Weekend links 125


Coronal Mass Ejection from the surface of the Sun, August 31st, 2012.

• “Most of the main parts were recorded in a single day using Vangelis’s famous technique: try to play as many synths as possible at once.” Simon Drax on the prolific musical output of Zali Krishna. The new Krishna opus is Bremsstrahlung Sommerwind, free to download at the Internet Archive.

• The Northants International Comics Expo (N.I.C.E.) opens on September 22nd. Among the many attendees there will be Mr Alan Moore making his first convention appearance since 1987.

• “Isolated for one night in a boat overlooking the Thames, Geoff Dyer explores representations of reality through the lens of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.”

Now seems the right time to revisit this secret archive of public broadcasting. It’s an antidote to the celebrity-led, format-driven nature of so many arts documentaries made today. It shows that it’s possible to produce TV that is both populist and experimental. And it also refutes the cliché that the 1970s was a decade only of crisis and downturn. “Feminism, political theatre, Ways of Seeing: I wasn’t thinking, ‘what a terrible time’. It was very dynamic, activist, political. Creatively it was very exciting. Yet all they show on those television retrospectives are episodes of Top of the Pops.”

Sukhdev Sandhu talks to Mike Dibb, the director of Ways of Seeing.

• From 1999: Colm Tóibín reviews A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods.

What We See: a song by Julia Holter & Nite Jewel with a film by Delaney Bishop & Jose Wolff.

Rick Poynor on The crash test dummy: from subcultural fringes to pop culture mainstream.

In his 1973 book on Joyce, Joysprick, Burgess made a provocative distinction between what he calls the “A” novelist and the “B” novelist: the A novelist is interested in plot, character and psychological insight, whereas the B novelist is interested, above all, in the play of words. The most famous B novel is Finnegans Wake, which Nabokov aptly described as “a cold pudding of a book, a persistent snore in the next room.” The B novel, as a genre, is now utterly defunct; and A Clockwork Orange may be its only long-term survivor.

Martin Amis on A Clockwork Orange, fifty years on. My old post about the film’s record shop scene continues to be one of the most popular pages here.

• Wild Boys: David Bowie and William Burroughs in 1974, hand-coloured by DB.

Alfred Kubin‘s illustrations for Haschisch (1902) by Oscar AH Schmitz.

• Revolution off: industrial ruins photographed by Thomas Jorion.

• Tetrahedra of Space: 22 pulp illustrations by Frank R. Paul.

The Blue Boy Studiolo: a Tumblr.

Marina Warner visits Hell.

• The art of Casey Weldon.


Third Stone From The Sun (1967) by The Jimi Hendrix Experience | Sunrise In The Third System (1971) by Tangerine Dream | 3rd From The Sun (1982) by Chrome.

11 thoughts on “Weekend links 125”

  1. It has been a very long time since I read A Clockwork Orange. More than thirty years. Amis is doubtless more familiar with the text. Unlike him, I’m not sure which is the “darker” ending. Is there not reason to be more chilled, if all the young men cooing over baby pictures are just like Alex?

    I don’t say that Burgess wouldn’t have seen the American ending as darker, but I don’t know that we should care. The whole book is trying to get Alex off the hook: “sin” and free will are a package deal; he can be redeemed; he is just like us (though who we are likely bears no close examination).

    And if I equate thuggery and sentimentality, is that just because I have an Italian name? If Christianity seems a religion for those in love with villainy, is that just because I grew up in a Christian country?

    As for whether Burgess is an A novelist or a B novelist, is he really either? The flashy language (B tendency) is just a blind for the moral vision, the mafioso view of the world, no? It may be doubted that a primary interest in pushing a moral vision or a world view is the same as an interest in plot, character, and psychology. (Odd to group plot with character and psychology, anyway.) But there is, after all, no reason to suppose that there are only these two kinds of novelist, A and B.

    (Hal Clement would seem to be a non-A, non-B novelist. Non-A, non-B novelists are diverse.)

    Amis quotes Burgess: “a work too didactic to be artistic … pure art dragged into the arena of morality”. So why is the false dichotomy accepted and Burgess let off the hook?

  2. Thanks, John, I hadn’t seen that before. I didn’t know about the Rolling Stones connection, but as I was writing my ill-considered rant, they did occur to me as an example of a bunch of Alexes.

    Sadly, Burgess’s self-presentation still gets right up my nose. I shouldn’t let the old bastard bug me, but he does. I’m sure I exhibit the same smug, heavy-handed sarcasm, myself.

  3. Matthew: I don’t mind Burgess so much. I’ve not read a lot of his fiction but his books about Joyce are ideal introductions for would-be readers. The Rolling Stones connection is further compounded by the use of the Chelsea Drugstore as a film location which includes a Mick Jagger poster among its background details.

    Gabriel: I saw that book mentioned on Twitter earlier today. I’m currently writing something about steampunk for Eye magazine, and one of my points is the way the subgenre is being applied to an ever-expanding range of subjects. This merely confirms the observation.

  4. Having read this:

    … and includes a great number of how-to guides covering such things as: … steam-powered vibrators

    I predict a need for retraining in Mamod’s customer services department. As for product development …

  5. As mentioned in the video Alan Moore is writing a chapter for the book about Victorian prostitution because all the research he did when he wrote From Hell makes him an expert on killing victorian prostitutes.

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