Monday, 27 July 2015

Purbeck Brutalism

The Mowlem - a theatre, cinema, and community room in Mowlem Lane,  Swanage, Dorset.

Pic by Jez Reynolds.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

All Round Vision

This is a rather nice present I received recently. This edition is from 1951 and Its full of fantastic images and info on mirrors, lenses, prisms, microscopes and telescopes. My favorite image has to be the very cheery young lady on The Micro Film Reader. I had a computer that big once, which sat in the corner of the room and then in time became the room.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Many Uncanny Returns

We were visiting Cambridge on my birthday a week or so ago, when I came upon this book in an Oxfam store. I was idly thinking it might be time to start acquainting my son, George, with the Arthurian mythos, when I opened the book to find the following:

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Weirdness in Mainstream Pop pt .1 - Folky Space Syrup

1969. 'Those Were the Days' - Mary Hopkin

The strange vibe of this vid goes perfectly with the tune.  Hopkin's voice sets a'wobblin a whole layer of brain-blobs you didn't even know was there.  Definitely from another universe.

Monday, 29 June 2015

The British Esperantist

This is Issue 6 of The British Esperantist, the 'mix tape of books' that I have been working on for a while now. It's been pretty successful and the latest issue is out right now, I would like to suggest that you purchase a copy if you can as it is not only very entertaining, it is also informative and really cheap, cheaper in the UK than a cup of coffee, in fact. This issue's contents include: Hawkwind; Ben Weber, International Ventriloquist; William Blake's horoscope; trouser trends and lots, lots more.

More details here --

Don't linger, though, they generally aren't around for very long. Thank you for your attention.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The Joy of Shell and Esso

If you pop into a garage/service station these days you normally see offers for USB chargers or some sort of hands free crap which you don't need..........or a plastic cup holder which plays mp3s and also doubles up as a screw driver set. If you popped into a garage in the 70s to top up (providing that they had any fuel at all, or you could get past all the rubbish that was piling up) then you might have been tempted to collect one/all of these. Shells Great Britains book and their Man in Flight/Historic Cars coin collection. Not to be outdone Esso jumped in with their 1970 World Cup coin collection. I should point out here that the coin collections belong to my friend and collector of many many things Mr Palmer. When I was growing up we never had a car in our family, so I never had the pleasure of collecting all these coins. I should say I did posses the odd one or two, which were donated to me by some friends of the family, who obviously felt very sorry for us, and did not want me to miss out on these great things. So where do you stand???? Coins and Book or solar powered USB charging coffer holder with micro garden lights socket set.

Friday, 26 June 2015

The Colour Black

"Somewhere, deep within the vastness of space, lies the theoretical nightmare known to man as the black hole..."

1982.  13 minute documentary put together by Hugh Cornwell and Jet Black of The Stranglers for BBC West.

Best bits are Cornwell making Chris Morris-esque "Mm..." noises as a scientist talks, and the pop vox around the 2 min mark - all straight out of central casting.

"It brings out the masochist in me."

Monday, 15 June 2015

Well a' don't know how tae change things but, by Christ we got tae try

Inages from 'New Image Glasgow', 1985.

War - Ken Currie, 1983

A brand New World was Comin' - Ken Currie, 1985 (Conté on paper)

Life grew harder day by day, All along the riverside - Ken Currie, 1985 (Conté on paper)

Well a' don't know how tae change things but, by Christ we got tae try - Ken Currie, 1985 (Conté on paper)

Ken Currie quote:
"[My aim is to] create an epic socialist humanist art that shows in political terms a 'pessimism of the intellect, but an optimism of the will.'  They are disciplined by a realism in form and content - this being neccessary as it is the language of accessibility and democracy - capable of touching the heart and mind of an audience all too familiar with the story."
Meanwhile, Steven Campbell predicted the future with this one:

Nasal and Facial Hair Reactions to Various Disasters - Steven Campbell, 1985

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Mighty Blow for Freedom: F--- The Media

Sculptures and drawings by Michael Sandle:

A Mighty Blow for Freedom: F*ck the Media

Der Trommler

I know I'm not the first person to point out that the '80s wasn't all pastel pinks and flourescent greens, but, well, it bloody wasn't.

From my own point of view the 1970s really were made of earthy browns and acid oranges and greens and golden yellow, and it was always summer.  But the 1980s were dark grey, black and white.  Cold and damp.  It's become, in my brane, one long, heavy winter.

