‘The reader may be disgusted by my behaviour and its rubric, and feel that I am defiling the mountain like a piece of grit in your eye. But I belong now in this place, I’m attached to it. The mountain dictates my behaviour as the soil does a worm’s. Can you understand that? What I’m doing here is valid and harmonious.’ — New Juche
‘Dennis Cooper has described New Juche as “one of the most inspiring, original and groundbreaking artists working today,” and Mountainhead is arguably the elusive writer/photographer’s most accomplished work to date. Within the structure of a sexually charged exotic travelogue, we discover prose that is at once repulsive, lyrical, and deeply sensual; that is anchored by a raconteur’s instinct for gritty storytelling, yet punctuated by liminal flights of feverish imagination. Mountainhead deftly interlaces personal confession with an unsettling disquisition on pornography, photography, prostitution, the body, identity, and place. In its cascading momentum, readers are confronted by a vertiginous exposition of interpersonally fraught revelation and deception that remains implacably wedded to the thematic emblem of nature as moral alibi.’ — N-BB
‘Like Athena from the skull of Zeus, this is a fully-formed work, a confident work. Mountainhead will be an unexpected shot from a cannon and I feel it is destined to fall into the hands of readers looking to read a jungle extension of Bataille and Kosinski. Yet it is truly a singular work, sui generis, a giant black obelisk in the middle of nowhere. The entire time I was reading it, I was thinking: this is a fucked up secret and I wish I could share it with someone else!’ — James Nulick
New Juche Site
New Juche @ goodreads
New Juche discussion thread @ Special Interests
New Juche @ discogs
New Juche / Whores of Leith @ myspace
New Juche / Whores of Leith @ Me Tunes
WASTELAND charts a prolonged friendship and love affair with an abandoned apartment complex in Southeast Asia called The Flowers, and the swampland surrounding it. For three years the author used this space on a daily basis to confront death and solitude, and engage with the physical and mental effects of chronic illness. Over this long period he wrote manuscripts for two books inside the location and developed a feverish sensorial attachment to The Flowers which eventually degenerated into the sort of sexual neurosis for which the complex had originally provided an antidote.
The book is composed of seven short sections of prose and documentary photographs previously posted on this site, culminating in two perverted essays with much more expressive and conclusive photography. WASTELAND is a free PDF release … To download a compressed version of only 26 MB, in which the image quality is compromised, click here.
The text behind the photographs is a slug in its shell. Ushering in the Thinking Prostitution series, New Juche interrogates the stinking mouth of an anthropologist to find images of humanity amongst the pus.
What do you feel and do and why, when you experience the expression of distress by the poor, especially when you’re paying them for sex?
THE MOLLUSC can be downloaded for free by clicking here.
Continuing the Thinking Prostitution series, New Juche tries hard to assume even more responsibility. What did we do here, that we could not do elsewhere? GYMNASIUM is a visual idiolect that engages hyper-developed definitions of prostitution and ruin architecture, and draws from its wellhead in the myths of the Vietnam War and the reality of Indochinese mothers and children.
GYMNASIUM is appended with HANOI TRIPTYCH, an early piece of reportage. This free PDF can be downloaded here.
Gallery: Select imagery by New Juche
Sound: New Juche / Whores of Leith Bangkok Fanny-Rat (2007)
‘Now what to make of this one? As is the Bluesbunny custom, we dutifully read the sleeve prior to listening to the album. The title had caught our attention – “Bangkok Fanny-Rat” – but even that clue did not prepare us.
‘The sounds are ambient and eerie. The voices are distorted (intentionally, it would appear) and are interviews with veterans of the Bangkok sex scene. It all forms part of an aural nightmare as the rich western world meets the poor in Bangkok. “Mission to Ranong” had a worrying, cartoon like voice explaining his experiences on his trips to his that city with remarkable candour, almost revelling in the depravity. “I Fell in Love with a She/Male Stroker” featured an interview with a lady boy. The frankness will no doubt offend but it is an eye opener. Whilst we remember, read the sleeve notes carefully. Maybe the point was to shock but this was jaw dropping stuff. To its credit, there was nothing judgemental about any of this. To that end, the point of it all is a bit of a mystery. Is it exploitation like the old “mondo” movies? There seems to be no conclusion drawn and there is something almost ambivalent about it all. Maybe pointing the finger at the guilty is not such a good idea anyway as we might end up pointing that finger at ourselves if only for letting it happen?
