Weekend links 719


The Decoy (1948) by Edith Rimmington.

• “Among other things, [Dalí’s] storyboards involved [Ingrid] Bergman turning into a statue that would then break up into ants.” Tim Jonze talks to film scholar John Russell Taylor about the storyboards for Alfred Hitchcock’s films, including the ones for Spellbound which Taylor found in a bric-a-brac sale.

• “Of all the pop acts that proliferated in the early 80s, it was Soft Cell who retained punk’s sharp, provocative edges.” Matthew Lindsay on 40 years of Soft Cell’s This Last Night In Sodom.

• Coming soon from White Rabbit books: Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines and Tomorrow’s Music Today by Simon Reynolds.

Anathema to many philosophical systems, or perhaps philosophy itself, Lovecraft’s philosophical project fundamentally holds that contemplations of higher reality or the nature of things can never be fully realised. Ultimately, the search for knowledge does not constitute some telos, some purpose, for humankind, but rather leads to the violent dissolution of the self. Higher reality is that which the limited human psyche can never fully comprehend.

Sam Woodward on the cosmic philosophy of HP Lovecraft

• At Public Domain Review: Grotesqueries at Gethsemane: Marcus Gheeraerts’ Passio Verbigenae (c.1580).

• “Here is a remarkable form of popular heraldry.” Mark Valentine on the mystique of old inn signs.

• At Bandcamp: Brad Sanders on where to begin with Lustmord’s cosmic ambient.

• New music: Eleven Fugues For Sodium Pentothal by Adam Wiltzie.

• At Aquarium Drunkard: Jason P. Woodbury talks to Roger Eno.

Gomorrha (1973) by Can | Sodom (1978) by Can | Spellbound (1981) by Siouxsie And The Banshees

Weekend links 706


Sea Change (c.1966) by George Wallace Jardine.

A paucity of links this week thanks to the Xmas blight which reduced my RSS feed to a wasteland of no activity at all or too many of those lazy listicles devoted to “our top ten things of the year”. There was, however, this from Simon Reynolds:

I miss the inter-blog chatter of the 2000s, but in truth, connectivity was only ever part of the appeal. I’d do this even if no one read it. Blogging, for me, is the perfect format. No restrictions when it comes to length or brevity: a post can be a considered and meticulously composed 3,000-word essay, or a spurted splat of speculation or whimsy. No rules about structure or consistency of tone. A blogpost can be half-baked and barely proved: I feel zero responsibility to “do my research” before pontificating. Purely for my own pleasure, I do often go deep. But it’s nearer the truth to say that some posts are outcomes of rambles across the archives of the internet, byproducts of the odd information trawled up and the lateral connections created.

Setting aside the inter-blog conversation, which I was never very interested in, Reynolds articulates precisely why I still enjoy posting things here. I also agree with his comments about the psychological constraints that doing the same for Substack or similar would impose: a paying readership creates responsibilities that would make the whole thing feel like another form of work rather than play. To Reynolds’ comments I’d add that I also enjoy having a tiny area of the internet over which I exercise complete control. If I fall out with my webhost, as I did in the summer, I can move the entire site to a new location.

Reynolds expanded on his article at his regular forum, blissblog, where he examines the current state of the thing that people used to call the blogosphere. My thanks to Simon for including this place in his list of diehard operatives. I can’t say I’ve noticed the younger generations picking up the habit (then again, I haven’t really been looking…) but the small percentage of any generation who want to do more than simply follow the herd will always find outlets for their interests. And the tools for doing this have never gone away. This particular medium may not suit most people, but for those who can accommodate themselves to the format it’s a better way to spend your time than marinating your soul in the corrosive sump of social media.

• Elsewhere: Among other things, 2024 will be the year that the earliest manifestation of Walt Disney’s ubiquitous rodent enters the public domain in the USA. Jennifer Jenkins lists some of the more prominent books, films, songs, etc that will be following suit.

• At Open Culture: The Beautiful Anarchy of the Earliest Animated Cartoons.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Another day for Shirley Clarke.

Suspended Animation (1980) by Bernard Szajner | Animation (1983) by Cabaret Voltaire | Reanimation (1996) by Bill Laswell feat. DJ Rob Swift

Weekend links 680


15 Miles into the Earth (1944) by Hendrik Wijdeveld.

• “He realized that there were individuals around him who had never appeared in the great altarpieces and frescoes, individuals who had been marginalized by the cultural ideology of the previous two centuries. And there were hours of the day—transient, yet unequivocal in their lighting—which had never been reproduced, and which were pushed so far from habit and use that they had become scandalous, and therefore repressed.” Pasolini on Caravaggio.

• “Reading Albert Camus and Mikhail Bulgakov by day, by night, crucially, they were listening to Chic, Kraftwerk, Donna Summer, Michael Rother and Grace Jones in the clubs.” Graeme Thomson on the atmosphere and influences that helped create my favourite album by Simple Minds, Empires And Dance. Borges was also a minor influence, apparently, which wasn’t something I knew until this week. I like it when your favourite things join up this way.

