Sunday, 30 March 2008


Here I sit quite content in my front room which, owing to its delightful arrangements of contemporary art, I've frequently eulogised in the past. Now however, the birthday decorations of my flatmate really do add a certain something. I dearly wish I had my camera, currently with a friend, or I would surely have documented a wonderful encounter with arbitrary genius. The word 'jizz', in shiny novelty lettering, was last night spelled out across the switched-off television screen. As was remarked at the time, "that's just absolutely amazing."

Saturday, 29 March 2008


As if to defy the aura of finality cast by the previous post, at last I'm able to rouse myself and type something. All the flat is eerie, being shrouded by the lingering mist of stale cigarette smoke, the debris of last night's party still not tidied up, with all the revelers away to watch the Old Firm game. My own state of mind is best described as a kind of crumpled melancholy; an inclination to stare passively into the middle distance and observe a world that I'm still not quite prepared to fully engage with. Soon I'll gather up some bin liners and start to put this place into some sort of order, but for now the drips and glugs of the bathroom plumbing provide a suitably unearthly soundtrack to nothing in particular.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

bye bye

It is the idea of an occult conspiracy that is compelling; an ordering of phenomena that would prove a given point to encompass all reality.

Tuesday, 25 March 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 27th March, 9pm


(1994, dir. Nacho Cerdà)
Aftermath is a short horror film by the Spanish director Nacho Cerdà made in 1994. It follows a pair of morticians performing graphic autopsies on a pair of corpses. After one leaves for the night, the second begins working on a third body, a young woman killed in a car crash. He first mutilates the corpse, then performs a number of sexual acts upon it while taking photographs. After he finishes he removes the woman's heart and completes the autopsy, then takes her heart home and blends it into a fine pulp. The film ends as he feeds his dog the heart while he relaxes and watches TV.

There is no spoken dialogue for the duration of the film. comments:
With Aftermath, writer/director Nacho Cerdà has created one of the best short films I have ever seen, and created an artwork that is unique to cinema. Aftermath is not about telling a story, although it has a story; it is not about revealing character, although it does that too. It is the depiction of a moment in time and space. This moment could not be adequately described through words, or in painting, or even in music.

Cerdà's philosophical ideas about death are obscured for many viewers by the graphic nature of the movie and the taboo subject matter, but the clinical detachment of the first half of the movie helps gain perspective on it, especially when contrasted with the more intense and stylized second half.

This is not a film for the faint of heart or the narrow of mind, but if you've got what it takes it's extraordinary. It's best watched in the context of the recent DVD, along with its less extreme companion shorts.

Sunday, 23 March 2008


Having today been pressed, in the unlikely setting of the call centre, to nominate my personal favourite ever painting , I named the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald. The work also inspired this essay by Joris-Karl Huysmans, my personal favourite ever piece of art writing.

"From the rankest weeds of the pit he had extracted the finest essence of charity, the mordant liquor of tears."

Saturday, 22 March 2008

The music is you 5

Much as I hate to post yet more links about music, these two YouTube clips of Glenn Gould performing Bach and Little Richard performing Lucille do, in their own abstract way, surmise a broad range of human experience.


Last night's NEON was rather a quiet affair in terms of numbers, yet happily redeemed by a busy dancefloor. Certainly the best response of the evening (or "the big tune", to use clubbing parlance) was the Supersound edit of Chilly, 'For Your Love'. It's really an old-fashioned soul song with a few crashing guitar chords and a smattering of electronic effects, making it all things to all dancers.

Tonight by way of contrast it's a night in with some Bach, some wine and later some Match of the Day.

Friday, 21 March 2008


Having realised some time ago the necessity of finding new dwellings once the lease here is up, I'm told of a nice flat available from July that might be just the ticket. It's over the water in the delightfully named village of Wormit, and sometime over the next few weeks I'll certainly be giving it a look. It's a 15 minute bus ride away, and though that could well mean fewer nights on the town it's no bad thing.

Last night's screening went well, the Yuck 'n Yum editorial team enjoying the brilliant Faust with a hastily improvised soundtrack of Charlemagne Palestine and Nurse With Wound's Spiral Insana LP.

Tonight it's NEON vs The Hot Club, and I'm hoping for a respectable turnout. All week I've been waking at the crack of dawn to make sure the art school's properly flyered. Let's go!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008


In a few weeks' time I'll be off down to London for the Duchamp-Picabia-Man Ray exhibition at the Tate. To get in the mood, today I bought Frieze magazine for the first time in ages. It features this intriguing article by Jörg Heiser on the parallels between Duchamp's Étant donnés and Rocky Balboa's great moment of triumph.

