Friday, 29 February 2008


Just finished putting together a poster for the forthcoming NEON event, so hoping now it meets everyone's approval.

Thursday, 28 February 2008


Like listening to random people recount last night's dreams, the contents of recent iPod playlists are affairs that would probably be best left private. Still, here goes anyway. A few months back a friend tipped me off that the Destroy All Monsters box-set was online, and I've just finished listening to the 3-hour-plus contents on my headphones. It's taken about a week, mostly soundtracking bus journeys and walks through town.

Some time ago the Guardian's wry middlebrow rock/pop stooge Alexis Petredis listened to the TG24 box-set for a full day and wrote up his findings in a rather snide article. I anticipated this being a similar experience, but shorter and broken down into more manageable chunks. So... DAM really are a great lost band, some of whose members have gone on to find great success in the visual arts. The music itself is wildly uneven, often recorded on cheap supermarket equipment, and always willfully amateurish. Still, commitment will be rewarded. Their early output is so endearingly ramshackle and uncompromising in its desire to go beyond any kind of conventional rock paradigm that it begs you to get swept along and submit. Punctuating the lengthy drone and free jazz freakouts is the occasional garage rock number with a bored-sounding Niagra delivering some nicely absurd lyrics, "I love you but you're dead, and the bed is all red". Best of all, to my taste anyway, are the points where the group allow full-on sonic abandon to break out and pitched battles of feedback take place over a sludge of percussion and old B-movie samples.

Prior to me getting the iPod device as a Christmas present I was always hating on them, thinking it would be antithetical to a proper appreciation of music. Since then though, I've reconsidered. After all, you'd hardly want to listen to this kind of material sat on the sofa, and negotiating the city streets with an earful of random noise can lend the experience at least a glimmer of heightened reality.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Stop press: on March 21st NEON will team up with our good friends THE HOT CLUB for a double-header at the City Function Suite, Dundee.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


Listing for Thursday's Cine Salon:

A weekly display of hidden or neglected facets of the magic lantern. The finest wines and cheeses shall be served.
Don't miss!

3 Springfield, Dundee.
Thursday 28th February, 9pm


(1921, Dir. Victor Sjöström) plot summary:
It's New Year's Eve. Three drunkards evoke a legend. The legend tells that the last person to die in a year, if he is a great sinner, will have to drive during the whole year the Phantom Chariot, the one that picks up the souls of the dead... David Holm, one of the three drunkards, dies at the last stroke of midnight... review:
The original silent horror classic by pioneering Swedish film maker Victor Sjöström, featuring an intense new soundtrack recorded exclusively by KTL (Stephen O'Malley of SUNN O))) & Peter 'Pita' Rehberg. What an absolute joy this is. Alongside Danish masterpiece Haxan (1922), Victor Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage (1921) must rank as one of the foremost, influential horror films ever made. The imagery and pioneering technical achievements make this an absolute must for anyone with the remotest interest in the genre. The merits of the film are easily enough to warrant a purchase, but add to that the fact that Boomkat favourites KTL have supplied a soundtrack to this seminal work and you've got a done deal. Peter Rehberg and Stephen O'Malley must rank as the ideal soundtrackers to a film of this ilk, the duo brilliantly accompanying the grainy, macabre tone of the film without ever trying to steal the spotlight. The film's plot is based around a legend that suggests the very last person to die on a New Year's Eve, if he or she is sinful is condemned to drive the Phantom Carriage for the following year, picking up the souls of the dead - it's basically like scoring some work experience as the Grim Reaper. The double exposure techniques used to render the carriage and its hooded, scythe-bearing driver must have scared the life out of audiences in the early 1920s, and they're still profoundly eerie and resonant. This is after all a film which helped establish the language of the cinematic ghost story.

Monday, 25 February 2008

The music is you 4

Extract from Thomas Hardy, 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'.

