Tuesday, 28 October 2014

HELP ME CHOOSE A HALLOWEEN COSTUME!

I am having somewhat of a dilemma, you guys, and I need your help! Earlier this month I was watching Wes Anderson's brilliant movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, by far my favourite Wes Anderson flick and one of my all time favourites of ever. During the course of the film I had an epiphany: I was all "I'M TOTALLY GOING TO DRESS AS A MEMBER OF TEAM ZISSOU FOR HALLOWEEN!" and so once the movie was over I set about getting together a totally rad Team Zissou outfit...

BUUUUUUT then I remembered that earlier this year I had spotted some white plastic animal masks in a local art shop and I was all "I'M TOTALLY GOING TO DRESS AS ONE OF THE KILLERS FROM YOU'RE NEXT FOR HALLOWEEN!". Adam Wingard's You're Next is one of my favourite horror movies (read my review of it here) and obviously dressing as a character from a horror movie is a little more apt for Halloween...

Now I have TWO costumes and I don't know which one to wear so I need you guys to decide for me!


We still have a few days until Halloween so whichever costume gets the most votes between now and then is the one I shall wear. On Halloween night I am going to a local punk gig to see Revenge of the Psychotronic Man. Not that that should have any influence over your vote, but I just thought I should mention it- I am actually going out on Halloween, I won't just be sat at home wearing one of these two costumes!

THANKS, YOU GUYS!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

LIT FIEND INTERVIEW [#2]


This month's interview comes from across the pond. I recently shot a few questions over to New Jersey based lit fiend, Paper and Ink Literary Zine contributor, and the driving force behind the artists and writers collective Twenty-Four Hours. He is the one, the only, the original 'Professor Zinester'...

First things first... What's your name, where do you come from and what do you do?

My name is Josh Medsker. I come from the farthest reaches of North America… from the outpost of civilization called Anchorage, Alaska.
I got the fuck outta there in 1998, traveled around the Lower 48 (the contiguous United States to non-Alaskans) for 6 months on the Greyhound bus. Slept in youth hostels in New Orleans and had my tarot read… played pool with homeless junkie teens and drank beers down at the Mississippi river…, slept in laundromats in Georgia and met some new friends who took me around to see where R.E.M. made their name… went to Graceland and Sun Studios in Memphis to see the birthplace of rock and roll... when I was done doing the Kerouac thing, I moved to California and took a newspaper internship in San Francisco.
Eventually I moved back to Anchorage and lived in my friend Eric’s giant walk-in closet (!) while working at our alternative news-weekly, made another mega-trip across the U.S. and also into Canada (now with Eric!)… busked in New Orleans with some kids with bottle caps tied to their shoes… moved to Japan with Eric to teach English for a year and a half, moved to Austin, Texas to go to graduate school for creative writing… didn’t get in… met my wife… moved to Brooklyn… Been lots of places.
Now I live in New Jersey, just outside of NYC, on the outskirts, in a little town called Bayonne. You know the author George R.R. Martin, who wrote the Game of Thrones books? He’s from Bayonne. Also, most of Blondie. I am very proud to say that.

As far as what I do… I am an English professor and a middle school teacher. That’s what makes me money. I also write, and that sometimes makes me money. I also cook, hike, dick around with computer programming… I blog…

