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RE/SEARCH eNEWSLETTER #43, December 2005


eNewsletter #43, December 2005

1. TOMORROW! Sat, Dec 10 San Francisco. CounterCulture Hour airs Sat, Dec 10, 2005, 6:30pm (12th episode) with Lydia Lunch and Genesis P-Orridge.
2. Leslie Hodgkins replies to (2) Reviews of the newest RE/Search books, J.G. Ballard Conversations and J.G. Ballard Quotes.
3. J.G. Ballard – excerpt from a recent letter!
4. SRL BENEFIT Sat-Sun Feb 10-11, 2006 – plan to come to San Francisco for a great weekend!
5. Websites of Interest (contributed by Phil Glatz)
6. What we’ve been Reading, Listening to, etc.
7. Coming Events

First, the commercial: if you want to give a very rare Xmas gift to someone special, we recommend our limited edition **AUTOGRAPHED** flexibind J.G. Ballard Quotes book! (only 250 made)…not in stores. Order from OUR WEBSITE Of course, you can also order the new J.G. Ballard Conversations, too–paperback only.

Secondly, our classic William S. Burroughs T-shirt (“We intend to destroy all dogmatic verbal systems”) is finally back, in S-M-L-XL sizes — another great Xmas gift…

1. TOMORROW! CounterCulture Hour airs Sat, Dec 10, 2005, 6:30pm, Cable Channel 29 (Sorry, San Francisco only, but watch for video releases on our website.) Tonight’s episode was filmed at the RE/Search headquarters, sparked by a surprise visit from Lydia Lunch, first-generation Punk Rock Original who now resides in Barcelona, Spain (we’re envious–Barcelona boasts the amazing constructions of Antonio Gaudi, V. Vale’s favorite architect). For those unfamiliar with Lydia Lunch, she is truly a Renaissance woman who from age 16 has produced poetry, fiction, Spoken Word, music collaborations, films, books, a magazine (Sex and Guts, produced in collaboration with Mike Ryan, assistant editor of the RE/Search J.G. Ballard Quotes book), and beautiful, haunting black-and-white photographs. Lydia has lectured, given workshops, and done performances all over the planet. She has a lot to say! (and for more info, google “Lydia Lunch”). This is all-new material, never before aired–it comprises the final half-hour of taping of the Lydia Lunch interview at RE/Search headquarters (total time was about 90 minutes, of which about 60 minutes aired last month).

Lydia’s segment is followed by another very “inspiring” interview withGENESIS P-ORRIDGE, founder of Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV … an all-around counterculture stalwart with a proven track record dating from the early ’70s. If you don’t already know the near-lifetime of work by Genesis P-Orridge, encompassing dozens of albums, several books, hundreds of performances, etc, please google him. . . In our opinion, this particular episode featuring Lydia Lunch/Genesis P-Orridge is all pure gold . . .

BTW, V. Vale can be heard “live” talking to R.U. Sirius – do a blog search to find this! V. Vale was also interviewed by Irene McGee for “no one’s listening” — try and find it! Lastly, a few weeks ago V. Vale was also interviewed by Justin Desmanges on KPOO radio, San Francisco — google to find that, too!

2. Leslie Hodgkins is a San Francisco writer and musician who currently works at Black Oak Books on Broadway near Columbus Ave in San Francisco, a used bookstore which occasionally yields amazing “finds.” We highly recommend you visit this store whenever you come to San Francisco. Below is a slightly-edited response to (2) recent reviews of our J.G. Ballard books (J.G. Ballard Quotes; J.G. Ballard Conversations) from Leslie Hodgkins.

In response to the review of J.G. Ballard Conversations printed in the December 2005 number of Locus (and one in the Memphis Flyer) I have a few concerns I would like to address in regard to the “ongoing” project undertaken by Re/Search in bringing all things Ballard into view of the public. The reviewer Gary Wolfe is very astute to quote Ballard’s lament of our pre-packaged reality: “People are expected to package themselves, their emotions and sexuality in attractive and instantly appealing forms.” Mr. Wolfe claims that there is an “inescapable irony, then, in the ongoing project of V. Vale of RE/Search Publications to package Ballard in exactly these terms, starting way back in the 1980s…”

