Friday, 31 October 2008

mis en scene

Now this is a wonderful spooky Hallowe'en treat, a blog that collects together the painted backgrounds to old cartoons. Abandoned by their cuddly residents, these haunted landscapes all feel decidedly uncanny.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Just a reminder for those that need it.
There's still another week to send something: LINK

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Extract from Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror translated 1978 by Paul Knight:

Stanza 3

I will state in a few lines that Maldoror was good during the first years of his life, when he lived happily. That is that. Then he noticed that he had been born evil: an extraordinary fatality! As far as he could, he hid his real character for a large number of years; but in the end, because of the concentration required, which did not come naturally to him, the blood used to rush to his head every day; until, no longer able to bear such a life, he flung himself resolutely into a career of evildoing... a sweet atmosphere! Who would have thought so! Whenever he kissed a little pink-faced child, he felt like tearing open its cheeks with a razor, and he would have done so very often, had not Justice, with its long train of punishments, prevented him. He was no liar, admitted the truth and said that he was cruel. Human beings, did you hear that? He dares to say it again with this trembling pen. So it is a power stronger than will... Curse! Could a stone escape from the laws of gravity? Impossible. Impossible, for evil to form an alliance with good. That is what I was saying in the above lines.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Lately I've been playing this clip first thing in the morning as I wake up. It really makes me ready to take on the world.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass. I remember exactly where I first heard it. There was a club in Leeds by the Corn Exchange called Liquid that hosted Haywire, an underground electro night. A group of us had turned out to see Andy Weatherall, a DJ of some repute, and towards the close my friend leapt out of her seat as the opening bars of the final song began to play. Everybody else there soon did the same, all throwing slinky robot shapes to that weird pinging melody with an incomprehensible sinister vocoder voice, a record beamed in from a galaxy far far away, utterly unlike anything from what passed for a rather parochial music scene back then. Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass was made by one Ferenc E. van der Sluijs, better known as I-f. Over the next ten years much of the music I listen to each day could in some way be traced back to this man. He would have made it, played it, influenced it or broadcast it through his online music projects (the Cybernetic Broadcasting or the new Intergalactic FM), kickstarting the Italo disco revival a full ten years before Hoxton hipsters were even aware that a bandwagon existed.

Here he is delivering a rare lecture as part of some corporate-sponsored soft drink junket, and if you’ve a spare few minutes you’d do well to take in at least a part of what is a very interesting and inspiring talk: LINK

Saturday, 25 October 2008


Last year the prolific record producer Steve Albini appeared on an online poker forum to field questions from assorted card and music geeks.

Max Raker: Was Phil Spector as innovative and important as Rolling Stone says he is?

electrical: Oh hells yeah. Most record producers are parasites on the careers of bands and artists, but Phil Spector was actually the creator of everything on the records he produced, regardless of whose name was on the credits. He was also an extreme sex perv freak, gun nut and paranoid coke fiend. he was about as high-roller as dudes like that can be, and it all drove him nuts. Unique character.

There's been a major BBC documentary on Spector broadcast last night, and the great man is surprisingly lucid. A unique character alright: iPlayer LINK

Friday, 24 October 2008


Anyone who has ever worked for a bank, ever had a dislike of banks or anyone who has ever been fucked over by a bank (that'll be most of us, then) is directed to this page forthwith. Always guaranteed to raise a smile.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Once good thing about work is when you get paid to do it. Today I celebrated a bumper pay packet the only way I know how - by spunking it on records. Klapto - Queen of the Night is among the greatest ever made, and I don't want any arguments.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

dignity through labour

"You're looking very smart today!"

Of course I am. By choosing to wear a shirt and tie to work I generally find myself in a minority of one, and that’s just the way I like it. It would have started in the 1990s Silicone Valley era of happy cuddly hypercapitalism, this idea of an office where some idiot cycles past on a toy bike, wearing a novelty baseball cap with baggy T-shirt and shorts, shooting foam balls through hoops over the waste paper baskets while slurping on their delicious free coffee. It's the duplicity of all this that sticks in the craw. You work for a massive corporation, so why even pretend you're having fun? I wouldn't even address colleagues by their first names if I could help it. We're not friends.

