The 22 Magazine


THE WEEK/WEEKEND: Dec 2nd-5th.
December 2, 2012, 7:45 pm
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McSweeney’s Presents: A Book Release Party for T Cooper’s “Real Man Adventures”
Le Poisson Rouge
Sun., December 02, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Dylan Moran-yeah, yeah
St. Marks Theater
Dec 4-8

DYLAN MORAN’S perspective is unashamedly unique. He observes life through the tinted hue of a glass of fine full-bodied red and then paints what he sees onto a deliciously cruel and rich life canvas. Blisteringly funny, and painfully accurate, this is like looking at a Canaletto painting whilst someone simultaneously punches you in the stomach and tickles you breath-less. Called “the Oscar Wilde of Comedy,” by the London Evening News, Moran is universally considered one of the foremost comics of his generation.Moran is best known in the United States for his roles in several well known films, including Notting Hill, the cult classic Shaun of the Dead, Michael Winterbottom’s Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story and David Schwimmer’s Run, Fatboy, Run.

Music and Copyright in the Digital Era: DAVID BYRNE in conversation with CHRIS RUEN
NYPL

Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 7 p.m.

In How Music Works, Byrne explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and how the advent of recording technology in the twentieth century forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music. Writing as historian, anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, Byrne searches for patterns and shows how they have affected his own work over the years with Talking Heads and his many collaborations with the likes of  Brian Eno and Caetano Veloso. Byrne sees music as part of a larger, almost Darwinian pattern of adaptations and responses to its cultural and physical context. His range is panoptic, taking us from Wagnerian opera houses to African villages, from his earliest high school reel-to-reel recordings to his latest work in a home music studio, with all the big studios in between.

Kirk Nachman: de anima
HERE Arts Center
Nov 14 – Dec 22

The work of Kirk Nachman situates itself between the classic cartoon nostalgist and the formal self-consciousness of avant-garde practices. From the disjointed ‘stills’ – paintings rendered on drafting film, reminiscent of animation production art, to fragmentary serial animations which employ decontextualized snippets from old time radio shows, Nachman’s historical aesthetic populism collides with his background in the developments of 20th century fine-art.

ANN HAMILTONthe event of a thread
Park Ave Armory
December 5, 2012 – January 6, 2013

In being alone (on a swing) together (in a field), we find a condition of the social that is… the event of a thread. Commissioned by the Armory, Ann Hamilton’s major new work fills the Drill Hall with a visceral and literal poetry. Set into motion by visitors, a field of swings, a massive white cloth, a flock of homing pigeons, spoken and written texts, and transmissions of weight, sound, and silence weave through this expansive space to create a fabric of experience

Carlos Fragoso: Etchings and Paintings
Kathleen Cullen Fine Arts
November 30, 2012 – January 5, 2013

The current body of work was begun in 2007. These paintings and drawings feature human and animal figures in landscape and interior settings. Either alone or in groups, the figures do not tell a story. Rather, they form self-sufficient images with the power to shock, move, attract and repulse, without labels or explanations. The work constitutes an emotional research into the underlying motivations of human actions and interactions. This investigation goes beyond the rational, culturally and socially accepted surface, and looks closely at the irrational, unconscious and primitive animal instincts that ignite passion, violence and desire.

CAG SINGS. A new vocal series presented by Concert Artist Guild and Barbès. MISHA BOUVIER
Barbes
12/04

Praised by The New York Times for his “rich timbre” and “fine sense of line,” Mischa Bouvier is a winner of the 2010 CAG Victor Elmaleh Competition. A “delight to encounter for the first time” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). An advocate for new music, Mischa offers a series of concerts in 2012-13 at Barbes that focuses on contemporary music and explores American song in a collaboration with soprano Sarah Wolfson. Mr. Bouvier has performed with a wide array of ensembles including Anonymous 4, the Mark Morris Dance Group, American Handel Society, the Bach and the Baroque Ensemble of Pittsburgh.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Special Screening of “Dear Governor Cuomo”
Gowanus Canal Community Advisory Group (CAG) with senior-level officials from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation 

