NEWS & EVENTS
As an innovator of Polyauthorism, Thomas complements his novels with an wealth of alternative media, including music, videos and artwork with the intent of enhancing his books' atmosphere and character in a poor attempt at distracting from his dreadful writing.
Unfortunately, most of this additional material is even worse than his writing. Particularly some of the pop songs. In as much, they complement the novels surprisingly well. Despite this, Thomas continues to collaborate with various artists, presumably because they feel sorry for him, which demonstrates a certain irony.
As part of Thomas’ attempts to complement his Velvet Paw books (and there’s not much the books can offer other than propping up wonky table legs), the first adventure, “the Purging of Ruen”, was abridged and made into a fifteen part audiobook. The book did very well by all accounts in the fact that there were no accounts, so the decision was then made to complement the audiobook with video and produce a videobook.
Surprisingly, this “complement of a complement” was received with some acclaim by audiences who found the original book insufferable. As one reviewer said: “Anything would be an improvement on reading the blasted thing, so the videobook’s far better because the images distract from Thomas’ writing. The atrocious spelling’s not nearly as apparent and punctuation can be inferred. As a consequence, the videobook production hurts far less in the brain.”
Thomas took this as a compliment, and is reported to have said, “To have a compliment about the complement of a complement of the book is encouraging, and has even afforded a lull in the abusive emails I receive about the spelling in the book. Some people just don’t understand creativity.”
We believe Thomas is one of them.
The videobook can be seen here.
Sixth album with J. St. Jives.
Jonathon Michael Crapper (aka MC Tasty) and Jefferson St. Jives (aka DJ Pooh) were the musicians behind the once infamous pop group 'Jesus Christ My Penis'. Although they failed to chart musically, they did become the most heavily trolled band on the internet. So much uproar did their name arouse, that unlike pop groups swamped in fan-mail, Jesus Christ My Penis became swamped in troll-mail. Threats and injunctions followed, and it became apparent the two musicians had made a mistake even greater than their initial decision to become musicians.
“We wanted a title to make us stand out,” said St. Jives during a particularly rare interview with Rolling Stones magazine—and I mean really rare. “Our music is so shit that we needed something to compensate. We were getting the odd play on radio, but our shit music coupled with calling ourselves “Bilge Water” did nothing to help success. Clearly we couldn’t improve our music because we’re so completely shit, so the only option was to change our name. One morning, Jonathon happened to get his foreskin caught in his trouser zipper, and ‘Jesus Christ My Penis’ was a phrase he came up with almost immediately. It just seemed to work. Unlike his zipper. Or his foreskin, for that matter. We didn’t mean to cause offence. We just wanted to draw attention to our music without actually drawing attention to our music. It’s a bit like doing a spectacular pooh and fighting the urge to take a photo of it and share it on social media.”
At the same time, Thomas’ Velvet Paw novels continued to get poor reviews. ”The reviews would have been far worse,” Thomas admitted, “had the reviewers not been so utterly appalled by my writing. I had a large number of offensive emails from reviewers stating that they weren’t going to taint the notion of reviewing by reviewing of my books, because reviewing such dreadful writing discredited the notion of reviewing. I was hurt by some of the things they called me, too. Many of which I remain convinced aren’t spelt correctly. Often I remind myself that no reviews are good reviews, even though the reviews I have received are dreadful.”
Although the two parties had never met, they then did so at a Wankers' convention in Bently, Chesterford, two years ago. Despite their set-backs, all three remained compelled to write and decided to team up in a collaboration that would see their prior failings border on aspirational.
Crappar and St. Jives renamed themselves “The Velvet Paws of Asquith” (plural) as a tribute to books that are even more rubbish than they are, while Thomas found another means of complementing the rubbish he comes up with.
“We felt sorry for him, obviously,” said St. Jives during the same interview. “Thomas is the sort of guy you wonder about in almost every possible sense of the word. But because his writing is even more shit than ours, collaborating with him makes us look better. And because no one reads his books anyway, we’re at no risk of being abused again. Admittedly no one will hear our music either. But because it’s shit that’s probably for the best. Now we can have a band title and have no concerns anyone’s going to take offence. Unless someone reads Thomas’ books. But having flicked through one of them once, I remain convinced no one ever will. It’s a win-win.”