• “This being England, a ‘tea shop’ is not a shop that sells tea. That would be a tea merchant. A tea shop serves tea.” Mark Valentine on the perennial connections between rambling and tea-drinking.

Talking about generations as if they really existed and had sway over people is much more respectable and widespread than the belief that events and personalities are governed by the movements of the planets. But is there really much more substance and reality to “generations”? If not “a bunch of bullshit”, the discourse of generations is certainly generative of bullshit: tenuously grounded overviews and opinion pieces, specious analysis and analogies, platitudes and truisms. And yet, like astrology, it is a fun game to play along with. And far more than astrology, it’s a mode of talk that partially constitutes its object: generalizing about a generation actually brings it into semi-existence, shaping how people perceive themselves and how they are perceived by earlier or later generations. What may just be an illusion, a shaky set of alleged affinities, becomes a social fact.

Simon Reynolds analyses the generation game

• More Milton Glaser: PDFs of the Glaser Gazette, a memorial publication in three parts: Vol 1 | Vol 2 | Vol 3

• New music: Tractatus Lyra-Organismus by Lyonel Bauchet, and Grounded Rectangle by Ambidextrous.

• “A digital archive of graphic design related items that are available on the Internet Archives.”

• DJ Food found a handful of psychedelic posters by Nicole Claveloux.

• “Rights to Jorge Luis Borges’s work go to his wife’s nephews.”

• “Is this the earliest known phallic art?

Young Generation Dub (1976) by Augustus Pablo | Chile Of The Bass Generation (1990) by Mental Cube | Invisible Generation (1992) by Cabaret Voltaire

Weekend links 653


The Snow Queen (1916) by Harry Clarke.

• “…blogging remains my favourite format precisely because the writing so rarely feels like labour. Liberated from the need to pitch an idea or wield credentials, blogging—for a professional writer—frees you up to address topics outside your perceived expertise. It feels like a leisure activity because it’s leisurely—a ramble across fields of culture and knowledge, during which you sneak short cuts and trespass into areas you are not meant to go. A post doesn’t have to have a destination, a point. You can bundle or concatenate several different topics, push into adjacency things that don’t obviously or naturally belong together—like oddments inside a Cornell box. You can start somewhere and end up somewhere completely different, without any obligation to tie things up neatly.” Simon Reynolds reflecting on 20 years of the blogging thing, and neatly summarising the attractions of the medium. For some of us, anyway…

• At Smithsonian Magazine: “Structural colour was first documented in the 17th century, in peacock feathers, but it is only since the invention of the electron microscope, in the 1930s, that we have known how it works.” Tomas Weber on Andrew Parker’s nanotechnology developments which are creating some of the brightest hues in the world.

• “Bring back the Cailleach, beloved Scottish goddess of winter, shaking out the snow on the land. Bring back Mother Holda, with her wild geese and her snowflakes landing on the tongue like a gift from the sky…” Yvonne Aburrow would like to see the festival of Yule returned to its anarchic origins.

Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, an extract from a recent audience-less concert by Ryuichi Sakamoto which he says is liable to be his last.

• At Unquiet Things: S. Elizabeth posts some of the pictures that couldn’t be fitted into The Art of Darkness.

• Mix of the week: A Tribute to Manuel Göttsching by Low Light Mixes.

• It’s the end of December so it must be time for Alan Bennett’s diary.

• RIP Mike Hodges.

Vale Berfrois.

Snow (1985) by Takashi Toyoda | Snowfall (2000) by Haruomi Hosono | Snowfall (2005) by Robin Guthrie & Harold Budd

Weekend links 596


Jam III (2021) by Kotaro Hoshiyama.

• “Powell and Pressburger are peerless in realizing what Orson Welles would term plotless scenes—extra bits that ostensibly do not advance the story, but are a story unto themselves, and aggregate such that they’re vital to how we understand the characters who are living the story.” Colin Fleming says thanks for the Archers.

• A short promo for The Incal: The Movie. Hmm, okay. A film that adapted all 300 pages of the original story without changing anything or trying to explain away the weirdness would be worth seeing. But I doubt that’s what this will be. Read the book.

• “If a single word distills the New Wave aesthetic, it’s plastic…ironically flaunted artificiality became a leitmotif of the era.” Simon Reynolds reviews Reversing Into the Future: New Wave Graphics 1977–1990 by Andrew Krivine.

• Mixes of the week: a mix by Princess Diana Of Wales (not that one) for The Wire, and At The Outer Marker Part I, a Grateful Dead Twilight Zone mix by David Colohan.

The Bloomingdale Story: read the never-before published Patricia Highsmith draft that would become Carol (aka The Price of Salt).

• At Spoon & Tamago: Multiple panels form collaged portraits painted by Kotaro Hoshiyama.

• New music: Pyroclasts F (excerpt) by Sunn O))), and Loop return with Halo.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: William E. Jones Day.

Plastic Bamboo (1978) by Ryuichi Sakamoto | Barock-Plastik (2000) by Stereolab | Black Plastic (2002) by Ladytron