Have your travels been a big influence on your writing?
Travel has been extremely influential. I had wanted to see the rest of the country since I was a kid. I had been to the Southwest, to Texas, when I was 7, to visit my grandpa… but I don’t really remember it, except for stories that my parents tell me. And we went on another family vacation to Hawaii when my sister and I were 14. But Hawaii is in the same boat as Alaska, really. It’s not exactly part of the United States. Aside from those two excursions, I had never seen any part of the country, ever. Except on television. I spent a summer, in 1996, in Portland, Oregon with my best friend at the time, Chris… who was on an exchange with the archaeology program with his college and Portland State, and I was his roommate… and that was the first time I had been to the Lower 48. It was a big deal for me. I finally moved down to The States for good (not really. Ha!) in 1999 when I was 26, when moved to California. What a total trip that was.
So yeah, travel is a huge part of my life. Everyone who is born and raised in Alaska will tell you a similar story. It’s in my DNA, I think. But I will say this. I think I’m paraphrasing a better writer, but I will say it anyway. A good writer can make a paragraph about staring at the wall the most exciting thing you’ve ever read in your life—and a terrible writer can make a trip to Tokyo the most mundane thing ever. You know? I think I made that mistake early on in my writing, and in my life. But I suppose that’s a common rookie mistake.
Tell me a little about Twenty-Four Hours and how it came about.
Twenty-Four Hours was a thing that I started in 1998, kinda sorta, after my first zine Noise Noise Noise died. NNN was a punk zine I did for a few years (Dec 94 to Oct 96) in Anchorage, with a bunch of friends. We mostly focused on local music, and when our scene just died, you know, beyond repair, so did the zine… We could have kept it going, I guess, but I was so burned out. I was flunking out of college, and I was mentally in a rough place. I just said fuck it, and walked away. But you know how zines go… within a week or two, I came crawling back! I had an idea to do a rockabilly and literary / art zine. I toyed around with doing a horror theme or a campy Cramps-type theme, but that didn’t last long. I named it Sinister Urge at first, then Gorehound… but those never got past the cover stage. Then it was Pink Elephants and Crawfish Houses… that was the literary one. I had a play by a friend in there… and a play I wrote. It almost got off the ground, but then I took that trip I told you about, on the bus. So TFH languished on my hard drive for another year and a half—until finally in December 2000, when I arrived in Japan. I was bored and hadn’t started working yet… and I wanted to write something… so I started writing a little memoir-type thing about the gross smells coming from the room next to me, and how weird I felt being one of 5 foreign people I knew (so far). I had been there a week.
And that became the opening essay for TFH #1. Pretty neat. We put out the first issue late in the spring of 2001. Unreal that it’s still going in 2014. Unbelievable. 
Why do you think zines are important?
Oh, dude. They are crucial. Zines helped me find my confidence. I can’t even begin to tell you how important they were to me. Growing up in Alaska… seeing these photocopied little magazines? Incredible. I saw poems and stories in zines like Whatever Works (an all-time favorite by Susan Boren who now does Clip Tart in Austin) and I would treasure it for weeks, months! So great. Or when a new issue of AK Verve came out… exposing me to, I don’t know, legalization of marijuana? So vital. Especially back then, in the early 90s. They were a life-line. Alaska was much more conservative then, and there was no internet… you have to have input to be able to form ideas different from the mainstream… You cannot take anything for granted. This material is put together by flesh and blood humans. They get tired, and they get frustrated, and at some point they will quit, and this material will vanish. I think people who read this stuff forget that absolutely no one is getting paid.
I think zines are very important. And I’ll extend this statement to blogs and independent websites as well. It’s all part of the same independent publishing hive.
What has been your proudest moment as a writer? 
Hmm, that’s tough… I have like…little proud moments, like when I work out a great line or word… So here’s “most satisfied”:
I would say the most satisfied I’ve been was when I realized that the writing itself is always going to be enough, rather than writing just to get published.
The other thing that made me happy was the realization that writing didn’t have to be a substitute for living. It took a lot of weight off my shoulders. It made it a lot more fun, and paradoxically, I got a lot better.
What was the first book to ever blow your mind?
Oh wow… The first book that blew my mind was probably Shakespeare. In high school. We did As You Like It one year for the school play. I helped out with the play, and I had a tiny speaking role. I was terrible, but I was so happy to be- included. My friend Chris (and future singer in our shitty little punk rock band!) he was The Fool… naturally… and he stole the show as always… and even though the language was verbose and dense, I kept plugging away at it. I read Hamlet on my own, and on to Macbeth, and so on… I loved it. I was angry with myself that I didn’t understand all of it, but I tried my best.
What was the last book to blow your mind?
I just read Crime and Punishment. My wife made fun of me because I have a habit of picking books up and putting them down for a long time. Which I did, sad to say. Not because I didn’t like it. I thought it was great, obviously. No, I just get distracted easily… I’m the kind of guy who reads, you know, 4 books at once. Bad habit… Ugh. But she’s right. I did Dostoyevsky a little piecemeal, so I’m going to go back while it’s still fresh and read it again. But it was great. His breakdown was intense. I also really liked Hunger by Knut Hamsun, for the same reason.
What is your favourite genre of music?
Depends on the day, really. These days I’m back into 70s and 80s punk rock. Sex Pistols, Ramones, Damned, Clash, Buzzcocks, and the American stuff like Social Distortion, The Germs, Rancid, Bad Religion… That’s my musical home. That and old blues and folk. Muddy Waters, Lonnie Johnson, RL Burnside, Skip James, Lightening Hopkins. I love it. Can’t get enough. I also have a big soft spot for heavy metal. The good stuff. You know, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica… New Wave of British Heavy Metal stuff. I also really like country and western from the 30s up until now. I love it all. Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Hank Jr, Hank Williams the 3rd, Billy Joe Shaver. There’s all sorts of stuff… I love hip-hop, old and new… I’m getting into Jay Z a lot. I dismissed him for a while, but he’s fucking great, man. Really good. Q Tip, Talib Kweli… All the late 80s early 90s stuff, obviously… Biz, Beasties, Nas
Basically I love music that moves me emotionally. Music that you know was created by real people, for the purpose of communicating a message about something—not just to sell you an image or a product. I have to feel a connection there.
That is quite an eclectic list! If you had to distil in even further and listen to only three albums for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Damn. 1) Rocket to Russia- by The Ramones 2) The White Album- by The Beatles 3) At San Quentin- by Johnny Cash
What is your drink of choice?
coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee!!!
Which three famous people, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with?
Johnny Cash, Joey Ramone, and Joe Strummer… and we would all write a song together afterwards and record it. Hell yes.
What is your favourite movie?

