Friday, June 10, 2016


Originally posted here - 

BLONDE MILFS IN ZERO GRAVITY - A Conversation With Ben John Smith
June 9, 2016
Steven Storrie and Ben John Smith

SS; OK, same question to everybody. Three songs on the jukebox. What are you playing?

BJS; Haha believe it or not me and the missus just did a "hypnobirthing" course so I have some very chilled out sounds of "rainbow mist" with some British woman talking tantric mellowness over the top, lulling us into calmness before what I can only imagine is the inevitable madness that is child birth. But I have been sticking my ear phones onto the baby bump to get the little dudes musical taste into fine form before he/she erupts into my world. First album I shared was Pink Floyds new jam "Endless River". Second was Amy Winehouse’s "Frank" followed by a few good doses of Elvis and Rod Stewart. This little dudes going to croon out the womb swinging in blue swede shoes.
SS: Haha dude that's awesome! Imagine if the kid comes out singing 'Fuck Me Pumps' instead of 'Blue Suede Shoes!' Would you take 'Frank' over 'Back To Black'? I know you said you were reading it some Papa Hemingway. Which poets are you reading it? Who are the BEST poets of all time?

BJS: Hahaha being my seed if it comes out swinging a pitchfork and a six pack I wouldn’t be surprised. When it comes to Winehouse I’ll take anything, I’m not one of them people who says "what a waste" when someone dies - in fact I fucking hate when people say that. Amy didn’t waste anything, she came up hard and made some of the best music of all time. A waste is sitting around in your undies all day watching television and working 12 hours a day at a job you despise. That’s a fucking waste. But saying that I would have loved a bit more from her - selfishly I know, but she is just so fucking perfect. Bukowski is the best dead poet, hands down. My homie in Canada Ryan Quinn Flanagan is the best living poet, in my opinion - seriously the guy is amazing. And he is bringing out the quality over and over again. I haven’t read the bump any poetry yet - hope the little peanut never reads my shit also, haha. I think I will read him some Steve Richmond, some Les Murry - Aussie poet, read with him once at a pub called "The Drunken Poet". Poetry is for suckers, haha. My self-included. I hope my kid is nothing like me. I hope he/she does something useful with their life like make music or restores old boats. Or becomes a baker, you know - what ever, just not like me.

SS: I hear ya, man. I want two things for my kids. One, for them not to be like me. Two, for them to pursue anything but writing. I love it more than anything, more than ANYTHING. But I also loathe it at times. I'm torn between seeing it as a noble pursuit and seeing it as an ultimately selfish pursuit, like surfing or masturbating. To be any good at it at all you have to be fucked up, pissed off and at least a little self-obsessed. All of which I qualify for with ease, unfortunately. More than anything else, I would rather my kids not have the complexities and neuroses it takes to be a writer. I'm obsessed with it to the point that you have to be if you're serious, where it consumes all else and you rack up debts to be able to do it. I'm in it now, for good or ill. And I wouldn't change that for anything. But I would rather my kids go into something that helps others. Like porn. But then we aren't really so bad me and you, are we? We're creative and we do the best we can and we look after our wives. We're doing what we love despite the odds stacked against us, and that definitely is a noble thing. I couldn't fucking agree with you more about Amy. Isn't it ironic that she did more with her 27 years than the people who say she was a wasted talent did with twice that amount? I saw her once, in 2009 or so. It was right at the height of all the madness, when that scumbag Blake as in prison and stuff. It had disaster written all over it. And she turned out to be AMAZING. Blew me away. In fact it’s still one of the best gigs I've ever seen. Like you say, a waste is not having the guts to live the life you want or chasing your dreams. It's sitting on the couch watching reruns of old game shows and playing with yourself at inopportune times. It's watching the omnibus of any soap. It's DEFINITELY working in a job that you hate and, man, I learned that one the hard way some years ago. Which brings me to Buk. He was the best. Like you say, poetry is for suckers. It's also generally for pompous assholes too, isn't it? Very hard to find good poetry. Henry Rollins once said that poets write for other poets. They write to outdo and impress the other poets that are in the room. Buk never did that. It was honest and it was to the point. It’s curious to me that so many people try and copy his prose but not his poetry. Too much poetry is pretentious for me. I'll definitely check out the names you mentioned but for now you get my nod as the best out there, my friend. What get you started?

