This blog is now my sole cognitive link to the outside world.
At least today it is.
I can’t physically be where I need to be so I’m posting here thinking that if enough people read my status, that it somehow puts me in the real world of social transactions and mini Games of Thrones.
Victory is not defeated but ailing.
I put my black steel steed in the hands of Spencer, the young mechanic who plays my Sancho Panza in this story. He’s humble because all of Victory’s afflictions are his fault. But I don’t rub it in.
“Sancho,” I say. “There’s no point in wasting time in pointing fingers. It’s never really just one cause, usually a combination of factors. I’m just glad that you’re willing to drive out here at 7 in the morning to take a look”.
I help Sancho Panza push my bike up into the back of his truck.
One good reason I’ve found for being nice (or civil, as I used to call it), is because so few people really are. Oh, they want to be taken for nice people alright; and would be highly distressed to find that others might think otherwise. Being nice provides a tactical advantage.
Although, I liked Spencer the young bike mechanic. An engineer in practice if not in credentials. My bike is first up this morning so if it can be fixed, it will be fixed in time for me to hit the 5 for San Diego and the Pancakes and Booze Art Market where I’m exhibiting some of my mother’s works for sale right next to Mario Torero. Sell some watercolours, some pastels and loads of books I hope.
I enjoy the role of an “art-barker”.
It feels like an honest effort for very little pay; however, the rewards are luxurious.
There are so many jobs that aren’t so and so many professions that once were and have since gone astray into the mercenary end of pure commercial exploitation. Marketing people use the term ‘exploitation’ to refer to the product they’re peddling but what they really mean is the market they want to buy it.
“Don’t say you support the arts, buy some!” is my shill.
So if my Victory is assured and returned to me by 3, I will make my way south on the 5 lane asphalt ribbon to the City on the Bay.
Last night I missed the ceremony for the official induction of 3 copies of IS SHE AVAILABLE? into the central library’s local author collection. Not just me, but that of my historic friend Chris Ernest Nelson, as well. His book Harvest lying right next to IS SHE? in a glass case.
Just like William Blake at the British Library when it used to be a separate building from the British Museum. And Joe Orton’s mutilated library books for which he spent prison time inside, now under glass inside the Islington Library in London, the very library he stole them from in the first place. In England, they put both the author and the work behind glass. In England, people go to jail for unpaid library fines. And mutilating books into art collages.
So I missed by success at convincing the library to take my book which they rejected at least twice. Once because it didn’t fit into their category system, the second because of Michael S Kane‘s Andy Warhol/Jack Kirby Madonna and child. But no child, just Mother Mary nurturing a revolver.
It’s been the image that has caused the most alarm and offence amongst bookstores, book buyers and of course libraries. I have been closing high order deals with chains on more than one occasion, only to have the buyer happen to land on Shaky’s spread and immediately handing my book back to me. Atta-boy Shaky, I’m living on desperation row thanks to you!
The irony is that our intention from the beginning was to apparently offend. There is nothing specifically offensive or pornographic about the image of a pre-pubescent blond girl holding a big pink gun. Not even the word ‘Vagina’ standing out in Rian Hughes‘s sculptural typography of the text to the poem.
In fact, there’s nothing offensive or shocking about the image at all, just the impression that one will be shocked. And of course, the real content, the real meaning of the poem and the illustration is that gun-violence is what we should really be offended and shocked by and yet are no longer. Judge for yourself below.
At any rate, I am home alone; sound but unsafe, calmly nervous by events beyond my control that are inevitably unfolding. G/d will pretend, when the time comes, that the end of the world was what he had planned all along.
Everybody improvises their intentions.
Just wait and see.
Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror is really the best TV on your screen. It quite literally holds up a black mirror not just onto our society but to each one of us as components, now data-cogs, of the society we can no longer see anymore without the aid of mirrors. We are like goldfish in a goldfish bowl kept rotating by the shortness of our attention spans and never even realising the wetness of our environments.
