Weekend links 304


One of ten new stamps designed by The Chase for the Royal Mail’s Shakespeare celebrations.

• “I basically had this problem with bombast and intensity. And I started to feel like it was a nuclear arms race.” Tim Hecker talking to Rick Moody about loud sounds, Icelandic elves and Minimalism. Hecker’s new album, Love Streams, features contributions from Ben Frost and Jóhann Jóhannsson.

• “He joked in a letter to Edmund Wilson that he had ‘managed to get into Harvard with a butterfly as my sole backer.'” Laura Marsh on Nabokov the lepidopterist.

• The brutal musical legacy of JG Ballard by Tim Noakes. Ballard’s own musical taste, as revealed in his choice for Desert Island Discs, was mostly nostalgic.

One outcome of this sense that homosexual people existed in large numbers while still remaining more or less invisible to the naked eye was the suspicion that when they got together they were likely to engage in something more, something even worse than the indulging of a perversion. Notoriously, the networks of homosexuality seemed to transcend many more formal social and political boundaries, reifying crossovers not only between national and ethnic cultures, but between high society and the demi-mondes of bohemian artists, and so forth. The Homintern certainly helped cross-fertilise the arts.

Gregory Woods on the gay artists and writers who changed the world

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 544 by Tim Gane, Abs’s Cornerhouse Classics by Abigail Ward, and Secret Thirteen Mix 181 by Broken Bone.

I Can’t Give Everything Away: Jonathan Barnbrook’s text-and graphics video for the song by David Bowie.

• “Chernobyl is spooky, in the manner of all disowned places.” Simon Parkin enters the Zone.

Osman Ahmed on why Doreen Valiente is “the mother of modern witchcraft”.

• The camera obscura art of Abelardo Morell.

An oral history of Taxi Driver.

Swiss graphic design in CSS

• RIP Tony Conrad

Lady Macbeth (1972) by Third Ear Band | In The Back Of A Taxi (1984) by Penguin Cafe Orchestra | Butterfly Mornings (2001) by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Vibrations

2 thoughts on “Weekend links 304”

  1. Regarding Ballard’s musical taste being mostly “nostalgic,” as you put it, Burroughs was the same way. He didn’t care much for the music of the bands who claimed to be influenced by him. One in particular is Steely Dan, who he felt tried too hard to be clever. He preferred the music of the ’10s, ’20s, ’30s, and ’40s, as can be seen in Naked Lunch, in which numerous references are made to songs of that period. Ian McFadyen does a great job of tracking down some of the references in his “Dossier 6: A Little Night Music” in his and Oliver Harris’ Naked Lunch @ 50 collection.

  2. The nostalgia is confirmed in Ballard’s case by his comments in the radio interview when he talks about the childhood memories associated with many of the songs. With Burroughs I feel it’s slightly different: the songs he mentions obviously have a connection to his boyhood in St Louis but the fact that he mentions them in contexts that are often strange, disjunctive or horrific gives them a peculiar quality they wouldn’t otherwise possess. The 1927 version of Duke Ellington’s East St. Louis Toodle-Oo always has a vaguely sinister tone for me after Howard Brookner used it at the opening of his Burroughs film.

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