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

Love And Loss And Other Important Stuff

Johnathon

The third instalment of a recent bounty from the Silhouette Press catalogue and this time it is author Jonathan Pinnock, who is best known to me as the guy who did strange things to Jane Austen. Sacrilege? Never! This writer has completed the “level 4 compliance” within the “Poetry Society Guidelines” that include restrictions on rhyming, poems about cats and is more than ready to challenge all styles and rip them up, especially the ones on swearing cause he “can’t remember which fucking ones“. Fair enough I say.

Poetry like this pops and bursts with fun. We often forget the pleasure of the anarchic bard, to be silly and absurd. Jonathon has not forgotten this. Pants Outside Trousers, Big Letter H On T Shirt, Here To Save the World mocks lyrical, swiping hard at the wordy ones, when a limericist, a free versifier and a composer of sestinas meets Haiku Man, this poetry festival starts to get interesting. There are poems about when apes write about love instead of bananas and how heaven turned out to be, well, “a bit shit“.

Then there is the Love, swoon, be still and all that. No piece could be more reflective than A Short History Of The Cold War. Such beauty of metaphor, drawn lines and peace talks. There is a love-nest of amour on offer, many poems pondering the bitter sweet stuff. A lothario amid the drama of Bloody Italians is a perfect stage for the best decisions to be made. The Cooper Clarke beat of Dissonant Love Song #2, its words are bright and blistering. His love poems just get gloriously more twisted, A Lover’s Alphabet a vent of torture and revenge that ends way before it should.

Jonathan’s poetry tightens into beatific memories, on loss, dreams of Spain, a death of a mother, eye to eye with an angry bull, they are all thoroughly enjoyable. The scenarios eclectic and smart. There dwells a curious seriousness, puzzles turn into prose and the reader will benefit from two or three dips over them so their essence lights their mind globe. His experimentation with word shapes, poem on paper cuts and losing his mojo are a delight. I’ll be calling Dial-A-Bard to make sure this poet knows just how much I enjoyed the experience.

Love And Loss And Other Important Stuff is available through Silhouette Press. You can find out more on Jonathan’s work via his blog and connect with him via twitter

Johnathan Pinnock Poetry Reviews

The Best of A Bad Situation

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This one I have been chomping at the bit to get stuck into. Finding that spare chunk of time to really give this poetry release the attention it deserves. Just what I’ve seen of Spoken Word poet Jamie Thrasivoulou gives me the flutters. Truth is at the heart of this vessel and it will be ugly, it will be beautiful and it will stay with you for a long time.

What first strikes you is the song, his cadence, his approach is sometimes pure jazz. You hear the beat of the old Beats, but this is new and it restarts the heart. So with thumb and middle fingers ready we click into,

But 

the mind is:

a bombastic chasm

waiting on self destruction

So here we are, ready to receive a blast. I know it’s coming. This piece rumbles and boils, maybe even has a little romance…

Common Sewerage Problem is the dead march, when you are the unheard part of a system that doesn’t care, which barely wants to keep you alive, being all too prevalent in the UK and around the world. We hide our faces, quash our empathy when our roles should be to help one another. It’s poetry like this that sickens in just the right way, the word changers, the fight has just begun.

Distinctly working-class in every way” this mantra pounding That Pebbledash Finish. Jamie’s theme is rendered here, defiant that his voice will be heard. His streets are full of drugs, that ‘commodity‘ of the bored and hurt and in The Reformed Economist Jamie takes the lifestyle and throws it back at those in power. Two ponderers hit us, A True Liar and Options, where he contemplates to ‘de-educate myself in order to make a living’ the truth of the personal sell out.

Anxiety Pipped Me To The Finish Line… opens up to a new mind set. The spleen resting allows Jamie to get to the heart of himself, where he is at. This is no less traumatic, the streets and fields of our homes has dangerous prospects especially under the influence of mind altering substances, inner demons ready to rise and take on whoever happens to be walking by. Some good slick lines roll out in Steve Slash & The RDT, workmates to the rescue with piss filled Johnnys and wake up calls.

There are great words of advice in Hibernation, while Reflections rambles on the left side of unconsciousness. The motley crew that exists on Anywhere Street, James’s Derby dreary of “intoxicated philosophies” is an eye opener. On Tag is an atmospheric crime scene, then it’s onto this tomes title track and I say track with thought because these poems sing.

