Weekend links 354


The Dolly, Dolly Spy (1968).

• As mentioned previously, Concrete Desert is a musical collaboration between The Bug (Kevin Martin) and Earth’s Dylan Carlson inspired, they say, by Los Angeles and the fiction of JG Ballard. Martin & Carlson talked to Patrick Clarke at The Quietus about the album’s creation. Elsewhere, Kevin Martin compiled a list for Bleep of ten musical influences on the album, and Dylan Carlson had a Fireside Chat with Red Bull Music.

• Phil Legard of Xenis Emputae Travelling Band and Hawthonn has released a new EP, Hesperian Garden, featuring compositions derived from the Monas Hieroglyphica of John Dee.

• More Ballard: Mike Holliday maps the evolution of Crash, a novel which is published in a new “Collector’s Edition” by Fourth Estate next week.

Teleplasmiste “bridge the oscillation gap from deep listening ambient music and the heaviest of doomy drones,” says Richard Fontenoy.

David Barnett on Adam Diment, “the superstar spy novelist who vanished for four decades”.

• The queer art underground of 1980s London as photographed by David Gwinnutt.

A sculpture of a Buddhist deity made from 20,000 beetles.

• Mix of the week: XLR8R Podcast 483 by Jane Fitz.

• RIP Gilbert Baker, designer of the rainbow flag.

• Rubber Dolly Rag (1930) by Uncle Bud Landress with Georgia Yellow Hammers | Voodoo Dolly (1981) by Siouxsie and the Banshees | Cosmic Funky Dolly (2003) by Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.

Wildeana 9


Dorian Gray (1968) by Jim Dine; one of a series of prints for an illustrated edition. Rainbows didn’t become a gay symbol until Gilbert Baker’s flag design ten years later.

Continuing an occasional series.

• “…the Public is a very curious thing; it is sometimes perverse, and even obstinate, and it has evidently made up its mind to like the plays of Mr. Oscar Wilde.” Callum at Front Free Endpaper found a sceptical review of The Importance of Being Earnest in The Sketch for 20th February, 1895.

• “Wilde’s vision of Socialism, which at that date was probably shared by many people less articulate than himself, is Utopian and anarchistic.” George Orwell, writing in 1948, looks back at Wilde’s The Soul of Man Under Socialism.

Oscar Wilde between Paris and Brighton: Research at the excellent Charles Ricketts & Charles Shannon blog following Wilde’s travels in the early months of 1891.

Wilde Ride by Anthony Paletta: “Oscar Wilde spent a year in the US and met the likes of Walt Whitman and Henry James.”

• There’s plenty of Wildeana at Pinterest.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Oscar Wilde archive

Over the rainbow


Today is the 30th anniversary of the first appearance of the rainbow flag at a gay pride event. Gilbert Baker designed the flag which was used for the 1978 Gay Freedom Parade in—where else?—San Francisco and he talked to The Independent last week about its legacy.


Baker’s original design can be seen below, with the stripes signifying (from top to bottom) sexuality, life, healing, sunlight, nature, magic, serenity and spirit. Subsequent changes dropped sexuality and magic to give us the more familiar arrangement seen in the photo above but it seems Baker would prefer everyone to revert to his original design. I tend to be ambivalent about rainbows, not only are they ubiquitous in other contexts—the spinning “Marble of Doom” on the left is a familiar sight to Mac users—but any spectrum arrangement presents problems for graphic designers. That aside, I wouldn’t mind seeing the original design returned to in order to distinguish it from the many other rainbow flags. But it may well be too late for that now, the six stripe flag is firmly embedded in gay culture. Garish it may be but it has the advantage of being highly visible, which is partly the point, of course. Flickr photos show how effective it is at standing out in a variety of surroundings.


I was hoping to find a credit for the gay pastiche of Joe Rosenthal’s Iwo Jima photo but details about its creator seem elusive. If anyone knows who the photographer was, please leave a comment. I’ve noticed recently that this photo in particular, one of many pastiches of that famous image, annoys a certain type of knuckle-dragging American who sees it as an insult to the soldiers of the Second World War. In which case one has to hope they haven’t seen this Terry Pratchett book jacket. Here in Britain we regard it as bad taste to take flags too seriously, hence the increasingly common appearance at UK gay events of pink Union flags like the one below. Flags are signs, not religious icons, and as such they’re always open to change and reinterpretation; the evolution and appropriation of Gilbert Baker’s flag is the perfect example of that.

Update: The Joe Rosenthal pastiche is by Ed Freeman.


Previously on { feuilleton }
The recurrent pose #2
Michael Petry’s flag