Somewhere Else To Go
Some links swops: One Touch Football has everything you’d want to know about the Beautiful Game, plus other bits that have nothing to do with footy. It’s a site of intelligence, taste and passion, not least because they link to Spike.
New Insight is a listings mag based in Brighton (rather like the one I used to work for a long, long time ago) that has some ace interviews with Will Self and Martin Amis, Iain Banks, Margaret Atwood and Germaine Greer – some of which are by my venerable literary mentor Polly Marshall, who did one of Spike’s recent interviews with Jeff Noon. Nice.
Backwash is an interesting site that I hadn’t heard of before until they told me they’d linked to Steve’s Spike piece on Thomas Bernhard. Billing itself as “The Internet organised by personality, not subject matter”, the site’s essentially a collection of articles about various topics which are liberally scattered with links to other sites. It’s like a huge blogging community – worth paddling about in – and you can take the plunge yourself if you fancy foisting your own favourite sites on the world. (Don’t forget to mention Spike. Obviously).
For a labour of love, you’d be hard-pressed to beat Daysleeper’s complete translation of Jeff Noon’s Automated Alice into Russian. Apparently it took Daysleeper two years to transcribe the book into his own language – you can’t really start petty arguments about copyright and the like in the face of that. Don’t forget you can check Spike’s review of Jeff’s latest opus, Cobralingus, too.
I’ve added some new bits and pieces to irvinewelsh.com too.
Bookswise, I roared through This Is Serbia Calling, which was excellent – I’m half way through writing a review. (Whether I finish it is another matter…). Now I’m currently roaring through the equally good memoir/history/musical tribute to Jamaica that is Chris Salewicz’s Rude Boy. Salewicz first went out to Jamaica in the late Seventies along with Johnny Rotten on a musical pilgrimage – working for the NME, Salewicz encountered the likes of Peter Tosh, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and, of course, Bob Marley, along with a host of other equally fascinating characters – Carlene the (Undisputed) Dancehall Queen being my fave at the moment, just because of the way her name rolls off the tongue.
Salewicz has returned to Jamaica many times since, and Rude Boy cuts back and forth through his different sojourns and different perceptions of the island, as well giving excellent potted accounts of Jamaica’s wartorn history, the rise of Rastafari and the island’s sun-drenched mixture of paradise and poverty. Amazon fittingly lists Rude Boy under 3 different categories – Society, Politics & Philosophy , History , Travel & Holiday – but that doesn’t convey Salewicz’s sheer love of the country, exacerbated by his very evident British reserve in some situations which he unashamedly documents. I’ve been to the Caribbean but never to Jamiaca, and Salewicz’s book is precisely the sort of writing that makes you want to visit precisely because he portrays Jamaica warts and all, beyond the usual cliches and in all its contradictory glory. It’s an exemplary travel book.
Meanwhile, good news from Titan Books – they’ve partnered up with 2000AD again (finally), and will be reissuing Alan Moore’s The Ballad Of Halo Jones in July, which has been criminally out of print for the last few years. Halo Jones is one of the finest graphic novels ever created – if you’ve never given them a go, shame on you – but this is the perfect place to start if men in tights superhero stuff puts you off. Halo Jones has it all – a fantastic storyline, cinematic graphics and characters that knock dead most of the ciphers you find in contemporary fiction. You can find more about Halo on this site, but it’s no substitute for reading the book. There’s also rather a lengthy interview with Alan Moore from the end of last year here from Blather zine, which is rather nifty.