Guns Of Brixton reviewed at Kevin’s Corner

‘Like a lot of the Paul D. Brazill’s excellent stories there are a large number of cultural references at work in this twisting crime gobyarn. Many become clear in time via the context of the story through one does get the feeling one is missing a point or joke here and there. What is clear regardless of your personal familiarity with the cultural references is that humor is prevalent in this read as is plenty of serious violence and action in a noir style tale that gets bigger and bigger as the novella works toward the conclusion.’

Read the rest of the review here and check out the rest of Kevin Tipple’s excellent blog.

Recommended Read: All Due Respect Magazine 5

adr five-472x748The latest issue of ALL DUE RESPECT magazine is a knockout.

Edited by Chris Rhatigan and Mike Monson, ADR is proving itself to be one of the best pulp magazines on the market. Even though they publish my stuff!

The magazine opens with Broken Prayer, an atmospheric and very well written novel excerpt from Steve Weddle- who is interviewed by Jed Ayres later in the magazine. This is a very tasty slice of what is sure to be a beaut book.

Next up is Keith Rawson’s marvelous Alkaline – a delirious and blackly comic road trip. A kind of noir primal scream.

My story The Last Laugh is next, and after that is  Angel Luis Colon with the story of a gambler whose luck runs out. A classic slice of hardboiled fiction.

Garnett Elliot‘s story is as gritty as can be and a great look at life at the bottom. Great characters and a perfectly pitched ending.

Gabino Iglesias gives us a tale of waking up in a motel with a mashed up face. A cracking story, full of atmosphere, great images and cruel humour.

Joe Sinisi’s The Faces Of The Dead Ones is a brutal but touching love story which ends the magazine’s fiction section with a bang.

As usual, ALL DUE RESPECT magazine finishes with an interview- the aforementioned Weddle/ Ayres double act – and a fistful of interesting reviews of books from the likes of Donald Westlake and Nigel Bird.

The fifth issue of ALL DUE RESPECT magazine is well worth your time and cash.

Drag Noir is reviewed at Starburst Magazine

drag noirStarburst Magazine takes a gander at Drag Noir, the anthology edited by K A Laity and published by Fox Spirit Books which includes my yarn A Bit Of A Pickle.

‘Other highlights include Kiki Le Shade by Chloe Yates, a lovely little horror story that mixes noir, drag and something else into the mix to create a charming nightmare. It’s a little rushed and could have done with being a touch longer, but it crams a lot of ideas into a short space without being too forced. Amelia Mangam’sStainless Steel is a cleverly twisted take on the theme, and A Bit of a Pickle by Paul D. Brazill is a nostalgia powered tale of regret.’

Read the full review here.

Recommended Read: SKULL FRAGMENTS: Noir Stories by Tim L. Williams

skull fragments‘My mother had a lot of “boyfriends”, but only two of them tried to killer her.’

New Pulp Press is one of the best publishers of transgressive fiction around and they really have excelled themselves with , SKULL FRAGMENTS: Noir Stories by Tim L. Williams.

At times reminiscent of Donald Ray Pollock’s Knockemstiff or  Richard Ford’s Rock Springs, the 14 stories in SKULL FRAGMENTS have an extra noir edge to them, a way of digging into the hearts and minds of their lost and lonely characters..

Every story in SKULL FRAGMENTS is a sharp gem but personal favourites include the opening WHERE THE SUN GOES DOWN, WHERE WILL YOU BE WHEN THE WATERS RISE?, THE LAST WRESTLING BEAR IN KENTUCKY, WHERE YOU FIND YOURSELF  and the neo-Gothic closer, TICK.

Chilling, touching, sad, brutal,brilliant and beautifully written. Highly recommended.

Short, Sharp Interview: Torquil MacLeod down Brit Grit Alley

torq_bwPDB: What’s going on now?

My fourth Sweden-set crime ebook – Midnight in Malmö – is just out. (The series is about a blonde Swedish female detective.) It takes my mind off the pantomime that is Newcastle United.


PDB: How did you research this book?

