Weekend links 517

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Edward James by René Magritte; La Reproduction Interdite (1937).

• “James was filmed in the late 1970s, striding round Las Pozas in a sweater and a tattered dressing-gown, surmounted by parrots (The Secret Life of Edward James can be seen on YouTube). When asked what motivated him, he replied: ‘Pure megalomania!’ He was having his second childhood, he said, though he wasn’t sure the first had ever ended.” Mike Jay on lifelong Surrealist, Edward James (1907–1984), and the concrete fantasia he built in the Mexican jungle.

• “I found the roots of electronic music in a cupboard!” Musician Paul Purgas (one half of Emptyset) on the discovery of early electronic music from India’s National Institute Of Design. Related: Purgas talks about his discovery with Patrick Clarke.

• RIP Phil May. Here’s The Pretty Things in their guise as psych band “Electric Banana” for an appearance in What’s Good for the Goose (1969). A decent moment in an otherwise terrible film.

• Music is a memory machine: David Toop explores how the transmission of music between disparate cultures can be a tool against populism and prejudice.

• Kraftwerk’s remarkable journey, and where it took us: Bob Boilen and Geeta Dayal discuss the tanzmusik of Düsseldorf.

• At Dangerous Minds: Acid Drag & Sexual Anarchy: Fifty years ago The Cockettes turned drag upside down.

Hua Hsu on the secret lives of fungi: “They shape the world—and offer lessons for how to live in it”.

• The great writer who never wrote: Emma Garman on the flamboyant Stephen Tennant.

• Cult 1998 PlayStation game LSD: Dream Emulator is finally playable in English.

Jim Jupp of Ghost Box records talks about the Intermission compilation album.

Jonathan Moodie on psychoactive cinema and sacred animation.

Alex Barrett on where to begin with Akira Kurosawa.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Skeletons.

Skeleton Makes Good (1982) by Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band | Red Skeletons (1996) by Coil | Kids Will Be Skeletons (2003) by Mogwai

Weekend links 498

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The Sentinel 280, a car design by Syd Mead from 1964.

• “Boris Dolgov did not exist. The man who bore that name may have existed, but there never was a man in the United States with that name until 1956, too late for Weird Tales.” Teller of Weird Tales on the mysterious identity of a magazine artist.

• Saying goodbye to 2019 also meant saying farewell to Vaughan Oliver, Neil Innes and Syd Mead. Related: Vaughan Oliver at Discogs; I’m The Urban Spaceman; a look back at Syd Mead’s vehicle designs.

Lanre Bakare on how ambient music became cool. (Again. This begs the question of when it became uncool, especially when a ten-year-old Brian Eno piece about “the death of uncool” is being quoted.)

Westerners interpreted the peyote experience very differently from the practitioners of the peyote religion, where the focus was “ritual, song and prayer, and to dissect one’s private sensations was to miss the point”. Writers such as Havelock Ellis, who published an essay on his peyote experiences in the Lancet in 1897 (it’s likely that he also administered the substance to his friends W.B. Yeats and Arthur Symons), instead tended to focus on its visual effects. Ellis described “the brilliance, delicacy and variety of the colours” and “their lovely and various textures”. Peyote reached Europe in tandem with the X-ray, cinema and electric lights, Jay notes, and “nothing delighted the eye of the mescal eater so much as the new electrical sublime”.

Emily Witt reviewing Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic by Mike Jay

Peter Bradshaw takes on the thankless task of ranking Federico Fellini’s feature films.

Geoff Manaugh on when Russia and America coöperated to avert a Y2K apocalypse.

• “Music is an ideal medium for interstellar communication,” says Daniel Oberhaus.

Keith Allison on Karel Zeman, a creator of remarkable cinematic fantasies.

•  Japanese Designer New Year’s Cards of 2020.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Vera Chytilová Day.

2020 in public domain.

Sentinel (1992) by Mike Oldfield | Sentinels (2001) by Cyclobe | Sentinel (2004) by Transglobal Underground

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 475

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Femme avec des fleurs (c. 1912) by Romaine Brooks.

• “Boring people tend not to exile themselves to rocky islands, but even among the intriguing personalities we encounter in Capri, some individuals prove more extravagantly memorable than others.” Steve Susoyev reviews Pagan Light: Dreams of Freedom and Beauty in Capri by Jamie James.

• “The Mad “idiots” subverted the comic form into a mainstream ideological weapon, aimed at icons of the left and the right—attacking both McCarthyism and the Beat Generation, Nixon and Kennedy, Hollywood and Madison Avenue.” Jordan Orlando on a world without Mad Magazine.