“I don’t like the notion of win-win,” Thomas insists. “In fact, I don’t like hyphens at all. They’re a lot like punctuation: getting in the way and making words look messy. All those dots and things. It’s so last century.”
Anyway, their third album will be out soon. Their current work can be heard here.
An exhibition of Extractionism.
The visual artistic style of Extractionism, founded by the notorious cat Oscar Teabag-Dooven, is new and brash and influencing the art world much like the invention of art once did. Unlike expressionism, impressionism, or indeed any other ism, extractionism isn’t based on a particular school of thought or cultural era. Nor does it stem from radical social upheaval. It is instead a simplified form of painting. It is “summarisation” of scene, “posterisation” of theme, or “cartooning” of world. It could therefore be equally summarism, posterism or cartoonsism. But it’s not. It’s exctractionism because it extracts the essence of subject and plonks it on canvas without the arrogance of ability. Extractionism, therefore, arises in the absence of talent.
In its purest form, extractionism displays bold lines and basic colours lifted from its subject while intentionally ignoring detail. It does, therefore, ignore meaning. Extractionism's purpose is not to question the human condition or its place within the universe’s endless warping canvas. Instead, it seeks to ask the question, “Isn’t it pretty?” with no interest in an answer. Extractionsim has been described, perhaps unfairly, as “art for the stupid” and “art for the desensitised” and “shit”.
Is extractionism a new movement? Or is merely shallow art? Is it an excuse for rubbish painting to be dubbed something other than a waste of paint? We asked Sydney based art critic and curator of the Sinkhole Art Gallery Buen Rubenstien for his thoughts.
“I remember it was a Tuesday at about three in the afternoon. I’d sat down at a cafe in Colchester Street and ordered a large strawberry doughnut and a cupofteano with extra soy. While I was waiting, my phone rang. I answered it as this seemed a prudent thing to do. There was no answer however, so I shrugged and put it back in my pocket. When my cupofteano arrived, my phone rang again. I answered it a second time but again there was no answer. Returning the phone to my pocket, I waited for my strawberry doughnut to arrive, as it hadn’t been brought with my cupofteano (an oversight the waiter apologised for despite my insistence there was no need). When my doughnut did arrive, my phone rang for a third time. It was only then I realised I must have dialled my phone with my arse.”
Clearly we should have been more specific about which thoughts we were after. Nevertheless, you can see some examples of Dooven's extractionsm here.
Velvet Paws of Asquith now on SomaFM.
In a remarkable feat of incredulity, SomaFM have agreed to include some of the Velvet Paws of Asquith’s music on their streaming internet radio station. “At SomaFM we believe in supporting indie music providing the content is of sufficient calibre,” Simon Miller of the station said. “We are happy to include it in our live streaming and share it with our listeners. We felt their lo-fi sound would fit our vintage playlist for Illinois Street Lounge channel, as well as a couple of their tracks for our Secret Agent playlist.”
Obviously, Crappar and St. Jives are thrilled. “We are thrilled,” St. Jives admitted. “Though I am surprised at the mention of our ‘style’, having being convinced we hadn’t any. And as far as being lo-fi is concerned, I suspect that’s because we record on a dodgy cassette player. Jonathon’s particularly thrilled about the style thing though, because whenever style has been mentioned in the context of our music before, it’s been with the words ‘absolutely no’ in front of it. In fact, he’s so thrilled he’s having the word printed on T-shirt’s. Unfortunately not new ones. Instead on the back of our old ‘Jesus Christ My Penis’ ones. Actually, we’re surprised they mentioned style in relation to us at all. Usually the only s-word associated with us is ‘shit’. And ‘shut-up’. And ‘seriously stop that stupid shit and shut-up, you shits.’ So yes, it’s really quite a thrill.”
