Weekend links 128

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Seven-inch sleeve design by Savage Pencil for Wrong Eye (1990) by Coil.

• “Can you use sensory deprivation to explore ESP? And then make music from the process?” Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt of Matmos decided to find out for their new EP. Related: Occult Voices—Paranormal Music, Recordings of Unseen Intelligences, 1905–2007 at Ubuweb. Details of the original CD release can be found here.

Gorgeous Gallery: The Best in Gay Erotic Art is a new book by David Leddick featuring the work of contemporary gay artists. Howard G. Williams has a review at Lambda Literary.

Trip or Squeek by Savage Pencil, a book collection of the artist’s comic strips for The Wire magazine, forthcoming from Strange Attractor Press.

The novels of the middle period are Burgess’s most vital because it was in these that he forged what we might now recognize as the Burgessian – the antic puns and wordplay, the etymological digressions, the opacity, the glamorous pedantry, the tympanic repetitions, and an alliterative, assonantal musicality that makes every sentence seem vivid and extrovert: “Seafood salt with savour of seabrine thwacking throat with thriving wine-thirst”; “the lucent flawlessness of the skin, of the long fleshly languor that flowered into visibility”; “he was in a manner tricked, coney-caught, a court-dor to a cozening cotquean”. This is Burgess’s description of an Elizabethan brothel: “He entered darkness that smelled of musk and dust, the tang of sweating oxters, and, somehow, the ancient stale reek of egg after egg cracked in waste, the musty hold-smell of seamen’s garments, seamen’s semen spattered, a ghost procession of dead sailors lusting till the crack of doom”.

Ben Masters on A Clockwork Orange and its creator, fifty years on

• A streaming album for the beginning of autumn, the self-titled debut by Eraas, available in a range of formats at Bandcamp.

• “How Collecting Opium Antiques Turned Me Into an Opium Addict.”

Ted Hughes reads from Crow. Related: Raptors by Leonard Baskin.

• Janitors of Lunacy: Jonny Mugwump remembers Coil.

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Back in June I suggested Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ paintings as potential artwork for Penguin’s Modern Classics series. Last week Clive revealed that Penguin will be using one of his painted maquettes for a new edition of Equus next year.

150 Years of Lesbians and Other Lady-Loving-Ladies

Color Sound Oblivion: a Coil/TG/related Tumblr.

Tune in, psych out: the new black psychedelia.

The Hills Are Alive (1995) by Coil | QueenS (2012) by THEESatisfaction | Goldblum (2012) by Oddience.

Tentacles #5: Art Nouveau

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Fob watch (c. 1890) made by Gorham for Tiffany.

Concluding a week of tentacular posts. I was tempted to do something about tentacle porn but that subject has already been covered here, and besides, there’s rather a lot of it around these days. Given the writhing nature of octopus limbs you’d expect there to be far more octopoid Art Nouveau design than there is. The Art Nouveau style was exceptional in allowing the octopus to become a design motif, probably the first time in Western Europe the animal had been given its decorative due since the Ancient Greeks, Minoans and other Mediterranean civilisations used it to pattern dishes and vases. The remoteness of the animal is no doubt one reason it was shunned for so long in northern countries: British sailors used to refer to octopuses as “devil-fishes”, a term that appears in William Hope Hodgson’s fiction. Octopuses in Europe weren’t part of the general culture the way they are in Japan. It took the appearance of Ernst Haeckel’s Kunst-Formen der Natur, published from 1899 to 1904, to bring the aesthetic attractions of the stranger varieties of marine life to a wide audience.

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The Prey (1895), bronze by Auguste Ledru.

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From Animal Vignettes (c. 1900)

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Buckle in silver, gilt, opal, garnet, chalcedony (c. 1900) by Karl Rothmüller.

Continue reading “Tentacles #5: Art Nouveau”

Tentacles #4: Cthulhu in Poland

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Several months ago Polish publisher Vesper asked to use some of my Lovecraft art for a Polish collection of the author’s work. Their weighty paperback just happened to arrive during this tentacle-themed week, an event which also gives me an opportunity to mention again (how could I not?) that two of these pieces can be found in the new Cthulhu Calendar. An ideal Halloween gift! Breaks the ice at eldritch parties! Etc. By coincidence I also received a book this week about vampire squid but I’ll say more about that after I’ve had a chance to read it.

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Despite Cthulhu being on the cover, the title of the book is (according to Google) The Dunwich Horror and Other Scary Stories which is no doubt a better sell with “horror” being up front. There are only fifteen stories but the page count runs to 792 since most of them are the later, longer works, including the entirety of At the Mountains of Madness and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. A number of my illustrations are used within, one of which—the drawing of Advocates’ Close in Edinburgh which first appeared in The Haunter of the Dark—gets repurposed as an illustration for The Music of Erich Zann (above). Quite a fitting use, I think.

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In addition you also get my widescreen view of R’lyeh as a spread on the inside of the French flaps. And my copy came with a nice R’lyeh bookmark. Those interested can order the book here.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Tentacles #3: Dwellers in the Mirage
Tentacles #2: The Lost Continent
Tentacles #1: The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’
Cthulhu Calendar
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
The monstrous tome

Tentacles #3: Dwellers in the Mirage

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Illustration by Robert A. Graef (1932).

If the predatory octopuses of the Sargasso Sea are too mundane for you, how about an extra-dimensional Kraken named Khalk’ru which has to be placated with human sacrifice? This creature is the prime menace in A. Merritt’s Dwellers in the Mirage (1932), a novel I’m afraid I haven’t read despite its quite evident tentacular delirium. The story is a Lost Race adventure with the unlikely setting of a warm valley in Alaska where the usual heroic outsider encounters the diabolical Kraken worshippers. Merritt’s work is out of copyright in Australia so the text of the book can be found at the Australian Project Gutenberg. There you’ll discover that chapter four is entitled Tentacle of Khalk’ru.

A handful of covers and illustrations follow.

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Virgil Finlay (1941).

Continue reading “Tentacles #3: Dwellers in the Mirage”

Tentacles #2: The Lost Continent

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If William Hope Hodgson’s The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ represents the Sublime of tentacular sea fiction then The Lost Continent, a 1968 Hammer film based on Dennis Wheatley’s 1938 novel Uncharted Seas, is the correspondingly Ridiculous end of the subgenre. The Lost Continent is an irritating film for Hodgson enthusiasts since it’s still the most Hodgsonian film out there, at least where the Sargasso side of things is concerned.

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Illustration by SR Boldero (1960).

Despite its Wheatley origins the similarities to Hodgson’s sea stories are no coincidence: Wheatley chose two Hodgson titles—Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder and The Ghost Pirates—for the Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult series that Sphere Books published in the 1970s. In the introductions Wheatley notes that Hodgson was a favourite writer whose work he discovered in the 1920s; he also mentions having collected a set of Hodgson first editions. Wheatley could have justifiably claimed that the “Weed-World” as a location wasn’t unique to Hodgson but Uncharted Seas also features the giant crabs, marauding octopuses and besieged castaways familiar from The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ and the short stories.

Continue reading “Tentacles #2: The Lost Continent”