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The Rectum is a Rave

By Matthew Fuller, 9 January 2015

Matthew Fuller reviews CHUBZ: the Demonization of My Working Arse, by Spitzenprodukte

London could do with a make-over, a bit of a tastier plotline, and Chubz might be the one it’s been waiting for. That’s partly because this book has more slippery well-satisfied arseholes in it than the state opening of parliament. As a potential participant in that most democratic of sacraments, the gamiest of pantomime blokes Nigel Farage himself makes a starlit performance, even as a dodgy politician; one lured and then trapped into supporting a legal return for proper poppers, isobutyl nitrate instead of the lamer approximations of the now outlawed original compound. His nemesis and handler is none other than Gutrot Essenem, a freedom fighter for this particular chemical compound whose increasing blackmail of Farage leads to a line of nervy slapstick.


This thread of the plot interweaves with and is overtaken by the story of Chubz, for whom Grindr is initially a way of wandering through and interrogating the city, taking its pulse. The layers of interface, image, data, sorting and arranging, sink into the viscera, but then other forces take over, or other lines of writing shift into predominance as prior ones dry up and the city swelters. The heat draws other figures to the fore; Chubz has an anarchist mate Pete who appears haphazardly, and likes a good bellow of rage at the yuppie strawmen, figuring as a kind of divining rod for the social tumult that the book climaxes with.


One of the characters who really gets into Chubz in his early wanderings is Owen, a holographic version of the political pundit Owen Jones, and ‘straight-acting’ charmer with lush nipples in his contact photo. He’ll flirt nervously, fold his clothes neatly, and fingerfuck you after muttering some social democratic strategy thinkpiece into the small of your back, just above the buttocks where such a touch does the erogenous business. And on Chubz those buttocks frame the most powerful arsehole in the history of the written word, slurping up entrants like sloppy spaghetti in one episode, devouring the power of the state in another. Here, the anal orgasm becomes a visionary shamanic force stirring up and rewriting the city. In this mode, the book is at its finest and funniest, most visionary and vulgar.


Written as roughly and gleefully as an adrenaline-fueled riot – in which each brick may be as carefully hefted, considered and flung as those that make the difference to a moment, or bunged somewhere in the right direction to keep up the pace of missiles – Chubz, short-circuits the hormones, events and vocabulary associated with riot to those associated with sex, making the link between one kind of convulsion and another. In a sense, the book is a knowing part of riot-lit, like William Burrough’s Wild Boys, or aspects of Stewart Home’s earlier pulps. These are books that linger over the moment of insurrection, urging it into being. We see in them the flickering of some other in becoming, or watch it turn into another charade. Fusing the farcical with the romantic urge to the union of souls or with its blackly comedic counterpart, Chubz is a little book of dreams to press up against the city and inhale in one go.


CHUBZ: the Demonization of My Working Arse, Spitzenprodukte, Montez Press, Hamburg, 2014