DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Author: DC (page 2 of 151)

The Story of Old Skull *

* (Restored)

 

‘In the late eighties, hardcore punk was dying on the vine. Many of the great bands had decided that they’d rather play metal or reggae and so the scene was beginning to wither and crack. But the whole genre was given a shot in the arm by the unlikeliest of bands from the unlikeliest of places.

‘The band was Old Skull and came out of Wisconsin, formed by the Toulon brothers, Jamie and J.P. and their friend Jesse Collins-Davies. The Toulon brothers were nine and ten years old respectively and Jesse was ten. The brother’s father, Vern Toulon, was friends with Robin Davies, a member of respected Wisconsin band Tar Babies and Davies suggested his stepson form a band with the Toulon brothers. Once the deal was sealed, Old Skull came together about 1987. Quickly developing a reputation for their age and the subject matter of the songs, they managed to snag a deal with Restless Records and entered the studio with future Garbage member and producer Steve Marker and their fathers, the trio cranked out a noisy album of pre-adolescent hardcore entitled Get Outta School in 1989.

 

 

‘The songs were a blend of speed and pure, youthful punk energy and the band were seen as either a complete joke or the real thing. They got write ups in Rolling Stone, Newsweek and People magazine and were seen on tour with The Flaming Lips and GWAR. But problems started as people began speculating that Vern Toulon had actually written all the songs and was pulling the strings behind the scenes. These questions were never given credible answers and so the mystery still surrounds.

‘After a lineup change which saw Collins-Davies leave the band and a new drummer being brought in, the original version of Old Skull fell apart by late 1990 and the kids went back to school and the name went quiet. That is until 1992 when a new Old Skull album entitled C.I.A. Drug Fest was released. This album was produced by Vern Toulon and saw the inclusion of another set of brothers, Chris and Josh Scott on guitars and vocals. J.P. and Jamie had switched places with J.P. playing drums and Jamie singing. The resulting record is extremely difficult to listen to as a punk record. It seems like a lot of noise masquerading as songs. But it is worth to own just as a novelty.

 

 

‘After a little touring in support of the record, the band disbanded for real and the members all began growing up and moved on with their lives. The Scott brothers dropped off the face of the earth entirely while the Toulon family as a whole went underground. During the band’s initial early days, the Toulon’s parents had divorced but the brothers kept going. Then sometime in the ’90’s, their mother was reported killed in a train accident but not much else was known beyond that. By that point, the world had forgotten Old Skull and the Toulon’s began a very rough patch in life.

‘In 2001, it was reported that Vern Toulon had passed away after years of alcoholism, an affliction that had gotten so bad that he was reportedly panhandling on the streets of Madison. The brothers didn’t say anything regarding his passing and nothing further was heard of the Toulon’s until a couple of years later when both of them reemerged in New York, squatting on the streets with what were called ‘crust punks.’ This group of punks were living on the streets of NYC and started making music dealing with their plights. Jamie in particular became a founding member of Star Fucking Hipsters, a side project of one of the more renowned of these bands, Leftover Crack. J.P. formed Planned Collapse and began playing small clubs around New York.

 

 

‘In 2005, the brothers reemerged on stage at CBGB as Old Skull playing a show with some friends backing them up. It would be one of the last times the brothers would be seen playing music. About this time, J.P. began dealing with a pretty nasty drug problem, one that would land him in jail and rehab over the years. But by 2010, it looked like J.P. had beaten the habit and had moved in with his son in an effort to keep himself clean. But then on November 13, 2010, it was reported that J.P. Toulon had passed away. No formal cause of death was ever announced but it had been reported that he’d been hospitalized with pancreatitis in the preceding months. In an even sadder twist of fate to all of this was that J.P. died the same day as Jamie’s birthday.

‘The small community of devoted Old Skull fans were devastated and word went out all over the Internet in memory. Jamie Toulon, on the other hand, was struggling with depression and continued living on the streets, just barely getting by. In the summer of 2011, he somehow wound up in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is where this author went to college. Having graduated three years before and moved back home, I never had a chance to run into Jamie but I would like to believe it would’ve been interesting and might have made for a great interview. How he wound up in the same city where I found myself as a writer and as a person is something I’ll always wonder about. Unfortunately, I never got to find this out.

 

 

‘In June of 2011, Jamie committed suicide in Lynchburg, tragically bringing an end to Old Skull and the sad history of the Toulon family. It was incredibly heartbreaking for friends and fans of the band to hear the news. What made it even worse was that his suicide came seven months after J.P.’s death. With Jamie’s death, fans made tributes and posted messages but in the mainstream, his death was not reported at all, as opposed to J.P.’s death.

‘While the Toulon brothers met very young and extremely tragic endings, the other founding member of the band has led a very successful life; Jesse Collins-Davies is now a DJ in Wisconsin and has a very successful career going for himself. It has been over twenty years since the first Old Skull record and during that time, there has never been one definitive interview chronicling the band’s career. Now with Collins-Davies the only surviving member of this teenage punk band, he might come out and do an interview and people will be more than ready to hear what he has to say.’ — Pete Crigler, Perfect Sound Forever

 


JP and Jamie Toulon, early ’90s

 

My Life with Old Skull (1994 – 2011)

‘When I was about 10 years old, my older brother Ben, who got me into bands like Minor Threat and The Dead Kennedy’s, turned me on to a band called Old Skull. This was around the time they released their 2nd album CIA Drug Fest. At the time their 1st album Get Outta School was released, the members of Old Skull were between the ages of 8 and 10. I was immediately drawn to them. I did not care that they couldn’t play there instruments. I knew that didn’t matter. As a very rebellious child I thought there could be nothing cooler than having a punk band at such an early age.

‘A few years later, my brother made some random decision to move to Madison, Wisconsin. A couple weeks after his big move (he was 16 by the way), I received a call from him, “Hey, I made some cool new friends out here. JP and Jamie Toulon. They’re brothers and they where in Old Skull. After Madison got old, Ben and JP decided to move to NYC and be squatters together. Train hopping was involved as well somewhere within these years. Jamie ended up moving to NYC sometime in the mix as well.

 


JP Toulon (around the time I met him)

 

‘JP was 15 when I met him, I was 13 I think. We ended up becoming good pals during the times that Ben would bring him up to visit. Mainly we just watched a lot of television together and would crack jokes. BB guns where a big part of our relationship as well. Jamie and I never got to close. He was a serious loner in most peoples eyes.

