Weekend links 402

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Cover art for the 1921 edition by W. Otway Cannell.

• “An exiled recluse, an ancient abode in the remote west of Ireland, nightly attacks by malevolent swine-things from a nearby pit, and cosmic vistas beyond time and space. The House on the Borderland has been praised by China Miéville, Terry Pratchett, and Clark Ashton Smith, while HP Lovecraft wrote, ‘Few can equal [Hodgson] in adumbrating the nearness of nameless forces and monstrous besieging entities through casual hints and significant details, or in conveying feelings of the spectral and abnormal.’

“‘Almost from the moment that you hear the title,’ observes Alan Moore, ‘you are infected by the novel’s weird charisma. Knock and enter at your own liability.’ The House on the Borderland remains one of Hodgson’s most celebrated works. This new edition features an introduction by Alan Moore, an afterword by Iain Sinclair, and illustrations by John Coulthart.” The long-gestating illustrated edition of William Hope Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland is now available for pre-order from Swan River Press. This is limited to 350 copies so I’d advise anyone interested to order as soon as they can; there’s been a lot of interest in the edition, and with the print run being a small one it’s liable to sell out quickly.

• “Art et Liberté was a movement that came into being in 1938 in Cairo. It was affiliated to Surrealism through contact with André Breton in Paris, and shared Surrealism’s spirit of rebellion and provocation, its desire for dream knowledge and penchant for manifestos.” Marina Warner on the neglected history of Egyptian Surrealism.

• Titan Comics follow their recent collection of Philippe Druillet’s first six Lone Sloane stories with Gail, a book which I don’t think has received an English translation until now.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 641 by Alva Noto, a mix by Chris Carter for Bleep/NTS, and Through A Landscape Of Mirrors Vol. I: Sweden by David Colohan.

• 200 years after the first publication of Frankenstein, the city of Bath is to unveil a plaque commemorating Mary Shelley‘s time spent there while writing the book.

• Southern Lord co-founder Gregg Anderson talks to Red Bull Radio about running a record label devoted to avant-garde metal.

• Twelve illustrated dust jackets from Martin Salisbury’s The Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920–1970.

• At MetaFilter: Links to Hokusai’s drawing guides and similar books.

Canada Modern

Grief (1999) by Tactile | In The Cellar (2005) by Nostalgia | The House On The Borderland (2008) by Electric Wizard

Weekend links 217

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Le Petit Journal, June 16, 1912. Via Beautiful Century.

Occult art by Nicomi Nix Turner, Daniel Martin Diaz, Amy Earles and William Crisafi. Related: Illustrations by Ernest M. Jessop for The Witches Frolic by Thomas Ingoldsby.

• “Our definition of ‘Industrial’ then was a very broad one, it’s definitely not so much now.” Chris Carter & Cosi Fanni Tutti on 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle.

• At Dangerous Minds: the Amok Assault Video (1988), an hour of the bizarre, the extreme and the outré which will probably get yanked from YouTube before too long.

I’ve always thought the exchange of words for money is no more and no less problematic than any other kind of prostitution—and it’s important that we prostitutes control a certain amount of our production (and reproduction, for that matter). If I’m writing a book and I’m warned, “Oh, this is unsaleable, you need to make it shorter,” or, “It has to be this, or that,” I’m proud to say I don’t pay attention.

Though this is becoming more difficult. As large publishers turn into monopolies, and the MBAs who are running them—maybe editors used to run them before—are steadily tightening the screws, they feel more and more that they get to call the shots.

Writers can do anything, says William T. Vollmann

• Mixes of the week: Over two hours of Coil and other artists sequenced by Surgeon, and Secret Thirteen Mix 122 by DJ Skirt.

Alan Moore calls for a boycott of the “wretched” new Hercules film on behalf of his friend Steve Moore.

Joe Orton‘s first play, Fred and Madge, will receive its world premier in September.

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Ned Raggett found the drawing of mine that’s part of the Tentacles exhibition currently showing at the Monterey Aquarium, California. Thanks, Ned! There’s a sepia-toned version of the drawing in my Cthulhu calendar.

• “Weird is a wayward word,” says Erik Davis in an exploration of weirdness old and new.

• More details about the forthcoming Scott Walker + Sunn O))) collaboration.

• A trailer for a reissue of Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

A history of sex toys in pictures.

Books on Book Covers

Octopus’s Garden (1969) by The Beatles | The River (1970) by Octopus | Octopus (1970) by Syd Barrett

Just the ticket: Cabaret Voltaire

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The current issue of The Wire has a great appraisal by Keith Moliné of the musical history of Cabaret Voltaire, a well-timed piece given the recent announcement of forthcoming reissues from Mute Records. Having been a Cabophile from the start I’m rather biased but the Wire piece has had me listening to the early albums and singles this week (between bouts of Zdenek Liska), and finding the passage of time has made those early recordings seem increasingly strange. Cabaret Voltaire were one of the few groups I liked obsessively enough to collect ephemera from newspapers and magazines. Knowing this, a friend gave me this curious fanzine/ticket from a gig the group played in Liverpool in February, 1981. The venue was Plato’s Ballroom at Pickwicks, and judging by the wording inside—”A Plato’s Publication”—it seems it was the venue’s idea to make the ticket a small (10.5 x 15 cm) booklet.