This is the point of what seems, dare I say, unfair, in light of RE/Search’s contribution to considerably broadening Ballard’s appeal in the United States, a fact that Ballard attests to in Conversations. While the RE/Search books on Ballard are largely fan pieces–by and for Ballard fans, acts of love–they have a multivalent subversive appeal that should not be overlooked and certainly should not be cheaply dismissed as unaware and “narrow” to a degree that they would ironically misrepresent the author. The contention that Re/Search #8/9(the original Ballard volume) and the RE/Search edition of the Atrocity Exhibition are commercialized candy-wrapper versions of Ballard (as the statement “Ballard as snack” seems to suggest) is highly misleading. It is a reality of publishing that it involves, as a necessity, a degree of striving for visual appeal–this is unavoidable. Oddly, neither review mentioned the (to us) dazzling photographic images by Ana Barrado, SM Gray and others…

It would be naive to assume that any venture in selling a product would be devoid of latent ideologies, but the primary intention of these projects is to present Ballard’s writing in an original and provocative way that enhances the boldness and integrity of the work itself. Stores often refuse to carry the RE/Search edition of the Atrocity Exhibition because of its leanings toward pornography, albeit a very unique form of pornography–it’s what you could almost call meta-pornographic, so how is that conducive to dainty candy-coated commercialism? It also contains a brilliant para-textual commentary (something Ballard was willing to grant RE/Search and no other publisher) on what many would consider his most radical and difficult work, but it never seeks to explain it away, it broadens rather than narrows the intellectual scope. The RE/Search #8/9 Ballard issue contains, among other things, work by Ballard that no other publishers would even touch, like his Situationist-style advertising parodies. How does this detract from the intellectual, critical or imaginative realm of possibility surrounding Ballard?

Now, to get up to speed and address the new RE/Search Ballard books, Quotes and Conversations, the project here has not slackened or changed in the least. For the sake of clarifying what RE/Search is trying to accomplish in their presentation of Ballard, I will offer another publisher’s packaging job for contrast. The U.K. Harper Perennial edition of Ballard’s latest novelMillennium People (still without an American publisher!?) contains the newest feature of a publishing world desperate to compete, apparently, with the DVD market. Bonus features “P.S. Insights, Interviews and more” give us Ballard just the way we would get any other author. As expected, there are bite-size bits of information (a superficial Q&A, a list of his 10 favorite books, a summation of years of output whittled down to a few hundred words) and a courteous little interview largely concerned with what we assume all authors are concerned with: biographical anecdotes, gossipy quips on topical issues and other authors.

Perhaps Wolfe in his review is correct to assume that we can’t possibly turn “Ballard from a writer into an all-purpose cultural guru and political commentator” but is that what Vale is really doing just by letting the tape recorder continue rolling on topics that go deeper than the usual “Did you always know you would become a writer?” and “What other writers have most influenced your work?”-type fare that we find in Harper Perennial’s bonus features? The Ballards of the world deserve more room to flex their minds.

In response to the particular aspects of the interviews that Wolfe takes issue with, Ballard has a lot more to say in the opening interview about 9/11 than the typical “Bush is an irrational, bible-thumping war-monger” rhetoric. He elaborates at length and with incredible lucidity the function of Freud’s theoretical Death Drive (see Civilization and Its Discontents) in explaining the highly complex relationships between rulers and their subjects and the formation of all-consuming psychopathologies that often lead to war, genocide and other atrocities. . . as well as talking at length about a state of mind that he calls “elective psychopathy,” a fascinating Ballard obsession that sheds a lot of light on his fiction. If these are the conversations your intellectual friends are regularly having over morning coffee, could you invite me over sometime? And Ballard does have some great things to say about fiction in Conversations, things that range from the incisive to the invective. A major feature is his disappointment with many of today’s novelists:

“I think realist fiction has shot its bolt–it just doesn’t describe the world we live in anymore. We’re not living in a world where you can make a clear separation (as you could, say during the heyday of the 19th-century realist novel) between the external world of work, commerce, industry, and a fixed set of values, and the internal world of hopes, dreams and ambitions. It’s the other way around–the external world is a fantasy nowadays. It’s a media landscape generated by advertising. There’s an envelope of fantasy that is just pouring out of the air all the time, shaping all of our most ordinary perceptions… Fiction surrounds us–it’s more than fiction, it’s a fantasy of a very peculiar kind that creates our environment. And to describe it you’ve got to get away from realism. Yet the bourgeois novel survives and of course it’s immensely popular…”

For Ballard to talk about his fiction is to talk about media-made politicians, how advertising is shaping our desires, Surrealist painters, fantasies of self-destruction and the end of the world and many other elective psychopathies. When he talks like this he is talking about his fiction because, for those of us who can remember, he was talking about topics like these well before most of the rest of us.

