Kanye West – Reanimator

 

The waiting was gruesome, but Kanye never faltered. Every now and then he applied his ear to the chest of the specimen, and bore the negative results in typical Kanye fashion: by throwing a non-sequitur rant. He’d wax hyperbolic about breadth and width of his art, claiming that it couldn’t be contained by mere genre conventions like “life.”

Growing up in a Dutch suburbia, which to friends, acquaintances, and the occasional individual in the pub I often refer to as “The Whitest Place on Earth”, my fascination for Kanye West was only inevitable. As far as our similarities go, we both studied English and once rewarded ourselves with pet fishes for a major achievement. At the age of seven I bought a gold fish with my pocket money after I got my swimming diploma; Kanye purchased an 18th century aquarium with 30 koi fish after the successes of College Dropout (2004). Both well-deserved rewards I would say, but undoubtedly my fascination is more based on the allure of otherness than on the comfort of familiarity. And so I have no illusions that my attraction to the Other is any better than a white baggy trousered teenage boy shouting “Fuck the Police!” from his new housing estate bedroom or any other instance in which black culture becomes, as bell hooks puts it, “a seasoning that can liven up the dull dish that is mainstream white culture”[1]. Not wishing to participate in this white escapism, my affairs with Kanye are strictly private and rarely find their way past my own ivory white bedroom door. Instead, I indulge in his music the way I experience a Thomas Pynchon novel: from a respectable and self-aware distance but engaged enough to be overwhelmed by the sheer genius of it all. Continue reading “Kanye West – Reanimator”

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Writer’s Block #33

Take a break from your studies and start your summer holidays early by diving into the last Writer’s Block of this academic year! The short stories, interviews and poems are ready to be read and enjoyed. Click on the cover below, and take a look inside!

We’re always looking for new submissions for our next issues. So send your work to us at submissions@writersblockmagazine.com!

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Writer’s Block #32

This newest issue of Writer’s Block Magazine is as all-round as ever! In it you can find interviews, short stories, essays, poems, reviews and columns. And moreover, it reveals the winner of our short story competition! Click on the cover below, and take a look inside!

Would you like to see your piece published in an upcoming issue? Please send us your work at submissions@writersblockmagazine.com! Continue reading “Writer’s Block #32”

The Dreaded 30

It is impossible to pass through life in a university without hearing someone complain about aging. Almost every time someone announces their birthday it comes with a sigh and a disenchanted remark about the passage of time. Judging by the students’ expressions and words, you would think they had just been at a syndicated American political debate, a Russian herring cannery, or a late-night strip club in Paterson, New Jersey; not the comfortable streets of Amsterdam, full of people offering congratulations. Indeed, their reaction is the exact opposite of the elation, happiness, pride and expectation birthdays offered in their earlier days: they feel fear, dread, discontent and pain, as well as annoyance, exasperation and irritation. And the strange thing is that this abstract feeling seems to come with a definitive timestamp: the age of 30.

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The grimm side of fairytales

 

When hearing the phrase “once upon a time…” most of us already know that we are about to be told a fairytale. I don’t have any statistical facts on this, but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that most children love fairytales. Maybe it’s because of the desire that humans have towards storytelling. The magic of being enveloped in a story that is factually impossible but on the other hand intriguing could also be a part of this. Or, maybe it’s the idea that we are not encouraged to lie in our daily lives, but when it comes to fairytales there are no rules to making up the best of stories. Fairytales provide an endless world of possibilities, and all of this happens while the listener knows that the ending will be a safe, satisfying conclusion of “…and they lived happily ever after.” Continue reading “The grimm side of fairytales”

Warriors: Coming of age through cats

 

I get a variety of reactions when I tell people that the series I read throughout my childhood and early teens was one about cats. What’s so great about cats? How can you read book after book, thousands of pages about cats? What can the writer possibly still write about? I too wondered that after reading about twelve of these books. How could I still be hooked on them? How can they still be releasing books, over a decade after I started reading them?

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The Disappearance of the Hatchet Job

In 2012, review aggregator website The Omnivore launched the Hatchet Job of the Year award, given to the “the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review” of the last year in Britain. The prize was a year’s worth of potted shrimp donated by The Fish Society. By now defunct, the award was only given out 3 years. DJ Taylor, in a recent column for the New Statesman, asked a question relevant to its death: “Book reviewing used to be a blood sport. How has it become so benign and polite?” It seems, he concluded, that the “hatchet job” simply has little place in the modern literary milieu. Continue reading “The Disappearance of the Hatchet Job”