Monday, August 31, 2009

Aryan Kaganof Reviews Who Was Sinclair Beiles? by Gary Cummiskey and Eva Kowalska

Eventually one has to love Gary Cummiskey. He does not give up. He’s the kind of irascible soul that always draws trouble. Something about his pugnacious nature attracts difficulties. If it can go wrong at a printer it will. Twice. Gary’s often stuck in traffic. The waiter dusts more flies into his soup. But unlike most people you’ve ever met who share this streak of disaster-attraction - Cummiskey hasn’t got it in him to throw in the towel. You would have thought after years of publishing small press editions to little or no acclaim from the precarious South African literature “establishment” that Gary would see the light and stop bothering. Thank the gods he’s not that sort of bloke. Gary persists. His persistency is the stuff of local literary legend.

Green Dragon 6 is the best edition of his literary journal to date. And this volume about the late Yeoville Beat poet Sinclair Beiles is worth its weight in genetically modified stem cells. It keeps Beiles alive. A collection of essays by the likes of Alan Finlay, Fred Devries, co-editor Eva Kowalska and Gary himself, the book sheds shards of splintered, diffused and hazy light on the figure of Beiles whose reputation is based largely on memories of his surly frame sitting truculently outside coffee society in Rocky street, chain smoking irritably - has anyone ever read any of his poems?

In Yeoville in 1994 to film Nice To Meet You, Please Don’t Rape Me I was introduced to Beiles by my co-screenwriter Peter J. Morris, himself an equally taciturn, sour-bellied type. The two of them found things to grumble about. It was impossible for me to talk to Beiles. He just seemed too far gone in a vinegary disposition exacerbated by the brutal disappointment of never having ‘made it’ (whatever that means to a poet). But this volume opens the man up. Dawie Malan’s exquisite essay “the trouble with sinclair beiles” resuscitates the poet, gives him a fragile, vulnerable soul - and reveals librarian Dawie to be one of our most sensitive writers.

This book is essential. One day somebody will be collating a set of essays asking the question “Who Is Gary Cummiskey?” He deserves better. He deserves to be lionised now.

Aryan Kaganof

ISBN: 978-0-620-42792-0
Available from

First published on Kagablog

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Macho Confectionery

Chocolate Chip Bookies
Cinnamon Huns
Scone Sharks
Buff Pastries

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Confetti Westerns

The Wild Punch

Monday, August 24, 2009

Victoria Williams: 0020

In light of recent developments in the field of cosmetic surgery, I have been updating my vision of the perfect man - rendered in the medium of collage, and comprising of images cut from Literati Monthly, Crawford's Tweeds Catalogue [1977 edition], and old back issues of Melody Maker.

Combined and pasted to a board, the perfect man is now a horrifying amalgamation of handlebar moustache and cauliflower ear. Aside from that, I have also discovered that Jack Kerouac's 38-year-old nose does not work well with Bob Dylan's 23-year-old hair.

The perfect man now lies concealed at the back of my wardrobe, covered with a coat, his image haunting my nightmares, rapidly increasing my heartbeat and adrenaline levels, widening my eyes, parting my lips, soaking the bed sheets in "perspiration".

Knock Knock Jokes Pertaining To Common Human Ailments by Pravasan Pillay

Knock Knock Jokes Pertaining To Common Human Ailments by Pravasan Pillay is a four-page pamphlet of themed Knock knock jokes. It is free of charge, though copies are limited. "Very lame, but I love them that way." - Paul Wessels. [OUT OF PRINT]

Write to for your copy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Forthcoming from Tearoom Books in September 2009

Forthcoming in September 2009. Romancing the Dead, a small collection of prose poems from underground legend Gary Cummiskey.