 


JP Toulon

 

‘JP and Jamie’s father had died of a heroin overdose at sometime or another. Their mother, hit by a train. This was probably a big factor in why they fell into deep dark drug addictions. My brother became a big part of that as well. Sometime, somewhere down the road, I had joined them. Ben was not supportive of my decision but at times he was forced to overlook that. There I was, going on dope runs with my childhood heroes. I thought I was bad until I saw JP do things like stick a syringe in his neck because all the veins in his arms had collapsed or shoot 10 bags at once. I am not calling myself a saint. I would constantly go on benders, run out of money, get sick, repeat. it turned into a scheduled agenda. I’ll spare the real gory details.

 


My brother Ben

 

‘To make a long story short, my brother, who was doing quite well, had one of his little slips about 3 years back. He was found dead on a bathroom floor. One year later JP died of a speedball overdose (cocaine and heroin mix). One year after that, Jamie hanged himself. But no matter how skeezy JP was, everybody loved him. He was one of the funniest and most charismatic people I have ever known. I haven’t even thought of doing hard drugs ever since my brother died. He left behind a beautiful little girl named Adelaide, she to me is better than any drug ever created. JP left behind a beautiful son named Aiden, who is the same age as my niece. My brother played a huge role in making me the man I am today and I am extremely thankful for that. I always count my blessings and I still think Old Skull is fucking awesome!’ — Andy Animal, Andy’s World

 


Jamie Toulon

 

Further

Old Skull @ Wikipedia
Old Skull @ Dead Punk Stars
Old Skull @ Myspace
the adventures of jeff & unkajeff: Old Skull
‘Old Skull are young and half-informed’
‘Is it cruel … ?’
‘“The Gospel According to…” Presents…Old Skull – Get Outta School’
‘old skull: the hardcore punk shaggs’
‘Old Skull Brother J.P. Toulon Found Dead’
‘Jamie Toulon died’

 

Gallery











 

Tracks


AIDS


Let’s Go Kill That Man


Hot Dog Hell


Get On the Bus


Kill A Dead Eagle


Skate or Die

 

 

*

p.. Hey. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, David. Interesting looking piece on Cavafy. I’ll read it. Thanks! ** Steevee, Hey. Your fave track was almost a hit. Its video got a lot of MTV play. Your analysis of the two albums makes sense. ‘One on One’ is when Cheap Trick started having to deal with record company interference. They — I think the label Epic — wanted them to be gigantic rather than an interesting, respected band that had hits once in a while. On those two albums, Cheap Trick managed to continue to be pretty much themselves and satisfy the label, but right after that they started compromising all over the place to keep their record deal, and the records get spotty for years. People forget and/or don’t know how difficult it was for interesting bands back when there were hardly any indie labels to move onto. And that point in time around those two Cheap Trick LPS was right when labels stopped supporting bands who were great and critically beloved but didn’t sell well. The Cheap Trick trajectory, and how it illustrates a major shift among the major record labels, is a very interesting story in and of itself. I’m glad the skittish new computer-gifter seems to have finally committed. I hope that sticks. Look forward to your review! Everyone, Steevee has reviewed the very interesting sounding new horror property ‘RAW’, right here. Go for it. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Thanks, yeah, it’ll be interesting to decide on the costumes. That’s one of the little fun parts. Oh, I can tell you their books, but it won’t mean too much because they’re chosen to reflect the characters and their particular situations, and describing those is way too lengthy and complicated for the p.s., but the books are … For the main character Roman: the French version of Max Frisch’s ‘The Man in the Holocene’. For Roman’s best friend Ollie: ‘Video Game Spaces’, by Michael Nitsche (in English). For a minor character (a teenager who ends up committing suicide): Edouard Leve’s ‘Autoportrait’. Ah, very glad you’ve killed your irritation with zzzz’s. Yesterday was a very, very long one. Started with auditioning a possible person to do the film’s decors and props. Then a very long meeting about the film’s shooting schedule. Then a meeting with the producer that was okay but stressful for reasons I can’t really go into at the moment. Then a meeting to organize the rehearsals (4 days in Paris, 2 days in Caen). Then setting up a meeting with a guy we hope will do the sound for the film. Then meeting about the custom pinatas, whose costs are over-budget but have to be there. Then Zac helped me clean my former apartment. So I was toast by the time yesterday finished. And today will be auditions for the missing main actor and more meetings, so it’s going to be another taxing one. Crazy lately. How was your hopefully much less exhausting Friday? ** Gregoryedwin, Hey, man! Always a joy for me when you pop in. So happy to have coincided with your jam. I’d really like to read that book of his lectures. I’ll look for it. Thanks a lot, buddy! ** Jamie, Hi! Yeah, Cortazar is pretty much always great. The short stories are terrific. His novel ‘Hopscotch’ is sometimes thought to be his best, and it is incredible. I’m good, just, wow, busy almost to the breaking point, but so far as so good. A guest post from you would be total manna if you’re up for it. The ominous meeting was not as ominous as we had feared, but it was still ominous for reasons to complicated to explain right now. Luckily the ominousness has to do with post-production, so we don’t have to stress too much about it until we finish shooting the film. Nope, not into stress. Well, I did stay in the old apartment longer, but, just give you the story’s end, about four months later the landlord was arrested because he beat the shit out of the woman he was married to, so we got a new landlord. A real charmer, that guy. What, that is unsettling! Yeah, I mean, a move might not be a bad idea, although having just gone through the hell of moving, it’s hard to recommend that option enthusiastically, But, yeah, under the circumstances, yeah. Eek about your phone and fingers. Bit of an odd time for you on your end at the moment, no? I hope that phase stops on a dime. Enjoy Ian Sinclair tonight? How was it? Love from the margins, Dennis. ** New Juche, Hey. Wow, what a very nice outcome, i.e, funded until 2020. Wow. And you survived. Congratulations! And finished your new book! Not bad, man, really, not bad at all. Cool. ** _Black_Acrylic, Thanks for the answer. I’m strangely interested in things like that. I’m a magazine reader on trains too. The Wire and Mojo when I have a choice. And nowadays also books since I have so little time to read them given my insane schedule. I have 4 three hour train trips ahead of me next week, so I hope to get a lot of text uploaded into me during them. I want to read the John Miller book a lot. I’m a great admirer of John’s mind. I’ve known him forever. He’s a pip. ** Misanthrope, At first I read you literally, i.e, that you were saying you’re like Cortazar, and I was, like, that’s an interesting development in my understanding of George. I envy your dreams. Even Iron Man being a woman is too imaginative for mine when I rarely remember them. Mine are more like gifs. Picnic with Hulk Hogan, now that’s some kind of dream. I’d like to dream that I’m having a picnic with Randy Savage. Without Slim Jims though. Well, I guess he could eat them. I do remember your space fear, yeah, that’s right. It’s the opposite of my fear of being in space and being afraid of looking at the tiny earth. ** Alistair, Hey! The film prep is intense, but it’s getting done, which is all I ask. Good, good, it’s a date: your book’s ‘welcome’ post. Oh, hm, I’ll send you my new address via Facebook. Watch for a message. Take care, pal! ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Actually, my intention was restore your post about Cortazar, but the images in the post — the ones scanned from the book — seem to have disappeared from my hard drive, so I had to go to Plan B. That’s funny: Greoryedwin is reading that book of lectures right now too, as you may have seen. The casting of our film is all set except one of the main roles — kind of the second main role — because the guy we wrote it for had to pull out. So we’re scrambling to replace him. We have auditions today and tomorrow. It’s very late, and we’re more than a bit anxious, but hopefully that’ll be set asap. Have not seen ‘Personal Shopper’ yet. I missed it when it played here, ages ago now. That is my fave Reed novel. But ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ is a close second. Yeah, I’m curious to hear what the reaction is. Let me know, if you don’t mind. Thanks! ** Lord_s, Lord_s! Wow, man, it’s been ages upon ages! Very awesome to see you! No, not yet. I’m planning to ask Stephen O’Malley when he’s back from the Sunn0))) tour for suggestions or even for something from his own past or something via Southern Lord because we need to get a track we can use for very little money. And, last but not least, I will audition every track you have kindly shared with me. Sweet. You good? What’s up? ** Right. Another restoration today. I thought I would bring back Old Skull. Kind of a whim decision, See you tomorrow.

