‘Wordy-amusements’

I was reminded of Stanley Green, aka ‘the protein sex man’ when David Collard mentioned him on Twitter yesterday. As is well known, Green used to cycle to the West End from Northolt every day and walk around the Oxford Street area carrying a big sign and selling a booklet entitled EIGHT PASSION PROTEINS WITH CARE.

I bought this copy from him in the autumn of 1989 – the back cover notes that it’s the ‘36th. Var.’ and the ‘82nd.Thous.’ printed. I worked at Foyles on Charing Cross Road at the time, and we’d often see him in the area when nipping out to buy a sandwich at lunchtime. Re-reading the back cover yesterday, I remembered that the line about ‘the wordy-amusements industries’ cracked us up, working in a bookshop as we did.

And come to think of it, I still work in the business of ‘wordy-amusements’.

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David Collard’s post on Stanley Green

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On show: Piece of Paper Press archive 1994–2017

‘Piece of Paper Press: Artworks and Ephemera 1994–2017’. Display view. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Strong Language took place at the Site Gallery, Sheffield, from 11–14 October 2018, and was curated by the artist, writer and performance maker Tim Etchells of Sheffield’s Forced Entertainment. Highlighting radical writing and independent publishing in the UK through readings, performances, projections, installations and discussions, Strong Language centred on Piece of Paper Press – a publishing project that I began in 1994 – and included a comprehensive display of Piece of Paper Press publications dating back to the project’s inception.

Piece of Paper Press was created by author Tony White in 1994 as a low-tech, sustainable artists’ book project to commission and publish new writings, visual and graphic works by artists and writers. Each book is made from a single A4 sheet that is printed on both sides and then folded, stapled and trimmed by hand to create the book. Piece of Paper Press titles are (usually) published in a limited edition of 150 and always distributed free.

‘Piece of Paper Press artworks and ephemera, 1994–2017’ was shown in the Project Space at the newly reopened Site Gallery, and displayed books by Ian Bourn, Pavel Büchler, Peter Bunting, Barbara Campbell, Mikey Cuddihy, Stevie Deas, Tim Etchells, Stephanie Fawbert, Rose Frain, Jane Gifford, Bruce Gilchrist, Halford + Beard, Christopher Hewitt, Steven Hull, Liliane Lijn, Elizabeth Magill, Penny McCarthy, Susana Medina, Michael Moorcock, James Pyman, Borivoj Radaković, Sheena Rose, Gordana Stanišić, Suzanne Treister, Alison Turnbull, and Joanna Walsh, as well as one or two of mine. This was the first time that all of the publications in the series have been exhibited together, and alongside these I selected a number of artworks and ephemera from the archive, looking in particular for items that highlighted making and the evolution of processes across the project’s 24 years. I hope to do it again some time.

Additionally, four new Piece of Paper Press titles were specially commissioned to be given away free during the Strong Language weekend: Dandelion by Joolz Denby, Real Dreams by M John Harrison, That Small Death by Courttia Newland, and 12 Race Card Answers by Selina Thompson. It is a great thrill for me to be publishing new works by four such inspirational contributors. More on these later.

The display at Site Gallery, which ran from 12–14 October, was documented by Sheffield photographer Chris Saunders, and here are a selection of his images.

