Weekend links 646

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It’s that lethal book again. A sample of wallpaper impregnated with arsenic, one of many such pages in Shadows from the Walls of Death: Facts and Inferences Prefacing a Book of Specimens of Arsenical Wall Papers (1874) by RC Kedzie.

• “I like to spend time in the now because there I can create something new but in the past I cannot.” Damo Suzuki, former vocalist in Can, on creativity and his resilience in the face of long-term illness. Related: a trailer for Energy: A Documentary about Damo Suzuki.

• “I enjoy Carnival of Souls, but it is a dark form of enjoyment, with high stakes, because the enjoyment is predicated on me being able to shake myself free of the film after it is over, and that can be a struggle.” Colin Fleming on fear as entertainment.

• “Some people like fantasy epics or Regency romance or Sudoku or science-fiction world-building or the gentle challenge of cozy mysteries; I like the undead.” Sadie Stein on encounters with ghosts.

• “You’re now standing on the blocks of the Great Pyramid at Giza. For the first time ever you can explore the entire pyramid interior.” The Giza Project.

• “What do we think about when we watch films set in vanished decades that many of us experienced at first hand?” asks Anne Billson.

• At Bandcamp: Touch celebrates forty years of not being a record label.

• “Why scientists are sending radio signals to the Moon and Jupiter.”

• At DJ Food’s: Retinal Circus gig posters 1966–68.

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

The Pyramid Spell (1978) by Nik Turner | I Am Damo Suzuki (1985) by The Fall | Carnival Of Souls Goes To Rio (2001) by Pram

Marabout Fantastique book covers

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A post for Halloween featuring a selection of covers from the “Fantastique” imprint of Belgian publisher Bibliothèque Marabout. The imprint, which was only labelled “Fantastique” on later editions, was launched around 1969 and ran through the 1970s before petering out in the early 1980s. The uniform cover design—almost always black with titles set in Roberta—is an attraction for paperback collectors even when the titles are very familiar ones, and when the cover art, most of which was the work of Henri Lievens (1920–2000), is sketchy and vague.

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Among the Belgian writers rubbing shoulders with their more famous foreign counterparts are Jean Ray, author of the cult novel Malpertuis, playwright Michel de Ghelderode, and Thomas Owen (the pen-name of Gérald Bertot). Not all of the artwork is credited but most of the examples here are the work of the prolific Lievens, an artist whose cobwebbed eccentricities sometimes exceed the bounds of their brief; that flapping creature on the cover of The White People by Arthur Machen has no analogue in any of Machen’s stories. Later covers in the series saw contributions from Jean Alessandrini, with collages that were the subject of an earlier post. Marabout is still publishing today, albeit in a reduced fashion, having relocated to France where the company is now a tiny part of the Hachette empire.

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Continue reading “Marabout Fantastique book covers”

Weekend links 642

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A light wheel. Via.

• “Part of the instrument’s draw is its fallibility. Famously, or perhaps infamously, every Rhodes is different: some freakishly responsive, some with keys that stick like glue, and all with uneven registers, darker corners, and sweet spots.” Hugh Morris on the delicate art of reinventing the Fender Rhodes.

Rambalac’s YouTube channel of first-person walks through Japanese locations is a vicarious pleasure, especially on a big screen. It’s not all city streets but if you like urban meandering then Tokyo walk from day to rainy night – Higashi-Ikebukuro, Mejiro, Ikebukuro is a good place to start.

• At Igloomag: Chang Terhune interviews Stephen Mallinder in a gratifyingly lengthy piece which covers Mallinder’s recent solo recordings and collaborations, his work with students on his sound-art course, and (unavoidably) the late Richard H. Kirk and Cabaret Voltaire.

What I think might be a useful approach—perhaps impractical, but bear me out—I think that if we were to reconnect magic and art as a starting point, because they’re practically the same thing anyway, make art the product of your magical experiments, the way that Austin Spare did for example, then that would give magic an enormous sense of purpose and I think it would also lend art the vision that it seems to be lacking at present. A lot of modern art seems rather empty and hollow conceptualism that lacks any real vision or substance or power. A linking of magic and art would help both of those fields. Then, once you’ve done that, maybe linking art and science. There’s plenty of work already done in that regard.

Alan Moore talking to Miles Ellingham about the usual concerns plus his new story collection, Illuminations

Wheels of Light: Designs for British Light Shows 1970–1990 is a book by Kevin Foakes (aka DJ Food) which will be published later this month by Four Corners Books. The author talks about his book here.