In regard to Quotes and whether it is useful or useless, since you say it is both in your review, I just have these questions: With a writer like Ballard, by reducing length is the content in any way lessened? Are reading his quotes like chewing on candy or swallowing glass? Are these gleaming nuggets of wisdom going to rot your teeth like a lollipop or strengthen your bones like a shot of much-needed calcium?–Leslie Hodgkins for the RE/Search staff

3. **Excerpt** from a recent letter from J.G. Ballard to our new friend Graham Rae, RE the RE/Search J.G. Ballard Quotes & Conversations books!

“Nov 11, 2005…

Q: Are you happy with the RE/Search volumes and how they turned out?

A: Very happy–the publications put out by RE/Search over 15 years are unique in my experience–each book is an original concept of its own and together they form a kind of street anthropology of the late C20/early C21. Fascinating documentary material on all the byways of urban life–some extraordinary volumes more thoroughly researched than whole university departments.

Q: How does it feel to look back on your life and thoughts collected in one volume (this was about J.G. BALLARD: QUOTES) this way?

A: Very strange–I keep dipping into QUOTES to see what I think about this and that . . .

Q: Anything you are particularly pleased with having predicted?

A. Looking back, what depresses me is the whole softening of public life–Ronald Reagan, Blair and his culture of spin, the transformation of politics into public relations–it didn’t start with the Kennedy presidency, but that gave it enormous impetus.

Q: Anything you’re not particularly happy with having predicted?

A: As above.

… All the Best, Jim”

Graham Rae will be writing a review of our J.G. Ballard Quotes and J.G. Ballard Conversations books — we will give the url in our next newsletter…

4. SRL founder Mark Pauline has to move his legendary “shop” where SRL has been headquartered for almost 25 years. Blame the anti-artist unreal-estate conspiracy. RE/Search, in cahoots with MarkPauline-AmyCritchett-KarenMarcelo-Scott Beale-Eddie Codel & more… is barely beginning to plan afund-raiser benefit for the SRL Move to New Quarters–a move that may cost a staggering $100,000 … scheduled date of the SRL benefit: Sat, Feb 11, 2006 in San Francisco at the Hayes Valley Market, corner of Hayes/Laguna in San Francisco. Watch for it — like we said, it’s still in the planning stage…

The night before, Fri Feb 10, 2006, the SF Indyfest will celebrate SRL with the San Francisco premiere of the video of the SRL Los Angeles, April 2, 2005 Show, followed by a conversation between RE/Search founder V. Vale and SRL founder Mark Pauline. A Q&A, and small party, will follow. Women’s Building, San Francisco, 18th St near Valencia, 9 pm.

We recommend that all SRL fans plan to come to San Francisco for the SRL Weekend: Fri-Sat, Feb 10-11, 2006. Anyone from out of town will hopefully be granted special attention!

5. Web-site Recommendations from our pal PHIL GLATZ–thanks, Phil!

() I’m a sucker for harmonica groups with a midget that plays a big mouth harp… great pictures and links, like this one:

() calling Super-nanny:

() oh, the evils of drugs: <ahref=”http:”” images=”” p=”” 12068.shtml”=””>

() Why don’t carnivores devise meats that taste like vegetables?

() At 07:22 PM 11/15/2005, [Vale] wrote:

these days i’d rather PLAY music than listen to other people playing even live! marian got a piano and i play it every time i get a chance!

[Phil:] — Until extremely recently in human history, that’s all that music was. Every home had a piano or fiddle, and even the smallest of towns had a town band. I love the funeral band in Chiwn, that’s the tradition that is so far out of our collectivmory it seems bizarre.

I enjoy a lot of recording, especially of great artists from the past (I just got a set of live Hank Williams transcriptions). But every year, music is more product than art. It is encouraging that people can D-I-Y and make recordings as good as the studios. But I’m really burned out on the flat sound of synthesized drums.

