Weekend links 351

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Herald on Griffin (1516-1518) from The Triumphal Procession of Emperor Maximilian I series by Hans Burgkmair the Elder.

• My design and illustration work for Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling continues to gain favourable comments, a novelty when reviewers often pass over the visual component of the books under their consideration. One of the most recent examples is in the latest edition of Locus Magazine; this can only be read in full by subscribers but the Tachyon Tumblr has an extract.

Paul La Farge on the complicated friendship of HP Lovecraft and Robert Barlow. Related: The Night Ocean, a short story by Barlow & Lovecraft. Meanwhile, Lovecraft enthusiasts are still raising money for a Providence statue (spot my art and design work in the photo of the Lovecraft Art and Sciences Council).

• At The Quietus this week: Children Of Alice talk to Patrick Clarke about audio collage and English Surrealism, Lottie Brazier enters The Strange World of Annette Peacock, and Manuel Göttsching tells Robert Barry how Ash Ra Tempel became the loudest band in Berlin.

• “Mind the doors!” Eight reviewers pick ten films featuring the London Underground. Not a bad list but choosing a Doctor Who film while ignoring the great Quatermass and the Pit (1967) is an error.

• Mixes of the week: Swedenborgian Hobos by acephale, Secret Thirteen Mix 214 by Fabio Perletta, and a mix for NTS by Six Organs Of Admittance.

• More Surrealism: Leonor Fini, Surrealist Sorceress, a lecture by Dr Sabina Stent, will take place at Treadwell’s Bookshop, London, on 19th May.

• “Michael Chapman’s road-weary guitar resonates with a new generation,” says Joel Rose.

A Journey Round my Room (1794), a book by Xavier de Maistre.

Lyrical Nitrate (1991), a film by Peter Delpeut.

The Sorcerer (1967) by Miles Davis | Impressions Of Sorcerer (1977) by Tangerine Dream | Venom Sorcerer (2014) by Cultural Apparati

Weekend links 348

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The Masque of the Red Death (1932) by John Buckland Wright.

• Thanks to MeadesShrine I’ve been working my way through Jonathan Meades’ television essays so this is timely: The Plagiarist in the Kitchen, an “anti-cookbook” by the man with forthright opinions.

• “‘Decopunk’ deserves to be bigger than Steampunk,” says Sam Reader. I consider my work on Bruce Sterling’s Pirate Utopia to be more Futurist than Deco but the period is right.

• “Celebrating the cinematically surreal, bizarre, cult, oddball, fantastique, strange, psychedelic, and the just plain WEIRD!”: 366 Weird Movies

But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one—not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.

George Orwell discussing the imprecise application of the “F” word

• At The Psychedelic Museum, a report on this month’s art show, Alice’s Adventures in Underground Culture.

M. John Harrison announces a new story collection which will be published later this year by Comma Press.

• Mixes of the week: Iceland: Foreboding Joy by Abigail Ward, and Secret Thirteen Mix 211 by Fluxion.

Daisy Woodward on how LSD adventures inspired John Waters’ Multiple Maniacs.

• More Moomins: Graeme Miller talks to Patrick Clarke about his soundtrack music.

• Some recent cultural highlights as chosen by Timothy J. Jarvis.

Benge presents a list of his favourite electronic albums.

Is this the underground Everest?

Strange Things Are Happening (1968) by Rings & Things | Strange Magic (1975) by Electric Light Orchestra | Strange (1977) by Wire |

Pirate Utopia by Bruce Sterling

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Here at last is the small hardback book I spent most of February and March working on. Pirate Utopia is published this week, and I’m pleased that it’s been very well received, with reviews drawing attention to the illustration and design as well as the text. This is a dieselpunk alternate history which begins in 1920:

WHO are these bold revolutionaries pillaging their confused European neighbours? The Futurists! Utopian outlaws of Italy’s tiny Regency of Carnaro, unlikely scourge of the Adriatic Sea!

It is the end of the Great War, and yet there is unrest in newly formed Carnaro. Carnaro is utterly in thrall to all things new, no matter how impractical or improbable. Futurism unites artists, pirates, propagandists, veterans, scientists, and libertines alike; military innovation and unabashed gratification rule the day. No one will rest until they crush Europe’s communists, capitalists, fascists, and bewildered coastal townsfolk.

But some have theorized that the Soldier-Citizens of Carnaro are not completely sane. At the dawn of mutiny, they are led by on ever-changing, passionate coterie, which may include:

* Lorenzo Secondari, the infamous Pirate Engineer, leader of ferocious Croatian raiders (and theatre enthusiasts)
* Blanka Piffer, staunch patriot and smartly clad Syndicalist manager of a torpedo factory staffed exclusively by women
* The Prophet, charismatic warrior-poet ruthless dictator, and very active proponent of free love
* The Ace of Hearts, dashing aristocrat spy, yogi, drug pusher, and combat pilot
* The Art Witch, the compelling Milanese millionairesse in the inner circle and mysterious, avid occultist

Two infamous Americans have arrived in Carnaro offering a Faustian bargain. Will HP Lovecraft and Houdini betray their own nation, and lead the Futurists to international glory?

