Weekend links 476

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Man’s body dish for Sashimi under the cherry blossom (2005) by Ryoko Kimura.

• Godley & Creme’s Consequences (1977) is reissued this month on CD and vinyl. Originally a three-disc concept album with a theme of climate disaster and the natural world’s revenge on humanity, Consequences was released at a time when punk and prog rock were fighting for the attention of music listeners. 1977 wasn’t the end of prog by any means (many of the vilified bands had some of their greatest successes at this time) but Godley & Creme’s transition from the smart pop songs of 10cc to extended instrumental suites was abrupt, and their concept, such as it was, lacked the drama and accessibility of Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds, even with the addition of Peter Cook providing a multi-voice comic narrative between the musical pieces. (Kevin Godley ruefully referred to the album in later years as Con Sequences.) The album flopped, and has been a cult item ever since.

• “A word of caution, though. Once you do read it, it’s hard to let it go.” Philip Hoare on Herman Melville and Moby-Dick. Related: William T. Vollmann on how a voyage to French Polynesia set Herman Melville on the course to write Moby-Dick.

Samm Deighan on The “Faraway Forest” in Peter Strickland’s Katalin Varga, The Duke of Burgundy, and The Cobbler’s Lot.

Brian Eno, Roger Eno, and Daniel Lanois discuss the recording of Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks.

John Boardley on the first fashion books, Renaissance pixel fonts and the invention of graph paper.

Melanie Xulu looks back at a time where major labels were releasing witchcraft rituals.

• “Tom Phillips’ A Humument is a completely novel project,” says Rachel Hawley.

John Foster on the evolution of Stereolab’s analogue-inspired record sleeves.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: a history of le Grand Guignol by Agnes Peirron.

Casey Rae on William S. Burroughs and the cult of rock’n’roll.

• An Austin Osman Spare image archive.

Consequences (1965) by John Coltrane | Moby Dick (1969) by Led Zeppelin | Consequence (1995) by Paul Schütze

Weekend links 311

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Sphinx (2015) by Lupe Vasconcelos.

• I’ve been reading my way through Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley novels for the past couple of weeks, and may well progress to some of her other books once I’m finished. Highsmith had a long career so there’s a lot to read on the web. Catching my eye this week were 10 Best Patricia Highsmith Books recommended by her biographer, Joan Schenkar; The Patricia Highsmith Recommendation Engine; Highsmith on Desert Island Discs in 1979 (the book she said she’d take, Moby-Dick, is the same one chosen by JG Ballard, albeit for different reasons); and a prickly interview late in her life with Naim Attalah.

Discovering 20th-century literature: books, manuscripts and other documents in the collection of the British Library.

• Signed copies of Paul Gorman’s Barney Bubbles monograph, Reasons To Be Cheerful, may be ordered from the author.

• How a mysterious ghost ship brought cosmic disco to Cape Verde. Related: Quirino Do Canto by Mino Di Mama.

• Zombi drummer AE Paterra and composer Paul Lawler make prog-synth epics as Contact.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 185, a locked-groove mix by Massimo Carozzi.

• In London next weekend: Alchemy and Magic at Brompton Cemetery.

Die or DIY?: scarcities from the post-punk outer limits.

• More Penda’s Fen: a lengthy appraisal by Jerry Whyte.

Dennis Cooper salutes James Coburn

Bandcamp is good for musicians.

Vladimir Nabokov’s butterfly art.

• This Heat: Rimp Ramp Romp (1977) | 24 Track Loop (1979) | Health And Efficiency (1980) | Makeshift Swahili (1981)

Weekend links 289

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Fathomless Sounding (1932) by Gertrude Hermes.

• Over at Greydogtales (“weird fiction, weird art and even weirder lurchers”) I talk about art, design, the writing of this blog, and I also reveal more about my ongoing Axiom project. The latter currently stands at two novels, a couple of half-finished stories and a few pieces of artwork. I may be unveiling some of the art in the new year so watch this space.

• Howard Brookner’s Burroughs: The Movie (1983), a definitive film portrait of William Burroughs, is released at last on DVD/Blu-ray. US-only for the moment but further releases elsewhere are promised. The director’s nephew, Aaron Brookner, has a documentary about his uncle released next year.

• “…beautifully articulated bawdiness, perverse pleasures and a radical, though nondidactic, political view.” Melissa Anderson reviews Boyd McDonald’s Cruising the Movies: A Sexual Guide to Oldies.

The crisis, as Ellis and Silk tell it, is the wildly speculative nature of modern physics theories, which they say reflects a dangerous departure from the scientific method. Many of today’s theorists — chief among them the proponents of string theory and the multiverse hypothesis — appear convinced of their ideas on the grounds that they are beautiful or logically compelling, despite the impossibility of testing them. Ellis and Silk accused these theorists of “moving the goalposts” of science and blurring the line between physics and pseudoscience. “The imprimatur of science should be awarded only to a theory that is testable,” Ellis and Silk wrote, thereby disqualifying most of the leading theories of the past 40 years. “Only then can we defend science from attack.”