Charlie Brooker, his cast, co-writers and the producers at Netflix are doing us the moral service of reminding us of the remnants of own moral outrage and how our own ethical boundaries have long since been trespassed by the dark consequences of convenience and more efficient processing.
The machines never took over, we just surrendered.
We are like commuters stuck in traffic complaining about the traffic that we are actually both part of and complicit in. Even though from our subjective vehicles, we cannot see it. Traffic controllers retain the power however it is a remote distributed, bureaucratic, systemised power that is no longer subject to one human’s judgement. Who do you alert when the traffic lights stop working? You don’t have to, they already know.
I have as of late, paraded the term Speculative Realism, borrowed from the French post-idealists. Who understand that the only way to view ourselves clearly is no longer as mere individuals but as components of a larger neuro-ecology that contains, constraints and ultimately defines us. We are the furniture that a system beyond our own subjectivity keeps rearranging “on our behalf”, “for our own safety”. “for your security”.
I have only slightly re-engineered the term in the context of a literary genre, of storytelling, perhaps the sole remaining respite of human freedom. A story is a purely human phenomenon untainted by machine efficiency as machines don’t need to tell each other stories. But we do, and in doing so we may be flexing the last quiescent muscle of our humanity. A story is comprised up 3 interlocked elements: The storyteller, the story and the audience (or to whom the story is told). At least two of these components are human, subject and object; the rest is merely synaptic grammar.
When a story is told and heard, a condensed complex of information, human knowledge and near spiritual wisdom is transmitted in a compact instant well beyond the speed or circuitry of a microchip. Remember, we are the minds that created and defined data. It is that creative mind that is both alert and receptive to the information that is vital to our survival, as a species and as sane human beings. Storytelling is our salvation and Poetry is better than prayer because you don’t have to pretend that someone is listening.
Speculative Realism is just my tag for vital, survival information being conveyed by storytellers. As essential as where the next herd of buffalo might be. Speculative Fiction has here to provide the luxurious canvas for our imaginations to ponder possibilities. But Speculative Realism is not what you might do ‘if…’ but what you will have to do ‘when…’ To survive, to retain your own identity and perhaps even your sanity. Speculative Realism is imperative, it carries the mental equipment we need to survive.
Black Mirror is a series of short cameos of Speculative Realism. The term is beginning to gain traction since I first observed the emergence of this genre in film, fiction and screen entertainment. I have since read a reference to Neil Gaiman‘s work described as Speculative Realist in his use of double vision, (the seeing of two apparent contractions as one), in his characterisations. I don’t know if he thinks that, you’d have to ask him.
Cyberpunk auteur Bruce Sterling, in Wired, refers to Speculative Realism as Philosophy Fiction, which is as good a handle as any because Speculative Realism defends the autonomy of the world from human access in a spirit of imaginative audacity.
In his recent Edinburgh University Press publication Speculative Realism and Science Fiction, Brian Willemsuses a range of science fiction literature that questions anthropomorphism to develop the Speculative Realist position. He looks at how nonsense and sense exist together in science fiction, the way in which language is not a guarantee of personhood, the role of vision in identity formation and the differences between metamorphosis and modulation.
These are useful critical and academic insights. But the real meat is in the eating and Black Mirror takes you to the centre of the Speculative Realist banquet, piling your plate high with outrage, moral panic and cautionary tales of horror. I suggest tasting a sample as we’re all going to be eating from this same table for the very foreseeable future,
the future that has already arrived.
© Igor Goldkind 2016
NOTHING has prepared you for This. Nothing ever will.
Because whatever is happening Now has never happened before.
This is a web-nurtured collaboration with 27 artists, sculptors and musicians from the world of Comics, Fantasy, Fine Art and Jazz, including Bill Sienkiewicz, David Lloyd, Liam Sharp, Glenn Fabry, Shaky Kane, Lars Henkel and the cutting edge sculptural typography of the highly acclaimed book designer Rian Hughes.
