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Showing posts from February, 2018

Mark Manning [Zodiac Mindwarp] - Funny, brutal and above all rigorously honest, the writer has explored parts of his psyche most people would rather believe didn't exist

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Mark Manning, Crucify Me Again, Codex Books, 2000.


Deliberately ignoring the conventions of autobiography, Mark Manning, the artist formerly known as Zodiac Mindwarp, presents a vivid series of incidents from his life, illustrated with his own drawing and linocuts. Funny, brutal and above all rigorously honest, the writer has explored parts of his psyche most people would rather believe didn't exist. Documenting the rare moments of lucidity amongst the spiralling depravity of his ten years within the moral quagmire of bad sex, worse drugs and truly horrific rock and roll, it's a wonder he's here to spill the beans -- warts and sexually transmitted diseases and all -- at all.The bruised sensitivity of a poet raises these episodes above the squalidness of their surroundings. The mark of Manning's poetic genius elevates these finer feelings no matter what unfortunate cards he's been dealt.Manning's writing has been compared to William Burroughs for the profound sa…

The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu [aka KLF] - Everything is slippery and everything is meta. Meaning and myth are virtually indistinguishable in this deliberately obtuse and playful novel. The reader is a detective, extrapolating meaning, or thinking they are extrapolating meaning, whilst the writers delight in spreading little breadcrumbs throughout

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The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, 2023: a trilogy, faber and faber, 2017.


Well we're back again,
They never kicked us out,
twenty thousand years of
SHOUT SHOUT SHOUT
Down through the epochs and out across the continents, generation upon generation of the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu have told variants of the same story - an end of days story, a final chapter story. But one with hope, even if the hope at times seems forlorn.
The story contained in this trilogy is the latest telling. Here it is presented as a utopian costume drama, set in the near future, written in the recent past.
Read with care.


Everything is slippery and everything is meta. Meaning and myth are virtually indistinguishable in this deliberately obtuse and playful novel. The reader is a detective, extrapolating meaning, or thinking they are extrapolating meaning, whilst the writers delight in spreading little breadcrumbs throughout.
It’s overwhelming. What the fuck is going on? From conspiracy theories to esoteric philosop…

Mario Praz - In form, it is a description, room by room, object by object, of the ancient flat in the Via Giulia in Rome where Mario Praz has lived for thirty years. In effect, it becomes an intellectual and spiritual autobiography

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Mario Praz, The House of Life, Trans. by Angus Davidson, David R Godine; Reprint, 2010.


Mario Praz (1896 1982) was among the great  scholar / critics of the last century. His studies of icon­ography and seventeenth-century art remain unsurpassed and indispensable. His most famous work, The Romantic Agony, examines the themes of sexuality and morbidity that permeated so much late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature. But The House of Life comes as close to his autobiography as anything we are likely to encounter, and it is a quirky and magical book. In simplest terms, it is a house tour, but Praz's Roman apartment was no ordinary house it was a wunderkammer, a house of wonders, rooms replete with objets d'art and sculpture, walls hung with paintings and prints, bureaus overflowing with postcards and ephemera. And Praz is no ordinary guide; he leads you, the reader, through each room lecturing on the objects therein. What emerge are his passions, his immense erudition, hi…