Do Not Pass Go – by Joel Lane

A never-ending real-time review.  But in view of the title, a never-starting real-time review, may be better.  You harmed me from shelter.

All my real-time reviews are linked from here:

Hotwire 2011

An aesthetically tough red pamphlet with quality white page-paper to die for. And black end-papers.

This Night Last Woman

“I always like to finish the drink before the ice is melted.”

Normally when I read the first story in a collection while in real-time reviewing mode, I know what to say. Here the sad atmospheric night-life of Birmingham in days when LPs are to be riffled through in someone’s flat – albeit dusty LPs – makes me think I am mouthing someone else’s song. This is a dark conundrum of a mood-piece where the mood is one of action when two self-attenuated paper-printed figures (one of which is shown in detailed silhouette miming the story on the front cover) come to life for the nonce and touch base – not a whodunnit so much as a whosaid itwasneverdoneanyway? (28 Jul 11)

[Cf: cover with that of the HA of HA]. (29 Jul 11)

No More the Blues

“They’ve seen it all and they still feel something. Maybe I do too.”

Over-dosing on under-dosing. This is life, partly in a latrinal China whitediamond cushion of anti-synaesthesia: a brilliantly evoked band in a (keep quiet for the) music club of forty-something “Brummies”  and a weknewwhoditbecausewebelievtheauthorifnotthe narrator. This is the stuff of dreams that poke their lasting reality into life. (29 Jul 11 – 45 minutes later)

The Black Dog

“…distorting the neat pattern…”

An ostensibly initial forensic, clinical account in and around a genuine whodunnit – not Churchill’s Black Dog or something far more intangibly fluid? – whereby the true narrative author’s narrator eventually reveals a steady “I” upon events / clues / mis-intentions / motives after emerging black-shaped from the tar-thickened ink or ink-thinned tar of the page-print at the end. (29 Jul 11 – another 4 hours later)

Blue Mirror

“…said through a mouthful of blotting-paper…”

A towhomwasittobedone with the lateral ambiance of this gorgeous pamphlet’s first story – plus the latrinal one from  the second – transfixed by the theme of exploitation (artistically, sexually, or with mind-tar substances (my expression, not the story’s)) concerning, just as one example, the lyrics of songs for the group Blue Mirror. And the singular third-person point-of view ‘Narrator’ abandons his own version of ‘omniscience’ to  the author at the end half way between new-build and dereliction  – obviously so … by dint of where and how we readers lose him. Or perhaps the only other way this swooping prestidigitation of resisted loss could be achieved was by use of a mirror or as a dark city’s mock super-hero? “…taken his words and turned them to shit.” — “…picked himself up from the tarmac…” (29 Jul 11 – another 90 minutes later)


“The unlit doorway beside the bar was curtained with black crêpe paper.”

A powerful tale of boy-slaughter – that resonates with the city – soon to become a cathedral window of light around New Street Station – has hair-trigger guns cocked …………. whereby – as I said earlier with some premonition? – ‘the stuff of dreams that poke their lasting reality into life’ – o too easily poke. Here, there is a sign of shame or compunction – yet all is subsumed somehow. Yet we sense, too, that the head-lease narrator is sadly methodical in making a snuff movie by means of print stains as text – because of simply needing to. 

The rhythms or rituals of an existential Birmingham ‘in camera’. 

NB: Any head-lease narrator is not necessarily the text’s author-‘god’, although it’s possible they are identical, given the ungluing of narrative layers one by one, peeling them back till one reaches the inevitably black-molten gestalt of stained-glass leitmotifs. Gestalt or guilt. (29 Jul 11 – another hour later)



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2 responses to “Do Not Pass Go – by Joel Lane

  1. “in camera” = Huis Clos

  2. My tribute to the sadly missed Joel Lane:
    Please follow the secondary link on that page for the connections and some pictures.

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