Athletes — basketball players, football players — talk about “getting into the zone”. Is there a writer’s zone you get into?
There’s a zone I aspire to. Finding it is another question. It’s a state of automatic writing, and it represents the paradox that’s at the center of a writer’s consciousness — this writer’s anyway. First you look for discipline and control. You want to exercise your will, bend the language your way, bend the world your way. You want to control the flow of impulses, images, words, faces, ideas. But there’s a higher place, a secret aspiration. You want to let go. You want to lose yourself in language, become a carrier or messenger. The best moments involve a loss of control. It’s a kind of rapture, and it can happen with words and phrases fairly often — completely surprising combinations that make a higher kind of sense, that come to you out of nowhere. But rarely for extended periods, for paragraphs and pages — I think poets must have more access to this state than novelists do. In End Zone, a number of characters play a game of touch football in a snowstorm. There’s nothing rapturous or magical about the writing. The writing is simple. But I wrote the passage, maybe five or six pages, in a state of pure momentum, without the slightest pause or deliberation.
It contains 35 short stories inspired by the late Pete Shelley and Buzzcocks courtesy of:
Emma Bolland, Victoria Briggs, Tobias Carroll, Shane Jesse Christmass, David Collard, Sarah-Clare Conlon, Lara Alonso Corona, Cathleen Davies, Jeremy Dixon, Sharron Duggal, Wendy Erskine, Gerard Evans, Javi Fedrick, Mark Fiddes, Andrew Gallix, Meave Haughey, Tomoé Hill, Richard V. Hirst, David Holzer, Andrew Hook, Tom Jenks, Jonathan Kemp, Luke Kennard, Mark Leahy, Neil Nixon, Russell Persson, Hette Phillips, Julie Reverb, C.D. Rose, Lee Rourke, Germán Sierra, Beach Sloth, NJ Stallard and Rob Walton.
Strong contender for one of my favourite anthologies … ever. Almost 600 pages containing some of the most enlightening, complex, and intriguing authors of the present day. Swap the Brexit blues for this red, white, and blue marvel. It is impossible for me to choose a particular highlight, albeit the introduction alone is worth the full price of the collection. A masterpiece.
A big thanks to Des Lewis for his very generous review of my short story (“Celesteville’s Burning: A Work in Regress”) that features in We’ll Never Have Paris:
And, if many of the previous stories in this not-Paris book had not been quite so inspiring as they have been, then I would have thought this excellent Gallix story was the sole reason why I was MEANT to read this massive book (a book that I picked up at a whim!) — from the “Zut, zut, zut” of Marcel Proust to the Putain! Putain! Putain! of Sostène Zanzibar, this work is an astonishing delight. Zanzibar is a writer with a chequered career, a sexual fling with a young lady journalist etc., a rivalry with another exponent of the writerly or filmic arts, car chases across Paris, and much more. Yet, the biggest delight was his John Cage connected search for a tune within silence, or vice versa. And his publication of blank literature. (…) I LOVED this story. And so much more to tell you about it.
You will find all of Des Lewis’s real-time reviews of We’ll Never Have Parishere and there.
On 15th August, I was interviewed about We’ll Never Have Paris (Repeater Books) for Fernando Augusto Pacheco’s programme, The Stack, on Monocle 24 Radio. The interview was broadcast two days later. You can listen to my segment here. Full programme below.
What Soho Wore. 15 July-25 September 2016, The Photographers’ Gallery London.
From July 2016, Nina Manandhar, photographer and founder of What We Wore archive project, will be in residence at The Photographers’ Gallery mapping the hidden cultural history of Soho through people’s photography and stories. As independent clubs and shops are increasingly lost from the centre of the city, What Soho Wore explores the area’s rich cultural history and the role that photography has had within the multiple scenes, movements and communities that have made Soho what it was and is today.
The images and stories will be presented on The Media Wall, online and during a final discussion event on 18 September.
[This picture of me (left) and my mate Yannick, taken in September 1981, was part of the exhibition and the book that had preceded it. It also appears in the video below.]
Pekka Hakala, “европейские страны видят в английском угрозу национальным языкам.” Helsingin Sanomat, 5 November 2018:
… Давний противник использования английского языка — Франция. Писатель и университетский преподаватель Эндрю Гэлликс (Andrew Gallix) связывает щепетильность французов с окончанием Семилетней войны и подписанием в 1763 году Парижского мирного договора, в соответствии с которым Франция уступала Великобритании колонии в Канаде и на Карибских островах. …