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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Alphonse Mucha record covers

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Henryk Wieniawski / Alexander Glazunov: Violin Concerto No. 2 In D Minor / Violin Concerto In A Minor (1965); Ida Haendel, Prague Symphony Orchestra, Václav Smetácek. Artwork: Morning Star (1902).

Continuing an occasional series about the work of particular artists or designers being used on record sleeves. This is a selection of works by Alphonse Mucha only. Pastiches of the Mucha style are plentiful, and some—like Barney Bubbles’ cover for Space Ritual by Hawkwind—are very familiar, but I’ll leave it to someone else to go looking for those.

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Gypsy (1970) by Gypsy. Artwork: La Plume: Zodiac (1896).

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Dvorák: Slavonic Dances (1993); Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Václav Talich.

Mucha is one of the most celebrated of all Czech artists so it’s no surprise his work appears on releases from Czech label Supraphon. This is one of a series of orchestral recordings that use a Mucha postage stamp for the cover art.

Read the rest of this entry »

 


Wildeana 14

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BookBench by Trevor Skempton.

Continuing an occasional series. Recent (and not-so-recent) Wildean links.

• The BookBench above is one of several pieces of street furniture placed around London last autumn all of which were based on literary works past and present. Trevor Skempton’s design for Oscar Wilde was based on The Importance of Being Earnest which wouldn’t have been my choice (Dorian Gray, please). See the rest of the designs here.

• “Rare Play About Oscar Wilde Will Return to NYC“: John Gay’s solo play Diversions & Delights will get its first professional New York staging since Vincent Price performed it on Broadway in 1978.

Chapter Three, “Strike a Pose,” concerns Wilde’s visit to the New York studio of the celebrated portrait photographer Napoleon Sarony, where he posed for twenty-seven portraits. The now-familiar images from this session would be used not only for publicity, but also on trade cards advertising “products ranging from cigars to kitchen stoves.” An image of Wilde even wound up promoting “Mme Marie Fontaine’s Bosom Beautifier for Beautifying & Enlarging The Bust.’”

Jennie Rathbun reviews Wilde in America: Oscar Wilde and the Invention of Modern Celebrity by David M. Friedman

• “Letters unravel mystery of the death of Oscar Wilde’s wife: Grandson of Irish dramatist has unearthed medical evidence in private family letters which points to likely cause of death”.

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Mme Marie Fontaine’s Bosom Beautifier for Beautifying & Enlarging The Bust. Trade card, 1882.

Books from Oscar Wilde’s library discovered in the National Library of the Netherlands.

Wilde-inspired: a list of recommended film viewing.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive

 


Number 10: Mirror Animations, a film by Harry Smith

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Another Harry Smith film that’s very similar to the one featured here a couple of weeks ago, Number 11, which is also entitled Mirror Animations. Smith wrote a description for this one: “An exposition of Buddhism and the Kaballah in the form of a collage. The final scene shows Agaric mushrooms growing on the moon while the Hero and Heroine row by on a cerebrum.” The copy at YouTube has an improvised score which isn’t very flattering. The film runs for around 4 minutes so I’d suggest finding something of that length from elsewhere. Elastic Dance by African Head Charge works well.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Number 11: Mirror Animations, a film by Harry Smith
Meeting Harry Smith by Drew Christie
Heaven and Earth Magic by Harry Smith
Harry Smith revisited
The art of Harry Smith, 1923–1991

 


Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Four

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LIFE, September 9th, 1966. Photo by Yale Joel.

Continuing the psychedelic mega-mix based on Jon Savage’s list of “100 mind-expanding masterpieces” (see this post). The fourth of the six mixes is the first visit to the USA, with songs from the years 1965 to 1967 arranged in mostly chronological order. As before, the selections from the Savage 100 are in bold, and I’ve added notes about my additions or amendments.

US psychedelia differs from the UK variety in its origins—there’s often a country or folk influence where British bands tended to be working from a background of R&B—and in the political reality that lurks underneath the spaced-out sentiments. UK psychedelia can be whimsical to a degree that tips into childishness, the stakes are often nothing more serious than the risk of being busted for illicit drug use; America was a nation at war overseas and at home, with riots and assassinations forming a backdrop to many of these songs. Kaleidoscope’s Keep Your Mind Open sounds like it might be a typical plea for freer thinking but the lyrics address the war in Vietnam, and the song fades out to the sounds of gunfire.

