LOW LIGHT MAGAZINE

LOW2Pinch me hard. Page after page of Poetry, Prose, Photography & Journalism. I knew Low Light Magazine would attract some furious talent but this read has gone way beyond my expectations. The cover itself, its layout, represents for me a beautiful industry of minds inside. Smokin’ hot and ready to share and encourage the creative factory that is Hi Vis Press.

Now Hi Vis evolved from a nicked paper, scissor fun, sensibility. Hand Job Zine was brilliant and brought together a plethora of underground writers fit to burst. I was sad to hear that Jim & Sophie were moving on from that, but new collaboration with co-editor Ben Williams and the pooling of ideas has spawned a brilliant monster.

To truly understand what is out there, you must investigate the darkness as much as the light

The contrast in these pages is gobsmacking and beautiful. Sophie’s Pitchford‘s design and style is a standout. The index page itself a work of art. This shows the care and love these guys have for their contributors. They know the drive of unheard voices, their work complementing each other as each page is turned. Even the paper stock is class, with a font size fit for these old birds eyes is perfect. I haven’t touched a magazine so intimately in so long.

Murmaid’s Purse by Anneghem Wall is the first poem to dwell inside. Instant transportation, salt and a seadog’s smirk. Nieves Mingueza’s photography is fascinating at every angle. It’s not until you get your bearings within the dream do you turn and see the truth, mesmerizing. Whitehawk by Jack Fleming is a photographic series exploring masculinity, incorporating inspiration by the recent works of artist Grayson Perry. With memories still fresh in my mind from Grayson’s My Pretty Little Art Career here in Sydney, I see the tapestry of connection, the same faces glazed on vases in the semi gloss of black and white.

Jamie Thrasivoulou‘s recent poetry collection was an excellent read a few months back so it is a great pleasure to find him here with a short story that returns me to his way of seeing. Stevie Slash And The Party Tricks isn’t a new band from Derby, it is a story about glass tables, glassy eyes and a night of violence via the rip-snorted oogled brain of Mr Slash who takes down some toffs and shares his charm amongst the party of shocked onlookers. No lessons here, just a slice of night via a drug fueled rampage. You can find a copy of Jamie’s The Best of A Bad Situation through Silhouette Press.

I have watched JJ Fiction’s photography evolve from the sidelines for a few years now. These shots chosen and interspersed throughout the mag compliment the aura of low light. Jesus on the wall is an evocative image, I can hear J’s gasp when he found it, CLICK! He gets another shot in, this time through graffiti smears into the night. Check out Jason’s blog and twitter for more outstanding words and images.

Cover shot honour’s went to the amazing A Routine Search’s Alex Brown. More work through the flicks reveals Happiness, a noir suburbia of angst that pierces through the page. This work is breathtaking in its everyday minimal realism.

Joy of joys, Joe’s back. A Little Bit Of Soap is more travel yarns from one of my favourite underground writers, Joseph Ridgwell. Complete with another batch of pirate acquaintances, in another paradise lost. Business is bad and the “long hot night of oriental futility” has lost its sheen. This seems like a quick bite, a deep fried cricket, not the Royal feast I’m used to when it comes to Ridgwell. His book Burrito Deluxe available through Leamington Books is on my classics shelf and hope more gems like that will materialise in 2018.

Low Light Magazine offered some nice earners with submissions. A tantalising boost that will surely stand them out and inspire contributors for future issues. Best Poetry Prose inside this here goes to Brenda Birenbaum for her extraordinarily woven reality of family, addiction and truth with Obituary. Nieves Mingueza sits side by side within an haunting friendship. Ewan Waddell takes us on a longer journey with his story about hitchhiking with his mate Ollie from Burgas to Plovdiv. Being a bit of spontaneous, not quite thought out madness, they find themselves stranded with little hope of getting to their destination without spending the night in unfamiliar territory. He soon finds out that a moment with the cosmos can remove ones thoughts from the negative and materialising an angel. The black & white holiday snaps adds even more beauty to this wonderful travel yarn.

