Untitled glass sculpture by Richard Roberts.
• Lord Horror: Reverbstorm, my collaboration with David Britton, makes The Quietus list of Literary Highlights of 2013. At the same site there’s Russell Cuzner talking to English Heretic. “His methodology takes in magick, psychogeography and horror film geekdom, along with firm roots in Britain’s industrial music culture of the early 1980s, to form potent, novel topographies of an otherwise unconnected world of occultists and psychopaths.”
• A slew of London links this week: Geoff Manaugh on how the capital was redesigned to survive wartime blackouts, a piece which inadvertently explains why you see so much black-and-white street furniture in post-war films | Bob Mazzer’s photos of the London Underground in the 1970s and 1980s | Philipp Ebeling’s photos of the capital and its inhabitants today.
• “Science has become an international bully. Nowhere is its bullying more outrageous than in its assault on the phenomenon known as subjectivity.” David Gelernter on “The Closing of the Scientific Mind”. Related: “When Science Becomes Scientism” by Stanislav Grof.
• My favourite book about Orson Welles is This is Orson Welles (1992), a collection of Peter Bogdanovich’s interviews with Welles edited by Jonathan Rosenbaum. Bogdanovich’s interview tapes can now be heard at the Internet Archive.
• Brian Dillon on Dada collagist Hannah Höch who he calls “art’s original punk”, and Sean O’Hagan talking to another collage artist, Linder Sterling, who says “Lady Gaga didn’t acknowledge I wore a meat dress first”.
• One Hundred Years Of Weird Fear: Daniel José Older on HP Lovecraft’s literature of genealogical terror. More fear (and Lovecraft): Will Wiles on the growth of Creepypasta.
• The Last Alan Moore Interview? A lengthy discussion with Pádraig Ó Méalóid. Shunning interviews hasn’t done Cormac McCarthy any harm so if I was Alan I wouldn’t worry.
• And speaking of Cormac McCarthy, the headline of the week: “Cormac McCarthy’s ex-wife busted after pulling gun from vagina during alien argument“.
• Where the bodies are buried: Mick Brown presents a potted biography of Kenneth Anger who offers a few reluctant quotes.
• A short animation for gore-obsessed kids: Pingu’s The Thing by Lee Hardcastle.
• Helen Yentus designs a 3D-printed slipcase for a novel by Chang-rae Lee.
• Ralph Steadman‘s illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 103 by Lustmord.
• Collage art at Pinterest.
• No Escape (1966) by The Seeds | Pushin’ Too Hard (1966) by The Seeds | No Escape (1979) by Cabaret Voltaire | Pushin’ Too Hard (1982) by Paul Parker
5 thoughts on “Weekend links 194”
In regards to the Alan Moore interview, the first two points of popular contention I’ll not dignify with comment because there are far more extreme depictions others casually throw about in this or any age that, for anyone with any degree of perspective, are obviously far more dismissive, reductionist, and derogatory in nature.
As for the Grant Morrison section, well, I’d often heard they really didn’t care much for one another, but hadn’t previously heard much beyond that. I’ll admit I’ve always liked Morrison more as a writer, but his interviews have always, to me at least, reeked more of lunacy than of insight.
Moore, on the other hand, seems like a far more pleasant person. One who, though this would unlikely happen even for someone living in that part of the UK, someone could randomly encounter and have quiet drink and interesting chat with. As for Morrison, madness can be an incredibly effective muse its true, but I’ve never regarded him as being one who necessarily practiced what he preached, and his alleged ‘strange encounters’ lack the even-headedness with which Moore has accounted for his own to say the least. Sadly, I don’t find Moore’s allegations regarding Morrison to be unbelievable at all.
Almost certainly I will reread either Arkham Asylum, his Doom Patrol run, or something else by Morrison at some point. Hopefully my ever-lessening opinion of him doesn’t cast too thick of a shadow upon my readings when such a time comes.
One way to judge the Golliwog/Galley-wag issue is to go and look at Florence and Bertha Upton’s original book:
It’s plain from the text that the Golliwog doll is referred to as a gnome, and is quite distinct from the other toys with racial characteristics: a “jovial African”, “a ‘Magnate’ from Japan”, and a “Sambo” who’s obviously a minstrel figure unlike the Golliwog. The Golliwog’s speech in this and later books is the same as that of the Dutch dolls, there’s none of the patois that you invariably get from racial stereotypes.
