Uncorrected Proof Review by Kristin Johannesson

Uncorrected Proof – Louisiana Alba


A review by Kristin Johannesson.“… the random cannibalization of all the styles of the past, the play of random stylistic allusion.” Fredric Jameson. 

ʻUncorrected Proof’ could be seen as a labyrinthically shaped many-dimensional map, pointing above and beyond itself by showing mirrored images of other places in literary time and space. And that’s one reason why you do not feel trapped by the, also present, postmodern paranoia. In this book as in real life. Painting pictures pointing beyond themselves out into a vast literary universe, you may feel lost in a labyrinth but it can, and for me does, feel like an opening, or a broad road, in it’s freedom to play out and stay away from an apparent order of themes according to fit the forms in the styles of the past, and norms or ideas of originality and individuality. The text stretches out of and becomes wider than the thickening plot, which is something I think can be inferred if employing multiple perspectives on the puzzle pieces presented – which, to use the map metaphor again, can be viewed from a distance at the same time as you are caught up in it/them.

In other words it does, in my opinion and to my appreciation, knit parodies and parallells into something in which it is possible to discern a pattern, in and through the somehow accented spy novel style, making the pictures and scenes full rather than fragmented in relation to the substratum one can sense somewhere in the heart of the text. To try and concentrate my impressions in one sentence I would describe it as confusion in association with the flexibility of not being one and itself. I have personally become deeply involved in this hectic story, and though I have read it over and over from cover to cover I still do not feel I am done with it. I use the word hectic as at many points there is a bit of a stressful atmosphere with the characters and the ones who in parts in their turn play the characters, as with the authors from various times and places who file past. Others such as the fishing scenes and the pasta recipes are a bit of a break, through being a bit more worldly.

Alba’s work in itself is in my view an original one. To pick but a few illustrative
quotes which echo my impressions when reading:

“It is not just a runaway relentless river of words following mental storms or unauthorized brainwaves”,

“Themes do not overflow story into labyrinths of uncertainty, ruthlessly impoverishing if not demolishing, exactitude”.Who in the book in the end is the one or ones who has/have done wrong, if there is such a one in the story, is hard for a non-literary person like myself to express. As for picking the parodies, who has written what may not be the (only) point of interest. Hopefully. I for one am unable to identify most of the over a hundred authors said to figure in the text. To try and espy one final conclusion, a main paradox may be that the novel builds a lot on parody/pastisch as technique and in turn plagiarism as a theme, which could lead to some interesting questions on where the line can/should be drawn, for what kinds of creators, and what you have the right to do what with/with what. 

Notes from the diary of the reviewer’s work
raw thoughts which c(sh)ould be refined. the truth may be purer in this version than in the next. i’ll go with the next one.

The first copy I read was from the library. I saw some review, got curious, and made a suggestion for the library to buy it (which is my normal way of getting many of the books I read). I read this first, borrowed, copy of the book, among other contexts, while washing clothes and while watching clothes wash.

1: Excerpt Six; Inside the plot (UP, Acknowledgements)
2: Excerpt Four; Archie thinks it through (UP, p 65)
3: Excerpt Five; Alessandro gets on the case (UP, p 71)
4: Excerpt Three; Archie & Cal try to sort it out (UP, p 81)
5: Excerpt One; Ellen Spartan contemplates her fate (UP, p 86)
6: Excerpt Two; Chaos at Folio (UP, p 109)

And later, through X months’ hard labour, resulting in the above, I won my own copy. Fair enough. And fair and square. “[I] found the order (or found the copy on Google Book Search 🙂 Either way, [I] did it.”

“Hi Kristin, the copy will be sent to you on Monday.”

I re-read it when on a flight to New York. And back. I might not have concentrated as hard as I should. At this moment a clarinet played by a neighbour is mixed with birds singing through the open window mixed in turn with relatively silent electroacoustic music from my computer. The temperature is very/too high. And in addition coffeepipyng hoot out of the glede. I also made my own correspondences between style, theme and reading. For example, eating haggis when I read the part on scots. “And yer nae even scottish”. I made the pasta in the recipes in the book when I read those. Following the instructions I did use olive oil. And then I didn’t. (But to use another one of my jotted down quotes from the book “every author lies in every case”, you shouldn’t take my word(s) for this. As for haggis, I’m a vegetarian.) I have also been pondering on the author. One personal (but still quite unoriginal, I have read this opinion in other places) guess on the subject of the author Louisiana Alba, is that this is not a non-fictional character. But I would not swear on that either. “Because I know nothing about this guy.” But I am a “friend” of “his” on Facebook. Some other intriguing passages are for example the equations describing how the book (the book(s) in the book/the actual book) was written, the question “Is that Heidegger quoting Kundera or Kundera quoting Heidegger or Homer Simpson misquoting both?”, and speaking of Homer; blurbs by Homer and Brontë, the pictures of authors on the cover, the thank yous to many more in the preface. The familiarity of them seem to cover and cushion some of the literary tumbles of the eponymous author, the implicit author, the fictional author and the reader.