Available at R40 including postage. For order information, contact

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review of Green Dragon 6

Review of Green Dragon 6, which contains lyrics by The Litchis, can be found here: Kasie Kulture.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Victoria Williams: 0019

Dear Mr. Shouty,

Please excuse Vickie from swimming; she has factitious syndrome.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lyrics: Songololo Song by The Litchis

Under stone, stick and bone x 2
Songololo lives alone
When we hoe, when we sow x 2
He comes out from below


He is long, he is strong x 2
Come sing songololo's song

Go to bed, rest your head x 2
Songololo will be fed
There he goes, up your nose x 2
Creeping on a thousand toes


If you cry, if you sigh x 2
Songololo comes to pry
Dry your tears, close your ears x 2
Or in there he disappears


Friday, August 14, 2009

List at McSweeney's

Got a list up at McSweeney's

Philosopher Finishing Moves

The Aristhrottle
The Wittgenspine Buster
The Figure Four Ankle Locke
The Reverse Spinning Kickegaard
The Top Rope Over-the-Shoulder Thoreau
The Pulling Down of the Lyotard
The Feuerback Breaker
The Unemployment Clothes Line

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lyrics: Rachel de Beer by The Litchis

Rachel de Beer was lost
to the freezing veld
I dressed her body
while all around men knelt

The white calf was fine
but not worth a life
If only I had known
it've met my knife

The smith found her body
naked, cold, and blue
Clutching a hollow hill
where her spirit had flew

Inside the boy was safe
dressed in her clothes
He looked like a pilgrim
come from strange roads

He would not say a word
he kissed her cold cheek
He fell into our arms
night had made him weak

I broke down the hill
and fired my gun
It'd taken our daughter
but had saved our son

We buried this brave girl
named Rachel de Beer
And traveled onwards
our children kept near

Rachel de Beer
There ain't nothing to fear
God loves you my dear
Sweet Rachel de Beer

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rachel de Beer by The Litchis

Second demo video recording from the South African-Swedish husband and wife folk duo The Litchis. The song is based on the legend of Rachel de Beer, a young Afrikaaner girl who sacrificed her life in order to save her brother. For a brief outline see:

Victoria Williams: 0018

Are you going to tell him that his 'face mask' is actually a cricket box, or shall I?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lyrics: Snake and Cane by The Litchis

Yessir there’s a big black snake
Inside my work shoe
Could be the devil what left it
Could be his nephew

Now there’s electric current
In the city street
But over in the country
Serpents hiss at our feet

I’d strike the thing down dead
If I had the aim
But my poor head is sore
And my eyes inflamed

Don’t go blame that black snake
Wellsir not just yet
See the trouble started last night
When my mouth got wet

There’s a hundred thousand poisons
But I take just one
That there poison in my shoe
You can serve to a nun

Now you go tell the boss
That I’ve taken ill
When you come back to my shack
Your glass will be filled

If he asks you questions
Tell him ‘bout the snake
Brother do me this justice
My misery ain’t fake

First published in Green Dragon 6

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lyrics: I Married A Goose by The Litchis

I married a goose
And lived in a pond
People did frown
About our bond

We got no peace
In my hometown
Ran to the city
Got hounded around

People were cruel
Spat in my face
Said I should stick
To my own race

People will say
You should live your life
What business of theirs
Who I take as a wife

If they grew feathers
If they grew a beak
Then maybe from them
A wife I would seek

First published in Green Dragon 6

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Big Bridge

"Green Apples", first published in the Caine Prize anthology The Obituary Tango, appears in the new issue of Big Bridge. It forms part of a South African focus, edited by Gary Cummiskey, entitled "Beauty Came Groveling Forward".

Victoria Williams: 0017

For the past eight months I have been focusing my attention on one particular individual, employing a technique that I like to call Prolonged Seduction. This involves lots of suggestive (yet subtle) 'signals', such as the movement of certain eyebrows, the 'fleeting' glances (not necessarily directed at their eyes), and most importantly, the well-timed, harrowingly convincing 'epileptic fit', designed to elicit sympathy/support, etc etc.