Pounding the streets of Malmö looking for locations. Talk to Swedes and expats living there (including my elder son and his family). Fortunately, one of our best friends happens to be a blonde Swedish female detective, so that helps. And I read The Local every day on the internet – it’s an English language newspaper based in Sweden.

Read the rest of the interview down BRIT GRIT ALLEY.

Short, Sharp Interview: Andrez Bergen

bullet galPDB: What’s going on now?

What’s not going on now is p’raps a better question, particularly overseas! In my own walled-up ballpark here in Tokyo my daughter is about to compete in her first ballet competition at age nine, while I’m set to release the 12-issue trade paperback of my noir comic book ‘Bullet Gal’ via Under Belly Comics in North America, just started a new noir series called ‘Trista & Holt’ (a ’70s crime-oriented revamp of Tristan and Iseult) via IF? Commix in Australia, and I’m working on my next novel ‘The Mercury Drinkers’.

 

PDB: How did you research this book?

‘Bullet Gal’ is my kiss-off homage to film noir and hardboiled literature of the 1930s and ’40s, mostly related to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett —thrown in with the off-beat science fiction of Philip K. Dick and artistic sensibilities of Dada and Terry Gilliam. So, the research? Growing up with this stuff, along with comic book art from Jim Steranko, Will Eisner and Jack Kirby.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

Jeez, that’s a toughie—they all have their moment in the sun depending upon the mood I’m in. But I think I’d swing with my second novel ‘One Hundred Years of Vicissitude’ (2012). There’s something there that I just really love.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

Fave film bounces between ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘The Big Sleep’. Book-wise I’d best cite ‘The Maltese Falcon’ as I’ve read it thirty-odd times. Song? Easy—Ary Barroso’s ‘Brazil’. TV programme is tough. Let’s go with ‘Black Adder II’ for now.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Yeah, I think so—most of my stuff is set in my hometown Melbourne, even though I’ve lived in Tokyo going on for 14 years.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Ha Ha Ha… shhh! Every now and then. Not to often, I swear!

PDB: What’s next?

Focusing on ‘Trista & Holt’ (I just finished #5, and I think the arc will be about 12 issues) along with the new novel, and working with Matt Kyme and a bunch of artists on our next ‘Tales to Admonish’ anthology. Otherwise applauding Cocoa at her ballet performance!

Tobacco -Stained Mountain Goat by Andrez BergenBio: ANDREZ BERGEN is an expat Australian author, journalist, DJ, comic book artist, and ad hoc saké connoisseur who’s been entrenched in Tokyo, Japan, for the past 14 years.

He makes music as Little Nobody and previously ran groundbreaking Melbourne record label IF? for over a decade, before setting up IF? Commix in 2013 in collusion with Matt Kyme.

The duo do a comic book together titled Tales to Admonish.

Bergen has also written for newspapers such as The Age and the Yomiuri Shinbun, as well as magazines like Mixmag, Anime Insider, Australian Style, Remix, Impact, 3D World and Geek Magazine.

He’s published four novels: The noir/sci-fi novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (2011), surreal slipstream/fantasy One Hundred Years of Vicissitude (2012), comic book, noir and pulp homage Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? (2013) and the gothic-noir mystery Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth (2014).

Bergen is current working on novel #5 (The Mercury Drinkers).

In 2014 he unveiled his first graphic novel, a 144-page adaptation of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat that Bergen both wrote and illustrated, along with the monthly comic book series Bullet Gal.

In 2015, all 12 issues of Bullet Gal have been collected together as a 348-page trade paperback, and he’s started a brand new series called Trista & Holt.

He’s further published short stories and sequential yarns through Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, Snubnose Press, Solarcide, Weird Noir, Big Pulp, 8th Wonder Press and All Due Respect, and worked on translating and adapting the scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani, for Production I.G.

Short, Sharp Interview: Patrick Shawn Bagley

bitter water blues 2PDB: What’s going on now?

PSB: I’m writing a horror novel and finishing up two short stories in the same genre. Though I plan to keep writing noir fiction, my roots lie in horror and dark fantasy. I’m also beating into a shape a manuscript for a collection of my crime short stories.

PDB: How did you research this book?

