... is free. Enclosed here are some results of that: Emmy the Great’s musical guide to bluffing the book, plus the BBC’s Jeremy Mortimer on his upcoming radio dramatisation of the novel, Steven Cole on putting it out over Twitter, and some intriguing uses for intestines. We’ve also got an interview with the creator of a graphic novel based on this VERY graphic novel, some strange pictures, and perhaps most usefully, some reasons why you don’t even need to finish reading something (including Banner?) to enjoy it.
Ulysses, a novel by James Joyce, was first published in one volume in 1922. Since then it’s gained a reputation as: a) exceedingly hard b) exceedingly funny c) exceedingly boring d) exceedingly smutty
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e) very beautiful On 1 January 2012, that first edition of the novel also entered the public domain in the European Union - how could we resist but to throw this milestone a little celebration of our own? – so we asked contributors to Banner’s second issue if they’d think about that milestone, and approach it however they wanted. And they certainly did. Our proposed topic inspired a variety of reactions (many of which were of great fear!) but, love or hate aside, our contributors have brought new insights to a great book, and created great new things independently of it – just as many other brilliant artists are continuing to do this yearAs with issue one, we told everyone to ‘roam freely with the idea’. As a result, we got something far greater than we’d have got as two editors who could do more editing than we have to. Enjoy.
Banner Issue 2 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
FRONT COVER IMAGE BY ALEX DIMOPOULOS
CONTRIBUTORS Alex Dimopoulos is a lover of food and a photographer. He runs creativekite.com and my-lovestory.co.uk. Alex Jenkins is a writer and a student of American literature. Some of his work can be found here: thegreatconcavity.blogspot.com.
Chris Woolfrey is Banner’s Co-Editor. For his extracurricular work see chriswoolfrey.co.uk. Dino Dimopoulos makes short films and music videos and is one half of the directorial partnership The Unthank Alliance. He is currently engaged in a sexual relationship with one of the editors of this magazine (but which one...?). Dan Eltringham is Co-Editor of The Literateur. More of his writing can be found at maunderinghatlessdesconsolado. wordpress.com. Emma-Lee Moss (of Emmy the Great) is a musician and professional loiterer, who has never read Ulysses.
Jeremy Mortimer is currently an Executive Producer in BBC Radio Drama.
Robert Berry is a painter and cartoonist living in Philadelphia. A few years back, while thinking about how comics might work on the digital page, he stumbled on the idea of adapting James Joyce’s Ulysses into a graphic novel and thought, “Hey, I can do that!” He’s working hard at it still, and only time will tell if this was a good idea or a bad one.
Lawrence Homewood is a 26-year-old graphic designer, with a penchant for dogs and other tall people.
Sarah Carter is Banner’s designer. She lives and works in London, designing away all day long.
Philip Maltman is a painter and poet, born in Ayrshire in 1950. He studied at Hornsey College of Art in 1968 and Ravensbourne College of Art, 1969 – 1971. Philip was featured in the Cheltenham Open Drawing Competition for 1998, 1999 and 2000, the London Group competition in 1989 and 2009, the John Moores 21 in 1999, and the Hunting Group 2003. In 2009 he won the Major Prize in the London Group Open, at the Menier Gallery.
Sophie Bew is Co-Editor of Banner. In the real world she works as a fashion assistant and a stylist, and reads a lot of magazines.
M. J. Zacharewicz is 25 years old and lives in London. Matt Gammie helped proofread this issue of Banner. Molly Macapline is an artist who lives in Florida – though she intends to escape the U.S and become one of the many starving artists of London.
Stephen Cole is an English major from long, long ago. A life-long career in publishing has led him into Tweeting professionally on behalf of an enlightened (and enlightening) department of the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C. A dabbler in this ridiculous medium, Stephen wants to see what it can offer us humans in terms of personal expression. All in all, he’d much rather be letterpressing. Zak Klein is a writer and filmmaker based in London. He has three short films lined up for 2012 and is developing a feature screenplay. Say hi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Ben Paynter is of dubious origins and suspect destinations. He writes part of the week and spends the rest retailing books to the culturally paranormal and wealthy. He helped proofread this issue of Banner.
Hanna-Katrina Jedrosz is a photographer, writer and actress. She is interested in the uncanny and re-contextualisation as a way to find new narratives. See www.hannakatrina.co.uk.
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- P I C T U R E - M O L LY M AC A L P I N E -
THE CAT WALKED STIFFLY ROUND A LEG OF THE TABLE WITH TAIL ON HIGH.
—O, THERE YOU ARE, MR BLOOM SAID, TURNING FROM THE FIRE.
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H OW TO B L U F F U LY S S E S
HOW TO BLUFF
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E M M A - L E E M O S S talks you t hrough t he novel in a couple of pages
Haven’t read Ulysses? Understandable. An unabridged radio dramatisation of James Joyce’s modernist supermasterpiece once ran for 29 hours and 45 minutes, which is longer than the novel’s time span of a day, June 16th, 1904, in which Leonard Bloom potters about Dublin, buying pork and ejaculating at the beach. Reading the novel and following its plot, which loosely follows Homer’s Odyssey, is probably often closer in task to completing the actual journey of the Odyssey than reading a novel, which is why so many people who claim to have read Ulysses are actually saying that they own it in paperback. Should you be cribbing for a dinner party where you want to look smart, my suggestion is to outsource. As English students across the ages will tell you, there’s nothing like getting someone else to condense a book for you, but why go with York Notes (so GCSE) when we have prepared this list of literate pop tributes, tackling the novel’s themes from all angles.
My guess says Kate Bush is the only one who has read the entire book but, seriously, the other people at the party won’t know.
F L O W E R O F T H E M O U N TA I N K AT E B U S H
JUNE 16TH MINUTEMEN
Kapranos, you postmodern bugger, you’ve only gone and subverted Joyce’s original subversion of the Odyssey by taking its name to describe a NIGHT OUT. “Come on, let’s get high, high”, drawls a character in the song, which no doubt has literature professors around the country applauding its ability to get down to the absolute heart of what Joyce and Homer were trying to say.
Bush originally put this song out as the title track to her 1989 album The Sensual World, having failed to secure rights to use Molly Bloom’s soliloquy as the lyrics. The completist Bush then re-wrote and retitled the song, to feature the actual text, in her Director’s Cut version of the record in 2011. This is a woman of commitment. She has definitely read the book.
The story of Minutemen is a tragic one. Their third album Double Nickels on the Dime is considered their finest, but they would have recorded many more if not for the death of singer D. Boon in 1985. This song from the album, titled for what is known as ‘Bloomsday’, has no lyrics. IT HAS NO LYRICS. What is that supposed to mean? Who knows, but do bring up the phrase ‘It’s a riff on the question of meaning’ at your dinner party.
Literary rating: 5 Picked for the Richard and Judy book club
Literary rating: 10 Was favourite for Nobel prize; won Nobel prize
A I R WA R C R Y S TA L C A S T L E S
TA L E S O F B R A V E U LY S S E S CREAM
GOLDEN HAIR SYD BARRETT
‘Air War’ samples a reading of ‘Sirens’, Chapter 11 of the novel. If you listen pretty hard to the chopped up, vocoder’d woman’s voice, you can just about make out some of the words, which I’m going to assume is an allusion to Joyce’s famous, rambling, poetic style. Pretty fantastic song, this.
This groovy piece is actually based on the Odyssey, but it fits in perfectly with Ulysses. I guess that’s because of the parallels. Like, that’s literally what Joyce meant to do! Sadly, Cream features Eric Clapton, which makes me unable to refer to this song as anything other than “At least part dogshit”. If you like the music of Eric Clapton, I’m sorry. I really mean that: I’m sorry. For you.
Not based on Ulysses, but on the Joyce poem of the title. I can’t think of a better person to play musical tribute to Joyce than the esoteric dreamer that was Syd Barrett. Perfect.
Literary rating: 8 Nominated for Pulitzer; lost out to book about WWII
Literary rating: 1 Written by Steve Martini
Literary rating: 9 Featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show
Literary rating: 10 Literary classic; sold in airports, taught in schools
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U LY S S E S FRANZ FERDINAND
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An Open Brief - BY M. J. ZAC HAREWICZ -
M.J. ZAC HAREWICZ
Dowrick lay in bed, from where he could hear the shoes of a woman who was not his wife click against the floorboards of a flat that wasn’t his. He called her back to bed, breathed in her tobacco coloured hair, and watched her eyes dart above and behind him, around the room. She didn’t look at him once. Afterwards they listened to the patter of rain against the windows. Kitty was nearly fifteen years younger than him, still studying for her master’s, and at times like this, wrapped around his body, as if trying to absorb him into her, she seemed especially innocent.
“Hmmm.” She rolled over, twisting against his body like a corkscrew. “I imagine out there they just buy stuff from IKEA, and then put it together when they need it.”
He’d not visited a bookshop in several years, and found the rows of shelving difficult to navigate. Twice he was certain that he’d located the place where Ulysses ought to be (under ‘J’, in Fiction, and under ‘J’ in Modern Classics), and he couldn’t work out if it was missing or if he were simply looking in the wrong place. Despite the young, proficient workforce pottering about, most of the bookshelves looked like sets of punched-in teeth, with inexplicable gaps and titles that had clearly been discarded, out of sequence, by previous shoppers. He gave up and went over to the till, where a blonde woman, no older than Kitty, typed his request into a computer. “Was it HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean you’re looking for? We have that, in Thrillers, and in the audio book section too.” “No. It’s by James Joyce, the one I’m after.” She returned her attention to the computer, her hands moving slowly, as if plucking away at a knot. “Ah yes, here we go. We have several in store for you today; they are in our extensive two-for-one section, downstairs.”
“Exactly right.” “So, I suppose, ‘making the bed’ has a whole different meaning out there.” “That’s it, yes.” “Hmmm.” *
He paid for a copy and left the shop, heading toward the tube. Along the main road the gutters had flooded up over the curb in places, leaving the pavement with great bruise-shaped puddles. Dowrick worried again for the suede on his shoes - Kitty had laughed at him for choosing to wear them that morning, when the threat of rain was so obvious and thunder already prowling west to east over the city. She’d offered to run to the sports shop for him, to pick up some trainers for him to wear for the time being, but Dowrick suggested they stay in and find a way to outwait the shower, instead.
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“Do you know where Stockholm is?” Dowrick turned to look at her, and she nodded. “I used to work out there. Long time ago, now. Peculiar people, but I think you’d like them. There was one chap in particular - director of a telephone company, and very odd. He refused to let me stay in a hotel. So I travel out to his house with him, and this place was stunning. All glass and brightly coloured furniture. Filmed one of the Bonds inside of it, I believe. Anyway, he settles me into the living room and excuses himself. ‘Have a cup of coffee whilst I make the bed,’ he says, then disappears upstairs. So I sat chatting with his wife for a minute or two, until we’re interrupted by the sound of hammering, then a drill. He was literally constructing a bed, from scratch.”
Later, Dowrick walked down to the high street, towards Waterstones. The rain had stopped but droplets still fell from awnings and unfurled umbrellas nodded this way and that along the pavements. He waited at the lights, watching the distant faces of drivers as they steered behind pearled-up windshields, and then crossed, following the hill toward the shopping centre.
AN OPEN BRIEF
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Over the last weeks it had become increasingly obvious that Kitty was beginning to peg at least some of her happiness to Dowrick’s own. Her concern for his shoes was just the latest piece of evidence to confirm that fact. She was, Dowrick realised as he descended the escalators toward the tube, at risk of seeing herself as something more than a recurring fling. He’d need to watch that, he decided. The platform at Angel was dotted with people of indeterminate purpose, and Dowrick stood back, against the wall, carelessly watching them. Who were they all? It was too late for the commuter rush and the weather too calamitous for shoppers and the general idling class who filled the small coffee shops and pricey boutiques of the area on drier days. He looked over a knot of university-aged girls as they noiselessly waited for the train. When it came they filled in behind him, and then took seats further down the carriage. He opened up his book, but couldn’t concentrate on it. Instead, he read and reread the strip of three adverts, plastered onto the carriage’s curved wall, until their meaning shuffled loose and he was bored again. Dowrick disliked the tube, and had practically given up on taking it since leaving the routine of life in the advertising agency. He was a taxi man, and found the process of hailing them down strangely energising – it made him feel like the whole city was his restaurant, ever ready to take his order, or hand him his bill. From down the carriage Dowrick heard one of the university girls say to her friend “By rough, I mean it still has nice, wooden floors throughout, and a garden,” and her friend say back to her “There are some lovely houses in Clapham. You’re so lucky.” Dowrick caught the eye of one her companions, and self-consciously returned his gaze to the window opposite. He watched as the mask of his face merged with the thick cables and other alien deposits that ran along the tunnel’s wall. The curve of the glass distorted his appearance even further, and he found this imprecision interesting. He turned his head in profile, first to the left and then right, to examine his hairline. It was holding far better than that of many men his age.
