Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dreams That Money Can Buy #4

Life finally gives us a respite and we spring on the fourth issue of Dreams That Money Can Buy, the finger-licking-scrumptious magazine (we're no longer talking fanzine here in our view) edited by Ben Ware and Sarah Lomax. DTMCB is a very impressive endeavour in contemporary literature and more generally, a mighty "cultural detox" for those of us who lament ourselves over the spiritual state of the brainy nations (and for the others as well.)

This issue opens with the burlesque/cynical/apocalyptic declaration of the dead living artists, a lucid, outrageous, hilarious counter-manifesto or rather non-manifesto that sets an acute, acid vibe on the rest of this collection. HP Tinker follows with consideration about the "Situation" and the frozenness, the condemnation implied in not being in existential motion and more particularly, in trying to take stock of your life from a fixed point in time (situations do not, or should not exist, only fluxes, right?) Bob Foeppal's short treats make clever use of the traditional end-of-story reversal, taking us from an old publisher with whores and Victoriana on his mind to big-breasted, squirrel-cooking Donna Lynn.

Jumping to Steven Hall's Oulipian/Pereckian exercise in scientific classification and through to Stewart Home's sordid council estate evening (a sneak peak at Stewart's next novel). And on to Heidi James's biting love letter (recommended if you like strange knots), and finally to our favorite stretch in this jolly spin through underground lit back alleys, Tony O'Neill's "The Doctor Takes a Walk", in which the hero meets with the "tanned, white teethed monsters" that populate malls and seem to have taken the world in a "bloodless coup" while he was out there doing horse.

And in between of course, plenty more reasons why you should buy Dreams That Money Can Buy and thank whoever it is you believe is responsible (apart from the afore-mentioned editors and authors, and the Arts Council) that contemporary writing still gets that good. Did we mention that the magazine is beautifully manufactured too (think Faber and Faber for instance)? We have now.

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