The Empire Strikes Back. Darkest kids movie ever.

If you could eradicate one thing from "modern life" what would it be?
Selfies.
I was hoping you'd say Kindles, but I'll accept selfies. Haha. What do you think the future holds for the printed word?
The word is going wherever it wants to. Haha! It may not be printed in ink, but the word is a surprisingly malleable thing. In 1995, when I was taking HTML classes in my University of Alaska college journalism program… we were debating what would happen to newspapers and magazines… the general consensus (in our classes anyway) was that there would be a hybrid environment of part e-media and part print media… and that’s what has happened. Sort of. I guess print media has become more “boutiquey”.
I think the most successful writers and publishers are going to be the ones that can harness THE WORD and find the best uses for it in both formats (and in hybrid ways!)
And finally, what does the future hold for Mr Joshua Medsker?
I have a bunch of neat projects going on! More Anonymous Chapbooks coming out with the Twenty-Four Hours press… Still working on the At Home found materials art book with my poet friend Eryk Wenziak from Connecticut… I just need to find time to breathe! Ha! This new teaching job, teaching the 6th and 7th graders is running me ragged… Eek. Lotsa stuff going on, man! Check out the TFH website for updates! And you can read my Facebook page for updates on new work for me!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, Josh, much appreciated!  

Joshua's memoir 'Kuma' appears in Issue #3 of Paper and Ink Literary Zine which is available here and here

Thursday, 2 October 2014

I READ ZINES [#5]




Zines in Space

This is a fun little comic zine about some space aliens that acquire a photocopier from Earth and use it to produce a music zine. The artist, Sammy Borras, also has a weekly web comic called Giant Rhinos in Space which is definitely worth checking out, plus a bunch of other rad comics and zines.

 


Belleville Park Pages #1

Technically not a 'Zine', it is a single folded 'Page' (but shhhh). This first issue was released in late June 2013, but I found it in a small bookshop this summer when visiting the Isle of Wight. Labelled as 'fresh writing by contemporary writers' it aims to provide an opportunity to be 'printed on a physical Page and read at an affordable price'. Pages goes to print every two weeks and are now on their 25th edition. My favourite piece from this début issue was a wonderful poem called Tiny Mountains by Melissa Clausse.

