UNDER THE COVERS
When not making classic records like Mobile Safari, Stephen Pastel works part-time in the booksellers John Smith 81 Son. Here he talks about his eclectic reading habits.
‘I’m reading three books at the moment. The first one is John Baxter’s biography of Luis Bunuel which I was inspired to read because of his films. I read Bunuel’s own account of his life, My Last Breath I think it is, and that was quite magical. That book was a lot more flighty and it reads more like a novel as the writing style is a lot more fluent. Although it’s an autobiography, I think he worked on it with the person that wrote a lot of his film scripts. The Baxter biography is much more critical. It’s not a smear thing at all but it does drag Bunuel down a bit.
‘l’m also reading Janet Frame’s The Carpathians. She’s a New Zealand writer and one of her other books, An Angel At My Table, was made into a film by Jane Campion. This is the first thing I’ve read by her and I’m enjoying it. It’s about this woman who leaves New York and goes to New Zealand to make a new life for herself. She's drawn to the country by Maori legend. It’s got a real magical atmosphere to it. People I know that have gone to New Zealand have also found something quite strange about the country.
‘The third book I’m reading and not getting on very well with is Jean Paul Sartre’s The Reprieve. It’s the second book in the trilogy set between the wars in France. I’m really interested in 20th century history because it’s very illuminating but this second book is written in a much more experimental way and I’m struggling with it.
‘To a certain extent I’m a lot more aware of new books but I don’t read as much new writing as I’d like and I haven’t found a writer I like as much as say Christopher lsherwood. I think that maybe I read more before I came to work in the bookshop when I had more time at university. Just now, we seem to have been so busy with The Pastels that it fills up every space.’ (Ann Donald)
82 "l .c List 7-20 Apr r995
. I Never Mind The Bollocks - Women
' Rewrite Rock Amy Raphael (Virago
i £9.99) ‘Hips. Tits. Lips. Power.‘ is the i undiluted motto of this galvanising and i celebratory clutch of interview s with a l
generation of women creating music in the 90s. They write full-on. cool rawk songs (mostly) and do not batilk at the mere whisper of the l5-word - feminism.
Boasting the first in depth interview with Courtney Love since the suicide of Kurt. the volatile Ms llolc surprisingly 3 emerges as :i highly articulate and w ell- i'ead woman. while at the other end of
Huggy Bear sink into a self-created
mish-mash of pseudo-Derrida tariti'tiriis.
In between are revealing and candid
insights into the musical lives/tastes/
minds of Kim Gordon. Hjoi‘k. (iiiia
Hirsch and Liz. l’liair to nameclreck a
The line and [y’all-j contributor.
A Raphael has not only granted the iiius'icians" unconditional editorial
i control over their ‘irioriologues‘ in an
? effort to avoid the niisr‘epi'esentation
; that so often dogs them. but has written an excellent introductoii that puts the intciv ievvs in a cultural context
lisscntial reading for all guitar girls and
' boys. (Ann Donald)
’ the scale those Riott Cirrrl provocateurs l
I Pollen Jeff Vurt (Ringpull LINN) With its laborious Iandriiarkiiig. cliche set-places and shopping-list sentences. Noon's second coming dips into a hinterland between (.ieot‘ge Romero's Zombies and Arnie Schwarzenegger's 'li'rnri'iiiilm'. In a gone-to-tlre-dogs future Manchester. a cloud of deadly pollen descends. seeding vicious
blooms which sneeze their victims to death. The city‘s future depends on immune shadow cop Sibyl Jones and her way ward daughter. Boda. on their way to the origins of the pollen.
.‘yloi'e confident than competent. Noon's writing comes from the village hall of cyberpunk copywritiiig; preoccupied with gunk and sex. his
novel is a hy peractivc. speeding adolescent in that it has fantastic energy but little originality. Noon stays on the surface and never takes the reader inside this world inhabited by
archetypes rather than characters. All is ;
synthetic and one has to ask the question: are we having fun yet'.’
