19 thoughts on “The Illiterate Ghost – Alan Price

  1. THE KEEPER OF FRANKENSTEIN

    Another keeper was Carol Decker lead singer of T’Pau whose lyrics for the song ‘China In Your Hand’ refer to Frankenstein. So perhaps Arnold Decker’s legacy was fulfilled, after all?

  2. “The best metaphor for Facebook is the monster created by Dr Frankenstein. […] ‘It’s a story’, writes Siva Vaidhyanathan in this excellent critique, ‘of the hubris of good intentions, a missionary spirit and an ideology that sees computer code as the universal solvent for all human problems. And it’s an indictment of how social media has fostered the deterioration of democratic and intellectual culture around the world.’”
    From a 2018 review of ‘Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy’ by SIVA Vaidhyanathan

    INDEX TO THE 1896/1907 FILMS OF GEORGES MÉLIÈS by Alan Price
    (A cut-up fiction.)
    “The Monster was struck by the invisible Siva.”
    Just one quote from a story burroughing MÉLIÈS film titles.

    Elsewhere, another reference…
    “‘Chromatic Frankenstein’s Monsters?’: Restoration, Colour and Variants of Georges Méliès’s Voyage dans la Lune. Wendy Haslem. December 2012. Feature Articles · Issue 65”

  3. AT THE BACK OF BURLESQUE

    A series of women performing in a club, including a stripper whose act involves slimming tablets as theatrical props. One woman in an orange dress is a general facilitator, snubbed by the other women and men customers alike, a facilitator of the club’s logistics and of wine pouring and we grow to empathise with her. Makes me feel the factotum equivalent as a real-time book facilitator. At the back of grotesque. Flaying to the bone.

  4. THE ILLITERATE GHOST

    I remember Diana Dors well. After being a sex symbol in the 1950s (for an awakening youngster as I was then) also a serious actress, she later became a chat show host and soap star. Or did I imagine that last bit? Will my imagination and other fallibilities such as mis-reviewing books carry on when I am a ghost following my death, as in this story some form of whole word displacement persisted in the eponymous character? Eschatological dyspraxia, I’d call it.

    • I think the first time I was aware of Diana Dors was when she was in an Adam and the Ants pop video in the early 1980s. The song was “Prince Charming”, I think.

  5. SWIMMER

    A phobia concerned with being stalked as a swimmer by other swimmers, factored into by the nature of each swimming-lane’s relativities of speed. A sort of broken race.
    (It somehow melded with this Konstantin story, from another panic soup, about an OCD agoraphobic as read and reviewed here half an hour before reading Swimmer.)

  6. I NEED TO FLY OR 2½ DAYS IN TASHKENT, 1990

    A highly frustrateable and chronical account of a flight unexpectedly interrupted from London to Delhi. With all the items of colour and physicality in Tashkent. The narrator sees himself as Icarus. The ‘rus’ half is in the text’s reference to Perestroika and Glasnost. All of it couched in a coruscatingly staccato and lexically literate prose.

  7. LETTERS FOR A KNOWN MAN

    From a convincing description of the foreboding nature of letters being pushed through the letterbox to one’s guilt far wrongly advising, as it turned out, a loved one, this vignette made me think, if not explicitly, that, on the rare occasions of a precise synchronicity with actually being able to witness a letter being delivered, it falls to the doormat like another Icarus.

  8. A FURTHER STRUGGLE

    “the dangerous splendour of health”

    At an age similar to M in this work, I resist describing its futurist, arguably interpretable, vision of relative age and health, in case I tempt fate and safety.

  9. DEATH OF A PIG

    A transcript of a court case, staffed by animals, for a man’s ‘thingslaughter’, and debates on the terms used as well as their terminology. Not animal farm so much as a human framed.
    Ah, well…

  10. EGG TIMING

    “Best honour her flaky Dad.”

    I laughed out loud at that bit in the context. An effective absurdism worthy of Ionesco or Jarry depicting two sisters’ sororal duties and rivalries in interface with their deceased Dad, and the means of his posthumous need to spy on them and/or to work not only after normal retirement age but also during death, as we may all have to do!
    Dad as a litterate ghost?

  11. OKURA’S TREE, WILLIAM’S BRIDGE

    “Okura noted a subtle dilation of William’s nostrils accompanying a smile as he read his novel, Tolstoy’s ‘Resurrection’.”

    Gogol’s The Nose is a work also germane to this work – reviewed relatively recently here. Meanwhile, this work itself is a substantive tour de sex force, not a cut up at the back of burlesque or grotesque so much as a picking-out of the Asian woman’s Origin of The World (as I might euphemistically call it and BEWARE this Wikipedia link of a 1866 Gustave Courbet painting!) and of the man’s Gogol. But a cut-up, too, inasmuch as it delved into their sexual acts with such fetching fetiches gone missing, then returned, like autonomous wordplay in which even – or especially? – an illiterate ghost can find an obliquity of meaning, Do ghosts have sex together? As this Asian woman and European man do. (Tellingly, by the way, 1866 as the year for Origin of the World is midway between the dates of Gogol’s The Nose and Tolstoy’s Resurrection.)

  12. THE RICHTER SCALE

    A brief coda to this fine chap’s book, particularly to the previous work, but, despite some of the typographical looking-down its noses, seismic belly laughs and other pitfalls, sex itself is far more efficient as an origin of someone’s world than what Frankenstein tried to do. But, whichever method is chosen, I ask whether any resurrections of life are always wordless ghosts.

    end

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