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


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.


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.



Joseph Ridgwell Reviews Zines & Journals

Joseph Ridgwell – Burrito Deluxe

There is no better way to escape, than with characters who want to escape. By the time I’d snorted through the pages here I’d almost booked the tickets. Mexico!  Magarita’s salty rim beckoned, daquiris extra icy and enough Dos Equis to kill a donkey.

Easing us through the drug hazed bacchanalia of Joseph Ridgwell’s Burrito Deluxe is a simple back story which anchors all his motives. There’s Stupid the talking cat, crazy friends, love to end and his even crazier partner in all things dodgy, Ronnie. Life for him and Joe has reached that point of no return. Fed up with the fucked up and monotonous trap of life in the city, they need out and will do all they can to achieve it. Though what answers lie in the “thin embroidery of foam cascading across our feet as we walked across dark sand”. Will they find the ‘Lost Elation’, that feeling better than any drug on the planet.


cover art by Jose Arroyo

The lines blur between reality and fiction. As a writer, this is what Joseph Ridgwell does so well. Exaggeration, so far fetched it becomes real. Like a twisted autobiography, Joe narrates the best bits of his adventures and tells them with truth, lies and style. The humour in the face of drama is pure delight. No bodily function is left ignored. It’s also filled with enough shags and rhyming slang to keep you satiated, to keep it real, to keep it London. Exotic to me but old grass is greener and wins every time and an iguana awaits.

I made so many expressions reading this book that I could’ve won a gurning competition. Strangers wanted to know what I was reading  “Burrito Deluxe of course” Joseph Ridgwell is the new beat in this beaten generation. Ronnie and Joe my favourite freaks. I read some of the funniest breakups, stuff ups and heartfelt conversations. The craziest with the man with the Bowiesque eyes. His banter, questionable morals and energy is infectious. Ronnie is a gangster super hero, 007 with a joint. Joe, his grasshopper. Whenever Ronnie turns up, it’s white knuckle time, adrenalin inking through every chapter. Their adventures beat faster than a paranoid heart.

This is what travel books should be like. These are the adventures we all should seek, maybe not exactly like Joe’s cause at times the word ‘nasty’ would flash in bright lights as I swung smirking in my imaginary hammock. As an adventure dream guide it is perfect. Super smart dialogue, effortless and mucho romantic. Lord Byron’s gentle winds, climes and skies loom close by the sun kissed bare and salty skin of the people Joe meets. This story made me smile large through the sheer cockiness of it’s protagonist, and his infectious lust for life. Joseph is an enigma, his novel’s soundtrack a beautiful timeless cheesy groove with perfect balance. How well do you really know your friends? How far do you follow? Is the grass really greener? Their Carlos Casteneda brush with psychedelics reveals almost a supernatural allure, an awakening. Their altered states on the beach of the dead is brilliant, with it’s rolling horses, the force of nature, the shifting sands, questioning the minuscule part in existence we play.

Technology fatigue is a real syndrome, we should do more sitting back in a breeze and read books like these then stare into screens distracted by facebook notifications. Get your copy here and read more about Joseph Ridgwell via his blog

Book Review Joseph Ridgwell

Joseph Ridgwell

Lit Fiends of the World Unite

Let’s just get to the heart of this. We all scour the classics. Yes, we that get off to the beat of Kerouac, Burroughs, stories that endeared us to Bukowski and Hunter S et all. Edgy literary giants that we suckle, that shape us. Though when exploring the gritty world of ‘cosmic realism’, shouldn’t our antennae be tuning into what is happening now? The writers that are living and just breathing because we are too immersed in being entertained by the dead. Writer Joseph Ridgwell is one of the undead. He lives inside pages, lucky to be alive and well. An original. Born and bred ‘Bow-bell’, working class, self taught, perfect.

ridgSo what has endeared me to this Londoner? Apart from my own stints living and working in the UK and a diet of British television, I grew up on the edges of working class Australia.  But it’s not so much nostalgia that I’m looking for or that you will find it in his books. It’s more the sensibilities beyond the struggle. A certain freedom of expression that only true great writers have the guts to spill. Writing that you will not find in the mainstream or in regular Indie. For quite often they just take on the same market as mainstream, forgetting to take risks, keeping a stagnant lid on something that should be growing and changing the way we think about the world. Not a warm and fuzzy fantasy fix or boring bourgeois farce. I love work that makes me uncomfortable, that is challenging, courageous. I am a lover of the banned, the rebels, but not shock just for the sake of it. A story where there is no hidden agenda or contrivance. When Joseph gets on a roll that’s all it is. It is natural, it is life. He says fuck it, the shields are down and it is one of the best characteristics a writer, a great storyteller can have. That gift of turning one’s imagination into something that feels completely real.

I’ve caught Ridgwell in the throws of release. His latest collection of short stories is almost dry. That’s real ink folks. Take a quick moment to delve into a lost art where one can be absorbed in a page instead of immersed in electronic aspic. How it is produced is only an aside. It’s what’s inside that counts hey? That helps a lot, but I also have a paper fetish and Bottle Of Smoke Press mail.google.comhave gone apeshit-ballastic-beautiful on this one. Especially with the collaborative ‘deluxe edition’ which packs Ridgwell Stories perfectly with six deep and edgy woodcuts from writer and artist Jose Arroyo. Ridgwell and Arroyo share similar spirits, collaborating on this project from different continents. When you stare at Arroyos images, truth reveals words without characters. “did I just see that?” eye rubbing etches that are absolutely brilliant. But if the 2 tons is a little out of your range (though entirely worth it) you can get your hands on signed hardcovers or straight out paperbacks. But, remember kids, short press runs. So like me, get in early with pre-orders here.

Shyly I approached Mr Ridgwell for how would a International Cult Figure, like himself find the time to chat. Well in fact I scored an exclusive. Got a little taster of what’s to come. I had read enough from guest spots in Lit Zines like PUSH, Paper & Ink  & Hand Job to know that I needed more. Also, catching plenty of buzz and work via more of his posse of exclusive underground publishers like leamingtonbooks, who have his ‘road novel to end all road novels’ Burrito Deluxe ready to munch.

ridSo I delve even more and next thing I know, four samples from Ridgwell himself are slammed into my inbox. Twisted, no holds barred adventures that would make Le Pétomane blush. Asking the question “how can you write about life if you haven’t lived” Simple and true enough, though Ridgwell likes to take things a little further. What I got to taste were psyche slayers. Very real dark fixes filled with primal fears, fast paced scenarios, and plenty of good ole bollocks. One thing is for certain. When you read a Ridgwell story, it will twist your melon, and that is a pleasure we don’t get enough of. You can discover more about Joseph Ridgwell here. You can check out more of Arroyas work via twitter.





Book Review Joseph Ridgwell Zines & Journals