Stuplex 002 – Decadence


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The truly brilliant Stuplex including:

23 First Lines of Decadent Novels I Will Never Write by Jeff Young.

Only available in Stuplex 002 – Decadence. 


You hear it on the streets, in the bars, down the alleyways, from open windows:

Stuplex is coming! Stuplex is coming!”

You cock your ear to the breeze and hope for a clue to help unlock the meaning of this curious phrase, but the breeze is keeping the secret to itself. Or so you think.

An empty cardboard box tumbles along the pavement and rolls to a stop just ahead of you. An empty cardboard box just waiting.

A box just waiting to be filled.

What is Stuplex?

  • Stuplex is an evolving collaborative project created by writers, artists and musicians in Liverpool, UK. It originated as an idea in a pub and now exists as an artefact you can buy.
  • Stuplex is art, essay, sound, verse, fiction and more; each item is handmade, curated with loving care, and beautifully packaged inside a collectible box.
  • Stuplex is produced in themed editions, in a variety of formats, and published when it’s good and ready.
  • The theme of Stuplex 001, published in May 2014, was Decay.
  • The theme of Stuplex 002 is Decadence.


Stuplex 002: Decadence

The Stuplex 002 contributors are:

Mike Badger

Mike was a founder member of The La’s in the mid-80s, and now works as a musician and sculptor, as well as being a partner in Liverpool’s Viper record label.

Alan Dunn

Alan is a Glasgow-born artist who teaches at Leeds Metropolitan University. He often works in collaboration with other practitioners on pieces that are public, accessible and free.

Damon Fairclough

A writer and artist based in Liverpool (via a long lost Sheffield of the soul), Damon is a regular contributor to arts and culture publications across the north.

David Hering

David is a writer and academic who teaches at the University of Liverpool where he also researches contemporary and American literature.

Martin Heslop

Martin is a writer, composer and sound artist based in Liverpool. He has written words and music for the page, for release on record and for performance.

Richard James Hughes

Richard is a filmmaker with the independent Liverpool collective Bossfilm, whose works have screened at venues and festivals around the world.

Vidar Norheim

Vidar is a musician, composer and producer from Norway, now based in Liverpool. He is a member of Liverpool band The Wave Machines and frequent collaborator with Lizzie Nunnery.

Lizzie Nunnery

Lizzie is a writer and singer whose plays have been performed in theatres across the UK, and who has released two acclaimed albums in collaboration with Vidar Norheim.

A.E. Pearsall

A.E. Pearsall is a writer and artist whose work tends towards short fiction and text-based art. She was one of the original members of Liverpool’s Wild Writers collective.

Will Sergeant

An acclaimed musician and visual artist, Will was one of the founding members of Echo and the Bunnymen, with whom he continues to record and tour the world.

Jeff Young

A Liverpool-based writer and artist whose practice encompasses theatre, radio, sound art, writing and television, Jeff recently contributed to BBC Radio 3’s Kafka season.

How to buy Stuplex 002: Decadence:

Stuplex 002: Decadence will be published on 1 July 2015, and will be available to buy here.

Only 100 copies of Stuplex 002: Decadence will ever exist. Each copy is numbered and signed by all contributors.

The cost is £25 plus £5 worldwide postage.

For more information:


Twitter: @stuplex_art

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In The Shadow of Kafka


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Franz Kafka

In the Shadow of Kafka
(Sunday 10 May – Saturday 16 May)

Jeff Young features Friday 15 May 2015 at 10.45pm on Radio 3

In the Shadow of Kafka, a series of documentaries and drama on BBC Radio 3 from Sunday 10 May–Saturday 16 May, will examine one of the most elusive and intriguing figures in 20th century literature, Franz Kafka.

100 years since the publication of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, the Czech writer remains one of the most influential writers of the last century, inspiring generations with his novels and short stories, themes of alienation, authority and mythical transformation. In the Shadow of Kafka will re-examine this legacy, exploring Kafka’s life and work through the lens of contemporary writers and dramatists including Margaret Atwood, April de Angelis, Hanif Kureishi, Karen Leeder, Mark Ravenhill and Jeff Young in a week of special broadcasts.