Tuesday, 18 March 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 20th March, 9pm


(1926, Dir. F.W. Murnau)
Murnau's film draws on older traditions of the legendary tale of Faust as well as on Goethe's classic version.
This carefully composed and innovative feature contains many memorable images and special effects, with careful attention paid to contrasts of light and dark. Particularly striking is the sequence in which the giant, horned and black winged figure of Mephisto hovers over a town sowing the seeds of plague. The acting by Ekman (who miraculously transforms, in the course of the film, from a bearded old man to a handsome youth) and the sinister, scowling, demonic Jannings is first rate and the virtually unknown actress Camilla Horn gives a memorable performance as the tragic figure of Gretchen. comments:
I think of Murnau's Faust as a masterpiece not only of cinema, but of the human imagination. I understand that reviews at the time of its premier were lukewarm, but I honestly can't imagine not feeling grateful for the opportunity to see this film today. Moments and images from it are so powerful, they are vivid in the mind years after seeing them -- two hours in a dream world.

Monday, 17 March 2008

bite 2

I was expecting it to be a lot, but never this much. After filling in a Council Tax Liability form, the results have been announced, and the total owed is a massive £801.71. This is down to me being the only non-student resident in the property, taxed in valuation band E, and therefore only being entitled to a paltry 25% discount.

Just now I need to call the Dundee City Council revenues department to arrange payment by installments of a few pence, to be debited once a month for the next ten thousand years. Bah!

Sunday, 16 March 2008


My submission for the Paper X fanzine, pasted from the old MySpace journal:

Monday, August 20, 2007

Current mood: jubilant

Loath as I am to discuss private matters in a public forum (you'll have noticed this isn't one of those secret-diary-of-a Hoxton-gigolo type of blogs), I will divulge this much.

Today I asked someone out, and she said yes.

As for a fuller disclosure, the rest you can pick up from the gossip columns.

9:24 PM

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

snake eyes
Current mood: crushed

... so she changed her mind. Looks as though those white fluffy fairy lights that I bought to turn my bedroom into a pagoda of sin were a waste of a tenner.

9:50 PM

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Love is a vampire: A hymn to Euro-sleaze

There's really no "official" name for it: the genre of exploitation film produced all across Europe during the late 1960s and early 70s, one emphasizing horror and the erotic, and bearing the recognizable hallmarks of lesbianism, vampirism and an all-pervasive aura of druggy solipsism. Given this absence of a handy eponym, the term "Euro-sleaze" will do us quite nicely for now.
The Euro-sleaze canon is dominated by the work of a few directors long regarded as hacks, ultra-prolific journeymen whose output was wildly variable. The names of Jess Franco, Jean Rollin, José Bénazéraf and Bruno Gantillon now appear well overdue some respect. A critical revaluation has been afforded to the great Italian horror director Dario Argento, whose influence can now be seen in the work of artists such as Mike Kelley and Mike Nelson. Similarly, these auteurs of the damned might also be granted a second look by curious viewers desiring the strange and the wonderful.
The only attempt at a Euro-sleaze critical response, itself long out of print, has been Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984 by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs released in 1994. This romp through the genre's murky past was once the sole frame of reference for a contemporary audience, until the arrival of websites such as Severed Cinema and individual reviews on Amazon allowed a new generation of fans to take on the role of learned guides for sleaze neophytes.
My own initiation to these films came a few years ago with the soundtrack to Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos, a beguiling confection of camp easy listening and mournful psychedelia. Confirming its cult appeal, the album was later remixed by contemporary electronic artists including Two Lone Swordsmen. Intrigued, I then set about viewing a few of the films themselves. What immediately strikes is the cavalier approach to narrative employed by Franco, with storylines being picked up and dropped like so much confetti onto the cutting room floor. The plot makes no sense. When it does, there is often so little development that the film just becomes a series of slo-mo somnambulist tableaux, with beautiful women stood around naked enacting some absurd ritual or other.
In his helpful Amazon reviews of various DVD releases, Johnny Guitar praises Franco for delivering intensity "of a kind David Lynch could never reach with his designer-perversity for yuppies". The comparison with Lynch is telling. There is frequently a tone of defiance in the lauding of cinema so often dismissed as trash, but the Lynchian interest in sex and surrealism, the non-linear narrative and the sensitive direction of glamourous female leads is all present and correct. For those with the patience to sit through a moderate amount of dull, seemingly inconsequential nonsense, the prospect of the divinely gorgeous Soledad Miranda languidly drawing on a cigarette as she plots seduction and murder will be more than enough compensation.

