Thursday, February 09, 2006

More Contemporary Press

Time to finish off what I was saying yesterday about books published by the Contemporary Press.

Mike Segretto: The Bride of Trash

On a recent visit to Eastbourne, home of the staid and retired, I noticed, out of a corner of my eye, a poster for Circus of Horrors. Aha, I thought -- remembering the 1960 film of that name -- that poster can't have been there for 45 years, so someone remembers the old thing with affection. It must have become a cult movie.

The movie was, incidentally, written by George Baxt, who came to London to do the job. I was introduced to him, by a mutual friend, in the interval of Brendan Behan's The Hostage at Wyndham's Theatre. Baxt was an entirely commercial writer -- not a literary bone in him -- but he produced some entertaining stuff in his time.

On the other hand... maybe what I saw, had I paused to examine it more closely, would have proved to be a poster not for the original film but for a touring show which calls itself the Circus of Horrors. Judging by its web site, the show is inspired by the film. (And, now that I look at the web site, I see that the show was due to call at Eastbourne on 26 January.)

But I digress. Sort of. The fact is that the film, the touring show, and Mike Segretto's book all belong in the same tradition. The genre of trash horror, aimed at a low common denominator. Decent, well-brought-up people, people who know how to eat with their mouths shut, would never be seen dead buying a ticket for a circus of horrors -- in whatever medium. Although come to think of it, the living dead might be found in the queue.

Mike Segretto's book, in short, is not likely to have been produced over three years on an MFA degree. It is more likely to have been battered out, at least in part, after a beery evening spent with pals and a pile of old videos.

The story, basically, is that Wizzer Whale, a sort of drunken layabout come junk dealer, finds a headless body in the back yard. It is the body of a woman, and he falls in love with her. I will quote from the blurb: 'The problem is that after the corpse becomes reanimated by an ancient curse, it displays a distressing taste for blood. Before long, Wizzer and his monstrous bride are being pursued by a raging mob, an unstoppable TV reporter, and a homicidally jealous puppet.'

Well that's fair enough. It's all in remarkably bad taste, and your mother certainly wouldn't like it. I liked it enough to finish it. Mr Segretto has a agreeably loose and readable style (as do all these Contemporary Press guys; maybe it's infectious).

By the way, there is a reference on page 32 of this book to an actress called Karen Jamey, who played the creature in a series of Monster Lake movies. This is further proof, should any be needed, that Karen Jamey's memoirs (see yesterday) are, as she says, 110% accurate.

Tony O'Neill: Digging the Vein

Now I have to admit that I am not best qualified to judge this book. The vein referred to, as you have probably come to expect, is the vein that the junkie (is that word hopelessly out of date?) searches for in his anxiety to plunge the needle. And, since I have never so much as smoked a spliff (which is, if I am not out of date again) an English term for a marijuana cigarette, then, as I say, I am not really qualified to determine whether this is a good book of its kind or not. (Mine has been a very sheltered life, as you may recall from previous admissions of same.) But that Digging the Vein is a very good book, in the judgement of one non-addicted person, that I can certainly testify. It is well written and it tells its story economically and effectively.

What tradition is this one in? Well, I guess one forerunner is Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an Opium Eater. Which I haven't read. Then there's William Burroughs's first book, Junkie, which I read when it first appeared in the UK, nearly fifty years ago. (The book was published [as written by 'William Lee'] by Digit Books according to the British Library, 1957. But my copy was from Ace Books, which originally published it in the US in 1953. So did Digit import a few copies, or what??? But I digress; again.)

Junkie was a perfectly straightforward book, and very well written in my view. It is described (e.g. by the Wikipedia article on Burroughs) as a novel, but it was clearly based on first-hand experience. The world, however, was a much simpler place in the 1940s and '50s, even for those who came to depend on drugs. And so (if I remember correctly) the descriptions of drug-taking in Junkie are very mild compared with those in Digging the Vein.

I don't think, with the best will in the world, that I could describe Digging the Vein as a fun read. Pages 187 to 190 for instance, constitute as bleak a picture of the drug addict's life as you would ever wish to read.

I had to loosen my jeans to get a working vein, a long blue one running up the outside of my left thigh. I noticed Genesis rolling her top down, exposing one white tit to the daylight. I watched her silently as she appraised her breast in the same way that a butcher might examine a piece of fresh meat for imperfections. Then, finding her spot, she squeezed the flesh hard with her left hand and slowly slid the needle in... 'Its the goddamn crank,' she explained. 'Fucks your veins up real quick. God knows what those bastards mix it with.'

