Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Games Perverts Play

It's my great great privilege to have a piece included in a wonderful new project, put together by the inspirational Elly, aka Quiet Riot Girl.

My piece, Meat, is here. It is a double privilege for it to be illustrated by the amazing Penny Goring

This is what Elly has to say:


Games Perverts Play : stories and essays from the sidelines of pornography...

Games Perverts Play is a new and unique collaborative writing project, edited by Quiet Riot Girl http://www.quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/

Games Perverts Play uses pornography and essays to explore the less examined sides of our libidos, and to dissect our sexualities. Gender, power, pain and violence are all present in the background when we play. This project brings them to the fore, and enables us to look afresh at what it is we are doing when we write about sex, when we play sex games, and when sex gets serious.

First edition September 2010: OBJECTIFIED

We are told every day that women in particular are objectified in our culture, particularly by pornography. The word is supposed to have negative connotations.

But what happens when a bunch of writers take that word, and roll it round their tongues. What emerges from their pens? Their cunts and their dicks?

Here, writers Dan holloway, Marc Nash, Penny Goring, Mark Simpson, M de Winter, Arjun Basu and the editor, Quiet Riot Girl have objectified ourselves for your pleasure, and maybe your discomfort too.

We hope you enjoy the experience.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Failed Flights of Transcendence

August 26

6-8pm, Art Jericho, 6 King Street, Oxford

off Walton St, behind Jude the Obscure

“Failed Flights of Transcendence” is how 2010 Booker-Prize nominated author Tom McCarthy described the theme of his last book, Men in Space, and perectly encapsulates the relation between David Dixon’s exhibition and the work of tonight’s writers. Constantly building, constantly striving, constantly looking to break out. Of preconceptions; of limitations; of existing forms; of outdated ideas. Constantly trying; constantly nearly… making it; constantly trying harder. A night of words, music, and art to make you think, hope, despair, laugh, and ultimately shout for joy at the marvellous absurdity of life.
Entry just £3, all of which goes to the excellent cause of Launch Collaborative, the innovative arts collective putting on the event. This can be fully redeemed against copies of (life:)razorblades included, which you can buy for the silly price of £2 (usually £5) from the Albion Beatnik stall that will be with us all night

Year Zero Writers is an international collective of independent writers from 8 countries working in different forms and different fields, united by the desire to bring their work direct to readers, free from all commercial consideration. Acclaimed by sources as diverse as Nylon Mag and former head of Harper Collins, Jane Friedman, Year Zero Writers features new writing on its website most days, and regularly hosts events at venues ranging from Rough Trade East in Brick Lane toOxford’s OVADA Gallery, as well as being regulars at The Albion Beatnik Bookstore.

eight cuts gallery is a space that exists to blur the boundaries between literature and other art forms and to champion the awkward, the difficult, and the brilliant. it is currently seeking submissions for its inaugural show “into the desert” (http://eightcuts.wordpress.com/eight-cuts-gallery/into-the-desert/), and nominations for the chris al-aswad prize for outstanding contribution to breaking down barriers in the arts (http://eightcuts.wordpress.com/eight-cuts-prize/). eight cuts gallery press will release its first novels in November (http://eightcuts.wordpress.com/collaborate/coming-in-2010/)

Penny Goring (http://www.pennygoring.wordpress.com/)
Writer and artist Penny Goring is a voice like no other, at once Beat-inspired and transcendant, punkish and rooted. Her work will feature at the Independents Liverpool Biennial http://www.independentsbiennial.org/2010events/1259-chaosmos2010

Dan Holloway (http://danholloway.wordpress.com/)
Author of the novel Songs from the Other Side if the Wall and the collection of short stories and poems (life:) razorblades included, Dan is the curator of eight cuts gallery. He writes gentle literary fiction about modern Europe, urban poetry, and somewhat bizarre reviews of an eclectic range of music.

Marc Nash (http://sulcicollective.blogspot.com/)
Marc Nash writes experimental fiction that wrings the meaning from words’ necks. His fascination with typesetting, and the physical appearance of words makes his writing look like nothing you’ve ever seen. And that goes of his live performances too. Marc is the author of novel A, B & E.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I Just Started a Publishing House

Some of you know this from snippets that've been leaking out, but now I'm coming out and clean and saying it how it is. A lot of people have told me for some time I should. Now, finally, I've worked out the way I want to do it, and I have. And I have the first two books coming out in November.

