Berfrois

December 2013

A House of Franz Alexander’s Own by Volker M. Welter

A House of Franz Alexander’s Own by Volker M. Welter

Following a map for a driving tour along Palm Spring’s mid-twentieth century Modernist homes and buildings, I had just peeked at Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House, the rebellious sibling from 1947 of Frank Lloyds Wright’s Fallingwater House in Pennsylvania, which was begun for the same client in 1935. Figuring out...

Read More

Jenny Diski’s Maydays

Jenny Diski’s Maydays

Morning mist in the mountains, Caspar David Friedrich, 1808 by Jenny Diski You will have heard that the English do nothing, almost nothing, but talk about the weather. I apologise for having kept you waiting so long. Actually, as I remember my visits to Sweden, there was considerable discussion...

Read More

Party On, Will

Party On, Will

by William Flesch Here’s a song by John Ashbery, or maybe a poem about song, or both, entitled “Song”: The song tells us of our old way of living, Of life in former times. Fragrance of florals, How things merely ended when they ended, Of beginning again into a...

Read More

Rauan Klassnik’s Poetry Bash

Rauan Klassnik’s Poetry Bash

by Rauan Klassnik People want poems about titties. Want poems that parody the Kill List (or the Fuck List). Want stalker hate poetry. Poems about dogs pissing on other dogs. Mosquitos fucking people in the ear. Hi, I’m Rauan Klassnik and I curate and illustrate the occasional Poem-A-Day for...

Read More

Restoration Revamped

Restoration Revamped

In the Land of the Head Hunters, Edward S. Curtis, 1914 by Oliver Farry In the Land of the Head Hunters, dir. Edward S. Curtis, 65 minutes One of the best films of 2013 was released in 1914. Edward S. Curtis, well known for his documentary photographs of the...

Read More

Rolls, Albert on Pynchon, Thomas

Rolls, Albert on Pynchon, Thomas

Consider, for example, the Pynchon anecdotes told by the television producer Deane Rink—who attended Cornell a few years after Pynchon and studied creative writing under Walter Slatoff, with whom Pynchon had also studied. Rink tells his stories as part of an early Web exercise in which he sent emails...

Read More

Regular Beauty by Cain Todd

Regular Beauty by Cain Todd

In an effort to be interdisciplinary, and to keep up with the current trend for all things neuroscience, I recently attended a conference in Berlin on neuroaesthetics. One of only two philosophers in the room, I found myself on the receiving end of an incredibly hostile attack after asking...

Read More

Remembering Mandela

Remembering Mandela

Dear revisionists, Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try...

Read More

Remnants of a Residential Ruin

Remnants of a Residential Ruin

From a map of Epping Forest, c.1876 From 3:AM: The structure had called my attention on several occasions. On walks through the Snaresbrook suburb in which it sat I would often peer through the locked gates and contemplate its use and history. It was not, as one local account...

Read More

Road Trip!

Road Trip!

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Gramercy Pictures, 1994 From Guernica: Instead of traveling solo, the heroines in Thelma & Louise (1991) escape together from social constraints and obligations from work, home and a controlling marriage. Instead of merely reflecting on their lives, throughout the movie Thelma...

Read More

Jenny Diski on night and more

Jenny Diski on night and more

On the subject of death I’m inclined to turn to my two favourite writers. Vladimir Nabokov begins Speak Memory, an autobiography of sorts, with the kind of banality any reader of his knows better than to get cosy with: ‘The cradle rocks above an abyss and common sense tells...

Read More

Anna

Anna

Anna Nicole, New York City Opera, 2013 From The New York Review of Books: How fitting and dispiriting that an opera so determined to adapt to the times was produced by a company that ultimately failed to do so. The libretto by Richard Thomas is a vibrant mash-up of...

Read More

‘While she sees life as poetry’

‘While she sees life as poetry’

Though Aldous Huxley is primarily remembered for his novels and to a lesser extent his essays, he began his writing career as a poet. While a student at Balliol College at Oxford, having been exempted from military service due to extremely poor eyesight, he was involved in several student...

Read More
Jeremy Fernando: Not

A response — Bartleby’s response — foregrounding the fact that it is the “I” that “prefers not to”: not that ‘I cannot’ nor ‘I...

Read More
Owen Vince on HARK

As a poet, you are your grandmother; you are browsing the obituaries with a red pen and an address book in your hand. The...

Read More
Jay Aquinas Thompson Interviews Eric Weisbard

Eric Weisbard wrote twenty years ago, introducing the voluminous, era-summarizing, contrarian and contradictory Spin Alternative Record Guide.

Read More
Collective Destruction by Keith Doubt

What, then, is sociocide? Sociocide resonates with the term demodernization formulated by A. V. Tishkov to account for the consequences of the war in...

Read More
Heather Lang on Fiona Sampson and Sarah Morgan

Poet Fiona Sampson is a former career violinist, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, overt references to music appear in her work.

Read More
Setsuko Adachi: Azalea Exuberance Strikes

In May, in the garden of the elevated house at the bottom of the hill, four shrubs of stunning azaleas come into full blossom....

Read More
Joe Linker
Joe Linker on Li Po

Florence showed me what she called the most famous of Chinese poems. She had made her own translation from a Chinese language newspaper clipping....

Read More
Teresa K. Miller and Gregory Giles Discuss Luc Moullet

To begin at the end: After nearly two hours exploring facets of exploitation in the globalized food system, Luc Moullet closes Genèse d’un repas/Origins...

Read More
Adam Staley Groves: Iowa Nasty

Now it seems the state’s radical conservatives are degrading the historic, populist-provincial mentality of Iowa; they are revising the state’s legacy within the broader...

Read More
Animal Spirits at the Nueva Burdalesa Bakery by Jessica Sequeira

A few years ago all I had was a certain ambition and an understanding, more or less, of how things work in this world....

Read More
Sebastian Normandin
Meaning and Pseudoscience by Sebastian Normandin

The persistence and proliferation of pseudoscientific thinking in contemporary culture demands explanation. Clearly there are some pragmatic reasons for its expanded existence, and people...

Read More
Janice Lee For the Ghost

The memories are like stutters. Sometimes I inhale for air, and exhale a shaking chain of memories. A choking hazard. I for the ghost....

Read More
Edi Rama’s Bunker Mentality by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

As many former Eastern Block countries in the EU display a hardly dissimulated form of racism and religious hatred, Albania, always a little behind...

Read More
Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

Read More