Book Reviews

Sad Discoveries by India LaPlace

Sad_01What da cover says:  India LaPlace is a poet from the USA and is co-editor of the sensational Horror Sleaze Trash: This is her debut collection: Hold on tight.

Limited run of only 25 handmade, hand numbered copies! 19 pages. Staple bound. Printed on an old Canon laser printer we found abandoned at a dump site. Cover: colour ink on 160GSM white card stock with 80GSM green inner cover. Interior: black ink on 80GSM white paper.

Cover art by legendary Hastings poet John D Robinson

What I says:  India LaPlace’s debut collection of poems is here, I’ve read a number of her poems in the past and never been let down, so to finally have a collection dedicated to her work is fantastic.  There is no surprise that here are some of the best poems you’ll ever get to read.  India opens her soul to the reader, no holds barred, feelings about her marriage ending are tough to read, you can get a feel of the pain she is going through and how out of control she is.  The poems about her daughter are stunning, you see the mother in her awakening as she realises how strong her kid is.  And the way she uses words, even a little one like “do” can blow your mind with how powerful she can make it seem.  Some of the lines are really haunting:

“I just know that it’s hard not to choke
On all the lies I keep whispering.”

Don’t miss out on reading this book.



Book Reviews

EZ Pzine Volumes 1-4 By A. Lynn Blumer

The first year of these poetry chapbooks is over and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading them.  Great to read work by poets I know and a great way to discover new artists.  The covers are really eye catching.  Below is info and my reviews of each volume.  I am hoping that that Blumer lady organises another year of these.

Volume 1: Beast of Burden

36270857Featuring:  A. Lynn BlumerCole Bauer, Benjamin BlakeAndy CarringtonJade DolloffArthur GrahamGary. J. KarmanHaley Jenkins, K.D. Maddox, Bob Polzin, Leo X. Robertson, Alex Watenen.

My Review:  Volume 1 of the EZ. P. Zine is a promising start, nice strong collection and quite a few new poets to me. A couple of stand out poems for me were :

1. Leo X Robertson’s “erotic” poem about BP’s oil spill of 2010. I can easily see oil execs using these lines during sex.

2. Humans by Gary J. Karman was the most interesting in the book, it really stood out because of how different it is to anything else I’ve read in the past, it had a real Byron feel to it. I ended up reading it 3 times.

A great start to this zine, looking forward to volume 2.

Volume 2: Bird in Paradise

37889009Featuring:  A. Lynn BlumerCole BauerBenjamin BlakeArthur GrahamLady HawkHaley JenkinsGary J. KarmanIndia Laplace, Robert Polzin, Janeen Rastall, John Patrick Robbins, Josh Reinaas, Harry Whitewolf.

My Review:  Another interesting collection, a few new (to me) poets. I do like that these issues have a theme to them, unfortunately I can’t always see the link between theme and poem. There is one here about something needing to be charged, not sure how that is Bird in paradise. That one went a bit over my head.

Stand out items were Harry Whitewolf, such a unique style that makes his work stand out more than anything else in the book. A. Lynn Blumer and Benjamin Blake who captured the theme perfectly. And finally “You Turned Mixed Messages into an Art Form” by India LaPlace, a piece straight from the heart, incredibly moving stuff.

Looking forward to issue 3 now.

Volume 3: Reap what you Sow

40097862Featuring:  A. Lynn BlumerBenjamin BlakeAlicia BrunskillCharlie-Anne ButterworthAndy CarringtonAhja FoxArthur GrahamJohn Hilden, Haley Jenkins, Gary J. Karman, KD Maddox, Bob Polzin, Omari Rouse, Alex Watenen.

My Reivew:  Another fine collection from EZPZ, this is fast becoming one of my favourite poetry chapbook series. This collection’s opening act is Andy Carrington, he gives us a fine poem in “Failed Picasso” the layout of this poem is almost a work of art. Great to see Arthur Graham, A. Lynn Blumer, Benjamin Blake and Gary J. Karmen getting poems published in this collection.

Stand out poem and the one for me that fits the category of “Consequences” perfectly was by Omari Rouse, her poem “What if woman” was incredible, very though provoking.

Make sure you check out this collection.

Volume 4: Resolve

41967666Featuring:  A. Lynn BlumerJeff BagatoCole BauerRobert BeveridgeBenjamin BlakeAlicia BrunskillAndy CarringtonJade Dollof, Rodney Gardner, Gary J. Karman, India LaPlace, Amanda Moilanen, Bob Polzin, Omari Rouse, Alex Watanen.

My Review:  The first year of zines has completed and they have been a great collection, loads of new poets for this reader to check out.

The theme of this book seems to be nature, both Mother and human nature mixed between the pages.

