September 14th, 2012

The Brothel Creeper

I’m due to start below another of my gradual real-time reviews, turning leitmotifs into a gestalt. A paperback book I purchased from the publisher.

THE BROTHEL CREEPER - Stories of Sexual and Spiritual Tension
by Rhys Hughes

Gray Friar Press 2011

CAVEAT: Spoilers are not intended but there may be inadvertent ones. You may wish (i) to take that risk and read my review before or during your own reading of the book, or (ii) to wait until you have finished reading it. In either case, I hope it gives a useful or interesting perspective. Also ''The Small Miracle" first appeared in NEMONYMOUS in 2003.

There is no guarantee how long it will take to complete this review, whether days or years.

My previous reviews of Gray Friar Press books:

My previous reviews of Rhys Hughes books:

All my other real-time reviews are linked from here:


The Ditching
"He needed praise, encouragement, justification, reassurance, data."
A masterwork of a fable concernig a Catch 22 non-atruistic altruism: leading to deadly exploitation of the delightfully prose-detailed technology of plane-flight and aileron-lamina flow, also involving gender issues, political correctness, suicide bombing not so much in religion as in doing what is right for the most people or the least people in creative dilemmachination.A well-aimed gem: heat-seeking the right target: i.e. a reader that unselfconsciously needs to be targetted by a brilliant literary conceit that puts ex back into sex.  Vicarious sex or body-targeted or otherwise, Vicious or vitiated. To awaken a new version of vengement. (14 Sep 12 - 8.50 am bst)

One Man's Meat
"Well, big boy, let's have a look at your tool."
This story concerns the eponymous brothel, one with live musicians in discreet alcoves playing music worthy of 'The First Book of Classical Horror Stories" - and a protagonist still hating women as he does in the first story or at least *one* woman, coupled with a degree of self-hatred, that I think may pervade this book, Horror stories threading the worm-holes of self. But only time will tell, yet, meanwhile, this story has the best joke, among much other punnish wordplay, using the word 'horticulture.' And this story is Pan Book of Horror style, Pan-fried! (14 Sep 12 - 1.00 pm bst)

The Cuckoos of Bliss
"He preferred to be utterly rejected by everybody."
I have read and reviewed this story before: quoted in abridged form from my real-time review here: <<I think this is the best Rhys Hughes story I’ve ever read, and that’s saying something! A classic in many ways, with memorable turns of phrase and absurdist / revelatory images: too many to quote or choose from. I will restrict myself to saying this starts as Urban Horror worthy of a Gary McMahon, Buildings horror of a Steve Duffy, personal-paranoia (eg in a Job Centre) horror as portrayed sometimes by Quentin S Crisp, all great writers … leading to a horror/absurd vision that is entirely Hughesian, as built upon a Heaven dialogue-concept first seen by me in fiction by May Sinclair. Doctor Who gash/crack running theme, Aickman “Growing Boys”, TS Eliot’s Waste Land and much much more. And a protagonist with a crossbow: a dangerous thing these days to claim wielding! Also it contains religious fantasy [...] - resurrections – redemptions – rebirth (if partial) – angels – babies like huge crashing aeroplanes – “He was running on water” -and, ah, I can’t go on – read it and contextualise or decontextualise it for yourself! (16 June 10 – another two hours later)>> I've read better Rhys Hughes stories since June 2010, I state frankly today upon re-reading it. Yet it remains among my favourites of his stories. The Herod as heavenly gatekeeper theme gives a sense of the ligottian: the killing of humanity at root and branch (contrast the f**king of a root vegetable without a condom in the previous story), such killing in order to reduce human misery as all humans, I suggest, are basically miserable whatever they say about being happy: a ligottianism that is untypical of the optimism that Rhys often publicly propounds about himself in real life.  What is truer, reality or fiction, though? The protagonist as Heavenly Safety Officer also says "I'm addicted to hope."  Aren't we all thus addicted, even if we are crushed, but even more so, with writers, if our fiction work is crushed. Fiction is more important than self. Even at the optimum age of 33. "His breath froze not into a mist but into a solid cone..." (14 Sep 12 - 2.30pm bst)