Which sounds awful, but I love the aesthetic that went with it.  The aesthetic of a big charcoal drawing; clouds of black dust and fog.  These images of works by Michael Sandle are probably the purest expression of it, but see also the Glasgow painters of the time: Peter Howson and Ken Currie for example.  Monumental (often literally, in Sandle's case), serious and muscular.  A European version of muscularity as opposed to the butch folk-hero US version which now seems to be the other '80s thing (Rambo, big dudes with mullets, truckers etc).  You could only get away with this now if you were taking the piss or doing designs for a computer game / sci-fi film.

Here are some earlier pieces, including what must be his best known one:

All images (apart from the two at the top of the post) from: 'Michael Sandle Sculpture and Drawings 1957-88'.

Vague links / "see also" type stuff: Futurism; Vorticism; MES naming Wyndham Lewis in his list of Heroes in a 1985 MM (or was it NME?) piece; Blast First records; general resurgence of interest in inter-war period by arty/graphics types; "flirting with totalitarian imagery"; 1984; Socialist Realism; Constructivism; Laibach, Einsteurzende Neubauten, Test Dept, The Young Gods; 1984

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Radio 4 Houses of Horror

This was on Radio 4 on Monday 8th def worth catching up with. Hammer was the most successful British film company of all time but, throughout its heyday in the 60s and 70s, it did battle with a much smaller, poorer, creative, upstart rival - Amicus films. Amicus was a small British horror studio that pioneered the much loved 'portmanteau' picture, such as Tales of the Crypt and Vault of Horror - each movie a composite of four or five short stories, whose connection is revealed at the end. Horror aficionado and film buff Matthew Sweet explores the productive rivalry between the two contenders for the heart and soul of British horror, in a blood-curdling tale of low budget, gore spattered one-upmanship that's full of chilling atmosphere and fun.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Novels of Mark E Smith

Courtesy BK of the (unofficial) Fall Online Forum.

'Octo Realm' = 'Eye in The Sky' by PK Dick

'Weather Report' = 'The Crystal World' by JG Ballard

but what are the others?  'Gut of the Quantifier' is bugging me.  Christopher Priest?

Monday, 18 May 2015

A Very Practical HouseHolder

A number of these fine looking magazines turned up recently. They made me realise how DIY is definitely not my strong point. But I do try.

Saturday, 16 May 2015


NEW ALBUM released today.

DOLLY DOLLY has taken a side step from his usual spoken surrealism (in his debut album ANTIMACASSAR) and has created an album made from the sampling of old and forgotten cassette tapes into a strange and fascinating cut-up collage of sound.

Available right now! HERE Cor!

This album came about via a death.

The elderly have a habit of popping off when you least expect it. One minute you’re having a chat about the weather, the next they’re face down in their soup. Its a sad fact of life that death is not dignified. It’s rarely pleasant. What is nice, however, is when you get left nice stuff after they’re gone. Some people get whole estates, some people get houses, some people get priceless Ming vases. Not me though. I got given a cassette tape. The widow handed it to me and said ‘He knew you liked jazz and would’ve wanted you to have it’. The tape was unmarked. The only clue I had to it’s contents were three words written on the paper inlay. They are now the name of this album. As far as I could make out it was filled with A and B sides of old 45s from the 1960s and early 70s. Some I recognised, some I didn’t. I would listen to it obsessively in the evenings. The soundtrack to my life. I don’t think I listened to anything else for a whole month. It became a ritual. Cassette tapes make a lovely rattle when you shake them. They’re the most physical of storage mediums. Every time I took it out of it’s clear plastic case I would give it a little shake. It became as much a part of the sound of it as the actual music. You could press the FF and REV while the PLAY button was on and it would feel like you were recomposing it with it’s own noise. By sheer coincidence I was given a couple of other tapes while I was making this album, a handful from the chap who runs our local Oxfam shop. I was chatting to him about the project. He couldn’t sell them because they were home recorded and unmarked. I’d not been given a cassette for over twenty years and all of a sudden I had a drawer full. It was serendipity. The vocal samples were collected over ten or so years as I magpie-like snaffled anything that ticked my fancy or just made me laugh. I sampled the tapes, cut-up everything up, looped them and sampled them all over again. They started to sound as if you'd fallen asleep listening to the radio in the middle of the night and had a partially strange repeating dream. Perfect. The whole thing seemed to fit together quite nicely. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Since sampling the original tape for this album it has sadly died. Cassettes a have habit of popping off when you least expect it too. One minute you’re listening to a drum solo, the next it’s wrapped around the spindle, crunched and snapped. Sad really.


Best regards,