Highlights in this collection were:

Wonder woman by Omari Rouse a fantastic short piece of poetry, it goes off in an unexpected direction, had to re-read to make sure my mind hadn’t twisted things.

Two epic poems by Bob Polzin had to be read a few times, crammed full of great lines.

And India LaPlace, easily one of the best poets I know of, Her “Going Home” was a very moving trip down memory lane.

Volume 4 finishes off the first year of these zines, and what a strong finish it was, looking forward to what comes next.

Overall volumes 1-4 get a rating of…


Book Reviews

Wild Wanderings by Phil Gribbon

41735042What da cover says:  With 70 years’ experience of mountaineering and over 100 first ascents of Arctic alpine peaks, Phil Gribbon’s illustrious climbing career is explored as he takes the reader on some of his most memorable wanderings in the wild.

PHIL GRIBBON is a mountaineer, writer and retired physics professor. He has written for the Polar Record, the Canadian Geographical Journal, the Alpine Journal and the American Alpine Journal, as well as the Scottish Mountaineering Club and Irish Mountaineering Club journals. A key figure in Arctic mountaineering and exploration in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Phil has made over 100 Arctic alpine first ascents and has led expeditions in Greenland, the USA and Canada. Born in Cannes in 1929 and raised in Northern Ireland, he moved to St Andrews in Scotland in 1961 and has lived there ever since. Phil was awarded the Polar Medal by HM Queen Elizabeth in 2014.

What I says:  The title of this book is one of the most apt I’ve come across, it has the author wandering in the wild but it is also about him wandering through his memories…and with 70 years of memories that is a lot of area to wander in.

I got this book from NetGalley and I know that means it isn’t the complete article but the layout made this an odd read.  The book is made up of 34 memorable moments in Phil’s career, the front of the book has a section describing the moment, and then a section describing the characters, why that has been chucked at the beginning is beyond me,  it would have worked better having that info at the beginning of each memory.  Hopefully that might change it’s final release.

The style of writing was interesting, instead of facts and being written as the event happened, the memories have been written in the style of fiction, new names for people and some places.  I felt that worked well, it gives the writer more space for when he wants to go on a tangent.  The book is more directed at climbers, you need to know the lingo to grasp all that was happening.  I still managed to take a lot from this book, there is a feeling of time passing as you read about Phil larking about as a young adult and then as an old man taking on one of his last Munros.  Then you get to read about accidents and near misses, eventually getting to that eventual death of a fellow walker, you really feel Phil’s pain as many years later he is still trying to convince himself that he did all he could.

A very good collection by a climber with so much history, anybody into climbing mountains will enjoy reading this.


Book Reviews

Days of Throbbing Gristle by Kevin Cole


22017601What da cover says:  Does Heaven know you’re miserable now?

It’s 1987. Sam Henry Hay, a 17-year-old exchange student from Sheffield, hops into Texas, USA, with one burning ambition: Manipulate his gullible host parents into funding his university, and leave his dead-end life in Yorkshire behind.

But is Sam manipulating America or America manipulating Sam? The clever lad schmoozes his way into many a bed and purse, yet can’t get rid of anyone. He executes careful plans, only to watch them disastrously fall apart. Worst of all, this once proud nihilist watches in horror as he reveals a conscience, in a world growing ever darker around him.

Days of Throbbing Gristle is not your typical teenage tale. It’s a razor-slashing journey through a time and place that really was as bad as you’ve heard. For some, high school is the best time in their lives. For others, it’s a miracle they make it to the other side.

What I says: This book is epic, it feels like I have read a whole lifetime. I have deliberately taken my time reading this and it really helps you to get a grip on time passing and how Sam changes from the little dick he was in the beginning to a less annoying dick at the end of the book. I think reading this too fast will ruin the effect, you really need to savour it like I am with this bottle of red wine I found.

At the beginning I thought this was going to be a bit like catcher in the rye (do we have a new book for assassins to read I was thinking) Sam Hay was as annoying and arrogant as Holden Caulfield, but as time goes on you grow to almost-love him… then you find he hates Jack Kerouac and you hate him all over again but then you grow to almost-love him again…. and then he slags of your favourite band…. it goes on like that.

My two favourite parts in this book are:

1. Taking mushrooms in Karpis, this had me laughing big time, I ended up reading it in one sitting it was so good, Karpis had been mentioned a few times already in the story and it is well worth the wait. In fact it’s so funny it gets a LMAO from me.

2. By far the standout point in the book for me is how the minor characters are treated, so often in books they get left in the background and you forget in time that they exist. But here they each get their big speech, you get to see them change over time, even Hammish who had hardly been in the book, you realise when he gets his big part that even he has grown. I think each character will stay with me for a long time.