‘Piece of Paper Press: Artworks and Ephemera 1994–2017’, in the Project Space, Site Gallery, Sheffield. Display view. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Display view showing Vitrine 1, Back row (L–R): Tim Etchells, About Lisa: a short bad story in twelve good parts (POPP.004, 1995), Penny McCarthy, Bedrooms (POPP.005, 1995). Front (L-R): Tony White, Title Track – print-ready artwork. Tim Etchells, About Lisa – print-ready artworks. Annotated draft press release for Penny McCarthy, Bedrooms. Press release for Tim Etchells, About Lisa. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 2, Back row (L–R): Peter Bunting, Seven Views of Geneva (POPP.006, 1995), Mikey Cuddihy, untitled (POPP.007, 1996), Gordana Stanišić, On Moles (POPP.008, 1996), Artist/Writer, Default 1 (POPP.009, 1996), Rose Frain, Between 12 Noon and 2pm (POPP.010, 1996). Front (L–R): Mikey Cuddihy, untitled – print-ready artworks with masked areas. Press release for Mikey Cuddihy, untitled. Rose Frain, Between 12 Noon and 2pm – page-spreads. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 2, close-up: Mikey Cuddihy, print-ready artworks. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 3, close-up: Clockwise from bottom left: James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel – unfolded signature with annotations to designer re Artist Newsletter giveaway. Tony White, undated letter to James Pyman 1996 (from the collection of James Pyman). James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: Through the Moon (POPP.011, 1997), Tony White, A0 (POPP.012, 1996), Suzy Treister, Vibrators from the House of Brodsky (POPP.013 1997), Pavel Büchler, Good Guys (POPP.014, 1997) – display copy. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 4, Back row (L–R): Borivoj Radaković, Posjetiteljeva Knjiga (POPP.017, 2003), Bruce Gilchrist, Drawing from Perplexity (POPP.018, 2005), Alison Turnbull, Black Borders: 1994–2006 (POPP.019, 2006), James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: The book of hours (POPP.020, 2007), Stevie Deas, Cleanskins (POPP.021, 2007). Front (L–R): Bruce Gilchrist, Drawing from Perplexity – uncorrected proof, inkjet on card; Alison Turnbull, Black Borders – unfolded signatures. Bubblejet print; James Pyman – Lionel drawing for title page and event invite. Photocopy. Invitation to celebrate the publication of the 20th edition from Piece of Paper Press, 15 March 2007. Photocopy on card. James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: The Book of Hours – page spread. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 4, close-up: Clockwise from top left: James Pyman, Lionel drawing, (photocopy); James Pyman, The Adventures of Lionel: The Book of Hours; Piece of Paper Press, launch invite. (Photo: Chris Saunders).

Vitrine 5, Back row (L–R): Halford + Beard, Czar 52 Crash (POPP.022, 2009), Tony White, London Palm (POPP.023, 2009), Barbara Campbell, News Haiku (POPP.024, 2009), Liliane Lijn, Atomanotes (POPP.025, 2010), Tony White, A Porky Prime Cut (POPP.026, 2011), Michael Moorcock, A Twist in the Lines (POPP.027, 2013) – un-numbered, showing production damage. Front (L–R): Liliane Lijn, ‘Atom Man Notes’, typed text – photocopy. Press release for Liliane Lijn, Atomanotes. Liliane Lijn, Atomanotes, page spread. Display copies, string. Michael Moorcock, A Twist in the Lines – print-ready artwork. Inkjet on paper, Spraymount. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 5, close-up: Display copies. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, Back row (L–R): Tony White, The Holborn Cenotaph (POPP.028, 2014, fourth impression) – and A5 pamphlet reprint for CreativeWorks London Festival, King’s College London (2016), Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo (POPP.029, 2015), Steven Hull, Carnevil (POPP.030, 2015), Ian Bourn, Subjective Interfaces (POPP.031, 2016), Susana Medina, The Bowie Neurotransmitter (POPP.032, 2017), Sheena Rose, Home is on My Mind (POPP.033, 2017). Front (L–R): Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo – print-ready artwork. Inkjet on paper, Spraymount. Tony White, cover mock-up. Ink and marker pen on paper. Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo – cover registration test on blank booklet. Photocopy. ‘Titles: 1994–2015’ – published to celebrate the 30th edition from Piece of Paper Press, mailed out as an insert with Carnevil by Steven Hull. Printed in collaboration with Jim Pennington of Aloes Books as an unnumbered limited edition of 200, using a Gestetner 320 stencil duplicator from hand-drawn manually-typed stencils. Shot with Webley air-pistol, pellet retained. Signed by Pennington. Ian Bourn, Subjective Interfaces – print-ready artwork. Inkjet on paper, Spraymount. Sheena Rose, Home is on my Mind… – unfolded signature. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Steven Hull, Carnevil, display copy. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, close-up: Joanna Walsh, Shklovsky’s Zoo – cover registration test on blank booklet. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, close-up: L–R Steven Hull, Carnevil; Ian Bourn, Subjective Interfaces; Susana Medina, The Bowie Neurotransmitter. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Vitrine 6, close-up: Sheena Rose, Home is on My Mind… (detail). (Photo: Chris Saunders)

‘Piece of Paper Press: Artworks and Ephemera 1994–2017’, Site Gallery, Sheffield. Installation view. (Photo: Chris Saunders)

Strong Language took place at Site Gallery, Sheffield, 11–14 October 2018, curated by Tim Etchells, in association with Off The Shelf Festival of Words. Strong Language was part of Cultural Destinations 2, a project of Sheffield Culture Consortium, funded by Arts Council England.

