keep, v. To take care of, look to the well-being of; to look after, watch over, tend, have charge of. It was then, in spring’s first balmy days, just as crocus, blackthorn and hazel flowers emerge… Read article
I was engaged to be married once, and then I wasn’t. An ordinary calamity, but pretty personally memorable. I’d expected to feel bereft, and I did, but the grubby embarrassment was a surprise. It … Read article
Messenger’s Meadow. Butler’s Down. Fuzzy Lodge. Shripney Corner. Picket Twenty. Shalden Green. I’ve tried Googling these places, but it’s usually pointless. Each one is a ‘… Read article
Number of Players Required: 2+ Recommended Age: -30 weeks plus Players Will Need: Time Mouths Pencil and paper for scoring (optional) PreparationThe postures, gestures and facial expression… Read article
Ruined Mills of Leek We drove by the ruined mills of Leek In the dead time of the year When the land had become like a faded song We could no longer hear. Down where the mouldering sandst… Read article
One of the most iconic amateur films of the last century was Abraham Zapruder’s footage of the JFK assassination. At only 26.6 seconds it has grown to become a visual touchstone of 1960s America, sp… Read article
My friend Emily is getting married soon, so last weekend I went over to her house and skulked in the bushes outside until her sister – beadily watching from an upstairs window – opened the door an… Read article
History began in a library. The earliest known collections of writing were found near the Sumerian city of Nippur in modern-day Iraq, and for many scholars these earliest libraries mark the beginning … Read article
The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect. And as for th… Read article
There are some things we can’t put down. There are things that we return to, that we trace our fingers back over again and again: embossed text on the cover of a book; a crack in the wall where the paint is peeling; the raised stuff of a blemish, a spot, or a scar. This issue of The Junket is distracted, it’s beset: it’s got things on its mind that it can’t seem to shake.
We tend to fixate on that which we cannot quite grasp: obsession breeds in gaps and silences. In ‘Silent Motorcade’, a meditation on the footage of JFK’s assassination, Nathan Dunne prises those silences apart, exposing our ongoing fascination with conspiracy and obliqueness in the process. Meanwhile, Joanne O’Leary’s ‘Lines and Lacks’ considers the things that families and nations focus on forgetting. She draws on the history of the Etch A Sketch to leave us with the uncomfortable notion that the slate of memory can never really be wiped clean, no matter how hard we try.
That persistent feeling – a powerful pull of fragments and ruins – pervades Alex Niven’s haunting ‘Two Ballads, North’, and absorbs Damian Le Bas in his ‘Stopping Places’. Niven’s poems make old forms new; Le Bas, too, takes the past as his starting point. This essay charts his attempts to find the scattered dwelling spots of Gypsy forebears and satisfy an uncanny nostalgia for places he has never seen. Lucy Barnes also plumbs the depths of the past. In ‘Shelving’ she traces the origins of the library and its ancient connections with memory to ask what modern variations on this system of sorting might say about our collective imagination now. Against time and change, she finds, the library persists.
Indeed, there are some tics, twitches, spasms that we simply can’t get rid of, let alone control. Eley Williams’s ‘Positive Feedback: A Game’ plays with a physical response that feels hard-wired into our biological composition and which, under the right circumstances, is bound to recur regardless of time or place. While her game reflects on the curious ways we sympathise unwittingly and automatically with the world around us, Katrina Zaat’s ‘Domesticated’ finds its sticking point in a kind of sympathy that the author finds herself unable fully to articulate. Here, an observance of the letting agent’s rites and rituals leads to a troubled confrontation between the selves we are expected to perform and the values we strive to live by.
The nature of ritual, so oft repeated, is such that it can be easy to forget how wrapped up we are in its ins-and-outs, its quirks and strangenesses. Compelled by the weirdness of the hen-do, Francesca Wade’s ‘The Rites of Women’ unravels the threads that bind women together on the eve of a wedding, and unpicks the age-old behaviours into which so many of us enter with such abandon; those behaviours we take for granted. But then, to be seized by our obsessions can be euphoric; it can be exhilarating. Tim Smith-Laing’s ‘Where the Rot Set In’ follows the fortunes of The Monkees’ eccentric career, revelling in the bizarre world of fandom and the habit hype has of transforming the unremarkable into the sensational. Monkee mania, like any obsession, delights in the sheer pleasure of knowledge meticulously gathered, arranged, possessed.
There are some things we can’t put down. We hope this issue of The Junket will be one of them.
Jon Day & Kristen Treen
List of Contributors
Lucy Barnes is working on a doctorate about nineteenth-century stage adaptations of novels and poetry. She lives in Cambridge. @alittleroad
Nathan Dunne is the author of Lichtenstein, and the editor of the essay collection Tarkovsky.
Damian Le Bas is a writer from Sussex. A native Romany speaker, he is currently writing a book about Britain's Gypsies. @damianlebas
Alex Niven is a lecturer in modernist literature at Newcastle University. His first book of poetry, The Last Tape, was published last year. @Alex_Niven
Joanne O’Leary is writing a doctoral thesis at Clare College, Cambridge. @hyenapetticoat
Tim Smith-Laing is an Oxford-based writer and reviewer; when not writing, he is a commissioning editor at Macat International.
Kristen Treen is working on a doctoral thesis about American Civil War literature and material culture at the University of Cambridge. @MissTreen
Francesca Wade is Associate Editor of The White Review. Her writing has appeared in the London Review of Books, Times Literary Supplement, Telegraph and Financial Times, and she is working on her first book, about Mecklenburgh Square. @francescawade
A former lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, Eley Williams edits Jungftak, an online magazine for contemporary prose-poetry. @GiantRatSumatra