No need to emphasis the pertinence of a story of global political turmoil appearing at this point in time. Back in March the traumas of Brexit and the US election were mere possibilities rather than the unavoidable facts they are today. Pirate Utopia doesn’t necessarily reflect the present moment but some of the resonances are, shall we say, suggestive. Bruce Sterling, as noted earlier, is a futurist (as distinct from a Futurist), and had this to say recently about the current state of affairs.

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The chapter spreads and other interior graphics run variations of the works of Fortunato Depero and others. Depero was an ideal choice not only because his work tends to the cartoonish—this is a humorous book about serious matters—but much of it is bold and monochromatic, ideal for deployment as black-and-white graphics. Ordinarily I’d write a little more about the art influences, but since I already did so inside the book itself it seems better to encourage those who want to know more to buy a copy. You can, however, see a few more of the page layouts here. A book about Interesting Times for Interesting Times. Join the Futurist Revolution!

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Futurismo!

Weekend links 330

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Summer Passing (2013) by Laura Battle.

• The Marquis de Sade’s enduringly contentious The 120 Days of Sodom has been republished by Penguin Books in a new translation by Will McMorran and Thomas Wynn. “[De Sade] described his novel as ‘the most impure tale ever written since the world began’ and, for all the hyperbole, his description still holds true even now,” says Will McMorran, exploring the history and reputation of the book.

• From the Cutting Room Floor: Rick Klaw talks to Bruce Sterling about the current state of US (and world) politics. Sterling’s Futurist novel Pirate Utopia (which I’ve designed and illustrated) will be published by Tachyon next month.

• New from Strange Attractor: In Fairyland: The World of Tessa Farmer, edited by Catriona McAra, and Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic by Sarah Hannant and Simon Costin.

• Mix of the week: Programme No. 16 in the long-running Radio Belbury series is a guest presentation by The Pattern Forms (Jon Brooks, Edward Macfarlane and Edward Gibson).

The Book of Three Gates by Simon Berman, “An Esoterica of HP Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos”, is seeking funding.

• Occultist Phil Hine discusses Richard Payne Knight and phalluses at the Conway Hall, London, later this month.

• “My goal is to make music that is transcendent and isn’t specific of a certain time,” says Earth’s Dylan Carlson.

• Kiss the sky: psychedelic posters of the 60s and 70s from the collection of the late Felix Dennis.

Radionics Radio: An Album Of Musical Radionic Thought-Frequencies.

Madeleine LeDespencer on the occult bookshops of London.

Unknown Pleasures waveform gif generator

Sade Masoch (1968) by Bobby Callender | Confessional (Give Me Sodomy Or Give Me Death) (1991) by Diamanda Galás | The Sodom And Gomorrah Show (2006) by Pet Shop Boys

Weekend links 314

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Avebury Kite (2006) by David Alderslade.

• “Klaus Mann, son of Thomas Mann, author of Mephisto, was one of the first in Germany to write gay novels and plays.” Walter Holland reviews Cursed Legacy: The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann by Frederic Spotts.

The Pale Brown Thing, a shorter/alternate version of Fritz Leiber’s supernatural masterwork, Our Lady of Darkness, is given a limited reprinting by Swan River Press next month.

• “Not only is metal not directly harmful to adolescent minds, as the thinking goes, it may actually be helpful.” Christine Ro on the reappraisal of a once-suspect musical genre.

Something of that tension between past and future is visible in Beardsley’s work. It is the art of a dying era peering, with a mixture of excitement and trepidation, into the next. For all the prancing and bravado, Beardsley’s art was really about finding something in which to believe—and if Beardsley came to believe in anything it was the deep black line. Shading held little interest for Beardsley, and color fascinated him not at all. The black line and white space were all he needed.

Morgan Meis on Aubrey Beardsley

• More of my art for Bruce Sterling’s forthcoming Dieselpunk novella, Pirate Utopia, has been revealed. Tachyon will be publishing the book in November.

• “Secretly, though, I frequent junk shops because I am wishing for some kind of transcendence,” says Luc Sante.

• Mixes of the week: Gizehcast #28 by Christine Ott, and a mix for The Wire by Asher Levitas.

• “It took centuries, but we now know the size of the Universe.” Chris Baraniuk explains.

Barnbrook Studios creates identity for Kubrick exhibition at Somerset House.

• Watch a haunting video from Subtext Recordings and Eric Holm.

• Folklore Tapes: A Rum Music Special by Joseph Burnett.

Brion Gysin’s Dreamachine is on sale again.

Rhys Chatham’s favourite albums.

A Guide to Occult London

Skulls and Bones

Zero Time (1979) by Chrome | Zero-Gravity (1996) by Sidewinder |  Zero Moment (2016) by Contact