DALeast Powder of Light/Vinz Batella
Art in Flux Harlem presents DISCOVERY
The New Yorker “The Big Story”
TEDxSiliconAlley with Ray Kurzweil & Juan Enriquez, music by Jon Carin of Pink Floyd
TICA DOUGLAS // MOTION STUDIES // CATFOX // DANNY CHAIT
JOHN WILLIAMS NEW WORK
Workshop at the New Museum with Ximena Garnica

Joëlle Léandre “Hommage a John”
alina & jeff bliumis: CULTURAL TIPS takeaway
DOUBLE TAKE READING SERIES
HAIRSHIRT
The Return of THE MALABY TUBA TRIO
Russell Maliphant: The Rodin Project
THE SUPERNUMERARY RAINBOW
THE WHITE SWALLOW READING SERIES
Mamie Minch
From Tesla to the Transistor: An Introduction to Electronic Circuits
NEVERENDING STORY: Kari Steihaug & Tina Jonsbu
Brooklyn Holiday Book Fair
Etsy Holiday Fair
The Things Between
LAUNCHING A NEW ISSUE OFSOCIAL RESEARCH: AN INTERNATIONAL QUARTERLY
Jess Mynes + Simon Schuchat
Objects of Desire (EOC)
Ben Berlow at Rawson Projects
THE MOTH STORYSLAM HOSTED BY PETER AGUERO
Detroit City is the Place to Be
THE NEW SALON: READINGS AND CONVERSATIONS Iain Haley Pollock, with Charif Shanahan
THE FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION LAUNCHING A NEW ISSUE OF SOCIAL RESEARCH: AN INTERNATIONAL QUARTERLY
Share and Share Alike: New Applications for Collaboration & Resource Optimization
Beyond Geography with Hari Kunzru, Jennifer Haigh, Sonya Chung and Jennifer Acker
The Holiday Train Show
ESTERHAZY PREVIEW: CALDER QUARTET
AMRAM & CO

Hohoho 2012
Rachael Yamagata

HURRICANE SANDY FUNDRAISERS:

The Brick Benefits Brooklyn: A Hurricane Sandy Benefit
THE TELL YOUR FRIENDS! THE CONCERT FILM! RELEASE SHOW/SANDY BENEFIT
STEAMPUNK BURLESQUE FUNDRAISER FOR CONEY ISLAND USA!

COMING UP: 

clickYEAR TWO (Postcard Show)
Fowler Arts Collective
OPENING EVENT: Friday, Dec. 7th from 7-10pm
EXHIBITION ON VIEW: Sat. + Sun., Dec. 8 + 9, 12-6pm

On Friday, Dec. from 7-10pm, Fowler Arts Collective presents YEAR TWO, a group exhibition of postcard-sized works sent from artists all across the United States, our annual birthday party celebration, and year-end fundraiser and raffle. All of the work in the exhibition will be affordably priced at $80 or below, so come ready to do some holiday shopping! Many local businesses have generously donated gifts and prizes to be raffled off at the end of the evening. See the amazing list of prizes below and RSVP on Facebook!


Concert for Sandy
Calico Presents: “CALICORNUCOPIA”

EELS
PUPPET PARLOR goes $BUCK NAKED$
Bouffon Glass Menajoree

Justseeds Sowing the Seeds of Love
MEREDITH MONK: A Benefit For Roulette
Sounds Elemental with the Association of Independents in Radio: GRAVITY
Humans and Other Animals (Bobby Lucy)
Building Stories: CHRIS WARE in conversation with ZADIE SMITH
An Evening with Joyce Carol Oates
DJ Shadow
Witnessing Human Rights: Past, Present, and Future

Caroline Burton & Susanne Slavick
Jacob Garchik w/special guest Ellery Eskelin- tenor sax “1st Thursday of the Month Series” at Ibeam Music 
CP8 Exhibition @Blackburn 20I20 gallery (Location: Blackburn 20I20 galleryW 39th Street between 8th and 9th, 5th floor)
Dave Kinsey ‘Everything at Once’
LOVE FAIL
Brooklyn Literary Mash-Up

