Reading Material.

Recently two e-books came to my attention, both self-published by the authors and both an excellent read. The fact they’re self-published throws a rather interesting light on our publishers – in Paul’s case I know he tried to get a publisher but can’t even get past the agents. So no wonder more and more (good) authors have decided to go the Amazon, Lulu and whatnot route getting their texts into the open. Right, let’s start and bear in mind that I’m crap when it comes to writing book reviews.

Paul Basgurboga, Rick O’Downe and the Topographic Dream
Kindle Edition, £1.86

Rick O'Downe Cover

Rick O’Downe is a unemployed chemist from Salford, Lancashire, who likes a drink and a smoke – you got a problem with that? Good. Next, Rick has three major obsessions in life and he don’t care who knows it, does he?

The first is access to his nine year-old lad Jody, who’s been deliberately whisked 10,000 miles away to New Zealand by his ex-wife – that is, his bitter and twisted ex-wife – Petra.

The second is his erstwhile laboratory colleague, Professor Garth Willey, now a highly successful (or highly lucky) TV Science Presenter and Petra’s former lover, who has just announced that’s he’s shooting a new BBC series in…New Zealand. The third – his rock music heroes Yes, whose obscure and mystical (or completely nutty and nonsensical) lyrics seem to act as Rick’s sole guiding philosophy through the complexities of life and love. But are they also a spur to kidnapping, murder and Pilotage of a Marine Vessel Without Consent?

Set in that part of New Zealand’s Middle Earth that the Hobbit wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole, Rick O’Downe and the Topographic Dream is a tale of Class, Revenge, Progressive Rock and Regressive Behaviour.

Paul’s book is amazing. There are at least three story threads woven into the book – the main narrative, an autobiography and e-mail conversations. And newspaper clippings. And streams of consciousness. And rock lyrics. And it’s extremely funny.

The book is a fabulous mixture of James Joyce, Flann o’Brien and Paul Basgurboga. Heartily recommended. Buy it.


Glenn Campbell, Limbo: A Novel
Kindle Edition, £2.50

Limbo Cover

A man without a name, without a past, without any specific memories to trouble him, finds himself living on a tropical beach with a beautiful woman. Is this Earth or someplace else? He can’t be sure. He doesn’t even know whether this place is real. All he knows is he wants out.

The monotony of Paradise is relieved only by the experiments. Every day he reports for duty in some kind of underground laboratory. Every day he is the subject of bizarre tests, arranged by experimenters he cannot see. Someone is probing him, provoking him, pushing into a series of events he doesn’t understand.

Every evening, he returns home to the beach, to the perfect little bungalow on the shore where the woman cooks him dinner and cares for all his physical needs. Who is this lady? Some sort of actress? And how could she be so perfect? Not a blemish on her skin!

He is a lab rat, and he knows it, but this is not a painful life. He could get used to it if time only gave him the chance. This world—whatever it is, wherever it is—is disintegrating. The beach is getting smaller. It is being riddled with bizarre defects. Whatever force is maintaining this place is losing its power.

In the early nineties Glenn Campbell used to live in Rachel, Nevada, where he published the Area 51 newsletter The Groom Lake Desert Rat, a humorous approach to the bizarre ongoings of the secret USAF base. Since 2000 he’s travelling all over the world, publishing books and appearing on TV from time to time.

Limbo is a fascinating story. Starting off like Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, it becomes more and more surreal and finally comes down to Earth – more or less. Who is the man, being kept prisoner on a beautiful beach? Who is the woman that lives with him? A robot? Is the beach actually on Earth? Who are the strange doctors and scientists conducting bizarre tests on him?

Again, recommended reading. Buy.


A book by Julius Nelson from 1939, over at loriemerson with a download link.
Via monoskop.

And then what follows is an incredible series of sections that teach anyone from the novice to the expert typist how to create a border, cut-outs, lettering, cross-stitch patterns, and even letterhead. The booklet ends with the exhortation that “like stamp collecting, ‘art typing’ may easily turn into a profitable hobby.”

Artyping. From

Artyping. From

Things I’ve highlighted on my kindle. [2]

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens’ London (Flanders, Judith)
- Your Highlight Location 6174-6175 | Added on Thursday, 21 November 13 08:00:14

What struck most people on seeing London for the first – or the thousandth – time was its vastness, its unknowability, not merely in terms of its streets and buildings, but in terms of its people.


The Journal of a Disappointed Man (Barbellion, Wilhelm Nero Pilate)
- Your Highlight on Page 9 | Location 59-60 | Added on Thursday, 21 November 13 12:44:34

January 3. Am writing an essay on the life-history of insects and have abandoned the idea of writing on “How Cats Spend their Time.”


London and Londoners in the 1850s & 1860s (Victorian London Ebooks) (Bennett, Alfred Rosling)
- Your Highlight Location 424-427 | Added on Thursday, 28 November 13 12:35:27

In the late sixties the leathern pot-hat of the Dowler police was replaced by the familiar classic helmet of to-day. Not long afterwards I met a son of the hatter who for many years had held the contract for the supply of “toppers” to the force. His soul was sad. He said that the old tall hat as made by his father would turn or withstand the heaviest blow, whereas the new-fangled helmet was easily bulged in – and England, he feared, was going to Fra Diavolo, and that at top-knot speed.


The Gamblers (Pearson, John)
- Your Highlight Location 1499-1502 | Added on Saturday, 14 December 13 03:47:43

Whatever exclusivity the food at Annabel’s possessed came from its being very good, and terribly expensive. Someone once complained to Birley that he could eat cheaper at the Ritz. ‘Go there then,’ was his reply.


