Weekend links 286

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One of Faig Ahmed‘s melted Azerbaijani rugs.

• “I asked [William Burroughs] about the future of typography and he said that letterforms would go back to hieroglyphs, similar to the ancient Egyptians.” Jonathan Barnbrook discussing the thinking behind his design for blackstar, the new David Bowie album.

• “…a thick, yellow fog fills the air, sinks, crawls on the very ground; at 30 paces a house or a steam-ship look like ink-stains on blotting paper.” PD Smith review London Fog, a history of the capital’s lethal pea-soupers by Christine Corton.

• At Rue Morgue: Dejan Ognjanovic asks seven writers and editors why HP Lovecraft is still relevant. Related: big thanks to Paul Gallagher for plugging my Lovecraft calendar at Dangerous Minds.

• Some end-of-year weirdness from Moon Wiring Club: Into The Chattering Ground, a sample of the new releases available at the MWC website.

Elaine Lustig Cohen: accidental graphic designer. Related: book covers and other designs by Elaine Lustig Cohen.

• The tomb that architect John Soane built for his wife inspired the shape of Gilbert Scott’s red telephone box.

• Mix of the week: Stephen O’Malley at the controls of Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone on BBC Radio 6.

• At Dirge Magazine: S. Elizabeth talks to Alice Rogers about art and occultism.

Simon Callow on taking 25 years to write a three-volume life of Orson Welles.

Todd Haynes on Cate Blanchett, Saul Leiter and Queer Cinema.

Le Freak (1978) by Chic | Freak (2003) by LFO | Jovan Freak (Rune Lindbaek Nomaden Mix) (2012) by Georges Vert

Weekend links 275

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A painting from the Projekt Babelturm series by Wessi.

• “The first thing I would say is that I have no idea what authentic psych music is, and I have no wish to pursue that either. To me the idea of real psych is a paradox. I can’t see how you can have such a thing as real psychedelia when the whole thing is based on a psychedelic drug that gives you hallucinations and illusions and layers and layers of unreality.” Rob Chapman talking to Ben Graham about his new book, Psychedelia And Other Colours.

Elsewhere in a rather psychedelic week: Rob Young reviewed Chapman’s book for the New Statesman; Dangerous Minds posted “Hypnotic video of how a psychedelic masterpiece is made“; and in Germany a homeopathy conference “ended in chaos in Germany after dozens of delegates took a LSD-like drug and started suffering from hallucinations.”

• Coming soon from Dark Entries (so to speak), another collection of Patrick Cowley‘s music for gay porn films.

Jonathan Barnbrook works some quotes from JG Ballard into the British Road Sign Project.

• “Sorcery is more popular than football in Morocco,” says writer and filmmaker Abdellah Taïa.

• “If you’re going to make something, you should try and be wild,” says Mica Levi.

• Coca-Cola Milanese: Patrick Ellis considers the state of the world’s fair in 2015.

• Hear two pieces from Collapse, the forthcoming album by Drew McDowall.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 162 by Ketev (Yair Elazar Glotman).

Emptyset’s Signal transforms Earth’s ionosphere into sound art.

Paul Laffoley: The Force Structure of the Mystical Experience.

• Fuck off, Star Wars, Ben Wheatley’s High Rise is on its way.

Ideologic Organ

Psychedelic Ride (1967) by The Ides | Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear In Smoke) (1974) by Hawkwind | Psychedelic Sewing Room (1989) by Bongwater

Weekend links 247

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Encounter with the Priestess by Robert Buratti.

• “We were gothy, we loved the New York thing and people like Suicide, Dave loved Throbbing Gristle, we both loved the Sheffield bands…we loved the darkness to that kind of electro.” Marc Almond talking to Simon Price. Also at The Quietus, Cat’s Eyes choose their favourite soundtracks.

• “When he reveals that all he wants is to deliver a breakfast sandwich, the enigma of his desire is not so much dispelled as redoubled—why on earth would anyone want to do that?” Adam Kotsko on the unheimlich nature of old Burger King ads.

• “…commercial design is full of politics, to be a commercial designer is a political decision.” Jonathan Barnbrook talking to Katrina Schollenberger.

You need to know who Billy Wilder was. You need to know the names of people who are no longer alive. Because it’s very important—it’s what our history is made of. You need to see the movies the way they were—with the racism, the violence, and the censorship. All the things that let you see what the movie past had been so you understand where we are! But really nobody’s interested in that right now. Their interests are so bifurcated.

Joe Dante discussing film production past and present with Michael Sragow.

• From 1983: The Encyclopedia of Ecstasy, Vol. 1, a publication which creator Alistair Livingston describes as a “psychedelic goth punk fanzine”.

• Mixes of the week: No One’s There, a collection of post-punk electronica by Abigail Ward, and Secret Thirteen Mix 146 by Te/DIS.

• Frans Masereel’s My Book of Hours is “a crucial example of the power of stories without words,” says Stefany Anne Golberg.

Miles Davis and band in concert, 18th August, 1970. Pro-shot, 45 minutes.

• Lots of good reading and cultural connections at Celluloid Wicker Man.

A world map of micro-nations

Tokyo in dense fog

Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go? (1981) by Soft Cell | Tainted Love (1985) by Coil | Titan Arch (1991) by Coil with Marc Almond

Weekend links 229

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Untitled (2007) by Remko van Drongelen.

• Another week, another Kickstarter project: Frank Woodward’s 2008 documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, was an excellent study of HP Lovecraft’s life and work featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Peter Straub, Guillermo Del Toro and leading Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi; the film also included a few examples of my Cthulhoid artwork. Disc copies of the film have been out-of-print for a while so Frank’s fund is hoping to raise money for a new Blu-ray edition featuring extended interviews and other extras.

• David Cronenberg’s debut novel, Consumed, “reads somewhat like a mashup of William Gibson, the king of near-future SF cool, and 1970s horror maestro James Herbert,” says Steven Poole. I’d have thought a more obvious analogy would be with JG Ballard; descriptions of Cronenberg’s narrative make it sound like Ballard’s concerns repurposed for our current era of electronically-mediated everything. Related: Crash by Sanyú, “adaptación de un fragmento de la novela de J. Ballard”.

• “To commune with the music of Cyclobe is to enter not just a strange world, but strange constellations – interdimensional, atemporal zones of carefully cultivated auras bordering wild, unstable forces.” Russell Cuzner talks to Ossian Brown and Stephen Thrower about Derek Jarman, hurdy-gurdies and the deceptive nature of time.

…there are no rules in fiction even if creative writing programs everywhere have tried to make people believe there are. When I read fiction that has passed through the filter of too many workshops, I often get the feeling that I’m reading the same novel over and over again: the same way of being humorous, the same way of being candid, the same way of creating empathy.

Valeria Luiselli talking to Jennifer Kabat about fiction, cities and maps.

• The rationale behind Silent Partners: Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish is “to explore the way that the artificial human figure has routinely provided artists with the most direct and reliable route to visual realism. And then to work out why that makes us so upset.” Kathryn Hughes on a new exhibition.

• “It immediately throws up some interesting thoughts: Bowie as the young dandy and the obvious comparisons with Oscar Wilde and The Picture Of Dorian Gray, with the portrait that ages.” Designer Jonathan Barnbrook on the cover photos for David Bowie’s forthcoming album Nothing Has Changed.

• October brings all the music mixes. This week there’s a choice of FACT mix 463 by Dntel, Autumn’s Whirr by Café Kaput (aka Jon Brooks), and Suspected Rural Telephone Box Poltergeist by The Geography Trip.

• “…when you first go into the room it’s like entering a furnace… a furnace of sound.” Scott Walker talks to John Doran about recording with Sunn O))). The new album, Soused, is out on 20th October.

We are the Martians: the Legacy of Nigel Kneale, a new collection of Kneale-related essays and appreciations, edited by Neil Snowdon.

