Weekend links 234

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The Devil in the Green Coat by Andrea Dezsö, an illustration for a new, uncensored edition of the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales.

• That { feuilleton } object of cult attention, Penda’s Fen, a 1974 television film by David Rudkin directed by Alan Clarke, continues its long journey out of the shadows. To coincide with a screening in London of a 16mm print, Sukhdev Sandhu looks back at a unique drama, and examines its connections to other British films of the period. There’s still no sign of a DVD release although rumours persist. Related: Penda’s Fen at A Year In The Country.

• “One of the reasons I’m sure I found the horror genre congenial is that it’s almost always focused on the body. The body is the center of all horror films.” David Cronenberg talking to Calum Marsh about his novel, Consumed.

• Mix of the week: Antony Hegarty’s Future Feminist Playlist, and Secret Thirteen Mix 134 by James Ginzburg & Yair Elazar Glotman. Related: Nimbes by Joaniele Mercier & James Ginzburg.

• Another week, another Kickstarter: Suzanne Ciani: A Life in Waves is a planned feature-length documentary about the American synthesist and composer.

• “[Marjorie] Cameron’s connections to Scientology and powerful men once drew headlines, but now her art is getting its due,” says Tanja M. Laden.

Jay Babcock found a Hawkwind Tarot spread in International Times for 1971. Is this an overlooked Barney Bubbles design?

• “Tempered in the flames of hell”: Helen Grant on the precursors of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Bottle Imp.

Hawthonn: Phil and Layla Legard (and others) remember John Balance with a special musical project.

Derek Jarman Super 8 by James Mackay, a book of stills from Derek Jarman’s Super 8 films.

• “Coltrane’s free jazz wasn’t just ‘a lot of noise’,” says Richard Brody.

This might be the world’s first book on colour palettes.

Paris 1971 (1971) by Suzanne Ciani | The Fifth Wave: Water Lullaby (1982) by Suzanne Ciani | Blue Amiga (2014) by NeoTantrik & Suzanne Ciani

Weekend links 233

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Alchemical Stone (2014) by Daniel Lasso Casas. Via full fathom five.

• “I am unsure if this reality is an everyday one. We don’t know if the universe belongs to a realist genre or a fantastic one, because if, as idealists believe, everything is a dream, then what we call reality is essentially oneiric.” Jorge Luis Borges in 1984 in conversation with Argentinian poet and essayist Osvaldo Ferrari.

• “I am transgender, so ‘he’ is not appropriate and ‘she’ is problematic. I’m what I think of as pure transgender.” Antony Hegarty talks to Cian Traynor about Turning, a new DVD and album project.

Unearthing Forgotten Horrors 2014 is a weekend festival of rural weirdness at the Star and Shadow Cinema, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Henry Darger, one of the most celebrated examples of an outsider artist (see: Vivian Girls), has been uniformly ignored by the literary firmament. Despite the success of his artwork, none of his fiction manuscripts have seen print. The language of literature is the language of privilege, in which even the stories of the working class are regularly clad in a bourgeois prose. The language of literature cannot be extricated from its white, genteel roots. Those of us without access to education are welcome to practice, but we must come in from the cold, adopt the house language. We must be civilized, scrubbed clean. Naiveté has no place in the colosseum of words.

Ravi Mangla on Coming in from the Cold: Outsider Art in Literature

Carel de Nerée tot Babberich en Henri van Booven, a collection of Beardsley-like drawings by a neglected Dutch artist.

Forever Butt is a new collection of the best of recent issues of BUTT magazine, still the best print mag for gay men.

Anne Billson’s guide to Brussels, another European city I’d like to visit some day.

• At BibliOdyssey: Schönschreibmeister, a calligraphy master’s album.

Third Ear Band live (and in colour!) on French TV in 1970.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen mix 132 by Spatial.

• The Internet Archive now has an Internet Arcade.

Crazy Cat Lady Clothing

The Pattern Library

Stone Circle (1969) by Third Ear Band | Sacred Stones (1992) by Sheila Chandra | Stoned Circular I (1996) by Coil

Weekend links 33

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Blue Sky Noise (2010) by Esao Andrews.

Franz Xaver Messerschmidt is the first exhibition in the United States devoted exclusively to the 18th-century sculptor. Related: an earlier post about the artist’s work.

• How are the team behind War Horse planning to follow up their smash hit? With a gay love story performed by puppets. Related: Achilles (1995) by Barry JC Purves.

• More great posts at A Journey Round My Skull: Czechoslovakian Expose VI and Black Cradle of Bright Life, fifteen works by the Macedonian artist Vangel Naumovski (1924–2006).

Top 10 Anti-Gay Activists Caught Being Gay. Related: “Fuck your feelings,” in which columnist Dan Savage gets righteously impatient when a correspondent complains. As Savage says, people who use their faith as a stick to beat gay people contribute to an atmosphere of intolerance in which kids are bullied for being gay (or appearing to be), or transgender, or merely different, and kill themselves as a result. Over the past couple of weeks there’s been an upsurge of US media attention to the most recent suicides; Savage inaugurated the It Gets Better project in order to help. Also related: God Loves Poetry.

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Meigh (2010) by Esao Andrews.

