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


 

Weekend links 235

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Shadows (1974) by Pawel Nolbert & Lukasz Murgrabia, one of three images recreating Francis Bacon’s Triptych–August 1972.

Breaking the Code (1996), a BBC film by Herbert Wise based on Hugh Whitemore’s stage play about Alan Turing. Wise’s film has been linked here before but it’s relevant again thanks to the release of The Imitation Game. Derek Jacobi played Turing on stage and screen, and Whitemore’s script managed to deal with Turing’s life and work without insulting the man or the intelligence of its audience.

• “…if you listen to A Beacon From Mars by Kaleidoscope or if you listen to some Turkish taxim then something starts happening.” Robert Plant talking to Julian Marszalek about the music that excites him.

• “CGI has become wearingly dull and clichéd. Can its deep weirdness be recovered and filmgoers’ minds stretched again?” asks Jonathan Romney.

The cult of the Thirty-Seven Nats is unique to Burma. [...] The junta’s attempts to subdue nat worship had an unintended effect: the role of the nat wife was embraced by an already marginalized group. Homosexuality is illegal in Burma and has been since its British colonizers instituted a late-nineteenth-century ban on “intercourse against the order of nature”. Government restrictions opened a professional vacuum, says scholar Tamara C. Ho. Becoming a nat kadaw offered the achauk—a Burmese term for gay and transgender men—both “a vocation and queer visibility”.

After the Green Death by Will Boast

• “Cat memes and other frivolities aren’t the work of an Internet culture. They’re the work of an American one, ” says Caitlin Dewey.

• Hear the cavernous reverb of Berlin’s Kraftwerk captured by Emptyset’s James Ginzburg and Yair Elazar Glotman.

• Take part in the first #psychedelicpride photoshoot in central London on Saturday, December 13th.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 470 by Jonny Trunk who also appears in the list of vinyl hoarders below.

• Queer Noise: Abigail Ward on the history of LGBT music and club culture in Manchester.

More photos of the steampunk exhibition at 751 D-Park, Beijing, China.

A chronological list of synth scores & soundtracks.

• Animated photography by Julien Douvier.

• A Third Ear Band archive at SoundCloud.

The secret lives of vinyl hoarders.

Taxim (1968) by Kaleidoscope | Water (1970) by Third Ear Band | Love Is The Devil (1998) by Ryuichi Sakamoto

 


George Platt Lynes revisited

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Untitled (reclining with bathing trunks), circa early 1950′s.

Photographs by George Platt Lynes have appeared here before, as have links to exhibitions at Wessel + O’Connor Fine Art. The latter are showing prints by the former in a new exhibition that opens today, and if I’m unlikely to visit their gallery any time soon I still enjoy passing on the news. Unlike many of the gallery press releases I receive, the ones from Wessel + O’Connor are always of interest, and their site is generous with its display of the work on offer. (They also sent me a card from their Czanara show which I was very pleased to receive.)

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Buddy Stanley and Tex Smutney (1941).

Most of the prints on this occasion tend away from the artier side of Lynes’ work towards outright beefcake (for the artier side, see this post). Among the nudes there’s one of the famous photos from a session Lynes made with Yul Brynner in 1942, pre-fame and with hair but sans clothes. See that photo, and more, here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Balanchine, Lynes and Orpheus
The recurrent pose 17
George Platt Lynes

 


Continu-discontinu 2010, a film by Piotr Kamler

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A recent film by Piotr Kamler that’s not on the DVD collection from aaa, Continu-discontinu 2010 is a short animation that’s a lot more abstract than Kamler’s earlier works although you might detect the director’s hand in the motion of some of its wandering particles. In place of the electronic scores that soundtrack many of his films there’s a recording of a viol piece composed by Marin Marais.

Previously on { feuilleton }
L’Araignéléphant
Le labyrinthe and Coeur de secours
Chronopolis by Piotr Kamler

 


The art of John Jack Vrieslander, 1879–1957

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The Darkness (1900).

Another discovery to add to the long list of post-Beardsley illustrators, John Jack Vrieslander was a German artist whose not-very-German name was a pseudonym of Hans Zarth. It took some searching to establish that a) it is Zarth, not “Zahrt” as one site has it, and b) the two were indeed one person. I’ve used the Vrieslander name here since that’s the credit used for most of these examples. Vrieslander/Zarth signed his pictures with a V or a Z according to the prevailing persona.

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As Beardsley imitations go these drawings could be better—they lack Aubrey’s natural sense of balance and composition—but they’re of interest for leaning so heavily on the style of the later illustrations which favour elegant gardens and meticulously rendered foliage. Some of the figures refer to the earlier Aubrey, however, as does the vaguely lascivious atmosphere. The phallic plant pot in the Lilly Peters picture below is the kind of detail nobody in 1901 would have dared attempt without Aubrey’s lead.

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Read the rest of this entry »

 


The Edge Is Where The Centre Is

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Design by Rob Carmichael.