The Hydrazine #1

Produced as part of the Bristol Poetry Festival 2014 featuring poets that have performed at The Hydra bookshop's Spoken Indulgence readings throughout 2014. I have never been to Bristol, nor the Hydra bookshop but judging by this zine, it is definitely my kinda place. Printed on recycled paper and Hesterglock Press, it looks and feels like an old school punk zine and very much has the feel that I aim for myself with Paper and Ink - no nonsense, kick you in the teeth literature. There are too many good poems to choose a favourite, I just hope this issue is the first of many.

Lights Go Out #29/Gadgie #32 Split

When two DIY punk music zines come together to do a split issue, you don't really expect the theme of said issue to be 'Star Wars', do you? But that is exactly what you have here, and it's fucking awesome. It is nice knowing you're not the only punk who has a soft spot for Star Wars. No, apparently it is rarer to find punks that DON'T like Star Wars. Up the Rebel scum! The highlight of this whole split for me was nothing to do with punk really, but Lights Go Out editor, Mr T, interviewing his two young daughters about Star Wars. Now, I don't ever wanna have kids, but if I do, I hope they're as cool as those two. When asked if they would like to join the Dark Side, his six year old responded 'Yes, I would like to be the Emperor's Daughter'. Parenting: you're doing it right, Mr T!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

SMILING AT STRANGERS ON TRAINS

Last Tuesday I travelled up from Hastings to Cambridge to see Frank Turner and it was pretty much the best gig I've ever been to, ever. 

I have been very lucky this year in that it was my third time seeing him live in 2014. Three times in three wildly different scenarios; the first, in February, was at the O2 Arena in London - Frank's biggest headline show to date. I was in a seated area, which was a new experience for me, however seeing 20,000 people all singing along at the same time was quite incredible and something special to be a part of. The second show, in July, was at Sonisphere Festival - Folk punk at a prominently metal festival. I don't really know how it went down because I was too busy being drunk and singing along. Which brings us to last week in Cambridge...

It is 112 miles from Hastings to Cambridge but that was literally the closest gig he was playing on the current tour. Well, I thought it was, but having just Googled it, St Albans is actually only 95 miles. Shit. Anyway, I had never been to Cambridge before so I was keen to check out the city. My best friend and fellow Frank Turner enthusiast whom normally comes with me to his gigs couldn't get the time off work so I would be flying solo for this one. I bought my ticket as soon as they went on sale however Silly Old Martin did not think to book a hotel at the same time. No, Silly Old martin left it until the night before the gig to book his hotel, which meant that Silly Old Martin got well and truly bent over and had to pay through the nose for a shitty, whatever they had left, hotel room. Oh well, it's only money, right?

I got the train up in the morning so that I would get to Cambridge with plenty of time to spare in order to do some exploring. When I got to London I had to get a tube from London Bridge to King's Cross for the Cambridge train and with fifteen minutes before departure I picked up some lunch at the station and found a nice window seat on the train. As I was settling in to eat my over priced sandwich a familiar face walked passed on the platform... ONLY FRANK FUCKING TURNER! Yep, I was getting the same train to Cambridge as the man I was going there to see. I text my girlfriend the news and she was less than impressed "It's probably just someone who looks like him" she replied. To which I was all "I think I'd know Frank Turner when I see him!". I then text the best friend and she was all "GET ME HIS AUTOGRAPH" which was funny, because until that point it hadn't actually crossed my mind to approach him.

There is a famous quote by Gustave Flaubert that goes "Never touch your idols: the guilding will stick to your fingers". I heard it a long, long time ago and it has always stuck with me. I don't want to meet my heroes, I don't need that. He was probably hungover and tired and did not need me hounding and pestering him for an autograph just to make myself feel better. Chances are he would have been perfectly happy to sign something for me, have a little chat and whatever, but that isn't the point. The celebrity culture that we live in makes people believe that just because someone makes music or is on TV that they're somehow public property and obligated to satisfy the demands of Joe Public. Fuck that. He is a human being, just like me, and as the man himself said "There's no such thing as rock stars, there's just people who play music". I don't need to find out that he's a dick just like everybody else.