There is a sprinkling of Henry Miller love in Prey by Raif Mansell. Stored writing influences can manifest into a fresh way of thinking. I knew I would dig his way with words. Paula Chatterjee’s Terraced House is compact and yet deceiving in size “in big houses words slip and sink into the sofa” surprised by how this piece had me lingering down the whole row. Three Poems by Hannah Whitlow shares a certain sense of youth, with a smattering of social commentary, short sweet and gets their points across. Terence Corless is back to taunt and haunt again with more from the 18th Weekend, his style easy on the eye, his mood persistent and in search of some way out of the funk of life.

There is a powerful burst of poetic reality that guards the stark textual depths of Rob True‘s story inside a psychiatric hospital. King Of The Mad Men‘s mania is relentless. The fight out of his own “irritable bone cage” is all engaging. If this is a taster of what Rob is releasing in 2018 through Burning House Press, I am all eyes.

Huge highlight for me is The Dead Queen Of Bohemia, an interview with Jenni Fagan. I’ve been living under some rock cause I’m new to Jenni’s writing and will need to rectify that soon. Once I started delving into her work I discovered Jenni has way more then just books on her mind. A beautiful artists eye, delving in photography, art and film. Though Hi Vis editor Sophie Pitchford‘s questions aren’t terribly probing, what they achieve is a respectful discussion, giving Jenni full reign to talk about her achievements, passions, goals and motivation with a kinda perfect ‘tips for young players’ feel. Splashed with Jenni’s own photography and info on where to discover more of her work, this piece evokes a gentle mystery instead of the usual author pic. Unlocking all the keys passed out through this piece to discover more from this encouraging writer, ultimately a most inspiring encounter.

Jenni talks alot in Scottish colloquial but no one has done it better for me lately than A.G Kayman with his Scots laid thick to dance on yer tongue. Once you start The Procedure you cannot leave until the whole yarn is complete. Kayman draws you right in, in his own wry kinda way, as if any minute it’s gonna go arse over tit into an abyss of furphy. Loads of blagger bites and ya cannae believe how well he sucks you in. Not all light, he does still manage to start internal conversations on ethics and debates of the mathematical kind. A real fave storyteller of mine.

I breathe again and flick to see an astonishing photograph of age, hardship and strength from photographer Chris Ward. Colours that match the most perfect dreary, natural and evocative which acts as a companion to Milk by Hannah Bradridge-Jackson . I Can Be Anything Me by Amber Agha fills me with instant warmth, her power lines follow, her fight defiant.

Photographer Jim Mortram‘s focus inside Small Town Inertia is the documentation of life in his local community and insights on when one becomes the sole caregiver, in this case to his mum. In the UK and in fact all around the world, care givers feel more like they are being “punished for that love” and “paid a slave’s wage” instead of being praised. Society is a very different place as extended family, sense of community, compassion seems to have left us. This interview reminds one to look around you. Selfless acts in their true meaning don’t want to be recognised. But what can be acheived is the spark that this piece triggers, to look around yourself, to help others and the realisation that your creative drive can still be explored no matter where your life takes you. Extraordinary document, Small Town Inertia is stark and beautifully emphatic. Sophie Pitchford’s understanding as a fellow photographer shines here with intelligent and probing questions.

Poet Gareth Culshaw Memorial Days and No Man’s land sits powerfully side by side. The beauty and comparisons of life on the felt from youth to our end of days. Glove Lit Zine‘s very own Ian Cusack whips us up into a frenzy with Hard Brexit. Tony and Linda are deep in the mire of struggle street, his thoughts mixed up in nationalistic politics hers with the embarrassment of it, their future quite frankly fucked.

More accolades, this one for Best Photography/Journalism goes to Jamie Sinclair and his documentation of friend and hoarder Brendon. It’s not a matter of just grabbing a gang to help clear and clean. There is also the psychological pain of parting with memories. Jamie hopes to raise funds to help Brendon get back on track.

I was emotionally drenched by Sarah Evans story Versions of You. Her characters life time struggle with self image, self esteem and the chance to not let the pain and behaviour be passed onto your own next generation. A few more poets, Florence Lenaers Untitled Beet Poem skats wonderfully through the supermarket of her mind while Yahoo, I’ve Been Hacked by Christopher Iacono takes computer security questions to its ultimate level.

