“It rubs the poem on its skin or else it gets the prose again...”
With this follow-up book, he once again collects his Twitter prose into a more manageable, easy-to-read format, once again containing references and hints as to what’s happening in his VirulentBlurb Universe and beyond. While one may say this is ‘more of the same’, we’d counter with ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. And that’s in no way a bad thing. The style may stay the same, but the song has plenty of new beats. The influence of pop culture is prevalent as usual (and never hidden nor shied away from), this is a celebration, and in no means derivative or weak sauce. Opening the book with a tribute to Lemmy, the frontman of Motörhead, and formally of Hawkwind is suitably fitting, particularly as the latter have played such a key role in shaping the words of Downe’s world. One could almost imagine the soundtrack to his Universe being Warrior on the Edge of Time. Later on, another fallen hero is saluted, of course, as The Thin White Duke is similarly a pivotal character in the world that the author has created. As Bowie did, Downe is constantly reinvigorating the environment of the story; creating new vistas on which to build new tales, while keeping the same standard of quality throughout.
In keeping with the foundation of the prose, grammar and spelling take on their own life, perhaps something purists may struggle with, but anyone who has spent long enough on the social media site will soon understand and appreciate the style and, indeed, the immediacy of the work. These are intentional and add to the otherworldliness of the writing, helping the reader be transported to a different world, just as Burgess’ Nadsat did back in 1962.
As with the first volume of Sporadic, this is a perfect jumping-in point for people unsure as to whether to take the plunge into the weird and wonderful world of Kneel Downe. The taste of his fractured creation will be enough to lure you onto the other books. And if they are too dense, there’s plenty of micro-tales and poems that are bound to bring a smile to any face. This is prose that is easily accessible, and that could very well be on a school syllabus decades from now.
“I am 140 characters… yet none of them are me”.
SPORADIC TOO: INFECTIONS / AUTHOR: KNEEL DOWNE / PUBLISHER: LULU.COM / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW