1: The pattern
2: A novel by Alan Garner
The Owl Service (1967). Cover design by Kenneth Farnhill.
3: A Granada TV serial
The Owl Service (1969). Eight episodes, written by Alan Garner, directed by Peter Plummer.
The Death of Chatterton (2014) by Kehinde Wiley.
• Never mind Music for Airports, how about Music for Neurosurgery? The Tegos Tapes Edits are extracts from “12 hours of unheard Vangelis music soundtracking films of various surgical operations”.
• “It was one of the first magazines that, with science-fiction and comics together, proposed comics for adults.” Aug Stone on 40 years of publisher Les Humanoïdes Associés and Métal Hurlant.
• A Year In The Country reached the end of its 365 posts. The archive is well worth a browse.
• “These people love to collect radioactive glass. Are they nuts?” asks Ben Marks.
• Think before you share: 86 viral images from 2014 that were totally fake.
• The Anti-Tolkien: Peter Bebergal on Michael Moorcock.
• Extracts from Alan Bennett‘s diary for 2014.
Design by Julian House.
Always good to hear of a new release on the Ghost Box label, and a new album by The Advisory Circle (due on 5th December) is especially welcome. From Out Here is described thus: “Exploring darker territory than 2012’s more pastoral As The Crow Flies, The Advisory Circle hint at a Wyndham-esque science fiction story, where bucolic English scenery is being manipulated and maybe even artificially generated by bizarre multi-dimensional computer technology.” The Belbury Parish Magazine has extracts.
• Jon Hassell’s Fourth World Music Vol. I: Possible Musics receives a long-overdue reissue next month. Possible Musics was a collaboration with Brian Eno, and Eno has some of his own albums reissued again in expanded editions. Most notable is the first official release of My Squelchy Life, an album that was withdrawn in 1991 to be replaced by Nerve Net.
• Some Halloween theatre on Friday (the 31st) at the Museum of Bath at Work with a dramatisation of Ringing the Changes by Robert Aickman. There’s a repeat performance the following week (8th November) with added spectral atmospherics from the Electric Pentangle. Free admission.
The value of these books wasn’t anything wholesome they contained, or any moral instruction they offered. Rather, it was the process of finding them, the thrill of reading them, the way the books themselves, like the men they depicted, detached you from the familiar moral landscape. They gave a name to the palpable, physical loneliness of sexual solitude, but they also greatly increased your intellectual and emotional solitude. Until very recently, the canon of literature for a gay kid was discovered entirely alone, by threads of connection that linked authors from intertwined demimondes. It was smuggling, but also scavenging. There was no internet, no “customers who bought this item also bought,” no helpful librarians steeped in the discourse of tolerance and diversity, and certainly no one in the adult world who could be trusted to give advice and advance the project of limning this still mostly forbidden body of work.
Smuggler: A Memoir of Gay Male Literature by Philip Kennicott
• Getting in before the Mixcloud Halloween rush, mix of the week is Samhain Seance 3: Better Dead Than Never by The Ephemeral Man. My Halloween mix for this year is almost finished; watch the skies.
• Last week, Yello’s Boris Blank was choosing favourite electronic albums, this week he runs through a list of thirteen favourite albums.
• Cut-Ups: William S. Burroughs 1914–2014, an exhibition of Burroughs’ typescripts at Boo-Hooray, NYC, from 7th November.
• Brando, a film by Gisèle Vienne for the song by Scott Walker & Sunn O))).
• Time Out of Mind (1979) was a BBC TV series about science fiction writers, five short films concentrating on Arthur C. Clarke, John Brunner, Michael Moorcock, Anne McCaffrey and an sf convention. I was only interested in the Moorcock film at the time, not least because it featured a short clip of Hawkwind playing Silver Machine, and inserted scenes from the film of The Final Programme (1973) between the interviews. The Moorcock episode is less about his books than about New Worlds magazine and the so-called New Wave of sf in general, so you also see rare footage of M. John Harrison in a Barney Bubbles “Blockhead” T-shirt talking then ascending a limestone cliff, and bits of interviews with Brian Aldiss and Thomas Disch. Ballard isn’t interviewed but is present via a scene from the Harley Cokeliss film Crash! (1971) in which Gabrielle Drake slides in and out of a car while someone reads Elements of an Orgasm from The Atrocity Exhibition.
• “…there happened to be a book on Ritual Magick that talked about John Dee and summonings and Dr. Faust and all that kind of stuff. So then obviously at that age, too, I read HP Lovecraft and then Michael Moorcock and what they call fantasy literature. Through HP Lovecraft I discovered Arthur Machen, and I think that sort of percolated down inside…” Dylan Carlson of Earth talking to Steel for Brains. The Wire has the vinyl-only track from the new Earth album, Primitive And Deadly, and a track from Carlson’s solo album, Gold. Related: Artwork by Samantha Muljat, designer/photographer for the new Earth album.
• Phantasmaphile has details of the next two issues of deluxe occult magazine Abraxas. Issue 6 includes a major feature on Leonora Carrington while Luminous Screen is a special issue devoted to occult cinema.
• “Petition demands return of ‘Penis Satan’ statue to Vancouver.” There’s an uncensored photo of the contentious statue here.
• Literary Alchemy and Graphic Design: Adrian Shaughnessy on James Joyce’s writings among graphic designers.
• Frank Pizzoli talks to John Rechy about “the gay sensibility”, melding truth and fiction, and his literary legacy.
• Alan Moore has finished the first draft of his million-word novel, Jerusalem.
• Crazy pavings: Alex Bellos on Craig Kaplan’s parquet deformations.
• Noise Not Music: “Live recordings, obscure cassettes and more…”
Untitled painting by Aleksandra Waliszewska.
• Ben Wheatley’s forthcoming film of High-Rise by JG Ballard now has its own Tumblr. This will no doubt be spoilerific so I won’t keep on visiting but it’s there if you require it. More Ballardianism: “Worshipping the Crash” at BLDGBLOG.
• “Aickman wandered through the sixties fantasy landscape like some curmudgeonly fetch, returning from the fin de siècle heyday of the ghost story.” Boyd Tonkin profiles Robert Aickman, writer of peerless “strange stories”.
• At Dangerous Minds: “Raise a glass to Cthulhu at the Lovecraft Bar”. Looks more like a Captain Nemo bar to me (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but I appreciate the gesture.
But to demand that a work be “relatable” expresses a different expectation: that the work itself be somehow accommodating to, or reflective of, the experience of the reader or viewer. The reader or viewer remains passive in the face of the book or movie or play: she expects the work to be done for her.
Rebecca Mead on The Scourge of Relatability
• “Space as a paranoid, static rumble featuring: 20jfg, Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnason, Coil & Eduard Artemiev”. 20 Jazz Funk Greats on the pleasures of the Solaris soundtrack.
• What do Hawkwind, Harry Nilsson, Stereolab and The Supremes have in common? David Stubbs examines the legacy of Neu! and Klaus Dinger’s “Dingerbeat”.
• A reminder that A Year in the Country features a host of worthwhile links and associations for the Hauntologically persuaded.
• Mix of the week (a year old but no matter): JG Ballard Zoom Lens Mix by Bernholz.
• At 50 Watts: More illustrated sheet music covers by Einar Nerman.
• Tove Jansson would have been 100 this week.