With its pricks. flowers and mmbics. the writing is less spiked cyberpunk than oirt—for—thc-count liippy-hasli prose. Strictly for fans only. (l’atil llougliton)
I BRIGHT SPARK
I Electricity Victoria ('ilendinniiig
(Hutchinson £14.99) This second novel
by the esteemed biographer is set in the
l9th century. an era in which she
moves with familiarity and case. The story revolves around a cotrple of startling years in the. until then titterly dreary. life of Charlotte. the vihi'antly young and pivotal character.
Cooped tip in a stiflingly suburban house with her irreffecttral mother and disgustingly attentive lather. Charlotte is like a coiled spring about to bounce uncoiitr'ollably. And that is exactly what , she does. Iilectricity is the catalyst that ' triggers Charlotte. in the form of Peter
the young electrician lodger. with the title of the book becoming increasingly i apparent as unreleased energy crackles between the two anxiously chaste young people. But electricity as a central theme is in i danger of being over-apparent in every guise. literal and metaphorical. :\.s sexuality it bubbles beneath the surface ofevei‘y unlikely character before ; choosing ('harlotte as its escape route. I It is this insatiable energy. her immaturity and frantic desire to 'begin 5 her life‘ which leads to her ultimate and untimely downfall. .-\ir enjoyable read from an author who naturally minglcs historical fact with page-turning fiction. tls'aty' l.ironii
I Malcolm .lames l’uidy (Serpeiit‘s Tail £8.99) I-ir‘st published in I955. this is a w'elcoiiie reprint of a classic novel which exemplifies l’urdys deft style: a cocktail of camp and existentialism. Malcolm. a 'l)oriaii (iray' of elegiac beauty. moves from patron to patronne in search of a missing father but finds that it is not the destination that counts. btit the iouriiey.
I The Loves 0f Faustyna Nina l‘rt/patt‘ick‘ Ii‘iitll‘lll listate £5.99) 'lii the autumn of rum. a cloud in the shape of human buttocks appeared ovci Krakow ‘ So the tone is set for l‘it/patrick's first full length novel. It's an invigorating read with some good attempts at a punchy. amoral comedy. relating the story or the shy and retiring l-austyna as she arrives in Poland and sci/es the myriad sexual tipptil'ltllllllt‘s that present themser cs, Satisfying enough. it not entirely gripping.
I The Penguin Book of Modern British Comic Writing (‘ompiled by l’ati'icia (‘i'aig (l’enguin £7.99) This anthology spans nearly a century and incorporates all the foibles and idiosyncrasies one would expect of an anthology claiming a partisan aspect to humour. .-\ltliouglr the quintessential definition ol'coririe w riting and its origins can be debated. the quality of a reasonable portion of this anthology remains undisputed. In the end. the trttexpected grip the most: l)entori \Velcli. (ierrnaine (ii'cer and l)y lair Thomas provide some exceptional diversions from the endless coiriedics of iiianneis.
I Open Secrets .-\ltct‘ Munro (\iitlage £5.99) With only eight stories making tip the 5()() or so pages of this book. the work gains substantially from .\ltiiiro's leisurely tiircoilinil other characters lives. The stories rely not so much on hit and run sparks but more on lingering. lucid irrorbidity. ()ne of her strengths is the literary stealth she employ s to lure the reader into a soiiretiiiies i’atliei‘ mundane world.
I Visions of Cody .lack Kerouac ll‘litllllllg‘t) £7.99) Strictly for the icon- reliaiit and cx-readers ot' Ito/line Stu/re. this is nevertheless a good example of Kerouac's prose style: liripeiieti‘able. allusive and occasionally brilliant. The book continues the fictional embellishment of his friend airl mentor Neal ('assidy. who liav irig appeared as Dean .‘yloriai‘ty in ()ii '/‘/ie lt’iititl. appears in all his tarnished glory. here as ('ody
l’oiiier'ay. (Toni Davidson)
n 53 C‘resswell Street. 334 4240. The annual exhibition from the two Scottiin artists
' who surfaced in the l95()s. Mr Gray is
! especially well-known for his Renaissance . man talents as an illustrator. typogiapher.
