The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Hector Bannister presents … Cigarettes Day


“I sat there and poisoned myself with cigarette smoke and listened to the rain and thought about it.” — Raymond Chandler

“This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings.” — Joan Miro

“The time of a cigarette is a parenthesis, and if it is shared, you are both in that parenthesis.” — John Berger



Cigarettes in contemporary art: Jac Leirner ‘Lung’, Yang Yongliang ‘Cigarette Ash Landscape’, Tom Wesselmann ‘Smoking Cigarette’, Richard Prince ‘Untitled (man’s hand with cigarette)’, Xu Bing ‘Tobacco Project’, Marcel Duchamp ‘Couverture-Cigarette (Stripped-Down Cigarette Tobacco)’, Chris Jordan ‘Toxic Forest’, Julian Opie ‘Ruth with Cigarette 3’, Jon Pylypchuk ‘Cigarettes’, Pavel Büchler ‘Work (All the cigarette breaks)’, Robert Larson ‘Quantum Marlboro’, Chris Jordan ‘Running the Numbers, An American Self Portrait (2006-2007)’, Wilhelm Sasnal ‘Girl Smoking (Anka)’, Roy Lichtenstein ‘Cigarette’, Maria Nordman ‘Filmroom, Smoke’, Donna Conlon ‘Step on a Crack’, Camilo Rojas ‘Flavor’, Paul Erschen “Newport Room’, …



Historians have long concurred in identifying professional authors as the occupational group most prone to habitual tobacco use.

Writers are most closely associated with the practice of smoking in particular, as if, in the general consensus, the scribe could find inspiration in a tobacco pouch or pry the muse from her hiding-places with a few puffs of poisonous fumes. Other stimulants have found favor among the authorial class; a special example being coffee—Voltaire and Balzac were known to have downed prodigious quantities on a daily basis—but no substance, except for printer’s ink, has been seen to play so important and intimate a role in the life of the workaday wordsmith.

History has preserved only the slimmest visual record of other fads and fashions of tobacco-taking, such as snuff-inhalation and wad-chewing, perhaps because of the unattractiveness and perceived vulgarity of the sniffing and spitting attending these methods of ingestion, although posterity has left many prized examples of sterling silver snuff boxes and gleaming brass cuspidors. Archives abound, on the other hand, with groaning files of photographs of this or that celebrated author taking a deep, satisfying drag from pipe, cigar, or cigarette. (continued)



Cigarettes is identified by Harry Mathews as his only “purely Oulipian novel.” Its method of composition has not be revealed beyond a statement that it is based on a “permutation of situations”.

‘During this time, I decided to write an Oulipian novel. And I created this abstract scheme of permutations of situations in which A meets B, B meets C, and so forth. There’s no point in looking for it now because no one will ever figure it out, including me.’ — Harry Mathews

‘In the Oulipo, there are two schools of thought. People like Calvino and Perec said that the author should acknowledge the methods he’s been using. And the other clan, which included Raymond Queneau and myself, thinks it’s much better not to let on, because this will keep the reader straining to find out.’ — Harry Mathews

INTERVIEWER: Cigarettes… Why that title?
HARRY MATHEWS: The question, “Why is the book called Cigarettes?” is a question that should be asked.



‘Jessica Price was assaulted in the street by Carl Powell, who attempted to strangle her and dragged her to a remote spot to kill her. But she asked to share his cigarette, which convinced him not to harm her. After the 23-year-old called police to report her ordeal, she learned that he had killed another young woman in almost identical circumstances just a month earlier. She had recently returned from travelling overseas and was enjoying a reunion with friends on the night of the attack. Although the evening did not wrap up until 3am, she decided to walk the 40 minutes to the family home alone, as she was very familiar with the route. She listened to her iPod on the walk, but when she noticed a stranger catching up with her she turned down the volume in order to be on the alert. Seconds later he lunged at her, wrapping his hands around her neck and throttling her. ‘I noticed he was smoking a cigarette,’ she says, ‘and with the little breath I had left inside me, I managed to say “Can I have a drag?” I don’t usually smoke, but I asked for a drag, if only so he could see I had something in common with him. He gave me a drag and even apologised for scaring me. After a while, I just said to him, “Look, you’re headed in the same direction as me. Let’s walk together”.’ He clutched her hand as they started walking back up to the main road, with Mr Price making a mental note of where Powell dropped his cigarette butt. ‘I told him I needed to get home as my mum would be frantic. Then he said to me, “At least feel what you’re doing to me,” and he shoved my hand down his trousers. I squirmed as he smiled. I thought quickly and said, “But we shared a cigarette!” That seemed to confuse him, and he let me go. “You’re right,” he said, almost sheepishly. Then I escaped. I hope he burns in hell.” — Daily Mail



