The Nu Paris Review You’ve heard of Booki$m, right? Its fame stretches way beyond its ‘books as currency’ proposition. Of course, Booki$m has never really been about money. It’s about knowledge. But how can we be sure? Everyone knows that the original manifestos were lost to the Nu Paris Book Burnings. In fact, some have taken the liberty of suggesting that the leader, Earl Dwel, was the man with the matchbox. Others, like us, have staunchly defended his legacy, determined to sustain Booki$m as a cultural phenomenon. But the lack of manifestos continued to nag us, so we had ourselves a cool idea. We asked our readers: dare you reconstruct The Booki$t Manifesto? We knew you’d try, but we didn’t expect to be surprised. Then, an anonymous parcel arrived, claiming to be a recording recovered from the wreckage of the Nu Paris Book Emporium. When experts confirmed its authenticity, we had quite the office party. So, what are you waiting for? Painstakingly transcribed, and translated from French, we present an interview between Dwel (D) and an unknown (U). Was Unknown a journalist? A brother? A lover, perhaps? Thirty years on, and we’re asking you: what really happened the day the books were set alight?
[...] = incoherent
Audio transcript begins after 34 seconds:
D: [……] long before we came along. In fact I’d entertain the question with another: has anyone ever tried running down the street with several kilograms of stolen books? U: Ok, tell us how this is going to work. Does one Ulysses get us a fair price on the fish of the day? What will happen to “exact change only” on the bus? D: Well, assigning values is an old idea, and this is something we have no delusions about. It is with great difficulty, and most likely democracy, that we decide what is worth what. Both quality and quantity have to be considerations, and such diversity will be embraced. Ask me another. U: Doesn’t this endeavour invite debt? D: Money invites debt! We’ve no plans to privatise libraries. Sooner or later their newfound knowledge will alert people to the dolour of arrears. They will stop and think before parting with their affluence. Quickly, another. U: One might say currency can’t just be free-flowing. New books are coming to […] doesn’t that sound like runaway inflation? Could Booki$m be trading our current socio-economic problems for more? D: There would be measures of control taken, of course. Economy is somewhat incompatible with anarchy. Just as high street banks take in old notes, literature would be recycled. Some might say it already is. Keep going! U: Who decides which currency to phase out? D: People keep trying to correlate existing values with those of the future […..] so uncomf–[...] U: Wouldn’t it be true that the financially less fortunate would find good literature forever out of their reach? D: What are people actually saying? U: That whichever way you slice it, the rich get richer and the poor stay in poverty.
D: Well, you can always argue for the devil, you know. It’s [...] uncomfortably hot! Quick, ask me another. U: There is a rumour that you’re taking this stance just to lampoon the euro. What say you? D: Let me tell you what we’re not. We are not neo-liberalists. We don’t secretly hate the euro. We are not the apostles of high culture. U: What are your other political positions? D: It’s vital you know that we’re not […]. Or […] for that matter. The only thing we are dogmatic about is […] and that is all about progression. Our plan isn’t fixed because the world isn’t. Cultures ebb and flow, and so do our ideas. U: The line is [……] about uranium found inside the paper? D: Before [……] burned let me […] out of time […] noooo! [...] message across! Please! U: OK, if the plan works, the next generation become privy to the knowledge and pleasure you’ve opened up to them. What then?! D: Well then the real… the real revolution b-b-begins! U: It does?! D: Of course! Only… only then will our successors be… e-e-quipped to found the nonpareil that… will be post-Booki–[………] U: Earl? Earl?! W–[…] Nothing after the first four minutes was recoverable, leaving us only with questions. Should we assume that Dwel’s body was among the charred human remains? Or were the conspirators right when they said he’d disappeared? Either way, it has to be asked: is Booki$m likely to enjoy resurgence any time soon? Here at the Nu Paris Review, we’d certainly like to think so!
Supporters of Booki$m include: Lizzie McKie, Barbara Melville, Jane Riddell and Alison Summers.