Friday, 22 July 2011
Friday, 8 July 2011
By Joseph Conrad
Edited with an Introduction by Michael Newton
Penguin Books, 2007
An acute analysis of the human condition may well conclude that behind the flim-flam of philosophy, theology, metaphysics and transcendental speculation, human actions, ideals and aspirations are conditioned by, and derived from, a corrosive Fear. A fear of reality translated into a hatred of existence reified as a culturally conditioned loathing of the world. Subjected to a process of ideological sublimation, this loathing, which is self-loathing, is transformed into extreme politics, a form of politics defined here, by Michael Newton in his Introduction, as ‘the politics of feeling’. The Secret Agent delves into the political unconscious of the politics of feeling.
It is very well known that just as Dostoyevsky based his political novel The Devils (1871) on the true life Nechayev Conspiracy of 1869, so Conrad, writing in 1906, based his fictional ‘dynamite novel’ on a political outrage as reported in the newspapers. Anarchist Martial Bourdin emerged from the shadows to die, horrifically, in a failed bomb-attack on The Greenwich Observatory in 1894. In this depressingly familiar case the perpetrator was killed by his own explosives, leading Conrad to ponder the implications of – to use his words – such an act of ‘blood stained inanity’.
Newton asks if the anarchist action was planned as an attack on the Meridian Line. Was it an attempt to destroy the organisation of time itself? For those fixated on the compulsive doctrine of the attentat, the notion of propaganda by deed, such an objective may have seemed entirely valid. The action of the novel centres upon the reactions of Mrs Verloc, whose retarded younger brother Stevie is inveigled into becoming the bomb-carrier by her shady husband, a double agent – the ‘Secret Agent’ of the title. Her death at the end of the book is reported in the press as ‘Suicide of Lady Passenger from A Cross-Channel Boat – An Impenetrable Mystery Seems Destined To Hang For Ever Over This Act Of Madness And Despair’.
It is the explanation of this ‘impenetrable mystery,’ the motivation for Mrs Verloc’s acts of murder and self-destruction, of madness and despair, that forms the domestic dimension of the plot. A plot inspired by a few words uttered by a friend, Ford Maddox Ford, who, in conversation, remarked “Oh that fellow was half an idiot. His sister committed suicide afterwards.” It was Conrad who expanded the scenario to include the murder of Mr Verloc by his wife, a desolate woman for whom the tragic Stevie, almost unearthly in the intensity of his compassion, meant everything.
If the scenario of The Secret Agent retains a morbid sense of familiarity (a vulnerable youth manoeuvred into committing an atrocity, or potential atrocity, by a trusted elder) then the most lurid of extremists, the ‘incorruptible’ Professor, the Perfect Anarchist, embodies Conrad’s conception of the ultimate terrorist. Even though the epithet recalls Robespierre, this is certainly a figure more familiar than we would like.
Two key scenes of the story are conversations set in a seedy hostelry called The Silenus (‘the renowned Silenus’) where, towards the end of the book, one of the subversives, comrade Alexander Ossipon, nick-named The Doctor, is discussing the Verloc Affair and its outcome. During this discussion The Professor taps the breast pocket of his jacket, claiming “And yet I am the force.”
Ossipon announces his future Brave New World of two hundred years into the future when ‘doctors will rule the world’ for, even now, in the shadows, ‘science reigns already’. He describes his vision to counteract the misanthropy of his companion who preaches ‘utter extermination’.
Aghast, Ossipon exclaims, “you carry in your pocket enough stuff to send yourself and, say, twenty other people into eternity.”
The Professor responds by raising his glass and drinks calmly to “the destruction of what is.”
To intimidate the authorities and so deter arrest this creature of hate has turned himself into a human bomb; he declares the sole aim of his life is to develop the perfect detonator – an intelligent detonator. In several paragraphs Conrad expounds the viewpoint of The Professor who feels that he is ‘a force’. A misanthrope who loathes the weak and ‘the odious multitude’ of mankind, he anticipates the death-doctrine of fascism: “I depend on death, which knows no restraint and cannot be attacked. My superiority is self-evident.” For an irritated Ossipon this is “a transcendental way of putting it.” The adjective is pejorative.
Joseph Conrad’s approach to his subject matter is one of relentless, consistent irony and it is this all-pervasive irony that, among other factors, makes The Secret Agent such a remarkable work of fiction, or, to quote Newton, a ‘signally important work of Modernist fiction.’ It should be noted that Conrad’s sardonic view is all encompassing and no one escapes his excoriation – not the radicals, not the politicians, not the police and not the ‘ordinary’ person for there are no ordinary people in this novel of ‘radical grotesques’.
In his Author’s Note (1920), included in this volume, Conrad remarks upon the ‘criminal futility’ of the Greenwich incident. He condemns all aspects of the attack including doctrine, action and the fundamental mentality. For him the most obnoxious feature of the radical pose is that it stems from a brazen desire to exploit ‘the poignant miseries and passionate credulities of a mankind always so tragically eager for self-destruction.’ It is this radical pose with its ‘unpardonable’ philosophical pretences that is represented in various ways by the menagerie of radical grotesques comprising the anarchist underground described in the novel.
This collection of repellent types includes not only The Professor and Comrade Ossipon but also other figures like Michaelis (possibly based on Kropotkin) and Karl Yundt (known as ‘the terrorist’) whose views are somewhat similar to those of the Incorruptible Professor, even though the latter despises the former. Yundt dreams of a cadre of ‘destroyers’, a band of men (they are all men, these committed idealists) ‘absolute in their resolve to discard all scruples in the choice of means’. Devoid of all pity for anything, including themselves, these ‘destroyers’ would enact the principle of ‘death enlisted for good and all in the service of humanity’.
As a ‘dynamite novel’, an example of the newly emerging genre of espionage fiction, The Secret Agent is also an urban novel. Elsewhere critics have written much on this aspect of a book, which remains one of the great London stories with its descriptions of Westminster, Soho and Kensington set in the fin-de-siecle era. Here the city is a suffocating, hellish domain. It functions as the sordid backdrop for acts of depravity perpetrated by fragmentary beings prone to the ludicrous outcomes ‘of chance and our own natures’ as Michael Newton explains, hapless victims of ontological ambush, of ‘unexpected solutions of continuity, sudden holes in space and time’ to cite Conrad himself.
Is this ‘totally ironic artefact’ also a novel which diminishes all human agents and the human civilisation of which they claim to be part, as is stated by Fletcher and Bradbury in their essay on The Introverted Novel. Perhaps, but even if agents of destruction pass ‘unsuspected and deadly, like a pest’ through our streets, as does The Incorruptible Professor at the end of the narrative, it is also another human agent, a clear-sighted writer, who has unmasked the unpardonable ‘philosophical pretences’ articulating the megalomania of Fear. Here, laid bare, is the murky pathology of all deluded ideologues seeking to regenerate a fallen world but who, in fact, are driven by a vitriolic hatred of existence.
published in The Supplement Issue 37 Nov 2007
Illustration: Water Lane, 1980
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Stigmata Junction (Step 55 from Stride) by Thomas Wiloch, editor of the elusive US magazine Grimoire, contains twenty-six short prose texts and fourteen collages.
The prose work avoids stylistic experimentation, allowing each narrative to make its impact through the bizarre nature of the action portrayed. Wiloch deploys a repertoire of disquieting images or motifs: the sixth and seventh vignettes recall Ballard – a limitless conglomeration of consumer durables buried beneath the sands of a beach (‘At the Beach’), the automobile which, like a sinking ship, slides beneath the earth of a quiet field (‘Returning’). The third text in the collection, ‘The Head in the Box’, a Poe-esque guignol, features a nameless protagonist haunted by the screams from a decapitated head kept in a box in the closet.
Billed as ‘of a surrealistic nature’ this is Surrealism with a small ‘s’. In fact Stigmata Junction operates in that grey twilight domain of post-surrealist fantasy, not so much pure psychic automatism as fragmentary confrontations with alien Otherness, described in a symbolic vocabulary of closed rooms, casual catastrophe, uncanny Fortean phenomena (gnomic messages raining down from the sky), rituals of cruelty and fleeting visions of transmundane worlds (‘This Family’s TV Set’, ‘The Starfish Eye’).
Most of the pieces arise from a single theme: displacement. All Wiloch’s protagonists suffer from a sense of displacement that provokes fantasies of loss. Loss of identity, as in ‘His Fragments’ and ‘Dissection’, where the fragmentation of personality is encapsulated in the motifs of smashed glass and mirrors containing the enigma of ‘his secret name’. ‘Everyone was frightened by the death of the world. Nothing seemed to replace it.’ runs a line from ‘The Day the World Died’, echoing another theme of loss: loss of belonging in the world.
In Wiloch’s universe normality is vaporized and meaning has collapsed, existence is indescribable (‘Chained Reaction’), all answers are incomprehensible (‘Unnatural Formation’). Familiar objects like desks and TV sets take on a life of their own, motivated by malicious intent. An occult antidote to this alienation may be implied in ‘The Tribute’ where control over the authorities can be gained by shedding one’s blood.
The fourteen collages which compliment the text are in the style pioneered by Max Ernst in the 1930s using turn-of-the-century popular engravings. These have an almost friendly familiarity at odds with the more sinister texts and do not quite pack the punch they might. All in all however Stigmata Junction is a pleasing excursion into the macabre.
Published in Stride 22 Autumn 1985
Thomas Wiloch 1953-2008 a personal tribute by Thomas Ligotti
Illustration: The Mysteries Of Inner Space, 2000
Monday, 20 June 2011
On Some Faraway Planet
Funky Space at the Boogie Lounge
Amplify your visuals, get connected, go anywhere.
Hot metal, new leather, fishnet crop tops
Scalp electrodes connect us to fashion dreams
When, after a grey and misty start,
The future merges with yesterday’s news
And mirror ball madness vamps up your eyes
All table dancing, flirting and catfights
At a burlesque cabaret in a downtown cellar
On some far away planet a long way from home
Where raffish grid girls wear suede retro hot pants
And alien entertainers swoop from the chandeliers
Yeah, it’s love, lipgloss and show business
Out here on the Western Fringes, so it’s
Another teen slasher bloodbath from Mr Pink
As Starfleet Command takes all the tables
Calling for posh totty, sentimental songs
And two pianos on wheels of steel,
Like this sex bomb in specs adds some oomph
To her scary cocktail shaker routine
Behind the bar on the seventh floor where
Snap happy space cadets preen in their frocks
Flicking ciggie stubs across the room
At some hick comedienne from The Big Squirm
Too boring darling I hear you say.