When he got to Embankment he noted the general amphibious gloss to the ponchos and rainwear descending on the opposite escalator, and guessed that the rain had started up again. He lifted the heavy plastic shell of a suitcase down the steps for a Japanese lady, and then hailed a cab. It crept forward toward him, like a single, oversized vertebra slipping in the queue of traffic. The rain sounded like corn popping against its hard blank roof. * Mike Howells had once been one of Dowrick’s mid-level executives, back before Dowrick had become self-employed. Howells’s nickname throughout the agency was Chris Cringle on account of him never shaving and apparently only turning up for work once a year. Dowrick had disliked him back then, but couldn’t find any reason to fire the guy outright. Besides, getting rid of people wasn’t really the done thing; their shared world was far too small for something like that to evaporate into history without consequence. Indeed, Dowrick’s disapproval of Howells was more to do with the man’s appearance rather than any lack of success on his accounts. Howells produced rather good work, and his clients always spoke highly of him. The problem was that he did that work in trainers, whilst smoking roll-ups and casually flirting, and as a result Dowrick only ever took a minimal interest in his progress or opinion on things, and certainly never considered him for any of the more exciting briefs that came in. Eventually Howells got the message and handed in his notice. Dowrick assumed the two would continue to share professional friends and clients, but would be unlikely to actually meet again. He imagined that the boy would push on for another three or four years in a mid-senior position at some agency or other, and then drop out to either write a novel or join a cult. So it came as a surprise to hear, through a mutual friend, that he’d become a creative director at ForwardEdge and even more of a surprise when, two days later, Howells himself emailed, asking for Dowrick to come in and work on a “re-imagining of James Joyce’s Ulysses, for the Irish tourist board.”
M.J. ZAC HAREWICZ
Dowrick had read Ulysses whilst an undergraduate, or had purchased a copy at least, and he guessed that his general air of intellect had attracted Howells to him for the work. The email itself had fixed a fee of several hundred pounds more than the going day rate, and had said “Don’t think of the meeting as a pitch – just come in a kick some ideas around with us.” Dowrick reread the email and double-checked the fee whilst sat at his living room table, then prepared for the meeting by scanning through the Wikipedia entry for the book on his laptop. Soon bored of that, he loaded up ForwardEdge’s website. They had Disney and Nike as clients, he noted.
Dowrick pulled open his kitchen drawer and extracted a large, gleaming knife. The blade caught the light and winked as he held it up to the window. It was good and sharp. He took a few steps forward toward the fridge, and as he did so the sound grew louder. He thought of generators at fairgrounds and how they drone alongside the stalls, he thought of grotesque funhouse mirrors and the smell of hotdogs, burgers and popcorn that drew you in. There was definitely something there, just feet away, behind the fridge. He concentrated for a moment, then decided that, rather than try and get the thing out in the open and then stab it to death, it would be better to display ownership of the space, to show the animal that no harm need come to it if it should choose to leave the property at the soonest opportunity. That way, they could deal with it later. “Fuck off you fucking rat!” he screamed, as he lurched toward the Smeg. He grabbed it by its sides and shook its metal bulk with almost
The gnawing sound stopped. Dowrick’s pulse was up, and he rested for a moment against the wall, eying the tooth-like knife on the counter, just in case. After a couple of minutes of silence, he rallied, and even though he wasn’t entirely ready for lunch he made his way back over to the Smeg – never with such confidence has a fridge door been opened and a microwavable ready-meal lasagne extracted. As the food warmed itself Dowrick surveyed the worktops. He looked happily over the lank, metallic espresso machine which seemed to drink up from their polished surfaces. He lifted the lid on the empty, bulbous mass of a Le Creuset dish which sat expectantly beside the hob, then replaced it, satisfied in its simple workings. His wife was right; this was a stunning kitchen space. Now that he had let his dominion over it be known, the rat would surely be too afraid to encroach upon it again. Anyway, it was more likely to have been a large mouse, or a rattling pipe, Dowrick thought to himself as he peeled back the cellophane wrapper from his meal and inhaled its flavoursome vapours. New homes always take some time to settle into. That’s what people say. It made sense. Dowrick sniffed again at his food with a growing sense of pride, almost as if he himself had prepared the thing from scratch. It really was something to think how far prepared meals had come in the last couple of years - how expertly chefs had engineered out that cloying, prison sadness that you used to find in all microwavable food. That’s Waitrose for you, Dowrick supposed, as he ladled up a fork-load and shoved it into his mouth. After eating, he showered and shaved, then inspected his face. Without realising it, he pulled a slight pout as he leant into the mirror. He looked like a large, lean fish examining potential foodstuff. He was wholly confident - a good looking guy, older, perhaps, but still bloody sharp. Dowrick enjoyed reading, though he’d struggle to remember the last actual book he’d finished. He preferred magazines and, even more so, collections of quotes and aphorisms, and he’d scribble down
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As he finished a list of three bullet points (“vision, ROI, brand voice”) his attention was caught by an odd sound from the kitchen. It wasn’t much louder than a cigarette lighter being flicked and re-flicked, but it was too inconsistent, too organic, to be blamed on any of the electrical appliances. He made his way into the centre of the square room, stood perfectly still and listened out, carefully. A moment later he fixed the sound as coming from behind the gleaming pot-belly of the Smeg fridge – it was something scurrying back and forth, or gnawing away against wood.
enough force to bring it down on top of him.
AN OPEN BRIEF
the best into a notebook, which he viewed as a sort of bank. One of his favourites, which he thought of regularly, was from a scientist whose name he’d failed to take down. The man had said that his life’s ambition was to “mate with my wife, beget children, write books, die”.
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The notebook’s other pages were filled up with motivational sound bites for use in management meetings and PowerPoint presentations (“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of fight in the dog”, and “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take” were two of his standards). He had yet to find a suitable presentation slide to place the scientist’s words onto – reminders of death are seldom appropriate for motivating a workforce – though they certainly aligned with Dowrick’s own outlook on how an account manager or executive should approach their work. He’d get them into his next presentation, Dowrick promised himself that. They were so inspirational. After all, if it really were possible to condense an entire life down into nine words, what difficulty could there be in planning out a campaign in twice, or even three times, as many? The trick was to be succinct, to create a strategy, and then to stick to it. It was a classic three-step process. Dowrick took that morning’s taxi receipt from his coat pocket and placed it, logo side up, on the table by the front door. He knew his wife would find it there, and that she wouldn’t be able to resist scrutinising it. She wasn’t going to catch him out easily - it was from a central London firm, for the same amount that he normally paid to get back from the office she thought he was at that day. He double checked that it was dated correctly, then slipped out of the house and toward the row of taxis which sat at the end of the road. He vowed to spend the entire journey considering what he’d read on Ulysses, but when he settled into his seat he realised that he’d forgotten to pack the book into his work bag. No matter, he thought to himself, the trick was to have a plan and stick to it – having actually read the novel seemed unlikely to be important, somehow. * Dowrick got dropped off at Monument; it was quicker than navigating the one-way system, according to the cabbie. The streets were still
drenched and the pavements wore dark, greasy patches where the water stood in puddles. The city looked as if the dark greys from the sky above had begun to leak down into the concrete. No doubt the bank of cloud, its underside already so low and bulbous with rain, would break again soon. The hoardings above the coffee and sandwich shops seemed brighter than normal, their insides warmer and more snug. Dowrick wondered whether they did more trade on rainy days, or whether anyone was looking at ways to tailor their marketing materials depending on the weather - a ten percent discount on soup when it’s chilly, or a special on fish pie during thundery days (thunder always made Dowrick crave fish pie). Perhaps he would raise the idea with Howells later – it at least deserved jotting down into the smaller of Dowrick’s two notebooks. (He’d confidently written the words ‘The Knowledge Bank’ on its inside cover, to distinguish it as more important than the larger book, which was simply titled ‘Quotes etc.’) It was certainly doable; no doubt the big agencies were missing a trick – how blinkered they are, he thought to himself. He smiled, then considered the rich architecture of choice which stretched before him – he could see an Eat, a Pret a Manger, two Starbucks stores and a Subway – and felt, for the first time, a desire to return to the routine of office life in the City. Dowrick reached 80 Gunner Street, an indistinctive block whose dull facade and cold, undecorated interior seemed specially designed to pass no comment on the work being done by the companies in the offices within. The place could have housed just about any desk-based industry at any point over the last fifty years. Dowrick signed his name in the guest book and was then flagged through to a fluorescently-lit, hospital-like foyer where he called for the lift up to the third floor. The guard at the main reception didn’t wait for it to arrive before turning the sound back up on the laptop he had on his desk, which was playing a French soap opera. ForwardEdge had the whole of floors three, four and five – more desk space than the bank above it. Dowrick buzzed through to their waiting area, where a girl of about twenty took his name and then
M.J. ZAC HAREWICZ
ushered him onto a brightly coloured yellow sofa, which looked and felt like it could have been the skinned and stuffed belly of some adorable Japanese cartoon character. The low coffee table in front of him turned out to be a large touch screen computer, and it responded to his glance by running through a selection of the agency’s recent work like some demented, dreaming eye. Dowrick followed it for a moment, then decided to watch the girl; she had large, plastic anchor-shaped earrings that bobbed with the movement of her head.
There was a knock on the door, and then Howells crept into the room. It seemed odd for him to knock, but Dowrick had no time to consider exactly why. He stood up to shake the younger man’s hand and kept keen eye contact with him as they shuffled into opposite chairs. “You’ve shaved, Mike, barely recognised you without the old muffler.” Dowrick flicked his notebook open to an arbitrary page. “Looks good.” “Cheers. The beard was something of an insurance policy to be honest.” Howells ran his hand along his chin. “My father and both grandfathers were each, shall we say, a little light on top by their latetwenties, so I grew up expecting to need a bit of beard to keep things balanced out.” Howells noticed how much hair his old boss had lost
The two men chatted through the time, eating it up with buzzwords (ForwardEdge was a “full service agency” Howells said repeatedly, proudly) and the cross referencing of shared contacts, many of whom Dowrick had lined up as potential customers. (“The great thing about consultants is that there’s not a company out there that doesn’t need one” – Dowrick used those exact words more than once). Their conversation lulled, and Dowrick picked up his pen, almost as if he were about to draw a line beneath the small talk to indicate that the real work was now to begin. He wrote the word ‘Culture’ atop his blank page, and asked, “So, before we get stuck into the macro details around your little Ulysses project, let me just ask – what’s the general ethos behind this little place?” “Great question.” Howells rocked back in his seat, and considered for a moment. “Let me put it like this; you’ve been into a Starbucks right? Course you have.” Dowrick smiled at him. “Well, have you ever read the little sign they put up to keep people from sparking up in their stores?” Dowrick shook his head. “No. They’re easy to miss, but they say something like ‘To preserve the quality of our coffee, we ask you not to smoke’. Isn’t that great? It’s not the health of their staff that matter. And fuck the lungs of the asthmatic fatties who pop in for their toffee lattes and custard pastries. Who cares about them? You see, what they’re telling us is that the only important thing is the quality and value of their coffee.” Howells took a swig from his mineral water. “And that’s what I plan the creative function of ForwardEdge to be; the Starbucks of digital marketing. That’s our ethos, essentially; we want to produce the best quality creative and the best ideas at a realistic price. And to do that, who cares if some of the brand manager fatties we have to call our clients
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After a couple of minutes Dowrick was lead through the main office area, toward a meeting room. The girl behind reception was taller than she looked likely to be when she was sat down, and Dowrick happily followed her through the neat chains of desks and computers. A fridge, fully stocked with bottled beer and cider, squatted in the corner of the room, next to a screen which outstretched in size and glossy selfconfidence what you’d find in most provincial cinemas. Along the walls where framed stills from the agency’s recent campaigns, many of which featured artistic versions of animals that in real life swarm and sting – smiling bees advertised a mobile telephone company, whilst an ant in a convertible did his part for a website specialising in car deals. There was real prestige here, in this company, Dowrick thought to himself as he waited for Howells; the man whose talents he’d fostered all those years ago.
since they’d last met, and smiled knowingly to himself. “Anyway, I got to thirty-five without noticing any fallout from on top, so I thought; well, why not? Time for a change, as it were.”
AN OPEN BRIEF
start gagging or a couple of members of staff drop dead. Not literally, of course. But you see my point: ForwardEdge is quality work above everything else.”