• RIP Sam Gafford, Paul Krassner and Rutger Hauer. Related to the latter: Hauer’s first role as Floris, the hero of a Dutch TV series directed by Paul Verhoeven.

I cannot tell you what it does to me to hear pre-Stonewall. And even in our literature, even in the art, pre-Stonewall, post-Stonewall. I wrote three books pre-Stonewall and a dozen more post-Stonewall. There’s no demarcation. Gay history is centuries and centuries from the Romans to the Greeks to Oscar Wilde to all kinds of outrages. And those seem to be put back and pre-Stonewall is passive. Post-Stonewall is brave and dignified. I actually have heard things like that. I’ve talked, I’ve lectured and I’ve been invited all the way from Harvard to USC. And I talk about what it was like, what we had to survive.

Look, pre-Stonewall produced Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Oscar Wilde, and I could go on. Post-Stonewall produced Bret Easton Ellis, who jumps out of the closet only now and then and then rushes back in, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where we’re reduced to clowns for straight people. The husband of Mr. Buttigieg, he is so darling talking about the silver he’s going to be choosing for the White House. It embarrasses me, it embarrasses me very much because that’s what people expect a gay man to do, to be very precious, and that’s not what we are. A good solid queen I will protect forever, they are heroes.

A lot of people think that everything stopped, everything, all harassment stopped. Look, it’s still going on. It’s still going on, for god’s sake. The same tactics are often used in a different way.

John Rechy talking to Jason McGahan

• The genius of Barry Adamson: An exclusive interview by Paul Gallagher at Dangerous Minds.

Three hours of the Prophecy Theme from Dune (by Brian Eno with Daniel Lanois & Roger Eno).

Ed Sanders on why pop culture still can’t get enough of Charles Manson.

• Havelock Ellis takes a trip: Mike Jay on peyote among the Aesthetes.

Darren Anderson on why little works of architecture deserve respect.

• Mix of the week: Stephen O’Malley presents / Java / Apr 27 2017.

Phil Hine reviews Folk Horror Revival: Urban Wyrd 1 & 2.

John Waters revisits “The Golden Age of Monkey Art”.

I Must Be Mad (1966) by The Craig | The Day My Pad Went Mad (1982) by John Cooper Clarke | Yesterday, When I Was Mad (1993) by Pet Shop Boys

Weekend links 469

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X from Theodore Howard’s ABC (1880) by Theodore Howard.

• “[Parade] has everything: joy and sadness, get-down and wistfulness, mourning and melancholia, group funk and Debussy interludes, echoes of Ellington, Joni, film music, chanson. It’s a perfectly realised whole.” Ian Penman on the enigmas and pleasures of Prince.

• “Mescaline reads like the culmination of a lifetime’s wanderings in the very farthest outposts of scientific and medical history.” Ian Sansom review’s Mike Jay’s history of the psychedelic alkaloid.

• The Day the Music Burned by Jody Rosen: “It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business—and almost nobody knew. This is the story of the 2008 Universal fire.”

This willing constriction of intellectual freedom will do lasting damage. It corrupts the ability to think clearly, and it undermines both culture and progress. Good art doesn’t come from wokeness, and social problems starved of debate can’t find real solutions. “Nothing is gained by teaching a parrot a new word,” Orwell wrote in 1946. “What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” Not much has changed since the 1940s. The will to power still passes through hatred on the right and virtue on the left.

George Packer on what George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four means today

• Having spent the past week watching Jacques Rivette’s 775-minute Out 1, this interview with Rivette from 1974 was of particular interest.

• At Dangerous Minds: Donald Sutherland as “a sperm-filled waxwork with the eyes of a masturbator” in Fellini’s Casanova.

The Adventures of the Son of Exploding Sausage (1969): the Bonzo Dog Band getting it untogether in the country.

• Dark, velvety dark: Nabokov’s discarded ending to Camera Obscura, introduced by Olga Voronina.

• “Spotify pursues emotional surveillance for global profit”, says Liz Pelly.

• Mix of the week: Then Space Began To Toll by The Ephemeral Man.

• An interview with master of horror manga Junji Ito.

• Announcing the Arthur Machen Essay Prizes.

• RIP film-maker and author Peter Whitehead.

X is for…

X Offender (1976) by Blondie | X-Factor (1981) by Patrick Cowley | X-Flies (1997) by Mouse On Mars