1. You’ve just launched 79 rat press as part of the literary exhibition Nothing to Say, can you tell me a little bit more about what inspired both these things?
79 rat press has grown organically out of eight cuts gallery, which I have run since 2010, and under which umbrella I’ve published some wonderful books that have had remarkable critical success for such a tiny outfit, such as Penny Goring’s The Zoom Zoom and Cody James’ The Dead Beat. It also hosts The New Libertines and all sorts of other events.
I think I have become aware though that I can make most of a difference through very sharply focussed, very small events and editions. I also wanted to get back to my original intention with eight cuts gallery of something literary based on a model from the art world. As you probably know, I am obsessed with both Modernism and 20th century art, culminating in the Young British Art movement. Tracey Emin is the biggest influence on my own writing, and what I have felt for a long time is that to get people truly talking about what literature can do, we need more events like art’s Freeze and Sensation, and more figures like Jay Jopling and Nick Serota to push challenging literature into the public consciousness. I think the last time that really happened was in the 60s and 70s when Carmen Callil launched Virago and Lawrence Ferlinghetti brought the Beats to the world through City Lights. I’ve always thought of myself as some kind of very weak shadow of Ferlinghetti, the guy behind the scenes who writes himself but whose pleasure is bringing other people to the world.Read more