March 8, 2017

Fred de Vries on Hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,kaganof — ABRAXAS @ 3:58 pm


Aryan Kaganof, previously known as filmmaker Ian Kerkhof, offered his debut Hectic! to various established publishing houses – in vain. ‘We can’t publish this book, they said, because we’re not sophisticated enough to read it, because we’ll think you’re an AWB-writer. I couldn’t believe it’, says Kaganof. He then ended up publishing it himself, followed by a Dutch translation.

With Hectic! Kaganof further penetrated the literary space that Coetzee had opened up. He wrote an anti-moralistic novel that is set in Cape Town, and deals with the subculture of young people who hang out in pool halls. That’s where Kaganof found the essence of the white South African. ‘The whites in this country are all white trash. No European who was on any level a worthwhile human being came into this country. The shit, the detritus and the dirt came here and invented the Negro, the kaffer, because then they could feel better about themselves. So if you want to find those things out you have to go to the lower classes, because that’s the history of the country, all the rest is affectation. Culture is very skin-deep with the white South Africans, all ersatz culture. Real South African culture is fighting and drinking and sports.’

He wanted to get to the heart of a subculture he was part of. ‘There was no other mission. To show people as they really are, not these people talking political things of change and all this rubbish. And nothing about guilt from the past. Most of the people I know live their life and don’t give a fuck about anything. They’re pissed off with all that shit.’

Despite this unwelcoming literary climate, there has been a steady stream of young post-apartheid writers, even though it’s too early to talk of a movement. ‘I could come up with a beautiful, coherent story’, says author Etienne van Heerden, who teaches creative writing at the University of Cape Town. ‘But the truth of the matter is that everything is still in a ferment, everything is very complex, and everything has a counterargument. This is the first literary generation that doesn’t write in opposition, a generation that has to search for subject matter and that is very cynical about involvement. A generation that, contrary to us, the Tachtigers, isn’t issue driven.’

February 25, 2015

south african literature published in the netherlands by podium

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 2:50 pm

Screen shot 2015-02-25 at 2.49.06 PM

more info here: http://www.litnet.co.za/Article/onderhoud-met-uitgewer-joost-nijsen

October 24, 2014


Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,deon skade — ABRAXAS @ 10:02 pm


March 9, 2013

tannie joan hambidge reviews hectic

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 9:23 am

Screen shot 2013-03-09 at 9.20.06 AM

first published on the web here: http://joanhambidge.blogspot.com/2013/03/aryan-kaganof-hectisch-2001.html

May 16, 2012

aryan kaganof interviewed by paul wessels

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,kaganof,paul wessels — ABRAXAS @ 11:13 am

“The Politricks Of Fiction For Life”
— an interview with Aryan Kaganof

Aryan Kaganof was formerly known as Ian Kerkhof – South African experimental filmmaker who was based in Holland for many years. He moved back to South Africa in 1999.

His latest film, “Western 4.33” won First prize for best video made in Africa in 2002 at the 12th African Film Festival in Milan. He is currently editing a 50 minute documentary about kwaito called SHARP SHARP! which includes an interview with Arthur Mafokate concerning his controversial song “kaffir”.

“Hectic!” is a self-published, picaresque novel with equal parts humour and horror. The narrative is driven by a complex man/boy character named Cool Red Kowalski – unpredictable, unidentifiable, naïve but calculating. By turns endearing and attractive, offensive and terrifying – a solipsist and humanist in love with the world and in hate with himself. This anachronism of identity is heightened by the author who, having re-birthed himself as Aryan Kaganof, an artist adept at the manipulation of various mediums (film, digital art, writing), actively mythologises his own mythology. Taking fiction into hyperdrive, Kaganof may claim in the interview below that he is writing himself into existence, but he is simultaneously channelling for bad things, for things that make us sad and weak, hate-, or self-ridden characters operating at the lowest nazi threshold. In this, the sad and passively nihilistic passions are sucked up by Aryan Kaganof much like his character Spacey sucks up all the bed linen, and he then turns around, again like Spacey, and produces these marvellous tits, this great book, if tits’re what you’re into, if this book is your scene – anyway, he creates Cool Red Kowalski to narrate something radically ambivalent, unpredictable, unidentifiable, naïve but calculating. By turns endearing and attractive, offensive and terrifying. At one point in the novel, Cool Red defines himself as waste, as effluent, as unnecessary. At another low point, he feels himself to be the plague. All this is true – his insight into himself. Even characters in books have bad days. His grandfather who was a kapo in the Treblinka death camp. Everything. These are the “politricks” of fiction for life – the channelling of everything that hates life. For the sake and love of life.