‘Bluesbunny is not even sure that the music is important here. This album is more of a documentary of the human (and not just the male) psyche after the veneer of civilisation has been discarded and, from the evidence presented here, there can surely be no darker or more lonely place. Downright disturbing.’ — Bluesbunny
p.s. Hey. I’m very happy to be able to turn the blog into a weekend-long welcome mat of sorts for New Juche’s brand new book ‘Mountainhead’, which I unhesitatingly venture to say is easily one of this year’s best works that happen to be located within book covers, period. Please spend what time you spend here this weekend exploring, reading the excerpt, checking out NJ’s earlier works, and scoring a copies of ‘Mountainhead’ for yourselves if you’re so inclined. Thank you, and thank you muchly, Joe. ** Steevee, Hi. I would imagine there are several such BT albums out there. Oops, sorry about sleepness’s unfortunately but hopefully brief return. Goodness gracious on your imminent scoring of the Albini re-produced ‘In Color’. CT keep saying that’s going to be released officially, but … That should be hell of a nice listen. Pass along your thoughts on it and the differences with the Berman version if you don’t mind. Darn about the subway forcing you to turn back. Yeah, even in Paris where the metro is pretty reliable most of the time, I always make sure to head wherever I’m heading about 15 to 20 minutes earlier than usual on Sundays or in later evenings because the service here does get edited down too. I’ll look for that Arnow film. I hadn’t heard of it. The Q&A does sound very cringey. Not to mention that, in theory, his raiding her stage sounds like utter self-indictment central. Huh. ** David Ehrenstein, My enormous pleasure, David. ** Tosh Berman, Yeah, I think people who think ABBA are cheese either haven’t really explored their work or overly know it through covers and mockeries. I think their work is easily among the most sublime, genius-driven pop of the 20th century. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! It’s a great thing to experience, yes. Yesterday we were rehearsing a scene that, in my head while we were writing it, was going to be amazing/transcendent, and when the actors nailed it yesterday, the scene was just what I had most hoped it would be and even more because they added themselves to it, creating layers that I couldn’t have imagined. Pretty great. It’s both very exciting and very spooky that we start shooting just over a week from today. Not spooky in a bad way. Another great day for you focused around your writing and work! That makes me very happy, and mine was simila,r so imagine I am giving you a high five right now because I am. Still nothing back about the music track. I’ll nudge today. We tried that scene yesterday, and it works so well that it now feels kind of imperative that we use the track. Generally, I was rehearsing all day yesterday, and it went very well. Plus some costume fitting for the three actors we were working with: Benjamin (Roman, main ‘exploding’ character), Sylvain (Guillaume, Roman’s friend) and Benedetta (playing a MetalHead who tries unsuccessfully to teach Guillaume to head bang). Then film-related emails, a good talk with a friend, eating, bla bla. We have a break in the rehearsals this weekend but tons of other stuff we need to do and will do. What did your weekend present to you, hopefully on a silver plate, as they say? ** Hamp, Hi. Welcome! And thank you for speaking so well to David. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I got my haircut yesterday too. Not a bad day of yours, and that’s super awesome that the first driving lesson was a success! Congrats! Soon enough you’ll be weaving a jag around the streets of Monte Carlo, I reckon. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. I figure it’s not a coincidence that the words best and beset are so similar. So that’s where you went. Kind of the same situation for me really, just different need-to-do stuff. I didn’t know Mr. Styles has a single out. I feel I should have been spammed about that for weeks now. I’m curious enough now based on your description (but trying to get the Coldplay reference out of my head) to go listen to said single with a mind as open as Montana’s skies, which I assume are very open based on … I don’t know, myth? I hope it grabs and strangles the #1 spot. ** H, Hi. Well, no sooner had I crowed about my health than I started feeling a bit ugh, but I’m power-slamming vitamins and maxing out my powers of denial, and hopefully that should do it. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better. I have ‘Crazy for Vincent’, and I intend for it to be the first book I read on my train ride out to the film set next week. Excited to. I didn’t know Munoz wrote about my work. Wow, that’s a great honor, if it’s true. Well, assuming he didn’t hate my work, although I guess his hatred would be kind of an honor too. No, no writing at all. No time whatsoever. My three in-progress writing projects — TV series, novel, opera — are all backpedaled and waiting for the film project to be finished first. Have a good weekend! ** Okay. Be fully with New Juche and his new book this weekend, hopefully with all cylinders firing, if possible, and I hope you’ll say something here to him, whatever that would be. See you on Monday.
