Currents, an Interview Series with Brian Alan Ellis (Episode 56: Shane Jesse Christmass)

Shane Jesse Christmass

SHANE JESSE CHRISTMASS is the author of The Sex Shops of Sherman Oaks (Amphetamine Sulphate, 2021), Latex, Texas (Self Fuck, 2021), Xerox Over Manhattan (Apocalypse Party, 2019), Belfie Hell (Inside The Castle, 2018), Yeezus In Furs (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2018), Napalm Recipe: Volume One (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2017), Police Force As A Corrupt Breeze (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2016) and Acid Shottas (The Ledatape Organisation, 2014). He was a member of the band Mattress Grave and is currently a member in Snake Milker. 

My current favorite thing to read is: …like most people, I have an unread pile of books. I decided to make a dent in the pile. Currently rereading the Elizabeth Aldrich book (Ruthless Little Things, Expat Press). This will be the third time I’ve read it. There were lots of books that were released a few years back, or over the past few years, that I bought at the time, but hadn’t gotten around to. Books by Chelsea Hodson, Autumn Christian, Big Bruiser Dope Boy, Elle Nash, Mika’s book, Maggie Sibert, Elizabeth Ellen and DuVay Knox. All the good shit.

My current favorite thing to watch is: …there’s this 9-minute, B&W film from 1921 that I always watch, at least once a week. It’s called Manhatta, by Paul Strand []. It’s a pep talk for me—what worlds do I want to create, what mood or tone can I clip inside a story? The film is a hot soup of hex agony, industrial cityscapes, East River fog, tall black shadows. Highly recommend. Also been watching a film from 1968 called Kofun, directed by Toshio Okuwaki []. It was a Japanese film but was repackaged or repurposed for an American audience by some guy called Harry Novak. There’s not much of a plot, just scenes, lots of interesting aesthetics. Some guy is arrested for a murder at a student demonstration and is sent to an island to serve out his sentence. He then pursues someone around the island for 90 minutes, interspersed with 1960s demonstration clips. It’s an erotic exploitation film that was squeezed from a lame arthouse flick. I’ve been thinking recently about film that influences my writing style, and while it’s not a five-star film, I do appreciate the tweaks of images causing dislocation and jump-cut in narrative, or the noctambulist drift between tenses, or the relentless overload of information.

 My current favorite thing to listen to is: …I just had a big stack of vinyl delivered. Lots of records sitting here on my desk. Mainly 12-inch disco singles, or some big Jamaican dub full-length albums. There’s a Mikey Dread album here, the second Whodini album. Plus, a bunch of disco singles, some stuff from Buddha Records, who originally released the first bubblegum singles in the late 60s, but I was unaware they then got into disco. I also made a mixtape for my recent novel. 

My current state of mind is: pretty crumbled. I need to go lay back on some green lawns and look at the sky and space debris overhead. Some flickering satellites and spacecraft. That might provide me with tremendous joy, looking at this large sack of heavens, hanging out for any potential alien invasion.

My current chemical romance (drug/bad habit/toxic infatuation) involves: probably a really strong cup of Irish Breakfast tea. If I’m keen to get really wild, I might step up and have a Yorkshire Tea, that Taylors of Harrogate strong shit. A proper brew, some fierce energy on my tongue, tea leaves are perfect energy. Coffee is mud.

My current words of wisdom are: …a current quote, and one that has stuck with me for a while now is this from Brion Gysin: “I enjoy inventing things out of fun. After all, life is a game, not a career.” I always seems to fall back onto this, as a certain mode, whenever I’m writing or creating anything.

My current modes of transportation involve: …in lockdown here, so not really going anywhere, but if I do, on foot.

My current favorite fast food item is: frozen fish fingers oven-baked and then put in between two pieces of buttered bread with a dab of mayonnaise. Occasionally might lash out and compliment this with some oven-baked frozen chips draped in HP Sauce. 

My current workout routine consists of: …bought a skipping rope. I also go swimming. Gotta get them daily rope jumps in.

My current regrettable decision involves: …not really a regret but more of a missed chance, caused by myself. It is what it is. In mid-2011 I sent Barney Rosset a story, thinking that there’s no way he’d publish it. Anyway, three or four months went by with no response, and why should there be, so I sent the story to another journal and it was published. In late 2011, or maybe early-2012, Mr. Rosset responded and stated that he liked the story and wanted to put it in an issue of the Evergreen Revue. I responded and explained the situation, and he asked me to send another story into him, which I did. He then died in February, so nothing happened. No biggie, but bear in mind, at the time I hadn’t published much or was a few years away from publishing a novel. More an anecdote than a regret. Like I said, it is what it is, but that motherfucker liked my shit. I liked his shit, game recognized game LOL. 

My current hopes and dreams are: that everyone gets vaccinated and we get to watch the pandemic from the rear-view mirror. Got to get back to the Northern Hemisphere to do some readings, meet some people, share a cigarette, talk shit, have a fish finger together over a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

My current projects/hobbies include: working on a new novel. Still not sure what it will be. I’m in that stage where what I am currently working on feels like a sequel to the previous novel, but as things stretch out it will become its own novel and story. Working on a screenplay that I would like to film or get someone to film. It deals with the idea that a small catastrophe prevents a major catastrophe from occurring. The protagonist thinks the actions they’re taking prevent a major disaster from occurring, a personal war stops a major war from occurring, war stops war. It’s kind of based on Herb Mullin, sorry it’s not based on him at all, but based on his idea that the killings he did, stopped a major earthquake from occurring. So, Gus Van Sant, if you want to make a movie, hit me up. The main guy is a hospital Orderly. I used to be a hospital Orderly. The screenplay is titled Orderly: War Stops War. The orderly removes human hair from bodies and sells it on the black market to people who sell expensive wigs made out of real human hair. I never did this. Thought about it, but never did this. I’m not even sure there is a black market in such activities. Probably is in the States, land of opportunity and all.


Shane Jesse Christmass is online. Find him here

Brian Alan Ellis runs House of Vlad Press, and is the author of several books, including Sad Laughter (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2018). His writing has appeared at Juked, Hobart, Fanzine, Monkeybicycle, Electric Literature, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Funhouse, Heavy Feather Review, and Yes Poetry, among other places. He lives in Florida.

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