Sunday Feature: Prophet of Prague (Sunday 10 May, 6.45-7.30pm) examines how Kafka’s life and ideas were shaped by his native city at a critical point in European history. Born and bred in Prague, since he died in 1924 the writer has cut an ambivalent figure on the city’s cultural landscape. Today an icon of the city, his books were once banned and considered a threat to the communist regime. In this special Sunday Feature, Misha Glenny, who worked as a journalist in Prague in the 1980s, returns to the city which some argue is ever-present in all of Kafka’s fiction. He visits the Workers Accident Insurance Institute where Kafka worked as an insurance lawyer for 14 years and examines the global influences on Kafka’s ideas: the esoteric philosophies circulating in Prague’s cafes, the politics and paranoia of an empire in decline and the rising tide of Czech nationalism which threatened to engulf the Jewish old town where the Kafkas lived.

Drama on 3 (Sunday 10 May, 10-11.30pm) presents a new adaptation of Kafka’s Der Prozess, traditionally translated as The Trial, 90 years since its posthumous publication. Dramatised and updated for a contemporary setting by award-winning playwright Mark Ravenhill, The Process reimagines Kafka’s nightmarish story of one man’s search for answers. Played by actor Sam Troughton, the tale’s protagonist Josef K becomes Joseph Kay in Ravenhill’s new adaption of Kafka’s unnerving masterpiece.

Playwright Mark Ravenhill says:

“Kafka’s Der Prozess is one of the defining texts of the twentieth century. So it was an exciting challenge to re-imagine it for our times. I found that Kafka’s story – of an individual struggling with a system in which responsibility, judgement and meaning are endlessly deferred – sat remarkably and yet uncomfortably well in a contemporary setting. Reading through my script before I delivered it, I couldn’t be sure if I’d written a comedy or a tragedy. I would guess that’s what Kafka wanted.”

Continuing the week of special broadcasts, on Jazz on 3 (Monday 11 May, 11pm-12.30am) British band Blue-Eyed Hawk perform in session, premiering new music inspired by Kafka’s short stories. A band which explores the relationship between improvisation and literature, Blue-Eyed Hawk features acclaimed young trumpeter Laura Jurd, vocalist Lauren Kinsella, guitarist Alex Roth and drummer Cory Dick.

Throughout the week, The Essay (Monday 11 May – Friday 15 May, 10.45-11pm) presents five writers’ interpretations of Kafka – comedian, messenger, body phobic and unique writer of imagination – examining the breadth of Kafka’s thinking, his world and how his writing still resonates for them as contemporary writers. Multi award-winning novelist, poet, essayist and environmental campaigner Margaret Atwood (Monday 11 May, 10.45-11pm) revisits an essay she wrote on Kafka when she was nineteen years old and discusses three trips she has made to Prague in her lifetime and the three different versions of him she found there. Playwright, film maker and novelist Hanif Kureishi (Tuesday 12 May, 10.45-11pm) explores Kafka’s personal and artistic fascination with the body and food, examining how Kafka, a lifelong vegetarian, created characters whose bodies are used as weapons to attack others and ultimately destroy themselves. Karen Leeder (Wednesday 13 May, 10.45-11pm), a prize-winning translator and Professor of Modern German Literature at New College, Oxford, explores Kafka’s modern use of messengers and messages and the significance and interpretation of communication in his work. Discussing how the process is often the point of the story in Kafka’s works, Leeder argues that it is not so much the meaning as the very act of purveying a message itself that is Kafka’s aim. Award-winning playwright for stage, radio, opera and film, April de Angelis (Thursday 14 May, 10.45-11pm), dissects the dark comedy of The Castle, arguing the case for Kafka as both humourist and feminist. Unpicking the comic tropes of the novel, de Angelis argues a case for Kafka the feminist, as she charts his skilful dismantling – at times comic, at times menacing – of the conventional power structures in the novel. In the final Essay of the series, playwright for radio, stage and screen, Jeff Young (Friday 15 May, 10.45-11pm), considers the unusually powerful impact of Kafka’s language. Jeff, who first encountered The Metamorphosis as a teenager in the 1970s, has collected and compared every new edition of the work. His essay looks at the nature of translation, how it sits between the writer and the words and how the space between the two allows the reader to discover his or her own version of the author and his intention.

