sublime and if they don’t release all the pieces they have in their back catalogue soon this emptiness inside me will remain forever. Their audio piece, The Saint, strolls the pavement until it has the guts to spit the truth. Finally something slips onto the ground. A folded A4, Jim Gibson residing on each side. These two pieces highlight his own skill with prose. You become the observer inside the melancholic haze of childhood, black and white moments. A great way to end this fantastic package of lit and performance that Hand Job has produced. Limited edition so get your hands on one quick.  Also out RPM – A Micro Zine and Children Of Snakehill, all available here.

 

 

 

Dean Cavanagh Dean Lilleyman Hand Job Joseph Ridgwell Miggy Angel Poetry Reviews Uncategorized Zines & Journals

Paper And Ink – Hangover Edition

Checkin’ in on Lit Fiends via

Paper And Ink Zine #7

I’ve been driving out in the desert for ten days now and I have to tell you the only way to get that haze out of your throat is a beer. I’m sure there are better things but I’m way out in woop woop so cold bubbles are a must. Chakra tingles at its best. That certain chill that cascades down your throat, seeps over your shoulders after these long drives out here is bliss. But mind altering substances ain’t for everyone. So I’m taking a rest from the gravel and wilderness with still a long way to go, softie in hand.

I’ll begin this post from a roadhouse in the outback of the Northern Territory. Out here, the extreme heat zaps all but your drinking and fly swatting arm. A place where you begin to talk like a Thunderbird puppet. The smaller lip movements the better help stop you from swallowing the buggers. Though it is hard to get wasted out here without some pre-planning. Distance and alcohol restrictions that help the indigenous communities battle the booze hamper personal relaxation. But that is a great thing that is happening out here. Booze taking a back seat, art is paramount. So on this trip there has been no regrets.

CfhH4bMUAAIdE1QIn these small communities, you go with the flow. In some towns, four is your lot and so you have to party elsewhere. But the publican’s pissed off already that there are too many tourists drinking his beer…*points to self, tiptoes quietly from the bar* These guys are thousands of k’s away from the bigger cities. In the old days I bet these roadhouses saw some ripe action, real toe curling beauties. But I think the days of hosing down the red streets of victims of over indulgence are waning.

So back to the big smoke and on a related topic the inevitable hangover. Paper And Ink Zine head honcho Martin Appleby has been compiling for our pleasure, page after page of bodily functions, misadventures and boozy poetry all brought out by the bottle and whatever else these writers got their hands on. Regulars pummel their wit and grit like Joseph Ridgwell and his bambi sweet love story *rolls eyes*, Two Day Old Pony. There is something so refreshing about the character that Joe plays in his literature. Always testing his boundaries with his own brand of realism. Forever searching the ‘Lost Elation’ Joe is one of my favourite storytellers. Zine novella Parts One & Two of his time spent in OZ, The Cross, are available here. His latest novel Jamaica is out soon through Pig Ear Press.

Don’t be fooled by the serenity of the river scene surrounding Ian Cusack‘s priceless approach to the beautiful outdoors. He tells it like he sees it and doesn’t care how uncomfortable you might get. The wondrous eyes of Akua Mercy. Her poetry release Magic Spells From The Cosmic Dragon was a strong debut and is available here. I enjoyed the deep observance of Jared A Carnie‘s Between Here And Bed, who’s book Waves will be published by Urbane Publications.  No stranger to PIZ is the wonderful wordsmith Jennifer Chardon who is living “in the blur between not remembering and remembering” Stumbling familiar crossroads of happiness or regret, depending on how hard you’ve partied I guess. They all lie under the banner of Unmemorable Memories/Recovery/It Doesn’t Matter Anyway Because You Will Forget This. One positive there at least. Jessie Lynn McMains talks of the years “never hungover because we were always drunk” in Goodbye To Pilsen. Her piece has a real bounce, and website made of “Bone, Ink And Dirty Love” is worth checking out. I adore what she conjured in my mind. Andrew Climance from Squid Ink Publishing doesn’t leave out any nasty bits. Fucked By The Fear is like looking out a window and I feel the need for something stronger to wash the real away.

