Weekend links 73

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Johnny Trunk of Trunk Records reissued the soundtrack to The Wicker Man in 1997. Mr Trunk’s latest delve into the cultural past is Own Label: Sainsbury’s Design Studio, a book from Fuel examining the supermarket chain’s packaging design of the 1960s and 1970s. Creative Review shows some examples while I have to note the uncanny similarity between one of the posters for The Wicker Man and an old Sainsbury’s corn flakes box. Now we see that the Old Weird Britain wasn’t only hiding in the fields and the folk songs but was also lurking on the supermarket shelves.

Related: a new DVD set from the BFI, Here’s a Health to the Barley Mow: A Century of Folk Customs and Ancient Rural Games. And let’s not forget the ley lines of Milton Keynes, and a new edition of Ritual by David Pinner, said to be the novel which inspired The Wicker Man.

• “He wrote me…” Sans Soleil (1983), Chris Marker’s beguiling accumulation of memories, dreams and reflections, is recalled in a Quietus piece entitled Things that Quicken the Heart. Not the first time on DVD as it says there (Nouveaux Pictures released it with La Jetée in 2003) but it’s good to know it’s being reissued.

• Marker’s film references Tarkovsky’s Stalker a couple of times, most notably in the comment, “On that day there will be emus in the Zone.” Geoff Dyer has what he describes as “a very detailed study” of Stalker out next year.

I don’t like those commentators who keep on saying that London will never be the same again. London is always the same again. I remember those comments were made very loudly after the [July 2005] terrorist attacks – “London will never be the same again, London has lost its innocence” – it was all nonsense. London was exactly the same again the following day. Rioting has always been a London tradition. It has been since the early Middle Ages. There’s hardly a spate of years that goes by without violent rioting of one kind or another. They happen so frequently that they are almost part of London’s texture. The difference is that in the past the violence was more ferocious, and the penalties were more ferocious – in most cases, death.

Peter Ackroyd, reminding us that the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse don’t wear hoodies and ride bikes.

Wolf Fifth: “rare vinyl records from the golden era of avant garde and experimental music”. And in FLAC as well, not crappy mp3; I want to hear all those scratches uncompressed, dammit!

Another great mix at FACT, this time compiled by snd who throw together Morton Feldman, Siberian shamen, Einstürzende Neubauten, Dome, Oval and many others.

• Colin Marshall asks “how weird is Australia?” in an appraisal of Nicolas Roeg’s Walkabout.

A Comprehensive Solution to the Tokyo Umbrella Problem.

• More poster art from Hapshash and the Coloured Coat.

Morbid Excess, a series of drawings by May Lim.

Conrad Schnitzler (1937–2011) by Geeta Dayal.

Neopolitan cephalopods.

Willow’s Song (1973) by Paul Giovanni & Magnet | The Willow Song (1989) by The Mock Turtles | Wicker Man Song (1994) by Nature and Organisation.

The music of The Wicker Man

wicker_man.jpgLeft: The scarce first edition of the Hamlyn novelisation. From the Coulthart library.

I realised some years ago that all my favourite films have great soundtracks, almost without exception. Something about the blend of drama and well-chosen music really excites me, so it’s no surprise that The Wicker Man would appeal, having as it does a wonderful folk soundtrack. Nice to see from the discussion that follows how influential this soundtrack has been although I’m surprised they didn’t mention the multiple cover versions of Willow’s Song. Once again Hollywood has seen fit to gift us with a completely redundant cover version of their own; the less said about the imminent remake, the better.

‘It was a way into a magical world’
The Wicker Man is the unlikely inspiration to a new generation of British folk musicians. So we put the film’s musical fans in a room with its director to discuss its enduring appeal. By Will Hodgkinson.

Will Hodgkinson
Friday July 21, 2006
The Guardian

ONE OF THE unlikeliest motivating factors in the current wave of new British folk music is a horror movie from three decades ago. The Wicker Man, the story of an upright Christian police officer investigating the disappearance of young girl on the Scottish island of Summerisle, and stumbling across a pagan cult, is hardly a masterpiece. But it has endured as a cult classic because it is unique, fascinating and evocative. Its folk-based soundtrack and use of ancient rituals and mythology have made it the focal point for a new generation of British musicians. So, as the gods of creation poured golden light into a sacred hall (a meeting room at the Guardian) on a summer afternoon, we assembled a handful of Wicker Man-obsessed musicians to discuss the film’s influence with its director, Robin Hardy.

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