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


 

Heaven and Hell calendar

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Painting from the poster art for The Highbury Working (2000) by Alan Moore & Tim Perkins.

Unlike last year, this year’s CafePress calendar arrives on time, its creation being eased by the fact that it’s a reworking on an earlier version. The idea with the previous Heaven & Hell calendar had been to alternate various pieces of infernal Cradle of Filth artwork with contrasting imagery; as things turned out I had more offerings for Hell than for Heaven—no surprise there—so the reality wasn’t very satisfying.

This year I’ve managed to fill out the Heaven sequence with more recent works, all of which have been slightly adjusted to fit the square page ratio required by CafePress. So even though these are old pieces many of them are unique to this printing. Larger copies of the pages may be seen here while the CafePress purchase page is here. As always, my thanks to everyone who buys these things.

And as before, the calendars for previous years are now available all year round; see the full range here. Note that this means you need to select January as the starting month if you want the months to run for a single year only.

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JANUARY: Variation of the poster art for Angel Passage (2001) by Alan Moore & Tim Perkins.

Angel Passage was Alan and Tim’s album about the life and work of William Blake. I designed the CD, a poster, and also produced a video for the multi-media performance of the piece at the Purcell Room, London, in February 2001.

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FEBRUARY: Cover for Bitter Suites To Succubi by Cradle of Filth (2001).

My first piece of Cradle of Filth art. I was a little surprised when working on this that they really did want the wings and horns; Dani loved that kind of imagery. I was even more surprised when this cover was subsequently showcased in an entire window in Tower Records’ main London shop in Piccadilly.

Read the rest of this entry »

 


Weekend links 230

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Cover art by Arik Roper.

Peter Bebergal’s Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll was published this week. Articles about rock music’s occult preoccupations have been a recurrent feature of music magazines, especially around Halloween, but Bebergal’s book is the first attempt at a wide-ranging, full-length study. Despite the subtitle, the scope goes beyond the familiar—David Bowie’s Golden Dawn references, Jimmy Page’s Aleister Crowley obsession—to take in the pagan nature of the blues, pre-Beatles rock’n'roll, and the byways of electronic music. My old employers, Hawkwind, provide a title (Space Ritual) for one section, and I was pleased to see the Krautrock scene receiving some attention: years ago you couldn’t have counted on this from an American music study. As Bebergal notes, Can’s Aumgn on Tago Mago (1971) isn’t the hippy Aum/Om but originates in a mantra defined in Crowley’s Magick in Theory and Practice.

• “We don’t just have skeletons in our cupboard, we have an ossuary.” Another week, another Alan Moore interview, but Tim Martin‘s piece is as much a portrait of the man as a conversation about the usual subjects: art, science, magic, etc.

• “Europe’s history of penis worship was cast aside when the Catholic Church realized Jesus’s foreskin was too potent to control.” Stassa Edwards on venerated members.

Gays and horror actually have  somewhat of a lost history. FW Murnau, the director of Nosferatu, was openly gay. Frankenstein’s real creator, James Whale, was also out. Given the talent involved, and the illicit nature of the genre, amateur and professional critics have been divining queer themes from horror films for decades.

Patrick Rosenquist on Gory, Gay & Loving It: Why Homosexuals Heart Horror

• “I thought that fine art was fairly dishonest as an industry. It pretends to be about culture but it’s really about money.” Andy Butler interviews designer Neville Brody.

• Snapping, Humming, Buzzing, Banging: Richard B. Woodward on the creative partnership between David Lynch and sound-design genius Alan Splet.

• Also published this week: Discovering Scarfolk, Richard Littler’s guide to the occult-obsessed, rabies-infested English town.

• More rock music: When Art Rocked: San Francisco Music Posters, 1966–1971 by Ben Marks.

• The trailer for 808, a documentary about Roland’s celebrated drum machine.

• At The Millions: Devin Kelly on the collaborative art of words and images.

• More Crowley: Strange Flowers goes looking for Aleister Crowley’s Berlin.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 130 by Gábor Lázár.