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What’s surprising about this is that the fanzine the ticket is bundled with has nothing at all to do with music (or that other perennial of 80s post-punk culture: left-wing politics) but is a glimpse of life as a gay man in Liverpool. I’ve always found this fascinating for the daring it took to foist the thing on a bunch of unwitting Cabs fans, most of whom would have been straight men and not especially sympathetic to the subject matter. In the context of 1981 forcing people to look at grainy shots of naked men with accompanying text (by another man) declaring them to be a turn-on was a transgressive act. The only representations of anything gay in the popular media were a few camp (and therefore safe) comedians; Derek Jarman was still an underground figure, and as late as 1984 a BBC play about gay men was prefaced with a warning about its “contentious” subject.

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I’ve no idea who was responsible for the fanzine, there are no credits, and it’s possible that the people involved didn’t want to be too easily identified. If the tone of the writing seems rather dramatic then, again, it’s important to see it in context of a country which wasn’t much more amenable to gay people than Russia is today. Saying things in public that most people didn’t want to hear was a challenging act; emotions often ran high.

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Looking for information about the gig turned up this newspaper ad. (Who were Jell and Aardvarks, I wonder?) By an odd coincidence only the day before I’d found this upload from the same person of a very scarce compilation tape that happens to be from the same year, and which features contributions from Cabaret Voltaire’s Chris Watson and Richard Kirk. The Men With The Deadly Dreams was compiled by Geoff Rushton, aka John Balance of Coil, and was apparently limited to 200 copies. Among the other highlights there’s a track from Eyeless in Gaza, whose early work I like a great deal, and an electronic piece by Throbbing Gristle’s Chris Carter which I think is exclusive to this collection. Two artefacts—fanzine and tape—with brown paper covers that give a snapshot of Britain’s underground culture in 1981.

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Continue reading “Just the ticket: Cabaret Voltaire”

Weekend links 155

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Poster design by Mishka Westell for this month’s Austin Psych Fest. Billy Gibbons’ pre-ZZ Top psychedelic outfit, The Moving Sidewalks, surprised everyone by reforming for a New York gig last month, their first performance together in 44 years.

• Pye Corner Audio played the Boiler Room, London, last week, and remixed a track from FC Judd’s Electronics Without Tears. Also on the latter is Chris Carter who talks about his own remix (and the “Radiophonic” Mr Judd) here.

Tom Bianchi’s Fire Island Pines, Polaroids of New York’s gay enclave from 1975–1983. Related: In Conversation with the Violet Quill: Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and Edmund White.

• From 2011: Sex, prison and lost ligatures: The story of Herb Lubalin’s Avant Garde typeface. Related: The ITC Avant Garde Gothic group at Flickr.

• Music reissues: Tape Works 1981–1982 by Laughing Hands is out now, and Scott Walker’s early solo albums will be reissued in the summer.

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Drugs and the Mind (ii), a cover design from 1957 by Eric Fraser (1902–1983) whose illustrations and designs are in exhibition at the Chris Beetles gallery, London.

• At Ubuweb: William S. Burroughs + Brion Gysin + Genesis P-Orridge – Cold Spring Tape (1989).

The World According to John Coltrane, an hour-long documentary.

Neko Font: for when you need a word made of cats.

Fuck yeah, Sarah Bernhardt

Sordid Spheres!

99th Floor (1967) by The Moving Sidewalks | Over Fire Island (1975) by Brian Eno | Ledge (1980) by Laughing Hands

Weekend links 148

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Quantum Entanglement by Duda Lanna.

An hour-long electronica mix (with the Düül rocking out at the end) by Chris Carter for Ninja Tune’s Solid Steel Radio Show.

• “…a clothes-optional Rosicrucian jamboree.”: Strange Flowers on the paintings of Elisàr von Kupffer.

• A Paste review of volume 2 of The Graphic Canon has some favourable words for my contribution.

It is an entertaining thought to remember that Orlando, all sex-change, cross-dressing and transgressive desire, appeared in the same year as Radclyffe Hall’s sapphic romance The Well of Loneliness. The two novels are different solar systems. The Well is gloomy, beaten, defensive, where women who love women have only suffering and misunderstanding in their lonely lives. The theme is as depressing as the writing, which is terrible. Orlando is a joyful and passionate declaration of love as life, regardless of gender. The Well was banned and declared obscene. Orlando became a bestseller.

Jeanette Winterson on Virginia Woolf’s androgynous fantasia.

Jim Jupp discovers the mystical novels of Charles Williams.

Michael Andre-Driussi on The Politics of Roadside Picnic.

Les Softs Machines: 25 August 1968, Ce Soir On Danse.

• At 50 Watts: Illustrations and comics by Pierre Ferrero.

Soviet posters: 1469 examples at Flickr.

Oliver Sacks on drugs (again).

• At Pinterest: Altered States.

• Farewell, Kevin Ayers.

Darkest London

Why Are We Sleeping? (1969) by The Soft Machine | Lady Rachel (1969) by Kevin Ayers | Decadence (1973) by Kevin Ayers