Thomas, on the other hand, was indignant that his books weren’t mentioned in any of SomaFM’s promotional material. “I’m indignant my books weren’t mentioned in any of SomaFM’s promotional material,” he admitted. “I know books can’t be streamed on the internet—although I did receive one of mine shredded in the post once—but I am annoyed their success rides on being associated with my books. I’m not envious or anything, but it does make me want to kill the selfish bastards. I even sent one of my books to SomaFM so they could see where the name Velvet Paws of Asquith came from.”
“We did receive a book, yes,” Simon said. “It was rubbish though. Ghastly. I’ve never read anything so bad. Even my phone bill offers greater thrills. I think it’s currently being used to prop up a wonky table leg in the staffroom. The book. Not my phone bill.”
In response to poor books sales, i.e. none, Thomas attended a conference on advertising and self-promotion to see if he could do something about it. There it was agued that the single most effective marketing that any author can do is write a great book. 90 percent of a book's success is based on the story being emotionally immersive for its readers. As a consequence, Thomas realised he had not a hope of success. “If writing a good book is at the forefront of success, I am not only lagging behind at the rear, but have gotten lost, dropped my compass and trodden in something wet and nasty.”
Thomas’ contribution at the conference was vigorous as he debated for little under four hours reasons why they might be wrong, much to the despair of roughly five hundred other candidates who’d spent nearly a thousand dollars not to hear him do so. “I was just wanting to be certain they’d looked at it from all angles,” Thomas said. “It’s a pretty devastating thing to hear that after writting a series of appalling books, that there's nothing that can be done to get anyone to read the things. I even read out several chapters, but had to shout toward the end because of the audience’s sobbing.”
Sadly, it seems if Thomas wants anything resembling success he will have to die and reincarnate so he can start again from scratch with a new personality. We asked one of the presenters, Gary Thurstingh of Promote or Demote, his opinion of Thomas’ work. “I’ve certainly never come across anyone who believes in himself as much as Thomas,” he said. “It’s not an arrogance at all, it’s more a sort of tragic, complicated denial of everything. I felt quite sorry for the guy. He was standing there amongst all these intelligent, motivated people who were yelling at him to shut-up, while he pleaded that I go back and check my figures. I explained it didn’t really come down to figures, and Thomas suggested that's even more of a reason to check them. Interestingly, that night my associates and I did check the figures and found that he was, to a degree, quite right. It’s not 90 percent, it’s pretty much 100 percent. Which is annoying really, as we have to redo all our PowerPoints before next Thursday.”
“I only refuse to believe successful fiction is great fiction because I’m shit at it,” Thomas said. “I have spent most of my writing career ignoring everything to do with improving in order to preserve my originality. But I’ve since been informed I have none. But surely even absence of originality in a writer is, in a sense, a sort of originality?”
Determined to redefine the entire concept of marketing and promotion, Thomas set about rethinking the values and definitions of everything the past 50 years of consumer capitalism had produced. If he couldn’t fit their schematics, then he’d rewrite them.
And rewrite them he did.
Self Derogatory Advertising (SDA) was born.
But it was an idea that should not have been. Or perhaps euthanased at the very least. At least that’s what advertising experts have been saying about it. “You can’t promote messages about how shit you product is,” Harold P. Smitherington advises, a marketing expert says. “Advertising is about encouraging consumers to see a truth and then act on it with their wallet. And the only wallet-action Thomas’ ideas will find is consumers bludgeoning him with them.” But Thomas disagrees. “SDA’s message of his books being shit IS a truth. Were I to say how great they are to read, that would be a downright lie because they’re so shit. I really think Harold’s got even less of an idea than I have. Although I respect his opinion, I hate the stupid guy and he’s a stupid ugly pillock.“ This was countered by Harold explaining his company promotes some of the biggest global brands and that he personally makes over a million a year, and as a consequence, Thomas should keep his ignorant mouth shut—and his nose also for that matter—and indeed anything that provides him with air. To his credit, Thomas didn’t say anything to this and just blinked furiously. Although he did fax us the next day with a list of retorts he was apparently on the verge of saying at the time, but didn’t for fear of making Harold seem small and effeminate.
