Posts Tagged ‘Adam Parfrey’

Price Is A Big Factor

05 Dec




Date: Fri, 05 Dec 1997 06:22:14

Hi Gabriel, thanks for writing... basically I was told by one of our authors (Jim Keith) that Len had submitted his book to Adam already typeset and on disk. However, Len told me that Adam had to re-do the project, but didn't explain why, so I don't really know exactly what the story is there.. I was trying to throw some biz to Len, assuming that it was he who did the typesetting. We're small and price is a big factor so I hoping that I would get a good price from Len for interior design. We have a good cover guy at this time.

That's basically the story....If you would like to give me some idea of your pricing structure, I'll get back to you. Thanks again! —Ron Bonds

Date: Mon Dec 8, 1997 10:34:22 AM America/New_York

Hey Ron, the information you have is correct, while vaguely understated. The "reason" that the book was reset was because Bracken made several design choices against my recommendations at the beginning of the project (type size and leading) which pushed the length of the book beyond that which Parfrey was willing to invest. After toiling on the project for mere pennies on the hour I was unwilling to "reset" the book a second time, but did however send Adam a copy of my own registered PageMaker 6.0 to help him along since it was my understanding that he'd only worked from an old pirated version of Quark Express at Feral.

As for being small, I am a one person shouting operation, jobless for most of the 1990s, and have worked for free for way too long. After three years of friendship with Bracken we recently had a parting of the ways after I wrote an online piece that he considered a "betrayal of our friendship." We agreed to give ourselves—in a rather amicable parting—a six months reprieve from each other's mindsap politics and jackhammered idiosyncracies just to clear the air. Thus I was surprised to get a call from him after a mere three weeks, suggesting I contact you.

That said, I understand the nature of cash flow problems, and would be willing to consider a barter, a swap of x-number of typesetting services for an x-number of pages that you would agree to publish in book form from my own work, under your own publishing house credential, or perhaps as an independent venture under my own SAMPLEX PRESS nomenclature. Should this species of business deal appeal to you, please don't hesitate to formulate a proposal to satisfy each of our needs. Pursuant to your query, my own "formal" web design and dtp rates can be found at:

but within the context of a publishing for typesetting barter I am willing to review any proposal you may outline.


Gabriel Thy
Creative Director
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems

Friends, Foes, Bookworms, and Burial Grounds (For Slander)

14 Mar


Friends, Foes, Bookworms, and Burial Grounds


Originally published Mar 14, 1997. The belief in the sanctity of words is never more substantial an argument for that great principle than when those who use words to slander others slander themselves instead.

Neither Sadie Plant nor Stewart Home could be called 'Debord's puppy dogs', so try them out—Plant: 'The Most Radical Gesture', Routledge, 1994; Home: 'The Assault on Culture', AK Press, 1988(?). Home also edited a reader "What is Situationism?' (AK Press, 1993) which has an essay by Jean Barrot, an interview with Ralph Rumney where he credits Michele Bernstein with doing most of the work of the S.I, and a reprint of the Dave Wise 'End of Music' article which started the whole S.I=punk thing which Greil Marcus was so keen on.

Does your p.s mean that Len's Debord book is on sale? He sent me a letter a year ago saying it was on its way, but I've never heard anything more. Who published it?

I told him both times in a rather grinding voice that I didn't want to hear about his petty acts of vandalism, that I didn't go for that sort of thing, adding something to the effect that yeah, he's been written up about these sort of things. He didn't even probe for content, but was juiced that he was "creating rumor, and rumors of rumors..."
Thanks Tim for the Home tip. Of course Home and Marcus rank as treasonous characters off Bracken's critical tongue, but since one of Bracken's novels is called "The Secret City" set here in DC, and not very written to boot, I now wonder who's secret is really being kept. A secret society is far preferable to an openly political cadre in as far as I am concerned. To pull a feather from the SI cap, to be political in today's climate, one must eschew politics, and simply use the game to learn and to expose, but the idealism and ranting is misleading and fruitless. Why imitate that which we find rather transparent and offensive in that which we would overthrow? As for Len's book on Debord, no, it's not off the presses yet. We only sent the hardcopy and disks to his publisher at the end of January. Feral House supposedly is publishing it, having already paid Bracken his author's slice but apparently (and here goes the gossipmongering again) Adam Parfrey is battling not a few personal problems of his own (sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll), and had subsequently lost the package in his corporate (well, small press) transition from Portland OR to sunny LA...

