This is from Austin’s upcoming collection “Notes to Margaret and Songs for Marguerite”
I have to resurrect dissatisfaction
And peace that comes with the push
Without a crown.
I am looking at the replays but not the game
I am sorting through the budgets but focused on the cash
Even though it has been burned before it was made.
I am restless, not distracted,
Running heavy, used to the heartbeat hard,
Bruised high, no time to heal, no recovery
But a move to break out…one day
Believing the chips I throw will count,
Will still amount to the shift a generation away.
I see it Margaret
I see your gang, color blind
And somewhat kind
But can you all make the moves to de-rig, unwind, re-wire and move the old along?
How will you keep the fever balanced and laugh under duress?
I, I am just coming out of it and will mount the resistance line soon, spring high and be dissatisfied
My troubles may dissolve-or not-
My waiting will be over
My contribution will be sound.
I can see it now and I have some time
When the doubt at city’s dawn has been lifted,
the mist has sifted through the open iron gates and risen
The streets will be cleared for peace in the morning sun
The New Metropolis.
You will be walking in a smart camel overcoat, with no caffeine of course,
Bio: Austin is a songsmith, musician, writer, poet, coach, manager.
Q1: When did you start writing and who has influenced you the most?
My first paid writing job was in 1982 – I was 22-years-old – freelancing for the NME, under the pen name Richard North – after New North Road (near Old Street), where I was squatting at the time. London back then was characterised by wrecked and abandoned property, corrugated iron, fires burning in rusty metal barrels in empty yards, wasteland, toxic clouds of tobacco smoke in the dole office, on the top deck of the bus and in one smokers’ carriage on the tube, darkness. It was an environment which you could truthfully run wild in, to paraphrase Malcolm McLaren. And I did. I loved it. I guess I was taken on at the NME to write about a particular type of post-punk bands sometimes called Positive Punk, the name of a front cover piece I wrote about the movement, which wasn’t particularly a movement – just a loose collection of reckless feckless glam soaked musicians, squatters, urbanites, trash clubbers, punk nostalgics, dopers, no hopers. It didn’t last long – satisfying a need for vitality for a mere few months, and then we all moved on.
I carried on writing for the NME as well a number of other magazines and papers, before taking a writing job at the BBC. Which I quit after ten years or so, to carry on with my own projects – journalism, theatre, and authoring a number of books, e.g. Looking for a Kiss, Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night (Zer0 Books), Dark Entries, etc.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
As a very young kid, I was looked after by my grandmother, while my parents worked. I come from a Polish background and my babcia (granny in Polish) amused me and herself by telling stories all day – fantastic Polish tales of dark foreboding, dire warning, dislocation and disaster, fortitude and survival, of how the cold will settle with deathly embrace around our shoulders if we forget for one single moment to beware, to be constantly on your guard. Folk stories, and family history of how, during WWII, my family had been ethnically cleansed by the Soviets from our home in Eastern Poland to labour camps in Siberia, and then, after amnesty, to the middle east, Africa, and, ultimately, England. A true odyssey. My babcia placed these tales in a mythological context. Similarly, her descriptions of current affairs were akin to the telling of contemporary fables. I guess knew then that I wanted to tell stories like her.
Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?
I suppose those editors and publishers who have, over the years, recognised my wild and raging talent. I humbly thank you. But, in my experience, writers rarely help one another and are mostly fuelled by ego, jealousy and hatred of other writers, especially successful ones. I’ve seen friendships end overnight after a former pal has had a good review or a few sales. The writing scene is characterised by vanity, rivalry, and bitterness. As Gore Vidal said, ‘whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.’ Ha. I also like the line ‘succeeding is not enough, others must fail.’
Q4: Where did you grow up and how has that influenced you? Have any travels influenced your work?
I was born in Aylesbury, Bucks, and grew up in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. Thirty miles up the M1 from London. Suburbia largely. There, kids left school and went on the track, the production line, at the local factory, Vauxhall Motors. If you got some qualifications you could join the civil service. Meanwhile, some couples had been going out with each other since 3rd Form and watched telly round each other’s house every night, not saying a word. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I didn’t want any of that. Instead, I was in love with punk rock. I was in love with picking up momentum and hurling myself forward somewhere. Anywhere. Rip up the pieces and see where they land. Which, for me, at the age of 18, in 1978, happened to be London the traditional refuge for suburban refugees – people who felt disaffected by life in the sticks: the treadmill, the mores, the conservatism, the repressive nature of family life. We wanted to tip all of this upside down, assert ourselves and fathom the world. There, in London, I wrote and produced my punk fanzine Kick.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?
I always think of my latest work as the most meaningful, for obvious reasons.
Q6: Favourite activities to relax?
