Weekend links 360

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Threshold (2008) by Roku Sasaki.

• A previously unseen interview with Angela Carter from 1979 in which she talks to David Pringle about her evolution as a writer, literary influences and genre fiction.

• Among the highlights in the latest edition of Wormwood there’s Doug Anderson on Panacea by Robert Aickman, a “vast unpublished philosophical work”.

• The London Review Bookshop podcast: Marina Warner and Chloe Aridjis discuss Leonora Carrington.

The prose works, conversely, read like surrealist poetry. They were written according to a compositional method Roussel called le procédé (the procedure), in which a complicated system of puns rather than traditional narrative logic determines the progression of the story. In Locus Solus, the mad scientist Martial Canterel takes his colleagues on a tour of his country estate—“the lonely place” of the title—to show them the bizarre inventions generated by Roussel’s procédé. These include a device that constructs a mosaic made out of human teeth; a water-filled diamond in which a dancer, a hairless cat, and the head of Danton are suspended; and a series of corpses Cantarel has brought back to life with the fluid “ressurectine,” which compels them to act out the most important event of their former lives, to the scientists’ astonishment.

Ryan Ruby on Raymond Roussel, The Accidental Avant-Gardist

• The latest manifestation of paranormal electronica by The Electric Pentacle is entitled Black Ectoplasm.

Sergey Bessmertny‘s account of working as a camera technician on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker.

• City Of Fallen Angels: The Bug vs. Earth. In conversation with Kevin Martin and Dylan Carlson.

• Sex and art by the Grand Canal: Judith Mackrell on Peggy Guggenheim in Venice.

• A Guide Through the Darkened Passages of Dungeon Synth.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 489 by Samuel Rohrer.

• The late Mika Vainio/Panasonic live in 1996.

Xan Brooks on Cary Grant’s 100 acid trips.

Resurrection (1968) by Steppenwolf | Resurrection (1975) by Master Wilburn Burchette | Resurrection (1987) by Demons Of Negativity

The Secret Life of Edward James

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From the earliest days of YouTube there were two films about Surrealist art that I’d been hoping would one day be posted somewhere so I could watch them again. One was José Montes-Baquer’s collaboration with Salvador Dalí, Impressions de la Haute Mongolie – Hommage á Raymond Roussel (1976), which eventually turned up at Ubuweb; the other was Patrick Boyle’s The Secret Life of Edward James, a 50-minute documentary about the wealthy poet and Surrealist art patron that was screened once, and once only, on the UK’s ITV network in 1978. Boyle’s film, which was narrated by James’ friend and fellow Surrealism enthusiast, George Melly, was my first introduction to a fascinating figure who was one of the last—if not the last—of the many eccentric aristocrats that these islands have produced. I knew James’ name at the time from Surrealist art books where the Edward James Foundation was credited as the owner of paintings by Magritte and Dalí, but had no idea that James was the model for three of Magritte’s paintings, including La reproduction interdite (1937), that he’d abandoned his huge ancestral home to create a Surrealist house at nearby Monkton, and had also commenced the construction of a concrete fantasia, Las Pozas, in the heart of the Mexican jungle at Xilitla. Boyle’s film explores all of this in the calm and uncondescending manner that used to be a staple of UK TV documentaries. I’ve been telling people about this film for years, hoping that somebody might have taped it (unlikely in 1978) but no one ever seemed to have seen it.

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In 1986, two years after James’ death, Monkton was up for sale so Central TV sent George Melly and director Patrick Boyle to revisit the place. Monkton, A Surrealist Dream, was the result, a 26-minute documentary which relied heavily on the earlier film to fill out the details of James’ life. The original resurfaced for me again, albeit briefly, in Brighton in 1998. A Surreal Life: Edward James (1907–1984) was an exhibition at the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery which featured many works from the James art collection, including major pieces by Leonora Carrington (who appears in Boyle’s film), Dalí, Leonor Fini, Magritte, Picasso, Dorothea Tanning, Pavel Tchelitchew and others. A tape of the 1978 documentary was showing on a TV in one part of the exhibition but the people I was with were reluctant to stand around for an hour so all I got to see was a minute or so of Edward in his jungle paradise. Happily we’re all now able to watch this gem of a film since it was uploaded to YouTube earlier this month (my thanks to James at Strange Flowers for finding it!).

