Sunday, February 26, 2012

"The Tender Hour of Twilight" by Richard Seaver

Without a doubt Richard Seaver and his world (Barney Rosset, John Cadler, and for me, the Malcolm McLaren of publishers, Maurice Girodias) are the one's who inspired me to do my press TamTam Books.  Which in turns means that I have a small collection of books on these publishers that always looked at the big picture, and usually (and hysterically) fail in some form due to the devil details of publishing.  The release of the late Richard Seaver's memoir "The Tender Hour of Twilight" is a remarkable journey of American publishing at its best.  Taking chances and fighting the good fight for literature that needed support from the guys behind the writers.  Publisher's memoirs are usually like the great crime heist book.  You always get a set of interesting characters doing something impossible.  And publishing sometimes looks and reads like "Mission Impossible."

Seaver's book is in two parts.  His life as an magazine/literary editor and his first sighting of Samuel Beckett as well as with the wild man of alt-lit Alex Trocchi - his partner in crime at the time.  Its a very heady and beautiful portrait of Paris in the late 1950's and it has that romantic tinge that makes one want to re-live or re-imagine his life in the Left Bank.

The second part deals with his life at Grove Press - the revolutionary and super cool publishing house controlled by the late great Barney Rosset.  Here we have the relationship between the two guys plus people like Maurice Girodias, who is a great character in life and literature.  For those who consider themselves book nerds or anyone who is interested in the cultural history of publishing - Seaver's book is extremely important.  This is what one may call a keeper.

Charles Fourier's "The Hierarchies of Cuckoldry and Bankruptcy"

This can be a handy handbook for those who are into the Occupy movement as well as being a jealous lover.  Two subject matters all in one volume.  Or maybe they're related to each other?  Nevertheless Charles Fourier (1772-1837) was a philosopher who had a deep interest and concern for Society of his time and age.  And of course, none of this have been dated at all.   "Cuckoldry" and "bankruptcy" is both an unfaithful wife and economy.  The two roads to ruin!  

Fourier was much admired by Marx, Barthes, Walter Benjamin, The Situationists, and The Surrealists - and one can see why.  Fourier has a very dry wit, and he also has a clear headed view on the culture of marriage and banking.  The one big sour note in this book is that he wasn't much of a fan of the Jews.  Because Jews were the bankers, blah blah.  But still, don't throw the bath water out of the tub, or whatever that saying is.  Wakefield Press, the publisher, is a remarkable press.   Their books are small, but large in importance.  I would buy their publications blindly.    Please look over their site at

Frank O'Hara

A little pause in the day to think of Frank O'Hara the great American poet of the 20th Century.  A great website devoted to O'Hara and his world can be find here:

Frank O'Hara reading "Having a Coke With You"

"My Heart" by Frank O'Hara

Frank O'Hara reads September 14, 1959

Frank O'Hara reads "An Airplane Whistle (After Heine)"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Morrissey's "Viva Hate" and "Suedehead (Mael Mix)

I just read the press release from "True To You/ A Morrissey Zine" which is the official Morrissey gateway for information.   I always loved "Viva Hate" but I am very excited about the release of the Sparks' mix of Suedehead.   For those of you who haven't heard the record, its a perfect match with the Sparks wit and sense of play with Morrissey's very emotional song (well to me at least).   Its a great great record.  So read down below and save your yen, pennies, euros, etc. for these releases.  The original site of this information is 

EMI Present:
'Viva Hate'
Remastered by Stephen Street
Release date: 26th March 2012
Record Store Day Single:
'Suedehead (Mael Mix)'
Remixed by Ron & Russell Mael
Release date: 23rd April 2012

