Weekend links 170

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Owl portrait by Iain Macarthur.

• “Ghost Box is a glance through a window seeing something running alongside our version of reality. Like, what if Paul McCartney had made records with the Radiophonic Workshop?” Ghost Box designer and Mr Focus Group, Julian House is interviewed.

• “…that book with the girl with the hatchet in her head…” Dave Tompkins remembers Denis Gifford’s A Pictorial History of Horror Movies (1973), a formative influence of mine, and that of many other people, it seems.

Salvador Dalí’s 1946 illustrated edition of Macbeth. Related: From Macbeth to the Wizard of Oz: New exhibition explores the erotic side of witchcraft.

I do not want to live in a world where the government and a select few conservative feminists get to decide what we may and may not masturbate to, and use the bodies of murdered women or children as emotional pawns in that debate. It is supremely difficult to achieve radical ends by conservative means. Feminists and everyone who seeks to end sexual violence should be very cautious when their immediate goals seem to line up neatly with those of social conservatives and state censors.

Laurie Penny on the recent Tory policy of attempting to limit online pornography.

The Facebook page for The Wicker Man has details of the pursuit for a complete print of the film. A Blu-ray edition will be released in October.

Anne Billson visited the Hotel Thermae Palace in Ostend, the columnated location of Daughters of Darkness.

Kenneth Anger on how he made Lucifer Rising. The ICA in London is screening his films this weekend.

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Roy Krenkel illustrates Tales of Three Planets by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1964.

The Electric Banana Blows Your Mind: The soundtrack library alter ego of The Pretty Things.

• Mix of the week: an ambient (in the 90s’ sense of the word) DJ set by Surgeon.

Bernie Krause shares the happiest sounds he’s heard in nature.

• RIP Walter De Maria, sculptor and musician.

Sexodrome by Asia Argento with Morgan.

• Metabolist: Identify (1980) | Curly Wall (1980) | Ymuzgo/Pigface (1981)

Weekend links 147

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Bestia Apocalypsi (2000) by Konstantin Kalynovych.

A funding page for Better Things: The Life and Choices of Jeffrey Catherine Jones, Maria Paz Cabardo’s documentary film about the late comic artist and illustrator.

• Phantasmaphile’s Pam Grossman has declared 2013 to be the Year of the Witch.

• At WFMU: The Space Ghost Coast To Coast Sonny Sharrock Tribute Episode.

I think that mass culture is idiotic. I always have. Even things that are the sort of trendy new whatevers, it’s always about money and sex and nothing else.

Laurie Anderson on music for dogs and Obama.

• It’s that…thing…again. Clive Hicks-Jenkins on his new Mari Lwyd designs.

• Rick Poynor’s Dictionary of Surrealism and the Graphic Image.

• “Why do gay porn stars kill themselves?” asks Conner Habib.

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If you’re staycationing in Scarfolk this year you’ll be pleased to hear the town now has 20% less rabies. Above: The 1972–73 prospectus for scarecrow and wicker man biology at Scarfolk Technical College. Related: A Day At The Seaside. I guessed the source even without the cryptic comments. Can you?

Laurie Spiegel designed a T-shirt for The Wire magazine.

Julia Holter covers Chiamami Adesso by Paolo Conte.

Strange Attractor has two new Austin Spare prints.

Forgotten Women Designers and Illustrators.

• RIP Alan Sharp, a sharp screenwriter.

• “Can You Pass the Acid Test?

Sonny and Linda Sharrock live at WKCR 03/21/74 | Many Mansions (1991) by Sonny Sharrock | Ghost Planet National Anthem (1993) by Sonny Sharrock

Children of the Stones

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“Pretty phantasmagorical!” says precocious teenager Matthew when he and his father drive into the fictional village of Milbury in the opening scene of Children of the Stones. Matthew’s father is a scientist whose work requires a three-month stay in a village built in the centre of a series of ancient ramparts and stone circles. Once settled they find many of the villagers to be blandly cheerful, while Matthew discovers that his maths skills at the local school pale beside younger children who can solve complex equations with ease. Omnipresent characters in the village are Hendrick, a retired astronomer who owns the local manor house and acts as village squire, Margaret, a newly-arrived archaeologist who knows the history of the stones, and Dai, a vagrant poacher who lives outside the circle, and who seems eager to remain free of the Stepford-like happiness afflicting his neighbours.

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Matthew (Peter Demin).

