Issue 24 : Spring 2013










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Dictated by the Whims of the Heavens:
An Interview with Simon Strong

by David Cox

10 Feb 2013

Note: David Cox performs live for OTHER CINEMA’s Analog Church show on Saturday, April 13, 2013, and his latest video DO OTHERS screens on May 25, 2013, as part of OTHER CINEMA’s New Experimental Works program.

An interview with Simon Strong about his film, THE THE NAKED LUNCH AND THE NAKED THE NAKED LUNCH.

And totally mis-interpreted speech-to-text voice over from the same film.

The player will show in this paragraph


Interview begins:

David Cox: Your film THE THE NAKED LUNCH AND THE NAKED THE NAKED LUNCH seems to draw attention to its own structure as “bonus” extra. I like this idea of the bonus extra as the main feature. Can you talk about this?

Simon Strong: The first (Paris Olympia Press) edition of The Naked Lunch was the only edition of the book EVER to feature the text of The Naked Lunch without any supplementary material. There have been numerous rationales provided for the agglomeration of extra texts to the book but the only credible reason is to dilute the impact of the core text to help forestall its prosecution for obscenity. Thus, in a process analogous to “cutting” in narcotic terminology, The Naked Lunch was the one of the first and most intensively expanded books in literary history,* pre-figuring the cult of snowballing extra material into reissues (usually for marketing reasons) that became relevant after the advent of CDs and format-based obsolescence.

To return to my film. I had originally intended the film to be silent (except for opening and closing theme music) but then I thought it would be funny to provide a director’s commentary. I couldn’t be arsed (DC note—this means “bothered”) doing the separate track and the gag would not have worked on online versions anyway, so that’s why it’s like it is. You can find a literary precedent for this gag in Paul Fournel’s book Suburbia (1996).

*q.v. Carol Loranger. “This Book Spill Off the Page in All Directions: What Is the Text of Naked Lunch?” Postmodern Culture 10.1 (1999)—a rather inadequate overview on a few levels.

DC: You tell the audience to go fuck themselves—is this a sentiment you really hold, is your audience a pack of “fucking idiots, who might well watch the film and drive at the same time?” Have you seen this happen?

SS: Quite the reverse! The prickliness is an affectionate affectation. I am very grateful for the indulgence of any audience, and I very much hope that they enjoy my films! Although this hope is complimented by the expectation that they will not. As for watching films and driving at the same time, my film is the very first to issue this kind of warning, an idea [that] seemed flippant at the time of its production. The advent of pocket televisions (or “iPads,” “Android tablets,” as they are sometimes called) has made this scenario so common that I expect this type of admonition to become statutory anytime soon.

DC: You say that you deserve a “not inconsiderable financial compensation.”

SS: Well, we don’t always get what we deserve—or do we?—but in any case, this is an overtly ridiculous statement as I go to great lengths to avoid payment for all my creative work.

DC: The whole film is a long take of the cover of the book The Naked Lunch—is this a wind-up or a howl in favor of Sade?

SS: It’s an example of Stewart Home’s “Durational Cinema.” I wanted a cross between Warhol’s non-shit work (especially EMPIRE and SLEEP) and the French Situationists.

DC: The mutability of the title of your work is one of the key themes—the suppression of the definite article “The” is an interesting point—what else can you tell us about this?

SS: This is discussed in the film, but I now have a wealth of extra info regarding the definite article in the title. It is even more complicated and creeepy than I thought! I can’t elaborate for reasons that I can’t even go into. Suffice to say that the story of the “The” in the title is one of the most fascinating and perverse tales in literary history! I believe Craig (Baldwin) was looking into links between William Burroughs and Guy Debord (via Alex Trocchi, I guess). If he tells me what he knows, I may be able to confirm or deny some details but there is some seriously heavy shit going on here! Since I am aware that this article will be read by certain interested parties, it may be prudent to give the safe-word: JISM-FORGE.

DC: Tell us about the Ledatape organization—how many books is it currently publishing, and how many authors are on the list currently?

SS: The LedaTape Organisation is too big to be seen by the human eye. It’s the same shape as the universe itself, but not as useful. There are printed books (although they come in and out of print sporadically)—these ya can get (or not) through most online booksellers. eBooks are in the pipeline—these will be free and gratis where possible. We also have music available through—and an active YouTube chan—and some of our stuff is up at

Future projects. Well, I’m currently trying to get David Cronenberg to personally apologize to me about his film. Apart from that, I’m working on a 23-hour-long film about the role of protest music in the 20th century. It’s called BECAUSE FUCK YOU! THAT’S WHY... Everything is true. Nothing is permitted. Peace off. Ites!

Interview conducted via email, January 2013.

What follows is the voice-over for Simon Strong’s film THE THE NAKED LUNCH AND THE NAKED THE NAKED LUNCH, filtered through the speech-to-text program Dragon, with the mistakes it has made in interpreting Mr. Strong’s voice included. This is in the spirit of the “cut-ups” of William S. Burroughs, author of the book, whose various cover art is shown during the duration of this film.

Simon Strong:

It is probably fair to say that this film was motivated primarily as a response to film of a similar name made by the Canadian director David Cronenberg. The fame that his film shares a title with a book by William Burroughs little in common with the book having credit that Second Life fictionalized narrative is flailing around events surrounding the composition is not defined in the defense is to offset 23 insensitive considerations that the vendor any direct film unviable I couldn’t face the same problems that we’ve been my imagination and the intellect is the considerably superior in front of the for wishing to have done myself with faint praise is no substantial reason to consider his son any kind of dating of the overstates the includes very little material from the of the nothing you can homophobia a reticence accepting and youth and casting of that Julie Davis is some kind of fact shall you?

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Simon Strong is a North English experimental novelist based in Melbourne Australia. He is a local co-coordinator for the LedaTape Organisation, which produces music, books and films, and was also a member of cult garage group, The Pink Stainless Tail.

David Cox is a writer and teacher based in San Francisco. His films include PUPPENHEAD, OTHERZONE, and TATLIN. His books include Sign Wars: the Culture Jammers Strike Back, published via LedaTape.