Weekend links 426

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Self Preservation (1970–77), a collage by Penny Slinger from the series An Exorcism.

• RIP John Calder, one of the most important British publishers of the last century whose death was acknowledged in the Washington Post (and in the Telegraph, a paper that would have given him no support during his censorship battles) but at the time of writing hasn’t been mentioned at all in the increasingly useless Guardian. The omission in the latter seems even more surprising when Calder himself wrote obituaries for the paper, and they ran an archive piece two weeks ago for the 50th anniversary of Calder & Boyars’ successful court defence of Last Exit to Brooklyn. “Publishing is an industry run by capitalists now.

• Another 50th anniversary: David Bushman asked Alan Moore for his memories of Patrick McGoohan’s superb TV series The Prisoner.

Michael Moorcock in conversation with Hari Kunzru at Shakespeare and Company, Paris.

Stephen O’Malley presents Acid Quarry Paris – In Session with Richard Pinhas (Heldon).

• When a rock is a stone: Louise Steinman on finding Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty.

• Victorians, Vaults, and Violet Water: a profusion of links at Greydogtales.

• Mix of the week: FACT mix 666 by Róisín Murphy.

• The amazing adventures of Melinda Gebbie.

Starbirthed

Exorcism (1971) by Lucifer | The Final Calling (Physical Exorcism) (1984) by CTI | Exorcism Of The Hippies (2010) by Mater Suspiria Vision

Weekend links 399

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• “In the mid-Seventies the influential stop-motion animators, Stephen and Timothy Quay, embarked on a series of dark graphite drawings, conceived as imaginary film posters. They kept their first autonomous art project hidden for decades, allowing only a few glimpses to transpire in some of their animation classics such as Noctura Artificialia and Street of Crocodiles. In hindsight, the Black Drawings can be considered as a blueprint for their future work. This book offers a first in-depth exploration of this important graphic series that reveals many of the themes and techniques that would come to life in their celebrated animation films.” Quay Brothers: The Black Drawings 1974—1977 is a book by Edwin Carels and Tommy Simoens.

• The first of the BFI’s forthcoming blu-ray boxes of Derek Jarman films is now available for preorder. In addition to what I presume will be an uncensored presentation of Sebastiane (1976) the set also includes the digital premiere of In the Shadow of the Sun (1980) an “alchemical” blending/transmutation of Jarman’s early Super-8 films with a score by Throbbing Gristle. Related: Adam Scovell on another of the films in the set, Jubilee (1978), and one that Jarman disliked even though it incorporates many of his obsessions, especially in the punk-baiting sequences derived from Shakespeare and Elizabethan metaphysics.

• Mixes of the week: FACT mix 638: Circuit des Yeux, XLR8R Podcast 528 by Huxley Anne, Secret Thirteen Mix 246 by Hiro Kone, and drone works from Abby Drohne. And since the untimely death of composer Jóhann Jóhannsson was announced a few hours ago, a return to his sombre mix for FACT from 2015.

Nabokov’s ambitions weren’t interpretive. He “held nothing but contempt for Freud’s crude oneirology,” Barabtarlo explains, and in tracking his dreams he wasn’t turning his gaze inward. For him, the mystery was outside—far outside. Nabokov had been reading deeply into serialism, a philosophy positing that time is reversible. The theory came from JW Dunne, a British engineer and armchair philosopher who, in 1927, published An Experiment with Time, arguing, in part, that our dreams afforded us rare access to a higher order of time. Was it possible that we were glimpsing snatches of the future in our dreams—that what we wrote off as déjà vu was actually a leap into the metaphysical ether? Dunne himself claimed to have had no fewer than eight precognitive dreams, including one in which he foresaw a headline about a volcanic eruption.

Daniel Piepenbring reviewing Insomniac Dreams by Gennady Barabtarlo

• Gavin Stamp 1948—2017: a eulogy to the late architectural writer by Jonathan Meades. One of Stamp’s more offbeat assignments was providing illustrations for the George Hay Necronomicon in 1978.

Embassy of the Free Mind is the name of the new online library whose digitisation of rare occult volumes was financed by author Dan Brown.

• At Dangerous Minds: Meet Princess Tinymeat, the obscure genderbending trashglam post-punk goth offshoot of Virgin Prunes.

• “Why are film-makers obsessed with the story of doomed British sailor Donald Crowhurst?” asks Jonathan Coe.

• “Asian music influenced Debussy who influenced me—it’s all a huge circle,” says Ryuichi Sakamoto.

• At Spoon & Tamago: The birds of Tokyo beautifully illustrated by Ryo Takemasa.

Mark Pilkington is In Wild Air

Professor Yaffle

The Sun’s Gone Dim And The Sky’s Turned Black (2006) by Jóhann Jóhannsson | The Great God Pan is Dead (2008) by Jóhann Jóhannsson | A Pile of Dust (2016) by Jóhann Jóhannsson

The Labyrinth

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I may no longer post every day but I maintain some traditions so here’s the annual post for Bloomsday. This year all the offerings are courtesy of the British Library who recently expanded their online literary archives. Among the Joycean material there are these Ulysses-related items including one of the first editions published by Shakespeare and Company in 1922. I saw one of these up close in 1995 at a charity auction of banned books in London, not only a first edition but one of the copies that Joyce had signed. Salman Rushdie was in attendance at that event (and still being shadowed by a police escort), and ended up with the book after bidding something like £2000. If you want a signed first of Ulysses today then expect to add another zero to the price.