Where’s that pause button?
No wet shirt moments here then, just armchair
Radicals, Mr White, some other geezer
And a crystal breeze chilling the action, while
Sporting a smarter class of clobber,
Mohair suits and electric boots,
We truffle shuffle to a plinky dinky soundtrack.
You lucky, lucky people!
Published in Inclement Vol 11 Issue 1 Spring 2011
Illustration: We Always Come Back, 2003
Friday, 10 June 2011
Several Sonnets 1883-1887
When the shadow menaces with its fatal law
A particular old Dream, desire and evil of my vertebrae,
Afflicted at dying beneath funereal ceilings
It folds within me its indubitable wing.
Luxury, o hall of ebony where, to seduce a king
Ceremonial garlands writhe in death,
You are nothing but mendacious hubris uttered by shadows
In the eyes of a hermit dazzled by his faith.
Yes, I know that in the distances of this night, The Earth
Emits a giant flare extraordinary mystery
Beneath the hideous centuries that darken it the less.
Space like unto itself whether it expands or contracts
Unfurls in this boredom vile fires for witnesses
That a festive star has illuminated its genius
The virgin, the everlasting and beautiful today
Will it shatter for us with a drunken wing beat
The hard, forgotten lake haunted beneath frost
By the transparent glacier of flights not taken!
A swan of previous times recalls it is he who
Magnificent but hopeless surrenders himself
For not having sung the place of living
When sterile winter’s ennui gleamed.
All his neck will shake off that white agony
By space inflicted on the bird which negates,
But not the horror of plumage ensnared on the ground.
Phantom assigned here by his pure light,
He is paralysed in a cold dream of disdain
Assumed in useless exile The Swan.
Victoriously fled the beautiful suicide
Firebrand of glory, spume of blood, gold, storm!
Oh laugh if down there a purple spreads
To cover royally my absent tomb.
What! Of this flare not even a gleam
Remains, it is midnight, in the shadow celebrating us
Except that a head’s presumptive treasure
Tumbles its nonchalant caress without a torch
Yours as always the delight! Yours
Yes alone retaining from dissolved skies
A residue of puerile triumph rimmed
With light as you lay it on the cushions
Like the war-helmet of a girl-empress
From which to depict you cascade roses.
Raised high her pure nails dedicate their onyx
Anguish, this midnight upholds her lampadophore
And many vesperal dreams burned by the Pheonix
Are Never gathered in any cinerary amphora
On the tables, in the empty salon: nul ptyx
Abolished trinket of sonorous emptyness
(For The Master has gone gathering tears in The Styx
With this solitary object that bestows honour on The Void)
But near a vacant north window, a gold
Expires complementing perhaps the décor
Of unicorns kicking fire towards a nixie,
She, defunct, naked in the mirror, while
In the abyss bordered by the frame, are fixed
So soon, the scintillations of The Seven Stars.
translated by AC 1996-1999
Sonnet IV, the first truly hermetic poem by Stephane Mallarme, is also known as the 'Sonnet en X' (first version 1866)
Find out more here
Illustration: Dream Space, 2001
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Olivier Messiaen in the Surrealist Context - Trans-Ideological Affinities
Surrealism is a term that has been used in connection with Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) more than any other composer. While the term is often used in a lax way, simply allowing hack critics to denote a certain perceived ‘weirdness’ of tone, the relationship between the composer and the surrealist aesthetic is worthy, perhaps, of a brief exploration.
It must be said at the outset that, as a musician and composer, Messiaen did not participate in the Surrealist movement. During the inter-war era the leader of the Surrealists, Andre Breton (1896-1966), was – unlike the Zurich Dadaists – actually opposed to music in principle, excoriating composer-cliques such as Les Six as promoted in Paris high society by ‘fake poet’ Jean Cocteau. Furthermore, as ultra-humanist subversives and revolutionaries, the Surrealists’ militant, materialist, anti-clerical, anti-Catholic, anti-religious position would have rendered Messiaen persona non grata in their eyes. In the post war era the relationship between Surrealism and music changed, but primarily as a result of the rise of Bebop and the recognition of a fellow feeling with Afro-American black culture as enshrined in The Blues – the relationship between Surrealism and Western ‘classical’ art-music remains difficult and, in the main, uncharted territory.
The evolution of Messiaen’s development can be described as passing through three distinct periods and two distinct phases. Chronologically the Periods are (1) 1917-1936 (2) 1937-1949 and (3) 1949 to date. The first period is, naturally, a formative, early, ‘pioneering’ period. The second period a middle consolidation period, and the later third period, an era of ‘transmutation’, giving rise to works which extend the potentialities of the earlier periods to such a degree as to define a completely new phase of achievement without sacrificing continuity. In some respects, it seems that these three eras can be broadly divided into two distinct Phases of inner evolution. The first two, the ‘pioneering’ era and the ‘consolidation’ era, comprise works that may be defined as microcosmic and subjectivist, the last period comprises works of a more impersonal, macrocosmic mode.
To explain this analysis it is helpful to identify some salient works which also, by comparison with other works in other media, by different artists, may illustrate some overlaps between Messiaen’s music and Surrealism and the Surrealist ethos.
Early Period: 1917-1936
From the beginning Messiaen’s music derived from two modes of thought: a personal, subjectivist mode exemplified by the Preludes (1929) for solo piano, “etiolate mood-pictures still sunk in the prison of the self” to quote Malcolm Troop, and an hieratic, theological mode epitomised by the organ work Le Banquet Celeste (1926) or, even more starkly, by L’Apparition de l’Eglise Eternelle (1932). The Preludes recall and extend several works by Messiaen’s predecessor Claude Debussy (piano preludes like Voiles and La Cathedrale Engloutie (1910) or orchestral works such as Danse Sacree et Danse Profane from 1903). The label Impressionist has served to obscure the fact that Debussy was closely associated with the proto-Surrealist ethos of the fin de siecle French Symbolists, showing deep affinities with poets such as Baudelaire and Mallarme, themselves recognised as precursors of the Surrealist spirit. The piano Preludes of both composers seem like musical renditions of Redon’s lithographs. Messiaen’s 'Les Sons Impalpable du Reve' inhabits the same oneiric sphere as Redon’s pictures like the painting 'Yeux Clos' (1890) or the two lithograph series entitled Dans le Reve (1879) and Songes (1891)
The iconoclastic, Absurdism of late ultra-Symbolist Pataphysics (Alfred Jarry) and the abrasive nihilism of Dada have worked to obscure the roots of French Surrealism in the world of nineteenth century Symbolism. The Surrealists themselves always tended to emphasise their preference for the Symbolist tradition of poetic anarchism and revolt (Lautreamont, Rimbaud), rather than that of subjective, interior exploration. Despite clear parallels, the work of Odilon Redon (1840-1916) was not seen as proto-Surrealist. Nevertheless from the present historic vantage point it is obvious that there is a line of continuity from the pre-Freudian world of Symbolist painting to the post-Freudian spirit of Surrealist endeavour. This is despite the fact that the neo-conservative religiosity espoused by many Symbolists would be seen as hopelessly retrograde from the Surrealist perspective. In fact both Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and, later, Olivier Messiaen inhabited the same pre-Surrealist cultural landscape of the Symbolist fin de siecle.
Another artist of the fin de siecle whose works seem to emanate from a similar domain to that traversed by Messiaen in his first pioneering period is the Belgian Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921). Pictures such as 'I Lock My Door Upon Myself' (1891) which project an atmosphere of spiritual isolation and psychic dissociation, or the remarkable 'Geste d’Offrande' (an image of an immobile figure frozen in ritual pose) encapsulate the muted mysticism of Messiaen’s theological mode. Messiaen’s title Les Offrandes Oubliees (1930) may not be a deliberate allusion to Khnopff - but it looks as if it should be.
Other works of Messiaen in similar vein include Diptyque (1929), Nativite du Seigneur (1935), L’Ascension (1933) and the impressive, archetypal L’Apparation de L’Eglise Eternelle. The monumentality of the latter work looks forward to the glacial peaks of Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum (1964) and, no doubt unintentionally, demonstrates non-rational elective affinities with Gaudi’s unfinished Templo de la Sagrada Familia begun in 1883. The parabolic spires and delirious, sensual detail of Gaudi’s idiosyncratic Art Nouveau Barcelona cathedral could be an architectural premonition of Messiaen’s musical style; like Messiaen, Antoni Gaudi y Cornet (1852-1926) demonstrated, in his creative work, a phenomenological affinity with Surrealism without being, in the formal sense, Surrealist. Like his Catalan compatriot Dali, Gaudi represented an aesthetic phenomenon resistant to the apparent constraints of subsequent Surrealist ideology. Also, like Messiaen, Gaudi produced works of extreme, heretical individuality at variance, in a way, with the professed orthodoxy of belief both artists attributed to themselves. It was as though Religion provided an incitement for the imagination – an operative fiction.
Le Banquet Celeste was Messiaen’s first public work, an organ piece of unresolved dissonance and subversive stasis first performed in 1928 (the year of Breton’s Nadja, Bunuel and Dali’s film Un Chien Andalou and Aragon’s Traite du Style) four years after the publication of the Premier Manifeste (1924). Had any of the Surrealist avant garde, immersed in experiments with collage, automatism, word-scrambling and the Ducassian Encounter, attended the Paris performance of this piece they might have detected, despite the wilfully archaic façade, some signs of a sensibility attuned to the auditory equivalent of Convulsive Beauty, explosive-fixed and erotic-veiled. However the differences would also have been obvious. Messiaen was clearly establishing a traditional theological basis for his work; the Surrealists were fixated upon the chance incursions of the quotidian marvellous. These were ideologically irreconcilable positions, even though Messiaen was drawn to a ‘surrealist’ use of language. In his case this stemmed from rejection of the arid neo-classical formulations practised by middle-of-the road artists of the day, rather than the Dada experiments of Tzara, Huelsenbeck and Schwitters or, in France, of Breton and Soupault (Les Champs Magnetiques, 1920).
