Sunday, 21 July 2013

If We Could Do It All Over Again, We'd Do It All Over You

'You saw the whole of the moon...'
Yes, it's that time of year again when the Mounds and Circles gang pull down the shutters to the M&C portal/orifice and retire to our holiday caravan for some well earned rest and recuperation. It's a compact and bijoux affair on some waste ground adjoining a nuclear power station, but we like it. This year you'll notice we've added a small compound around the caravan and a tether so than Fearlono can exercise his lunar activities without too much danger to the neighbours.

It's been another busy year for us and we'd like to thank our readers for keeping the faith. We shall return on the 2nd of September with more of the same and different.

Au reservoir x

Saturday, 20 July 2013

"She's Going Into Druid's Woods..."

My good friend MISEN got his hands on the DIANA for GIRLS (annual 1977) which has girly sci-fi / horror / western strips and a strip called SADLY THE OLIVES GROW (some of the artists also did horror strips for Warren Publishing)
 – this is his favourite panel >

 


He's kindly scanned the full 8 page girly occult strip MIRROR OF EVIL which the panel above was taken from, and here's a link to a cbr file* of the story.

*anyone scratching their head over 'cbr' files can learn more, and download the necessary software -for free- here.

I have a wealth of occult comic strips from the 70's, and will happily share more here unless petitioned to cease and desist.

http://i.ebayimg.com/t/DIANA-FOR-GIRLS-ANNUAL-1977-/00/s/MTYwMFgxMjAw/z/3h0AAOxyYYlRr2m-/$(KGrHqF,!o0FEF9dHN0ZBRr2m-(-bw~~60_35.JPG

Friday, 19 July 2013

Big Bucket






 



I don't have anything in particular to say about the late Jess Franco's super tacky, hyper tedious 'Virgin Report', but I did want to share some of the more interesting screenshots. I had to get something out of watching it. Do I feel guilty? No, it was just unpleasant.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Save Our Souls


POSSESSED BY EVIL

It was a struggle for posession of a man's soul. It was witch against mortal, but it was also man against woman. Bonita was young, lovely and evil. Adams knew it would take all his strength to fight her, as a witch and as a woman. At stake was the very life of his friend, Andy. Bonita, behind the serene mask of her beautiful face, was determined to summon all the demons in Hell if need be. 

Published 1970. Found today.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Nude On The Moon


Forget the Moon Landing Hoax, every hep cat knows the big conspiracy is the continued suppression of facts about the voyage of Dionysus 1, the real first US space ship to land on our big, white, cheesy satellite. Little is known about what happened after this footage was shot, but the crew have been missing, presumed shagged out, since 1961.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sheer Shire


Dedicated to everyone's favourite Essex native, Mr Unmann-Wittering.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Hunted



'Hunted' is a low key, rather sad noir-ish drama from 1952. It stars Dirk Bogarde and a fantastic little boy called Jon Whiteley, perhaps the best child actor I've ever seen.

An uneasy beginning.

The set up is simplicity itself. Dirk plays Chris, a merchant seaman who comes home unexpectedly and finds his beloved wife at it with some cynical stuffed shirt who needs clocking. Clock him he does, but kills him. It's a crime of passion, but it still carries the death penalty. Totally by chance, a small boy, Robbie (Whiteley) happens across the scene of the crime and, in a panic, Chris grabs him and takes him with him.

The Kidnap.

Friends.

Dirk tries to go solo...

...but they end up back together.

The plan for Chris is to simply get away, and the rest of the film charts the journey from a bombed out London to a Scottish port at the very edge of the British Isles, and, of course, the emotional journey (Jesus, I hate that term but here it actually does happen) that they undergo in each others company. Basically, they learn to love each other, not in a creepy way but in a very believable, very moving way (before you start - I will delete any comments about pa*dophilia unless they are extremely funny),  

Dirk may have killed in the heat of the moment, but he isn't a bad bloke; poor little Robbie is an orphan with an indifferent foster mother and a violent foster father. Chris gives Robbie the opportunity to go 'home' on a number of occasions, but the little fellow just tags along, chasing the only real father figure he has ever known. Despite his desperate circumstances, Chris puts Robbie first - spending his last money on food for the boy, and carrying him over miles of rough terrain until, in the end, Chris' feeling for Robbie overtakes his survival instinct, and he knowingly sacrifices himself for the sake of his little mate.


Dirk decides.

Facing justice.


Dirk is excellent: sympathetic and doomed, occasionally brusque but kind and loving at heart. As Robbie, Jon Whiteley is absolutely brilliant - incredibly natural, sweet, funny, brave. It's a tremendous performance and it isn't his only one - for his next film, 'The Little Kidnappers', he received an honorary Oscar. He did a few more films (including reuniting with Dirk in 'The Spanish Gardener') and was great in all of them before his Mum decided that enough was enough and he needed to pack in the biz and concentrate on his education.




