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


 

Weekend links 342

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La femme et le pantin (1909) by Ángel Zárraga.

• RIP John Berger. Berger’s essential TV series on art, Ways of Seeing (1972), is at YouTube and Ubuweb; “Such freedom is unthinkable today,” says series director Mike Dibb; the book of the series was designed by Berger and Richard Hollis; ways of seeing Ways of Seeing; Geoff Dyer, Olivia Laing & Ali Smith on Berger; M. John Harrison on Berger.

• The beginning of January means the LRB posting Alan Bennett‘s diary for the previous year. In related news, Network DVD will be releasing Six Plays by Alan Bennett next month, a collection that includes a favourite of mine, Me! I’m Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1978).

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Acid Westerns Day (Restated). Related: Jodorowsky’s El Topo and The Holy Mountain are being released on Blu-ray (Region B) by Gryphon Entertainment.

The acre of suburban lawn surrounding our house became like the Paramount lot for my feverish theatrics. I graduated to building “spook houses” in the family garage out back. Inspired by the ride-through Trimper’s Haunted House in Ocean City, Maryland, designed by Bill Tracy (and it’s still there in operation), I remembered excitedly wheeling through this attraction in these rickety little coffin-shaped cars and dreaming of befriending the crudely built, motorized corpses, cannibals, and skeletons who lived inside. I fantasized the cars breaking down, the panicked, chickenshit children screaming, bolting from their seats, tripping over live wires, and electrocuting themselves. I wanted to take this imagined fear, this frightened happiness, back to my own house where I knew I could preserve, protect, and stylize it on my own adolescent terms.

John Waters on his childhood home

Strange Flowers‘ latest reading recommendations include books on lesbian decadence, occult Paris, flâneurie and the queerness of the Benson family.

Where Evil Dwells (1985), a 28-minute preview of a longer piece of weird cinema (now destroyed) by Tommy Turner and David Wojnarowicz.

Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma having a conversation about Coppola’s The Conversation.

The Edge Question for 2017: “What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?”

• Mixes of the week: Drone Theory with Roly Porter, and Secret Thirteen Mix 205 by Stavaris.

Simran Hans suggests where to begin with the films of Todd Haynes.

• More decadence, this time among the Mexican Modernists.

Moon Wiring Club at Bandcamp.

No Name, No Slogan (1989) by Acid Horse | Those Tapes Are Dangerous (1997) by The Bug | Spooky Action At A Distance (2014) by Sqürl

 


Form and Austin Osman Spare

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The University of Heidelberg‘s scanning programme continues to be a source of delight for those of us without professional or financial access to rare book collections. Having recently made the entire run of Der Ochideengarten available, they’ve added scans of another journal that was on my list of magazines I’d been hoping would eventually turn up online. Form was the first of two short-lived publications edited by Austin Osman Spare from 1916 to 1924, the second being The Golden Hind. Spare and co-editor “Francis Marsden” (Frederick Carter) published two issues of Form before Spare was conscripted in 1917. After the war, publication resumed with two further issues. Spare aficionados have long been familiar with the drawings in these publications, many of which have been reprinted over and over in collections of Spare’s art but often with no indication of their original context.

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Seeing the drawings in situ like this not only restores the context but also sets them beside the accompanying work by Spare’s fellow writers and artists. Some of the other contributors need no introduction—WB Yeats, Robert Graves—while others have been neglected or even forgotten. Most descriptions of Form mention its following in the lineage of The Yellow Book, publisher John Lane having been responsible for both publications. But looking through the first two issues I’d say the model is as much The Savoy, the magazine that Aubrey Beardsley and Arthur Symons put together after The Yellow Book kicked out Beardsley in the wake of the Oscar Wilde trial. Yeats was a contributor to The Savoy, and two other artists present in Form—Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon—were friends and publishers of Wilde.

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The samples here are mostly Spare’s work, and only a small selection at that. Enthusiasts are encouraged to download the PDFs for themselves. I had seen one of these issues before (Alan Moore has an enviable collection of Spare publications) but the rest were magazines I’d been waiting decades to see in full. I’m hoping now that the excellent staff at Heidelberg may have copies of The Golden Hind waiting for similar treatment.

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Weekend links 341

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Fountain (1917) by R. Mutt (Marcel Duchamp), and God (1917) by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.

• “What is there left to know about David Bowie? What is there left to unearth?” asks Ian Penman whose lengthy review of recent Bowie books is better by far than a shelf full of cash-in doorstops.

Strázci z hlubin casu is a collection of stories by HP Lovecraft and August Derleth from Czech publisher Volvox Globator. The book reprints artwork of mine on the cover and inside.