As at the moment being involved in library and information science, I also at points in my reviewing progress saw parallels to knowledge organization and cataloging, as well as some kind of hyper- or at least intertextuality, in the alphabetical list of authors and artist in the preface, pictures of some of them quite neatly organised on the cover, and and as mentioned reminds me of a map – which a catalogue can be as well, often concerning documents such as literature and often interesting in itself in what has been chosen for representing and how it is represented, making new stories out of, as well as new relations and associations, between older works. Some of the charm of this book lies in it waking curiosity and associations, and some of the challenge with the book lies in it making you want to solve some of its riddles, such as where allusions are, to whom, and what this in turn might imply if interpreted “correctly.”

The Paste Land
“Lou maintains you have look through the prism of Duchamp’s Mona Lisa..the mustache on the most famous woman in art..Everything is a comment, a value add on, a parodic piece of fun, a slide off the original text into something else..built inside text which itself is built inside text and so on..Foucault’s comment in ‘What is an author’, an author is only a collection of statements that have come before, comes into play. Writers often play with borrowed stories (Shakespeare mercilessly so)..Lou referenced over 100 styles. T.S. Eliot borrowed from the whole of the literary world. The Waste Land could be The Paste Land. (You are quite free to use our emails as well if you like – Uncorrected Proof is an open book published by an open press)”

– Geoff Berry… ElephantEars Press – e-mail correspondence June 2010
http://elephantearspress.com

Being a Film Critic (in Cannes)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/video/2009/may/22/cannes-film-festival

 

Watching the video of the Guardian’s group of UK film critics on their annual junket to Cannes, sitting around a half empty glass of blanche, un bicchiere di bianco, mezza affogata nell’alcol doing the Guardian’s wrap up video Cannes film festival roundup: ‘A year of Prophets and Basterds, scandals and stars’, watching them get it so completely and utterly and horribly wrong on what and who would win, with at least one expert exhibiting an ‘Oh oh I’m gedding a liddle tipthsy’ half giggle, was one of the best laughs at Cannes 2009 in a year that seemed notably spare of the real thing up on screen.

The film hardheads guarding our take and hold on the fourth dimensional art form, displayed zero-none insight into the Cannes Festival Jury’s collective mind or political process of selection. It had me wondering if they ever got out of the UK film village at all over the two weeks. They weren’t idiots, don’t get me wrong. Intelligent, personable, likable almost – they just didn’t know anymore than you or me, their comments about as good as yours or mine on any given film at any given glassy-eyed moment. I mean who really knows what’s good or not in cinema? God only knows why or how anyone wins awards at these events – what really does go on behind those draped windows? Can you imagine the jury, sorry, The Jury, sitting around seriously trying to be serious about their role. I mean it’s a junket, an annual film publicity junket in a lovely breezy May-warm part of the French Mediterranean. Time to get the sunglasses and floppy linen out and the dingly-dangly things and say words from romance languages almost as the French do…okay, simulate the French.

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But after being there and getting back and seeing the Guardian get it horribly, no, miserably, wrong, I thought I’ll have a go at being a film critic too. I went and sat through Synecdoche at the Rio Cinema and here’s my review:

It was an interesting film, an interesting two hours plus of my time spent indoors on a warmish rainless spring afternoon in London. I left the cinema thinking: real life aint so bad after all.

For me Charlie Kaufman is a genius, or the closest thing to true genius that film, well, the closest thing to true genius that American film… well, there’s also Woody Allen, an influence on him and his work Kaufman said. So who’s first and who’s better? Well…See it all gets very silly, very quickly, not just the genius tagging bit but film criticism all round.

