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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Weekend links 413

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Cover art and design by David Pelham, 1974. The author’s name is set in Marvin (see below).

• Revelation of the week is a lengthy, career-spanning interview with Igor Wakhévitch, the French composer whose extraordinary run of albums from the 1970s are cult items in these parts. (Previously) Wakhévitch isn’t exactly reclusive but he lives in India, and hasn’t recorded anything since the 1980s, so in recent years he wasn’t visible or even known much at all outside France. The release in 1998 of a CD collection, Donc…, and a handful of vinyl reissues, brought him out of obscurity, although all the reissues to date have been in limited quantities. Work of this quality really warrants a wider release.

The Sky Torn Apart is a new album by Paul Schütze, his first for several years. Very good it is too, 56 minutes of growling and glittering atmospherics that could equally suit the enervating heights of summer (as in Wendy Carlos’s drone piece from Sonic Seasonings) as the depths of winter, the inspiration being the apocalyptic cycles of Norse mythology.

• At Lambda Literary: Cathy Camper talks to cartoonist Justin Hall about his planned film, No Straight Lines, about the history of queer comics. There’s a Kickstarter for the project, and more background detail at QueerClick (NSFW).

• Introducing Marvin Visions, a digital revival of Marvin, a photoset typeface first launched in 1969, and very popular during the 1970s on science-fiction cover designs. Marvin Visions is free for personal use.

• The second number of the relaunched Wyrd Daze—”The multimedia zine of speculative fiction + extra-ordinary music, art & writing”—has arrived.

• At New Noise: Dylan Carlson (again) talking about the influences on his solo album, Conquistador.

• Video Drone: Russell Cuzner talks to Rose Kallal about her audio-visual concerts.

• Mix of the week: a Dark Souls-inspired drone mix from Justin C. Meyers.

• RIP Glenn Branca

The Ascension (1981) by Glenn Branca | Ascension (1992) by O Yuki Conjugate | Ascension (2014) by The Bug

 


Aubrey Beardsley and His World

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This US TV programme isn’t the greatest quality, and it’s blighted throughout with a large watermark, but it’s a revelatory piece both for Aubrey Beardsley enthusiasts and Oscar Wilde aficionados. Camera Three was a CBS arts show which presented Aubrey Beardsley and His World on 12th March, 1967, as a preview for the Beardsley exhibition which had just opened in New York. This was the same landmark exhibition that made such a splash the year before at the V&A in London, and V&A curator Brian Reade appears in the programme to discuss Beardsley’s importance with host James Macandrew. It’s good to see Reade again (he was also in a later BBC documentary) since his Beardsley monograph is a great favourite of mine; as is typical of the period, he looks and sounds very upper class but his scholarship is always authoritative.

Ordinarily this would be enough to satisfy me, even though the programme only runs for 27 minutes and doesn’t tell me anything about Aubrey that I didn’t know already. The great revelation comes near the end with the appearance of Vyvyan Holland, the younger son of Oscar Wilde. Holland not only admired Beardsley’s work but actually met him in 1895 shortly before the artist’s untimely death. Holland was 9 years old at the time, and was taken to visit Aubrey by his mother; he was 81 in 1967, and died himself later that year so we’re very fortunate that he was captured on tape at all. The programme also includes a short extract from Alla Nazimova’s 1923 film of Salomé, with costumes and decor all based on Beardsley’s drawings. Watch it here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
After Beardsley by Ryan Cho
Aubrey Beardsley’s Keynotes
Antony Little’s echoes of Aubrey
Aubrey in LIFE
Beardsley reviewed
Aubrey Beardsley in The Studio
Ads for The Yellow Book
Beardsley and His Work
Further echoes of Aubrey
A Wilde Night
Echoes of Aubrey
After Beardsley by Chris James
Illustrating Poe #1: Aubrey Beardsley
Beardsley’s Rape of the Lock
The Savoy magazine
Beardsley at the V&A
Merely fanciful or grotesque
Aubrey Beardsley’s musical afterlife
Aubrey by John Selwyn Gilbert
“Weirdsley Daubery”: Beardsley and Punch
Alla Nazimova’s Salomé

 


Weekend links 412

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Lovecraft: The Myth of Cthulhu, an English-language edition of three comic-strip adaptations by Esteban Maroto, is now available from IDW.

The Coffin House, a short story by Robert Aickman that’s a taster for the new Aickman collection, Compulsory Games. Anwen Crawford wrote an introduction to Aickman’s world of “strange stories” for The New Yorker. Related: Victoria Nelson, editor of the new collection, chooses ten favourite horror stories.

• German music this week at The Quietus: Sean Kitching talks to Irmin Schmidt about his years with Can; and there’s an extract from Force Majeure, an autobiography by the late Edgar Froese, writing about the early days of Tangerine Dream.

• More German music at Carhartt WIP: a lengthy and revealing interview with guitarist Michael Rother about his time as one half of Neu!. There’s also a bonus Neu!-themed mix (and one of the mixes of the week) by Daniel Miller.

• From October last year, a Stereoklang interview with master synthesist Hideki Matsutake (Logic System, Yellow Magic Orchestra, et al).

• “When did you first get interested in esoteric studies?” Gary Lachman interviewed at The Astral Institute.

• At Sweet Jane: early illustrations by Wojtek Siudmak for Plexus magazine, 1969.

• 87 prints and drawings by MC Escher in zoomable high-resolution.

• Meet the Small Press: James Conway of Rixdorf Editions.

• Mix of the week: Goodbyes & Beginnings by Zach Cowie.

Derek Jarman on the trouble with shopping for clothes.