‘The flip-top cigarette pack is one of the most successful pieces of packaging design in history. Tank Books pay homage to this iconic form by employing it in the service of great literature. We have launched a series of books designed to mimic cigarette packs – the same size, packaged in flip-top cartons with silver foil wrapping and sealed in cellophane. The titles are by authors of great stature – classic stories presented in classic packaging; objects desirable for both their literary merit and their unique design. Titles: Joseph Conrad “Heart of Darkness”, Ernest Hemingway “The Undefeated” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, Franz Kafka “The Metamorphosis” and “In the Penal Colony”, Rudyard Kipling “The Man Who Would Be King”, “The Phantom Rickshaw” and “Black Jack”, Robert Louis Stevenson “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, Leo Tolstoy “The Death of Ivan Ilych” and “Father Sergius”.’ — Tank Books



Message boards say that Winston’s are the closest a person can get to an unfiltered cigarette that actually has a filter. This note is listed with a picture of a 1974 ad that says, I smoke for one reason. I don’t smoke a brand to be like everybody else. I smoke because I enjoy it…Real taste—and real pleasure—are what smoking’s all about. Winston is for real.

I wonder if they know what “real” is. Real is having a mother who might have cancer. Real is her fear of being buried alive and her fear of fire. Real is your mother requesting to be Saran-wrapped in her recliner with a cigarette in her hand to preserve her legacy.

That what’s real about Winston’s. (continued)


Irving Penn


by Jacques Prévert

He poured the coffee
Into the cup
He put the milk
Into the cup of coffee
He put the sugar
Into the coffee with milk
With a small spoon
He churned
He drank the coffee
And he put down the cup
Without any word to me

He lit
One cigarette
He made circles
With the smoke
He shook off the ash
Into the ashtray
Without any word to me
Without any look at me

He got up
He put on
His hat on his head
He put on
His raincoat
Because it was raining
And he left
Into the rain
Without any word to me
Without any look at me

And I buried
My face in my hands
And I cried.



Candy cigarettes predispose children who play with them to smoke the real things later, new research concludes. The look-alikes made of candy or gum are marketing and advertising tools that desensitize kids and open them moreso to the idea of smoking later on, says study leader Jonathan Klein of the University of Rochester. Candy cigarettes cannot be considered simply as candy, Klein said. The study is the first to show a statistical link between a history with fake cigarettes and adult experiences with real smokes—22 percent of current or former smokers had also regularly consumed candy cigarettes, while only 14 percent of those who have never smoked had eaten or played with candy cigarettes often or very often. Candy cigarettes reportedly have been restricted or banned in Canada, the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, among other countries. Legislative bans also have been proposed in several U.S. states and in New York City over the years, but all these failed except in North Dakota where a ban stood from 1953 until it was repealed in 1967. In the United States, candy cigarettes are typically sold next to bubble gum and trading cards, but some retailers refuse to sell them. For instance, Wal-Mart bans the sale of tobacco and tobacco look-alike products to minors in its stores nationwide.’ —



“Did the game of stealing please many? Here, on the other side, they were in sync, their bowls of muesli crooning to the sidelong bats of evening, and then they were let out to smoke a cigarette in the meadow.” — John Ashbery

“We sure live in a bizarre and furious galaxy, but now it’s up to us to make it into an environment for maps to sidle up to, as trustingly as leeches. Heck, put us on the map, while you’re at it. That way we can smoke a cigarette, and stay and sway, shooting the breeze with night and her swift promontories.” — John Ashbery

“There is a great deal on the ground today, not just mud, but things of some importance, too. Like, silver paint. How do you feel about it? And, is this a silver age? Yeah. I suppose so. But I keep looking at the cigarette burns on the edge of the sink, left over from last winter. Your argument’s neatly beyond any paths I’m likely to take, here, or when I eventually leave here.” — John Ashbery



THE CIGARETTES by D. Foy: That Saturday, on his way home from the Quik Stop where he’d blown his allowance on sweets, near the edge of the field, he saw a pack of cigarettes. Had the brand been Benson and Hedges, or Vantage, or Pall Mall—anything short of Marlboro or Camel, which to his mind even then were the only cigarettes worth their smoke—he might’ve kept on. But in fact they were Marlboros, and not Marlboro Lights, in the white and gold pack, but Marlboro Reds, in the soft pack, totally superior. It wasn’t that he could not not look at this package in the weeds. He could not not stop looking at this package in the weeds.

Already the cigarettes had him, already he was theirs.

Blue skies ruled, sunshine ruled, summertime would come with its water balloons and swimming pools, milkshakes and barbeques, mornings late in bed his father gone to work, cartoons daily, mischief with his pals in the afternoons, baseball practice and baseball games, the A’s on the tube, the Paradero’s hideout, camping in Yosemite, and—best of all!—firecrackers and firewheels, roman candles, M-80s, bottle rockets and Piccolo Petes, smoke bombs and sparklers and cakes . . .

On the street now and then a car hummed by, the drivers thoughtless of his schemes—some stupid kid staring at a field as he gummed his lollipop and farted.

