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 , 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.
• 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.
• RIP Stephen Sondheim.