Neil Kulkarni
 answers thirteen questions in a Booker's Dozen. 

TPQ: What are you currently reading?

NK: Aeschylus - Oresteia 〰 George & Weedon Grossmith - Diary Of A Nobody 〰 WG Sebald - Rings Of Saturn.

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

NK: Best: Dostoevsky 〰 Notes From Underground 〰 Crime & Punishment 〰 Brothers Karamazov
Herman Melville 〰  Moby Dick.
Daniel Defoe  〰 Robinson Crusoe. 
Yevgeny Zamyatin 〰 We
Homer 〰  Odyssey.
Damon Runyon 〰  On Broadway.
The Best Of SJ Perelman. 
Saki 〰 Complete Saki.
Evelyn Waugh 〰 Vile BodiesπŸ”–The Loved OneπŸ”–Handful Of Dust. 
William Faulkner 〰 Sound & The Fury.
Kristin Hersh 〰 Don't Suck Don't Die.
Andy Warhol 〰 The Philosophy Of Andy Warhol. 
Donald Barthelme 〰 60 Stories.
Complete Short Stories Of Raymond Carver.
James Hanley 〰 Boy.
Jean Genet 〰 The Thief's Journal.
Iceberg Slim 〰 Pimp. 
Ann Kavann 〰 Ice. 
Lautreamont 〰 Maldoror.
Varlam Shalamov 〰 Kolyma Tales. 
Grahame Greene 〰 End Of The Affair. 
Carlos Fuentes 〰 Constancia & Other Stories For Virgins.
Ronald Firbank 〰 Complete Stories.
DG Hessayon 〰 The Complete Vegetable Gardener. 
Elizabeth David 〰 French Country Cooking.
Peter Guralnick 〰 Last Train To Memphis.
Nik Cohn 〰 Ball The Wall.
Greil Marcus 〰 Lipstick TracesπŸ”–Mystery Train
Lester Bangs 〰 Psychotic Reactions.
A.Sivanandan 〰 A Different Hunger.
Toni Morrison 〰 Beloved.
Anthony Burgess 〰 A Clockwork Orange.
Paul Cain 〰 Fast One. 
Raymond Chandler 〰 The Long Goodbye,πŸ”–The Big SleepπŸ”–Farewell My Lovely.
Arthur Conan Doyle 〰 The Complete Sherlock Holmes
GK Chesterton 〰 The Complete Father Brown Mysteries
MR James 〰 Collected Ghost Stories.
George Orwell 〰 Road To Wigan Pier
Richard Hoggart 〰 The Uses Of Literacy
Seamus Heaney 〰 Opened Ground πŸ”–Tragically I Was An Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook. 
Mikhail Bulgakov 〰 Master & Margarita.
Norman Mailer 〰 Naked & the Dead 
Lawrence Block 〰 The Complete Matt Scudder Mysteries.
Yukio Mishima 〰 Confessions Of A Mask.
James Hogg's 〰 Confessions Of A Justified Sinner.
Shirley Jackson's 〰 Haunting Of Hill House
Ralph Ellison's 〰 Invisible Man. 
Hubert Selby Jr. 〰 The Room
Joseph Conrad's 〰 Heart Of Darkness
William Burroughs 〰 Naked Lunch πŸ”– Soft Machine
Jack Kerouac 〰 Dharma Bums πŸ”– Visions Of Cody.

The worst novel I've given up on would be anything by Henry James. I'm not averse to his kind of precision and control but bloody hell - he doesn't half take an arse-achingly long time to say what he has to say. Have never been able to get beyond a few pages in to any of his stories or books.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

NK: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. For any kid into words that book is a biblical mind-riot that you can never forget. Also, in terms of how much time I'd read/re-read them, Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator and The Whizzkids Handbook.

TPQ: Favourite childhood author?