Spotlight on … Julio Cortázar Blow Up and other Stories (1968) *

* (Restored)

 

“The review you are about to read is deceitful, arbitrary, subjective and useless. Julio Cortázar, whose novel, Hopscotch, is probably the best Latin American novel of our times, would suggest that any attempt to reduce a work so complex, profound, concrete, so labyrinthine and revolutionary, so desperate and tango-like, so entertaining and contradictory, . . . that to synthesize all this in a page, is to deform the book.”

‘These words were written in 1964 by a 22-year-old literary critic in Ercilla, then Chile’s most important weekly. The writer flailed on as he tried to convey the significance of the Argentine novelist and concluded by asking Cortázar’s forgiveness.

‘The man who wrote those words 50 years ago was me. And having commemorated the centenary of Cortázar’s birth this year, I find myself revisiting that old confusion. If anything, my dilemma has been compounded: In my youth, I was afraid of betraying his fiction. Now, so much older, I dread the prospect that I could betray the life itself of someone who considered me his brother.

‘But every act of writing entailed, according to Julio, some inevitable exercise of infidelity and duplicity. Silence, ultimately, was an even worse sin. May he forgive me yet again, then, for this homage, a form of keeping him alive.

‘It was thanks to the Chilean Revolution that I met Cortázar. In November of 1970, he flew to Santiago from Paris, where he had lived for nearly two decades as an expatriate, to attend the inauguration of Salvador Allende, the first socialist president of Chile.

‘Cortázar’s arrival drove young Chileans wild with enthusiasm, and I was the wildest of them all, his most ardent admirer. His first three books of short stories and his novel, The Prizes, turned ordinary life into a mystery and left us breathless, questioning our own sanity. And all this in the everyday street language of Buenos Aires, with a sly sense of humor.

‘But nothing prepared anyone for Hopscotch (1963), which became the foundational text of a generation: an earthquake of language, an assault on reality, anticipating, with its joy and radical demands on the reader, the social liberation that the youth of Latin America dreamed for our continent. “Hopscotch” challenged us to drastically break out of the prison-house of consciousness and history in which we were ensnared. We need, Cortázar said, to throw reality out the window and then throw out the window as well.

‘We became friends on that first occasion. Later, after the 1973 coup of General Pinochet that ended democracy in Chile, my wife, Angélica, and I had no home and no country, and it was Julio who received us and fed us and gave us refuge. No need to thank me, he would say — that’s what an elder brother does. I couldn’t imagine our roles ever being reversed.

‘In August of 1980, we went swimming in the bay of Zihuatanejo in Mexico, where our families were on vacation together. Our children had clambered back on the fishing boat Julio had rented for the day, and now it was Julio’s turn to climb up the ladder. I treaded water by his side, waiting patiently.

‘Abruptly, Julio said: “Ayúdame, Ariel.”

‘It took me a few moments to understand that he was asking for help. I boosted him up the ladder. In that brief, awkward moment that I held his body in my hands and helped him mount the boat, as I felt his bones, I was confronted by the irrefutable transience of Julio Cortázar. And indeed, less than four years later, the body from which Hopscotch and those perfect and hallucinatory stories had emerged was dead. Leaving me to search for some consolation.

‘A few years ago, on a visit to Buenos Aires, I noticed some words scrawled on a dirty white wall, addressed to Julio.

‘VOLVÉ, CORTÁZAR, QUÉ TE CUESTA?

‘Come back, Cortázar, how difficult can it be for you?

‘If so many of his characters could persist beyond death and the cascade of centuries, invading our everyday lives from ominous and malignant borderlands of fiction, why not Cortázar? Who is to tell us that he is not nearby, not only in his literature, not only in the memory of those who recollect him and who are also fading away into oblivion? Who can swear that Cortázar is not watching us, whispering to us from the other side of reality, and that he will continue to do so for century after century?’ — Ariel Dorfman

 




 

_____
Further

Julio Cortazar Website (Spanish)
Julio Cortazar’s Facebook Page
Works by Julio Cortazar (Spanish)
Julio Cortazar, his life
On JC’s ‘Hopscotch’ @ The Quarterly Conversation
Read ‘An Open Letter to Fidel Castro (1971)
Read JC’s ‘Cronopios and famas’ @ Google Books
Read JC’s ‘Continuity of Parks’

 

____
Extras


Julio Cortazar, documental biográfico


Entrevista completa a Julio Cortázar – Programa “A fondo”


Julio Cortázar (Paris)


ENTREVISTA A JULIO CORTÁZAR EN PARÍS.

 

______
Interview
from The Review of Contemporary Fiction

 

EPG:Let’s begin with some general questions. How would you characterize your writing within the context of a literary generation in Argentina and in Latin America?