PSB: I conducted hours and hours of online research for the Chicago, New York and Connecticut scenes; learning about the cityscapes, demographics and history of each neighborhood. I wanted my scenes in those places to be as believable as the ones that occur in Maine (where the bulk of the novel is set, and where I’ve lived since 1983). I knew my research had paid off when my former agent, upon reading the completed manuscript, told me she’d assumed I had at some point lived in Chicago and Brooklyn.  But I’ve never been to either place.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

PSB: Bitter Water Blues, because it’s my first published novel. It took me five years to write and revise it.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/book/song/television programme?

PSB: Jaws; Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath; “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath; I have a love/hate relationship with TV, but I’m currently enjoying “Deadliest Journeys,” which is a documentary series about how poor and working-class people in the undeveloped world have to struggle and risk their lives just to get from point A to point B in order to make a living. I also like “Key & Peele” on Comedy Central and “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” on BBC America.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

PSB: Absolutely. People are shaped by their environment even as they try manipulating it to suit their needs. I like to think that I use setting as a character. For me, the plot begins to develop only when setting and character are firmly established.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

PSB: I’ve been doing it every morning since the e-book version of Bitter Water Blues was released on January 19. That’s kind of pathetic, I know. For the first ten days, it was in and out of the Kindle Top 100 Noir list. It peaked at #33.

PSBPDB: What’s next?

PSB: The paperback edition of Bitter Water Blues will be out soon. I hope to do some signings and readings in Maine and elsewhere. I might be going to the World Horror Convention as a panelist this May. One of my main goals for 2015 is to get out and meet as many other readers and writers as possible.

Guest Blog: Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal by Joshua Swainston

“The Cadillac toured west across Interstate 90 cutting through Montana.  It was night and the wet snow exploded in tail-light red against my windshield like tiny fireworks. She stood at mile maker 316. She wore a yellow rain slicker and held out her thumb. I might not have seen her if I were more focused on the road. The car slowed and pulled off to the shoulder.” 

 

valentines dayValentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal is a collection of short crime noir theatric readings along with hopping music collected in a homage to the radio programs of the 1930’s. The album came out on, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day 2015 and is available now for digital download at: http://creativecolloquy.bandcamp.com/album/valentines-day-massacre-at-the-narwhal

Why do an audio production of crime noir stories? I’m glad you asked. The answer it two fold. 1) The source of our respective genre stems from the radio broadcast and dime store pulp of prohibition America so it felt like a great way to honor those get history crime fiction. (I cannot speak for my European peers in this way)  and 2)The idea of producing crime audio production has lingered in the back of mind since I was a young boy.

radio daysWhen I was a kid I remember seeing Woody Allen’s Radio Days. For week I felt sad that I missed out on an entire era where communities collectively listened to voice actors, folio artists, and musicians working in unison to create a seamless entertaining narratives. The mystic of the radio. Unlike the black and white 12” tube television my family had at the time, radio left much of the story to the imagination. The artistry involved was to hint enough to allow the listener to be carried away. Television is a passive method of entertainment, but radio required engagement. I remember asking by Father about radio shows soon after seeing the movie and he introduced me to Jack Benny, Spike Jones, and The Shadow.

Unfortunately I was born in a time when the radio drama has found its way into niche obscurity. Furthermore showing interest in an antiquated medium didn’t win many friends in the teenage years. So unfortunately my love of the format spent many years dormant.

the shadowIn private, I tried my hand at script writing. This is well before I found the rhythm of my words and the results were clunky at best. One of the works was attempted as a recorded basic horror production titled Experiment #9 about a medical experiment gone wrong.

In more recent years I’ve written a number of crime related stories that have found homes in Revolt Daily, Out of the Gutter, Shotgun Honey, etc. As well as written my first novel, The Tacoma Pill Junkies. And for the last year I have been serving at the Editor-at-large for an online literary magazine, Creative Colloquy. Though writing is, and will always be, my main distraction the kid in me still wanted to produce the radio show.