BJS: No bullshit here brother, big Buk was the one that made me brave enough to share my poetry. I had always written poems all through primary and high school but it wasn't till I went to Europe on a gap year with the missus that I found out about Bukowski. I was on a contiki tour and an American soldier said something along the lines of "you bloody Aussies always think you’re Bukowski’s". I had no idea what he was on about but after a hunt I tracked down some of Buk’s stuff and I was blown away. Cue three years of barflying, fighting and damn near drinking myself to death (as you do after you read Buk, trying in vain to ascertain that level of madness that gave birth to so many brilliant stories) and that's how the whole "getting my writing out there" began. I mean you’re right though, and I won't deny that I did try and at least style wise emulate my new found hero and if it came across in my writing I wouldn't say I consciously ripped off his shit. But it's like most things - if you’re attracted by something, even if it's madness, then you gravitate to it, right? I loved how William Burroughs was with his cats, I thought it was so beautiful that a very hard, gun toting mad man had such a gentle thing for kittens - and younger men it must be said haha. And I liked the difference in the men of the Beats. Personally and style wise. Individualism is more important than good writing but there is always a grey area - most things have been done, except I might add filming a porno in space (there is a crowd funding site trying to be the first, but it hasn’t been done yet). Know what I'm getting at? Put it this way, in a porn analogy every taboo has been done. Fucking a horse, fisting a juggalo, putting an octopus up a woman’s ass. So while things have all been done as inspiration to us, we join the collective and add our own spin. That's what I mean about Bukowski. It's too easy to write every drunk poet (which has to be 80% of poets/writers) as a Bukowski wannabe. There is more to it than that. I love what he did, how he did it and what he came through but it wasn't a life I could sustain. I have a wife to care for, family. Friends who rely on me. The bottle would have killed me if I kept up at that "Bukowski" pace, and it very well may still kill me but I'm in a much more level headed space since I gave up the "Bukowskisms." Buk said "don't try" but that's easy for him to say. It came to him. Sure I haven't written anything even half decent since I become a functioning human being but the trade is one I'll make again. Maybe the writing will come back one day, but now I got the cats, a good woman and a kid on the way. There is only one thing I like more than beer and I'm sorry Big Buk but love isn't a dog from hell, it’s a pussy from heaven.

SS: Where did you go in Europe? Everything you said about Bukowski is true. Bob Dylan once said that all the great stories have been told, and I think that's true. You wrote a brilliant fucking line that said something like the great men got roars and all we have is whispers. That's a great fucking line, man. GREAT. But with Buk, to me, like Hunter Thompson after him, I couldn't lift my drooling head off my shoulder, much less write well, if I drank or did drugs to that kind of level. I'm much more of a Henry Rollins guy these days. I work out and drink coffee by the bucket load. I think you're meant to have those experiences when you're younger and get them out of your system, maybe draw on them with clarity when it comes to writing. There are fewer sadder sights in this world than a man of our age still trying to hang with the kids, falling down drunk in nightclubs or chasing 22 year old skirt. Fuck that. I did it, I loved it, now I'm on to something else. I think the bad Bukowski imitators are the ones that either never tried the lifestyle or never did the homework. Let’s not forget, Buk read the shit out of all the greats. The cold and simple fact is you can't be good in this game if you don't do your homework. The bad ones think it's as simple as sitting down and writing pussy cunt fuck shit a few times, throw in a blowjob and a bar fight, and you got yourself a story. I fucking resent the shit out of that, and I'm sure you do too. I care about writing and I work hard at getting better at it. I suppose like the man himself said, bad writing is like bad women, sometimes there's just nothing you can do about it. So I try to ignore the imposters as much as I can. The truth will come out, as someone once said. Do you work much on your stuff? How long does it take you to write a poem? And do you labour over it much or edit it? That one about sleeping with Kanye West and Elvis, which you know I fucking love the shit out of, for instance? How much work went in to that? And let me just concur with you about Burroughs, particularly with the cats. I love cats. I'm a cat guy, you're a cat guy, so was Bill and so was Hemingway. So we're in pretty good fucking company. Let me just state for the record for when people read this; I hate dogs. Hate them. Apologies to all the bleeding hearts out there, but cats are better than dogs, get over it. And I'll chip in for the porn in space thing if you will!