Messiaen’s formative, pioneering period corresponds to the proto-Surrealist movements of the previous fin de siecle generation. The reason for this is the bipolar modality of Messiaen’s creative thought, the complementary desires to penetrate the inner recesses of experience and the ‘mystical’ or theological imperative. Both tropisms tended to unleash unpredictable and powerful forces, finding expression in Messiaen’s unique, violent and monumental musical sound-forms. This musical language cannot be constrained by the Catholic theological framework espoused by the composer and can, therefore, be categorised as a manifestation of sur-reality in music, despite problematic personal, historical and cultural complications.
Middle Period: 1937-1949
The evolutionary difference between the works of Messiaen’s second period and his first is a difference in ‘depth’, not in a qualitative sense, but in a progressive sense: Messiaen’s musical explorations took him ‘deeper’, as it were, into the hinterland of his chosen terrain. In some the respects the works of his second period are more extreme, or appear so. The delicate, subjective mode of the piano preludes is overtaken by a series of works that are the most overtly surrealistic of the composer’s output.
Firstly there are the Poemes Pour Mi (1936) and secondly, Chants de Terre et de Ciel (1938), two song-cycles influenced by the translucent verse of Pierre Reverdy (hailed by Andre Breton as a precursor), set to piano music which complements rather than accompanies the words. This music echoes and cascades amid the metallic membranes on an inner cosmos where landscapes metamorphose into female bodies, like Pavel Tchelitchews’ painting 'Fata Morgana' (1940). Harawi, Chant d’Amour et de Mort (the title of a third song-cycle) marks a further, distinctive evolution of sensibility. It is the first part of a trilogy, the other two parts being the Turangalila-Symphonie (1948) and Cinq Rechants (1948). In Harawi (1945) the fluidity of the imagery and the unearthly pianism of the music combine to produce one of the most sensational and ‘surreal’ works of our age. The protagonist Piroutcha, a Peruvian incarnation of Wagner’s Isolde, participates with her lover in an extraordinary ritual dance amid atoms, rainbows, giant staircases, sacred birds and exploding galaxies of onomatopoeic utterances. The whole scenario is set in a vertiginous abyss where the moment of love-death is prolonged into an infinite star-less night:
Dans le noir, colombe vert,
Dans le noir, perle limpide
Dans le noir, mon fruit de ciel…
In Rencontres Avec Olivier Messiaen (1961) by Antoine Golea the composer says that a picture by the English Surrealist Roland Penrose called 'The Invisible Isle' (1936), also known as 'Seeing is Believing', inspired the section of Harawi entitled Amour Oiseau d’Etoile. The picture depicts the blond head of a beautiful young woman suspended upside down over an island city; her neck penetrates the low-lying cloud entering into planetary space above. From the bottom of the picture, extending upwards, are two hands in a gesture of yearning. Messiaen has said that this picture encapsulates the whole of Harawi.
The incantatory language of Harawi and Cinq Rechants is perhaps the most remarkable element in Messiaen’s ‘surrealism’. On the one hand it links him with a pre-surrealist tradition of linguistic experimentation, stretching back to Edgar Allan Poe. On the other hand it shows how close he was, coincidentally or otherwise, to contemporaneous Surrealist poetics – particularly the work of Antonin Artaud (1896-1948), who was to die the year of Cinq Rechants. Although utterly apart philosophically, there is a trans-ideological affinity between Artaud and Messiaen, particularly the Messiaen of Harawi with its pre-Columbian mise en scene and cosmic-mythical scenario. There is an extremism in the work of both Artaud and Messiaen which discloses a universe of ritualistic ‘cruelty’ and depends, in part, on the creation of personalised hermetic languages based on dextrous collages of Eastern and Western elements. Artaud, in his dramaturgic researches, helped push Surrealist thought away from Western models, towards non-European themes and obsessions. This was, in some ways, an extension of the exoticism that attracted Debussy to the Balinese gamelan. Artaud saw in the stylised formalism of Balinese dance a way of rejuvenating the staid formalisms of Western theatre.
Messiaen’s linguistic usage evolved into a hybrid of French, Hindi and personal images encapsulated in names like Viviane, Ysault, Meduse and Orphee, all protagonists of Symbolist inner dramas, immortalised in paintings by, for example, Jean Delville and Gustave Moreau. Messiaen wrote glossolalia utterances such as
Ahi! O Mapa nama mapa nama lila, tchil…
Mayoma kalimolimo mayoma kalimolimo
t k tk t k t k…
These chants bear a strong generic resemblance to the archetypal poetic idiolect of Artaud’s semi-legendary ‘lost’ book Letura d’Eprahi Talli Tetr Fendi Photia O Fotre Indi (1934):
Ke loc tispera
born in part, as was Harawi, out of a fascination for the myths and codices of Pre-Columbian America.
The trilogy is the high point of Messiaen’s para-surrealist output. It also highlights those aspects that set him apart from the Paris Surrealist Group of the inter-war period. His dissociation from politico-revolutionary concerns, the orthodox religious basis for his mysticism, his naïve association of earthly and heavenly love that is apparently at the opposite pole to Breton’s ‘mad love’ or amour fou. Messiaen’s explanations of his sublimated eroticism are most unconvincing when decked out in regressive, saccharine Catholic rhetoric.
Second period works comprise some of Messiaen’s best known pieces such as Quatuor Pour la Fin du Temps (1941), Les Corps Glorieux (1939), Visions de l’Amen (1943) and Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus (1944). In all cases the convulsive beauty of the works themselves it at odds with the manifest orthodox religious ideological ground-base underpinning the composer’s speculative thinking. It might appear that, like Gerard de Nerval and J-K. Huysmans before him, Messiaen pushed beyond the limits of conventional theology into the borderlands of the heretical and occult; the only parallel for his synaesthesia colour-theory, for instance, is to be found in the works of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1871-1915), an overt Theosophist. The numerological method he incorporated into his compositional technique can only be regarded as an example of occultism in music, assertions to the contrary notwithstanding. Again, there are precedents in the pre-surrealist world of the Symbolists: Baudelaire and Rimbaud’s Alchimie du Verbe. With these works Messiaen attempted to resolve the underlying dualism implicit in his creative thought. He was at the limits of charted experience, and the music, particularly the piano music, reflected this, gaining in intensity and violence on every level from the cataclysmic to the insidious.
Later Period: 1949 to date
The works that followed these during the third Period from 1949 onwards are generally monumental, concerned with the outer gulfs and vastness of space or the vertiginous escarpments of glaciers. There are few works dealing with the inner life of the subjective individual. Like Mallarme with his revolutionary poem Un Coup de Des, Messiaen ventured into The Abyss. In this phase there is, however, one key figure with who Messiaen can be compared: arch-Dadaist and Surrealist Max Ernst (1891-1976). It is intriguing that between these two crucial figures there are a number of points of rapport.
During the late 1930s Max Ernst developed a distinctive form of visionary painting using the ‘decalcomania’ technique. Ernst continued this style into the 1940s with paintings like 'Europe After The Rain '(1942) and 'The Eye of Silence' (1944). Decalcomania is strongly identified with Ernst, although its discovery is usually attributed to Oscar Dominguez. Similar colouristic effects can be found, in prototype form, in some canvases by Odilon Redon and Gustave Moreau and the technique was also used extensively by Leonor Fini (1918-1996). Many of her paintings from the 1960s seem to emanate from the same creative universe as the music Messiaen was composing during the immediate post-war period. For example works such as 'The Dormant Water' (1962), 'A Breathing Shadow' (1962), 'Sleep In a Garden '(1962), 'The Trough of Night' (1963) and 'The Long Sleep of Flowers' (1964) are almost exactly comparable to the soundscapes of Harawi and Turangalila. Decalcomania involves the use of colour figurations embedded in wet paint applied according to the laws of Objective Chance. The result is an eroded surface where decoration assumes an autonomous role, just as Messiaen exploited the effects of apoggiaturas and added notes. Ernst’s painting 'The Stolen Mirror' (1941) featured a ziggurat-dotted landscape strongly reminiscent of the mythical Peruvian setting of Harawi.
It is true that the works of Max Ernst are imbued with a corrosive black humour, blasphemy and cosmic irony quite alien to Messiaen’s conscious intentions. A typical example would be 'The AntiPope' (1942) which expresses an almost Satanic sensibility completely at odds with Messiaen’s joyful ecstasies. Yet nevertheless the static highly textured effect of the music finds a correlation here, as does the collage-like juxtaposition of ‘soundblocks’ in works like Et Exspecto Resurrectionem Mortuorum, which are intrinsically apocalyptic rather than Surrealist. Furthermore, in a series of Ernst pictures entitled, among others, 'The Nymph Echo' (1937), 'Nature at Dawn' (1938) and 'Joie de Vivre' (1936) the viewer is confronted with strangely Messiaen-esque visions: giant bird-headed creatures lurking amid luscious, fantastic blossoms and grotesque vegetation comprised of huge, leathery leaves. The vast dimensions of these alien worlds somehow prefigure the cosmic landscapes of the Catalogue d’Oiseaux (1958); crystalline evocations of magical, hyper-real bird-life; bizarre avian deities, monuments to the birds. Messiaen’s later works such as Et Exspecto, Livre d’Orgue (1951) and La Transfiguration (1969) conjure up towering auditory edifices and vast canyons of sound. Mexican step-pyramids, echoing glaciers, vaults of stained glass, forests like giant cathedrals, bird-familiars – these are all the auditory counterparts of Ernst’s ‘great forests’ and ‘entire cities’. They are the auditory equivalents of the awesome geological landscapes and boundless spatial gulfs depicted in paintings like 'Mundus est Fabula', (1959) 'A Swarm of Bees in the Palace of Justice' (1960), 'Inspired Hill' (1950), 'The Twentieth Century' (1955) and 'The Sky Marries The Earth' (1964).
A shared fascination for avian life links Max Ernst and Olivier Messiaen. Ernst created innumerable bird-monuments. His birds are stylised, linear shapes, as depicted in 'Chaste Joseph' (1928) or 'The Interior of Sight' (1929). They are counterparts, in a visual medium, to the stylisation of birdsong achieved by Olivier Messiaen in numerous musical works. For both artists these supernal birds are more than a fixation, and their simultaneous appearance in the works to two great masters of the twentieth century cannot be merely coincidental – there is a link between Messiaen and the Surrealists, but that link is non-rational. Its existence reveals a creative imperative that transcends ideological, even theological differences.
