The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 807)

Le Petit Mac-Mahon de David Ehrenstein presents Cleopatra


Wiki SEZ — “Cleopatra VII Philopator (Koinē Greek: Κλεοπάτρα Φιλοπάτωρ; 69 BC – 10 August 30 BC) was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. A member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder Ptolemy I Soter, a Macedonian Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great.[note 6] After the death of Cleopatra, Egypt became a province of the Roman Empire, marking the end of the second to last Hellenistic state and the age that had lasted since the reign of Alexander (336–323 BC). Her native language was Koine Greek, and she was the only Ptolemaic ruler to learn the Egyptian language.

In 58 BC, Cleopatra presumably accompanied her father, Ptolemy XII Auletes, during his exile to Rome after a revolt in Egypt (a Roman client state) allowing his daughter Berenice IV to claim the throne. Berenice was killed in 55 BC when Ptolemy returned to Egypt with Roman military assistance. When he died in 51 BC, the joint reign of Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIII began, but a falling-out between them led to open civil war. After losing the 48 BC Battle of Pharsalus in Greece against his rival Julius Caesar (a Roman dictator and consul) in Caesar’s Civil War, the Roman statesman Pompey fled to Egypt. Pompey had been a political ally of Ptolemy XII, but Ptolemy XIII, at the urging of his court eunuchs, had Pompey ambushed and killed before Caesar arrived and occupied Alexandria. Caesar then attempted to reconcile the rival Ptolemaic siblings, but Ptolemy’s chief adviser, Potheinos, viewed Caesar’s terms as favoring Cleopatra, so his forces besieged her and Caesar at the palace. Shortly after the siege was lifted by reinforcements, Ptolemy XIII died in the 47 BC Battle of the Nile; Cleopatra’s half-sister Arsinoe IV was eventually exiled to Ephesus for her role in carrying out the siege. Caesar declared Cleopatra and her brother Ptolemy XIV joint rulers but maintained a private affair with Cleopatra that produced a son, Caesarion. Cleopatra traveled to Rome as a client queen in 46 and 44 BC, where she stayed at Caesar’s villa. After the assassinations of Caesar and (on her orders) Ptolemy XIV in 44 BC, she named Caesarion co-ruler.

In the Liberators’ civil war of 43–42 BC, Cleopatra sided with the Roman Second Triumvirate formed by Caesar’s grandnephew and heir Octavian, Mark Antony, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. After their meeting at Tarsos in 41 BC, the queen had an affair with Antony. He carried out the execution of Arsinoe at her request, and became increasingly reliant on Cleopatra for both funding and military aid during his invasions of the Parthian Empire and the Kingdom of Armenia. The Donations of Alexandria declared their children Alexander Helios, Cleopatra Selene II, and Ptolemy Philadelphus rulers over various erstwhile territories under Antony’s triumviral authority. This event, their marriage, and Antony’s divorce of Octavian’s sister Octavia Minor led to the Final War of the Roman Republic. Octavian engaged in a war of propaganda, forced Antony’s allies in the Roman Senate to flee Rome in 32 BC, and declared war on Cleopatra. After defeating Antony and Cleopatra’s naval fleet at the 31 BC Battle of Actium, Octavian’s forces invaded Egypt in 30 BC and defeated Antony, leading to Antony’s suicide. When Cleopatra learned that Octavian planned to bring her to his Roman triumphal procession, she killed herself by poisoning, contrary to the popular belief that she was bitten by an asp.

Cleopatra’s legacy survives in ancient and modern works of art. Roman historiography and Latin poetry produced a generally critical view of the queen that pervaded later Medieval and Renaissance literature. In the visual arts, her ancient depictions include Roman busts, paintings, and sculptures, cameo carvings and glass, Ptolemaic and Roman coinage, and reliefs. In Renaissance and Baroque art, she was the subject of many works including operas, paintings, poetry, sculptures, and theatrical dramas. She has become a pop culture icon of Egyptomania since the Victorian era, and in modern times, Cleopatra has appeared in the applied and fine arts, burlesque satire, Hollywood films, and brand images for commercial products.”


Cleopatra is first and foremost a cinematic figure.

(June Allyson “Cleopatterer”)

(Theda Bara)

There have been many Cleopatras.

Viva in Michel Auder’s “Cleopatra”

But the one that counts the most was made in 1963.


(Cleopatra — Entrance into Rome)

Interesting this production began as a project the studio thought could be made cheaply on the backlot.

(Joan Collins)

But then Talot became available.

The whole thing is covered in great detail in  The Cleopatra Papers.
Brodsky and Weiss were hired by Fox when the company feared the film wasn’t getting enough publicity (!!!)

The Cleopatra closest to my heart is Corrine Marchand.

