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Geek chic

19/01/2006 - par Mark Tungate

There are times when everything falls into place. I call this an « Ah-ha ! » moment. My latest experience of this sort began at Christmas, when my father bought me a strange book called McSweeney's. It's basically a collection of short stories, but packaged in a very amusing way, with lots of flaps and pouches and objects. There's a story written on a pack of cards, and another with a comb attached. I thanked my father for the gift and read the stories. Then, to be honest, I forgot about it.

Until yesterday, when I received an email recommending that I take a look at a website called... you guessed it, McSweeney's (www.mcswee neys.net). I'm probably the last person in the world to have discovered this site, which has been around for a few years. It's run by writer Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Under the guise of publisher Timothy McSweeney, Eggers gathers short stories, poetry and observations from authors known and unknown, and puts them on his site and in his literary review. Nobody gets paid. He's also recently launched a quarterly DVD magazine called Wholpin (named after a cross between a whale and a dolphin).

The final piece of the puzzle fell into place last night, when I was at the New Morning watching singer Sophie ­Auster (daughter of writer Paul) and her band, One Ring Zero. The band were so cool that I rushed to check out their website (www.oneringzero.com). Among their links : McSweeney's. Geek chic rules !

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