Three or four robins bounced through the sprinklers on a lawn, and cabbage moths roamed the field at whose far side, near the eucalyptus by the freeway, stood a fort, actually just a big bush in whose hollow boys pretended they were gunners in their nest or hunters in their hutch, and older boys banged their girls or jerked off to the honeys and bunnies on the pages of Playboys and Hustlers left behind for fledgling crooks like him. The old willow before the Elks Lodge up the way had begun to bloom. Late last summer Mike Paradero had bared his ass from a fork in its branches to shit down on him and Paul Paradero and Pedro Jones, that weird redhead kid who just a few weeks back had led them to his yard to peer through the window as he, Pedro Jones, sneaked up to his fat mother snoring naked on the couch and plucked one of the hairs on her belly and thighs. A block past the Elks Lodge, a lab at his heel, an old dude dumped a catcher of grass into his pickup truck. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. Some doves swept by, then circled round to settle in the willow at the lodge. The sun was really shining. The sky was really blue.

The pack was still half full, he could tell, or thereabout. He picked it up, and, by golly, there they were, eight of them, just as he’d thought, almost half a pack of real-life actual cigarettes. (continued)



Cigarettes in the feed: History’s Dumpster: Forgotten Cigarette Brands, Bird Starts Fire With Cigarette, Burns House, My Strange Addiction: Eating Cigarette Ashes, Check Out These Weird Russian Cigarette Brands That Target Young Girls, Cigarette Butts Help Bird Nests Repel Parasites, Patent: Cheese-Filter Cigarette, Camel “Crush” cigarettes spray menthol from internal capsule, Electronic cigarette explodes in man’s face, blows out his teeth, part of tongue, ‘Vaping’ culture ridiculous, Tobacco advertising in the 1920s was weird, Cigarette Smoke Tricks, Cigarette-Smoking Monkey Weds Fellow Primate, Would You Drink Tobacco Flavored Vodka?, Medicinal uses of tobacco in history, Polar Cigarette Cards, Dad’s plea to litterbugs fuelling son’s cigarette butt habit, The Cigarette Century, School allows kids fag breaks to stop them bunking off, “Fu King” Smoke Shop Name Has Residents Fuming, Artist creates Brad Pitt portrait using cigarette ash, Smoking While Pregnant May Lead To Gay Babies, …



‘In Cigarettes are Sublime, that great elegy to smoking, Richard Klein predicts a time when there are no smokers left anywhere in the world: ‘What was once the unique prerogative of the most refined and futile dandies, having become the luxury of billions of people, may abruptly vanish. Will anything have been lost? On the day when some triumphant ‘antitabagist’ crushes under his heel the last cigarette manufactured on the face of the earth, will the world have any reason to grieve, perhaps to mourn the loss of a cultural institution, a social instrument of beauty, a wand of dreams?’ Well, something will have been lost – the entire 20th-century movie canon for a start. Can you think of any good movies without smoking in them? March of the Penguins, anyone? If you discount historical films such as Barry Lyndon or Ben-Hur, a diet of non-smoking films would be almost unwatchable. But what would be most tragically lost are the great black-and-white smoking films of the 1940s – Casablanca, Now, Voyager, The Big Sleep – where wreaths of smoke are an essential and beautiful part of the cinematography, and where smoking quite clearly stands for sex. All these symbolic nuances will be lost once smoking is abolished. Already, I think they are being distorted as modern audiences view smoking with new, health-conscious sensibilities. There is a great scene in The Graduate when Mrs Robinson draws on her cigarette just before Benjamin suddenly kisses her. She holds the smoke in until the kiss is finished and then exhales, with just the slightest hint of contempt. At the time (and to me still), it seemed the ultimate proof of her sophistication, but I suppose to modern, non-smoking audiences it just seems disgusting.’ (cont.) — Lynn Barber



Q:Why do a lot of writers and musicians smoke cigarettes?

A: Stress. Unfathomable, breathing down your neck stress.
A: That, and usually some sort of a death wish, but in a very odd sense. Or even a wish to have some control over your own destiny.
A: Because contrary to popular belief, creating art, literature, and music does not come easy. Creating something of actual relevance and substance is often an intensive struggle, and can inadvertently create a lot of stress. Some even go as far as to say that any good artist must suffer.
A: Because artists like to be intoxicated in one way or another. Perception is everything in their line of work.
A: Nicotinic receptors in the brain. Nicotine helps to stimulate the neuro-muscular junction. It also helps to stimulate awareness and short term memory function.
A: smoking has always been an intellectual activity. historically, the smoking of tobacco to the smoking of fine herb was done by someone with at least enough knowledge to identify usable plants, usable parts of plants, and proper preparation of herb to make it smokable. my guess is this is primarily because the psychoactive effects smoking of certain substances has on the mind puts one in a adjacent state of mind to normal states of conciousness. This juxtaposition in the mind creates friction between the two experienced states, allowing for interesting thoughts, feelings, and perceptions to be formed. These effects could easy be seen as going hand in hand with the goals desired by writers and musicians. Since smoking weed is illegal and cigarettes are legal and highly addictive, it makes sense that writers and musicians would utilize cigarettes to help create desirable states of mind for the creative process.
A: cuz lower/middle-class life sucks.



