Posts Tagged ‘London’
March 5, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- “What does the term ‘successful writer’ mean to you?” (Sample answers from writers at AWP: “Joy,” “$ and Happiness,” “Having a great publicist.”)
- “The list in our time (‘28 Places To See Before You Die,’ or else what?) makes its fantastical claim that order exists, that order can be known … but this is not true.” TPR contributor J. D. Daniels rallies against listicles in a piece we’re pleased to include in this listicle.
- Today in juxtaposition: an artist superimposes Canaletto’s paintings of Venice and London against modern Google Street View photos of the cities.
- Uncelebrated and yet indispensable: New York City voiceover artists. “You’re background, you’re furniture. You provide atmosphere. But let’s face it, you’re not important.”
- “I’m just a normal guy … But where I go to work each day just might surprise you … Sorry. Didn’t mean to do that. It’s one of the risks of the trade, I guess. I write headlines for Upworthy.”
February 12, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
During my junior year of college, I had the chance to study at a university in London. I flew out of JFK on September 15, 2001, and the flight was so empty I was able to lie down across four seats for the first and last time in my life. In England, many of our fellow students seemed to feel obliged to either ask solicitously about our 9/11 experiences, or express their views on American imperialism. In both capacities, I felt I proved a disappointment.
During that year abroad, my American friend Rachel and I became fascinated with a group of fellow literature students who seemed to us unspeakably wonderful. They never said anything in seminar, they always looked glamorously ridiculous, and, best of all, their company was highly exclusive.
We came up with names for all of them. There was the seeming leader, “Robert Smith,” who had sculptural, Cure-like hair. “Charles and Camilla Macaulay” looked a bit alike—in fact, the whole crew struck us as very Secret History-esque. We called one tall, severe boy “Adam Bede”; one emaciated fellow was “Schiele”; another, I’m sorry to say, was just “the Balding One.”
They moved in a pack, smoked roll-ups in a secretive cluster, exchanged notes and amused eye contact during class, and cohabited, or so we assumed. The clique seemed to us all things not-American. It shamed us to think that they associated us with the Boston girl who was always shouting loud, obvious things about Sylvia Plath or the sleazy Arizona boy who hit on all the prettiest girls. We were desperate to prove our worth to them, but how? The only person outside their circle with whom we’d ever seen them associate was a studious, translucently fair young man named Rupert Davies. Read More »
December 12, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
I do realize it must feel like map week around here, but how could we not share this literary street map, loosely based on Victorian London? To quote the Dorothy studio, the map
is made up from the titles of over six hundred books from the history of English Literature (and a few favourites from further afield). The map includes classics such as Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Bleak House, Vanity Fair, and Wuthering Heights as well as twentieth and twenty-first century works such as The Waste Land, To the Lighthouse, Animal Farm, Slaughterhouse 5, The Catcher in the Rye, The Wasp Factory, Norwegian Wood, and The Road.
October 8, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
I bought my first early-eighties Harlequin Romance—actually, it was a Mills & Boon—when I was working at a thrift store in London. This was, without question, the worst job I have ever had. Does it count as a job if it’s volunteer work? Anyway, it was bad, that time with Help the Aged. I was a junior in college, studying in London, and feeling down; I had thought that perhaps helping others would pull me out of the doldrums. And, since my volunteer work in the States had always centered around Meals on Wheels and visits to local nursing homes, an organization so-named seemed like just what the doctor ordered.
It wasn’t. Or at least, the way I managed it wasn’t. In retrospect, I probably should have called some central office or at least gone to the Web site to research volunteer opportunities. What I did instead was walk into the local branch of the thrift shop (“charity shop,” in the UK) and ask if they needed any volunteers. I’d imagined visiting with homebound pensioners, as I had at home (they would regale me with tales of the Blitz, rationing, etc.); I’d been game for paperwork too, if that’s what was needed.
“Could you work in the shop?” asked the girl behind the counter.
I allowed as how I could, if they needed help, and added to the bargain that I had quite a bit of retail experience. Good, she said; I could come back on Thursday. Thursday rolled around and I duly reported for duty. It was then that things became clear.
This was my job: to go through the trash bags of donations people contributed and sort the salable clothes from the dross. This is not in itself such a horrible prospect, but I soon learned there was a reason I had been given latex gloves: the donations were often filthy, and not-so-occasionally mixed amongst them was a piece of rotten food or a dirty diaper.
One of the few perks was being allowed to keep any books I wanted, although most weren’t exactly tempting. The first and last one I ever picked up was a paperback romance called The Road to Forever, by one Jeneth Murrey. This is the plot of The Road to Forever: Lallie has been Owen’s stepsister since she was four. When their parents died, Owen raised her and her younger siblings. They had a contentious relationship. When Lallie was a young woman, she was framed, accused of having an affair with an older married man, in fact a publicity stunt (don’t worry about this plot point too much.) Owen, her stepbrother-guardian, believed the lies, and banished her from the family home. He also forced her to live with some horrible couple in lock-down. She escaped, and hasn’t spoken to him in six years. Got it? Read More »
September 26, 2012 | by Jon Canter
An old Jewish man is hit by a car. As he lies in the road, dazed and bleeding, a woman rushes over, takes off her jacket, folds it, and puts it under his head.
“Are you comfortable?” she asks.
“Meh. I make a living.”
I was eight when my father told me this joke. I wasn’t sure I understood it. Jews worried more about making a living than being run over. Was that it? One thing I was sure of was that the road was in Golders Green, in northwest London, where I grew up and was bar mitzvahed.
Golders Green made me. Jews made me, with their jokes and their food and their pride and their warmth and their anxiety and their love of scholarship. I cannot be unmade, even though I haven’t been inside a synagogue since my bar mitzvah.
How far can you go from Golders Green and still be Jewish?
August 9, 2012 | by Jacques Testard
Last August, I interviewed Will Self—whose latest novel Umbrella has just been long-listed for the prestigious Man Booker Prize—in his London home. I had been given two weeks to prepare and I was quite terrified. My terror was warranted; I had spent the last ten days immersed in his hallucinatory fictional worlds, composed of seven novels, three novellas, and countless short stories. Through these parallel and often overlapping fictions, Self has constructed a relentless critique of our institutional failings, hypocritical cultural mores, and political inadequacies. My fears, notwithstanding being intellectually dwarfed, were largely to do with the sheer madness of many of his writings. Here was the writer who, over the years, had invented:
1. A man who wakes up with a vagina behind his left knee and has an affair with his (male) GP (Bull: A Farce);
2. A parallel Earth populated by nymphomaniacal and exhibitionist apes seen through the eyes of its most prominent experimental psychiatrists (Great Apes);
3. The afterlife taking place in the purgatorial London district of “Dulston,” a suburb populated uniquely by senseless, chain-smoking dead people, haunted by their aborted fetuses and old neuroses, and living out the rest of infinity in dire office jobs (How the Dead Live);
4. A postapocalyptic London governed by a religion based on a cab driver named Dave’s insane writings to his estranged son in the 2000s (The Book of Dave).
And then there was the public figure—an acerbic satirist of towering intellect, a giant man of letters with a rhetorical bite strong enough to tear a lesser being apart. By the time I rang on the doorbell, Will Self had, to my mind, transmogrified into The Fat Controller—the Mephistophelian antihero in his My Idea of Fun—ready to shred me from limb to limb for my idiotic questions and inadequate readings.