But Len called me earlier this week saying that Adam had called him, got his answering machine, but confirmed that all the components had been rediscovered and he was busy putting the money together to move forward. The book will actually go to a Michigan printer as soon as all the rough edges are worked out. Late '97 is probably the earliest bet. And the pre-press GT scoop on the Debord bio is this: it's sad that the author didn't interview Bernstein first hand. The book was researched from lots of published sources, and while a rather mediocre book from the standpoint of traditional biographies (and Len's own ridicously repeated rants that his book will stand for 500 hundred years), it is quite informative to someone who knew next to nothing about the movement and its major players beforehand.

My P.S. comment was solely reflecting Len's eagerness for any publicity, good or bad. Indeed I had gotten his name "out there" with the E-mail he so pompously despises. When he called me up to brag (to report on his revolutionary activity, in his "own" words) about his latest graffiti surge this week, and actually the week before as well, I told him both times in a rather grinding voice that I didn't want to hear about his petty acts of vandalism, that I didn't go for that sort of thing, adding something to the effect that yeah, he's been written up about these sort of things. He didn't even probe for content, but was juiced that he was "creating rumor, and rumors of rumors..." (My words). Len Bracken's a character alright. Trust Feral House gets its act together and puts the ink to the paper on this one. Hey, I earn a few lines of credit in the book as well, so let's carry on...


Review: Guy Debord, Revolutionary

31 Jan


Guy Debord & Etienne


Originally published on January 31, 1997

I'm glad I went into detail. I checked my database. November 14 was the transition date from Big Al to the current notation.

You asked me for editorial comments on "GUY DEBORD - Revolutionary" by the indefatigable Len Bracken. I have not forgotten, and was quite pleased that you asked for details of my impressions, so I suppose I should lay in a few lines on the topic right here, seeing as life is settling down again for me, and shorter than a thrice-used candlestick.

Considering the Situationist International's (SI) big cheese was, by revolutionary and philosophical necessity, a subterranean conspiracy veiled in secrecy, trapped in a state of chaos by idiosyncracies leaning toward an accelerated paranoia and strong diva tendancies, the volume was a decent read for the first biography ever written about the man (vested propoganda offered as fact by Len) in English. Especially for newcomers to Guy Debord and the SI. I was surprised by the general sense of objectivity in handling the material, having presumed Bracken to be a terminal sycophant of Debord as the self-anointed philosopher king of the whole romanticized SI movement.

I was able to argue plainly and successfully my objections with Len to the man and the philosophy based on details the book offered over the last week of proofing and finalizing the 420 page manuscript. The author's style was rather straightforward, his own voice almost non-existent, a minor flaw in the book as I pointed out to Len.


Guy Debord Revolutionary

As any serious reader might be, I was plagued with the question, who is this Len Bracken fellow of few daylight credentials? Again, I emphasize, this was no ordinary biography, given the secrecy of much subversive material hidden by its originators, so as might be expected much of the narrative is speculative and heresay. Debord's two wives are still alive, intellectuals in their own right, and yet were not interviewed personally by the biographer.

And while Bracken's bibliography and footnotes are extensive, this dependency on so much second and third hand information will no doubt register as a flaw with serious reviewers. Historical threads of Debord's intellectual ancestors are woven rather seamlessly into the cloth of the story, while personal anecdotes from behind the scenes are perhaps in short number. By the end of the volume I had gained probably for the first time ever a respect for both the biographer and the subject, while still disdaining the ultimate outcome of such a philosophical stance. Debord was a tyrant and a romantic. He carved up friendships with bold sweeping strokes. (Hmmm, something I might actually respect in the man given my own circumstances.)

Bracken indeed proved himself capable of putting flesh and flaw onto the man and the myth, much to the book's advantage. To his credit, Bracken's usual bluster and misplaced pomposity (Bracken's Breath) that this was a book that will be read for 500 years fortunately was kept out of the pages, and I could only plead in a feeble GT grit and grunt that my own ears had not been spared the oft repeated utterance, no doubt a trumped up cry for respect of a very needy author and personality.

I had to insist repeatedly that I was no cheerleader type, no empty flatterer, a symptom of my childhood no less, but that my comments were sincere and as comprehensive as I could make them. It was a roller coaster ride around here, but I think we did a pretty damn good job on the proofing, the layout, and an unbias review of the material. Could he not just leave it at that? Needless to say, I was not sad to see that job finished, and a satisfied Bracken wheeling out the door.

I am promised another $250 plus two copies of the finished product to add to the original $500. One can only speculate if I'll ever see either. Small press insecurities chewed at Len persistently over the month we worked together. Adam Parfrey is not intentionally a fly by nighter, but the Feral House Books wing span ain't exactly an eagle's badge of honor either...



"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""