Tess was conscious of neither time nor space. The exaltation which she had described as being producible at will by gazing at a star came now without any determination of hers; she undulated upon the thin notes of the second-hand harp, and their harmonies passed like breezes through her, bringing tears into her eyes. The floating pollen seemed to be his notes made visible, and the dampness of the garden the weeping of the garden's sensibility. Though near nightfall, the rank-smelling weed-flowers glowed as if they would not close for intentness, and the waves of colour mixed with the waves of sound.

another personal statement

Having completed courses in both Fine Art and Design at undergraduate and postgraduate level, I am now ready to use these skills to embark on a suitable career. During the Master of Design (MDes) course that I completed in 2007, I worked on a series of projects using Adobe Photoshop and InDesign software, eventually creating a web-based FLASH animation for use as a teaching resource. Most importantly, the course provided experience in using group initiatives to solve design problems.
Through my Fine Art background I have assisted in running Generator Projects, a local contemporary artists’ space, for whom I served on the committee for two years. I am currently working on my own fine art projects, and have taken on the role of contributing editor at Yuck’n Yum, a local web-based arts fanzine. I have experience in a variety of roles, and feel I would work well as part of a team to help realise design-based goals.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

dream home

Further to previous posts about dolls and the uncanny, this entertaining documentary looks at lifelike mannequins and the men who love them.

Friday, 22 February 2008


An interesting piece of recent cultural history. Camp Records, a 1960s Californian label, whose song titles should at least raise a smile. Would this form a part of any Italo and Hi-NRG disco genealogy, I wonder...?

Thursday, 21 February 2008

hide and seek

A nice link here to a post on occult theory, found on K-Punk's blog.

"We should consider the possibility that Cthulhu finds us as weird as we find him – or would do, if his mind ever succeeded in correlating its contents to the point of recognizing our existence."

Tuesday, 19 February 2008


Listing for Thursday's Cine Salon:

A weekly display of hidden or neglected facets of the magic lantern. The finest wines and cheeses shall be served.
Don't miss!

3 Springfield, Dundee.
Thursday 21st February, 9pm


(1982, Dir. Slava Tsukerman) plot summary:
Invisible aliens in a tiny flying saucer come to Earth looking for heroin. They land on top of a New York apartment inhabited by a drug dealer and her female, androgynous, bisexual nymphomaniac lover, a fashion model. The aliens soon find the human pheromones created in the brain during orgasm preferable to heroin, and the model's casual sex partners begin to disappear. This increasingly bizarre scenario is observed by a lonely woman in the building across the street, a German scientist who is following the aliens, and an equally androgynous, drug-addicted male model. Darkly funny and thoroughly weird. customer review:
iT GiVeS You a TuMMy aCHe, BuT You WaNT MoRe!

Monday, 18 February 2008


Extract from Thomas Hardy, 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles'.

A wet day was the expression of irremediable grief at her weakness in the mind of some vague ethical being whom she could not class definitely as the God of her childhood, and could not comprehend as any other.

But this encompassment of her own characterization, based on shreds of convention, peopled by phantoms and voices antipathetic to her, was a sorry and mistaken creation of Tess's fancy--a cloud of moral hobgoblins by which she was terrified without reason. It was they that were out of harmony with the actual world, not she.

silent signals

Sometimes a random thought will just appear seemingly from out of nowhere, thanks to some obscure short-circuit in the synapses, or owing its arbitrary emergence to a perception scrambled by the interference of new media. There was I buying a sandwich today in Marks & Spencer, listening to a good German cold-wave mix on the iPod, when I began musing upon the popular British actors turned housewives' favourites Robson and Jerome. During the 90s they'd performed a cover of 'I Believe', an especially objectionable piece of sentimental Christian propaganda. It was huge at the time. As unfathomable as this popularity seemed, it reminds me of family holidays as a child, and of seeing advertisements or game-shows on foreign television. Usually the content would be identical to the British equivalent, but being acted out in a foreign language would show up the artifice of the 'original' you had accepted as natural. It was lent a quality I have since come to know as uncanny.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The music is you 3

