by Emily Sipiora
forthcoming from Pink Finger Press, 2014
1. This book often has a cut-up and and collage kind of feel and sometimes reminds me of Jean Luc Godard’s ‘Pierrot le Fou’ in a way that I can’t fully explain.
2. I don’t really like rhyme or half-rhyme and some of this is rhymed and half-rhymed but somehow it manages to avoid that cloying feeling that rhyme and half-rhyme gives to too much poetry. This is an achievement because most who attempt this don’t manage to accomplish it so well.
3. She’s also doing something with meter, I think, which is brave if so (I haven’t scanned it properly obviously – partly cos scanning is so subjective and party because I didn’t want to). I gave up meter myself, I didn’t like how it mangled my syntax, same with rhyme and the need for a lot of what more traditional poetry bods call masculine endings (stressed syllables at the end of a line). Maybe this type of stuff is due a return. I don’t know. Emily pulls it off pretty well, though.
4. Elliott Smith is a welcome presence in anything that I experience and he pops up here. Sometimes directly quoted and sometimes in bit like ‘Mr Amiability’ (although while I was writing this my girlfriend was asking me to put the HDMI on the TV and it made me think how Elliott Smith could’ve even sung HDMI and made it sound amazingly melancholic. I know the writer likes him and I think he’s a good person to like which is contrary to the way in which a British tabloid recently managed to somehow implicate him from way beyond the grave in the death of British celebrity Peaches Geldolf. After seeing his legacy trotted out in such ridiculously absurdist tabloid terms, it’s nice to have him back and rehabilitated into something real and artistic and appropriate.
5. Ian Curtis pops up now. He joins Elliott Smith. There’s a theme here.
6. “Anyone up at 3am was either in love or lonely” is a great line.
7. “I live in your voicemail now” another great line.
8. There are a lot of great lines here.
9. This author is pretty young, like 17 or 18 or something, I think. This isn’t her first book which is pretty impressive in itself. I was going to say she’s ‘pretty mature for her age’ until I realised it made me sound like an old ageing aunt or something. Maybe this is how it is these days but if she’s getting this kind of thing out there now already, what can we expect in years to come? I’m looking forward to it, whatever it is. All you other Alt-Lit writers, you’re getting old, man! (That was a joke mostly on myself, to be fair).
10. There’s stuff in here that is kind of cut-up image macros of Wikipedia. I read somewhere that someone ‘advised’ Emily to stop putting photos in her books because it makes it seem more like a blog. I think she should put whatever she likes in and perhaps this person maybe hasn’t been looking to closely at the alternative literary scene of the past 5-8 years.
11. This is the kind of advice you get when you’re 18, I suppose. A lot of this book is necessarily and appropriately dealing withjust that kind of subject, both conceptually and also poetically.
12. Possibly the most controversial thing about this book is that lot of it uses the story of Dylan Farrow loosely to drive a recurring narrative. Obviously, it depends on which side of the Woody Allen-Dylan Farrow side of the fence the reader ends up falling down on, as to what they make of this. Similar to the Michael Jackson allegations, I guess. It makes for an uneasy ambiguity however and, for that, is to be applauded as a powerful device. This is information that is already on the public record and information that is riddled with ambiguities anyway so does this make it ok ethically to do something like this?
13. The title ‘Gamine’, by the way, according to Wikipedia means ‘a slim, often boyish, elegant, wide-eyed young woman who is, or is perceived to be, mischievous, teasing or sexually appealing’. Thereby adding another layer of ambiguity to the Dylan Farrow business.
14. Anna Karina star of Pierrot Le Fou (see point 1) has been described as a gamine.
15. Jean Seberg, another Godardian gamine, is also referenced in one of the cut-up Wikipedia pieces, notably the bit where she was sympathetic to the Black Panther cause and killed herself allegedly in part due to deliberately damning misinformation put out there by the FBI.
16. This collision of elfish young Lolita-ish women, the French New Wave and early-death indie-rockers and post-punkers like Elliott Smith and Ian Curtis makes a Tumblr-kind of sense and has a Tumblr-kind of logic which, whatever you think of it, shows it’s continued grip on the public imagination and the author has knitted it all together almost like a piece of conceptual art.
17. I’m sorry Wikipedia but I just can’t see Julia Roberts as being gamine.
18. I really don’t want any pound cake now (see p.37).
19. Is Rockford Illinois really one of the most miserable places?
20. Recipe for reading this book. People should read this book alongside Jon Savage’s ridiculously ambitious and accomplished book ‘Teenage: The Creation of Youth 1875-1945’.
21. And simultaneously scroll a Tumblr.
22. Whilst, listening to French Ye-Ye
23. and Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’
24. and probably smoking a cigarette
25. and taking a break halfway through to watch Pierrot Le Feu.
Richard Brammer is the author of three books ‘MDMA and Menthol Cigarettes’, ‘Public Dick Punk 83’ and ‘Cult Boyfriend’ that are all available from Amazon here but isn’t the author of the German version of the book about Adobe Publishing Suite and nor is he the author of ‘Cuckoos of the World’. Or just get his free PDFs from Richard Brammer is Unwell.