Matthew’s “phantasmagorical” epithet is directed at the neolithic mound outside the village but could easily apply to the whole of this seven-part serial which I watched again recently. It was an HTV production first broadcast in early 1977 and I’d not seen any of it since that time. A mystery serial for children involving pagan history, folk rituals and an undercurrent of science fiction wasn’t such a surprising thing in the 1970s, this was a decade when a popular interest in the occult and the paranormal was more prevalent than at any time before or since. Children’s television reflected adult trends which is why we got to see an adaptation of Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, the occult adventure series Ace of Wands (with its hero named “Tarot”), The Tomorrow People (which occasionally strayed from science fiction to science fantasy) and others (see an earlier post, Occultism for kids). Children of the Stones was the most complex of all of these, a well-crafted drama with similarities to Nigel Kneale’s TV plays, The Wicker Man and The Prisoner. With a slight change of emphasis it would have worked just as well as a serial for adults. The best children’s serials of the period were usually adaptations of novels; Children of the Stones was an original work for television, written by Jeremy Burnham & Trevor Ray, and directed by Peter Graham Scott.

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Adam (Gareth Thomas), Margaret (Veronica Strong) and Hendrick (Iain Cuthbertson).

Continue reading “Children of the Stones”

A playlist for Halloween: Hauntology

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Flyers by Julian House for tonight’s Ghost Box event at Mono Cafe Bar, Glasgow.

It’s a tradition here to post some recommended listening each Halloween. This year there’s an embarrassment of riches with five listings chosen from the multitudes at Mixcloud. Hauntology is the theme, not Jacques Derrida’s spectral musings but Simon Reynolds‘ deployment of the term to define the music produced by artists on the UK’s Ghost Box label—Belbury Poly, The Focus Group, The Advisory Circle, Pye Corner Audio et al—and their allies delving into similar areas: “folklore, vintage electronics, library music and haunted television soundtracks”. I’ve been plugging the Ghost Box people for years but going by Mark Pilkington’s recent introduction to the sub-genre some still find this information to be news.

All the following mixes feature Ghost Box tracks, with the Ghost Radio mix being almost solely derived from the label’s releases. All the mixes are a year or so old apart from the Samhain Seance which was posted at the weekend. I’ve been playing these round the clock for the past couple of days, enjoying the way one playlist bleeds into another. Given the choice of only one I’d pick Samhain Seance, a great selection and very adeptly sequenced. Among the highlights there’s a lengthy extract from the occult-themed TV serial I mentioned yesterday, Children of the Stones, which had a superb vocal score by contemporary classical composer Sidney Sager. The Aethereus Mix also features Sager’s score, and opens with a warning from The Stone Tape which has even greater resonance today: “It’s in the computer!”

(Note: I corrected some of the track credits.)

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The Aethereus Mix by Soulless Central Radio

The Box Of Delights by Roger Limb
Ecneuqes Rorrim by Pye Corner Audio
The Unseeing Eye by Malcolm Clarke
Cheyne Walk by Jon Brooks
Manège by Jaques Lasry
Children Of The Stones by Sidney Sager
Chocky by John Hyde
A Year And A Day by Belbury Poly
Willow’s Song by Paul Giovanni
Saturn by Neu! [What? This isn’t Neu! It’s a piece by an American artist, Neue.]
Variation 19 by Andrew Lloyd Webber
House Among The Laurels by Jon Brooks
The Ghost Of John by Kristen Lawrence
Double Trouble by John Williams
Windfall by Dead Can Dance

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Fantasmagories by Timewriter

Funerailles Des Vampires by Acanthus
Hypnosis by Atrium Carceri
The Moonlawn by Belbury Poly
The Giving Of The Grape by Blood Stereo
Enferissimo by Camille Sauvage
Dream Music by Jonathan Elias
Evaparizione by Ennio Morricone
Spellbound by Creed Taylor
Sequenza Psichedelica by Piero Umiliani
Fantasm by Bernard Fevre
Funeral Organ by Fred Myrow
Uomini Al Bando by Bruno Nicolai
Lucifer Rising by Jimmy Page
Black Mass by Mort Garson
Spookies by James Calabrees
Forest Of Evil by Frank Reidy & Eric Allen
Hell House by Brian Hodgson & Delia Derbyshire
Raven’s Lament by The Haxan Cloak
Voodoo by The Natural Yoghurt Band
Lost World by Moran Russell
Falling by Delia Derbyshire
Sang Pourpre by Igor Wakhévitch
Untitled by Vladimir Ussachevsky

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Ghost Radio by elevatoresque

