Archive for April, 2016

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film by Jack Sargeant

April 16, 2016


Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film

by Jack Sargeant

Jack Sargeant’s new book, Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film is published by Amok Books and is dedicated to exploring Underground Film since 1999. Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film sees film-studies author Sargeant return to the physical, body-focused, extreme and transgressive films that first interested and intrigued him in the 1980s, when he wrote and published his first essays on cinema.

In Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film, Sargeant’s focus is on the historical, theoretical and philosophical content of the films he analyses. Starting with an exploration of the return to the shock of the body in underground film in the 1980s and the growth of underground film in the 1990s, Sargeant explores and defines an underground cinema that remains radical and contemporary, informing subcultures and independent cinema today.

Primarily focusing on a handful of key works by two award-winning underground filmmakers (Usama Alshaibi and Aryan Kaganof), Sargeant examines the desire – even the need – for a shocking bodily representations and interventions.

Punctuating his writing with philosophical analysis, and with explorations of areas as diverse as industrial culture, surrealism, butoh dance, fine art and medical fetishism, the book challenges the reader to examine the very nature of pleasure, of viewing and of experiencing cinema.

The American underground film scene from the late 70s, 80s and 90s has finally been carefully documented and analysed in Flesh And Excess, which contains a number of insights into the underground scene and situates it in a specific historical perspective.

Flesh and Excess is an important book. In it, a marginal world is discussed and explored in an incisive and intelligent manner. Several films that deal with excesses of the body are explored in almost forensic detail. The book deals with transgressive cinema, and so may not be for everybody, but for those who need a map through the lesser-charted waters of transgressive cinema this book is an informative, entertaining and challenging guide.

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film is comprehensively illustrated throughout.

Book details:

ISBN-13: 978-1-878923-28-8

ISBN-10: 1-878923-28-5

Film /Filmmaking

$ 19.95/Paper

256 Pages

90 photo illustrations

Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film by Jack Sargeant is available at:

Here is a short book promo film featuring Jack Sargeant talking about Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film:




Flesh and Excess is a work of passionate scholarship. More than a history of transgressive cinema, Sargeant examines the persistence of underground art across generations, and the particular appeal of cinema that enfolds physical pleasures and horrors. It’s a clear-eyed and fascinating book.” — Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and Where Art Belongs

“At last! This is now the definitive work on underground film.” — Jon Reiss, filmmaker and author of Think Outside the Box Office

 About Jack Sargeant:

Jack Sargeant by Claudia Herwig

Jack Sargeant by Claudia Herwig

Jack Sargeant’s most recent book is Flesh and Excess: On Underground Film. Previous titles include Against Control, Deathtripping: The Extreme Underground and Naked Lens: Beat Cinema. His writings on film and culture have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, and DVD releases, including the Throbbing Gristle DVD box set.

Jack Sargeant appears as an interviewee in the documentaries Blank City, The Advocate For Fagdom and Llik Your Idols, amongst others. He has lectured on underground film, beat culture, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard and many other topics across the world. Jack is currently program director for the Revelation Film Festival.

Other books by Jack Sargeant:

Against Control (2014)

Naked Lens: Beat Cinema (2008)

Deathtripping: the Extreme Underground (2007)

No Focus: Punk On Film (with Chris Barber) (2006)

Bad Cop / Bad Cop (as editor) (2003)

Guns, Death, Terror (as editor) (2002)

Death Cults (as editor) (2002)

Lost Highways: A History of the Road Movie (with Stephanie Watson) (2000)

Cinema Contra Cinema (1999)

Suture 1 (1998)

Born Bad (1996)

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A Collaboration of Unlike Minds: William Blake’s and Robert Graves’ The Tyger by R J Dent

April 15, 2016



















The Tiger


Tiger tiger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry


In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes

On what wings dared he aspire

What the hand dared seize the fire


And what shoulder and what art

Could twist the sinews of thy heart

Did he smile his work to see

Did he who made the lamb make thee


Tiger tiger burning bright

In the forests of the night

What immortal hand or eye

Dared frame thy fearful symmetry


Robert Graves


Even the most cursory glance will reveal some fundamental differences between the above two poems. Graves’ rewrite came about due to a number of flaws he felt existed in Blake’s poem. He writes of these in ‘Tyger, Tyger’, an essay collected in The Crane Bag and Other Disputed Subjects. In the essay, Graves is particularly scathing of Blake’s tendency to mix his tenses, remain ‘imprecise and ambiguous’, ‘grammatically incoherent’ and to not care about the rhetorical focus of the poem.

More importantly, however, Graves neglects at any time to mention that he has ‘made his own arrangement of The Tyger’. After interviewing Graves, Christopher Burstall claims that Graves’ ‘arrangement’ includes ‘cutting out two verses and putting the whole poem in the past tense’, so that it is grammatically correct and more structurally cohesive. Read more…



A Collaboration of Unlike Minds: Robert Graves’ and William Blake’s The Tyger

Copyright © R J Dent (2007 & 2016)


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Echoes by R J Dent

April 11, 2016

echoes r j dent

It made the national news.