BIBLOBALL 2012
The Musical Parlor of Emily Dickinson
Everything at Once
THE SKINT PRESENTS: THE WINTERLAND ROMP
Os Mutantes
Blockhead
Neuroscience and the Arts Today: Shared Interfaces
The Faint performing Danse Macabre in its entirety
4 Artists 1 Cause: A Benefit Concert for Sandy Relief Efforts with Sleigh Bells, Grizzly Bear, The Antlers, Cults
The Plowmen present SOLDIER
The Royal Huntsman’s Ball
CPS: Giving: the Needs of Strangers
COIL 2013 Festival
Annual Belladonna* Benefit

A Christmas Carol by the Puppet People
Navigating the New York Small Claims Court System
Smoking Kids | An Exhibition by Frieke Janssens
Peter Nadin Taxonomy Transplanted
RACHELLE GARNIEZ/GATO LOCO
OPERA ON TAP
A.I.R. Gallery’s 10th Biennial Exhibition
Erin Barra, Lily and the Parlour Tricks, Cold Blood Club with Blank Paper. Hosted By Genesis Be



THE WEEK: APRIL 9-13.
April 9, 2012, 7:10 am
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EDITOR’S PICKS:

Adam Rudolph – Go Organic Orchestra
http://roulette.org/events/shelley-hirsch-simon-ho-3/
04/02/2012-04/30/2012
8pm-

Unique in the realm of approaches to improvisational conducting, Go: Organic Orchestra utilizes a composed non-linear score consisting of sound and motion elements. These include tone rows, synthetic scales, melodies, linguistic shapes, intervallic patterns, textural gestures, modes, ragas, maqams, and plainchant. The score serves to provide material for both the improvisations and the orchestrations. Motion and forms and are generated through the application of the composer’s rhythm concept “Cyclic Verticalism” whereby polymeters are combined with additive rhythm cycles.

JAMES GODWIN LUNATIC CUNNING
http://www.dixonplace.org/index2.html
04/06/2012-04/21/2012
7:30pm-

A semi-autobiographical “mockumentary” from a puppetry and performance art pioneer. Lunatic Cunning mixes experiences from Godwin’s own life—such as his work with Julie Taymor on Across the Universe and appearances on Saturday Night Live, Chappelle’s Show, PBS and with Jim Henson’s Muppets. It’s a humorous examination of the occult roots of puppetry and performance art.

I T I N E R A N T Performance Art Festival
http://www.qmad.org/itinerant/
04/06/2012-05/04/2012
3pm-6pm

QMAD, Queens Media Arts Development, presents ITINERANT, a citywide festival for Contemporary Performance Art to be hosted at various venues in the five boroughs of New York City. ITINERANT 2012 focuses on live performative works that treat notions of intimacy, self-reflection, and introspection. ITINERANT 2012 focuses on live performative works that treat notions of intimacy, self-reflection, and introspection. Artists working in Contemporary Performance Art were selected to participate from an open call that attracted more than 175 local, national and international submissions. Forty five artists will be featuring new and existing works that explore the program’s theme over a period of 5 weeks starting on March 30th through May 5th.

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THE WEEK: APRIL 2-6.
April 2, 2012, 3:41 am
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EDITOR’S PICKS: 

Every Exit is an Entrance: 30 Years of Exit Art
http://www.viiphoto.com/news/exhibition-every-exit-is-an-entrance-30-years-of-exit-art/
04/01/2012-05/19/2012
-

Exit Art is pleased to announce their final exhibition EVERY EXIT IS AN ENTRANCE: 30 YEARS OF EXIT ART. Founded in 1982 by Executive Director Jeanette Ingberman and Artistic Director Papo Colo, Exit Art has grown from a pioneering alternative art space into an innovative cultural center.

