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OUTSIDEBOOKS - Japanese Cult Movies, Tattoo, and Self Publishing

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by Joe Ambrose, Literary Editor for outsideleft.com
originally published: July, 2005
When things of the flesh are driven underground, they tend to thrive

I never knew that Chris D was a writer. I associated him with some great post-punk music. His own bands, The Divine Horseman and The Flesheaters had amazing album covers which aped Japanese film posters.

John Doe and DJ Bonesbreaker from X and Dave Alvin from The Blasters were Flesheaters at one time or another. D co-produced The Gun Club's strangely strange first album, Fire of Love, and a dazzling Green on Red debut. He remixed The Misfits with Glenn Danzig.

He's always been a jack of all trades, so it comes as no surprise to find that he's been researching Japanese cinema for years. His Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film (I B Tauris) looks at the golden age of Japanese cult, action, and exploitation cinema - the early Fifties through to the late Seventies. He got unique access to top maverick filmmakers and genre film icons. He deals with transgressive directors, Manga, and female yakuzas. Great visuals.

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Tattoo - Anthropology by Makiko Kuwahara (Berg), despite its subtitle, is a pretty sexy book. It looks like it's about tattooing in general but it concerns the tattoo in French Polynesia.

In the 1830s, missionaries tried to kill off the traditional Polynesian art of tattooing because they thought it was a barbaric practice. The French are partial to regarding other people's practices as barbaric.

When things of the flesh are driven underground, they tend to thrive. Tattoo is booming in French Polynesia now. Its resurgence is part of a pulsating cultural revival movement and it relates to aspects to contemporary sexuality. Kuwahara looks at the significance of gender and tattoo, youth culture, and tattoos in prison life. There are loads of black and white photographs of tattoos and their proud owners.

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The Publish and Be Damned Self-Publishing Fair, takes place Sunday 31st July at The Crypt of St James Church, Clerkenwell, London. Admission is free.

Publish and Be Damned will look at experimental approaches to making and distributing the work of artists, writers and musicians outside of the commercial mainstream. The event will feature DIY fanzines, magazines, critical journals, glossy periodicals, video compendiums and independent record labels. International participants include the Berlin artist-led 032C and Freier, the Swiss free newspaper WeAreTheArtists, and Holland's Fucking Good Art. For information www.publishandbedamned.org, or contact Emily Pethick (emily@epethick.com)

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Joe Ambrose
Literary Editor

Joe Ambrose has written 14 books, including Chelsea Hotel Manhattan and The Fenian Reader. Joe is currently working on his next book, Look at Us Now - The Life and Death of Muammar Ghadaffi, which is an expanded version of a story first published in the anthology CUT UP! Visit Joe's website for all the latest info: JoeAmbrose.co.uk.

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