The Man from Düsseldorf — a tribute to Claus Laufenburg

Snuggly Books 2019

Edited by Brendan Connell

My previous reviews of this publisher:

Work by Quentin S. Crisp, Damian Murphy, James Champagne, Justin Isis, Brendan Connell.

When I read this book, my thoughts will appear in the comment stream below…

7 thoughts on “The Man from Düsseldorf — a tribute to Claus Laufenburg

  1. WHO IS CLAUS LAUFENBURG? by Quentin S. Crisp

    “The crowd was not quite audience-like, as if there were some endless ambiguity to be negotiated between each and all to who must be a member of the public, and who must be a name, who spectator and who spectacle.”

    I was that plus-one who ended getting the free ticket (left by Q at the ticket-desk for me) to a Momus concert on that fateful day. Q and I hadn’t yet met at that stage of our lives and our first meeting at Sweet Tina’s was still in the future — yet we were both then part of that Momus audience without realising it, which is perhaps a strange thing to report. Meanwhile, I’ve long been a fan of the literary work under the authorial name of that character once played by John Hurt, with the added S in the middle. I intend to start a cult of grouped individuals fathoming the persona of Quentin S. Crisp and why I have encountered the word SEHNSUCHT, for the first time in two separate published works by him, in this work today and in ‘The Flowering Hedgerow’ a few days ago. I guess the word is German.
    I really enjoyed this work, and its rhapsodic ending. Both quirky and literarily textured with a unique sense of self-effacing humour. And all of us reading this work have the same Claus Laufenburg, to a greater or lesser extent, factored into our lives. We all thus tend towards becoming the same effaced Self. The same S.
    “Maybe that’s as far as it should go.”

    My previous reviews of QSC’s works:

    PS: By the way, I, too, have met both John Worley and Kim Newman, at different times in the past.

    by Damian Murphy

    “1. Use soap and water.
    2. Rub your hands and arms vigorously for 20 seconds.
    3. Wash all surfaces, including back of hands, wrists, between fingers, and under fingernails with a fingernail brush. Rinse your hands well.
    4. Dry your hands with a paper towel.”

    Well, for such a story in this ‘Man from Düsseldorf’ book (published in 2019), that is a remarkable prophecy of the sort of pinned-up notice that would be appearing all over the place only a few months later! Boris even showed us how to do it on TV! Anyway, when this story’s Santanic Claus later wrote his own variation on the back of this notice, I laughed out loud. But, more personally for me, the rest of this story is important, not simply Claus’ defacing of log books, as he does in the perfectly described office job with the ill-tuned wireless at minimal near-static volume as minimalist music for his soul, while defacing log books etc, yes, as I do to collectible books with my pencil when I am real-time reviewing them, Claus not simply chanting his own name ‘Claus’ till it meant something different, not simply chanting, too, the name ‘Jonas’ (perhaps to counterbalance mention of a “Romanian Publisher” in the QSC story above), not simply going off for a missing plug for the erstwhile lavatory-washroom (unless I interpreted that bit wrongly?), not simply kissing the sculptured bust of Goethe and then throwing it off the roof in line with our world’s ‘statue syndrome’ and false legacies that have beset our times since 2019, beset our times, indeed, like hand-washing, not simply ALL these foregoing things, BUT Claus’ important screed on ‘flip-takes’ that he writes out instead of doing his office work (a flip-take being a sort of cartoonish backward leap that delightfully dominates much of this story), and that is important to me as I have spent much critical energy in proving, by detailed gestalt real time reviewing, that our literature’s classic and modern fantasy fiction is based on such a leap or a series of such leaps and jumps, if not actually calling them flip-takes (not knowing the term till reading this story today), and these real-time reviews take up inordinate space on my computer as they are reviews of two VERY big books (my review of the ‘classic’ one starts here and the start of the ‘modern’ one here, although the latter review is still a work-in-progress).