It's work. You're not meant to enjoy it. That's why it's called work.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Although I'm hardly what you'd call a fan of the illustrator/artist Trevor Brown, a while ago I bought a T-shirt on Etsy featuring a drawing of his that I'd taken rather a shine to. Since then the so-called "nu-rave" band Crystal Castles have branzenly stole the image for their merchandise, and suddenly I'm all sympathetic to his cause.

"we found the image on an old flyer, with no credit, so we didn't know who it belonged to or who to ask
we figured if we used it, the artist would eventually make him/herself known"

Parasites like that make me sick.... LINK

Monday, 20 October 2008

dance 2

While we're on the subject, as I was trawling YouTube for music clips I happened upon this young fellow putting together a few moves.

The soundtrack is Ruth, Polaroïd Roman Photo, one of my own very favourites and a pleasingly obscure choice for such a routine.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Extract from Jean Rhys, Smile Please – An Unfinished Autobiography:

As soon as I got to Government House several people congratulated me on my dress. And Mr. Hesketh came up and asked me to dance the first waltz with him. Among his other accomplishments he was a very good dancer indeed and like all good dancers he could make his partner feel she too was an expert.

All the furniture had been taken out of the room, there was only the dark polished slippery floor with a few chairs set round it, the white walls and the music. I don't remember whether it was the local band, which consisted of a concertina, a steel triangle and what they call a shakshak, or perhaps it was a piano and violin. In any case the musicians were behind a screen. I longed for that waltz to last forever, to skim forever round and round with Mr. Hesketh's arm about me. I stopped being shy and managed to laugh and talk to him. I waltzed three times with Mr. Hesketh and each time was better than the last and I was happier. I went home, I suppose, somewhere between twelve and one and looking at myself in the glass I knew that that night had changed me. I was a different girl, I told myself that I would be just as happy the next day, now I would always be happy.

Saturday, 18 October 2008


Gambling has always struck me as a sorry pastime. After all, with other addictions you can at least enjoy the fleeting pleasures of self-annihilation. Gambling only brings ruin and misery upon thousands of families who were generally dirt-poor in the first place, and where's the fun in that?

Still, I did have a flutter today, my first in a couple of years, with the intention of placing £10 on Cathy Wilkes for this year's Turner Prize. She's based in Scotland, she used to teach at the local college, I like her work... William Hill have however stopped taking bets on the event, probably because betting on prizes is prone to being rigged by well-placed insiders looking to pull a fast one.

So I stuck it on Leeds United, who ended up losing 3-1 to Millwall in a bad-tempered match at the Den. "There'll be some trouble there," the staff at the bookies remarked, though I doubt I'd have got very good odds on that one.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Just to clarify, the DJ set I linked to the other day wasn't by Liaisons Dangereuses, that was merely the name of it. Whatever, it's still aces.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Extracts from Jean Rhys, Smile Please - An Unfinished Autobiography:


I skimmed through Paradise Lost because I was curious about Satan. To me, and I think to most people then, Satan existed: the personification of evil, for some reason the ruler of this world. Satan was the enemy of mankind. He hated mankind and he was very clever in attacking it. He could be a very handsome young man, or he could be so ugly that just to see him would drive you mad. He was responsible for all the evil in this world and he perpetually made war on mankind.
So far as I could understand, everyone believed in Satan, and he was to blame for everything that had gone wrong. He could be pitiable, as in The Sorrows of Satan, or he could be terrible, the destroyer. In any case, for some reason he was all-powerful.

My Day

When the post comes, the day starts. Sometimes the news is very satisfactory. I'm to be given a tree by Devon County Council. Indeed, they don't say 'tree' but 'trees'. Have I room for 'trees'? How far do the roots spread? I must find out. Wouldn't it be marvellous if I had room for several trees and at last I could live in a forest, which has always been one of my ambitions. Later on I can plan a long elaborate meal, my first if I'm hungry. Settle for bread, cheese and a glass of wine, if I'm not. Isn't the sadness of being alone much stressed and the compensations left out?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I didn't know

Not updated the blog in a few days, and I'm a fan of Doonesbury so today's cartoon just seems appropriate.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

welcome to the pleasuredome

Something of a mixed weekend for me, but it's been greatly enhanced by this wonderful 1989 DJ set from Liaisons Dangereuses: LINK

Friday, 10 October 2008

el futur sera avorrit

If you like the work of JG Ballard (and I do) and you'll be in Barcelona before November 2nd (and I won't) then you really ought to check this exhibition.

