My Life in the Bush of Ghosts


Brian Eno and David Byrne’s 1981 album gets a remastered reissue this month, something I’m looking forward to hearing as all the early Eno albums sounded pretty crappy on their initial CD release. My Life in the Bush of Ghosts is being given an added publicity push this time round with much being made of its status as an inspiration to later generations of musicians and DJs. The album site includes tracks that will be available for anyone to download (after signing a Creative Commons form) for purposes of remixing.

Continue reading “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”

Enormous structures II: Tatlin’s Tower


The Monument to the Third International would have loomed 400 metres over St Petersburg (100 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower) had it been built after the Revolution of 1917. The building was intended as a monument, exhibition space and location for the Comintern offices, and included several blocks within its structure, a cube, pyramid and cyclinder, that would revolve at different speeds. Unfortunately for architect Vladimir Tatlin, the Civil War put paid to his plans, although it was estimated that even if the country had been peacable enough to allow its construction, the vast frame would have used up all the steel in the Soviet Union.

All unbuilt structures tend to evoke a “what if?” response and Tatlin’s Tower has been given virtual life through this impulse in Takehiko Nagakura’s 1999 film of the same name. Nagakura uses CGI to show how the building would look against the skyline of the real St Petersburg.





This wonderful poster was designed by Andrzej Bertrandt for the Polish release of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1972 film of the novel by Stanislaw Lem. Lem didn’t like the film, referring to it as “Crime and Punishment in space”, which is a fair description seeing as it’s filled with the same lengthy moral discussions as Tarkovsky’s other films.

There are more posters and pictures at the great Tarkovsky site Also lengthy quotes and interviews about all his films:

I don’t like science fiction, or rather the genre SF is based on. All those games with technology, various futurological tricks and inventions which are always somehow artificial. But I’m interested in problems I can extract from fantasy. Man and his problems, his world, his anxieties. Ordinary life is also full of the fantastic. Life itself is a fantastic phenomenon. Fyodor Dostoievsky knew it well. That’s why I want to focus on life itself—everyday, ordinary. Because within it anything can happen. My Solaris is not after all true science fiction. Neither is its literary predecessor. What counts here is man, his personality, his very persistent bonds with planet Earth, responsibility for the times he lives in. I don’t like your typical science fiction, I don’t understand it, I don’t believe in it. The fact is when I was working on Solaris I was concerned with the same subject as in (Andrei) Rublev. Human being. These two films are only separated by the time the action is taking place.

Then and now



The pathetic record company warning from the 1980s receives a parodic makeover for the digital age. The original tape-and-crossbones graphic was printed on the inner sleeves of vinyl albums from major labels for a brief period when the record companies were in a panic about kids swapping tapes in school playgrounds. If only they knew what was coming… The record industry didn’t collapse into ruin, of course, in fact CD sales helped them heap up even greater profits. I’m sure they say now that ruin was prevented by “effective campaigning” or some other bullshit. A friend of mine once attended a lecture by representatives from the BPI (British Phonographic Institute) at the IPM in Liverpool. After listening to them pontificate about the evils of “music theft” he asked whether any of them had copied music for personal use; they ignored his question.