The Best Of A Bad Situation, three moments, I, II, III, reversed in its chronology, a glimpse into a time of bad judgement and its consequences, paced by a wild boy out of control. It is stark, it has memory loss and too many memories, while IV is the turning point here, the cloud lifter. Even the physical page seems clearer, the map for a new path. But there are still loads of experiences to surface poetic. Beneath A Banana Moon, ready for a fight, adrenalin switches, as the situation is “down-lifted by the up-trodden prey I pursue

Believe me, it can get heavy in here, so Duck and Raw Fish vs. Cooked Fish help me repose, loosen my brow and ready to take on Anthem For The Racist White Trash. The message here is clear, the insane beliefs from utter mouth breathers that immigrants and refugees are “taking our jobs you dream“. Jamie’s argument is a beauty to read.

I adore Won’t Turn To Dust, “free thought, forgotten courage” the slow seep of messages like these to strengthen the silenced. Dead Letters has me riling at the incompetence and politics of council not replacing a destroyed red correspondence receptical then cracking up two pages on at surprise reply poem About That Postbox… mystery solved, awed by the motive, excited about the delivery. Then there is the wise Who’s Der Clevrist Man Yer Know? This is a spin out twister that makes so much sense. Another mind altering night spent with another fine poet, our evening closing fast and we hear about a day in the life of Hunting Snow In A Blizzard, the waiting, the watching, the fix. Then there is Reimagining Yeroskipou unfeigned and loving, Jamie’s heritage remembered. Last pages are always hard to take especially when one has enjoyed the experience, but The Old Enemy and The Blemish round it out perfectly, learned from his past, not knowing the future, his now… ‘distinctly working-class in every way’, Truth.

You can purchase The Best Of A Bad Situation from Silhouette Press. You can keep up with new releases, projects and spoken word events via Jamie’s blog and follow him via twitter.

 

 

Poetry Reviews Silhouette Press

OPEN PEN

Issue Eighteen

a free short fiction magazine – home of open literature featuring

The Jungle by Josephine Bruni, Answering Zeus by William Kraemer, Way To Go Donald by N Quentin Woolf & London Short Story prize winner Oh No!, A Bank Robbery! Fuck! by Foye McCarthyDCb2tdCUIAQ7eFJ

I have a special dealer who keeps my Open Pen fix topped up. I’ll be waiting a while for Issue Nineteen but not too bothered as Issue Eighteen has been floating in my bag for those advantageous, peaceful moments to pause. Open Pen editor Sean Preston gives guest editorial duties to author of The Many, Wyl Menmuir. He starts off proceedings with much heart and passion on the political landscape that currently floods our psyches with that uneasy feeling and the distorted reflections one has been forced to endure of late. “We need fiction that reveals us deeper truths than those of which the news is capable” He sees the strength and conscious changing power of writing stories “Writing is about the closest thing we have to telepathy” There are plenty of stories around when we need to escape and even more to help us connect again in these complex times.  If I am looking for the latter, I know I can find it inside the the pages of Open Pen.

It took a park bench in the sun to hold me still enough to finally finish The Jungle by Josephine Bruni in one hit. Previous attempts where stifled by life’s regular interruptions, trying to find solitude at work, being distracted by a lit up android. My imagination well whetted – I think I read the intro six times – each page brought one deeper and deeper into the mind of Subhashini and her stoner enhanced neurosis and love of African Violets. So absorbed, she has become a creator, a little god in her world of black velvet, notched wavy flowers and purpley edges with “leaves perfectly heart shaped like a love song“. An offer of stronger genes in her family from Violets from outta space via an offer from an online chat room changes her world. Josephine writes with exquisite pace and empathy, that lets the reader enter her world of obsession and devotion.

William Kraemer has come up with a hoot of a fiction about a guy who makes up the titles of fake books for movie sets. These empty tomes are his triumph, a meditative fantasy world of amazing possibilities. Pensive Gout by Louis Cardel and A Thousand And One Inches Of Twine by Elissa Dal Santos a couple of favourites.

Way To Go Donald talks of the connection with the POTUS and potentially dying in a fairground accident. It is an uncanny metaphor, having myself escaped from a broken seat belt on the wild mouse unscathed, I get his drift. The only thing you can do is white knuckle it, and consider what might have happened later and how on earth it got clearance to be there in the first place. Part of the furniture at Open Pen, N Quentin Woolf’s pieces are always a mind blast.

Taking the finale of yet another wonderful issue is London Short Story Prize winner’s brilliantly funny Oh No! A Bank Robbery! Fuck! by Foye McCarthy. An Irish kid named Sean loves stories about people who shoot each other. The high expectations and literary selections of his mother are being quashed by the “pew, pew, pew, pew, tshhh” books he wants to write. This delves into another fantasy that gets caught up in a real life adventure, giving him the plot and ending he so desires, gaining answers of the warm and fuzzy variety. Much fun inside his fevered thought processes.