 

 

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THE WEEK: Nov 7-11.
November 7, 2011, 6:40 pm
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MONDAY:

Paul McCarthy, The Dwarves, The Forests 
Hauser & Wirth New York is proud to present an exhibition of major new works by Los Angeles-based Paul McCarthy, one of America’s most challenging and influential artists. Comprising bronzes, a massive tour de force wood carving, and a pair of fantastical landscape maquettes all presented on the gallery’s two floors, ‘The Dwarves, The Forests’ is the first exhibition of sculptures to emerge from McCarthy’s recent exploration of the famous 19th century German folk tale Snow White (Schneewittchen) and the modern interpretation of that story in Disney’s beloved 1937 animated classic film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’

AMRAM & CO @ Cornelia St.
David Amram, piano, french horn, flutes, composition & surprises; Kevin Twigg, drums, glockenspiel; John de Witt, bass; Adam Amram, percussion

With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used To Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful
OCD Lecture Series
Stress and the Individual Litigant: Managing the Practical and Emotional Aspects of Litigation and Exploring Alternatives Zombies Identified – (Re)Considering the Monster #2
Harmony Holiday & Jared Stanley
Abigail Washburn
Evolving Music #5 – Remembering Raphe Malik
Occupy: Presented by n+1 and Housing Works
FALL DOWNTOWN: SEASON PARTY
Robert Graham
LINDEMANN YOUNG ARTIST DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
League of Professional Theatre Women 

TUESDAY:

Listen to This by Alex Ross
Listen to This—which collects Alex Ross’ finest writing for The New Yorker since 1994—is that rare book that moves across the entire landscape of music, from classical to rock and back again. In this series of lively, erudite essays, Ross tells of his own late-blooming discovery of pop, and of how contemporary sounds relate to centuries of musical tradition. He vividly sketches canonical composers such as Schubert, Verdi, and Brahms; gives us in-depth interviews with modern pop masters such as Björk and Radiohead; and, in a previously unpublished essay, brilliantly retells hundreds of years of music history—from Renaissance dances to Led Zeppelin—through a few iconic bass lines of celebration and lament. Witty, passionate, and brimming with insight, Listen to Thisshows how music expresses the full complexity of the human condition.

The Moth StorySLAM. Theme: Warning Signs
Global Capitalism: A Monthly Update & DiscussionKIRSTIN KAPUSTIK, AMANDA HINCHEY, ALISA FENDLEY, MARI MEADE MONTOYA & FRANCINE ELIZABETH OTT
DANA SCHUTZ “If the Face Had Wheels” book signing and discussion with Barry Schwabsky
Rescue Me!
Balzac’s Omelette
Lonely Dear
CAN MOTHERS STOP TERRORISM?
ICONOMANCY

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THE WEEKEND: Oct 28-31.

FRIDAY: 

“HUNTING SOMETHING SPHERICAL AND PEELING” Nyugen E. Smith [NEW JERSEY]+Esther Neff  [NYC]
Nyugen E. Smith (b.Jersey City, NJ, 1976) is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator currently examining particular behaviors, customs, coping strategies, and psychological effects unique to blacks in the West Indies and Africa under European Colonial rule. Esther’s oniono is a part of a series of performances conflating specific vegetables with emotional experiences solely blamed on “external societal pressures.” The subject hunts for something spherical and peeling, a tumor or something else that won’t peel down to nothing, something inside but not like itself. There is no reflection here. Its stench bonds to the molecules around the head. Nobody is like it, the empiric, objectified self is somewhere at one of the cores, ideal-ly the flesh can be pitted out, eaten as identity, which must be found, without it, we are told, we must remain in the ground/on the ground.

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THE WEEK: AUGUST 22-26.

SVA Women Alumni Invite Artists Who Have Shaped Their Work

August 26 – September 21, 2011
Reception: Thursday, September 8, 6 – 8pm
Visual Arts Gallery

Panel Discussion Moderated by Lindsay Pollock
Tuesday, September 13, 7pm
SVA Theatre

School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “The Influentials,” an exhibition featuring distinguished female alumni of the College and the diverse group of artists who have influenced their practice. “The Influentials” is both an investigation into the creative lineage between contemporary artists and a dialogue between mentors and mentees that crosses generations, gender and media. The exhibition is co-curated by independent curatorAmy Smith-Stewart and SVA Director of Development and Alumni Affairs Carrie Lincourt.

