Franco Rosso (29 August 1941–9 December 2016)

Dread Beat an' Blood, dvd sleeve

I was very sorry to hear of the death of film director Franco Rosso, via this Guardian obituary; condolences to his friends and family.

Best known for directing the British feature film Babylon, Rosso also directed an indispensable documentary on poet Linton Kwesi Johnson for the Arts Council (then the Arts Council of Great Britain, now Arts Council England).

I am lucky enough to have a copy of the film on a Japanese DVD, but it is (or was) also bundled as a DVD extra on SOME editions of Babylon, however I think these are mainly out of print.

Thus I was delighted to discover that the film is now available to view in the UK on the BFI player (for a nominal charge of £1).

It is a great film—and one that I frequently refer to—which captures LKJ at a transformational moment in his life and work.

I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Here is a short extract released by the BFI.

Launch: The Bowie Neurotransmitter by Susana Medina

medinapoppcoverroughPiece of Paper Press is delighted to present the first publication (in a limited, numbered edition of 150) of ‘The Bowie Neurotransmitter’, a new text work by the author Susana Medina. ‘The Bowie Neurotransmitter’ will be launched with an event at London’s Bookartbookshop on the evening of Tuesday 10 January 2017, the first anniversary of David Bowie’s death.

Medina’s acute and evocative account of initially adolescent engagements with Bowie’s work—and the ‘fantasy of rapport’ he created—transcends nostalgia, and ‘The Bowie Neurotransmitter’ is at once personal and profound.

For Medina, David Bowie is ‘fundamentally political’. She writes:

There’s a politics of the self, and a politics of outrage. Bowie has been fundamental in my life. I discovered his songs in my adolescence, a time of crisis and rupture which marks loss of innocence. I learnt English with Bowie by translating most of his early LPs and singing along with him. Throughout the years, with gaps here and there, I often returned to his songs and wept.
Like many of us who love Bowie’s music, I was devastated on the 11th January 2016. Not having posted anything for ages in Facebook, I began sharing a series of posts and a friend emailed me, saying how saddened she was too and that it was a mystery how the communal sadness seemed overwhelming and yet, ‘he never had a message of “peace and love”.’ I quickly replied that oh, yes he did, quoting a few relevant songs. A longer reply continued to grow in my head over the following days. I started writing, and found myself writing a tribute. This piece became a love letter, a thank you letter, a way to dissect my tears and a proud homage to all those who feel part of the Bowie lineage.

Part of the print run of the Piece of Paper Press edition of ‘The Bowie Neurotransmitter’ by Susana Medina will be distributed free at the launch, while stocks last.


SUSANA MEDINA is the author of Philosophical Toys (Dalkey Archive Press), offspring of which are the short films Buñuel’s Philosophical Toys and Leather-bound Stories (co-directed with Derek Ogbourne). Other books include Red Tales / Cuentos Rojos (published in a bilingual edition, co-translated with Rosie Marteau) and Souvenirs del Accidente. Medina’s story ‘Oestrogen’ featured in Best European Fiction 2014 (Dalkey Archive Press). She has been awarded the Max Aub Short Story International Prize and a Grants for the Arts award from Arts Council England for her novel Spinning Days of Night. ‘Object Lessons’, an audio-visual story produced in collaboration with photographer Paul Louis Archer was recently published in El País in English. ‘Poem 66’, translated by R. Marteau, was runner-up in the Goodmorning Menagerie Translation Contest and will be published by the USA Press on 14 February 2017. Medina has also published a number of essays on literature, art, cinema, and photography, curated various well-received international art shows in abandoned spaces, contributed texts to art catalogues, exhibited at Tate Modern, and collaborated with numerous artists. Her website is

PIECE OF PAPER PRESS was created by author Tony White in 1994 as a lo-tech, sustainable artists’ book project to commission and publish new writings, visual and graphic works by artists and writers. Each book is manufactured from a single A4 sheet that is printed on both sides using a photocopier or a domestic printer, and then folded, stapled and trimmed by hand to create the book. Piece of Paper Press titles are always distributed free.


Susana Medina,
The Bowie Neurotransmitter, launch event
Bookartbookshop, 17 Pitfield St, London N1 6HB
Tuesday 10 January 2017, 6:30–8:00 p.m. (reading 7:15)

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‘High-Lands’—live at TULCA 2016

It was a great thrill to collaborate with New Pope for the TULCA Festival of Visual Arts in Galway a couple of weeks ago.

Here’s the audio of ‘High-Lands’, recorded live at the Galway Mechanics’ Institute, November 11 2016. The sound engineer was John Burke.


