Monday, 23 August 2010

Mumdance - Smasher

Great piece of music here ...

Also see Mumdance's Last FM page

The Millenium Trilogy

By FJ Riley

I’m currently part way through Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy – specifically, I’m a third of the way through the second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire. Of course you know what it’s called, because of course you’ve already read it, like everyone else on the planet. You probably enjoyed it as well.

I was trying to work out what the appeal of the books are. I don’t usually read thrillers. I don’t find them thrilling. I’m not sure why I’m particularly thrilled by this one, considering that I guessed the "big twist" in the first book a few pages in, but for some reason I just can’t stop reading. I’ll probably have the whole trilogy polished off by the end of next week.

I was going to tell you what I think about it, but what could I possibly say that hasn’t already been said? In any case, having already read it, I’m sure you’ll have formed your own opinion.

What a pisser it must be for Larsson though eh? Unpublished in his own lifetime, and then as soon as he’s gone, he’s a publishing phenomenon. It’s a good job there’s no God, or an afterlife. There’s nothing more irritating than missing out on a successful publishing venture. Trust me on that – it happens to me all the time. (Apart from my work with Philistine Press, of course, which has brought me much joy. No, really, it has.)

I’d be tempted to say the Millennium Trilogy would have been less successful if the author wasn’t dead, but I don’t think that’s true. I think it’s done so well because it appeals to pretty much everyone who reads books. It appeals to people who like intelligent fiction, and people who like trashy thrillers. It appeals to people who are interested in politics, and equally to people who aren’t. Also, crucially, it appeals to both men and women.

Even better than that, the mass appeal of it doesn’t appear to have been intentional. It just happens to tick a lot of boxes. It's difficult to think of a reason why a series of books such as this shouldn't be a massive success. It's particularly refreshing to see a series of uncompromisingly left-wing works of fiction occupying positions one, two and three in the bestseller lists. It's equally refreshing to note that they were translated from Swedish, considering the distinct lack of translated works on British and American bookshelves. Hopefully this will open the door for more of the same.

I’d like to replicate Larsson's formula somehow, but in my own genre. I know us cool kids in the underground digital publishing world like to think of ourselves as above such things, but secretly we all want to be multi-millionaires. Don’t try to deny it.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Two New Collections from Philistine Press

Two new collections from Philistine Press, available to read online or download for free at

The Republic of Naught by Jay McLeod

Jay McLeod writes sharp, funny, angry poems about the struggle to resist conformity while working through a string of dead end jobs.

Sample poem:

Don’t Work

There’s no jobs in this town

You need a degree
Just to get past

The line cooks are bilingual
The sous-chefs have PhDs

There’s no employment in this city

Check the human resources:
Answering phones is available
So is light clerical

You’d also do well
To play the slots
Until hitting the jackpot
Performing stunts for passersby
On King St
Or racing your shitbox down Queen
Until you get to
Indianapolis or Monte Carlo

The local hiring firms
And temp agencies
Have their work cut out for them

I’m going to stand here
Passing out
My phone number
Until the mayor or manager or major himself
To ask if I can start
At anything
This coming Monday

Read more here.

Happy Fat Children and Protein Enhancers by Tom Duckworth

Composed mainly of anagrams and rearrangements of words, Tom Duckworth's Happy Fat Children and Protein Enhancers creates witty, eccentric poetry out of road signs, bank notes and crisp packets. The author describes his poems as "mathematical problems to which I have found a particular solution for."

Sample poem:

Cut-out hero

The queen stares! Across checked land,
Religious service rechristened at her side

Castles, limbs of stone, advance
soon shatter to ruled ruins

Sixteen hooves fight,
clash, rider spirit fiery

Royalty rooting sacrifice,
cop out & plot over coco

Read more poems, and the explanations about where they come from here.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Lemonade Kangaroo feat. Frank Burton - new track available to download

I hope you enjoy this - the strange and brilliant music of Lemonade Kangaroo, featuring vocals by me, Frank Burton. The track is called "Character". It's sampled from a spoken word track I recorded a few years ago called "Office Prick".

Character - Ft. Frank Burton by lemonadekangaroo

To download this track for free, or to find out more about Lemonade Kangaroo, visit

My website is

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Rob Sherman Interview and Review (and the meaning of the term "cutting edge")

A big thanks to Dan Holloway for the following review of Rob Sherman's Valve Works in PANK Magazine:

Valve Works Review.

Dan raises a fair point about Philistine claiming to be "cutting edge," which I must admit to having done on a few occasions when we first started out - even though I fully acknowledge that the term "cutting edge" means very little to me, and I'm not 100% sure what it even means. In the review, Dan praises Philistine for publishing quality work, but says the books we publish aren't necessarily cutting edge. It's a fair cop.

I'm going to avoid using the term in the future. I suppose it's difficult to find concise ways of describing what we do, especially when we're pretty eclectic. Actually, eclectic is a good word. I'll start using that more.

Dan also reviewed Rob on his blog, which you can read here:

Rob Sherman Interview

Rob Sherman's Valve Works can be read online or downloaded as a PDF here.

Dan Holloway's website is

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Matt Dalby - Sound Poet

Just a quick one ...

I want to draw your attention to my favourite person on Twitter - this is worth reading whether you're on Twitter or not. There's nothing I can really say to prepare you for it.

Also, here's the link to Matt Dalby's blog.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Loudon Wainwright - A Father and Son

I'm sharing this because I like this song, and because I like the comment someone left on You Tube describing Rufus Wainwright as "the guy who sang Hallelujah on the Shrek soundtrack." Someone should add that to Rufus's Wikipedia entry.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Moxie Mezcal's Guerrilla Fiction Manifesto

Philistine Press don't have a manifesto, but we can strongly relate to this one. This was put together by the underground writer, Moxie Mezcal, and I highly reccommend you check out Moxie's website,


1. Guerrilla fiction is defined by independent, artist-driven production and distribution of literary works.

2. Guerrilla fiction is based on the belief that the traditional model of book publishing only benefits one person – some guy in New York making money off other people’s creativity – at the expense of both artist and audience.

3. Guerrilla fiction is possible because the tools for creating and sharing art are widely available to anyone with access to a computer and an internet connection.

4. Guerrilla fiction favors the electronic distribution of literature as an environmentally-responsible alternative to traditional publishers’ slavish devotion to paper.

5. Guerrilla fiction favors cheap, zine-style photocopies over more wasteful formats favored by traditional publishers. Guerrilla fiction believes that neither the artist nor the audience is served well when works are released only as expensive hardcovers.

6. Guerrilla fiction favors the promotion of art through direct connection between the artist and audience – using web sites, social networks, community involvement, word of mouth, and face-to-face human interaction.

7. Guerrilla fiction makes the distribution of art an extension of the interpersonal relationship between the artist and the audience, rather than the commercial relationship between the publisher and the consumer.

8. Guerrilla fiction believes that getting art to the audience is more important than getting money to the artist.

9. Guerrilla fiction keeps all rights in the hands of the artist.

10.Guerrilla fiction does not need to be sanctioned or validated.