Skinner in the UK

Six of the videos Doug Skinner and Michael Smith made back in the ’90s will be screened in London, as part of the series TBCTV, curated by Mel Brimfield. Screenings are from 11:00 to 6:00, Friday Oct. 5, in the Lancaster Rooms of the very large and historic Somerset House. It’s free; also on the program are splendid videos by Brian Dewan and Michael Robinson. If you’re on that side of the pond (or plan to be), don’t miss it. More info HERE

 

Mr. Skinner is the author of more Black Scat books than we can count—most recently THE SNOWMAN THREE DOORS DOWN ; as well as his translation: CHARLES CROS: COLLECTED MONOLOGUES.

Doug Skinner attempting to read a Black Scat classic

Take DaDa Wherever You Go!

New Kindle Edition!

We’ve just released a eBook edition of the DADA classic WHAT A LIFE! Now you can take DADA wherever you go.

On August 17 1911—seven years before Max Ernst took up scissors and paste to create his early Dada art—WHAT A LIFE! was published in London by Methuen & Co. The authors, Edward Verrall Lucas (a travel writer) and George Morrow (an illustrator and regular contributor to PUNCH), produced their satirical autobiography using illustrations cut from the pages of Whiteley’s General Catalogue. This inspired act of artistic vandalism was a precursor to many works of avant-garde art and satire. CLICK HERE TO ORDER

THE CROS FLIES!

CHARLES CROS: COLLECTED MONOLOGUES

It’s back to cool with the great French monologist,  humorist, poet, and inventor—in a trenchant translation by Doug Skinner.

***FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH!***

Born in1842, Charles Cros was one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, equally adept at poetry, fiction, and scientific inquiry. He wrote smutty verses with Verlaine, synthesized gems with Alphonse Allais, contributed wild prose fantasies to Le Chat Noir, and experimented with color photography and sound recording, only to die young, poor, and alcoholic. Not incidentally, he also invented the comic monologue for the actor Coquelin Cadet. In these strikingly spontaneous and modern sketches, he introduces a gallery of fools and obsessives—The Clean Man, The Fencing Master, The Capitalist, The Friend of the Family—all nattering away, assaulting the audience with trivia, and blithely unaware of their own failings.

This edition collects all 22 of Cros’s monologues—masterfully translated & introduced by Doug Skinner—and includes performance notes by Coquelin, plus two biographical essays by his friend and colleague Alphonse Allais.

CLICK HERE TO ORDER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The sheer playfulness of certain fanciful parts of Cros’s work must not let us forget that in the center of some of his finest poems, a revolver is aimed at us.”—André Breton

Are we bilious? Don’t be sillious!

No bile here. Make that, NO BILE!  is here!—Alphonse Allais‘s sublime collection of absurdist texts in a new translationfirst publication in English!by the great Doug Skinner.

Alphonse Allais’s third collection finds him in full anti-bilious form: love stories, revenge stories, monologues, short-shorts, and animal stories—all affronting the reader with startlingly modern absurdity, black humor, and wordplay.

“No Oulipian could fail to be enchanted by his essentially ironic tales, in which he juggles the rhetorical and narrative components of writing with rigorous logic and inexhaustibly zany results.”Harry Mathews

Among the highlights are “Absinthes,” an internal monologue about the Green Fairy; “Poor Césarine,” a tale of obsessive love; and “A Good Society,” which proposes collecting used matches for the poor. As a bonus, six uncollected stories are included. PLUS illustrations and informative notes on the text by Doug Skinner.

So don’t be bilious, grab your copy now on Amazon. Start your summer off with blasts of laughter!

drawing by Doug Skinner

Discover all the titles in Black Scat’s ALPHONSE ALLAIS COLLECTION

CLICK TO ORDER

 

 

 

 

 

DADA LIVES AGAIN!

On August 17 1911—seven years before Max Ernst took up scissors and paste to create his early Dada  art—WHAT A LIFE! was published in London by Methuen & Co. The authors, Edward Verrall Lucas (humorist & travel writer) and George Morrow ( illustrator and regular contributor to Punch), produced their satirical pictorial autobiography using illustrations cut from the pages of Whiteley’s General Catalogue. This inspired act of vandalism was a precursor to many works of avant-garde collage art and satire.

