High Priorities 2


I didn’t win but I made the second round apparently (along with 120 others…middle row in the above picture, second from the right). Congratulations to Spencer Fruhling whose winning design you can see at the bottom of this page. An interesting choice, there were a number of pastiche-based entries which I thought might be rejected in favour of something more abstract. You can see the rest of the entries here and my attempt in larger form here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
High Priorities

Weird Tales: The Strange Life of HP Lovecraft

BBC Radio 3 gets hip to the squamous nightmares of HPL.
Available to listen to online until next Sunday.

Geoff Ward examines the strange life and terrifying world of the man hailed as America’s greatest horror writer since Poe.

During his life Lovecraft’s work was confined to lurid pulp magazines and he died in penury in 1937. Today, however, his writings are considered modern classics and published in prestigious editions.

Among the writers considering his legacy are Neil Gaiman, ST Joshi, Kelly Link, Peter Straub and China Mieville.

Death from above


The apocalyptic spectacles of Romantic painter John Martin are routinely treated by art critics as kitsch, a dismissal which ignores the considerable power and perennial attraction that many of his best pictures possess. Kitsch is a bad thing, it seems, unless you’re Jeff Koons or Jake and Dinos Chapman.

Martin’s most famous work, The Great Day of His Wrath, has raised its tumultuous head again on the cover of Bombs, a recent single by Faithless. The painting depicts a scene from the Book of Revelations with city-capped mountains being upturned onto terrified sinners while lightning cuts through the sky. The video for the song is an anti-war affair by Howard Greenhalgh, juxtaposing innocuous images of everday life with weapons being fired and soldiers being attacked, often in the same shot. So a happy family skips along a beach while a mushroom cloud grows on the horizon. The moral guardians at MTV have duly banned this in order to spare the delicate sensibilities of America’s teenagers. And they wonder why people like YouTube so much? Or Google Video?


Faithless are a bit late to John Martin’s table, Lustmord featured the painting in full on the cover of Heresy in 1990, an album whose doomy rumbles I much prefer to the duo’s lightweight soul. Better late than never, I suppose.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The apocalyptic art of Francis Danby
The Enigma of Desiderio