This illuminated book is a contemporary Dante’s Divine Comedy; a journey through the confessional landscape of a masculine identity. It uses poetry to construct a narrative that explores themes of death and loss, sex and love, and the modern American and Jewish identity design: by the UK’s eminent graphic designer, typographer, illustrator Rian Hughes.
The music is composed and produced by iconoclast, ex-Israeli, Middle-Eastern jazz virtuoso Gilad Atzmon, along with five other jazz artists.
Written by San Diego native Igor Goldkind, this illuminated book will revolutionize the way you view poetry by meshing comics, art, music and animation in a truly unique way. It uses poetry to construct a narrative that explores themes of death and loss, sex and love, and the modern American and Jewish identity. The book is available for download on the iTunes Store and Google Play, as well as in a 166 page, fully illustrated in colour hardbound edition available ORDER HERE.
The eBook edition pushes the edge of what is possible with present EPUB3 technology. It is not an App, it is a true book that marries pop art, comics, avant-garde, jazz, spoken word poetry, video and animations, and type design in a manner that we have not seen before IS SHE AVAILABLE? has the feel of an artefact from the near future – a seminal work of a new genre-fusing poetry, graphic art, music, and animation.
Sample interior pages:
IS SHE AVAILABLE? RRP is $34.95, SHIPPING INCLUDED
Educational Discount for Students and Teachers: $29.95
Both deluxe hardcover edition PLUS animated and musically scored eBook App edition of Is She Available? bundle: $39.95
Go to http://Paypal.com/issheavailable/ and place your order directly through PayPal with all Pay Pal assurances and protection.
Shipping included in orders within the US and its territories.
If you are in Britain and/or Europe, please contact my European wholesaler Fanfare Productions who will take your order and dispatch to your address the same day: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviews ? Sure We Got Reviews. Why You Wanna See Them? Be my guest.
“Igor’s “Illuminated Book” is like a new genre. It is a wonderful ekphrastic expression; a fusion of the arts.” — Poet Mel Takahara
“His collection Is She Available? has the feel of an artefact from the near future – a seminal work of a new genre-fusing poetry, graphic art, music, and animation.” —(San Diego’s) City Beat
“Is SHE Available?” is an experiment, and reading it feels more like an act of discovery… nonetheless there’s a thrill to scrolling through its pages. It’s an ambitious step toward what digital media can (and will) be.”—The Chicago Tribune
You Tube samples: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLRnmT_aE0acoowdNBvFtK_VW2OkNN2wWp
SoundCloud samples : https://soundcloud.com/igor-goldkind/sets/is-she-available-spoken-word
The 166 full colour, fully illustrated hard cover deluxe edition is available in discerning and eclectic independent bookstores everywhere. Including Fahrenheit 451 in Carlsbad, Soulscape Bookstore in Encinitas, the Upstart Crow in San Diego, Verbatim Books and Mysterious Galaxy also in San Diego, City Lights and the Cooperfields chain in Marin County and Sonoma County, amongst a growing number of independent book stores.
Order direct from PayPal and shipping is included!
Burt and Astrid had sat down at one of the outdoor tables outside the Encinitas Cafe along the Pacific Coast Highway.
I sat down at the single table next to theirs
Burt, from his wheelchair, had noticed the bundle of books
I had dumped from my shoulder onto my breakfast table,
Startling some spoons and a left behind saucer, and remarked:
“You’re an author, aren’t you?”
“Why would you think?” was my reply.
“I don’t think, I know”.
Astrid tucked Burt’s napkin under his chin.
She was his nurse and his wife.
“Because nobody but an author would carry so many copies of the same book around”, Burt said.
“Burt used to write before he got sick”, Astrid explained.
Burt coughed long into his napkin.
“I’m sorry’, I said, just because I meant it.
Burt finished coughing and reached with his hand gesturing
To pass him my book.
I did and Burt leafed through the pages,
Feeling the clay surface of the paper with his fingers.