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Here was a man who’d changed, a man who’d grown to be more like himself than Dowrick could have imagined possible. They were partly the same now; they appeared to the world as two men who’d been born with the energy and opportunity to do significant things. It made total sense for them to become partners, and Dowrick admired Howells for being pragmatic enough to reach out toward him, an old boss, after so many years. He nodded slowly as he wrote the words “How to solidify market position?” in his notebook. He looked up and said “Sounds very sensible. It’s amazing how some of the bigger agencies are really missing out on this. Even simple things like tailoring creative to weather patterns – you mention these ideas, and they’ve no clue, no strategy in place. And I should know; I’ve worked with most of them.” “Yes, and that’s, shall we say, the raison d’être for me calling you in today.” Howells took off his glasses, placed them on the table in front of him. “I heard, on the grapevine, as it were, that you were doing some consulting with Unwind Media. I know the MD and a couple of the board there, of course – very, very smart guys, aren’t they?” “Yes, absolutely.” “And we have some insight into their proposition here – remarkably easy for a big wolf like ForwardEdge to peer into the little piggy’s house, as you can imagine. I was just wondering what your take would be.” “Well, they are small, but they’ve got some hustle. Really know what they’re doing in their space. I’ve been working with them on their database of branded videos, which they produce and then syndicate out to editors, journalists, bloggers and all the other great unwashed. I’ve also had a steer on the roll out of new processes; looking to leverage existing value…” “So consultancy, phase-out, retention, so on and so forth – I see that,” Howells interrupted. “I suppose what’s most interesting for me
today, is exploring, as it were, ways that you might be able to apply learning from Unwind into this business, specifically – and how do I put this – well, specifically, I suppose, ways which you, Monsieur Dowrick, might be able to steer and finesse this bloody Ulysses account. The Irish tourist board are a rather important client for us, but it’s all looking a little unstructured at the moment.” “Well.” A thin smile drew itself between the dimples in Dowrick’s cheeks. He let the silence pulse there, between the two men, before saying “That’s a role I can certainly see myself in.” “Excellent. I had the book-keepers knock together this.” Howells pushed a couple of stapled sheets across the table. “It’s just a standard SLA, with the day rate we agreed in the email, naturellement.” “Great.” Dowrick pretended to read the contract, but in reality focused only on the amount he’d earn each day. Could end up being quite a profitable, quite easy bit of work, he thought to himself as he signed the thing off. “There we go. Crossed all the Is and dotted all the Ts for you – she’s fully buttoned up.” Outside, the sky split with lightening and rain began falling again. Soon the office block’s windows were wrapped up in a gauze of droplets. “Thanks.” Howells filed the paperwork into an officious-looking manila folder. “Let me put you, as it were, into the picture with where we are in our thinking behind the Ulysses brief.” “Fantastic.” Dowrick turned to a fresh page in his notebook, and in the cold office light the paper looked sad and jaundiced. “So far, we have pretty much nothing. It’s an open brief, in that respect. There are, shall we say, mixed feelings about the potential for success on this one. Some of our senior people are not being terribly optimistic, their outlook on it is all wrong. Specifically, they don’t think we should have taken the work in.” Howells stood up, and turned to look out the window, his hands on
M.J. ZAC HAREWICZ
his hips. He was fatter than Dowrick remembered, but carried himself with the confidence that rich, young men earn. They know they can let themselves go a little without being any less attractive to the women in their life, so long as the work stays steady. Dowrick was almost proud to see Howell’s arse so roundly fill his jeans, his stomach fat flank his sides like two small, unused wings. “Fostering a positive attitude is crucial isn’t it, as we found out when we worked together.” Dowrick paused to give the two men time to remember the fact that they had, years ago, been colleagues. “What, specifically, are the objections around the Ulysses brief?”
“I see. Well that’s just a question of re-motivation, internally, isn’t it?” “Quite. The other objection I’ve come across is that all three seem to think that some of the creative concepts which I’ve sold into the guys at the Irish tourist board – who are, for the record, some of the brightest guys I’ve ever worked with – don’t have teeth.” “And what are they?” “Well, you saw the Old Spice guy, right? The dusky-hued chap on his horse?”
“Absolutely.” “Well good, thanks for the sanity check. I suppose I’ve let the bloody minded, downright damaging, attitude of some of my people effect and cloud my judgement. Anyway, the chaps at the board were very excited to hear that you were personally taking the reins on this one. You’ll be reporting directly into them, rather than me – saves us constructing a daisy chain of Chinese whispers, and let’s everyone know where they stand should the shit hit the fan. Anyway, I’ll go and see where the crew are, and leave you lot to it. Need to jump in a taxi across town, otherwise I’d stay. Luckily round here you’re never more than five feet from a black cab or black rat…”. Howells checked his watch, meaningfully. “Sure.” Dowrick’s face had sucked colour up from beneath his clothing and broken, ochre veins, showed across his nose. He looked over to the loaded fridge, suddenly feeling dry for booze. This work was going to be more responsibility than he’d envisaged. Howells got up and opened the door, letting the vague, adenoidal sounds of telephone calls and keyboards tapping carry from the main office and into the small room. He took a step and then turned back in on himself and said “Oh, forgot to say, the deadline for delivery on the first video is six days’ time, so not too much room for slack.” He pulled a smile, which was almost a smirk, and added, “Anyway, good to see you again, mate.”
“Of course – a real game changer.” “Well,” Howells sat back down again, “the guys over in Ireland are expecting something like that, but which tells the story of Joyce’s Ulysses in a way which motivates Johnny and Julie Volvo to shun the
He tapped the manila envelope, which was now rested beneath his left arm, and then disappeared from sight.
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“Well, in my mind it’s more an issue of culture and ethos, rather than any aspect of what I’ve promised the guys at the Irish tourist board. My three account directors here – all very, very smart guys – are coming in to flesh out the background with you in a moment, but the crux of the issue, I suppose, is the shared feeling – and I don’t know where this has come from – that the format doesn’t fit the material. Specifically, that by promising to distil the novel down into eight twominute YouTube videos we may have somehow hindered ourselves.”
yearly trip to the Algarve in favour of a couple of days on their fine island instead. It needs to be à la mode and it needs to be viral; of course. The only other aspect of the work which is set in stone is the tag line, which will unite each of the eight different YouTube videos – ‘Ireland: You’ll See’. We’ll get the typeface up in faux-ink, and sit it over a montage of various versions of the book’s front cover. Pretty tight, don’t you think?”
U LY S S E S ‘ ‘ S E E N ’
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U L Y S S E S
“S E E N” U N D R E S S I N G T H E I N FA M O U S – I N B I T E - S I Z E D C H U N K S
A L L I M AG E S C O U R T E S Y O F R O B E R T B E R RY A N D U LY S S E S “ S E E N ”
INTERVIEW BY SOPHIE BEW
Resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; comic book artist; visual interpreter of James Joyce’s beautiful and sometimes mad prose. Banner’s Sophie Bew brings you Robert Berry, and ‘Ulysses “Seen” ’, an annotated graphic novel for the iPad that shows what you can do when you inject new life into an old tome...
Robert Berry: The question I always ask before an interview like this is: “Have you made it through James Joyce’s Ulysses yet?” Banner: I haven’t finished it yet…
B: That’s what I keep telling myself ! R: It’s really OK, there’s a lot of people that haven’t, it’s a lot of work. I tried to read it five times myself before I made it through the first time. That’s part of the reason we’re doing this. But it changes how I talk about the stuff we’re doing because people who’ve read it a couple of times have it all coded in their head. B: No I definitely don’t yet... R: One thing we’re doing is, instead of using the regular order of the chapters of the novel, we’re going chronologically. So, the first chapter is still the first chapter but our next instalment was the fourth chapter of the novel. So now it’s chapter two and five and they’re jump-cut so you can see how the two character’s days, that is Stephen and Mr. Bloom’s, are intersecting. After that we’ll be back in the regular groove of the novel. B: What made you do it this way? R: Clarity, largely, is a big issue… OK, so there’s this chapter called ‘Proteus’, which begins with the line “Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes.” It’s usually the part of the book where everybody throws it against the wall and says
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R: It’s OK!
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“I can’t deal with this any more!” And it’s basically this chapter where Stephen is just walking down the beach and he’s creating poetry in his head about what he’s seeing. It’s a great chapter – it’s got a lot of allusions to it – but it’s the one where everyone stops. The chapter that really introduces the more comedic central character, Leopold Bloom, is right after that, and is quite a breath of fresh air. And we knew that it would take us a long time to draw all this and it was going to be serialised so we wanted to get to Mr. Bloom and his wife first, so we decided to go chronologically and we thought it gave a lot of clarity to people reading it in this serialised method. But we still number the chapters the same way as they are in the original novel. When it’s all finished and online, you’ll be able to read it in whatever order you want. When our next two chapters, ‘Nestor’ and ‘Lotus Eaters’, are jump-cut and interspersed for presentation on the iPad…I don’t do jump cuts on the actual page, so it’ll separate out so you’ll be able to read it on the website in one of two manners.
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Now you’ve never seen it on the iPad have you? B: No – we can’t get it to work yet. R: That’s because of copyright. So the deal with the Ulysses copyright in the United States is that when it was published in 1922 in France there were certain formalities that had to be followed to perfect copyright protection in the United States. A book published outside of the United States in the English language had to be physically printed in the United States no later than six months after it was first published abroad or else it would lose U.S. copyright protection. This provision is known as the “manufacturing clause.” Ulysses was not physically printed in the U.S. until 1934, after it was famously determined to not be “obscene” under U.S. obscenity laws. We really don’t know why Joyce never tried to have the book published in the U.S. in ‘22 – all we know for sure is that he didn’t. So, although the ‘34 and subsequent editions were protected by copyright, the ‘22 edition had become public domain in the U.S. The ‘22 edition of Ulysses was protected for a brief period of time after January 1, 1996, under a temporary clause, ‘The Uruguay Rounds’, but went back into the public domain in the United States on January 1, 1998. It’s the only version the Joyce Estate has pulled back from and said “we can’t deal with that in the U.S.”. So we only made it available in the U.S. app store. Until January 2012 , that is! B: Have you ever been contacted by the Joyce Estate? R: No. We can only speculate as to why, but we hope that first, the Estate realises that what
INTERVIEW BY SOPHIE BEW
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we’ve done is completely legal, and that second, although this is admittedly idealistic, we hope the Estate appreciates that all we’ve ever tried to do is expand appreciation and readership of Ulysses to a new generation of readers. Our work is meant to be a supplement and learning tool for reading the book itself, and we encourage our readers to buy and read the versions still owned by the Estate, as these are considered more authoritative. Regardless, now that the ‘22 edition is public domain nearly world-wide, we hope that additional adaptations from other artists will increase interest and love of the work.
all the misspellings in our edition. But it’s got a full readers’ guide so it gives people a talking point to grow into.
B: So what is the major difference in the ‘22 edition?
We’ve got so many people behind the website and people really helped us out when we had a Kickstarter drive last year – that drew a lot of international attention. So it’ll be interesting to see how many downloads there’ll be in the New Year.
R: It’s a little harder to read – there’s a funny story about it. It was printed outside of Paris and published in Paris. They couldn’t find English printers to do it because it was blasphemous or obscene so they had to take it to French printers that didn’t speak any English and there’s a tremendous amount of typographical errors and crap in there that any good printer would have caught. But they were getting so backed up that they would bring the galley sheets back to Joyce for approval and he’d rewrite the parts. This is at the time when it’s hand typeset – so when he would send the galley sheet back it was already set up to type and they were running out of letters to put in when he changed it all the time. It was loads of misspellings of the word ‘the’ – nothing really complex. So we keep
B: What is your readership, online and via app downloads? R: As of now [this conversation was held in October] we’ve had about 7,000 downloads of the iPad app through the US iTunes store. The January change in the novel’s status will make the app more internationally available. We’ll keep the iPad app free for a while as we build up new content for our next edition.
You have to remember the app was all made before the iPad was released so it was all designed in anticipation of the iPad. We had to figure out what the font size was gonna be and no-one would tell us what the screen size was gonna be. It was tricky. It has all these features, some of which you can see on the website, but it was all tailored to what immersive, annotated reading could be on this device. So you can tap on the page, when he speaks in Latin you can pull up the translation and get right into the body of
INTERVIEW BY SOPHIE BEW
B: It will be really interesting to see how Ulysses appears in this way, especially to someone who hasn’t read it. R: After the book came out Joyce came up with what’s now called the Linati Schema, which was supposed to help his friend Carlo Linati better understand the book’s structures. He basically takes each chapter and says what colour it is about, what organ of the body it is about, what it represents from Greek poetry...and really, it’s a goofy idea of getting them to understand and connect the threads of the novel.
Finnegans Wake, when his eyes were so bad that he was dictating portions of it to Beckett. A woman came from the publisher and brought bread and wine for them to have, there was a knock at the door, and everything he said with this woman, Beckett kept writing it all down, and when he read it back to Joyce, Joyce said “That’s perfect, let’s leave that in there.” So there’s stuff like that right through the thread of it. B: No wonder these things are hard to read. R: It’s very hard to read. It’s kind of like one really, really wellwritten, deeply educated, prolonged fart joke. He deals with every bodily fluid possible. But it’s also a really wonderful poem of love. And there’s no better thing for it than comics. B: Why do you think that is?
It’s good, it’s a really useful tool. In January, we were thinking of doing a Modern Schema – what TV show goes with this? Who would you cast as that actor? What music do you think of when you read this chapter? It’s a really helpful thing – it’s goofy… one of those old modernist notions that says “Hey! This’ll make you able to read this really dense, difficult piece of work.” Joyce was famous for taking the piss with this kind of thing too… there’s this famously apocryphal story from when he was writing
R: Comic books is really the only thing you can adapt this thing into. You can’t adapt it into film because it plays with time too much but comics have that plasticity of time, where you can spend twenty pages of a comic to tell something that happens in a split second. And that’s the way Joyce plays with time. And comics have a weight of visual symbol – you can put referential symbols in there, that you’ll remember later, and therefore it helps connect the dots of all the abstract things that Joyce is bouncing around
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the text. You can pull up a Dramatis Personae which will give you all the characters of that chapter, you can go to The Reader’s Guide; and all these have hyperlinks, to explain what’s going on in the novel. The links go all over the place but they open within the app.