• Yello’s Boris Blank on his 10 favourite electronic records.

Richard Hirst‘s Top 5 Robert Aickman Stories.

I Put A Spell On You (1968) by Arthur Brown | I Put A Spell On You (1992) by Diamanda Galás | I Put A Spell On You (2004) by Queen Latifah

 


Newlyborn, a film by Dave Colohan

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Dave Colohan was in touch recently to tell me he enjoyed the posts here (thanks, Dave) and also to point the way to Newlyborn, a short film he’s made. This is a moody piece that suits the season, black-and-white shots of South Longford, Ireland, accompanying Niamh Beirne’s narration. The music is minimal but Dave Colohan has a growing discography of music production by himself and in collaboration with others. I’d come across Taskerlands before—immediately notable because their name is a reference to The Stone Tape—and have had Raising Holy Sparks recommended to me, but there’s more there to explore. The No Longer Reel Vimeo channel has three videos for Raising Holy Sparks.

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The Devil’s Cabaret

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Halloween approaches so here’s a frivolous piece of Hollywood Diablerie. The Devil’s Cabaret (1930) was one of several short films made to showcase dance sequences shot for The March of Time, an MGM musical abandoned by the studio halfway through production. The footage from the earlier film is a short ballet sequence featuring a company of horned ballerinas dancing around an enormous, leering Devil’s head. Dimitri Tiomkin composed the music. All the footage was shot using an early Technicolor process so the film is subtitled “A Colortone Novelty”.

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The framing narrative is a sequence of short sketches that offend many of the principles the Hays Code was brought in to protect a few years later. An uncredited Charles Middleton (Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon films) is a CEO-like Satan urging his Vice President Howie Burns (geddit?) to counter Heaven’s successes by bringing more souls to Hades (the word “Hell” only gets used at the end but after 1934 it was banned from use altogether). Burns does this by interrupting a religious meeting on Earth with a jazzy dance sequence that turns into a strip show; everyone in the audience rushes to join the damned. Once in Hades the newcomers are treated to the March of Time ballet. Elsewhere there’s some laboured humour, references to the Wall Street Crash and Prohibition, and a fair amount of salacious dialogue. Films such as these are always a good reminder of how risqué Hollywood could be before everyone adopted the production code. (Thanks to Gabe for the tip!)

The Devil’s Cabaret: part one | part two

Previously on { feuilleton }
Chocolate devils
Harry Lachman’s Inferno

 


Wildeana 13

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Oscar Wilde, no. 26 (1882). One of a series of photo portraits taken by Napoleon Sarony when Wilde was in New York.

Every day is an anniversary for something. Among other things, October 16th 2014 is the 160th anniversary of the day that Oscar Wilde was brought to Earth in a spaceship—see Velvet Goldmine for details—so in honour of that moment here’s a few more Wildean links.

• One item of news I missed last month was Al Pacino’s announcement that he’ll be bringing his production of Wilde’s Salomé to the London stage in 2016. Good to hear that his enthusiasm was sparked by the excellent Steven Berkoff production, and this detail is especially noteworthy: “There will be make-up, sets, costumes… and decadence. It will be a whole different thing to what we did in America.”

• Turkish censors still have problems with Anglophone novels that publishers attempt to present in Turkish translations—the work of William Burroughs caused a fuss a couple of years ago—but last month an uncensored edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published there for the first time.

Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland: “We’ve got as close as we can to hearing him speak” Holland has co-written The Trials of Oscar Wilde, a dramatisation of Wilde’s court appearances which opens at Trafalgar Studios, London, this week.

The extraordinary story of Oscar Wilde’s holiday in Worthing in 1894. James Connaughton interviews Antony Edmonds about his new book, Oscar Wilde’s Scandalous Summer: The 1894 Worthing Holiday and the Aftermath.

The beau of Reading jail: was prisoner 1122 Oscar Wilde’s lover? (The answer to any newspaper headline ending with a question mark is invariably “No”.)

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive

 


 




 

tracker

 


 

“feed your head”

 

Below the fold

 

The Crackdown by Cabaret Voltaire