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AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN CLARKE BY MATT MOWATT.

Stephen Clarke, a British journalist and novelist, has lived in Paris for more than a decade and worked in a variety of trades including BBC comedy and creative lexicography. He has published many novels, one being the hugely successful A Year in the Merde, chronicling the adventures of Paul West, a gaffe prone Brit in Paris. The autobiographical tone of the work confused some folks who thought Stephen had indeed dealt with things like a naked landlady, but not enough to dampen the success which produced four more books in the Merde series alone. He currently lives in Paris where he is writing and actively seeking a rock band to play bass in.

Matt Mowatt: You wrote three novels before self-publishing A Year in the Merde. Do these novels carry the same tone and humor as your other books?

Stephen Clarke: They carry basically the same humor because it’s my humor. One of them was a prototype of A Year in the Merde, and that one was called Who Killed Beano? He [the character] was like Paul West except he was living in my hometown, and he was a bit more grungy, more into drugs and alcohol. The other book I called at the time Beam Me Up – it just came out actually, under the title, A Brief History of the Future. It’s a third person narrator, more of a toned-down, ironic, comedy sci-fi. It’s not like spacemen or anything; it’s in the here and now. It’s about a bloke from my hometown in Bournemouth who goes to New York and finds someone’s invented a very simple teleportation machine, but only for objects; he brings it back to Bournemouth and causes complete criminal anarchy like teleporting drugs directly into people’s nostrils.

Matt Mowatt: Is this your first attempt at sci-fi?

SC: Well, I suppose it’s my only attempt. I mean it wasn’t really even sci-fi. It’s just what would happen if someone really did create this thing. And, working as a journalist, I realized that half of the science stories I was working on were about some scientist somewhere who tried to invent teleportation or some other technology related to Star Trek, and I was thinking, “Why are they trying to make all of this Star Trek stuff come true?” So, in the novel [A Brief History of the Future] someone has made this Star Trek machine real and the chaos it would cause if teleportation were really possible (which it almost certainly isn’t because, apparently, in quantum mechanics you can’t make these things happen).

Matt Mowatt: There wouldn’t be parking lots anymore.

SC: No, but I think breaking down your car into its molecules and reassembling it wouldn’t be very good for the engine.

Matt Mowatt: A Year in the Merde has certainly put you on the map as a popular writer, but do you feel that your two other self-published books have been eclipsed by it’s success?

SC: Yeah, I only chose to try to publicize A Year in the Merde because I was living in Paris and it was about France. So I eclipsed them deliberately and I was just lucky that it worked. I got a publishing deal and I just went for that.

Matt Mowatt: Merde Happens is your third completed “Merde.” Did you travel to the States for research?

SC: Oh yeah, in Merde Happens the hero, Paul West, drives across America in a Mini [Cooper] with his French girlfriend. So you get the English perspective of America, the French perspective (which is very different, sort of schizophrenic love/hate relationship). So, yeah, I went back about six or seven times…I would drive the leg of the journey, mostly in a Mini. So I did one trip from New York right down the east coast along New Jersey…I was writing travelogues so I would go there, come back to write a travelogue for a newspaper, write a bit of the novel, and then go back to America. So I went across Florida and New Orleans, along the Gulf of Mexico, up to Las Vegas and over to the [West] Coast.

Matt Mowatt: You mention the French having a schizophrenic view of Americans, I definitely agree (being married to a French woman). What can you tell me of the views that the British have of Americans?

SC: Well, I say in one of my books, 1000 Years of Annoying the French, that we Brits, unlike the French, don’t mind that we lost America. The French, you know, deep down think that they should still own America, but they sold it – a huge chunk of it (for not very much money). We Brits, you know, we don’t mind…

Matt Mowatt: You’re not sore losers…

SC: Well, we don’t think we necessarily lost because we think that you’re sort of our cousins – we both speak the language, but you can’t spell it correctly. We don’t mind losing because we really have no desire whatsoever of governing Texas.

