Weekend links 287

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Cover by Valentine Hugo for Contes Bizarres (1933) by Achim d’Arnim. See Hugo’s interior illustrations here.

• “In spite of the blood-drinking pursuits of Rollin’s protagonists, there’s very little in the way of body horror to be found. His undead are sensual, romantic creatures that are frequently delicate of mind and body. These movies attempt to evoke nuanced emotional responses with their mixture of romance, loss, eroticism, and tragedy.” Tenebrous Kate on Sex, Death, and the Psychedelic Madness of Jean Rollin.

• “Late at night, [Melville] ‘turned flukes’ down Oxford Street as if he were being followed by a great whale, and thought he saw ‘blubber rooms’ in the butcheries of the Fleet Market.” Philip Hoare on Herman Melville’s time in London.

Haunted by Books, a new collection of writings by Mark Valentine, “explores the more curious byways of literature.” Full details at the home of the esoteric, Tartarus Press.

I am completely an elitist, in the cultural but emphatically not the social sense. I prefer the good to the bad, the articulate to the mumbling, the aesthetically developed to the merely primitive, and full to partial consciousness. I love the spectacle of skill, whether it’s an expert gardener at work, or a good carpenter chopping dovetails, or someone tying a Bimini hitch that won’t slip.

Art critic Robert Hughes quoted in a review by Siri Hustvedt of The Spectacle of Skill: Selected Writings of Robert Hughes

• “Art, art – I couldn’t give a crap about art.” Oscar Wilde’s nephew, Arthur Cravan, puts in another appearance at Strange Flowers.

• “The Tarot is utterly fascinating,” says Evan J. Peterson discussing his Tarot-inspired writing with Tarot Poetry.

Manuel Göttsching: “A lot of crazy music happened at the end of the ’60s, very strange, and very curious…”

• Mixes of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 169 by Chra, and 28th November 2015 by The Séance.

Czech Artists’ Radical Book Designs of the Early 20th Century

• Ten things you might not know about Yayoi Kusama.

• More megaliths: Francis Pryor on ritual landscapes.

Peaches gets wild in the desert: Rub (uncensored).

Irmin Schmidt‘s favourite records (this week)

Mount Etna erupts

Rituals (1981) by Bush Tetras | Ballet For A Blue Whale (1983) by Adrian Belew | Etna (2006) by Boris & Sunn O)))

Weekend links 277

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Sunday by Amanda Elledge.

• Coming from Strange Attractor this November: The Moons at Your Door, an anthology of strange tales selected by David Tibet. “The Moons At Your Door collects over 30 tales, both familiar and unknown from: Robert Aickman, Algernon Blackwood,  DK Broster, AM Burrage, RW Chambers,  Aleister Crowley, Sheridan Le Fanu, Elizabeth Gaskell, WW Jacobs, MR James, Vernon Lee, LA Lewis, Thomas Ligotti, Arthur Machen, Guy de Maupassant, Perrault, Thomas De Quincey, Saki, Count Stenbock, Montague Summers, HR Wakefield and Edith Wharton. The volume also includes extracts and translations by the author from Babylonian, Coptic and Biblical texts alongside poems and fairy tales.”

Gay-rights activists give their verdict on Stonewall: “This film is no credit to the history it purports to portray”. The only surprise about this episode is that anyone expected Roland Emmerich to make a historically accurate film in the first place. Related: Edmund White’s first-hand report written a few days after the riots.

• “If you hate [Boom!], I hate you, and I could never be your friend or your boyfriend. Divine and I had seen Boom! right before we made Pink Flamingos, and it’s about Elizabeth Taylor, retired, writing her memoirs, which is what Pink Flamingos was too, in a way.” John Waters (again) gives Hayley Campbell some dating tips.

• “We moderns may too-often suffer from a mixing up of historical sequences, but better that, surely, than risk raising a population that is entirely not-arsed about its past.” Julian Cope explores the Celts: Art and Identity exhibition at the British Museum, London.

• “But I am talking about psychedelic music, and obviously some of that comes from early psychedelic rituals, which are all about losing yourself…and I did come back into the world in a different way.” Natasha Khan on her new musical project, SEXWITCH.

• At Dangerous Minds: Vincent Price teaches the dark arts on his 1969 album An Adventure in Demonology.

