Anil Mistry‘s Goodnight Sweetheart: A miscellany of morose, misanthropic middle-aged musings and mattresses is a collection of photographs featuring discarded mattresses, paired with statements, aphorisms, poems from some friends. As a middle-aged man myself, it hits some buttons, for sure…

Dear Anil,

I don’t have time to write anything for your stupid book. I’m too busy burning in an existential hell of underachievement, erectile dysfunction, regrets, career obsolescence and inevitable death.

Burke, Tony. Quoted in Anil Mistry, ‘Goodnight Sweetheart.’

The pocket springs of my hopes and dreams creaking, bent and ruptured.
The threadbare cloth has seen better days the pattern faded, lost.
The coffee stain.
The sagging middle.
Perpetuate the nightmare.
The comfort’s gone.
More sleepless nights.
It’s time to trade it in.

Jim Bob. Quoted in Anil Mistry, ‘Goodnight Sweetheart.’

The sentiments shared aren’t the most inspiring or uplifting, to be sure, but when your subject is a discarded mattress, what do you want?

Life is the most unforgiving and callous bastard I’ve ever had to deal with.

Connaughton, Paul. Quoted in Anil Mistry, ‘Goodnight Sweetheart.’

The misanthropic musings appear on every right hand page, while mattresses occupy the left hand panel, and I find it difficult to focus only on the photographs and easy to skip the photographs and focus only on the words. It’s probably more me than anything else, but I wonder if some variety in layout would benefit.

That said, when I manage to focus on the pictures, I appreciate the particular and obvious British-ness of them. The photographs simply couldn’t have been taken anywhere else. Between the weather and the red brick and the overall color, it couldn’t be anywhere else, even if there are places along the east coast of the US that have relevantly similar architecture and weather. It could also be the way Mistry sees… There’s something in the framing, maybe, the attitude of the photographs that mimics or echoes the photographs in ‘Gah!‘ Or maybe I’m imagining it since I’m examining two of his zines back to back…

Unrated.

Goodnight Sweetheart remains available direct from Mistry, and 100% of proceeds go to CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a social services organization that works to prevent suicide, so it’s a worthy $20 or whatever, and definitely worth picking up, especially if you’re a middle-aged misanthrope like me, or even someone just interested in the ways text and photographs interact in book/zine forms. There’s something in it for everyone!

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