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For anyone whose interest is piqued by all of this, two books are worth searching for: Swans Reflecting Elephants, My Early Years (1982) is an autobiography which George Melly compiled from conversations with its subject (and which apparently finished their friendship). James’ propensity for invention means it can’t always be trusted but then that’s the case with many memoirs. A Surreal Life: Edward James (1998) is the 160-page exhibition catalogue which explores James’ life and aesthetic obsessions in a series of copiously-illustrated essays. Both books can be found relatively cheaply via used book dealers.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Las Pozas panoramas
René Magritte by David Wheatley
Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dalí
Mongolian impressions
Hello Dali!
Return to Las Pozas
Dirty Dalí
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie revisited
Las Pozas and Edward James

Weekend links 92

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Untitled etching by Briony Morrow-Cribbs.

• An interview with author Paul Russell whose new novel, The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov, concerns the gay brother of the celebrated Vladimir.

• Joseph Cornell turns up again in a report at Strange Flowers about Locus Solus, an exhibition in Madrid devoted to the work of Raymond Roussel.

Night of Pan: 42 seconds of occult freakery by Bill Butler featuring Vincent Gallo, Twiggy Ramirez plus (blink and you miss him) Kenneth Anger.

Jan Svankmajer talks (briefly) about his new film Surviving Life. A subtitled trailer is here; the very different Japanese trailer is here.

Cormac McCarthy turns in his first original screenplay. I’d rather he turned in a new novel but any new Cormac is better than none at all.

Barnbrook show off another design for the latest CD from John Foxx & The Maths.

Melanie McDonagh asks “Where have all the book illustrators gone?”

• Congrats to Evan for getting his poetry in the New York Times.

Margaret Atwood on writing The Handmaid’s Tale.

Subliminal Frequencies: An Interview With Pinch.

The (Lucas) Cranach Digital Archive

The M.O.P. Radionic Workshop

• Music promos of the week from the Weird Seventies: All The Years Round (1972) by Amon Düül II, and Supernature (1977) by Cerrone.

Mongolian impressions

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My phone line problem still hasn’t been resolved but I am able to get online again for longer than two minutes at a time…for now. Posting may remain sporadic for the next few days.

This is the third time I’ve written about Impressions de la Haute Mongolie, a 50-minute film made by José Montes-Baquer in the mid-70s in which Salvador Dalí is our guide on a phantasmic journey through micrographic landscapes. Dalí’s narration covers such diverse subject matter as Raymond Roussel, giant hallucinogenic mushrooms, Outer Mongolia and Adolf Hitler. The film turned up at Ubuweb a few years ago but without English subtitles. (A document with an English translation was added later.) Now YouTube user DrewBadly has added the English translation to a copy of the film he’s posted on his YT channel. It’s essential viewing for Dalí enthusiasts.

Related: A Movable Feast, Raymond Roussel’s extravagant, hermetic universe.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Hello Dali!
Dalí and the City
Dalí’s Elephant
Dalí in Wonderland
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune
Dirty Dalí
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie revisited
Dalí and Film
Salvador Dalí’s apocalyptic happening
Dalí Atomicus
Impressions de la Haute Mongolie

Weekend links 9

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Own a copy of Arthur #7 (October 2003) with my swirling cover pic featuring cosmic jazz maestro Sun Ra. Lots of good stuff inside, details here.

Spinetingler Magazine announced their nominees the 2010 Spinetingler Award this week. Jeff VanderMeer’s Finch is one of the titles in the Best Novel category while my cover for Jeff’s book is in the Best Cover category.

• A Journey Round My Skull posted the results of the Raymond Roussel illustration contest. Entrants were asked to read Roussel’s story Bertha, The Child-Flower then create a picture based on that.

Has Dottie got legs? The New Criterion on the poetry of Dorothy Parker.

• The gays: Fuck Yeah Hot Weird Guys, more from the Tumblr hall of mirrors; Simon Callow reviews Gay Icons Through the Ages by Tom Ambrose; Wessel + O’Connor Fine Art is open again with a new exhibition at a new location in Lambertville, NJ; some things never change: “Secret tape reveals Tory backing for ban on gays.”

• “Make the inaccessible exciting.” Colin Marshall interviews Chris Bohn, editor of music magazine The Wire.

• More music: Jon Savage’s brief history of Krautrock. The new Soul Jazz compilation, Deutsche Elektronische Musik, is released next week.

Sage of the Apocalypse; Samuel R Delany’s Dhalgren comes to the stage in New York.

• Further Penguin fetishism: “Penguin Decades bring you the novels that helped shape modern Britain.”

• Yes, they’re out there, the Clients From Hell. For a palliative there’s Herbert W Kapitzki’s elegant poster designs from the 1960s.

• Song of the week: House of Glass (1967) by The Glass Family.