Weekend links 573

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The Greendale Oak, Welbeck, Nottinghamshire, from Joseph George Strutt’s Sylva Britannica (1822/1830).

• “…a single page from Max Ernst’s collage novel Une semaine de bonté (A Week of Kindness, 1934) uncovers the weird brooding threat in Tenniel’s image of Alice in the railway carriage.” Mark Sinker reviewing the Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. I don’t know what Ernst page Sinker is referring to but I made the connection between an Ernst collage and Tenniel’s drawing here in 2010.

• At Wormwoodiana: “Calum Storrie’s 36 Elevations is a book of drawings of imaginary architecture, with the emphasis on towers, stairs, ladders, globes, oblique angles, gantries, finials etc.”

• At The Quietus: Jennifer Lucy Allen on The Strange World of…Don Cherry, and Dustin Krcatovich on Don and Moki Cherry’s Organic Music Theatre.

Call it the new orthodoxy of the digital middlebrow, “the rise of safely empowering stories with likeable protagonists who move through short sentence after short sentence towards uplifting conclusions in which virtue is rewarded.” The laudable goal of increasing the diversity of literary voices has somehow morphed into a series of purity tests designed to ensure that any artistic representation ticks the same boxes as its ostensible author. “On this,” Tyree writes, “conservative religious evangelicals secretly agree with their puritanical secularist enemies on a censorious attitude and checklist approach to art as either ‘acceptable’ or ‘offensive’ to whatever program one happens to prefer for cleansing all vileness from the world.” The result?

[A]rt is increasingly viewed by both the right and the left as a sub-branch of medicine, therapy, hygiene, or good manners. Art is no longer that which tells us the truth but rather that which makes us feel better—a deflated ideology that is spawning a sort of unofficial school of palatability.

And this, I fear, is what’s afflicting many of my students…

Justin St. Clair reviewing The Counterforce: Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice by JM Tyree. Since I’m currently in the midst of a Pynchon reading binge this is all very timely

• “Researchers create self-sustaining, intelligent, electronic microsystems from green material“.

• From 2018: Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Toop live at The Silver Building.

• New weirdness: Catwalk Of The Phantom Baroque by Moon Wiring Club.

• Mix of the week:Episode #391 of Curved Radio by radioShirley & mr.K.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Illegible autographs.

Elevation (1974) by Pharoah Sanders | Elevation II (1997) by Vainqueur | Elevations And Depths (2010) by Locrian

Weekend links 496

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Fahrenheit 451 (1966) poster by György Kemény.

• “The novel is constantly assailed by people wanting to conscript it to their own ends. (Other art forms are not similarly burdened; someone yelling ‘What about global warming?’ between numbers at a Keith Jarrett concert would be recognized to have made a category error.)” Jonathan Clarke on the demands that literature should nurture empathy.

• The first three features by Alejandro Jodorowsky—Fando y Lis (1968), El Topo (1970) and The Holy Mountain (1973)—return to Britain’s cinema screens in January (well…two of them return; I’m not sure that Fando y Lis has ever been shown in cinemas over here). All three films will be given overdue blu-ray releases by Arrow in March.

• “What distinguishes Oulipo from other language games, is that its methods have to be capable of producing valid literary results.” Tony White reviews The Penguin Book of Oulipo: Queneau, Perec, Calvino and the Adventure of Form, edited by Philip Terry.

But from a present-day perspective, it is also remarkable the extent to which cafés, busy conduits for knowledge and sentiment, resembled later digitally connected systems. The larger establishments offered not just a huge selection of newspapers, domestic and foreign, but also reference material—maps, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, language lexicons, address books—for writers struggling with their research, or merely trying to settle an argument. The combination of hard facts and caffeinated opinion firing through the steamy analogue ether constituted a local area network of extraordinary reach. In the pre-digital era, the Viennese café offered the greatest possible concentration of current knowledge—for the price of a mélange.

From the Strange Flowers guide to Vienna, part 2

• “People like Edmund Wilson and Isaiah Berlin, they have to love Zhivago to prove that good writing can come out of Soviet Russia. They ignore that it is really a bad book.” Jennifer Wilson on Vladimir Nabokov’s fighting spirit.

• Master animator Richard Williams died in August so here again is the exceptional adaptation of A Christmas Carol made by his studio in 1971.

• Hearing a person: Annea Lockwood remembers her partner, composer Ruth Anderson, whose death was announced last week.

• The London Review of Books has relaunched its website. The paywall is currently down until mid-January so dig in.

Live In Paris by Pharoah Sanders, a previously unreleased ORTF concert recording from 1975.

• Unrising sun: Amos Chapple’s photographs of the polar nights of Murmansk.

Mary McNamara on the rescuing of 200 historic Hollywood backdrops.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 623 by Aida.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Sandy Dennis Day.

The Desert Is A Circle (1970) by Shades Of Joy | The Desert Is A Circle (1971) by Paul Horn | Holy Mountain (1994) by Axiom Ambient

Weekend links 452

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Colors (1967) by Ken Nordine.

• “The Do was the thing”: a lengthy chat with Chuck Gould of the San Francisco Diggers. The second interview from Jay Babcock’s oral history of the Diggers.

Sticking it to the Man: Revolution and Counterculture in Pulp and Popular Fiction, 1950–1980 edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre.

Adrian Shaughnessy‘s Krautrock Top Ten. (People who know me well won’t be surprised to hear that I own everything on this list.)

See “queer” as a term has become an umbrella that accommodates not only the type of sex you have and with whom, but also how you identify the sex you have, how you identify your personality, your aura, the ineffable je ne sais queer that may or may not be related in any way to your sexuality, or even the way you present yourself to the world, but simply some deeply held, internal feeling. You don’t actually need to share a common oppression or a common romantic or sexual behavior.

