Network 21 TV


What was Network 21? It’s easiest to grab an explanation from the people responsible:

NeTWork 21 was a pirate television station which broadcast a 30mns program on Fridays from midnight throughout April to September 1986 in London. It had never been done before, and has not been done since anywhere in the UK. The broadcasts took place on channel 21 of the UHF band, slightly below ITV, using a low powered transmitter covering 8-10 miles across London. Program content was literally hand made, shot with a Sony Video 8 camera, edited on Low Band U-Matic, and broadcast on VHS. They showed slices of London’s artistic buzzing underground life as well as casual glimpses of everyday life, something which the normal television stations never showed. We would also offer slots to whoever was willing to appear on pirate TV, saying, showing or doing whatever they wanted, with no pre/post-production censorship of any kind. Because of our low tech approach, we could easily film people, situations and events with minimum disruption and maximum interaction. We were also free to choose program content and style according to our own mood, without having to worry about ratings, advertisers or good taste standards. (more)

In 1986 the UK only had four TV channels, and none of them ran through the night so theoretically there was plenty of space available for other broadcasters. In practice any unauthorised activity was always swiftly curtailed. Those of us outside London could only read about these illicit broadcasts but now it’s possible to jump back in time to the gloomy heart of Thatcherite Britain via the Network 21 YouTube channel. All the clips are fairly short and lean heavily towards the (for want of a better term) Industrial culture familiar from the early RE/Search publications, Simon Dwyer’s sorely-missed Rapid Eye, and Cabaret Voltaire’s “television magazine” TV Wipeout: William Burroughs (reading at the London Final Academy event in 1982), Brion Gysin, Psychic TV, Diamanda Galás, Derek Jarman et al. There’s also Roz Kaveney on passion, and Simon Watney with a news item related to the AIDS crisis in the US. The network website has complete listings for each broadcast.

Previously on { feuilleton }
ICA talks archived
The Final Academy

Dekorative Vorbilder


Richard Kühnel.

Some of the Art Nouveau plates from Dekorative Vorbilder, a series devoted to the decorative arts published in Germany from 1895 on. The interior design suggestion above has me wondering whether there’s ever been another period of design when it’s seemed quite natural (so to speak) to offer a giant insect and monstrous flowers as wall motifs. Something to bear in mind if anyone tries to argue that Art Nouveau wasn’t a radical form.


Georges de Feure.

These plates are all from a collection at the NYPL Digital Gallery where the samples available cover a range of styles from the ancient world to the 19th century. The collection there doesn’t seem complete, unfortunately, and much as I’d like to point to a complete set elsewhere that doesn’t seem possible for the time being. If anyone knows otherwise, please leave a comment.


Otto Prutscher.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Combinaisons Ornementales
Charles J Strong’s Book of Designs
Styles of Ornament
The Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones

Muto: The Exterface Manifesto


In which French photographers Exterface extend their particular brand of erotic styling into the world of online publications. Muto is a typically high-quality production (requires registration with Issuu), the theme this time being the hothouse of the 1970s when the word “clone” was as much associated with gay bars as with the products of science fiction. What was once a visual cliché now seems fresh (and hot!) amid the clichés (twinks and bears) which took its place. With retromania one of the buzzwords du jour there’s no reason why erotic photography shouldn’t get in on the act, is there?

Via Homotography.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Let’s get physical: Bruce of Los Angeles and Tom of Finland

Dead roads


Canon de Chelly — Navaho (1904) by Edward Sheriff Curtis.

A few pictures from the substantial Flickr collection belonging to San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts. Many of these are views of the western states of the USA from a time when photographers were documenting the vanishing world of Native American tribes. A couple of pictures in the series by Edward Sheriff Curtis would work as cover illustrations for Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, while the results of a gunshot injury below is the kind of thing you never see in Westerns.


Untitled (1910) by Richard Throssel.

And speaking of McCarthy’s baleful masterpiece, William Gibson recently recounted his first experience of reading the book on a journey to Berlin. “I awoke from it as from some terribly potent dream, and found myself, quite unexpectedly, in a strange city,” he says. Read the rest here.

Photo tip via Beautiful Century.


Distortion of Left Lower Extremity after Gunshot Injury, November 30, 1865.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Repackaging Cormac
Cormac McCarthy book covers

Weekend links 64


The Sixteenth of September (1956) by René Magritte.

To Magritte admirers, The Sixteenth of September is a deceptively realistic work painted in 1956, one of a series in which the artist plays tricks with light and time of day. It shows a crescent moon impossibly shining through the dark mass of a tree, against a dawn sky.

To [Marc] Bolan fans, the painting has an entirely different significance: 16 September 1977 was the date the singer was returning home in the small hours from a night out, in a Mini driven by his girlfriend Gloria Jones. […] Fans say the tree in the painting closely resembles the sycamore the car crashed into, and the moon was at the same phase on 16 September 1977. (more)

• New Yorkers finally got a successful vote for gay marriage making New York state the sixth and largest in the US giving full marriage rights to its gay citizens. One of America’s conservative journals, National Review, made the striking point that forty years ago New York was in the vanguard of gay liberation while Spain under Franco was a dictatorship with no gay rights at all. No one then would have bet on Spain beating New York to gay marriage rights as it did in 2005. Allow me to note that we still only have civil unions here in the UK.

• Related: Queer Beacon: LGBT spaces in New York City by Kian Goh, and at Scientific American: The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Natural Selection and Evolution, with a Key to Many Complicating Factors by Jeremy Yoder.

• A pair of intrepid photographers breach the midnight security at St Paul’s Cathedral to bring back photos of the building rooftop. Related (and looking like a good location for a British equivalent of Stalker), photos of the disused Thorpe Marsh Power Station, Yorkshire.

• Mixtape of the month: the ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror collection by Portishead, a great blend of rock, rap and electronic odds-and-ends. Also a dash of Alan Moore & Stephen O’Malley.

Eddie Campbell is blogging again. Welcome back to the madhouse, Eddie. His smart and witty daughter, Hayley Campbell, continues to file regular bulletins from her London bunker.

• Your Tumblrs this week: Fuck Yeah Ken Russell and Fuck Yeah Powell & Pressburger.

Robot Flâneur: Exploring Google Street View.

Paris Visages by Marco Gervasio.

• “Push the button, Max!

Written On The Forehead (2011) by PJ Harvey.