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Author Archive

Rick McGrath’s Letter From London: The JG Ballard Memorial

By • Nov 30th, 2009 •

Category: Ambit magazine, Chris Petit, features, film, Iain Sinclair, Lead Story, Michael Moorcock, New Worlds, R.I.P. JGB, Shanghai, Shepperton, Solveig Nordlund, Steven Spielberg, time travel, Toby Litt, Will Self, William Burroughs

“Greetings from London! Hope all is well with you. I’ve just attended the long-anticipated JG Ballard Memorial celebration at the Tate Modern and now I’m catching my breath — and a few beers — at a nearby Thames-side pub with fellow Ballardians. We’re having a wonderful time — wish you were here. But let’s start at the beginning. We have time to order some Alsatian off the barbie…” Love from Rick.



‘What exactly is he trying to sell?’: J.G. Ballard’s Adventures in Advertising, part 2

By • May 8th, 2009 •

Category: advertising, Ambit magazine, consumerism, crime, Freud, Lead Story, media landscape, psychogeography, psychology

Rick McGrath continues to explore the aesthetic of the advertisement in J.G. Ballard’s work, from the early short stories right through to Kingdom Come.



‘What exactly is he trying to sell?’: J.G. Ballard’s Adventures in Advertising, part 1

By • May 4th, 2009 •

Category: advertising, Ambit magazine, consumerism, features, invisible literature, media landscape, New Worlds, sexual politics, Shanghai, visual art

The aesthetic of the advertisement appears again and again in J.G. Ballard’s work. Here, Rick McGrath explores Ballard’s fascination with the structure of advertising, and the role of the advertising man himself, examining ersatz ads in detail right across the body of JGB’s work.



'Like Alice in Wonderland': Solveig Nordlund on J.G. Ballard

By • Aug 24th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Barcelona, biology, body horror, film, flying, interviews, medical procedure, short stories, Solveig Nordlund, urban decay, YouTube

Rick McGrath interviews Solveig Nordlund about her feature film, Aparelho Voador a Baixa Altitude (2002). Based on JGB’s short story, ‘Low-Flying Aircraft’, it’s arguably the best Ballard adaptation of them all, although it has rarely been shown outside Portugal. Included with the interview are clips from the film as well as from Solveig’s previous Ballard adaptation, ‘Journey to Orion’ (based on ‘Thirteen to Centaurus’).



Rick McGrath's Letter from Barcelona: The Exquisite Corpse, An Autopsy of the New Millennium

By • Jul 29th, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, autobiography, Barcelona, David Cronenberg, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, features, gated communities, inner space, Lead Story, medical procedure, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, surrealism, visual art

Transmission from Barcelona stop Having a wonderful time stop I believe in nothing stop Lost in surreal image machine and deep-blue-drenched corridors stretching to infinity stop Startling comma perverse visuals stop Rare books and writing stop Exhibition a raging success stop JGB would be proud stop Full letter to follow comma Love Rick end transmission



Review: Grave New World

By • Aug 20th, 2007 •

Category: academia, death of affect, dystopia, entropy, Jean Baudrillard, reviews, urban decay

The basic tenet in Dominika Oramus’ new book on Ballard is that since the end of World War II western civilization has been merrily racing down the Highway to Hell in a white Pontiac; and all the evidence you need is in the fiction of J.G. Ballard.



It's An Ad, Ad, Ad World

By • Jul 25th, 2007 •

Category: advertising, consumerism, fascism, reviews, suburbia, urban revolt

Former ad man Rick McGrath takes another look at Kingdom Come from ‘the perspective of marketing, advertising and psychopathology’. He also looks at the Metro-Centre website, used to promote the book, and asks, ‘The abattoir? Not too gloomy?’