(“Sans To”i Cleo de 5 a 7 S)

As for the next Cleopatra, the choice is obvious.

.(Lil Nas X at BET Awards performs “Montiero”)




p.s. Hey. Today the venerable writer, critic, bon vivant and friend to DC’s all and sundry aka David Ehrenstein gifts us with a multi-media meditation on that sassy slice of history known as Cleopatra. Please give his post your local all, and do speak respectively to David, thank you. And thanks a bunch, Mr. E. ** Misanthrope, Hey. I think there are probably those who’d counter that using sex as a weapon is my work’s and blog’s middle name, but what do they know? Are you feeling even better? The beach is really nice at night. That’s kind of the only time I like it. Or in the winter. Or when there’s a tsunami a short ways offshore. Otherwise, I’m sure you’ll find something about it to like. Or at least about certain guys walking or lying upon it. ** Dominick, D!!!! Thanks about the post. Me too, about his always thinking. I just wish he had a pen and paper or keyboard or something there more often when he did. I’ve always thought a really good name for a coaster would be ‘I’m going to kill you’. The low temperature passion of Emos is one of life’s most unfairly overlooked tourist destinations. Or something. Your love was evil! I haven’t heard ‘Pass the Dutchie’ in decades, but now that you mention it … oh no! Don’t worry, I’ll scrub it out of my brain somehow. (I had the horrible song ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ stuck in my head for about four days recently, but forget I ever mentioned it.) Love like a magic washing machine that turns clean clothes into filthy, stinky ones, G. ** Tosh Berman, A fellow Devoto fan, I’m not at all surprised. Fist bump. I agree with you, hands down. Hm, interesting about the Human Hands comparison. I’ll pull out their stuff and reconsider. Most of all, I’m happy to have helped to banish your gloom, sir. ** Bill, Hi. I love your new piece. It’s great. So rich and tight but so expansive. I’m going to study it for linguistic equivalents. Thank you! Yep, about Devoto, I’m so there. Ha ha, and Purdy wondered and kvetched about why wasn’t as successful as his more demure peers. God love him. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Yes, thank you KillSwitch, whoever and wherever you are. Really great news about you being accepted for that new treatment! When do you start? Does it involve just taking a pill? ** Steve Erickson, Oh, ha ha, those are your guesses? Yawn about that discussion you mentioned. But yeah. Hope you feel a lot better upon awakening today. I listened to a couple of tracks on the new Eilish and was not very into it, but I intend to try again and maybe harder. ** Brian, Hi, Brian. I’m not huge on Jodorowsky. I mostly enjoy how labor intensive and wacked his films’ set pieces are. But his films are pretty hippie-dippy. Which can be charming in moderate doses. ‘El Topo’ is the darkest, strangest one. Made before he decided he was a seer and transmitter of profound cosmic wisdom and all of that. Good news, and continued well wishes, about your stoned, improving pooch. I don’t think ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ is a masterpiece, although I think it might’ve been if he’d been alive to edit it, but I don’t see how one could hate it. Sedate: good characterisation of what I think is causing my thus far meh feeling about the new Eilish. Time will tell, and we’ll see, right? Reality is starting to seem so present it feels kind of minty. Conquer today, my friend. ** Right. You know what you’ve got in store today already, so please have at it if you haven’t already. Thank you, folks. See you tomorrow.

KillSwitch presents … The Neglected and Neglectful Howard Devoto *

* (restored)


“I am angry, I am ill and I’m as ugly as sin
My irritability keeps me alive and kicking
I know the meaning of life, it doesn’t help me a bit
I know beauty and I know a good thing when I see it

This is a song from under the floorboards
this is a song from where the wall is cracked
by force of habit, I am an insect
I have to confess I’m proud as hell of that fact

I know the highest and the best
I accord them all due respect
but the brightest jewel inside of me
glows with pleasure at my own stupidity

I used to make phantoms I could later chase
images of all that could be desired
then I got tired of counting all of these blessings
and then I just got tired”

— ‘Song from Under the Floorboards’


‘The major characteristic of Howard Devoto’s work has been integrity and an avoidance of formula. His aims as the original singer with Buzzcocks were exhausted after one record — their Spiral Scratch EP is replete with wit and wisdom about the dynamics of the then burgeoning punk trend, and indeed the first to acknowledge it as a gimmick. What else was there to say? Punk’s chief aim was to spark a new beginning, fresh sounds and boundless opportunities. It had nothing to do with a career. Howard knew this and jumped ship, leaving cohorts Pete Shelley, Steve Diggle and John Maher to become perhaps the most joyous pop group of the late-Seventies.


