Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009


Her smiles stand in unemployment lines.

Juni Järvi

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Juni Järvi

Juni Järvi is a Swedish musician and also Pretty in Panic's (Jenny Kellerman Pillay) producer. He has a truly amazing grasp of the elements that go into good pop music. Head over to:


Listen in particular to the track "If we just want to". I have played this song to death. It's perfect pop music.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Herbie Popnecker

We don't run a link-type of operation here at Tearoom Books. We're hermits that way. But, if you have the resources, try to find yourself a copy of this:

And, if you have the time, please also visit this page:

Scroll down to the two panels of Herbie at the movies (#5). These panels are as close to a manifesto as Tearoom Books will ever come.

Gary Cummiskey: Extreme Romantic

Aryan Kaganof, in a recent review of Gary Cummiskey and Eva Kowalska's Who was Sinclair Beiles?, drew an insightful parallel between Cummiskey and Beiles and, rightly, highlighted the scandalously fact that Cummiskey remains uncelebrated in South Africa.

This can partly be attributed to a general intellectual laziness. Cummiskey's work is surrealistic and critics, often, erroneously conflate the surreal with strangeness, or, worse still, randomness. Or, else, it is seen in purely instrumental terms, as literary experimentation, word surgery, something that is all method and no meaning. Thus the impulse at the heart of the surrealist enterprise, that moments of truth emerge in the absurd or, more radically, that truth is the absurd, becomes lost. Instead, the surrealist poem becomes a novelty, an eccentricity, something interesting but, ultimately, outside the realm of serious poetry.

Cummiskey’s deadpan and unnerving tone also doesn’t fit neatly into the formulaic and dominant poetry-prize-winning register of lyrical poetry, a register that, I would define, as a type of cuteness-Tourette’s, a cloying faux-naivety. Rather he chooses to see the world through old eyes. The world he sees is not pretty, it is gothic, it is, in the words of Tearoom Books contributor Victoria Williams, a world of "extreme romance".

Cummiskey will, most likely, continue to be ignored in South Africa but if you care about things like originality and truth then you've found your man.

~Pravasan Pillay

Victoria Williams: 0027

The Holiday Diaries

My family's holiday destinations are always chosen at random from a hat. It works like this: My parents write each possible destination on a slip of paper, fold each piece of paper into four, or maybe two, scatter them liberally into the hat, and draw the slip that their fingers find the most tempting.

My siblings and I have never seen this hat. We are never permitted access to it, nor do we contribute to the possible destinations included in it. Once, in a rare attempt to convince us of its existence, my Father emerged from the bedroom carrying an indistinguishable shape in his arms, shrouded in a long black cape; insisting it was the hat; allowing us to feel its contortions beneath the material, to convince us of its form. My brother and I enjoyed this game. Last time it had turned out to be our baby sister. But she, now grown to the age of 6, found it more than perplexing.

Anyway, 2003 was no exception to this ritual, and once again our holiday destination was to be "Norfolk!" As my parents exclaimed in mock surprise.

You may – if you’ve been around here before – have seen these diaries in their lengthier, more un-edited form. Well that’s all gone now. Forget about them. I’m trying to censor as much of my adolescence as possible.


15th August 2003

"Dear potential burglar/s. Greetings. I am in Norfolk. Should you wish to steal anything from my room, I would ask of you only one favour in return. Please take the 1987 Dot Matrix printer, which has been gathering dust on top of my wardrobe for the last nine years. Thank you."

I am currently packing in preparation for the annual family excursion to Norfolk tomorrow. This outing will be much like any other, except it will last a week, and requires more luggage. I am using a dark blue suitcase to transport mine. Plastic frame. Canvas body. Last employed by my sister on a school trip and still bearing her laminated nametag, which I shall later rip off in an elaborate gesture to mark the case's acceptance as one of my possessions.

As everyone knows, there are two categories of packing into which everyone fits. And I dither between the two. Last year, during my anally-retentive phase, I carefully listed and categorised every item of clothing I owned (in this very notebook no less), and then sub-categorised them by weather-suitability, devising a complex checklist so that I had three outfits for each feasible weather condition.

This year I have taken a more bohemian approach. I packed the pile of clean clothes that has been amassing in the corner for two months now, ever since I promised myself I'd start tidying them up. I also threw a selection of pants in among them, including a green ill-fitting pair with a blood stain that nothing could remove. Unhappily, it has now faded to a more suspicious brown colour.


She foams at his mouth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


He leaves no crone unturned.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I used to smoke too much

I used to smoke too much, sometimes thirty,
forty cigarettes a day.
Then I devised a strategy to stop.
I would imagine that the cigarette was my cock.

Do you really want to do this, I would
ask myself, flame poised on tobacco tip.
Do you really want every intake of breath
to mean an incrementally smaller member?

This, in a roundabout way, is my explanation of
how I stopped smoking cigarettes and
began smoking telephone poles.

What You're Not

Whatever cumming is, that's what you're not.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Victoria Williams: 0026

A parting verse for you Jason,
I issued an invitation,
But I should have known better,
(Was it the vibrator?)
For I know that you’re tired and I’m tiresome.

Victoria Williams: 0025

Pussy Poem

A hole where there should be a pole.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Victoria Williams: 0024

So I had that dream again. I was sitting next to him on the floor of a ballroom. I had it in my hand. I don’t know what I was doing. Trying to get a feel for it I guess. But it suddenly stiffened, and I looked over and it had turned into a pencil.

Later he set fire to his arm for religious reasons which seemed to make absolute sense at the time.