New Pope is a songwriter dealing in melodic indie dream pop and sometimes folk. Onstage he is joined by Colm Bohan on percussion and Stephen Connolly on organ and guitar.

a4289365853_16Released in December 2015, New Pope’s debut album YOUTH was named number 13 in the nialler9 Reader’s Best Irish Albums of 2015, number 23 in The Thin Air’s Irish releases of the year and Release of the Week in The Irish Times.

‘Onwards, Westwards’ – the opening track from YOUTH – featured on the soundtrack to Baked In Brooklyn (2016) starring Josh Brener (Silicon Valley) & Alexandra Daddario (True Detective).

‘New Pope is a treat that has left a now totally full yet utterly silent room entranced.’ (Eoin Murray, The Thin Air, Róisín Dubh, 2015)

9781472453914‘High-Lands’ was originally commissioned in 2014 by London Fieldworks and Resonance 104.4fm as part of Remote Performances and broadcast live from Outlandia, a unique artists’ field-station in Glen Nevis, Lochaber, Scotland. The story also draws on research undertaken as part of a loose collaboration with Stuart Brisley, Maya Balcioglu and Dr Sanja Perovic of King’s College London, that was made possible by my residency at King’s College London in 2013-14, which was funded by Creativeworks London.


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‘High-Lands’ is also collected in the critical anthology, Remote Performances in Nature and Architecture, edited by Bruce Gilchrist, Jo Joelson and Tracey Warr (Ashgate/Routledge, 2015)


‘Writing police wrongs’ at Housmans

Having just taken ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’ to Galway in Ireland for my event at the TULCA Festival of Visual Arts (guest-curated this year by Daniel Jewesbury), I am really looking forward to bringing it back to London, where I am taking part in Housmans Bookshop’s ‘Writing police wrongs’ event on Saturday 26 November with Courttia Newland.


Housmans approached me with the idea of doing an event following my reading at the London Radical Bookfair back in May, and so I am very pleased—together with Courttia Newland—to have been able to take up their invitation. If you don’t know it, Housmans promotes the work of authors and organisations whose ideas and messages are in keeping with the shop’s progressive and pacifist ethos. One of the central ways in which they do this is via their evening events at the shop. Courttia’s and my event continues their new regular series of events focusing on poetry and on radical and alternative literature, The Locomotrix, ‘Where the I is the public, where the I is things, where the I is the things that happen…’

Here’s the blurb:

Courttia2015(1)London authors Courttia Newland and Tony White both burst on to the literary scene in the late 1990s. Since then their paths have crossed occasionally, most recently when they discovered that they had each been writing fiction which addresses—each in their own ways—the controversial issue of deaths in police custody in the UK today.

Courttia Newland will be reading his powerful short story ‘Reversible’ from the new Sex and Death anthology edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs and published by Faber and Faber. Tony White will be reading ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’, a short story which uses the language and performance of contemporary law enforcement and policy to frame a satirical proposition that has been described by one audience member as ‘jaw dropping’.

The readings will be followed by discussion. Newland and White are both accomplished readers of their fiction, so come along to Housman’s to hear, and to be entertained and provoked—and to chat with—two of the best contemporary novelists around.

All are welcome, do please come along. More info here or below.


ICYMI here is Courttia Newland’s Royal Literary Fund Lecture for February’s groundbreaking Bare Lit Festival at the Free Word Centre, London.

Courttia Newland and Tony White, Housmans Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London N1 9DX, Saturday 26 November, 6:30pm. Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

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Galway tonight

Yesterday’s get-in at the Galway Mechanics’ Institute for this evening Friday 11 November’s TULCA Festival gig.


Here’s the blurb:

Acclaimed London author Tony White reads short stories including ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’ – ‘Super dry, dark and funny. Glasnost for UK cops’ (Tim Etchells). At once a satirical performance, a protest and an act of radical remembrance, ‘The Holborn Cenotaph’ proposes a shocking new use for the high-rise tower of Holborn Police Station in central London. Tony will also be reading from the 1999 ‘avant pulp’ novel Charlieunclenorfolktango, and a 2014 work ‘High-Lands’, performed here for the first time with live musical accompaniment from New Pope. New Pope is a critically acclaimed songwriter dealing in melodic dream pop, and sometimes folk. Onstage he is joined by Colm Bohan (drums) and Stephen Connolly (organ/guitar) to create an immersive musical experience.

Followed with a screening of Alan Phelan’s 2012 short Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto, in which a suburban couple battle through the apparent obliteration of their shared experience as their DVD collection is painstakingly broken up and recycled. The film is based on a short story by White that was originally commissioned by the Irish Museum of Modern Art as a fictional response to Phelan’s art practice.

The evening concludes into the night with New Pope taking the stage!

Info and bookings here