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Posts Tagged ‘postmodernism’

Being John Malkovich Blu-ray

Old, New and New Inside Out!

Out now, new 4K restoration of the 1999 movie from Arrow Academy, featuring a reversible sleeve (see above) and many new extras, including a featurette exploring the marionettes made for the film, the full Floor 7½ corporate video seen in the film, and the full pseudo-documentary “John Horatio Malkovich: Dance of Despair and Disillusionment”.

The first pressing includes a booklet containing archive publicity materials and an in-depth essay by myself, where I explore the phenomenon that is John Malkovich, the phenomenon that is Charlie Kaufman (screenwriter) and how they fused so marvelously in this piece.

Find out more here: Arrow Films

Singing Detective Gogglebox

Yes, we’ve all indulged when we should have been viewing something better — those families and couples with their feet up on the furniture, munching unhealthy snacks, watching TV and making banal comments, hardly at the Brian Sewell level of critical acumen. But this kind of trashy entertainment is addictive, like monosodium glutamate in food, and no one is immune.

So Gogglebox has endured and gone the way of all reality TV, and like Big BrotherLove IslandMade in Chelsea, whatever, it has become a construct where the producers know what they want and manage the shooting to obtain that result. I can imagine the directors doing cutaway reactions, getting the protagonists to badly fake ‘surprise’, ‘wonder’, ‘outrage’ — or to say ‘Oh my God!’ when Glenn Close comes out of the bath in Fatal Attraction, even though we’ve all seen it at least twenty times before.

I had my own idea for a variation: MetaGogglebox, where people are filmed watching Gogglebox, and then the people watching the people watching Gogglebox are filmed…Yes, I know, I’ve seen Synecdoche, New York one too many times…But then another idea, slightly more sensible, occurred to me when writing my novel-in-progress…Suppose there existed in some other reality an intellectual version the programme, where people drank fine claret and talked about their television viewing in much more exalted terms…? So I created a chapter where the greatest TV drama serial ever comes under scrutiny — Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective, no less.

What follows is not an extract from the work, but a bit of fun with ideas suggested by my writing. Imagine an upmarket media couple, sat in the lounge of their six-bedroom house in Hampstead, glasses of Haut-Médoc in hand…

Read more on: Medium

Ginger Nuts of Horror Review of Literary Stalker

December 4, 2018 Leave a comment

Here, Ginger Nuts main man Jim Mcleod playfully explores his scepticism of ‘meta-horror’ by writing a ‘meta-review’, but through grappling with the ideas he comes out positive about the whole concept:

In all seriousness, though Literary Stalker is an ambitious book and one that for the vast majority of its length works exceptionally well. This is a rich and slightly darkly comic novel that has a lot to say about the not so new culture of social media and the instant unearned quest for fame and validation…Keen could have taken the easy route and written this as a straightforward novel with a linear narrative, but Keen isn’t your average writer, and his use of a story within a story multidimensional narrative is more than just a gimmick, it takes reading experience into a whole new level of cleverness.

So here is yet another most generous review from a high profile critic or writer. Big thanks is due to Jim for the review and for hosting the interview and book excerpt, making up the package (see posts below). In January I will be contributing an article to Ginger Nuts LGBT+ Month, concerning the challenge of a straight author creating an authentic gay narrator for Literary Stalker, touching on the influence of gay novelists such as William Burroughs and Joel Lane, and looking at the phenomenon of the ‘gay novel’.

Read the full review on: The Ginger Nuts of Horror

William S. Burroughs: A Life

October 3, 2018 2 comments

What follows is an extended review of Barry Miles’s biography: William S. Burroughs: A Life (American title: Call Me Burroughs: A Life), which was published in February 2014 to mark the centenary of Burroughs’s birth.

The review first appeared in the Psychedelic Press magazine Vol IV 2014, and has never before been online. It is reprinted now because of its in-depth quality and the fact it provides a whistle-stop tour of Burroughs’s life through the lens of Barry Miles’s updated facts.


 

Barry Miles is no stranger to writing about William Burroughs or the wider Beat scene. He had known Burroughs and been part of his circle since the mid-1960s, when Burroughs lived in London, and has catalogued his work, collaborated with others on restored texts of his novels and has written a portrait of Burroughs, El Hombre Invisible, which for many years has served as the standard primer or introduction to the life and work of the man. Miles has also penned biographies of Kerouac and Ginsberg and other works related to the Beats, such as The Beat Hotel. He therefore seems ideally equipped to write this new definitive biography of Burroughs, published to coincide with the centenary of the author’s birth in 1914.