“You’re a poet! Very brave.”, Burt pronounced.
And then we talked about poets ancient and new.
We compared reading Rilke, Neruda, Pushkin,
and others both living and dead
I felt like I was visiting my old college roommate
Who had studied the exact same subject as me.
We spent nearly 2 hours over breakfast
Until Burt began to speak Yiddish to Astrid.
Astrid replied in kind.
The moment we shared peeled like a bell across time.
Awaking the ghosts of my ancestors.
Astrid rose from her chair to roll back Burt’s wheels
And then they just left
With my book on Burt’s lap in his chair.
This is Astrid we had the pleasure to meet you my husband and I in Encinitas this summer and had a most pleasant conversation. You gifted us a copy of your book I just wanted to let you know Burt passed away August 23 We really enjoyed meeting you especially Burt….
“i follow igor goldkind on facebook. i am not a friend of his, but a friend of mine kept reposting things he’d written and said and i found his way of expressing himself too good to ignore. as is the case with this book. i’ll level with you. i don’t really understand poetry – it’s too opaque and often too personal for me to really understand and i often feel i am missing huge amounts of the impact of even the small amount of poetry i do understand. if i read it aloud i appreciate it more, but even then. but when i saw a goldkind book of poetry was on offer and remembering how much his writing had affected me in the past i thought i would take the risk
i’m glad i did. again, i don’t fully understand or appreciate all of it but goldkind is a beautiful writer. he enjoys the ways a sentence hangs together both on the page and, if you follow me, in the mouth as you read the words. but what makes the book special is the third way he makes the words work – through graphic design. you see the OTHER reason i followed goldkind is because even though his words my friend linked me too resonated, i also liked the fact he’d been involved in all sorts of british comics over the years, especially 2000AD which is a comic i have very, very fond feelings towards….
and it’s on this level that even this man who struggles with poetry found himself adoring the book. because it’s a beautiful thing to hold. a beautiful thing to look at. and in the same way that if i don’t like all the poems,
if there’s a bit of artwork that someone has contributed to the volume that doesn’t work for me there’s often something coming along very soon that does absolutely work. there’s some lovely art here by people i do know of – rian hughes, glenn fabry, david lloyd, shaky kane, bill sienkiewicz – and many i didn’t – i was very taken by the work of dix, lars henkel and jeff christenson particularly. even if i didn’t like a poem or piece of art, something special and wonderful and surprising would be along very soon
and speaking as someone who is very deeply in love with books as a printed medium and could never imagine reading or appreciating an e-book, the fact that the electronic edition has apparently so much more to it – music! moving images! – very much pleases me. this is a book by someone who not only has a glorious way with words but has a very unique vision for what he wants to do. and that’s why i’ll be cherishing this volume… “
Date: March 31, 2015 at 21:38:22 PDT
From: Amy Sterling Casil , Chameleon Publishers
I can honestly say, this is like no other book we have ever seen before; we think perhaps – like no other you may have seen as well.
31 March 2015
For Immediate Release
IS SHE AVAILABLE? PUSHES BOOKS AND PUBLISHING FORWARD THROUGH POETRY, ART, AND MUSIC
Southern-California based publisher Chameleon Publishing releases its first major publication: Is SHE Available? by Igor Goldkind April 1 via the iBooks store.
Is SHE Available? pushes the edge of what is possible with present EPUB3 technology and how books are created and made. It is not an App, it is a true book that marries pop art, comics, avant-garde, jazz, spoken word poetry, video and animations, and type design. Its creative journey was more than a year in the making, growing from the collaborative work of artists, musicians, editors, and designers on two continents.
The poet, Igor Goldkind, is a San Diego native who lived in France and the UK for two decades while promoting the work of today’s most notable comic and graphic novel authors and artists. As a teen, he was one of the co-founders of San Diego’s legendary Comic-Con.