There are moments of humour in this book, assuredly, but overall it is a serious and, frankly, slightly depressing piece of work. The first-person narrator, by the way, is an English keyboard player making a life (? or death) for himself in Los Angeles. At one point, he finds himself playing with the Electric Kool-Aid, a band which rang a bell even with me. Try Tom Wolfe for details.

As usual, I went looking for an author's web wite at this point, and found one. It turns out that, like his narrator, Tony O'Neill is an English keyboard player who went to LA and had his career 'derailed by heroin addiction, quickie marriages and crack abuse. While kicking methadone he started writing about his experiences on the periphery of the Hollywood Dream and he has been writing ever since.'

This is not a surprise. And those who are in search of a subject for PhD thesis could have a whale of a time figuring out whether Tony O'Neill's novel is more closely related to the actual events of his life than James Frey's famous book relates to his.

Of the three Contemporary Press books that I have read, and written about today and yesterday, this is much the most 'important', if you follow me. It is also, I suspect, in some mysterious way, the 'best written'. But it is also the least enjoyable. Go figure. If you ring me up in ten years' time (should I still be answering the phone) and tell me that this book has become a classic of its genre, then I shan't be in the least bit astonished.

16 comments:

archer said...

Junkie is usually read as a satellite volume to Naked Lunch, which is the Ulysses of dope fiend lit.

Tony O'Neill said...

Michael-
I came across your review of my book today - thank you for the kind words. Indeed the book is based upon my own life, 100% factual. The only literary license I took was with the time line and the peripheral charcters who sometimes got combined to keep the headcount down. When you cover 6 years of your life in 200 pages there is a lot of editing to be done to keep the story moving. But I certainly assert the fact that I lived this book in a way that a poseur like James Frey could never do. And putting the lies aside, unlike JT Leroy / Laura whoever-she-is, Frey is no great writer.

I hope you managed to retain your edition of "Junkie" over the years, it's a great book and that edition is as rare as an honest line in "A Million Little Pieces"

Best wishes

Tony O'Neill

dito said...

I read DIgging The Vein. It is a beautifully tragic book. SImply put. Yeah, I'm bored with Junkie books as well but this is NOT that. This is abook filled with beautifully horrid sad funny poetry.

RealityStudio said...

Digit pirated the early edition of Junkie:

http://realitystudio.org/bibliographic-bunker/the-digit-junkie

Anonymous said...

Credit History Online Web Credit Report Internet Credit Reports Internet Credit Report Free Credit Reporting Instant Credit Report Online Online Credit History Web Credit Report Internet Credit Reports Internet Credit Report Free Credit Reporting Instant Credit Report Online Credit History Online Free Credit History Full Credit Report Check Credit History Check Credit Rating All Credit Reports Credit Check Online Fix Credit Report 3 Credit Reports Get Credit Report Online Credit Check Trans Union Credit Report Credit Reports Online Online Credit Reports Credit Bureau Report Experian Credit Report Instant Credit Report Equifax Credit Report Consumer Credit Report Credit Report Score Free Credit Score Credit Report Online Online Credit Report Free Credit Reports Check Credit Free Credit Report Credit Repair Credit Reporting Credit Rating Credit Check Credit Reports Credit History Credit Score Credit Report
credit reports online internet credit reports online credit history ringtones ringtone ring-tones polyphonic ringtones mp3 ringtones alltel ringtones samsung ringtones nextel ringtones t-mobile ringtones download ringtones credit history online credit history online credit history online credit history online online credit history internet credit reports internet credit reports internet credit reports internet credit reports online credit history online credit history credit reports online credit reports online credit reports online credit reports online web credit report credit reports online web credit report web credit report web credit report web credit report free credit history instant credit report online free credit history free credit history free credit history free credit history check credit history check credit history check credit history check credit history check credit history instant credit report online instant credit report online

Ringtone Ringtones Verizon Ringtones WWE Ringtones Polyphonic Ringtones Rap Ringtones Hip Hop Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Alternative Ringtones Alternative Ringtones Alternative Ringtones Alternative Ringtones Alternative Ringtones 80s Ringtones 80s Ringtones 80s Ringtones 80s Ringtones 80s Ringtones Ringtone Ringtones Verizon Ringtones WWE Ringtones Polyphonic Ringtones Rap Ringtones Hip Hop Ringtones Ringtone Ringtones Verizon Ringtones WWE Ringtones At & T Ringtones At & T Ringtones At & T Ringtones At & T Ringtones At & T Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Vergin Mobile Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones Sex And The City Ringtones

mack said...

web credit report
web credit report
online credit history
credit reports online
credit history online
credit history online
credit history online
credit history online
credit history online
credit history online
credit history online
credit history online

best spywares said...

