Weekend links 510

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• Saul Bass’s cult science-fiction film, Phase IV, has received a very welcome (Region B) blu-ray release from 101 Films. Everything is a metaphor for the unavoidable just now, but a film about a group of scientists besieged by a tiny and insidious biological threat can’t help but have additional resonance. The new release includes the original (and seldom seen) cosmic ending plus another disc containing several of Bass’s short films. Previously: Directed by Saul Bass.

• Music at the Internet Archive: Live at Metro (2007) by Sora, and three rare cassette releases by French synth-rock duo Fondation: Metamorphoses (1980), Sans Etiquette (1980), and Le Vaisseau Blanc (1983).

• Mixes of the week: a Manu Dibango (RIP) mix from Aquarium Drunkard, and Industrial Synth Rave Isolation Mix by Moon Wiring Club.

We must talk about Nightwood. The novel that sits between those early and late phases of her writing life, the tale of Felix Volkbein, Robin Vote, Dr Matthew-Mighty-Grain-of-Salt-Dante-O’Connor and many others, caught between world wars and each other, in the decadent cities of Europe. The novel follows the journey of Robin Vote, who is more “earth-flesh, fungi, which smells of captured dampness” than person. Sleepwalking through life, she nonetheless wakes up her fellow characters Nora, Felix and Jenny, who each try and pin her down, to no avail. It is a novel that defies synopsis. It is unsurprising that this remarkable book has attracted a “burgeoning body of interpretations”, as Tyrus Miller here notes; yet it seems that there are still new ways to approach it. Julie Taylor offers an affective reading, for example; Joanne Winning concentrates on Nightwood’s collaborative origins, exploring the fruitful and often overlooked creative relationship between Barnes and her partner, Thelma Wood. This is not just a case of considering that relationship as source material for the novel, but unpacking what Winning describes as their “lesbian modernist grotesque”. It is particularly welcome that Winning treats Wood as a silver-point artist in her own right.

Jade French reviews Shattered Objects: Djuna Barnes’s Modernism

• Ben Beaumont-Thomas on where to start with Kraftwerk, and Jennifer Lucy Allan on where to start with Alice Coltrane.

• The BBC’s Culture page discovers Tom of Finland but can’t bring itself to show much of his artwork.

• The art of Asterix: illustrator Albert Uderzo (RIP) at work.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins on “a marvel of clockwork ingenuity”.

• The films Wes Anderson is watching during isolation.

Greydogtales on six more strange tales that linger.

Adrian Searle‘s favourite online art galleries.

• The Ghost Box label is now at Bandcamp.

Twin Flames (Edit) by Lustmord.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Flamboyant.

Phase By Phase (1976) by Peter Baumann | Phase 3: Agni Detonating Over The Thar Desert… (1995) by Earth | Phase Draft (2003) by Bill Laswell

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You’ll Never Be Alone, Even In Death (2014) by Stacey Rozich.

• “But the CD-R format, which eventually replaced the mix tape, turned out to be a technological letdown. ‘CD-Rs are just such an unstable format,’ Margolis says. ‘When you made 10 cassettes, the 10 cassettes generally played. If you made 10 CD-Rs, 8 of them played and 2 of ’em skipped. So that partially explains why people are going back to cassettes—it’s a cheap format that actually works.'” A huge article by Lisa Hix on the history and resilience of cassette tapes.

• “The word speculative comes from speculum, or mirror, and with speculative music the goal is to mirror the hidden processes of nature in sound.” David Metcalfe on Hawthonn, Coil and imaginal landscapes.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 498 by The Cyclist, and Adventures In Sound And Music 28 May 2015 compiled by Joseph Stannard.

Nabokov was an intimate writer. His reticences, his formal estrangements, his denial of interest in any reality beyond the text all need to be measured against that. Maximum closeness: not the closeness of ostentatious empathy but the closeness of one mind addressing another in the most thrilling terms. He speaks into the ear, sometimes dripping a little poison. He contrives to have a reader identify intimately with a protagonist or narrator, but even that is not enough; the reader receives secret handshakes from the author himself, behind a narrator’s back.

Michael Dirda quoting from Nabokov in America by Robert Roper

• Books old and new: The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kis, and Stranger Days by Rachel Kendall.

• At Dangerous Minds: Il caso Valdemar (1936), a short Italian adaptation of the Edgar Allan Poe story.

Lustpiel is “a new online magazine for gay, lustful literature”. And a fair amount of art and porn.

• “Q: Is there any subject that is never acceptable to joke about?” No, says Curtis Brown.

Machines Are Obsolete, a new piece by Pye Corner Audio for the Ghost Box label.

• Ishbelle Bee (see yesterday’s post) is interviewed at SFFWorld and Book Swoon.

Laura June on the life of Djuna Barnes, stunt reporter and shocking modernist.

• Stream the debut LP from Ghost Harmonic, a new John Foxx project.

• Portraits of the BDSM community by Natasha Gornik.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 10 essential films

Loplop

Mirrorball (2009) by John Foxx & Robin Guthrie | Mirror (2012) by Emptyset | Mirrored (2013) by Silje Nes

The weekend artists, 2012

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Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (2012) by Lesley Barnes. She also has peacock wrapping paper.

The most popular post of the year was one I made last December featuring all the artists whose work had appeared throughout 2011 in the weekend links posts. (The surge of views occurred early in January when it was linked on Stumbleupon.) Since I’ve been away this week there aren’t any links so here’s a retrospective of things that caught my eye in 2012.