— Paul Wessels

Why did you self-publish your novel “Hectic!”?

I believe in the book. I have sold out of the first printing (1000 copies).

You’re using the print on demand or docutech printing method – this must be costing you a fortune at the 1000 copy mark?

As long as one sells the product for more than it costs to make one is doing well. This is why eliminating the retailer and the distributor makes such good sense. We live in the digital age. This is a whole new ball game and makes the old distribution system redundant. People don’t read books much in South Africa because they are too expensive and one has to drive to a fucking ugly mall in order to buy them. In taking my book out to the people I have radically reassessed the literacy problem. Publishers in south africa are fearful, lazy, slow and entirely out of touch with the various niche markets out there.

I sold the book myself, at unusual venues, like stones pool hall etc. The reactions to the book have been fantastic. I hear a lot from people that the book reflects their reality, that it isn’t like most books at all. It is the kind of book that people who don’t read books would like to read.

Well, I read a lot of books and I really liked reading “Hectic!”. Cool Red Kowalski, the camo-wearing, crew-cutted anti-semitic Jewish anti-hero of the novel is so open and honest in a contingent, strictly contingent way, it’s quite terrifying. I’m interested in his hatred, in the way hatred works in this novel: Red seems to need the love or passion of his hatred in order for him to derive any meaning in his life. Like his incestuous mother, he needs the trust of his victims, he needs their love. In this, Red is not a fascist currently posing as a sadist: he is obsessed with his Jewishness, accepts its social rituals (under Aunty Fay’s gaze), is obsessed with the girl he eventually rapes, obsessed with women generally, obsessed with blacks, Moslems and queers, obsessed with his friendship to Sven (and the notion of friendship generally cf. harelip Markus outside the Pick’n’Pay – pure love!) – this guy simply cares too much about everything. He is many things, but abject isn’t one of them.

Is Cool Red Kowalski the last Camus-quoting humanist in a media-saturated, anodyne world where universal communication has cancelled alterity; where the other must be simultaneously produced and exorcised through hatred? Could this be a reason for “post-literates” enjoying this book?

Yes. And yes again.

“There are no good masters”

Why the name change from Ian Kerkhof to Aryan Kaganof?

I am a bastard. My mother was not married to my father. She was married to Mr. Kerkhof. A man whom I have never met. I came back to South Africa in 1999 to meet my biological father. I lived with him for two years until his death. When he passed away I changed my name officially to Aryan Kaganof. Kaganof is my biological father’s name and my bloodline. My passport and book of life have been duly changed.

So how do you prefer to be addressed? Please don’t give me the freedom to choose. Is it Aryan, AK, or Kaganof?

I’m not that bothered what people call me, as long as it’s not “poepall”.

You reclaim the name of your father (a conservative move), and yet you use this act to undermine and subvert (but in an ambivalent way). Would you be prepared to speak a little more about your decision to change your name, and embark on a somewhat terroristic artistic path?

