Weekend links 410

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William Hope Hodgson’s final Carnacki mystery, The Hog, received its first magazine publication in January 1947. The cover art by AR Tilburne may not have been originally created for Hodgson’s tale but it complements the story’s atmosphere of febrile dread.

• It’s still April so that means it’s still the month that saw the 100th anniversary of the death of William Hope Hodgson, bodybuilder, manacler of Harry Houdini, and the author of several novels of weird fiction that continue to entrance new generations of readers. The edition of Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland that I illustrated for Swan River Press would have been on sale this month but print problems have caused delays with the run as a whole; anyone interested is advised to contact the publisher for news. • Meanwhile, Jon Mueller (composer of the book’s accompanying soundtrack CD) and myself talked to Swan River Press about the attractions of Hodgson’s novel. • More Hodgsoniana: Greydogtales acknowledged the Hodgson centenary via a discussion with Hodgson scholar Sam Gafford, while Michael Dirda reviewed the new edition of The House on the Borderland and another SRP title, The Scarlet Soul (whose cover I also designed), for The Washington Post.

• “From the ashes of countless decayed Modernities comes Neo-Decadence, a profaned cathedral whose broken stained glass windows still glitter irregularly in the harsh light of a Symbolist sun. Behind this marvellously vandalised edifice, a motley band of revellers picnic in the graveyard of the Real, leaving behind all manner of rotting delicacies and toxic baubles in their wake.” Drowning in Beauty: The Neo-Decadent Anthology edited by Daniel Corrick & Justin Isis is published this month by Snuggly Books, an imprint whose catalogue of new books and first-time translations will be of interest to anyone who comes here for Decadence, Symbolism or anything related. Related to the above: A Neo-Decadence Day at Dennis Cooper’s.

• “Witches are change-makers. They’re transgressive beings who dwell on the fringes of society, and so they’re the perfect icon for rebels, outsiders, and rabble-rousers, especially those of the female persuasion.” Pam Grossman talks to Grimoire about witchcraft and related arts.

• Mixes of the week: Resident Advisor Podcast 621 by Grouper, and Bacchus Beltane 5: The Owl Service by The Ephemeral Man.

• Back in black: Publisher/translator James Conway and designer Cara Schwartz on the cover designs of Rixdorf Editions.

• I was talking again this week at The Writer’s Corner where JKA Short asked me about working as an illustrator.

All Gates Open: The Story of Can by Rob Young is published next week. The Wire has an extract.

• Delusional Albion: Brad Stevens on how foreign directors saw Britain in the Swinging Sixties.

• “There’s no book I love more than Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature,” says Olivia Laing.

Eden Tizard on Soliloquy For Lilith, the drone album by Nurse With Wound.

Owls (1969) by Ruth White | Decadent & Symmetrical (1995) by ELpH vs Coil | The Owls (2013) by Félicia Atkinson

The weekend artists, 2015

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Fathomless Sounding (1932) by Gertrude Hermes.

This should have been the last post of the year but Ken Murphy’s film made a more fitting end. This is still the laziest post of the year, however, being a review of the artists/designers/photographers from 50 or so weekend posts. Scroll down to see what caught my attention over the past twelve months.

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Untitled drawing by Jean Gourmelin.

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Cover by Valentine Hugo for Contes Bizarres (1933) by Achim d’Arnim. See Hugo’s interior illustrations here.

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Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies

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The particularly British sub-genre of folk horror receives a substantial examination in Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies, a 500-page collection of essays, interviews and artwork edited by Andy Paciorek.

Featuring essays and interviews by many great cinematic, musical, artistic and literary talents, Folk Horror Revival: Field Studies is the most comprehensive and engaging exploration to date of the sub-genre of Folk Horror and associated fields in cinema, television, music, art, culture and folklore.

Includes contributions by Kim Newman, Robin Hardy, Thomas Ligotti, Philip Pullman, Gary Lachman and many many more.

100% of all profits from sales of the book will be charitably donated to environmental, wildlife and community projects undertaken by The Wildlife Trusts.

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Nuada rising, 1973 & 1976.