The Metamorphosis is reimagined for present day in Between The Ears: Mr Rainbow (Saturday 16 May, 9.30-10pm) which follows the story of Gregory, who, when a physical condition leaves him incapacitated, seeks advice from a series of self-help experts on the internet. Written by Sebastian Baczkiewicz, the drama documentary features actor Tom Bennett as 31 year-old Gregory hearing the real voices of a life coach, a GP, a sound healer, a dating coach and a specialist on workplace happiness.

Radio 3’s Words and Music presents a special Kafka-related programme on Sunday 10 May (5.30-6.45pm).

BBC Radio 4 also explores the life and work of Kafka in May. A new two-part dramatisation of his mind-warping novel The Castle (Sunday 10 May and Sunday 17 May, 3-4pm), set in a bureaucratic wonderland, tells the story of hapless land-surveyor known only as K who answers a summons to work at the mysterious Castle, only to find himself drawn into a labyrinth of terror and absurdity. David Baddiel presents an Archive on 4 which explores The Entomology of Gregor Samsa (Saturday 9 May, 8-9pm) and on Open Book (Sunday 26 April, 4pm and Thursday 30 April, 3.30pm) playwright Mark Ravenhill joins Mariella Frostrup to discuss his new adaptation of Kafka’s Der Prozess which broadcasts on Radio 3 on Sunday 10 May, and offers his guide to Kafka’s work.

Liverpool, Bright Phoenix: A tour, by Jeff Young


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Galkoffs-5.1.11-620x400Writer Jeff Young’s latest play, Bright Phoenix, is at the Everyman until 25 October. It’s an ode to this city – central to the story the magical & mythic re-incarnation of Liverpool, seen through a poetic filter. The past memories and hopes for the future.

“I want people to look afresh at their city,” Young says, of his play – an unflinching love letter to his city. “I want people to explore those places and spaces again. To consider what public space is – what is it and how should it be used”. These are some of the places in his personal Liverpool mythology…

Go see Bright Phoenix – it’s a refreshingly un-Scouseploitated appraisal of that singular, star-crossed and, at times, sorry journey the city’s been on over the past thirty years. And it’s music to our ears – because it’s a timely representation of the city we know, too.

And then, go and take a good, long look at the city you thought you knew, thanks to this personal tour by Jeff himself:


At 29 Pembroke Place you can see the ruins of the Grade 2 listed kosher butchers shop P Galkoff (pic above). This is one of my favourite buildings in Liverpool and it is a tragedy that it has been allowed to fall into such a state. It’s green tiled frontage includes the Hebrew symbol for kosher food and Galkoff supplied meat to the Titanic. At one time Pembroke Place was the heart of Liverpool’s Jewish community. Percy Galkoff was a drummer boy in the Polish army who managed to make his way across Europe in disguise to settle in Liverpool in the early 1900’s. In August 2014 it was announced that the tiled frontage of the shop will be preserved as a monument to the Jewish community.


On the 14th May, 1966 Bob Dylan and the Hawks went electric in the Odeon cinema on London Road. If you search online you can find some of the wild mercury music they played that night – ‘Tell Me Mama’ and ‘Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues’ are particularly demonic. I was 9 years old at the time and too young to go but I remember reading about his visit in the Liverpool Echo and being fascinated by this Medusa haired stick insect. The art deco Odeon – which also played host to the premiere of The Beatles film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – is now a car park; a towering example of a sacred space being demolished when it should have been preserved.

rayandjuliejan20131THE BALLAD OF RAY AND JULIE

Opposite the Odeon you will find two metal chairs in the vacant lot next to the Lord Warden pub. These functional chairs were installed by the artists Alan Dunn and Brigitte Jurack, in 1995, inspired by the Ray + Julie graffiti on the rear brick wall. The chairs were only intended to be there for 6 months but they are still there. Next year is their 20th anniversary. Over the years there have been various Ray and Julie related activities including a series of billboards, spoken word events and guerrilla performances. I have collaborated with Alan Dunn on many projects over the years including the Ballad of Ray and Julie poems, which muse on the identity of the graffiti lovers. If you visit the chairs who knows you might find Ray and Julie sitting there. Look out for Ray and Julie events in 2015.