Procrastination, prevarication, seeing people, avoiding people, bad language, bad behaviour, hanging out, talking shit, fucking around, shopping for clothes, lying on the sofa, lying in the sun, lying, being boring, yoga.
Q7: What is a favourite line/ stanza/lyric from your writing?
The End. Obvious huh
Q8:What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?
While working I usually listen to Mixcloud – mostly dub, low event horizon music, spiritual jazz. Music always keeps it ticking along – the heartbeat, the soul and all.
Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, music, events, etc that you would like to promote?
I’ve signed my second book contract of the year – with the notable New York publishers Far West Press, purveyors of fine literature, who will put out my book of verse entitled Disorderly Magic and Other Disturbances in Spring 2023– available nationally in the States, select shops in the UK and Europe, and online worldwide.
Disorderly Magic is post-punk, dark jazz, pop art verse. Essential beat up/down, free-fall, free-for-all poetry for people who don’t particularly like poetry (and who do, of course).
Disorderly Magic features subterranean scenes, picturesque ruins, neon glowing, faded glamour, Chelsea Girls, the damned, the demimonde, the elemental, being on the edge of being pinned down by our ghosts.
Also, memory, magic, mourning, worlds and words that are desperately fragile –mapping the loneliness and expression of private sorrows, some peculiar energy from the streets, hidden and brilliant corners, ‘well of course I liked Godard’s films before 68 but…’
And, a graveyard of myths, nostalgia, ‘the problem is: to get back to zero’, image of nylon, sur et sous le communication, folk devils, alienation – full face or in profile, the Scala cinema London 1983, the Zone, the consumer society, concrete brutalist situations, that which doesn’t exist.
Plus, French film slurred, correct sounds for a new audience, POV shots, reverse shots, absolute technical precision, brand new revenge, compartmentalisation of our lives, everywhere at once, ‘“I prefer American films… they’re prettier” – “Yes, but less arousing,”’ invisible people in homes, in other words no normal life.
Additionally, blocks of flats, signs of repression, reality of reflection, very little ideology, juices stirred, dilation of the pupil, Polish mysticism, passage of a signal, pop blow jobs, pravda, overlaying one image onto another, all in black and white (black and white is fast – colour is slower) – standard speed for capturing abrupt movement, madness.
Set in full moonlight, before the Flood.
Disorderly Magic and Other Disturbances will be available for pre-order March 2023, and published May 2023 by Far West Press.
Moreover, my current novel Looking for a Kiss has been picked up by the exciting publishing company PC-Press.
It will be re-published next Spring (2023) in an extended and amended edition, with new text additions, artwork and cover. There will also be an audio book version. The paperback and hardback versions will be distributed to shops nationwide, and will also be available via the usual online outlets. Until then, Looking for a Kiss is no longer for sale.
PC-Press released Melissa Chemam’s book Massive Attack: Out of the Comfort Zone, the history of Test Department, Total State Machine, etc.
Pete Webb, who runs PC-Press says: ‘Looking for a Kiss is a post-punk masterpiece. The book presents a particular slice of Post-Punk London in its brutal, negating and bleak narrative that brilliantly evokes the time.’
Looking for a Kiss remains a ‘fabulous’, poetic some would say, chronicle of speed and madness in the London/NY 80s post-punk milieu.
It was described in the programme notes of this year’s Lewisham Literary Festival, where I appeared, as ‘a cult classic post-punk pop art novel.’
Richard Cabut is author of the novels Looking for a Kiss (PC-Press, 2023. Previous edition: Sweat Drenched Press, 2020) and Dark Entries (Cold Lips Press, 2019), co-editor/-writer of the anthology Punk is Dead: Modernity Killed Every Night (Zer0 Books, October 2017), contributor to Ripped, Torn and Cut – Pop, Politics and Punks Fanzines From 1976 (Manchester University Press, 2018) and Growing Up With Punk (Nice Time, 2018).
His journalism has featured in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, NME (pen name Richard North), ZigZag, The Big Issue, Time Out, Offbeat magazine, the Independent, Artists & Illustrators magazine, thefirstpost, London Arts Board/Arts Council England, Siren magazine, etc.
Other fiction has appeared in the books The Edgier Waters (Snowbooks, 2006) and Affinity (67 Press, 2015). As well as on various internet sites.
He was a Pushcart Prize nominee 2016.
Richard’s plays have been performed at various theatres in London and nationwide, including the Arts Theatre, Covent Garden, London.
His poetry has appeared in An Anthology of Punk Ass Poetry (Orchid Eater Press, 2022), and magazines such as Cold Lips, Foggy Plasma, 3:AM Magazine, etc.