I just read Phil Lesh’s book, “Searching for the Sound,” mostly about life with the Grateful Dead. He has some fascinating insights into the creative process, which I’m sure you would enjoy – you know he went to Mills and studied under Berio.

I crack up when I think about how the mid-20th century avant-garde like Stockhausen has been re-digested and forms the basis of modern hip hop, which clueless white kids gobble up like cheap benzedrine.

and check this out: http:/.acmefilmworom/dir_foldeirKricfalusicfalusi.html

grwork! I love video at the end he did for Bjork

() Hi Vale- I was just listening to your interview on RU SIRIUS’s podcast – amazing, like having you here in my office! It was good to hear your voice, and that great Jean-Jacques Perrey tune. I’ve been enjoying the new Ballard book and hope others are getting hip to it. Keep up the good work, Phil

() Bosch sculpture (?!):

banana peel warnings

at the Arden Fair food court:

magic rocks webcam:

() Patty the Pinhead: from

“Probably the most astonishing children’s comic character, Patty Pinhead is a microcephalic little girl starring in crudely drawn adventures that are one step above office mimeograph cartooning. Who greenlighted this character, and who thought that these reprints would entertain anybody in 1970? Patty’s older brother Zippy would go on to fame and fortune in the funny pages, courtesy Bill Griffith.”

() art

() random media scraper – creates pages based on dada

() DICK HYMAN INTV: Yet another fascinating side of him – I did not know he was one of the primary forces behind Enoch Light’s Light Brigade. also has nice things to say about Perrey and Kingsley.

music downloads:

() the sad tale of Phil and his mail-order bride darn that Cthulhu!

() REGINALD MARSH: painter of Coney Island scenes – “Well-bred people are no fun to paint.”-Reginald Marsh

Reginald Marsh began his career as a newspaper illustrator. After studying in Paris from 1925 to 1926, he devoted himself to painting. His subject matter was life New York city, particularly the lower class life around Coney Island and the Bowery District. His work was not as much of a social protest as it was a display of Marsh’s desire to paint colorful but ugly subjects. Marsh himself hailed from a wealthy family and his work can be seen as a rejection of his affluent upbringing.

photos too!

() more Reginald Marsh:

“Twenty Cent Movie, as arresting as a boldface tabloid, presents a riot of information and evokes a golden era of cinematic hyperbole and Runyonesque characters. The double bill of Twenty Cent Movie improbably joins We Live Again (right), an adaptation of Tolstoy’s tragic novel Resurrection, with an upbeat musical comedy entitled Moonlight and Pretzels (left). The blown-up poster portraits represent the dashing Frederic March and sultry Anna Sten of We Live Again, and the mustachioed character actor Leo Carillo, whose comic mispronunciations punctuated Moonlight and Pretzels. The scene before Forty-second Street’s Lyric Theatre looks itself like a movie still, with stars, bit-players, and extras poised for action. The stylish blond ingenue in white strolls before the streetwise, cocked-hatted boulevardier, as a flashily dressed, man-about-town looks on: this trio of potential stars in search of a plot are everyday echoes of the three blown-up images of the actors.

“With superficial appearances more strongly emphasized than substance, Marsh’s figures rarely reveal their private selves. A tragic lack of connection between the sexes exists in much of his art. In Twenty Cent Movie, the men are seldom attached to the curvaceous, parading females. Never probing human relations, Marsh vividly catalogued an era, with all the detail and celebration that his contemporary Edward Hopper left out.”

() I’ve just started checking out podcasts (via iPodder and, this is a cool distribution system. Seems to work best for short pieces — best, Phil


6. What We’ve Been Reading, Listening To, etc…

() These 2 CDs have been in continuous rotation: SOUVONICA by 8-1/2 Souvenirs — a total classic, and definitely in our Top 100 of Greatest Recordings Ever Made. Withstands an unbelievable amount of repeated playback. Great musicians, great recordings, great collaborations, great arrangements, great piano, great vocals… the list goes on. Secondly, CIRCUS OF LIFE by Jean-Jacques Perrey (available from us at our website ). Frankly, we skip track 1 and play the entire CD from track 2 to the end. Has withstood literally about 60 plays so far… Jean-Jacques was recently in town and appeared at Varnish, 77 Natoma St, in San Francisco — one of our favorite galleries. . .

