Weekend links 410

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William Hope Hodgson’s final Carnacki mystery, The Hog, received its first magazine publication in January 1947. The cover art by AR Tilburne may not have been originally created for Hodgson’s tale but it complements the story’s atmosphere of febrile dread.

• It’s still April so that means it’s still the month that saw the 100th anniversary of the death of William Hope Hodgson, bodybuilder, manacler of Harry Houdini, and the author of several novels of weird fiction that continue to entrance new generations of readers. The edition of Hodgson’s The House on the Borderland that I illustrated for Swan River Press would have been on sale this month but print problems have caused delays with the run as a whole; anyone interested is advised to contact the publisher for news. • Meanwhile, Jon Mueller (composer of the book’s accompanying soundtrack CD) and myself talked to Swan River Press about the attractions of Hodgson’s novel. • More Hodgsoniana: Greydogtales acknowledged the Hodgson centenary via a discussion with Hodgson scholar Sam Gafford, while Michael Dirda reviewed the new edition of The House on the Borderland and another SRP title, The Scarlet Soul (whose cover I also designed), for The Washington Post.

• “From the ashes of countless decayed Modernities comes Neo-Decadence, a profaned cathedral whose broken stained glass windows still glitter irregularly in the harsh light of a Symbolist sun. Behind this marvellously vandalised edifice, a motley band of revellers picnic in the graveyard of the Real, leaving behind all manner of rotting delicacies and toxic baubles in their wake.” Drowning in Beauty: The Neo-Decadent Anthology edited by Daniel Corrick & Justin Isis is published this month by Snuggly Books, an imprint whose catalogue of new books and first-time translations will be of interest to anyone who comes here for Decadence, Symbolism or anything related. Related to the above: A Neo-Decadence Day at Dennis Cooper’s.

• “Witches are change-makers. They’re transgressive beings who dwell on the fringes of society, and so they’re the perfect icon for rebels, outsiders, and rabble-rousers, especially those of the female persuasion.” Pam Grossman talks to Grimoire about witchcraft and related arts.

• Mixes of the week: Resident Advisor Podcast 621 by Grouper, and Bacchus Beltane 5: The Owl Service by The Ephemeral Man.

• Back in black: Publisher/translator James Conway and designer Cara Schwartz on the cover designs of Rixdorf Editions.

• I was talking again this week at The Writer’s Corner where JKA Short asked me about working as an illustrator.

All Gates Open: The Story of Can by Rob Young is published next week. The Wire has an extract.

• Delusional Albion: Brad Stevens on how foreign directors saw Britain in the Swinging Sixties.

• “There’s no book I love more than Derek Jarman’s Modern Nature,” says Olivia Laing.

Eden Tizard on Soliloquy For Lilith, the drone album by Nurse With Wound.

Owls (1969) by Ruth White | Decadent & Symmetrical (1995) by ELpH vs Coil | The Owls (2013) by Félicia Atkinson

Weekend links 375

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Memento Mori (2012) by Yoshitoshi Kanemaki.

Greydogtales, home to “weird fiction, weird art and even weirder lurchers”, is two years old this month. An essential resource for interviews, reviews and art features.

Kim Morgan on the paranoia at the heart of John Carpenter’s The Thing. The film will receive a welcome Blu-ray reissue by Arrow Films (UK) in November.

• A third and final collection of Patrick Cowley’s soundtracks for gay porn films, Afternooners, will be released in October by Dark Entries.

Photos of the exceptional eldritch art on display until the end of the month at the Ars Necronomica show in Providence, RI.

• Barney Bubbles, Optics & Semantics: an exhibition at Rob Tufnell, London, from 31st August.

Dimitra Fimi and Adam Scovell on 50 years of The Owl Service by Alan Garner.

• The Duality of Yoshitoshi Kanemaki’s Wooden Sculptures.

• Tristan Bath on The Strange World of Keiji Haino.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 504 by Curses.

Photos of René Magritte.

