Beat surreal

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Beat Surreal was a British litzine which focused on modern underground writing influenced by the American Beat Generation (the 'BEAT' element of the title) and the literary and collage elements of the 'surrealist' circle based in France c.1920 which included names like Max Ernst, Paul Eluard, Andre Breton, Luis Bunuel, Rene Magritte and Yves Tanguy among others.

Beat Surreal saw it as valid to mix the two genres as the automatic writing and literary games (such as the exquisite corpse) of the Surrealists were very similiar in outcome to the cut-up experiments of Beat author William S. Burroughs.

With the Beat generation relying heavily on imagery and the surrealist movement best known for its art, the mental landscape expected of work submitted to Beat Surreal needed to fall into one of the two genres in order to qualify for serious consideration by the editor. Often submissions themselves were cut up, as seen in the regular feature 'Automatic Anecdotes' of which Kevin Mills was a regular contributor.

Beat Surreal also featured reviews and articles from across the cultural spectrum including work on Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, an erotica special, a serial murder special (planned & begun but never released) and the band Acetone among others.

The End / New Beginnings & Archive

Advertising in the small ads of the NME and Melody Maker for submissions, the Editor requested 'No Angst' although in the word count available in the ad itself it was not easy to qualify this request. Another Beat litzine, Barfly (edited by Jon Summers of Ah Pook is Here fame) attacked this stance and correspondence featured in both zines on the argument. Beat Surreal justified its request saying it had become inudated with what it termed "6th form Bukowski-wannabe bile".

Alongside this spat with Barfly, the number of quality submissions from the surrealist camp had fallen and apart from the odd phrase cut up into the 'Automatic Anecdotes' section, most of the work received fell into the modern Beat style and of this most, again, recalled Bukowski more than Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti or Synder.

Although a "New Beat Underground Quarterly" was begun in the wake of the last incomplete issue of Beat Surreal (note the surreal element having been dropped), this too was abandoned.

From the ashes, Shady Productions (now at was formed to host some of the key works as separate small press releases (normally the work of 'K') and latterly e-books. This was with the exception of Colin Cross and US contributor Robert W. Howington who were already self-publishing their own stuff.

All issues of all magazines and subsequent small press books have sold out. See the links below for e-book and on-line examples.

External Links

1. MySpace Shady Productions page - [1] which features Beat Surreal work.

2. Shady Productions home page which is working on a Beat Surreal archive [2]