Look out for Issue Nineteen which should be out any tick and at a stockist near you (UK residents have the best chance) or subscribe via Open Pen

 

 

Open Pen Reviews

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

Worse Things Happen At Sea

selected poems by Martin Appleby

There was a moment of disappointment when I missed the first run of Martin Appleby’s Worse Things Happen At Sea. An extra five poems in this special edition though has me feeling right chuffed and glad I got in on the second chance run instead. Martin has been slogging away with his lit zine Paper & Ink for many, many issues now. Ten if you’re counting. In fact, he has cemented himself well and truly inside the ‘lit zine trail blazer’ category. It is still lo-fi, full of real heart and unique edge skaters of the literary underground. It has been such a pleasure to get each issue all the way down here in Sydney, opening up the great curtain to new writers and friends all over the world.

Martin has a coy approach to selling himself, though proud and strong when championing all the new voices in Paper & Ink, but he shouldn’t be worried. This is fun, straightforward and passionate. A few of the poems here have snuck inside some P&I classics, so it is a treat to get this cache of thoughts in a well stapled bundle. Dedicated to all ex girlfriends, past and future, After You Left is a fitting start. Stale cigarette smoke and yearning. There is loads of chat on cider, his dreams, regrets, bands, his love of Bukowski, the perils of being a vegetarian via his classic poem Don’t You Miss Bacon and of course boxing.

There are hints of unresolved childhood melancholy but that only seems to have shaped the writer into the strong, resilient man he has become, that strength revealed in Everything. Martin is a rebel who quickly senses the rebellion in others, especially writers. Half way through you start to feel some of the accumulated years of experience shed and drop to the floor. Ten Years is a ripper of regrets he would never have missed. Martin’s humour is dry and honest and extra cute at times with gems like Poetry Is Hard With Kittens, Rejection, Shit Jokes and another fave I’ve spied before Dreams.

worse

There is the awkward beauty of Nights Like Those about ‘silent sex so that my parents didn’t hear‘ that just makes you smile and reminisce in the wake of similar scenarios. The title poem means a lot to Martin. You can tell, ’cause it’s permanently inked on his wrist, Self deprecating, a reminder, its meaning he will never outgrow. There’s been plenty of rumbles like Why Is Your Moustache Shorter Than The Rest Of Your Beard, another story in his ‘war against myself‘. The one poem that truly reaches me and makes me so happy to have had Martin cross my path is the wonderful The Only Religion I Need. “I have danced on sticky floors, in shitty pubs with bands playing solely for me” mate, we pray at the same altar.

Worse Things Happen At Sea is available here. Check out the back catalogue of fine releases while you are browsing the shelves. Look out for calls for words for the next Paper & Ink Zine release, one that will surely be up many of your dingy back alleys, PUNK! Get scribbling. Submissions here.

Martin Appleby Paper And Ink Zine Poetry Reviews Zines & Journals

Strungballs by Mike Russell

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Ordered and mesmeric. This family’s interactions can pause to an extent that almost becomes non existent. Do they exist only if all is involved in the conversation? An eerie language that connects time, memories and moments described to the second. So aware of time, of measurements, the foundation of their lives. This seems to be all they have except for Strungballs. One can hear the buzz of boredom in their ears. What do they have besides every boys dream. The most sort after accoutrement with all its status, dangly strings and models. So coveted one must remove a piece of flesh for, again and again until nothing really holds you together.
Reading this short story has one’s imagination suffering as we plod through the minimal and awkward silences that is their lives. We peer into it and can’t help being pulled into its trance and rhythm. It sounds unpleasant but that is good storytelling.
Ten year old Sydney is undergoing a rites of passage, done with a beautiful vision on the perils of materialism and human conditioning. His leap into a different spirituality that he discovers via room 333 and new friend Albert is a beautiful awakening. Where the body and his fears are non existent, triggers the spark for knowledge and realisation of his individuality. Unknown king of the inquisitive, he very quickly questions doctrine and all the whitewash and begins the great unlearning. Sydney is on the search to find himself.
All cultures are full of strange stories, telling them is in our dna. This sci-fi dystopian fable is a gem. I wanted it fatter though, a little more filler could of helped us hold onto its message more. So although, it is a quickie, I enjoyed the imagery. The proud father whose dreams of his son selling or promoting Strungballs is paramount, the melancholic suppressed mother in a backdrop of tears and fears, white, black and red, flesh & robot nurses is vivid. The slow minimalism perfectly empty. The reproduction anatomy lesson in the middle jarred a little, though amused enough. If that particular imparting of fact was extended into a psychedelic touchy feely fun parlour I would of enjoyed the trip a little more and a little longer. Overall, I got to know Sydney and wanted to see how his quest would end, so this taste of author of Mike Russell has me prying into his world. Strange days indeed. You can purchase Strungballs and check out many more stories and Mike’s empire via his website StrangeBooks

Mike Russell Reviews