Weekend links 426

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Self Preservation (1970–77), a collage by Penny Slinger from the series An Exorcism.

• RIP John Calder, one of the most important British publishers of the last century whose death was acknowledged in the Washington Post (and in the Telegraph, a paper that would have given him no support during his censorship battles) but at the time of writing hasn’t been mentioned at all in the increasingly useless Guardian. The omission in the latter seems even more surprising when Calder himself wrote obituaries for the paper, and they ran an archive piece two weeks ago for the 50th anniversary of Calder & Boyars’ successful court defence of Last Exit to Brooklyn. “Publishing is an industry run by capitalists now.

• Another 50th anniversary: David Bushman asked Alan Moore for his memories of Patrick McGoohan’s superb TV series The Prisoner.

Michael Moorcock in conversation with Hari Kunzru at Shakespeare and Company, Paris.

Stephen O’Malley presents Acid Quarry Paris – In Session with Richard Pinhas (Heldon).

• When a rock is a stone: Louise Steinman on finding Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty.

• Victorians, Vaults, and Violet Water: a profusion of links at Greydogtales.

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 666 by Róisín Murphy.

• The amazing adventures of Melinda Gebbie.

Starbirthed

Exorcism (1971) by Lucifer | The Final Calling (Physical Exorcism) (1984) by CTI | Exorcism Of The Hippies (2010) by Mater Suspiria Vision

Wroblewski covers Burroughs

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Picador, 1982.

Being an occasional cover designer I naturally have a more than passing interest in how the books of favourite writers are packaged. I’ve mentioned a couple of times how much I liked the covers that Thomi Wroblewski produced in the 1980s for UK editions published by Picador and John Calder. Wroblewski is a designer who also creates his own artwork using a variety of media, with some form of collage being a common technique. Burroughs has had a number of decent designs over the years but Wroblewski is one of the few people loosed on his books who seemed to fully appreciate the tenor of the writing, and was able to convey something essential without ever being too abstract or too illustrative. I’d have been happy to see him design a complete range of the titles.

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Picador, 1982.

Most of the covers here have been swiped from the excellent Burroughs page at Beat Book Covers where you can judge Wroblewski’s work against other editions. An exception below is the art for an unknown edition of The Wild Boys, a picture described as being from 1988 so it may have been on a Picador cover I’ve never seen. The only cover at Beat Book Covers using that art is a later Russian edition. If anyone can say when and where Wroblewski’s picture was first used, please leave a comment.

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Calder, 1984.

Also below is an album cover from Wroblewski’s parallel career as a music designer. Minutes was an audio magazine released in 1987 on the LTM label, and is included here since two of the tracks were Burroughs readings. The album has never been reissued but a copy from the vinyl can be downloaded here. Worthwhile mainly for WSB and Winston Tong of Tuxedomoon.

For more about the elusive Thomi Wroblewski, Momus wrote something about him a couple of years ago. There’ll be more about The Wild Boys, and Winston Tong, tomorrow.

Continue reading “Wroblewski covers Burroughs”

William S Burroughs: A Man Within

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The Ticket that Exploded. Cover design by Thomi Wroblowski for a John Calder edition, 1985.

William S Burroughs: A Man Within is a feature-length documentary by Yony Leyser, and is, so the makers say, the first posthumous documentary about the always essential writer. Howard Brookner’s 1983 film, Burroughs, is probably definitive where the biography is concerned since Brookner was fortunate to get most of the key surviving Beats, family members, and allies while they were still around. Leyser’s trailer looks interesting, however (I’m hoping the film isn’t merely a parade of celebrities and soundbites), and it’s things like this which pass on the message of Burroughs’ continued importance to a new generation.

The film features never before seen footage of William S. Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with his closest friends and colleagues including John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, Laurie Anderson, Peter Weller, David Cronenberg, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Sonic Youth, Anne Waldman, George Condo, Hal Willner, James Grauerholz, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, V. Vale, David Ohle, Wayne Propst, Dr. William Ayers, Diane DiPrima, Donovan, Dean Ripa (the world’s largest poisonous snake collector), and many others, with narration by actor Peter Weller, and soundtrack by Sonic Youth. 

Release is slated for later this year. Meanwhile, there’s another trailer on YouTube for a Burroughs’-inspired short, The Japanese Sandman, based on WSB’s quest for the drug yage in the jungles of Panama. For an explanation of the title, consult the Reality Studio.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire

El Topo

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Subterranean Cinema has the El Topo screenplay online, taken from the Douglas Book edition from 1971 (above is the cover of my John Calder UK reprint of the same). As well as a screenplay with annotations by Alejandro Jodorowsky, the second half of the book featured a lengthy, fascinating and at times bizarre and hilarious interview with the director. The site also includes a 1973 Penthouse interview with Jodorowsky, the soundtrack album, and elsewhere on the site there are further gems such as the Mad magazine parody of A Clockwork Orange, something I’d not seen for years.

(Thanks Jay!)

Previously on { feuilleton }
Clockwork Orange bubblegum cards
Alex in the Chelsea Drug Store