    My previous reviews of Damian Murphy (three pages):

  3. DREAMACHINE by James Champagne

    “and I’m sipping from a glass of champagne and I have my Sony Walkman on”

    Sipping, yes, and the overall effect is one of organic adeptness, yet none of its separate constituents – events and characters and places and some sexual acts – have anything in common with my experience of life, other than, of course, the experience of somehow appreciating the reading of stories just like itself! Is that a paradox? And, oh yes, I was probably older than the narrator even in 1986. The narrator is Sypha, here, in 1986, in the special Arabian desert genius-loci of the Empty Quarter – an amazing place! – away from Sypha’s Miami home and boyfriend Mark. Claus, bald headed, older and sometimes with a pith helmet, is here Sypha’s guru, who at the end takes Sypha to the top of a mountain that looks, from a distance, like a “dong” (with a luminous nose?). An epiphany scene. The eventual core of Claus’s spiritual message to Sypha is about the Self (with a capital S) just as I perspicaciously had it in my review above of the QSC story. In fact, my own competing spiritual message to this author (who I have reviewed a few times before here: is that literature or fiction has a special theosophical power, especially when filtered by the arcanely preternatural process of gestalt real-time reviewing, a process that allows seers to predict truths, as seems to have happened with the ‘effaced Self’, e.g. a self built on sand, a self evoked by the QSC story — and by this story that, then, I had yet to read!


    “‘These children are very snuggly and quite adaptable; a good time can be had with them,’ he thought to himself.” (unsic)

    The end moral of this long striking fable is unstriking in its own way, i.e. that, unless we are exposed, from our childhood, to all (usually unlucrative) forms — even its most unspeakably transgressive forms — of art and creativity, we will otherwise be condemned into becoming well-paid chartered accountants or systems engineers!
    I am the exception to the rule. I made all my money as a younger man working in senior positions at a financial institution in the City of London and I am now spending my well-gotten gains, as an older and even older man, purchasing, supporting and studying examples of transgressive art and literature — and expounding, as here, upon that very art and creativity, striving, as I am, to disseminate in real-time such creativity’s preternaturally and unexpectedly counterintuitive benefits to mankind’s gestalt soul further and further afield…
    This review is dissemination of one such transgressive item of literary art, this Isis story, a story so utterly transgressive, parts of its text have been literally struck out. I have never read any story so mind-churningly transgressive. What is more, it turns our hero Claus Laufenburg into a radiologist who thinks ‘Middlemarch’ was written by George Meredith, and who frantically snorts cocaine, and who works for a Pleasantness cult, and it becomes a story that describes him trying to importune eight year old children into this very act of Pleasantness, into a campaign involving terrorism against transgression in art. This story even drags Jonas Ploeger and Mark Valentine into the plot, and, yes, the rumours are right — it does also depict usage of an Isosceles triangle-designed limited small press edition book with a hinged binding into a deadly weapon not only against an Englishman publicly reading aloud a hyper-transgressive fiction in a Tokyo studio but also, I infer, against the literary art that the book itself contains!

    My previous reviews of this author:

  5. DIE GEHEIME KRAFT DES SEX by Brendan Connell

    It seems this story’s title knew (or thought it knew) Des was bound, sooner or later, to review it, if not this whole book. But don’t believe what you read in books, and even less so what the reviews say about the books, or even what the reviews say about themselves and about whoever wrote such reviews. Although, ironically, I don’t fulfil my usual practice in the book photographs at the head of this review, those of you who have followed my reviews over the years will have seen this sentence, or sentences like it, appearing now and again in them: “Hawling means, inter alios, stretching the book wide.” Even so, here alongside Jonas and Claus, especially Claus who answers a multiple choice questionnaire about it, I can now imagine not only terrorism with fine eccentric limited editions as lethal weapons, but also the surge of multiple orgasms involving such books, especially with the many Sex Occidente book treasures galore that have teemed hedonistically with over-lapping Venn Diagrams above or below my reviews since these books and my reviews started being produced in 2009. On the other hand, thinking about it, this floppy yellow thing I’m reading at the moment did not even tempt me to spread its legs for the photograph!

    My previous reviews of this author:


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