Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Korsakoff's Paper Chain

There was a time when I thought we'd never get our editing heads round this beast. Korsakoff's Paper Chain is our chunkiest micro-anthology yet at 72 pages (although it will be utterly dwarfed by the full-size Birdbook I, which is coming soon) and is full of complex, clever poems, as well as broken text and linking commentary from Dr Fulminare himself.

Ten poets - David Floyd, Charlotte Geater, Aiko Harman, Sarah Howe, Edward Mackay, Richard O'Brien, Adham Smart, James Wilkes, Chrissy Williams and Tony Williams - contributed to this book, which sees a piece of text from a 1958 issue of Meccano magazine reduced to fragments then rebuilt, then destroyed, then rebuilt, ten times in total.

The front cover artwork is by the talented Sam Szulc and another top artist, Liam Yeates, provided us with some wonderfully vigorous endpaper art.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Sidekick Books Artist Profile: Monika Cilmi

The first in a series of profiles of selected contributors to Sidekicks books projects. Today I'll be talking to Monika Cilmi, whose calligraphic birds grace many pages in the upcoming anthology Birdbook Part I.

Born in Italy and living in England, Monika Cilmi works as an art tutor and workshop leader in various Colleges in London, and is represented by Tokani Art Agency. She is a visiting lecturer at University of the Arts London and at Middlesex University. She has exhibited her art in Italy, England and Germany and has won prizes for her work. Monika's work features in International Contemporary Artists Volume 1 (ICA Artists, 2010). She is planning projects with galleries in New York, Canada and Germany, as well as a solo exhibition at Colorida Galeria, Lisbon, and publication in an upcoming art dictionary.

A brief interview:

Sidekick Books:
Who or what would you say influences your work?

Monika Cilmi: Japanese art and philosophy, particularly zen brushwork and calligraphy. I am also influenced by the importance of the relationship between body, mind and nature, following my latest research.

SKB: Does the subject matter you use vary wildly, or do you find yourself returning to certain motifs and ideas?

MC: The subject matter is always the same but it is always interpreted and expressed differently through my research on gesture and the use of various materials and tools.

SKB: What convinced you to take part in the Sidekick Books projects?

MC: A passion for nature and birds in particular, but also the opportunity to use my unique style to create the illustrations.

SKB: Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate, and why? If the latter, what would your dream collaboration involve?

MC: I often prefer to work alone but I also enjoy collaborating with other artists. My dream collaboration would be with a composer, musician or dancer for a project that can combine sounds, movements and visual interpretation.


See more of Monika's work at www.monikacilmi.com

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Robots in Scotland!

What have we been up to?

Well now, after a whirlwind weekend of writing and compiling, me and Jon have crafted a pamphlet of collaborative and experimental robot-themed poetry. Forest Publications are releasing it through their chapbook series as "No, Robot, No!", under the pseudonyms Roy Marvin and Eve Bishop (10 points for naming those refs!).

We travelled to Edinburgh to engage in further Forest fun last Wednesday. The night, Golden Hour vs Plastic Forks, involved music, art and a nook of poetic goodness in which we cavorted and frolicked on the themes of technology, the future, dreams and computer games, joined by the likes of Happenstance's Helena Nelson, Rob Mackenzie, Ryan Van Winkle and Dave Coates. Great stuff. More robots.

Thanks also to the lovely Megan and Ben for putting us up and treating us real lovely, with croissants and mammoth pizzas and top charity shopping. We love you guys.

Sour side to our Scottish trip came with a heartburn-expensive plane ticket mix-up and a lost bag. Bag was returned tonight, though. Thank you Claire from BA!

In Sidekick Books news, we just got the proof back for our second book this year, Korsakoff's Paper Chain. We're going to do a twin launch with the awesome Pocket Spellbook when we hold the copies in our grubby paws. No robots confirmed as yet. Equally, robots not ruled out altogether. More to follow on that!


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Stay away from that Trapdoor! (but go to Camden!)