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Fountain blue…

From forest green to fountain blue… Here’s the cover for Faber & Faber’s forthcoming paperback of The Fountain in the Forest, which will be published on 3rd January 2019. The cover still uses Louis Lafitte’s wonderful engraving – an allegory of the month of Thermidor, from his illustrated edition of the French Republican Calendar – and the left-justified typography that was used on the first edition, but this time in neon blue (Pantone 801c), rather than neon green.

I hope you like it as much as we do!

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Strong Language: full programme, 11–14 Oct 2018

Strong Language is three days of readings, performances, projections, installations and discussions in Sheffield. With new work from Joolz Denby, M. John Harrison, Vlatka HorvatCourttia Newland, Selina Thompson, Tony White and more.

Strong Language is curated by the artist, writer and performance maker Tim Etchells of Sheffield’s Forced Entertainment. Highlighting radical writing and independent publishing in the UK it centres on Piece of Paper Press, a low-tech sustainable publishing platform founded in 1994 by novelist (and former Sheffield art student) Tony White. Each Piece of Paper Press book is made from a single A4 sheet, and titles are always given away free.

Artworks, publications and ephemera from Piece of Paper Press will be on display at Site Gallery throughout the weekend, opening at Strong Language Live #1 on Friday 7:00pm.

Take away your free copies of four new specially commissioned Piece of Paper Press titles – while stocks last.

Programme

The Fountain in the Forest – Tony White at Off The Shelf
Thu 11th October 6:00pm

Shifting between Holborn Police Station, rural 1980s France and the Battle of the Beanfield at Stonehenge, The Fountain in the Forest is a crime narrative with a difference. This is an ambitious, iconoclastic novel – an avant-garde linguistic experiment and meditation on liberty.

Tony White will be reading from the novel, and be in conversation with the novelist Nicholas Royle.

“rich, riveting … White is always convivial company … His books are characterised by stylistic innovation, a feeling for place, a love of rogues and rebels.” The Guardian, ‘Book of the Day’

Part of Off The Shelf Festival of Words
Book now: Tickets (In Advance) £6/£5 (concs)
Tickets (On the Door) £7/£6 (concs)
Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS

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Strong Language Live #1
Fri 12th October 7.00–9.00pm

Courttia Newland

Strong Language Live #1 gets the weekend off to a powerful and playful start with readings from the genre-defying authors M John Harrison and Courttia Newland who both have new texts published by Piece of Paper Press available to collect free on the night. There will be additional word play from curator Tim Etchells and from artist Vlatka Horvat who’ll be reading a text related to her brand new projection piece As Things, As Animals on display at locations around the city. Strong Language Live #1 also sees the opening of our enticing exhibition of Piece of Paper Press editions and ephemera.
FREE – EVENTBRITE BOOKING HERE
Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS

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Selina Thompson, RACE CARDS
Sat 13th October

A room containing 1000 questions about race, written by artist and performance maker Selina Thompson in three sittings across 24 hours one weekend in Edinburgh. You’re invited to answer one of them.

65. Are you black, or are you ‘new black’?
170. What is the long term psychological impact of white supremacy on people of colour?
220. My mum does not talk about race any more. It makes her uncomfortable, tired. Will this happen to me?

‘The work isn’t about answering questions; it’s about igniting an internal discussion in each of us that allows for the possibility of self-awareness, analysis and reflection.’ – Harold Offeh, This is Tomorrow.

