In the beginning of October 2016 Infinity Land Press launched ‘Alien Existence’, a disquieting selection of original artworks and all-new text by Philip Best. Amplifying the dark themes of recent Consumer Electronics albums such as Estuary English and Dollhouse Songs, ‘Alien Existence’ charts the shattered psychic landscape of the early 21st century in all its eerieness, wonder and confusion. ‘Alien Existence’ is sure to both disturb and enchant.
The book includes 40 pages of Best’s creative writings, over 200 colour reproductions and an extensive interview with the artist conducted by Martin Bladh.
As a musician Philip Best now records as Consumer Electronics and has previously been a member of Whitehouse, Ramleh and Skullflower. “Alien Existence” is his second book. The first , “American Campgrounds”, now commands high prices on the collectors market and interest will no doubt be equally strong for this handsome new volume.
260 pages, 280x210mm, hardbound
staff sex films measure the speed / of pre-adolescent orgasm
graffiti as sexual data / take a look at this dying
commercialising appetites / gender identity disorder
rough and tumble / realms of natAure
women once boys / slaves to the token economy
repetition reinforcement / static information
obliterating interiority / time-travel machines
cages built of convention and consumerism
magpie cobbling of memorabilia / cartridges of blurry polaroids
ambient rock and spin / hostile fantasies of higher authority
accelerant tiny stars / on her tiny necrotic hands
child of the double door / somehow special somehow exempt
date-coded footage / kidneys barely functional
alien penetrations / uterine sarcoma
alien existence / filth paradise
servants of the gut and the groin
sette full fowle in synne / intimacy and shame
question the wounds / drilled back sex toys
shape of experience / syntax of events / inherited reflex
gears slipping / discharge of mares in heat / nausea and weight loss
rob the body / skirt-chasing wet cement
warmth fading / competitive suffering / greater london weapons systems
battered blue / inhuman openings / are women animals?
retching worlds entire loosening exercises in begging and the sexless
piecemeal voids crying
GOD’S NAME EVERYWHERE
We must accept the eventuality of bringing the USA to its knees; accept the closing off of critical sections of the city with barbed wire, armored pig carriers crisscrossing the streets, soldiers everywhere, tommy guns pointed at stomach level, smoke curling black against the daylight sky, the smell of cordite, house-to-house searches, doors being kicked in, the commonness of death.
George L. Jackson Blood In My Eye. Random House, 1972.
Jeannie tells me she used to be real pretty. She says she was popular in school, glee club, honor roll. She says she grew up somewhere across America but now sheís here. Jeannie says, “Guess I’m nothin’ new, huh?”
Scot Sothern Street Walkers. Powerhouse, 2015.
You see, with a logical mind like yours, or other people who try to think this out, or look for a rule that’s being followed, or for a certain way that they think, or had thought out and would do things — there was no such thing. There was no set rule. Just killing, that’s all.
“Joan B.” quoted in Lawrence L. Langer Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory. Yale University Press, 1991.
the babies will win against their killers
Telegram sent by Wilhelm Reich, 1 April 1954, collected in Mary Boyd Higgins (Ed.) Whereís The Truth?
Wilhelm Reich Letters and Journals 1948-1957. Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2012.
woe to the bloody city full of lies and robbery
today i hear the beat of death in all things
i hear it in the streets and in the parks
you will all die
you will all die
you will all die
from mayfair and westminster
to camberwell and peckham rye
riverwheel aflame london capsized
and at night father when i pray
you are not there
you are not there
you are not there
all hail to the creatures and the sluts and the poor
in guarded isles of midday devils all prancing to war
money may fall
and towers may fall
and bodies will fall
but theyíll still want it all and theyíll still take it all
politicians profiteers all poison the well
ride their rough horses headlong pell mell
over layer upon layer of metropolitan sick
it’s a trick
it’s a trick
it’s a trick
so, woe to the bloody city
that covets fresh fields and flesh within the cauldron
this time is evil
woe to the bloody stage
and final blank page of the failed state
that hoards its wealth and arms itself
against the stranded and lost
at whatever the cost
whatever the cost
whatever the cost
o gods, break their teeth
break their teeth
i mean it’s the attitude that counts
as well as everything else it takes
you with me?
i mean we should never compromise
we wonít get anywhere in life
accepting second best
you get it yet?
if you don’t taste it
if you don’t feel it, baby
we haven’t come a very long way
so what exactly is it?
this grand unified theory
of female pain and wet cement
could it be the face that would sell condoms in a cunt?
or better yet
i had a lover once
some men came by
shot up the house she lived in
tore up the place
broke every fucking window
burned her out
she couldnít tell me why
i hate men and their violence
their weak murderous minds
TWENTY MINUTE TEST
1) Undeveloped rolls of film.
