I was invited to be a guest on the First Tuesday Book Club and it was filmed in mid January.Based around "cult" books, I had to answer some questions and provide my idea of a cult book. This was when they first approached me. Had to give some information. I dashed it off pretty quick and sent it off in November. Forgot what I'd said by the time it got to taping the show. Jennifer Byrne had it fresh in her mind and I was scrambling to stay on deck and on topic.
This is my cult resume....
1. Describe your top pick for cult novel - and why.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow by M Barnard Eldershaw.
Why? A sci fi novel written in Sydney during WW2 by two women, writing as one name. Very modernist. Censored at the time of release. Features a narrative of a writer in the future reading a book he has written about events in Sydney in the past . Leading to the vague, drifting Utopian world they inhabit. Touches on the joys of a writer in the midst of creation when he is in possession and is possessed by a story . Also quite political. The USA offers Japan, Australia at the end of the war, I think.
2. Is the time of your life you read it crucial? Must you be somewhere under 30 - in your teens, likely - when you have your first exposure?
I read in it my 40s. It wasn't widely available and was re released by VIRAGO, not an imprint I was drawn toward when I was younger for some reason. More the accessibility in this case.
3. Does a cult book have to have a broader social impact, capturing the zeitgeist of a time, of others being switched on to the same idea eg Less Than Zero or Fight Club. Or can it be utterly personal?
I like hidden, occult things which escaped the clammy touch of their times. I get the same freshness from reading Patrick Whites stories. And David Fosters.
4. Can bestsellers count? Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh has sold over a million copies, is it still cult? Lord of the Rings is considered cult by many ...
Books which have had a long life are great. Continual re discovery. Best sellers? No, i don't think they can count. Damaged goods. Shop soiled merch for the most part. I saw a sign outside Collected Works bookshop in Melbourne saying that the Bestsellers of the day will all be forgotten and small print books and pamphlets will live forever. And change the world.
5. How much does the lifestyle or excesses of the AUTHOR contribute to making a book cultish? (with extra points given to authors who die young and tragically) Or is it fundamentally about the grip it has on the imagination of the READER?
Some writers are possessed of good looks and dark glamour. Some, like Hemingway, are talked up (and down) by a lousy crowd and a lot of people never approach them. People who might probably love his stuff. I'm not impressed by dribbling drunks or dope fiends. Though some hop heads write great poetry when they are infused with the drama of their scoring and fixing.
6. Is achieving cult status something that happens spontaneously or can publishers create or concoct a cult book?
Yes, spontaneously- though pr companies all try for that authentic note.
7. Truman Capote famously said that Jack Kerouac was "not writing, but typing" - does the quality of the writing count
Well, there is someone like HP Lovecraft or JG Ballard who can, and have been parodied but their actual writing will live on for years.
8. Do you ever go back to a cult book? Or do you suck it up then put it aside, knowing you can never pass this way again
Sometimes I go back and have another look. Never the same feeling of entering the unknown so I don't often think to do it.
9. Do you think less of someone who doesn't share your passion for a cult book? (eg The Alchemist/Chariots of the Gods) And more if they do?
Well it's nice to share an enthusiasm but I don't demand it.
10. Cult books make lousy films. Discuss!
Not always true. Terry Gillams "fear and loathing" was a good film. The director had a feel for the times. Naked Lunch by that Canadian director was good too. He put it in a more biographical direction. "The sheltering Sky" by Bertolucci was a nice try but Paul Bowles's books are unfilmable, I think. Leave them alone.
- dave graney
- WORKSHY - 2017 memoir out on Affirm Press. Let's get Tight - 2017 CD with Clare Moore. Moodists - Coral Snakes - mistLY. I don’t know what I am and don’t want to know any more than I already know. I aspire, in my music , to 40s B Movie (voice and presence) and wish I could play guitar like Charlie Christian or Grant Green -but not in this lifetime, I know.
2014 solo album from Dave Graney. *****"If I've learnt anything in my years of writing about music it's that if you are going to do anything of worth in this tough game, you better have your own thing. Today's generic is easily replaced by tomorrow's. And yet you need to be flexible, to follow wherever the songs demand. In the case of this, only the second credited as a solo album among 30 or so Graney releases, it's a curious yet welcoming lane he walks you down, with acoustic guitars, not much percussion, vibes, smooth sounds. At the end of it you feel like you've awoken from a strange yet pleasant summer's dream. As shot by Luis Bunuel. It ranges from off-kilter reveries (A Woman Skinnies Up a Man, The Old Docklands Wheel) through to the softly seductive (How Can You Get Out of London) and the downright arch (Look Into My Shades, Everything Is Great In The Beginning.) This is music that is neither folk, nor blues, nor country, but it's all Graney, somewhere out to the left field beyond Lee Hazlewood's raised eyebrow. It's astringent on the tongue but sweetens in the telling." Noel Mengel Brisbane Courier Mail
you've been in my mind
June 2012 super high energy pop rock album - blazing electric 12 strings - total 70s rock drive. Greatest yet! available via paypal - $20 pp
SUPERMODIFIED - August 2010 remixed/re-sung/re-strung//remastered/replayed comp via PAYPAL
also available as a digital album
Knock yourself (2009)-first ever dg solo set-filthy electro r&b-available via Paypal- $20
available as a digital album too
We Wuz Curious (2008)-blazing R&B jazz pop album available via paypal-$20
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
AVAILABLE AS A DIGITAL album
Hashish and Liquor (2005 double disc by Dave Graney and Clare Moore) available via Paypal $25
UNAVAILABLE-COMPLETELY SOLD OUT!!!
Single album HASHISH available as a digital release