Richard exhibited as contributing artist (textual) to Always On My Mind, an exhibition in aid of The National Brain Appeal, the Fitzrovia Gallery, London, July 2022.
He published the fanzine Kick (1978-1982), and played bass guitar for the punk band Brigandage (LP Pretty Funny Thing – Gung Ho Records, 1986).
Britta Phillips has been on the music scene over 30 years with great bands such as Luna and Dean & Britta with Dean Wareham (formerly of Galaxie 500) She has also been an actress and has some current projects being worked on. Let’s find out a little more about Britta!
Q1: When did you start writing/playing music and early influences?
Britta: I started singing first, when I was very little, with my mom and sister. My parents were both very musical. My dad was a professional pianist who played on Broadway and with Phillip Glass and Liza Minelli. One of my earliest memories is of lying beneath a grand piano while he played Chopin waltzes for ballet classes. When I was 8, I started playing clarinet in the school band and teaching myself piano at home. My mom showed me guitar chords when I was 11. I started writing (very badly!) at 18. My earliest musical influences were Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, then on to classic rock. I had a brief metal period believe it or not, and then in the early 80s mostly listened to pop: Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Police, Prince. Then I discovered Siouxsie Sioux and the Cure… R.E.M. I really discovered the alternative/indie world of music after moving to London in 1989, beginning with the Velvet Underground.
Q2: How has your influences expanded throughout the years?
Britta: My influences continue to expand and evolve, although I still count Lou Reed and the VU as pretty unbeatable. For instance, I loved disco as a teen in the 70s but my my friends hated it so I listened alone in my car. In the nineties I stopped listening to all dance music but then came back to loving it again in 2000. Good music and good music. I’m not attached to any particular genre. In the aughties, I also discovered oldies like Serge Gainsbourg, Lee Hazlewood, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield and Scott Walker, thanks to my husband, Dean, who is always playing me exciting new (and old) music. These days I’m really into female artists (Cate Le Bon, Aldous Harding, Angel Olsen) but there are always great new bands, you just have to sift through a lot of mediocrity to find them.
Q3 Have travels and where you have grown up help influence your art?
Britta: There have been just a few people that have really exposed me to the music I love, starting with my mom and my dad, and then NYC itself. I used to travel to NYC to visit my father. He was musical director of Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway and seeing that show had a big affect on me. It made me want to get up on a stage and sing rock music. I moved to NYC in ’82 and that had an influence, of course. And then definitely living in London from 1989 to 1992 in the shoe gaze era had a huge influence. But since 2000, when I moved back to NYC, DJ Dean Wareham is my biggest influence/muse.
Q4: Any upcoming projects/links you’d like to share?
Britta: Dean & I wrote some music for a brand new HBO show, IRMA VEP!
influenced by “Where the Wild Roses Grow” by Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue.
Listen to the tunes from the willow garden’s dunes.
Imagine Ophelia, Millais’ muse posing for patriarchal abuse.
Prostitute or virgin are terms we use to justify or glorify
violence as we subconsciously react to art for things we want.
We use music to permanently reproduce
public culture into an aesthetic produce.
We embalm women with brushes as an emblem
to pass oppression and humiliation below perception.
We sing along lyrics that symbolize transgression
to justify the invasion of a woman's body in the name of passion.
It's okay because if it's a rose, then it's pretty.
All pretty things must die anyway.
Rose Connelly was a rose that was made to pose
long before Elisa rose to make us hit pause.
We listened to her lyrics about society’s hysterics-
enabled and pedaled by politicians and clerics.
They will tell you the rose had thorns and maybe horns
but I will tell you the rose never chose those
who picked her up and finished her with their paws.
Not all animals use their claws, but humans are one of those.
Neither Elisa nor Rose and who else knows
wanted to be men’s selected rose.
How many more do we have to find in the meadows
before we start seeing a corpse not a rose?
Bloody is not just a color when horror
is a demeanor we elusively mirror.
So, I ask you, how can scarlet
bring warmth to ice from blood let?
Wild roses suffer with every cover
we subconsciously muster and mutter.
It’s about time for the rose to turn into a cause
for social justice to end women’s woes.
There’s nothing rosy about a tragedy
defiling dignity to entertain inhumanity.
Author’s Notes: Inspired by Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue’s Where the Wild Roses Grow.https://youtu.be/lDpnjE1LUvEPoetry/Stories inspired by “Elvis Costello-Veronica” David L O’Nan & Pasithea ChanA Poetry Showcase with Pasithea Chan (September 2022)
Bio: Pasithea is an impressionist poet who dabbles in art and poetry. She enjoys writing about life and her experiences from different perspectives. She believes in art in poetry as in exploring art to emphasize its role in juicing creativity out of a quill. She enjoys writing poetry in symbolism laced with philosophy and psychology. Combined with varied styles and topics, her motto will always be: poetry is a passionate expression kindled by an impression unlimited by public conviction. To catch more of her work follow her on Instagram @pasitheachan or twitter @pasitheachan and on Ello @ello.co/pasitheaanimalibera where you can find more of her historical fiction and mythological or cultural short stories.
