Lives Beyond Us is the first big Sidekick Books anthology/treasury without my name on the cover. The editors this time around are my Sidekick teammate Kirsty, who curated and edited the poems, and PhD film scholar Sebastian Manley, who commissioned and edited essays for the book.
I do, however, have an essay published in it. An essay that becomes, at points, a poem, or three poems, if you like. It’s called ‘BEAR INTERVENTION!’ and it uses Luis Buñuel’s Exterminating Angel as a springboard for exploring the idea of the bear as a variant of the trickster archetype, via The Jungle Book, Paddington, Shirokuma Cafe, The Golden Compass, and even Cabaret. No, there are no bears in Cabaret. You’ll have to read the essay to find out what the deal is with Cabaret. I will divulge that it involves a jolly song called ‘Sexual Betrayal’.
I also worked on the design and layout of the book, including the cover, which uses photocollaging to depict a house cat watching a scene from Hitchcock’s Sabotage in which a cinema audience watch Disney’s Who Killed Cock Robin? You see, it’s us watching an animals watching us watching an animal. I never get tired of explaining this conceit and expecting people to nod appreciatively.
The book is peppered with colour illustrations and movie stills, the former of which I bought from the Dover Pictura collection. The mixture of these plus some unusual formatting in the poems made the typesetting something of an epic journey. Feedback so far re. the aesthetics of the book is very good. Let’s hope booksellers and their customers agree.
We threw a launch party for Lives Beyond Us at the Genesis Cinema last week, with a free film quiz and short readings. Full account here.