As it happens, Mrs. Whiteley was right - whereas most child actors end up in shitty sitcoms or laid in an alley with a crack pipe wedged up their arse, grown up Jon is now a highly distinguished art historian at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Hurrah!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Finders Creepers

Slept with this book under my bed last night. I awoke to the sounds of women screaming in the fields outside..




























































































































Exploration Date



Esquivel: 
Exploring New Sounds In Stereo 
(RCA Victor, 1959)

Friday, 12 July 2013

Raven, He's Raven


Simon Raven was something of a liability, a man whom low-grade scandal followed around like a hungry dog. He was expelled from public school for (oh, the irony) ‘homosexual practices’ and, a few years later, was forced to resign his commission in the army on ‘moral grounds’ (he had run up substantial debts and rather let the side down). A rake, a charmer and, judging by his florid complexion in later years, a heavy drinker, Raven was a bit of a monster, a dissolute man who floated through life merrily spending more than what he earned and, when absolutely pressed, would begrudgingly (and probably effortlessly) sit down and write a book.
His greatest achievement is the ten volume ‘Alms For Oblivion’ series, a heavily biographical, occasionally wayward set of novels which loosely detail the lives of a group of upper class characters from the years 1945 to 1973. Characters fade in and out, and the later books get weirder and weirder (the story arc was  not published in chronological order, and can be read as single works of fiction) but even at their most conventional they are never less than slightly bizarre.
Earlier this year, I decided to read the ‘Alms For Oblivion’ series in story order and then blog about it, which is what I’m doing now. If you’re even vaguely interested, and think ‘I might go and get some of those books’ then act upon it – they’re cheap and readily available and will definitely repay your investment, especially if you go for the Harper Collins imprints from the late eighties: they're not particularly attractive, but you needn't get upset if your miniature dachshund pees on them (I'm speaking from experience).





FIELDING GRAY 
(Published 1967; set in 1945)


‘Fielding Gray’ is the story of a gilded, gifted youth with a great future seemingly ahead of him until, through a mix of arrogance and naivity, he embarks against all advice on a relationship which ends in death (not for him) and disgrace, and the end of his ambitions to make a nice, cosy career in academia. It’s pretty much the Simon Raven story, mirroring his own early life and initial disgrace (the first of many!), although tidied up and given a far more dramatic conclusion.

Initially, I found it slightly difficult to get to grips with the book: I’ve never been to public school, I’m not upper middle class and I’m heterosexual, so it was difficult initially to completely emotionally latch onto the story and the characters. The characters, setting and fact that the affair is homosexual in nature are ultimately irrelevant, however: the book is about unfairness and the inequality of love – how one person can have dominion over the other, and how desire can over-ride decency, i.e. the compulsion to get ones end away can sometimes lead to cruelty and exploitation. Fielding’s crime is not that he has an affair with another boy, but that he treats the boy so badly, just as, later on, Fielding will be treated badly by his father and mother and others and will be more or less powerless to save himself. Swings and roundabouts, as they say in cliché land.  
The object of his desire, Christopher, is a simple, sensitive soul who genuinely loves Fielding; Fielding pursues him, fucks him and, when it becomes apparent that the relationship is harming his prospects, drops him. Christopher is devastated and has a nervous breakdown. When he is later caught soliciting outside an Army base, he goes home and shoots himself.  
From here on in, it all goes tapered at the top and heavy at the bottom for our ‘hero’. His father exacts a petty revenge on him by ignoring his plans to go to University, instead lining up a career for him as a tea grower in the colonies. When his father dies of a heart attack after being caught by Fielding in a compromising position, Fielding finds that his previously sympathetic mother has become an equally tough proposition – they quarrel, and he slaps her, the final nail in his academic coffin: whereas the University might accept a man who had a gay affair that ended in suicide, they will not support the application of a man who hits his Mum. Out of options, he joins the army.
Essential to the series in that it introduces most of the key players at their youngest and rawest, ‘Fielding Gray’ is a book that drifts along, full of digressions and irrelevances (there’s a long description of a cricket match, for instance, that seems to go on for about ten pages), then stops and, without warning, kicks you in the teeth. There’s very little in this world more maddening and frustrating than injustice, and this story is full of it. It’s a shitty world, Raven seems to think, and it’s best to realise that very early on. He’s quite right, of course, and although his reaction to it (fuck everything that moves; pinch everything not nailed down; do the dirty on everyone you know) may not be everyone’s idea of how to live, but it’s an understandable conclusion to reach.    

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah



Tadanori Yokoo was born in 1936 and is one of Japan’s most famous living artists. He'll probably die now, that happens to me a  lot. I no longer think I'm actively causing people's deaths but I apologise in advance if anything fatal should happen to the distinguished septuagenarian. Please note, an apology does not constitute a confession or an expression of liability.
   
Active since the early sixties, Yokoo began as a stage designer for avant garde theatre productions before moving into commercial graphic art where his brash and iconic imagery closely aligned him with the worldwide pop art movement.






Later in the decade, he travelled to India and expanded his mind, both spiritually and chemically, and his work became decidedly psychedelic. Since 1981, he has been working as a fine artist, and has achieved international renown.


'Mona Lisa'


As well as all this, Yokoo also made a handful of great animated films, the very greatest of which is ‘Kachi Kachi Yama’ (1965). In less than ten minutes, and in full, vibrant colour, Yokoo gives us the thrilling tale in which Liz Taylor is brutally murdered by sex-obsessed lovers Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot, and a grief-stricken Richard Burton and The Beatles relentlessly track the killers to exact deadly revenge.

It’s probably the greatest film synopsis of all time, and I wish somebody had been brave enough to give Yokoo a go at directing ‘Yellow Submarine’...



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Britain in Pictures


This battered old Shell Guide to Britain may be a bit out of date if you want to find your way around the Britain of 2013, but it tells you all you need to know about the Britain of 1973 - which, let's face it, is far more interesting.  It's a whopping great slab of a tome that goes into forensic detail about the history, geography and stuff you can (or could) see in each and every county of our ancient and beautiful land.

The most eyecatching part of the book is its colour plates: for each county there's a gorgeously evocative full page, full colour painting.  In an occasional feature I crave your indulgence as I share some of the pictures.  Sadly the paintings aren't attributed, but a few of them have intelligible signatures. First, let's go toWales.


1. Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire