Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

September 18, 2009 By: Category: Videos

In the interest of keeping my inbox spicky-spot clean, I am going to use Awkward Press as a repository for all the videos people send me that I don’t have time to watch. Segretto sent me this one with the announcement that it’s a fascinating video “if I have 20 minutes to spare.” Whenever I have 20 minutes to spare, I use the time to work on my award-winning line of cat-scented screen savers, so I have not yet watched this and cannot vouch for it. However, it prominently features Werner Herzog, and I can vouch that I would gladly give up my life to become a fly on Werner Herzog’s shoulder so I could watch him interact with the world all day, every day.

The story goes that when Errol Morris was working on Gates of Heaven, his documentary about a pet cemetery, Herzog told him he would “eat his shoe” if Morris ever finished the film. Morris did indeed finish the film, so Herzog ate his shoe at the premier. If that is not a promising premise, then there is no such thing as promises premises. Which is, incidentally, the name of my new band. Enjoy!

Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe

The Kinks A-Z

August 05, 2009 By: Category: Friends

In honor of the 45th Anniversary of the Kinks’ classic “You Really Got Me,” Awkward contributor Mike Segretto created an incredible Kinks A-Z that must be seen to be appreciated. I am in awe:

Aside from Ray and Dave Davies, the most enduring (and long suffering) member of the Kinks was one Michael Charles Avory. From 1964 to 1984, Avory sat quietly behind the kit banging out rock-solid, Charlie Watts-style beats. Mick’s similarity to Watts is somewhat appropriate considering that he briefly sat in with the Rolling Stones before they played their first gig in the summer of ’62. Good-natured, working class Avory was not hired by the artists-formerly-known-as-the-Ravens until January of ’64, and as was often the case at the time, he did not play on the Kinks’ first few records. Instead producer Shel Talmy used session man Bobby Graham while Mick was relegated to slapping a tambourine. He was not allowed to take his rightful position on the drum throne until the group’s sophomore long-player, Kinda Kinks, which is also the first Kinks album to give a good indication of the band’s actual power and versatility. Much of this is due to Avory’s sense of dynamics, whether he was pounding away on “Come On Now” or keeping the tension taught with the rim shots he laid beneath “Nothing in This World Can Stop Me Worrying About That Girl”. Unfortunately for Mick, his sensitivity was not limited to his sense of rhythm, and he often found himself bated into physical altercations with Dave Davies (see Violence below). The two band mates’ mutual hatred would be one of the Kinks’ few consistencies as the group shifted line-ups, musical styles, and levels of popularity throughout its career.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

July 28, 2009 By: Category: Publishing

Only Moz knows my pain.

You're the only one who knows my pain, Moz.

This is hard.

You might not know who I am. You may have come to this site because I found you on Twitter through other independent publishers that you have chosen to follow. (Yes, I’ve been doing that, and I’m not proud.) Or you may have known me for 25 years, as have most of the (two) people who seem to be posting comments.

My name is Jeffrey Dinsmore. I helped start a publishing company called Contemporary Press. You have probably never heard of that, either. Shortly after 9/11 (I think … I’m a little foggy on the details) my friend Jay came up with the idea of starting a modern pulp fiction publishing company. I jumped on board, as did five of our other friends. We threw a couple hundred bucks into a pot and started writing books. My stipulation before joining CP was that I be allowed to write a book called Johnny Astronaut. I didn’t know what Johnny Astronaut would be about, but I knew I had to write it. I wrote it under a pseudonym, which makes perfect sense if you read the book. The author becomes a character. It’s very meta. My own family didn’t get it and most of them never bought a copy. They knew I wrote it, but they didn’t want to read it unless my name was on it. That’s very meta, too. Today, Johnny Astronaut is out of print.

I wrote another book called I, An Actress: the Autobiography of Karen Jamey. I personally am more attached to this book than the other one, but a lot of people I know didn’t really care for it. There are 1,000 copies of I, An Actress available. You should buy all 1,000 and blow our distributor’s mind.

CP was fun. We went to publishing conferences. We were blurbed about in GQ. We got a kick-ass review in The Believer. We lost our shirts. We never had an office. We did all our business on Wednesday nights at a bar. We threw parties in New York featuring musical performances by soon-to-be semi-famous bands like We Are Scientists, Bishop Allen, and the Oxford Collapse. I put my heart and soul into CP, and it broke into a million pieces. Both my heart, and CP. We still owe our distributor money. We were really good at drinking, but we were not so good at business. We were also not so good at proofreading, as a visit to our now dark website will prove.