Antony Hegarty enthuses about Shoot Yer Load, one of the scurrilous 12″ singles released by my Savoy colleagues in the 1980s. Antony and the Johnsons have a new album out, Swanlights, on Secretly Canadian.

When the future of music was a rainbow hued parabola: book designer John Gall collects old synthesizer manuals.

Fantastic Memories (1944) by Maurice Sandoz, illustrated by Salvador Dalí.

Urban optometry: life as a London crane operator at BLDGBLOG.

• Today is 10/10/10 which means it’s Powers of Ten Day.

These New Puritans: a band like no other.

Art Nouveau: a virtual exhibition.

Diaghilev: Lord of the dance.

Flaming Telepaths (1974) by Blue Öyster Cult; Flaming Telepaths (2005) by Espers.

The Lady Is Dead and The Irrepressibles

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The lady may be dead but the art here is very much alive. The second great video of the week comes via the always essential Homotography, a short piece by director Roy Raz whose film features a pair of tattooed lesbians, a tennis match involving meat (or something), boys stripping out of their underwear to indulge in some peculiar—and for all we know, metaphysical—sexual congress, an elderly lady dancing round a piano, and a gang of luscious hunks who soap a car before sponging down their own bodies.

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Do we have to worry about What It All Means? Of course we don’t, although the usual crowd of bewildered YouTube commenters struggle with comprehension like medieval rustics attempting to decipher so many signs and wonders. Think of it as the kind of thing Wes Anderson might create if someone dosed him with psychotropic chemicals that also turned him gay.

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More important for me is the utterly fantastic song which Roy Raz uses, a number entitled In This Shirt by a ten-piece British group, The Irrepressibles, whose name I recognised but whose music I hadn’t heard until this. Lead singer Jamie McDermott’s voice is very reminiscent of Antony Hegarty which is no bad thing, although McDermott is probably weary of the comparison. Our musical culture would be greatly improved by more people taking their lead from Antony. The Irrepressibles’ site has a Soundcloud page where you can hear other songs from their recent Mirror, Mirror album, the CD of which is now on my shopping list. They also have a couple of videos showing their live performances which look rather spectacular. 2010 is turning out to be a good year for British music; when that music comes with cute guys attached it’s an added bonus.

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Update: Roy Raz’s film is now also on Vimeo with other of his works.

Poe at 200

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Poe by Harry Clarke.

Happy birthday Edgar Allan Poe, born two hundred years ago today. I nearly missed this anniversary after a busy weekend. Rather than add to the mountain of praise for the writer, I thought I’d list some favourites among the numerous Poe-derived works in different media.

Illustrated books
For me the Harry Clarke edition of 1919 (later reworked with colour plates) has always been definitive. Many first-class artists have tried their hand at depicting Poe’s stories and poems, among them Aubrey Beardsley, Gustave Doré, Arthur Rackham, W Heath Robinson and Edmund Dulac; none complements the morbid atmosphere and florid prose as well as Clarke does. And if it’s horror you need, Clarke’s depiction of The Premature Burial could scarcely be improved upon.

Honourable mention should be made of two less well-known works, Wilfried Sätty’s The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe (1976) and Visions of Poe (1988) by Simon Marsden. I wrote about Sätty’s collage engravings in Strange Attractor 2, and Sätty’s style was eminently suited to Poe’s work. Marsden’s photographs of old castles and decaying mansions are justly celebrated but in book form often seem in search of a subject beyond a general Gothic spookiness or a recounting of spectral anecdotes. His selection of Poe stories and poems is a great match for the photos, one of which, a view of Monument Valley for The Colloquy of Monos and Una, was also used on a Picador cover for Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy.

Recordings
These are legion but among the outstanding one-off tracks I’d note two poems set to music, Dream Within a Dream from Propaganda‘s 1985 album, A Secret Wish, and The Lake by Antony & The Johnsons. The latter appeared on the landmark Golden Apples of the Sun compilation and also on Antony’s own The Lake EP.

Among the full-length works, Hal Willner’s 1997 2-CD collection Closed on Account of Rabies features lengthy readings set to music from a typically eclectic Willner line-up: Marianne Faithfull, Christopher Walken, Iggy Pop, Diamanda Galás, Gavin Friday, Dr John, Deborah Harry, Jeff Buckley (one of the last recordings before his untimely death) and Gabriel Byrne. Byrne’s reading of The Masque of the Red Death is tremendous and the whole package is decked out in Ralph Steadman graphics.

Antony Hegarty appears again on another double-disc set, Lou Reed’s The Raven (2003), a very eccentric approach to Poe which I suspect I’m in the minority in enjoying as much as I do. An uneven mix of songs and reading/performances, Reed updates some Poe poems while others are presented straight and to often stunning effect by (among others) Willem Defoe, Steve Buscemi, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Amanda Plummer and Elizabeth Ashley.

Films
Once again, there’s too many films but The Masque of the Red Death (1964) has always been my favourite of the Roger Corman adaptations, not least for the presence of Jane Asher, Patrick Magee and (behind the camera) Nicolas Roeg. I wrote last May about the animated version of The Tell-Tale Heart from UPA. That adaptation, with narration by James Mason, is still on YouTube so if you haven’t seen it yet you can celebrate Poe’s anniversary by watching it right now.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Tell-Tale Heart from UPA
William Heath Robinson’s illustrated Poe
The art of Harry Clarke, 1889–1931