Long out of print in the U.S., Black Scat is proud to  bring this proto-Dada classic  back to life as #34 in our Absurdist Texts & Documents series.

WHAT A LIFE ! was  exhibited at MoMA’s 1936 “Fantastic Art, Dada, and Surrealism” show.


WHAT A LIFE! seems to have made little impression, either in England or in France, even though it has the remarkable distinction of being illustrated solely by collages drawn from the catalogue of a large department store in London (Whiteley’s), and therefore of being—as much by the images as by the text that they comment on—one of the first manifestations of that spirit we call “modern.” Raymond Queneau, Bâtons, chiffres et lettres (1950)


What a Life!
E. V. Lucas & George Morrow

Absurdist Texts & Documents – No. 34
Perfect-bound,  illustrated; 134 pages
$12
click here to grab a copy on Amazon

 

More fun than a barrel of sock puppets!

”Witty and ingenious comics from the exceptionally-talented writer, musician, performer, ventriloquist, and cartoonist Doug Skinner. It’s exciting to finally have these little-seen strips available in one beautiful book. You may be reminded of Voltaire or Ernie Bushmiller while reading these meticulously drawn stories featuring utterly hapless characters, but Mr. Skinner has a style all his own.” —R. Sikoryak

“Mr. Skinner knows many terrible, terrible secrets about us. We are once again fortunate that he chooses to share them so deftly and so altruistically.”—Mark Newgarden

What is the truth behind the “Unknown Adjective”? Will Walter and Benny find the elusive batworm? What really goes on out in “Cowboy Country”? And can Dr. Docket find a cure for all that ails Mr. Pert? You’ll discover the answers to these and other burning questions in this profusely illustrated collection of comics and picture stories from the brilliant (albeit peculiar) mind of Doug Skinner. Take a look inside and see for yourself. Your daily dilemmas will soon seem inconsequential, and the laughter you hear may turn out to be your own.

CLICK HERE to order on Amazon

“Why, That’s Patently Absurd!”

Yes, indeed—Pas de Bile!—another  patently absurd volume in Black Scat’s seminal Alphonse Allais Collection.

This will be the book’s first publication in English, with a sublime and inspired translation by the great Doug Skinner. In addition to the complete text of the original Flammarion edition, published in France in 1893, it will include  several uncollected stories by Allais. There will also be Skinner’s  copious notes on each text, and an informative and entertaining introduction. Throw in this eye-catching cover by Norman Conquest and you’ve got an edition worthy of display in your home or office.

Publication: Late Summer, 2018

And while you’re waiting, be sure to read Alphonse Allais’s LONG LIVE LIFE!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALPHONSE ALLAIS (1854 – 1905) began his career in Paris during the Belle Epoque. He was particularly active at the legendary cabaret Le Chat Noir, where he wrote for and edited the weekly paper. He quickly became known for his deadpan wit and inexhaustible imagination. Among other things, he also exhibited some of the first monochromatic pictures (such as his all-white “First Communion of Chlorotic Girls in the Snow” in 1883) and composed the first silent piece of music: “Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man” (1884). Throughout most of his life, he contributed columns several times a week to Le Journal and Le Sourire. These pieces were collected into twelve volumes, which he called his “Anthumous Works,” between 1892 and 1902. He also published a collection of his monochromes, Album Primo-Avrilesque, in 1897, and a novel, L’affaire Blaireau, in 1899, as well as a few plays. His later years were troubled by debt, a bad marriage, and heavy drinking; he died at 59. He was a crucial influence on Alfred Jarry, as well as on the Surrealists: Breton included him in his Anthology of Black Humor, and Duchamp was reading him on the day he died. Allais’s fascination with wordplay, puns, and holorhymes led Oulipo to call him an “anticipatory plagiarist”; the Pataphysical College dubbed him their “Patacessor.” His books have remained in print in France, and the Académie Alphonse Allais has awarded a literary prize in his honor since 1954.