|Josie Demuth: 'Poutrageous'|
Q: Josie Demuth! Editor of alternative online mag La Bouche Zine and author of the The Guest e-novella! Tell me in under 100 words what gets you up in the morning - what is your life purpose, what keeps your soul moist, your spirit aerated. What adds urgency to the teeth flossing?
Josie: I love life basically, in fact, I’d like to live till at least 800, if it were poss. There is so much to see, so much to know, so many ways to give, so many people to meet, all these great parties to go to, so much history and so much more to come. I love reading history books, but the present is fascinating too. I suppose all this gets me going - the excitement of what is out there and all the possibilities this presents and how artists and writers document this.
Q: Do you write all of La Bouche?
Josie: No actually, we have had many great writers contribute over the years. Most regularly a conspiracy theorist columnist, anti-poverty NGO War on Want who have written several features for us, and our Middle Eastern commentator StarBuks. More recently a gossip columnist has come on board; artist and pop star extraordinaire Quilla Contance who’s always up to something. She just sued Feedme music promoters for cancelling her gig at Punk Soho in favour of some dull corporate bash so you can read all about this exclusively in La Bouche. Some of my best friends Julia, Emily and Gemma have written for the zine too which is always interesting and fun reading.
Q: La Bouche is described as an 'alternative news and culture mag' - so what do you cover that The Sunday Times Culture section or Time Out fails to cover. And if you had a destruct button, which publication would you dispatch to the next life (with its staff and the cleaners), pronto?
Josie: We adore a genuine eccentric. We're not keen on prosthetic edge (Gaga), we like bona fide quirk. Yeah, eccentrics are our heroes, our pin-ups, in fact I think I’m going to start making special La Bouche pull-out posters of extraordinary people. I feel our society has become so timid of individuality. Mum says in the seventies everyone was just dying to be different and now it’s like we’re all desperate to be the same, unless the mainstream press starts telling us it’s okay to wear something, or like someone supposedly kooky. Also in the zine we give underground musicians and artists as much page space and time as our more well known interviewees. These have included some of the most talented, articulate and inspirational people I’ve encountered.
RE the button, I’d like to keep the cleaners but it would be The Mail or The Sun. I’d have to toss a coin.
Josie: Oh thousands MA.
Q: You've interviewed the likes of Bjork, Pete Doherty, Midge Ure and John Pilger (not forgetting my love, pianist and Occupy-prince, Bryn Phillips, who I note with displeasure has a partner with Greek relatives) - all of whom you say think outside the box. Who is the ultimate representation of alternative thought in your view. And which living person represents all that is conformist, destructive or life-denying - who is the dullest most ghastly person who personifies methane on this planet? Please don't hold back now.
Josie: I’m going to say my friend, the poet Stephen Micalef for the former. He is sooo thinking outside the box, he’s on another world with his thought. He carries around a big carrier bag full of poems, which he pulls out and reads wherever he goes, and his room is also up to the waist with poems. You can only open the door a few decimetres. it‘s surreal. His poems are like dreams, often about someone in the current media spotlight, like the King of Bahrain, sending these hilarious correspondences to Micalef or about the colourful characters he knows from the art world. No doubt he’s got some good ones about Rebekah Brooks. I’d love to hear them. I’ve heard he was never formally a student at Oxford but just decided to attend all the lectures, and went unchallenged the whole way. So he kind of mentally has an Oxbridge degree. So unofficial. I love it. For the latter, eugh, I don’t know, David Cameron? I often wonder if he is in fact a balloon man pumped full of toxic gas. A beige balloon man.
Q: Have you ever seen a ghost? Has a psychic ever hacked into your Akashic Records (apparently our spiritual national insurance notes) and told you something of your destiny? Or, are you a textbook secularist who lights candles to the graven image of Prof Brian Cox and his cretinous Willy Wonka-smile?