I see Low Light Magazine continuing as the messangers of those new projects, collaborations and other literary happenings that share their ethos. That same passion to explore and promote more authentic voices within the creative community. Disappear Here written by Adam Steiner is one of many artists involved in the Disappear Here project which combines poets, video artists exploration and response to the concrete monolith which is the Coventry ringroad. Next to it is a full pager that I think belongs to the Disappear collaborative is just mesmerising. Milk Teeth cuts in and through the high rise and terraced rows of words on the page. You read and swirl above it with an angelic advantage, a bit of brilliance, author or authors unknown but somehow feels so familiar.

Hopefully a regular contributor to Low Light Magazine will be its Lit Zine Round-Up. In this issue there is an informative blast of six of the best currently spied by ‘Professor of Zineology’ and publisher at Paper & Ink Zine, Martin Appleby. I will surely be dipping into a few that may have missed these peepers in the future.

Hi Vis Press hopes to continue to be “a platform for under-represented artists. The press has been born out of the ethos of authentic voices and doing things differently“. For submissions, advertising and general enquiries you can connect with Low Light via contact@hi-vispress.com

You can purchase the latest issue here while stocks last.

LOW 1

image Alex Brown via Low Light Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#photography Burning House Press Glove Hand Job Hi Vis Press Jamie Thrasivoulou Joseph Ridgwell Low Light Magazine Martin Appleby Paper And Ink Zine Poetry Silhouette Press Zines & Journals

GLOVE 2

DKfTiilV4AEcPF6Ian Cusack’s Glove smacked onto the zine scene harder than a Gilly’s ton.  This second slap of fightin’ words has initiated another pen duel. To tackle the work presented here and inform the word insatiable’s why Glove is the kind of publication you should support.

Firstly, my favourite conch Holly Watson takes out the honour of setting the story bar high. I have been frothing at the mouth over Holly’s work in other zines and whenever I get an opportunity to share a new blog post or story of hers, there is never, ever any trepidation re the quality and humour that will appear. I seriously want a rainy weekend, a packet of penguins and her back catalogue of adventures all in one place. Someone please tell me that is happening soon. I cannot fathom why this writer is not being snapped up and shared. Her stories are straight out script like, I see the movie, I see the franchise, call Mike Leigh! In this story, Holly needs the help of Nanny Pam’s keen eye and style to procuring a fancy dress outfit to knock all the other Spice Girl wannabes for six. This diarised table of events is a funny, tender and tragic tale of growing up in Holly’s world. Superb as always.

There is no real order of placement in Glove. It’s the kind of zine thats style comes from  random fits and this works well. Dani Devotchik’s Alcohol found its place, tucked in the bottom of the page, though stands out strong with its message. Wes Cooke teases his way through Art Brute, Roy MacBeth’s aka ‘The Finsbury Park Fauve’s’ latest exhibition. Major crack ups to be had here as Wes sets the scene with its tantalising mockumentary approach. Bloody brilliant.

Little poetic breaks are our light refreshment but Between Wear and Tyne by Jason Jackson is by no means lightweight. This is a wonderful reminisce of life before being born, womb memoirs and catching ‘more distant, future notes‘, its message lingering and magically pondered.

Hands Thegither is written in Scots and lilts with a brilliant pace. The story builds from an encounter at a play, when a non applauding punter riles him up triggering a wave of words and emotion. “See, the world’s been pissin me oaff for a while noo an Ah dinnae really ken whit tae dae aboot it” The applause is loud from me, adored this story from A.G.Kayman.

There is a perfect calming inside To spend an evening easy by DS Maolalai every stanza filled with the ordinary, imagery of a simple evening, drinking beer with an old friend. Spine tingles a plenty when I read Mary by Carl Taylor, with his flash of great style and suspense, taking me to my own dark and warp to fill in the gaps and ending.

When I was last in the UK, I was held like gunpoint to watch my uncles favourite show Pointless. With open mouth I tried my best to fathom the concept. To win, one must choose the least correct answer that a group of people would choose on a given subject, like lets say Medieval Popes. Firstly, you gotta be up on your popes. Secondly it is seemingly unavailing, surreal even, hopeless, but my rellos love it, laughing between brews, crumbs spat everywhere. PJ Smith uses this televisual phenomenom as the backdrop for his captivating story on family, drugs, the need for connection and the cult of personality. Bonza stuff.