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with. Even in the first chapter we’re seeding it with little images of Stephen and his Mother in the Catholic church that will come back in all his later visions. It’s kind of like a game of Husker Du: turn the tiles over and remember where they are, they’re visual clues. I’m dating myself – that’s a really old game.
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B: You can isolate the images in ‘Telemachus’. An image of a bowl… it almost creates a montage. R: I think people today, certainly more than in Joyce’s time, have more visual memory. We decode stuff visually. When you’re reading a comic you’re reading whilst looking – they’re really very different sorts of things happening in your brain. So, I think that comics are a good way in but I was also really excited about what can happen with the iPad – you can move through a window to all this deeper discussion about the book. People get on the site and argue about the black panther in Haines’ dream. It’s never gonna work out, no-one knows what it means. I mean the big Joycean’s think they know what it means. But that’s kind of fun too. B: So, why Ulysses?
INTERVIEW BY SOPHIE BEW
B: Do you think that people are less likely to pick it up now? Do you think it’s more daunting now than when it came out? R: It’s scary. Very, very scary, and maybe more so now because it’s had such a long reputation of being a difficult book. When you meet people who read it, they do feel like it’s a hurdle that they’re supposed to pass and if they want to feel any intellectual arrogance they need to have read it. But when it came out, it was smutty and people were reading it for that reason and they were surprised to see what it was about besides the smutty bits.
There’s famous stuff in the Molly speech at the end, with all its sexual utterances – there are copies that have been only opened on those pages. There’s another scene when Mr Bloom is on the beach, masturbating, and he’s looking at a girl who’s also sitting on the beach, fantasising, looking at him, and there’s fireworks going off. It’s written in the style of really, really bad girly romance novels, from the early 1900s, and it’s written from her perspective. And it’s beautiful but also really campy and sometimes people only hear about that too. It’s really a great chapter to see performed. B: Do you think there’s any truth that we’re reading less in the wake of tablet computers and now that everyone’s always online? Is it almost surprising that you’re bringing it to that platform? R: I hear that a lot and I think it’s a completely erroneous notion, I think the more that people are texting, the more we’re moving towards an epistolary society. They’re writing more, as opposed to picking up the phone which is what my generation did. We would see things on TV, talk on the phone… Email brings back that ability and desire to write and that language is an expression that’s written as well as just spoken. I think
that kids that are more comfortable with email now are going to grow up to be really smart writers. They may come up with their own text driven version of the language with ‘OMFG’ and ‘LOL’ but so did Joyce! I think we’re becoming more literate. Don’t you think so? B: I notice a deterioration in the emails that I send – they make no sense and are full of typos. R: But if you did that job twenty years ago you’d be talking on the phone or dictating your messages for someone else to type. B: Perhaps we’re writing more but I do think there’s an attention span problem, or at least we multitask a lot better than we once did. R: Oh, all the time. Let’s face facts – we all go to the bathroom and check our emails. We’re definitely more multitask driven. B: I have less focus, in bed my iPad has replaced my book… R: I think it is making it more difficult to enjoy a novel, yeah.
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R: I wanted to do something in comics that was like a Mount Everest for comics but I was also thinking I wanted to make something more than a graphic novel, something that wasn’t static and paperbound. Working with a digital page on the iPad, I can quote the Italian opera that Bloom’s listening to in the background, in Italian, and know that people will go into the Reader’s Guide to find out what that is. But if it were a graphic novel, I’d be more inclined to leave that out because it would prove confusing. So the density that Joyce has lends itself to hypertext in that way – sort of this new packaging. But it was a tough choice as it’s ten years of my life, easily!
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INTERVIEW BY SOPHIE BEW
B: Do you think that’s contributed at all to you presenting Ulysses in this way?
The trick is to give them five or ten pages a week. So you have to deliver it in a system people are used to. I think novels are getting harder to read – it’s a focus issue. We’re reading more, but our attention span is spreading, which is problematic. We really tightly consider what we do with wasting two hours of our time on a movie, while we might wait ‘til there’s four seasons of a good TV show and watch them all on Netflix for the next month. And that’s fine for us right? Because that’s our own pace! We’ll watch it for halfhour, go and make some dinner, watch another half-hour and then go and do something else. I don’t think it’s broadly true that we’re less literate but I think people will read and absorb history less, which is a real shame. I think people do need information in bite-sized pieces now.
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R: Well that is what I like about the comic. You get little bits of them – the tradition is that they’re serialised – and that seems to me to be more suited to where we’re going as a society. The apps will always come out as we finish a chapter but even then I think people really don’t read when they go online, not more than five or ten pages of a comic at a time.
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Whose story is it? LEARNING FROM THE PA S T, TA L K I N G TO T H E D E A D, AND THE CURIOU S C A S E O F C O P Y R I G H T, AS TOLD BY C H R I S WO O L F R E Y.
C HRIS WOOLFREY
There’s a Russian underground film made by the collective Polnyi P called Vlastelin Kolets: Bravta I kol’tso. Released in 2003, it solely uses cuts from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and crafts from them, in the words of Natalia Rulyova, a story in which “A Russian young man, Fedor Sumkin (Frodo Baggins), an old magician, Pendolf (Gandalf) and their friends must save the Ring from the wicked sorcerer Sarumian (Saruman), who wants to start a world war with the help of an army of pedophiles, ex-convicts and SS soldiers.” The film, which is a Lord of the Rings-lite in terms of its narrative arc and which drastically alters the meaning (mostly for the purposes of irony and sarcasm), takes some of the most familiar filmic images of this century so far and uses them to comment on the shared cultural history of the former USSR, on the emergence of Russia as a post-communist country and its own relationship with (what might be called) postmodernism. In Rulyova’s words:
The ironic tones are obvious but so is director Dmitry Puchkov’s slight on ownership. By taking these images, legally owned by New Line Cinema and attributable to Peter Jackson via J.R.R. Tolkien, and by using at will the names of Marx, Stalin, Engels and Beria for a kind of college humour, Bravta is as much about who (if anybody) owns the right to make claims on ideas. And such a direct effacement can only say it, even if it doesn’t mean to say it: they belong to the people, uttered by the community. It’s art of collective consciousness. And yet it’s piracy, and illegal, and part of “the problem”.
Not always. It might not happen now but in Dante’s Commedia the poet, charged with travelling the circles of Hell so that he can climb the mountain of Purgatory and eventually ascend to Heaven, finds as his guide the famous and influential writer of the Aeneid, the poet Virgil. For two-thirds of one of the most acclaimed works of writing ever produced, one of the main characters is also one of the most famous authors of all time, a master of antiquity. It’d be like One Day charting the love affair of Jane Eyre and Hamlet. Sort of. And it used to happen fairly often. Shakespeare regularly adapted existing stories (history plays aside, there’s the aforementioned Hamlet, and King Lear, to name two) and was even, according to the dramatist Robert Greene (among others – it’s quite likely that Shakespeare had some scenes written by others in the heat of the moment; rehearsal or whatever), taken to having others write for him without credit. The thing is, that when Greene accused him of plagiarism – “there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you” – he did it by quoting (unattributed) a line from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3.
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Predictably, the totalitarian power of the Ring is compared with Stalin. Reaching for the ring, Galadriel says: “I would have used its power! I would have given factories to workers and land to peasants! I would have been strict but fair like Beria, or even Stalin!”[…] When she comes to her senses she says in slang, “Oh, the ring got me stoned.” […] In a similar way Communist leaders are ridiculed by comparison with religious figures.When the travellers approach the enormous stone figures in Bravta, someone explains: “These are our ancient kings Marx and Engels.” […] And at the beginning of the film, while searching for the Ring’s origin, Gendel turns to Marx’s writings for wisdom, as if they were the Bible.
WHOSE STORY IS IT?
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Why? Is that gross hypocrisy? Is it a way of getting back at Shakespeare, the plagiarist, by plagiarising him, just as Shakespeare later got back at Greene by basing The Winter’s Tale on Greene’s own play, Pandosto, without acknowledgement? Or is it something else; something more important? Jonathan Lethem, talking about the music of Bob Dylan, suggests that “originality and his appropriations are as one.” Further, he argues, “The same might be said of all art...consider the remarkable series of ‘plagiarisms’ that links Ovid’s ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, or Shakespeare’s description of Cleopatra, copied nearly verbatim from Plutarch’s life of Mark Antony and also later nicked by T. S. Eliot for The Waste Land. If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.” More, indeed. Appropriation and ‘plagiarism’ are key parts of the process of artistic production, in fact of creation itself, which is always combining the seemingly new with the supposedly established facts about…well, everything. Says Roland Barthes: “In the multiplicity of writing, everything is to be disentangled, nothing deciphered...a text is made of multiple writings, drawn from many cultures and entering into mutual relations of dialogue, parody, contestation.” That Robert Greene committed on Shakespeare what it was Green accused Shakespeare of committing was only natural: the
most natural way to draw connections between things, to elaborate and explore, was to use Shakespeare. Why? Probably it is that language (alphabetic or otherwise) is reflexive; discourse is reflexive. It is, after all – and this is partly Barthes’s point – a thing in the world, which is changed by the world and changes it, because it is it, like concrete is. It’s natural that writers appropriate other writers, that filmmakers use others’ shots, and that musicians copy phrases from others or sample other’s works. Just as one building will be made from a similar blend of cement to another building, and an oak tree will have a similar genetic makeup to another oak tree; it is impossible for the thing to come from absolutely nowhere. Even when people seem to make things up (give a new name to a seemingly new thing) it has to be in dialogue with something else. Take the telephone. Ordinary word and completely its own thing, as well as being taken from French, where it was itself a conflation of two ancient Greek words meaning ‘far away’ (‘tele’) and ‘sound’ (‘phone’). Look at Joyce, and Ulysses. The novel is riddled with the names of real Dublin people and places. The material for the book belonged to ‘culture’ as well as Joyce’s imagination. He couldn’t have done it without Dublin. Medh Ruane said “James Joyce used the city of Dublin and Dublin people in his books, so the argument goes that the people should have a moral and cultural right to use James Joyce’s material in different ways”, because the story is ours. Or at the very least, the people of Dublin’s.
C HRIS WOOLFREY
it belongs to business
The James Joyce Estate has also been notoriously harsh with those who would use James Joyce’s work, whether that’s Irish literature anthologies having to exclude him because of copyright denials, to film-makers having projects canned and even Michael Groden (who supported the Gabler edition’s creation) being denied copyright for producing an online, hypermedia version of
the text that could contain useful notes, audio clips, photographs, and more. If Ulysses belongs to anybody other than James Joyce, the Joyce estate doesn’t know it. Gabler’s edition has had its critics and even controversy, although (one particular addition aside) the changes made were largely academic: most readers wouldn’t notice the differences without putting two separate editions side by side and reading them in tandem, and even on noticing them, plenty wouldn’t care. Nonetheless it represented an improvement on the strange errors of the 1922 edition, adding sections based on manuscripts that were, according to Gabler and his editing team, mistakenly taken out by the time the book went to print for its first run. For that it deserves credit. But the Gabler edition of Ulysses did two things, and the second is more profound. It made this new edit of Ulysses perhaps more like the one Joyce wanted, and granted a further control of what Joyce might have wanted to his Estate through the renewal of its copyright.
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Of course the Estate of James Joyce has seen it differently. Stephen Joyce, James Joyce’s grandson, has remained intent on protecting what he sees as the sanctity of his grandfather’s work, blocking use of Ulysses when he can and, as people like Charles Rossman have argued, contriving to gain extensions on copyright by granting permission to let Hans Walter Gabler edit a new version of the novel in the 1980s. In succeeding, and with Gabler’s edition now the industry standard (Ulysses: The Corrected Text and Gabler’s further corrections of it being the trade edition that a lot of publishers use as their copy text), the copyright is set to last for close to another one hundred years.
WHOSE STORY IS IT?
