World on a wire

My confirmed schedule for the Frankfurt Book Fair, to date. There are a few more things hovering around, TBC. It's going to be productive and fun to be talking about New Zealand writing to international audiences. So if you're in Frankfurt (or Berlin, earlier), do come. If you're not then there's an app for that.

SUNDAY 7 OCTOBER / 17.00 – 18.00
Presentation of four New Zealand writers from MANA-Verlag: Philip Temple, Peter Walker, Chad Taylor, Robert Sullivan.
Patio-Restaurantschiff Helgoländer Ufer / Kirchstrasse 10557 Berlin.

"Meet the Author"
Frankfurt Book Fair / The MANA stand Venue Halle 3.1 K674

FRIDAY 12 OCTOBER / 13:00 – 13:30
Urban Sprawl (Panel discussion)
The gritty city revealed through contemporary New Zealand fiction writers Alan Duff, Chad Taylor and Carl Nixon in discussion with Stefan Weilde.
Frankfurt Book Fair / Pavilion.

"Meet the Author"
Frankfurt Book Fair / The MANA stand Venue Halle 3.1 K674

SUNDAY 14 OCTOBER / 13.00 – 14.00
A Grisly Lunch ( Panel discussion)
New Zealand Crime Writers Paul Cleave, Alix Bosco (Greg McGee), Chad Taylor and Paddy Richardson in conversation with Wulf Dorn.
Frankfurt Book Fair / Pavilion.

"Meet the Author"
Frankfurt Book Fair / The MANA stand Venue Halle 3.1 K674



Doing an interview for the German Arte channel with Barbara Dickenberger in the Mezze Bar, Queen Street. We talked about cities, New Zealand, the lying narrator and Lügenspiele (Mana Verlag 2012) in preparation for the Frankfurt Book Fair. I'll post my schedule of events soon. DOP Jon Bowden who I worked with on Frontseat. He would have taken a better photo than that.


I can has Pressburger?

Oh, wait. Supercollider did appear somewhere else: The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica (2008) edited by Maxim Jakubowski. And the pointe shoes motif is a play on Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes, did I mention that? Too late, probably. The internet's been slow. If the water stops you can fill a bath and if the power goes down you can work by daylight but if the web slows down, you're helpless. So much for the cloud.


Perfect skin: SUPERCOLLIDER out now on Kindle

Before "Mommy Porn" there was just, well, porn. My short story 'Supercollider' first appeared in String of Pearls (Allen and Unwin, Australia, 1996), an anthology of erotic fiction edited by Tony Ayres which pleased many and shocked a few. It's a tale of amour fou: objectification, fetishism, emotional displacement -- a sort of happy bookend to the more anguished 'Archie and Veronica' from The Man Who Wasn't Feeling Himself (1995). The story has not appeared anywhere else since then, so I've released it as a Kindle single for US 99 cents.

The cover art is by New York-based artist Victoria Munro. You can buy 'Supercollider' in all its weird offensive adult glory here.


Tales of madness

Chris Bell has a new collection of short stories out, The Concentrated Essence of Any Number of Ravens. You can read about it here and buy it here. The fifty-odd stories (some of them, very odd) are short and varied and fun. Disclosure: I wrote the foreword, because I like his stories. His other books include The Bumper Book of Lies and Liquidambar.

Authors have been a-Twitter about RJ Ellory using online pseudonyms to praise himself and criticise his 'rivals'. (In a post on his Facebook page, Mark Billingham called it 'the tip of the iceberg.') The scandal reminded me of James Frey being caught out for fabricating his autobiographical A Million Little Pieces. Writing fiction is personal and private and, above all, slow, but the online world advances publicly, 365/24/7, 140 characters at a time. If you're going to turn fiction into a competition, don't be surprised if authors start doping to keep up.

Many of the actors in the trailer for the new movie version of The Sweeney appear to be palsied: slurred speech, facial paralysis, wrecked physiques. The contrast between the actors' stasis while speaking and the action extras is extreme to the point of comedy, like a Steven Seagal flick. The Sweeney is one of a number of recent UK movies that have been produced almost exclusively for local consumption (St Georges Day is another): the sort of drama that no longer finds a natural home on British television.

The trailer preceded David Cronenberg's movie of Don DeLillo's Cosmopolis which I enjoyed for the spectacle of a director sublimating all his obsessions to serve an author's voice. Claustrophobic and precise, Cosmopolis felt like a coda to the themes he explored in other films: biomechanical worlds (Videodrome), addiction (Naked Lunch), technological fetishism (Crash) and decay (The Fly, Dead Ringers).

I also finally caught up with A Dangerous Method which, like A History of Violence, is a pretty conventional narrative that suddenly pops with violence and sex before healing over again. A friend of mine remarked that you never worry about Sean Connery in a movie because you know he's really James Bond: when the monastery was burning down in Name of the Rose, you knew he had a jet pack under his cassock. Cronenberg suffers from a similar, if inverted, typecasting: sitting down to watch one of the director's movies you find yourself bracing for the very worst. When the three stern, uniformed nurses manhandled the screaming, muddied Sabina (Keira Knightley) into a room to merely bathe her, the audience slumped with relief.


Bo Ningen

And then sometimes the kids get it right. Last night at The Garage London-based Bo Ningen played support for someone else who doesn't matter because Bo Ningen were the business: not the retro-prog Bo Ningen, or the speed metal 'DaiKasei' (recorded live) but the four piece honed and sharpened into something else entirely: glassy, precise, modern, loud, monotonal, terrific. Lead singer and bassist Taigen camped it up, the drummer (Mon-chan) nailed it down, and Kohhei and Yuki (guitars) went all the way up to eleven. If you miss Nine Inch Nails, Bo Ningen will keep you warm. Recommended.

I feel like I'm clinging to a cloud

Having re-issued my back catalogue as ebooks and being on my way to Frankfurt, logically I should be online all the time now Tweetin' and bloggin' and extending the hand of digital friendship beyond the 6-8 people for whom this blog is intended. That's what writers do now, and artists, and heads of industry: post constantly.

It makes sense if you have minute by minute news, or if you're reporting on it; it makes sense if you have a wild life, and yes, it even makes sense if you work in private, alone, striving to lay some incremental track of the mind that chimes with others on a deep and subtle level. Death, taxes, Facebook. And nobody emails anymore... (Remember when email was the new thing?)

But the more I do it, the more I get that feeling that I'm too old for this, or too slow, or just too old-fashioned.

When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be just like Clint. Maybe that will happen... but not in the way we thought it would.

(Pic: Craig Warga, New York Daily News)