Awesome. I’ve been waiting for this Day.
I ordered this right after Nine-Banded Books announced its publication. I’ve only read passages from it so far, but it looks great.
Think I’ll start reading it this weekend.
New Juche, who painted that Young God Records-esque portrait? I like it. Maybe it was just that the painting planted the thought of Swans in my mind, but your music sample reminded me a bit of their “Ligeti’s Breath.”
Looking forward to reading your book. Hope it finds many appreciative eyes!
Dennis! Amazing – thank you so very much for today! Sincerely an honour. Your post on Wasteland was almost exactly a year ago on the old blog, I believe. You’ve put stuff up here I didn’t even know existed! The internet returned this morning in the form of a single bar of signal and I threw a quick comment up on David E’s post, but was too late to catch you. Will hold off on my problems with Pond til a later date. I wish you a very fine weekend, with much warmth. Also, don’t forget to give me a postal address for your personalised hard copy.
Jeff Coleman, thanks very much! That portrait was painted by a Leith artist friend of mine well over 10 years ago. I haven’t seen it in a long while, and it’s weird to see myself without a moustache. Despite my profound appreciation of Swans, the design more consciously referred to my now depleted interest in North Korea, hence also the word “Juche”, which I am stuck with now, for my sins. Juche can translate from Korean as ‘independence, at the cost of no matter what’, which suited and justified the bedroom production-quality of those CDs. Ligeti himself was as much a musical influence for me as Swans, especially the choral works, Lux Aetarna and Requiem.
Thanks again and best
Fascinating stuff, New Juche. Will read with great interest
steevee — Your experience at the Joanna Arnow event — and the film she’s made — reminds me of an incident that took place here in L.A. several years back when Michael Richards (“Kramer” on “Seinfeld”) virtually ended his career by an appearance at a comedy club in which hestarted shouting “Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!”
Well, Arnow’s ex-boyfriend doesn’t even seem to have a career in the film beyond drinking lots of beer and making racist and anti-Semitic comments at open mic events and to her face (she’s Jewish). It was made 4 years ago, and little seems to have changed with his behavior, although he did seem careful not to use the N word last night.
Thanks, Dennis, for posting this beautifully presented introduction to Mountainhead and New Juche’s remarkable body of work. Working with NJ has been an absolute pleasure and I feel very honored to include his work — especially this singular psycho-literary odyssey — in the 9BB catalog. Look for my interview with NJ in the near future (it’ll be linked on the product page).
Readers who placed early orders through 9BB will receive their books in just a few days. It’s worth noting that, due to a printing error that has since been corrected, copies from the first press run (about 30 in all) do not have text on the spine. If you receive one of these, consider it a collector’s item (or contact me and I’ll send a corrected replacement at no charge).
While I have the attention of the gang here, I will mention that I have posted and circulated an open letter in objection to Amazon’s selective book ban. The text is posted at The Hoover Hog:
If you agree, please take a few minutes to contact Amazon (and Barnes & Noble) to politely let them know.
New Juche, This looks fucking GREAT. Really interesting stuff you’ve got here. I’m a have to get your book now. 😀
Dennis, Yes, I have to get the Coldplay reference out of my head too, hahaha. I only used that in trusting a couple reviews of the single by people who mentioned it in brief. I’m not familiar with Coldplay’s stuff at all, so I took it on faith that they must somehow be represented in this song somehow. Frankly, I kept hearing Beatles/Bowie/Suede. Yes, Suede.
I read one really interesting review, which said it’s essentially 50 years of British rock all rolled into one while also being totally his own. You might like it, if only for the surprise of it coming from a former “boyband” member. It’s much better and more interesting than the stuff out put out by the other boys in the band. Though Louis Tomlinson did a pretty catchy EDM song with Steve Aoki (the latter of whom I’m not sold on at all, but it’s a nice dance-y club song, I suppose, that doesn’t make me totally cringe).