NK: Roald Dahl, Roger Hargreaves, Bill Naughton, Norton Juster. I would also include in this Stephen King, James Herbert - death, sex and violence are wonderful things to read about as a child.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

NK: The aforementioned Phantom Tollbooth. As a teenager - Greil Marcus 〰 Lipstick Traces, Nik Cohn's Ball The Wall, Stanley Booth's True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones and Miles Davis  〰Autobiography. Sue Townsend’s Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole and Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole, Quentin Crisp’s Naked Civil Servant.

 
TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

NK: William Shakespeare - I know it's an obvious choice but for me, a writer who refuses to engage with Shakespeare is like a musician who refuses to engage with JS. Bach. I know people wanna be anti-canonical but Shakespeare is fucking amazing, a map of everything the English Language is capable of. Anything you think you can do he's probably been there before and the sheer richness of his language, the possibilities and suggestiveness of it - it's a never-ending delight for me and always has been. And he's a local lad so I have a fierce pride about coming from round his way.

The female author - coincidentally a massive fan of Shakespeare - who moves me the most and means the most to me remains Emily Dickinson. Her complete poems are an everlasting, ever-startling thing.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

NK: At the moment, fiction - this tends to swing though, in a month's time it'll be factual stuff that dominates. I vacillate often between thinking fiction is a waste of what little time I have left and also thinking that my tired old brain can't cope with anything I need to 'retain'.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

NK: Kenneth Williams Diaries, Primo Levi's Is This A Man and If Not Now When?, Joe Orton's Diaries,  and although a novel A.E Ellis' astonishing and sadly forgotten The Rack is a shattering portrayal of his own experiences. As is Larry Kramer's Faggots.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

NK: Anything by that racist, classist bore, Charles Dickens.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?

NK: I would share . . . . . Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon 1 & 2 - I am a prurient sod. All my Viz annuals - these have built me. Louis Ferdinand Celine's Journey To The End Of The Night. I find Celine's' use of language, the way he makes it throb, as well as how funny yet dark his writing can be has been a massive influence both on the way I write but also my own mix of idealism and despair. Wouldn't dream of comparing myself to such a master but he's the writer I find most kinship with not in terms of his appalling attitudes but in terms of that mix between hope and hopelessness. He's fucking hilarious but deep as fuck as well. CS Lewis 〰 A Grief Observed. This book is closest to where my heart is now X.


TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

NK: AA Theory Test, Practical Test & Highway Code to my daughter so she can stop flippin' asking for lifts everywhere.

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

NK: I don't think Any of James Ellroy's amazing books have ever been turned successfully into a film. I would love someone good to take on his whole narrative including Big Nowhere 〰 LA ConfidentialAmerican TabloidWhite JazzCold Six Thousand Bloods A RoverPerfidia & The Storm and turn it all into the greatest mini-series anyone has ever made. He remains one of my favourite ever authors, unique and genuinely genuinely unputdownable. I think John Banville's amazing The Untouchable would also make an astonishing film.

TPQ: The just must - select one book you simply have to read before you close the last page on life.

NK: I never managed to finish Joyce or Henry Miller - not cos I didn't like 'em but cos my reading of their work always seemed to get interrupted.

Though I tend to dip in and out, I really must read the King James version of the Bible front to back one day. It's such an astonishing, rich, vivid book whenever I remember to read it but I would love to know its cumulative effect if I read it from Genesis to Revelations.

πŸ“šNeil Kulkarni has written for Melody Maker, Uncut, Metal Hammer, The Source and The Guardian. He currently writes for The Quietus and creates the hip-hop section in DJ Magazine as well as maintaining his at-times contentious F.U.N.K blog and teaching media and music full-time in his hometown of Coventry. He is also the author of Hip Hop: Bring The Noise and Eastern Spring: A 2nd Gen Memoir.

Booker's Dozen @ Neil Kulkarni

Neil Kulkarni
 answers thirteen questions in a Booker's Dozen. 

TPQ: What are you currently reading?

NK: Aeschylus - Oresteia 〰 George & Weedon Grossmith - Diary Of A Nobody 〰 WG Sebald - Rings Of Saturn.