BJS: I was born in Leeds, England, so we went back to visit my family for a few months then I worked in a bar in London for the remained of the year. We worked for 3 pounds an hour but we had a little room upstairs and a free hot meal a day so we could save our cash and just hop around the place every now and then. Went to Egypt, Turkey, most of Europe on the contiki bus. It was a wild fucking year - I had to come home before I picked up a coke habit haha. London was fucking insane. Fuckin A, man. You can’t fake that kind of greatness. And you’re dead right with the homework. So many dudes out there calling Hunter the king but have only ever seen the film (which WAS great). If you’re really about that life - about the writing and reading then there is no way to be an imposter, it becomes you. It is you, I guess. To be honest man I’m basically a fucking idiot when it comes to spelling and grammar. I can do either for shit - and I don’t edit, ever. If I write a short story and I like it I usually ask my mum or someone I know who can spell to help me out with that cause I get a lot of bad feedback that my spelling is jarring to read - but my homie Randal Stevens also said that he likes the imperfections, that they make the writing a little more honest. I don’t labour over a poem ever, I get the idea in my head and type it into the notes on my phone, email it to myself and flesh the rest of it out and it’s done. Haha on an administration side of things I do fuck all. But emotionally and physically every poem fucking kills me. Haha know what I mean? I never lie in my poems. If I say it it has to have happened. And if I come up with something to write and it hasn’t happened I make it happen. Every poem is lived and breathed. I guess that’s why I haven’t written anything in so long - because I’m happy. I’m holding my shit together, know what I mean? It’s gotta be real. Haha I’m crazy for cats, I envy them more than anything. I wish I was a fucking cat - sleep all day and have no desires to do shit. It makes me so jealous. Already sent a crisp 100 bucks to the space porn thing, this is something i gotta see in my life time. Like the first man on the moon, I’ll always remember where I was when James Dean fucked a blonde milf in zero gravity.

SS: I'm glad to hear you don't labour over your stuff. I don't either. I'm a big fan of a lot of those American Hardcore bands from the early 80's. Those guys just got in there, bashed it down and got the fuck out of dodge. I can't fathom anybody who takes ages working on something. Neil Young's producer David Briggs used to always say 'The more you think, the more you stink' and I think that's true. The first time you splash it on the page is generally the best. Like with my poem 'Charles Bukowski's Broken Knuckle'. I wrote it, submitted it, had it accepted and published all in one day. It wasn't gonna get any better than it was so why fucking hang around? And you're right, I like the imperfections sometimes. In music and in writing. Like I wrote a sentence about girls doing their hair in clubs, only I accidentally typed 'doping their hair' and I thought fuck yeah, that means the same thing, artificially improved, but in a much more interesting way. So I definitely think there's room for that kind of stuff. It's true that writing, the best writing, takes it out of you. Or at least it should do. I'm as private as they come so for me to put something honest into a poem or piece of work, be it a feeling or something that happens, takes it out of me at times. But that's where the good stuff lay, for better or worse. I'm surprised you wanna be a fucking cat though! You strike me as someone who keeps up a hectic pace! You kick ass and get shit done, no? I mean how many books have you published now? All of astounding quality. Along with running the website and real world shit. That's a lot of work. How did HST get started? Where did the name come from? And how exactly did you get all those chicks to pose naked for it?!

