Weekend links 83

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In Memory by Caitlin Hackett who describes her astonishing drawings as “contemporary mythology”.

• David Lynch’s solo album, Crazy Clown Time has just been released so The Guardian last Friday let the artist/director/musician edit their G2 supplement. Xan Brooks tried to get Lynch to open up about his inspirations while elsewhere Lynch had a chat with ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons. Of more interest to me was news that some of the deleted sequences from Blue Velvet have been discovered. I’ve known about these for years from a feature in Video Watchdog magazine but never thought we might get to see them. Related: a mixtape by David Lynch & musical collaborator/engineer ‘Big’ Dean Hurley.

• “Book jackets these days, for reasons I won’t unpack, seem to revel, overtly, in wit, conceptual deviousness, unusual clever or droll juxtapositions – we, as a professional community, seem to have elevated the visual bon mot above all other virtues.” Peter Mendelsund in a great post about certain problems in book design, starting with the very problematic question of what to do with Nabokov’s Lolita. Related: Covering Lolita, a gallery of covers through the ages which run the gamut of bad decisions.

• “For his sins Pinocchio is not only hanged but robbed, kidnapped, stabbed, whipped, starved, jailed, punched in the head, and has his legs burned off.” Nathaniel Rich goes back to Carlo Collodi’s original Pinocchio. Disney it ain’t.

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Some of Berthold Wolpe’s Faber cover designs are now available as prints from wire-frame whose Pelham/Ballard prints were mentioned here recently. Related (and worth another visit): Faber 20th century classics at Flickr.

Technical Vocabularies – Games for May, a small collection of poems by Alan Moore & Steve Moore, is now online with authorial permission. Alan’s Beardsley pastiche on the cover is a bonus.

• Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard H. Kirk says the group’s Virgin albums will be reissued next year by Mute. A new edition of The Crackdown? Yes, please.

• “Homo Riot can only think of six or seven street artists in the world who regularly feature gay themes in their work, and he knows all of them.”

Rub Out The Words: Letters from William Burroughs and Philip K. Dick on the language virus theory of William Burroughs.

L’exilé de Capri: the connections between Jacques d’Adelswärd-Fersen and Roger Peyrefitte explored at Strange Flowers.

• Flying cars and monorails: Soviet Russia in the 1960s also had a Gerry Anderson view of the future.

Are You An Anarchist? The Answer May Surprise You.

Baby’s On Fire (1973) by Brian Eno | Baby’s On Fire (live, 1974) by Eno & The Winkies | Baby’s On Fire (live, 1976) by 801 | Baby’s On Fire (1998) by The Venus In Furs.

Weekend links 52

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Three Seekers (2009) by Kelly Louise Judd.

Kevin Sessums talked to Elizabeth Taylor in 1997 about Tennessee Williams, her AIDS activism and related matters. Other related matters: Catholics lead the way on same-sex marriage and Mahatma Gandhi was in love with a German body-builder named Hermann.

• Cray porn (the computer, that is) at Barnbrook Design as the CD package for Interplay by John Foxx and The Maths is unveiled.

Michael Rother and Friends Play the Music Of Neu! A stream of an hour-long concert from August 2010.

One of the tragedies of drug prohibition is that we have never developed a culture in which young people can learn how to use powerful drugs properly from older, wiser and more experienced psychonauts. I count myself lucky to have encountered such good teachers to guide me with such drugs as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, MDMA and mescaline.

Dr Susan Blackmore on using LSD.

Another Dispatch in a World of Multiple Veils, a new release by Arkhonia.

Micromachina by Scott Bain “examines what makes the insect world tick”.

Down with art!: the age of manifestos. Related: The Manifesto Manifesto.

• John Patterson: “We’re all living in the future as seen by Philip K Dick.”

Music To Play In The Dark: A Wake For Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson.

Albert Einstein, Radical: A Political Profile.

Was “God’s Wife” edited out of the Bible?

Porn made for women, by women.

Hallogallo (1972) by Neu! | Opa-Loka (1975) by Hawkwind | Jenny Ondioline (1993) by Stereolab | Hallogallo (1997) by Porcupine Tree.

Ten titles and a cover

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The Very Best of Charles de Lint. Art by Charles Vess.

Over the weekend I found the time to finally update the book design section of the site, adding new pages for most of the titles I’ve been working on recently. There’s still a couple of things missing but I’ll add those in due course. Many of these design jobs have been for the interiors only so what follows is a comparison of title spreads from books I’ve worked on that have been published this year. Lest it seem that I have an army of clones at my service it should be emphasised that I was working on several of these last year (and Engelbrecht was completed in 2008) but the nature of release schedules means they all carry 2010 publication dates.

