Weekend links 734

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Illustration by Frank Mechau for The Love of Myrrhine and Konallis (1926) by Richard Aldington.

• At A Year In The Country: The Delaware Road: “A surreal post-war Albion and Quatermass meets Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.”

• At Colossal: Rajesh Vora photographs the unique Punjabi tradition of adorning homes with sculptural water tanks.

• At Unquiet Things: The fragile eternity of Margaretha Roosenboom’s floral still lifes.

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Illustration by Frank Mechau for The Love of Myrrhine and Konallis (1926) by Richard Aldington.

• New music: Damaged by Ghost Dubs, and Selene by Akira Kosemura & Lawrence English.

• At Public Domain Review: Allison C. Meier on The Dance of Death across centuries.

• RIP Shelley Duvall. Related: Anne Billson on Shelley Duvall: her 20 greatest films.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Galerie Dennis Cooper presents…Félicien Rops.

• Steven Heller’s font of the month is Sisters.

Eno Williams’ favourite records.

Two Sisters (1967) by The Kinks | All Your Sisters (1996) by Mazzy Star | Two Sisters (2017) by Gel-Sol

Weekend links 733

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Armenian postage stamps for this year’s Sergei Parajanov centenary.

• At Criterion.com: David Hudson on 100 Years of Sergei Parajanov. The director is honoured with postage stamps and endless plaudits but when do we get blu-ray releases of more of the films that created all this attention in the first place?

• Steven Heller helps round off a noir-themed week with a look back at New York, the city where letterers never sleep. See also Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York.

• New music: Natur by KMRU; Associated Tone Services by Associated Tone Services; The Berklee Sessions by Scanner & Neil Leonard.

• At Spoon & Tamago: Hyper realistic pencil drawings of metallic objects by Kohei Ohmori.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: You are there: Les Cabarets du Ciel et de l’Enfer.

Chris Corsano’s favourite albums.

Signs by Daniel McKee.

• RIP Robert Towne.

Ciel Ouvert (1985) by Yello | Ciels Ténébreuse (1990) by :Zoviet*France: | Monter Au Ciel (1994) by Transglobal Underground

Friends and Spectres

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Presenting my latest cover illustration for Swan River Press, and another story collection edited by Robert Lloyd Parry:

Friends and Spectres is a companion volume to Ghosts of the Chit-Chat (2020), an anthology of ghost stories by authors who had been members of the Cambridge University Chit-Chat Club along with M. R. James. Here the associations with MRJ are less formal, but stronger and more enduring: for it is the bond of genuine friendship that ties these writers to him.

The majority of pieces here were originally published under pseudonyms, and over half appeared first in amateur magazines or local newspapers. All deal with the supernatural, and several of the stories are themselves spectres—or more properly “revenants”, only now re-emerging into the light after decades of oblivion. There are rediscoveries here of “lost” tales by Arthur Reed Ropes, E. G. Swain, and the enigmatic “B.”

My cover for the earlier volume showed an imaginary interior for one of the meetings of the Chit-Chat Club where James first read his own ghost stories. The new cover shows a more accurate exterior view of the grounds outside the King’s College Chapel. Given the quantity of pictorial reference I thought this might be relatively easy to do but I had a problem finding a view that matched the one I had in mind, a twilight view of the west end of the chapel seen front-on rather than at a sharp angle. Views of the chapel from the banks of the river have been standing as an emblem of the university itself for a very long time but the majority of these are angled views. My solution was to work from a collage of three different reference photos in order to have enough drawing to fill out the spread of the jacket.

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Friends and Spectres is another of Swan River’s small hardbacks which in this case is limited to 500 copies. Given the following that Mr Parry has accumulated via his readings of James’ stories I imagine this one will go quickly, so anyone interested is advised to pre-order now.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Ghosts of the Chit-Chat

The art of Yuhan Ito, 1882–1951

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Sacred Bridge in Nikko.

Sunsets, mist and moonlight. Yuhan Ito painted watercolours devoted to these subjects, a technique which he endeavoured to replicate in the less subtle print medium seen here. Those remarkable nebulous effects were achieved by avoiding the use of a black line-block although darker lines are still used to emphasise foregound shapes. Ito wasn’t a very prolific artist—you won’t find many more prints than this handful from the 1930s—but what there is of his work stands out immediately from that of his contemporaries.

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Pagoda at Nikko.

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Ukimi-do in Biwa Lake.

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Boats in the Sunset Glow.

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Sarusawa Pond.

Continue reading “The art of Yuhan Ito, 1882–1951”

Weekend links 726

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Verticals on Wide Avenues from The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929) by Hugh Ferriss.

Megalopolis, the futuristic epic written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, now has a trailer and a handful of mixed reviews. I recall Coppola saying years ago that he was the kind of director who would happily make films in any genre, science fiction included. I’ve wondered ever since what a full-on Coppola SF film might look like. (Captain EO and Peggy Sue Got Married don’t count). Now it seems we’re about to find out. Given his previous missteps I remain sceptical yet curious about this one. I’ve avoided his output since Bram Stoker’s Dracula but I’m still happy to see him being so ambitious while retaining his independence.

• And RIP Roger Corman who Coppola remembered as “my first boss, task-master, teacher, mentor, and role model. There is nothing about the practical matter of making movies I didn’t learn by being his assistant.” Related: It rained on the Sunday: a career interview with Roger Corman by Matthew Thrift.

• At Retro-Forteana: Fortean-themed music, from opera to metal. A difficult subject for a such short post, as the author admits. I’m amused to see one of my Hawkwind album covers in the list although the album itself doesn’t seem very Fortean to me.

• “Did you know that, if things had gone differently, the Pompidou Centre could have been an egg?” Oliver Wainwright on architecture that might have been.

• At Cartoon Brew: A closer look at great animated title sequences. I deplore the omission of Richard Williams’ titles for The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968).

• At Public Domain Review: Love Spells and Deadly Shrieks: Illustrations of Mandrakes (ca. 650–1927).

• At Wormwoodiana: “That Strange Little Book”: Ding Dong Bell by Walter de la Mare.

• At Unquiet Things: The latest collection of Intermittent Eyeball Fodder.

• Mix of the week: DreamScenes – May 2024 by Ambientblog.

Mandrake Root (1968) by Deep Purple | Mandrake (1975) by Gong | The Mandrake’s Hymn (2019) by Earth