JC: The question is somewhat ambiguous because there are many ways to belong to a generation. I suppose you are referring to a strictly literary generation. Let’s leave Latin America aside until later since the Argentine panorama is complicated enough. In order to understand generations you must have distanced yourself in time because while you are experiencing that generational context, you don’t realize it. I mean that when I began to write, or rather publish in 1950, I wasn’t aware of any generational context. I was able to discern some strengths, writers I admired in Argentina and others I detested; but now, twenty-five years later, I believe I’ll be able to say a few intelligent words about it. The first part of my work is situated along extremely intellectual lines, the short stories, Beastiary for example. It is rather logical to imagine that in the fifties I was inclined towards the most refined and cultured writers, and to some extent influenced by foreign literatures, that is European, above all English and French. It is necessary to mention Borges, at once, because fortunately for me, his was not a thematic or idiomatic influence but rather a moral one. He taught me and others to be rigorous, implacable in our writing, to publish only what was accomplished literature. It is important to point this out because, in that period, Argentina was very unkempt in literary matters. There was little rigor, little self-criticism. Someone as extra ordinary as Roberto Arlt, the opposite of Borges in every sense, was not at all self-critical. Perhaps for the best, since self-criticism might have rendered his writing sterile. His language is untidy, full of stylistic errors, weak. But it has an enormous creative force. Borges has less creative energy in that sense, but he compensates for it with an intellectual reflection of a quality and refinement that for me was unforgettable. And so I automatically leaned towards that hyper-intellectual bent in Argentina. But it is all ambivalent because at the same time I had discovered Horacio Quiroga and Roberto Arlt, populist writers. You know the division between the Florida and Boedo groups. I had also discovered those in Boedo. And what I called “force,” a moment ago, impressed me. So, for example, the whole “porteno” side of city life in the short stories of Bestiary, I owe—not as a direct influence but rather as rich themes—to Roberto Arlt. Because despite all that has been said about Borges’ Buenos Aires—a fantastic, invented Buenos Aires—that Buenos Aires does exist but it is far from being all that the city is. Arlt perceived things from below for cultural, vital and professional reasons and saw a Buenos Aires to live in and stroll through, to love in and suffer in, while Borges saw a Buenos Aires of mythic destinies, of a metaphysical mother and eternity. So you see, my place in that generation—which is not mine but the previous one—at the same time fulfills a kind of moral, ethical obedience to Borges’ great lesson, and a teluric, sensual, erotic (as you like) obedience to Roberto Arlt. There are many examples, of course, but this one should give you an idea of what I mean. Others in my generation followed similar paths at times, but I know of no one else who simultaneously encompassed those two poles. There were pseudo-Borgeseans who produced an imitative literature.

The worst one can do, as far as Borges is concerned, is try to imitate him. It would be like wanting to imitate Shakespeare. In Argentina, those who tried to copy Borges, with books full of labyrinths and mirrors and people dreaming they are dreamt by others—you know all those Borgesean themes—as far as I know, didn’t produce anything of value. On the other hand, those who tended towards a more populist approach, towards the Argentinian wan, like Arlt and Quiroga, there, many achieved extraordinary works. I would cite Juan Carlos Onetti’s case. He’s not Argentinian, but we make no distinctions between Uruguayans and Argentinians in literary matters. Quiroga was also Uruguayan. A man like Onetti, whose greatest early influence was William Faulkner, but, at the same time, the direct contact with the streets, the people, the men and women of Uruguay, had a personality that, in my opinion, made him one of the greatest novelists of Latin America. Onetti is a little older but we can be included in the same generation of those who were inclined towards realism and produced a more important work than those who sought the purely intellectual and fantastic side of Borgesean mythology. Unconsciously I ended up straddling the two sides because if you think about the short stories in Bestiary you will find what has concerned many critics and what everyone now knows, that my stories are, at once, very realistic and very fantastic. The fantastic is born of a very realistic situation, an everyday, routine episode with common people. There are no extraordinary characters like Borges’ Danes or Swedes or gauchos. No, my characters are children, youth, ordinary people; but the fantastic element suddenly appears. That was all completely subconscious for me. I’ve needed to read many critical studies to realize that. Really, I never know anything about myself; you critics are the ones who show me things, and then, I realize.

I’m going to tell you something, Evie. I don’t believe I’ve ever written anything intellectual. Some works lean in that direction; for example, Rayuela emerges from a concrete fact and the characters begin to talk, so they launch into theories. Well, you and I can also theorize now if we like. But it’s always on a secondary level. I wasn’t born for theorizing.

EPG: When you write, how do you choose the genre?

JC: I don’t. Before I begin, I have a general idea of what I want and I know automatically it has to be a short story. Or I know it is the first step towards a novel. But I don’t deliberate over it. The idea from which the short story is to be born already has the shape of a short story, its limits. Even long stories like “Reunion” (“Meeting”) or “Las babas del diablo.” I knew they were not novels but short stories. On the other hand, I sense at times that some elements begin to coalesce: they are much broader and more complex and require the novelistic form. 62 is a good example of that case. At first I began with a few very confused notions: the idea of that psychic vampirism that is later translated into the character of Helene. The idea of Juan as a character. Immediately, I under- stood that that was not a story, that it had to be developed as an extended novel. And that’s when I thought of chapter 62 in Rayuela and said to myself that this was the opportunity to try to apply it in practice to see if it could work. To try to write a novel in which psychological elements did not occupy center stage but rather the characters would be dominated by what I called a “figure” or a constellation. And they would react by doing things without knowing they were moved by other forces.

EPG: If you could save only five books from a fire that would consume all other books in the world, which ones would you pick?

JC: That’s the kind of question you cannot answer while the tape recorder is on.

EPG: Should we turn it off?

JC: No, because then the answer will be too pat, too well thought out. You say books, I don’t know; I think, for example, that one of the five works that I would like to save is a poem, a poem by Keats. Do you understand?

EPG: Yes.

JC: One of them.

EPG: Which one?

JC: Any one of the ones I love, the great odes: “Ode on a Grecian Urn” or “Ode to a Nightingale” or “To Autumn,” the great moments of Keats’s maturity. And while we’re talking about poetry, I’d like to save the Duino Elegies by Rilke. But five is an absurd number.

EPG: I know it’s an absurd number and it’s very difficult, but I’d like to know now, right now.

JC: OK. There’s a book of prose that I’d save, Ulysses. I think Ulysses is somehow the sum of universal literature. That would be one of the five books. I really should have punished you for this kind of question. Do you know how Oscar Wilde answered? They were more generous with him. They asked which ten books he would save. And Oscar Wilde answered, “Look, up till now I have only written six.”

EPG: You’re very humble to have not included any of your books.

JC: I don’t have to, I always carry them within me.

EPG: And what about Marx?

JC: I was thinking of literature. Of course, when you said books, I should have thought, from the historic point of view, of course, Marx and Plato’s dialogues.

EPG: You already have four of five. And now I’m almost ashamed to ask if you would have chosen the same books ten years ago when you wrote Rayuela?

JC: Yes, except perhaps for Marx. Because when I wrote Rayuela problems of an ideological or political nature didn’t interest me as they did afterwards. Perhaps the only exception would be Marx.