We think that’s unlikely.
And none of them were spelt correctly anyway.
Banner Ad Films.
Encouraged by his revolutionary advertising ideas, Thomas approached renowned film-maker and advertising guru Harold P. Smitherington to discuss how such ideas might be modelled. But Harold laughed with one of those dreadful laughs that starts well before the mouth even has time to open, and consequently sprays the immediate vicinity with a fine mist of spit. As this left Thomas rather unimpressed (although not nearly as unimpressed as Harold), he left to find encouragement elsewhere. But everyone he approached had a similar reaction with similar degrees of spit. One encounter was a particularly revolting incident during lunch, leaving Thomas not only drenched, but wearing bits of half-chewed salad—which was made far worse by the fact that Thomas does not care for salad.
Eventually, Thomas had to concede that his radical advertising ideas were “so radical as to be shit” (as one executive put it) that the only way he might use them to their full potential would be to approach someone with far less opinion or expertise in the matter.
So he contacted Eveyln Hutswothy, an attractive twenty-year-old waitress in Soho who was studying part time at the New Institute of Film-Making in the recently refurbished Old Institute of Film-Making building of the same name. “He seemed a bit strange certainly,” she admits in a police interview. “He’d come into the cafe thirty times in one day and stare at me in a manner most disconcerting. In the end my father, who runs the place, called the police who then forcibly removed him from the premises. But twenty-four hours later, Thomas returned and did the same. Although this time he did order a coffee. Well, he had to. It was either order something or be cautioned again. My father's a great salesman like that.”
Thomas actually ordered thirty seven coffees and then was awake for six straight days. Although during this time he wrote a business proposal as to why Evelyn ought to collaborate with him. “It was certainly one of my better bits of writing,” Thomas admitted during the same interview. “I used a spell-checker and everything. I think I learnt more during those six days than in the prior six years. Certainly I learnt that I should never drink coffee.” Whatever Thomas had come up with did the trick: Evelyn was hooked and agreed to be involved. She incorporated his ideas into her graduate film project : ‘Why Shit’s The New Black’ and won the New Institute of Film-Making’s highest award: 'The New Institute of Film-Making Award'. She was also presented with a cheque for three thousand dollars which Thomas promptly invested for her. “It was only fair,” said Thomas. “after all, it was my idea that had her win in the first place.” But Evelyn seems rather less convinced. “He was adamant the prize money was his,” she admitted. “And because he’s very strange I decided it was best not to argue. Honestly, I can’t work out whether he’s a blithering idiot or unreported genius. I certainly find him compelling, but at the same time repulsive. Regardless, his ideas have shaped my interpretation of advertising in a highly innovative manner, apparently, and both this - and the award - have since landed me a position in an exclusive advertising agency which has me earning more than I could ever imagined possible. So for that at least, I am grateful—although can I say for the record that I do hate him.”
Although details of the proposal remain withheld by the courts, Evelyn did reveal some reasons as to why she agreed to such collaboration. “His writing was ghastly,” she said. “I mean really dreadful. It suggested he was a writer—which he clearly wasn’t—and that he wanted to turn contemporary advertising on its head by creating a series of short films suggesting his books were ghastly and shouldn't be read. They were more like public health warnings, actually. Nevertheless, the notion hleft me laughing so ard that I was sick all over his proposal. On reflection, I think what had me agreeing were three things: firstly, his shit writing would be well reflected in promoting the fact, secondly, I dig the idea of being an advertising revolutionary, and thirdly, I felt sorry for him. He’d been awake for six days, you see. And he included a sick note to prove it.”
This is true. A sick note was provided. “Oh the sick note was genuine,” Thomas insists. “I’d been in intensive care for two of the days because it turns out that I’m allergic to coffee.”
Anyway, Self Derogatory Advertising is here to stay. Although it won’t be doing anyone any good—least of all Thomas, and examples can be found through the Velvet Paw of Asquith Site and on certain obscure German pornographic ones.