In taking on my father’s name I was given a unique opportunity: the chance to create myself. And this task of self-creation cannot be haphazard. It must be based on ideas that transcend ordinary meanings. To believe only in what we see does not create us.
In November of this year Dick Tuinder and I will be co-hosting a three-week show at the Central Museum of Modern Art in Utrecht, the Netherlands. For this show I will be making a large wall writing, covering the main hall of the museum ( in a similar vein to work I started at the NSA Gallery in Durban last year). This work has been hand-written in a Journal of my father’s that he never finished. The journal is dated 1967 and the work is called The Author. The first 17 pages of the hand-written manuscript were presented in the NSA Gallery as a 34 metre long digital printout that ran along the entire length of the Gallery’s floor and up its walls. People attending the exhibition were forced to walk onto the artwork, thereby literally trampling on the artist’s soul; a metaphor for how artists are treated in this country of rugby, soccer and cricket worship where art is not taken seriously on any level. In Utrecht, the remainder of the hand-written pages will be copied large onto the museum walls using thick felt marker pens. The work is called The Author and is a writing into-being of the dark psyche of Kaganof. This work will be re-written onto the museum’s walls in a process mirroring the way in which Kerkhof re-wrote himself as Kaganof. (Or was re-written?). Like Pessoa’s Book Of Disquietude, this book is never finished, the story continues…

“Honesty always takes people by surprise. Perhaps that’s an indictment of the culture we live in.”

Is Jihad Rashoon the deus ex machina for representative politics? Is this why his insertion in the novel is stylistically quite violent and haphazard? During an emergency news-broadcast concerning the local transport wars, Jihad keeps blabbering on. When Cool Red notes to himself: “He’s oblivious to politics; only concerned with himself and his personal journey through the long nights passage to death” is he criticising or maximalising Jihad?

Jihad Rashoon is the protagonist of a novel I am writing called, wait for it, Jihad!

The novels intersect. The interstices are moments of rupture, breaking with the diegesis of the novel in question. This formal device suggests a hidden world behind the world we are privy to in the apparent verisimilitude of the text. In this way a cosmology of sorts is gradually developed, step for step, over a long period of time. It is a slow process and more akin to sculpture than the novel.

Michael Moorcock’s many interconnecting novels impressed me a lot when I was a teenager and I have always retained the ambition to play in a similar vein, albeit not in the science fiction/fantasy genre.

“My voice is a virus that infects my body.”

Could Ian Kerkhof have written “Hectic!”?

I don’t think Ian Kerkhof could have written Hectic! Aryan Kaganof is a much funnier guy, more relaxed and in greater control of whatever medium he puts his hand at. He has of course benefited from all of Ian Kerkhof’s mistakes, in other words, he has a lot more experience, which is a priceless commodity.

This ability you have, or should I say, this character trait of juxtaposing sentiment with political awareness (often via humour) flows through “Hectic!” from start to finish. Experience is a priceless commodity – truth, simply up for grabs to the highest bidder. But this sort of hip and ultra-cool nihilism is constantly undermined by a vein of emotion – sometimes near the surface, sometimes buried deep. So, I knew all along that Red was going to get hurt by Spacey and Sven. There were early intimations, but the clincher in the end was them doing some shopping together. Red didn’t see it coming. Also, Red’s almost chivalrous attitude towards the women he’d like to fuck. Given the presentation of certain of his less inhibited character traits in the progression of the novel, I’d have expected him to press the issue with both Miss Malurby and Spacey – but instead, he actually, in his unique way, tries to woo them to his idea of romantic love, and actually wants to get married in the end!

Is this tension in “Hectic!”, between subversion and convention deliberate, or is this just what people are like (what you are like)?

I am certainly not at all like Cool Red Kowalski. The tension is deliberate in the sense that he is a fictional character and as a novelist one has the extraordinary power to choose the traits that form the composite being one is creating. Ultimately the only medium left to the artist nowadays is the medium of the self. Self creation, self knowledge and self evolution to the point that art is unnecessary and life itself becomes the artist’s medium. This is true freedom.

What’s the difference then, between the fiction of “Aryan Kaganof” and the fiction of “Cool Red Kowlaski”?

The difference is that I wrote Cool Red Kowalski. Aryan Kaganof is writing me.

“The rohypnol pops the truth out of me, like a juicy cum load. I slap Barrell out of my way. He falls to the floor. With my left arm I upturn the kitchen table over the insane Rashoon who is still on his non-stop confessional roll. Spacey gasps. I look down. My cock has pushed its way out through a gap in my trousers. The glistening purple helmet is glaring at Miss Malurby’s mountainous boobies. My voice comes out deep and confident, “Nice tits, chick.”

this interview is published in donga, edited by alan finlay and paul wessels, published by bleksem and dye hard press
isbn 978-0-620-52779-8

May 15, 2012


Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,kagastories — ABRAXAS @ 3:44 pm

We meet Spacey’s connection in the Van Riebeek Square parking lot, opposite City Park Hospital. She’s one of those Obz lefties, into African prints and Feng Shui. Schemes mushrooms is part of “a return to Shamanistic values”. Well I just want to get off my fucken face bru’.