Free. Venue: Pinball Park, 6 Paternoster Row, Sheffield, S1 2QQ (opposite Site Gallery and open for Site Gallery opening hours): Fri 11-18:00, Sat 11 – 18:00, Sun 11 – 16:00

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Small is Beautiful
Sat 13th October 1:00–3:00pm

Small is Beautiful is a two part discussion event around the labour of love that is radical print. In the first part artist Penny McCarthy will talk to the artist Janette Paris about her celebrated Arch Comic – ‘Bringing art and life together’ since 2011 – and to Tony White about the ambitions and approaches of Piece of Paper Press, which over the years has seen contributions from artists, performance-makers and writers from Joanna Walsh to Michael Moorcock. In part two, Leigh Wilson chairs a discussion about passion, politics and innovation featuring a rich array of forces to be reckoned with in contemporary independent publishing, from Sheffield-based & Other Stories to Dostoyevsky Wannabe and Longbarrow Press. Both sessions will have lots of space for audience questions and discussion – so please get involved.
FREE – EVENTBRITE BOOKING HERE
Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS

Strong Language Live #2
Sat 13th October 7:00–9:00pm

Saturday’s Strong Language Live #2 is a bold followup to Friday’s session comprising an inventive and restless evening of performances, readings and installations. Renowned punk poet, author and tattooist Joolz Denby shares the stage with performer Selina Thompson whose work touches on identity, bodies and the environment. Both Joolz and Selina will have new texts published by Piece of Paper Press available to collect free on the night. Lending further grace and gravity to the evening is Piece of Paper Press editor and author Tony White, reading stories including The Holborn Cenotaph – ‘his powerful satirical performance piece’ (Financial Times) – that mix contemporary urban concerns with an approach that’s both gritty and conceptual. Away from the performances watch out for installations and sound-works in another part of the newly opened building by curator Tim Etchells.
FREE – EVENTBRITE BOOKING HERE
Venue: Site Gallery, 1-5 Brown Street, S1 2BS

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As Things, As Animals

Vlatka Horvat’s As Things, As Animals imagines and re-imagines human features, conditions, personality traits, and appearance via a collection of commonplace idioms comparing people to physical objects, natural phenomena as well as to animals, insects, and other creatures. Creating a picture of humanity that shifts between the comical, the grotesque, and the poetic, Horvat’s text is a surprising and playful compendium that moves from Strong as an Ox and Frightened as a Mouse to Thin as a Rake and Cool as a Cucumber. Projected large-scale on the walls of location(s) in the city centre, Horvat’s work is visible from 8 to 10pm.
FREE
Venue: city centre locations

Full programme also at www.ourfaveplaces.co.uk/strong-language

Tony White reading at Beaconsfield, London. Photo © Marianne Magnin, 2015

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A few more reviews and a favour?

I have been completely bowled over by the critical response to The Fountain in the Forest this year. Alongside the in-depth reviews in broadsheets such as the Guardian and Financial Times, and journals including The TLS and Spectator, there have been some really interesting and sometimes passionate reviews on literary blogs.

Most recently Tommi Laine, writing on the Helsinki Book Review:

a detective thriller of unique caliber … It is often acknowledged that restrictions feed creativity, and it is very much true here, considering what an original piece of writing The Fountain in the Forest turns out to be. It is a rather remarkable achievement when you keep in mind the constraints, or, perhaps, that is exactly why it excels. … intellectually stimulating, yet never elitist.

And this one from 1stReading:

The Fountain in the Forest is, first and foremost, an excellent detective novel. Rex not only manages to walk the mean streets but tread the fine line between three dimensional character and classic cop. The use of mandated vocabulary, presented in bold, is fascinating because it is possible to see the way it influences the story from single sentence to plot-point. Perhaps the novel’s most impressive achievement, however, is to revisit the politics of the 1980s, contending that the events of that decade not only reverberate in Rex’s life but echo through modern Britain. Two further volumes are to be welcomed.

ICYM, here’s Richard Marshall on 3am Magazine:

a complex and twisting plot with a genuinely shocking and satisfying dénouement … an extraordinary novel where our sympathies are for a cop who as cop represents the very forces of repression the gut of the novel abhors. … An astonishing achievement.

Nick Garrard for Storgy:

The Fountain in the Forest is a mystery built on mysteries … it has heart and tenderness and leads us to the most unexpected places and at the centre of all this puzzling is a thriller with deep hooks.

Paul Fulcher on The Mookse and the Gripes:

a quite extraordinary combination of a controlled Oulipian literary construct, page-turning detective thriller, and politically-charged social history.

Mondyboy on The Hysterical Hamster:

Wait.. what!?! … I think you’re going to want to read this book and you deserve to enjoy the mix of bewilderment and shock I just experienced because in a world where everything is telegraphed having the apple cart upended, smashed to pieces and then sold as firewood is something to cherish … plays with the genre with a twist so brazen that, on its own, is a commentary on the police procedural. What’s remarkable is that these experimental flourishes don’t undermine what is a gripping, stunning read. …The Fountain in the Forest has set a high bar for the rest of the novels I read this year.