(c) Walker Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationPUNISHMENT OF LUXURY

In the Walker Art Gallery you will find my favourite painting, ‘The Punishment of Luxury’– also known as ‘The Punishment of Lust’ painted by Giovanni Segantini in 1891. This disturbing nightmare vision depicts the souls of women who have sinned, floating against a backdrop of winter mountains. This painting seeped into my dreams when I was a child to such an extent that I imagined a tormented woman, tethered by her hair, floating outside my bedroom window. Despite its misogynistic theme the painting has a dream like, metaphysical quality and it is a painting I visit several times a year.


The hideous shopping precinct we have to endure today was built in the 1960’s to replace the glass and cast iron indoor market built in the 1820’’s and worthy of Barcelona The act of civic vandalism that resulted in that beautiful place being demolished is a classic example of City Council stupidity. When I was a child I was fascinated by the old men who used to stand watching its demolition and watching its brutal replacement being built. The sadness on their faces told me everything I needed to know about their grief. For fifty years we have had to endure this insult to our city. Go to any city in Europe and one of the first places you visit will be the market. Not in Liverpool.


Lime Street was once the proud home to three cinemas – the 1930’s masterpiece The Forum,The Scala and the mighty Futurist. The Forum now stands empty, The Scala is a lap dancing club and the Futurist is in ruins. My parents did their courting in these cinemas and I spent many a Saturday afternoon in the Futurist. Lime Street itself is in a terrible state of decay and its cinemas stand as symbols of – again – civic vandalism. The Futurist features in my play ‘Bright Phoenix’; it is a haunted place full of memories and ghosts. Sadly it is dying and may never recover and those who let it fall into this terrible state should bow their heads in shame.


Just down from Alma de Cuba you will find the ruins of Adams Club – one of the great Roger Eagle of Eric’s fame’s ventures. Like the Odeon in London road this for me is a sacred place because it was here in the early 1980’s that the great Bo Diddley played. Seel Street echoed with ‘Bo Diddley Is A Gunslinger’ and other deranged tunes. Nowadays Adams is just a piece of old wall like a broken tooth in an empty mouth.


36 Seel Street was the last studio for Arthur Dooley the ex Cammell Laird, Catholic Communist sculptor. I particularly love his Christ Ascending on the Princes Avenue Methodist church. I used to take a cup of tea with him in the Liverpool Academy on Sell Street in the 1980’s but he was suffering from ill health then and died suddenly in 1994. There is a brilliant Dooley archive here.


For me the Bluecoat is important for two reasons – the first exhibition of Captain Beefheart’s paintings in 1972 and the wondrous performance of Sun Ra and his Arkestra on Friday 8th June 1989. This has to be the single greatest gig I have ever experienced. The sight of the massive Arkestra in their shimmering Egyptian, extra-terrestrial robes is imprinted on my memory. The music was mind blowing. If you were there you will remember it forever. If you weren’t there go out and buy Space Is the Place and have your imagination transformed.


The Baltic area is a thriving hive of creativity with great venues such as Camp and Furnace. There is also the wonderful Baltic Bakehouse which bakes amazing sourdough bread and does mouth watering breakfasts. The thing I like about the Baltic Triangle is its spirit of imagination and independence. The ruins of abandoned warehouses have been transformed into creative hothouses.


Mathew Street, home to the Cavern and Eric’s was also home to the single most important building in my youth – The Liverpool School founded in an old fruit warehouse in the early 1970’s by the visionary poet Peter O’Halligan and his cousin Sean Halligan. This building housed Aunt Twackies Flea Market, Ken Campbell’s Science Fiction Theatre of Liverpool and O’Halligan’s Parlour which was the coolest café in town. Before punk was even heard of this building was the counter-cultural headquarters of the city’s wild imagineers. Inspired by Jung’s dream of Liverpool you can still see traces of it now in the commemorative plaques on the wall and the battered sculpture of Jung leaning out of the wall of Flanagan’s Apple, above the legend ‘Liverpool Is the Pool Of Life’.

Bright Phoenix
Until 25 October
Liverpool Everyman

This article originally appeared on 10 October 2014 on Seven Streets