In January of 2015 the opportunity arose to accomplish one of my childhood goals. I was asked by a local book store, The Nearsighted Narwhal, to put together a promotional reading of my book. The Narwhal also provides services in graphic design, button making, and audio recording. Quickly the idea formed that instead of a reading we could produce something more tangible, a joint recording between Creative Colloquy (providing the stories and readers) and the Narwhal (providing the recording, sound effects and mastering).

THE TACOMA PILL JUNKIES_CIn a matter of weeks we received over 40 submission form interested writers. We selected the seven most conducive to the audio format that stayed true to the genre. We have a few hardboiled stories, a tale of revenge, thieves, murders, revenge and justice all under all packed into 55 minutes.

The entire project took less than two months from posting a call for submissions to finished album in the hands of noir lovers.

Creative Colloquy and the Nearsighted Narwhal is excited to be presenting the writers: L. Lisa Lawrence (South Sound Magazine), Jack Cameron (Tacoma Stories), Christian Carvajal (The Weekly Volcano), Jenni Prange Boran (Blue Bunny), Gregory Knight Miskin, William Turbyfill (Literally Tacoma), and Michelle Biddix-Simmons.

On the music side we have some great tracks from: The Happy Sinners, Dennis Ellis and The Bad Things.

creative cCreative Colloquy is a submission based literary site. Our aim is to share the South Sound’s rich literary talents and foster relationships built upon our mutual admiration of the written word. Contact them on Facebook, Twitter (@Cre8iveColloquy) or www.creativecollquy.com

narwhalThe Nearsighted Narwhal is a store whose sole focus is the myriad forms of the DIY culture. http://www.thenearsightednarwhal.com

Valentine’s Day Massacre at the Narwhal sells for 5$ USD and can be downloaded here: http://creativecolloquy.bandcamp.com/album/valentines-day-massacre-at-the-narwhal. If you like it tell your friends.

Guest Blog: Some Freeform Notes On A Work-In-Progress: the LEFT BY SNAKES music video series by Pablo D’ Stair

pablo d' stair…Got talking to the inimitable Tony Burgess (novelist/screenwriter of such works as Pontypool, Idaho Winter, Hellmouth etc.) when starting up my fourth film—fellow has a band called Left By Snakes and, music being very important to my films, hoped to use some of their tracks in my project.  Turned out this was very welcome (indeed, Tony and his fellow Snake, Charlie Baker, will also be playing roles in the film) and turned out we got on famously, as they say, and in shooting the shit one fine day Tony asked me could I do him the “favor” of making some videos for the band. To me this was no “favor” but a holy imperative—add in to the bargain I was just to do whatever the fuck I felt like, and well, my cup runneth over…

…Decided to do a series…(really, just wanted to make sure they’d let me do more than one, so said “series”)…but…what in fuck did I mean “series”? No idea, but figured: best way to sort it out was to shoot.  All I knew? Needed it to be like nothing I’d seen elsewhere and, most important to me as a filmmaker, the imagery needed to be iconic to the sound.  And for that, I needed obstructions, even more than ever. Cause dig…

…How to describe the band Left By Snakes?  Think if Dylan’s Basement Tapes got drunk, headed, horny, to a men’s room stall with the Buzzcocks only to have Darby Crash and Lou Reed burst in, telling them how to swing: whatever lovechild got banged out of that scenario…that’s Left By Snakes. As Tony explained to me, they don’t so much write their songs as toss them down, record them raw—often those recordings are the only time the songs are ever performed—all grit, no polish: pure punk beauty…

…My task was to work films by this same stripped down, low-fi, punk aesthetic. Thankfully, working full time and having two kids and no money pretty much guarantees “rushed” is the only way I work. And so it came to pass, two days after the request, I found myself “alone” in my house (my better-half out for an evening, kids upstairs in bed) with the thought: “Fuck, have at least two hours, should be more than the time I need…”

…The plan was: conception to filming to editing to post to final cut, each film in the series should take no more than two hours, tops (closest a filmmaker can come to being punk rock…or as close as one with my thought process can).  Selected the most straight up punk piece (and my personal favorite) I could find in their catalogue (clocking at 48 seconds) cogitated for ten minutes, came up with my concept, pulled a chair up to my front door and shot some footage (NOTE: as I could not start the song to literally listen to as I performed, no one present to help, I had to count out the important beats of the music so that my choreography would sync when mixed with the audio).  Shot. Sync (worked a good trick, I might add) gave it a wash, a crop, a save…