Half way in now, and surely you can see the value. Time to get word winded by the brilliant and prolific Ford Dagenham. I threw out my jogging shoes today does the collapse under the weight of his strange everyday. Gwil James Thomas is back inside my eyes with Solitude. The life of a writer, torn up with the need, but craving the other. Lucky punters get a good taste of a favourite. Here is a choice cut from Billy And The DevilBy The Time I Get Through The Shop Door by Dean Lilleyman. This barney between Billy and his boss Norris whose head is “jut-jutting like a fuckarsed chicken” has his sights set on stuffing up his day. This story kicks bottom. If all these literary licks have finally tantalised, look out for the exorcised release via Hi Vis next year.

If Terence Corless is testing the waters for content for his novel, the 17th Weekend better be part of it. In just five paragraphs he took me just to the moment of boredom and as I thought ‘what’s he up to here then?’ THWACK! Take romance, tragedy and a cliffhanger in a shot glass and light it! The chills down my shoulders still reverberating. As does Deborah Baird’s Victim and the nasties endured during break ups.

Onto some bloke called Cusack who goes full on nutjob at the barbers. His inner rant cathartic, funny and borderline real. Adam Steiners Jellyfish surfaces with beauty to then plunge into silent bubbles of truth. Walter Otton is a clever manipulator. His story Supermarket Samaritan has you questioning heroes in an instant, its plot lingers. Tim Baldwin’s Letter De Cachet is rich and evoking. Myself imprisoned by its imagery, read over and over, an architectural possession of thought.

Joseph Ridgwell’s silver tongue can’t help flickering. Too Old To Pull It Off is the stark truth re an old flame and bonus piece The Female has him climbing family trees uncovering ironic tragedies. Ridgwell’s style is blushingly honest, no skeletons in his back catalogue, though he will add extra meat to all his bleached bones, Ridgwell is what he is, upfront and delightful. All the rewards of his closed doors will hopefully be revealed in the new year.

You Should Be by Steve Campbell is chilling. When Hypnopompic meets Hypnagogic the terror is tantamount to post traumatic stress disorder, so real and excruciating, as it takes turns entering in and out of husband & wife. Really chilling, emphatic to its horror. Jamie Thrasivoulou’s The Best of A Bad Situation is still sitting on my desk, and re read. So it is a delight to bump into him here. Bin Day/Autumn/Terraced Streets is a fitting contribution for now and anytime really. His eyes and ears attuned to what’s going on around him, in the moment, a polaroid of his suburbia.

The pages have thinned now, but I know Michael Keenaghan will be fat with menace and reality. But instead I see a welcomed vulnerability but still very real. When your guard is down it can invite good and bad. Our futures prepared, Michael flashes black and white from “a hell of mistakes, regrets, disease” to “the funfair sounding across the green“. The secrets we keep exorcised for all “the dirty dark secrets of mankind”. The same reactions, same scenarios, the healing begins.

Little word stompers are all through this issue. Joseph Albenese’s What We Offer, the defiant fearless ecstasy of Scott Wozniak A Final Bit Of Romance, the evocative unease of Jared Carnie’s list of New Things in the House, Ally May’s mindfulness in Westgate Road, Jim Gibson’s mind trickery of Mottled & Katie Lewington GB, who has us questioning is it people or place that shapes identity.

What a great batch of writers, bloody brilliant.

Only a few issues left of Glove #2

Glove #3 is OUT NOW

£3 UK, £4 EU & £5 R of W

40 pages of outsider prose & poetry by 32 writers – PayPal to iancusack@blueyonder.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review Dean Lilleyman Ford Dagenham Glove Gwil James Thomas Joseph Ridgwell Reviews Zines & Journals

Joseph Ridgwell – Mexico

Ridgwell and Pig Ear Press join forces again and produce hand-stitched beauty.

Time to check in on authors who regularly get radared here at Urban F HQ. I’ve had this little burgundy book for a while now. After six weeks off work it’s amazing what you find in your notes and hidden journals around the place. A sketch of a volcano, lists of strange encounters, overheard conversations, personal dreams and a short paragraph on Joseph Ridgwell’s, Mexico.

Having been familiar with Ridgwell’s classic road novel Burrito Deluxe, also set within a Mexican backdrop, I couldn’t resist this little gem on offer from Pig Ear Press. A kind of mini Burrito… with less chili. Shaped like a British passport, its gold embossing tells of hearts belonging – at this particular moment – somewhere else, somewhere exotic, somewhere away from the fuzz. Back on the Beach Of The Dead, our favourite miscreant Ronnie is waxing astronomical with wads of philosophy between sips, snorts and swings. “It’s like everything’s dead, even the stars are stillborn“. Back on the prowl, the boys begin looking for more fun before Armageddon, in which, Ronnie & Joe experience some tender and unlawful moments.