; book designer and novelist. Mr Taylor
i once played the voice of God in one of
: Gray's puppet plays. See art section.
i I Alasdair and Alasdair The ns Gallery.
l I Wilbur Smith Mott 10.6.30 7.30pm.
l Dillon‘s. l7-l--l7(i Argyle Street. 248
l 4814. The man whose work dominates
l airport lounges and newsagents
3 worldwide and for whom the word
‘blockbuster‘ was invented is in town to
sign copies of his latest hit Severn/i Scroll
i I Alan Hollinghurst Wed I9. 7pm. £2/£l.
l CCA. 350 Satichiehall Street. 332 7521. A
i reading from llollinghur'st to mark the paperback edition of his Booker- rioininated novel The I’m/(ling .S'riir
. ' (Vintage £5.99t. It's the story of love.
death and art in the Henrish twilight world.
I Mairi Hedderwick l‘ii 3pm. .lames
‘ lid”. 5.; 5‘) Stitlllt lil’ltlgt‘. 550 (i745. 'l'lre
' popular children's airtlior' w ill be signing
' and reading from her latest excellent story in the ls'atre Morag series. [vii/re .llortie (“Till/Ill,\‘tyt/(lllluliSilllklkiillillit15L‘Lh,t)()l. I The Yellow Cafe Sim 9. doors open at
7pm. l'ree. \cgociants. J5 l.otliran Street. 225 o‘slﬁ. A brand new venue for the
' enterprising .‘ylt‘ Rodney Relax and
cohorts as they continue to bring
contemporary w riting to the fore with an
inimitable mix ot'diink‘. music arid words
= ‘not necessarily in that order). This first
line-tip includes lv’i'lie/ l/ii' contributor
Sandie (‘iaigitn Ray Miles and new boy.
‘\’iking' l)ave Robertson.
5 I Evelyn flood .‘vfon It). (r._‘s()piri. .lames
Thin. 57 George Street. lidiiiburgh. 225
l 4-195. A reading and talk from the author about her latest paperback Mix-fi/mii iv
. \liuiit'il (\Vat'nct' £4.99) a story of women
coping on their own through three decades
3 in l’aisley.
! I Tony Buzan Wed )2. I -2prn.
\Vaterstone’s. l3 Princes Street. 55o 303-1.
The world-taiiious memory-iniprovement
a man will be signing copies of his book
I Mind Map (BBC H.199). guaranteed to
l expand your mental capabilities.
F I Science and Poetry trials 13. airman.
'l‘iavei'se 'l‘licatr’c. (‘aiiibiiilge Street. 333 »lll~l. Lil/Li .~\t'ter iltt‘ success till lttsl v ear's event The Science l-‘estiv al presents a reading and discussion li'olli lair Stephen and Robert (‘r‘aw t'ord. among others .is they pontificate on the relationship between poetry and science. I Graham Hancock 'l‘liurs l3. 7pm, \\.;tlt‘l‘slt)llc's. l3 l’l'lltc‘t‘s Sll't'c'l. 550 303-1. The man whocame to public proririnctice w itli his notable book [he Sign rind The Sea! has delved deeper into pic-history and written this 'iron-lictiori historical blockbuster” about air as yet unidentified civilisation of remote antiquity called l'iireerliriiiiv of the (hair illeiireriraiiri L' lo.99). I Iona: The Earliest Poetry of A Celtic Monastery Thurs 20. 7pm. .Iaiiies Thin. 53—59 South Bridge. 55o (r743. lidited and translated by Thomas ()wen Clancy and Gilbert Markus this new volume published by liUl’ at t; I 3.95 is a collection ofeai'ly medieval poetry by the Monks interspersed with essays on their daily life. I Alan Hollinghurst Thurs 20. 7pm. Waterstone‘s. l3 Princes Street. 556 3034. A reading to mark the paperback publication of the Booker-nominated 'l'lie Fri/(ling Slur ( Vintage £5.99).