Q1: When did you start writing/discovering music? Who influenced you the most?
Kenny: I started writing music properly around 1994. We always had a piano at
home that i sort of messed around on as a kid, but definitely got more
focused on it when i came out of high school.
At the time i wasn't listening to much in the way of music by artists,
or albums etc. I was more into American TV theme tunes, stuff like The
Equalizer, The A-Team, Airwolf, Knight Rider etc. I think a lof of them
were written by the same person or people if i remember right.
Nowadays i find myself listening more to artists and albums from the
period when i started writing. Early Massive Attack, Bjork, Portishead,
Tricky etc, and bands like Leftfield, Lamb, the Cocteau Twins.
Q2: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician/artist?
Kenny: A pivotal moment for me was being introduced to the technological aspect
of music production. I was used to just playing a solo instrument, but i
was blown away when i first got to us a sequencer triggering a bunch of
gear all at the same time. A friend showed me his home studio set up and
i literally remember asking him in disbelief "what ? you mean you can do
more than one thing at the same time ??". It was basic, but it was just
amazing to watch the drum machine running, then a bassline dropping in
on top, and a bunch of pads and samples on top of those. That was it.
Q3: Who has helped you most with your career?
Kenny: I'm self taught, both musically and technically. I've always been really
determined and i think i was my own driving force from the beginning,
but there have been a handful of people i've met along the way who i'd
say helped purely by believing in me at times when i was running out of
resolve. You get a lot of knock backs early on, and the music industry
tends to drain your self-belief over a period of years. Every time i was
feeling the weight of stuff someone would appear in the mix and give me
the boost i needed to keep pushing forward.
Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?
Kenny: I grew up in the West of Scotland. It's quite a magical but isolated
place and the winters are long and dark. I think the landscape and the
weather influenced the tone of my music a lot. I moved into the city
centre (Glasgow) in my 20's and i think that kind of galvanised the
sound i had into something a bit more industrial/expansive sounding.
I've been in the U.S. a number of times. I think Los Angeles and New
York just feel very cinematic and that tends to resonate with me.
There's something about these cities at night, their sheer size and
depth, which definitely stuck with me in terms of my creativity.
Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively so far to you?
Kenny: I recently released an album 'Everything Wrong Is Right' under my
Imperfect Stranger pseudonym. As a body of work i reckon it's one of the
most meaningful things i've done. I've never really written music for
the sake of doing so. The music i write is personal, and it's a sort of
diary reflecting upon difficult things i've experienced. 'Everything
Wrong Is Right' encapsulates a specific period of great change for me
and i think from an artistic point of view it's very important to me.
Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?
Kenny: I like to get as far away from the studio as possible when i can. I do a
lot of active stuff, like cycling, climbing, wild swimming etc. I've got
a little campervan which gives me the freedom to go anywhere and just
pitch up next to a beach or whatever. It's a polar opposite of staring
at a computer screen in a dark room with a set of monitors blazing at me.
Q7: From your accomplishments what do you consider a favorite piece of music that you've done?Any meaning behind why?
Kenny: One of the first tracks i wrote in a previous project under the name
Cinephile has the lyric "your promises, sound like lies to me". I often
think about that as a simple definition for so many things that i've experienced
over the years. The music industry is absolutely rife with
the wrong kind of people. The artist is always the person at the end of
the day who suffers, and it's almost always because they've been given
some kind of false promise or hope. Like a moth to a flame.
Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?
Kenny: I am drawn to music which leans towards the cinematic. I don't mean
actual score music, more anything which conjours up a definite tone or
atmosphere. Music that gives you a sense of a story unfolding or some
kind of scene always grabs my attention.
Q9: Do you have any upcoming projects that you'd like to promote? Concerts, books, events, etc?
Kenny: I'd repeat about my recent album as Imperfect Stranger - 'Everything
Wrong Is Right' which is available via Castles In Space. I've got a
follow up EP to that coming this November all being well.
Bonus: Any funny memory or strange memory you'd like to share during your creative journey?
Kenny: I was playing at a festival in Ireland in 2008 and was making my way to
our stage across a particularly muddy backstage area. As we crossed the
access road a huge black limo swung in through the production gate and
drove right over my left foot. I sort of yelped with fright but when i
looked down the side window was open and Grace Jones was staring right
Twitter: @mrkennyinglis @areyouimperfect