[…]

The reason I mind is because queer, in functioning as a catchall, serves to obscure what it is about my life, my community, my partners, that I needed to learn to be proud of in the first place. Because for me and all the other lesbians I know, figuring out your sexuality is hard enough, but the real work is in accepting yourself, demanding acceptance from others, being willing to walk away when that acceptance is denied.

Lesbians are women, and women are taught that we’re supposed to be sexually available objects of public consumption. So we spend a lot of time saying “No.” No, we won’t fuck or partner with men; no, we won’t change our minds about this; no, this body is a no-man’s land. Lesbian, straight or bi, women are punished whenever we try to assert a boundary. Queer as a catchall term makes it really hard for lesbians to assert and maintain this boundary, because it makes it impossible to name this boundary.

Jocelyn Macdonald on how the increasing dilution and commodification of “queer” as a label does little to serve the interests of the people to whom it was applied in the first place

• Two sets of live electronica from last year: Pye Corner Audio at The State51 Factory, and Tangerine Dream at Dekmantel.

• “LSD can get deep down and reset the brain—like shaking up a snow globe,” says Amanda Fielding.

• Ewan Wilson on the impossible architecture of video games.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen Mix 279 by Marcos Cabral.

• RIP Betty Ballantine, Bruno Ganz and Ken Nordine.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: They will never exist.

Cosi Fanni Tutti‘s favourite records.

She Comes In Colors (1967) by Love | Colors (1969) by Pharoah Sanders | Balthus Bemused By Color (Mix II) (1988) by Harold Budd

Weekend links 386

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Lynd Ward again, and one of his illustrations for Frankenstein (1934).

• “Julio Mario Santo Domingo was a collector and visionary who filled his homes and warehouses with the world’s greatest private collection related to the subjects of drugs, sex, magic, and rock and roll: a library of more than 50,000 items…” Altered States: The Library of Julio Santo Domingo by Peter Watts catalogues some of the artefacts.

• “His vision of Gay Liberation was deeply, and uniquely, inflected by his study of, and belief, in anarchism.” More on the late Charles Shively: Michael Bronski remembers a pivotal figure in the gay liberation movement.

• William Friedkin’s Sorcerer was released on region-free blu-ray a couple of years ago but it’s being reissued again in the UK for its fortieth anniversary. Julian House has created a series of designs for the insert.

• Electronic musician and podcaster Marc Kate talks to Erik Davis about nihilism, horror movies, New Age music, and transmuting Nazi black metal into the ambient soundscapes of his latest album, Deface.

• “Beware the polished little man“: an extract from The Guesthouse at the Sign of the Teetering Globe by Franziska zu Reventlow which is available now from Rixdorf Editions.

• Another welcome blu-ray release, Sergei Parajanov’s The Colour of Pomegranates appears later this month in a special edition from Second Sight.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 626 by Sharp Veins, XLR8R Podcast 515 by Sammy Dee, and Secret Thirteen Mix 236 by Beta Evers.

The Witch Wave with Pam Grossman is a podcast for bewitching conversation about magic, creativity, and culture.

• Call me by the wrong name: Benjamin Lee on Hollywood’s perennial attempts to straight-wash gay films.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…Ronald Firbank Concerning the Eccentricities of Cardinal Pirelli (1926).

• Zoë Lescaze reviews Frankenstein: The First Two Hundred Years by Christopher Frayling.

• Angry Optimism in a Drowned World: A Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson.

• Stewart Smith on The Strange World of…Linda Sharrock.

Colors (1969) by Pharoah Sanders | Frankenstein (1972) by The Edgar Winter Group | Pomegranate (2001) by Transglobal Underground

Weekend links 24

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Delta-Wing (2009) by Chloe Early.

• “Feted British authors are limited, arrogant and self-satisfied, says leading academic”. Stating the bleeding obvious but it still needs to be said, apparently, especially when the announcement of the Booker list this year caused the usual confusion when Amis Jr. and McEwan weren’t included, as though the mere existence of their novels makes them prize-worthy. And as someone pointed out, the word “male” is missing from that headline.

Hero of Comic-Book World Gets Real: Alan Moore again, in the NYT this time. Related: a review of Unearthing live.

• Announcing The Hanky Code by Brian Borland & Stephen S Mills, a 40-poem book to be published next year by Lethe Press. For an explanation of the Hanky Code there’s this, and there’s also an iPhone app.

Folk—the ‘music of the people’—is now hip again, says (who else?) Rob Young who can also be heard on the archived podcast here. Related: the folk roots of Bagpuss. Related to the latter: The Mouse Mill.

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An endpiece from The Firebird and other Russian Fairy Tales by Boris Zvorykin.

‘Yes’ to Catastrophe: Roger Dean, Prog and SF. A lengthy and thoughtful analysis of Roger Dean’s early work.

Into the Media Web, the enormous Michael Moorcock book which I designed, is officially published this week.

Cassette playa: in praise of tapes. I’ve complained about tapes in the past but people continue to find them useful. Some technologies die harder than others.

Boy BANG Boy: “Quiet moments made suddenly very loud with the attitude and opinion of what it means to be a young male in an impossibly diverse world.” An exhibition opening at Eastgallery, London, on August 5th.

Empty your heart of its mortal dream: Alfred Kubin’s extraordinary novel, The Other Side.

Ghostly and Boym Partners devise a new way to deliver digital music.

Besti-mix #27: a great selection by producer Adrian Sherwood.

Agnostics are troublemakers. Amen to that.

• RIP Harry Beckett.

Acousmata.

Let Us Go In To The House Of The Lord by Pharoah Sanders (live, 1971): Part 1 | Part 2