Synecdoche is an uncompromising portrait of a human being doing everything but slip down the toilet before your eyes, all written and directed by someone who wrote Being John M, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine – we are talking serious film writing ability here. But Synecdoche is tough to watch. Not impossible, not horrible or miserable, well yes it is miserable – and between Woody Allen’s division of the world, “miserable” or “horrible”, this is Kaufman’s “miserable”.

It brought Woody Allen to mind, it brought Fellini back to me, Coppola, really anyone who made a film that was a tough ask, a tough sit, at least once, in their hey or other days. Bring on the heh heh days I say, because there seems to be a moment in many famous filmmaking careers when the auteur inside says screw the audience, screw entertainment, screw the laughs I’m going to give them a piece of my art, one from the heart ART.

It also brought to mind a scene in Woody Allen’s Anything Else, David Dobel (Woody Allen) and his protege Jerry Falk (Jason Biggs) walking, nutty Dobel giving Falk some more sage advice.

DOBEL What goals.. wh-what are these goals?

FALK I want to write a novel, Dobel, a novel about man’s fate in the empty universe, no god, no hope, just human suffering and loneliness.

DOBEL Yeah well I’d stick to the jokes if I were you, that’s where the money is.

 

….Okay I’m a philistine, so what else is new.

Open Letter To Google on Plagiarism

Google, Inc.
Google Legal Support,

AdSense DMCA Complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

U.S.A.

19 May, 2009

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to point out Google’s association – inadvertent association, I accept – with the blatant theft of my copyrighted material by a site It’ s Entertainment, blazoned with Google Ads. The offending site is set up using DoshDosh.com powered WordPress software and can be found at: http://entertainment.uwant2know.info/cannes-film-festival-2009-the-big-time/

It’s Entertainment is engaging in unauthorised holus bolus copy-theft of my original material from a post I wrote, based on a research trip I made to Cannes last week for my new novel. My original post can be found on my blog at:

https://swimanog.wordpress.com I put the post up on 18th May, 2009. It was barely up one hour before It’s Entertainment began using it illegally for commercial purposes with Google Ads.

I received no request by It’s Entertainment for its use and there was no attempt to properly acknowledge the original. There is no way to contact the site owners to register my disquiet or complaint. From my research, this site is a serial offender of this kind of copy-theft.

I am a novelist and I put up my blog posts up for public awareness of my writing and for the public’s and my own enjoyment. It’s Entertainment is stealing copyrighted material placed in good faith on the World Wide Web. Google, inadvertently and unfortunately, is aiding and abetting It’s Entertainment by giving it sustenance to survive, so the offending site can carry out copy-theft.

Please help stop this abuse by withdrawing the site’s ability to use Google Ads. The site’s unauthorised use of my writing is unlawful, unfair and wrong. Google should prevent sites like this one from acting like this. Your company will be doing a great service to everyone and will win wide respect if it does. At the very least sites like this should be forced to negotiate legal use of copy. I am not against the use of Google Ads on any site per se but have not investigated it. I am not against commercial activity, only against illegal copyright activity carried out for commercial exploitation.

The use of my copyrighted materials as described above is not authorized by me, or the law. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed. My thanks for your consideration of this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Louisiana Alba

Cannes Film Festival

– The Big Time

You’re in the south of France.

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You arrive on the TGV, in a bit of a blur…

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Right, where’s your place then. Christ, you hope you haven’t been conned. You walk out of the station, get lost in two minutes. How do you get lost in Cannes when you’ve been there ten times. You just do. But up the hill you go, eventually, get there, find the place…believe you me, well away from the hoy palloy.

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Not bad, you think, for something off the Internet, okay, away from the action, on the other side of the train line, but it has a beautiful garden…

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A bit Graham Greenish, even. But you are here to work, not to sit in a garden deck chair, sip pink gins, complain about being an Anglophone abroad all day long. You are here to take photos. You get started right away..

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Get the writing tools set up…BILD1177

Right then, down to the Croisette..

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To do what? Gawk at the stars…

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Where are the stars anyway? Up on bill boards or hiding in hotels. Maybe the key is to be a star yourself…get yourself somehow onto one of these bill boards even…but how do you do that?

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You could simulate the process..

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Or take a leaf out of the books of others, mix in with the media..

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Wait, maybe you don’t look the part. Do  you need a special pair of shoes, a hat even?

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At these prices, forget it. But you know how to climb all over the competition, get head and shoulders above the crowd.

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But what are you looking for anyway, or at, what do you hope to see?

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Is cinema just another empty business?

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Or is that all just a bit too serious.

What to do? You could dress up, give someone a laugh, at least..