As he tells us in the introduction, Miles had a hand in the making of the myth of Burroughs, a phenomenon which has now become so powerful that it has ensured Burroughs a place as a character in history independent of his place in the hall of great writers. It was in 1984 that Miles discovered a lost Burroughs manuscript, Interzone, which together with another from the past that he’d previously uncovered was instrumental in getting Burroughs a new publishing deal. That other manuscript was Queer, Burroughs’ second novel, written in the early ’50s but never published at that time. In the ’85 edition Burroughs supplied a short introduction, a few pages of autobiographical background that were to prove seminal in establishing the Burroughs ‘myth’.

Read more on: Medium

Literary Stalker: Model Villages, Metacrime & Möbius Strips

Roger ponders the infinite tunnel of models within models – a black hole in village life

In this fourteen-minute film, I visit the model village at Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds and use it to talk about the metafictional elements in Literary Stalker and other books and films. This model village is a particularly fine example of the art, completed in 1937 after five years of work. It is most interesting because – as the model stands within the actual village – it has a model of itself, which in turn has a model, and so on, creating an infinite regression. This has been a source of awe to me, ever since I first visited the model at the age of twelve or thirteen in the 1960s.

I refer to the model to illustrate the infinite regression of novels-within-novels in Literary Stalker, comparing it to the movie Synecdoche, New York, which does a similar thing. I also look at the Möbius strip narrative devices in Literary Stalker together with my previous book The Mad Artist, again making comparisons to books and films, such Finnegans Wake, Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway – and the rabbit-hole reality bending of The Matrix. The third element of the talk touches on the genre of ‘metacrime’ and Literary Stalker, and I mention other simpatico works by writers including Jorge Luis Borges, Vladimir Nabokov, Paul Auster, Martin Amis, Flann O’Brien, Cameron McCabe, Joe Hill and Dennis Potter.

Literary Stalker Blog Tour Finale

All good things come to an end, and sadly that’s true of the terrific Literary Stalker Blog Tour with Confessions of a Reviewer. Confessions themselves have hosted the final stops, which include a two-part in-depth interview with myself and a review of the novel. Big thanks to Nev Murray and the rest of the team for the excellent hard work in putting the tour together, other social media publicity and the concluding pieces. I would strongly recommend Confessions if you are considering publicity for a horror-related book.

The first part of the interview covers early influences, my writing and TV careers and the evolution of ‘mad artistry’. And the second part looks into the ideas behind Literary Stalker, metacrime and metahorror and also the challenge of a straight author creating a gay narrator, drawing on novels such as Queer by William Burroughs and From Blue to Black by Joel Lane. Then there are some more revelations of social media debacles in the ‘Ten Confessions’ section.

From the review:

There are a lot of references to movie plots and murder scenes, as you would imagine when the main character is murdering people just like in his favourite movies. This part I enjoyed because having watched most of the movies mentioned, it was easy to relate to them…It is full of a darker kind of humour and on occasions, a certain Britishness comes through in the story and it certainly lends an extra flavour to it.

Read more:

Confessions Interview Part One

Confessions Interview Part Two

Confessions Review

Terror Tree Review of Literary Stalker

Watch Nick! He’s a real loose cannon. You never know how he’s going to take umbrage and react. And if you annoy him too much on social media, it might be curtains. His fictional alter ego Jago might even come off the page and enter the real world to get you – like Freddy in Wes Craven’s New Nightmare! Ha! Ha! Ha!


 

Such sentiments as the above are becoming commonplace in reviews of Literary Stalker. Read the latest on the current blog tour from Terror Tree, with big thanks to Yvonne Davies.


 

The majority of us live on social media and it is one of the best ways to spread the word about what you are doing. But what happens when an innocent comment is taken the wrong way or someone does not like your work. Nick Chatterton, an Indie author uses his personal experience on social media to pen The Facebook Murders.

Nick is an aspiring author, working the horror scenes whilst connecting with other authors and a major user of social media. Having published a few short stories, he was looking for that next big novel. An idea came to him when he re-watched Theatre of Blood and the novel was born. Using Jago as Nick’s main character showed how vindictive and petty Nick was. How he fixated on certain Facebook comments and wanted to seek revenge. However he had a dark side which showed itself when he was conjuring up the murders, whilst they were based on scenes from films, you could feel his blood lust and knew he enjoyed them too much.

Read more on Terror Tree

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