Weekend links 665

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Entrance of the Fish Frogs (1919) by Fritz Schwimbeck. Via.

• “This bold chunk of fiction comes garlanded with the promise that it is written in Polari, the historical cant of British gay male society. This turns out to be not quite true—Polari was only ever a vocabulary, rather than a full language—but it certainly indicates where we’re heading; back to the late 1960s, when Polari had its heyday, and far out into the choppy waters of linguistic transgression. The largest part of the book is taken up with what purports to be a typescript of the ‘anarcho-surrealist’ memoirs of one Raymond Novak. The tersest summary of Novak’s literary stylings might be to say that Julian and Sandy, those Polari-dishing stars of Round the Horne, meet Bataille and Breton—and lose.” Neil Bartlett reviewing Man-Eating Typewriter by Richard Milward. • Related: You’ve got male: British beefcake photos from the 1940s to the 1970s.

• Among the new titles at Standard Ebooks, the home of free, high-quality, public-domain texts: Can Such Things Be? (1893) by Ambrose Bierce, a collection of weird fiction that includes the story that gave the world the name “Carcosa”. Also The Hashish Eater (1857), Fitz Hugh Ludlow’s account of his drug experiences.

• “…despite the book’s title, there is very little explicitly sexual here.” Hunter Dukes on Cultus Arborum: A Descriptive Account of Phallic Tree Worship (1890), a privately-printed volume believed to be the work of Hargrave Jennings.

• New music: Tenere Den by Tinariwen, Offworld Radiation Therapy by Memnon Sa, and Die Untergründigen by Alva Noto.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Japanese buildings that are shaped like the things they sell.

• At Unquiet Things: The papercut art of Ivonne Garcia.

• Mix of the week: DreamScenes – March 2023.

Hashish (1968) by West Coast Natural Gas | The Hashishins (1970) by Ry Cooder & Buffy Sainte-Marie | Hassan I Sahba (1977) by Hawkwind

Still Life, a film by Connor Griffith

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Still Life is a short film that takes a novel approach to the use of engraved illustrations in animation. Instead of the collage techniques deployed by other film-makers, Connor Griffith has used what’s known as replacement animation to make it seem as though a large quantity of objects are evolving in series; any apparent movement is caused by persistence of vision rather than the movement of the objects themselves. This parade of miscellaneous items brings to mind the 19th-century obsession with the compiling of catalogues and taxonomies, especially during the second half of the film in which a human eye observes a variety of animals and body parts.

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Some of these items are very familiar despite being visible for fractions of a second. Two of Griffith’s source books are copyright-free volumes I’ve been using myself for many years, and which may now be found in digital copies. One of these, the Dover collection of illustrations from the Deberny Type Foundry, was featured here a year ago in its original form, Clichés & Gravures (1912). The other book, Johann Heck’s Iconographic Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Art (1852) is one you can still find as a hardback facsimile reprint, retitled The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration. The Internet Archive has several copies of Heck’s originals (eg: Volume 1 and Volume 2). It’s good to have access to scans of this collection but many of the illustrations are very small, especially in the scientific section. Physical copies are still the best if you need a sharp, high-res reproduction.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Hamfat Asar, a film by Lawrence Jordan
Carabosse, a film by Lawrence Jordan

Weekend links 664

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Caduceus: Tarot Card Study – Love by Holly Warburton.

• The week in stage magic: Ken Carbone, writing about playing cards and graphic design, points the way to an hour of Ricky Jay demonstrating his miraculous abilities with a pack of cards. Elsewhere, Erik Ofgang asks “Who was Mr. Electrico, the sideshow magician who inspired Ray Bradbury—then vanished?”

The 1980 Floor Show – Uncut / Unedited: 8 Hours of David Bowie in Ziggy Stardust guise performing for American TV cameras at The Marquee, London, in October 1973. That’s more Bowie than most people would want—there’s a lot of repetition—but it’s good to know things like this can still surface.