…And thus was born: PEOPLE ARE ALLIGATORS

…The enthusiastic approval of the band to the tone, style, and persona of my alter ego “Carlyle Edwards” made the second time to bat a bit more pressured—didn’t want to replicate (and had shaved the “molester stache” I had worn for the skeeviness of the first vid, anyway) but didn’t want to deviate: what I needed was to match the tone of the new song and the first vid,  needed another “narrative that isn’t a narrative” another choreographed dance of casual head tilts and off hand motions. The series was forming: these were films, they were “about things,” they would all be alterations of this “Carlyle Edwards” figure and somehow blend abstract and grotesque, noir and nothing, all with a kind of pervert-romance to them (would be, as one viewer aptly put: “Like Warhol films but with a pulse”)…but I was still limited by time and location (only so many ways I can shoot inside my house in an hour when I’m supposed to be answering work e-mails, right?)…

…I don’t recall exactly (I really don’t) when the “idea” for the second one clicked (I just had the song on repeat, suddenly said “Okay…want this done in an hour, starting now”—had to include in the time to walk to get new smokes, having run out—the time limit all the more imperative cause, well, I was technically “at work”) and then was stripping my shirt off, applying a chocolate syrup nosebleed effect to myself, memorizing my count of change-beats to the tune…and I filmed. One take, first try, right to the editing (dear god did it sync beyond what I even had in mind) gave it a wash up and shipped the file off to the band…forty-five minutes, tops…

…This was STRAWBERRY BANGSTICK…

…And it was right about this time I decided (realized?) that the “series” I offhandedly dubbed the project would, in fact, be a series-of-series, each one done as a set-of-three vids and would (why it seemed a change, dunno, as I’d had no particularly concrete idea to start with, but it did feel a change) begin abstracting the films out as it went on (like Patrick McGoohan directing punk videos, I decided, my vainglory rearing its head fully).  The first set would be the three within this history, here, and would be called THE BOY, the second set would have a different actor, a woman, and be called THE GIRL, the third set…still have no fucking idea…

…But I needed an end to set one, felt a pang to get it done—needed to burst it out because I found myself thinking about it too much, reasoning it too much, needed to be harried proper or risk screwing the vibe.  Thankfully, I still had those pesky children etc. and so, two days after Strawberry, after an early morning off five hours sleep, full day of work and then out with the kiddos all evening, decided I’d wing one (had the vaguest idea, only: I’d put on lipstick, be rummaging through a lady’s purse).  Thus, offspring asleep, wife working diligently away on her PhD, I grabbed the camera, knocked over the living room lamp and unbeknownst to them (above me not fifteen feet separating us) filmed the “dance” let’s call it known as…

THROW THE CAT

…which brings us, real time, to where the project stands (about one week in, all totaled). And it will be ongoing unless I run out of scribble-scrabble ideas or until my Masters bore of my tricks and start not returning my e-mails…

And I thank the always upstanding citizen (at least I think that’s how he likes to be described…wouldn’t want to cross the guy, so I hope so) Paul Brazill for letting me share this punk adventure with you folks—hope some of you are intrigued enough to follow along with the labour as it scrambles mad dash to wherever.

Cheers.

 

Pablo D’Stair  2/16/15

Follow the series as it updates here.

Guns Of Brixton reviewed at My Little Pile Of Rocks

GOB ACON kate‘Even before he’d switched on the lock-up’s strip light, Big Jim Lawson knew that he was bollock deep in the shit.’

It’s a great way to start a story and it just keeps getting better. Split into six parts that are all named after songs by The Clash (Safe European Homes, Guns of Brixton, Police & Thieves, Bankrobber, The Last Gang in Town and Somebody Got Murdered), Guns of Brixton takes you on an old-fashioned rollicking, bollocks-loaded ride through the gutters, strip clubs and greasy spoons of dirty old London town.

