Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Mini-rant

End of year review? 2013 was the same, only more so, and faster. It could be viewed as a renaissance in occult book publishing as new operations continued to spring up or expand throughout the year. However, the signal to noise ratio is a constant issue and it feels like the good ship Midian is being battered by an unending tide of - what has become to be categorised by Jake Stratton-Kent among others -  dark fluff. And there is just too much to keep up with. Customers (who actually read books) are starting to object to paying £50+ for a poorly researched, badly edited limited edition book bound in Lulu covered leather and sigilised with demon spunk. The secondary market bubble is showing signs of collapse as people try to offload their useless collections only to realise everyone else is doing the same. Like most of modern culture, it’s the glamour of surface with no depth, a race to get out new material as fast as possible and then extract the last financial drops before heading off to the next big thing. Now that anyone can publish, it doesn’t mean that everyone should publish. I’m no fan of the cankerous Kindle but maybe that’s where a lot of this drek belongs, on a medium as instant and disposable as its content.

On a more positive note, some publishers continue to deliver, most notably Scarlet Imprint. Absolutely no apologies for singling them out yet again. Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech released just two titles this year; Nicholaj Frisvold’s excellent anthology of essays on traditional craft - Serpent Songs, and Peter Grey’s own ground-breaking, poetic, political, why-the-fuck-haven’t-you-read-it-yet, tour-de-force act of re-wilding, Apocalyptic Witchcraft. Witchcraft isn’t ‘becoming’ political, it always was. It’s just that in the 20th century it got lost in the twisty paths of unnecessary arcana.

I will end on a slightly altered quote from John Waters - “We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don't have (good) books, don't fuck them.”

Happy 2014.