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Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded, edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer.

I invariably make a feature of title pages, usually creating them as a spread in order to heighten their impact. The title page is a kind of gateway to the rest of the book which gives you an opportunity to establish a mood for what follows. It’s also the area where you can be most lavish with your graphic treatment and, where necessary, add illustrative material without worrying too much about intruding on the content. With a number of these designs I was following typographic choices from pre-designed covers so the challenge was to find something that would match the cover and connect to the rest of the interior. The Charles de Lint book was a variation on this process in that the author had chosen a Charles Vess drawing for the cover art. I designed a cover to accommodate the drawing then carried the design inside. The colours were chosen to match Vess’s artwork while the general Art Nouveau style came from an Alphonse Mucha poster he’d placed on the wall. With a different cover picture the entire book would have had a very different design.

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The Search for Philip K Dick by Anne R Dick.

Continue reading “Ten titles and a cover”

Weekend links 38

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Arriving in the post this week was Lovecraft Black & White, an Italian book whose contents are spelled out in the title, black-and-white illustrations based on the work of the Providence master. Among the featured works is my 1999 rendering of Azathoth. There’s more about the book here and here.

Also on the work front, one of the books I designed interiors for a couple of months back was The Search for Philip K. Dick, a sombre biography and memoir by Anne R. Dick, the author’s third wife. Ms Dick discussed the book with the NYT a few days ago. The design was mostly straightforward layout but I did make a quick ASCII portrait of PKD from one of Anne Dick’s photos.

Farewell, the documentary film about Lady Grace Drummond-Hay’s flight around the world in the Graf Zeppelin, can be viewed here.

• “I personally think that the pages look better on the iPad than they do in real life.” Artist Tom Phillips again on the Humument iPad app.

The Birds Are Flying Elsewhere: singer/songwriter Linda Perhacs. Related: Parallelograms – A Short Film About Linda Perhacs.

St Eia, guitar improvisations by Zali Krishna, “Keywords: jazzgazing; entropy circus; st ives; cornwall; psychogeography”.

Moon Wiring Club and DD Denham: music for children, by children. Related: Moon Wiring Club’s Jayston Mix.

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The 1970s was another country, they did things differently there. One of a number of illustrations for science textbooks by Phil Kirkland at A Journey Round My Skull.

• “Fellatio has become a recurrent theme in your work hasn’t it, I say.” Alan Bennett sheds some inhibitions.

Talking To The Sci-Fi Lord: Regenerations & Ruminations With Michael Moorcock.

Time and the Gods (1906) by Lord Dunsany, illustrated by Sidney Sime.

City of Silence, a calendar for 2011 by Thom Ayres.

Scientists glimpse universe before the Big Bang.

• Photography by Josef Sudek (1896–1976).

Aurora photo gallery, November 2010.

The Last Tuesday Society.

Parallelograms (1970) by Linda Perhacs | Six AM (1979) by Thomas Leer & Robert Rental | Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart (1989) by Julee Cruise.

Weekend links 34

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Halloween in Austin, Texas this year will look and sound like this.

• “Blade Runner will prove invincible“: Philip K Dick’s letter of praise to the film’s producers. Related: one of the Blade Runner designers, Syd Mead, has recently styled New York’s Bar Basque and Foodparc.

• “I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated…I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.” RIP Benoît Mandelbrot.

Science and poetry: “a richly vexed topic badly in need of rethinking”. Related: Why the Singularity isn’t going to happen.

• In case you missed this week’s earlier announcement, a reminder that I was interviewed at Coilhouse. My vanity: it knows no bounds.

• Franklin Booth’s illustrations for The Flying Islands of the Night (1913) by James Whitcomb Riley.

On the Verge (1950) by Maurice Sandoz, illustrated by Salvador Dalí. Also this and this.

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Bowie Sphinx, 1969. Photo by Brian Ward.

The Laughing Gnostic: David Bowie and the Occult.

• “Moonlighting as a Conjurer of Chemicals“: Isaac Newton’s alchemical interests.

• “A sense of otherness that goes right back“: Alan Garner at Alderley Edge.

Jimmy’s End—Alan Moore’s new feature film and spin-off TV series.

A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain by Owen Hatherley.

• The It Gets Better Project now has a dedicated website.

Quicksand (1971) by David Bowie.