Postscript: The First Audible Diamond
After the Second World War, in 1946, Andre Breton revised his approach to the problem of music and Surrealism. Acknowledging deep connections between poetry and song he called for a ‘reunification’ of hearing to accompany the revolutionary programme of the Surrealist reunification of sight. In an article for the magazine Modern Music entitled 'Silence is Golden', reprinted in What is Surrealism? (1978), he wrote:
…for the first audible diamond to be obtained, it is evident that the fusion of the two elements - music and poetry - could only be accomplished at a very high emotional temperature. And it seems to me that it is in the expression of the passion of love that both music and poetry are most likely to reach this supreme point of incandescence.
If the most crucial feature of the Surreal marvellous is Convulsive Beauty then, even before Breton wrote these words, that unique form of beauty had already found its first, essential musical expression - in Messiaen’s Harawi of 1945 and many previous pieces composed during the heyday of the Paris Surrealist Group.
The first version of this essay accompanied a Messiaen Discography compiled for a Professional Examination in October 1972. The essay was first published in the magazine BRIO (Volume 11, No 2, Autumn, 1974) with Part II of the Discography, the most comprehensive survey of Messiaen’s work then available in English. The Discography also included numerous literary references to help illuminate the provenance of Messiaen’s compositions. The following references are related exclusively to this essay and include a number of items omitted from the first version:
Artaud, Antonin. Artaud Anthology. City Lights Books. San Francisco. 1965.
Artaud, Antonin. Letter to Peter Watson. Link Magazine [Artaud Special Issue]. Spring 1969.
Breton, Andre. Manifestos of Surrealism. University of Michigan. Ann Arbor 1972.
Breton, Andre. What is Surrealism? Selected Writings. Pluto Press. London. 1978.
Ernst, Max. Beyond Painting. Wittenborn, Schultz, Inc. New York. 1948.
Golea, Antoine. Rencontres Avec Olivier Messiaen. Julliard. Paris. 1961.
Jelinski, Constantin. Leonor Fini. La Guilde du Livre et Clairefontaine. Lausanne. 1972.
Masini, Lara Vinca. Gaudi. Hamlyn. London. 1970.
Redon, Odilon. The Graphic Works of Odilon Redon. Dover Publications. New York. 1969.
Troup, Malcolm. Messiaen and the Modern Mind [Thesis]. University of York. 1967.
Troup, Malcolm. Regard sur Olivier Messiaen. Composer 37. Autumn/Winter, 1970-71
Illustration: Angel For The End Of Time, 1972
Friday, 3 June 2011
Bibliographical References 1968-2009
Allen, Tim Emotional Geology Terrible Work 2 1993
Allen, Tim Ladder to the Next Floor Stride Magazine 1-33 Terrible Work 2. 1993
Allen, Tim Two Riders One Horse Terrible Work 2 1993
Allen, Tim Two Terrible Twins from Phlebas Terrible Work 1 1993
Allen, Tim The Xantras Terrible Work 3 1994
Allen, Tim Dream Vortex Terrible Work 8 1998
Allen, Tim Earth Ascending An Anthology of Living Poetry Terrible Work 8 1998
Allen, Tim Colour of Dust by A C Evans Terrible Work 9 1999
Allen, Tim/Kirke, Alexis Trombone Pamphlets Received Terrible Work 8 [listing] 1998
Allen, Tim/Kirke, Alexis Very Recommendable Stride Books Received Terrible Work 8 [listing] 1998
Austin, Dave Letters to the Editor [The Bards 1 A C Evans] The Supplement 18 2005
Barford, Emma In a Desperate Museum 10th Muse 5 1994
Berry, Jake Responses to A C Evans' Essay Voices in Denial Poetry and Post-Culture The Argotist Online 2006
Bird, Polly A C Evans Colour of Dust New Hope International Online 1999
Blackstone, Leonard Blackstone's Chippings (Space Opera) TOPS 131 1998
Bowles, Ebenezer Delusions of Cosmic Destiny Planet Clio 2009
Bradshaw, Paul Burning Man Dark Fantasy Newsletter 6 1999
Bruinsma, Max Exploding Cinema. Rotterdam Film Course Sandberg Institute 1999
Bugle, L Decaying Orbits Nox 4 1987
Callison, J. D Letter to Rupert M Loydell [Memories of the Future] Unpublished 1999
Carroll, Pete Letters to the Editor [Hermetic Art Gnostic Alchemy of the Imagination] Nox 2 1986
Cornford, Michael Exosphere Introduction Unpublished 1983
Dafies, Aeronwy Monas Hieroglyphica 11 and Marginalia Redsine 4 Online [listing] 2001
Daunt, Will Pulsar 40 [Even Anarchists] New Hope International Online 2005
Duncan, Andrew Responses to A C Evans' Essay Voices in Denial Poetry and Post-Culture The Argotist Online 2006
Duxbury-Hibbert, Susan A Interview by Susan A Duxbury-Hibbert (Words from Nowhere) Unpublished 1996
Finch, Peter Colour of Dust Buzz Magazine 1999
Foley, Jack Responses to A C Evans' Essay Voices in Denial Poetry and Post-Culture The Argotist Online 2006
Fra Enotomy Letters to the Editor (Pandora's Box) [The Nightmare of Rejection] The Lamp of Thoth Vol III No 1 1984
Friend, Sean Russell Alien Autopsy Dark Fantasy Newsletter 6 1999
Friend, Sean Russell On The Ubiquitous Steve Sneyd Dark Fantasy Newsletter 6 1999
Gimblett, John The Luminous Boat (Work on 2 Paintings by Carl Hoffer) Stride 29 1987
Grimbleby, David The Unmagical Art of Salvador Dali The Lamp Of Thoth 20 1987
Haines, John F Colour of Dust A C Evans Handshake 36 1999
Haines, John F Memories of the Future Handshake 36 [listing] 1999
Haines, John F Outlaw 2 Handshake 53 2003
Hamilton, Michael A Ship To Nowhere Touchpaper 8 1998
Hanson, Matt/ Walter, Shane R J onedotzero3 Film Four/ICA 1999
Haynes, Lara Decaying Orbits Not Dead But Dreaming Vol XII 2000
Healy, Randolph Burning Man An Iconic Narrative New Hope International Review 1999
Henderson, Neil K Letters to the Editor [Woman by a Lake (after Andre Breton)] The Supplement 39 2008
Hooper, Emma An Interview With RML… [Trajectories/Worlds Known and Not] 10th Muse 7 1996
Jebb, Keith A C Evans Space Opera/A C Evans Dream Vortex PQR (Poetry Quarterly Review) 1998
Jope, Norman A C Evans Graphic Work Is Featured… Memes 1 1989
Jope, Norman Five Steps Memes 1 1989
Jope, Norman Stride 32 Memes 1 1989
Jope, Norman In The Forest of Signs [Occult Connections] Memes 4 1990
Jope, Norman Creative Intelligence is as Evident… Memes 8 1993
Jope, Norman Between Alien Worlds Memes 9 1994
Jope, Norman Conversation Piece Number Two [Genteel Outsiders] Memes 9 1994
Jope, Norman Timbers Across The Sun Memes 9 1994
Jope, Norman Kingdom of the (Hairless) Heart Tears in the Fence 24 1999
Jope, Norman Ascended Ravens Tears in the Fence 27 2000
Jordan, Andrew Meaning as Artifice [The Inscrutable World] 10th Muse 7 1996
Kirke, Alexis A Pamphlet To Be Reckoned With [Zones of Impulse] Terrible Work 5 1995
Kirke, Alexis The Inscrutable World by A C Evans & Rupert Loydell Terrible Work 6 1996
Kopaska-Merkel, David C Space Opera Dreams and Nightmares 1997
Lee, Emma Dream Vortex 10th Muse 10 2000
Lee, Emma Memories of the Future Tales of the Burning Man 10th Muse 10 2000
Lenkiewicz, Alice Fractured Muse by A C Evans Neon Highway 7 2004
Light, John Review of The Bards 1, 2 and 3 Atlantean Publishing Online 2005
Lightman, Ira Responses to A C Evans' Essay Voices in Denial Poetry and Post-Culture The Argotist Online 2006
Lockey, Paul J A C Evans takes a short surreal train ride… Unhinged 3 [biog] 1999
Loydell, Rupert Interview by Rupert Loydell (The Stride Interview) Stride 20 1985
Loydell, Rupert The Third Alternative [Like the Dark Side of The Moon] Stride 36 1994
Loydell, Rupert Stranger Here Myself (Introduction to Colour of Dust) Stride 1999
Marsh, Jane Jane Marsh Interviews The Poet A C Evans Neon Highway 12 Online 2006
Marsh, Jane Jane Marsh Interviews The Poet A C Evans (The Illustrated Jane) Neon Highway 13 2008
McMahon, Gary Whispers of Wickedness Silence Deathmasques VI by A C Evans Ookami Online 2004
Miettinen, J. S Three Artists (Catalogue Notes Cross Section An Exhibition of Painting) Chelmsford Technical High School 1968
Orange, Thomas M On Authorial Voice [Voices in Denial] Heuriskein Online 2007
Oxley, William Thirty Three Steps Towards Stride (The Ladder To The Next Floor) University of Salzburg 1993
Pearce, Brian Louis Exosphere A C Evans Stride 16 1984
Perloff, Marjorie Responses to A C Evans' Essay Voices in Denial Poetry and Post-Culture The Argotist Online 2006
Poison Quill This Sepulchre Avant-Goth Poems by A C Evans The Seventh Seal 4 2001
Reed, Chris Colour of Dust The BBR Directory 1999
Searles, A Langley Three Titles of A C Evans have recently… Fantasy Commentator 52 [listing] 2000
Side, Jeffrey A C Evans The Bards 1 New Hope International Online 2004
Side, Jeffrey Interview by Jeffrey Side The Argotist Online 2006
Side, Jeffrey Note From The Editor [Voices in Denial] The Argotist Online 2006
Smith, Barbara A C Evans Fractured Muse New Hope International Online 2005
Sneyd, Steve Between Alien Worlds Data Dump 9 [listing] 1994
Sneyd, Steve Mystical/Speculative… Data Dump 9 1994
Sneyd, Steve Flights From The Iron Moon Genre Poetry in UK Fanzines & Little Magazines 1980-1989 The Hilltop Press 1995
Sneyd, Steve Interview by Steve Sneyd (Space Opera An Interview with A C Evans) Fantasy Commentator 47/48 1995
Sneyd, Steve Dream Vortex Data Dump 22 1997
Sneyd, Steve Foreword to Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
Sneyd, Steve Interview by Steve Sneyd (Visions by Association) Stride Publications 1997
Sneyd, Steve A Ship to Nowhere Data Dump 31 [listing] 1998
Sneyd, Steve Space Opera Data Dump 25 1998
Sneyd, Steve A C Evans The Stone Door Data Dump 43 1999
Sneyd, Steve Also A C Evans Space Opera poem sequence [Centre of Gravity] Data Dump 43 1999