How to inhale a tornado: ‘The trick works best with a hookah, so fill the hookah’s cone with tobacco just as you would with weed. Do not put anything in your base except water. Milk will ghost it and cause mold even if you clean it. A few ice cubes and cold water means less flavor but a potential for thicker clouds. Use shisha with a high glycerine content, like fantasia. Use a vortex, phunnel, or bowl that stops the juices from dripping into the base. Manage your heat well and you should get thicker clouds. Another option is to skip the hookah and use an electronic cigarette, or personal vaporizer. If you use an eLiquid that’s high in vegetable glycerine on a low-resistance device, you produce very thick clouds of vapor that are slightly heavier than air. In any case, whether using the e-cigarette or hookah method, take a huge drag and hold it in your lungs. Basically, let out the smoke slowly from your mouth directly onto a flat surface. If it’s milky the smoke will just sit on the table top. Make sure the table is clean and it should be cold. Also don’t forget to make sure theres no air current (fans). Basically your face has to be touching the table to be able to get a nice plane. You can also freeze a marble slab and chill the smoke by breathing it into a frozen beer mug then pour it on the marble. The smoke will sit low and react like this. Then in a fluid motion slide your hand (in a karate chop position) through the smoke and raise it quickly. You can rotate your finger above the vortex to get a better tornado but after awhile you can get good enough where you don’t need to. I shit you not the entire plane of smoke shot up vertically into a perfectly cylindrical 1.5 inch diameter vortex about an inch off the table. We just looked at each other in awe afterwards to confirm that we weren’t tripping and just freaked the fuck out. Craziest shit I’ve ever seen. This is a marvelous form of sorcery.’ — trees



“He who doth not smoke hath either known no great griefs, or refuseth himself the softest consolation, next to that which comes from heaven.” — Edward Bulwer-Lytton

“Tobacco, divine, rare, super excellent tobacco, which goes far beyond all the panaceas, potable gold, and philosophers’ stones, a sovereign remedy to all diseases … but as it is commonly abused by most men, which take it as tinkers do ale, ’tis a plague, a mischief, a violent purger of goods, lands, health; hellish, devilish and damned tobacco, the ruin and overthrow of body and soul.” — Robert Burton

“The smoke is inhaled very sharply and the teeth are bared. Then the head turns to give you a profile and the smoke is exhaled slowly and deliberately and the grey jet stream becomes a beautiful blue cloud of smoke. What are they trying to tell us?” — Jeffrey Bernard


E-cigarette explodes in man’s pocket in New York

E-cigarette explodes in man’s pocket

E-cigarette explodes in man’s pocket in New York


At our center, from October 2015 through June 2016, we treated 15 patients with injuries from e-cigarette explosions due to the lithium-ion battery component. Such explosions were initially thought to be rare, but there have been reports, primarily in the media, of 25 separate incidents of e-cigarette explosions from 2009 through 2014 across the United States. More recently, there have been case reports in the medical literature.

‘Injuries of the Face, Hands, and Thighs Caused by E-Cigarette Explosions.). Patients have presented with injuries to the face (20%), hands (33%), and thigh or groin (53%) — injuries that have substantial implications for cosmetic and functional outcomes. Blast injuries have led to tooth loss, traumatic tattooing, and extensive loss of soft tissue, requiring operative débridement and closure of tissue defects. The flame-burn injuries have required extensive wound care and skin grafting, and exposure to the alkali chemicals released from the battery explosion has caused chemical skin burns requiring wound care.’ — University of Washington Medical Center