EPG: Nowadays which authors interest you most?

JC: It may seem strange to you but these last years, more than pure literature or fiction, I read books on anthropology, on certain kinds of contemporary psychoanalysis or psychiatry that fascinate me because I believe they are filled with possibilities as interesting as those of literature. And something I’ve done all my life and will always do is read poetry. I read vast quantities of poetry. No one asks me, no one interviews me or questions me about poetic themes, basing themselves on the principle that I’m not a poet but a prose writer. Nevertheless poetry is absolutely necessary for me and if there is some sort of nostalgia that I possess, it is that my work is not exclusively poetic.

EPG: But you include much poetry in your prose.

JC: Of course, and moreover I think part of my prose is thought out and conceived poetically, for example, Prosa del observatorio, not entirely because it is interspersed with those passages. But I believe it is a poem, above all the last part. It is very lyrical.

EPG: When you say you have to read poetry, that it is a necessity, which poets do you refer to?

JC: Since my youth I’ve leaned towards poetry in English, and now I still prefer poetry in English to any other, including French poetry that I have read with a greater sense of depth because I know French better than English. Nevertheless I have the impression that English is the language of poetry. Since my early years I felt profoundly touched by the English Romantics. Later I discovered medieval English poetry and I began to read anthologies. And later on I discovered Shakespeare, whom I’ve read more than once in English. Every once in a while I read him again, not all of him, but the works I prefer. Poetry in the English language is what really counts for me.

EPG: You like to compare the art of writing to boxing, to jazz and to photography. They’re your favorite hobbies. When did you become interested in them?

JC: What I do is pretty deliberate. For example, when I use metaphors or comparisons. In Latin America there is still the Romantic and somewhat quintessential tendency to search for metaphors and similes, the most noble comparisons possible. Now one can no longer compare someone to a swan but if one could, he would. Very early in life, I felt that one ought to approach the everyday elements in life that could be filled with beauty. A good boxing match is just as beautiful as a swan. So why not utilize it within a system of comparisons, within a scale of values. That’s why, almost from the start, there are many references of that sort in my books. It is purposely in order to desacralize, to bring literature down to earth because it should also have its feet on the ground. “High” and “low” are references in a Western scale of values, but at this moment they are changing and may already have changed for many people. When I was very young and began to work and had some money to buy a very poor camera, I began to take photos in a very systematic way, trying to perfect my technique. Later, my second camera was a little better. With it I took good pictures. I don’t know how to explain to you the reason for that interest. Down deep I think it was a literary one. Photography is sort of a literature of objects. When you take a photo, you make a decision. You frame some things and eliminate others. A good photographer is one who knows how to frame things better. And besides he knows how to choose by chance and there’s where surrealism comes into play. It has always seemed marvelous to me that someone can photograph two or three incongruous elements, for example, the standing figure of a man who, by some effect of light and shade projected onto the ground, appears to be a great black cat. On a profound level, I am producing literature, I am photographing a metaphor: a man whose shadow is a cat. I think I came to photography by way of literature.

EPG: So that for you photography holds a certain relationship to literature with regard to your approach to reality and perspective.

JC: Yes. And after, it became a way of completing certain texts of mine like Ultimo Round (The Last Round), where many photos are placed intentionally so that the reader may complete the selection with a visual image. The idea of collage—photo and text—fascinates me. If I had technical means to print my own books, I believe I would keep on making collage-books.

EPG: Can you choose one of these two sentences to describe Cortazar? “To live is to write” or “to write is to live?”

JC: “To live is to write,” of course not. As far as “to write is to live” is concerned, it is somewhat accurate. Writing is living a part of life, in my case a very, very important part, probably the most important, but not all of my life. I’m not one of those writers whose vocation takes over so that everything else lacks importance. I believe this was the case with Balzac, to some extent, and perhaps also with Vargas Llosa. He says so: to live, Vargas Llosa needs only a room, a table, a typewriter and to be left in peace with a lot of paper.

EPG: What would happen to you if you couldn’t write?

JC: I don’t know, I don’t know.

EPG: You’d be like the man in your short story who loses his head but they cannot bury him until suddenly he regains all his senses.

JC: Of course. If I were living in a country where they prohibited me from writing or if I were a prisoner and they gave me neither paper nor pencil, I don’t know. I can be very lazy about writing and spend long periods of time without writing anything, and I don’t feel worse for it. I do other things. I read, for example.

EPG: Do the nightmares and exorcisms emerge in a different form?

JC: Probably, no doubt.

 

___
Book

Julio Cortazar Blow Up and Other Stories
Random House

‘A young girl spends her summer vacation in a country house where a tiger roams…A man reading a mystery finds out too late that he is the murderer’s victim…In the stories collected here — including “Blow-Up;’ on which Antonioni based his film — Julio Cortazar explores the boundary where the everyday meets the mysterious, perhaps even the terrible. This is the most brilliant and celebrated book of short stories by a master of the form.’ — Random House

‘A juxtaposition of reality and dream sequences begin when the protagonist of The Night Face Up is hospitalized after a motorcycle accident. Asleep after surgery, he dreams that he is in flight from the Aztecs in a ritual war and must stay on a trail known only to the Motecas. He wakes, thirsty and feverish, to find his arm in a plaster cast. He eats and sleeps once more, dreaming this time that he is off the trail. He grasps his amulet and prays, but is captured. Awake again in the hospital, he thinks of the strange, almost infinite, loss of consciousness he had experienced after his accident. Dozing, he awakens this time pinned to the ground by ropes. His amulet is gone. He knows he will be sacrificed and the priests carry him away. He awakens one last time, but this reality quickly merges with the dream. The priest is coming toward him with the stone knife, and he realizes that he is not going to awaken; that he is awake, and that it is the other consciousness which was a dream.’ — The New Yorker

 

________
Excerpt

The Night Face Up

Halfway down the long hotel vestibule, he thought that probably he was going to be late, and hurried on into the street to get out his motorcycle from the corner where the next-door superintendent let him keep it. On the jewelry store at the corner he read that it was ten to nine; he had time to spare. The sun filtered through the tall downtown buildings, and he–because for himself, for just going along thinking, he did not have a name-he swung onto the machine, savoring the idea of the ride. The motor whirred between his legs, and a cool wind whipped his pantslegs.

