Weekend links 224

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Zona: concept art by Alex Andreyev for a planned TV series based on Roadside Picnic by Arkady & Boris Strugatsky.

The Black Sessions are a long-running series of concerts by international artists recorded for radio station France Inter. UK group Broadcast were recorded by the station in May, 2000. While copies of the shows can be often be hard to find, files of the Broadcast concert may be downloaded here. A fantastic performance, especially the white-hot psychedelic freakout at the end.

• Further investigations from the radio age: Invention for Radio No. 1: The Dreams (43 mins, 1964): “an attempt to re-create in five movements some sensations of dreaming—running away, falling, landscape, underwater and colour”. Voices recorded by Barry Bermange with Radiophonic manipulation by Delia Derbyshire.

• “…in his first description of Cthulhu he gives you a list of four things that Cthulhu isn’t quite like.” Nick Talbot talks to Alan Moore about HP Lovecraft. Related: one of my depictions of Azathoth appears in this list of “gods who have forsaken you”.

• Tracking the locations of JG Ballard’s Super-Cannes: an investigation by Rick Poynor. Related: houseboats, architecture and eco-disaster; Justin Sullivan photographs California’s extreme drought.

• “As her writing career existed outside the realm of respectable ‘high-lit’ fiction, she cast herself as an outsider icon.” Chris Kraus on I’m Very Into You, a collection of Kathy Acker’s emails.

• Cover design inspiring fiction: Susan Coll on how a photo of a Bauhaus chair on the cover of her new novel, The Stager, made her alter her text at the last minute.

• “People were either taken by it or felt it was the Antichrist.” MetaFilter on Clair Noto’s unmade science-fiction film, The Tourist.

The Norwood Variations is a new album by Drew Mulholland (Mount Vernon Arts Lab et al).

• Thought Maybe has a collection of the television essays made by Adam Curtis.

• From 1974: How To Make Magic, a children’s handbook of the occult.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 126 by Mira Calix.

One Minute Blasts Rising To Three And Then Diminishing (2000) by Mount Vernon Arts Lab | Dashwood’s Reverie (2001) by Mount Vernon Arts Lab | Warner’s Reverie (2002) by Mount Vernon Astral Temple

Intertextuality

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The Call of Cthulhu (1988): in the upper half there’s the big sun from Bob Peak’s poster for Apocalypse Now, in the lower half a radical reworking of Arnold Böcklin’s The Isle of the Dead.

In 1990, shortly after the first season of Twin Peaks had finished showing in the US, Video Watchdog magazine ran a feature by Tim Lucas which attempted to trace all the various cultural allusions in the character names and dialogue: references to old TV shows, song lyrics and the like. This was done in a spirit of celebration with Lucas and other contributors welcoming the opportunity to dig deeper into something they’d already enjoyed. This week we’ve had a similar unravelling of textual borrowings in a TV series, only now we have the internet which, with its boundless appetite for accusing and shaming, can often seem like something from the grand old days of the Cultural Revolution.

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The Call of Cthulhu (1988): a more subtle allusion to Apocalypse Now.

The latest culprit ushered to the front of the assembly for the Great Internet Struggle Session is Nic Pizzolatto whose script for True Detective has indeed been celebrated for its nods to Robert Chambers and The King in Yellow. It’s also in the process of being condemned for having borrowed phrases or aphorisms from Thomas Ligotti’s The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (2011). See this post for chapter and verse.

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The Call of Cthulhu (1988): It’s not very clear but that’s a boat from The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

If I find it difficult to get worked up over all this pearl-clutching it’s because a) it shows a misunderstanding of art and the way many artists work, b) True Detective was an outstanding series, and I’d love to see more from Pizzolatto and co, and c) I’ve done more than enough borrowing of my own in a variety of media, as these samples from my adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu demonstrate, a 33-page comic strip where there’s a reference to a painting, artist or film on almost all the pages, sometimes several on the same page.

