BEDSIT BOHEMIA (A SORT OF ROMANCE)
BY JACOB LOUIS BEANEY
'Bedsit Bohemia' is Jacob Louis Beaney's follow up to his 2016 novella 'Notes From An Overweight Starving Artist' and follows the same hapless protagonist in his pursuit of romance, whilst attempting to live a bohemian, starving artist lifestyle.
Coming in at just eighty pages, this is a quick read, but is packed full of Beaney's trademark surrealist humour. Right from the off, you know what you're in for. The opening few lines spell it out for you in no uncertain terms; "None of this takes place in a bedsit. I came up with the title for the book before I wrote it and you know it's really hard to come up with a good title so I decided to keep it despite its utter irrelevance.". The narrator continues in this vein, admitting that they are only writing the book in order to use up the ten ISBNs they obtained as you can only buy them in bulk. Being a writer myself, and being inspired by the down and out tales of the likes of Charles Bukowski and George Orwell, I very much related to the protagonist struggling with his romantic ideals versus the realities of life. This particular passage had my laughing out loud... "My dream ever since I was a child had been to develop a debilitating drug addiction and live in a squalid, damp bedsit spending all day drinking cheap wine and writing poetry on a battered typewriter. But it was proving harder than imagined to achieve. For one thing it was really hard to find printing ribbon and drugs seemed to cost an absolute fortune."
The novella is also filled with an array of excellent woodcut prints (also by Beaney), and came accompanied by some humourous flyers for fictional businesses that are mentioned in the story. The prose is generally smooth, but there are one or two spelling and grammatical errors, which whilst could have been ironed out with another round of editing, also add to its rudimentary and haphazard charm. This is well worth a read, and I implore you to buy a copy. To do so, just contact Jacob via firstname.lastname@example.org
KILLING OUR SAINTS BY SCOTT WOZNIAK
AND JANNE KARLSSON
'Killing Our Saints' is the latest poetry collection from Oregon poet Scott Wozniak, and is illustrated by prolific Swedish artist Janne Karlsson (and published by his press Svensk Apache). Scott's words and Janne's imagery are a fucked up, dysfunctional match made in the depths of desperation and despair. The perfect compliment to one another. Each poem I read became my new favourite in the book, and each accompanying illustration more messed up than the last.
As any fan of Wozniak's writing will know (or anyone who looks at the front cover pictured above will see) this isn't the poetry that your Nana used to read. These are the words of a man who has come close to the edge on (many) more than one occasion and lived to tell the fucked up tales. These are life lessons from a teacher who knows that if you a reading this book, you probably won't heed its warnings, but implores you to do whatever you need to do to make it through...
"When young, / it's your duty / to piss / on graves- / Death's / handy work.
It's like throwing / the first punch / in a fight / you know / you can't win."
This is a short read, clocking in with 23 poems, but they're all made of pure, solid Gold. As quickly as you devour this book, you'll want to open that first page and start again right away, and I advise that you do just that. Buy one now RIGHT HERE.