Sneyd, Steve Colour of Dust Data Dump 43 1999
Sneyd, Steve Memories of the Future Data Dump 43 1999
Sneyd, Steve Swan of Yuggoth Data Dump 44 1999
Sneyd, Steve Two Genre Anthologies…[Fantasia/Death's Door] Data Dump 37 1999
Sneyd, Steve A C Evans This Sepulchre Data Dump 49 [listing] 2000
Sneyd, Steve Only Our Opinion [Colour of Dust] Twink 18 2000
Sneyd, Steve The Burning Man Spacerock Fest Data Dump 45 2000
Sneyd, Steve Fractured Muse Data Dump 68 2003
Sneyd, Steve We Are Glad You Have Come (Sleeping Galaxy) Stark 27 2003
Sneyd, Steve A C Evans SF Poetry Sequence Space Opera [Interview by Jane Marsh] Data Dump 104 2006
Sneyd, Steve Coinicidentally in the On-Line Interview [Interview by Jane Marsh] Data Dump 104 2006
Sneyd, Steve Letters to the Editor [Weirdstuff] The Supplement 42 2008
Sneyd, Steve Matters Arising [Lust for a Vampire] Data Dump 119 2008
Sneyd, Steve Significant Number Issue # 75 of Handshake [Boo Galaxy] Data Dump 129 2008
Sneyd, Steve Term Speculative Poetry has more definitions, perhaps… Data Dump 128 2008
Sneyd, Steve Vespula Vanishes & Other Poems Data Dump 118 2008
Spence, Steve Colour of Dust by A C Evans Scene Magazine 1999
Spence, Steve Wordplay With Worldplay Poetry Quarterly Review 13 1999
Spence, Steve Neon Highway Issue 2 October 2002 Terrible Work Online 2003
Spindoc Fractured Muse by A C Evans Dragon's Breath 72 2004
Spracklen, Jamie A C Evans is an artist and poet Monas Hieroglyphica 10 [biog] 2000
Tennant, Peter Literary Horror Reviewed Unhinged Online 1 [not available] 2001
Tyrer, D-J Old Rossum's Book of Practical Robots Handshake 75 [listing] 2008
Tyrer, D-J Vespula Vanishes & Other Poems The Supplement 38 2008
Unsigned Artist-Poet A C Evans Ixion 6 [biog] 1999
Unsigned Review Adrian's Jazz Catalogue (EWN 12 Oct 1972) [Books on Jazz] Essex Weekly News 1972
Unsigned Review Witty Notes on all the Jazz Books (BWT 13 Oct 1972) [Books on Jazz] Braintree & Witham Times 1972
Unsigned Review Exosphere Unknown Source 1984
Unsigned Review Exosphere A C Evans The Lamp Of Thoth 14 1984
Unsigned Review Decaying Orbits Scavenger's Newsletter 1987
Unsigned Review Decaying Orbits The Lamp Of Thoth 20 1987
Unsigned Review Incisive Exposures [Neon Aeon I-V] Frontal Lobe 2 1995
Unsigned Review A C Evans is both the poet and the artist… Zene 14 1998
Unsigned Review Angels of Rancid Glamour PQR (Poetry Quarterly Review) 11 1998
Vaughan, Vittoria Interactive Patterns Kaleidoscopically… [Zones of Impulse] 10th Muse 6 1995
Weston, D J Letters to the Editor [Displacement Effects] The Supplement 40 2008
Wiloch, Thomas Chimaera Obscura Taproot Reviews 3 1993
Wiloch, Thomas Martin A Hibbert and A C Evans Between Alien Worlds Taproot Reviews 4 1994
Wiloch, Thomas. Decaying Orbits Stride 29 1987
Zine Kat Space Opera by A C Evans Dragon's Breath 46/47 1998
Zine Kat Asphalt Jungle Dragon's Breath 59 [listing] 1999
Zine Kat Colour of Dust by A C Evans Dragon's Breath 59 1999
Zine Kat Handshake Dragon's Breath 59 [listing] 1999
Zine Kat Memories of the Future Dragon's Breath 60 1999
Zine Kat Omega Lightning by A C Evans Dragon's Breath 64 1999
Zine Kat The BBR Directory Dragon's Breath 59 [listing] 1999
Illustration: Untitled, 1973
Deranged but lost thinking
Earth so near oceans
Fleshy petals soft stalk
Your pain then interior
Diverging patterns away
Quick still head down
Clear near water close
Awake away, time estranged.
Illustration: Mystic Flower, 1987
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Illustration: Echoes Of Ambiguity, 2009
Sunday, 22 May 2011
Susan A. Duxbury-Hibbert
You are known as both a writer and an artist. What is the starting point for a project, the drawings or writing?
This is quite a difficult question actually…ignoring external reasons for starting something (like being asked specifically for a poem, or specifically for a drawing) and concentrating purely on the creative viewpoint, one has to recognize the different ‘dynamics’ of different forms. Prose-versus-poetry, collage-versus-drawing. What is meant by a ‘starting point’? In the final analysis a starting point may not be a conscious thing - it’s an inspirational thing. Nevertheless there is sometimes a deliberate, definite, intention to work with visual rather than verbal methods/materials or vice versa, but the origins of the intention are non-rational. A starting point may be generated by idea-level interconnections between verbal and visual output, or continuous immersion in art-literature may prepare the ground for a ‘next step’.
When did you start drawing/writing?
I have childhood memories of drawing from sometime in the mid-1950s. My father had some artistic abilities and tended to encourage me - this was real juvenilia: pictures of soldiers and airplanes or whatever. Later on, about the age of 17 (in 1966) I suddenly started to get more serious about it. The trigger was finding the work of Aubrey Beardsley - the style and general tone of his work was quite an eye-opener...then I discovered Surrealism and started making collages.
Even as a kid I was quite a bibliomaniac, so any crossovers between art and literature interested me. The fact that Surrealism was not just to do with painting was very important. As the first Surrealists were poets, not artists, the whole movement plugged into, and extended, that nineteenth century avant-garde tradition of experimental writing (Baudelaire-Rimbaud-Mallarme-Jarry). This became more and more significant to me. So I got a typewriter for my 21st birthday and started writing: initially fiction (the obligatory, abortive novel and ‘decadent’ short stories) but eventually poetry, after doing some translations of Max Ernst and Messiaen lyrics.
What inspires you to start a new project?
Perhaps inspiration is the unforeseen consequence of immersion - immersion in materials, researches, Myths, influences, precursors. Perhaps, at a deeper level, it is some sort of psychosomatic urge, the result of unfocussed psychic pressure from the unconscious, a surge of neuronal energy, a perturbation of the psychic atmosphere, which finally crystallizes in words and images.
The titles of pictures are a sort of poetry. The collage process is internalized (psycho-montage/ psycho-cut-up) as well as externalized in the traditional Surrealist Ducassian Encounter of disparate material elements. Art emerges from the (al)chemistry of the creative process, through interaction with the prime materia, the massa confusa, of unrefined unconscious matter. Works feed on each other - collages and drawings can inspire poems and poems can inspire drawings. Drawings can evolve from the collage procedure. Works emerge in cycles and spates - groups of poems are somehow related to each other, sets of drawings share the same motifs and techniques.
Sometimes, of course, an external requirement will be the pretext for a project - but the non-rational, chance aleatoric factor must always be there. If a project is to ‘work’ it must be an active element in the transformation process. All art is transformation, the perpetual, unstoppable transformation of the day-to-day in which the mundane becomes the bizarre.
What part, in your opinion, does illustration play in adding to a text?
‘In The Beginning Was The Word’ someone said. Well, don’t believe it. Pictures are primal. The image in the mind’s eye precedes utterance, or, to quote Duke Ellington: ‘There’s always a mental picture’. I think there has to be a kind of synergy - a deep affinity - between any image and the words it is used with. This affinity may not be obvious or concrete. Chance encounters between poems and pictures in the editorial process can often give rise to effective associations.
In a different context one may think of texts illustrating images rather than vice versa. For example The Cascades was a set of poems written to ‘accompany’ some pictures by Rupert Loydell and, more recently, both Martin Duxbury-Hibbert and Norman Jope have collaborated by providing texts (Between Alien Worlds and Zones of Impulse) for sets of images provided in advance of literary composition. In these cases successful!
Illustration depends upon a feeling of ‘rightness’ or integration into the finished product. Equal value resides in both text and illustrations. Textual content can be derived from the images. Literal illustration is ok for factual and instructional situations but I am more interested in these more oblique relationships between words and images.
When did you start publishing your work?
I first started publishing drawings in about 1968 as greeting cards. Then I managed to get drawings
Into various occult magazines during the mid-1970s and also a few lit. crit. articles and reviews from
1980 onwards. My first poetry publication was in Stride Magazine, and Stride published the first
collection of poetry and drawings, Exosphere, in 1984
What artists have influenced you?
The earliest artistic influences I can remember were illustrators - Mervyn Peake (The Hunting of the Snark and other books), Tenniel’s Alice illustrations, Eric Fraser and Joan Kiddell-Monroe - again, this was when I was kid. I really liked fantastic things and, in the case of Frazer and Kiddell-Monroe, hard-edged linearist things. When you’re that young you don’t think about ideas like Abstraction, you react to the imagistic qualities of what you see because that’s the way the imagination is.
