Thursday, 24 March 2011

Voices Of Bone

(Voices Of Bone, originally uploaded to flickr by noceans)

Sometimes collages get the message across perfectly.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

behind the moon and the sledgehammer

Adding to the previous post, the trailer for Behind The Moon And The Sledgehammer, a documentary about making the early 70s cult classic, and the aftermath, on the otherworldly, woods-dwelling Page family. Thanks to the documentary makers for the link.

belbury youth club at the outer church

A pre-Easter treat from Joseph Stannard and his great Outer Church in Brighton, with Belbury Youth Group, Moon Wiring Club, Pye Corner Audio, Ghost Box DJs, films and other suitably anomalous uncanny thrills.

Friday, 11 March 2011

lanzarote's little devils - les diabletes

Masked devil dances are a big part of folk traditions worldwide, from Sri Lankan devil bears that ward off the unwanted harassment of unseen hands to Romanian rituals where the demonic masks are almost cute in their fur, textile and horned hat design. In Barcelona the Festival of Merce sees devils dance in the Lucifer fire runs and in Liberia, the six-metre high, black-masked, shell-adorned devils that Graham Greene described as wielding a power beyond good and evil in his 1930s travel book, Journey Without Maps, still dance through villages, bringing, apparently, happiness and reconciliation. In Lanzarote, Les Diabletes meld Moorish and slave superstitions, aboriginal and Christian beliefs in a harlequin-esque figure (above), part Padstow Obby Osses, part medieval-styled raver.

Centuries ago, les diabletes were incarnated as virile he-goats, and shepherds danced through Lanzarote's capital, Teguise, in goat-skins tarred with lard. Now they're the focal point of the pre-Lent period Teguise carnival and celebrations in other towns across the island, and they've also shape-shifted, becoming horned bulls with bright red tongues (as above), clad in red and black diamond-decorated jacket and trousers and decked out with bells.

They're meant to scare us, but les diabletes just end up looking mischievous, especially with those sticking out tongues. They have that mocking look, like jesters with a trick up their sleeves.

Monday, 7 March 2011

randomness ... it's a viral thing

We'll start with how HP Lovecraft's horror stories became, not just a cult, but an occult cult. Or maybe you already know you want to know more about Professor Daryl Bem and his apparent proof of ESP? Meantime, tucked away on Londonist, was a handy little gazetteer guide to London's hidden labyrinths and mazes, which is handy for all times, and includes Alan Fletcher's 60s-designed mosaic maze in Warren Street station (that I never seem to stop long enough at to try properly), as well as the apparently unlikely Barbican maze and minotaur. I've been reading Merlin Coverley's Occult London (thanks Kevin Younger), which is a great potted guide to the arcane shadows of the city, from John Dee to Iain Sinclair, and also has a little gazetteer at the back, and with some trip-planning happening just now, I'm all about mapping out journeys. Well, erratically, when I'm not looking for blog-suitable content from other parts of the world or enjoying creations like the Ikea Stonehenge (thank you Anthea Pitt), or the amazing "thoughtograph" 60s mind photography of Ted Serios, and awaiting the imminent return (of sorts) of Hammer horror, with films promising a risk-taking "70s sensibility", plus books (possibilities for the next generation of would-be Hammer scriptwriters) and live horror theatre productions. Currently visually mesmerised by: beautiful 1961 illustrations from Alfred Hitchcock & Fred Banbery's Haunted Houseful, including one of Hitchcock as a Casper-like ghost, the brilliant eerie and uncanniness of the death house tumblr blog and gregory boerum's amazing graphic design (via found objects).

strange attractor salon & nathaniel mellors at the ICA

Mark Pilkington's wondrous otherworld of culture, myth, magic and more explorations, the Strange Attractor Salon, teams up with Nathaniel Mellors for a series of talks and films from this week to go with Mellors exhibition, all at the ICA. Films include The Bed Sitting Room, The Manster (pictured), The Island Of Dr Moreau, Zardov, with talks by the likes of Eleanor Morgan on mythic and real meshes of humans and spiders and Mark Blacklock on Victorian Britain's revelatory discovery of multi-dimensional realities. The series begins this Thursday (10 Mar) with Stephen Grasso talking about African magic-religious traditions and their influence on music, and a screening of The Little Richard Story for afters. What, no Roy Castle stealing the sound of the voodoo for his mid 60s jazz band in Dr Terrors House Of Horrors?

in search of ... with leonard nimoy

What could be better on mid-70s television than Star Trek's Mr Spock hosting a "documentary" series investigating the paranormal? Rod Serling was meant to be the host, but when Mr Twilight Zone died, Nimoy proved to be an apt replacement, not least with his similar doom-laden intonation. Running for six series, from 1976 to 1982, and more than overdue for DVD boxset release, highlights that keep the show in heavy rotation on the History Channel include the "ancient ghosts" of England that are "the scariest spirits of all", the real story of Dracula, Mayan Mysteries, spirit voices, voodoo and Stonehenge as the source of a mysterious power that keeps Britain in a magnetic force field.