• A trailer for Salthouse Marshes, “a short, landscape obsessed ghost story” by Adam Scovell.

• Rare video of Young Marble Giants playing for 45 minutes in Vancouver, 1980.

• A collection of Ghost Box posters and flyers designed by Julian House.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 163 by Ssleeping desiresS.

Ministry, a new photo series by Ellen Rogers.

Julia Holter‘s favourite albums.

Boom Stix (1962) by Curley & the Jades | Things That Go Boom In The Night (1981) by Bush Tetras | Boom! (1991) by The Grid

Weekend links 274

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Lilith Births the Djinn (2015) by Rithika Merchant. Via Phantasmaphile.

Lord of Strange Deaths: The Fiendish World of Sax Rohmer, edited by Phil Baker & Antony Clayton, is a new publication from Strange Attractor. “This is the first extended attempt to do justice to Rohmer, and it ranges across the spectrum of his output from music-hall writing to Theosophy. Contributors focus on subjects including Egyptology, 1890s decadence, Edwardian super-villains, graphic novels, cinema, the French Situationists, Chinese dragon ladies, and the Arabian Nights. The result is a testimony to the enduring fascination and relevance of Rohmer’s absurd, sinister and immensely atmospheric world.”

• More weird fiction: Twisted Tales of the Weird promises “an evening of readings by some of the finest writers in the contemporary scene, a panel discussion about the mode, and a Q&A with the audience” at the John Rylands Library, Manchester, on 23rd October. Writers M. John Harrison, Helen Marshall and Timothy J. Jarvis will be reading from their works. The event is free but space is limited so tickets are required.

• More Lovecraft: “Lovecraft never said his entities were evil,” says Alan Moore discussing his new Lovecraftian comic series, Providence, with Hannah Means Shannon. At the University of Sterling, Chloe Buckley reviews the Ellen Datlow-edited anthology Lovecraft’s Monsters for The Gothic Imagination (with passing reference to my illustrations but no credit for the artist).

• One for completists or those who were there on the night: Earth playing There Is A Serpent Coming at the Columbus Theatre, Providence on 22nd August. I’d almost given up hope that someone might have recorded anything from this event so thanks to Mr Beast Rebel of the Hellscape for the upload. There’s also a song by Elder from earlier in the evening.

A Rose Veiled in Black: Art and Arcana of Our Lady Babalon edited by Robert Fitzgerald and Daniel A. Schulke.

Robin the Fog on Spectral Spools, Amplified Olympia and XPylons.

• Mix of the week: BerlinSchool Mix-A [Beginnings] by Headnoaks.

• At AnOther: Leonor Fini: Female Libertine

The lost tunnels of Liverpool

The Zymoglyphic Museum

Folk Horror Revival

Some Weird Sin (1977) by Iggy Pop | It’s So Weird (1983) by Bush Tetras | The Smallest Weird Number (2002) by Boards of Canada

Weekend links 146

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A Chinese postage stamp celebrating the Year of the Snake.

Cyclopean is a collaboration from Burnt Friedman, Jono Podmore and Can founding members Jaki Liebezeit, and Irmin Schmidt. The Quietus has a preview of all the tracks from their forthcoming EP. Great stuff.

Ten Things You (Possibly) Don’t Know About Kraftwerk. Related: a Speak & Spell emulator, and Atomium, a new single by Karl Bartos.

• In 1975 Barney Bubbles designed an inner sleeve for Hawkwind’s Warrior on the Edge of Time album, and this scarce recipe booklet.

• “We should all use language carefully. That is an obligation on the literate. But carefully doesn’t mean fearfully,” says Jenny Diski.

• Faber’s car-crash of a cover design for the 50th anniversary edition of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath caused an outbreak of parodies.

• At Strange Flowers: Ancient dreams and antique corruptions, Salomé via Gustave Moreau and Huysmans.

• FACT Mix 368 is a very varied collection of recent music and older pieces curated by Holly Herndon.

• At Ubuweb: eleven out-of-print recordings of Harry Bertoia’s sound sculptures.

Laurie Anderson and Brian Eno in conversation at Interview magazine.

Michael Chabon on Wes Anderson’s Worlds.

Snake Rag (1923) by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band | Rattlesnake Shake (1969) by Fleetwood Mac | Snakes Crawl (1980) by Bush Tetras | Ananta Snake Dance (1980) by Suns of Arqa | Snakeblood (2000) by Leftfield

Weekend links 131

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Japanese poster (1982).

