You write like…

Here’s an amusing diversion: “I Write Like” a ‘statistical analysis tool’ which you can drop any example of your, or someone else’s writing into, and it will then tell you which classic author your prose most resembles. Fortnights of fun. Sticking some of my old stuff from Spike into it there is one “James Joyce”, one “George […]

Letters sent

Many of the greatest ideas are the simplest, those you can’t believe no-one has come up with before, and that definitely applies to the fascinating website Letters of Note. The site simply reproduces the private and personal letters (in most cases showing the paper original)  of a wildly diverse array of famous individuals, from Kafka to Hitler, […]

Surrealism via Stalinism

As I have noted before, I am not usually a fan of our near namesakes smuggoes at the pretendy-Marxist, ultra-libertarian Spiked. Every once in while they do come up with the goods though, as with this review of Román Gubern and Paul Hammond’s new biography of Bunuel. The book sounds a fascinating view of a fascinating […]

Lynch me

Its impossible to capture the disturbing beauty of David Lynch’s films in words, but Nicolas Lezard’s article in The Guardian has a decent go. As Nicholas says  “If ever there was a director who put dreams on to the screen….. without trying to impose a coherent, readily graspable narrative order on them, it is David […]

Orwell on Dickens

“Dickens is good” shocker. He is though you know. And it’s his birthday, you may have noticed. I was never interested in Dickens at all during my teens, and school did nothing to counter this. I only bothered to properly explore him after reading George Orwell’s magnificent essay on him, which made the world Dickens had created […]

Queen of the Hatchet

It’s great to see there is now an award for the Best Hatchet Job of the Year when it comes to book reviewing. Reading a good literary demolition job is often hugely enjoyable experience, even if it’s just catty score settling (ie. Julie Burchill’s amusing assault on Nick Kent’s NME memoir). Just occasionally though, it can reach a […]

Books of the Year 2011

Here they go, as they went. The Rights of Man – Thomas Paine The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler Selected English Essays – Jonathan Swift, William Hazlitt, Thomas de Quincey, Thomas Carlyle and others Nazi Literature in the Americas – Roberto Bolano The Atrocity Exhibition – J.G. Ballard Black Mass – John Gray Steppenwolf – […]

Christmas – two views

This week’s Private Eye  Michel Houellebecq and Bernard-Henri Levy conversing on the subject of Christmas in the style of their recent book of exchanges. Or rather, Craig Brown’s imagining of this. Private Eye doesn’t do much online, so here is “Houellebecq” on Santa transcribed by dilligent me: “Christmas, my dear Bernard-Henri, is, as we know, loathsome, […]

Christmas with Orson Welles, Dorothy Parker, Noam Chomsky, Ayn Rand and Mr Spock………

It’s a few years old now but this look at the supposed Ten Least Successful Holiday Specials of all Time on the Whatever website is very funny indeed.  Ayn Rand’s Christmas is particularly effective. “In this hour-long radio drama, Santa struggles with the increasing demands of providing gifts for millions of spoiled, ungrateful brats across the world, […]

Miller – lightweight

I see Frank Miller has aired his erudite views on the Occupy protestors, namely that they are “louts, thieves, rapists”, and,  in a quieter moment, as  “pond scum”. I would be interested to see the statistics  on how many acts of sexual violence have been perpetrated in the name of bringing regulation to a rogue banking […]

Shelagh take a bow

With apologies for the obvious post title : RIP to Shelagh Delaney. A true artistic original, the first to get a female working-class perspective onto the British stage,  A Taste of Honey remains a beautiful work. Inspiring Morrissey was a bit of a bonus too.  More here. Postscript: Pointed piece by Belinda Webb in The Guardian bemoaning the lack of, yet need for, an heir to […]

Mark E Smith, a Stalinesque embrace

It’s new Fall album time – no 29: Ersatz GB.  Here’s my review – it’s good. Me and other Fall fans will like it, most people won’t. A marginally less flippant observation: I’d say the last few albums (post 2007)  are less collections of songs; more skewed symphonies. Of these, last year’s  Our Future, Your Clutter is still the most outstanding to me, but give […]

