Weekend links 270

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Cover design for UFOs and Extra-Terrestrials in History (four vols, 1978) by Yves Naud.

Come To The Sabbath, “a festival of dark arts delving into the influence of Black Magick, Witchcraft, Demonology and Satanism in pop culture”, takes place at Apiary Studios, 458 Hackney Road, London, from Tues 18th–Sun 23rd August.

• “Visitors, if there had ever been any, would have said that the little town of Mansfield was haunted.” Showdown is a previously unpublished short story by Shirley Jackson.

• “A sandbox stealthy immersive sim in a surreal, horror-y world inspired by writers like Burroughs and Ballard…” Alice O’Connor previews the forthcoming computer game, Tangiers.

Sometime in the late 1960s, the artist Robert Smithson took a trip to southwestern Ohio. He saw the Great Serpent Mound there and decided that he would make a great spiral too. […] Because the Great Salt Lake’s levels vary several feet from year to year, and also from season to season, Spiral Jetty is not always visible even if you make the trip to Utah. You could go out to Spiral Jetty and find that the entire earthwork is invisible underwater. When Robert Smithson created this earthwork in 1970, he did not care if it could be easily seen or who owned it. And so, even today, no one knows to whom Spiral Jetty really belongs. To view it requires a pilgrimage.

Stefany Anne Goldberg on earthworks, new and ancient, and the art of disappearance

• “Commercial book cover design is a minor portion of Gorey’s award-winning legacy, but not a lesser art.” Steven Heller on Edward Gorey: cover designer.

• “You are accepted,” he says, “by the genre that can accept you.” Samuel R. Delany talked to Peter Bebergal about being an outsider in the world of science fiction.

A battle of Witts: A brief look at ‘Taboos’ and the work of The Passage. Mark Griffiths on a great, if seldom-remembered, Manchester band.

• “Hispanic photomonteur Josep Renau aimed Technicolor jets of scorn at the mirage of US consumerist culture,” says Rick Poynor.

• Because the internet is really big… Kelli Anderson reworks the Eames’ The Powers of Ten using imagery found via Google searches.

Against Nature is a forthcoming musical adaptation of Huysmans’ À Rebours by Marc Almond, Jeremy Reed and Othon.

“What makes a film noir?” Adam Frost & Melanie Patrick have an infographic for you.

• Mixes of the week: Gizehcast #20 by LCC, and Jenny Hval‘s WEIRD Quietus mix.

• Mysterium Tremendum: Russell Cuzner on The Strange World of Lustmord.

• The charming march of the Penguin Books logo.

Cosey Fanni Tutti: Agent Provocateur

Dark Times (Peel Session) (1980) by The Passage | XOYO (1982) by The Passage | Revelation (1982) by The Passage

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

Val Denham album covers

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Funeral In Berlin (1981) by Throbbing Gristle.

British artist and musician Val Denham was mentioned in yesterday’s post so I thought it worthwhile following up with a selection of the painter’s record sleeves. Denham’s art stood out for me when I first saw the cover of Throbbing Gristle’s Funeral In Berlin album. For its visceral immediacy this is still a big favourite. The early 1980s were the perfect time for Denham’s paintings to appear on record sleeves, the diminished area of CD packages providing a poor stage for work that’s this vivid and dramatic. Denham’s associations with Throbbing Gristle extended to work with Marc Almond, a cover for the Some Bizzare compilation If You Can’t Please Yourself You Can’t, Please Your Soul which featured ex-TG members Coil and Psychic TV, and further associations with Coil allies Black Sun Productions. Many of these connections can be explored at Denham’s detailed website which has a great gallery section showing work in a variety of media from the past thirty years. Denham’s art is surreal, intense, often disturbing, and deeply personal in its exploration of shifting gender boundaries. Isn’t it time someone published a Val Denham book?

Some cover samples follow. More can be seen at the artist’s website.

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Untitled (1982) by Marc and The Mambas. Design by Huw Feather.

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Torment And Toreros (front, 1983) by Marc and The Mambas. Design by Huw Feather.