We part with a hundred and twenty bucks. She hands over two packets of Dutch kaalkopjes. They’re dark grey green and somewhat dried out, but not totally dessicated. Perfect.

It’s a gorgeous winter day. I take off my “Eat My Meat” t-shirt and bask in the magnificent sun rays streaming in to the passenger seat. Space spins us down to Camps Bay. Barrell’s at home. He’s got a room with a view all right. On Victoria Road overlooking Bakoven Bay. Barrell used to have a monoploy on the Umtata-Cape Town dagga run. Back in the eighties. Had a fleet of jeeps and 4×4’s cracking it big time. Made a lot of dough. Nowadays he’s mainly legit. Got offshore investments. I met him on the inside. We’re not all that close but there is a connection. Prison does that to a man. It’s a bond for life. Like army. Barrell’s in recovery. He’s been going to NA meetings for five years now. It’s become a way of life for him. It’s where he meets all his chicks. Victims. Mainly hookers coming off the white doctor. Barrell’s the older man who’s been there. The shoulder for them to cry on. He weens them off the shit and then addicts them to his. He’s an emotional vampire. Destroys them. Dumps them. Watches them go back to charlie. Shrugs his shoulders. Finds the next one. It’s his modus operandi. He’s a charmer. Having lots of boodle helps. Not that he’s generous, but chicks are venal, if they get the scent of it they’ll hang around, just in case some of it comes their way.

We trade insults, do the tough guy routines. Spacey goes into the kitchen, makes the omelettes. The high is more gradual when you eat the ‘shrooms and there’s none of the nausea you feel if you chew them straight up. Barrell watches us chow the psychedelic omelettes with a look of deep regret. He’d love to trip but knows that there’s no going back for him.

We thank him for the use of his kitchen and utensils. Charge down to the beach. Five hours later Spacey is a mermaid and I’m Adolf, lecturing her on how necessary the camps were for the formation of Israel. “But don’t you see that the Messiah who was prophesied was never going to be a nice guy! I united the Jewish people! All of them hate me, even more than they hate themselves, which is quite something I tell you! I gave them Israel back! The promised land flowed straight out of Auschwitz. The six million were the supreme sacrifice that we Yids had to pay to get back on track!”

Space nods her head this way and that. It’s sort of making sense to her. Two bags of kaalkopjes certainly aren’t doing any harm. You’ll believe anything on this shit.

We roll around on the beach. She calls me a pig. She wants to kiss, even lets me get a finger in, but still won’t let me fuck her. When am I ever going to get my thing into this bitch? She’s always telling me she’s waiting until she “trusts me” enough. By the time that happens it will have dropped off. I start screaming at her, “I want to play hide the salami!” Chase her back towards the shops. She dashes into the Pick ‘n Pay to buy a bottle of water. I wait outside.
I’m watching the sun coil its way out of the sea and back up through the clouds into the mountain when a gravelly voice croaks at me, “Hey boss, have you got a light?”

I turn around and BOOM! Serious fucken mood change. This coloured guy is about a head shorter than me and I’m looking down into a face shaped and formed in the darkest corner of hell. There’s a harelip to begin with and wrapped over it in various layers are folds of skin and loose flesh of different colours and textures. These are the kind of burn wounds you don’t want to have recovered from. His nose is a collection of thick crusty pulps with tiny nostrils that look like they’ve been pricked through with a knitting needle. A slice of painful looking pink flesh folds over his right eye. Both eyes are sunk deep into his bulging forehead. The expression looking out at me is coming from a place that neither you nor I could even begin to imagine. The loneliness and the pain I see there is unbearable.

