Weekend links 600


My kind of window. From a collection of machine-learning images by Unlimited Dream Co. Via Bruce Sterling.

• “I will never call myself a queer. That word is one of the things that I detest that has happened, and it’s almost being forced now. For me, you cannot separate that word from the hatred and violence that once accompanied it. When I read it being used in The New York Times, I think, ‘It’s their word and they can fucking have it all they want.’ I will never use ‘queer.’ It’s an ugly word.” John Rechy, still active at the age of 90, talking to Jeff Weiss about hustling, social opprobrium, and his pioneering books.

• “At a time when we are being constantly told that humanity is destroying the planet, it is somehow comforting to see nature not merely outlasting, but triumphing over humanity’s constructions—as nature does in many of Piranesi’s Views of Rome.” Alasdair Palmer on Piranesi’s peerless renderings of Roman ruins.

• “The magical aspect of Get Back is its total refusal to adhere to the standard tropes of music documentaries. There are no talking heads commenting on the Beatles’ greatness, no continual barrage of quick edits and highlights.” Geeta Dayal on Peter Jackson’s resurrection of the Fab Four.

But men are not traditionally meant to be objects of art. “Men look at women,” John Berger wrote. “Women watch themselves being looked at.” When men look at men, however, they break rules. “I didn’t set out to be radical,” says Miller. “But I was at a fair and I had a huge nude on a stand by Michael Leonard. I’d only been open ten minutes and a woman started having a go and saying it’s filth. What I found fascinating is she’d walked past a whole span of female nudes. I think society is just immune to female nudity. People don’t see it. If you take this to the straight world of an art fair, it provokes reactions other dealers don’t get. There isn’t anyone else like me.”

Tony Wilkes talks to Henry Miller, owner of an art gallery devoted to the male form

• “I imagine men with starched collars, horrified by an animal with no hard edges to grab onto, no solidity to venerate. Something low, lateral, creeping.” Fiona Glen on “Devil Fish”, Cthulhu and cephalomania.

• I like glowing things so Brian Eno’s glowing record turntable has an immediate appeal. A shame it’s a very limited production which is almost certainly sold out by now.

• The next release on the Ghost Box label will be A Letter from TreeTops by Pneumatic Tubes.

• At Dangerous Minds: A Sight for Sore Eyes Vol. 1, a visual history of The Residents.

• At Wormwoodiana: Mark Valentine on the supernatural thrillers of Archie Roy.

• Mix of the week: A reflection on 2021 at A Strangely Isolated Place.

Swan River Press looks back over a year of book production.

• New music: Spherical Harmonics by Joseph Hyde.

Octopus’s Garden (1969) by The Beatles | The Kraken (2006) by Hans Zimmer | Kraken (2017) by Dave Clarkson

7 thoughts on “Weekend links 600”

  1. Not to be snarky (I’m a huge Eno fan) but I am reliably informed by my cousin Larry the electronics engineer that there are several LED turntables currently on the market for substantially less gwop.

    I wonder if Fiona Glen is aware of Hokusai’s Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife? And why does she insist on the spelling ‘Cthulu’? But what really set off my grammar check was her hyphen-itis.

    To Alasdair Palmer’s depressing binary between humans destroying nature and nature outlasting humanity I offer a beautiful Chinese T’ang landscape hanging down at the Freer Gallery entitled the Scholar’s Pavilion. At first glance the title seems odd but after a few moments you see it, couched so perfectly at the base of a mountain, obscured by rising mists and overhanging trees, not imposed on the landscape, not ruined. So there is a third option. Humanity as part of nature. (By the way I agree, Piranesi is cool.)

  2. “…it is somehow comforting to see nature not merely outlasting, but triumphing over humanity’s constructions…”
    Just a reminder that it’s humans who are most at risk from man’s climate change.
    Such progress as western man brought, it seems (*koff-koff!*), has had a huge cost that we have refused to pay.
    OTOH, the Powers That Be don’t care about anything being done, their elected puppets aren’t being made to act appropriately or sufficiently, and the mainstream media are mostly sanguine so here we are and, um, are going.
    And thanks for the link to the Rechy piece. A true revolutionary.

  3. Stephen: I’m fairly sure that Fiona Glen would know the Hokusai given the range of her references. I was going to draw attention to the Cthulhu spelling myself but thought fewer people might look at the piece if I did. There is an argument to be made that no English spelling of Cthulhu is the true one since the word is supposed to be the name of an alien being pronounced by an alien voice. Ramsey Campbell always vocalises it as a kind of weird double-syllable with no hard “C” at the beginning.

    Re: Palmer and Piranesi, it should also be noted that the Roman ruins were all thoroughly excavated and cleaned up/repaired shortly after those etchings were made. One thing I like about the Views of Rome is the way everything is festooned with weeds while many of the arches and columns are half-buried by the accumulated dust of time. Piranesi makes everything look more Romantic (in the artistic sense) by meticulously detailing the decay and exaggerating the scale. The real Rome, which I’ve visited, is still grand and beautiful but also rather disappointing in comparison.

  4. “I was going to draw attention to the Cthulhu spelling myself but thought fewer people might look at the piece if I did.”

    Lots of Cthulhu purists out there are there? That’s funny. I’ve always pronounced it Kah-TOOL-ooh more or less gutturally depending on my mood. The pronunciation I wonder about is Nyarlathotep. How many syllables and where the stress? I favor treating the first two letters as a dipthong so Nyar would be one syllable. NYAR-lat-HO-tep. Stress first and third syllables. Don’t know if there is an official pronunciation. Probably best not to think about these things too much lest they begin to appear in our dreams.

  5. I didn’t really appreciate Lovecraftian pronunciation issues until I was on a panel at NecronomiCon and someone was confused by my mention of Nyarlathotep which I also pronounce with the NYAR as a single syllable. I think it was the same panel where someone else said “DAG-on” for Dagon which may be an actual error since Dagon is a god with a history outside the Cthulhu mythos. R’lyeh is another awkward one, still not sure about that even though I’ve drawn the place enough times.

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