Tag Archives: alt lit

Beach Sloth Reviews The Curiosity Cabinet

Now that we have our new website, it feels fitting to post the review of our first ever issue onto it. Beach Sloth wrote some awesomely kind words. If you want to know what’s going on in the lit world (especially that of the ‘alt-lit’ community) then give his blog a read and follow at www.beachsloth.blogspot.co.uk


The Curiosity Cabinet is quintessentially English. I knew that immediately. Didn’t even have to do any ‘research’ I felt the English in my bones. Look at the cover. Read the title. A cabinet full of curiosities is such a traditionally quaint way of saying things. It beats the American way of introducing things, with the uglier language. ‘Oh yeah, in that cabinet are some shrunken heads and drugs’. If you call it a curiosity cabinet though, you’re fine. Nobody is going to bother you. They’ll think you’re a perfectly charming young lad who has a penchant for curiosity. And I do like this little publication. Everything is here, a lucky list of seven: art & photography, poetry, film, short stories, musical things, a diary, and articles.

                Elise Cochin begins the photography section. Her work appears to be ‘on the fly’. The way she puts it is ‘capturing a sincere moment’. I like that she uses both color and black/white. Her photos seem warm to me. Chris Sutcliff presents a piece of art dedicated to his long-lost red balloon. We lose red balloons as children. Those are the balloons of our innocence. ‘You aren’t your job’ really strikes me. I remember somebody telling me ‘Your job defines you’. I hope that isn’t the case. I want to be more interesting than a mere office worker. I want to create beauty in the world not simply exist as a paper shuffler. Andrew John Craven likes his steampunk. The pictures have a silly quality to them. My favorite is definitely the last one, which is really absurd. Wonder why he doesn’t remove his jetpack. Peatree Bojangles has the best name. She creates dark, weird pictures.
                Alexander Mark Kennard writes about forgetting time in airports. To me, airports don’t represent time. They represent an absence of time. Airports kill more time than any other location. Nor does it even matter with all the ‘time zone’ rubbish going on. I’m here. Yes, I went across the pond to find my own curiosity cabinet. Let me know what you think about it.  James Seymour writes about her. You might remember her from places like ‘your dreams’ and ‘other people’s dreams you happened to stumble upon late at night’. I like the simplicity of the piece.  Connor D’ Arcy gets lost in a fairy tale. Feel he would have been better off nibbling lightly on the poisoned apple.  Keziah Hodgson writes four affectionate poems. They are dedicated to someone; I’m not entirely certain who. But they are rather tender.  Dave Shaw (different from the Canadian poet Dave Shaw) clearly dislikes some night creatures. I’m talking about ‘party people’. In the daytime they dissolve, melted by the sun. At night they run amok.  Adam Johnson has a bleak vision with ‘A Day in Your Life’. At least you get to dance. That seems good.
                Emily Jane Curtin and Michael Burrin have a nice, quiet little movie. This is a really tender piece. I like some of the shots they have. Probably my favorite visual is the shot down the staircase. It looks so domestic. Think that is the sweetest angle in the movie short movie. Even ‘father’s’ voice has kind, pleading quality to his voice. I also like how rarely they rely on dialogue. Most of the film is driven by the visuals, by the sunlight streaming through lonely windows rather than any ‘over-explanation’ of the situation.
                Max Dunbar writes an incredibly bleak short story. It is beyond brutal. A few times I felt extraordinarily sad about the process of aging. Guess that’ll happen to me someday. I’ll be all old and gray living alone in a house with nothing but silence. Ian Adamson deals with the story of a non-joint bank account. The details feel a bit bleak, bus rides and long lines. Glad I live on the internet instead of real life. Real life is hard. Evie Lola has an entire story about wonderful, wholesome family fun. Feel it is pretty darn enjoyable. Refuse to actually give away the plotline. Expect a lot of violence. Amy Louise Crossley writes about the power of dance music. I love dance music though I never really got into the ‘club’ scene due to my extreme lack of energy.  Sian S. Rathore and‘E’ kill it. They defeat emotions. One of brings up the past. The past dies. Apparently E’s friends have ‘eager hands’. I hope E’s friends are using their hands for good, like constructing roads and bridges. Love the exchanges between them. They make me long for more articulate friends.
                Amanda Coban writes one of those ‘live music reviews’. I feel a bit nostalgic reading it. Perhaps I will begin writing about the concerts I attend once more. Now that it is the summer I can start doing that again. I love the name of the band, The Darvaza Hole. Anybody who engages in obscure geographical references is alright with me.
                Renee Boudoir is a burlesque newbie. She apparently travels rather far to live the burlesque lifestyle. The burlesque lifestyle includes cupcakes. I may join the burlesque lifestyle for this only reason. I promise to tease very, very slowly.
                Jonathan Paxton reminds me of my hours spent in front of a computer. I spend hours on each tweet yet others get over 50 re-tweets for stuff like ‘Ate some food’ and ‘Hey’.Let me be the Ringo Star of the alt lit scene. I’m okay with that. Phil Jackman digs, well, it’s a complicated issue.
                The Curiosity Cabinet is a sweet, optimistic collection. I like the dedication. Usually these sorts of things have only poetry. Diversity is good. Different forms of art help to show off the many different ways of expressing oneself. Sometimes I forget about the visual. I get lost in words. Here in this cabinet I’m lost in everything. That’s a good thing.