eyes lips dreams then night goes first nothing then night in the beginning before time in the confrontation of light & intractable unlight in the dawn of the word tangled in branches of TV static wake up they’ve been expecting you lying there in that solarised caress the very inverse of a woman prepared to mock her makers all aerials & elbows & hipbones & objectified spare ribs grubbying the seigniorial fingers licked till they gleam white as nativity talismans painstakingly erected out of so many test-patterned false starts white as an egg as a lamb’s eye as boiled testes she can almost taste them enough to turn a goat’s stomach what kind of thing was the beginning do the floodlights come magically on & voilà you’re lying with your legs spread in the middle of a photograph of Utopia…
The Orbital continues like this, night after night. Slant of cosmic rain slashing the blacktop. Dopplered taillights receding. Not alone then. The great migration to outer. Not the sole survivor then. Focus on that. Focus on the drift, the undertow, the invisible line reeling in. A distributed mass of alter-egos. Vanishing. And each time around the same again. The same vanishing again. The same slant. The same outer. Till none left. No others left. Only the survival to survive. Repeating. After night: night. Eons of undone time. Focus on that. The second before & the second after. Nothing between. Nothing from nothing, but the random propulsion of an idea. Focus on that. An idea of “nothing.” First one, then the other. Gravity’s re-birth. The fall. A flashing blue enveloping light.
Louis Armand’s novella GAGARIN appears in its entirety in Always Crashing Issue Three, available to order via Bookshop, Barnes and Noble, Amazon. Read an excerpt.
Is this an end to torment? To the Great Cause? To Progress? To Civilisation? To Life As We Know It? To the gods of Chichen Itza? To the Pleasure Principle? To Knowledge? To your local Synthetic Chicken Franchise? To the Saturday Night Game? To the future of Martian exploration? To Xanadu? To race-, wage- & gender- slavery? To free optional extras? To certainty? To ideology? To evolution? To eat-all-you-can lunchtime specials? To literacy, the novel, the book, poetry? To poverty? To property? To patriarchy? To posterity? To perpetuity? To peeled pre-washed potatoes in plastic vacuum packs? Is this finally the end of the party? Of the road? Of the line? Of “us”? Of innocence? Of your favourite TV show? Of the Big Dream? Of the Revolution? Of days in the sun? Of your season pass? Of beachfront Caribbean tax havens? Of the shelf-life’s shelf-life? Of the Autumn Sale? Is it just the end of the Beginning or really the beginning of the End? Of the Free World? Of America? Of Mickey Mouse? Of boredom? Of our sentimental academic “sense of ending”? The categorical End to end all “ends”? The end, at last, of The End? Continue reading
“À ces mots, il s’est tu. Assez de mots! Il c’est tué.”
Set in and around the Jardin des Plantes, Paris, Europe, the World, the Universe, Armand’s short novel is a whodunit with multiple twists. The setting of the tale against a backdrop of fossils and marvels of taxidermy gives Armand’s story a macroscopic dimension. As if the evolution of an entire species could be compressed into several hours of a Sunday morning. As if a tale of a murdered schoolteacher and a vengeful mob could tell of speciation and extinction throughout the evolutionary history of life on Earth. And it can. Armand’s deftly written fragmentary narrative is a point-counter-point of silent unheard voices, whose apocalyptic finale eschews euphony in favour of a cacophonous refusal of resolution. “NO END” – loose ends being preferable to final solutions…
CITY PRIMEVAL: NEW YORK, BERLIN, PRAGUE
“This book perfectly captures the unique personalities of the many artists, musicians, writers, performers and just plain kooks who made the 80s zeitgeist rock!” – Ann Magnuson
Curated by Robert Carrithers & Louis Armand CITY PRIMEVAL is a constellation of personal documentaries of place & time by key contemporary writers, poets, musicians, designers, filmmakers, photographers, artists, editors, performers from within the New York, Berlin & Prague underground scenes from the late 1970s to the present; from New York Post-Punk & No Wave, to the fall of the Berlin Wall & Reunification, to the Velvet Revolution & the Prague Renaissance. Continue reading
