Weekend links 597

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Untitled art by Toshio Okazaki from JCA Annual 5, 1984.

• “Yeah, when I first started writing it, nobody knew what to call it at all. I mean, the publishers didn’t know what to call it. They thought that Tolkien was (writing about) a post-apocalyptic nuclear world. That’s the only way they could perceive an alternate world, in other words. And it was the same with Mervyn Peake… they’re all interpreted that way. The idea of putting ‘fantasy’ on a book meant usually meant that it was a children’s book. And if you put fantasy as the genre, they usually put ‘SF’ larger than ‘fantasy’ to show that it was what it was.” Michael Moorcock (again) talking to Derek Garcia about fiction, games, and (of course) Elric.

• “Non-payment, low payment, late payment and promises of jam tomorrow, or at some unspecified future date, bedevil the freelance life as they did five centuries ago.” Indeed. Boyd Tonkin on Albrecht Dürer, patron saint of stroppy freelancers.

• “All at once, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret is tender, outrageous and daft.” Patrick Clarke compiles an oral history of Soft Cell’s debut album.

Yeah, it was kind of a media hype. In January [1967], the media said, [breathless] ‘Oh my god, San Francisco is the place to be. Come to San Francisco, wear flowers in your hair.’ So we had a meeting of the people in the Haight-Ashbury about how we were going to deal with so many people coming. The Diggers decided to kind of make it a university of the streets, an alternative anarchist culture.

We knew that all these people were coming to San Francisco, and we knew they weren’t going to stay. And we thought, well, the best thing we could do would be to kind of educate them about the kinds of things that are possible in society, and then let them go back to where they’re from, and they would carry these ideas. And that is what happened. We were quite successful in that.

Judy Goldhaft of the San Francisco Diggers talking to Jay Babcock for another installment of Jay’s verbal history of the hippie anarchists

• “What ‘impossible’ meant to Richard Feynman; what I learned when I challenged the legendary physicist,” by Paul J. Steinhardt.

• At Strange Flowers: part one of James Conway’s essential end-of-year shopping list, Secret Satan.

• Mixes of the week: Part II and Part III of the three-part At The Outer Marker series by David Colohan.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Olivia Duval presents…Suave: A History of Les Disques du Crépuscule.

Mystery and Truth of the Cthulhu Myth, a Japanese guide to the Cthulhu Mythos.

• Intimacy, Loss and Hope: Inside Florian Hetz’s beautiful 2020 photo diary.

• New music: The Tower (The City) by Vanessa Rossetto/Lionel Marchetti.

Nite Jewel’s favourite albums.

• RIP Stephen Sondheim.

Nothing Is Impossible (1974) by The Interns | Mission Impossible Theme (1981) by Ippu-Do | Impossible Guitar (1982) by Phil Manzanera

Weekend links 523

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One of Ian Miller‘s drawings from the illustrated edition of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, 1979.

• “I always said we were kind of an electronic punk band, really. We were never New Romantics, I don’t like it when we get lumped in with that.” Dave Ball of Soft Cell and The Grid talking to Duncan Seaman about his autobiography, Electronic Boy: My Life In and Out of Soft Cell. I’ll now be waiting impatiently for the unreleased Robert Fripp/Grid album to appear.

• “[Patricia] Highsmith’s writing—often eviscerating, always uncomfortable—has never been more relevant,” says Sarah Hilary.

• Ron Peck’s debut feature, Nighthawks (1978), is “a nuanced look at gay life in London,” says Melissa Anderson.

And then there are those figures who seem to flit around the edges of movements without ever being fully involved in any of them, who pursue their own eccentric paths no matter what is going on around them. These are the writers who make up the secret history of literature, the hidden history that’s not easily reduced to movements or trends, and who always waver on the verge of invisibility until you stumble by accident onto one of their books and realize how good they actually are, and wonder, Why wasn’t I told to read this before? But of course you already know the answer: You were not told because it doesn’t fit smoothly into the story those in authority made up about what literature is—it disrupts, it can’t be reduced to the literary equivalent of a meme.

That’s the kind of writer Pierre Klossowski (1905–2001) is. He is not a joiner. He has his own particular and often peculiar concerns, and pursues them. He does not particularly welcome you in. The content of his writing, too, has the feel of a gnostic text, as if you are reading something that, if only you were properly initiated, you would understand in a different way. In that sense his work has an esoteric or occult quality to it—and likewise in the sense that it returns again and again to the intersection of religion and pornography, the sacred and the profane.

Brian Evenson on The Suspended Vocation by Pierre Klossowski

• Chad Van Gaalen creates a psychedelic animation for Seductive Fantasy by the Sun Ra Arkestra.

• More sneak peeks from the forthcoming The Art Of The Occult by S. Elizabeth.

• More Robert Fripp: Richard Metzger on Fripp’s sui generis solo album, Exposure.

Pamela Hutchinson on the pleasures of David Lynch’s YouTube channel.

• Mix of the week: a second Jon Hassell tribute mix by Dave Maier.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Ferdinand presents…Dark Entries Day.

15 fascinating art documentaries to watch now.

Soft Power by Patten.

• RIP Milton Glaser.

hauntología

Aquarium (1992) by The Grid (with Robert Fripp) | Soft Power (2005) by Ladytron | The Martian Chronicles (2007) by Dimension X

Weekend links 456

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A Mrs Radcliffe Called Today (1944) by Dorothea Tanning.

