Recently, while gazing from the roof terrace of my London bachelor pad, I've been giving some thought to the idea of canons. No, not the aggressively noisy things that men in spangly suits and crash helmets are occasionally fired from, but rather those boring lists of books, films and what have you that get trotted out semi-regularly in an attempt to uncover what really are the best, most exemplary, seminal (urgh) works in a particular field. Now everyone hates it when the usual Oxbridge tossers are asked for theirs and we end up with the usual round of Miltons, Blakes, Orwells and Shakespeare's, but it struck me that we dwellers in the dank passes have our canon as well. It goes a little like this: Burroughs, Ballard, Battaille, Artaud, Dick, Bukowski, Genet etc. All good stuff, undoubtedly but a little tired now, especially when such good work is still continuing on the margins.
Now all this talk of canons made me think of the Surrealists. In an issue of one of their periodicals, Andre Breton listed a series of books that were crucial influences on the movement. It included Lautreamont, Jarry, Roussell and a host of others that had provided the initial spark that began the great revolution. As someone who thinks that a vital new strand of Surrealism is long overdue in today's culture I thought it might be fun to begin to compile a similar list. You can see the first fruits of this search for new beginnings above. I will add more as and when they reveal themselves to me. Hope you enjoy.