Further to yesterday's posts, this extracted from the artist Mike Kelley's Destroy All Monsters box set liner notes:

"Giorgio Morodor was God and Donna Summer his feminine voice, a voice that only feels the need to speak in orgasms. The first time I heard "I feel Love", it was a revelation. Here was a pure example of pop strategizing. All musicianship was removed; all pretenses to avant-garde theorizing as exemplified by rock acts like the Jimi Hendrix Experience which, to preach their message of freedom, had to make the listener un-free. By that I mean . . . Progressive Rock required a god-like technician, a skilled adept that, like the catholic priest, was a necessary intermediary between you and the "truth". This focus on technical expertise produced the "Rock God" - the guitar hero. Though, at this point, before the rise of codified Heavy Metal guitar worship, there was still a symbiotic relationship between musician and listener. In psychedelic music this relationship centered on feedback and random noise, which equalized musician and listener. Feedback was a sign that the musician was out of control, and the musician and listener shared equally in their experience of this out-of-control state. Feedback was the revolutionary component of acid rock, the anarchic sign of revolutionary freedom. It is the product of the electric instrument monitoring itself, and this self-examination leads to a breakdown of control that is evidenced in the mantra of the feedback loop - the technical equivalent of the acid trip. This was the same sound produced by the Free Jazz saxophone player. The instrument becomes the voice speaking in tongues; it is a pure extension of the voice. The wail of the saxophone is the voice and instrument mirroring each other, eyeing each other, feeling each other out until the one and the other are indistinguishable."

Saturday, 16 February 2008

The music is you 2

The sound of a pulse, fed back through itself. That sound, who is it that could ever hope to explain from whence it came? From deep inside the workings of an electronic device, whose own internal reality you could never hope to understand, this, this, this moment where the whole of this thing you sadly know as (inverted commas) “reality” is being reconfigured as it takes hold and commands the very movements of not just your body, but everybody’s.

The music is you

A lazy day after last night's festivities, which turned into a very late one as much fun was had. Now I'm sat watching the football and the odd disco favourite on YouTube.

Ganymed - It Takes Me Higher

Space - Magic Fly

Chilly - For Your Love

Thursday, 14 February 2008


For anyone who could do with a laugh, this blog on the Guardian's travel pages should come in handy. Much fun to be had reading the many comments Max has attracted.

"That's well weapon yeah. Max is like a conquistador yeah, but with our minds."

(edit) this has been linked to on Popbitch and on today's Holy Moly, so you may already be aware.

The editor's rather feeble response can be found here.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


On occasion I do indeed feel quite entitled to gloat, such as today when I landed myself a good bargain on eBay. This emerald-green silk jacket by the Antwerp-schooled designer Veronique Branquinho would set you back £500 in the shops, and was bought by me today for £23.50. So yes, for the moment I do feel pleased.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Listing for Thursday's Cine Salon:

A weekly display of hidden or neglected facets of the magic lantern. The finest wines and cheeses shall be served.
Don't miss!

3 Springfield, Dundee.
Thursday 14th February, 9pm


(1929, Dir. GW Pabst)
Louise Brooks stars as Lulu, a young and impulsive vaudeville performer whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring about the downfall of almost everyone she meets. She marries a respectable newspaper publisher, but soon drives him into insanity, climaxing in an incident in which she accidentally shoots him to death. Found guilty of manslaughter, she escapes from justice with the help of her former pimp (whom she considers her father) and the son of her dead husband, who is also in love with her. After spending several months hiding in an illegal gambling den in France, where Lulu is nearly sold into slavery, Lulu and her friends end up living in squalor in a London garret. On Christmas Eve, driven into prostitution by poverty, Lulu meets her doom at the hands of Jack the Ripper.

The film is notable for its lesbian subplot in the character of Countess Augusta Geschwitz.

The title is a reference to Pandora of Greek mythology, who upon opening a box given to her by the gods released all evils into the world, leaving only hope behind.

