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. So, 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 prophecy‘ Burning 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. Ian 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.