Wednesday, 18 September 2013

punkPunk! update

As many of you might know I am editing an anthology of punk-inspired fiction titled "punkPunk!" to be published by DogHorn Publishing next year. The submission period opened on 1st July and runs through to 31st December 2013 so we are approximately half-way through the process. In that time I've had several submissions of interest, some way off the mark, and whilst I'm making no definite confirmed acceptances until nearer the closing date there are several pieces which I'm strongly considering for the anthology.

Whereas I felt the original guidelines were clear I've had a few people seeking clarification, so I'm going to try and pin down what I'm after in this post. It might also be worth you reading a previous blog post I made about The True Meaning Of Punk last year.

I'm looking for stories - in any genre - which capture the essence of punk. Not simply what it meant to be punk in the summer of 1976 when for those of us of a certain age the world seemed to tear itself open and roll at our feet, but also what it continues to mean to be punk. For me, punk embraced freedom, a DIY-ethic which meant anything was possible and it didn't have to look/sound good so long as it was done, and also - personally - was tied in with puberty and an understanding of the world which hitherto had been veiled. Stories don't have to reference particular bands or songs, or even directly reference punk itself, but they should carry forwards that sense of freedom and possibility, of kicking against the pricks, and the joie de vivre of anti-establishmentism.

I'm also not necessarily looking for pro-punk songs. Lost and broken dreams are just as integral as transitory success. What I'm trying to avoid are too many pieces about bands which didn't exist trying for a shot of stardom and falling short. I've had a few of these - and no doubt some will make it into the book - but the anthology needs to be more multi-dimensionary and I am genuinely open to anything. And I'm not after stereotypical punk figures with coloured hair and safety pins through their noses - if you have such a character make them authentic, not filtered through the way punk has subsequently come to be portrayed via the glamour of history.

In some sense: if you have to ask what a 'punk' story is then you won't be able to write it. A punk story should come from the heart, be infused with passion. And to further confirm: I'm not restricted to punk in it's pivotal years - the above guidelines are clear that later movements which sprang from punk will also be of interest to me. It's often said that everyone has a novel inside them which is open to debate, but I firmly believe that every punk has a punk story inside them. Let yours out.

Finally, it's best just to get writing with fire in your belly and punk in your heart. Ultimately I won't know what I want until it read it. Make me want it.

Monday, 2 September 2013

What's Inside A Ghetto?

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that I co-edit the irrealist/surrealist/gritty/feral poetry prose magazine, Fur-Lined Ghettos. Of course, we're constantly reading submissions for the magazine and also attempting to flog it, and one of the questions we constantly get asked is what type of work do we publish.

We came up with this: "We enjoy the surreal, the absurd, the nonsensical, the complicated, the simple, the truth, the lies, the complexity of words, the ecstasy of genius, the delightful power we find in the spaces between and dancing at the discothèque. Poetry. Prose. Short stories. Dreams. Essays. Conversations. Musings. Fact. Fiction. Art. Theory. Nonsense."

Naturally, this still doesn't really explain what we're after. And to be honest, we usually don't know what we want until we see it. Last night it occured to us that we're trying to promote a product the contents of which anyone other than those who purchase the magazine haven't seen. Like trying to sell a lucky dip. So, here's a preview of some of the work in each issue. Hopefully this will help those who are wavering about submitting/purchasing to make a decision about doing so.

From #1, "Paola" by Travis McCullers:

"I lit my friend's hair on fire one time. It was cool." - Darius the Convivial.

Blooded arms entangled besides--
Crooks after kisses, sugar for the ride

Flooded temples assume ruin
Doleful hounds perish in the sun
Girls flash their goods for bar denizens
Lorca drags on through the streets of Granada for eternity

Look here, espy the anguish, scan for scars
Stumple upon heaven in a box, dig in for your prize

Bless the relicts, sow the field with salts
Glide like a swan on the surface of comity
Grow your hair out long and brood for a sweet young nestling

Lick your albatross and swoon


From #2, "A Visit" by Serena Cook

Why do you chuckle so?
What sparks the cruelty in your bones?
Do you do it to spite us?
You have everything...
Apart from the tissue that makes you human
Because maybe you're can't be
The words you speak are malicious
The deeds you carry out are ruthless
You have everything...
We gave you everything you ever wanted
We gave you what we knew you needed
But now, what you need
What you desperately need is
A visit from a heart


Interlude to look at all the pretty covers:


From #3, "Boris Johnson's Hair" by Mike Cannon:

Look at his lovely, lovely, stupid, lovely hair
The mouth doesn't matter fill it full of chips no difference
blunderbuss power politic bichon fries locked disaster face
A deformed Churchill burger smashed into pooh bear's corpse
re animated at 240 volts, fibre optic follicles burn through milk.


The king FOP, emperor bungle chops
jowl quivering over a microphone for stammering puppy sympathy
St Bernard's who cant rescue get put down. YELP. So sad.

I will do it FOR FREE. I will shave his head.

Of course, all work above is copyrighted to the individual authors and is not to be reprinted without their prior permission.

Hopefully this has answered some of the queries we get about what exactly lies within the pages of Fur-Lined Ghettos. So buy it. We do need your support to continue publishing such great writers.