• “A supernova has gone out,” says David Grundy about the late Wayne Shorter. Also this: “Sci-fi fan Shorter suggested the title to [Weather Report’s] second album I Sing The Body Electric, taken from Walt Whitman via Ray Bradbury.”

• “We need to get away from thinking of ourselves as machines… That metaphor is getting in the way of understanding living, wild cognition.” A long read by Amanda Gefter about the secret life of plants, and “4E” cognitive science.

• “…why take a soft approach to safety when you can scare the sensible into the next generation with some of the most effective horror shorts of all time?” Ryan Finnegan on the notorious PIFs (public information films) of the 1970s.

• “I am increasingly of the Lynchian mindset of ‘never explain’…” Lynda E. Rucker talking to Steven Duffy about her latest story collection, Now It’s Dark.

• James Balmont presents a brief introduction to the mind-altering cinema of Sogo Ishii.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Hidari: An epic wooden puppet samurai stop-motion film.

• Old music: Musique De Notre Temps (1976) by Éliane Radigue.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Juma.

Body Electric (1982) by The Sisters Of Mercy | Super-Electric (1991) by Stereolab | Electric Garden (Deep Jazz In The Garden Mix) (2013) by Juan Atkins & Moritz von Oswald

Weekend links 663

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Weird Tales celebrates its centenary this month (although the first issue was on the shelves in February, 1923). Thirty years later, one of the last issues from the initial run had Slime by Joseph Payne Brennan as the story featured on its cover. The magazine maintained a viscous consistency if nothing else. Tentacular art by RR Epperly.

• A big surprise in yesterday’s Bandcamp Friday was the announcement of Singularity, a new album by synth ensemble Node. Or new-ish since the previously unreleased recording is almost 30 years old:

Singularity is the legendary “lost” Node album. Recorded at the same time as their original sessions in 1994 this has DiN stalwart Dave Bessell join Buller & Flood alongside original member Gary Stout who was later replaced by Mel Wesson for the two DiN releases. Presented here for the first time, mastered to modern standards but otherwise untouched and in its original form and recorded to two track with no overdubs.

Node have never been very prolific—two decades separate their first album from their second—so this was very welcome. The new release includes a bonus addition of the 16-minute version of Terminus, one of their best pieces which has only been available previously on a scarce CD-single.

• Steven Watson at Print Mag on skeuomorphic magazine design that turns print into play. Now I want to design a book that fits inside a cassette box.

• RIP jazz giant Wayne Shorter, and David Lindley, co-founder of one of my favourite psychedelic groups, the incredible Kaleidoscope.

• S. Elizabeth at Unquiet Things on The Sensitive Plant, a poem by Percy Shelley illustrated by Charles Robinson.

• Christopher Parker at Smithsonian Magazine asks “Did Salvador Dalí paint this enigmatic artwork?” Yes, he did.

Tangerine Dream in 1973 playing Atem live (with pre-recorded drums) on Spotlight, an Austrian TV show.

• New music: Mohanam by Shakti, and Area Code 601 by William Tyler & The Impossible Truth.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Bento boxes inspired by notable Japanese architecture.

• At Tentaclii: Ian Miller cover art for metal albums.

Northern lights seen across the UK.

New Blue Ooze (1970) by Kaleidoscope | Ooze Out And Away, Onehow (1986) by Harold Budd/Simon Raymonde/Robin Guthrie/Elizabeth Fraser | Ooze (1986) by 23 Skidoo

Now it’s here

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Arriving in the post this week, the Lynda E. Rucker story collection with my art on the dustjacket and the printed boards. This is a typically high-quality production from Swan River Press which comes with the usual complement of postcards and bookmark. I’ve already written something about the art but now the book is in print you can see the texture of the stock that covers the boards. I like the way this works with the texture of the drawing.

The book is available now. All copies are signed by the author, by Rob Shearman (who wrote the introduction), and by myself.

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