          For a year after, the residents of the picturesque seaside town talked of little else. Friends of Robert’s family kept copies of the newspapers his disappearance had provided headlines for. The headlines ranged from shrieking alliterative tabloid sensationalism at its worst, to a slightly calmer, more informative recounting of events. Some included an appeal for information. However, in all reports, the details were the same, for despite their different political biases, newspapers always treated an inexplicably missing child in the same way.

          Such a thing is an outrage and all newspapers sell outrage.

          Robert Taylor, an intelligent and reasonably popular twelve year old, had left his house one sunny Easter holiday morning and met up with four friends at a pre-arranged meeting place. From there they had gone to the beach of Carbis Bay to play amongst the rocks and the rock pools and in and out of the small caves dotted along the cliffs. After a while the five children had decided to play hide and seek. Robert had asked to hide first – in fact, according to the other children, he’d been very insistent about this one particular detail. His fervent insistence had unnerved them and their acquiescence had been nervous and hurried. Robert had promptly run off into the afternoon air to hide as his friends counted to two hundred. Then they searched for him.

          They have not found him yet. Read more…

echoes r j dent

R J Dent says: ‘ I wrote Echoes for a number of reasons. As I walked along a cliff path in Cornwall I saw some children throwing shells at a boy. He was laughing. Later on that same day, someone threw a rock at the cliff and when it hit, it made a very distinctive ‘tok’ sound, which I wanted to incorporate into  a story. I also wanted to name a story Echoes, after my favourite Pink Floyd song. After my walk, I hand-wrote the first draft of Echoes in about three hours. It’s one of my stories I like best.’


Copyright © R J Dent (2010 & 2016)


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Opus by R J Dent

April 10, 2016



You can read everything written by the great ones

          and commit their words to memory –

Use a secret alphabet that only a select few

          will recognise as their own –

Set fire to your hands and searingly etch

          your lines onto the communal retina –

Sail through the catacombs of the subconscious

          in a Viking longship and fetch

          back bales of treasure for your people

          – whoever they might be –

Scan the proverbs tattooed deep on the walls

          of a magpie’s heart, knowing

          they are written in experience’s ink –

Unwind spools of useless magnetic tape

          and let them play in streamers

          on the warm south wind –

Chisel out faces in an obsidian wall,

          gag them to stop them screaming,

          but always give them water once a week –

Give the dead child within you a decent burial,

          then perform an elaborate ritual

          so that it returns to life – Read more…



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An Untitled Piece of Writing by R J Dent

April 4, 2016




Huh nee… mm mm… ow ryu…hrn ee… yeh… mm hm… mtu… ths gd… wzs tht thn… bh cs… mmm… i fl lk… mm mm… skn… lkn… fkn… yr ck… yd oo dyr… ys iyd oo… wl i fl lk lkn… skn… fkn… yr cn t… du yu rly… yr id oo… mm… ino… hm hm… yu wn tha… ym mm… oh… an tha… mmm… ye ye… oka… thn dw tha… ohh… fme… yeh… mmm… thas fkn byu tfl… oh… oh oh… ye… ye… yeh… jee sus… yr fkn lv lee… ah… nd yr fkn lv lee tu… ah… tk dty tu me… hwd ym een… kmon y no… dty wds… tht srt oth ng… oka… bnd ovr bch… oh… oka… nw gwon… sprd m wd… oh… f me… mm mm… gw on bby… pt yr fce thr… mm mm… thas t… stk yr tng rt upt… ths t… o yh… gwon… lkit… hrd… ye ye… o… ye… dwit fm ee… sy mr dty wds… whl i sk yu… yu va lvl ee cnt… a byu tfl… lv lee… tst ee cnt… o… ar… yss… sy mr… cll m… nms… y slt… ah yss… mr… y byu tfl fkn lvl ee chp sl te hr… o yss… ths it… n ow… rm tn… yra… byu tfl… fkn bch… hhh… ng… gg… cl me a byu tfl hr gn… yu byu tfl fkn hr… lv lee… lv yu… lv yr boh dee… suh byu tfl… hr… oh ye… oh yeh… k moh vrm ee… k minm ee… ths it…. yeh o… ah… oh… ah… oh… yss… ll vu… gv… it… t… me… hrd… slm tn… aa… aa… ys… fk… fk… ah… fk hrd rr… ys… ys… fk m… fk m… ohh hhh… yssss… hg gh… hh hg gh… yaa… yaa… hg… gh… fr… haaa… huhu… hu… yehh… mmm hmm… hmm mmm… yu ka ym… mm… me tu…





And so, if you should happen to find writing of the type that is taking up the space above these expositional lines, examine it carefully for what sort of text it might be – and what it might be doing. Does it have a purpose? A meaning? Are there any messages in it? Is it of any practical use? Do we learn anything from it? Is it English (Standard, I mean)? Does it conform to the grammatical and lexical rules we all know so well? If not, why not? Read more…

An Untitled Piece of Writing

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)



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