Monday, 11 February 2008

La Pianiste

Finally got round to seeing The Piano Teacher last night, despite it being made a good few years ago. Really the film's among the most powerful I've ever seen, with an extraordinary lead performance by Isabelle Huppert. Every character is deeply unsympathetic, yet the viewer's emotions are manipulated so expertly that you can't tear your eyes away for a moment.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Mixed Emotions

This may well be a bitch to download but still, I've a weakness for uber-twee tearjerking Italo. So fragile you might feel your heart snap...


A worthwhile read in today's paper about Duchamp, and I'm minded to take a trip way down to London once the show opens. Meanwhile I'm resolved to make some more art myself, and was busy consulting about some potential studio space while out at last night's NEON.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


An interesting article here arguing the case for literacy, good reading habits etcetera among the so-called "Google generation". I certainly share the correspondent's obvious enthusiasm for the new wave of 2.0-era blogging and so forth, though plainly there is still an awful lot to be said (and written) for the humble printed page. Previous things I'd linked to by figures as diverse as the designer Raf Simons and the author David Peace had discussed the subject too. I would suggest Dennis Cooper's blog project as something that shows a way forward to incorporate material across media while still keeping what you might call literary integrity.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

33 1/3

Whether you're among those who think they went too far, or still maintain they didn't go far enough, Throbbing Gristle rewrote the rules for the music industry. My own experience came firstly through reading Simon Ford's book, and only later through the music itself. Now there's to be a new folio released dedicated to 20 Jazz Funk Greats, the group's most accessible release, and I can't help but order a copy. This would really be in tribute to an act that changed my perception of what is possible in music and in art.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


Listing for Thursday's Cine Salon:

A weekly display of hidden or neglected facets of the magic lantern. The finest wines and cheeses shall be served.
Don't miss!

3 Springfield, Dundee.
Thursday 7th February, 9pm


(1964, Dir. Mario Bava) plot synopsis:
Director Mario Bava's second thriller revolves around a fashion salon owned by wealthy Cristina (Eva Bartok) and her greedy lover Max (Cameron Mitchell). The salon is a front for cocaine-trafficking and blackmail, so when model Isabella (Lea Kruger) is viciously strangled, leaving a detailed diary behind, many of the people connected with the salon become very nervous.

IMDB comments:
The very first slasher film, though that label belittles Bava's achievement somewhat. Unlike later hack-em-up directors, Bava is very conscious of the links between the viewer and the cinematic process. By encouraging the viewer to identify with the killer's pleasure-i.e., we think the killings are beautiful in the same way that he no doubt does-Bava makes a very powerful statement on the power of the image. The characters are flat and one-dimensional, because they need to be. There are no heroes, only victims. The police are depicted as arrogant and ineffectual, in contrast to most films of this era, Bava does not encourage the viewer to identify with anyone beyond the killer. Within the microcosmic environment of the fashion salon, Bava makes some telling comments on society, as well. Visionary filmmaking at its best.

Monday, 4 February 2008


I've not a right lot of time for music that could be described as being 'mainstream'. That said, having been introduced to this cracking track from Hercules and Love Affair, featuring the distinctive vocal of Antony Hegarty, I reckon this might just make a dent in the hit parade.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

miracles of life

A nice surprise indeed this evening, as I got an email from my mum to say she'd ordered me the new Ballard autobiography. Very much looking forward to this one.

Saturday, 2 February 2008


To the DCA last night for the Camilla Low opening which, being well-mannered minimalist sculpture, really isn't the sort of work to get me at all excited. Anyway I'm full of the cold just now so I never stayed out too long. Today I'm sat shivering in a freezing front room, contemplating the fact that I'm shortly to face an overdue council tax bill. This is a lovely place, but if costs prove too prohibitive then I'll need to start seeking new accommodation, along with a new job. Needs must...

Reading a review of an interesting-looking book this morning, the thought struck me: isn't Oppenheimer Analysis the best, most evocative band-name anyone's ever come up with?