Natalie Wolchover on A Fight for the Soul of Science

• Mixes of the week: A mix by Front & Follow, and The Ivy-Strangled Path Vol. XIV by David Colohan.

• “Psychedelics can’t be tested using conventional clinical trials,” says Nicolas Langlitz.

• At Dangerous Minds: Ralph Steadman illustrates Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

• Why does Moby-Dick (sometimes) have a hyphen? Erin Blakemore investigates.

• My thanks again to Dennis Cooper for including this blog on his year-end list.

• Cian Traynor was given 20 minutes to ask Ennio Morricone some questions.

Lolita at 60: Ten writers reconsider Nabokov’s novel, page by page.

• At Ballardian: High-Rise: Wheatley vs Cronenberg.

Poison Ivy: The Queen of Psychobilly Punk

The Cinema of Hotels: a list

Solo intimacy DIY

Moby Dick (1970) by Led Zeppelin | William Burroughs Don’t Play Guitar (1996) by Islamic Diggers | Physical (2001) by Goldfrapp

Weekend links 114

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David Bowie’s cigaretted fingers and bulging silver crotch point the way to the future. This summer sees the fortieth anniversary of the Ziggy Stardust album’s release. The Melody Maker ad above can be found with a wealth of other Ziggy-related material at the very thorough Ziggy Stardust Companion site. For me the definitive artefact isn’t the album itself but DA Pennebaker’s film of the final concert from the 1973 tour; the songs really come alive and Bowie’s performance is overwhelmingly electric. Related: Cracked Actor, the BBC documentary from 1975 about Bowie’s post-Ziggy life on and off the stage.

• The week in books: Amanda Katz described the remarkable history of a single copy of The War of the Worlds by HG Wells then asked “Will Your Children Inherit Your E-Books?” | Bosnian novelist Aleksandar Hemon in The Browser’s FiveBooks interview put Blood Meridian on his list. | “Call me the greatest American novel”: Christopher Buckley on Moby-Dick. | The Brit Lit Map.

• For another anniversary, the Alan Turing centenary, there’s The Strange Life and Death of Dr Turing (part two here) and Breaking the Code (1996), Derek Jacobi playing the tragic genius in a biographical drama.

Commissioner of Sewers (1991) a William Burroughs documentary by Klaus Maeck in which the author reads some of his work and endures a Q&A session with surprising equanimity.

• Music, flesh and fantasy: When Mati Klarwein’s hyperactive paintings stole the psychedelic show.

• Move Over Casio: Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 Portable Synth Looks Cool, Does Everything.

• A retrospective of art by Madge Gill (1882–1961) at The Nunnery, London.

• “Art is unavoidably work”: Terre Thaemlitz interviewed.

• A trailer for Document: Keiji Haino.

WB Yeats, Magus

Pathétique 1 (1994) by Fushitsusha | Pathétique 2 (1994) by Fushitsusha.

Le Phallus phénoménal

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Le Phallus phénoménal (1793–1794).

This blurred and discoloured picture arrives following a discussion with Paul Rumsey in the comments for an earlier post about engravings of monstrous whales. The pictures there were by engraver Hieronymus Cock whose surname gives us an additional resonance when discussing Moby Dick and sperm whales. The picture I posted of Jan Saenredam’s stranded whale showed the dead creature’s considerable penis (another engraving does the same) which led Paul to alert me to Dominique Vivant’s mischievous play on these pictures, where the artist exchanges the whale for a Brobdingnagian phallus. Or perhaps it’s merely a Gulliverian phallus and those people are Lilliputians… Whatever the case, I then mentioned to Paul JG Ballard’s story ‘The Drowned Giant’ from Ballard’s Terminal Beach collection which concerns the body of an enormous human found washed on a beach and subject to similar scrutiny by townspeople as in the stranded whale pictures. The body is eventually dissected and sold off. Paul reminded me of the end of the piece where Ballard writes:

As for the immense pizzle, this ends its days in the freak museum of a circus which travels up and down the north-west. This monumental apparatus, stunning in its proportions and sometime potency, occupies a complete booth to itself. The irony is that it is wrongly identified as that of a whale…

…which brings us full circle. Perhaps fittingly, Ballard’s story was published in Playboy magazine in 1965 under the title ‘Souvenir’.

As for Dominique Vivant (1747–1825), aka the Baron de Denon, his prestigious career besides engraving included, among other things, the directorship of the Louvre. We’re told he also wrote an erotic novel, Point de lendemain, and produced a selection of pornographic etchings, of which Le Phallus phénoménal would seem to be a part. Let no one accuse the French of being prudes; the picture above is from a site where you can order framed prints should you have a sudden urge to hang a phenomenal phallus on your wall.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
Jan Saenredam’s whale
The Whale again
Rockwell Kent’s Moby Dick
Phallic bibelots
Phallic worship
The art of ejaculation