BJS: Yeah I think some of the best lines are fuck ups. I remember Steve Richmond writing the line "all poets are lairs" but he was so smacked out he was meaning to write "all poets are liars". Either way he kept it and it worked. Ahaha I think I want to be a cat because it's the exact opposite of who I am, know what I mean? The greener grass where the cats shit. I won't be humble with this cause it's something I am proud off. I hustle my mother fucking ass off. I have been called a fuckin shit ton of bad adjectives but no one has ever called me lazy. I'm on the grind all the fucking time. Right now it's not really an art grind, apart from a short film me and my brother Paul Comisso are finishing up (The final chapter to this film: ) but I have projects coming out my ass. Rebuilding a boat from the tip ( rebuilding a mad max mobile ( ), building two arcade machines from scratch, plus getting ready for the arrival of my first child. Things are fucking insane haha. Without sounding like a wanker there is a certain abstraction with making art. And I resent the time I spend not doing it to the point I’m an anxious mess if I’m not actually doing something creative, but I have had to make a transition from self-obsessed creator to husband, or at very least a functioning human being. Art took everything I had and people started to expect madness from me constantly. Then in that sense expectation became debilitating for me: I was letting people down on the art and wild man front but I was letting down people who love me more. I don't remember who said it but they said "art is like falling in love" and I gotta be a one love man, doesn't mean I can't study the menu as long as I eat at home. And when you get bad reviews (and I get heaps) it's like your love is imperfect. But it's impossible not to fall in love. HST started as a Facebook page with me and a few dudes just posting gore and porno. I had the idea of launching a place to host artists and I already had the logo, style, content and name so the transition was nice as easy. We got a few amazing people I knew through the art scene to jump on board early and things just went gang busters from there. HST has slowed down a heap. It was all getting a bit insane to be honest. I was going too far into the deep end, was losing sight of what I stood for and who I was as a man. And I was getting hell from it, you know? Everyone was just up in arms about anything I was fucking doing. It wasn't about hosting other artists and being a community. It was becoming something like a pseudo ego for me and it was smothering me. That's the truth. I was burning out. I think I have brought it back now to be a forum for dudes to share their work and I'll share anything. We get solid traffic. I'm proud of its journey. I have done about 15 chap books over the last 4 years I have been writing and 3 hard covers - all available for free down load right here: I have been working on a cut and paste flash fiction novella with Richard Wink and Ryan Flanagan. I have a few new poems I sent to you to run with this interview. Going to get a stream of consciousness chap out after the kid is born. I'm hoping the little dude brings back a desire to write. But I am enjoying doing other creative things for the time being and no one is beating down my door for a new book deal, so... The garden needs me, haha. I got sunflowers that need to hear some blues, you know what im saying?

SS: Yeah I’m definitely at that point, where I get VERY wound up and VERY angry if I haven't fulfilled the writing tasks I had in mind for the day. I can't physically stand doing anything that doesn't pertain to becoming a better writer or person. I HAVE to be reading books, lifting weights, making notes, meeting people. Even porn for me is a chance to take character traits, mannerisms and, to a lesser degree because they're generally weaker than an arthritic wrist, plot lines. There are, of course, very few quotes worth stealing. Either way I have no 'off' switch, and don't want one. I haven't got 'Anxiety Is Freedom' tattooed on my arm for no reason. It is about the hustle and the grind, at least right now. Maybe I'm obsessed. Maybe I'm selfish. Maybe I'm watching the wrong porn. Who knows? The flash novella piece sounds interesting, you'll have to keep me updated with that. I think your work rate is to be admired. It's an inspiration, frankly. How many people give up and whine that they didn't get anywhere when in reality they never put in the hard yards? Fuck those soft bellied little posers. I know you haven't written one word that you didn't have to bleed for, and that's why I consider you the best. Also, put me down for one of those Mad Max mobiles when you get them finished. I doubt very much that I'm awaited in Valhalla, but I'm sure as shit gonna drive by there to see what the fuck is going on! How much of your stuff was published by someone else and how much of it was self-published. And if any was self-published how easy you found it and how important the DIY ethic is to you?

BJS: So pretty much any chap I have ever done was self published. The first chap I ever did was titled "I Fucking Love You, Bitch" and that was how it all kinda got started. That got picked up for an Australian Poetry series where I did my first readings. Then I just started churning the fucking things out - the juices were good and I was producing some of my better stuff. Then I compiled what I thought was enough material for my first Hard Cover collection which was "Horror Sleaze Trash." No one wanted a look at the fucking thing let alone to publish it so I pressed it up through a vanity press named - which was easy, free and all the binding and distribution was looked after by someone else, which was nice cause the whole chap creation thing was a ball ache. Having to print a bucket load of paper, guillotine it up, staple it all together - go to the post office to mail em out. I basically just printed all the chaps to give away at poetry readings and shit. I never sold anything to be honest. I was lucky enough to meet the guys at Rooster Republic Press in the States ( and they loved HST, so those guys published it over in the States and its been doing the book tours and shit - which is so fucking cool. I can’t tell you how much of a buzz I get from that.
The DIY for me was just a way to get stuff out there. I know some poets frown upon self publishing and the likes but if no one wants to publish your shit - what other option do you have? I say fuck it man, go hard. grab a long armed stapler and hit up Office Works and just smash that shit out, get it done and give it to dudes even if they don’t fucking want it, you know? You gotta start someplace, rock bottom ain’t as bad as it’s always made out. Just get that shit done and ask questions later.


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