The Wire

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In Writing

Stewart Home's Portal

October 2013

The novelist and writer of The Wire 357's Epiphanies article talks Italian social commentary, fascism, the many worlds of Chus Martinez, and where partying and politics meet.

History Is Made At Night
A blog about dancing and politics with a focus on London and beyond. Working on the premise that “when the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake,” this site is rich in both historical and contemporary material. It’s full of really great images and covers, everything from 1920s jazz clubs to the contemporary hardcore underground dance scene and way more, with some of the posts delving into clubbing and dancing as they manifested themselves several hundred years ago. Still, the site’s webmaster started life in a different subculture so you’ll even find stuff about the situationists and anarcho-punk!

Ledatape is a one-man organisation run by Simon Strong, an Englishman based in Melbourne, reflecting his own unique blend of countercultural obsessions. Musically, the UK garage scene seems to be the focus, including Billy Childish and the lesser known Neil Palmer along with his one time band The Fire Dept grabbing even more space (not to mention Simon’s own band Pink Stainless with sometime Birthday Party member Harry Howard on guitar). In terms of literature William Burroughs is the jumping off point but Simon being Simon it all very quickly becomes much more obscure.

La grossesse de Chus Martínez
One of many sites dedicated to the collective phantom Chus Martinez – a common Spanish name and one used by both genders. Chus Martinez is a collective identity that anyone can use and many people do. This specific project is focused on trash aesthetics, left or communist politics and polymorphously perverse sex, all wrapped in humour and accompanied by graphic images. There are Chus Martinez sites in English with a similar content but this French one is the most active of the many Chus Martinez web nodes around at the moment.

Sensitive Skin
A site on literature and related cultural pursuits, with editor Bernard Meisler‘s selections ensuring you’re reading top quality prose. Meisler knows the best way to unleash the berserk energy within a writer is to get them to talk about their passions – so the one time he commissioned me to do something he asked for a piece on northern soul (something that obsesses me but that no one else had ever asked me to write about). The origins of this webzine can be traced back to the fiction experiments going on in New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s, so there is a deep knowledge of the historical counterculture – but Meisler also delights in unearthing new writers, as well as covering older ones in an unusual manner.

Who Makes The Nazis
This site has been explicitly exposing the tactics of fascist entryism into various musical milieus that have sprung out most notably in the field of ‘alternative’ music by former members and fellow supporters of the British National Front from the 1980s onwards. The music genres covered range from industrial (and subsets such as martial industrial) through neo-folk to black metal and beyond. The site administrator is non-sectarian despite being a Trotskyist, and allows the fans of the bands exposed on his site to defend their idols, presumably because their comments end up illustrating how listening to crypto-fascist music results in lazy and vacuous thinking.

Wu Ming
The blog of a Bologna based collective of novelists and activists who sign their work with the Chinese words for anonymous. Wu Ming not only write best-selling historical thrillers collectively, they also produce some of the sharpest political commentary in Italy. In fact, just because there is virtually no one else writing serious commentary on the social situation in that part of southern Europe, their Italian blog is one of the most read resources online. Although Wu Ming’s posts in English are less frequent and more focused on their fiction activities, the English blog still makes my essential reading list (as do Wu Ming novels).

Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles
Golden Ninja Warrior Chronicles is a site dedicated to Joseph Lai’s IFD films, a company notorious for buying up other people’s mostly unsuccessful (and often unreleased) movies and then cutting and pasting them together with footage they’d shot of ninja fights. The results are surreallistic post-modern trash, and the most prolific IFD cut-and-paste director Godfrey Ho is sometimes called the ‘Ed Wood of Hong Kong’. IFD films of the 1980s are also notable for their unauthorised use of music from successful Hollywood films and internationally known music acts (with a strong leaning towards synth and electronic sounds). This blog is incredible as an information resource and image bank if you love trash cinema.