Last Days of the Cross

In offbeat on October 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Joe grew up in the East End of London and left school with few qualifications. He then embarked on a succession of menial jobs. After being stabbed in a bar brawl and getting robbed at knifepoint he decided it was time to leave the country and promptly travelled the world; Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. He stayed in Australia for three years living mostly in the Kings Cross area of Sydney until he became an illegal immigrant. To avoid being deported Joe then went to Thailand and brought a share in the world’s smallest bar, the famous and now defunct Barcelona Bar. After fleeing Thailand with a tail between his legs he returned to London in 2001 where he lives and writes to this day.

What do you think of the more alternative, cultural phenomenon of the Internet based lit-Zine scene? Is it a good thing? Or is it killing off the traditional paper based publishing industry??

It’s a great thing, totally revolutionary, but it will never kill off the paper based publishing industry as humans still like the feel of a good book and a good cock!

What role has the Internet played in your writing?

Without the internet I might as well take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut!

There’s quite a bit of dialogue in what you write. You seem to have a good ear for dialogue. Is that something natural? Where did you develop that?

Hmm, dialogue is difficult, get it wrong and you just look like a c**t, but get it right, and as Bukowski would say, it’s like finding gold in the city dump.

Is what you write about purely literary, or is it a depiction of a certain world you’ve been a part of?

I would say that ninety percent of my writing is true stories and ten percent fiction, but it is the ten percent fiction which sends it spinning a million miles away from mere biography, confessional, narcissistic, up my own arse bullshit. I mean most peoples lives are boring, tedious in the extreme, so who wants to hear about that? Okay, I may have lived a vaguely interesting life, but just writing about what I’ve done or where I’ve been would instantly send the reader into a self-induced coma.

How do you carry out research for a new story?

I step inside the steels wires of my brain and see if there’s anything up there worth writing about, occasionally, much to my continued amazement, I find that there is.

Do you write a novel/short story for a reaction or do you write novels/short stories for personal reasons?

I write because if I didn’t I would get hold of the nearest AK47 and gun down as many of the c**ts as I could, men women and children, and no I would not turn the gun on myself. Being a man of peace, and a natural born coward, writing is the only feasible course of action.

Top 5 books you’d rescue from a burning building?

Hating Olivia, Mark SaFranko, Ask the Dust, John Fante, Hunger, Knut Hamsun, Philosophy in the Boudoir, Marquis De Sade, and ok fuck it, On the Road Jack Kerouac.

Top five films:

Psycho, Casablanca, American Physcho, Apocalypse Now, Goodfellas, Bugsy Malone.

If you could have a beer with any writer dead or alive who\’d it be, and why?

Charles Bukowski, just to confirm my suspicions that he couldn’t handle a beer, and to ask him what he thought of ECCO publishing anything he ever wrote and subsequently diminishing his standing as an artist.

What are you currently working on?

My sixth novel, Burrito Deluxe, numerous short stories, poems, and cirrhosis of the liver.

Anyone else on the scene you\’d recommend?

Michael Keenaghan. Mark SaFranko, every lover of literature must read Hating Olivia and Lounge Lizard when it comes out. Anything by Adelle Stripe.

What is the one thing you truly want people to get out of your work?

I couldn’t give a shit what people get out of my work, but if anyone slags it off, remember what comes around goes around……….

I wish people would take more notice of …

How pointless their jobs and lives are, for if they did maybe they wouldn’t take everything so fucking seriously, especially women.

The most surprising thing that ever happened to me was …

Everyday I wake up and find I can stand upright, is a small miracle….

A common misconception of me is …

Hmm, not sure if this a common misconception, but someone on a Guardian blog once referred to me as a Nathan Barley type. I don’t want to get the violins out, but I grew up on a council estate, went to a succession of terrible comprehensive schools, left with zero qualifications, and then embarked on a series of menial jobs. This country, still somehow being riddled with class bias, the only time I was treated as a human being was when I lived in another country. My advice to all young working class people is to emigrate at the first opportunity. I mean think about it, we are living in a country where James Blunt and Lilly Allen are pop stars and David Cameron is leader of the opposition! 


The complete ‘Home Clubber’ cartoons of genius comedy-duo Modern Toss

‘Staying at home reading a collection of Modern Toss cartoons yeah? Looks like it an’all.’

‘Home clubber’ is the surreal, laugh-out-loud funny cartoon that has appeared weekly in every Guardian Guide for the last four years. It’s a bit like a well-loved British sitcom, with the same set up every week: the same two badly-drawn figures slouching in the same two chairs, coming down after a hard night on the town . . .

Now, for the first time, all of the sofa-bound adventures of the two home clubbers are available in one book – the perfect giftbook for the couch potato in your life, from the genius that is Modern Toss. Tasty!

Jon Lip and Mick Bunnage are the founders of *hitflap.com and the writers and producers of the hit Channel 4 show Modern Toss. They live in Brighton and London .

Modern Toss


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