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times gone by...

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  • Research: times gone by...

    It's a pleasure to join the Multiverse at last.
    I have started (tentatively) to investigate the book trade in Brighton, UK, and would be interested to hear of any memories of the Unicorn Bookshop and Press that published Mike and J.G. Ballard in the early 70's. In fact, I've just had a conversation with a bookdealer who was called upon to dispose of what turned out to be Bill Butler's collection from a flat in London many years ago, after an apparent disappearance(!?).
    Bibliographic psycho-geography and suchlike strangeness aside, I still cherish an ex-library first of Stormbringer that Mike signed for me some years ago, inscribed with the instruction to "Take It Back!"...
    Thanks for your time...

  • #2
    Cheers, John. Welcome aboard!
    Bill had a flat in London but had basically been living in Brighton with Mike over the shop for a number of years.
    He was in London when he wrote The Hero and died the day after he delivered it. Could be that those books were in that flat. Basically, Mike inherited all Bill's stuff.
    Was the flat in Paddington ?

    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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    • #3
      more to follow up...

      Thanks Mike. Apparently the dealer just bought the collection from a North London bookshop that cleared the flat (so much for my research skills - must try harder). It was mostly small press poetry pamphlets. I've found a few people in Brighton who knew Bill back in the day and there is a thread of cheerful reminiscences on the 'mybrightonandhove' local site about Unicorn, the way the shop was painted, formative drug episodes and visits from Lee Harwood, Ginsburg and Doreen Valiente. And, of course, the local constabulary on occasion.
      I didn't know about The Hero - I'll follow that up too. Any suggestions?
      Aside from Jade Man's Eyes, did Unicorn publish anything else of yours? - oh wait, that's a stupid question on a site full of precisely that kind of information: there should now follow a suitable smilie but I'm not that way inclined...

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      • #4
        John - I've recently been looking at some of the archive material relating to the Unicorn obscenity trial in '68, including newspaper cuttings, the bookshop's records held at the LSE, and some of the files of the late Eric Mottram who was one of the defence wittnesses.

        Originally I was searching for anything relating to Ballard's "Reagan" pamphlet, but became more interested in the circumstances surrounding the obscenity proceedings. There should be an online article appearing at some point, but I still need to work out the right way to approach it ... if you'd like to have a word in the meantime, then email or PM me!
        Mike H.
        www.holli.co.uk

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        • #5
          Originally posted by john shire View Post
          Aside from Jade Man's Eyes, did Unicorn publish anything else of yours?
          Elric - The Return To Melnibone

          John, please let us know if you uncover anything about the origin of The Jade Man's Eyes during your research. The title was first announced by Mike in an issue of Golden Nugget magazine in 1966, for publication in Impulse, but the story didn't appear until 1973. No-one (including Mike) seems to know if the story was actually written in the 60s but remained unpublished until the Unicorn edition of 1973. See this old thread:

          The Jade Man's Eyes
          Last edited by Marca; 03-07-2009, 06:58 AM.
          'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

          Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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          • #6
            Oddly for a Chaos Engineer, Marca forgot The Distant Suns, Mike's third outing from Unicorn.

            _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
            _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
            _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
            _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

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            • #7
              John, there is a little more here, with a few links which may be of help.
              You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

              -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

              Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

              :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


              "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

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              • #8
                Originally posted by David Mosley View Post
                Oddly for a Chaos Engineer, Marca forgot The Distant Suns, Mike's third outing from Unicorn.
                I have slapped my own wrists. A shameful exclusion!
                'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

                Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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                • #9
                  I've now finally finished the article I mentioned earlier in this thread, looking at the Unicorn Bookshop obscenity trial that took place in 1968. This may eventually find its way onto Ballardian.com, but in the meantime you can read it here: http://www.holli.co.uk/unicorn/text.htm

                  For those who knew Bill Butler, the link to Nant Gwilw at the end of the article may also be of interest!
                  Mike H.
                  www.holli.co.uk

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                  • #10
                    Bill actually relished this sort of conflict. One interesting point not made is that Ballard refused to go to court to defend his story against charges of obscenity. His asrgument was that the piece wass intended to be obscene. I used to say I could trust Bill with everything except money. My guess is he spent much of the support money on other projects!

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                    Comment

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