• Mixes of the week: Through December by David Colohan, At Alien Altars: A Conjurer’s Hexmas by Seraphic Manta, and Secret Thirteen Mix 204 by James Welburn.

• “Something vindictive resides in soot.” Timothy Jarvis on the weird fiction of Stefan Grabinski. From 2003: China Miéville on Grabinski.

• Paintings by Jakub Rozalski of eastern European peasants with mechas and werewolves.

Colm Tóibín on James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 100 years on.

Jesse Singal on why straight rural men (in the USA) have “bud-sex” with each other.

Mark Valentine recommends books on tasseography, or divination by tea leaves.

• “Northampton Calling: A Conversation with Alan Moore,” by Rob Vollmar.

Bill Schutt at Scientific American asks what human flesh tastes like.

Gwendolyn Nix on the Tritone, aka The Devil’s Musical Interval.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: _Black_Acrylic presents…Penda’s Fen Day.

• The latest Buddha Machine from FM3 is Philip Glass-themed.

Listen to The Wire’s top 50 releases of 2016

Tritone (Musica Diablo) (1980) by Tuxedomoon | Diabolus In Musica (1987) by The Foetus All Nude Review | Tritone (Musica Diablo) (2016) by Aksak Maboul

 


Covers for Der Orchideengarten

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I was going to finish the year with a post showing some of the handful of product designs I’ve done recently but since some the products in question still need to be photographed that’ll have to wait. After a peculiarly dark and grotesque year it seems more fitting to end with a post of dark and grotesque artwork from an earlier epoch. Der Orchideengarten has been the subject of several posts here in the past but it’s only this week that I’ve had the opportunity to see an entire run of the world’s first magazine devoted solely to fantastic art and literature. Der Orchideengarten ran for 51 issues from 1919 to 1921; the editors were Hans Strobl and Alfons von Czibulka, and the contents comprised original fiction, book reviews and reprints in German of notable works of weird literature.

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The interior graphics (previously) are in a style similar to those found in Jugend and other German magazines of the period (plus reprints of Beardsley, Doré, and the like), while the covers follow the Jugend template of being different in style and format for every issue. All of these covers are from the wonderful resource at the University of Heidelberg where every issue of Der Orchideengarten is available for download. Even if you can’t read German the magazine is worth browsing for its very European view of the fantastic, a view which tends to be darker and more adult than the American magazines that would soon overshadow it. Some of the covers are strange in a manner that Weird Tales seldom achieved, and many of them feature an orchid somewhere in the design.

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The George Dower Trilogy by KW Jeter

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My latest covers for Angry Robot are a return to the world of steampunk, and also a return to the novels of KW Jeter, the man who not only wrote some of the pioneering novels of the sub-genre but also invented the term steampunk in the first place. Infernal Devices was one of the pioneering texts, and it’s a book that’s been very good to me in its earlier Angry Robot edition, with a cover design that’s been well-received around the world. (It still pops up regularly on the front page of Goodreads.)

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The brief for the republication was to create fresh covers for Infernal Devices and for its two sequels; the second of these, Fiendish Schemes, was first published by Tor with (at the author’s request) another cover of mine that matched the Angry Robot design. Grim Expectations is a new novel which makes George Dower’s adventures in an alternate-history Britain into a trilogy. The request for the new designs was to avoid the detailed Victoriana of the earlier editions in favour of something that would suit the content but be a little more restrained. Mention was made of the Picador covers for Italo Calvino that Gary Day-Ellison designed with the Quay Brothers in the 1980s. Those covers are personal favourites so I was happy to use a similar vertical division with small illustrative elements, the details of which relate to the stories but without being too literal. My designs are a lot more florid in comparison to the Calvinos but then the content demanded a shift of emphasis. After having created a lot of steampunk art emblazoned with cogs of all shapes and sizes the one thing I didn’t want to do was use more cogs on these covers. So the background pattern for Infernal Devices is cog-like but is actually an abstract design I found in a book of 19th-century decoration. Similarly, the circle motifs at the top of each cover are also cog-like but are more Victorian embellishments.

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All three books will be published in June 2017; a long time to wait but there’s more about the new novel—and the series as a whole—at Tor.com.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Steampunk in the Tank
More vapour trails
Steampunk catalogued
Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism
Steampunk Calendar
Words and pictures
Nathanial Krill at the Time Node
Fiendish Schemes
Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam
Steampunk Revolution
The Bookman Histories
Aether Cola
Crafting steampunk illustrations
SteamPunk Magazine
Morlocks, airships and curious cabinets
The Steampunk Bible
Steampunk Reloaded
Steampunk overloaded!
More Steampunk and the Crawling Chaos
Steampunk Redux
Steampunk framed
Steampunk Horror Shortcuts

 


 



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Penda's Fen by David Rudkin