p.s. Hey. A very fine fellow and reader of this blog who might or might not also comment here occasionally under another name, I’m not entirely sure, made us this versatile and relatively noncommittal paean to the legendary cigarette, and smokers as well as non-smokers are in for a wonderful time, should you allow. Please do allow and also express something to Hector in your comments that make him feel like his efforts weren’t for naught. Thank you, and especially you, HB! Also, if you haven’t yet seen the trailer for PERMANENT GREEN LIGHT that was released yesterday, you can watch it here. ** Have ANiceLife, Hi. Oh, no, no, weighing in on anything that comes up here is legit and welcome, and I appreciate your comments, and I apologise for making my general cautionary explanation in my response to you. I hope I’ll get to see you here again. ** H, Hi. Thank you. We go up to Rotterdam on the early morning the premiere day, the 28th. I think that trio of filmmakers is a wonderful pick, and I’m an admirer of them all. I did a Curtis Harrington Day here on the dead blog that I need to restore and will. And maybe a Sonbert Day too, I can’t remember. ** Tomk, Hi, Tom! The mysterious project is only mysterious because I’m not allowed to announce what it is until certain contracts are signed, andsthe contract signage is taking for-fucking-ever. Transcendental meditation, nice. I mean I’ve never done that, but friends of mine do, and they radiate the positive results. Whoa, your new novel gets ever more craveable. And thanks a zillion for the taste. I’m not going to subject the excerpt to my scattered p.s.-composer attention span, but I’ll read it closely when I’m freed. ‘Cameraperson’, yeah, such a good film. I forgot all about it. ** Steve Erickson, That’s very weird: that banning. As you said, that film of all her films. ‘Paul’s Boutique’ is unimpeachable for sure, but, for me, their masterpiece is ‘Check Your Head’. I don’t know what ‘Lionheart’ is, but I’ll go find out. Everyone, Mr. Erickson has weighed in publicly on ‘Lionheart’, an album by H. C. McEntire, right here. Yes, superfan that I am, I do already know about the new GbV video. That amazing kid in the video is, or claims to be, or wants to be, the world’s biggest GbV fan. I believe him. ** Jonathan, Hey, man! Mega-awesomeness to see you, pal! Gothenburg! Dude, if you haven’t yet, you ‘have to’ go on a mission for me to the mighty theme park Liseberg and ride their two new incredible looking rides — Valkyria and Loke. And the rest of their great attractions too, of course. Special recommendation re: Gasten Ghost Hotel and AtmosFear. Why are you in Gothenburg, and for how long? Paris is its great self. I had two buches, both mega. Wow, great about your performance. Feb. 1st, I assume. Will it be streamed or anything? Very sweet about the hang out with Joanna Walsh! Man, fingers so entangled-y crossed for your Paris residency. It’s been too long since you were a neighbour. When would the residency be? Love, hugs, me. ** James Nulick, Oh, right, you’ve been there already, my space out. I’ll angle for October for Tokyo and see where the chips fall. If/when I go, it’ll be with Zac. The project’s mystery is just enforced silence on my part due to it not being ‘official’ yet. Don’t get too excited about the mystery. It’s a cool thing, but don’t overly believe mystery’s hype. You sound like a writer possessed, which is in the running for the ultimate sound. In my book. ** Jamie, Hi! Awesome, I’m really glad you like the trailer. Yes, it’s the trailer Zac and I made that we like a lot. The same one our film’s sales agency thinks is too ‘not normal’ and ‘not what you see in the market’, etc. In fact, I think the agency was secretly planning to try to keep us from releasing that trailer, but the Rotterdam festival leaked it, so ha ha. I’m good. Work, work, essentially. I wouldn’t say the assigned project is ‘cherished’ necessarily, but it has become fun anyway. Oh, I send Zac what I’m doing all the time, every time I create a new scene, and he has been going over the draft and adding/subtracting, making changes, all along. In fact today we have a big meeting to go over what we have and then come up with a ‘final’ version. Then we send it to Gisele, who is the project’s boss, or one of them, and we’ll meet and find out if we’ve given her what she wants. I am a fan of Breillat’s writing, yes. I do think I like her films a little better, if I had to choose. I was a lucky young lad who saw Black Sabbath at the very beginning at a tiny club in LA, and it was a slam dunk. May Friday turn everyone within your vicinity into extremely charming animation characters of your choosing until night arrives and sends them scurrying back into their human forms. Shiny orange pill love, Dennis. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, David. Interesting: the Bataille comparison. I enjoy her films, but I’m fucking weird, ha ha. ** Nick Toti, Hi there, Nick! How’s LA? That is some kind of coincidence. Thanks about the trailer. I think the powers that be will try to find an interested festival in LA first, and, if that doesn’t work, I guess we’ll figure out a showing. I suspect US distribution is probably an awfully long shot, but … who knows. You know the drill. Take good care! ** Cal Graves, Hi, Cal. My pleasure, of course. Thanks a bunch about the trailer, and, yeah, I can’t wait for you to see the film. I would be very thrilled and grateful for a guest post, very much! My email is: Thanks a lot! Also in a rush but happily posting and, Dennis. ** _Black_Acrylic, Thanks, Ben. Yeah, that was our idea: make a trailer where people would go, What is that? Or at least that’s the kind of trailer that works on us. Yes, we’ll see how the film shows in the UK. A release there would be amazing. The sales agency handling the film’s ‘sales’ seems pretty pro, so maybe. Great day to you. ** Jeff J, Thanks, man. Whoa, obviously honoured to the bone by having ‘My Loose Thread’ written about in the same breath with Bernhard. Thank you. Breillat’s most recent film is the one at the bottom of the post, and, yes, I have seen it, and it’s very interesting. I have not yet seen ‘The Other Side of Hope’. Are you seeing it? I’d love to hear about it. Thank you about the trailer, Jeff. Very cool. Good luck with the book finalizations. ** Misanthrope, Hey. I’m staying away from the WA issue, like I said. Uh, oh, tooth pain. Nip it in the bud while it’s still a bud, man. Eek, re: the rework. Maybe the second time around your eyes and lips will be able to move much faster? ** Right. Have a cigarette-filled day. See you tomorrow.