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it belongs to In the words of Massimo Babieri, frontman of the Italian rock band The Radiostars, “Music is as old as man, but copyright is very, very new.” Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig has noted that, until relatively recently, “The average term of copyright was just around thirty years […] For most of our history, the public domain was just over the horizon. From 1790 until 1978, the average copyright term was never more than thirty-two years, meaning that most culture just a generation and a half old was free for anyone to build upon without the permission of anyone else.” Now we have excessively long copyright extensions granted to early 20th century works: in the E.U., 70 years after the calendar year of the author’s death; in the U.S., 95 years after the year the work was first published, for any book published between 1923 and 1977. Perhaps that long period of seeming ownership has, or will, change the way people approach writing. There are the obvious legal implications – don’t copy or the law will get you – but there’s the deeper implication that something now so enshrined in law is an accepted wisdom: that, perhaps, writing is now generally written with that idea of ownership in mind. Certainly almost every author subscribes to that accepted wisdom that authors exercise the moral right “to claim authorship; to object to certain modifications and other derogatory actions”, as set out in the Berne Convention – it’s reflected in the bibliographical blurb at the start of almost every written work. While that doesn’t mean that every author supports the idea (of course they don’t), what it does mean is that the power of that
moral right to limit modification of the work is recognised. Put in simpler terms: most writers (including me) would be lying if they said that, on principle, they would flat out refuse a book deal with a publisher because of copyright concerns. It’s just part of the process, now. You write your piece, if it’s accepted it’s printed and bound, copyrighted, distributed. And in the process of doing so, there is a tacit acceptance that what you’ve written isn’t plagiarised – isn’t infringing on the moral rights of an author who’s copyrighted a different work. In reverse, that means you’ve written something you either know isn’t calling on the writing of other authors or that buries that writing inside other writing, in order to ‘escape’ that worry about copyright infringement. Copyright then, the idea of ownership, might be hampering innovation in the arts, as well as cross-pollination. It is no coincidence that newer art, from TV and novels to films and plays, is spoken of as reminiscent of old, out of copyright works: ‘Homeric’, ‘Shakespearean’, ‘Dickensian’. All have the weight of history behind them, not to mention great ideas, but what they also more importantly have is that feeling that they can be used. They’re fair game, for anybody; and that’s where the weight comes from. Compare that with a newer term, like ‘Lynchian’, which is much-used but still less-used, and you can see how the idea of ownership infects the idea that art cross-pollinates. David Foster Wallace wrote, for example, that in a 10-part PBS documentary on “the Edges of Hollywood” and the increasing influence of young
C HRIS WOOLFREY
who it belongs independent filmmakers, circa 1995, Lynch was overlooked, his name not once mentioned in a discussion of the work of Tarantino, The Coen brothers, Jim Jarmuch and Carl Franklin, in an omission that was, according to Wallace, just “bizarre”.
But Shakespeare? He’s everybody’s. He isn’t even a him. He’s his ideas. What persists are the ideas laid down in his plays. As such, it is felt, I think, that the work he did, and the work of those with which he was in dialogue, can be drawn upon, considered – like the streets of Dublin for Joyce – as “ours” . T.S Eliot, in that famous essay which encapsulates the modernist tendency to cross-pollinate writing, put it a different way: Tradition is a matter of much wider significance. It cannot be inherited, and if you want it you must obtain it by great labour. It involves, in the first place, the historical sense, which we may call
Writing with the past in our bones was perhaps more possible for Eliot, and certainly possible for Shakespeare, than it is for somebody writing in 2012. Paul K. Saint-Amour has shown that several aspects of Ulysses, for example, would not have been passable under modern copyright law: a chapter in which Joyce narrates the goings on at a maternity hospital by moving through historical English prose styles, invoking books and authors as he goes (a chapter that, in keeping with the quote above, Eliot wrote to Joyce that he liked) would have been largely impossible under 21st-century ideas of intellectual property. If it is true, as Eliot believed, that the dialogue between art of the past and the present could only come from “great labour”, surely part of that labour must come from the reworking of those ideas into forms which don’t impinge on copyright laws; that don’t equal what we call plagiarism. Maybe, if that labour wasn’t there, we’d have a different kind of art, and we’d also have different ideas about who could use it, who could make it, and why. And maybe, because of these different ideas, we’d have a better kind of art. Maybe.
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To me it is more than bizarre: it is indicative of that suffocation of the arts. As Wallace pointed out, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs heavily references Lynch’s film Blue Velvet. “Take the granddaddy of in-your-ribs Blue Velvet references”, he wrote. “The scene in Reservoir Dogs where Michael Madsen, dancing to a cheesy ‘70s tune, cuts off a hostage’s ear. This just isn’t subtle at all.” It isn’t subtle but it isn’t acknowledged by PBS, either. Plenty of people will have picked up the reference but I’ll bet more people, if not PBS, have referred to the power-struggle and the plotting and intrigue behind Reservoir Dogs as being Shakespearean than they have that very particular depiction of violence as Lynchian. Because Lynch is Lynch. Tarantino is Tarantino. Ownership surrounds them.
nearly indispensable to anyone who would continue to be a poet beyond his twenty-fifth year; and the historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order.
N U L Y S S E S
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From Philip Maltman’s poem cycle, ‘Nulysses’.
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At least that, if no more... green shadows multiply in murmuring surge across polluted sandflats to our father’s mother washed wrinkles translucent in caverns hollowed out by the sea lugworms twist as lugworms would sensuous in wet sand sculpted by the ninth wave (ay very like a whale) bladderwracks burst with exhausted youth theres no future like an old future.... he is the brittle driftwood skeleton and soul of a canine corpse walking into eternity eyes wide open nerves asleep but, touched by something passing close behind whose signal skull spells Golgotha whose overtones almost obscure the fluttering crossbones Old father ocean soon to be subtle Doctor of Philology unlocking, not descriptions of things seen but trying to decipher what they mean
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- WORDS, IMAGES AND RECIPES BY ALEX DIMOPOULOS -
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Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencodsâ€™ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.
Offal – the internal organs and entrails of a butchered animal. Includes most internal organs other than muscle and bone. Giblets – the edible offal of a fowl, typically including the heart, gizzard, liver, and other visceral organs. Tripe – offal which comes from the stomachs of various farm animals. Viscus – any internal organ.
Most people will happily eat the plainer looking parts of an animal (the clean, square slabs of meat we know as breast, fillet, steak, chop) but become squeamish about offal. I must admit here that I have been slightly guilty of this myself. But as we become ever more aware of the environmental impact of what we eat, I feel we should all give offal a little more of our time. With the sheer quantity of resources needed to get 1kg of meat to a table, throwing a third of the animal away is a crime. As they were once operating organs of animals, offal meats have a high blood and nutrient supply, resulting in strong flavours. It takes more care and subtlety to balance these strong flavours compared to regular meats. The plus side is that you can throw stronger flavours at it (although I can say rosewater and liquorice aren’t a good idea!). I admit that the texture can get me going “I don’t like that” but there are ways around that. A good example is haggis, made from the pluck (hearts, lungs and liver). The meat is minced up and added to oats and spices amongst other ingredients. This thins out the strong flavours and texture and makes for a very wholesome and comforting dish – not the least bit scary, I promise!
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With many foods we don’t eat these days, it comes down to the fact we don’t know enough about them and are scared to experiment with them. We tend to take the easy option and stay with what we know and are easy. But in these (so frequently called) austere times, I think we should take a leaf out of Leopold Bloom’s momentous book and celebrate the menagerie of offal available to us and take advantage of its very low price!
STUFFED LAMB’S HEARTS WITH WATERCRESS, PICKLED LEMONS AND FRESH BEETROOT B A N N E R 2 - PAG E 3 8
Serves 4 as starter
• 2 lamb’s hearts
• Dice the onion into small pieces. Fry them down with a little olive oil or butter until they appear translucent.
• 2 plain sausages • 1 onion • Smoked paprika • Fresh sage • Watercress • 4 small fresh beetroot • Pickled lemons (fresh lemons can be used as a substitute)
• Take the sausage meat out of its casings and mix in a bowl with the onion, a table spoon of chopped sage, 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked paprika and a good helping of black pepper. It shouldn’t need salt as the sausages will be fairly salty anyway. Take your sausage stuffing and stuff it into the atriums of the heart. Cook in a 200C preheated oven (180C fan oven) for 30 - 40 minutes until golden brown on the outside. While the hearts are in the oven you can boil your small fresh beetroot for 40 - 50 minutes. •
Remove the hearts from the oven and leave to rest, covered with tin foil, for at least 20 minutes. As the meat cools it relaxes and allows the juices to be reabsorbed into the flesh – resting also helps keep the meat and stuffing intact when it comes to slicing.
• At the same time, take the skin off the beetroot and cut into quarters and plate-up. The lamb can be thinly sliced, 3 pieces laid on each plate. • Add a handful of watercress, the beetroot and sliced, pickled lemons. Season well with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
“God becomes man becomes fish becomes barnacle goose becomes featherbed mountain. Dead breaths I living breathe, tread dead dust, devour a urinous offal from all dead.”
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WARM FENNEL, DICED LIVER AND FRESH HORSERADISH SALAD Serves 1
• 30g Liver
• Dice the liver into small cubes. Peel and dice the apple into the same size cubes as the liver, then soak them in the lemon juice, to one side.
• 1 fennel root • Fresh dill • 1 apple • 1 red onion • 1 lemon • Grated, fresh horseradish (horseradish sauce from a jar will work too)
• Prepare the fennel by chopping the end off then slicing in half and chopping into thin slices, lengthways. Repeat this with the onion. • Add a small handful of liver to a pan and fry with a little olive oil until lightly brown. Add a small handful of both fennel and onion to the pan and fry gently for 90 seconds. • Finally, switch off the heat and throw in a large pitch of roughly chopped fresh dill, a small handful of your apple cubes and a teaspoon of the grated horseradish, and season with salt. Quickly toss in the pan to mix the ingredients and serve on a plate with a drizzle of olive oil.
• Olive oil
“Come, Kinch. You have eaten all we left. Ay. I will serve you your orts and offals.”
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Serves 4 as main
• 450g of tripe (your butcher should have it or be able to get it: just ask)
This is a classic recipe and there are many different versions. I have taken a few different ones and adapted it as my own. Don’t be scared to experiment and adapt it to what you have in your cupboard.
• 1 carrot
• Put the tripe in a pan and cover with water. Add a few bay leaves, a good splash of vinegar and two teaspoons of vanilla essence. Bring to the boil, skim off any scum and simmer for 2 hours till tender. Then strain (keeping the liquid) and leave to cool to one side.
• 2 sticks of celery • 3 gloves garlic • 1 onion • 2 tins of tomato (try one chopped and one cherry for different texture)
• In the meantime, finely chop the carrot, celery, onion and garlic, and sweat with a pinch of salt in a pan, with some olive oil or butter, for 5 minutes. • Add your tins of tomatoes and a ladle of the tripe stock, and cook for a further 30-40 minutes.
• Bay leaves
• Chop the now-cooled tripe into 2 x 4 cm strips. Add this to the pan along with the chickpeas. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Then switch the heat off, add a handful of chopped mint (fine or rough to suit) and a handful of grated pecorino cheese.
• Fresh mint
• Stir and leave to stand with the lid on for 5 minutes. Serve with your bread of choice.
• White wine vinegar
• Vanilla essence • Pecorino cheese (or parmesan as substitute) • Half a tin of chickpeas • Fresh bread
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WHEN MODERNISM MET TWITTER
Meet Stephen Cole of Baltimore, Maryland. He decided that, to commemorate 107 years to the day since Leopold Bloom wandered around Dublin in ‘Ulysses’, he would try to reproduce the novel on Twitter, over 24 hours, just like Bloom’s own day-long walk. The result was posted on 16 June 2011 – the 107th Bloomsday.
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What made you think of doing the project? StephenCole @2lysses It was completely accidental. I love Ulysses and liked the idea of the annual Bloomsday readings, but have seldom had a chance to participate in them. At the same time I had recently come to know Twitter through my job and was beginning to think about its possibilities as a different – was it better, or worse? – mode of communication. So, wham! Those two streams came together and @11ysses was born. The whole idea was to get others to help. I split the book up into about 100 sections and then, via Twitter, asked others around the world to take a part and condense it into 4-6 tweets, in any way they could. I took a couple of sections. For those I took, I found it was a real tough challenge. I wanted to give a slight sense of the scene that was passing but also concentrate on the language. Very tough to do in the confines of 6 sets of 140 characters or less. BannerMagazine @bannermag Who responded? Joyce obsessives, or..? StephenCole @2lysses A mix of types, really. Yes, some true Joyceans and a scholar or two here and there but, by and large, folks like me for whom Ulysses had made an impression at some point in their lives.
BannerMagazine @bannermag Did you find that anyone joined in who was more attracted to the idea than to the novel? Anybody who had never read it? StephenCole @2lysses No, I think everyone who joined the @11ysses experiment was a dyed-in-thewool fan of the novel. It’s a pretty daunting book and would certainly scare a lot of people away, even if they were Twitterheads. BannerMagazine @bannermag Does it ruin the book?
