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 like the exquisite corpse where 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 image portrayed by works submitted to Beat Surreal needed to fall into one of the two genres to qualify for serious consideration by the editor. Often submissions themselves were cut up as often successfully portrayed in the regular feature 'Automatic Anecdotes' of which Kevin Mills was a regular contributor.
The zine also featured reviews across the cultural spectrum as well as articles on Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, an erotica special, a serial murder special (planned & begun but never issued) and the band Acetone among many more.
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 a correspondence featured in both zines. Beat Surreal justified its request as 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 fell into the modern Beat style, again, most of which 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, this too was abandoned.
From the ashes Shady Productions was formed to host some of the key works and contributed as e-books. This was with the exception of Colin Cross who was busy self-publishing his own stuff.