  1. h

    Very fine cigarette day, Hector Bannister. Really like the image selection, will read the text too very soon — thank you!

    Dennis! Congratulations! — saw the trailer. Beautiful and evocative! And actors are really different. Can’t wait to watch the entire film. And the Harrington day rerun would be nice. But I was meaning to make one for your blog — if you’d allow, I’ll be very happy to do it. (It would take 3-4 weeks though.) Will email you about that and the Ashbery query right after your festival.

  2. tomk

    The Permanent Green Light trailer is amazing, so beautifully shot and edited…i love the slightly Bressonian track of hands too. I’m curious given your interest in working with emotion through various restraints, that maybe even produce it, how that translates to the film work or if you’re doing something completely different in this medium? You and Zac work a lot with the actors in the auditions?

    Yeah the TM thing…well i haven’t had proper instruction yet. I’m waiting for an appointment so my technique is kind of jerry rigged from internet sources but it feels great. I’m wary of coming over evangelical but definitely positive results.

    ps have you seen/heard of anything about what’s going on in Peru? They pardoned Fujimori. Godard’s second cousin or some shit (who is president) weaselled out of some hastily constructed impeachment by doing a deal with the son. We have been out protesting and the streets have been full which is good but its absolutely shocking the guy is top ten most corrupt and employed death squads etc etc. The political situation here…in some ways i guess its just more naked than in other countries but the lack of democratic failsafes and the clear abuses of power…they’re just out in the open.

    The quipu project is drawing to a close but they released a short with the guardian a little while back. I think it’s still possible to leave a message of support to the sterilised women and men if anyone feels like it but it is closing down soon:

    Hope you found the excerpt alright, it’s not so representative and it was a bit dumb of me to put it in the comments duh, i don’t know why i did that.

    Have you read any Timothy Morton? I just finished Humankind and i have to say i was pretty in love with it. I always promise days and never fulfil them but i will, if i can maintain equilibrium, try and put one together for here.

  3. Steve Erickson

    I think CHECK YOUR HEAD is their second best album. The Beastie Boys are actually the only group I’ve seen at an arena (Madison Square Garden), on the CHECK YOUR HEAD tour. At that point, they rapped to a DJ for half the set and played live instruments the other half. The acoustics were dreadful, especially for the rock-oriented part. By that point, they had dropped most of LICENSED TO ILL from the set and were clearly distancing themselves from the lyrics of songs like “Girls.” Public Enemy were the opening act, but I got there too late to catch them. Also, while everyone got to the arena gradually, we all left at once. 10,000 people exiting Madison Square Garden at once took an hour for me to leave the building, and it was also crowded that it suddenly felt like 90 degrees although it was more like 70 out.

    MAD MEN star Jon Hamm quit smoking tobacco when he was 24, and while his character – and pretty much everyone else on the show – smoked up a storm, they were all herbal cigarettes. Actually, the Israeli guy whom I met last fall and briefly dated vaped like crazy, and I thought he was inhaling liquid nicotine. I wound up spending 20 minutes with him in a vape shop after his vaporizer broke, and I found out that he is actually just psychotically addicted to vaping flavored liquids with no nicotine or THC. But in every public space I went with him, he insisted on vaping and sometimes got told off by managers.

    If you want to check out McEntire before her album comes out next week, Merge has put up 2 lyric videos for her first two singles. I think “A Lamb, A Dove” is an excellent song.

    My next Gay City News music review will be Americana singer Brandi Carlile, and I think this one will be my first negative music review for them, based on my 2 listens to her new album. I am really hoping they approve my pitch to review the reissues of the first 3 Pet Shop Boys albums. I have been watching the live PSB videos on YouTube a lot recently.

    I’ll check out the PGL trailer later today.

    Anthology Film Archives’ office manager and his girlfriend spent their New Years’ Eve 2016 at a Guided By Voices concert and partied with Bob Pollard afterwards. I’ve seen his photos from this on his cell phone.

  4. Steve Erickson

    Love the trailer, but I can see why producers might not. There’s no narrative context beyond the image of dynamite under someone’s shirt. The combination of the booming drum machine and close-ups of young people’s faces looking forlorn is really powerful, but it almost feels like an IDM music video. And trailers for foreign-language films in the U.S. usually try to cover up the fact that they’re not in English. I doubt that’s what you and Zac were trying to do – I assume the film is actually in English, since you wrote it – but I thought of that given the music and lack of speech.

  5. James Nulick


    Thank you for the tree of smoke. I’m not a smoker, however both my parents were (my mother died of cancer a year ago, she told us she started smoking when she was 15. She was 67 when she died.. too young!)

    My dad quit cold turkey in 1983, and he’s 81 now, so… but he’s a Taurus, they kind of decide when they’re going to die on their own, lol. Thank you for the Beautiful imagery! The only thing I smoke is dope, but that’s kind of rare these days, because my other half doesn’t like it. *sigh*


    I watched the trailer for Permanent Green Light. Stunning. The shirt-lifting scene, wow. Now I’m really intrigued!

