Gaby den Held

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And then your gaze! Bulging eyes as if you completely have surrendered yourself. At such a moment you don't look like an angel anymore. Then you are a cat that has been driven into the corner. A corned prey that does not really surrender. A beast that, if I catch it, digs its claws into my flesh. You're playing a dangerous game.
From Charlie Dark

INSPIRATION: Dennis Cooper 

The American cult writer Dennis Cooper can rightly be called an outsider. 
He never joined any current trend and he went on his way as soon as
 people wanted to annex him. His heroes were the poets Baudelaire, 
Rimbaud, but also Marquis de Sade. With such examples, it is no surprise 
that he writes about boys who indulge in violent sexual excesses. Rape, 
incest, necrophilia, there is no subject he avoids. An entertaining story is 
that the bass guitarist of Blur, Alex James, figured in his novel 'Guide' in 
which the latter was drugged, raped and even murdered. Alex James turned 
out to be a fan of Cooper's work and agreed to an interview with him. But 
half an hour before it would happen Alex shied away from it and the two 
never met. Despite, or perhaps thanks to, the shocking content of his work, 
he has many fans among well-known artists such as Leonardo di Caprio 
and U2. The latter is known to have their song Numb inspired by the 
eponymous chapter from Coopers novel Frisk. But of course there is more 
to it than shock value. Better than anyone he knows how to make the 
craving for love tangible in a way that, despite the extreme violence in his 
stories, actually moves the reader. Originating from the punk culture, 
Dennis Cooper lets himself constantly be influenced by alternative art and 
music movements and he also continues to renew himself. Examples are 
the two novels 'Zac's haunted house,' and 'Zac's control panel,' (2015) which consist entirely of gifs. Other works are: the semi-autobiographical George Miles Cycle (Closer (1989), Frisk (1991), Try (1994), Guide (1997), Period (2000), The sluts (2005) and The Marbled Swarm (2011).

A good writer as bad as you'll find (The Guardian)
Speaking in tongues with Dennis Cooper
Dennis Cooper: the art of fiction (Paris review)
Dennis Cooper blog

Alex Stanovsky, nascent novel: fragment

5-3-2018. Alarm
That strange calm overtook me again. A tranquility that masked the ominousness of the situation as a cloth thrown over an alarm light.

More on Alex Stanovsky
INSPIRATION: Mikhail Bulgakov

Those who know my novels will not be surprised that I am influenced by 
magical realism, surrealism and fairy tales. With magical realism, many 
people think of South American literature. But although I admire the 
novels of Gabriel García Márquez, I don't feel connected to it. 
Where do I get my inspiration from then? The answer is: Russian literature. 
I love the novel We by Jevgeni Zamjatin (1884-1937). A dystopian novel 
from which George Orwell has drawn a lot of inspiration in writing '1984.' 
But my greatest example is Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) and especially 
his novel The Master and Margarita. His style is satirical with a surrealistic 
twist. He makes a superior blend of reality, social criticism and fantasy. But 
he also had to resort to metaphors and fairytale scenes because his books 
and plays were heavily criticized by the Stalinist regime. His pieces were 
even banned in 1929, leaving him without income. In his despiration, he 
wrote a letter to Stalin. A short time later, he was offered work in the 
Moscow Art Theater. He spent his days as assistant director, librettist and 
translator. His own work in the Soviet Union, however, no longer came 
through the censorship. From 1928 to 1940 Bulgakov worked on his main 
novel: The Master and Margarita. When he died on March 10, 1940, he had 
not fully redesigned his magnum opus. For decades his widow Jelena Bulgakova unsuccessfully tried to get the work through censorship. Only in 1966 a heavily censored Soviet version was published. A year later the complete edition of that masterly work appeared in Western Europe. 

Master &Margarita
Biography Mikhail-Bulgakov (Britannica)

Charlie Dark revisited

Charlie Dark is the very first manuscript I wrote, before Maan (Moon).
It’s my most sensual and emotional novel. A tragic love story, which partly take place in the cafes, streets and parks of Amsterdam and Paris. It is also a magic realistic fairytale.

