Thursday, September 15, 2016

Something Remains (2)

Something Remains

CONTINUED FROM HERE: SOMETHING REMAINS – Joel Lane and Friends (part one)
PART TWO of my gestalt real-time review continues in the thought stream below…

18 thoughts on “Something Remains

    GREY CHILDREN by David A. Sutton
    “A bedpan for a bed.”
    An extremely powerful, often constructively staccato or jagged prose depicting child abuse and entropy, old workhouses now morphed into worse modern hospitals as part of urban dereliction, and how abuse and dereliction, porch and pavement, actually morph or blend into each other. Just as the two child victims’ own trial and error as rapist or lover blend together, too, and give us, I read, at least a hope the cockroach or doll becomes an angel, rather than vice versa. And the child still a child, beyond the grey.
  2. THE TWIN by James Brogden
    “Bits of brokenness spray out on the spit of his breath…”
    Brokenness, Brogdenness, this is a vision of referred pain, as Anthony transcends a climbing accident, dream or truth, with his search for the ‘energy of pain’, including the tapping of others for it. I think this is the first time I have seen Lane-like tropes — Lane’s customary tropes from his canon of work as well as, here, the left eye as exchangeable marble — become so painfully crystallised as a reaching out for hope from within that very pain … especially also in conjunction, here, with a striking description of the ouroboric self, a feature that I mentioned earlier in this review.
    Anthony’s own partner suddenly becoming the point of view at the end is a narrative device about which I keep my powder dry, as I need to read the work again, which is always a good sign.
    As an aside, a left eye and toy marbles happen coincidentally to have been important in my own life…
  3. THROUGH THE FLOOR by Gary Couzens
    “When James and I had sex, he always began by taking off my glasses, lifting them from my head and gently resting them on the bedside unit facing inwards, sightless eyes witnessing my being taken.”
    On the surface, a serial fling in simple romance-textual terms, but, eventually, for both parties — backstory in interface with backstory — there are slants on how to look at the concupiscence of their acts, for example James wanting her to be boyish, her wanting to be tantamount in a Goya painting, and other permutations of where each eponymous ‘floor’ is situated, in bodily terms.
    Each body with its own permutations of eyes like tiny mouths opening and closing, for those potential slants of sexual vantage point. Until, for one of them, the floor is taken away – tragically.
    This tellingly deceptive story works, from below the surface as well as along it, depending which way the reader comes at it.
  4. LOST (i.m. Joel Lane) by Pauline Morgan
    Nuggets hidden he “would have shaped into poems, stories.”
    A poem that perfectly crystallises one of this book’s Images of Joel, including a tantalising grief, a never again being able to reach him…
    but ever still within reach…
    at least partly because of this book, where his friends have used those nuggets or fragments found in his home to shape him with these new stories and poems, back again in gestalt with us.
    (My own offered ‘earth wire’ to this gestalt:, still on-going.)
  5. Pingback: Something Remains reviewed | The Alchemy PressEdit
  6. FEAR OF THE MUSIC by Stephen Bacon
    “‘You can’t half bust some moves on the dance floor yourself.’
    He glanced at the quotation and smiled. ‘Nietzsche.'”
    Somewhere in this otherwise workmanlike text, it is claimed that there is no longer any middle ground. This story is an ironic emblem of a middle ground itself, I guess, as if trying to prove that the passion of a new relationship — the fire perceived and envied in the belly of your lover’s life, the art of dancing as proof of that fire — comes to one of two extremes: a point of ennui or a desperate self-dosing. Ecstasy as a two-way filter. Meanwhile, the spontaneous fire eventually burns itself out. Within and without. Metaphorically and literally. Strictly, too.
  7. BAD FAITH by Thana Niveau
    “A portable fan propped on the bar stirred the dense air without cooling it.”
    It is as if this corpse-apophthegm of a prose and human-interactive vision was written for the likes of me, for me TODAY, possibly the hottest day in mid-September there has ever been in this part of the country. “He clambered into the shower but even the water from the cold tap was like soup, warm and cloying.” And more such word-sharply humid images. I hate heat.
    It is also written for me as dog-hater – and a hater of people who own dogs. Although I suspect ‘hate’ is too strong a word that has just been used by me in the bad faith that the hate of the heat has given me. And in the heat of this reading moment.
    A Meloy mêlée of dogs – and ‘frozen’ tableaux of people become their own dogs.
  8. WINDOW SHOPPING by David Mathew
    “The way that Mark ignores the bitch makes her want him more: she italicises her body on the back seat.”
    An ingenious, crisply written, nonchalantly amusing, bound-to-be-underrated story with a completely surprise ending. Not a long story, but a full plot. With glory-holes in their full glory. And cottaging at arm’s length. And a smooth trade as antidote or supplement to the rough.