Another key influence was Japanese Art. We had some volumes of drawings by Hokusai, which I was always looking at. His work is very naturalistic but it can also be very macabre and grotesque and ultra-stylish. Remembering the period 1966-1970, when I was trying to find my way is very confusing - there were so many ‘influences’.
The closest I got to contemporary fine art or gallery art was Richard Hamilton’s reconstruction of Duchamp’s Bride which he did for a big Tate retrospective around July ‘66. The irony of Duchamp’s stance and the iconoclasm of Dada were very important - an antidote to the Peace ‘n’ Luv culture! But then again I was undoubtedly sympathetic to Psychedelia and Op as well.
I still like Sixties design and art movies like Performance - the influences were an intermedia hotchpotch: Art Nouveau Symbolists like Klimt, Jan Toorop and Khnopff. I like Odilon Redon, Hieronymous Bosch, Grunewald, Durer, William Blake and Goya…Aubrey Beardsley…Alfred Kubin. Also the assemblage sculptures of Louise Nevelson. There was a piece of hers in the Tate called ‘Gold Wall’ which was a stylized structure of abstract, rectilinear box-shapes and compartments encrusted with commonplace, ‘found’ objects such as old chair legs and wooden slats. The whole thing was painted a uniform all-over gold colour. There was a clash of materials in Nevelson’s work, which greatly appealed to me at the time.
It’s necessary to identify different types of influence. There are precursors who influence by style, there are those who influence content and there are those who influence by example. There are some whose influence is a combination of all these factors. This is partly why it is difficult to discuss influences. There is also the problem of ‘originality’. I think everyone is influenced by someone, although lots of artists and writers (in this country at least) think that admitting to influences is like some sort of confession of inadequacy. This is just as complicated with literary influences as it is with artistic ones.
So what about literary influences?
So far as literature is concerned I would have to mention the French tradition: Baudelaire, Mallarme and Antonin Artaud as a major influence in various ways, also Huysmans and Andre Breton. My Pre-formative reading was Science Fiction (mainly British), Fantasy, Horror (particularly Poe and Lovecraft) and all sorts of myths and legends. This established a continuing involvement with ‘popular’ genres that continues to the present.
As I said I’m a compulsive bibliomaniac and read all the time. It all goes into the creative process. The American Beats had quite an impact. Beat style was so un-English, so un-literary, or so it seamed at the time. I remember reading Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ and Burroughs’ Nova Express and being instantly converted to a more ‘modern’ attitude to writing.
Thinking back to the same period I would name the following ‘literary’ influences: Arthur Machen, Lermontov, Thomas Pynchon (especially), De Quincey, Alfred Jarry (Faustrol), Robert Graves (The White Goddess), De Sade, Gerard de Nerval, Boris Vian, Angela Carter, J.G Ballard, Nabokov (Ada), Barth (The Sotweed Factor), Borges, and Jean Genet.
There were various non-fiction/critical works that were significant I think. For example, Jung’s writing on Alchemy, The Romantic Agony, Marie Bonaparte’s psychoanalytic study of Poe, Masters and Houston’s Psychedelic Art, Robert Greer Cohn’s book on Mallarme, Hans Bellmer’s Anatomie de L‘Image, Colin Wilson’s The Outsider, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and Opium and the Romantic Imagination by Althea Hayter. A later influence was Samuel Beckett. His work, particularly the short prose and the novels (the Trilogy and How It Is) is a landmark in the imagination. Absolutely no one can afford to ignore Beckett. A combination of factors (including the influence of Austin Spare) induced me to read a lot of occult literature - but that’s another story....
Do you exhibit/ sell your artwork?
I participated in an exhibition called Cross Section in Chelmsford 1968 - but that was a one-off. I’ve never seen myself as a gallery artist or involved in the art market - it just isn’t my scene really. I see ‘originals’ as ‘masters’ for reproduction rather than traditional fine art artifacts. I’m not really geared up to do commissions and things like that. As I said - not really my scene.
What is your method of working?
Steve Sneyd has observed that the poetic act is like trying to snapshot the fragmentary immediacy of the brain’s workings and compared his methodology to ‘a trapped animal’s gnawing of it’s own leg....’. In a sense he is right about this. It is difficult to cultivate the self-awareness and objectivity needed to comment on the methodology of the creative process beyond surface characteristics.
In writing I was influenced by the minimalism of Poe who criticized the viability of the long poem - I don’t write long poems in the sense that Spenser’s Faerie Queene, or Paradise Lost are long poems. So minimalism, even miniaturism, is intrinsic to my method in many respects. Also the Postmodernist blurring of boundaries, perhaps inspired by Borges idea of 'ficciones' - cerebral, laconic, hermetic, labyrinthine, enigmatic - these are often some of the qualities I look for in a sphere where the essential differences between poetry and prose are unclear.
The poetic methodology is most elusive, Often I find myself working with a surreal psycho-montage of wordflow, sometimes incorporating ‘found words’ or cut-ups or phrases that simply emerge from the unconscious (Words from Nowhere). I regard many of my ‘poems’ as borderland texts, neither prose nor poetry. There is a narcissistic ‘working up’ of drafts and an element of faction where quasi-autobiographical or historical research material merges with pure fantasy. I reject traditional prosody as the technique of a dead era.
What about drawing methods? How do you go about obtaining the final image? Do you have a clear idea at the outset, or do you do many variations?
Drawing methods are varied. Often I will work from a store of sketches and notes for visual ideas, which I keep. These are usually pencil sketches but can be ink drawings and doodles as well. Sometimes a drawing can be spontaneous and committed to paper right away. Sketches may be quite expressionistic and unformed to begin with but then go through a number of different of versions and stylisations.
Areas of detail in Rapidograph drawings are done directly onto the final drawing in most cases. These are usually detailed areas of stippling and fine-point decoration, a sort of amalgam of Moreau’s encrustation, Beardsley’s stipple technique, Seurat-like textures and Ernstian decalcomania-like textures. This sort of work can be very time consuming. In many cases compositions are derived from pre-existing collages. Sometimes I use ‘found images’ derived from, say, newspaper photographs or magazines. Sometimes there is a pre-existing mental image and it’s like taking a snapshot. In many drawings there is a deliberate use of ‘negative space’ in the composition - space derived from the chance lines of the pen or pencil.
How necessary is it to you that you are published & ‘known’? Would you continue to write/draw if you had no public outlet?
I am reminded of a section in Colin Wilson’s The Outsider - he was quoting T. E. Lawrence (Wilson saw Lawrence as an archetypal ‘outsider’ figure) who said that a craving for the power of self-expression was the most decisive driving force in his life. This craving is the only antidote to the nihilism of our age. Without this craving for self-expression there is nothing, literally, Nothing.
Artistic creativity is the way to achieve maximum self-expression. This is an end in itself but the craving is capable of transformation – self-expression becomes individuation, individuation becomes self-initiation. An infinite process of self-initiation, a sort of Aesthetic Gnosticism perhaps. In this context publication is irrelevant. On the other hand creative editorializing can become part of The Work. Working with Stride and Memes and other magazines has lead to unforeseen creative activity through interaction, publication itself becoming part of a wider transformation process.
Do you conceive of a contemporary context, or do you feel you are working in isolation?
Well, I do conceive of a contemporary context - I also feel I’m quite isolated in what I do as well! I’ve always been interested in what you might call cultural history - the evolution of aesthetic and religious ideas, so this sense of history helps me to try to define my own contemporary context.
On the other hand my interaction with immediate contemporaries is rather limited these days and I find a lot of SP type poetry and stuff rather alienating. It’s always difficult to name names but, if pressed, I might cite Steve Sneyd, Robert Shepherd, lain Sinclair, Norman Jope, Rupert Loydell and Martin Duxbury-Hibbert as current writers who may overlap with some of my own concerns.
My original sense of contemporary context was shaped by a sort of ‘post-everything’ feeling. It seemed to me that the transition from Surrealism to Postmodernism via Pop, Situationism, Psychedelia, Neo-Dada and Op from 1966-1971 was the beginning of some sort of end - an End with a capital ‘E’, in fact. As Hassan said about Postmodernism: it ‘dramatizes its lack of faith in art even as it produces new works.’
The truth is that, in this era of ‘post-everything’ and loss of faith, one didn’t really look among one’s own generation for a contemporary context. Except, perhaps, in semi-commercial fantasy art, Psychedelia and satire (Roger Dean, Bruce Pennington, Wes Wilson, Michael English, Scarfe, Steadman), one looked to the survivors of the avant garde who were still with us. In the visual arts this meant Duchamp, Chirico, Ernst, Bellmer, Leonor Fini, Matta, Burra and Francis Bacon. I think my graphic style was very influenced by Bellmer - he must be one of the greatest draughtsmen of the twentieth century. In literature there was Andre Breton, Borges, Ballard, Angela Carter, David Gascoyne, Beckett and William Burroughs. One was conscious that they were all still around producing new works. They were the contemporary context for me.
Yet, throughout the period the sense of an ending was exacerbated by the deaths of nearly all these major figures. Breton died in 1966 around the same time as the last major International Surrealist Exhibition (‘Absolute Divergence’). He was followed by Duchamp in 1968, Bellmer in 1975, Ernst and Burra in 1976, Chirico in 1978 and, finally, J. L. Borges in 1986. By the time you got to 1976 we were into the ‘break up of Britain’, The Winter of Discontent and the New Dark Age of the ‘Enterprise Culture’…one tried to build on the previous era.
Illustration: One Gothic Night, 2000
Saturday, 14 May 2011
A Walk On The Beach
We’re in remarkable company (festival chic
Luxurious mascara, tight white jeans)
Turn on tune in fall off the edge of the fairground
Summer beauty limited edition lost highway
Variation on a modern classic theme:
Got the looks? Got the moves?
Come for a walk on the beach
– they can’t
– have everything
Your opinions are superfluous
Lose yourself (in one or two takes or
A glass house with resident beautician)
Feel the heat remove unwanted hair
All over the place, kill your pet rat or
Smash a pink ceramic piggy bank;
With oodles of vintage bubbly we
Rehabilitate ‘the sport of fashion’.
Just waiting for a response –
Rollicking in Santa Cruz or somewhere
In London, dream streets away from
All those ghastly types in denim jackets
Turn on tune in fall off the edge of the fairground
Undercover and/or over ground at some arty show
Where they all hang out, finding just the right beat
Discussing the latest debauchery, taking it
All to a new level on a gorgeous isle far from here
Where there are just too many reasons,
Just too many corridors – and far too many stories.