Angel Floris has had a difficult childhood. He lost his mother at a young age, is ignored by his father and ends up in prostitution. As a child he finds comfort in the friendship of his companion Charlie Dark, but one day Charlie suddenly disappears. Years later, Angel thinks he has found his childhood friend Charlie again. He falls deeply in love. But is this boy the real Charlie Dark?

This story has been in the desk drawer for years. In the past period I have reread it and decided that I will offer it to my publisher for publication.
INSPIRATION: Hello earth - In der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht

'Hello earth' by Kate Bush absolutely belongs to the music that has touched and influenced me. It is part of the hallucinogenic B-side of the album Hounds of Love, named The Ninth Wave (after a poem by Alfred Tennyson), a suite of seven songs. It's a dark, almost frightening trip. A mini-opera with a horror edge. The first time I heard it I could hardly sleep afterwards, it made such an impression. The songs resounded in my head. Scary fairytales have my preference and this is one of them. One time La Bush sounds like an anxious little child, than as a furious witch. Hello Earth is the apotheosis. Here everything comes together. Up to and including the dramatic climax: the choir that sings the Georgian song Tsintskaro (known from the film Nosferatu by Werner Herzog). Then the melody descends and the both ominous and reassuring words are spoken: "Tiefer, tiefer, irgendwo in the Tiefe gibt es ein Licht." I quoted this sentence in Charlie Dark. Also as apotheosis. And as an ode.

Kate Bush - Hello earth (YouTube)
Charlie Dark: bookpresentation

The time has come: my 3rd novel CHARLIE DARK was launched yesterday with a theatrical book presentation full of singing and interviews in Theaterhuis de Berkenkuil in Utrecht. It was a special afternoon in which the presenter Hans Pols took full interviews with Willem Desmense from the IJzer publishing house, the designers Sander & Sandor and me. Video recordings have also been made, which will follow. Hereby a photo and video impression.

Book presentation Charlie Dark: photo and video report

INSPIRATION: La garçonne by Victor Margueritte

La garçonne by VICTOR MARGUERITTE (1866 - 1942). It is a novel from 
1925 about Monique, who dresses like a boy, smokes cigarettes, uses drugs
and has lesbian mistresses. This novel, then considered scandalous, 
caused the author to lose his Légion d'honneur.

La garçonne

Plans for 2020

An INTERVIEW is planned for Sunday 16 February in Antwerp Holebibib, 
at the Draakplaats. That will be about my novel Charlie Dark that appeared 
autumn 2019 at IJzer publishing house.

I have a complete manuscript ready that will be published:
ALEX STANOVSKY. That is a story of a young man who ends up in a
train community from which it seems there is no escaping from. Moreover, 
he is in love with the androgynous Karin Tender who has a high position 
there. I will keep you informed when Alex Stanovsky will appear.

I am also collecting ideas for a YOUTH NOVEL. This will be about a ten year 
old girl. The character isbased on the train manager Karin Tender from Alex 
Stanovsky, but in a young version. Karin feels she is a boy as well as a girl. 
She lives together with her father and his friend in a house with a beautiful 
garden. Her mother camps in a caravan in the garden. Karin wants to be a train 
conductor. One with a mustache!


The young British tailor ZACK MACLEOD PINSENT never wears modern clothing. He ceremonially burned his last pair of jeans when he was fourteen. For him, making and wearing clothes from the past is the most effective way of self-expression. His persistency has led him to become proficient in the tailoring trade. With as a specialization the clothing style from 1660 to the twenties of the last century. With youthful enthusiasm, craftsmanship, determination and charm, Zack now runs his one-man business in tailor-made historical clothing: Pinsent clothing. Feeling lackadaisical? No inspiration? Watch the short BBC video with Zack and you will be fresh and reborn. If only we could all be so cheerful and persistent!

More on Zack Pinsent tailoring
Video about Zack Pinsent (BBC)

Photo © Zack Pinsent