So they say… but in the case of my latest collection of poems – The Beach Poems – it’s undoubtably true! Published by New York’s Bottle of Smoke Press, there are only 65 copies of this craft item, of which 45 copies are in wrappers and 10 copies are quarter-bound in tan Morocco over boards. Check out the photos to see for yourself, but until you hold a copy in your hands you won’t really know how lovely they are. Go to the Bottle of Smoke Press website to order a copy.
Tug Boat fanatics. I know I’ve let you sordid fuckers down in the last few months, but just for old times sake, here’s another Super 8mm eyeball strainer from my Top Gun Room. Una, Dos, Tres, Layla, you’ve got me on my knees, Layla, I’m begging, darling please, Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind…
Abbie Foxton gets back on the sleaze express and uncovers another Lit Fiend gem
Once on Australian soil, Joe soon gets sucked into the vortex of eccentrics, drug addicts, strippers, witches, locals and tourists. His charm getting him a roof, a job and a root in no time. This is early Ridgwell, young and traveling down under. No money, no fixed address. Grabbing work wherever he can find it. Usually reeling with boredom or tossing it in due to the unrelenting madness of those in charge. Back in the Cross, Joe resumes his bender. Debt and a run in with a mean gang of cockatoos sends him into a pit of depression and into some pretty awkward and dangerous situations. Watching short lived lives has taken its toll on his soul. Avoiding the great fall, Joe is reacquainted with England via some dodgy member of ‘The Family’ who is on his way to Sydney and into Joe’s life. An unwelcome situation of ‘minding’ until some heat blows over. With no other choice than to look after him, Joe takes us via short stories to the eerie energy and the tracks of the Megalong Valley of the Blue Mountains, the crazy world of carnies down south to Victoria and visits to all the classic dodgy clubs that the Cross and its environs has to offer. When he’s not being confronted by pissed off sugar daddies or shooting sulphur crests by the wall, luck beams down and sends him off on the next adventure. Joe is touched by the arsey fairy. Seriously, look it up if you don’t quite understand the vernacular. Maybe it’s only in his fictional life. Though it’s been a crazy stay so far. The curse of Kings Cross’s resident witch Rosalee Norton seems to have touched him at times. But just when he’s reached the depths of despair, when there seems no way out, a miracle occurs. Each story here is a holiday slide show, a montage of schemes and hangovers, an amazing race of scams, booze and surviving as a stranger in OZ. Forever dreaming because ‘Aren’t those who lose dreaming lost?’
You can purchase this and other re-releases from the enlightened folk at Ternary Editions
Taking the best poems from Joe’s successful out of print poetry book Load The Guns and tightening it into another was a tough project. So all the hard work has finally paid off. The beast is now out. A revamped Where Are The Rebels is ready to surface again, full of fine tuned pieces of perfection with an addition of a few new poems they found locked in a vault in Switzerland. Now Lit Fiends around the world can read for themselves via the new side publishing arm of Bottle Of Smoke Press, Ternary Editions.
Ternary Editions specialise in out of print books that they feel need another airing. So this is indeed true of Where Are The Rebels? It aint huge, but it’s not the size that counts right? These are thrilling ‘encounters with dead strippers, dead girlfriends, deadbeat jobs, and the beauty and banality of modern existence in all its convoluted complexity’.
Gotta get me some of that! If you’re already a Ridgwell Fanatic and want to purchase or to find out more about Ternary Editions get on the website
If you like it loud and sweaty and find yourself in close proximity of Falkirk this Saturday 9th June, slip on your best bovvers and head on out to the RAZUR CUTS V launch from 4pm at Behind The Wall on Melville Street. Gonna be a fine night of noise, readings and chatter from Razur Cuts contributors, friends and followers whose brilliant work has been published over the issues. Gutted I cant be there to see and hear three biggies from the Zine underground. First, the Legendary Joe England head of 5Managers, C.O.N and the much missed PUSH, will be sharing a few snippets from his new novel Thompson’s Replacement which should be out in August and can’t wait to read. Then there is Ian Cusack, contributor and compiler of the amazing GLOVE zine. Threats that this may be the last GLOVE is one hell of a shock and can only hope this future prediction is reversed. Ian will be up and staring into the lights with some unique words from an impressive drawer of stories that I am a huge fan of. Last but by no means least the boo boo lip shivers have started cause I wont be there to see Joseph Ridgwell belt out some fine tonsil shuddering poetry and parts from his extensive haul of new releases. So much is going on these upcoming months from publishers around the world that it has me thinking this could just be our last chance to hear Joseph Ridgwell for a very long time. Though muggins here is spoilt by his dulcet tones, shouting instructions from the Lost Elation offices, it’s just not the same as seeing an intimate performance from the writer himself. So lit fiends, pack a snack and check when the last train leaves or whose got a spare Chesterfield to spring on. Gonna be a big night!
With the re-issue of Joseph Ridgwell’s epic tale of living in Sydney’s Kings Cross, Abbie Foxton revisits her old stomping ground to rekindle the spirit this novel conjured.
It started in the 70s. Development moguls began squeezing the sleaze out of one our more notorious suburbs. Sydney’s Kings Cross was our beacon. We were told the stories at a young age and believed every one of them. The Cross was often referred to as a state of mind. It held a place in our imaginations and everyone’s was different. It was a magical fun fair, bright light dream maker, twenty four hours of sin. When I first experienced it, it was 3am schnitzels and live music after everything else had closed. It’s where we all came for a night cap, star gazed at the bar and a little R&R. It was where we usually watched the sunrise or passed out whichever came first. Everyone was welcome. It had a great history of bohemia and mystery, dark alley deals and violence. Corrupt cops and a dodgy underbelly. Sure it was dangerous at times, but us regulars were all pretty street smart. This is where we learned a load of lessons.