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Torment And Toreros (back, 1983) by Marc and The Mambas. Design by Huw Feather.

Continue reading “Val Denham album covers”

A Moment of Inspiration, 1983

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Marc Almond (1983) by John Coulthart.

This, girls and boys, is how we occupied ourselves in the long nights before the advent of 24-hour television: we sat up drawing portraits of Marc Almond. A conversation on Twitter reminded me of this, a drawing that’s never before appeared in public but which is now added to the web collection. For a quick piece of art it’s actually a lot more successful than many of the more laboured things of mine that were printed far and wide at this time. The portrait was copied from a magazine photo, I forget which one, possibly Flexipop if it was still going, an increasingly wayward title that had a soft spot (so to speak) for Soft Cell. The Spanish hat identifies it as being from the Torment and Toreros period while the lettering was taken from Val Denham and Huw Feather’s cover design for the first Marc and The Mambas album, Untitled (1982). The padded-cell background refers, of course, to Marc’s former group, and was copied from the back of the Bedsitter 12″. Most of the drawing is done in black Biro pen with the hat and shirt in gouache. On the back I happened to make a note of the date, something I seldom bother with.

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The Twitter conversation was prompted by the appearance of Soft Cell’s notorious Sex Dwarf video at Dangerous Minds; Flexipop enjoyed the scurrilous side of Soft Cell so much they printed a still from this Bacchanal as a centre-spread in one of their issues. Meanwhile Marc himself was writing in the Guardian this week about Bowie manqué Jobriath, one of the real-life inspirations for the Brian Slade character in Todd Haynes’ Velvet Goldmine, and the subject of a feature-length documentary, Jobriath A.D., by Kieran Turner, currently showing at the BFI’s London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Derek Jarman’s music videos

Derek Jarman’s music videos

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Duggie Fields in It’s A Sin

A hidden Derek Jarman film lies scattered among a handful of music videos from the 1980s, something you can pretend you’re seeing flashes of in the promo shorts the director was making whilst trying to raise money for his last few feature films. A recent re-watch of Caravaggio reminded me of these, recalling a remark Jarman made that his video for the Pet Shop Boys’ It’s A Sin was the first time anyone allowed him to use 35mm film. Among other things, that promo features artist Duggie Fields with a gilded face, one of a number of little in-jokes that Jarman aficionados can retrieve from these shorts. Running through them in sequence you get a skate through familiar visuals, from the masks and mirrors flashed into the camera in Broken English, to the Super-8 fast-forwards of The Smiths and Easterhouse films, with plenty of flowers and ritual fires along the way.

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Broken English

This isn’t a complete list since not everything is on YouTube. Even if it were I wouldn’t link to anything by the wretched Bob Geldof for whom Jarman made two promos. Needless to say some are more sympathetic to Jarman’s obsessions than others: Marianne Faithfull’s film is a fascinating short that provides a link via the singer between Jarman and Kenneth Anger. The Bryan Ferry film, on the other hand, is a bland piece for a bland song. Suede and The Smiths seemed to have let Derek do what he liked. Well done, boys.

Broken English (1979) by Marianne Faithfull (featuring Witches’ Song, The Ballad of Lucy Jordan and Broken English).

Dance With Me (1983) by The Lords of the New Church.

Willow Weep For Me (1983) by Carmel.

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Broken English

Dance Hall Days (1983) by Wang Chung.

Tenderness Is A Weakness (1984) by Marc Almond.

Windswept (1985) by Bryan Ferry.

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The Queen Is Dead

Panic (1986) by The Smiths.

Ask (1986) by The Smiths.

The Queen Is Dead (1986) by The Smiths | Long version

1969 (1986) by Easterhouse.

Whistling In The Dark (1986) by Easterhouse.

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So Young

It’s A Sin (1987) by the Pet Shop Boys.

Rent (1987) by the Pet Shop Boys.

So Young (1993) by Suede.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Derek Jarman’s Neutron
Mister Jarman, Mister Moore and Doctor Dee
The Tempest illustrated
In the Shadow of the Sun by Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman at the Serpentine
The Angelic Conversation
The life and work of Derek Jarman