When I got off the train in Cambridge, I was about 10 feet behind Frank walking to the exit and I realised, for the first time... Dude's pretty fucking tall!

Later that day, as I was doing a tour of Cambridge's finest watering holes I got chatting to some fella, he was around my age and looked like someone who might dig Frank Turner's music. I asked if he was going to the gig that night but he scoffed at the idea. He told me that five or six years ago he was in a band that played the same circuit that Frank played at the time, he'd met him a few times and didn't like him. I asked why that was and as the question was coming out of my mouth, in my mind I was praying "Please don't say it's because he's a total dick, please don't say it's because he's a total dick"... "He's too nice" was the dude's reply, "everyone else loved him and he was super nice to everyone, but I didn't like that. He was too nice. There must have been something he wasn't showing people." ... In my head I'm thinking "PHEW!", It turned out that this guy I'm talking to was just a miserable bastard who dislikes people for being friendly.

Even if Frank Turner IS the nicest dude in the world, I don't care, I'm glad I didn't pester him on the train that day.

The gig itself was fucking rad. A much smaller show than 20,000 at the O2, it was around 300 people in an old theatre. You can't beat the atmosphere of shows like this, it really is the perfect size for a Frank Turner show. He played all of my favourite songs, well most of them, and also a few new ones from a currently untitled album due out next year. I sang along as loud as I could, sweated out all of the alcohol that I had consumed during the day and came out looking like I'd been for a walk in the rain. Fucking perfect.



EDIT: I e-mailed this post to Frank (because apparently harassing him on a train is out of the question but via e-mail is fine) and he replied(!!!). He said that I should have gone over and said hi and that he wasn't sure who the guy was that I spoke to in the pub but that he was a miserable old fucker!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

I READ ZINES [#4]


Hand Job Issue #6 'No Reward'

I love Hand Job Zine. It's a proper zine, made the way zines were meant to be made; cut and pasted and photocopied. Or at least aesthetically that's how it feels (Due to sheer volume I think they were professionally printed for this issue). On show inside the pages of this issue, as in every issue, are an array of talented British writers (including one Joseph Ridgwell whom I interviewed recently). I highly recommend this zine to any one that enjoys good, no nonsense literature and especially to fans of old school fanzines. Issue #6 is on the way (and features a short story by yours truly!)

EDIT: I have been reliably informed that thus far no professional printers have tainted the pages of Hand Job. I stand corrected.


PUSH #12 August/September 2014

PUSH is another British literary zine that actually came out in the same month (March 2013) as the first issue of my zine, Paper and Ink. One of us just released our third Issue and one of us is just about to released its thirteenth. The incredible work ethic of editor Joe England aside, PUSH is somewhat of a phenomenon. It is sold on the street outside football matches (that's soccer for you Americans reading this) and has shifted a whopping 1500 copies since it came out. The content is definitely geared towards its target clientèle, with poems about prostitutes and stories about football and armed robbery, but it works. This particular issue also features a great, in-depth interview with writer John King (Human Punk, The Football Factory), which is worth the meagre cost of the magazine alone. PUSH #13 is out very soon! 


W/R/T/1 With Regard To Modernity

This is a brand new lit zine, edited by John Morrison. It contains eight short stories, from eight different writers, all on the theme of modern life. I like the very simple, no thrills, design of this zine and as for the stories, they're all well written pieces. My favourite was a compelling tale of drug induced psychosis by Terence Corless. The rest of the stories range from a lonely woman becoming obsessed with her doctor to a cyberpunk tale of a dystopian future where people are addicted to information. This zine is definitely worth checking out and I look forward to future issues.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

LIT FIEND INTERVIEW [#1]


One of the awesome things about doing Paper and Ink has been the plethora of weird, wonderful and interesting people that I have met because of it. So, aside from sharing their creative outpurings in the zine itself I have decided to interview some of the writers that have/will feature in its pages. First up is the original lit fiend himself and a writer whom Mark SaFranko describes as one of his favourites in the whole world (and if you don't know who Mark SaFranko is, stop reading this right now and go buy some of his books from Murder Slim Press. Then come back and read this interview, obviously).