Mexico is another taste of the writing style and stories you’ll get from a Ridgwell release. The difference between this and other snippets and short stories is the sexdefying splendor of the print job. All this artisan book binding, handmade paper, embossing and personal touches has this printer’s daughter weak at the knees. It ain’t long, but its quality counts for more. If you are a supporter of the small press revolution, then seek out similar gems from this publisher, if you are new to this rebel lit fiend caper, than this would be a great start to your collection and the many adventures of Joseph Ridgwell.

Book Review Joseph Ridgwell Reviews

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

Joseph Ridgwell – The Cross part 2

index

pic by Martin Appleby

And so it continues. This is early Ridgwell. Young and traveling down under. No money, no fixed address. Grabbing work wherever he can find it. Usually reeling with boredom or tossing it in due to the unrelenting madness of those in charge. Back in the Cross, Joe resumes his bender. Debt and a run in with a mean gang of cockatoos sends him into a pit of depression and into some pretty awkward and dangerous situations. Watching short lived lives has taken its toll on his soul. Avoiding the great fall, Joe is reacquainted with England via some dodgy member of ‘The Family’ who is on his way to Sydney and into Joe’s life. An unwelcome situation of ‘minding’ until some heat blows over. With no other choice than to look after him, 20160429_125116Joe takes us via short stories to the eerie energy and the tracks of the Megalong Valley of the Blue Mountains, the crazy world of carnies down south to Victoria and visits to all the classic dodgy clubs that the Cross and its environs has to offer. When he’s not being confronted by pissed off sugar daddys or shooting sulphur crests by the wall, luck beams down and sends him off on the next adventure. Joe is touched by the arsey fairy. Seriously, look it up if you don’t quite understand the vernacular. Maybe it’s only in his fictional life. Though it’s been a crazy stay so far. The curse of Kings Cross’s resident witch Rosalee Norton seems to have touched him at times. 20160429_125048But just when he’s reached the depths of despair, when there seems no way out, a miracle occurs. Each story here is a holiday slide show, a montage of schemes and hangovers, an amazing race of scams, booze and surviving as a stranger in OZ. Forever dreaming because ‘Aren’t those who lose dreaming lost?’

The Cross is a three issue treat from publishing zine giant Martin Appleby. Paper And Ink Zine is his main vein, but you will also find Martin delving into the nest of contributors, like here with Joseph Ridgwell, spreading the word of great writers via a one off, or editing some of the writers that have appeared in his zine over the years. Grab yours quick as it is a limited edition. Parts One and Two available here, Part Three coming soon.

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pic via Joseph Ridgwell

Also hot off the letterpress is Joe’s latest short story Jamaica. Three is the magic number, so yes, another trilogy, this one released by Pig Ear Press and is available now. You can’t beat gold ink on 160gsm Murano paper, silk thread endpapers from India, text digitally printed onto 120gsm ivory acid-free paper with hand-sewn binding can you?

Drool… gotta get me some of that!

 

Joseph Ridgwell Reviews 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

The Cross by Joseph Ridgwell

Besides the brilliant zine Paper And Ink, Martin Appleby’s latest publishing venture is a three part novel in zine format – The Cross by Joseph Ridgwell

 

It started in the 70s. Development moguls began squeezing the sleaze out of one our more notorious suburbs. Sydney’s Kings Cross was our beacon. We were told the stories at a young age and believed every one of them. The Cross was often referred to as a state of mind. It held a place in our imaginations and everyone’s was different. It was a magical fun fair, bright light dream maker, twenty four hours of sin. When I first experienced it, it was 3am schnitzels and live music after everything else had closed. It’s where we all came for a night cap, star gazed at the bar and a little R&R. It was where we usually watched the sunrise or passed out whichever came first. Everyone was welcome. It had a great history of bohemia and mystery, dark alley deals and violence. Corrupt cops and a dodgy underbelly. Sure it was dangerous at times, but us regulars were all pretty street smart. This is where we learned a load of lessons.