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Or get drunk…

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…or find yourself an empty chair.

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Stare at the scenery..

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…yr mind all out to sea.

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Easy Rider is back in Cannes

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It might be raining on the Cannes parade, and security out of hand, some of the films, well…

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…but there’s still one bright note on a gray, spitting Riviera first festival friday. The bike of the film, Easy Rider, forty one years old this week, is back inside the territory that gave it life, once more, back at the festival where the film and cast – Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson and Karen Black. won a vital critical reprieve from festival goers and organisers.

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The master builder of the easy rider Captain America replica….Jack Lepler, is here too. The secrets behind the film, the legend behind the story (what Jack doesn’t know he isn’t telling, not about the bike nor the original film no how – it aint worth saying nor knowing, he says with a wink).

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So the sequel, Easy Rider II, is on the Cote D’Azur, back at Cannes. If it weren’t for the 22nd Cannes Film festival in 1969 (the festival after the year after student and filmmakers such as Godard and Truffaut protesting, stopping Cannes in its tracks), the original Easy Rider might not have seen the light of day. American distributors wouldn’t touch the film, said they were embarrassed by it. More fool them, because this game-changer made for $400,000, took $60 million at the box office.

Easy Rider was a big part of the independent cinema’s rebirthing of Hollywood after years of studio failures and excesses. And it was Cannes that gave the story behind the bike its traction, gave the new influential film its market tread. Easy Rider is a key independent American film, a production that some say created the trend that in effect saved Hollywood from a crippling decline. More power to Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. Cheers to more Easy sequels.

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Credit where, all hail to..

It is, I assure you, an infuriating mess, a refuge, a joy to behold, an acrimonious cesspool of computerisable angst, an endless checklist of outso(u)rcerized disputes – a hole in the wall for all the world’s minds to filter down onto damaged DVDs. They will in time. And this you will find will be their final resting place.

The staff are miraculous, critically underpaid, limitlessly incompetent, irritatingly profound, delightfully empty, lazified beyond imagining, utterly perfect in their rhombus like cartoon feature creatures silicon graphic simulatoring carnival spirit. They sit there one at a time in that hell’s kitchen like Camusian sentences in utter knowing decrepitude.

If I could ever find the title I crave, the one I have up here, I will throw a week long party for all of you (send me yr contact). As a photocopier – though – to be honest – let’s be fair – my local is the soul of efficiency. As a printer of documents it is besmirchless –

….any fault the computer hard-drives at you is not down to the poor beleaguered impoverished centre.

It is a meeting, as it were or was – point by point – planned, for the perfect silence of minds, brought to life ONLY by murmuring mobile phonies and at least one hundred SE-a-MLESS dialects.

Not a letter I know is transferrable in order to patronise misapplication by default (if you know how to approach it). So…All hail to my local

….– library.

In.. The Road

The Road The Road by Cormac McCarthy


My review

This is a taut moving beautifully realised post-apocalypse narrative. The beauty of it ameliorates the subject. It is a tale filled with almost unbearable tension, a tiny thin thread of hope throughout. Someone wrote that it is not particularly American, but I thought it very American, almost at times a touch too cowboyish in parts. But looking back now I see no flaws in this now. At first I thought: this is a searing tale right up until the end but McCarthy wandered off into Hollywood territory with an (almost) all’s wells that ends well roundup, even in a post-apocalyptic hell on earth, and this is some hell on earth.. At first I thought: has McCarthy snatched literary defeat from the jaws of victory? Did he dismantle 300 odd pages of narrative perfection ..Does he want to wipe the slate clean? I thought: maybe it’s his irony on the myth, ingrained it seems in the American psyche, the good guys and bad guys stuff ..but I realise, thinking again, I was wrong.

The Road is too spare and taut for happy endings. It does end better than it could have … It doesn’t matter that the hope comes from and to the boy..there is much left of the road still to go for him..

I put it alongside the bittersweet end to Nam Le’s The Boat…Both tales are about that thin thread of human hope in so much despair. Even if at times I find myself asking why does Cormac McCarthy gives us this cowboy stuff every now and again…..Maybe, I wanted to say: I would prefer a bet each way on human nature…….but looking again I realised it is the hope in that upside-down burned-out world throughtout, the tiny impossibly thin thread of it, so beautifully captured and centred in the boy, that tense last thread that truly resonated with me throughout the telling of the tale, and it still resonates with me long after I finished reading..