Weekend links 427


Inside an O’Neill Cylinder, an orbital megastructure. Painting by Don Davis, 1975.

• RIP Lindsay Kemp: dancer, actor, choreographer and (if we have to drop names) mentor to David Bowie and Kate Bush. Kemp’s work has been featured here on a number of occasions, particularly his landmark productions of an all-male Salomé, and Flowers, A Pantomime for Jean Genet. There was also considerable overlap with Kemp’s troupe and the films of Derek Jarman via appearances by Kemp himself, David Haughton and the irrepressible Jack Birkett. The Genet production was filmed in 1982, and is now available on DVD. (There’s also a rougher copy with unmatched audio and video.) From 1970: Pierrot in Turquoise, or The Looking Glass Murders, a Commedia dell’arte performance for Scottish TV featuring David Bowie. And reversing roles, Mick Rock’s video for Bowie’s John, I’m Only Dancing featuring Kemp and company.

• At Expanding Mind: Erik Davis in conversation with activist and writer David Nickles about “the DMT Nexus, psychedelic militancy, extraction tek, the Statement on Open Science for Psychedelic Medicines, MAPS, and the trouble with for-profit psilocybin companies”.

• From the end of August to January 2019: Spellbound at the Ashmolean; “Spellbinding stories, fascinating objects…from crystal balls and magic mirrors to witch bottles and curse poppets”.

On Earth, as on the International Space Station, the collective misperception of a flat plane helps build community and culture. We are all equal in our geometric relationship to one another. The reality, of course, is that we do not stand parallel. Each of our bodies corresponds with a distinct radial vector on the surface of a sphere, pointing away from a common center that we can never perceive or occupy. Our vectors diverge by imperceptible angles.

In “inside-out” worlds like the Bernal Sphere and the concave Earth, the situation is reversed. Our feet all point outward, into an inaccessible, but technologically habitable void, while our heads point inward, some of us apparently “upside-down.” Standing, we rise toward a visible center, which can be reached simply by climbing a hill, strapping on wings, and jumping into the air, as low-tech as Icarus.

The Shape of Space by Fred Scharmen

Michael Moorcock again, interviewed this time by Bernard Braden in 1968. I think this one was for a Braden TV series which was never broadcast.

• “Stupid things are best”: Neil Fox on Conny Plank: The Potential of Noise, a documentary about the great music producer.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 556 by Helios, and An Ode to Eris with An Other Ode to Eris by The Ephemeral Man.

• A monstrous primer on the works of HP Lovecraft by Emma Stefansky. With illustrations by Michael Bukowski.

Silent Agents by Julius-Christian Schreiner: photographs of hostile architecture from around the world.

• Back to the Futuro: Mark Hodgkinson on the spaceship house that landed in Yorkshire.

• The Great Chinese Art Heist by Alex W. Palmer.

Rhizome: a new recording by Drew McDowall.

The Starman Tarot

Mad Pierrot (1978) by Yellow Magic Orchestra | Spellbound (1981) by Siouxsie And The Banshees | Sphere (2011) by Emptyset

Pierrot in Turquoise, or The Looking Glass Murders


A final Bowie post included here as much for its connections to Derek Jarman. Pierrot in Turquoise was a pantomime by Lindsay Kemp based on the characters of the Commedia dell’arte, and broadcast by Scottish Television in 1970. David Bowie is “Cloud”, a non-commedia character who provides songs while perched atop a step-ladder. The smaller independent TV stations like Scottish often used to fill out their end-of-day programming with oddities such as this, the kind of thing that would have been screened once to a bewildered audience then forgotten.

Kemp’s production reverses some of the commedia traditions by having his Pierrot challenge Jack Birkett’s Harlequin, the exchange of roles taking place after a Cocteau-like journey through a mirror. Pierrot lacks a hat but otherwise his costume resembles the one that Bowie wore in the Ashes to Ashes video. Two years and a gulf of reinvention separate this little pantomime from Kemp and Bowie’s next encounter in Mick Rock’s video for John, I’m Only Dancing, a film the BBC found too weird and/or queer, and refused to show.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Flowers: A Pantomime for Jean Genet
Lindsay Kemp’s Salomé again

Lindsay Kemp’s Salomé


Fragments are all you get with this one, unfortunately, but how tantalising they are. Lindsay Kemp’s 1975 stage production of Oscar Wilde’s play was probably the queerest there’s been to date, with Kemp himself playing Herod’s doomed daughter under a heap of silks and feathers. These stills from a sequence of Super-8 shots of the performance arrive courtesy of Nendie Pinto-Duchinsky, director of the forthcoming Kemp documentary Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance, a film whose title echoes Ken Russell’s film of the Wilde play. The connections circulate wildly (so to speak) around Kemp’s production: prior to this performance Kemp had acted for Ken Russell, while two of the other actors went on to work with Derek Jarman (as did Kemp). John the Baptist (above) was played by David Haughton who appeared as Ariel in Jarman’s Jubilee; Jack Birkett’s grinning features (bottom, right) appear in many of Jarman’s films. All the more reason to wish these clips were longer.

The Kemp documentary YouTube channel has a few more items related to Kemp’s stage work, notably another tantalising sequence of stills from Flowers (1974), an adaptation of Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers that also featured Haughton and Birkett.

Update: Thanks to Suzanne in the comments for pointing to her video which includes further film moments including Salomé performing with a live snake à la Salammbô.




Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The Salomé archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Mister Jarman, Mister Moore and Doctor Dee
Saint Genet

Weekend links 16


Sumer Is Icumen In but you wouldn’t have known it today, it being cold and wet, O my brothers. The picture above is the work of David Owen whose Ink Corporation does a splendid job of updating the iconography of the folk music world. Via Electric Eden.

• Biting the hand that feeds: designer Jonathan Barnbrook’s contribution to the Biennale of Sydney takes a dig at the whole enterprise. The art market is impervious to criticism (or shame) but the gesture is an amusing one.

Emanuel Schongut’s book covers of the 1960s and 1970s on the artist’s own Flickr pages. Via A Journey Round My Skull.

• Owen Freeman on illustrating William Burroughs. Related: Reality Studio interviews Victor Bockris.

• RIP Jack Birkett, Derek Jarman’s Caliban and the Pope in Caravaggio. And RIP Dennis Hopper, actor, director and photographer.


“Sea Nettle” (1873), a costume design by the Mistick Krewe of Comus. From this BibliOdyssey posting of New Orleans Mardi Gras designs.

• Chris Summerfield’s surfer boys at Lulu.

• Homotography also has a Tumblr page.

The Ghost Box Study Series Singles.

• More 3D projection on buildings.

John Foxx interviewed at FACT.

Song of the week: Ineffect (1989) by Material.