    Who did the music? It’s disturbing.

    Do you know if PGL will play on any screens in Seattle? I’d like to see it on the big screen!


  6. Steve Erickson

    Here’s my interview with THE FINAL YEAR director Greg Barker: I can’t acknowledge this in too many public spaces but I agreed to interview him weeks before I saw his film, which I wound up actively disliking. Aesthetically, it’s glib, shallow and suffers from constantly shifting focus, and politically it’s basically pure propaganda for the Obama administration (except in the section about their confused approach to Syria.) Talking to him was interesting, though; his discussion of impartiality and avoidance of partisanship suggests ideals that didn’t actually make it into his film, and he was more critical of Obama in the interview than he ever is in THE FINAL YEAR.

  7. Jamie

    Hector Bannister, this is a wonderful wonderful post. Thanks so much for it. I still love cigarettes and tobacco, even though I gave up a few years ago. Even those close up pics of the butts are oddly beautiful to me. I’m going to go back and check the many links contained in the post too.

    Hey Dennnnnnis!
    How are you? It’s snowing here again, hard. The view from our window is beautiful.
    Funny those sales people don’t like your trailer. Everyone I’ve seen talk about it says it’s ‘intriguing’ and isn’t that exactly what a trailer should be? It’s so unlike the trailers that are so prevalent atm that kind of walk you through a film’s entire plot leaving you unsure about anything, except usually that you don’t want to see it. The PGL trailer perfectly piqued my curiosity and surely that makes more sense, no?
    How’s your Friday been?
    That’s so cool that you saw Black Sabbath there and then! Well jeal.
    What else? I don’t have much to say, so I’ll wish you well then skedaddle.
    May your weekend make you suspect, just a tiny wee bit, that you’re actually inside the most perfect and intricate snowglobe ever to have been made.
    Thorough love,

  8. David Ehrenstein

    There’s a great close-up of a lit cigarette in Godard’s “2 ou 3 Choses Que Je Sais D’elle”

    The PGL trailer is The Cats!

    And here’s Patti Smith

  9. Tosh Berman

    Fascinating blog today. I never smoked, but the image of smoking is very attractive. This is a very thoughtful and beautifully put together post today. Thank you!

  10. Kyle Kirshbom

    Hey Dennis it’s funny that this came up today because I was just telling my friend that the reason I started smoking was from watching Rod Serling so much as a kid haha! Anyways your work is incredible and I’m constantly coming back to you and this blog for inspiration. Is there anyway I could share a story I wrote a couple years back? Would love the feedback.

  11. Count Reeshard

    Today’s post prompts the confession of an only slightly guilty pleasure, my enthusiasm for the first seven seasons of the ‘Frasier’ sitcom, which on its good days was Lubitsch in 20 minute installments. An episode from season 3 (“Where There’s Smoke There’s Fired”) contains a monologue from Frasier’s amoral agent Bebe, a dependable wonder portrayed by Harriet Sansome Harris, who also has a good turn currently in ‘Phantom Thread.’ Her paean to tobacco pairs nicely with Buñuel’s description of smoking in the “Earthly Delights” chapter of ‘My Last Sigh’ — to the extent that I suspect the show’s writers read Luis first. You can savor her exhiliration here:

  12. _Black_Acrylic

    @ Hector, I no longer smoke but scrolling through your Day was the next best thing. And I’d never seen that Duchamp artwork before, woah. Now there was a guy who knew how to look cool, right?

    I had the first driving lesson of the New Year today. The morning’s flurry of snow had cleared and I was just easing myself back in gently, no roundabouts or traffic lights this time. But it feels good to get behind the wheel again and the football chat with my Newcastle United-supporting instructor is always enlightening.

  13. tomk

    Also, this a great day hector: exhaustive, interestingly sourced, beautifully structured. Perfect.

    I think the photographs of ash and ruined cigarettes are my favourite


  14. Bernard

    Well, that was really beautiful, HB–texts and images both, very satisfying.
    There’s really good stuff in Levi-Strauss’ The Raw and the Cooked about smoke from tobacco and other herbs as intermediary link between heaven and earth. I always felt that one of the appeals of smoking was that it lent even the solidest specimens a kind of spurious ethereal quality. When I realized that I smoked in part to tamp down anger, I realized that when I quit, I’d just have to accept the anger, and I think it made me more assertive, at a good time for it. Of course I’m very. very glad I quit, 30 or so years ago.
    Cigarettes is one of my very very favorite novels, so perfect in every way.
    You probably know that Christopher Marlowe is supposed to have said that “they that loved not tobacco and boyes were fooles.”

