Weekend links 469

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X from Theodore Howard’s ABC (1880) by Theodore Howard.

• “[Parade] has everything: joy and sadness, get-down and wistfulness, mourning and melancholia, group funk and Debussy interludes, echoes of Ellington, Joni, film music, chanson. It’s a perfectly realised whole.” Ian Penman on the enigmas and pleasures of Prince.

• “Mescaline reads like the culmination of a lifetime’s wanderings in the very farthest outposts of scientific and medical history.” Ian Sansom review’s Mike Jay’s history of the psychedelic alkaloid.

• The Day the Music Burned by Jody Rosen: “It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business—and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.”

This willing constriction of intellectual freedom will do lasting damage. It corrupts the ability to think clearly, and it undermines both culture and progress. Good art doesn’t come from wokeness, and social problems starved of debate can’t find real solutions. “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word,” Orwell wrote in 1946. “What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” Not much has changed since the 1940s. The will to power still passes through hatred on the right and virtue on the left.

George Packer on what George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four means today

• Having spent the past week watching Jacques Rivette’s 775-minute Out 1, this interview with Rivette from 1974 was of particular interest.

• At Dangerous Minds: Donald Sutherland as “a sperm-filled waxwork with the eyes of a masturbator” in Fellini’s Casanova.

The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage (1969): the Bonzo Dog Band getting it untogether in the country.

• Dark, velvety dark: Nabokov’s discarded ending to Camera Obscura, introduced by Olga Voronina.

• “Spotify pursues emotional surveillance for global profit”, says Liz Pelly.

• Mix of the week: Then Space Began To Toll by The Ephemeral Man.

• An interview with master of horror manga Junji Ito.

• Announcing the Arthur Machen Essay Prizes.

• RIP film-maker and author Peter Whitehead.

X is for…

X Offender (1976) by Blondie | X-Factor (1981) by Patrick Cowley | X-Flies (1997) by Mouse On Mars

Weekend links 361

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The Future Vol.2 (2016) by f1x-2.

• One of the notable things about the reaction to the original series of Twin Peaks was the way in which Americans were astonished that something so outré could be allowed on television. Here in the UK the response was a little more subdued; we had, after all been spoiled for years by The Prisoner, Sapphire and Steel, and numerous odd and challenging dramas by Dennis Potter and others. Pre-dating all of these was The Strange World of Gurney Slade (1960), a six-part series starring Anthony Newley that was unprecedented in its Surrealism. Andy Murray looks back at the series, and at the rest of Newley’s career.

Andrew Dickson on Peter Ackroyd whose latest book, Queer City: Gay London from the Romans to the Present Day, is published later this month.

Alyona Sokolnikova on a Soviet vision of the future: the legacy and influence of Tekhikia – Molodezhi (Technology for the Youth) magazine.

You know who weren’t cops? All the radicals and queers and artists and dreamers that were there while I grew up, my mom and dad’s old friends from New York and the wider bohemian world, the actors and the drag queens and the dilettantes and the ex junkies and the current junkies, the kind of queer people who wouldn’t get caught dead getting married, the people who actually made the “old New York” of the myth into what it was. They were smart and they were funny and they were tougher than I can imagine and they were possessed of an existential commitment to the idea that life is complicated and so we shouldn’t be quick to judge. They were tolerant, in the true sense, even while they were tireless advocates for actual justice. […] Now we’re Rudy Giuliani, trying to get offensive art pulled off the walls. Now we’re the book burners. Now we’re the censors. Now we attack the ACLU for defending free speech. Now we screech about community morals. Now we’re the prison camp screws. That’s us. Me, I could never be one of the good ones. Never. I can never live up to that ideal. I know I’m not good enough. I know when the judgment day comes, I go down. And so I decline. You can decline, too.

Planet of Cops by Freddie deBoer, or how inflexible morality makes everyone a cop

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 601 by Dark Entries, Secret Thirteen Mix 221 by Eli Keszler, and XLR8R Podcast 490 by Ben Lukas Boysen.

• At Dangerous Minds: Punk, Patti Smith, William Burroughs & capitalism: A “conceptual conversation” with RE/Search’s Vale.

Emily Wells on the strange, irreverent worlds of Down Below and The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington.

Rick Poynor on Mike Halliwell’s montages based on JG Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition.

• “Why are the British so scared of cannabis?” asks Professor David Nutt.

Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978) by Arthur Evans.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jacques Rivette Day.

Designing Penguin Modern Classics

Future Dub (1994) by Mouse On Mars | Future Proof (2003) by Massive Attack | Future (2004) by Alva Noto

Weekend links 295

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Untitled (2014) by Lola Dupré. Via.

Announcement of the week (if not the month/year) is the news that the BFI will be releasing all of the BBC dramas directed by Alan Clarke on DVD/Blu-ray in May. In addition to the long-awaited appearance on disc of Penda’s Fen (1974) we can expect a previously unseen director’s cut of Clarke’s last TV film, The Firm (1989), the DVD premier of Baal (1982) with David Bowie, plus many other works including some from the 1960s that were believed lost. (And it should be noted that this isn’t everything of Clarke’s; he also worked occasionally for ITV and later directed feature films for Channel 4.)

The BFI attention is a tribute to an exceptional director that’s overdue. Clarke has long been a cult figure among the British actors who worked with him, and among directors such as Harmony Korine and Gaspar Noé, but the tendency of TV to give one-off dramas a single screening has meant that much of his best work has been unavailable for years outside old VHS tapes. Clarke is important for having persistently chosen difficult subjects which he directed with a flair and intensity usually only found in cinema. When he died in 1990 the BBC repeated a handful of his films but the only ones given repeated DVD release have been the violent dramas with the big names attached: Scum (1979, with Ray Winstone), Made in Britain (1982, with Tim Roth), and The Firm (with Gary Oldman). Clarke’s oeuvre is much more than a parade of nihilistic villains, as will become evident later this year.

• A psychedelic video directed by Peter Strickland for Liquid Gate (ft. Bradford Cox) by Cavern of Anti-Matter. The debut album from Cavern of Anti-Matter, Void Beats/Invocation Trex, will be out later this month.

Celebrating Dusseldorf, the city that birthed Krautrock. (Article loses points for not mentioning producer Conny Plank.)

All Rivette’s features might be regarded as different kinds of horror films; Céline et Julie vont en bateau is his first horror comedy. The anxiety and despair of Paris Nous Appartient and La Religieuse, L’Amour Fou and Spectre seem relatively absent, yet they perpetually hover just beyond the edges of the frames. We still have no privileged base of ‘reality’ to set against the fictions, each of which is as outrageous as the other; and along with Borges, we can’t really say whether it’s a man dreaming he’s a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he’s a man—although we may feel, in either case, that he and we are just on the verge of waking.

Jonathan Rosenbaum on work and play in the house of fiction: Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 and Céline and Julie Go Boating

• Mixes of the week: Finders Keepers Radio Show Krautrock Special, and The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XV by David Colohan.

• At Dangerous Minds: Super strange sculptures (by Shary Boyle) only the dark and demented could love.

• Beautiful Brutalites: S. Elizabeth questions Arabella Proffer about her paintings.

KTL is a musical collaboration between Peter Rehberg and Stephen O’Malley.

• Why study art when you can make it? The strange world of…This Heat.

Sarah Galo on the explicitly sexual female artists that feminism forgot.

Irmin Schmidt‘s favourite music (this week).

• LSD: My life-saving drug by Eric Perry.

The Occult Activity Book

Twenty Tiny Cities

Der LSD-Marsch (1970) by Guru Guru | Krautrock (1973) by Faust | Düsseldorf (1976) by La Düsseldorf

Weekend links 294

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Painting by Alex Tavoularis.

• There are silent films, and then there is Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927), a five-and-a-half hour historical drama following the emperor’s life from boyhood to the invasion of Italy. The word “epic” is overused but Gance’s film demands the description: in addition to the recreation of huge battles and scenes from the French Revolution, cinema screening required three projectors for sequences which are either multi-screen or three times the width of the Academy ratio. The film was revived in the early 1980s after an extensive restoration by Kevin Brownlow, but Napoleon is still more talked about than seen so news of a forthcoming digital release by the BFI is very welcome indeed. The poster above is from this collection which includes more information about the film and its troubled history. Related: a trailer for a 2012 screening at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

• “His films broke with traditional production methods, having virtually no shooting script and capturing the freshness of their genesis.” RIP Jacques Rivette. In 1998 Frédéric Bonnaud talked to Rivette about the director’s cinematic likes and dislikes. Elsewhere, Jonathan Romney speculates that Rivette’s Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974) “might be the only film in which the story is dreamed by a passing cat”.