Dean Lilleyman is no stranger to the bar. His novel Billy And The Devil is filled with alcohol fuelled regret. His lil time warp You Are Six reminds me to gear up for The Gospel According To Johnny Bender coming out soon. I loved Ford Dagenham‘s ode to Richard Harris, another treasured collection of mine, Ford’s poetry book Canvay Island Of The Mind is available here. Loads of new voices for me like Wesley Cooke who’s all bovver and breathless with his great opening piece Yetowski Goosecreature. Hosho McCreesh shows us the difference between being Hungover At Work and Hungover In Cannes. Seems to me they are one and the same, fun and melancholic. Renew by Rikki Weir is a dizzying morning after romp of pheromones. Vicki Jarrett’s story Schrodingers Hangover was such a refreshing tale, part revenge, part just can’t take it anymore grin inducing, loved every line. Her short story collection The Way Out will be one to snap up. The Lock Out by Nick Ryle Wright hits hard, the pain and cycle of alcoholism “Please don’t let my piss be pink“. This sat heavily even with the prospect that there is always a chance to change. There are some sweet quickies Samantha Clarke, Yessica Klein and Emily Harrison who’s a double page of similar moods enhanced by each other, a nest of superb web writers have now been discovered. Dave Matthes serves up a mean double with Reaction Time and Strange Rainfall On The Rooftops Of People Watchers and is now on my radar. We also know what Martin Appleby was doing on February 12th 2015 and it ain’t pretty. Hangover Sunrise by John Grochalski age weary record breaker and Detox by Anggo Genorga ponders “a new morning, a new man, a new monster” no better no worse.

Issue 7 is a balanced bunch of stories, good times, bad times, booze as devil and saviour. Highlight for me was a piece by writer U.V.Ray. A literary hangover that I couldn’t get out of my head. Paradise Place isn’t so much about traditional liquid indulgence, his is a cocktail of so many things and years of experience to tell it. Here we get to throwback a little shot from his new novel Black Cradle soon to be out through Murder Slim Press. Characters Brigette and Billy give us an eyeful of Birmingham life, white line rides, brushes with fame and death. The writing clings like a film of sweat, a numb nihilism that is not for everyone but if you can handle the real thing, keep an eye out for this intense writer. Grab a copy of Paper & Ink here.

Akua Ananeh-Frempong Dean Lilleyman Ford Dagenham Joseph Ridgwell Paper And Ink Zine uvray Zines & Journals

Billy And The Devil – Dean Lilleyman

There are lots of chapters in Billy’s life. They come alive in fragments. Stories by siblings, friends, lovers and abusers. They are his memories and they are others memories. Everyone getting a turn to pop a piece of the jigsaw that may make us all understand why Billy is Billy.  A trouble magnet with a penchant for mucking about. He narrates without knowing, but knows enough to tell all. His voice changing with the years. Like a twisted Adrian Mole. There are blackouts and there are times where he wished he was. We watch him grow up, innocent, and very much loved except Billy doesn’t know it. Typical lad, he can be thick as two planks at times. But memory is a funny thing and one man’s food is another man’s poison. For Billy, alcohol is the hemlock, the key to kill his soul.

CUuNIIkUcAAHmz8Billy grew up in a time of unplanned pregnancies, stigma and a sanctimonious, unforgiving religion. Admission is the first step to absolution, but everyone is too afraid to admit their sins, their crimes, for fear of being made an outcast. A madness of guilt, decades of remorse. Billy is surrounded by strong women. They and a cruel society shape him. In England, the pub is Billy’s church. Blame and a chain of silence, of not knowing what to say, to destroy demons before they take over is what Billy lacks. His psalms are made flesh. The drink oils his demons, it latches onto that part of himself that doesn’t give a fuck, that cannot see consequence. Unbroken cycles, a run of bad luck or simply surviving. He was showing tell tale signs of  chronic alcoholism at school. Hiding the evidence, lying, loss of control, a trail of hurt. Busy with his cocktails at a young age, he was given a choice, and Billy chose the one that was easy. The one that gave him instant relief. From what? That is what Billy needs to find out, and sometimes one just cant find the answer. Deep down everyone could see the best Billy, the questioning billy, the inquisitive, he wanted answers, but in doing so that opens a whole new nest of unbelievable behaviour. Nurture, nature, or both. A life of sorry is a traumatic existence.

Billy has a taste for music, as the pages pass, my compassion grows in paper leaves. The writing and story just gets more intense. I cried and winced, smiled in the undertow. Billy has a wonderful humour to squirm in. An extreme cathartic pleasure. He is the ultimate underdog, I so want Billy to win. The reader is spared no secrets, it is all laid out for us to make our own judgement. His life forever a dichotomy of extremes and as bitter as his pint. Chapters move back and forth, words tick the clock of memories that weave in and out. Billy’s fate is in his hands. Regrets and luck is in the eye of the beholder.

 

Billy And The Devil is my pick of the year.

visit Dean Lilleyman’s brilliant website for links to purchase

published by Urbane Publications

 

 

 

Book Review Dean Lilleyman