As the noughties moved in, so did the ‘nanny state’ brigade. It’s march down Darlinghurst Road was swift, we were all grounded for being very naughty boys and girls. 10pm licensing and a heavy hand was in place. So now the snakes of real estate and government control the way we socialise and interact with each other. Our most famous strip has changed forever. My drinking habits have also. Kings Cross got too involved with the wrong crowd, it was an all or nothing cleanse. Soon, all its history will just be a framed photo on a twenty dollar hamburger joints wall, and I will scream ‘bastards!’ and I will run by blue plaques crying cause all that is left is a homage to it’s former glory! El-Alamein fountain watching the new brigade stroll by surprised that that no one doesn’t piss on his dress anymore.
So where did all the misfits go? The great characters that make the world different. We are losing comfortable, unassuming and cheap places to congregate. Places to listen to bands, to dance, to rally. Our churches of the like minds all destroyed by these new gods of mammon. We lose our community and even lives in the name of development. Many mysteries. It’s all about money, safety, litigation and with that our spirits sanitised. The cafes are oh so nice, yet oh so expensive. Bayswater beauties needing their nails done and the tops of their macchiatos decorated.
We have become so intolerant of the anti social that even those that dress a little crazy would be risking a chat with the cops. The fear of coming face to face with a guy in a harlequin suit talking to angels just too damn uncomfortable these days. It upsets the locals. Kings Cross had a thriving music and art scene once. Even when I lived there in the 90’s it still had a few pockets untouched by greased palms. The over-spill from The Yellow House still in our memories. The divine characters of The Sydney Push, our favourite ‘futilitarians’ would not recognise an inch of what Kings Cross has become…*she sighs*
A tourist’s perspective on a city is very enlightening. Not trapped down by local knowledge, just recording exactly how they see it. The bruises and sins skim cream like, the obvious end of an era noted by a stranger. That traveler is London born writer Joseph Ridgwell. Joe became an honorary Australian back in the 90’s. He lived in Kings Cross the same time I did. When I found out I was surprised we hadn’t shared a pash and kebab or at least a bar stool at the Bourbon & Beefsteak. I’ve been a keen follower of Joe’s work and have even managed to takeover his blog, a bloodless coup like no other. I became a fan of his writing real quick. Back then, Joe slipped me a copy of a story I might be interested in. It was called Last Days Of the Cross. Set in Sydney, he thought I might dig his reminiscences of my home town. The suburb that was on the cusp of change. The Kings Cross we all loved for its filth, characters and notoriety was dissolving. He could still feel the tremors of an old Kings Cross. He has a gift for that. The beauty found in the backstreets. He also saw the sadness. We liked it dirty. I think he did to. Rents were hiking, gentrification and crime evolution were just some contributing factors that made me feel it was losing its spirit and individuality. That book was out of print for years, it’s resurrection always imminent.
Ternary Editions offer the ultimate collection of rare and re-issued from the vaults of writer Joseph Ridgwell
Compiled by Abbie Foxton
From the offices of New York, Bottle Of Smoke Press has been busy creating a new wing to their publishing enterprises. Ternary Editions main aim is to republish books that had very limited print runs or simply spent too long being out of print. They believe there are many that deserve to see the light of day again and held in the hands of a much larger readership. Four of those titles chosen are from Joseph Ridgwell. Though there are many readers who already have had the pleasure of reading first time around, fans will be happy to know that these perfect-bound paperbacks have had a little tightening to make them stand out on their own.
First, his book of poetry Where Are The Rebels? has been revamped by absorbing the best of his classic poetry from Load The Guns. Ridgwell, who never wants to skimp on value has added a few new poems that give the whole book a fresh injection of spirit. Last Days Of The Cross, The Cross and The Buddha Bar are all adrenalin charged stories from Joe’s time spent in Australia, Indonesia & Thailand. It is a wonderful project that Ternary Editions have taken on, working with authors whose books they feel are ‘classics of the small press’.
Joseph Ridgwell’s Instant Ridgwell Collection can be obtained for the special price of $40 or you can also purchase each on their own. Ternary Editions believe Ridgwell “brings back stories from the edge, imbued with humour, sex, philosophy, hope, defiance, brutality and truth. He is a cult figure of the literary underground both in the UK and abroad”
A must for lit fiends and lovers of the unheard, check out the rich and eclectic type from Midnight Lane Boutique. Editor Johnny Longfellow publishes straight outta the pumping hearts of ‘street poets’, delving into the ‘drug-addled poetry, dark confessional poetry, and whatever else might fit the site’s vibe’. Lucky for us night stalkers, through the magic of the internet, they are Open 24 hours, rich with writers that whet the mind and lead to exploration for more. Be warned, their back catalogue will have you binge reading to the wee small ones with their who’s who of the underground.
Feature Poet honours this week is no other than Joseph Ridgwell! Damn, he is on a roll. Five more beauties from the archives of his mind, Old Photographs, Beach Poem #21, Saucisson Sec Blues, Angel Of Death & In The Long Run. These eyes for one are spending the rest of the night in.
Midnight Lane Boutique are always open for poetry submissions, so if you think you fit the brief, spend some time in the vaults and submit. You can connect with the editor via Twitter and keep your eyes out for more release from Joseph Ridwell soon
throwing in the old P.S spend some time looking through, Bad Acid Laboratries top shelf edge for your pleasure.