Activate The Poacher by Moon Wiring Club
The Willows by Belbury Poly
Sundial by The Advisory Circle
The Third Eye Centre by Mount Vernon Arts Lab
Hey Let Loose Your Love by The Focus Group
Mind How You Go by The Advisory Circle
Ghost Radio by Moon Wiring Club
Owls And Flowers by Belbury Poly
Civil Defence Is Common Sense by The Advisory Circle
Inside Shoebox Garden by Moon Wiring Club
Albion Festival Report by The Focus Group
Erosion Of Time by The Advisory Circle
Opening Leaves by Moon Wiring Club
Meditation On Nothingness by Roj
Feldspar by Mount Vernon Arts Lab
Nuclear Substation by The Advisory Circle
Far Off Things by Belbury Poly
Plant Room by Mordant Music
Jam Jar Carnival by The Focus Group
Everyday Electronics by The Advisory Circle
They Are In The Room With Us Right Now by Roj
Wool Book by Moon Wiring Club
Post Apocalypse Listings by Mordant Music
From An Ancient Star by Belbury Poly
Fire, Damp And Air by The Advisory Circle

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The Insomniacs Almanac by Melmoth The Wanderer

While London Sleeps by Mount Vernon Arts Lab
So Run Down by The Caretaker
Moondial (Theme) by Unknown
The Bane Tree (intro) by (Episodes From) The Field Bazaar
Sorcerer by Ataraxia
The Black Drop by Mount Vernon Arts Lab
In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country by Boards Of Canada
Of Grace And Providence (Remixed) by The Caretaker
The Voice by Brian Hodgson & Delia Derbyshire
The Wicker Man by Paul Giovanni
Children Of The Stones Theme by Sidney Sager
Legend Of Hell House by Brian Hodgson & Delia Derbyshire

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Samhain Seance by The Ephemeral Man

Twins Of Evil (extract)
Forest Of Evil (Dawn) by Demdike Stare
Blackthorn Winter by Sproatly Smith
The Harmony Programme by The Focus Group
Sulphur by Cyclobe
The Power Of The Witch (extract) Rare BBC Documentary
Another Witch Is Dead by The Eccentronic Research Council
Blood On Satan’s Claw (intro)
Disorder by The Haxan Cloak
Black Blind Light by Moonstone
Denned Earth (Decay And Rebirth) by Ruhr Hunter
Children Of The Stones — Episode 3 (extract), soundtrack by Sidney Sager
Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps by Godspeed You Black Emperor
Grim Reaper by Teen Suicide
The Globe Inn by The Future Kings Of England
Halloween 3 (ending)

Previously on { feuilleton }
A playlist for Halloween: Orchestral and electro-acoustic
A playlist for Halloween: Drones and atmospheres
A playlist for Halloween: Voodoo!
Dead on the Dancefloor
Another playlist for Halloween
The Séance at Hobs Lane
A playlist for Halloween
Ghost Box

Weekend links 107

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Le Faune (1923) by Carlos Schwabe.

• “When I recently attended a conference in China, many of the presenters left their papers on the cloud—Google Docs, to be specific. You know how this story ends: they got to China and there was no Google. Shit out of luck. Their cloud-based Gmail was also unavailable, as were the cloud lockers on which they had stored their rich media presentations.” Ubuweb’s Kenneth Goldsmith on why he doesn’t trust the Cloud.

• “I’m a poet and Britain is not a land for poets anymore.” A marvellous interview with the great Lindsay Kemp at Dangerous Minds. Subjects include all that you’d hope for: Genet, Salomé, David Bowie, Ken Russell, Derek Jarman, The Wicker Man and “papier maché giant cocks”.

• “As early as the 1950s, Maurice Richardson wrote a Freudian analysis which concluded that Dracula was ‘a kind of incestuous-necrophilious, oral-anal-sadistic all-in wrestling match’.” Christopher Frayling on the Bram Stoker centenary.

Björk gets enthused by (among other things) Leonora Carrington, The Hour-Glass Sanatorium and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s YouTube lectures.

• Before Fritz Lang’s Metropolis there was Algol – Tragödie der Macht (1920). Strange Flowers investigates.

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David Marsh recreates famous album covers using Adobe Illustrator’s Pantone swatches.

• New titles forthcoming from Strange Attractor Press. Related: an interview with SAP allies Cyclobe.

• 960 individual slabs of vinyl make an animated waveform for Benga’s I Will Never Change.

• An exhibition of works by Stanislav Szukalksi at Varnish Fine Art, San Francisco,

Keith Haring‘s erotic mural for the NYC LGBT Community Center is restored.

The Situationist Times (1962–1967) is resurrected at Boo-Hooray.

• Doors Closing Slowly: Derek Raymond‘s Factory Novels.

Will Wilkinson insists that fiction isn’t good for you.

• More bookplates at BibliOdyssey and 50 Watts.

The Top 25 Psychedelic Videos of All Time.

Flannery O’Connor: cartoonist.

• RIP Adam Yauch.

• Their finest moment: Sabotage (1994) by Beastie Boys.