“I am afflicted by images, by things that are seen, pictures of things. They are extraordinary, momentary, but they stay with me.” (David Rudkin, 1964)

“The pattern under the plough, the occult history of Albion – the British Dreamtime – lies waiting to be discovered by anyone with the right mental equipment.” (Rob Young, Electric Eden)

Penda’s Fen, written by David Rudkin and directed by Alan Clarke, is one of the key films in the pantheon of what has been called The Old Weird Albion. A radical archaeology of Deep England, a work of dark pastoral, a praise-song to anarchistic transformation, as militant a rejection of imperial identity as Lindsay Anderson’s If…, it culminates with perhaps the most euphoric revelation in British cinema: “My race is mixed. My sex is mixed. I am woman and man, light with darkness, nothing pure!”

The Edge Is Where The Centre Is, the first book devoted to this visionary and never-commercially-released film, has at its heart a rare and far-ranging interview with Rudkin (b. 1936), a writer who for more than fifty years has, in the words of Gareth Evans, “charted a vast topology of viscerally-realised primary narratives for our troubled times”. It also features new essays by its editors — Gareth Evans, William Fowler and Sukhdev Sandhu – that explore the film’s status as a radical horror film, an experimental topography, a work that anticipates subsequent political debates about Englishness. (more)

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What could be more essential than a book (and poster) devoted to my No. 1 Cult Thing Of All Time? My copies are already on order. Even better, this is a publication from the same team—editor and designer—that produced The Twilight Language of Nigel Kneale last year, a celebration of another British television dramatist that sent me on a full-scale re-viewing of Kneale’s major works.

There’s no need to enthuse about Penda’s Fen when I did all that four years ago but there’s a couple of points worth making in the light of this publication. The first is that it’s surprising that a wider reappraisal of Rudkin and Clarke’s film has lagged behind the resurrection of so many other British TV dramas, especially those that deal with rural horror, those that share a mythic resonance or impart an atmosphere of dread. Surprising because almost all the recent resurrections—the BBC ghost films (one of which was written by Rudkin), Robin Redbreast, The Children of the Stones, etc.—are primarily entertainments with little subtextual meat on their bones. That’s not to say that a subtext can’t be found if you apply the usual academic tools but Alan Garner’s adaptation of Red Shift is one of the few films of this school that has much going on under the surface.

Penda’s Fen doesn’t need a subtext when so much of its polemic is out in the open. It’s one of the most interesting of these films in being so directly political on several levels at once, even when it’s also being directly metaphysical: a call for disobedience and nonconformity on a sexual as well as a social level that (unlike Ken Loach et al) manages to generate a succession of indelible images.

This leads to the second point, the comparison made above to Lindsay’s Anderson’s If…. The similarity between the two films has always been unavoidable for me when If…. is another film that sits at the top of the cult list (see this post). Both films share a rejection of school and society, and also share an approach to sexuality that was very unusual for the late 60s/early 70s. The difference between the two films lies in their conclusions: If…. ends with riot and massacre, and while this may be a cathartic moment Lindsay Anderson wrote in the published script: “It doesn’t look to me as though Mick can win. The world rallies as it always will, and brings its overwhelming firepower to bear on the man who says ‘No.’” By contrast, Stephen in Penda’s Fen defeats his mental demons. If the final shot is of him walking down the hill into darkness we can at least feel he’s on his way to a better life. “Cherish the flame.”

The Edge Is Where The Centre Is is limited to only 200 copies so if you’d like a copy I’d suggest you place you order now.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Afore Night Come by David Rudkin
White Lady by David Rudkin
The Horror Fields
Robin Redbreast by John Bowen
Red Shift by Alan Garner
Children of the Stones
Penda’s Fen by David Rudkin
If….
David Rudkin on Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr

 


 


 

Coulthart Calendars

    Heaven and Hell Calendar
    Steampunk Calendar
    Cthulhu Calendar
    Psychedelic Wonderland Calendar
    Through the Psychedelic Looking-Glass Calendar

 


 

Books

    The Haunter of the Dark
    Reverbstorm

 


 

Previously on { feuilleton }

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{ feuilleton } recommends


Z (aka Bernard Szajner) presents Visions of Dune

 

I Am The Center--Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990

 

Cosmic Machine--A Voyage Across French Cosmic & Electronic Avantgarde (1970-1980)

 

Why Do The Heathen Rage? by The Soft Pink Truth

 

School Daze by Patrick Cowley

 

Somnium by Steve Moore

 

Strange Attractor Journal Four

 

Clive Hicks-Jenkins

 

A Humument by Tom Phillips

 

Schalcken the Painter

 

Berberian Sound Studio

 

Quatermass and the Pit

 

The Stone Tape by Nigel Kneale

 

Beasts by Nigel Kneale

 

A Field In England

 

Nosferatu

 

Enter the Void

 

David Lynch Collection

 

Children of the Stones--The Complete Series

 

BBC Ghost Stories for Christmas (Box Set)

 

The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome

 

L'Ange by Patrick Bokanowski

 

Piotr Kamler--A La Recherche du Temps

 


 




 

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Below the fold

 

Penda's Fen by David Rudkin