Hey! Come Join The Love-in! We’re like punks, with flowers in our hair!

I have this standing plan to write a longer post about this, but I want to get something up now, very quickly.

First of all, congratulations to Spike on ten years. I mean just look at all that stuff. Magnificent. (oh, and enjoying Self blog so far.)

Second of all, Edgier Waters has been with me for a while now, and I want to hymn it, but I’ve been slack. In one way, it’s just nice to see 3am physically manifest: I think it’s been one of the great spaces for people who realise that the web offers new ways of writing and fresh possibilities for old forms; it’s maintained high standards while encouraging good authors and critics and building a community and an aesthetic. It’s cool and reaches places a standard lit mag can’t (I hesitate to say this, since more is better, but there’s a sense in which we never needed Zembla – † God rest – since places like 3am offer outlets and reach and a handle on the future). Being bookalised doesn’t magically validate 3am (since, obvs, no need of validation), but it is sweet to see it printed and around.

Third of all, I’m looking forward to Tom McCarthy’s Tintin book even more after reading the Guardian extract. And, returning to the previous point, 3am have up an excellent review, written by Susan Tomaselli of the rock-hard Dogmatika.

Next item also goes back to point ‘second of all’, because it involves Snowbooks. They’ve commissioned this film for their latest release. Just a big cheer for that really: was glad to see them winning awards, and am generally just glad to see them.

This has already taken longer than I planned. I’ve got a bit on right now, but the plan is to try and post again about Edgier Waters, and the goodness of things in it. There’s a grander thing too, about the British scene, differences from our American cousins, more on Spike, 3am and RSB, a my-how-we’ve-grown in the 2-3 years I’ve been about, and our how our chances stand for creating an unstoppable breed of hepped-up Literary Warriors – high on Exley, buddy! – who’ll poke the Broadsheet ummer-and-aahers in the eye with amazing poetical bayonets, but I fear it must wait a little yet.

Who can distinguish darkness from the soul?

I was County Galway recently.


It’s the actual real Tower, as in ‘The Tower and Other Poems’


It’s the actual winding stair! The actual real winding stair, as in ‘The Winding Stair and Other Poems’.

You’ll probably all recognise this picture:

It’s Yeats’s famous Twig Room.

If you’re wondering whether that is a ghost that can just be made out, hanging in the aether like a reflection in a glass door, then I’d have to say yes, yes it is. If you push me, money on Con Markiewicz. Maybe Eva Gore-Booth, outside chance it’s Georgie. But definitely a ghost.


Yeats’s TV room. You’ll notice the TV is on standby. That’s in case his spirit ever returns and wants to watch Zig and Zag. He had it written into his will.

(Incidentally, on a sort of more serious note, has anyone ever met anyone who actually believes the meat of Yeats’s systems? That is, all the stuff about the masks and the Gyres? I’d just be fascinated to know of someone saying “Yeah – I buy that!”)

The last Four: Who to support?

A simple and rational process. Examine, if you will, the finest cultural artefacts that can be found on Youtube for each competing nation.

1) Italy

Gabry Ponte feat. Little Tony: Figli Di Pitagora

Like the man says:

Siamo figli di Pitagora e di Casadei
di Machiavelli e di Totò
cresciuti con una morale cattolica
e con il rock’n’roll
siamo figli di Pitagora e di Trinità
di Michelangelo e Dario Fo’
cresciuti con una morale cattolica
e con il rock’n’roll

Yes. My knowledge of Italian is shaky, which is to say I can’t speak it, but it looks to me Little Tony is claiming that they are children of Pythagoras, and also someone called Casadei. Had to google that one: I reckon it’s Barbara Casadei, reader in Cardiovascular Medicine at the Oxford Laboratory of Experimental Cardiology. I always got the impression that even if Eiffel 65 never practised medicine, they kept up with the literature.

Anyway, they seem to like Dario Fo, rock’n’roll and the crescendo of a catholic morality. I think you’ll agree we’ve immediately set a very high bar.

2) Portugal

Skaters in Lisbon, Pessoa video poems. Fuck ’em. They won’t be winning.

3) Germany

Clearly represented by current Boingboing favourite Raumpatrouille

Or as I prefer to call it, Heimat IV.

4) France


Oh Hell. They’re running away with it…

That one especially tickles me. Gainsbourg reminds me so much of myself arriving at the office of a morning. I often banter in the same way with my unbelievably hot scientist-maid.

It just..



Allez Les Bleus!