The Gamblers (Pearson, John)
- Your Highlight Location 1520-1523 | Added on Saturday, 14 December 13 03:50:53

In his determination to preserve the club’s exclusivity, Birley insisted that every male guest wore a dark suit and a tie. He permitted absolutely no exceptions, and over the years the list of Annabel’s distinguished refusés included Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Prince Andrew (who arrived in jeans). Politely but firmly the doorman turned all of them away.


Londoners: The Days and Nights of London as Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Long for It, Have Left It and Everything Inbetween (Taylor, Craig)
- Your Highlight on Page 64 | Location 1032-1035 | Added on Friday, 3 January 14 12:26:17

One of the great things about London is detail. If you go round the back of Baker Street station, the road by the Planetarium, there’s a block of flats from the 1930s or whatever. If you look at the top of that, there’s a whole set of train parts stuck in the building. Genuine train parts – the buffers and couplings and stuff like that. I think this is what John Betjeman’s about in many ways.


Londoners: The Days and Nights of London as Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Long for It, Have Left It and Everything Inbetween (Taylor, Craig)
- Your Highlight on Page 279 | Location 3853-3856 | Added on Monday, 6 January 14 11:34:48

The City life came to an end, I think, when it became an American environment. The City changed in the Eighties and Nineties to a new type of work regime where people didn’t lunch any more, you worked through your lunch, you worked at your desk. It was a sandwich culture. The English sort of London-type living, boozy lunches, that had gone out the window. That killed the character, the culture and the framework of what it was all about for me, and I got disillusioned with it. I was still looking for new fashions.


Londoners: The Days and Nights of London as Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Long for It, Have Left It and Everything Inbetween (Taylor, Craig)
- Your Highlight on Page 347 | Location 4741-4748 | Added on Wednesday, 8 January 14 03:31:48

RANGA: There’s a story about a senior member of the Bar, a Silk, who went off one day and his wife just thought she’d surprise him and had his wig cleaned and refurbished. He said, it took me twenty years to get my wig looking like that!
GUPTA: There’s a guy in Chambers who is what they call the Old Bar. He’s about thirty years called, or I think forty years called, anyway his wig is just in bits, it’s yellow, it’s misshapen, and the back of the wig, the thing they call the rat’s tail, one side of it’s completely severed, so it hangs down there. He didn’t take Silk, so his gown is in tatters. There’s rips through it and it’s in a total and utter state. I was against him once and he just looked amazing. I thought, shit. I saw him wearing this and I put on my new gown, my new wig and I just thought …
OBIRI: I smell his newness.


The complete archives of the underground newspaper International Times, 1966–1994.

International Times (it or IT) is an underground newspaper founded in London in 1966 and relaunched as a web journal in 2011. Editors included HoppyDavid Mairowitz, Peter Stansill, Barry MilesJim Haynes and playwright Tom McGrath. Jack Moore, avant-garde writer William Levy and Mick Farren, singer of The Deviants, also edited at various periods. The current editorial team include Mike Lesser, Niall McDevitt, Robert Tascher, Heathcote WilliamsIphgenia Baal, Elena Caldera, Claire Palmer, Nick Victor, Dave Cooper, Helen Moore and others.

Within a short time of the first issue, the name International Times was changed to IT after litigation threats from The Times of London. The paper’s logo was a black-and-white image of Theda Bara, vampish star of silent films. The founders’ intention had been to use an image of actress Clara Bow, 1920s It girl, but a picture of Theda Bara was used by accident and, once deployed, not changed. Paul McCartney donated to the paper as did Allen Ginsberg through his Committee on Poetry foundation.

International Times 23, 1968

International Times 23, 1968

Bilder aus Alt-Dortmund

In den digitalen Sammlungen der Uni Münster finden sich ja ganz erstaunliche Dinge. So auch das dreibändige Werk Bilder aus Alt-Dortmund von Karl Prümer, erschienen 1925-1929 im Krüger-Verlag in Dortmund. 3 Bände, prall gefüllt mit vielen Fotos, Illustrationen und interessanten Geschichten aus dem Dortmund vergangener Jahrhunderte.

Band 1 / Band 2 / Band 3

Aus: Bilder aus Alt-Dortmund, Band 1. © Digitale Sammlungen, ulb Münster.

Aus: Bilder aus Alt-Dortmund, Band 1. © Digitale Sammlungen, ulb Münster.

Die Form.

Zeitschrift für gestaltende Arbeit, 1922-1935, Universität Heidelberg. Via Monoskop Log.

Die in den Jahren 1925-1934 erscheinende Zeitschrift „Die Form“ wurde von Walter Curt Behrendt für den Deutschen Werkbund herausgeben. Sie erschien im Berliner Verlag Hermann Reckendorf; ihre Auflage überschritt nie die Marke von 5.000 Exemplaren. Der Untertitel lautete von 1929 bis 1934 „Zeitschrift für gestaltende Arbeit“.

Bereits im Jahr 1922 hatte es einen ersten Versuch gegeben die Werkbund-Zeitschrift zu etablieren. So heißt es im Geleitwort des ersten Bandes (1925) von Walter Curt Behrendt „Mit dieser Zeitschrift setzt der Deutsche Werkbund ein Unternehmen fort, das bereits vor längerer Zeit begonnen, unter dem Druck der wirtschaftlichen Verhältnisse zunächst wieder aufgegeben werden mußte. Die Zeitschrift wird die Aufgaben der Formgestaltung für alle Gebiete des gewerblichen und künstlerischen Schaffens behandeln.“

Behrendt blieb bis Ende 1926 Herausgeber und wurde dann durch Walter Riezler abgelöst. Die Gestaltung der typographischen Umschläge lag in den Händen von Joost Schmidt. Er war seit 1919 am Bauhaus und leitete seit 1925 die Plastische Werkstatt. 1934/35 wurde die Zeitschrift von den Nationalsozialisten übernommen und dann eingestellt.