Josie: I had one possible psychic experience whereby bestie Julia (mentioned earlier) got her new phone stolen at a New Year’s Eve party many years ago. I was trashed in a corner but when I heard her calls of despair I got up, tore across the room, cornered this guy, stuck my hand in his inside jacket pocket and withdrew from it Ju’s phone! It could have well been a spiritual hacking, but I am also a big believer of the subconscious knowing all, as my book bangs on about, and perhaps the copious amounts of booze granted me access. I hope you don’t too much abhor my failure to fully commit to the possibility of a psychic intervention in this particular scenario, dear MA.
Q: And now you have an e-book novella out, The Guest. Granta likes it I see. Your hero is Gideon Golightly - he's not related to Holly Golightly is he, y'know that gamine flirt in Capote's Breakfast At Tiffany's?
Josie: He would like to think he is, but he is far less appealing, and thus must use sleazy mental trickery such as covert hypnosis to bed his bait.
Q: Anyway, I digress. Gideon I read earns fast cash on the 'underground seduction circuit' - what is that? Blow-jobs for bankers? Perhaps you'd better tell us what the book's about - do emphasise any sex as followers of this blog are jaded hedonists who have partaken too much of life's rich experiences and now pathetically seek any novelty to revive their limp and lifeless persons. I don't know why I bother sometimes. The cunts.
Josie: MA, you are so naughty! The Guest is about a disturbed and rather dangerous man named Gideon Golightly who goes about teaching and implementing psychological interventions designed to seduce women basically. As, Headpress said in their review of the novella, it’s kind of a bit like ‘Derren Brown on the pull. ' In answer to your Q, the world of seduction technique is that of a shadowy industry involving seminars, conferences, one-to-ones on the teachings of behaviour and language designed to unlock the seductee’s mind and induce a feverish condition of lust. This involves pressing all kinds of buttons, via the usage of emotionally stimulating phrases, a careful balance of insults and compliments, and in this case Gideon also employs stealth hypnosis. Anyway, one day Gideon meets April, this pretty but slightly irritating hippy and sets about practicing on her for his dysfunctional, sordid needs but feels a rare stirring of guilt and love much to his disgust.
Josie: MA, you are so cruel to your doting army of followers (of whom I am one).
Q: How's the e-novella doing? Did you decide to self-publish as a didactic act or was it the last resort after years of bitter rejection at the hands of blonde Oxbridge trustafarians - oh, but I hope you're not Oxbridge. You can never tell these days....
Josie: I don’t know yet, I only put it up the other day. Yes, there is that stigma isn’t there of being a reject. I sent it to a few people and then this literary agency got back to me and said they would be much more interested if I had moulded it to 'The Talented Mr Ripley' author. This really put me off. I thought this is so ironic because I was so worried someone would pinch my idea or create something similar and then I submit something original and it’s like ‘make it like something that already exists.’ I don’t wish to sound pretentious, but I just wanted my writing to be more like my own art than a tried and tested product. I mulled the Kindle thing over for about a year and then I thought, oui, pourqoui pas? I am not an Oxbridge kinda gal, nope.
Josie: A lady never tells about their blankets..
Josie: Borough in a flat high up, I don't think I've ever had a garden, I wish I did I'd build myself a little tree house and have Bryn over for cocktails. I’m an Aries.
Q: Ten years from now you're a highly paid section editor on The Sunday Times. Have I just defamed and insulted you? Where do you want to be a decade hence? Would you still want to be in the Etonian paradise that is the current UK?
Josie: Well, I guess it would be a little pig-headed of me to say I’d be totally closed to the mainstream press. they are clearly a great platform to unleash info from, where allowed. I like to go to the Amnesty International Media Awards where I’m always extremely inspired by the brave journalism submitted by big news outlets from The Guardian to The Financial Times to even Sky actually! But I suppose writing wise , I'd like to make more zines. I'm making a poetry and fiction one and I write for art magazines too so ideally in ten years time I'd like them to be sending me to excellent parties in faraway places, and I have more shadowy novellas to get on with so hopefully they'll be done. I also hope to be a nurse by the end of next year so I don't know where this will all take me...
Josie: Thanks MA, you're a dar x x
La Bouche Zine, click here
La Bouche Zine blog, click here
Josie Demuth website, click here
The Guest by Josie Demuth, click here to buy