Check out the rest of this cracking review HERE.

Short, Sharp Interview: Vicki Hendricks

Voluntary Madness final cover 55-aPDB: What’s going on now?

Lucky for me, my novel Voluntary Madness is being reprinted this month, or I would have to say not much. I’m taking a break from writing to finish my 35th year of teaching with less stress. But I’m particularly excited because New Pulp Press is in Key West where the story takes place, one of my favorite cities. I plan to make a visit.

PDB: How did you research this book?

I lived in Key West for one sweaty fall in the mid-nineties, when I was finishing Iguana Love, doing what I’d always dreamed of doing as a writer, hanging out and getting drunk. I was ripe for a new idea, and the atmosphere and infamous characters from Old Town inspired my best effort. Many a night I biked home, inebriated, from Viva Zapata, (alas, long gone) down the crumbling, tree-lined alley, Catherine Street. It was easy to imagine my character Juliet, naked and feeling invulnerable, leaping from the shadows to surprise lone men and create a scene.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

Right now, I would have to say Fur People because it’s my newest, so that’s natural. But overall, my favorite has always been Voluntary Madness. It’s my most original plot, with the quirkiest characters and place. I’ve feathered in memories among the fiction. The ending might be my best too.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

I can never decide, but for today, let’s go with the film: Fargo; then my truly favorite noir novel: The Postman Always Rings Twice; the old song “Those Were the Days”; and for TV, a current selection: Breaking Bad.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Definitely. It helps drive the plot. I’ve always set my novels in various parts of Florida, having spent my adult life here. Its people, often seekers of paradise, invite drama, and the landscape is vibrant year-round, available for boating, scuba, sailing, skydiving, running around naked–sports that I’ve incorporated into my novels.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Rarely. Only if I happen to be looking at that page for some other reason. Since I haven’t made my living on writing for years, selling is mostly a game, and I don’t have much time to play. But I’ve gotten my rights back for everything and put all my books up on Amazon, so now and then I check my sales dashboard and think, Hmm. Guess I need to make a Facebook post. Or, Oh, good month. Time to celebrate with a beer milkshake! When sales make a leap, it generally means somebody’s mentioned me in Salon.

PDB: What’s next?

I’m relaxed about the future.  Possibly, I’ll finish my memoir, a biography about my deceased cat Snickers, my companion of twenty years, who counseled me during the rigors of publication and concurrent adventurous lifestyle.  Snickers knew all. Then I have a screenplay, Chez Usher, that I might turn into a novel, then a secret idea for another novel that I’m certain no publisher will touch. It doesn’t matter. I’ll probably write it anyway because I’m interested to find out what happens.

Vicki Hendricks head shotBio:Vicki Hendricks is the author of the novels Miami Purity, Iguana Love, Voluntary Madness, Sky Blues, Cruel Poetry, an Edgar Award Finalist, and Fur People. Her short stories are collected in Florida Gothic Stories. She lives in Hollywood, Florida, and teaches writing at Broward College. Participation in adventure sports and knowledge of the Florida environment is reflected in her plots and settings. Her website is at http://www.vickihendricks.com

Top Telly: Fargo (2014)

Fargo

Apparently there was an earlier attempt at a television spin-off of the Coen brothers’ blackly comic film classic – this time starring Kathy Bates – but I never saw that and approached this television series with a degree of trepidation.

Well, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Black comedy is a delicate balancing act and Fargo cleverly slides that razor’s edge between noir and comedy, violence and slapstick, and the cruelty inherent in both. And Fargo is true noir. Crime fiction is about bringing order to chaos and noir is about bringing chaos to order. In crime fiction the ordinary man in tested by circumstances and becomes some sort of a hero. In noir he becomes a villain.

Hence Lester Nygaard – played by Martin Freeman – is a great creation. Great performances and characters abound and Bill Bob Thornton’s Lorne Malvo is a particularly marvellous bad guy. The writing is as tight as a snare drum and it’s a beautiful looking show, too.

(This first appeared over at THE KILLING TIMES)

Fargo 'Lester'.

Brit Grit & International Noir

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