Weekend links 479

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Cover art by Mike Hinge.

• “[The Family] is an unforgettable fusion of journalism and poetic prose that still holds up precisely because it has no use for category, for genre, or for being anything other than its own unique, obsessive self.” Sarah Weinman on how Ed Sanders wrote the definitive account of the Manson murders.

• “The best-known detail of Sartre’s bad trip is Simone de Beauvoir’s anecdote of him being haunted for weeks after by lobster-like creatures scuttling just beyond his field of vision.” Mike Jay on Jean-Paul Sartre (and Walter Benjamin) under the influence of mescaline.

• The MGM film of The Wizard of Oz had its US premiere 80 years ago today. Of Oz the Wizard is a cut-up of the entire film by Matt Busy which rearranges every piece of dialogue (and all the credits) alphabetically.

• “The screenwriter Nagisa Oshima complained that Mishima’s suicide ‘failed to satisfy our Japanese aesthetic’ because it was ‘too elaborate.'” Anna Sherman on Yukio Mishima in Ichigaya.

• “Anarchists don’t like restrictive labels, including the word ‘anarchism’.” Terry Eagleton reviewing The Government of No One by Ruth Kinna.

• At Strange Flowers: Schloss Zwickledt, home of artist and author Alfred Kubin.

• More French music: Zeuhl collection, a list of recommended listening.

• Caro C on Janet Beat, a pioneer of British electronic music.

John Boardley on pomp, type and circumstance.

10 Goth cheeses and what to pair with them.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Peter Sellers Day.

Longing, Love, Loss by Majeure.

The Lobster (1968) by Fairport Convention | Death Valley 69 (1985) by Sonic Youth | Return To Oz (2004) by Scissor Sisters

Weekend links 76

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Despite appearances I’m still doing bits of design and layout work for various musicians. In the past week I’ve been trying to reorganise this sprawling website a little so it’s easier to add new work quickly and easily. One recent job was more layout than design, a CD and vinyl package for a Roly Porter collection of instrumentals entitled Aftertime. Each track on the album is named after a different planet from Frank Herbert’s Dune books although the music isn’t as illustrative as that implies. Porter’s use of an Ondes Martenot and various acoustic instruments which he subjects to degrees of distortion is just the kind of thing I like hearing. One track can be heard at FACT where Porter is interviewed about his work. Aftertime is released this month on the Subtext label.

It is a rollicking saga that involves all sorts of things not normally associated with think tanks – chickens, pirate radio, retired colonels, Jean-Paul Sartre, Screaming Lord Sutch, and at its heart is a dramatic and brutal killing committed by one of the very men who helped bring about the resurgence of the free market in Britain.

Adam Curtis on the strange history of Britain’s think tanks and their hidden agendas.

• Other assorted music business: Getting down to the Cabinessence: “This is the first of what may become an intermittent series of observations about Smile, and how Brian Wilson tried to put his dream on this planet.” | After The Flood: Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock 20-Years On: a lengthy and detailed Quietus piece on one of the best albums of the 1990s. | Jonathan Barnbrook uses an old analogue video synth to create a visual accompaniment for Interplay by John Foxx & The Maths. The HD version is an eye-searing delight.

Meredith Yayanos favours the sister instrument of the Ondes Martenot, the theremin, which she uses to provide a spooky score for a new film, Empty Rooms. There’s more spectral ambience at her SoundCloud page.

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A Jules Verne cover by Carlo Giovani for Editora Ática.

• Sculptor and writer Josiah McElheny transforms the Whitechapel Gallery into a hall of mirrors.

Jacob’s Lament, an animated collaboration between illustrator Ian Miller and Stijn Windig.

Pornographic Poem (1967) by John Giorno.

Oscar Wilde grandson scorns “new” play.

• Manhattan in marble by Yutaka Sone.

Paul Atreides pt. 1 (1978) by Richard Pinhas | Harkonnen (1979) by Zed (Bernard Szajner) | Prophecy Theme (1984) by Brian Eno.

Saint Genet

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Miracle of the Rose (1965). Photo by Jerry Bauer, design by Kuhlman Associates.

[William Burroughs is] without a doubt…the greatest American writer since WWII. There are very, very few writers in his class; I think Genet is about the only one whom I’d put in the same category. All the British and American writers so heavily touted—the Styrons and the Mailers and their English equivalents—it’s just not necessary to read anybody except William Burroughs and Genet.

JG Ballard, RE/Search interview, 1984.

Jean Genet (the “Saint” was a gift from Jean-Paul Sartre) was born on December 19th, 1910 so consider this a late centenary post. Some of Ballard’s debt to William Burroughs can be found in writings such as The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) and his early text experiments. Genet’s influence, if we have to look for such a thing, I usually see in the use of metaphor to transform an uncompromising reality. Like the moment at the beginning of Crash (1973) when the crushed bodies of package tourists are compared to “a haemorrhage of the sun”. Genet’s writings effected similar transformations from squalid prison environments, turning the sexual assignations and passions of the inmates into ceremonial acts which assume the lineaments of a new religion. He used to claim in later life to have forgotten all his works but we haven’t forgotten him. A small selection of Genet links follows.

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Esquire, November 1968.

RealityStudio:

Burroughs’ most famous and most widely read piece for Esquire remains his coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, “The Coming of the Purple Better One,” which was included in Exterminator! Burroughs was hired to cover the convention along with Terry Southern, who was a pioneer in New Journalism with his “Twirling at Ole Miss” (which appeared in Esquire in February 1963), John Sack, who wrote on the experiences of Company M in Vietnam for Esquire (with the legendary cover “Oh my God — We hit a little girl”), and Jean Genet, an authority on oppression who turned increasingly politically active after the events in Europe in May 1968. (Continues here.)

Ubuweb:
Un Chant d’Amour (1950): Genet’s short homoerotic drama which he later disowned. The film’s masturbating prisoners and naked male flesh made it notorious and, for later generations of filmmakers, a pioneering and influential work.
Le condamné à mort (1952): A reading of Genet’s poem (in French) with electroacoustic accompaniment.
Ecce Homo (1989): A short film by Jerry Tartaglia which cuts scenes from Un Chant d’Amour with gay porn.

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Bibliothèque Gay:
Vingt lithographies pour un livre que j’ai lu, Jean Genet, Roland Caillaux, 1945. A sequence of twenty pornographic drawings.

YouTube:
The Maids (1975): Glenda Jackson and Susannah York in a film by Christopher Miles based on Genet’s play. There’s also Fassbinder’s Querelle (1982) but YouTube’s limitations don’t do it any favours.
Jean Genet (1985): an extract from the BBC interview where the writer makes a fool of interviewer Nigel Williams. This captured Genet a few months before his death and he remains the stubborn outsider to the last, questioning the conventions of the television interview which he compares to a police interrogation. A transcript of the whole fascinating event can be found here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Emil Cadoo
Penguin Labyrinths and the Thief’s Journal
Un Chant D’Amour by Jean Genet