Friday, 18 December 2009
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Saturday, 18 July 2009
David Wills is the author of the forthcoming CoRP title, Fact & Fiction in Las Vegas: Truth in the Life of Hunter S. Thompson. This interview just appeared online, and is regarding his other project, Beatdom, which is publishing by Mauling Press...
Everywhere I go on the internet these days, I read something about Beatdom magazine… I wondered to myself, what the hell is this thing? Why haven’t I heard of it before?
Beatdom, it seems, is a glossy literary journal that has taken the literary world by storm since its conception in 2007. It is dedicated to the publication of excellent writings about the Beat Generation, as well as contemporary writing and artwork inspired by the Beats.
All over Twitter and the Blogoshere, people are talking about the next issue, which will feature poetry by the hippest voice in modern music – Scroobius Pip.
I caught up with the busy Mr Wills, founder and editor of Beatdom, to ask him about his magazine.
What is Beatdom?
It’s a magazine – or rather, a glossy literary journal – that aims to keep the influence of the Beat Generation alive today. We promote the work of new and established Beat scholars, as well as the occasional piece of poetry or fiction that takes inspiration from Kerouac, Ginsberg etc.
We also look at the work of people like Hunter S. Thompson, for example, who had links to the Beats, and whose ethos was somewhat similar.
Hunter was similar to the Beats?
In a sense, yes. He was friends with Ginsberg and Burroughs, and took little pieces of influence from the literature of the time. Remember, he was a young guy in the fifties, and he read On the Road like everyone else.
How did Beatdom first come about?
When I graduated university in 2007, with a good degree in literature, I didn’t know what to do. All I did was drink, read and write. I tried to get jobs with publishers and newspapers, but I couldn’t get anything. The job market was poor and I didn’t have the relevant experience.
I got bored of taking rejection letters and decided to start my own magazine. I was drunk at the time, and had a lot of talented friends. I called in a lot of favours, went begging to a lot of writers, and put together the first issue without starving.
How was the first issue received?
The first issue was a fantastic success and I immediately fled the country, swamped by fame.
No. It was successful, but not that successful. I didn’t lose any money, and I made a lot of friends and gained a few devoted readers. People kept trying to make me do a second issue.
I did, however, flee Scotland. I went to America to do research for the second issue.
What happened in America?
America was amazing fun. The people were so nice in California and Colorado, where I spent my time. I walked around San Francisco a lot, and met some old Beat poets – Michael McClure and Neelie Cherkovski. I interviewed Barry Gifford and spent a lot of time in the Beat Museum and City Lights. I got a lot of material for issue two from that trip.
Do you still keep in touch with your interviewees?
Yes, a little. I make friends, rather than have business dealings. Poets, it turns out, aren’t really into business. They just want to talk.
When did Beatdom suddenly become popular?
I don’t know… After issue two, things died down. I wasn’t making any money from the magazine, and I fled the country again. I went to Asia to teach English, and continue writing. But Asia didn’t exactly fill me with the Beatnik spirit, and the magazine almost died.
Issue three was a response to strange demand. I’d almost forgotten about Beatdom, but the fans kept e-mailing me. The website kept drawing in kids who’d read Kerouac, and oldtimers who didn’t spend a lot of time on the internet, and eventually found Beatdom.
I didn’t have the energy then, so I intended the third issue to be a collection of articles that were cut from the first two. To an extent, that’s what it was. But we also took a lot of submissions, and it made a very short issue.
What did people think?
They loved it, I guess. The website hits went crazy, and fan mail began rolling in. It seemed people read the third, and then the first two, and loved the first two. I’m not much of a businessman, so I’m not sure how or why all this happened, but I knew I had to make another issue.
Half the fans of Beatdom are writers, and when they read the magazine they want to submit something. I constantly have my hands full with queries. Most of them are great, because we seemed to be read by a lot of scholars and professors, who make excellent contributors.
So what can we expect from issue four?
More of the same. It’ll be more like the first two issues than the third. The third was actually black and white… This will be another big glossy, image-heavy issue. The poetry section is short but sweet. The articles are certainly our best yet.
We also have Scroobius Pip – a hero of mine – writing for us! That’s probably the most excited I’ve been about the magazine in two years. We’ve got ‘interviews’ with Carolyn Cassady and Gary Snyder, too.
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You can read more about Beatdom at www.beatdom.com . The fourth issue of the magazine will be out by the time you read this, and is available through the website.
Monday, 29 June 2009
Friday, 22 May 2009
To celebrate the forthcoming Poundland: The ‘Novel’, City of Recovery Press are giving away ten signed copies of the book. The book will be released on November 4th, 2009, and the competition will close June 1st. This will be an extremely rare edition of the book, printed exclusively for the winners of the competition.
To be eligible for the prize, send an e-mail to editor (at) cityofrecovery (dot) com, telling us why you hate Poundland and how you can help the world free itself from the grips of this evil single-price retailer.
Submissions must be less than two hundred words, and must not include the word ‘scumfuck’. Entries must be submitted by June 1st, 2009, and a winner will be picked the next day. Prizes will be delivered within a month of the announcement. Ten runners-up will receive free e-Book copies of the ‘novel’.
Particularly brilliant entries will be posted (with permission, of course (you are free to keep your entry confidential)) on the City of Recovery website.