• RIP Brian Aldiss

Grey Promenade (1985) by Roger Eno | Grey Stripe (1994) by Aphex Twin | Greyscale (2008) by 2562

Owls and flowers

1: The pattern

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2: A novel by Alan Garner

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The Owl Service (1967). Cover design by Kenneth Farnhill.

3: A Granada TV serial

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The Owl Service (1969). Eight episodes, written by Alan Garner, directed by Peter Plummer.

Continue reading “Owls and flowers”

To Kill a King by Alan Garner

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This is a very curious short film I’d not come across before, the final entry in Leap in the Dark, a series of half-hour supernatural dramas and documentaries broadcast by the BBC from 1973 to 1980. To Kill A King could be viewed as a supernatural piece although it’s more of a psychodrama with writer Harry (Anthony Bate) struggling to maintain contact with his spectrally visible muse after a long period of inactivity. Bate is a familiar face from TV drama of this period, often playing government officials, memorably so in his role as Oliver Lacon for the BBC’s two George Smiley serials. Jonathan Elsom and Pauline Yates play Harry’s secretary and sister, neither of whom are very sympathetic to Harry’s predicament or to each other.

What’s odd about the film is that it seems to be a partial self-portrait of its author: the house where Harry lives is either Garner’s own or one very like it, close to the Jodrell Bank radio telescope on the Cheshire Plain; Garner has spoken about the years of deep depression that prevented him from writing. If these details are circumstantial there’s a brief shot of the Carnegie Medal that Garner was awarded for The Owl Service in 1967. The whole film is so hermetic and inaccessible it seems to have been written more as an act of personal exorcism (or perhaps of evocation) rather than anything intended as mere entertainment. Watch it here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Red Shift by Alan Garner

Weekend links 84

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Regeneration (2011) by Toshiyuki Enoki. Via.

HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the art exhibition that caused such a fuss last year at the Smithsonian Institution, opens at the Brooklyn Museum, NYC, on November 18th. Among the events associated with the show is a screening of James Bidgood’s lusciously erotic Pink Narcissus. David Wojnarowicz’s video piece, A Fire in My Belly, is still a part of the exhibition so the New York Daily News reached for the outrage stick to prod some reaction from people who’d never heard of the artist or his work before. Will history repeat itself? Does the Pope shit in the woods? Watch this space…

Magic is not simply a matter of the occult arts, but a whole way of thinking, of dreaming the impossible. As such it has tremendous force in opening the mind to new realms of achievement: imagination precedes the fact. It used to be associated with wisdom, understanding the powers of nature, and with technical ingenuity that could let men do things they had never dreamed of before. The supreme fiction of this magical thinking is The Arabian Nights, with its flying carpets, hidden treasure and sudden revelations…

Marina Warner, whose new book, Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights, is reviewed here and here.

• Those Americans who adore big business but loathe the idea of gay marriage will be dizzy with cognitive dissonance at the news that 70 major US companies—including CBS, Google, Microsoft and Starbucks—have signed a statement saying the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is bad for business. Mark Morford at SFGate says this now means that real homophobes don’t Google.

Divining with shadows and dreams, tears and blood: S. Elizabeth talks to JL Schnabel of BloodMilk about her “supernatural jewels for surrealist darlings“.

Earth: Inferno (2003), a short film by Mor Navón & Julián Moguillansky based on the book by Austin Osman Spare. Via form is void.

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Illustration by Virgil Finlay for A. Merritt’s The Face in the Abyss. From a 1942 Finlay portfolio at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

The Mute Synth as created by Dirty Electronics & designed by Adrian Shaughnessy.

Phil Baker reviews two new Aleister Crowley biographies at the TLS.

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

The Most Amazing Room In Queens, NYC.

Brian Eno on composers as gardeners.

Alan Turing is Alan Garner’s hero.

• Paintings by Guy Denning.

Static (1998) by Redshift | The Owl Service (2000) by Pram | Lover’s Ghost (2010) by The Owl Service.