Well, I don’t think the Twitter version could ever be a replacement for the book. That was never the goal. Just to see what it would be in such a ridiculously condensed and fragmented mode of communicating. This was an experiment, after all. Did it ruin the reading experience of Ulysses? From what I heard from people that followed the avalanche of tweets on Bloomsday, they seemed to like being able to dip into the novel during their regular day, to see this Joycean stream floating by, probably mixed in with god-knows-what other tweets. An addition to their day. A totally different way of experiencing the book. BannerMagazine @bannermag Does this kind of project take away that element of ‘concentration’ that people often associate with reading a story? StephenCole @2lysses Concentration is clearly out the window with Twitter and all things social media. All sorts of fragments mixed together; a mess really. Can a cogent story be conveyed in such a medium? Difficult to say. The one attempt at cohesion we made in the Bloomsday 2011 Twitter extravaganza was to post the 4-6 tweets in each section simultaneously so they would appear as a group, not spread out by a minute or so with other random tweets interspersed. But even with that the
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WHEN MODERNISM MET TWITTER
medium is splintered into 140-character slivers. I imagined they could be read like a poem, so maybe the story and concentration level that can be achieved via Twitter is more along those lines than a novel or even short story. BannerMagazine @bannermag Do you think Joyce would approve? StephenCole @2lysses
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No. I think he liked his books just the way he wrote them. Any derivative form would probably disgust him. Of course he didn’t mind creating derivatives of other classic styles, but I imagine he wouldn’t like that done to him. Who would want to be an author if you couldn’t have things the way you want them? Isn’t that the whole point: to make something, shape something, according to a personal vision? I think so. Certainly we are all free to riff on great works we have known and loved, but we should recognise that we are only riffing when we do that; we aren’t creating something like an author does. Copying, even with major modifications, isn’t creating in the same way an author does. One of the @11ysses tweeps was talking to me about that trend – and you can find it in academia – that legitimises derivative works as an art form. That’s pretty lame, in my view. Creating from whole cloth is hard work. Copying is not. BannerMagazine @bannermag If derivative works are really as inferior as you say, why did you do what you did? StephenCole @2lysses What I think is lame is someone placing a derivative work on the same level as an original work. What we did was clearly an adaptation of an original, and a pretty obtuse one at that. The experiment was to see if a Twitter version of Ulysses had any value at all. I certainly didn’t do this to make a claim for the wonderfulness of the Twitterverse. It’s really pretty awful compared to a lot of other styles of communicating.
BannerMagazine @bannermag And Joyce wouldn’t approve. Does his hypothetical approval matter? StephenCole @2lysses No, it wouldn’t matter. Joyce did what he did when he lived and that was an astounding accomplishment. Joyce did not write in a world that had a Ulysses or Finnegans Wake already in it. We do. Our world is consequently a different one, one in which we have to react to the stunning monolith that is Ulysses. BannerMagazine @bannermag Plenty of people have tried to react to it and failed, because they weren’t granted copyright by the copyright holders. Did that kind of thing trouble you? Would you promote the continuing adaptations of stories and works?
I only became aware of the legendary and infamous copyright pursuits of The Joyce Estate late in the game of planning this @11ysses Twitter reading. A few academics warned ‘Beware of the Estate!’ Well, I never heard from them, and it didn’t trouble me. Clearly what we were doing with this experiment was not substantively ripping off Ulysses. It was an extreme reduction of the novel. And when you look at how people chose to boil down 8-9 pages of Ulysses into 4-6 sentences, you see how different the two are. If anything, the whole experiment was probably good marketing for sales of the book. We got it into the social media ‘conversation’ (and even traditional media) on Bloomsday. I would only promote doing this with other works and stories if people felt this experiment demonstrated a value in the Twitter rendition of a classic work. BannerMagazine @bannermag You think it had a kind of social value? People responded positively to the thing as a rendition of a classic work?
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WHEN MODERNISM MET TWITTER
StephenCole @2lysses I think this experiment’s value was perhaps most evident in this social context. Tweets just become part of a person’s experience through the time they’re received, part of ‘the conversation’ as advocates like to say. In that sense it is a completely different type of media than a book or film and maybe can’t even be compared with that type of media, it’s so different. I have to admit that when I started this I thought of all the collected Ulysses tweets as something like an epic poem, that they would be experienced in a similar way. Of course, in reality, they’re not experienced in anything like that way. No one sits down and ‘reads’ their tweets at the end of the day like they would a book. They are consumed in bits all day long… BannerMagazine @bannermag B A N N E R 2 - PAG E 4 8
Is Ulysses more adaptable to the project than other books? StephenCole @2lysses Yes. All the stream of consciousness parts and interior monologues are easily tweetable, much more so than a book that has a conventional narrative. Also the very gemlike language and phrases that can be clipped and formed into a distilled tweet. I really thought that the whole reading experience of the Twittered Ulysses would be more like an epic poem than an epic novel. If it was for readers, then I’d call that a successful transformation. Again, not a replacement but a valuable alternate reality version. BannerMagazine @bannermag So is Twitter itself an epic poem? StephenCole @2lysses No. Twitter is the drivel and tedium and handbills and flashes of insight of the world, all conveniently delivered to the handheld-devilish device of your choosing all damn day long. BannerMagazine @bannermag Do you think you can actually read Ulysses like this?
StephenCole @2lysses No. So much has to be left out that the reading experience is really only a shadow of the full thing. But some of our Bloomsday followers said that the flow of tweets got them re-interested in scaling the mountainous novel and they planned on buying the book. BannerMagazine @bannermag Really then, all of these things are about myth: the medium can change, but it’s how people interact with the thing’s ‘essence’? StephenCole @2lysses
BannerMagazine @bannermag But what about the last chapter of the novel, Molly Bloom’s monologue, where Joyce wrote for thousands of words without using any punctuation at all? Isn’t it ruined? StephenCole @2lysses I don’t really enjoy Molly’s monologue. There is so much clutter there and a good deal of bitterness. In fact, Molly’s chapter is perfect for Twitter, and not just because it is so fragmented and random. It also has that Twitter tone that can be so annoying: someone rambling on and on about personal complaints, grudges, and so on. It’s a perfect match for the Twitterverse. But when the punctuation-less prose of the original is segmented into tweets, you do lose the amazing seamless flow of the monologue. So even here the Twitter rendition is a completely different experience to the novel and something is definitely lost in that translation.
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Yes. Maybe the best thing about this experiment – the most valuable – was the experience of the @11ysses tweeps who had to re-encounter Ulysses and face the challenge of boiling it down, down and down to whatever they considered its essence. For me the essence was usually the visual language or a gentle passing thought, the hodgepodge flow of thoughts – Bloom’s, usually – that make up our days and life.
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- PICTURES – HANNA KATRINA -
HANN A KATRIN A
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(Stephenâ€™s mother, emaciated, rises stark through the floor, in leper grey with a wreath of faded orangeblossoms and a torn bridal veil, her face worn and noseless, green with gravemould. Her hair is scant and lank. She fixes her bluecircled hollow eyesockets on Stephen and opens her toothless mouth uttering a silent word. A choir of virgins and confessors sing voicelessly.)
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- Z A K K L E I N P U T S F O RWA R D T H E C A S E F O R A D I F F E R E N T K I N D O F R E A D I N G -
I have a confession to make. A big one. As a writer, a former student of literature and a ‘Master’ of Scriptwriting, I actually don’t enjoy reading much. I prefer having complete books in my head to mull over. When I do read I am always thinking of The End, and how long I have to keep going until The End, so I can relax – knowing it’s there. Some people read because they enjoy soaking up words, moment by moment. I don’t. I’ve always enjoyed having books. In the same way one might have the complete box set of The Wire. But for me, reading has always been secondary to writing.
Here are some books I claim to have read: On the Road, 100 Years of Solitude, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter, Mrs. Dalloway, Great Expectations, The Grapes of Wrath, A Brief History of Time. Don’t get me wrong; if I really love a book, I will absolutely finish it. But for those above, I have read anywhere between 70 and 200 pages before stopping. Let’s be clear: ‘stopping’ is not the same as ‘giving up’. Stopping reading is a sage and humble choice in the reader’s mind. It is not the same as ‘giving up’, which is a failure to grapple with the text. For example I was happy to read Great Expectations, but when my expectations were met, I was happy to stop.
And I don’t think massively of Kafka but I blasted through Metamorphosis just so I could say ‘Kafkaesque’ without feeling like a total fraud. Some would say I’m still a fraud, and I guess they wouldn’t be wrong. Though I will say with A Brief History of Time that I read it with my full attention. I was crippled by the vastness of Hawking’s universe, my mind’s eye gashed open to how unimaginably small I was, we all were. But when I came to the anatomy of a black hole, it was time to make that sage, humble choice again. I stand by it. Despite a high 2:1 in English Literature – for which I occasionally wrote first-class essays – I haven’t read a single book all the way through by Austen or Thackery, and only one by any of the Brontë sisters; and only that because a girl I fancied gave me her copy when I was 17. It didn’t work, and I haven’t touched Wuthering Heights since. It honestly doesn’t work. But I call myself a writer. But there’s a lot to be said for reading part of a book. Malcolm Gladwell talks about ‘thin-slicing’ – a method for analysis where we take fragments of narrative, and use them as a cross section for the full picture. In his book Blink, a psychologist analyses brief conversations between married couples to predict whether they would still be married in fifteen years time. Many of the couples’ conversations lasted
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I started writing stories and comics from age 8. I recently recovered an old gem: ‘The Funny Comic’. It had cartoon strips, a letters column, and a surprise page featuring the Spice Girls in bikinis. I was praised at school for my stories, given special coloured stamps and sent to the head mistress for even better and more colourful stamps. But when I think about it, I never cared as much for reading. Perhaps my love of books and stories comes less from a kind of literary compulsion, and more from an ingrained childhood feeling of glory and reward. Oh what a clever little thing! Stamp stamp stamp. Obviously I never got stamps for reading.
WHEN MODERNISM MET TWITTER
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only quarter of an hour, but his predictions were alarmingly accurate. It was down to contempt. If a couple’s micro dynamics showed signs of contempt, even embryonically, their love wouldn’t survive. If their dynamics showed anger, then it was contextual and their love would go on. His predictions were 95 per cent accurate. I’m not saying this justifies me not finishing books, but it’s interesting how your initial reactions to an event, based on conscious or instinctive analysis of even just a ‘slice’ of narrative, can often be the strongest guideline to your most lasting responses. Even after fifteen years, first impressions count. And they count now more than ever. We lead frantic, multi-layered lives full of instant entertainment and social media – our world is a cacophony of exhibitionism, buzzwords and cataclysmic predictions. Unable to escape this unqueen’d beehive of digitised interplay, we allow ourselves little time for the solitary tasks, like thinking, walking, and reading books. It’s not a question of intellect; it’s about investment. Most of us are intelligent enough to read, say, Ulysses all the way through. If we seriously wanted to. But to enter dialogue with a vast, dense narrative over a period of weeks or months is an emotional undertaking. A relationship has to offer short-term value, especially at the start. Or at least the promise of tangible rewards, like learning a new language does, or joining the gym does. Otherwise, what keeps you going? In a world of what feels like infinite choice over the little spare time we have, there simply isn’t time to make investments that don’t offer us immediate value. It has to be entertaining. It has to have a good story. Entertainment and literature are converging. We feel we ought to be reading more of what we call ‘Literature’, but instead we apologetically substitute books with iPods and iPads and iPhones and the instant pleasures of Video On Demand as well as glittering adaptations of First World War novels, knowing they’re a poor substitute and slating them, but also enjoying them and using them
constantly. Meanwhile the lofty academics sit amid piles of books, writing reams we will never see, about books we will never read, despairing at the nation’s apathy. It’s all about having an audience, and perhaps that’s where something like Ulysses eludes us. We might ask: “Is this really meant for me? Is Joyce really trying to relate this super clever story in an engaging way? Is it actually a book, or a sort of encrypted diary entry? What short-term value is this offering me? Am I losing sight of things?” I may be a long way from James Joyce, but I try to write for an audience. I’m always aware of who is reading my words and how they are responding to them. For example, you may be wondering if my playful arrogance is genuine. People have criticised me for being too concerned with other people’s responses, but I hear out their criticism attentively. I make notes. My next piece will not be so conscious of people’s expectations. My next piece will be true to what I want to say. That way they’ll appreciate it more. Stamp stamp stamp. When Joyce first published Finnegans Wake, the impenetrable and largely unread novel he wrote after Ulysses, the book was met by negative responses, ranging from bafflement to outright hostility. Joyce was sorely disappointed; it’s only human to seek approval. But if he was here now I would say to him, “Listen Jim, if you want to see success during your lifetime, you’ve got to know your audience. You’ve got to see the big picture, you know?” Hands up who’s read this to the end? Hands up who’s read Ulysses to the end? I think we know who wins.
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M O R E
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U S E S F O R O F F A L
Offal is great to eat. Really, really tasty. But what if you’re not hungry? What if you need to make a fake dismembered limb? Well offal is good for that too!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: For A Leg A shoe Some cardboard (just less than the length of a shin) A trouser leg
Superglue A sheep’s, cow’s or pig’s lung A large leg bone (anything that your local butcher has available) Fake blood (golden syrup, balsamic vinegar, red food colouring & strawberry jam) An old newspaper A cleaver For An Arm See ‘For a leg’, replace ‘shoe’ with ‘glove’ and the trouser leg with a jumper’s sleeve.
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M O R E U S E S F O R O F FA L
Step One: Stuff your shoe with newspaper.
