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


 

Bulgarian Bee

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It’s unusual but not unprecedented for foreign publishers to use the first-edition cover art when they publish a translation of a book. One of my cover designs for Mike Shevdon’s Courts of the Fayre series was reused for a French edition published by Panini/Eclipse in 2014. This year it’s the turn of The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath by Ishbelle Bee which appeared in a Bulgarian edition last month from Ciela. In this instance I supplied the publisher with many of the work files so that the designers were able to refashion the title using Cyrillic characters. I’m very pleased with the way they’ve done this, the task wasn’t an easy one when some of the lettering was unique to this design. If you live in Sofia (or are on holiday there) watch out for it.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Contrary Tale of the Butterfly Girl
The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath

 


Weekend links 321

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The Addams Family In Kimonos by Matsuyama Miyabi. Via S. Elizabeth.

• “They’re not the men you’ll walk down the street and lock eyes with, or that you’ll spot at a bar casually. They’re a fantasy.” Michael Valinsky reviewing Tom House: Tom Of Finland In Los Angeles edited by Michael Reynolds. Related (and almost a polar opposite): Nick Campbell on The Life to Come and Other Stories by EM Forster.

Randall Dunn, musician (Master Musicians of Bukkake), producer (Sunn O))), Earth, etc), engineer, discusses making and recording music.

John Waters brings back Multiple Maniacs: “Of course I went a little too far.” he says. Waters also talked about the film at Gawker.

Q: Most cherished book on your shelves? Why?

A: Depends on the day. Today it’s Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Blood Meridian is an indictment of Manifest Destiny, the Westward Expansion, of Hollywood and its portrayal of the west; it’s confrontational and bellicose. The sheer brutality of it affected me like I’d swallowed poison or taken a shot to the liver that I didn’t remember. Blood Meridian is a reminder that literature isn’t always tame. It can bite you.

Laird Barron talking to Smash Dragons about favourite writers and his own fiction

• In East Tower Dreaming Howlround, aka Robin the Fog, processes the sounds of a former BBC office building.

• At The Headless Hashasheen: Magic Mirrors and Specters: Paschal Beverly Randolph, Hashish, & Scrying.

• At Dangerous Minds: The astonishingly beautiful three-colour photography of Bernard Eilers.

Samm Deighan on Gothic Film in the ’40s: Doomed Romance and Murderous Melodrama.

• On a scale from 1–100, Milton Glaser rates every single Olympic logo design in history.

• The overwhelming A/V experience of Paul Jebanasam and Tarik Barri.

Patrick Feaster describes how to “play back” a picture of a sound wave.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 192 by Shadows.

COLLAGE—The London Picture Archive

Madrigal Meridian (1978) by Tangerine Dream | Meridian Moorland (1979) by Peter Baumann | Meridian (2009) by Espers

 


The Quietened Bunker

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Bunkers were a recurrent feature in the media of the 1980s, a consequence of increasing Cold War tensions following the election of Ronald Reagan and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The decade birthed new horrors of the body-mutating variety, and also reanimated some older ones in the figure of the knife-wielding psychopath, but the omnipresent spectre of nuclear war posed a threat not only to characters in films and TV serials but to the audiences who watched them. That threat manifests most strikingly in the middle of the decade with the TV film Threads (1984), the TV serial Edge of Darkness (1985), and the comic-book serial/graphic novel Watchmen (1986–87). To these you could add feature films such as WarGames (1983) and James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984) and its sequel. Not all of these works feature bunkers but nuclear warfare by its very nature implies the existence of subterranean control centres with all their latent mythological resonances. Some of those resonances are played with in David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen (1974) and Artemis 81 (1981), the latter featuring an extended sequence in a sinister subterranean complex. Troy Kennedy Martin’s superb nuclear thriller, Edge of Darkness, runs the gamut of underground enclaves, from labyrinthine cave systems and abandoned nuclear shelters to a dusty Cold War command centre with a telephone link to Downing Street.

Bunkers of the abandoned variety provide the theme for the latest compilation album from A Year In The Country:

The Quietened Bunker is an exploration of the abandoned and/or decommissioned Cold War installations which lie under the land and that would have acted as selectively populated refuges/control centres if the button was ever pushed; a study and reflection on these chimeric bulwarks and the faded but still present memory of associated Cold War dread, of which they are stalwart, mouldering symbols.

