I'm not famous. I'm not even almost famous. The big magazines do not call me for begging for interviews (with the exception of Tokyo Coed Enthusiast Quarterly, who email me daily). I feel that in the absence of better media exposure, our readers are being deprived. Of what? I am not precisely sure.
In order to address this perceived imbalance, I've liberated the following questions from the AV Club's interview with Chuck Palahniuk. My aim? To give you, dear reader, a better insight into the mind of the antipode poet. I know IJ suggested we write less about ourselves, but you know what? Fuck IJ. He posts, what, twice a year?
Make sure you check out the actual interview here. And apologies for any AV readers for boosting your Qs. Any further grief, take it up with the Man.
Question: Actor Jack Palance was born Volodymyr Palanyuk; any possible, albeit distant, relation? Because that would be awesome. —Andy T.
Zel: Okay, Readers. I never said this was going to work.
I will, however, tell you a story. The wife and I have been trying to work out what to do with our surnames should we create version 2.0. Do we give the kid my name or double-barrel it? The problem is, if we were to hyphenate our surnames, what we would effectively create is the name of one of Australia's most disappointing cricket captains. A guy who actually cried on inter/national television when he relinquished his captaincy. Can I inflict this kind of stigma on my kid? The only thing worse would be naming the kid John Howard.
Should we choose to double down, not many people will remember the name by the time my kid walks out onto a cricket pitch for the first time. So I guess it'll be okay. That said, if some feisty grandfather feels the urge to bring it up, I'll make sure the next time he sees his dentures will be when his Filipina nurse, Esmerelda, cleans out his colostomy bag.
Q: A few years back at one of your book signings I heard about the real whale from "Free Willy" becoming a chronic masturbator and the zoo officials attempted to placate him by showing him "whale porn." Is that footage of whales, other animals, or what? Was it edited to bring about maximum stimulation (i.e. multiple angles) or was it more of a static, one camera affair? And did the zoo officials' plan work? —feitclub
Zel: Look, you flatter me. I'm not published. As for masturbating whales? I'm not really into sea animals. I did enjoy 'Into the Blue', though. And had I been single, I would have masturbated whilst watching it. Hope this helps.
Q: Under what circumstances would you kick a living kitten into a wood-chipper? —eb
Zel: What the fuck is wrong with people?
Q: What is the most salacious piece of gossip that you know to be true? —Stev D
Zel: Ian Thorpe - homosexual. I know, aren't I controversial?
I'm not really big on gossip, although I am enjoying the well chronicled coke phase of Lindsay Lohan's life. I attribute her present woes to Karmic payback for destroying the archetypal ... erm ... physique she flaunted in Mean Girls. So many memories.
Q: What is the meaning of life? I figure if anyone knows, it's you. —someone
Zel: Meaning? I don't have an answer. But where do I find meaning? In truth - spoken or written. And in thighs, jumpshots and good coffee. I'm a simple man and you can get your own answer.
Q: If you could witness any historical event first-hand, what would you choose? —Joe Blevins1
Zel: The crucifixion. I'd take a golf cart and a mini DV and drive around looking for the second shooter. And if Magdalene looked anything like Monica Bellucci in the Passion, I'd slap down a fist full of gold coins now and repent later. Because, gents, it's not infidelity if your wife hasn't been born yet.
Q: Do you think there can really be true "underground" movements anymore, or is the Internet making everything too readily available to everyone? —MollyPocket
Zel: The internet is the red cordial (kool-aid) to our global ADHD. Our ability to focus on any topic has atrophied to a point where we will give up on an issue if doesn't load quickly enough. A lot of great ideas get hijacked and exposed before they even have a chance to take root and mature. Much akin to an NBA team drafting a tall lanky high school kid that ends up in the NBDL, Europe or, worse, Keon Clark's Mercedes. There's just not enough patience or cultivation anymore, and far too much exposure too soon.
The flipside is a limitless source of information. I can spend hours on Youtube digging up spoken word and poetry slam pieces. I can group up with four guys in four different corners of the globe and spit about nothing and everything. And I can download pornography.
Whether this has any lasting impact on underground movements, I don't know. However, I do think the new underground will be offline. And the revolution will not be televised.
Q: If you could force Dick Cheney to watch any movie, TV show, or montage, A Clockwork Orange style, what would it be? —shinobi
Zel: The Big Lebowski. Say what you will about the tenets of neo-conservatism, at least it's an ethos. [/nerd]
Q: What in your opinion, is the best book-to-film adaptation? —the jace
Zel: Fight Club and Trainspotting spring to mind. In both respects, the films were true enough to the source, and yet stood alone as great art/entertainment. I don't feel that my answer is particularly hip though, so I'll throw this question out to my PK brethren. O
Q: Can someone be a brilliant artist without being seriously fucked-up? Can someone be a brilliant artist and be completely sane and well-adjusted? Can the sane and good create art that is meaningful and not simply bland or pretty to look at? —Isaiah Technician
Zel: There are no absolutes. I function pretty well in society and I can write a little. I must confess to having a constant and detailed running narrative in my head (except when fucking). If that makes me a maladjust, well, so be it. I'd ask Sparky (cf. constant retard).
Q: Would you rather burn to death or freeze to death? Alternatively, how would you most like to die? —sneeches
Zel: Dark was the night and cold was the ground, so let this whiteboy freeze to death. I mean, seriously, who would choose to burn? As for preferred method of death - something involving a busload of Japanese racequeens and dehydration would be suitable.
Q: As disgusting as it sounds, I have a fascination with the graffiti scrawled on the walls of public restrooms. What is the most interesting/enigmatic picture or saying that you have seen in a public restroom? What does restroom graffiti say about our culture as a whole? —down
Zel: I dropped something on a toilet floor once. Nothing fecal, mind, just a pen that had fallen behind the S-bend (I was drawing a dick and balls). As I reached down to pick up the pen, I noticed a little piece of graf that read 'what are you looking down here for?' So true, little wall, so true.
As to what toilet graf says about our culture as a whole? It says that if you hide a man behind four walls and put his pants around his ankles, he'll say whatever base shit is on his mind.
Doesn't that sound familiar?
Q: It's the apocalypse. You're allowed one weapon—what is it and why? —nflux
Zel: Too easy. Just gimme the Barstal Bat. During quiet periods, I could attach a fishing line, clean dusty rugs and play teeball.
Q: I'm planning on moving to Portland, OR largely on account of you and Fugitives And Refugees (and to finish my M.A. degree). What, outside of that bad-ass book, should I know about the city? —Hiyme
Zel: The #1 Picking Blazers - incredible turn of events out in Portland. A nucleus of Roy, Oden (pending) and Aldridge (Maybe even Z). A bunch of young guys in Jack, Outlaw, Webster and Miles. They even have a Gorilla and an Aussie (Schenscher). What's not to like about this team? Aside from that, I don't know much else about the Pacific Northwest. Check with TMH or something. Homage: Denz places his pen down and watches her plane depart in a listless grey arc. He checks his watch, stands and orders a milkshake from a busty waitress. Vanilla.
Q: Regardless of whether ghosts exist, why do you think they're so important to our culture right now? I ask the question not just in relation to literature (and your excellent books on haunting could be one example, from Fight Club to Lullaby and beyond), but with a view to contemporary horror movies, geopolitics, etc. What attracts us to ghosts, why do we need them, what can they teach us, and why now? —Simon P
Zel: Why? Because otherwise this is it.
Is this it?