note_05.1 Angela Carter on Wilson Harris “the Guyanese William Blake”, 1985

Angela Carter and Grace Paley on the Tube, c.1987 © Kate Webb

Angela Carter and Grace Paley on the Tube, c.1987. Ph ©KateWebb

“KW: Will you start by giving me your impression of Wilson?

 AC: He’s got these curious hooded eyes, he never looks at you straight. And this wonderful sing-song voice, this vatic, musical accent. He’s very impressive. But I don’t want to give you the wrong impression because he’s not like John Berger: it’s obvious that he never set out to be impressive. I can only say about his presence that when he said to me about my son, “You have a wonderful little boy”, I felt it was some kind of blessing.

 KW: Why do you think he’s such an important writer?

 AC: Until very recently there was nobody writing anything remotely like him in Britain, nobody writing fiction with that particular kind of poetic intensity

note_10 Rose, Feet First – Roy Oxlade catalogue, Odette Gilbert Gallery, 1987

Feet First Roy Oxlade 1986

Feet First Roy Oxlade 48×60 1986

I stumbled upon two folders that I have not seen/touched for maybe 15 years and found a lot of nice things; postings from Sebastian Horsley, exhibition cards/list from Birch & Conran, the Basquiat publications from Serpentine Gallery 1996, a letter of departure from Grant Watson, a copy of UNDERCUT the London Filmmakers’ Coop magazine, number 17 with transcriptions of the entire Cultural Identities 4-day screenings/discussion from 1986 (w Jean Rouch, Black Audio, Sankofa, Rose, Spivak, Mercer, Gidal…), other catalogues of The Music of Cornelius Cardew at SBC (Fri. 13 Dec 1991), from Nicola Durvasula and Liza May Post…

Plus! a 1987 catalogue from Odette Gilbert Gallery on Cork Street of a Roy Oxlade show. I can only share this out of an enthusiastic rescratching-back-together of things. Of course the paintings contain Rose Wylie Continue reading “note_10 Rose, Feet First – Roy Oxlade catalogue, Odette Gilbert Gallery, 1987”

note_05 Wilson Harris (1921-2018) -an inadequate tribute from 1990 #polyhistoric

WilsonHarris Ph Eamon McCabe

Photo Eamonn McCabe (The Guardian)

While adding to Chapters_Essays and Culture_Crit, I’ve been discovering how much material there is -its drives and formations- and came across a very short double review from the New Statesman, September 1990. You can scroll a long way down the Culture-Crit page for those very early pieces. Please! This one (or these short paragraphs), on The Four Banks of the River of Space (the last part of Harris’ Carnival Trilogy published by Faber, like all his books), is not exactly a major critical work but does, in its concentrated little way, resonate with me. The G.’s obituary for Wilson Harris does too.

In 1990 there was still something called Commonwealth Literature, a peculiarly handy way of keeping peoples, histories and cultures in place. It’s tempting to write ‘Foreign and…’. Publishing was on the turn Continue reading “note_05 Wilson Harris (1921-2018) -an inadequate tribute from 1990 #polyhistoric”

note_03 Contact sheet from Essential Things, Robert Prime, July 1999, linked…

 

 

In starting to update Art_Work, I came across these little images -poor, poor, poor- but also quite a good impression of that actual exhibition. A little memorial to that way of printing film, too! For more detail and documentation -Gallery Work-List, CDROM cover etc.- click on Art_Work above (more to come). Thanks to the artists, gallerists, collaborators and helpers involved in that show… The odd light in the images was a feature of that wonderful gallery space, as some may recall.

I remember giving a reading there on Warren Street on an enervating late-July day which thus felt all wrong … Except that I read ‘richard one’ for the first time and Angela heard me read ‘sing song’ after she’d read it at a party in the lead-in to the show. Continue reading “note_03 Contact sheet from Essential Things, Robert Prime, July 1999, linked…”

on appetite and a mystic chef, george steiner essays, new statesman 1995

George Steiner August 2008

Or; If Kafka were Hindu…

Every now and then I wonder about George Steiner. Mostly it’s positive wondering but something bugs me about him and it’s not what seems to bug most people I know or read that have met him or committed their view of him to print. Much of the latter is merely a distaste for overt intellect, especially a passionate ‘continental’ mind as well as distrust of the whole dynamic of translation, literally and metaphorically.

There are pedagogic and vulgar ego issues when it comes to Steiner but let me say in brief that I dissociate myself from the cynical Brit approach to him. What continues to bug me is essentially what bugged me when I committed myself to print 15 years ago [in the New Statesman, see below]; I hate it that he won’t credit Kafka, Mozart, even little me with the capacity -effort, hours/years of silent striving and error, the beauty of the attempt- to invent.

Instead, it wasn’t Kafka or Mozart it was “god”. Who? you might say. Religious faith is one thing [later, in Errata, he described himself as a “messianic agnostic”, which is anticipated in what I wrote below], but to misrecognise the grand smallness of human effort, endeavour and appetite is wrong as well as pitiful.

Steiner is a man with a good brain and that brain has famous and all too real appetite but it strikes me therefore as worse that he closes it all down when he approaches a peak to indulge in ‘god’-whistling instead. Such vacuity is the opposite Continue reading “on appetite and a mystic chef, george steiner essays, new statesman 1995”

on admiring a writer like marguerite young

I’m posting this as a note; part a/ so that I have to come back with a part b/…

She flitted through my mind, old interviews and some of my own early wonderment [triggered by a 1989 issue of the often useful Review of Contemporary Fiction, in this case one dedicated to MY, Kathy Acker and Christine Brooke-Rose] at her and her work, never quite resolved [mostly available in Dalkey Archive Press].

If the words US, 20th C. and utopian spirit don’t work in your mind -cults don’t count- then you ought to get to know MY…

That edition of RCF’s interview is here; “…abandoned utopias. I would say my theme has always been paradise lost, always the lost cause, the lost leader, the lost utopia.”

For now then, a fan page of photographs [why not?!] here.

And a Paris Review interview from 1977 is here

New editions of her books available in the UK today start at 0.1p… and $0.40 in the US; an unequivocally good sign!

paul auster, the sun never sets…

 

Paul Auster BOMB 1988 Photo © Susan Shacter

Auster has yet another new book due in November in the UK; Sunset Park here. I’ve not seen it yet and may yet write about it critically. Meanwhile, I’m reminded of an interview-based critical profile I did for The Independent around publication of the slight Timbuktu which doubled with a screening of Lulu on the Bridge in London [ignored by distributors here despite or because of it being Auster’s directorial debut] as well as his contribution to Sophie Calle’s Double Game. Faber have just published the script again in a collection of his screenplays [Smoke, Blue in the Face, etc.], see here. Btw I don’t buy PA’s Beckett analogy below, not fully, and neither does Auster I’m sure.

Continue reading “paul auster, the sun never sets…”