He let the ministries zip past (the pink, the white), and a series of stores on the main street, their windows flash ing. Now he was beginning the most pleasant part of the run, the real ride: a long street bordered with trees, very little traffic, with spacious villas whose gardens rambled all the way down to the sidewalks, which were barely indi cated by low hedges. A bit inattentive perhaps, but tooling along on the right side of the street, he allowed himself to be carried away by the freshness, by the weightless con traction of this hardly begun day. This involuntary relaxa tion, possibly, kept him from preventing the accident. When he saw that the woman standing on the corner had rushed into the crosswalk while he still had the green light, it was already somewhat too late for a simple solu tion. He braked hard with foot and hand, wrenching him self to the left; he heard the woman scream, and at the collision his vision went. It was like falling asleep all at once. He came to abruptly. Four or five young men were get ting him out from under the cycle. He felt the taste of salt and blood, one knee hurt, and when they hoisted him up he yelped, he couldn’t bear the presssure on his right arm. Voices which did not seem to belong to the faces hanging above him encouraged him cheerfully with jokes and as­surances. His single solace was to hear someone else con firm that the lights indeed had been in his favor. He asked about the woman, trying to keep down the nausea which was edging up into his throat. While they carried him face up to a nearby pharmacy, he learned that the cause of the accident had gotten only a few scrapes on the legs. “Nah, you barely got her at all, but when ya hit, the impact made the machine jump and flop on its side . . .” Opinions, recollections of other smashups, take it easy, work him in shoulders first, there, that’s fine, and someone in a dust coat giving him a swallow of something soothing in the shadowy interior of the small local pharmacy.

Within five minutes the police ambulance arrived, and they lifted him onto a cushioned stretcher. It was a relief for him to be able to lie out flat. Completely lucid, but real izing that he was suffering the effects of a terrible shock, he gave his information to the officer riding in the am bulance with him. The arm almost didn’t hurt; blood dripped down from a cut over the eyebrow all over his face. He licked his lips once or twice to drink it. He felt pretty good, it had been an accident, tough luck; stay quiet a few weeks, nothing worse. The guard said that the motorcycle didn’t seem badly racked up. “Why should it,” he replied. “It all landed on top of me.” They both laughed, and when they got to the hospital, the guard shook his hand and wished him luck. Now the nausea was coming back little by little; meanwhile they were pushing him on a wheeled stretcher toward a pavilion further back, rolling along under trees full of birds, he shut his eyes and wished he were asleep or chloroformed. But they kept him for a good while in a room with that hospital smell, filling out a form, getting his clothes off, and dressing him in a stiff, greyish smock. They moved his arm carefully, it didn’t hurt him. The nurses were constantly making wise cracks, and if it hadn’t been for the stomach contractions he would have felt fine, almost happy.

They got him over to X-ray, and twenty minutes later, with the still-damp negative lying on his chest like a black tombstone, they pushed him into surgery. Someone tall and thin in white came over and began to look at the X rays. A woman’s hands were arranging his head, he felt that they were moving him from one stretcher to another. The man in white came over to him again, smiling, some thing gleamed in his right hand. He patted his cheek and made a sign to someone stationed behind.

It was unusual as a dream because it was full of smells, and he never dreamt smells. First a marshy smell, there to the left of the trail the swamps began already, the quaking bogs from which no one ever returned. But the reek lifted, and instead there came a dark, fresh composite fragrance, like the night under which he moved, in flight from the Aztecs. And it was all so natural, he had to run from the Aztecs who had set out on their manhunt, and his sole chance was to find a place to hide in the deepest part of the forest, taking care not to lose the narrow trail which only they, the Motecas, knew.

What tormented him the most was the odor, as though, notwithstanding the absolute acceptance of the dream, there was something which resisted that which was not habitual, which until that point had not participated in the game. “It smells of war,” he thought, his hand going instinctively to the stone knife which was tucked at an angle into his girdle of woven wool. An unexpected sound made him crouch suddenly stock-still and shaking. To be afraid was nothing strange, there was plenty of fear in his dreams. He waited, covered by the branches of a shrub and the starless night. Far off, probably on the other side of the big lake, they’d be lighting the bivouac fires; that part of the sky had a reddish glare. The sound was not repeated. It had been like a broken limb. Maybe an animal that, like himself, was escaping from the smell of war. He stood erect slowly, sniffing the air. Not a sound could be heard, but the fear was still following, as was the smell, that cloying incense of the war of the blossom. He had to press forward, to stay out of the bogs and get to the heart of the forest. Groping uncertainly through the dark, stoop ing every other moment to touch the packed earth of the trail, he took a few steps. He would have liked to have broken into a run, but the gurgling fens lapped on either side of him. On the path and in darkness, he took his bear ings. Then he caught a horrible blast of that foul smell he was most afraid of, and leaped forward desperately.

“You’re going to fall off the bed,” said the patient next to him. “Stop bouncing around, old buddy.” He opened his eyes and it was afternoon, the sun al ready low in the oversized windows of the long ward. While trying to smile at his neighbor, he detached himself almost physically from the final scene of the nightmare. His arm, in a plaster cast, hung suspended from an appa ratus with weights and pulleys. He felt thirsty, as though he’d been running for miles, but they didn’t want to give him much water, barely enough to moisten his lips and make a mouthful. The fever was winning slowly and he would have been able to sleep again, but he was enjoying the pleasure of keeping awake, eyes half-closed, listening to the other patients’ conversation, answering a question from time to time. He saw a little white pushcart come up beside the bed, a blond nurse rubbed the front of his thigh with alcohol and stuck him with a fat needle connected to a tube which ran up to a bottle filled with a milky, opales cent liquid. A young intern arrived with some metal and leather apparatus which he adjusted to fit onto the good arm to check something or other. Night fell, and the fever went along dragging him down softly to a state in which things seemed embossed as through opera glasses, they were real and soft and, at the same time, vaguely distaste ful; like sitting in a boring movie and thinking that, well, still, it’d be worse out in the street, and staying.

A cup of a marvelous golden broth came, smelling of leeks, celery and parsley. A small hunk of bread, more precious than a whole banquet, found itself crumbling lit tle by little. His arm hardly hurt him at all, and only in the eyebrow where they’d taken stitches a quick, hot pain siz zled occasionally. When the big windows across the way turned to smudges of dark blue, he thought it would not be difficult for him to sleep. Still on his back so a little un comfortable, running his tongue out over his hot, too-dry lips, he tasted the broth still, and with a sigh of bliss, he let himself drift off.