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The Call of Cthulhu (1988): Ophelia by Millais.

Cthulhu is a good choice here since Pizzolatto’s story edged towards Lovecraft via the repeated “Carcosa” references. You’d think a Lovecraft zine of all things would know better than to haul someone over the coals for borrowing from another writer when Lovecraft himself borrowed from Robert Chambers (and Arthur Machen and others), while “Carcosa” isn’t even original to Chambers’ The King in Yellow but a borrowing from an Ambrose Bierce story, An Inhabitant of Carcosa (1886). Furthermore, Lovecraft famously complained about his own tendencies to pastiche other writers in a 1929 letter to Elizabeth Toldridge: “There are my ‘Poe’ pieces and my ‘Dunsany pieces’—but alas—where are any Lovecraft pieces?”

Continue reading “Intertextuality”

Weekend links 197

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Posters by Jay Shaw for Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England which receives a US release this month.

Alvin Baltrop’s Gay New York: “the clandestine activities taking place under New York piers between 1975 and 1986”. AnOther samples some of the work on display at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. Meanwhile, BUTT has some shots from Texas Porno Road Trip, a photo series by Mike McLeod. Related: HBO will show you anything but a male erection, says Justin Moyer.

• “[Robert] Desnos quickly proved himself to be one of the most gifted in these experiments – eventually known as ‘the period of sleeping fits’. He was capable of writing, speaking, drawing and composing entire fantastical narratives.” Eugene Thacker on the Surrealist séances of the 1920s.

• “It’s history, not a viral feed,” says Sarah Werner. A complaint about the way the ongoing decontextualisation of images is both pernicious and potentially lucrative.

His prose is a palimpsest of echoes, ranging from Eliot’s Preludes and Rhapsody on a Windy Night (lines like “Midnight shakes the memory / As a madman shakes a dead geranium” are Burroughsian before the fact) to Raymond Chandler’s marmoreal wisecracks and Herbert Huncke’s jive. I suspect that few readers have made it all the way through the cut-up novels, but anyone dipping into them may come away humming phrases. His palpable influence on JG Ballard, William Gibson, and Kathy Acker is only the most obvious effect of the kind of inspiration that makes a young writer drop a book and grab a pen, wishing to emulate so sensational a sound. It’s a cold thrill.

Peter Schjeldahl reviews Call Me Burroughs by Barry Miles.

• “Dance music was born in LGBT communities, but has this been forgotten?” Luis-Manuel Garcia on an alternate history of sexuality in club culture.

• Avant-Grade Hallucinogens: the Poetics of Psychedelic Perception in Moving Image Art by Stuart Heaney.

No Condition Is Permanent: weekly radio shows from Count Reeshard at LuxuriaMusic and iTunes.

The Golem: where fact and fiction collide. David Barnett on 100 years of Gustav Meyrink’s novel.

• Don’t Let Harlan Ellison Hear This: Nick Mamatas on a great writer.

• Mix of the week: the Ela Orleans Mix at A Sound Awareness.

Amon Düül II playing live on French TV, 1971 & 1973.

• A soundmap of London canals and minor rivers.

The Peculiar Underworld of Rare-Book Thieves.

• At Pinterest: William Burroughs and Phalluses.

Architecture of Doom

Hallucinations (1967) by Tim Buckley | Phallus Dei (1969) by Amon Düül II | Hallucinations (In Memory of Reinaldo Arenas) (1994) by Paul Schütze

Weekend links 96

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Sin título (monstruas) (2008) by Marina Núñez.   

• Salon asks Christopher Bram “Is gay literature over?” Bram’s new book, Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America, is reviewed here.

Robert Montgomery is profiled at the Independent as “The artist vandalising advertising with poetry.”

In addition to aesthetics, McCarthy noted a deeper link between great science and great writing. “Both involve curiosity, taking risks, thinking in an adventurous manner, and being willing to say something 9/10ths of people will say is wrong.” Profound insights in both domains also tend arise from a source beyond the limits of analytic reason. “Major insights in science come from the subconscious, from staring at your shoes. They’re not just analytical.”