I have a feeling that Montana skies are exactly like that. I mean, I think if you stand on top of mountain, it’s probably very much like that.
I’m going to make myself beset with good, interesting things very soon. And to keep the suspense, I won’t talk about it at all until I’m finished with those things. 😀
I just downloaded and listened to the Harry Styles single. I’m very impressed and, for what it’s worth, I hear no Coldplay at all in it. It’s refreshing to hear such ambition in a debut single, especially a former boy band member. Despite drawing so explicitly on the Beatles, Bowie, Queen and Britpop, Styles manages to combine a pop sensibility with an epic quality, creating a hybrid rather than a throwback. Do you know when his album’s coming out?
steevee, Thanks for that. I value your opinion on all things Arts-related and this lets me know that I’m not just fanboy-ing. From what I’ve gathered, there’s no release date yet for the album. I do know that he’ll be performing two songs, including this first one, on Saturday Night Live on April 15.
What you’re doing here New Juche reminds me of the “found” videos of William E. Jones (police tea-room observations) as Georges Bataille might render them in prose.
New Juche – Congratulations on your new publication! This looks incredible. I’ll be ordering a copy soon! Looking forward to it!
Dennis – Hey stranger. I hope you’re good. It sounds like you’re super busy. I’ve been catching up with the blog. I loved the day about your new film – super exciting to have a semi-scrapbook style post again. Please do some more of these if you get chance! OK, I’m off to see the David Lynch Art Life documentary shortly. Talk soon my friend xoxo
Thank you for this post and thank you, New Juche for Mountainhead! It looks absolutely exceptional and fascinating!
Ah yes, this is so fantastic! I think this is how imaginary characters really come alive. I’m glad you found actors who are capable of creating this magic.
High five, haha!
Sounds like you had another busy but fruitful rehearsing day then! I’m glad everything’s right on track!
My weekend mostly consists of writing and meeting friends so I don’t have a word of complaint.
How was yours? Did the musician finally reply? I keep my fingers firmly crossed!!
Congratulations on Mountainhead! It’s nice to finally see it out in the world! I ordered 2 copies from Nine-Banded Books as I have two friends in mind who would love your book, and I want to give them as gifts! Hopefully they will still talk to me after they have read it, lol. You have written a very powerful book, a very profound book, and I sincerely hope it gets the recognition it deserves. Again, kudos on having your baby out in the world, I’m glad Dennis was in the delivery room to help you along!
Dennis, greetings and happy Sunday! I hope the rehearsals are going well. I sent you a little something something via email, a guest post to help lighten your burden before shooting begins on your film.
Misanthrope, Thomas M, Dora G – Thanks a whole lot! I hope you get something out of the book, and I appreciate your commenting.
David E – Thank you! I’ve never seen Tea Room, heard of it though. You ought to know – who made Not Angels but Angels? I saw this film a while after I did my CDs. I was trying to do a very similar thing.
James N – Thanks man! Very kind words. I hope your friends can stomach it. Do reply re Pond by the way.
Dennis – Thanks once again for this amazing welcome!
@ New Juche, I just popped in to say congratulations! I’ll be ordering a copy of Mountainhead very soon.
Good news: the editorial board of Cineaste met today, discussed (among other things, obviously) my GET OUT review and thought it was very well-written and well-argued with the exception of one paragraph discussing whether or not the film is sexist. That paragraph will probably be deleted from the their final edit. The final cut will probably run around 1600 words. I’m very proud of this review, and I wish it were appearing on-line somewhere instead of just the magazine’s summer issue.
Congratulations on the new book, New Juche. Looking forward to getting my copy in the mail soon. Really enjoying the excerpts from your earlier work as well. Some of the images have a bit of a late Tsai Ming-Liang look, or am I just making random associations?
Been one of those grueling weeks at work, Dennis. Loved the Dare Wright Day, wow. Caught Diamanda Galas, probably her first live gig in years in SF. Mostly the piano and voice material, but she was in fine voice.
Did you know there’s a new Stephen Beachy? It’s a YA novel, but I couldn’t resist.
Was just reading about this charming event; did you go?
I have one of those copies with no text on the spine that Chip mentioned. Thought it might be intentional until I saw the pic of the cover in this post.
I like it, gives it a subtly illicit feel. As if it’s designed to hide itself on my shelf.
New Juche, thanks for the background info.