Turn on tune in fall off the edge of the fairground
Waiting in the wings for another new friend
To seduce with something truly precious and
We don’t mind the not-so-distant future…
Suddenly the dining-room doors opened…
Turn on tune in fall off the edge… where
The horizon meets the sea.
Published in Inclement Vol 11 Issue 1 Spring 2011
Illustration: Neutral Enlightenment, 2000
Poetry Collections and Booklets 1984-2007
Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
The Xantras The Trombone Press 1993
Neon Aeon The Trombone Press 1994
Not Deade But Chaynged The Trombone Press 1996
Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
Dream Vortex Tabor Press 1997
The Mutation Show Underscore (Glasshouse Electric Presents) Silver Gull Publishing 1999
Colour Of Dust Poems and/or Texts Stride Publications 1999
Omega Lightning (Reverse Geometry II) The Trombone Press 1999
This Sepulchre Springbeach Press 2000
Fractured Muse Atlantean Publishing 2003
Vespula Vanishes & Other Poems Inclement Publishing 2007
Illustration: Vampfires (The Three Graces), 1973
Sunday, 8 May 2011
Artwork Publications 1967-1999
The Imagination Machine print [self-published] CygnusXPress 1967
Sir Modred Courtier Fine Arts [greetings card] Courtier Fine Arts 1968
The Man Who Built The Pyramids I Courtier Fine Arts [greetings card] Courtier Fine Arts 1968
The Man Who Built The Pyramids II Courtier Fine Arts [greetings card] Courtier Fine Arts 1968
The Priestess Courtier Fine Arts [greetings card] Courtier Fine Arts 1968
The Sorcerer Courtier Fine Arts [greetings card] Courtier Fine Arts 1968
Sun And Moon Cross Section An Exhibition Of Painting [catalogue] cover art (CTHS version) CTHS 1968
Concerto For Cootie Books On Jazz [booklet] cover art (CPL final version) CPL 1972
Nocturne Boogie Woogie Books On Jazz [booklet] cover art (CPL final version) CPL 1972
And There Fell A Great Star Sothis A Magazine Of The New Aeon Vol II No II AN LXXIII Sothis 1977
La Destruction II Sothis A Magazine Of The New Aeon Vol II No II AN LXXIII Sothis 1977
Crystal Memoire (Wings Of Midnight) The New Equinox Vol 4 No 1 May 1979 Morton Press 1979
Rictus Sardonicus VI Le Pendu The New Equinox Vol 4 No 1 May 1979 Morton Press 1979
The Great Forest The Daath Papers No 2 Autumn 1980 The Order Of The Serpent 1980
Orthogenesis I Hermetic Art 1/2 [cream] CygnusXPress 1981
Orthogenesis I Hermetic Art 2/2 [grey] CygnusXPress 1981
Bride I The New Equinox Vol 5 Part 3 February 1981 Kaaba Publications 1981
Le Pendu Stride 6 Nov 1982 Stride Publications 1982
Orthogenesis I Stride 6 Nov 1982 Stride Publications 1982
Silence Stride 6 Nov 1982 Stride Publications 1982
The Tower Stride 6 Nov 1982 Stride Publications 1982
Rictus Sardonicus (Proto-Sardonicus) CJCM Vol 1 Issue 5 (Rites Of The Feather) 1983 Conquering Child Publishing 1983
Rictus Sardonicus VIII Deams CJCM Vol 1 Issue 5 (Rites Of The Feather) 1983 Conquering Child Publishing 1983
Rictus Sardonicus XIII Rex (Rictus Sarcasmus) CJCM Vol 1 Issue 5 (Rites Of The Feather) 1983 Conquering Child Publishing 1983
Deadly Nightshards Stride 10 July 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Occultation Stride 10 July 1983 Stride Publications 1983
The Angel Of The Exosphere Stride 10 July 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Transept Stride 10 July 1983 Stride Publications 1983
A Way Of Looking (Une Etoile) II Stride 12 Nov 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Bacchanalia (Beastial Virgin) Stride 12 Nov 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Bride II Stride 12 Nov 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Horus II Stride 12 Nov 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Eironeia Fantastica Stride 9 May 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Rebirth Control I Stride 9 May 1983 Stride Publications 1983
The Dancer Stride 9 May 1983 Stride Publications 1983
Stigma II Velocities A Magazine Of Speculative Poetry 3 Fall/Winter 1983 1983
Alien City Velocities A Magazine Of Speculative Poetry 3 Fall-Winter 1983 1983
Double Meaning Blink (Step 23) Stride Publications 1984
Mist Soul Blink (Step 23) Stride Publications 1984
Resident Aliens Blink (Step 23) Stride Publications 1984
The Way Of All Flesh II Body And Soul Blink (Step 23) cover art Stride Publications 1984
Le Grand Grimoire I Dark Horizons No 27 Summer 1984 British Fantasy Society 1984
The Astral Widow Dark Horizons No 27 Summer 1984 British Fantasy Society 1984
Crystal Memoire (Wings Of Midnight) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Destruction II (The Extraordinary Question) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Eironeia Fantastica Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Horus Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
In The Cathedral (Xezbeth) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Mercurius (Grotesque Head) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Night-Lights Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Orthogenesis I Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Perihelion (The Next Absolute Horizon) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Rebirth Control I Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Rictus Sardonicus VI Le Pendu Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Silence I Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Silence III (The Venus Trap) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Sphinx Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Stigma II Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
The Abstainers (The Tapestry Of Life) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr Crow Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
The Angel Of The Exosphere Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
The Astral Widow Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
The Glare Grows Alarming (Vampfires) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
The Vectors Of Hate Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Tower (The Churches Of The Earth) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Tower Of Silence (Prying Eyes) Exosphere (Step 24) Stride Publications 1984
Orthogenesis I Exosphere (Step 24) [booklet] cover art (Stride final version I) [col] Stride Publications 1984
The Angel Of The Exosphere Exosphere (Step 24) [booklet] cover art (Stride final version I) [col] Stride Publications 1984
Orthogenesis I Exosphere (Step 24) [booklet] cover art (Stride final version II) [b/w] Stride Publications 1984
The Angel Of The Exosphere Exosphere (Step 24) [booklet] cover art (Stride final version II) [b/w] Stride Publications 1984
Nuigh Exosphere (Step 24) [leaflet] Stride Publications 1984
The Angel Of The Exosphere Exosphere (Step 24) [leaflet] Stride Publications 1984
Orthogenesis I Exosphere (Step 24) [postcard] Stride Publications 1984
The Angel Of The Exosphere Exosphere (Step 24) [postcard] Stride Publications 1984
From Another Star (The Glare Grows Alarming) Formaos Vol 1 No 2 July 1984 Sothis Publishing 1984
Mercurius (Grotesque Head) Formaos Vol 1 No 2 July 1984 Sothis Publishing 1984
The Abstainers (The Tapestry Of Life) Formaos Vol 1 No 2 July 1984 Sothis Publishing 1984
Double Meaning Formaos Vol 1 No 3 Dec 1984 Sothis Publishing 1984
Horus I Formaos Vol 1 No 3 Dec 1984 Sothis Publishing 1984
The First Day (Aratron) Illuminatus Monthly Vol 1 No 1 Feb 1984 The Illuminati Press 1984
Azimuth I Stride 13 January 1984 Stride Publications 1984
Le Grand Grimoire I Stride 13 January 1984 Stride Publications 1984
The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr Crow Stride 13 January 1984 Stride Publications 1984
The Cathedral Of The Future Stride 13 January 1984 Stride Publications 1984
Familiar Spirits Stride 15 May 1684 Stride Publications 1984
Venus And Mars Stride 15 May 1684 Stride Publications 1984
Alien Necropolis (Await Developments) Stride 15 May 1984 Stride Publications 1984
Melpomene I Stride 17/18 Autumn 1984 Stride Publications 1984
Metacropolis Stride 17/18 Autumn 1984 Stride Publications 1984
Saint (Head Of A Saint) Stride 17/18 Autumn 1984 Stride Publications 1984
Satanic Planets Stride 17/18 Autumn 1984 Stride Publications 1984
The Fall Stride 17/18 Autumn 1984 Stride Publications 1984
And There Fell A Great Star Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 Stride Publications 1984
Death Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 Stride Publications 1984
Nuigh Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 Stride Publications 1984
Stigma III Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 Stride Publications 1984
Tzeth Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 Stride Publications 1984
Vectors Of Love Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 Stride Publications 1984
Tzeth Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 [postcard] Stride Publications 1984
And There Fell A Great Star Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 cover art Stride Publications 1984
Tzeth Stride 19 Winter 1984/1985 cover art Stride Publications 1984
The First Day (Aratron) The Fellowship Of The Illuminati [notepaper] The Illuminati Press 1984
The Angel Of The Exosphere Centre Of Gravity C60 (Step 50) [booklet] Stride Publications 1985
Centre Of Gravity Centre Of Gravity C60 (Step 50) [booklet] cover art 1/2 Stride Publications 1985
Centre Of Gravity Centre Of Gravity C60 (Step 50) [booklet] cover art 2/2 Stride Publications 1985
The Way Of All Flesh I The Crypt Centre Of Gravity C60 (Step 50) [inlay card] Stride Publications 1985
Centre Of Gravity Centre Of Gravity C60 (Step 50) [postcard] Stride Publications 1985
Alien City Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Apastron Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Artaud, 1946 Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Decaying Orbits Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Eros Klastos Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Leonardo’s Wall I Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Neogenesis Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Occultation Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Orthogenesis II Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Poet (Fixation) Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Rictus Sardonicus XIV Death (Ghosts) Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Stigma I Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Stigma III Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
The Circuits Of Nox Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
The City As I Saw It Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
The Fall Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
The Question Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
The Vectors Of Love Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
We Do Not Speak Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Zenith Decaying Orbits (Step 84) Stride Publications 1985
Crypt Variations I Decaying Orbits (Step 84) [booklet] cover art (Stride final version) Stride Publications 1985
Atavism I Stride 20 Spring 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Calligraphic Automata Stride 20 Spring 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Orphic Narcissus Stride 20 Spring 1985 Stride Publications 1985
The First Day (Aratron) Stride 20 Spring 1985 Stride Publications 1985
The Heavenly Host Stride 20 Spring 1985 Stride Publications 1985
The Question Of Identity Stride 20 Spring 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Contact Zero 04 Flesh Eating Beasts Stride 21 Summer 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Contact Zero 05 The Rattlesnake Pit Organ Stride 21 Summer 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Life On Neogaea Stride 21 Summer 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Outcast Stride 21 Summer 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Styx Insect III (Social Symbioses On Neogaea) Stride 21 Summer 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Unidentified Sources (Inspiration is Sweeter Than Death I) Stride 21 Summer 1985 Stride Publications 1985
Life On Neogaea Stride Postcards [bronze] Stride Publications 1985
Orphic Narcissus Stride Postcards [bronze] Stride Publications 1985
Styx Insect III (Social Symbioses On Neogaea) Stride Postcards [bronze] Stride Publications 1985
The First Day (Aratron) Stride Postcards [bronze] Stride Publications 1985
Metacropolis Stride Postcards [grey] Stride Publications 1985
Outcast Stride Postcards [grey] Stride Publications 1985
