From a Secret Location to the White Cube

I am going to post some thoughts over the next few days in connection with my reading of Johan Kugelberg's Brad Pitt's Dog.  Consider these posts as some type of review.

Brion Gysin famously said, "Writing is fifty years behind painting."  Well, paradoxically the mimeo revolution is in some respects years behind vinyl records, science fiction, and comic books.  Case in point, digital documentation.  YouTube is just one of the many topics Kugelberg takes on in his book. Go to YouTube and you can find the most obscure garage classic from the 1960s in a variety of sets and settings.  This is to say nothing of all the videos of comic book, science fiction, or vinyl collectors obsessively documenting their collections and finds.

The digital documentation of mimeo revolution items and collections pales in comparision to these other fanatically exhibitionist collecting ecosystems.  I just do not get why, since the mimeo revolution in its prime, as it was cooking, was intimately connected and dependent on the obsessions of the collector's market.  Peace Eye and Fuck You, a magazine of the arts prove this.  The relationship of a host of writers, like Ted Berrigan, with rare bookstores, like Gotham Book Mart proves this.  The role of the Phoenix Book Store, Better Books, Eighth Street Books, and Indica Books prove this.  David Meltzer, Kenneth Rexroth as booksellers prove this.  The selling of mimeo revolution archives and correspondence to fund further publication proves this.  The mimeo revolution limited edition phenomenon proves this.  Gregory Corso proves this.

Kugelberg provides one of the few places to get a good look at the mimeo revolution on YouTube.  .

The impulse to post on YouTube for Kugelberg comes directly from his impulses as a vinyl collector.  This video should be aggressive and punk rock.  Yet Kugelberg is conflicted.  His love of vinyl conflicts with his love of paper.  Note the soundtrack to the video.  This music is totally inappropriate to the material, but Kugelberg reveres print, puts it on a pedestal.  His Baron Corvo collection and how he acquired it are a case in point.  This is courtly love and an arranged marriage.  Punk and garage rock make Kugelberg want to fuck.  He met them slumming in the bargain bids.  That is part of the attraction.  Corvo and book collecting are loves that dare not speak their name.  This love reveals him as an aristocrat, even if one on shaky ground like Corvo.  Yet Kugelberg cannot help talking about it at least once.  That is the vinyl collector in him.

There is a conservatism, a reserve about book collectors (including Kugelberg the book collector), that does not exist with comics, vinyl and science fiction.  As far as I know, there is not an aggressive and prolific fanzine culture around book collecting.  Definitely not one with attitude and gossip.  Mimeo Mimeo is anomaly, if a tweedy one. This is strange since the mimeograph was one of the key technologies for the development of fanzines. Kugelberg rightly points out that fanzine culture and history are ripe for exploration and that fanzines are a primary source for literary and music history.  Most of the magazines associated with book collecting (usually in a glossy, mainstream mag format) stress the market, investment or historical angles.  Book collecting as part of a portfolio, not as a way of life, an worldview, an obsession or a disease.

Are bookseller's catalogs going in this direction? Catalogs with editorial comment and design. Biblioctopus has always done this. Division Leap just made a statement in design.  Where are the magazines on books and book collecting with safety pins for bindings and ripped covers.



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