As you might expect, eight cuts gallery press is not like other publishing houses. To start with, we won't make a penny's profit from your book.

As you'd expect for part of my new project eight cuts gallery, the press will focus on a very narrow niche of books, within the contemporary urban fiction area if you had to put a genre to it. I would love to receive submissions, but like I say, this isn't a regular press. I'm only interested in submissions from writers who buy into what I'm doing (metaphorically, it's not a vanity press).

Which is what, exactly?

Well, first and foremost, I want to whip up a storm about the very best stuff that's out there, the kind of stuff I want to read, the kind of stuff that for one reason or another may find it hard to find a home in the mainstream. Our first two offerings, for example, are around 25-30,000 words. I'll also be bringing out poetry and short story combos. I also want to give the very best self-published works a chance to storm the major literary prizes that currently will not accept self-published novels.

eight cuts gallery press is an integral part of the overall eight cuts gallery project, designed to bring great literature to the public's attention regardless the format, the style, the commerciality; regardless anything save the fact it's great literature.

So what are we about?

we will

  • release an eight cuts gallery press print on demand paperback version of your book, without an ISBN, although you may attach an ISBN to other formats of your book

  • enter the eight cuts gallery press edition of your book for major literary prizes, in consultation with you

  • allow you to produce any additional versions you wish in any formats, and provide formatting and editing for those other versions, as well as putting you in touch with top producers in alternative formats

  • publicise and sell your book in all formats

  • take no money from sales of the eight cuts gallery press edition of your book (the exception being where your book is short or longlisted for a major literary award, in which case we will take a royalty from sales – yes, you read that the right way round – until the marketing fee the prize requires us to hand over is recouped)

  • mention your book in all publicity, and ensure that your book appears on the click through page of any online articles by or about us

  • sell your book online and in selected outlets, and at all events

  • never associate you with defamatory material, but we may cause a brouhaha

  • link to your primary website from our homepage

  • let you retain all rights, whilst being happy to help negotiate the sale of those rights on your behalf should you wish, without taking a commission

  • give all our writers an equal share of profits from eight cuts gallery press (80% split equally) and eight cuts gallery (20% split equally, with 20% to eight cuts gallery and 60% to participating artists)

  • let you set the price for your work

  • target sales, publicity, appearance and alternative format possibilities for you
    provide full monthly statements of your sales, and forward all monies to you, by Paypal, on a monthly basis

  • send out review copies of the eight cuts gallery press edition in consultation with you

we’d like you to

  • be available for media interviews within reason

  • be prepared to have a photo and press sheet drawn up for publicity

  • link to us from your website and mention us in interviews where possible and appropriate

  • agree to your book and name being used in publicity material for eight cuts gallery events

  • agree to the title and cover of your book appearing on eight cuts gallery press merchandise

  • agree to be open to suggestions of possible alternative formats for your book

  • let us quote up to 200 words from your work for publicity purposes

  • let us purchase other formats of your work at wholesale price in order to send them for review, to display them at fairs, and to sell at our events at a price to be agreed with you (and we’d like to take 20% of the profits on non eight cuts gallery press editions)

Here's a peek at those first two books. Click the title to read the opening chapter.

The Dead Beat by Cody James (whom you may know as Daisy Anne Gree)

It’s 1997, and the comet of the century is due some time about now, on its 3000 year roundtrip.

“Man, fucking Emeryville,” Lincoln said, pausing in his stride to hock phlegm onto the sidewalk.”
And so, for want of anything better to do, Adam and his meth addict friends end up in San Francisco, wondering where their place in the addict hierarchy might be, why no one has written a good book in over a decade, and what the fuck the comet might mean, when nothing on earth means anything.

And in a zip of light and a snort of meth the comet is gone, taking with it this last snapshot of earth for 3000 years, leaving Adam to wonder if it meant anything at all, or whether it was maybe just a bit cool that the sky looked different. Just for once. For the last time in his life.

Charcoal by Oli Johns

“Apparently there are three popular ways to kill yourself in Hong Kong.
Throw yourself off a building.