“A MAJOR MODERN EPIC” —Ricardo Nirenberg
“Louis Armand’s The Combinations covers more linguistic territory than Dupriez’s Dictionary of Literary Devices and Vico’s On the Most Ancient Wisdom of the Italians COMBINED. Worthy!” —Gregory L. Ulmer
In 8 octaves, 64 chapters and 888 pages, Louis Armand’s The Combinations is an unprecedented “work of attempted fiction” that combines the beauty & intellectual exertion that is chess with the panorama of futility & chaos that is Prague (a.k.a. “Golem City”), across the 20th-century and before/after. Golem City, the ship of fools boarded by the famed D’s (e.g. John) and K’s (e.g. Edward) of the 16th/17th centuries (who attempted and failed to turn lead into gold), and the infamous H’s (e.g. Adolf, e.g. Reinhard) of the 20th (who attempted and succeeded in turning flesh into soap). Armand’s prose weaves together the City’s thousand-and-one fascinating tales with a deeply personal account of one lost soul set adrift amid the early-90s’ awakening from the nightmare that was the previous half-century of communist Mitteleuropa. The Combinations is a text whose 1) erudition dazzles, 2) structure humbles, 3) monotony never bores, 4) humour disarms, 5) relentlessness overwhelms, 6) storytelling captivates, 7) poignancy remains poignant, and 8) style simply never exhausts itself. Your move, Reader. Continue reading
A decade-by-decade portrait of 20th-century Australia through the prism of one family. Abacus is a novel about the end times, of generational violence and the instinct for survival by one of Australia’s leading contemporary poets.
“There is writing here that is twisted towards poetic vibrations of disgust and horror that’s inevitably funny in a wry desolate register, making the reading a degenerate pilgrimage.” Richard Marshall, 3AM Magazine
“Abacus weaves an erudite but harsh beauty from the tattered seams of Australian history.” Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald Continue reading
“There’s a fabulous aggregate of extraordinary, iconic Australianisms in this book—a northern river meeting a night sea in a kind of dreamy humid methadone metaphor, the tropical erotic-exotica of Donald Friend’s Balinese pen drawings, Richard Lowenstein’s classic-80s rock film Dogs in Space alongside a junkie Darlinghurst Gauguin selling his drawings to get money to score in a poem for John Kinsella that proceeds by a seedy Sydney-urban philosophising and aspires to a better life, ‘Patrick White as a Headland’, Charles Blackman, Francis Webb, and in Melbourne—a monologue from an Aboriginal boxer in Fitzroy, freeze frames at St Kilda Beach, Swanston Street, Brunswick Street and so on.” —Pam Brown Continue reading
What do a crashed satellite, a string of bizarre murders and a time-warp conspiracy have in common? Welcome to CAIRO, where the future’s just a game and you’re already dead.
Set between New York, London, Prague, Cairo and the Australian desert, CAIRO has been described as “a vivid, dizzying and ultimately exhilarating exploration of the global nightmare… forceful and convincing and fist-pumpingly hilarious” (Thor Garcia, author of The News Clown).
“A genre defying anti-novel… Like communism it is the movement of vast majorities unfettered by a state!” Stewart Home, author of Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie
The Organ-Grinder’s Monkey
Theorising the “poetic turn” in cultural discourse from the 1950s to the present, The Organ Grinder’s Monkey meditates on the post-avant-garde condition mapped out in the work of an international roster of artists, writers, philosophers and film-makers, from Abstract Expressionism to the New Media, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Luc Godard, Cy Twombly, Rosalind Krauss, Dusan Makavejev, Michael Dransfield, Charles Olson, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Guy Debord, Joshua Cohen, Pierre Joris, Philippe Sollers, Karen Mac Cormack, Lukas Tomin, John Kinsella, and others.
“Armand displays a formidable historical knowledge.” John Hawke, Cordite
“Armand is unafraid to ask the most basic questions, to go beyond the zone in which most cultural discussions operate in order to ask what underlies our capacity for thought, for imaging, for communication. Time and again he takes his reader to the edge of what is thinkable, subjecting familiar concepts to stringent analysis and casting an original light on old debates.” Derek Attridge Continue reading