Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Vice v7n5 Literary Reviews

Alain De Boton

I am not going to sit here and lie to you. I have not read this. Nor will I ever read it. You want to know why? OK, here’s why: I dislike the guy. Dislike is in fact perhaps, far too light a word for my feelings towards Alain de Boton. It would be easy to take pot shots. His first name is kind of an airy fairy version of a good solid name that works well for you average sheet metalworker and his surname sounds like, well, you get the idea. Plus he’s bald and baldies are always funny right? Wrong. All of those things are obviously not funny in any way to anyone beyond the age of 11. If you were agreeing with me a sentence ago I don’t like you either. Nope, it’s not his name or his appearance. Both of those things I’m actually a little envious of. And therein lies my dislike for the guy. He inherits millions from his dad which he never touches, he has a sparkling academic career, shits books every couple of years like it aint no thing and has a nice family, pretty cool looking house and, oh yeah, he can distil complex concepts about the very meaning of life, the universe and everything into easy to swallow lumps that would even make my alzheimers ridden granddad stop and go: “hmm, this guys onto summat”. Yep, I admit it. I want to be Alain de Boton. And for that I hate myself. And thanks to being the cause of this self loathing de Boton is not getting a minute more of my reading time.



I have this friend called Tom Lamb and every time I went round to his house as a kid and go get some milk or whatever from the fridge I’d giggle like a little girl at this postcard that seemed to be stuck on there forever. It was just a photo of a sign somewhere in the countryside that said: “Beware. Lamb’s On’t Road”. Since then, every time I’ve drive around Yorkshire I’ve kept my eyes peeled for a similar sign. I’ve never found one. And then I turn up to work one day and this is staring at me. I don’t even know where it came from. If you gave it to me can you let me know? Just email: james@viceuk.com OK, so it may be missing the whole Lamb bit but it is full of stuff about two of my favourite things: punk rock music and traveling. If you like either of those things this comes highly recommended, even if only for the spot on Wanky’s review.


Esther Pearl Watson
Fantagraphics Books

Hopefully you remember Esther Pearl Watson as the co-author of Watcha Mean, What’s A Zine? If not, then all you need to know is that she is an artist, writer and illustrator from Fort Worth who allegedly moved around a lot as a kid because her dad had a habit of making giant UFO sculptures out of salvaged car parts which pissed the neighbours off. And everything she does is amazing to the power of a googleplex. All the moving around must have had a great effect on Esther because she really does make some of the best comics out there. This one is wholly based around the diary of a girl called Tammy Pierce who was a high school student in 1988 and for some reason left her diary in petrol station bathroom. Esther found the diary and drew it’s contents. Unloveable goes from split-your-sides funny to just-a-bit-of-dust-in-my-eye sad in a hairs breath. I wonder if Tammy and Esther have met since?



This little sheaf of stapled fun is bought to you by the never less than constantly debauched Squallyoaks gang. You may know them from such other interesting outlets as everyone’s favourite disco for girls who like other girls: Girlcore, or being readily available as human installations for various Mathew Stone related thingies or for bands like Cupucabara or even just for living in a big squat in South London that is almost certainly a health and safety hazard to the whole surrounding area. All things considered it is a miracle this thing ever made it into being. That it is a great read in places and limited to the fairly bizarre figure of 276 makes it all the more so.



When the first one came out I was blowing around all manner “best ‘zine in the UK” maxims but guess what? This one might just be a notch up from the debut. Sure, it took Nathan a while to get it together but how are you going to argue with a handmade, hardbound cover, interviews with Pulling Teeth, the excellent (and overlooked) Mentally Challenged and Mike fucking Williams from Eyehategod as well as a short story about pigeons, an introduction to savant metal, an essay on the image of the goat in black magic, a bit on Blood On Satan’s Claws and a heap of tastefully twisted illustrations? I’m not sure that you can. Go. Buy. Now.


David Cullen
Old Street Publishing

Remember? The thing Micheal Moore got all riled up about? “Marilyn Manson did it!” All that kind of stuff. Believe it or not it has somehow been a whole ten years since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their high school killed twelve of their fellow pupils, hurt twenty three more and then turned the tools on themselves. If you really want to feel like you know every agonizing detail of the personal trauma that led to the spree then here it is in under 500 pages. The detail will give you goose bumbs and at points you might want to look away but I defy anyone to not gorge on this in a single sitting. Makes Moore look like he was preaching to 4 year olds.


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