Hang yourself.

Burn charcoal in a sealed room.”

Oli can’t stop reading Deleuze, only it doesn’t seem to make any sense. And he can’t stop thinking about suicide. And Camus. And that sort of makes sense. But only sort of. And then he meets a seventeen year-old girl on the internet and they meet regularly for mindless sex. Only it’s not enough to stop the anxiety. And the obsession with suicide, although he knows he’ll never kill himself. And then there was that Korean model, the one who killed herself in Paris. And that writer, the one he met online. The one who said she’d tried to kill herself three times. The one who wrote that book…

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Sabina's Wedding Night

Back in April, I wrote about the amazing writer and filmmaker Sabina England's project Wedding Night. Sabina was looking to raise money to film the 15-minute debut short. She raised the money she needed, and the film was cast and shot, and those of us following Sabina's progress have been having a great time keeping up with it on Facebook. Asbina is now looking for funding to work with some of the best post-production people in the business, and first and foremost for entry fees to festivals.

I almost never get involved in fundraising, but for Sabina I'd make an exception to pretty much every rule - she's one of the most talented people I've ever met, passionate, single-minded, unique, and brilliant. And I have a vested interest in this one, as I'm hoping to arrange some special screenings in Oxford and London.

As before, Sabina has made a video to go with her appeal, which includes on set footage from the shoot and is - as always with her brilliant Velma Sabina channel - worth watching in and of itself.
Do click on the link below, watch the video, offer any support you can - and even if you can't support financially, which I know most of my readers can't, spread the word on.

Thank you

Here's the link!! Click here!

Friday, 13 August 2010

The Chris Al-Aswad Prize

Some of you will know that I have recently started a new venture. More of that in the next week or so. More important things for today:

it is an honour to announce, as one of the very first things I do with that venture, the inaugural

chris al-aswad prize for outstanding contribution to breaking down barriers in the arts

for the person, organisation, website, community, whatever that has done most to promote brilliance, diversity, and the breaking down of barriers in literature over the preceding twelve months. it is a genuine honour to be able to award this prize in the name of chris al-aswad, one of the most brilliant, farsighted, innovative, generous, and supportive people in the arts. chris, the genius behind escape into life, one of the most wonderful places in cyberspace, died in july 2010 at the age of just 31. his contribution and spirit will be sorely missed, and are irreplaceable. it is a privilege to be able to do something that will in some way perpetuate his name and his values.
the award is intended to recognise outstanding people striving to break down barriers, and to provide practical assistance to its recipients in furthering their work. to that end, it will not be awarded by demonstrable quantitative achievements, or to a job fully done.

we are really keen to hear any and all recommendations – e-mail eightcutsgallery@googlemail.com by september 15

full details here

and the really important bit for you

to make the prize as helpful as possible, i want to make the actual prize both useful and symbolic of what chris believed in so much, the values i completely share with him. so i want as many people in the arts or media in any capacity to think about what they could offer the recipient. something very small, the equivalent of an hour of your time.

  • if you're in the media, it might be a column on the recipient
  • if you're onilne it might be giving over a guest post
  • if you have a venue it might be a brief show
  • if you have a shop, it might be a prominent place on your shelves for a period

put together, these little pieces can make a huge contribution to the recipient's work and, as a result, to breaking down barriers in the arts in general. offers gladly taken in the comments here as well as at the above e-mail address.

of course, the first thing everyone here can do is blog about it, and send people over to escapeintolife.com

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Robert James Russell (aka @robhollywood ) is an inspiring writer, and the newest member of Year Zero Writers. He has just finished taking in the submissions for a fascinating project, unambiguously titled "Sex Scene Anthology". Contributors had to submit a sex scene, disconnected from any context, and preferably not lifted from a longer work, but compiled specifically for this anthology. What's so intriguing is how difficult it is to decontextualise in this way (which, in turn, casts some fascinating light on the (dis)integration of sex in human life), so many of us have ended up creating more of a short story than a scen. Me included, I'm afraid. This is it.

Decided content warning (and not just for erotic content - severely transgressive material)!!!

Her skin’s so tight, I think as she leans on the sideboard with a juice. Stretched on her like a canvas.

I’d paint her with my cum.

