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Swimmers Club

The pioneers of aviation were never lonely

Monday, April 10, 2017


Who: Isabel Waidner
What: Writer
Where: London, UK

Isabel Waidner’s novel Gaudy Bauble will be out in June 2017 (Dostoyevsky Wannabe). Camp Crystal (2017) is published by Queen Mob’s, New Romantic & Tender Hearts (2016) is published by Berfrois, Fantômas Takes Sutton (2016) is published by 3:AM Magazine, and Avant-Ice (2016) is published by Minor Literature[s]. Waidner contributed to the Dictionary of Lost Languages (2015) alongside Sarah Wood, Ali Smith, and Olivia Laing. As part of the band Klang, she released records on Rough Trade (2003) and Blast First (2004). She co-edits The Arrow Maker (an underground lit/art journal), and she teaches at Goldsmiths (University of London) and Roehampton University.


Isabel chooses her seven…

CA Conrad, The Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull, 2009)

CA Conrad’s The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2009) is the better known book I guess, and the best example of queer white working-class US poetry I know (“when Frank was born/Father inspected the small package/the nurse handed him/’but where’s my daughter’s cunt? my daughter has no cunt!’/Mother leaned from the bed/’this is your awful son Dear/your son has no cunt'”). In contrast, The Advanced Elvis Course is a prose fiction which takes as its theme the I-protagonist’s mystic-devotional (gay) investment in Elvis Presley the King, in the context of a similarly invested and often working-class community of fans. Via a series of pilgrimages to Graceland, Memphis, Conrad describes incidental encounters and exchanges between the protagonist and his fellow fans with generosity, humour, lack of judgement, and insight, inspiring “feats of great spiritual power” (to reference Kevin Killian’s 5 star Amazon review) in readers. Read it, it’s affordable, it’s on Amazon. I love this book.


“He stopped, took a swig of the dead champagne. It was like Seven Up”

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