Track list:
1) Lower Level Clock Room – Keith Seatman
2) Drakelow Tunnels – Grey Frequency
3) The Filter’s Gone / The Last Man Plays The Last Piano – A Year In The Country
4) Aggregates II – Panabrite
5) Bunker 4: Decommissioned – Polypores
6) Comms: Seen Through The Grey – Listening Center
7) Crafty Mechanics – Time Attendant
8) Crush Depth – Unknown Heretic
9) Waiting For The Blazing Skies – David Colohan

This is another quality collection in distinctive black-and-white packaging that will be of immediate interest to anyone who enjoys the releases on the Ghost Box label (Listening Center are already Ghost Box artists): spectral pianos, shortwave radios, ambient chords. The bunker theme connects to shared concerns among related artists with the old Civil Defence films, samples of which have been used on releases by The Advisory Circle and Mordant Music. The Cold War bunker is more than another empty space, it joins the bio-weapons lab (see The Satan Bug) as a source of contemporary horror that doesn’t require any supernatural component to chill the blood.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Fractures

 


Weekend links 320

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Palm Night (2016) by Nick Liefhebber.

• “Gortner includes reference to the little known Hollywood ‘sewing circles’ (code word for lesbian communities) of which Marlene became a part. This group included Ann Warner, Lili Damita, Claudette Colbert, and Dolores del Río.” Walter Holland reviewing Marlene, a “novelization” of the life of Marlene Dietrich by CW Gortner.

• “Challenges and all, Jerusalem ensures Moore’s place as one of the great masters of the English language.” Heidi MacDonald reviewing Alan Moore’s forthcoming novel. Photos of the slipcased paperback edition (a 3-volume set) appeared last week.

• “It’s unlikely that a gnawing sense of being unborn tops the neuroses of most writers these days, but I’d argue that Beckett’s Jungian insight is more commonly known today as anxiety.” Robert Fay on nihilism and the writing life.

• “So why would I be ‘great for this cover’? Good chance it’s because the book is aimed at a female audience and I am a female designer.” Jennifer Heuer on gendered book covers and being a woman designer.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 562 by M. Geddes Gengras, Secret Thirteen Mix 191 by Monica Hits The Ground, and a mix by Daniel Miller.

• Strange Flesh: The Use of Lovecraftian Archetypes in Queer Fiction, an ongoing series by The Punk Writer: part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4.

• “For the Sake of the Prospect”: Lily Ford on the ways in which balloon flight transformed ideas about landscape in the 18th century.

• “Why did Google erase Dennis Cooper’s beloved literary blog?” asks Jennifer Krasinski.

• From Leeds to London: portraits of English cities in the 1970s by Peter Mitchell.

Phantasm is Dune

• RIP Jack Davis

Palm Grease (live, 1974) by Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters | Phantasm (1994) by Biosphere | Fizzy Flesh (1996) by Spacer

 


Seven Harps by Warper’s Moss

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I’ve been rather lax in adding to the music design section of my web pages. The last update was almost a year ago but I’ve produced several new designs since then, including more work for the experimentalists at the Subtext label. There’s a new Subtext release coming soon but before that appears I can talk about Seven Harps by Warper’s Moss, another release on Manchester’s ONO label.

Warper’s Moss is the nom de musique of a guitarist I’ve known for a long time, and whose playing may be heard on recent ONO releases by Watch Repair. There’s no guitar on Seven Harps, however, all the music is produced by a collection of harp or harp-like instruments including a zither, box harp and autoharp. I have a predilection for these instruments and the timbres they produce so this release was great to hear even without the personal connection. The instruments may be common in traditional music but the seven pieces are very non-traditional compositions that wander into pure ambience in places, making the most of the resonating strings. A beautiful and beguiling album. The packaging follows the ONO template of low-budget minimalism with a single Risographed sheet wrapped around a CD. Seven Harps is available at Piccadilly Records and Boomkat.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Tidal Path by Watch Repair
Watch Repair

 


 



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Below the fold

 

Penda's Fen by David Rudkin