I thought the same the first time she showed up in that half shirt, slapped The Birth of Tragedy on the table and said, “So, for Nietzsche, you’re the man.”

The man. The fucking ubermensch all uber those tight fucking tits.

“I guess,” I said, and our Wednesday night ritual began. Tammy got Nietzsche 101. Sarah got a babysitter and the comfort of some father time for Alice while she yogalatesed away her pregnancy fat. And I. I got to score the taut contours of Tammy’s skin on my cortex, storing it away till she left and I sat, still stiff, and closed my eyes, and imagined it on my fingers. On my cock.

We talked about the ubermensch and Tammy said the idea of a superMAN is just ridiculous, everyone knows a man’s will is in his willy and I thought she’s got a point but damn those tits are so fucking pert.

We talked aesthetics and the pursuit of pleasure and by our fifth session we got to wine, and how to blend the senses and how to separate the senses, and I said let me show you, and got out a bottle of ’47 Cheval Blanc and rested it in the cradle of my corkscrew, slowly cranked the angle, and lowered the screw into place, cutting with delicacy and precision to disturb nothing, and let the wine rest and brought her two glasses, and made her drink the first with her eyes closed and said, describe the difference between these different wines.

Two weeks later she caught my glance and she looked straight back and now she says wait here, and I wait and I can feel my body going into contractions each one pushing my cock harder against the cloth and the door opens and she says, watch, and I start to touch myself and she says no, later, separation of the senses, and walks across the room, my eyes following the path of her tits tight beneath her top, and she removes my clothes one by one, and stands and takes off her stockings and ties one around each of my arms, holding me cruciform to the sofa.

She repeats, watch, and I watch her fingers, and I watch her clothes, and I watch her skin, and when she removes the final pieces of lace the contractions through my body are so strong they lift my spine right off the sofa, and I watch the tips of her fingers and the deft circles she makes, and only one finger from the other hand sliding in and my whole body echoes the thought, how fucking tight, and when her body shakes in orgasm there’s not a sound and she leaves a finger, slowly swirling on herself and says, OK, separation of senses, and stands and picks up my shirt and twists it into a rope and walks over there’s one last sight of her tits closing in on my face and I open my mouth, and she leans over and I go blind and feel the pressure on my skull, and then something smooth, and firm, and tight.

See, she says, laughing because see is the one thing I don’t do but fuck I can feel it, and I strain upwards.

One more moment, she says, and there’s nothing, and I wonder if I hear the sound of her footsteps but I can’t be sure and my mouth’s open and my body’s spasming, again and again, and finally, I hear her say, OK, and there are her tits again, circling on my face, a nipple stopping and lingering against my outstretched tongue, and she repeats, OK, and says, now

and lowers her cunt onto me and it’s so fucking tight I explode before she’s fully down, and this time I hear her scream as well, and she sits there, massaging me gently with her cunt till the last ripple has subsided.

There, she says, the pursuit of pleasure, then there’s only the sound of our breathing and she raises herself off me, and there’s silence, and maybe the sound of cloth, and slowly the thought creeps in like a toothache.

What have I done.

As if she reads my mind she says “It’s OK, no one will ever know I was here.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I’m sure,” she says calmly, and I feel her untie my hands.

“Sarah,” I say.

“I know, she’ll be back any minute.”

I pull my shirt from my face and she’s in the doorway and she smiles, and slowly pulls up her skirt and I see her cunt glistening at me. “Always remember tonight,” she says, holding it there and I set my brain to burn the image in my hard drive, and she flattens her skirt down and smiles again, and I look around and

Oh Jesus fuck.

Alice, I think, seeing the swaddling on the floor, and her small, pale feet. “You let Alice see that?” I say, and she’s motionless.

And then I see the wine cradle, the metal of the screw stained dark. “You’ve been drinking my goddamn wine?”

Guilt. And anger.

I look again. Not just liquid. Deep, coagulated drops, and something. Not cork. Something.

Stickier. Messier.

Alice. Motionless. Alice’s head peeking out from the cloth. A dark, coagulated stain. Something sticky seeping from the top of Alice’s head.

The metal of the wine screw dark.

My balls still aching.

“Like I told you,” says Tammy from the door, “no one will ever know I was ever here.”