Weekend links 158


Pan II (2012) by Fredrik Söderberg.

• “Aubade was a surprise success, selling some 5000 copies and going into a second printing and an edition published in America.  Martin was immediately a minor celebrity, being interviewed for articles that couldn’t mention what his book was actually about.” Rediscovering the works of Kenneth Martin.

• “I can’t stand covers which imitate other covers, or which slavishly look like whatever their designated genre is supposed to look like.” Ace cover designer Peter Mendelsund is interviewed.

• At The Outer Church Isablood & Henry of Occult Hand are interviewed about their mixtape.

I’d decided to pay my respects in an unorthodox way, by time-travelling into the period of Thatcher’s pomp, when she occulted the light, alchemised the bad will of the populace and did her best to choke the living daylights out of the awkward, sprawling, socially coddled essence of metropolitan London. Hers was a tyranny of the suburbs operating from a position of privilege at the centre: she might have invested in a Dulwich retirement property, but she couldn’t sleep in it.

Iain Sinclair visits Tilbury on the day of the Thatcher funeral. Related: Iain Sinclair and Jonathan Meades in Conversation, Oxford Brookes University, March 2013.

Ormond Gigli’s best photograph: women in the windows in Manhattan. See it full size here.

Balzac and sex: How the French novelist used masturbation to fuel his writing process.

• At Dangerous Minds: Kenneth Williams and John Lahr discuss Joe Orton in 1978.

• Yet more Bowie: Sukhdev Sandhu reviews Ziggyology by Simon Goddard.

The Spectacular, Wild World of Tenjo Sajiki and its Posters.

• In 1967 Susan Sontag made lists of her likes and dislikes.

Stephen Sparks on fin de siècle author Marcel Schwob.

Day Jobs of the Poets by Grant Snider.

James Turrell’s Ganzfeld Experiment.

The Pan Piper (1960) by Miles Davis & Gil Evans | Panorphelia (1974) by Edgar Froese | Pandora (1984) by Cocteau Twins

Stamps of horror


The Royal Mail continues to rifle popular culture for suitable anniversary subjects, this week following its series of James Bond postage stamps with stamp sets celebrating the 50th anniversaries of Hammer’s first run of horror films and the Carry On series. I don’t think I’d use the word “celebration” in the case of the latter, I seem to be in the minority in always having regarded the Carry On films with considerable loathing, despite the best efforts of Kenneth Williams (who hated them) and company; give me some wit, please, not the laboured double entrendres of Talbot Rothwell.

Grievances aside, it’s gratifying to see the original posters used for these stamp designs, the Dracula one is especially good, suitably so seeing as it’s the best film of the lot. “Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough,” says Noah Cross in Chinatown; based on this evidence the same could also be said of cheap cinema.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Horror comics
Endangered insects postage stamps
James Bond postage stamps
Please Mr. Postman
Hail, horrors! hail, infernal world!

New things for February


Fenella Fielding, May 2005.

A few things of interest in the Coulthart world this month.

The Independent on Sunday this weekend ran a feature by Robert Chalmers on film and stage actress Fenella Fielding which included some discussion with my Savoy colleague Dave Britton about the recordings Savoy has been making with Fenella for the past few years. I was fortunate to meet Ms Fielding myself a couple of years ago, during one of the sessions at Lisa Stansfield’s studio in darkest Rochdale, north of Manchester. As well as having the opportunity to chat to La Fielding (as Kenneth Williams used to call her), I got to take a few photos outside the studio, the best of which can be seen above. The IoS interview is an interesting one, revealing some details about Ms Fielding’s mysterious past and confirming what we knew already, that she’s not overly enamoured of her work with the ruffians from the North.

• Also in the Savoy orbit, Michael Butterworth and I were interviewed for the second number of Trespass magazine before Christmas and I’m told the issue featuring that interview has now been published although I’ve yet to see a copy. Considering I spent most of my portion of the piece ranting intemperately about the art world, that may turn out to be a good thing.

Trespass–Issue 2: January–February 2008

trespass.jpgAlasdair Gray tells us why Lanark took so long to write and what he thinks of Gordon Brown. Savoy: a look at the obscenity trials and establishment outrage that mark this infamous publisher’s history. ‘Transgender Adventures’: a frank account of life in the sexual margins featuring Pia. ‘Not a Pursuit for a Lady’: a modern take on Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott. ‘Stop Talking and Move’: Nottingham’s parkour crew—a growing subculture. Sarah Maple: vote for her or you’re an islamaphobasexistracialist. Also the best of poetry, art and short fiction, including Catherine Smith, A. F. Harrold, Sascha Akhtar, Bernadette Cremin, David Gaffney and Anthony Cantons.

• And finally, the Savoy boys and myself receive a note of thanks in Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock, one of a new series of reprints from Del Rey. Elric was and is Moorcock’s greatest fantasy character, not so much a hero as an anti-hero, and for me the early stories, which this first volume features, have always been the best. The books in this new series collect a lot of ephemeral material along with the stories (I helped source the picture of Zenith the Albino, the old pulp character Elric is based on) and all have new introductions. The intro for this volume is by Alan Moore and it’s a tremendous piece of writing. You couldn’t ask for better company.

Joe Orton Online


Joe Orton by John Haynes.

Last April I wrote that pioneering gay playwright Joe Orton was poorly represented on the web, unaware at the time that an official Orton site was being planned. Now web designer Alison Forsythe has written to say that the site was launched yesterday on what would have been Orton’s 75th birthday.

Joe Orton Online is exactly the resource I’d been looking for, with detailed information about the writer and a wealth of biographical material, reminiscences from collaborators and enthusiasts and a collection of ephemera. It’s especially good to be able to see the library books which Orton and his partner Kenneth Halliwell defaced (I’d say improved) for their own amusement, and which led to them receiving short prison sentences for vandalism.


Two of the defaced library books.

Also present are a number of manuscript extracts, including samples of his very early works, and some of the “Edna Welthorpe” letters, another Joe and Ken wheeze which adopted the persona of a priggish middle-aged woman to poke fun at the Welthorpes of the world by agreeing with their petty outrages.

For those impatient with the written word, there’s a fair amount of Orton-related material on YouTube, including what appears to be all of Prick Up Your Ears. (Buy the DVD you cheapskates!) Most fascinating and valuable for Ortonites is a section of a documentary about Kenneth Williams which discusses the actor’s association with Orton and features a rare TV appearance by the man himself.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The lost boys: Brian Epstein, Joe Orton and Joe Meek
Joe Orton