US Psychedelia, Part One by Feuilleton on Mixcloud

Radio ad — Psych Out
The Byrds — Eight Miles High (first version)
The Charlatans — Alabama Bound
Jefferson Airplane — Blues From An Airplane
Country Joe & The Fish — Section 43
Great SocietySomeone To Love
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band — Electricity
Oxford Circle — Foolish Woman
The Vejtables — Feel The Music
The 13th Floor Elevators — Slip Inside This House (The Savage 100 has Roller Coaster but I got hooked on the momentum of this one—which is actually from 1968—via a compilation.)
The Count Five — Psychotic Reaction
The Magic Mushrooms — It’s-A-Happening (One of the outstanding numbers on the original Nuggets compilation.)
The Sons Of Adam — Feathered Fish
Love — 7 & 7 Is
The Beach Boys — Good Vibrations
Sopwith Camel — Frantic Desolation
The Doors — Crystal Ship
The Seeds — Mr. Farmer
Kaleidoscope (US) — Keep Your Mind Open
Radio ad — Vox Wah-Wah Pedal
The Electric Prunes — I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night (Savage has Get Me To The World On Time but this is one of my favourite psych songs of all.)
Mystery Trend — Johnny Was A Good Boy
The Moving Sidewalks — 99th Floor (The first single by a band featuring ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.)
Moby Grape — Omaha

Previously on { feuilleton }
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Three
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part Two
Listen to the Colour of Your Dreams: Part One
What Is A Happening?
My White Bicycle
Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake
Tomorrow Never Knows
The Dukes declare it’s 25 O’Clock!
A splendid time is guaranteed for all

 


Weekend links 243

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Genesia (2011) by Bette Burgoyne.

• “…so I started buying these old gay porn novels, just for the covers and kept on collecting them.” Maitland McDonagh on the underexamined world of gay pulp. McDonagh’s 120 Days Books is reprinting some of these scarce titles. More gay erotica: Plans are afoot to republish Des Grieux, the rare prequel to Teleny or The Reverse of the Medal (1893), a novel often attributed (without much evidence) to Oscar Wilde.

Merricat is the name under which the Turrell Brothers, John & Tom, produce their atmospheric “nacht music”. Albums with titles such as Oneiros, Widdershins and Zerkalo give an idea of the spheres of interest. They also make short films, clips from which may be seen here.

• “Fascists don’t like satire. They don’t like it at all. And they especially don’t enjoy visual satire. Because of its unique power to communicate.” Ralph Steadman talking to Robert Chalmers about recent events.

There is an unexamined commonplace now floating around the social media, which has it that satire derogates its proper function when it stops targeting the powerful, and targets the relatively powerless instead. Theodor Adorno has also been cited here and there with his remarks on satire in the Minima Moralia of 1951, but few have noticed that the account he offers there stands in direct contradiction to the current received wisdom. For Adorno, satire is in its essence wistful and traditionalist. It looks back to something that has been lost, and dismisses the straight-facedness of everyone who attempts, against all evidence, to maintain the illusion that there is anything respect-worthy about the present state of things. It targets not just elected officials, but the yokels who elected them; not just the honcho who runs the saloon, but the sucker who hands over his last possessions at the poker table. There is a need for this: the yokels and the suckers need it most of all. There is redemption in it, and I confess to harboring whatever amount of traditionalism it takes to appreciate this redemptive quality.

Paris, 2015: a lengthy meditation by Justin EH Smith on the responses of left and right to the Charlie Hebdo killings

• “When the surface of the world is so overloaded with competing narratives…there is an understandable impulse to go underground.” Iain Sinclair on the excavation of London.

• More German music: Sinai Desert (1981) and Kailash, Pilgerfahrt Zum Thron Der Götter (no date), two films with music by Popol Vuh.

Kim Fowley: Sins & Secrets of the Silver Sixties. UglyThings Magazine makes available its definitive Fowley interview from 2001.

• More electronica and mix of the week: the FACT guide to the Yellow Magic Orchestra and associates.

• Vegetable-snake Undersea Beings: Allen Ginsberg writes to the Paris Review about LSD in 1966.

• The Edge Question for 2015: What do you think about machines that think?

Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection.

Lake Baikal frozen over

Serial Killer Barbie

NGC 891 (1974) by Edgar Froese | Overture (1974) by Tangerine Dream | PA 701 (1976) by Edgar Froese

 


 




 

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