Literary - Erotic rivers and tags
OK, we hold our hands up on this one. With all the excitement of our new 1994 Issue, the shiny new website, the Student Guide and our upcoming Fiction Issue, we have let out literary column slip a bit. But here is an update on some of the great and less great books that have come our way of late. Like we said, these may not be brand new releases, so don't start bitching about that.
THERE’S NO PLACE
You know those days when you have the wrong clothes on, and you are too hot all day, then the journey back from work takes forever, you are angry and frantic and would probably hit a child to get home faster? Well, if you had this book in your pocket at all times that sort of thing would not be an issue. Poll’s photos, mostly of trees and plants, taken on a mixture of film, pinhole cameras and digital, are as serene and calming as a hug from a stoned nun. Although they are taken in four different cities, it is almost impossible to tell where because they are strange, ghostlike and anonymous. In fact, the more I look at it, the more it is starting to scare me and make me a bit sad. Still, anything is better than hitting a child.
CAUGHT BY THE RIVER – A COLLECTION OF WORDS ON WATER
JEFF BARRETT, ROBIN TURNER, ANDREW WALSH
Having just returned from an idyllic weekend in Northern Wales, I can vouch for the calming and fascinating nature of rivers and streams. North Wales is about 67 per cent streams, and most of the bits in between are mud. It is definitely worth the effort of thrashing through animal shit and nettles, while being slowly eaten by prehistoric insects, just to lounge by a river and watch it flow. This collection of essays, anecdotes and memories of Britain’s waterways conveys this sentiment, but with far more grace. With writing from Irvine Welsh, Roger Deakin, Edwyn Collins and Jarvis Cocker, this is a real catch for fans of inland water.
LIKE LIPSTICK TRACES
I know it was kind of annoying when every one of your friends had a Polaroid camera and would take photos at parties, then everyone would crowd around and wait for it to develop, but there was a good reason for it. And that reason is that Polaroids look amazing, and make everything look like a strange magical photo you found in a skip. So if you collect Polaroids from thirteen graffiti writers across the world, not only do you get a collection of beautiful photos, you also get a graffiti book that isn’t really about graffiti, but the lives and work of people who, for the most part, try to stay anonymous.
WRITING THE MEMORY OF THE CITY
Again, this is not a traditional graffiti book (thank God!), but is instead an academic investigation into the nature of urban spaces, outlooks, perspectives and motivations. It's graffiti as only the Germans could do it. Through 230 pages of interviews, essays, diagrams, notes and transcripts you get an insight into the motivations of Berlin’s most infamous writers. Maybe I was wrong to assume that most graf kids were bored, half-arsed, petty criminals who just got a kick out seeing their handy work on the way to school, or maybe it just took this long for the Germans to hunt down fifteen of them who aren't dweebs.
25,000 YEARS OF EROTIC FREEDOM
Alan Moore, comic supremo and well-known fan of pornography/erotica/whatever you want to call it, has made this handy pocket history of pornography. It turns out that us humans have been interested in depicting sex and sexuality for a while now – which is not necessarily a great surprise to anyone, but nonetheless this brief analysis of historical jazz is well explained and illustrated. From the rather unalluring carvings of the Venus of Willendorf in 22,000 B.C., to the scary erotic woodblock prints of women having sex with octopuses from 1800s-era Japan, right up to the comparatively dull fetishism of today – this is a lovely journey through humanity’s spank bank.