Nick Romeo meets Cormac McCarthy at the Santa Fe Institute.

• For FACT mix 316 Julia Holter mixes radio broadcasts, street recordings and music.

• This week in the Tumblr labyrinth: fin de siècle art and graphics from Nocnitsa.

“There’s a widespread cultural barrenness across art and political culture. But there are some pockets of resistance on the extreme margins, like the techno-savvy protest movements, small press, the creator-owned comics, that seem to be getting some signs of hope for the future,” he says. “All of the genuinely interesting work is being done on the margins, with independent companies, self-producing, and alternative distribution networks.”

Alan Moore on Watchmen’s “toxic cloud” and creativity v. big business.

Stone Tape Shuffle, a 12” LP of readings by Iain Sinclair. Limited to 400 copies.

Monolake on how we cope with death: mythologies, rituals, drugs and Ghosts.

Kraftwerk perform at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in April.

Kathy Acker (in 1988?) interviewing William Burroughs.

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Willy Pogány’s erotica: illustrations for a 1926 edition of The Songs of Bilitis by Pierre Louÿs.

• Nicholas Lezard on David Lynch: director of dreams.

Did otherworldly music inspire Stonehenge?

Coilhouse has an Eyepatch Party.

Tanzmusik (1973) by Kraftwerk | The Model (1992) by the Balanescu Quartet | Trans Europe Express (2003) by the Wiener Sinfonie Orchestra & Arnold Schönberg Choir.

Weekend links 82

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At the Mountains of Madness (1979) from Halloween in Arkham by Harry O. Morris.

• Golden Age Comic Book Stories always pulls out the stops in the run up to Halloween. In addition to a wonderful collection of Harry O. Morris collages, Mr Door Tree has also been posting Virgil Finlay’s illustrations for Edgar Allan Poe, Lynd Ward’s tremendous illustrations for a collection of weird tales entitled The Haunted Omnibus, Barry Moser’s woodcuts for an edition of Frankenstein, and Virgil Finlay’s illustrations for stories and poems by HP Lovecraft.

• “Eugene Thacker suggests that we look to the genre of horror as offering a way of thinking about the unthinkable world. To confront this idea is to confront the limit of our ability to understand the world in which we live – a central motif of the horror genre. In the Dust of This Planet explores these relationships between philosophy and horror.”

• “…the reader […] becomes a conscious participant in the process of imposing a linear sequence, while at the same time remaining aware that all narrative is an act of memory, and that memory is necessarily random.” Jonathan Coe reviews Marc Saporta’s book-in-a-box, Composition No.1, recently republished by Visual Editions.

• Nearly fifty years after its first performance, Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade is still disturbing playgoers. And nearly ninety years after its release, Alla Nazimova’s silent film production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé is touring the UK with live musical accompaniment.

Tom of Sinland at Homotography, in which illustrator Bendix Bauer portrays some of the fashion world’s notable male designers as Tom of Finland-style characters for Horst magazine.

Neil Gaiman Presents is a new audiobook imprint which launches with works by Jonathan Carroll, Alina Simone, Keith Roberts, M. John Harrison and Steven Sherrill.

• The Weird Wild West: Paul Kirchner has put all his Dope Rider comic strips online.

Leonora Carrington prints at Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London, from November 5th.

The Fall to Earth: David Bowie, Cocaine and the Occult.

Photos of New York City, 1978–1985.

Kathy Acker recordings at Ubuweb.

The Occupied Times of London.

The Golden Age of Dirty Talk.

Pushkin silhouettes.

• This week I’ve been lost in the Velvet Goldmine (again): John, I’m Only Dancing (1972) by David Bowie | The Jean Genie (1972) by David Bowie | Drive-In Saturday (1973) by David Bowie.