The blog of author Dennis Cooper

181 whimsical stares





p.s. Hey. ** Shane Christmass, Groovy. I hadn’t known of Neutral Spaces until you linked me there. Wow, a lot of amazing writers involved. I’ll go scour the site thoroughly in a bit. Thanks very much for the alert, man. Little House on the Bowery: Hard to say. It’s either on a very extended break, or it’s dead. My impression is that Akashic would be happy to have me continue it, but I haven’t communicated with them in a while. Basically, before I moved (for all intents and purposes) over here, my thing with LHotB was that I gave a big commitment to it, personally promoting the books, doing reading tours with the authors, and so on. When I moved over here, that became impossible both logistically and because I became very busy with projects here. I didn’t want to publish books I couldn’t thoroughly support. Plus, when I started LHotB, it was before the amazing boom of so many really good indie presses and online presses and so forth that exist in the US now, and there isn’t as much of a need for the imprint anymore. I started it because there were so many fantastic writers who weren’t able to get published. Now there are a lot of options. The last few books I wanted to publish at LHotB got snapped up by other presses, and Akashic nixed another book or two that I wanted to publish because they didn’t think the books would sell. So that’s basically the deal. LHotB may come back at some point, or maybe not. Probably not, I would guess. Thank you for asking. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Yes, definitely a Milligan cult. From what I can tell, it has a lot do with how his supposed repressed queerness and ‘self-hatred’ leaks/explodes into his films, but I don’t know. I made the post in order to investigate his stuff because I didn’t know it beforehand. ** Bill, Hi. Yeah, Dennis Dermody did a thing about Milligan on his great Original Cinemaniac blog, and that got me intrigued. I wish you luck balancing the code work and the concert-based allures, for sure. Output over input, when push comes to shove? Maybe that’s just my golden rule? ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Ah, curious about the new Mary Harron, so I look forward to reading your take. Everyone, Steve weighs in on the new film by Mary Harron, best known for ‘American Psycho’, right about here. I’m not following the Buttigieg thing and its related social media arguing very closely, but, based on what I’ve read, a faction of the ‘left’s’ attacks on him remind me a little bit of how a bunch of the ‘left’ used to denounce James Baldwin as an Uncle Tom when he was alive. ** Misanthrope, I’m having this feeling that today’s post will trigger a phobia of yours, am I wrong? Unless Ziggy can pull himself together, things have not ended up well for him. Which is a great tragedy. Your analysis of LPS’ thing, and it sounds wise from over here, is grim. Sociopathic control freaks can succeed, god knows (see: Trump), but they can also crash and burn in the non-prettiest way. I try to stay a million miles away from people like that. What a mess. ** Okay. Today I’m assaulting you with fake staring faces. There must be a way to enjoy the experience, and I trust you’ll find the way. See you tomorrow.


  1. A bunch of “The Left” (and I’m looking at you “Young Turks”) are frankly homophobic

    Today is Candace Bergen’s birthday. She spent the better part of her childhood dealing with the “Whimsical Stare” of Charlie McCarthy. .

  2. Amphibiouspeter

    May 9, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Hey DC, long time! These puppets have freaked me out ever since Derren Brown made a guy think he was a ventriloquists dummy and then put the dummy in the box. That guy has issues but still watched all the episodes.

    Have you been well?

  3. Wow, these stares are just as creepy as the dolls a few days ago. Are we approaching Halloween again?

    The coding is actually for an upcoming gig, so it’s a nice combination of input/output. I broke down and bought some new gear, and have to integrate it into my setup. It’s pretty awesome, but kind of like housebreaking a new kitten. I have about 3 weeks, yikes.


  4. Amphibiouspeter

    May 9, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Oh I forgot to add! I watched an interview with Cesar Aira the other day where he said something along the lines that writers have the urge to make an encyclopaedia (which he goes into in Birthday) and it made me think of your blog!

  5. IIRC that fellow with the monacle and bow tie would be a puppet named Lord Charles, a staple of my childhood teatime TV viewing years. His puppeteer Ray Alan is sometimes talked of as being the world’s all-time greatest ever ventriloquist, as this clip does maybe attest. I love that there’s two puppets involved, a bravura act of double ventiloquism in play.

  6. always great to see some representation of Lord Charles, Slappy and _Dead of Night_’s Hugo. v nostalgic post for me, thank you.

    i hope you’re well! dropping in to spill the beans on TM — i’ve got to be careful for obvious reasons, also i’ve signed a social media document so i can’t plead ignorance. all common sense stuff though, it’s only really a problem if i’m going to complain about it. which i’m not! everyone there so far is super nice! keeping my eye out for any officious types but so far, pretty chill.

    the only anxious bit is right at the beginning of the shift. you have to clock in, and if you’re more than 2min late you are officially ‘late’, and if you’re ‘late’ three times in three months there’s a meeting and disciplinary action is taken. so everyone is stressed running in in the morning. after that the job is v handhold-y, because the shops are so busy you aren’t given that many responsibilities, and everyone calms down a lot. a lot of retail people are also artists or noise musicians or writers, and obviously way overqualified to be there, so the atmosphere is exactly the right sort of creative/sarcastic vibe.

    the customers — apart from the fact that there are loads of them — are your usual London tourist lot. fewer edgy fashion ‘influencer’ people than at the other places i’ve worked, the sort of people i’m easily impressed by. i guess TM is less hip generally? i had to do a crafts table with kids on one shift, which was fun, but they were all rich London kids, so i got a lot of 7 yr old Tarquins who won first prize at art summer school with Picasso’s grandson etc etc. Nan Goldin came in last week and tried to get an exhibition catalogue for free (cos Ballad is currently running). she didn’t get it for free. but i admire her for trying, i think.

    the behind-the-scenes corridors are great as well, lots of cage-lined walls and old pipes and fridges and stuff. concrete everywhere. there’s a lift near the retail office which i’m obsessed with, it’s for carrying the huge works of art which come in so it’s absolutely massive, like eighteen wheeler-sized. i haven’t seen it working yet, hoping i’ll catch it sometime.

    i think that’s everything of note? so far. i’ll keep you all updated.

    my life has mostly been that and working on the exhibition text. i finally finished it, it’s online… here: https://www.domobaal.com/resources/mhairivari/mhairi-vari-oscar-nearly-tom-harts-bones-may-2019.pdf it turned into another dead body anatomy thing, which i swear has happened to about three or four of the things i’ve tried to write in the last year or two? it’s not a bad text, i don’t think, and 19th c. pathology manuals are fascinating, but it’s becoming a cliche of mine. so i’m stopping myself from writing about any dead things for a good while. let me know what you think of the text if you get the chance though, honestly.

  7. I didn’t know about that treatment of Baldwin. It seems strange given that he’s become such an icon in the past few years. But I’ve seen self-proclaimed socialists on Twitter casually make Eric Cartman-style bad puns around Buttigieg’s last name. Apparently you can be too far to the left to be homophobic if you think it’s hilarious that a gay man you dislike has a name with “butt” in it.

    I’m really looking forward to my interview with Floria Sigismondi tomorrow. I have 2 & 1/2 notebook pages of questions for her.

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