  15. Steve Erickson

    I learned about rapper Jpegmafia from a Ken Baumann tweet, but his album VETERAN is amazing. Imagine a collaboration between N.WA., Ol’ Dirty Bastard (the artwork refers to his album cover for RETURN TO THE 36 CHAMBERS: THE DIRTY VERSION and the second song is based on an endless loop of ODB screaming) and Death Grips. But the production is weirder and more disorienting and the lyrics more political and seeming to offer some kind of meta commentary on sexism and violence in hip-hop while engaging in it. You can pay what you please for it on Bandcamp. He has a previous album called BLACK BEN CARSON.

  16. Cal Graves

    hey Dennis
    got that email sent to ya real quick. i hope you enjoy it.
    i keep rewatching the PGL trailer and i just love it. Movie Trailers are a very unexplored art–most just copy past structures from other ones. the PGL one could almost be a short film in of itself.

    quick question about the GM cycle: how do you prefer your audience to read the cycle in? how did their autonomy effect/influence the over all telling of the story. The reason that im asking, Im considering splitting up my current novel-project-thing into a novel cycle and I was wondering how you went about devising/conceiving the longer arc of the novels? esp when you were working on the individual novels.


  17. Cal Graves

    thanks for the post man.
    really loved this one. so many fun tiidbits about cigs i had no idea about.
    sent me down some allies.
    much love

  18. Armando

    Hey, man!

    How are you today? Very good, I hope. *Hug*.

    Congratulations on the ‘PGL’ trailer!!! It and the film itself seem *FUCKING GREAT*!!! I can’t fucking wait!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    “I don’t want to talk about the Woody Allen allegations here. […] I regret […] dropping in my two cents.”

    ^ But, why??? Why regret at all exercising your Freedom Of Speech??? Freedom Of Speech is sacred and people should *NEVER* silence/censure themselves.

    “Have to disagree with you about the new ‘Blade Runner’ […] I never heard/bought the Slowdive album.”

    ^ Really? How come/why, if you don’t mind me asking?

    So, you didn’t respond to my question of whether you’ve seen my email or not. I’ve a reason to be asking that, sorry. I really need to know, I’m sorry.

    I know you don’t anyone talking about the Woody Allen situation here, but, I just want to say I’m extremely upset and infuriated and sad and worried…

    Here are some *EXTREMELY* wise and true words from *TARR* and *KRASZNAHORKAI* that I think can apply to practically *EVERYTHING*, including the W.A. witch-hunt and lynch-mob:

    “Everything’s in ruins, everything’s been degraded, but I could say that they’ve ruined and degraded everything, because this is not some kind of cataclysm coming about with so-called “innocent” human aid, on the contrary, it’s about man’s own judgment over his own self, which of course [g-d] has a big hand in, or, dare I say, takes part in, and whatever he takes part in is the most ghastly creation that you can imagine, because, you see, the world has been debased, so it doesn’t matter what I say because everything has been debased that they’ve acquired and since they’ve acquired everything in a sneaky, underhanded fight, they’ve debased everything, because whatever they touch, and they touch everything, they’ve debased; this is the way it was until the final victory, until the triumphant end; acquire, debase, debase, acquire; or I can put it differently if you’d like, to touch, debase and thereby acquire, or touch, acquire and thereby debase; it’s been going on like this for centuries, on, on and on; this and only this, sometimes on the sly, sometimes rudely, sometimes gently, sometimes brutally, but it has been going on and on; yet only in one way, like a rat attacks from ambush; because for this perfect victory it was also essential that the other side, that is, everything’s that’s excellent, great in some way and noble, should not engage in any kind of fight, there shouldn’t be any kind of struggle, just the sudden disappearance of one side meaning the disappearing of the excellent, the great, the noble, so that by now the winners who have won by attacking from ambush rule the earth and there isn’t a single tiny nook where one can hide something from them because everything they can lay their hands on is theirs, even things that they can’t reach but they do reach are also theirs; the heavens are already theirs and theirs are all our dreams; theirs is the moment, nature, infinite silence; even immortality is theirs, you understand?; everything, everything is lost forever, and those many nobles, great and excellent just stood there, if I can put it that way; they stopped at this point and had to understand and had to accept that there is neither [g-d] nor gods, and the excellent, the great and the noble had to understand and accept this right from the beginning, but, of course, they were quite incapable of understanding it, they believed it and accepted it but they didn’t understand it; they just stood there, bewildered but not resigned until something, that flash on the mind, finally enlightened them, and all at once they realized that there is neither [g-d] nor gods; all at once they saw that there is neither good nor bad; then they saw and understood that if this was so then they themselves did not exist either; you see, I reckon this may have been the moment when we can say that they were extinguished, they burnt out; extinguished and burnt out like the fire left to smolder in the meadow; one was the constant loser, the other was the constant victor; defeat, victory, defeat, victory; and one day, here in the neighborhood I had to realize and I did realize, that I was mistaken, I was truly mistaken when I thought that there had never been and could never be any kind of change here on earth; because, believe me, I know now that this change has indeed taken place.”

    All the best,

    Good day; good luck,

    Love and hugs,

    Your friend,


  19. Alex Der

    Great article. Good Job.
    Best Bath Bombs With Rings

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