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Step Two: Roll your cardboard into a tube (roughly the width of a leg), tape it together, insert it into the shoe at a right angle and stuff the bottom half with newspaper. Bind the shoe and the cardboard with tape or super glue. Step Three: Tear the trouser leg to the same length as your cardboard (why not burn one end slightly to give the impression that the limb was dismembered as the result of an explosion?). Superglue the inside of the trouser leg to the cardboard, making sure the lower part covers a little of the shoe (we wanted our leg to look like it had been torn off a serviceman during battle so we used a puttee, which is also useful for binding the trouser and the shoe). N.B.The puttee was a common component of many military uniforms during the first half of the 20th Century. It was a strip of cloth wound round the ankle and lower leg, providing both protection and support. The name puttee derives from the Hindi, patti, meaning bandage. Fun Fact: During World War II, the Brigade of the 1st Canadian Division was being inspected by King George VI; there were not enough regulation khaki puttees for issue, so the 48th Highlanders made do with unofficial blue ones. The King inquired as to why the 48th wore different puttees from the rest of the brigade and he was told of the shortage. The King replied that he liked the blue puttees better and that they should keep them. The 48th Highlanders continued to wear blue puttees until Battle Dress was eventually phased out. For their daring battlefield fashion the other units nicknamed the 48th Highlanders “The Glamour Boys”.
Step Four: Hack one end of your large bone with a cleaver to give the impression of an unclean break, then place it in the middle of the cardboard (hacked end up), embedding the base of the bone in the newspaper. Then wrap the lung around the bone, packing out the remaining space in the cardboard. N.B. For best effect, make sure the ‘flesh’ rises above the line of the cardboard by about an inch and the bone an inch or so further still. Step Five: Tear up/score the ends of the lungs with a pair of scissors (the way you might do one side of a cricket ball, if you were a cheat) and apply lots and lots of fake blood. Take advantage of the bronchioli which will retain lots of the fake blood; later, when the leg is squeezed, ‘blood’ will ooze out! Step Six: All you need now is someone who is willing to sit on their own lower leg in the middle of the street, whilst holding the ‘dismembered leg’ and screaming in agony, and you have yourselves a fun practical joke. Other stuff you can try If you don’t have the time to construct a fake limb, but still want to use offal to replicate a battlefield mishap, why not tear a hole in an actor’s shirt, stuff it with intestines (from a pig or a sheep), apply ample fake blood and get the actor to writhe around on the floor, holding his stomach, shouting “FUCK! FUCK!! FUCK!!! MY FUCKING GUTS ARE HANGING OUT!!! FUCK PLEASE HELP ME!” ? Again lots of fun in a busy metropolitan area. N.B. It’s all about how your actor sells it.
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N.B.This is not a painting of the 48th highlanders, but rather The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, who also wore blue puttees.
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- BY DAN ELTIRN GHAM -
‘I am part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move.’ - Tennyson, ‘Ulysses’
Don’t think we can’t make this a circle, while occurring, what’s left & lost remaining non-identical to previous state. Don’t think we won’t call this an exile: loss occurs en route Odysseus; not in the fact of leaving but the process of return. Had you stayed is a conditional, never to be asked. But had you, then – then she, she is an unknown term. Things out of sight occur. While away you cannot know the future state, not the count of her lovers
DA N E LT I R N G H A M
ENTROPY No time for the slant half-glance
How much though now
Don’t think we can’t make: don’t think:
that is had you – had I then I had,
do you think of war, and the wars?
don’t: don’t think we can’t make ends meet.
& so I hadn’t this, not here.
And not to yield? Yield’s decay.
A man makes his selections.
Skirt instead the field’s
Her remnants in her weaving.
edge of this your homeplot -
humans are basically machines are basically energy conversion devices same applies to mythological organisms
remember what grows there? considerable amount of confusion
Was it sedge, or marigold?
comparison of the humanities
Memory game: pass at the last
& the hero protests:
cognitive science & physical science
the test of the tilled lot.
But I couldn’t stay, could not.
Remember what grows there?
Thing can’t help what it is;
more fundamental mix-up about
She’s confined: it is bare.
I dream in ellipses, not nostalgia
but a systematic turning for origins my energy ever in leaving.
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nor the tread of her feet.
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- BY ALEX JENKINS -
Insistent heat of a late-August morning laps the ground, the dryness of the air modulated only by a lazy breeze from the Oregon coast.
Saliva dries in her throat. Her right leg feels leaden in the bend as she leans.
Encircling a lonely field is the urethane oval of Myersham’s athletics track, its surface dusty and shoe-worn. A girl hunches in the starting blocks, her head a slow pendulum swing above stiffened arms. She kneels in the inside lane of a bend, already anticipating a centrifugal heaviness when she runs, wanting to condition her body’s muscles to compensate. An upward lurch as she starts. She drives her body forward, transmitting her weight through her right leg. She begins to increase the length of her stride. Her knees climb higher and her head ratchets back smoothly in quick, synchronous movements; everything is linear: tight and economical. She has reached her full height now; her thighs are nearly at right angles to her torso, and her lower legs and feet flick forwards, sounding an artificial scuffle as each spiked shoe clips the track.
She exits the bend and her body twitches briefly as its center of gravity realigns. She runs the last hundred meters and her feet impact the ground as if trying to force the earth behind her. She throws her chest forward and breasts the line. A girl halts a stopwatch, her face flushed from the heat. She blows hair from her face, the motion ineffectual, barely cooling. “Slow bend.” The runner hunches, and tries with each inhalation to increase the volume of air entering her lungs. Her hands massage her quadriceps and she flexes her calves. With each oxygenating breath her eyes register more and more detail. The field develops from an impressionistic sketch to a mimetic photograph.
ND FIELD “I know… I chose the inside… Lane one… For a reason… It’s more difficult… That way.” “You’re three-tenths slower than your P.B. And I only know this because when you ran that time last year you didn’t shut up about it for weeks. So, are you losing too much time in the bend, or are you simply getting worse?” “Fuck you.” “Just trying to motivate you. You think the lane made that much difference?” “No.” “So what’s the problem?” Her breathing is now even. She drinks from a water bottle lying beside the track.
“It’s this track, this college. It’s like totally not conducive to sprinting.” “So you’re going to bitch about the nonexistent track team again? When they offered you a place you knew it was all about academic stuff. That the track stuff was never going to be serious.” “It’s virtually impossible to be serious about it at a place like this. Like, my training is a joke at this point.” “Wait, I know that excuse. Since when do you smoke during the track season?” “What season? You know that stupid line freshmen get told. ‘Portland’s two exports are pot and happiness’. In that order. Lane one, a couple one-hitters, and I’m still only three-tenths off.” “So this morning has been pretty much pointless? I’ve been stood out here timing you since 9am.” “The downside of having a talented twin.”
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She draws breath to speak.
TRAC K AND FIELD
“Fuck you. Are you going to quit?” “You know my GPA is tanking. And I wanted to get a place here so bad. I wanted the essays, the class prep, and the people who argue about art’s role in Plato’s Republic for a whole seminar.”
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“I thought Plato didn’t want art in his Republic? Not literature or poetry anyways.” “Apparently you can argue about it for much longer than that: something to do with representation in language. So I know that I can’t keep up with these people, even if I ditched everything else in my life. They only put me on an athletics scholarship so I could do sprinting demos, and get people to fulfill their Phys. Ed. credits. They’re embarrassed that they built this track and it’s practically deserted. If I want to stay here, I’m stuck doing this.”
“You can sleep with whoever, whenever, but just be a bit more discreet. Please? I feel like a slut by association.” “That’s nowhere near as fun. You should come along, I’ll find someone for you.” “Thanks, but I’m going to see Ulysses and some of his friends at their dorm.” “So you’re basically going to spend your whole evening with some guys and a bong.” “And tomorrow morning I’m going to hear, in detail, about your orgasms.” “You’ve made your point; you can shut up now.” “Will you be keeping your mouth shut tonight?”
“So you keep sprinting, despite the fact you don’t want to do it and neither does anyone else?”
“Fuck you. Anyway, what’s going on between you and Ulysses?”
“So you started smoking again.”
“Going to let his arrow find you?”
“Very good. You’ve got a one-track mind, but at least it’s literary.”
The sun prepares for the approaching noon by baking the ground. The runner tugs at the laces of her track spikes and slips them off her feet, and her toes wriggle against the warm earth. “Are you going to the dance party at Milford? The dorm thing?” “Sure.” “Are you planning on going back with anyone?” “God, let me see… I’m fairly sure that’s none of your business.”
She ties the laces of her track spikes together to form a handle and picks them up. She looks across at her sister, studies the downward slant of her nose: a place for her eyes to rest while she thinks. Though she hates the facile elision of consciousness others assume all twins must share, for a moment she indulges it. Why sleep around? Perhaps to try to find a person who could loosen the taut, anxious knot that forms because she feels compelled to keep emotion tightly swaddled and fears confidence being mistaken for aggression. The stigma of aggressive physicality: how to seem controlled but not castrating? Forget fervid moans against hot lobes, every once in a while – once in ten? fifty? a hundred, even? – you found someone with whom you felt free of that internalized expectation. But who
sleeps with a hundred people in the hope of consummating a statistic? Maybe her sister, though who really could say what she thinks when lying, post-coital, a stranger’s clammy hand cradling her hip? They walk from the track, past the football field that hosts both soccer and lacrosse matches as often as it does football. The yardage markings are sad scrubs of whitewash that cling to the grass; the shadows of the posts barely clear the end zones. A breeze muddles the heavy air, its changed texture the lightest of balms.
“Smoking always makes me ill. I mean, I really want to do it but I can’t do it right. I always feel like I’m going to vomit.” This is
“Hey, can you do an American accent?” I turn to see who asked this totally irrelevant question, but it’s a freshman guy I don’t recognize. Who exactly cares whether this kid can fake an accent? Anyway, whenever English people try an American accent they either affect a narcotized Southern drawl, a strained Brooklyn whine replete with ductile New York vowels, or a boneless, sitcom-ish mid-Atlantic, which itself sounds kind of English anyway. Little pockets of conversation burble. There is a flinty snick of a sparked lighter. “This begs the question…” someone says. “You know that’s not begging the question, right.” A girl called Chloe says this, and she sounds way more pissed off than she should. I happen to know, though, that she’s an insomniac, and her cheeks keep showing little murine twitches. “…not that Myersham’s much more promiscuous than other colleges. Sure we fuck around, but there’s a lot less guilt afterwards.” “Hey you know we get drug and sex lectures? Not like don’t do it but what it does to you. How to stay safe?” “…risky sexual behavior stuff?” “You mean risqué?” “…not even that risky. Giving a reach around to a rhino… now that’s pretty risky.”
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Somebody has lit a bonfire and fueled it with some kind of oleaginous hardwood that, when burnt, smells uncannily like cheap pot. A distant sit-on lawnmower traverses the lawn, its engine’s cadence an erratic dirge. The air tastes pre-exhaled, deprived of oxygen from its passage through a thousand lungs. I am sitting outside the asylum block, the campus nickname for Bentham dorm, built during the Eighties when the college had virtually no money. The reasons for such fiscal impoverishment are indeterminate, particularly for a college charging $50000 p.a. as of this academic year. So Bentham sits awkwardly amid the dogwoods and bosky stonework of the surrounding dorms, dorms that serve as the backdrop to prospectus photos that invariably feature cyclists, and students reading earnestly beneath trees. True, cyclists and arboreal bibliophilia are a common campus sight, although equally common is a shisha pipe loaded with aromatic raspberry tobacco. This is what is happening right now. My elbows and forearms are etched with impressions of the grass. It itches in a good way, an itch that gives lasting relief when scratched. A kid named Ulysses is rolling a cigarette. He’s going to smoke it straight, and each end of the cigarette is flattened from his too-tight rolling so it won’t burn cleanly when lit. I want to say something to set him straight, but he’s so rapt, yet relaxed; his jaw hangs loosely, as if performing a profane sacrament.
the British exchange kid talking, and, while it’s apropos of precisely nothing, no one says anything because everyone loves his accent. He sits with his legs crossed at the ankles, and clutches his knees helplessly to his body. He looks like a myasthenic preying mantis. My elbows are hurting a lot now, so I splay them wider and lower my back to the ground.
TRAC K AND FIELD
Whoever said that last part has been straining to say it, hoping to force it artlessly into the conversation. It’s a good line, and it sounds original, but it’s affectless, as though it’s been stolen then refined and honed and drained of whatever essence it once had.