top spywares best antispywares antispyware reviews compare antispywares top spywares compare anti-spywares best spywares best spywares best spywares top spywares top spywares top spywares best spywares best spywares top spywares top spywares anti spyware programs compare antispywares best antispywares anti spyware programmes best spywares best spywares antispyware programmes top anti spywares anti spyware programmes anti-spyware programmes antispyware reviews free spyware scans top anti-spywares anti spyware reviews antispyware antispyware programmes antispywares anti-spywares best anti spywares free anti spywares free spyware scanners spyware removers top antispywares top anti-spywares anti spyware programmes anti spyware anti-spyware anti-spyware programs anti-spyware reviews spyware removal anti spyware programs anti spywares antispywares anti-spywares free anti spywares antispyware antispyware programs anti-spyware reviews best anti spywares best anti-spywares free anti-spywares free spyware scanners spyware removers xoftspy xoftspy se xoftspy-se compare anti-spywares anti spyware anti-spyware anti-spyware programs spyware removal antispyware programmes anti-spyware programmes top anti-spywares anti spyware reviews antispyware programs free spyware scans spyware softwares free antispywares best spywares best spywares top spywares top spywares compare antispywares antispyware programmes compare antispywares compare antispywares compare antispywares compare antispywares compare antispywares compare antispywares anti spyware programmes anti-spyware programmes top anti-spywares top anti spywares top antispywares compare anti-spywares free antispywares spyware softwares best anti spywares best anti-spywares best antispywares free anti-spywares free anti spywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans antispyware reviews xoftspy se xoftspy-se anti spyware reviews anti-spyware reviews antispywares anti-spywares anti spywares antispyware programs xoftspy antispyware anti-spyware programs anti spyware programs spyware removers anti spyware anti-spyware spyware removal antispyware programmes antispyware programmes antispyware programmes antispyware programmes antispyware programmes antispyware programmes

Anonymous said...

http://sexycities.blogspot.com
http://guitarheroiii.blogspot.com
http://gospelmusiclyrics.blogspot.com
http://www.everestexcursion.com
http://www.Joegirardi.blogspot.com
http://www.residential-mortgage.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

http://www.ootp-baseball.blogspot.com
http://popularcelebrity.tripod.com
http://nationalmortgage.tripod.com
http://surendranepaltrekking.tripod.com

Anonymous said...

http://www.ootp-baseball.blogspot.com
http://popularcelebrity.tripod.com
http://nationalmortgage.tripod.com
http://surendranepaltrekking.tripod.com

Anonymous said...

http:www.//meromobile1.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

http://topspywares102.tripod.com http://bestspywares-rachana.tripod.com http://topantispywares100.tripod.com http://topantispywares101.tripod.com http://topspywaresrachana.tripod.com http://compare-antispywares.tripod.com http://anti-spyware-programmes22.tripod.com http://antispywareprogrammes23.tripod.com http://antispywareprogrammes24.tripod.com http://bestspywares-11.tripod.com http://bestspywares12.tripod.com http://topspywares11.tripod.com http://topspywares1.150m.com http://bestspywares1.150m.com http://antispyware-programmes.150m.com http://antispywareprogrammes1.150m.com http://anti-spywareprogrammes.150m.com http://topanti-spywares.150m.com http://top-ant-spywares.150m.com http://antispywareprogrammes2.150m.com http://antispywareprogrammes3.150m.com http://antispywareprogrammes4.150m.com http://anti-spywares1.blogspot.com/ http://anti-spywareprogrammes1.blogspot.com/

http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627323244/compare-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627323244/compare-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627323089/anti-spyware-reviews.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627323013/anti-spyware-reviews.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322946/antispyware-reviews.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322254/xoftspy-se.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322129/xoftspy-se.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322018/xoftspy.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321662/free-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321577/free-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321209/free-antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321091/free-spyware-scans.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627320457/free-spyware-scanners.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627320225/spyware-removal.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319981/top-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319873/top-antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319616/top-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319031/top-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318691/best-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318552/best--anti--spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318475/best-antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318371/best-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318219/spyware-softwares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318066/spyware-removers.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627317840/antispyware-programmes.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627317574/anti-spyware-programmes.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627317414/anti-spyware-programmes.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627317179/antispyware-programs.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316957/anti-spyware-programs.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316863/anti--spyware--programs.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627317574/anti-spyware-programmes.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627317414/anti--spyware--programmes.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316594/anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316491/anti-spyware.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316282/anti--spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316164/anti--spyware.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627315609/antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627315068/antispyware.html
http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/nature100/view?PostID=23843
http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/nature100/view?PostID=23234
http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/nature100/view?PostID=23864
http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/nature100/view?PostID=23844
http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/nature100/view?PostID=23888
http://www.digitaldivide.net/blog/nature100/view?PostID=23889
/free antispywares
free spyware scans
free spyware scanners
spyware removal
anti-spyware programs