The problem with reintroducing this character into popular culture is all the subsequent racialising which the figure has accrued. There’s no way you can avoid that legacy so the character is always going to be problematic. I thought it worked well at the end of The Black Dossier but there are plenty of people who don’t agree. As Alan notes, none of those people complained about the presence of Fu Manchu whose entire character has always been an embodiment of racist fears about “the Yellow Peril”.
On the Moore and Morrison dispute, I’ve often felt caught in the middle since I’ve provided a cover design for Grant, and done a fair amount of work with and for Alan. I’m biased towards the Moore camp, of course, since I know Alan a lot better, and have always considered him an unfailingly generous and honourable person. I’ve only met Grant the once, and he was perfectly friendly on that occasion; he’s also said some complimentary things about my Lovecraft work in the past.
That said: I’ve never followed the comics press very closely but I used to read enough of it to note the first digs that Grant made against Alan circa 1990. These are the digs he now describes as youthful iconoclasm but I don’t recall any of Alan’s UK contemporaries at DC–Neil Gaiman and Jamie Delano, for example–receiving the same treatment. If that was all he’d ever done then you might say he had a point in claiming overreaction on Alan’s part. There were further examples, however, enough to be considered a pattern even before the recent blow-up when people started asking Alan in interviews what he thought about some new slight.
If I can’t be completely impartial I can at least say that from my own point of view Grant has always been the one taking digs at Alan and his work while Alan never had a single thing to say about Grant until interviewers started putting him on the spot about various comments. People who’ve characterised Alan recently as a grumpy crank ought to ask themselves how they would feel if every time they talked to an interviewer about a new piece of work they were having to respond to more slights, the worst of which is Grant’s assertion in a 2011 Rolling Stone interview that Alan is “obsessed with rape”.
I respect Grant for all sorts of reasons, not least for his championing of David Rudkin and other obscure writers. He’s a very smart person so these examples of him being what we call here a gobshite are either evidence of some neurosis over which he has no control, or they’re an act of deliberate trolling. If they’re the latter then it’s difficult to avoid regarding him the way you’d regard anyone on the internet who stirs the shit for their own amusement. All things considered, I don’t blame Alan for wanting to further distance himself from the whole business.
I try not to listen to celebrity feuds, and well, even though I enjoy much of their artistic output, both Alan and Grant are celebrities from my point of view. So I’ll admit that until I’d read that interview you’d just posted, I’d never heard of Grant Morrison’s allegation that Alan Moore was ‘obsessed with rape’.
Though, as I’ve said, I do tend to enjoy Morrison’s work more, this is because of their visceral energy, their complexity, their momentum, imagination. I find his work dazzling. If one steps back though and asks themselves what the writer is trying to say, if anything? In interviews, Morrison does strike me as being more self-righteous, whilst Moore would simply prefer not sugar-coating things. Why would one avert one’s eyes and pretend that rape doesn’t exist? Anyways, Moore’s correct of course, more fatalities in his work are typical murders that have little or nothing to do with rape. If I were in Moore’s shoes, my initial reaction would be probably of bewilderment more than anything if someone accused me of such a thing, and later anger if that someone refused to let it go.
I have seen some nasty stuff from GM about Neil Gaiman in the past, and his work does seem to resemble AM’s early stuff.
What Alan Moore says isn’t all true, though. It’s incredibly easy to verify that Laura Sneddon wasn’t sacked by the Independent. Grant Morrison can’t be nothing but a Moore copyist, because he started publishing long before Alan Moore.
I think that somewhere in this Alan Moore has been lied to. He doesn’t go online and relies on others for some of his information. That, or he’s a liar and a bully, and his work isn’t that of such a person.
The interview itself seems almost designed to stir him up (I don’t know if it is or it isn’t, but that is what it looks like to me.) I suppose the point was to ask him the stupid questions he doesn’t usually answer. Well done to the interviewer, who isn’t a journalist (unlike Laura Sneddon).
P.S. I don’t know anyone in this.
There’s some stuff in here somewhere
“Neil bounced on the bed with Tori” and so on. I remember Morrison having a pop at Gaiman elsewhere.
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