“I’D LIKE TO DROP MY TROUSERS TO THE QUEEN/ EVERY SENSIBLE CHILD WILL KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS…” (Morrissey)

THE QUEEN IS DEAD: JARHEADS, EGGHEADS, SERIAL KILLERS & BAD SEX is a collection of letters between British writer Mark Simpson and me published last year by Arcadia Books, UK.

I haven’t read it. Not out of any embarrassment over certain unsanitized details of my lewd vagrancy. (On the contrary; my life is an open book … literally.) I just selfishly prefer my limited-edition-of-one set of Mark’s personal letters to me v. the konsumprodukt available in the US from amazon.com.

But I do like looking at THE QUEEN IS DEAD. For me it has something of the exotic gloss of a record album in the import bin:

A catalog record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 1-900850-49-4

Designed and typeset in FF Scala and Scala Sans by
Discript, London WC2N 4BN
Printed in England by The Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

I’m also impressed with (and grateful for) the acuity of our reviewers’ critical comments. Honestly, I never really expected to see THE QUEEN IS DEAD published at all — much less widely reviewed, slated for translation into Portuguese, and at Christmas listed by THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY as one of their

Books of the Year

Especially interesting (and, for me as a first-time author in the UK, instructive) have been the assessments of British journalists published in mainstream newspapers.

I don’t know to what extent these letters are edited. Anyway, they read beautifully: certainly, an e-mail correspondence would have been very different in flavour. There’s a neatness about the exchange of ink and paper that seems to suit a sergeant-major formalism in the soul of both writers.

Thank you. And, “right on” : E-MAIL SHOULD BE RESTRICTED BY LAW NOT TO EXCEED THE WORD LENGTH OF TELEGRAMS IMHO. STOP.

Simpson always comes across as a very public figure while Zeeland, with his low profile, his drifting across state lines, seems more the genuine inhabitant of the demi-monde that Simpson espouses.


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