Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Self-Portrait Day: Halloween Party @ DC's 2012

Self-Portrait as a Jimmy Savile Abuse Victim

Over at Dennis Cooper's superlative blog DC's the annual Halloween party is in full swing. My own costume is here, but you're best advised to take a wander round the links below to see what everyone else wore. Keep in mind that some outfits may be considered decidedly NSFW.

Self-Portrait Day: My Halloween Costume, Day 1 (of 2)
Self-Portrait Day: My Halloween Costume, Day 2 (of 2)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Daughters of Darkness

Daughters of Darkness (in France, Les Lèvres rouges, and in Belgium, Le Rouge aux lèvres) is a 1971 Belgian horror film (with dialogue in English), directed by Harry Kümel. It is an erotic vampire film, following a style Camille Paglia calls psychological high Gothic.

Paglia writes that, "A classy genre of vampire film follows a style I call psychological high Gothic. It begins in Coleridge's medieval Christabel and its descendants, Poe's Ligeia and James's The Turn of the Screw. A good example is Daughters of Darkness, starring Delphine Seyrig as an elegant lesbian vampire. High gothic is abstract and ceremonious. Evil has become world-weary, hierarchical glamour. There is no bestiality. The theme is eroticized western power, the burden of history."

"Daughters of Darkness" is wondrously stylish and tasteful, and certainly not the sleazy lesbian vampire exploitation flick many people mistake it for. Compared to the films of, say, Jean Rollin or Jess Franco who made movies based on the same classic premise, this is a much more compelling, sophisticated and hypnotizing masterpiece. This is finally a mature version of the character of Elisabeth Bathory that puts the emphasis on mystery and creepy atmosphere, rather than on the naked blood-bathing rituals of the Countess. The nudity here is strictly functional and all the rest is purely absorbing subject matter. The script makes a few convoluted and confusing twists halfway in the film, and they are guaranteed to mislead even the fans that know the detailed legend of Countess Bathory by heart. It's also a very beautiful movie to look at and listen to, with delightful photography and enchanting music. Delphine Seyrig gives a masterful performance as Bathory. Highly recommended Euro-Cult accomplishment.

Delphine Seyrig drifts gracefully into the lobby, and the Resnais note is adduced: "It seems Madam may have already stayed in this hotel," the concierge says, jogging his memory to earlier decades (and to Marienbad). Harry Kümel takes the lead from Nosferatu and establishes the vampiric element as the unbalancing of the heterosexual couple, though less as an outside threat than as a beguiling force that heightens the couple's inner conflict. The setting is Belgium, painted crimson, blue and gold; John Karlen and Danielle Ouimet are the young newlyweds whose honeymoon in Ostend is already tense with the husband's odd refusal to break the news to his mother (possibly because "Mother" is actually Fons Rademakers, a rouged, perfumed mark of Old World faggotry). Their hotel is empty until Seyrig's Countess Bathory arrives in satiny '30s gowns along with her Lulu-coiffed "secretary" (Andrea Rau), one exquisitely soigné and the other exquisitely doleful. The slew of slaughtered women (slashed wrists, drained bodies) taking place in Bruges rouses Karlen's fascination with death -- the couple's formal drawing-room chat with the Countess (her recipe for eternal beauty: "A very strict diet, lots of sleep") climaxes with the husband writhing in ecstasy to her graphic description of medieval atrocities. Kümel understands his Le Fanu antecedents (Dracula's Daughter, Blood and Roses) and contemporaries (Vampyros Lesbos, The Velvet Vampire), and makes his decadence drolly enchanted, building insinuating mood until blood comes in Psycho's shower-sex-blade equation to grant Rau's request ("I wish I could die"). Ouimet's soul lies at the center of the somnambulist tug of war between bloodsucker and asshole hubby -- both sides are vanquished (Karlen in a set-piece that rhymes a distressed ocular iris with a deadly glass bowl, Seyrig in a baroque reworking of Lana Turner's breakdown in The Bad and the Beautiful), the heroine is left to begin a new decade with expanded appetites. 
Fernando F. Croce

Sex and death are linked in Daughters of Darkness. “Don’t lie to me. It gave you pleasure. You actually enjoyed seeing that girl’s dead body,” Valerie says to Stefan in what seems a moment of foreshadowing but ultimately becomes one of misdirection. And herein lies the real intrigue: the darkest elements of the film aren’t there for their own sake, but rather to intimate subtle aspects of the characters. These characters aren’t looking for a sadistic romp; they each have their own needs and desires, often with conflicting means of acquiring them. As a result, the transformations they undergo are far more subtle than human into vampire.