• Kim Newman is one of the contributors to the Kneale collection. Here he is on the main types of ghost story, and how to recognize them.

Issue 7 of Glitterwolf magazine is out on the 15th, and it’s a Halloween special.

Etai Rahmil makes mask-pipes from glass for weed smokers.

Accidental Cool Art

Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) by Donovan | Hurdy Gurdy Man (1970) by Eartha Kitt | Hurdy Gurdy Man (2009) by Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras

Weekend links 215

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Julian House artwork for Other Voices, a new singles series on the Ghost Box label. Other Voices 01 is a collaboration between Sean O’Hagan of the High Llamas and Jon Brooks of The Advisory Circle.

Last week I linked to a copy Zadie Smith’s new introduction for Crash by JG Ballard. That piece could only be read in full by NYRB subscribers but this week the Guardian has the full text:

I was in college when the Daily Mail went to war with [David Cronenberg’s] movie, and found myself unpleasantly aligned with the censors, my own faux-feminism existing in a Venn diagram with their righteous indignation. We were both wrong: Crash is not about humiliating the disabled or debasing women, and in fact the Mail‘s campaign is a chilling lesson in how a superficial manipulation of liberal identity politics can be used to silence a genuinely protesting voice, one that is trying to speak for us all.

Related: Thomas Jones in 2008 reviewing Miracles of Life:

Despite all the bodily fluids spurted and smeared onto wrecked dashboards, the problem isn’t that it’s too pornographic but that it isn’t pornographic enough: the novel is too conscious of the deeper meaning of the sex and violence for the sex and violence to work as elements in themselves.

The fetishisation of Ballard’s novel (and Ballard’s fetishes) show no signs of abating: B-Movie (Ballardian Video Neuronica), is a short film by John Foxx, Karborn and Jonathan Barnbrook.

• Last Thursday I was watching a live performance by Pye Corner Audio and Not Waving, so it’s good to find this mix by the pair surfacing in the same week. Kudos to the latter for choosing something by Chrome. More mixes: FACT mix 468 by Throwing Snow, and Secret Thirteen mix 120 by Drøp.

• Ellen Datlow’s horror anthology, Lovecraft’s Monsters, continues to gather plaudits. Among recent reviews there’s Matt Barone at Complex who included the book in his Year’s Best Genre Fiction Books (So Far) list, and also praised my illustrations.

In recent years, many of the people on book covers have been women without faces. So prevalent is this visual cliché that the publishing industry has cycled through at least two well-documented iterations. The first, the Headless Woman, features some poor thing cut off above the neck, like the swimsuit-clad beachgoer on Alice Munro’s story collection “The View from Castle Rock.” The website Goodreads’s Headless Women page has 416 entries. Last year, the Headless Woman was supplanted by the Sexy Back, in which a woman is shown from behind, often gazing out over a vista.

Eugenia Williamson on the packaging of books for a female readership.

• The latest Taschen volume from Dian Hanson, editor of (among other titles) The Big Penis Book, is My Buddy. World War II Laid Bare, featuring photos from the archives of Michael Stokes. World of Wonder has pages from the interior.

I Have Walked This Body by Jenny Hval and Susanna is a track from a forthcoming album inspired by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid’s Meshes of the Afternoon. It sounds fantastic so I’m looking forward to hearing more.

• If you have a spare half-million dollars, and don’t mind the possibility of possession by murderous supernatural entities, the Palmer house from Twin Peaks is for sale.

• Read an extract from Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll by Peter Bebergal.

The Stars and Their Courses: over six hours of the Nevada night sky in 4k definition.

Lee Siegel on the fraught friendship of TS Eliot and Groucho Marx.

Harmony Korine talked to Kenneth Anger for Interview Magazine.

New Scientist: How magic mushrooms induce a dream-like state.

• 3D-print your own Marcel Duchamp chess set.

Scott O)))

Crash (1980) by Tuxedomoon | Burning Car (1980) by John Foxx | A Crash At Every Speed (1994) by Disco Inferno | Burning Car (Dubterror Remix, 2008) by John Foxx