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Heartsick (2011) by Kelly Durette.

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Self-portrait by Jon Jacobsen from his Home series.

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Der Triumph des Tintenfisches from Meggendorfer-Blätter (c. 1900). Via Beautiful Century.

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Two Grove Press covers by Roy Kuhlman. From Arden Kuhlman Riordan’s Pinterest page collecting her father’s cover designs.

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Technological mandala 02 (The beginning) (2012) by Leonardo Ulian.

Continue reading “The weekend artists, 2012”

Weekend links 127

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M15, The Whirlpool Galaxy photographed by Martin Pugh. The overall and deep space winner of Astronomy Photographer of the Year, 2012.

The Final Academy, the series of William Burroughs-themed events that took place in London and Manchester in 1982, will be celebrated at the Horse Hospital, London, on 27th October. Academy 23, a publication edited by Matthew Levi Stevens, will include my report on the Manchester Haçienda performances.

• “Architects are the last people who should shape our cities,” says the thrillingly pugnacious Jonathan Meades in a piece from his new writing collection Museums Without Walls. Andy Beckett reviews the book here.

• Ex-Minimal Compact singer/bassist Malka Spigel talks about her new album, Every Day Is Like The First Day, which can be streamed in full here.

What’s new about the current acknowledgments page is that it’s unsolicited—it appears like an online pop-up ad, benefiting no one but the author and his comrades. This is surely why these afterwords are often so garrulously narcissistic and strewn with clichés. The most radical experimentalist adheres to the most mindless acknowledgments-page formula; the most stinging social critic suddenly becomes Sally Field winning an Oscar.

Sam Sacks at the New Yorker on the blight of novelists’ acknowledgments pages. DG Myers at Commentary Magazine piles on.

• Another streaming album: Composed by Jherek Bischoff. Try Insomnia, Death & The Sea featuring Dawn McCarthy.

• Film of Lindsay Kemp being interviewed in 1977 about his production of Salomé.

Electronic Performers (2004): a video by Machine Molle for the song by Air.

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One of a series of Beardsley-like drawings by Djuna Barnes posted at Strange Flowers. The resurgent Ms. Barnes is mentioned three times in this Terry Castle review of All We Know: Three Lives by Lisa Cohen.

Fictitious Dishes, meals from novels photographed by Dinah Fried.

• Life, the Dinosaurs & Everything: Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino.

The Baby Died: Morbid Curiosities found in Old Newspapers.

• Portishead’s Adrian Utley gives a tour of his synth collection.

• Minimal Compact: Babylonian Tower (1982) | Not Knowing (1984) | When I Go (1985) | Nil Nil (1987).

Weekend links 126

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Mala Reputación (1991) by Dogo Y Los Mercenarios. Cover art by Nazario Luque.

Artist Nazario Luque was Spain’s first gay comic artist who’s also known for the drawing which appeared (without permission) on the sleeve of Lou Reed Live – Take No Prisoners in 1978. On his website Nazario says he’s been described as “Exhibicionista, solidario, provocador, agitador moral, rompedor, arriesgado, polifacético, transgresor, canalla, pintiparado, morigerado o simplemente superviviente…” Via Música, maestros, a two-part post (second part is here) about album cover art by comic artists.

The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Returns. And quite conveniently, Ubuweb posts some original Radiophonic creations by electronic music genius Delia Derbyshire. Ms Derbyshire is profiled along with her other pioneering colleagues in an hour-long TV documentary, Alchemists of Sound.

• Tor.com celebrates the fiction of Shirley Jackson. Too Much Horror Fiction has a substantial collection of Shirley Jackson book covers.

Phantasmagorical and all but plotless, Nightwood flings itself madly upon the night, upon Wood, and upon the reader. Its sentences pomp along like palanquins and writhe like crucifixions. They puke, they sing. Their deliriums are frighteningly controlled. […] TS Eliot loved Nightwood so much that he shepherded its publication and wrote the introduction to the first edition. Dylan Thomas complimented it with his left hand by calling it “one of the three great prose books ever written by a woman” and with his right hand by stealing from it. […] Nightwood’s Dr. Matthew-Mighty-grain-of-salt-Dante O’Connor, florid monologist and transvestite, seems to have been a model (along with Captain Ahab) for Judge Holden in Blood Meridian. The difference is that Cormac McCarthy’s Judge is essentially Satan, whereas O’Connor is essentially Christ; they’re only just on opposite sides of the border of madness.

Austin Allen on The Life and Death of Djuna Barnes, Gonzo “Greta Garbo of American Letters”. There’s a lot more Djuna Barnes at Strange Flowers.

• Out at the end of the month, Extreme Metaphors, interviews with JG Ballard, 1967–2008, edited by Simon Sellars & Dan O’Hara.

• The favourite Polish posters of the Brothers Quay. Over at Cardboard Cutout Sundown there are more Quay book covers.

The Mancorialist: people on the streets of Manchester are given the Sartorialist treatment.

The Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia takes place on 29th September.

The Caves of Nottingham are explored in a detailed post at BLDGBLOG.

• In Remembrance: Bill Brent, Groundbreaking Queer Sex Publisher.

Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie

The Uranus Music Prize 2012

Fuck Yeah René Lalique

Dr Who: original theme (1963) by Ron Grainer with Delia Derbyshire | Falling (1964) by Delia Derbyshire | The Delian Mode (1968) by Delia Derbyshire | Blue Veils And Golden Sands (1968) by Delia Derbyshire.