First there was a confusion, as of one drawing all his sensations, for that moment blunted or muddled, into himself. He realized that he was running in pitch dark ness, although, above, the sky criss-crossed with treetops was less black than the rest. “The trail,” he thought, “I’ve gotten off the trail.” His feet sank into a bed of leaves and mud, and then he couldn’t take a step that the branches of shrubs did not whiplash against his ribs and legs. Out of breath, knowing despite the darkness and silence that he was surrounded, he crouched down to listen. Maybe the trail was very near, with the first daylight he would be able to see it again. Nothing now could help him to find it. The hand that had unconsciously gripped the haft of the dagger climbed like a fen scorpion up to his neck where the protecting amulet hung. Barely moving his lips, he mumbled the supplication of the corn which brings about the beneficent moons, and the prayer to Her Very High ness, to the distributor of all Motecan possessions. At the same time he felt his ankles sinking deeper into the mud, and the waiting in the darkness of the obscure grove of live oak grew intolerable to him. The war of the blossom had started at the beginning of the moon and had been going on for three days and three nights now. If he man aged to hide in the depths of the forest, getting off the trail further up past the marsh country, perhaps the warriors wouldn’t follow his track. He thought of the many prison ers they’d already taken. But the number didn’t count,only the consecrated period. The hunt would continue until the priests gave the sign to return. Everything had its number and its limit, and it was within the sacred period, and he on the other side from the hunters.

He heard the cries and leaped up, knife in hand. As if the sky were aflame on the horizon, he saw torches mov ing among the branches, very near him. The smell of war was unbearable, and when the first enemy jumped him, leaped at his throat, he felt an almost-pleasure in sinking the stone blade flat to the haft into his chest. The lights were already around him, the happy cries. He managed to cut the air once or twice, then a rope snared him from behind.

“It’s the fever,” the man in the next bed said. “The same thing happened to me when they operated on my duode num. Take some water, you’ll see, you’ll sleep all right.”

Laid next to the night from which he came back, the tepid shadow of the ward seemed delicious to him. A vio let lamp kept watch high on the far wall like a guardian eye. You could hear coughing, deep breathing, once in a while a conversation in whispers. Everything was pleas ant and secure, without the chase, no . . . But he didn’t want to go on thinking about the nightmare. There were lots of things to amuse himself with. He began to look at the cast on his arm, and the pulleys that held it so com­fortably in the air. They’d left a bottle of mineral water on the night table beside him. He put the neck of the bottle to his mouth and drank it like a precious liqueur. He could now make out the different shapes in the ward, the thirty beds, the closets with glass doors. He guessed that his fever was down, his face felt cool. The cut over the eye brow barely hurt at all, like a recollection. He saw himself leaving the hotel again, wheeling out the cycle. Who’d have thought that it would end like this? He tried to fix the moment of the accident exactly, and it got him very angry to notice that there was a void there, an emptiness he could not manage to fill. Between the impact and the mo­ment that they picked him up off the pavement, the pass ing out or what went on, there was nothing he could see. And at the same time he had the feeling that this void, this nothingness, had lasted an eternity. No, not even time, more as if, in this void, he had passed across some thing, or had run back immense distances. The shock, the brutal dashing against the pavement. Anyway, he had felt an immense relief in coming out of the black pit while the people were lifting him off the ground. With pain in the broken arm, blood from the split eyebrow, contusion on the knee; with all that, a relief in returning to daylight, to the day, and to feel sustained and attended. That was weird. Someday he’d ask the doctor at the office about that. Now sleep began to take over again, to pull him slowly down. The pillow was so soft, and the coolness of the mineral water in his fevered throat. The violet light of the lamp up there was beginning to get dimmer and dim mer.

As he was sleeping on his back, the position in which he came to did not surprise him, but on the other hand the damp smell, the smell of oozing rock, blocked his throat and forced him to understand. Open the eyes and look in all directions, hopeless. He was surrounded by an absolute darkness. Tried to get up and felt ropes pinning his wrists and ankles. He was staked to the ground on a floor of dank, icy stone slabs. The cold bit into his naked back, his legs. Dully, he tried to touch the amulet with his chin and found they had stripped him of it. Now he was lost, no prayer could save him from the final . . . From afar off, as though filtering through the rock of the dungeon, he heard the great kettledrums of the feast. They had carried him to the temple, he was in the underground cells of Teo calli itself, awaiting his turn.

He heard a yell, a hoarse yell that rocked off the walls. Another yell, ending in a moan. It was he who was screaming in the darkness, he was screaming because he was alive, his whole body with that cry fended off what was coming, the inevitable end. He thought of his friends filling up the other dungeons, and of those already walk ing up the stairs of the sacrifice. He uttered another choked cry, he could barely open his mouth, his jaws were twisted back as if with a rope and a stick, and once in a while they would open slowly with an endless exertion, as if they were made of rubber. The creaking of the wooden latches jolted him like a whip. Rent, writhing, he fought to rid himself of the cords sinking into his flesh. His right arm, the strongest, strained until the pain became unbear able and he had to give up. He watched the double door open, and the smell of the torches reached him before the light did. Barely girdled by the ceremonial loincloths, the priests’ acolytes moved in his direction, looking at him with contempt. Lights reflected off the sweaty torsos and off the black hair dressed with feathers. The cords went slack, and in their place the grappling of hot hands, hard as bronze; he felt himself lifted, still face up, and jerked along by the four acolytes who carried him down the pas sageway. The torchbearers went ahead, indistinctly light ing up the corridor with its dripping walls and a ceiling so low that the acolytes had to duck their heads. Now they were taking him out, taking him out, it was the end. Face up, under a mile of living rock which, for a succession of moments, was lit up by a glimmer of torchlight. When the stars came out up there instead of the roof and the great terraced steps rose before him, on fire with cries and dances, it would be the end. The passage was never going to end, but now it was beginning to end, he would see sud­denly the open sky full of stars, but not yet, they trundled him along endlessly in the reddish shadow, hauling him roughly along and he did not want that, but how to stop it if they had torn off the amulet, his real heart, the life center.