Anti Spywares said...

anti-spyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares antispyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners top anti-spywares top spywares best spywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares compare antispywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares free spyware scanners antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares free spyware scans antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares anti spyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares top anti spywares top anti-spywares antispyware programmes antispyware programmes best antispywares best antispywares best spywares best spywares compare antispywares compare antispywares free antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scanners free spyware scans free spyware scans top anti-spywares top anti-spywares top spywares top spywares top spywares antispyware programmes best antispywares best spywares compare antispywares free antispywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans top anti-spywares top spywares anti spyware programmes free spyware scanners free spyware scans compare antispywares top anti-spywares best spywares top spywares free antispywares spyware softwares best antispywares anti spyware anti spyware programmes anti spyware programs anti spyware reviews anti spywares antispyware anti-spyware antispyware programmes anti-spyware programmes antispyware programs anti-spyware programs antispyware reviews anti-spyware reviews antispywares anti-spywares best anti spywares best antispywares best anti-spywares best spywares compare antispywares compare anti-spywares free anti spywares free antispywares free anti-spywares free spyware scanners free spyware scans spyware removal spyware removers spyware softwares top anti spywares top antispywares top anti-spywares top spywares xoftspy xoftspy se xoftspy-se

Anonymous said...

http://topspywares102.tripod.com http://bestspywares-rachana.tripod.com http://topantispywares100.tripod.com http://topantispywares101.tripod.com
http://topspywaresrachana.tripod.com
http://compare-antispywares.tripod.com
http://anti-spyware-programmes22.tripod.com
http://antispywareprogrammes23.tripod.com
http://antispywareprogrammes24.tripod.com
http://bestspywares-11.tripod.com http://bestspywares12.tripod.com
http://topspywares11.tripod.com http://topspywares1.150m.com
http://bestspywares1.150m.com
http://antispyware-programmes.150m.com
http://antispywareprogrammes1.150m.com
http://anti-spywareprogrammes.150m.com
http://topanti-spywares.150m.com http://top-ant-spywares.150m.com http://antispywareprogrammes2.150m.com
http://antispywareprogrammes3.150m.com
http://antispywareprogrammes4.150m.com
http://anti-spywares1.blogspot.com/
http://anti-spywareprogrammes1.blogspot.com/

compare anti spywares
compare anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627323089/anti-spyware-reviews.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627323013/anti-spyware-reviews.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322946/antispyware-reviews.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322254/xoftspy-se.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322129/xoftspy-se.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627322018/xoftspy.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321662/free-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321577/free-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321209/free-antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627321091/free-spyware-scans.html
free spyware scanners
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627320225/spyware-removal.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319981/top-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319873/top-antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319616/top-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627319031/top-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318691/best-anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318552/best--anti--spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318475/best-antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318371/best-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318219/spyware-softwares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627318066/spyware-removers.html
antispyware programmes
anti spyware programmes
anti spyware programmes
antispyware programs
anti spyware programs
anti-spyware programs
anti spyware programmes
ant-spyware programmes.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316594/anti-spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316491/anti-spyware.html

http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316282/anti--spywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627316164/anti--spyware.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627315609/antispywares.html
http://www.xanga.com/antispyware123/627315068/antispyware.html
Anti Spyware Programmes
Anti Spyware Programmes
Anti-Spywares
Compare Antispywares
Free Spyware Scanners
Free Antispywares
free antispywares
free spyware scans
free spyware scanners
spyware removal
anti-spyware programs
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726260/spyware_removers/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726269/free_antispywares/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726266/spyware_softwares/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726280/anti_spyware_programs/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726274/best_anti-spywares/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726279/xoftspy_se/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726277/anti_spyware_reviews/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/726277/anti_spyware_reviews/
http://www.quizilla.com/users/rajee/journal/587574/top_anti_spywares/

Anonymous said...

guhttp://daninreallife.tripod.com
http://playgame100.tripod.com
http://websiteslinks1.tripod.com
http://aritnepaltrekking.tripod.com
http://aritnepal.tripod.com
http://wrestlingnews-wwe.blogspot.com
http://personalloans-rachana.blogspot.com
http://paris-hiltonactress.blogspot.com
http://celebrityinworld.tripod.com
http://katiecassidy1.tripod.com
http://sexandthecity.150m.com