Camden School of Enlightenment
is once more waving its learned and friendly hand! On Tuesday 9th November, pop down to The Camden Head (nee Liberties) for:

Dominatrix of demotic erotica Sophie Cameron. She intends to dispense some much-needed Sex Education for Northerners, the mucky pup.

Jon Stone returns for the second instalment of his microlecture series deconstructing cartoons of the 80s. This time he's taking us spelunking through The Trap Door!

Dali-esque darling Alan Wolfson! For the final show of his all-too-fleeting residency, he's going to relive his Life in Plastic (it's fantastic, apparently).

Our Dead Poet will be Ivor Cutler after a quick rinse and wring through the mind-mangle of Will Hames.

Concealed rather obviously within one of those acts, we'll have the ukulele magic of Caroline "Fourstrum" Grannell, and maybe more pluck-me madness from our friends at UkeyLove

Floor spots are available - sign up at 8 if you can enlighten us on the theme of your choice. See you there! And did we mention it's free, all free?

Facebook event page here!

Also follow host Mike West, alias @camdenlight, on Twitter. Recent gems include:
Corporates: please stop calling people "champions", unless they've actually won at the Olympics or killed a knight in single combat.

"Have you swiped your nectar card?" It knows full well I haven't, the sarky get.

For less rapier-witted, but nonetheless enlightening updates, we too have joined the Twitticism Brigade - jump aboard at @SidekickBooks!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Save the Forest!

For the uninitiated (and you're missing a treat), The Forest is the umbrella name for a collective of incredible individuals based in Edinburgh. Hosting a plethora of fun and unusual arts events for free and serving delicious vegetarian food in the Forest Cafe, which is run by volunteers, these guys work their socks off to provide a welcoming ecosystem of arts and culture, promoting the interesting and offbeat and keeping creativity alive in these snip-snip-riddled times.

Here are just some of the things going on at the Cafe: art exhibitions, music nights, poetry, workshops, haircuts and booze (together!), a record label and independent prose and poetry press with lovely handmade pamphlets and games galore!

We have personal reasons for loving the Forest. They gave Fuselit a grant to buy our first laser printer, leading to the more interesting look the magazine sports these days, as well as giving us a grand launch for our Nude issue a few years back, and we're heading back this month on (I think) the 17th November to do an event (more details to come) with a cavalcade of quickfire poetry alongside regular poetryfest The Golden Hour, helmed by Forest stalwart and Crashaw Prize-winner Ryan Van Winkle, who'll be launching his debut collection from Salt. And that's just one of the huge list of shenanigans coming up at Bristo Place.

It's a scary thought that all this fine work might have to come to an end. Here's the situation in their own words:

The Forest has provided a free arts and events space for over a decade and we’ve never asked you to pay to play or to pay to view. We are the only truly autonomous arts and cultural space in Edinburgh and have hosted thousands of free events, exhibitions and straight-up parties. If you don’t know what we do, or have done, you can look at this website. Now, we are in the unique position to either buy our building or fold. All we need to do is raise £500,000. If all our friends and friends of friends donate only £10 — you will have a space in Edinburgh’s historic centre forever. Well, forever is a long time, but for a long time. As long as people are interested in open source community arts spaces. You’ve been directed here by one of your friends because they love this space for good reason. It has nurtured many a soul. Please help us exist for as long as we can by donating just £10 if you’ve been to a free event here. Less if you just like the idea and more if you really really love us.

x Forest

In a nutshell, there it is. It's not a great deal of money if everybody chips in, but it will mean that one of Edinburgh's most community-spirited entrepreneurial arts venues stays open to foster the excitement and pleasure that such a marvellous city and its guests can bring.

You can donate here safely and securely via Paypal, or by credit/debit card. Go on - if you do, I promise not to make any poet-tree puns (oops). Well hell, donate anyway for your love of arts!


Find out more about The Forest at www.theforest.org.uk and www.theforest.org.uk