In a single jump he came out into the hospital night, to the high, gentle, bare ceiling, to the soft shadow wrapping him round. He thought he must have cried out, but his neighbors were peacefully snoring. The water in the bottle on the night table was somewhat bubbly, a translucent shape against the dark azure shadow of the windows. He panted, looking for some relief for his lungs, oblivion for those images still glued to his eyelids. Each time he shut his eyes he saw them take shape instantly, and he sat up, completely wrung out, but savoring at the same time the surety that now he was awake, that the night nurse would answer if he rang, that soon it would be daybreak, with the good, deep sleep he usually had at that hour, no im ages, no nothing . . . It was difficult to keep his eyes open, the drowsiness was more powerful than he. He made one last effort, he sketched a gesture toward the bottle of water with his good hand and did not manage to reach it, his fingers closed again on a black emptiness, and the passageway went on endlessly, rock after rock, with momentary ruddy flares, and face up he choked out a dull moan because the roof was about to end, it rose, was opening like a mouth of shadow, and the acolytes straightened up, and from on high a waning moon fell on a face whose eyes wanted not to see it, were closing and opening desperately, trying to pass to the other side, to find again the bare, protecting ceiling of the ward. And every time they opened, it was night and the moon, while they climbed the great terraced steps, his head hanging down backward now, and up at the top were the bonfires, red columns of perfumed smoke, and suddenly he saw the red stone, shiny with the blood dripping off it, and the spinning arcs cut by the feet of the victim whom they pulled off to throw him rolling down the north steps. With a last hope he shut his lids tightly, moaning to wake up. For a second he thought he had gotten there, because once more he was immobile in the bed, except that his head was hanging down off it, swinging. But he smelled death, and when he opened his eyes he saw the blood-soaked fig ure of the executioner-priest coming toward him with the stone knife in his hand. He managed to close his eyelids again, although he knew now he was not going to wake up, that he was awake, that the marvelous dream had been the other, absurd as all dreams are-a dream in which he was going through the strange avenues of an astonishing city, with green and red lights that burned without fire or smoke, on an enormous metal insect that whirred away between his legs. In the infinite he of the dream, they had also picked him up off the ground, some one had approached him also with a knife in his hand, approached him who was lying face up, face up with his eyes closed between the bonfires on the steps.
—-

 

*

p.s. Hey. Just want to say, if it matters, that you’ll be seeing more restored posts than usual for the next while because the preparations for Zac’s and my film are starting to lock down my days to the point where the time I normally spend making new posts is getting very sliced and diced. I’ll try to keep the number of restorations as low as I can, and I’ll hope that either you won’t have seen the returning posts before or will be happy to see them again if you have. Thanks. ** David Ehrenstein, Thank you kindly for the beautiful characterization, sir. ** James Nulick, Hi. You’re a coaster guy then. Nice story. Someone should edit a book of theme park-set stories. Enjoy SoCal, man. Ha, yeah, back in the day whenever my mom would say to me, ‘You look good’, that was always a signal to me to start starving myself. I don’t think I could handle Bible study. Any resulting flights of fancy of note? Thanks, and thanks again! ** Jamie, Hi, J-J. I am happy to be warm and actually clean whenever I want to be clean again. Yikes, about the almost break-in. That’s eerie for sure. Do you have, like, an alarm system our anything? In the early 80s when I was living in West LA, I came home one day, unlocked my door, and found my landlord (who lived in the building) in my apartment, which was weird, and he was acting strange and left super fast, and when I looked around, he had unplugged my TV, stereo, and other valuable stuff and put them in pile, obviously preparing to steal them. When I went outside and found him, he offered me $500 to not report him, and I took it ‘cos I was very broke. I’m still unpacking and dealing with basically non-stop film stuff. Things are smooth, although there are a few crises at the moment, and our producer has set up a meeting to ‘talk about things’ this afternoon, and Zac and I are a bit scared of what that’s about. But, yeah, mostly fine. Understood about the office things basically triggering the emotional stuff. No, I actually hate when a process involves putting out lots of fires. I can do it without having a nervous breakdown, I guess, but, no, I’m, not into it. We’re kind of edging that situation at the moment with the film, and I’m working on keeping calm and pragmatic. I’m glad you liked the Reinke. Yeah, cool stuff. I still haven’t had a lengthy enough moment to be able actually explore my hood other than locating the closest tabac and market, but I’ll tell you when I do. You have a sweller than an ocean swell day. Busy love, Dennis. ** Scunnard, Hey! Buddy boy! It’s awfully nice to see you, my friend! How are you? Any chance of a catch up from your end? Would be heavily welcome. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Thanks for the link re: Kate Monica. Your love of her will get me heavily investigating her work as soon I get my next work break. Two day irritation spell, a serious one. Did your sleep last night finally knock it out, I hope? Yesterday Zac and I had a long meeting with our film’s costume designer to start picking out the outfits for the characters. She’s cool, so I think it’ll be good. Did more unpacking. There are three moments in our film where characters are reading books, and I’m in charge of choosing the right books, and I decided on two of the three, and third one is close to being picked. It’s tricky. We want the books to be meaningful and clue-like, but not too obvious. I started reaching out to get hopeful permissions for the music we want to use in the film. We need a Death Metal track, two interesting dance tracks, and, the only specific one, a song by Destroyer, which we’re hoping he’ll let us or use without charging us too much. And, yeah, more work like that. Today is a very, very long day of film meetings and stuff, so we’ll see about that. How was your Thursday? Calm in addition to eveything else, I hope. ** New Juche, Hi, Joe. Got your email, thanks! I’ll set about making a post, and I’ll hit you up if I think I need stuff from you. There are almost literally 12 new amusement parks planned for the Emirates. I suspect that ultimately only two or three of them will actually happen. How soon do you fly home? It’s getting close, no? You must be awfully happy about that. ** Steevee, Hi. Yes, curious about this seemingly out of the blue interest in Clarke’s work now. I guess the DVD collection came out recently, no? I assume that has something to do with it. Wild if the new Malick matches those other controversies. And nice since those films’ worth have ultimately won the battle. I like both ‘One on One’ and ‘Next Position Please’ quite a lot, but I’m the opposite, I prefer ‘One on One’, the songs themselves and its production to Rundgren’s sound on ‘NPP’, which I think is a little too clean and Rundgrenized, but it’s apples and oranges. ‘I Want You’ on ‘OoO’ is one of my very, very favorite Cheap Trick songs. ** _Black_Acrylic, Yeah, agree about ‘The Sketch’. And what an excellent name for a roller coaster. That game sounds super fun, nice. Safe trip to Leeds. How do you generally spend your time on train trips? ** Bill, Hey. I know, right? And I think it’s actually happening and close to being opened, shockingly. Oh, say hi to Omar for me! Cool! ** Misanthrope, Space guy, eh? Space is so seductive. I was going too say that’s weird but it’s not weird at all. Is not ‘The Dream Police’ a killer song? High five. I love your dream. Ha ha, I’ll tell Zac. It’ll probably make him want us to design a line of socks, which, you know … why not? ** Alistair, Hi, A! Thank you so much again! Zac was really touched by your good words. He’s a big fan of your novel. Ha ha, yes, we tried about 18 different ways of her saying ‘totally’, and that one won, I guess for the obvious reasons. Oh, wow, the new book is really close! When does it come out exactly? Can I make a ‘welcome to the world’ post here about it to do the blog’s small part in being one of its real world’s ushers? Bunch of love, Dennis. ** Jeff Coleman, Hi, Jeff! ** Right. I’ve brought back this post about the awesome Julio Cortazar’s book. Hope it adds to your day. See you tomorrow.

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