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The shisha pipe’s hoses are passed clockwise after each inhalation that roils the bowl’s stale water. I’m offered a mouthpiece and take a hit. The tobacco produces a susurrus of etiolated smoke, which unravels in the air when I exhale. I decide to tune in properly to Chloe’s frustration. “Ok, firstly, that begging the question stuff is just ignorant. Petitio principio – look it up, or take a logic class or whatever…. Ok ok yeah yeah yeah relax, I’ll tell you what it means. Christ. Ok, to beg the question is to draw a conclusion from premises that are themselves problematic, which leaves the conclusion pretty goddamn shaky. So when you say, ‘this begs the question, “are we post-everything?” ’ it’s fucking stupid because of what I just said, because it’s a moronic proposition to begin with.” The sentiments are gelid and the righteous anger is hard to parse. So, a brief recap of the pertinent campus events: a dance party kicks off in Milford dorm, and tributaries of people converge there from sources across campus; numerous unnamed, yet apparently reliable, witnesses report that, at said party and environs, a group of sophomores in inebriated colloquy were proclaiming, with an intensity proportional to the tequila they drank, that we were witness to the death of theory; further note that these students were likely taking Professor Miller’s course – HUM 230: Cultural Theory in Practice; then, at an indeterminate time between 0300h and 0900h, marker pens and paper were somehow procured, resulting in: 0901h, hung-over students visiting the cafeteria, cerebra in a state of high level catabolism, and desperate for an infusion of acrid coffee, witness a banner that reads: We Are Post Everything (sic). The campus was practically cataplectic in its outrage, but throughout that day volubility permeated seminars, conversations, and postures; and as knots of students gesticulated contortions of disapproval, localized flare-ups occurred where cigarettes had been
dropped accidentally. “We are not post-everything. We are not post-racism, posthomophobia, or post-religion.” This is Chloe again. “I don’t think the people involved intended…” I say. “Oh sure, they probably didn’t intend it, but it’s still wrong.” “But wait, so are they still accountable for things they didn’t intend? I mean, obviously people should be accountable, but not to the same extent, right? Tarantino doesn’t get sued if someone cuts an ear off after seeing Reservoir Dogs. Caveat spector; and besides, St. Peter did the whole ear thing first.” “We’re not talking about ears.” “Right, I know, but don’t you think this is just some theoretical, intellectual joke that hasn’t been thought through?” “Is it still a joke if people find it offensive? Did you find it funny?” “No, I found it stupid. But this outraged attitude is incredibly strange.” “Look, maybe this was some theoretical stunt, but it’s not anymore: it’s a statement now. People aren’t pissed because it’s a banner: some uneven letters on a sheet of beer-stained paper. Everyone’s pissed because it’s peremptory, and anyone who doesn’t agree with it, which, I hardly need mention, is most of the campus, is left fuming because it’s pretty gauche just to put up another banner next to it saying: ‘No we’re not.’ I mean, whom is it meant to represent? If it were meant to provoke a dialogue then fine, but it doesn’t: it’s the work of anonymous assholes that didn’t have the balls to express their opinions personally. So you can’t argue with it and you have to argue amongst yourselves. And that’s why people are pissed off.”
Chloe’s voice sounds harsher now that everyone has taken a hit off the pipe and is rejoicing in the simplicity of inhaling and exhaling – chest slightly taut and lungs laboring against the smoke. The British kid has finally accepted a mouthpiece, and sups delicately at the end.
people on campus think, sitting here and having this discussion won’t help; though if it doesn’t reflect what they think, I guess what we’re doing is equally pointless. I thought you were bored of this anyway?” “I’m interested in the discussion, just not the subject.”
“Don’t inhale,” Ulysses says. “Just hold the smoke in your mouth then breathe out.” He tries to nod but is halfway through inhaling, and his instinct takes over and he sucks in a gulp of smoke, reddens as small blurs of moisture smudge his eyes, and exhales his disquiet in a smoky, syncopated wheeze, which he tries to constrict.
“It saves you having to pick sides. Is that the idea?” “Might be, I don’t want to commit to an answer just yet.” “Ha ha ha.” “Ok, now we should probably stop talking about it.”
“God, I wish I could get some fucking sleep,” says Chloe. “You think?”
“Just one more thing about the banner,” I say, and Chloe groans. “Seriously? Just the one thing?” “It’s just that, ‘We are post-everything’: why is that so upsetting? I’m trying to figure it out. Does it somehow trivialize things and trivialize us somehow because of how we live now, because we’re alienated from what’s happened in the past? Maybe things don’t resonate as they once did, and we don’t really have an answer, a way of dealing with that fact?’ “No,” says Chloe, and she creases her eyelids with her fingers as she speaks. “They resonate just fine, thank you, but on a frequency – seeing as you supplied the metaphor – on a frequency that isn’t helpful to anyone. Forget the idea of the past as a foreign country, or a nightmare from which we’re trying to awake. I’d tell whoever put up that banner that just because something isn’t experienced first-hand, doesn’t mean it’s now irrelevant. But if that genuinely reflects what
I shift my weight onto my right elbow and stretch out to lie on my side. I watch someone throw a Frisbee, and the sky seems to wrap around it as it shudders through the air, bobbing and weaving as it rotates. “I think I’m going to be sick. I always get sick when I smoke.” The voice falters, and no one supports it by listening. Ulysses finishes his cigarette and flicks it toward the pipe. I lie on my back, and watch smoke pass calmly overhead.
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The kid’s still coughing, and I look at the accreted mass of bodies surrounding the pipe. Overhead, the sky is blank blue. Shisha smoke censes the air, and people are relaxing so that each body seems to be deliquescing, its constituent parts unraveling as the tension in each limb dissipates.
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T he ineluctable tonality of being :
T he sounds of ulysses
J eremy M ortimer
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When Jeremy Mortimer recently produced a dramatisation of James Joyceâ€™s Ulysses for the BBC, he was struck by the presence and importance of so many sounds. He kindly gave Banner his thoughts on the matter.
T he ineluctable tonality of being : the sounds of U lysses
“That is God” says Stephen Deadalus in Ulysses, jerking his thumb towards the window: “A shout in the street”. There have been broadcasts of readings of the book – most notably the 19 and a half hour recording made by Raidió Teilifís Éireann for the Joyce centenary in 1982. Anthony Burgess adapted the book and wrote the music for an operetta ‘The Blooms of Dublin’, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in the same year. But it is only now, 90 years after publication and after entry into the public domain, that the collected sounds of James Joyce’s Ulysses will be freely available on the airwaves.
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Here are some notes I made on a recording of a dramatization of Ulysses, for broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Sizzling – and chewing. The pork kidney from Dlugacz the butcher, that moist and tender gland which Leopold Bloom – in direct contravention of Jewish law – has settled on for his breakfast on the 16th June, 1904. Cooked with butter. Realised with the help of Digifects recording ‘Frying pan with spatula’, Band 2, track 15. Bloom leaves the kidney frying in the pan as he takes letters up to the bedroom where Molly detains him with a question about metempsychosis, and his digressive thoughts on the transmigration of souls almost results in a culinary disaster. More sizzling. We’re still at 8 o’clock in the morning, but this is the second sizzle in Ulysses. We’ve heard the sound before in the opening chapter, when Buck Mulligan cooks sausages for Stephen Dedalus in the Martello tower. Stephen doesn’t eat anything all day (remember his teeth are bad). But Bloom tucks in with relish. The start of a symphony of mastication (‘chewchew-chew’) which will take us through to the meal in the cabman’s shelter in Nighttown (chapter 15), by way of more memories of chewing – the ‘seedcake warm and chewed’ – which Bloom remembers Molly giving him in his mouth as they lay together on the grass at Howth. Micturition, defecation and farting. Ulysses is a novel about the everyday, and there’s nothing more
everyday than bodily functions. Bloom likes to read “at stool”, and we are told that he allowed his bowels to ease themselves quietly as he reads a story from Titbits, which he then uses to wipe himself. No suitable recordings here, but the sound of the plop into the pan was all that was needed. No doubt intended as a piece of literary criticism, there’s another significant moment towards the end of the book when a horse – which has heard Stephen Dedalus sing Johannes Jeep’s affecting song on the deviousness of the Sirens lifts its tail and lets fall “three smoking globes of turds”. Flatulence is rife in Ulysses, and in the same way as we recorded the chewing (asking actors to give us their best slaverous chomp) we auditioned a whole host of raspberries. The weeing was achieved through squeezy bottle action. Or rather, when Stephen and Bloom pee together in the garden at 7 Eccles Street (almost at the end of the novel), with a duet of bottles. Molly fills the chamber pot later that night, but we decided not to suit the action to the words in that case. A flying biscuit tin. Bloom is possessed of a temperament so equable that he seems almost incapable of anger or resentment. So concerned is he for his wife’s happiness that he is prepared to leave the house for the afternoon so that she can carry on her adulterous liaison with Hugh ‘Blazes’ Boylan. But there is one moment when he is driven to speak out. Faced with the anti-Semitic bigotry of the unnamed character known as The Citizen, Bloom is forced to take a stand. “The saviour was a Jew” he says, “and his father was a Jew. Your God…. Your God was a Jew. Christ was a Jew like me”. The Citizen threatens to crucify Bloom for “using the holy name” but instead throws a biscuit tin at Bloom’s head. The resultant clamour as the tin hits the ground, likened to an earthquake, sees “ben Bloom Elijah raised to heaven amid a cloud of angels”. If you want to recreate the sound of this inexplicable event you might like to know that we reversed the recording of an explosion, reversed a cymbal hit mixed with a bullwhip, added
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A ndrew S cott as S tephan D edalus A N D K evin T rainor A S B uck M ulligan
S tephen R ea as the N arrator
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T he ineluctable tonality of being : the sounds of U lysses
The upcoming broadcast that Jeremy produced was dramatised by Robin Brooks, and comprises a cast including Henry Goodman as Leopold Bloom, Niamh Cusack as Molly Bloom, Andrew Scott as Stephen Dedalus, and Stephen Rea as the Narrator. Itâ€™ll be broadcast across the day on Saturday 16th June on BBC Radio 4.
H enry G oodman as L eopold B loom and N iamh C ook as M olly B loom
the rumble of an earthquake, slowed down and pitch-changed the recording of a tin lid hitting a hard surface – and finished it off with actor Jim Norton calling out as the voice of God. Sex and fireworks. Proclaimed on publication as obscene, most people who have read the book, and the greater number of readers who have chosen to read only the last chapter, know that Ulysses dwells on the subject of sex. Bloom, who has not had intercourse with Molly for over ten years (since the death of their son, Rudy) fantasises obsessively. He remembers with fondness the first time that he and Molly had sex (“that time at Howth”), and can’t stop himself imagining in detail how Molly and Boylan will get down to it that afternoon. “O ! Weeshwashtkissimapooisthnapoohuck” he imagines her saying, fearing her cries will be so loud they will be heard in Paris or New York. As far as sex on the radio is concerned, a little goes a long way. Actors are used to standing at the microphone and puffing and panting. Contrary to popular belief they don’t slaver over their own hands. That just sounds silly. Occasionally we ask them to tear at their own clothing. This isn’t the only sex in the book – but it is the only moment of intimacy involving two people. Bloom goes it alone earlier in the day as he watches Gerty McDowell stretch out a stockinged leg on Sandymount Strand. He masturbates as fireworks explode over the sea. Noting that his watch had stopped three hours earlier, at half-past four. The precise time of Boylan’s appointment with Molly – “Was that just when he, she ? O, he did. Into her. She did. Done”. And remembering this he tucks his wet shirt back into his trousers. Song. Joyce’s Jesuit education was aimed at leading him to the priesthood – which was his mother’s ambition for him. His father, who was a fine singer and musician, encouraged the young James to pursue music. Music – and specifically song – runs through all his work. Molly is
a professional singer, ‘Love’s Sweet Song’ is her trademark. And when Bloom eventually returns home at the end of Ulysses he sees the music for ‘Love’s Sweet Song’ on the piano, where Molly has been singing it for Boylan. But the musical heart of the book is the episode in the Ormond Bar, where Bloom listens as Ben Dollard sings ‘The Croppy Boy’, a song from the 1798 rebellion which manages to combine themes of Ireland’s political history (divided loyalty, betrayal, sectarianism) into one sentiment-soaked bundle. Then Dollard persuades Simon Dedalus (Stephen’s father and very much modeled on John Joyce) to sing the love song ‘M’Appari’ from Friedrich von Flotow’s ‘Martha.’ Bloom, who is at that moment writing an erotically-charged letter to a woman called Martha, who he has never met, is lost in a world of longing and loss. In contrast to this, the super-confident ‘Blazes’ Boylan struts along the Dublin streets singing ‘My Girl’s a Yorkshire Girl’ at the top of his voice. But the most powerful, and most mysterious of the songs in the book is set to the Yeats poem ‘Who Goes With Fergus ?’. This is sung by Stephen to his dying mother, and is an exhortation to a young man to ‘brood on hopes and fear no more/ And no more turn aside and brood/ Upon love’s bitter mystery’. Recreating these songs and recording them with the actors was a challenging but rewarding part of the recording process. The language. ‘I fear those big words that make us so unhappy.’ says Stephen – not entirely convincingly, as Joyce surrounds him in a swirl of multi-syllabic circumlocutions, nomenclatures and neologisms of every description. The best way to enjoy Ulysses is to read it out loud, finding your way through the rhythm of the words. From the endlessnessnessness of melonsmellonous and from Xinbad the Phthailer and Darkinbad the Brightdayler to Molly’s ‘yes I will Yes’. And a few more sounds The snap of Miss Douce’s garter; Bloom patting his pockets to find his lucky potato. The Night town sandstrewer cleaning the streets; The pitch change in Madam Bella’s voice as she turns into a man. B AC K C OV E R I M AG E BY L AW R E N C E H O M E WO O D