My reaction is entirely instinctual. I veer back in revulsion. A shudder runs through me. My mouth screws up in disgust. A primeval sound comes out of my throat. It isn’t the first time he’s been reacted to in this manner. I know that. Tears come into my eyes. I’m sad because I know in this instant that I’m no better and no different from anybody else. All those Camus books that I read didn’t bring me one centimetre further in terms of human compassion.

He turns in a lumpen, ungainly way, shambles off without his light. Suddenly from within the Pick ‘n Pay two scaly skelms come out at a fast pace. They look like they’ve just indulged in some successful shoplifting.
“Bra Markus, kom, ons vat skyf.
The bloke with the monstrous face turns again, smiles the most terrible poignant smile I’ve ever seen. Raises his right hand. The taller of the two skollies slaps hands with the monster, puts his left arm over his shoulder. They shamble off together closely followed by the runt of the group. Three utter misfits. Outcasts, abandoned by society and abandoned by God.

I’m thinking about friendship. Markus’ companions are true friends. To spend any time with him, to be near him, involves such a struggle with innate aversion that only a deep love of the most honourable kind would justify it. I wonder if I have such a friend. If I am such a friend to anyone else? It would have to be Sven. Apart from Aunty Fay he’s the only person I trust. We are blood brothers. Boeties.

Spacey comes out of the Pick ‘n Pay with the water. She’s still in the highjinks vibe. We clash. Anyway it’s time to get back to Sea Point. It’s Friday night. Shabbas dinner.
We’re just in time. I rush into the kitchen, hug Aunty Fay, “listen we’re raving on ‘shrooms, off our faces, tripping like nobody’s business..

Aunty Fay shrugs her broad shoulders. “Vot does it matter Red? The important thing is that you’re here and you’ve got a girl vith you. Now sit down and put your yarmulke on”.
Then Spacey has to vomit. She rushes down the corridor, gets to the toilet just in time.

I wonder when she’s going to let me fuck her?

December 25, 2011

fred de vries reviews hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 9:21 pm

January 29, 2011

koos kombuis on hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,koos kombuis — ABRAXAS @ 6:34 am


“i want to let out a fart but this is the non-smoking section…”

jeez, ive only read 3 pages and already i can see why this book has attracted attention. its SIZZLINGLY funny…
koos kombuis

December 23, 2010

bush vibes reviews hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 4:29 pm

December 22, 2010

marlene van niekerk’s reader’s report for kwela books on hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 11:26 pm

December 20, 2010

notes on violence and genre in hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 12:56 pm


November 28, 2010

shaun de waal reviews hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 10:46 am

November 9, 2010

“the most daunting postcolonial novel to have emerged from south africa…”

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 2:27 pm

November 6, 2010


Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 10:18 am

October 24, 2010


Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 8:52 pm

October 22, 2010

bart leemhuis on hectisch

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 10:01 pm

October 19, 2010

trevor steele-taylor reviews hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,reviews,trevor steele-taylor — ABRAXAS @ 4:55 pm

September 27, 2010

ingrid glorie on hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 11:49 pm

September 15, 2010

gwrrf reviews hectisch

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 2:02 pm

September 14, 2010

luc wierts reviews hectisch

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 12:42 pm

September 13, 2010

dirk-jan arensman reviews hectisch

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 8:18 pm

September 12, 2010

hectisch reviewed by arjen fortuin

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 11:17 am

September 2, 2010

dirk koppes interviews aryan kaganof (hectic!)

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,kaganof — ABRAXAS @ 11:32 pm

August 25, 2010

fred de vries reviews “hectic!”

Filed under: 2002 - hectic!,literature,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 10:50 pm

April 9, 2007

dream of Hectic!

Filed under: 2002 - hectic! — ABRAXAS @ 2:13 pm

hi aryan

had a dream last nite
of Hectic!
i was walking down Raleigh Street, Yeoville
and went into the FNB
and there was a copy of
on a display stand
so i picked it up and it was
a printer’s proof
with your corrections and
loads of annotations
in the margin
i then asked a woman at
the enquiries desk
if it was for sale and if i
could buy it
but she said: ‘ we’d have to ask
the credit department about that.’

gary cummiskey

Next Page »