    Aptly it also has a puppy – and a pub called the Doghouse – as a follow-up to the previous story!
  9. image
    by Liam Garriock
    “The creatures depicted on the walls haunted me as I left, as though they were hitching a ride on my back out the rotten darkness into the outer world.”
    …giving me a crucially mixed feeling as to whether this text is now thus upon my back – or it’s a catharsis that I hawl here, in tune with the text’s headquote from Machen, as another jewel for Joel.
    It is certainly something I would like to see judged by other readers, too. On the face of it, a workmanlike story taking the narrative policeman-investigating and self-questioning scenario of the ‘Where Furnaces Burn’ book to the setting of Edinburgh. A ruthless gang in a terrible area of the city; its ‘Satanic’ emblem is the F name shown in the above title, a name supposedly not on any internet search, whilst it was an uncredited force claimed to be behind the infamous evil men of history… This gang is led by an individual who abducts a schoolgirl…whence the plot continues to unfold.
  10. SWEET SIXTEEN by Adam Millard
    “Outside it was already warm, shaping up to be another hot day in a long line of them…”
    And, again, the heat of the day, the heat of this next reading moment, made me contemplate and eventually respect the nature so far of all the stories (continuations of the Joeline Fragments) that his friends have chosen to present in tribute…
    This one reminded me of the unwelcome duty of picking up slugs from my kitchen floor over the years…but beyond my experience or at least beyond any memory of such experience was this tale’s treatment of first love at sixteen between a girl and boy morphing off into a guilt trip and insectoid horror of a most gruesome nature… And then I smiled, knowing this could be seen as a commendable exercise in the nostalgia for many people of my age of once reading, with youthful abandon or rebellion, the Pan Book of Horror Stories…
  11. “The expected snow did not come that year, although the sky looked heavy with it,…” and I am pleased to report that the next story is the deliverer of such snow and ice …. pleased, bearing in mind my earlier complaints above about the heat in and out of this book…
    BURIED STARS by Simon MacCulloch
    “Is that how it is, being a ghost?”
    …or a buried star?
    This, to my mind, in a presumably pre-email and pre-mobile modern world of the city, is the perfect Joeline exquisition – a sensitively and darkly poetic prose account of the narrator, his relationships, his neediness (here regarding an invitation – or lack of it – to a New Year’s Eve party), his lack of grip (as one often gets In wintry weather, too?), his backstory that also concerns the fragility as well the slipperiness of ice, his resultant guilty dreams – and his life’s objective-correlatives: black space’s embedded stars…
    Leading to an epiphany of horror, a catharsis, too, as many of this book’s stories are.
    “(the city never feels like real outside, it’s too enclosed by itself).”
  12. AND ASHES IN HER HAIR by Simon Bestwick
    Ashes are fragments from many things all made the same thing by fire. This story, from whatever fragment it is made, is overtly the story of a call centre worker under strict employment rules, wringing out, from the results of a soul’s combustion, his own casual relationships with this book’s earlier waifs and strays – and wreaking sustenance from near-poisoned food, as well as eventually becoming complicit with acts of arson-into-ashes taking place in the vacant lot near the office where he works … with a swaddled outcome wrought into being as if for his embracing of a bereavement as well as of a potential birth. Heartbreaking.
    [My previous Bestwick reviews HERE and HERE.]
  13. THE PLEASURE GARDEN by Rosanne Rabinowitz
    “They still raided gay clubs in those days. The police wore gloves, ‘protection from AIDS’. Fools. He once saw a copper wearing washing-up gloves.”
    Rosanne’s evolved fragment becomes an evocative summoning of the cranes as the girders of a cat’s cradle genius-loci of South London, now and then. THEN, when Daniel, as a young man, attended the Pleasure Garden club; he met someone who NOW seems to have outlasted beyond the club’s demolition, and beyond 30 years of his own invisible wear and tear, hauntingly glimpsed from a train between Clapham Junction and reaching further South or West, as Daniel returns to the area, an area that has changed over the decades, of course, as Daniel has also changed; people do outside of fiction. He tries to contact a woman with whom he used to be in cahoots on sexual-foraging quests for each of them in the old days. From the Hot Desking work, today, NOW, he is doing on WEEE, the electronic waste that simply adds to the attrition of reality, a bodily desiccation as if part of some cyber-industrial dereliction, I guess – and Daniel reaches some Lane-like choreography (amid the ‘crane constellations’) with a music mix of old times and wrought passions, with not a diaspora but a regathering, a regathering, each to each, for this book, amid the still recognisable fragments of the Pleasure Garden…
    “He picks up a fragment and holds it close to his chest.”

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