Hypnotic, mantra-like sentences guiding you through a highly structured imagination.

Image: Author

Gerald Murnane is very, very weird. Not in the William S. Burroughs or J. G. Ballard sense. This is someone whose inner world is so neat it is practically autarchic, the kind that is vivid enough to withstand solitary confinement. The Australian writer and potential Nobel-laureate is the kind of person who obsesses over hues, gestures, light, and his own memories with an almost breathtaking intensity. Hypnotic, mantra-like sentences guide you through a highly-structured imagination where one’s first impression is nobody I know thinks like this.

Where To Start

Murnane’s short story collection Stream System is a good place to start if you…


“Friendo, pass me the benzo”

I’ve written about Q somewhere else on this blog. There is not much that can be said about him, other that he is the host of a small YouTube channel flippantly called The Book Club (because it is anything but), and that he lives in Leeds. His real name is Quentin Scobie, but fans refer to him simply as Q, a catchy nom-de-plume with faint echoes of Takashi Miike’s transgressive Visitor Q and the omnipotent entity of the same name from the Star Trek universe — the Book Club’s world lies somewhere between these two Qs. …


Everyone’s got certain books in their collection they could never part with. I’m not sure if it’s because we plan to read them again, or if by merely looking at them we remember that state of bliss and forgetfulness that good fiction can bring. Whatever the reasons, they’re the kind of rare books that make you want to drop everything and get home as fast as possible.

In my case it was also partly due to the way they erased my common sense notions of reality like a metaphysical Etch A Sketch. …


I have never really liked Wes Anderson. Vibrant color palettes and an economy of gestures make for movies that are far more enjoyable when seen for the first time, but as with other highly-idiosyncratic directors, you see one flick, you’ve seen them all.

Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki was guilty of this long before Anderson. I loved my first Kaurismaki movie (Ariel), but grew to loathe his style as I slowly made my way through his filmography, to the point where it took me ages to finish his latest offering The Other Side of Hope. …


A short gem with a long title, The Anabasis is a slow-paced film, in the style of Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil, about the violent acts and fugitive lifestyle of the Japanese Red Army. The voice-overs here are May Shigenobu, the daughter of one of the founders, and Masao Adachi, a filmmaker also tied to the movement. May is, incidentally, named after (you guessed it) May 68, a theme I’ll be coming back to later.

While watching The Anabasis, I found myself blown away by some of the connections Adachi made between shooting scenes and guerilla warfare, mostly because they sounded…


Image courtesy of Dais Records

As is usually (and unfortunately) the case, a life-changing artist passed away before the YouTube algorithm finally decided to bless me with their work. This happened to me last week with Ghédalia Tazartès (1947–2021), a French musician who left a cosmic dent in my imagination with his 1979 release Diasporas, a trippy, earth-shattering album that does to eardrums what Werner Herzog does to eyes.

I developed an interest in experimental music ever since my late teens, when a numinous encounter with Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica spelled the end of my lackluster tryst with alternative rock. It was exhilarating to…


My copy of Simon Hanselmann’s Megahex

I am currently reading Anabel Colazo’s No mires atrás, an adorable Spanish graphic novel that gives off strong Scott Pilgrim vibes. And this is not just due to the similarities between her art style and Brian Lee O’Malley’s (a fusion of manga and Tintin) but also their willingness to become dated, to be a time capsule for a generation. A decade has passed since Scott Pilgrim’s moment in the limelight, punctuated by Edgar Wright’s adaptation starring mumblecore icon Michael Cera, and it’s hard not to notice that the zeitgeist has shifted somewhat.

Video games and rock bands are still there…


It is not easy to assess the impact that two weeks in quarantine with covid-19 can have on your mental health. I for one tend to measure time in the media I consume, which does not set me apart from the myriad others for whom the music, books, and movies they ingest are stamps in duration. While I was quarantined in a subpar hotel in Bilbao with the virus and with an inordinate amount of free time on my hands, no cooking or planning ahead since the hotel staff brought me food and drink every now and then (free of…


Always nice to read about Patti Smith, your overenthusiasm is much appreciated. What do you think of her other books?


Mindfulness meditation is certainly an interesting experience when you’re going through a crisis, but what interests me more is the relapse phase: you stop practicing mindfulness, the honeymoon is over, and lo and behold the reason you started doing it in the first place rears its ugly head once more. Cyclical crises due to taking meditation for granted. So here we go, only this time it’s the same lesson all over again. And it never gets easier.

You try to find new teachers this time. Same message, different packaging. The Internet is useful in this regard: if you can’t vibe…

praznumen

Ștefan Ionescu Ambrosie: a portfolio. I write about books, movies, comics, music, and Internet culture in general, with just a dash of theory

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