Where the film announces itself most loudly, then, is in its visuals: vibrant red veils laid over lampshades; sharp blacks and whites; and the comparatively desaturated grays and blues of early morning on the ocean. Though striking, the imagery tends to work alongside the goings on rather than dominate them, and the seamless transitions between the many colors in cinematographer Eduard van der Enden’s palette make for a frequently visually arresting experience.

Ultimately, the film’s relative obscurity is unsurprising insofar as it exists on the fringes of both mainstream and cult cinema. Too transgressive for the former, too tame for the latter, it occupies an in-between state that only makes it more fascinating—Daughters of Darkness upturns more genre conventions than it follows. It is neither a bloodbath nor a thinly-veiled morality tale; its candle burns slowly, and from only one end. The resultant half-light is fitting: title notwithstanding, Daughters of Darkness shows itself to be a strange beast fit for neither light not dark.
Michael Nordine

Monday, 29 October 2012

Yuck 'n Yum autumn 2012

The Yuck 'n Yum autumn 2012 issue is now online and available for your viewing pleasure!

Featuring: Helen Flanagan, Pete Fleming, Erlend Tait, Hannah Harkes, Morgan Cahn, Ben Robinson, Alex Oleksyn, Serra Tansel, Kier Cooke-Sandvik, Ivan Grebenshikov, Damon Herd, Mark McAleese McQueen, Alex Tobin, Suzanna Clark, Russell "Inkke" Paterson, and Mark Wallace.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Ben 'Jack Your Body' Robinson @ Stud Farm Massacre playlist 27.10.12

Richie as an acid casualty

Ben 'Jack Your Body' Robinson banged out a short pre-Shithawks house selection at last night's Stud Farm Massacre. Clicking on the titles will take you to the associated Discogs page for each release:

Parris Mitchell - Follow Me Ghetto (Acid) (Ghetto House Classics) 
The Elect - I'm House (Clone Classic Cuts)
Mark Imperial & Co. ‎– She Ain't Nuthin' But A Hoe (House Nation)
Z-Factor – Fantasy (Instrumental) (Still Music) 
Gallifré - 117 (House Beats) (Danica)
Leron Carson - Red Lightbulb (Sound Signature) 
ViLLan X – HeartBeat Crazy (Nation)

Stud Farm Massacre 27.10.12 - pictures

To the Perth Road last night for the mother of all Halloween fancy dress parties. I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the band is The Shithawks

Catherine as Prince Harry

Your correspondent as a Jimmy Savile abuse victim

Thibault as Jack Torrance

Emma and Catrin as conjoined twins

A Lumière brothers moon

A Stott

Lara as Norma Jennings in Twin Peaks

Scott as a dead torero

The Shithawks tear it up

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Yuck 'n Yum winter 2012 deadline

This 'ere flyer advertises the Yuck 'n 'yum winter 2012 deadline. We are always looking for submissions for future issues of Yuck 'n Yum! We invite anyone to submit work for consideration to

Friday, 26 October 2012

Yuck 'n Yum autumn 2012 launch @ HMC - pictures

To the Hannah Maclure Centre this evening for the launch of the Yuck 'n Yum autumn 2012 issue, soundtracked by the delightful Weeds. I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the zine is Yuck 'n Yum

The Weeds in action

Assorted punters

Isolated Heroes / StudioRoRo Fashion Show & Film Launch @ Soul 25.10.12 - pictures

To Soul aka The Venue Formerly Known As The City Function Suite last night, for the premier of their warehouse rave fashion film extravaganza. Samantha McEwen's clothing line also showcased an array of ravey garments. I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the label is Isolated Heroes

Assorted fashionistas 

The film from far away

DJ Stefan Blomeier brings the acid

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Oliver Payne and Nick Relph - Mixtape

Oliver Payne and Nick Relph are British artist-filmmakers who have collaborated since 1999. Oliver Payne was born in 1977, Nick Relph in 1979. Both studied at Kingston University, London. Payne failed his undergraduate Intermedia course in 2000, and Relph was "booted out" the same year. Curator and critic Matthew Higgs promoted their work and included them in group exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery (2000) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (2001) in London. Since then, they have had solo exhibitions in national museums including The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo (2004) and the Serpentine Gallery (2005). According to Artforum, they are "the unanimously hailed first new kids of the post-YBA moment."

