Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Specters of Spectacle

Apols for solid self-plugging but thought I'd redress the North/South split by promoting the launch of Abandon Normal Devices happening on Thursday at the Static Gallery in Liverpool.

It's described as an attempt to 'reappropriate hauntology from its use by musicologist Simon Reynolds to describe dubstep and its cousins in music - and see how it manifests itself in the best avant garde practice across poetry, performance and music. '

The gig will feature a range of music, art and spoken word. Performers include the Foundobjects friendly Maria Minerva and Forest Swords

I'll be providing accidental poetics over the top.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Close Encounter.

Fiftieth Anniversary of the Betty & Barney Hill UFO abduction in New Hampshire, September 19-20th 1961.

Creepy Dolls

There really is not a lot I can say about these adverts. I think they speak for themselves. The words Freaky and Creepy spring to mind.  But the big question has to be........what was going through the advertisers minds??

Fancy walking with the Gods? Why not read this book?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Model World

Model World was a programme first aired on BBC2 in 1975, and presented by Bob Symes. Personally I was very fond of this program, and have very good memories associated with it. I will now explain why. Over a number of weeks Bob Symes Smith would introduce us to different aspects of The Modellers World. One week it would be Model Trains the next Model Aircraft and Gliders or Radio controlled boats, and so on. I remember at the time being very impressed with the intro titles, thinking they were quite futuristic. Model World was a very gentle and quiet program. Just a lot of odd looking blokes in tweed jackets, shirts and ties making and talking models. There was a BBC publication to accompany the series.  The Model World book came with plans showing you how to make a Model Yacht, Glider and a radio Controlled frigate. I loved the show so much my Father went out and got me the Model World book. I then ventured down to the shed to build a 30in Frigate. A month or so later the Frigate was finished, but on my Frigates 1st and only sailing, it got attacked by a swan, and the superstructure sustained quite a bit of damage. With every intention of repairing the Frigate I went home and placed it into my bedroom cupboard.
A couple of years later my Sister and I welcomed Punk into our home, and for a while I embraced Punk with a vengeance. As far as I was concerned it was year zero in my bedroom. So books toys and Airfix models got put into the cupboard and out of sight. With that the now badly neglected Model World Frigate got pushed back into the cupboard even more. Sometime later realising that my year zero attitude was a tad foolish, all my old books and models slowly reappeared. But for some reason the Frigate stayed in the cupboard and The Model World Book was no where to be seen. To this day I do not know what happened to it.
A few years ago my Father died and my Sister and I were clearing out his house. I was in my old bedroom clearing out the cupboard when I came across my Model World Frigate. I am afraid to say it was in a worse state than ever. Years of being pushed back further and further into the cupboard had damaged my Frigate beyond repair. So I reluctantly placed it into a bin bag and dropped it into a skip.
I recently discovered a pile of photos of myself from the 1970s. As I was flicking through them I found a photo of a sulky looking me holding my Model World Frigate.

A nicely shaved Brazilian

Sunday, 11 September 2011

The Free Design

Hey, put aside The Monkees, Bubblegum and other joker-band gimmicks, there was a serious tradition of mellow West Coast sunshine pop, easy listening with an intelligent edge. Yeah, there was the upbeat contrived sound of The Mamas and the Papas, The Carpenters and all that lot, but they're weighed down by cursed moneybags, trapped in some horned-acid otherdimensional obscurity over the hill behind Satan's Sunset Stripe, where a black mirror awaits through the bloodstained looking glass and Scary Mary gave birth to a monster magnet. Where it's at is THE FREE DESIGN! The crème de la crème of fantastickness.

Birthed at the end of 1966 in New York City, they soon became in vogue amongst the Greenwich Village coffeehouse folk circuit, signed to the Project 3 Enoch Light label, then put out an album a year between 1967-1972 (and also another one in 1970, Songs For Very Important People, that compiles their previously-released child-friendly songs with new ones on this theme).

Not one track of their entire output is duff or filler (well, the later stuff could be a bit frumpy-dunk: jury's out), and it's a baffling mystery why they never hit it big. Elegant is the word, and "the kindly ones": beautiful male-female voices of celestial harmony, very fine production and irresistibly catchy arrangements brew a sure cure for depression; taste the warm golden syrup of their own material and flipping killer cover versions of The Doors' 'Light My Fire', etc.

Love is the drug here, a cuddly sherbet high, the bubbles in your nose are strange balloons of fun and everything's groovy-cool and zonky, where the fresh smell of summer washing caresses the green shoots of recovery, Robin Hood lives happily ever after with Florence Nightingale, and the Smarties tube never runs out. A joy-bell Utopia, like, with no dust or insects, and all wankers automatically lose the right to gravity so are pulled off into space, or are fused together and thrown down a disused well by purple ravens, never to return. Too right.

The Free Design Vinyl LP Discography:
Kites Are Fun (1967)
You Could Be Born Again (1968)
Heaven/Earth (1969)
Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love (1970)
Sing For Very Important People (1970)
One By One (1971)
There Is A Song (1972)

The Free Design split in 1975, alas, but we danced like Mad March Hares when, happily, this glorious band made a spiffing 2001 reunion comeback with their Cosmic Peekaboo CD. Seek and ye shall find.

Friday, 9 September 2011


Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction
Mike Ashley
Elm Tree Books, London, 1977
Withdrawn from Islington Libraries 2009

The Forty-five Year Mission.

"You're all astronauts, on some kinda star trek!"

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Solid Space.

Ever wondered what The Chills might have sounded like if they'd grown up locked in a windowless bedroom in a London suburb with only fuzzy videos of Gerry Anderson shows and old Dr. Who episodes to keep them company?

Me neither, but I'm delighted to have an answer all the same.

Their website is reassuringly uninformative. In fact I don't even know whether this is a new record recorded in period style, or a 'rediscovered' old one. Either way, it's great.

I've seen it popping up on a few blogs recently, so seek and ye shall find.


Last day for you to enter your Zarikus (Haikus about Zardoz) over at the Mounds and Circles blog

Get 'em in double quick! The winner will be picked this evening. What will you win? Good question - some fantastic tat from the Unmann-Wittering archive! Hooray!

Enter HERE

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Unmade Hammer Film

Found this poster here. It seems this was a genuine Hammer film that just never got made.
The poster was put together to interest potential investors. The story was to have been similar to The Land That Time Forgot (but this time with a Zeppelin)  A Zeppelin on a bombing raid over England is blown of course and winds up at some sort of Lost Continent. More chit chat about this film here. Of on a tangent here but did not realise that Michael Moorcock was one of the Screen Writers for The Land That Time Forgot.

Thursday, 1 September 2011