An Instant Classic By Sean O'Callaghan (collective effort press)
Jim Morrison! John Lennon! Leonard Cohen! Mark E. Smith! Bob Dylan! John Lydon!
Yes, that's right, these dirty rockers have all had books published outside their main area of expertise. Now here's Sean O'Callaghan. Name might not quite be as familiar as the above pus-bags, but you've probably seen his memes about on Facebook and stuff.
Australian Sean O'Callaghan is a poet who ain't like other poets. You know the bloke who stands upright and mumbles his words with embarrassment because, deep down inside, he knows he's a dick?
That's not Sean O'Callaghan. Sean doesn't just read, he performs (often with a backdrop or musical racket banging away). The man has a distinct taste for chaos and mayhem, whose performances usually upset (if not silence) most other poets (apparently a bit too rock'n'roll and tend to separate the wheat from the chaff by the end of the performance. And, beneath all the big impact... that's where you see the man himself.
"What's "An Instant Classic" about?... authority and people telling each other what to do without a clue themselves. Spike Milligan philosophy."
O'Callaghan is that rare creature, a decent, human worthwhile poet whom we need to clasp to our bosom, buy his books and give them away as gifts - especially to those dickheads with beards, avocado and whitebait sandwiches and macchiatos.
I've met Sean precisely once. And I knew I'd meet him and get along with him the first minute I clapped eyes on him. It was at a Fall gig in Melbourne ... hang on, I need to quickly explain.
"The Fall" as a band name was chosen over 40 years ago - it was the title of a Camus novel. Not a lot of folk seem aware of that, or the implication of the book's narrator as Mark E. Smith's modus operandi etc, but there was this big Irish bugger, loud as a motorcycle at 4 am, wearing a big T-shirt with a typical Camus photo (surly Boho Froggy) with Mark E. Smith's face in place of Camus', and the legend "Les Fall" ...
Yeah, alright. Genius takes a while to strike some people. So Sean is obviously well-read, intelligent, has a big bastard sense of humour and, as the poems here indicate, a heart bigger than any mammal on earth and will drag you into his weird world so quickly and seamlessly you will swear that you, too, "grew up on a dairy and pig farm in N. Ireland, South Armagh/ bandit country with a massive problem with authority".
Another rare feature to Sean's writing is that he uses the language as it should be used - colloquially, ditching much of the formality of punctuation in favour of direct impact. He knows he's doing this, and in context, 'An Instant Classic' is a thumping good read.
Herein, Sean takes the rare fucking biscuit. Unusually for a poetry collection - or a writing collection, whatever - in "An Instant Classic" everything slots together in the right order, the poems themselves have a clear narrative or concept (think of all the fucking modern poets you've encountered which you just cannot grasp because they're so fucking intellectually up their date) and a good half the time you're either laughing or smiling with recognition, and there are some brilliant, inspired endings...
Sean has that magical, intimate way with words which makes you reflect as well as smile and think. I love his short monologues - but there are plenty of much shorter works, so you can dip in and out at your leisure.
In fact, read "An Instant Classic" on the bus, before bed, on the toilet (every bog should have a couple of bookshelves, and "An Instant Classic" should be there). Meanwhile persuade the bugger to annoy the poets in your town, or support a bunch of low-life rascal rock'n'rollers. SYDNEY'S Maximum Security spring to mind.
Harass the bugger at his Facebook page. Copies have begun to appear in Melbourne bookshops, and there's a launch imminent.