Satanic Planets Stride Postcards [grey] Stride Publications 1985
The Fall Stride Postcards [grey] Stride Publications 1985
Atavism I Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
Eyes Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
Leonardo’s Wall I Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
Narthex (The Reliquary) Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
Saint (Head Of A Saint) Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
The Cathedral Of Silence (Eros Klastos) Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
The Cathedral Of The Past Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
The Hanged Man (Le Pendu) II Fisheye No 5 Winter 1986 1986
Atavism I Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 1 Issue 1 Apr 1986 Disrupters Press 1986
The Hanged Man (Le Pendu) II Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 2 Issue 2 Apr 1986 cover art Disrupters Press 1986
His Shadow Lives On II (But His Spirit Lives On) Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 2 Issue 2 Aug 1986 Disrupters Press 1986
Le Grand Grimoire I Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 2 Issue 2 Aug 1986 Disrupters Press 1986
Melpomene I Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 2 Issue 2 Aug 1986 Disrupters Press 1986
Anorexia Nirvana Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 3 Issue 3 Nov 1986 Disrupters Press 1986
Melpomene I Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 3 Issue 3 Nov 1986 Disrupters Press 1986
Aethyr XVII Les Oiseaux de Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 3 Issue 3 Nov 1986 cover art Disrupters Press 1986
Angel With Raiding Party Stride 23 Spring 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Splintered Avatar Stride 23 Spring 1986 Stride Publications 1986
The Cathedral Of The Damned Stride 23 Spring 1986 Stride Publications 1986
The Question Stride 23 Spring 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Unknown Superior Stride 23 Spring 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 01 Contact Zero (title) Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 02 Random 1/Random 2 1/2 Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 03 Random 1/Random 2 2/2 Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 04 Flesh Eating Beasts Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 05 The Rattlesnake Pit Organ Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 06 Target Envisaged Image Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 07 Inside The Pit Membrane Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 08 Reading Writing And What? Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 09 Realism Theory And Practice Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 10 Chimaera Obscura Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 11 Not So Far Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Contact Zero 12 The Membrane Intercepts Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
The Neo Nova Stride 24/25 The Serendipity Caper Summer 1986 Stride Publications 1986
Satanic Planets Formaos Vol 1 No 5 Mar 1987 Sothis Publishing 1987
Aethyr VII Aethyr Of Purity Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 4 Issue 4 Mar 1987 Disrupters Press 1987
Styx Insect III (Social Symbioses On Neogaea) Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 4 Issue 4 Mar 1987 Disrupters Press 1987
Visions Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 1 No 4 Issue 4 Mar 1987 Disrupters Press 1987
Orphic Narcissus II Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 2 No 1 Issue 5 July 1987 Disrupters Press 1987
Enclosed Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Fear Of Silence Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Illusion Of Death I Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Illusion Of Death II Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Melpomene II Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Night And Day Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Temptation Of St Sebastian Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
The Eye Of The Storm Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
The Pylons Of Nox Stride 27 July 1987 Stride Publications 1987
Unidentified Sources (Inspiration is Sweeter Than Death I) Chaos International 4 Mar 1988 BM Sorcery 1988
Zenith Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 2 No 2 Issue 6 Aug 1988 Longship Warrior 1988
Stargate Vision IV (Mortal Coil) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
Stargate Vision V (Sea Eyes Of The Starfish) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
Stargate Wavelength II (No Man's Land) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
Temporal Implosion III (Star War Level) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
Temporal Implosion IV (Another Stargate/Another Room) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
The Eye Of Time IV (Some Other Star) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
The Stargate Question I (The Last Dimension) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
The Stargate Question IX (Hide These Commandments) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
The Stargate Question VIII (Life Is So Cheap On Mars) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
The Stargate Question X (The Grave Of Space) Chain Lightning Apparitions Press 1989
Double Meaning Memes Issue 1 August 1989 1989
Horus II Memes Issue 1 August 1989 1989
Venus And Mars Memes Issue 1 August 1989 1989
Beyond The Exosphere Memes Issue 2 December 1989 1989
The Cathedral Of The Past Memes Issue 2 December 1989 1989
Atavism II Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
Hypnos II Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
Isotope Of Mirror Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
Loss Of Faith Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
Now Is The Time Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
The City As I Saw It Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
The Impossible Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
The Power Of Thought Stride 32 Spring/Summer 1989 Stride Publications 1989
In The Cathedral (Xezbeth) Fractured Issue No 1 Winter 1990 1990
The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr Crow Fractured Issue No 1 Winter 1990 1990
Orpheus I Memes Issue 3 Mar 1990 1990
Decaying Orbits Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 2 No 3 Issue 7 Jan 1990 Longship Warrior 1990
Inspiration Is Sweeter Than Death Nox The Magazine Of The Abyss Vol 2 No 3 Issue 7 Jan 1990 Longship Warrior 1990
Unidentified Sources (Inspiration is Sweeter Than Death I) Zeitgeist cover art Dragonheart Press 1990
Resident Aliens Fractured Issue No 2 Spriing 1991 1991
Outcast Fractured Issue No 3 Summer 1991 1991
Triptych (The Abyss) 2 Abyss Of The City Fractured Issue No 3 Summer 1991 1991
Rictus Sardonicus XVIII The Cathedral Memes Issue 5 May 1991 1991
Triptych (The Abyss) 2 Abyss Of The City Memes Issue 5 May 1991 1991
Triptych (The Abyss) 3 Islands Of Time Memes Issue 5 May 1991 1991
The Heart Is The Eye Beyond Self Sad Isn't The Colour Of The Dream cover art Stride Publications 1991
Angel With Raiding Party Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Atavism II Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Azimuth Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Enclosed Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Hermetic Symbols I Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Hermetic Symbols III Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Illusion Of Life Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Impulse VII (Within the Glass) Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Impulse X Impulse Y Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
In The Madhouse Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Message From Entity X Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Misnomer Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Parallel Icon Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Spectral Waves Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Splintered Avatar Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Starry Night Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
The Cathedral Of The Damned Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
The Sceptre Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
The Way Of All Flesh II Body And Soul Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Triptych (The Abyss) 1 Mystic Flower (Inflorescence) Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Triptych (The Abyss) 2 Abyss Of The City Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Tzeth Chimaera Obscura The Phlebas Press 1992
Apocynthion Memes Issue 7 June 1992 1992
Tinguely Cathedral Memes Issue 7 June 1992 cover art 1992
Atavism I 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
Azimuth I 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
Bride II 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
Eyes 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
Leonardo’s Wall I 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
The Hanged Man (Le Pendu) II 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
Triptych (The Abyss) 1 Mystic Flower (Inflorescence) 10th Muse No 4 Oct 1993 1993
Between Alien Worlds Between Alien Worlds The Trombone Press 1993
Ruins In Time Between Alien Worlds The Trombone Press 1993
The Mask Between Alien Worlds The Trombone Press 1993
The Sky Belongs To Us Between Alien Worlds The Trombone Press 1993
The Wrong World Between Alien Worlds The Trombone Press 1993
This Alien World Between Alien Worlds The Trombone Press 1993
The Astral Night The Xantras [booklet] cover art The Trombone Press 1993
Le Grand Grimoire II Memes Issue 9 Apr 1994 1994
Totem II Terrible Work [leaflet] 1/3 Spineless Press 1994
Totem II Terrible Work [leaflet] 2/3 Spineless Press 1994
Totem II Terrible Work [leaflet] 3/3 Spineless Press 1994
Anorexia Nirvana Terrible Work 3 Spring 1994 Spineless Press 1994
Nykticorax (detail) Terrible Work 3 Spring 1994 Spineless Press 1994
Rebirth Control II Terrible Work 3 Spring 1994 Spineless Press 1994
Dream Of Stone The Inscrutable World The Trombone Press 1995
Haunted Landscape The Inscrutable World The Trombone Press 1995
Inscrutable World The Inscrutable World The Trombone Press 1995
Leonardo’s Wall I The Inscrutable World The Trombone Press 1995
Mystic Landscape The Inscrutable World The Trombone Press 1995
Another Great Wave I Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Dangerous Skies III (Luna Corona) Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Flaming World Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Guardian Of The Sun Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Hermetic Space I (This Very Night) Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Impulse Zone Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Seismic Domain Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
The Citadel Of Doubt Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
The Citadel Of Solitude Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
The Inner Eye Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
The View From Planet X Zones Of Impulse The Trombone Press 1995
Externity Forver Process Angles Of Incidence 19th Phase Lung Gom Press 1996
Internal Reality Trespasses cover art The Trombone Press 1996
Winter World II Desire cover art Stride Publications 1997
Angel With Raiding Party Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
Centre Of Gravity Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
Life On Neogaea Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
The Neo Nova Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
The Question Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
The Scene Of The Crime Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
Worker Display Arena Space Opera Stride Publications 1997
Life On Neogaea Space Opera cover art Stride Publications 1997
Le Grand Grimoire II Dark Fantasy Newsletter No 4 Apr 1999 cover art Springbeach Press 1999
Demon Inversus Death's Door Springbeach Press 1999
Luminous Shadow IV Damned In Three Worlds Death's Door Springbeach Press 1999
The Elastic Mirror Death's Door Springbeach Press 1999
Vortex Creature II Sci-Fright No 1 Feb/Mar 1999 Springbeach Press 1999
Dangerous Skies I Sci-Fright No 5 Nov 1999 Springbeach Press 1999
Illustration: Veronica Lurk III, 1975