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

The Best of A Bad Situation

DH1QTLYVYAEeI33

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

The Africa In My House

by Andrea MbarushimanaDGhAon3U0AAEFl0

This was a surprise addition to my order from the generous publishers at Silhouette Press. A deep red sunset boomed from the package, tribal masks and shields protecting its contents. I could hear the voices inside. The Africa In My House is a book of poetry, stories and events, touching through the troubled country of Rwanda, picking at time and looking at events that author Andrea Mbarushimana experienced there, the echoes of genocide and trying to fathom why, hoping that it will never occur again.

Andrea manages to beautifully mingle legend, mythology and her experiences to help herself and those who want to know, understand and cope with a country she now has a better understanding of.  Her words and illustrations are totally mesmerising.  Visitations that permeate dreams, her psyche deciphers it with ink and words. The original purpose of her stay there is not really established. I get the feeling that some humanitarian work, maybe teaching drew her there, where she fell in love, where her experiences have permanently connected her to the place. Her daughter a special link to keeping the threads of heritage in their hearts.

Rwanda became the country where horror stories overtook the rich tapestry of fable. Its displacement after colonial rulers abandoned, chose a side and said sort it out amongst yourselves was never going to be a pleasant start. Here, Andrea never glosses, these are hundreds of minds flowing through her, continuing lessons, making us aware of the complexities of tribe and the flow of the modern.

The imagery Andrea describes directly transports you to the village life and painful memories. One of the strongest to encounter and first to bite is Hyena pointing out the  dichotomy and dilemmas faced when the wrangled lost and desperate follow orders. When one’s own survival could be at the hand of another’s compassion. This story unfolds with high tension. When it is just your job and the consequence of not following orders is a moral conundrum that one can only know the answer to if put in that situation. When the realisation that ‘we are two people” overides the political.

Murambi Genocide Site, passes over the extreme “It’s hard to find your way sometimes, Past death’s mask“. The horrors that have been witnessed, memory’s ghost imagined, thoughts shared to help the healing. Rabbit is another squirmish, told with an exquisite meticulous pace, the process a recipe that is merely survival.

There are loads of survivors that Andrea has met and not met. You get the feeling that Andrea needed to be the storyteller here, this is her healing and we as readers are one the richer. There is no glossy sentimentality but there is true beauty here. Andrea slips in and out effortlessly of styles and intensity. The beautiful haiku of Kigeme, the questioning of when it is right to go back in Healing and the sublime Folk Tale Resurrection. In Power Cuts 2001 a time when the country is trying to return to some semblance of sanity. “Ce nest pas le guerre!” humour is such a rich healer. When the power goes out in, the difference between the same occurrence in Rwanda and in the U.K is an interesting one. There is a constant back and forth of place and contrasts throughout that become dreamlike. There are longer stories like God Of Shadows that are such an odd mixture of cult, west meets witch doctor revealing a fear so potent that one can’t believe the trauma it inflicts.

Dipped between chapters are Andreas prints. As Andrea is a masterful story teller, you can understand why her prints also contain enough drama and information to sink you. The plight of people in Refugee Art Group, the mere suggestion of the day’s painting topic of favourite food from home has me crying and when love became something certain in Gatyazo Bar, I was humbled. More stories, more poetry. I adore the strength, beauty and eccentricities of the people she met and the people whose lives she chose to speak of here now, forever remembered. You can purchase The Africa In My House via Silhouette Press. You can connect with Andrea via twitter.

Andrea Mbarushimana Book Review Poetry Silhouette Press