Otherwise I'm compelled to post another of my periodic links to Dennis Cooper's blog where today you can find all the details.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

NEON erotic party

Facebook listing with text copied from USA Today:

Different sounds are played in each ear. The sounds combine in your brain to create a new frequency. This frequency corresponds to brain wave frequencies.

There are different brain wave frequencies. These frequencies are related to different states like relaxation and alertness.

Digital drugs supposedly synchronize your brain waves with the sound. Hence, they allegedly alter your mental state.

Binaural beats create a beating sound. Other noises may be included with binaural beats. This is intended to mask their unpleasant sound.

Different types of digital drugs

Some sites provide binaural beats that have innocuous effects. For example, some claim to help you develop extrasensory powers like telepathy and psychokinesis.

Other sites offer therapeutic binaural beats. They help you relax or meditate. Some allegedly help you overcome addiction or anxiety. Others purport to help you lose weight or eliminate gray hair.

However, most sites are more sinister. They sell audio files ("doses") that supposedly mimic the effects of alcohol and marijuana.

But it doesn't end there. You'll find doses that purportedly mimic the effects of LSD, crack, heroin and other hard drugs. There are also doses of a sexual nature. I even found ones that supposedly simulate heaven and hell.

Monday, 6 October 2008

too menny

Extract from Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure:

Jude stood bending over the kettle, with his watch in his hand, timing the eggs, so that his back was turned to the little inner chamber where the children lay. A shriek from Sue suddenly caused him to start round. He saw that the door of the room, or rather closet-- which had seemed to go heavily upon its hinges as she pushed it back-- was open, and that Sue had sunk to the floor just within it. Hastening forward to pick her up he turned his eyes to the little bed spread on the boards; no children were there. He looked in bewilderment round the room. At the back of the door were fixed two hooks for hanging garments, and from these the forms of the two youngest children were suspended, by a piece of box-cord round each of their necks, while from a nail a few yards off the body of little Jude was hanging in a similar manner. An overturned chair was near the elder boy, and his glazed eyes were slanted into the room; but those of the girl and the baby boy were closed.

Half-paralyzed by the strange and consummate horror of the scene he let Sue lie, cut the cords with his pocket-knife and threw the three children on the bed; but the feel of their bodies in the momentary handling seemed to say that they were dead. He caught up Sue, who was in fainting fits, and put her on the bed in the other room, after which he breathlessly summoned the landlady and ran out for a doctor.

When he got back Sue had come to herself, and the two helpless women, bending over the children in wild efforts to restore them, and the triplet of little corpses, formed a sight which overthrew his self-command. The nearest surgeon came in, but, as Jude had inferred, his presence was superfluous. The children were past saving, for though their bodies were still barely cold it was conjectured that they had been hanging more than an hour. The probability held by the parents later on, when they were able to reason on the case, was that the elder boy, on waking, looked into the outer room for Sue, and, finding her absent, was thrown into a fit of aggravated despondency that the events and information of the evening before had induced in his morbid temperament. Moreover a piece of paper was found upon the floor, on which was written, in the boy's hand, with the bit of lead pencil that he carried:

'Done because we are too menny.'

Sunday, 5 October 2008

papal pleasure palace

Seeing as how I haven't the time to sit down and write a complete travelogue, what follows over the coming days will be a few edited highlights of the Roman holiday.

The Galleria Borghese is located within the Villa Borghese gardens, a public park described in 1644 by John Evelyn as an "an Elysium of delight". It housed ostriches, peacocks, swans and cranes "and diverse strange Beasts", a suitable spot for this extravagant party villa. Owing to modern customs, a visit today is maybe not quite so debauched as the Roman scene. Still the experience is intense, quite unlike any conventional museum visit, with galleries housing an incredible collection (Caravaggio, Titian, Bernini, you name it) all competing for attention with the most amazing trompe-l'œil decorations all over the walls and ceiling. Intricately patterned mosaics cover the floor as the tourists troop around struggling to cram so much sensory delight into their alloted 2-hour visiting time. Any appreciation of Boy with a Basket of Fruit becomes a challenge, the poor lad being squeezed up against all the encroaching opulence.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

intermission (Joy Peters - Don't Loose Your Heart Tonight)

Haven't had time to post the promised travelogue, so here is a nice song instead.

Friday, 3 October 2008

what I did on my holidays

A full account of this week's trip to Rome to follow tomorrow.