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Also at the British Library is this copy of The Little Review from April 1920. The magazine was prosecuted for obscenity in the US after publishing the Nausicaa chapter (wherein Mr Bloom masturbates on the beach).

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And another edition of the novel, the first US printing after the legal case against Ulysses was overturned in 1934. This is the edition of the book that opens with an arrestingly page-filling capital S.

The title of this post, incidentally, is taken from Anthony Burgess’s Joyce study Here Comes Everybody (1965), an excellent guide to the author’s works whose section on Ulysses is named after the structure built by Daedalus (Dedalus), The Labyrinth.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Duc de Joyeux
Dubliners
Covering Joyce
James Joyce in Reverbstorm
Joyce in Time
Happy Bloomsday
Passages from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake
Books for Bloomsday

Weekend links 306

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• The Midian Books Occulture catalogue launched this week sporting a cover that I pieced together for Midian’s Jonathan Davies. The design pastiches the look of the Process Church magazines of the early 1970s; inside there’s a haul of Process material on sale together with COUM/Throbbing Gristle ephemera (that’s Cosi Fanni Tutti on the right, as seen on her modelling business card), Kenneth Anger ephemera (that’s Bobby Beausoleil on the left) and much more.

• More occulture: Lost Envoy: The Tarot Deck of Austin Osman Spare launches on 11 May at Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG, from 7–9pm. All are welcome.

• Out this week: Close To The Noise Floor – Formative UK Electronica 1975–1984: Excursions in Proto-Synth Pop, DIY Techno and Ambient Exploration.

• Mixes of the week: Spin Doctor’s All Vinyl Prince Tribute Mix, and the Rum Music Mix by Russell Cuzner.

David Gentleman’s illustrations for New Penguin Shakespeare books, 1967–1977.

• More electronica: Walberswick by Jon Brooks is now available in a digital edition.

• Blown up: Steve Rose on how cinema captured the dark heart of the swinging 60s.

• Six Quietus writers choose favourite Prince songs. Related: The A–Z of Prince

A Timeline of Slang Terms for Male Homosexuality by Jonathan Green.

Berenice Abbott’s views of New York streets then and now.

• Jan Svankmajer is crowd-funding his next film, Insects.

Laurie Anderson on the creation of O Superman.

• Blood Ceremony: The Great God Pan (2011) | Oliver Haddo (2011) | Ballad Of The Weird Sisters (2013) | Let It Come Down (2014)

Night’s black agents

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Poster by Edmund Dulac (1911).

This month sees a profusion of events marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death so here’s my contribution, a rundown of Macbeths-I-have-seen on screen and stage. I’ve mentioned before that Macbeth and The Tempest are my favourite Shakespeare plays, two dramas concerned with magic of very different kinds. Macbeth is the more popular play, not least for being the more easily adaptable: the supernatural dimension may not suit every circumstance but the themes of treachery, fear, paranoia and a murderous struggle for power are universal. This list contains a wide range of adaptations but there are many film versions I’ve yet to see, including the most recent directed by Justin Kurzel.

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Macbeth (1948), directed by Orson Welles
Orson Welles as Macbeth
Jeanette Nolan as Lady Macbeth

I think the Welles adaptation was the first Macbeth of any kind that I saw so it’s fitting that it begins this chronological list. Famously shot over three hectic weeks on the sound stages of Republic Studios, and with sets made from props previously used in cheap westerns, the result is often eccentric. I’ve a lot of time for Welles as a director but this is one film of his that I’ve never enjoyed very much. His theatre performances (and productions) of Shakespeare began at school, and he was seldom precious with the texts: Chimes at Midnight is a fusion of several different plays while this version of Macbeth uses the same doctored script that he directed for the Voodoo Macbeth in Harlem in 1936. I don’t mind some editing—short scenes such as the witches’ meeting with Hecate are often excised—but some of Welles’ changes are made to support his belief that the witches are directly responsible for Macbeth’s actions, a theory I don’t agree with, and which I’ve never seen given credence elsewhere. This explains oddities such as the appearance of the witches at the very end of the film delivering words from the beginning of the play: “Peace! The charm’s wound up.”

Worse than this is the decision to have most of the cast speaking with vague Scottish accents (a “burr” Welles called it), something that would work with a Scottish cast but which courts disaster with a group of Americans working in haste. The accents may be warranted by the setting but the words of the play are English ones, free of common Scottish colloquialisms such as “ken”, “bairn” and the like. On the plus side, it’s good to see Harry Lime-era Welles performing Shakespeare, and the mist-shrouded production has a barbaric quality that Jean Cocteau appreciated. The forked staff that each witch carries is a detail that I’ve borrowed for drawings on a number of occasions.

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Joe MacBeth (1955), directed by Ken Hughes
Paul Douglas as Joe MacBeth
Ruth Roman as Lily MacBeth

The play reworked as a cheap gangster picture set in the Chicago of the 1930s but made in Britain with a partly American cast. I’ve only seen this once (and many years ago) but I recall it being pretty ludicrous, not least for another accent problem with the English actors doing bad impersonations of Chicago hoodlums. Anyone who grew up watching the Carry On comedy films has a hard time taking Sid James seriously in heavy roles, and here he plays the Banquo character, “Banky”. Joe MacBeth is chiefly notable today for being the first entry in the Macbeth-as-gangster sub-genre; after this there was Men of Respect (1990), Maqbool (2003, an Indian film set in Mumbai), and Macbeth (2006, an Australian film set in Melbourne), none of which I’ve yet seen.

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