Archive for September, 2010

September 15, 2010



September 17th, 2010, Los Angeles, CA—Kerosene Bomb Publishing is proud to announce the release of the 2010 edition of The Inertia Variations, John Tottenham’s epic and ever-expanding poetic cycle on the subject of work-avoidance, indolence, failure and related topics.  Despite existing in a medium that should automatically doom the book to obscurity, and despite (or perhaps because of) the morbid subject matter, the Inertias are a work of entertainment with universal appeal.

Everybody relates to the Inertias, even those who lead active and healthy lives.  They amuse people: as evidenced by the author’s numerous rapturously-received appearances at book stores, art galleries, punk-rock bars, classical-music venues and comedy clubs.  They speak to the underachiever in all of us and appeal to people who don’t like poetry.

After graduating from London’s worst art school in the mid-‘80s, John Tottenham moved to the United States, where he has resided ever since, mostly toiling upon the lower slopes of journalism.  After many years of resistance, he finally sold out to the lucrative, fast-paced world of poetry.  The Inertias are the fruit of many fruitless years.  Tottenham, to his eternal discredit, has lived the life of which he writes with such wit and insight.

A multi-media interpretation of The Inertia Variations by English musician Matt Johnson (otherwise known as The The) is currently in production and a series of short 16mm films based on the work, directed by actor Adam Goldberg, will soon be making the rounds at film festivals.

The first edition of the Inertias was published in 2005. It was hailed as “a terrific collection” in the Guardian, “quiescent genius” by Mojo Magazine, and “comedy gold” in 3AM Magazine, and turned Tottenham into a minor celebrity within a two-block radius of Echo Park. The new edition, packed with fresh material and including a robust addenda, is twice as long and satisfying as the original.

Like all K-Bomb works, the new, expanded Inertia Variations can be ordered from –30-

(Sample verse from The Inertia Variations follows)


Dulling my senses with baths, naps,
Assorted languishings.  For many years
I have sat down to do the work
That the world will be no worse off
Without, and I have not done the work.
And the world is no worse off.  Just because
I haven’t done anything with my life,
Does that make me a lesser man?

September 10, 2010

CLOUDS OF STAR FIRE (Bonneville, 1962)

by Cole Coonce

(excerpted from Sex & Travel & Vestiges of Metallic Fragments)


Moment before his catastrophic crash, Glen Leasher ponders Infinity.


September 10, 1962. It is a hot, gloomy Monday morning with a mercury sky. Everything is the color of a bleached and buried coin. Or a bullet left in the sun. During the past few days the Infinity team had been chipping away at various stress and leak tests, ensuring that the sleek machine that resembled nothing if not an avant-garde Russian MIG fighter plane was in superlative condition to claim the Land Speed Record. Many teams had espoused the notion that surpassing the 396 mph mark set in 1949 by Englishman John Cobb was a matter of patriotic pride, as for once the Americans would showcase their Yankee Ingenuity as well as its hearty guts and determination in a manner arguably not showcased since Henry Ford.

It had been such a bizarre trajectory to this moment, from “Dago” Palamides’ shop on the outskirts of the Oakland Airport to the boneyards of Tucson (Vic Elischer remembers the liberation of a J47-33 out of an F86D Fighter/Interceptor while Che Guevara scavenged for spare parts for a “Globemaster” cargo plane for use in the overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba—this is a year before the Bay of Pigs!) to Boeing Field in Seattle to the Bonneville Salt Flats.

The Untouchable had barnstormed up and down the West Coast with a coterie of drivers, first with Archie Liederbrand, next with Glen Leasher, who was fresh out of the cockpit of “Terrible Ted’s” Gotelli Speed Shop Special, Chrysler-powered Top-Fuel Dragster.

With Liederbrand driving, the Untouchable debuted in April, 1962 at Fontana and goes 209 mph, a track record. But this vehicle was really just a rolling test stand for the team. The real glory, prestige and payoff was at Bonneville, all they needed was another race car designed specifically for that task, as well as fresh bullet.

While fabricating the race car at Boeing Field in Seattle, Palamides and Leasher continued to match race the jet car and generate cash. Concurrently, airplane mechanics Loyd Osterberg and Jeri Sorm shaped and riveted the aluminum bodywork around the clock in attempt to have the car ready for Speed Week at Bonneville at the end of August.

One of the locals who grew up around Boeing Field tells me that Sorm is “a master tin man and aeronautics wizard. He grew up in Czechoslovakia before WW II and lived there during the war and when the Nazis held the country. When the Communists were in power, he escaped in the mid 50s — he flew out in a stolen plane.

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