dddAs the noughties moved in, so did the ‘nanny state’ brigade. It’s march down Darlinghurst Road was swift, we were all grounded for being very naughty boys and girls. 10pm licensing and a heavy hand was in place. So now the snakes of real estate and government control the way we socialise and interact with each other. Our most famous strip has changed forever. My drinking habits have also. Kings Cross got too involved with the wrong crowd, it was an all or nothing cleanse. Soon, all its history will just be a framed photo on a twenty dollar hamburger joints wall, and I will scream ‘bastards!’ and I will run by blue plaques crying cause all that is left is a homage to it’s former glory! El-Alamein fountain watching the new brigade stroll by surprised that that no one doesn’t piss on his dress anymore.

So where did all the misfits go? The great characters that make the world different. We are losing comfortable, unassuming and cheap places to congregate. Places to listen to bands, to dance, to rally. Our churches of the like minds all destroyed by these new gods of mammon. We lose our community and even lives in the name of development. Many mysteries. It’s all about money, safety, litigation and with that our spirits sanitised. The cafes are oh so nice, yet oh so expensive. Bayswater beauties needing their nails done and the tops of their macchiatos decorated.

We have become so intolerant of the anti social that even those that dress a little crazy would be risking a chat with the cops. The fear of coming face to face with a guy in a harlequin suit talking to angels just too damn uncomfortable these days. It upsets the locals. Kings Cross had a thriving music and art scene once. Even when I lived there in the 90’s it still had a few pockets untouched by greased palms. The over-spill from The Yellow House still in our memories. The divine characters of The Sydney Push, our favourite ‘futilitarians’ would not recognise an inch of what Kings Cross has become…*she sighs*

A tourist’s perspective on a city is very enlightening. Not trapped down by local knowledge, just recording exactly how they see it. The bruises and sins skim cream like, the obvious end of an era noted by a stranger. That traveller is London born writer Joseph Ridgwell. Joe became an honorary Australian back in the 90’s. He lived in Kings Cross the same time I did. When I found out I was surprised we hadn’t shared a pash and kebab or at least a bar stool at the Bourbon & Beefsteak. I got in touch with Joe a few months back to talk about his writing. An interview I’ve not yet written. But since then I’ve got to read plenty of his work. Even done a few reviews. I became a fan of his writing real quick. Joe slipped me a copy of a story I might be interested in. It was called The Last Days Of the Cross. Set in Sydney, he thought I might dig his reminiscences of my home town. The suburb that was on the cusp of change. The Kings Cross we all loved for it’s filth, characters and notoriety was dissolving. He could still feel the tremors of an old Kings Cross. He has a gift for that. The beauty found in the backstreets. He also saw the sadness. We liked it dirty. I think he did to. Rents were hiking, gentrification and crime evolution were just some contributing factors that made me feel it was losing its spirit and individuality. That book unfortunately now out of print sunk right in. Joe got it so right. The feels for an old cross and a great story that I hope gets a re release one day.

The Last Days Of the Cross got me yearning. I hadn’t been back to my old stomping ground for a few years. So one Sunday I went on safari in search of the old cross. First thing I noticed was no prostitutes, no junkies, no one asleep on the footpath, no vomit, no goldfish bowl and no coke sign. Quite disconcerting I must say. I began walking down the backstreets and clicked away matching the memories that Joe had sparked in me. I sent them his way on a whim that maybe it would spark him. A few must of stuck cause he asked me if he could use them in the release of The Cross, a novel in three parts released in zine format published by Martin Appleby of Paper And Ink Zine. A beautiful coincidence.

Part one has all the regular pace and humour that I expect in a Ridgwell adventure. Once on Australian soil, he soon gets sucked into the vortex of eccentrics, drug addicts, strippers, witches, locals and tourists. His charm getting a roof, a job and a root in no time. Each chapter blends into the other and yet on their own stand out with it’s own unique atmosphere and yarn to tell. This issue is only a limited release and nearly sold out and Part 2 is available soon. You will enjoy them just as much as single entities but aim for the three part set if you can. Also in the stages of release is Paper And Ink zine’s Hangover Issue. Inside you’ll find a few masters of the morning after including Joseph Ridgwell, Dean Lillyman, Ford Dagenham & u.v.ray. The Cross and Paper & Ink #7 is available here.

 

 

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