Person To Person (1981) by Logic System | Plan (1981) by Logic System | Prophet (1981) by Logic System

 


Daughters of Forgotten Light by Sean Grigsby

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I’ve spent most of the year so far working on more black-and-white illustrations for Editorial Alma—47 full-page pieces to date—so this cover design made a welcome break, especially since all the black-and-white art has a late-Victorian setting. More about that later. Sean Grigsby’s second novel for Angry Robot Books is previewed at the Barnes & Noble SF blog as follows:

A floating prison is home to Earth’s unwanted people, where they are forgotten…but not yet dead, in this wild science fiction adventure.

Deep space penal colony Oubliette, population: scum. Lena “Horror” Horowitz leads the Daughters of Forgotten Light, one of three vicious gangs fighting for survival on Oubliette. Their fragile truce is shaken when a new shipment arrives from Earth carrying a fresh batch of prisoners and supplies to squabble over. But the delivery includes two new surprises: a drone, and a baby. Earth Senator Linda Dolfuse wants evidence of the bloodthirsty gangs to justify the government finally eradicating the wasters dumped on Oubliette. There’s only one problem: the baby in the drone’s video may be hers.

The gangs are biker gangs, riding machines with wheels of light, so the brief was for a design as much reminiscent of a rock poster as a science-fiction cover. I don’t stray very often into the SF world so this again made a refreshing break from the 19th century and its heavy furnishings. There’s a touch of Syd Mead in the background, a reference suggested by the Tron-style bikes, but he’s long been a favourite visual futurist of mine even before Blade Runner (as I noted recently). The side panels and parts of the halo are adapted from Art Deco designs, the panels being based on embellishments for a New York skyscraper. It doesn’t take much to push the aerodynamic qualities of Deco style into the Space Age (the Soviet Monument to the Conquerors of Space could have been designed in 1930), a suggestion that William Gibson explored from a different angle in The Gernsback Continuum.

The Barnes & Noble post linked above also has an extract from the beginning of the novel. The book itself will be out on 4th September, 2018.

 


Weekend links 411

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The Temple of Love (1911–24) by Herbert E. Crowley.

• My film viewing in the 1980s involved a considerable amount of backtracking: watching any film noir that turned up on the TV while chasing the early works of David Cronenberg, and various “New Hollywood” classics on television or at repertory cinemas (when such things were still plentiful). Contemporary fare by comparison was often a lot less attractive, although I’d be waiting for new work from David Lynch and Nicolas Roeg while pursuing obscurities (usually the banned or censored) on videotape. Popular films seldom generated actual loathing but throughout the decade I nurtured a persistent hatred for the works of John Hughes, an animus that can still return today when I read yet another nostalgic article about his oeuvre.

The monoculture of the 1980s was writ large on American cinema of the decade. From Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscle-rippling actioners to John Hughes’s adolescent confections, bombastic, generally upbeat films characterised the decade of the yuppie.

Christina Newland offers a welcome riposte to the pastel-hued retrospectives in a piece entitled “Reagan’s bastard children: the lost teens of 1980s American indie films”. While not exclusively teen pictures, I’d have mentioned three low-budget films written by Eric Red: The Hitcher (1986), Near Dark (1987) and Cohen and Tate (1989).

The Temple of Silence: Forgotten Works & Worlds of Herbert Crowley is a lavish (and costly) study of the strange comic strips and incredibly detailed drawings of Herbert E. Crowley (1873–1937). Mark Newgarden interviewed Justin Duerr about rescuing Crowley’s art from undeserved neglect. I missed an earlier interview by Steven Heller with Temple of Silence publisher Josh O’Neill. There’s more: The Wiggle Much a Tumblr devoted to Crowley’s comic strips and other artwork. (Ta to Jay for the tip!)

Pandemic is an interactive film by John Bradburn for The Science Museum. “A pandemic is causing heart failure–how far will you go to create a pig/human hybrid to provide donor organs?” The multiple choice begins at YouTube; there’s also a behind the scenes feature at the Museum blog, and a trailer. Anyone who remembers a certain scene in Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man! may hesitate before playing.

Given the plain palette of so much 1969–70 rock—jammed-out bluesy boogie in the Canned Heat and Allman Brothers mode, nasal pseudo-country harmony singing à la CSN&Y and their afterbirth—it is tempting to imagine an entirely alternative history for rock. It’s a parallel world where Fifty Foot Hose’s Cauldron, United States of America’s self-titled album and synthedelic oddities from Syrinx, Silver Apples, Beaver & Krause and Tonto’s Expanding Head Band were just the run-up to a giant leap into the electronic future.

Simon Reynolds in an excellent piece on one of my favourite musical sub-genres, electronic psychedelia

• The week in animated film: Emerald Rush, a video for an extract from Jon Hopkins’ new album, Singularity; Awaken Akira, a short homage to Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel/film by Ash Thorp and Zaoeyo; Extra (1996), a video by one of the Akira animators, Koji Morimoto, for music by Ken Ishii.

Tenebrous Kate on The Powers of Darkness & The Powers of the Mind: The Legacy of Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon. Related: a look at the film’s shooting script and pressbook.

• At Dangerous Minds: John Gray, the pre-Bosie lover of Oscar Wilde, and the man whose surname is memorialised in Wilde’s most famous creation, Dorian Gray.

• Skewing the Picture: China Miéville posts the full text of an essay from 2016 about the rural weird.

• Share a pastrami sandwich with TED Klein in Episode 65 of Eating the Fantastic.

• More Hodgsoniana: The Land of Lonesomeness, a short story by Sam Gafford.

• At The Quietus: Barry Miles on William Burroughs’ years in London.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Curtis Harrington Day.

Night Of The Assassins (1977?) by Les Rallizes Dénudés | Night Of The Earth (1980) by Chrome | Night Of The Swallow (1982) by Kate Bush

 


 


 

Signed & numbered prints

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Coulthart Books

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