Push: Best of the First 10 Issues edited by Joe England

Book Review by Alan Bett | 12 Feb 2015
  • Push
Book title: Push: Best of the First 10 Issues
Author: Joe England

The first 10 issues of the litzine Push are collected here and given a wonderful, inflamatory introduction by The Football Factory author John King. It acts as both a lament to the state of mainstream publishing and a call to arms for a working class with words to share.

King reminisces of the early 90s; a bookshop now vanished, situated in a North London almost equally gone. Here he discovered Rebel Inc, the publication which was later to print the fledgling work of he and other such notable vagabonds as Irvine Welsh. Push in many ways follows the early Rebel Inc model, wearing its guerrilla fatigues with pride. It is no coincidence that Kevin Williamson, the architect of the Rebel ethos, is one of the literary luminaries to be interviewed here alongside David Peace and Roddy Doyle.

The majority of Push's contents, however, comprise of poetry and short prose. On this front the compilation of the first ten issues – of a publication sold without pretention on the street, mainly outside West Ham United games – punches well above its weight. These are raw and authentic voices, unfiltered by the policy and procedure of mainstream publishers, soaked in old school London character while often migrating north and on to Scotland; where it comes from proves irrelevant to where it comes from. These pieces perform a self diagnosis of the working class condition, not some distant verdict handed down by naive publishers.

True, there are rough edges to these works, some tales need boiled down a little or drive just too hard for the edge they aspire to. Push offers not the pleasure of polished perfection but of raw energy. Each piece is well commissioned by Editor Joe England yet unfeigned and unprocessed. Push deserves countless more readers, and we the readers deserve more litzines like it being born around this country.

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Out now, published by East London Press, RRP £7.99 http://pushmagazine.co.uk/