Strange Flowers‘ selects 16 books for (what’s left of) 2016. Stand-out for me is Aubrey Beardsley: A Catalogue Raisonné by Linda Gertner Zatlin which will be published in May. Two cased volumes, a total of 1104 pages, and a price tag of $300.

It’s a powerful trope, but it also risks trading one stigma for another: ‘‘Phobia’’ is now so embedded in our language that it’s easy to forget that it is a metaphor comparing bigots to the mentally ill. The comparison also has the effect of excusing those Americans—like certain presidential candidates in the 2016 race—who wield prejudices strategically. It’s not your fault if you get sick. But hating people is a choice.

Amanda Hess on how “-phobic” became a weapon in the identity wars

• Delving into the shadowy world of occult art: Priscilla Frank talks to Pam Grossman about her Language of the Birds exhibition. Related: “The occult never quite goes away,” says Kenneth Anger.

• “It was a magic day in our happy, young lives.” A proposal for a monument in Baltimore celebrating the final scene of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos.

• Mixes of the week: Wrap Up Warm Mix by Moon Wiring Club, Secret Thirteen Mix 175 by Inner8, and FACT mix 533 by Roly Porter.

• “He was less an architect than a Busby Berkeley with a penchant for Black Masses.” Jonathan Meades on Albert Speer.

• More film posters: Benjamin Lee on the compromises that have made contemporary posters “drab and uninspiring”.

• The vast and ghostly landscape of “Britain’s only desert”: photographs by Robert Walker.

Wyrd Daze, Lvl2 Issue 5, is free and brimming with the weird.

• The films of Michael Mann in 44 shots.

Laurie Anderson‘s favourite films.

Flamingo (1959) by Henry Mancini | Moon Occults The Sun (2006) by Espers | The Moon Occults Saturn at Dawn (2015) by Steve Moore

Weekend links 259

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The Endlessness (2012) by Emma Bennett.

• “Clearly if you’re familiar with The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin you’ve got a leg up on what Rivette and company are up to. […] Like all Rivette works, it’s obsessed with the interrelationship between theater and life—reality and fantasy.” David Ehrenstein makes Jacques Rivette’s Out 1 sound even more intriguing. The 729-minute film is being reissued later this year.

• “It’s all your artistic friends. They frighten me…they seem evil, somehow—somehow unhealthy. And when you’re with them, dear, you change…” Steven Cordova reviews To the Dark Tower (1946), the debut novel by gay writer Francis King.

• “Sex isn’t a subtext in The Bloody Chamber, but the text itself. (Carter would explain that she was only making explicit a ‘latent content’ that is ‘violently sexual.’)” Laura Miller on Angela Carter’s re-told fairy tales.

Yet, as a citizen, and especially as an artist, [Chimamanda Ngozi] Adichie refuses to censor herself. “There is already enough silencing in public discourse,” says Adichie, and this is certainly true when the topic is race, and especially when the conversation is in America. It is our addiction to comfort that demands our silence regarding certain truths. Too often in America, Adichie claimed, “the goal of public discourse is comfort, not truth.” Comfort, Adichie said, also demands “international digestibility,” a reduction of complicated stories to a simple narrative. In the lecture, Adichie also warned of the silencing that is sometimes a product of social media outrage.

Kay Iguh on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Arthur Miller Freedom to Write Lecture at the PEN World Voices Festival

• New books: The Strangers and Other Writings by Robert Aickman, and Murderous Passions: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco by Stephen Thrower & Julian Grainger.

• The world is rediscovering Mad Max and George Miller’s prowess for action cinema so Anne Billson posted a transcript of her 1985 interview with the director.

• Mixes of the week: Dmytro Fedorenko presents artists from Ukrainian record label Kvitnu, and The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. VII by David Colohan.

Assault on Precinct 13 goes disco: The End (John Anthony’s New Scratch Mix) (1983) by “John Carpenter” (The Splash Band).

John Coltrane talked to Frank Kofsky for an hour in November 1966.

• Sleazy Cinema: A guide to Peter Christopherson‘s music videos.

Six hours of women in electronic music.

The weird world of Alfred Kubin.

Giallo Magic Orchestra

Blood (1972) by Annette Peacock | Blood On The Moon (1981) by Chrome | Blood From The Air (1986) by Coil