AND as for the ending, it was an absolute shocker.

PS> I can’t wait for the movie to come out so I can see all my favourite Donna scenes.


You can get a copy of this book from all the usual places but this like is work checking out for a unique reading experience with music.  TUMBLR


Book Reviews

Anti-British Lefty Commie Traitor Scum by Andy Carrington

23887164What da cover says:  “I took down your flag when you took away our people.”

What I says:  To me this book is Andy’s magnum opus, it is such an important book, it shows just how bad humans can be, so many of us have not a care about anybody else.  It also raises the issue of why Andy’s books should be getting low ratings, there should be comments of “I don’t get this book” it’s now 4 years old and there may have been another world cup but things described in this book are still happening today.

Before you read one of Andy’s books I recommend you go look for one of the videos of him reading, you’re never going to get the right level of passion until you’ve listened to the man himself.

A few favourites from this collection were, Illegal Aliens A mash up of scaremongering news reports about migrants coming into Britain with the movie Aliens (very clever stuff).  Watching Bollywood flicks with Mrs Patel was so much deeper than I expected at the start.  Maggie’s Child has to be one of Andy’s best poems, the anger is subdued, he has sat down and explained just why he hates Maggie Thatcher so much, with how calm and matter-of-fact he sounds it makes this poem stand out taller than the others.

If you want a little snippet to give you a taste of his writing then these two lines are some of the best.

the world we live
in is a constant illness


For a copy check out HERE for details.


AMERICAN INC — Horror Sleaze Trash

“The Battle Hymn of the Revolution” Music by AMERICAN INC Lyrics/Guitar/Vocals: Scott Laudati Guitar/Trumpet: Myles Vlachos Bass: Brain Weakly Drums: Travis Scelia Starring: Sebastien Giles D’Stair and Carlyle Edwards Director-of-Photography: Paul VanBrocklin Edited by Emanuella Scott Produced by Denver Gregories and Lisette Goines Written and Directed by Pablo D’Stair

via AMERICAN INC — Horror Sleaze Trash

Book Reviews

Can’t Find My Way Home America in the Great Stoned Age 1945-2000 by Martin Torgoff



429701What da cover says:  From the narcotic allure of the bebop and Beat generations to the psychedelic 1960s, Vietnam, the cocaine-fueled disco era, the crack epidemic, and the ecstasy-induced rave culture, illegal drugs have profoundly shaped America’s cultural landscape. In Can’t Find My Way Home, journalist and filmmaker Martin Torgoff chronicles what a long strange trip it’s been as the American Century became the Great Stoned Age.

Weaving together first-person accounts and historical background, Can’t Find My Way Home is a narrative vast in scope yet rich in intimate detail. Torgoff tells the stories of those whose lives became synonymous with the drug culture, from Charlie Parker, Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, and John Belushi to ordinary people who felt their consciousness “expanded” or who plumbed the depths of addiction. He also examines the broader impact of drugs on society and politics, from the war on drugs to the recovery movement, and the continuing debate over drug policy. A vivid work of cultural history that neither demonizes nor romanticizes its subject, Can’t Find My Way Home is a provocative and fascinating look at how drugs have entered the American mainstream.

What I says:  This has to be one of the best history books I’ve ever read, I never expected it to be such an interesting read.  I’ve never taken drugs and have never had any interest in doing so, but somehow this book made it on to my reading list and I’m so glad it did.  This book hasn’t been written by a doctor or a scientist, it hasn’t been written by somebody who is pro or anti drugs, it has been written by somebody who has lived with drugs, reached rock bottom and made it out to the other side.

This subject is a tricky one to keep balanced, it could so easily fall into a rant about drugs and those who take them or it could end up being a “romance” book about how cool drugs are.  Torgoff comes across as being on the fence, some drugs are bad and some are good, we should be given the choice if we want to experiment.

This is written in chronological order, starting with the Jazz musicians of the 40’s, moving on to the Beatniks and hippies, then we get the government waking up and many many arrests are made.  The media joins in the madness and start doing what they do best, lying and scaremongering. This is the point where we are now and what we know about drugs, that they are bad, gangs will kill you because of them, every single kid in school takes drugs, 100,000’s of babies are born each year addicted to some drug or other.  Nobody really looks at the facts, guns, cars, booze and cigarettes kill more people a year and aren’t illegal.  The US government spends 10’s of billion dollars a year fighting drugs with zero impact, money that could be spent on rehab, education, creating a safe space for people to partake in some of the safer drugs which could be taxed.  This book could easily make you start ranting and raving.

I’ve learnt a lot of things on this subject, been inspired to read books by other authors  and to also listen to music by those who experimented.

Give this fantastic book a go and find out just how much drugs have an impact on how the world is today.