At The Quietus Steve Earles looks back at John Carpenter’s visceral and uncompromising The Thing which exploded messily onto cinema screens thirty years ago. It’s always worth being reminded that this film (and Blade Runner in the same year) was considered a flop at the time following bad reviews and a poor showing at the summer box office. One reason was The Thing‘s being overshadowed by the year’s other film of human/alien encounters, something called E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. To The Thing‘s status as the anti-E.T. you can add its reversal of the can-do heroics of Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World (1951), an attitude out-of-step with Reaganite America. Carpenter’s film is not only truer to the original story but from the perspective of 2012 looks like one of the last films of the long 1970s, with Hawks’ anti-Communist subtext replaced by bickering, mistrust, paranoia and an unresolved and completely pessimistic ending that most directors would have a problem getting past a studio today.

I was fortunate to see The Thing in October of 1982 knowing little about it beyond its being a John Carpenter film (whose work I’d greatly enjoyed up to that point) and a remake of the Hawks film (which I also enjoyed a great deal). One benefit of the film’s poor box office was a lack of the kind of preview overkill which made E.T. impossible to avoid, and which a couple of years earlier did much to dilute the surprise of Ridley Scott’s Alien. I went into The Thing mildly interested and came out overwhelmed and aghast. For years afterwards I was insisting that this was the closest you’d get on-screen to Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness. The correspondence is more than merely Antarctica + monsters when you consider this:

Lovecraft’s story was rejected by his regular publisher Weird Tales but was accepted by Astounding Stories in 1936 >> The editor of Astounding, John W. Campbell, published his own Antarctica + monsters story (under the pen-name Don A. Stuart), “Who Goes There?”, in the same magazine two years later >> Charles Lederer wrote a loose screen adaptation of Campbell’s story which Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby filmed as The Thing from Another World.

This isn’t to say that Campbell copied Lovecraft—both stories are very different—but I’d be surprised if Lovecraft’s using Antarctica as the setting for a piece of horror-themed science fiction didn’t give Campbell the idea.

More things elsewhere: Anne Billson, author of the BFI Modern Classics study of The Thing, on the framing of Carpenter’s shots, and her piece from 2009 about the film | Mike Ploog’s storyboards | Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack music, of which only a small percentage was used in the film.

• The week in music: 22 minutes of unreleased soundtrack by Coil for Sara Dale’s Sensual Massage | Analog Ultra-Violence: Wendy Carlos and the soundtrack for A Clockwork Orange | A Halloween mixtape by The Outer Church | Herbie Hancock & The Headhunters, live in Bremen, 1974: a 66-minute set, great sound, video and performances | Giorgio Moroder’s new SoundCloud page which features rare mixes and alternate versions | A video for Collapse by Emptyset.

One of the main themes of the book, and what I found in The Arabian Nights, was this emphasis on the power of commodities. Many of the enchanted things in the book are lamps, carpets, sofas, gems, brass rings. It is a rather different landscape than the fairy tale landscape of the West. Though we have interiors and palaces, we don’t have bustling cities, and there isn’t the emphasis on the artisan making things. The ambiance from which they were written was an entirely different one. The Arabian Nights comes out of a huge world of markets and trade. Cairo, Basra, Damascus: trades and skills.

Nina Moog talks to Marina Warner

John Palatinus, “one of the last living male physique photographers of the 1950s”, is interviewed. Related: the website of Ronald Wright, British illustrator for the physique magazines.

• “A classic is a work which persists as a background noise even when a present that is totally incompatible with it holds sway.” Italo Calvino’s 14 Definitions of What Makes a Classic.

Huge Franz Kafka archive to be made public. Related: Judith Butler asks “Who owns Kafka?”

• Geoff Manaugh’s Allen Ginsberg Photos & Ephemera, 1994–Dec 1996.

Magic mushrooms and cancer: My magical mystery cure?

Clark Ashton Smith Portfolio (1976) by Curt Pardee.

Jan Toorop’s 1924 calendar.

artQueer: a Tumblr.

• All The Things You Are (1957) by Duke Ellington | Things That Go Boom In The Night (1981) by Bush Tetras | Things Happen (1991) by Coil | Dead People’s Things (2004) by Deathprod.