'Mixtape'' is a seemingly mundane yet ecstatic 23-minute music video whose underlying message seems to be, simply, that in the midst of death, there's always life, and its pleasures are not limited to the young. Death -- Judgment Day, really -- is present here in a nearly unbearably loud soundtrack, Terry Riley's 1968 remix of Harvey Averne's 1968 Latin pop single ''You're No Good'.

Gradually, these random moments of isolated pleasure, joy or eccentricity start to form an encompassing celebration of sorts. When a man and a woman line-dancing in blue jeans are joined by a young raver who moves in and out of the shadows with them, peaceful coexistence seems possible. The final scene is almost corny: a sweet-faced older woman descends from a taxi, suitcase in hand, and walks, smiling, into a cemetery. Mr. Relph and Mr. Payne have a lot of interesting ideas about narrative.
Roberta Smith

The artists intended the images to be constructed like a collection of sketches and doodles. They began by collecting many of the images that ended up in Mixtape but were inspired to put them together as a film only after hearing Terry Riley’s recording: ‘We already had a lot of the ideas that ended up in Mixtape already. We were thinking about doing a book. But essentially we just had twenty or so ideas that were kicking around, just waiting to be forgotten. [...T]hen, at the shop where I was working at the time, we got to play our own music. And my friend came in with that CD that he’d borrowed, and just played [You’re No Good], really loud. And I just started getting ideas. [...] I [...] started seeing some of the images, that we were thinking about doing, in a book. I could see them cut to this piece.’ (Nick Relph, interviewed in Taschen.) The emphasis on youth culture and dance evokes Mark Leckey’s 1999 film Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore (Tate T11817), a documentary that charts the rise of British youth dance subcultures while reflecting on the collective loss of innocence as each subculture inexorably yields to the next.
Anna Bright

In Mixtape we wanted to exhaust people--hurt their eyes and make them feel a little sick--but make the experience enjoyable. We used certain images from earlier works, like the line dancers from House & Garage, to have fun with our aesthetic. Mixtape is a celebration of young people, but it also touches on the idea of what one critic called "youth under siege by youth culture." So Starbucks is "cool" because they'll employ you even if you have piercings, but they'll make you wear ludicrous hygienic blue bandages over them. Scooters are "cool" because they're aimed at "youngcles," twenty-somethings stuck in adolescence, but if you stick two kids on a scooter on a treadmill, they still ain't going nowhere. Our images are a "fuck you" to corporate intervention in youth culture, whether it's hardcore, punk rock, skateboarding, graffiti, whatever. We wanted to celebrate the other to that: the pure, raw cane sugar.

After listening a lot to the Terry Riley song, we constructed a series of images and sequences that connected with these ideas and had a place within the music. Absurd or funny, poignant or romantic, we wrote them all down and assembled the best of them around the track. It's about fifty-fifty sound and vision. We tried to be aware of the music while we were editing. The strobe lights and the hunting scenes, for instance, begin just as the track goes mental. It would have been a drag to edit everything right on the beat. It's like a Krautrock record, a Neu! or Can track, in which a single phrase is repeated until it begins to generate new rhythms. The economy of the cuts in Mixtape is critical. The editing is crass at points, but we were mindful of a disjunction between sound and vision as well as a connection. Mixtape was shot on film, so it looks different from our previous work. We wanted it to look like a cross between an insurance ad and Schindler's List: heavy and ugly and stupid. But at times it also h as a brash, colorful Carry On appearance to it. We didn't want to make another shaky handheld film. The more we see films shot through plastic bags, the more we want to make refined, "straight" classics.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

CANNOT BE UNSEEN: Black Devil Doll From Hell @ HMC 23.10.12 - pictures

To the HMC this evening for the inaugural presentation of CANNOT BE UNSEEN, a Yuck 'n Yum-affiliated showcase of cinema from the wrong side of the tracks. Tonight's film was Black Devil Doll From Hell, an erotic puppet horror show that represents the absolute nadir of cinematic ineptitude. I took a few photos and here they are:

"Be warned it contains a sex scene involving the Black Devil Doll and a distressed leading lady that lasts far far too long."