Fechtbuch von 1467


The men with swords theme exhausts itself pretty quickly unless you want to draw continual attention to martial statuary, or those softcore beefcake photos where—as we’ve seen on several occasions—the sword is a subterfuge for other concerns. Hans Thalhofer (or Talhoffer: c. 1420–c. 1490) was a German fencing master whose Fechtbuch von 1467 is worth looking at today not least for its variety of what to our eyes, used to orderly fencing matches, look like very unorthodox moves. Needless to say, when you’re fighting for your life matters of orthodoxy are the last thing on your mind, so why not kick or trip your opponent? One of the great things about books such as this is the window they give on life as it was actually lived, not the mediated (and often erroneous) impressions we receive via film and television.


Wikimedia Commons has many more examples such as these while the Münchener Bibliothek has a scan of the entire book.


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The Classical alibi in physique photography


Stowitts photographed by Nickolas Muray.

The title is from two gallery pages at the Queer Arts Resource which runs through a history of the old subterfuge whereby homoerotic pictures were decorated to look suitably Greek or Roman. This seldom fooled anyone, even in Oscar Wilde’s day, but it no doubt helped to keep the studios out of the law courts. Amid the plaster columns and antique props there’s a card I hadn’t seen before promoting dancer and artist Hubert Stowitts whose role as a satyr is one of the most memorable moments in Rex Ingram’s 1926 film of The Magician.


Jim Galahad.

Also at Queer Arts is a copy of The Dying Gaul with a model who’s in the peak of health and a lot more well-hung than most Greek sculptures.


This picture is something I found ages ago on a lost web page and now have a tenuous reason to post here. What looks like erotica is actually a fashion shoot (and he’s wearing swimming trunks) but it shows how the Classical mode persists. He looks like he wants to see more of Jim’s sword…

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Weekend links 53


Ancient Egyptian capitals from The Grammar of Ornament (1856) by Owen Jones at Egyptian Revival.

• Golden Age Comic Book Stories has been pulling out all the stops recently with entries for Will Bradley, Alphonse Mucha’s Documents Decoratifs (a companion volume to Combinaisons Ornementales), and pages from My Name is Paris (1987) illustrated by Michael Kaluta, an Art Nouveau-styled confection which features scenes from the Exposition Universelle of 1900. Related: Alphonse Mucha in high-resolution at Flickr.

The Sinking Of The Titanic by Gavin Bryars at Ubuweb, the first release on Brian Eno’s Obscure label in 1975. Bryars’ Titanic is an open composition which has subsequently been reworked and re-recorded as more information about the disaster has come to light. The accompanying piece on that album, Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, is the only version you need unless you want Tom Waits ruining the whole thing in the later recording.

• Hayley Campbell claims to have the worst CV in the world but she has a better way with words than most people with bad CVs. She’ll be giving a talk with Tim Pilcher entitled Sex, Death, Hell & Superheroes at The Last Tuesday Society, 11 Mare Street, Bethnal Green, London, on April 8th. Just don’t shout “Xena!” if you attend.

Monolake live at the Dis-Patch Festival Belgrade, Serbia, 2007; 75 minutes of thumping grooves. Related: A video by Richard De Suza using Monolake’s Watching Clouds as the soundtrack.

• “I preached against homosexuality, but I was wrong.” Related: Gay Cliques, a chart, and Sashay shantay épée at Strange Flowers, the last (?) duel with swords fought in France.

• Mixtapes of the week: Electronica from John Foxx and Benge at The Quietus, and Ben Frost mashing up early Metallica, Krzysztof Penderecki, and late Talk Talk for FACT.

• A 40 gigpixel panorama of the Strahov Philosophical Library, Prague, described by 360 Cities as the world’s largest indoor photo.

How Hollywood Butchered Its Best Movie Posters; Steven Heller on Saul Bass.

• Back issues of Coilhouse magazine are now available to buy in PDF form.

Absinthe minded: The ruin of bohemians is back in all the best bars.

Fade Into You (1993) by Mazzy Star.

Totem and tattoo


My thanks to Clive for suggesting this stunning photo, another jewel dredged from the Tumblr swamps which, after some searching around, I discovered originates here. The model is a Brit named Ben, and the blog page showing more of his pictures describes his body art as “one of the sexiest tattoos I’ve ever seen on a guy”. No disagreement there.

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