Friday, 14 March 2008


After all the glitz of the noon Champions League draw, this forum thread does make for some interesting reading.

Thursday, 13 March 2008


Hoping now to get back up and running with the writing. Just back from a meeting about the fanzine Yuck 'n Yum, and also I'm looking to make some sort of contribution to a Glasgow-based effort called Paper X. I've a good few days off work this weekend to start thinking.

“O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.”

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

comics 2

Another strip made funny through the magic process of detournement:

Tuesday, 11 March 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 13th March, 9pm


(1971, Dir. Bruno Gantillon) customer review:
Two women tourists are kidnapped and wake up in a scenic castle (filmed on location) inhabited by opium smoking lesbian vamps (& obligatory dwarf). If the women sell their souls to Morgana they can live a life of beauty & pleasure, if not they must join the old crones in the dungeon. If you are looking for erotic horror you will be disappointed by this; despite the Gothic psychedelia trappings, it's a rather downbeat cold-looking film and (if you care!) the would-be sex scenes were badly cut by the censor. However, it's well made in the slow dreamy surreal manner associated with Jean Rollin (actually it's a lot more accomplished than the average Rollin film). And there are some good scenes & images and interesting themes to do with beauty & age. It's also possible the whole thing is some kind of Cocteau-like allegory for the opium life. If you can find the menu on this Pagan DVD edition, you'll find as an extra a very informative essay from Pete Tombs giving a lot of context to the production & its director, which greatly helps in appreciating this rather obscure (in every sense) movie.
(Johnny Guitar) review:
Overall ‘Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay’ simply by virtue of its passionate filmmaking and restrained sexual exactitude, displays all the makings of a true diamond, trapped in the steep cliffs of a long forgotten and highly ill reputed genre of world cinema.

Sunday, 9 March 2008


The website can usually be relied upon to provide a few idle amusements. This image challenge, to digitally alter newspaper comic strips, has generated some particularly inventive entries. The following picture would be my pick of the bunch:

Saturday, 8 March 2008

I Apologize

An interesting discussion on the Susan Lawly/Whitehouse forum, to which I've made a contribution.

Friday, 7 March 2008


A good article here with some interesting points to make about the 'new pop' movement of the early 1980s, maybe the last time the so-called mainstream had anything to offer artistically.

Thursday, 6 March 2008


If this exchange were fake, and given my admiration for Jimmy Savile I'd like to believe as much, then I would still consider it a great piece of creative writing.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008


Once again not a right lot happening although, in the interests of posting at least something today, I've got to say that I'm head over heels about this Duracel track. The only question is whether I pay up the full postage from Holland now, or wait to see if a few of the 225 copies make it through to a UK retailer.

Meanwhile I'm cursing the punctuality of Discogs sellers. I paid for this a few days ago, and this well over a week ago, and still neither item's been sent. Bah!

Tuesday, 4 March 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 6th March, 9pm


(1982, Dir. Uli Edel)
Christiane F. - Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo portrays the drug scene in Berlin in the 1970s, following tape recordings of Christiane F. Fourteen-year-old Christiane lives with her mother and little sister in a small apartment in a typical multi-storey concrete apartment building in a dull neighbourhood in the outskirts of West Berlin. She's bored and lacks things to do and is sick and tired of living there. She hears of Sound, a new disco in the city center, called the most modern discotheque in Europe. Although she's legally too young to go to the disco, she dresses up in high heels and make-up and asks a friend from school to take her. At the disco she meets Detlef, who is a little older. He is in a clique where everybody is experimenting with various drugs. At first she does pills and trips, but gradually she gets drawn deeper into the drugs, eventually ending up as a heroin-addict and prostitute. customer review:
An excellent film about the descent into drug addiction of a 14 year old girl living on a Berlin housing estate - from a beautiful girl to a drug-crazed zombie lookalike.
It all rings horribly true and the characters are all extremely likeable, which makes the story all the more horrific. The acting, the photography, the scripting, and the direction are all first class. Definitely 5 stars.

Monday, 3 March 2008

on the lamb

Phoned in sick to work today. Had a violently upset stomach over the weekend, probably owing to something (the seafood?) I ate at the Hilton on Saturday. By coincidence, a meal for two at the very same establishment is first prize at the Generator pub quiz tomorrow night. My advice would be to play for second.

Not a great deal else on, just convalescence and comfort food for the moment.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


In today's paper, Charlie Brooker on call centres. After the weekend's visit from my family I'll be back devoting all my efforts to finding a way out of this 21st century industrial hell.