() We just received and highly recommend Bruce Caen’s SUB-HOLLYWOOD– order from 323-222-2211 or email for ordering info. (Or send $30 to cover postage/handling for this beautiful flexi-bind production, to Yes Press, POB 31369, Los Angeles CA 90031-9998.) This is one of the only authentic post-punk narratives, covering approximately 1979 through the early 80’s. Bruce was **there,** photographing SRL in the early 80’s for his NO magazine, and “living the life” when it teetered on the abyss of madness and despair. Intense and truthful, we at RE/Search make a claim that this is that rare find: the “real deal.” Too many books these days are put through the corporate laundromat, then re-dyed over-brightly to add un-genuine “shock value” and “talking points”… to participate in the current marketing/branding volcano inundating our primitive, naive selves. We say: if a book is published by a large corporation, BEWARE! Please patronize us independents! Caveat emptor. ‘Nuff said. We think it is “slightly funny” that Bruce has self-published his latest, somewhat harrowing narrative, under the rubric of YES Press – given that his first magazine was NO Magazine… This is witty D-I-Y Publishing, make no mistake…

() It was Schopenhauer who said that humor is closest to divinity… We highly recommend reading Schopenhauer’s essay “ON STYLE” (written about 155 years ago) – while it talks about print publishing, it can certainly be extended to cover all media these days — and we were particularly angry to discover that we had been reading an “abridged” edition (small type, frontispiece) which for no good reason cut out the final paragraph: “Life nowadays goes at a gallop; and the way in which this affects literature is to make it extremely superficial and slovenly” … Beware of abridged books!!!

Schopenhauer’s On Some Forms of Literature” contains the sentences: “Repetition is the mother of learning… Any book that is at all important ought to be at once read through twice; partly because, on a second reading, the connection of the different portions of the book will be better understood, and the beginning comprehended only when the end is known; and partly because we are not in the same temper and disposition on both readings. On the second perusal we get a new view of every passage and a different impression of the whole book, which then appears in another light.”

7. Coming Events:

() Besides our SRL FUNDRAISER Feb 10-11, 2006, we are giving notice of the upcoming event organized by Ethan Port and friends:

() Mobilization presents HOW TO DESTROY THE UNIVERSE, PART 5Featuring: BLIXA BARGELD, JARBOE, and others… Jan 26 – Feb 6, 2006.

JARBOE has an amazing�new CD coming out on Atavistic. Blixa also appears on this new CD, so there may be some collaboration at the festival shows. The SIXTEENS are a haunted guy/girl post/synth-punk due�visiting from Berlin. Their new CD is due in Feb. F-SPACE is Ethan Port from Savage Republic with Aleph from Chrome.

BLIXA BARGELD (htp:// is performing a rare solo vocal concert entitled “Rede/Speech”… Blixa has his vocals processed live by long-time Neubauten sound engineer Boris Wilsdorf. Although hard to categorize, this technique allows for a “real time” interplay of vocal ideas with patterns and rhythms produced by the audio effects themselves (similar at least in concept with Diamanda Galas )… This is the US debut of his mesmerizing performance that has appeared throughout Europe for over a decade.

Press and ticket information is available at Tickets are on sale now at A limited number of advance discount tickets and festival passes are available now. (Note that at press time some dates were already selling quickly and are expected to sell out.)

**IF YOU GOT THIS FAR, WE RECOMMEND YOU ORDER AS A XMAS PRESENT the **rare autographed flexibind edition of J.G. Ballard Quotes**–yes, signed by the U.K. visionary himself… There’s also a rare unsigned Library edition (only 100 made; $35). Email us at or telephone 415-362-1465 to order!

DEC. 2005 RE/Search eNewsletter written by V. Vale & contributors.Newsletter and website powered by

DISCLAIMER & PROMISE — V. Vale’s eNewsletter is a free service to our esteemed customers, comrades and critics. If you’re receiving this email, it’s because you or someone you know has sent your address to us here. We will NOT trade your address, sell your address, or in any way make your address available to anyone else, EVER. ———————– RE/Search Publications, 20 Romolo Suite B, San Francisco, CA 94133. Tel (415) 362-1465 Email: website: http://www. —

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