Monthly Archives: April 2010

Blitz Street

When I read Gravity’s Rainbow I couldn’t quite believe in the power of the V2 rockets and to begin with I took them at face value – as  a figment of Pynchon’s insane but brilliant imagination. The V2 fired Pynchon’s imagination because it is an object of chaos – it comes from the skies faster than the speed of sound. You hear it coming, but never hear the explosion because by that time –  you are dead. Continue reading


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Thomas Pynchon is a wanted man…

The most illusive novelist of the 21st century?

Have you seen this man? - artwork by Nick Renshaw

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Information Overload – Gravity’s Rainbow

Gravity’s Rainbow (Vintage Books: London, 2004) £8.99

This novel is regarded by many as Thomas Pynchon’s magnum opus, drawing comparisons with James Joyce’s Ulysses as one of the most important pieces of twentieth century literature. It is a cryptic tale set in the fading days of world war two, sprawling over Europe with far too many plot twists to recount in such a review as this one. The saga stretches out over 900 pages and loosely follows Tyrone Slothrop, an American soldier whose sexual conquests correlate exactly with the positions of where German V-2 rockets fall on London during 1944. Numerous acts of drunken debauchery, drug use, sexual deviancy and unadulterated fantasy ensue. During one drug-induced episode, Slothrop journeys deep into a shit-encrusted toilet bowl – reaching far further, and far more sickeningly so, than Renton ever did in Trainspotting. Continue reading

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The Poplar Tree debuts on Twitter

Thanks to the people who ‘tweeted’ about this story (Cracking Up With Henry Cylinder). The tale of Amy Winehouse’s mirror, Cheval D’Miroir – an antique-pine-effect, upright mirror will be appearing within the next week or so. I just need to put together some crappy artwork  of a similar standard to the Henry Cylinder image below. I never realised furniture could be so inspiring. The Cheval tale is not quite as polished as Henry’s, it was also written around a year ago but I was too embarrassed to show anyone. If people like them I can come up with more stupid stuff, it just takes a while. Thanks – The Poplar Tree

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Cracking Up With Henry Cylinder

Drug-addicted Vacuum Cleaner comes cleans

Drug-addicted Henry comes clean

Forced to snort smack and crack dust from Pete Doherty’s carpets, Henry Cylinder spent eighteen months cleaning up after the musician’s drug binges. Moo News! has the exclusive…

We meet Henry at a café in the leafy suburb of St John’s Wood, it’s dimly lit and the heroin scars running up the length of his extendable nozzle are barely perceptible in the dusky light. He orders an espresso, caffeine being the only drug he can now stomach. Henry’s troubles began when he was purchased by Pete Doherty from a local Currys store in December 2005 and before the fateful encounter, Henry’s life had been one long party… Continue reading

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The Man is a Genius…

"Carly Zucker freaks me out because her name sounds like a baby trying to say my name."

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Screenburn by Charlie Brooker

(Faber & Faber: London, 2005)

Screenburn is a witty anthology of TV commentary from the dawn of the new millennium (circa 2000-2004) and is well worth a visit if you’d like to find out what has changed in broadcasting since then.  During these early years we eagerly awaited holographic screens and smell-O-vision, but these dreams never came to pass, instead we got ONDIGITAL, BBC Choice and a strong dose of reality, a word that terrified T.S.Eliot and one which also terrifies Charlie Brooker, not in the reality of the here and now, nor in a virtual sense, but in the growing obsession with Reality TV. Continue reading

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Glossary of Nadsat Terms Used on this Blog

Malenky – little, tiny Horrorshow – good, well Chelloveck – person/man/fellow Gorlos – throat Glazzes – eyes Viddy – to see or look Slooshying – hearing, listening In-out in-out – copulation Droogs – friends Britva – razor Damas – ladies Devotchkas – girls

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Who was Anthony Burgess?

In Roger Lewis’ complex biography, Anthony Burgess (Faber & Faber: London, 2002) Burgess is portrayed as a misanthropic and awkward man, who was also a pathological liar. Even the dust jacket of this biog isn’t much help in establishing the truth, as it reads: “On what occasions do you lie?” to which Burgess replies, “When I write. When I speak. When I sleep.” Continue reading

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