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For reasons surpassing anyone’s understanding, I was interviewed by New York Tyrant publisher Giancarlo DiTrapano for VICE. I taked some about my new band DTCV, and a lot about my forthcoming story collection, Everything Flows, from Curbside Publishing. You can read it all here.


A collection of my “stories,” leaning hard on the figurative sense of story, will be published by Curbside Splendor in November of this year, with the usual caveat that the world may end right around that time in which case never mind. I do hope my forthcoming book will in no way contribute to the end of the world.

The title of the book is “Everything Flows,” after the Teenage Fanclub song of the same name, which is not only the best Teenage Fanclub song ever, but maybe the only Teenage Fanclub song ever. It’s the first song on A Catholic Education, which was their first album. Some might find it a little hyper-crticial that I would call the first song from the first album of a band their best and maybe even only song, in which case I have no really great defense except to say that’s my opinion on the matter, and I don’t really care to hear yours, even though I’m probably wrong (as usual).

Screen cap from Channel 13 interview

Bits and pieces of this have been floating around for a while now, but turns out there’s more, much more, than I had previously thought. If you go here, you can benefit from the hard work of a bunch of people who are not me, who’ve been digging through New York’s Channel 13 archives for pieces of a long interview with the patron saint of this site, Vladimir Nabokov. You will learn, among other things, how to pronounce “Lolita” in Russian, and incidentally how to pronounce it in English. (You’ve been doing it wrong.)

Two books and one DVD that you should not hesitate to buy/rent/steal:

These movies don’t need my recommendation, but the collection itself, with its wealth of extras and (as always) immaculate transfers, is worth its weight in a precious metal slightly less expensive than gold but more expensive than silver. I don’t know what that metal is, but if you find out: bingo!

 

Jean-Patrick Manchette wrote more than just these two masterpieces of existentialist French noir, but these two are my favorite. Both are available in English. Fatale from NYRB in an indifferent translation, and La position du tireur couché (as The Prone Gunman) in a better translation from City Lights Noir. If you can read French, you should. Manchette has been described as Guy Debord meets Rayond Chandler, and while that’s both reductive and inaccurate, it’s not entirely wrong.

This week in Los Angeles there occurred (and as I type this is still occurring, though not for a few hours yet) a book festival called the Los Angeles Time Festival of Books. It’s a compete clusterfuck, but people seem to enjoy it. Last year I went for the first time. I sat at the Book Soup table and signed copies of The Failure for an hour with Stephen Elliott, author of a bunch of books and editor of a website called The Rumpus. Nice guy.

Book Soup, for those who don’t live in Los Angeles, is a very fine independent bookstore here in LA. There are several. Stories in Echo Park and Skylight Books are examples of two others.

This year my publisher at Akashic Books, Johnny Temple, and his Managing Editor Johanna Ingalls flew in from New York (actually Johanna lives in Ireland, but that’s a long story) for the festival. On Wednesday, there was a reading at Book Soup featuring: Joseph Mattson, author of Empty The Sun, with whom I have conducted about eleventy-seven readings on both coasts of the United States for what seems like the last several years of my life; Nina Revoyr, author of Wingshooters, a very fine and finely-written novel; and Nathan Larson, author of The Dewey Decimal System. Nathan’s maybe (maybe) better known as a film composer and former member of Shudder To Think, but his book is brilliant. You should buy all three of these books. I did. (Well, I didn’t buy Joseph’s book, because I already own it. But you take my point.) While it would be impractical to suggest that you buy these books at Book Soup if you don’t live in LA, I hope you will consider patronizing your own local independent book store, rather than, say, Amazon, because these serve as much more than mere booksellers. They are, to me at least, sort of like shelter from the storm, if you imagine the unlettered world as a storm. Especially in Los Angeles, which despite a recent surge of literary activity that threatens to deface the city’s reputation as a black hole of culture, has not historically been known for its bookishness.

The photo above is my attempt to take a picture of Nathan reading from his novel at Book Soup, using my phone as a camera. Some people are very good at this. I am not one of those people. Afterwards we all went out to a nearby bar which shall remain nameless because of its impressive awfulness, and ate something unidentifiable, while Nathan and his old bandmate Craig Wedren and I swapped mid-90s rock stories. I will not trouble you with these. You’re welcome.

 

A brief list of inde rock summer reading recommended by Brandon Stosuy over at Stereogum includes Artificial Light, which is nice. You can read the list here.

While I would argue that Artificial Light is very much not “GBV-themed,” nor “indie rock-themed,” nor “rock-themed,” — it’s mainly about a librarian, after all — a plug is a plug and I appreciate the mention.

Granger Whitelaw | Dan Palmier | Dan Volonino

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Courtesy of the wonderful site BibliOdyssey via the Bibliothèque nationale de France, a set of gravures by the French artist Auguste-Louis Lepère for A rebours by J-K Huysmans. Astonishing.

Some of the better things I read, saw, or listened to last year, many of which were not released in 2010, which I know is not the point of a year-end list. Sorry. This list, moreover, is not the product of a great deal of reflection. These are off the top of my head looking around my room at what’s spilled on the floor or stuffed into bookcases. I should have provided hyperlinks, but I didn’t. Almost everything here is easily traceable via Google.

Movies:
The Tree of Life (trailer) (Terrence Malick)
Enter the Void (credits sequence) (Gaspar Noé)
Histoire(s) du Cinéma (J-L Godard)
Film Socialisme (J-L Godard)
Che Parts One and Two (Steven Soderbergh)
Les plages d’Agnès (Agnès Varda)
The Red Shoes (restored version) (Powell & Pressburger)

Books:

(I’m leaving out books for which I wrote blurbs, probably wrong-headedly).

Fiction
Jean Echenoz, L’occupation des sols
Maurice Blanchot, L’arrêt de mort
Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas
Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps
Mark Gluth, The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis
Justin Taylor, Everything Here Is The Best Thing Ever
Vladimir Nabokov, The Original of Laura
Kate Zambreno, O Fallen Angel
Joshua Cohen, Witz
I started Bolaño’s Savage Detectives but did not finish it, which is certainly not his fault. I really like his writing.

Non-Fiction
Comité invisible, L’insurrection qui vient
That Carl Jung Red Book thing. Best illustrated manuscript since the Book of Kells. Have not actually read a word.
Dennis Cooper, Smothered in Hugs

Music:
Robert Pollard, Moses On a Snail (GBV Inc.)
Unholy Two, $cum of the Earth (Columbus Discount)
Tyvek, Nothing Fits (In The Red)
Matador at 21 live stream because I’m both agoraphobic and busy.
I spent a lot of time with The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1959-1968 for complicated reasons.
Saw the Scott Walker documentary finally. Wish I hadn’t. It’s not that the doc was bad or that SW was in any way disappointing, it’s more that some things are better left to the imagination. This and The Day The Clown Cried come immediately to mind.
Guided By Voices reunion show at the Wiltern in LA. Old people rule. Except Brett Favre.