TPQ: Best and worst books you have ever read?

NK: Best: Dostoevsky 〰 Notes From Underground 〰 Crime & Punishment 〰 Brothers Karamazov
Herman Melville 〰  Moby Dick.
Daniel Defoe  〰 Robinson Crusoe. 
Yevgeny Zamyatin 〰 We
Homer 〰  Odyssey.
Damon Runyon 〰  On Broadway.
The Best Of SJ Perelman. 
Saki 〰 Complete Saki.
Evelyn Waugh 〰 Vile BodiesπŸ”–The Loved OneπŸ”–Handful Of Dust. 
William Faulkner 〰 Sound & The Fury.
Kristin Hersh 〰 Don't Suck Don't Die.
Andy Warhol 〰 The Philosophy Of Andy Warhol. 
Donald Barthelme 〰 60 Stories.
Complete Short Stories Of Raymond Carver.
James Hanley 〰 Boy.
Jean Genet 〰 The Thief's Journal.
Iceberg Slim 〰 Pimp. 
Ann Kavann 〰 Ice. 
Lautreamont 〰 Maldoror.
Varlam Shalamov 〰 Kolyma Tales. 
Grahame Greene 〰 End Of The Affair. 
Carlos Fuentes 〰 Constancia & Other Stories For Virgins.
Ronald Firbank 〰 Complete Stories.
DG Hessayon 〰 The Complete Vegetable Gardener. 
Elizabeth David 〰 French Country Cooking.
Peter Guralnick 〰 Last Train To Memphis.
Nik Cohn 〰 Ball The Wall.
Greil Marcus 〰 Lipstick TracesπŸ”–Mystery Train
Lester Bangs 〰 Psychotic Reactions.
A.Sivanandan 〰 A Different Hunger.
Toni Morrison 〰 Beloved.
Anthony Burgess 〰 A Clockwork Orange.
Paul Cain 〰 Fast One. 
Raymond Chandler 〰 The Long Goodbye,πŸ”–The Big SleepπŸ”–Farewell My Lovely.
Arthur Conan Doyle 〰 The Complete Sherlock Holmes
GK Chesterton 〰 The Complete Father Brown Mysteries
MR James 〰 Collected Ghost Stories.
George Orwell 〰 Road To Wigan Pier
Richard Hoggart 〰 The Uses Of Literacy
Seamus Heaney 〰 Opened Ground πŸ”–Tragically I Was An Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook. 
Mikhail Bulgakov 〰 Master & Margarita.
Norman Mailer 〰 Naked & the Dead 
Lawrence Block 〰 The Complete Matt Scudder Mysteries.
Yukio Mishima 〰 Confessions Of A Mask.
James Hogg's 〰 Confessions Of A Justified Sinner.
Shirley Jackson's 〰 Haunting Of Hill House
Ralph Ellison's 〰 Invisible Man. 
Hubert Selby Jr. 〰 The Room
Joseph Conrad's 〰 Heart Of Darkness
William Burroughs 〰 Naked Lunch πŸ”– Soft Machine
Jack Kerouac 〰 Dharma Bums πŸ”– Visions Of Cody.

The worst novel I've given up on would be anything by Henry James. I'm not averse to his kind of precision and control but bloody hell - he doesn't half take an arse-achingly long time to say what he has to say. Have never been able to get beyond a few pages in to any of his stories or books.

TPQ: Book most cherished as a child?

NK: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. For any kid into words that book is a biblical mind-riot that you can never forget. Also, in terms of how much time I'd read/re-read them, Charlie & The Great Glass Elevator and The Whizzkids Handbook.

TPQ: Favourite childhood author?

NK: Roald Dahl, Roger Hargreaves, Bill Naughton, Norton Juster. I would also include in this Stephen King, James Herbert - death, sex and violence are wonderful things to read about as a child.

TPQ: First book to really own you?