Matt Mowatt: -Laughs- Yeah, well, I don’t think half of America desires to govern Texas either.

SC: Yeah, we really don’t mind losing, but we’re kind of the old part of the family you left behind to explore the world. Brits love to embrace wholeheartedly all of American culture, which sort of annoys me slightly because we do it linguistically as well. So one of my favorite words, “bloke,” is dying out.

Matt Mowatt: They don’t say “bloke” anymore in Great Britain?

SC: Hardly, no. They say “guy,” like, “hey guys.” And “bloke” isn’t the same as “guy.”

Matt Mowatt: In your new book, Paris Revealed, you’re invited by the French government to be one of the judges in the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Paris – pretty much the equivalent of singing the National Anthem at the World Series.

SC: Yeah, like being part in the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a huge honor.

Matt Mowatt: Were you shocked as an English person [being invited to a very French event]?

SC: I was shocked, but I was more shocked by what went on during the competition. I was surprised to be invited because, as you say…it’s more like being knighted or going to the White House. The competition was so French. For example, there was supposed to have been a set number of jurors, and then a baker turned up. They told him that he wasn’t in the jury, but he said, “I thought I was going to be in the jury…If I’d known that I wasn’t going to be in the jury, then I would have entered the competition.” So they said, “Well, okay, you can be on the jury.”

Matt Mowatt: -Laughs- I should have walked in and said this.

SC: And then there were hundreds of baguettes piled up on the table with a kind of ring of paper on them with a number. There were no gloves, no plastic bags…

Matt Mowatt: And you visiting America, you’ve noticed that everything is wrapped in plastic.

SC: Well, it’s the same in the U.K. Everything’s really hygienic…So all of these baguettes were all piled up; one or two of them fell on the floor. When they were brought to the judging tables, they were stuffed into the armpit of one of the assistants and dropped on the table…I was sitting in the middle of the table, so by the time I tasted the baguette it could have been prod about, sniffed, and nibbled by a few other people.

Matt Mowatt: Was the baguette good nonetheless?

SC: They were good. The only thing is, of course, once you’ve tasted a hundred and fifty of them, you could hardly tell the difference.

Matt Mowatt: So were you craving some chevre chaud after a while?

SC: I was sort of dehydrated…I was sitting between two bakers and they were looking over at me saying, “How could you give that one four marks? It’s too crusty.” I said, “Well, yeah, but I like the crust.” So they were trying to influence my marks…So it’s a huge honor for the winner because not only do they get massive amounts of publicity, they also get to deliver baguettes every day for a year to the Presidential Palace. And I was sitting next to last year’s winner, and I asked him, “So have you been taking baguettes to the Presidential Palace every day?” He said yeah, and I asked him if he has seen Carla Bruni, and he said no. So I said, “So she never comes down there in her dressing gown to get the baguette?” He said no.

Matt Mowatt: -Laughs-

SC: But anyway, they [the Presidential Palace] wanted their baguettes at eight o’clock in the morning. So I [the baker] told them, “There’s no way to get there at eight in the morning. I’m much to busy in the shop. I’ll be there at ten.” So he delivered his baguettes at ten…fuck the President, you know.

Matt Mowatt: -Laughs- That’s very French…After seven books about pointing out the idiosyncrasies between the French and English culture, are you running out of ideas or is finding quirks in French culture sort of a renewable resource?