Among the contents there’s my 4000-word essay Sacred Demons: The Dramatic Art of David Rudkin, parts of which will be familiar to readers of my previous posts about Rudkin’s work. I’m not sure Rudkin would appreciate being subjected to such a narrow focus when his plays and TV films are much more personal and cerebral than most generic entertainments. But there is an intersection in a number of them with folk horror at its widest reach, and Rudkin did happen to adapt The Ash-Tree (1975) by MR James for the BBC’s series of ghost stories at Christmas. My piece covers this along with other TV films such as Penda’s Fen (1974) and Artemis 81 (1981), and many of the stage plays including Afore Night Come (1962), The Sons of Light (1965/76) and The Saxon Shore (1983). The stage plays I only know from their scripts which makes them difficult to appraise; maybe the renewed interest in Rudkin’s work will spur some revivals.

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Sight and Sound, August 2010. Illustration by Becca Thorne.

Paciorek’s book isn’t solely concerned with British subjects, other essays include studies of Weird Americana, the music of The Cremator and Morgiana, and Czech folk horror. The Lulu page apparently didn’t allow the listing of a full table of contents so I’m posting the details below.

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Weekend links 279

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Untitled painting by Jen Ray.

• Lots of architecture links this week so it’s fitting that one of them is director Ben Wheatley talking to David Fear about his forthcoming film of JG Ballard’s High-Rise: “I was just thinking about this the other day, how hard it was to get a hold of stuff before the Internet. You really had to hunt down stuff or have someone who knew what was up to say, ‘You gotta read Naked Lunch, mate. You gotta read Crash.’ […] They were secretive things you had to ferret out, those books. It was the same with music and certain movies. And drugs.” Related: Souvenir d’un Futur, photographs by Laurent Kronental of the high-rise banlieues of Paris.

• “In Ancient Egypt, if a lowly official received the glyph of an owl from the Pharaoh, it was understood that the recipient should take his own life.” Carey McHugh in a brief history of the owl.

• I’d always thought the red buildings seen briefly in Blow-Up (1966) had been painted to Antonioni’s orders. Not so, says Another Nickel In The Machine.

He belongs right up there with Poe and Kafka. The best writer of weird fiction in the past half century. And the reason he belongs there is Ligotti’s both visceral and intellectual, formally experimental and able to tell a traditional horror story with equal ease. He’s also modernized the weird tale, from his early work on. The later workplace stories complete that process. The other thing he brings is a very dark sense of humor and a sense of the absurdity of the world—and a critique of that world that serves as subtext. All of these elements in harmony—symbiosis and contamination—equal genius. I read his work in a continuum that includes Kafka, Poe, Angela Carter, Bruno Schulz, Rikki Ducornet, and the great Caitlin R. Kiernan, but also absurdists and realists and flat-out surrealists. I appreciate that Ligotti stories can be revisited and reveal new dimensions.

Jeff VanderMeer on Thomas Ligotti

David Ferry talks to the people trying to excavate the remains of sets from Cecil B. DeMille’s first film of The Ten Commandments.

• As part of the ongoing vinyl reissue deluge, Crammed Discs are releasing a 10-disc box of albums by the great Tuxedomoon.

• At Strange Flowers: I see for it is night, remembering Marie Cermínová, better known as Surrealist artist Toyen.

Blue Sun Chiming, an animated video by Elisa Ambrogio for the song of that name by Six Organs of Admittance.

• At BLDGBLOG: Occult Infrastructure and the “Funerary Teleportation Grid” of Greater London.

• Enigmatic music makers Watch Repair are now selling their works at Bandcamp.

• Video by Harald Albrigtsen of whales basking under the Northern Lights.

• The urban explorations of Russian photographer Ralph Mirebs.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 164 by Discipula.

The lost rivers that lie beneath London

Egypt (1985) by Tuxedomoon | Whales Tails (1986) by Cocteau Twins | London’s Lost Rivers (1996) by Coil

Owls and flowers

1: The pattern

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2: A novel by Alan Garner

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The Owl Service (1967). Cover design by Kenneth Farnhill.

3: A Granada TV serial

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The Owl Service (1969). Eight episodes, written by Alan Garner, directed by Peter Plummer.

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