Early Years


Buzzcocks ‘Breakdown’

Buzzcocks ‘I Can’t Control Myself’

Magazine ‘Shot by Both Sides’

Magazine ‘Touch and Go’


1977: Howard Devoto interviewed by Jon Savage

Jon Savage: Do you think we live in insane times ? Howard Devoto: Some of us do – some of us don’t. Do you want to do something new with punk ? Nobody invents new colours or new feelings. The first snowfall is fresh and in some sense new. But it isn’t different necessarily from last year’s snow. Nor is it old goods in a new wrapper. What do you want to do with Magazine? Improve people’s memories. Do you want to be popular at a mass level ? I can take it or leave it. Your music seems to deliberately want to leave gaps. It’s a matter of not trying to tell the whole story about something – when you can’t. Not trying to make up the bits that are going to fit… Like writing about something and giving the impression you know everything about it… I guess so. But I feel really concerned about mistaken impressions – mishearing – and ambiguous experience. Just on straight sense things – when you think you’ve seen something – and it doesn’t turn out to be what you’ve seen; I think there’s always a way of learning that as well – it doesn’t always happen by accident. You seem to be stating complex ideas in simple language in your range… Yes – but they’re not worked out. I leave a lot of loose ends for me and everybody. Just taking certain phrases out of context and putting them together…

‘Where The Buzzcocks were obtainable, Devoto was obscure. He had quickly formed Magazine, who went on to produce four albums of bombastic introspection between 1978 and 1981. Their early work dealt with weighty and perpetual imbalance — political unrest (‘Shot By Both Sides’), the powerless American president who dies at the hands of an assassin (‘Motorcade’) and prostitution (‘Touch and Go’). To the casual listener they were just brilliant rock songs, with lyrical whimsy that held up to close scrutiny. Later work became more ambiguous and on The Correct Use Of Soap (1980) the group made their most complete work. There you can find ‘A Song From Under The Floorboards’ and ‘Sweetheart Contract’, which exist amongst a string of great singles.


Middle years


Magazine ‘The Light Pours Out of Me’

Magazine ‘Give Me Everything’

Magazine ‘Motorcade’

Magazine ‘Cut Out Shapes’

Magazine ‘Model Worker’

Magazine ‘Because You’re Frightened’

Magazine ‘Song From Under The Floorboards’


(l. to r.) John McGeogh, Dave Formula, Devoto, Barry Adamson, Devoto, Bob Dickinson

The rest of Magazine:

John McGeogh (guitarist): McGeogh left Magazine after The Correct Use of Soap album to become the guitarist for Siouxie and the Banshees during their most creative period. He quit the Banshees to join PiL, playing on their seminal Flowers of Romance album, a.o. He was later a member of The Armoury Show, a short lived band fronted by Richard Jobson of The Skids, and of Steve Strange’s supergroup Visage, as well as playing guitar on a number of other artists’ albums, including Peter Murphy, Generation X, Ultravox, Matthew Sweet, and others. He died in his sleep in 2004.

Bob Dickinson (guitarist): After departing Magazine, Dickinson gave up rock music for world sacred music, writing the book ‘Music and the Earth Spirit.’ With composer Steven Dennison, he mans the music website Text Music

Barry Adamson (bass): After the demise of Magazine, Adamson become one of the founding members of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, recording and performing with them for the majority of their existence. In addition, he became a respected composer of scores for independent films and has released a number of highly acclaimed solo albums. A collection of his solo and film music, The Murky World of Barry Adamson, was released in 2000.

John Doyle (drummer): After Magazine, Doyle was briefly a member of The Armoury Show with John McGeogh. He became a widely used session musician working mostly in the traditional and contemporary Irish music field. He’s also a character actor who has appeared in a number of films, including Babe and Bliss.

Dave Formula (keyboards): Post-Magazine, Formula became the keyboardist for Ultravox during their most commercially successful period fronted by Midge Ure in the early to late 80s, and was also a member of Steve Strange’s Visage. He’s currently keyboardist for post-funk band The Finks.

‘By the time of The Correct Use of Soap, Magazine had reached an internal impasse. John McGeoch, their guitarist, left because of a frustration with Magazine’s lack of commercial success. One more album followed, the patchy Magic, Murder and the Weather. Devoto continued solo with his Jerky Versions Of The Dream album which he has since disowned and, honourably, retired from music after a clear sense that he had produced a poor record. Only Noko (now of Apollo Four Forty) persuaded him to record subsequent to this, with their commercially unsuccessful but nonetheless valuable Luxuria group. Other than a few guest appearances with This Mortal Coil, Mansun, and Apollo Four Forty, Howard didn’t record again until his unexpected reunion with The Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley three years ago for the one-off project Buzzkunst. Since then he has returned to his real name, Howard Trafford, and currently works as a supervisor in a photo library somewhere in London.’ — Ian Greaves, 3 AM Magazine


Later years


Howard Devoto ‘Rainy Season’

Luxuria ‘Red Neck’

Luxuria ‘Beastbox’

Buzzkunst ”Til the stars in his eyes are dead’ & ‘Going Off’


Shotbybothsides.com is as close to an official Howard Devoto website as exists. Its concentration is on his work with Magazine, but The Buzzocks, Luxuria, Buzzkunst, and Devoto’s solo work are well covered. The site includes a complete discography and a thorough database of Devoto -related press and facts, as well as a decent if not quite up -to -the -minute news section.


