Friday, 27 February 2009

four-part 'feature review' of MEN

1. the men behind MEN

MEN was created by three men.

here is one of the men who created MEN. this man wrote all the text. i think he also did all the 'layout' things. he writes a blog. he has written mysteriously on the blog about the production of MEN, about a possible 'sweatshop'. MEN is not stapled. my copy of MEN looked like it was stitched together on an electric sewing machine with red cotton. i don't think this man used the electric sewing machine to stitch the copies of MEN together. i have used investigative techniches on gchat to discover that this man lives in london, on his own, in a flat. i believe this man is the 'head honcho' behind MEN. this man seems to have a lot of 'lady friends' but also gives off the distinct impression of being a single man, possibly. i don't know. maybe this man has a girlfriend.

this is another of the men who created MEN. this man also writes a blog. this man drew almost all the illustrations of men in MEN, i belive. i think he drew them on MS Paint. the illustrations of men are similar in tone and style to the animated drawings in this video (also by this man). in each copy of MEN, the last drawing of a man is hand drawn by this man. in my copy it is a drawing of an angry-looking man with a large head and a neck that turns into a leg with a boot on the end of it, and a speech bubble coming from the man's mouth, saying, 'stop looking at me.' most of the men this man draws have moustaches, maybe 70-80%. the final man who created MEN is the brother of this man. i couldn't find any pictures of him on the internet. he drew the man on page 24, i belive, although maybe drew some of the other men, too.

2. what it looks like to receive MEN in the post

[note: most pages including front cover, back cover, etc., are not depicted. there was also a cut out of a dinosaur from a Guardian wall-chart in the envelope, also not pictured]

3. review of MEN in the style of a short English essay

In my essay I will attempt to prove that I like the chapbook MEN by Crispin Best, Socrates Adams-Florou and Spiros Adams-Florou. To prove this, I will give examples of drawings and passages of writing from MEN that I particularly like.

Best, and the Adams-Florous present twelve different men in MEN. Each left-hand page has a picture of a man, drawn by one of the Adams-Florous, and each right-hand page has writing by Best, in the style of a monologue by the man depicted. The pictures and writing are very good. On p.7, Adams-Florou presents a 'sassy'-looking man, with long combed-back hair and big lips. In this man's monologue, Best focusses on how this man sees himself -- his hopes and dreams -- mostly in relation to his long hair, and also how he is a boxer who doesn't "want to get punched". Later in the monologue, the man admits that, "When my father combs my hair it feels amazing." I liked this man a lot.

On the next page, we see an 'insane-looking' paediatrician, with a bow-tie, rectangular head, small circular mouth with sharp teeth, large, angry eyes, and a long, wispy moustache. This paediatrician makes jokes about how he would like to torture children, constantly interrupting himself, to make sure that you understand that he "want[s] children to be healthy, not covered in welts and burnholes ..." The constant self re-adjustment of the paediatrician's monologue, his worry that the torture jokes are being misunderstood as intention, made me go, 'ha!' out-loud when I first read it.

There are lots of other men, too, all displaying frailty, honesty, and sometimes a skewed or faulty outlook on life. I liked looking at all the men and reading their monologues. Even though the dedication in the front says, "to men everywhere", I believe this chap
book could be equally enjoyed by women, girls, boys, etc. I liked it a lot.

4. review of MEN in the style of a negative Amazon customer review

104 out of 104 people found the following review helpful:

***** Complete piece of shit, 27 Feb 2009
By J.S. Thomas "the book piper" (U.K.) -
See all my reviews
Customer review from the Amazon Vine TM Programme (What's This?)

What a dreadful and terrible letdown. This book is only about 4 pages long. It is not even a novella. It is the shortest book I have ever read. I read it in about 1 minute.

I got this book for free by emailing someone or something.

It is just pictures of men and writing where they talk about themselves. There is no plot or storyline and nothing happens. If this is the state of British publishing then I want to go into the bathroom and fill my sink up with puke and then wash my face with it.

I am sure that if the book had been written by Jeffrey Archer or Jeffrey Eugenides or someone like that lots of interesting things would happen. All in all, I found it seedy, depressing, not-sexy, and instantly forgettable.

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[MEN is out now. It is free. It is published by Unnecessary Ebooks. I think you can get hold of a copy by emailing Crispin Best. I am not sure if he is going to print more copies or do a pdf version. You'd have to ask him about that.]