Boring bits first... What's your name, where do you come from and what do you do?

My name is Joseph Ridgwell. I'm originally from east London and I'm an International Man of Leisure currently residing in Edinburgh.

How did you come to end up in Edinburgh? 

Having been priced out of the housing market in my traditional homelands by rich people - I was forced to relocate to a city where a working man could still afford to live in a decent manner or in the style I was accustomed to - carousing in bars several times a week - womanising and fine dining. Also the mother of my child - Miss Urchin Belle - is originally from Auld Reekie and she told me all these tales of Edina and how wonderful a city it is - and being gullible of nature - I fell for her lines hook line and sinker.

What was the first piece of writing that you ever had published?

The first piece of writing I had published was a short piece of fiction that was published online in 2002 and for which I was paid £25. That of course was in the early days of the internet when nobody knew what they were doing. Now nobody gets paid anything. The first piece of fiction where I was just beginning to find my feet as a writer was a short story called Candice - and which was published on the now defunct Laura Hird Showcase in 2005. Looking back an amazing amount of established writers first had their work appear on Laura’s showcase.

Do you keep count of all the pieces you've had published?

No - way too many. Of course I do know how many books I've had published. 12 -with a short story collection (pictured, right) due out on Bottle of Smoke Press some time later this year - which will feature some wonderful artwork by the multi-talented Jose Arroyo

And then there’s the long awaited and overdue novel Burrito Deluxe also slated for publication by Purpose Books in Spring 2015. Only had to wait eight years for that mother to see the light of day!

What has been your proudest moment as a writer thus far?

I’m proud of all my books of course - especially A Child of the Jago - but have a soft spot for the very first - Where are the Rebels - a chapbook of poetry published by Blackheath Books in 2008. However - my proudest moment as a writer was when I told the literary editor of the Guardian Newspaper to fuck off. I lost a paid hack journo gig - but I preserved some self-respect. Anyway, let’s face it hack work is bad for the lit fiend rep. It was also at that point - an epiphany really - that I knew I’d never compromise my artistic vision for monetary gain. Of course this may mean I end up starving to death in the gutter - but what the hell - it’s gonna be a fun ride getting there.

What advice would you give to your 15 year old self?  

Stop shoplifting.

What would your 15 year old self say if he saw the person you have become? 

Some burnt out boozer who writes books that nobody reads. Tosser!

What was the last book you read that blew your mind?  

I did so much reading in my formative years that it is now seldom that a book has the capacity to blow my mind - but every now and then one comes along that gets my mojo working and renews the faith. The latest lit fiend gold dust were - James Curtis - The Gilt Kid, Gerard Kersch - Night and the City and the collected writings of Cookie Mueller (pictured, left). Actually all the books currently issued by London Books are worth investigating.

Who is your favourite literary character of all time?

Oh shit that’s a hard one as there are so, so many - but if push came to shove I’d have to say Arturo Bandini - no no Henry Chinaski - shit Jack Mitchell - Long John Silver - Sal Paradise - Harry Fabian - Ferdinand Bardamu - Dan Yack - Martin Eden - Anna Morgan - Candy -oh shit I can’t stop. Put it this way there are quite a few.

What is your favourite movie? 


Has anyone ever approached you about adapting any of your work for film? (if not, what would you say if they did?)  

Nobody has approached me with a view to adapting my work for film - but if they did they would receive a polite but firm get to fuck. As long as I live I will never let any of my work be turned into film as I consider the medium of movies to be fundamentally flawed. As a lit fiend - I prefer to use my imagination. And although Terry Southern’s wonderful literary creation Guy Grand informs us that everyone has their price - in this instance he would be sadly mistaken. 