NK: The aforementioned Phantom Tollbooth. As a teenager - Greil Marcus 〰 Lipstick Traces, Nik Cohn's Ball The Wall, Stanley Booth's True Adventures Of The Rolling Stones and Miles Davis  〰Autobiography. Sue Townsend’s Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole and Growing Pains Of Adrian Mole, Quentin Crisp’s Naked Civil Servant.

 
TPQ: Favourite male and female author?

NK: William Shakespeare - I know it's an obvious choice but for me, a writer who refuses to engage with Shakespeare is like a musician who refuses to engage with JS. Bach. I know people wanna be anti-canonical but Shakespeare is fucking amazing, a map of everything the English Language is capable of. Anything you think you can do he's probably been there before and the sheer richness of his language, the possibilities and suggestiveness of it - it's a never-ending delight for me and always has been. And he's a local lad so I have a fierce pride about coming from round his way.

The female author - coincidentally a massive fan of Shakespeare - who moves me the most and means the most to me remains Emily Dickinson. Her complete poems are an everlasting, ever-startling thing.

TPQ: A preference for fact or fiction?

NK: At the moment, fiction - this tends to swing though, in a month's time it'll be factual stuff that dominates. I vacillate often between thinking fiction is a waste of what little time I have left and also thinking that my tired old brain can't cope with anything I need to 'retain'.

TPQ: Biography, autobiography or memoir that most impressed you?

NK: Kenneth Williams Diaries, Primo Levi's Is This A Man and If Not Now When?, Joe Orton's Diaries,  and although a novel A.E Ellis' astonishing and sadly forgotten The Rack is a shattering portrayal of his own experiences. As is Larry Kramer's Faggots.

TPQ: Any author or book you point blank refuse to read?

NK: Anything by that racist, classist bore, Charles Dickens.

TPQ: A book to share with somebody so that they would more fully understand you?

NK: I would share . . . . . Kenneth Anger's Hollywood Babylon 1 & 2 - I am a prurient sod. All my Viz annuals - these have built me. Louis Ferdinand Celine's Journey To The End Of The Night. I find Celine's' use of language, the way he makes it throb, as well as how funny yet dark his writing can be has been a massive influence both on the way I write but also my own mix of idealism and despair. Wouldn't dream of comparing myself to such a master but he's the writer I find most kinship with not in terms of his appalling attitudes but in terms of that mix between hope and hopelessness. He's fucking hilarious but deep as fuck as well. CS Lewis 〰 A Grief Observed. This book is closest to where my heart is now X.


TPQ: Last book you gave as a present?

NK: AA Theory Test, Practical Test & Highway Code to my daughter so she can stop flippin' asking for lifts everywhere.

TPQ: Book you would most like to see turned into a movie?

NK: I don't think Any of James Ellroy's amazing books have ever been turned successfully into a film. I would love someone good to take on his whole narrative including Big Nowhere 〰 LA ConfidentialAmerican TabloidWhite JazzCold Six Thousand Bloods A RoverPerfidia & The Storm and turn it all into the greatest mini-series anyone has ever made. He remains one of my favourite ever authors, unique and genuinely genuinely unputdownable. I think John Banville's amazing The Untouchable would also make an astonishing film.

TPQ: The just must - select one book you simply have to read before you close the last page on life.

NK: I never managed to finish Joyce or Henry Miller - not cos I didn't like 'em but cos my reading of their work always seemed to get interrupted.

Though I tend to dip in and out, I really must read the King James version of the Bible front to back one day. It's such an astonishing, rich, vivid book whenever I remember to read it but I would love to know its cumulative effect if I read it from Genesis to Revelations.

πŸ“šNeil Kulkarni has written for Melody Maker, Uncut, Metal Hammer, The Source and The Guardian. He currently writes for The Quietus and creates the hip-hop section in DJ Magazine as well as maintaining his at-times contentious F.U.N.K blog and teaching media and music full-time in his hometown of Coventry. He is also the author of Hip Hop: Bring The Noise and Eastern Spring: A 2nd Gen Memoir.

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