EMI are pleased to announce the release through the classic Liberty label of a remastered version of Morrissey's debut album Viva Hate, and limited edition Record Store Day Ron & Russell Mael remix of his debut single 'Suedehead (Mael Mix)'.
Upon its release in 1988, Viva Hate announced to the world Morrissey's debut as a solo artist with an outstanding collection of songs which included the singles 'Suedehead' and 'Everyday Is Like Sunday'. The album charted at no. 1, having a chart stay of 20 weeks between March and August 1988, vindicating Morrissey in the face of those who doubted his ability to transcend The Smiths.
The album has now been remastered by original producer Stephen Street and the artwork - whose photo was changed for an EMI centenary edition in 1997 - has had the original photo restored. In addition, it features 'Treat Me Like A Human Being', which replaces 'The Ordinary Boys', and a written introduction from Morrissey's long-time confidant Chrissie Hynde.
Previously unseen, stunning photos from Jake Walters and Kevin Cummins adorn the sleeves and booklet. The album will be available on CD and vinyl. The LP version will be a 180g heavyweight, gatefold vinyl, housed in a wide-spine sleeve with a pull-out poster. The CD will be housed in a gatefold, card sleeve.
Following the album's release, on April 23rd EMI will release a limited edition 10-inch picture disc (Kevin Cummins' photo) of 'Suedehead (Mael Mix)', a remix of the song by Ron & Russell Mael, who have taken the track and given it their distinctive, inimitable touch: the perfect alliance between two artists who have great admiration for each other. The single will be b/w two previously unreleased BBC live tracks: 'We'll Let You Know' and 'Now My Heart Is Full', recorded at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in February 1995.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Graduate School" by Paul Knobloch

Paul Knobloch, who translated all my Boris Vian novels, except for "Foam of the Daze" and just finished translating Gilles Verlant's biography on Serge Gainsbourg for TamTam Books has a new piece of writing called "Graduate School."  Great narrative, and the entire website is interesting.  Read it here:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"I'm a Snob" (for Boris Vian) by Tosh Berman

A tip of my hat (well I don't wear hats, but you know what I mean) to Boris Vian, with this music I put together last summer.  You do hear Vian's voice in the background somewhere, and beyond that I think it speaks for itself.

"She Had Eyes on the Ping-Pong Ball" by Tosh Berman

The link down below will lead you to new music that I worked on for the past two months.  The only thing I will tell you is that yes, there are dogs barking in the mix.  But its way in the background and it serves as a percussion instrument of sorts. The song is called "She Had Eyes on the Ping-Pong Table."   Do enjoy!

image above came from:

"V comme Vian" a film-bio on Boris Vian for French TV

Did anyone see this TV film bio on Boris Vian?

Boris Vian's great EP: "Chansons Impossibles" & Chansons Possibles

The one and only Boris Vian recording of his 'pop' songs.  Eventually it came out as a 12 LP, but the first release was a pair of E.P's.  Beautiful covers.

The website for Boris Vian's exhibition at BnF

The link above gives you an idea what the Boris Vian exhibition had in their show and collection.  Incredibly impressive.  You can actually see his original manuscript for "I Spit on Your Graves" and turn the pages!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Baron Court All Change" by Terry Taylor

Stewart Home has been raving about "Baron's Court, All Change" by Terry Taylor for a long time now.  Well, he's a man of great taste, and this novel is a superb snapshot of London circ. very late 1950's. The narrative is a page-turner, but what is really great is the language -especially coming the main character, who has a way with British slang unlike the futuristic Alex from "A Clockwork Orange."   Our teenage hero is totally over 'normal' life, yet he's still from that world and is quite sweet.  But with the introduction of Charge (pot) and his love of Jazz music - he goes into the world of modern jazz and pot dealing.  Taylor wrote this novel when he was quite young, yet the writing and his observations are very sharp.  This book is very much a proto-mod attitude towards life, music, drugs, and the need to break away.  Fascinating work!

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Adrift in Soho" by Colin Wilson

About three years before Swinging London hit the headlines, Colin Wilson of "Outsider" fame was writing about the down and out (and in) Soho.  This was Wilson's second novel which reads like a memoir, and is a really beautiful snapshot of boho London before it was defined by the popular media of the time.  For some life was very causal, and for the hardcore Soho citizen a way of life that totally ignore the mainstream view of life.  Colin Wilson always struck me as a romantic, but in a very good way.  And this is a very solid and a very quick read into the world of Soho, London and its citizens.  And like any good book on London, the city becomes a character in the story.  The edition I read is New London Editions and it promises to be an important press.