What is your favourite album?  

Ooh - again I have plenty - hundreds - but at the moment I’ve recently discovered the work of US folk singer Kate Wolf which I really dig.

What is your drink of choice?  

Beer and wine - sometimes gin

Which three famous people, dead or alive, would you like to get drunk with?  

Mary Millington, Carol White & Diana Dors (pictured, right) - and hopefully once they were suitably inebriated and I’d charmed them with my lit fiend ways and intimate knowledge of all their films - I’d somehow have my wicked way with each of them, ha!

There is that famous Hemingway quote that goes "write drunk, edit sober", would you concur with that? 

Yeah - more or less - I do some of my best work either hungover or boozy. I can’t write drunk - I’ve tried but after seven beers the writing begins to fall apart - along with the ability to type. Also with beer you have to keep getting up to take a piss every fifteen minutes which disrupts the creative flow. Wine is better.

There seems to be a bit of a lit zine resurgence in the UK in the last year or so, with the likes of Hand Job and PUSH, as well as my own, Paper and Ink, why do you think that is?

I’m glad you asked this question as something very interesting is taking place on the UK underground lit scene as we speak. I think people - especially younger people - are suffering from internet and technology fatigue. You know all those mostly useless electronic gadgets we’re supposed to own. I think there is a primal urge to fuck all that shit off and get back to the nitty gritty -like the aptly named title of your mag PAPER & INK. Books man - real books written by real people - not a fucking lump of grey plastic. There’s also the obvious fact that bookshops rarely serve up the shit the fiend is searching for. This means that the genuine lit fiend is forced to venture off the beaten literary path to satisfy their peculiarly esoteric reading tastes. And another important facet to these zines is that the work contained within is mostly representative of their generation - culture and community, which at the moment is repressed by the mainstream as they just don’t get it. It’s the voice or voices of the people - the ordinary man and woman on the street and not some useless prick at the British Council. In fact what these zines represent is the antithesis to the puke that the British Council serves up as culture. In some ways it’s pretty revolutionary. The powers that be want zombie consumers - people thinking for themselves is dangerous - they might just start to question shit - you know - might start getting a little political.

PUSH of course is a literary phenomenon all by itself. Imagine a literary zine that is sold to football fans or to anyone on the street and which sells out faster than a best-selling novel. This fact alone is what is twisting everyone’s melons. Joe England has a lot to be proud of. Hand Job is the same - emanating from the same source. How long these zines will last is anyone’s guess, but I for one will gladly be taken along for the ride!

What advice would you give to any budding young lit fiends out there?  

The usuals - read widely - on any subject - style - genre - just read like a mother fucker and then lock yourself up in a room and get the word down. On average it takes around ten years to get anywhere near decent. Good luck - they’ll need it, but then don’t we all!

What does the future hold for Mr Joseph Ridgwell? 

I’m not sure - I get the feeling that I’m an unlucky lucky writer. I’m lucky in that I have all these wonderful artisan publications to my name - I’ve been very fortunate with publishers so far - and yet I’m unlucky in that there has been very little financial renumeration for all my hard work. I think that possibly I will be discovered by the mainstream after I’m dead or when I’m a very old man. Of course, by then, it will be too late. But I’m not bitter - I’m bitter sweet. I’ve had a good life - travelled all over the world - drank in bars from Bali to Bombay - and had a roller-coaster ride of a lifetime. Also I’ve seen those successful writers pushed and barged to the top by the industry - and it seems much better going underground all by myself. And for those lit fiends who get my work - they really get it- and they also have the books all to themselves. You know it’s a like a secret club - a crazy cool screwball one. Man - you’re either in the know or in the dark like a mushroom. And let’s face it - who wants to be a mushroom!

Thanks for your time and for answering these questions, Joe. Keep fighting the good fight! 

Joe's writing will feature in Paper and Ink Issue #4 which comes out at the end of the year (or the beginning of next year, or whenever I get around to finishing it). Until then you keep up to date with his comings and goings by feasting your beady little eyes on his website and/or following him on Twitter.