Darran Anderson on how the Bauhaus kept things weird. “Many imitators of the famous art school’s output have missed the surreal, sensual, irrational, and instinctual spirit that drove its creativity.”

• Notes on the Fourth Dimension: Hyperspace, ghosts, and colourful cubes—Jon Crabb on the work of Charles Howard Hinton and the cultural history of higher dimensions.

• “[Edward] Gorey is slowly emerging as one of the more unclubbable American greats, like Lovecraft or Joseph Cornell,” says Phil Baker.

The label “homosexual writer” stuck for the rest of his career, with Purdy confined to what Gore Vidal called “the large cemetery of gay literature…where unalike writers are thrown together in a lot, well off the beaten track of family values”. In later years, Purdy moved further off the beaten track, as much by intention as circumstance. “I’m not a gay writer,” he would tell interviewers. “I’m a monster. Gay writers are too conservative.”

Speaking to Penthouse magazine in 1978, Purdy said being published was like “throwing a party for friends and all these coarse wicked people come instead, and break the furniture and vomit all over the house”. He added that, in order to protect oneself, “a writer needs to be completely unavailable”.

Andrew Male on writer James Purdy

• The Necessity of Being Judgmental: Roger Luckhurst on k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher.

Faunus: The Decorative Imagination of Arthur Machen, edited by James Machin with an introduction by Stewart Lee.

• More James Purdy: “His poetry displays a softness that readers of his fiction might not expect,” says Daniel Green.

Drag Star! is a 150,000-word interactive novel/text adventure by Evan J. Peterson.

• At Dangerous Minds: Dave Ball discusses his years as the other half of Soft Cell.

Daisy Woodward on the story of radical female Surrealist Dorothea Tanning.

• Inside the bascule chamber: photos of Tower Bridge, inside and out.

Tim Smith-Laing on the meaning of Miró’s doodles.

• Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Emma Kunz.

rarecinema: a shop at Redbubble.

Apollo Press Kits

The Fourth Dimension (1964) by The Ventures | Dimension Soleils (1983) by Gilles Tremblay | Into The Fourth Dimension (1991) by The Orb

Weekend links 433

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Cover art for Six Correlations, a solo album by Emptyset’s James Ginzburg which is released later this month. Photo by Clayton Welham.

• “Every single leather S&M club in London was raided by the police at least once, but they couldn’t get any convictions because juries wouldn’t convict us.” Ed Siddons on the death of London’s gay leather scene.

• I’ve been listening to a lot of Stereolab this week so this post from Dangerous Minds last year was useful: “The intriguing origins of ‘Cliff,’ the cartoon character that’s all over Stereolab’s early album art”.

• Available for pre-order: Performance – The Making of a Classic, a book by Jay Glennie celebrating the 50th anniversary of Donald Cammell & Nicolas Roeg’s cult feature film.

• Out later this month from Strange Attractor: The Haunted Writings of Lionel Johnson, the Decadent Era’s Dark Angel, edited by Nina Antonia.

• Mixes of the week: Rosemary Hill – an Autumn Autobiography by cafekaput, and Secret Thirteen Mix 267 by Drew McDowall.

The top 100 albums of The Quietus’ existence, as picked by tQ’s writers.

RC Harvey on the 50th anniversary of (American) underground comix.

• At Haute Macabre: An enigmatic baroness and her collection of skulls.

Miyu Kojima creates miniature replicas of lonely deaths.

Scratches in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Richard Thompson’s favourite albums.

Wrong Airport Ghost by Sam Slater.

Mark Valentine’s 3 Wyrd Things.

• 4/4 In Leather (1981) by Eurythmics | The Girl With The Patent Leather Face (1981) by Soft Cell | Leather Bound (1982) by Patrick Cowley

Weekend links 370

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The Conjure (2016) by Jolene Lai. Via Dangerous Minds.

• RIP George Romero, a proudly independent filmmaker who succeeded on his own terms. Kim Newman remembers the man who remade horror cinema. Romero always referred to Powell & Pressburger’s Tales of Hoffmann (1951) as a key cinematic influence, something he discussed with Marc Lee in 2005.

Man Alive (BBC TV, 1967): Consenting Adults: 1. The Men | Consenting Adults: 2. The Women. Two documentaries about the British homosexual experience screened shortly before the House of Commons vote that decriminalised sex between men in England and Wales.

Dolente…Dolore: The Inferno of Malcolm Lowry is the latest musical release from Larkfall: “a trembling, drunken dream with flashes of heaven and hell…”

Tom Harper on The Klenke Atlas (1660), one of the largest atlases in the world which is now available for viewing at the British Library.

Martin Jenkins of Pye Corner Audio, The House In The Woods et al talks to Bandcamp about his own brand of sinister electronica.

• RIP Peter Principle, a musician whose up-front bass playing was always a key feature of the Tuxedomoon sound.

• And RIP actor John Heard talking to Will Harris in 2015 about some of his many roles in film and TV.

• 355 free copies of Galaxy Magazine at the Internet Archive.

• Google Maps goes inside the International Space Station.

• Good with a knife: The papercut art of Ivonne Carley.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 610 by Karen Gwyer.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Yasujiro Ozu Day.

• L’alba Dei Morti Viventi (1978) by Goblin | East/Jinx/•••/Music #1 (1981) by Tuxedomoon | Martin (1983) by Soft Cell