Jess Harvel, Rhythm of Cruelty: Howard Devoto and the Post-Punk Revival: ‘Even with the new respect/admiration/costume play/lip-service paid to artists previously thought consigned to the dustbin of pop history, where does this new round of myth raiding leave them in the cold actual glare of 2002? Ask Afrikaa Bambaataa, playing an MTV dance show to a couple hundred (and a couple hundred thousand around the world) kids asking who the fuck these old guys in fringe vests were and where is Paul Oakenfold already? Ask ESG who have been coaxed out of a long-suffering silence wherein they witnessed their earliest JB’s- as- proto- house records being sampled almost as much as JB himself only to end in dwindling returns for both sampler and sampled. Ask The Human League, who’s Secrets was one of the best records of 2001, proving they were still most adept at the world they had so completely changed, even as they were eclipsed by their sad, ugly children. Ask Howard Devoto.’ (Read the rest here)


Read another excellent, comprehensive piece entitled Clarity Has Reared It’s Ugly Head Again… The Music of Howard Devoto by Stewart Osborne


Quite a wide rangle of contemporary music artists cite Howard Devoto as a major influence, from Jarvis Cocker and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart to Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, who’s stated that collaborating with Devoto is one of his biggest dreams. Another Devoto devotee is Momus, who wrote a great song about him entitled ‘The Most Important Man Alive.’ You can read the lyrics here.



p.s. Hey. ** Dominik, Hi, D!!! Oh, cool, you watched one of his films. And it was relevant. Great and stormy are a good combination, and, yeah, when you’re marked I’d be curious to see the marking. Haha, I actually can’t think of a single roller coaster that doesn’t have at least a slightly dumb name. I guess ‘X2’ (one of the best coasters) is a tolerable name, under the circumstances. I continue to rise above my lag, thank you. Will do, on the celebrity reveal. Nice, shocking (ha ha) love, thank you. Love going home with the prettiest Emo boy he’s ever seen only to discover his entire apartment is covered, floor to ceiling, with a handmade shrine to Limp Bizkit, G. ** Tosh Berman, My great pleasure, sir. ** _Black_Acrylic, Really glad you liked it, B! ** Bill, Hi, Bill. You were in the majority. Will do about the SF trip if it ends up in the cards. A dinner would be nice. I’ll have a think about diners. Dodie, … Your new short piece! Thank you, thank you! I’ll be on it the very second I’m no longer on this. Everyone, A rare treat for us all in the form of a new, short sound/music piece by the great visual/sonic artist and d.l. Mr. Bill Hsu. It’s called ‘Bel(l)ow(s)’ and it’s right here. Swamp it, folks. ** Brendan, Hi, Brendan. I was just running around in your general hood during a short but long, long awaited escape to the West. Awesome that you’re a Hammid fan. Me too, and we’re needles in a haystack, I think. New work, new show! I might even get to see it if our film funding comes through on schedule whereupon Zac and I will be in LA a ton. And a little bird told me the also great Jack Skelley is writing something for/with you? Yum, if so. I’m good. Miss(ed) you too! ** Misanthrope, That I expected, you’re right. Almost at the big 50, are you? No sweat, you have years of fieriness left to go. Enjoy the beach house stint. That seems like a no brainer. Take it easy and feel better. You can’t be too careful these days, duh. And good luck conquering Benatar. ‘Stop Using Sex as a Weapon’ next maybe? ** Brian, Hey, Brian. Re: Deren, I especially highly recommend ‘Ritual in Transfigured Time’. That’s my fave. Personally, I’d start your Jodorowsky voyage with ‘El Topo’. I think it’s his best, pretty much by far. So sorry about your week starting problems, especially with your dog. Stressful. Bestest wishes. Curious to hear your thoughts on ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. Very divisive, that one, it seems. I haven’t heard the new Eilish. I read that it’s kind of ‘jazzy’, which made me a little wary. I’m almost crystal clear in the head again. So close to reality that I can imagine it. Have a great one, man. ** Okay. Years ago someone who tagged themselves KillSwitch made this fruitful post for the blog about the great, anti-prolific songwriting auteur and singer Howard Devoto. And now it’s alive again. Very worth your time,I think. See you tomorrow.

Older posts

© 2021 DC's

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