• “The Sandjak of Novi Pazar always sounded as if it were a title, like the Sultan of Zanzibar or the Dame of Sark…” Mark Valentine on discovering outdated maps in forgotten books.

• “My brief was to find tracks that had been left by the wayside or disregarded.” Lenny Kaye on 50 years of his influential garage-rock compilation Nuggets.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 768 by Lawrence English, and King Scratch (Musical Masterpieces from the Upsetter Ark-ive) by Aquarium Drunkard.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House (1959).

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

• This Wheel’s On Fire (1968) by Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity | Cosmic Wheels (1973) by Donovan | Wheels On Fire (1985) by Haruomi Hosono

Weekend links 638

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• After writing about Hungarian animator Marcell Jankovics back in January, I left a comment expressing the hope that Arrow or Eureka might give us a Region B blu-ray of Son of the White Mare (aka Fehérlófia), Jankovics’s “psychedelic” animated feature from 1982. Fast-forward nine months to Eureka’s announcement that they’ll be doing exactly this in November. Watch the trailer. The release will include some of the director’s short films plus his first feature, Johnny Corncob (1973), a historical tale presented in the “groovy” style (previously) popularised by Yellow Submarine. If idle wishes can be granted so easily then I’ll hope again that Eureka might do the same for René Laloux’s second and third animated features, the Moebius-designed Time Masters (1982) (made in the same studio as Son of the White Mare) and the Caza-designed Gandahar (1987). Fingers crossed.

• “I don’t think anybody copies me, but Harmony Korine, Todd Solondz, Bruno Dumont, Gaspar Noé, I like those kinds of directors. They’re sometimes not funny at all. They’re very serious and eerily melodramatic. I just like movies that surprise me.” John Waters (yet again) talking to Conor Williams about films, writing and a prayer for Pasolini.

• “There is something profoundly haunting about a master artist’s last painting left unfinished upon its easel…” Kevin Dann on The Mermaid (1910) by Howard Pyle.

• At Bandcamp: Navigating the Nurse With Wound List: A Gateway to Far-Flung Sounds.

• “Juicy With Meaning”: Alex Denney chooses five essential films by David Cronenberg.

• Mix of the week: Discovering 1970s jazz fusion with Kerri Chandler.

• Coming soon from Strange Attractor: Purgatory by Ken Hollings.

• Steven Heller’s font(s) of the month: Farandole & Lustik.

Dennis Cooper’s favourite albums.

• RIP Peter Straub.

White Horses (1968) by Jacky | Five White Horses (1968) by Sun Dragon | Ride A White Horse (2006) by Goldfrapp

Corgi SF Collector’s Library

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Cover artist unknown.

“Here, for the connoisseur, for the devotee of the SF genre, and for those who like their reading to combine excitement with good writing, is the Corgi SF Collector’s Library – a series that brings, in a uniform edition, many of the Greats of SF – standard classics, contemporary prizewinners, and controversial fiction, fantasy, and fact…”

Only in the 1970s would you find a line of SF paperbacks with all the titles set in Thalia, a Victorian typeface revived by the post-psychedelia predilection for any design that was florid and ornate. Corgi’s SF Collector’s Library was published from 1973 to 1976, arriving just as my reading was moving from child-friendly SF to adult fiction. Consequently, I bought quite a few of these books, and still own a couple of them. The design was uniform but with a surprising amount of variation for such a short-lived series. The background colours ranged from deep blue to purple, while the card used for the covers was regular paperback stock for some of the titles with the majority using textured card, a treatment that further distinguished the series from its rivals on the bookshelves.

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Art by Joe Petagno.

Looking at these covers again I’ve been wondering if the idea of framing the artwork in a circle was borrowed from Penguin’s run of HG Wells reprints from 1967. Corgi had done something similar the same year with their Ray Bradbury series (all with art by Bruce Pennington) but the Wells editions went through several reprints, and the SF Collector’s Library follows their form even down to allowing the artwork to break the frame.

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Art by Bruce Pennington.

The samples here are a small selection of the series which featured a fair representation of British SF illustrators of the time. None of the artists were credited on the covers, however—a poor showing on the part of Corgi—so a few of them remain unidentified.

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Art by Tony Roberts.

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Cover artist unknown.

Continue reading “Corgi SF Collector’s Library”