SC: I’m lucky because I’ve never run out of ideas. I’ve been living here for a long time, and I am a Parisian. I see what Parisians are up to and they are changing a lot. The thing we all love about Paris is that it never changes. Fundamentally it never changes. It hasn’t really changed since Napoleon. The buildings might have changed, you know, and there are cars now, but people’s attitudes have hardly changed. They do evolve very slowly. It’s geological, but…they’ve sort of evolved kicking and screaming. For example, I’m writing another Paul West “Merde” novel. It really is sort of a post-credit crunch novel, because the credit crunch has sort of undermined a lot of things about Paris. They’re finally seeing a horrific dawn where jobs for life won’t be possible anymore. And the average French person, when they start a job at twenty-something, starts to think, “I wonder what age I’m going to retire?” That’s their basic attitude towards work. Nowadays they’re suddenly thinking, “Shit, the retirement age is going up, I might not have a pension.” This has given them existential twinges, so they’re more on-edge; they’re getting more aggressive. People are more willing to tell you that they hate their job, they hate their boss or their customers. You might not notice it if you visit Paris, but you’ll notice it if you live here.

Matt Mowatt: And this change happening is the theme for your new novel?

SC: It’s the background to the new novel.

Matt Mowatt: Do you find the sense of humor gap between French and British to be a rather large one?

SC: Yeah, very large. One reason is…you know most French people often don’t realize that we’re joking. So what you have to do in France is when you say something funny you laugh to make them realize it’s funny. That’s one huge difference, one that I used to my favor when I worked in a big company. We’d go to meetings, sort of brainstorming meetings and I’d joke and make a really stupid suggestion…either they think you’re joking and say, “Oh, it’s not bad, he deliberately said a stupid thing,” or they think, “Wow, that is complete genius. We’ve never thought of that.” So it’s a win/win situation. And also the thing is, Brits anyway, within limits, we don’t take anything seriously. For example, in the U.K. a politician, unless it’s a crisis, will make jokes, especially on social occasions. Whereas in France the politicians take themselves so seriously that there will be no joking. So, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, which means we can joke at any time. But the French can be very satirical, really cutting with their humor. There are magazines here that say outrageous stuff with no reverence at all, which I really like.

Matt Mowatt: It seems like French jokes are aimed at somebody, and maybe the American and British are sort of self-loathing jokers.

SC: I wouldn’t say loathing. Maybe self-deprecating, but, at least in Britain, we have a huge culture of stand-up comedy.

Matt Mowatt: The last…well…the last funny British person…

SC: -Laughs-

Matt Mowatt: …I saw was that guy from the Office.

SC: Ricky Gervais.

Matt Mowatt: Yeah.

SC: I love him. I love it when he does those awards ceremonies.

Matt Mowatt: He’s so scathing…So, my next question is what publishing advice would you give, say, an American copywriter and music reviewer living with his French wife in the 19th [quarter], for example?

SC: -Laughs- It depends what you want to do.

Matt Mowatt: Fiction. I just finished a novella.

SC: In that case I would do what I did which is to get the novel as good as it can possibly get, right down to the last full-stop. And then send it off to some literary agents. And if they don’t want it, self-publish.

Matt Mowatt: Last two questions. Don’t you find Dickens a bore, especially now that he’s dead and what are you currently reading?

SC: I have nothing against dead authors. One of my favorite authors is dead, you know. It’s not their fault they’re dead. Dickens comes from a time when the world was much slower and people had time to read his descriptions. Some of Dickens I really love, some of his atmospheres in London are still true today. If you go and stand on the banks of the River Thames now…when the tide goes out, the beach is exposed to sort of bricks and tires and body parts…it’s really Dickensian. You know, when the tide comes back in, the Thames…the river flows backwards, it flows uphill. It’s amazing. Dickens captures all of that really well. But his descriptions are way too long.

Matt Mowatt: When I read Dickens, that’s the major issue I have: a ten or twenty-page description of a chair.

SC: Yeah, but he was like Emile Zola. He was trying to document the times. Also, he was paid by the word. He had written them in articles and had them published week by week.

Matt Mowatt: So what are you reading currently?

SC: A mixture. I just read an Evelyn Waugh novel, Scoop, which is very light and funny. There are some people like Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, George Orwell…they’re such crafted, brilliant writers with a wonderfully simple style that doesn’t smack you around the face. So, you always know you’re going to get something good.

Matt Mowatt: I’d like to thank you again for coming, Stephen.

SC: Thank you.




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