Paul Reekie – Death Of A Writer

[phpzonsidebar title=”Paul Reekie Books” keywords=”Paul Reekie” num=”1″ country=”US” searchindex=”All” trackingid=”spike” sort=”none” id=”3″]A few years back I read the very fine  Children of Albion Rovers, a compendium of writing by young Scottish authors, compiled by Rebel Inc’s Kevin Williamson in 1996, and featuring earlier work by a certain  up-and- coming Irvine Welsh. One of the stories […]

As the Book Swaps stop

The Guardian’s National Book Swap seemed like a lovely idea. The wet-lib rag urged its readers to leave much used and much loved books in random public places with a note urging  a stranger to pick them up so that they might find the same inspiration enjoyment . They in turn could leave their own favoured tome in […]

The Return Of Half Man Half Biscuit

Half Man Half Biscuit are back, with a new album – 90 Bisodol (Crimond).  It’s great of course – that much should be obvious. Less expected is that a brilliant article has been written giving this marvelous band the respect they so completely deserve. All fans should read Taylor Parkes’s fabulous piece in the Quietus.   My own tribute to the […]

The Future Of EBooks

Superb post from author Joe Konrath re-examining 11 predictions he made about ebooks in 2009 and whether he turned out to be right (he scores around 8 out of 11 – it’s quite scary).  And some future predictions for ebooks and publishing in the next five years too. It’s not going to be pretty but […]

Amazon Kindle Fire – The New Kindle Reader

Amazon’s next generation Kindle – christened Kindle Fire – is due to be announced tomorrow (Wednesday 28th September).  The Kindle Fire will actually be backlit tablet – ie a similar display to an iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab – rather than the pioneering e-Ink display of previous Kindles.  Fans of the existing Kindle shouldn’t worry, […]

Get Carter – at the Scriptorium

I recently finished The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter, someone I hadn’t read before.  Reading this wild-chaotic gothic grand guignol was a stormy ride. You only need begin to spy a plot summation (against a dystopian backdrop of America imploding in racial civil war, a misogynist  is kidnapped and savagely made female by a self made Earth […]

Type A Positive

I’m a sucker for a nicely handled infographic or a clever piece of cover art. Stockholm’s Patrik Svensson (aka Prince Hat) does a great line in typographically-based graphic design, as featured in an advertising campaign for Dubai’s Jashanmal Books. You can see the posters here, but it’s also worth clicking through to the movie posters (which […]

The Return of Jeff Noon

Aside from press releases for self-published space opera bodice rippers and post-apocalyptic political zombie thrillers, Spike receives a lot of correspondence with the plaintive enquiry “What ever happened to Jeff Noon?” We know of several theses being written around the author of Vurt and many, more casual readers have been waiting for something new. Well, […]

September 11th – the worst

We are approaching – as you may have noticed – the anniversary of September 11th. Don’t let the media saturation blind you with cynicism to the genuine human tragedy of the date. I think of three distinct horrors,  remembering  the dead of each.  Firstly, the one on which our media fixates now – the nightmarish massacre of […]

Bellflower at MOMI NY

I’ve not seen this film yet but am intrigued enough to blog about it. Described by indieWIRE as “an apocalyptic love story for the Mad Max generation”, Bellflower has a special preview screening at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image tomorrow (August 4th). The interesting thing for me is that auteur Evan Glodell went […]

Gently Read Literature

In an age of self-publishing, the role of critic as mere arbiter of taste seems outdated. Concerning itself with essays on contemporary poetry and literary fiction, Gentry Read Literature “strives to present arguments not just feelings”. Making a case as opposed to runing one’s mouth. Run by Daniel Casey out of New Haven, Connecticut, the […]

An Urban Silence

I was just listening to an album I hadn’t played in a while; Portuguese composer Nuno Canavarro’s delightful 1988 collection Plux Quba. Because of his initials and his nationality, I suddenly remembered that photographer Nuno Cera (covered by Spike here) is exhibiting as part of a group show called An Urban Silence at The Exchange […]