According to Bleeding Cool, “It was Goldkind who popularized the phrase ‘graphic novel’ with the media and found that gave them permission to cover the previously-considered childish medium of comic books . . . . Now, Goldkind’s vision of what graphic novels could be, is returning.”
Is SHE Available? was produced using an international collaborative model, but the book is one man’s voice and one man’s story. Goldkind’s words and voice inspired the art of over 26 internationally-known artists, including cover art and interior illustrations by Eisner-winner Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra Assassin, Daredevil and more), additional interior illustrations from other graphic novel illustrators and award-winners including Glenn Fabry (Hellblazer, Preacher), David Lloyd (V for Vendetta and many others), Liam Sharp (Judge Dredd/2000 AD/Madefire), fine artists and illustrators Lars Henkel, Mario Cavalli, Mario Torero, Wendy Farrow, and many more.
Music and spoken word were recorded in New York with UK Jazz Album of the Year winner, author and ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon. A US-based jazz and spoken word tour is scheduled for July 2015.
The type design and hardcover book are created by the eminent London-based designer Rian Hughes (2000 AD, Vertigo, Dan Dare), who includes an afterward about the collaborative design process. E-book production, incorporating Madefire animations, audio and additional animation, were provided by Chameleon Publishing in Southern California.
Due to the inclusion of video, audio and animations, and fine type design, it is playable only on Apple devices, and available only through the iBooks store. The hardcover (without music, spoken word or animations) will be published July 15, 2015.
Other “enhanced e-books” have been produced with budgets of $100,000 or more, and few have sold well. The “wisdom” is: poetry doesn’t sell. Enhanced e-books don’t sell. Most jazz doesn’t sell, either. Comic and graphic novel artists struggle to show their fine art to the public. And what publisher would take on a completely unknown poet whose claim to fame was selling fancy comic books to grown-ups and co-founding a big comic/media/scantily-clad women-fest like Comic-Con?
Twenty percent of North Americans regularly buy and read books. Nearly a hundred percent can read. Chameleon’s mission is to make books for everyone, not just a selected few.
Published April 1, 2015, in honor of National Poetry Month.
For more information and to obtain a copy of Is SHE Available? eBook for review (EPUB3 only on iOS devices – iPad, iPhone and Apple computers) or an advance reading copy of the hardcover edition contact the publisher:
Amy Sterling Casil
Chameleon Publishing Inc
Ok, just for the sake of an argument: The format by which we access shapes the content. The easiest example is the difference between seeing a film in a cinema (projected and reflected light) and watching a film on a TV or LED screen. That 700-year-old artifact called a book has been shaping the intake of our knowledge for as long in subtle ways that nonetheless include the reader in continuity across language and genre with other readers down the centuries. Books are often personalised objects that anchor us within the experience of what we have read. They are also objects of legacy, often handed down from previous generations or gifted. They are objects as events imbedded with emotive resonance. The flaw of an electronic book is that it is so easy not to read; to begin and skim and never finish while still delivering the affect of ‘having read’ the work. A book has physical pages that must be turned, bookmarked or dog-eared. We know instinctively before we think about it whether or not we’ve ‘read that book’, started to read that book, ever finished that book or need to finish ‘that book’. That’s lost in a Kindle, iPod-like portable library. Sure, you can think about whether or not you’ve actually read or finished that work; but it doesn’t provide the same visceral certainty a volume does. Also, the intimate subjectivity of the reading is diminished; wherever you took that book to read it. Kindles are not objects that engender the same subjective intimacy. They are electronic, plugged in, recharged and interchangeable. It is the loss of the value of the artifact that I regret the smell of paper, glue and sometimes leather, which are the book’s ‘platform’ for my senses. I’ve got nothing against Kindles, although like screens their delivery of direct light to my retina is not natural and does physically limit the amount of time I spend reading on screen. Unlike a book, which I can cheerfully read from tactile cover to cover in one sitting and close with the incomparable feeling of satisfaction of the completion its author intended. I rest my case ;~)