Thom Cuell on Bookmunch:

smartly maps an experimental, Oulipo-inspired structure onto a well-executed police procedural, with both elements of White’s story-telling enhancing the other. … this is innovative storytelling, at once serious and playful, and White addresses serious social issues in his work with a compelling, very readable, style.

Nina Allan on The Spider’s House:

The Fountain in the Forest can be read with all the pleasure you might expect from a knotty police procedural, a knowledgeably detailed, intriguing and compelling police procedural at that. The story drives ever forward, even when it takes you backwards in time to take a look at the roots of the crime in question. Even when it flip-flops between two distinct time-streams and character identities within the space of a single sentence, the sense throughout is of a steady and satisfying accretion of significant information, i.e clues – exactly what you’d hope for from any good thriller. … You could read the novel with no knowledge of OULIPO and enjoy it just as well. … Anyone who enjoyed Keith Ridgway’s Hawthorn & Child or Nicholas Royle’s First Novel will love this book. Anyone who is into Ian Rankin or Denise Mina will love it, too. … Above all, there is the joy inherent in a book well made: language expertly deployed, place wonderfully evoked, ideas, characters, memories, theories, political subtext brought vibrantly to life, a good story well told.

Screen Shot 2018-09-28 at 08.50.53

Photo: Dawid Laskowski

Now here comes the favour.

The mass-market paperback of The Fountain in the Forest is published at the beginning of January 2019 – the new cover will be revealed shortly – so if you have enjoyed or are enjoying the novel, I need to ask a massive favour!

Can you please help us spread the word? Perhaps by giving The Fountain in the Forest a short reader review or even simply a star-rating on Amazon, Waterstones or Goodreads, should you find yourself in those virtual necks of the woods. I would be most grateful and it all helps with the book’s visibility, apparently, which helps find new readers! Thank you ;)

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Strong Language

strong language - handwriting-1
Strong Language. Three days of readings, performances, projections, installations and discussions at the Site Gallery and other locations around Sheffield. Curated by Tim Etchells, with new work from Joolz Denby, M. John HarrisonVlatka Horvat, Courttia Newland, Selina Thompson, Tony White and more.

Attention artists, publishers, readers and writers, and anyone interested in small presses, zines, artists’ books and other kinds of radical print. Strong Language is just for you. Be inspired at the newly reopened Site Gallery and other locations for readings, publications, installation, performance, and discussions involving publishers and writers in the North, and an exhibition of art work and ephemera from visionary micro-publishing project Piece of Paper Press.

Highlighting radical writing and independent publishing in the UK, Strong Language centres on Piece of Paper Press, a low-tech sustainable publishing platform founded in 1994 by novelist Tony White.

Free copies of four new specially commissioned Piece of Paper Press titles will be available at Strong Language events while stocks last.

More info shortly.

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Strong Language, 11–14 October 2018, Site Gallery and other Sheffield locations

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Tonight – Alison Turnbull at Rodić Davidson Architects

I’m delighted to be doing an event tonight – Weds 5 September – with the artist Alison Turnbull. Here is the invitation:

Please join us at 1 Pied Bull Yard on Wednesday 5 September at 6–8 pm for a drink to celebrate the display of Alison Turnbull’s Japanese Paintings. The paintings are being displayed in the Bury Place windows of Rodić Davidson Architects throughout the summer. Alison will be joined by Tony White, author of the critically acclaimed, Oulipo-inspired detective novel The Fountain in the Forest. At 7pm Tony will read an extract from the short story he contributed to Alison Turnbull’s artist’s book Spring Snow – A Translation (Book Works). The London Review Bookshop next-door will be open on the evening and copies of both books will be available.

Alison Turnbull takes Japanese author Yukio Mishima’s novel Spring Snow as a starting point to produce Spring Snow − A Translation, which is literally a visual translation ordered by colour. Drawing on Mishima’s evocative use of colour in the novel, Turnbull condenses the narrative into a colour palette.

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Alison Turnbull, Spring Snow – A Translation

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Weds 5 September, 6–8pm, Rodić Davidson Architects, 1 Pied Bull Yard, London, WC1A 2AE

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