2) Two last shots.
3) Leg fracture.
4) More film, recovered then processed.
6) FC = Fuck.
7) Some in colour, good quality.
8) Punishment beating.
9) Deep black bruising.
10) Witness stated “His body was normal”.
11) Expressed preference that girl should be “flat”.
12) Wanted to see her stumble and fall.
13) “Bring her down”
14) Failed to pay attention and the lights touched her naked body.
15) Found burns exciting.
16) Had Houston amputation film (HWA).
17) Traced trauma to childhood accident.
18) Tension barely perceptible.
Julie was curling a young girl’s hair when I came in. She was styling it to be just like her own: wavy all round the sides and flat at the crown. But the girl’s hair was shorter and brown in colour; Julie’s was pure blonde.
They were grouped around the mirror. Julie smiled over. He was a mechanic, but he’d always wanted to try his hand at writing. He was telling me this, and fixing coffee, as the girls continued to do their thing at the mirror.
There were pictures of dolphins and killer whales on the walls.
I tried to show her exactly how the body had looked from what I could remember of the photograph [KP27, the “scene-establishing shot”], almost a year after I had seen it. Putting my palms on the ground, I lowered myself down on my left side and curled myself round into a sort of foetal position, knees bent and legs drawn up.
VOICE-OVER: I’d been having a recurring nightmare. I’m three years old dancing on my mother’s grand piano. I’m wearing her gold spiked heels. The grownups are clapping, stomping in rhythm. My ankles twist in the big shoes. I want to stop dancing but they cheer even louder.
IMAGE: PRESCHOOLER IN UNDERSHIRT AND UNDERPANTS, DANCING FOR THE CAMERA
VOICE-OVER: I don’t know what they want from me.
They wait their turn,
huddled shyly together on benches.
When the individual is called, his or her outer
garments are removed so that every bone,
every muscle, is exposed to the penetrating
gaze of the specialists.
I am so fucking up to my neck in debt & so badly need to do well. This is not a bad thing to do with JJ & I’m really happy for him. JJ gets everyone falling over themselves – I get fake numbers & stood up.
Johnny’s so well into it – making heaps of friends & as usual no matter where I am – I feel alone.
It’s not San Francisco, it’s me.
I can’t explain this feeling to anyone, this feeling of COMPLETE DETEST for myself
& this feeling of being so average. I’ve tried so badly to understand why & to make mother & JJ understand – but they think Iím being so silly – but I really feel like this so much.
It’s a feeling of being so invisible, being no-one, feeling like Iím never a part of something & never quite fitting in.
I know Johnny has been all over the place since leaving, but he never has that feeling of no self worth. The most beautiful people become spellbound. He always feels he deserves the best & BECOMING MORE RADIANT and confident all the time.
I really am not joking & this sounds stupid but I am so exhausted with feeling this shit & feeling so lonely despite being with JJ every day & feeling so low & so up to my eyeballs with debt – I sometimes really can’t be bothered to wait & find out what happens.
I just want to disappear.
I feel like I’m reeling & I don’t know what to do.
I feel so outside.
I’ve nothing anywhere.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS Live at Tilburg 013, Saturday 15 Sept 2012
Set list: (You All Forget) Rudolf Hess. Gemini. Anne Frank v. Franz Kafka. Come Clean. Everyone Everywhere Fuck. Mothers Morals. Estuary English. Grendel Drone.
Band members: Philip Best, Sarah Froelich.
Set length: 60 mins.
CODY Review: Those for whom Mogwai is just “noise for girls” will find that there is plenty to do in Stage01, which tonight forms the backdrop for a trio of power electronics and harsh noise acts. Thus there is the duo Consumer Electronics, according proven shock-and-awe-prescription public body comes: exhibitionism, Rudolf Hess, screeching noise capes, Anne Frank, masturbation, Britney Spears, disheveled wanker paste booklet which work. Mr. Consumer Electronics is a fat Rob Halford in the uniform of a darts player and the dell-like lady to his right a few times does not keep her smile while turning knobs, so really shocking just can not be. Except for those few stray Yann Tiersen fans who accidentally ended up in the back of the hall, and after half a minute back out paddling, scarred for life.
PB Journal 14/09/12 [hotel, 2am]: I hate playing fucking festivals, co-opted by cunts, corporate logos all over the full colour 128 page fucking brochure. Bands are horrible. Only decent people are those hardy folk who have travelled and PAID for tickets. Nice guys/girls and thoroughly down to earth. A serious fucking minority. Rest of the cunts are either liggers or shit promoters promoting shit fucking labels of seriously shit fucking ‘music’, mostly American, polluting the fucking dressing rooms and all effort spent trying to score drugs rather than ‘promote’ the bands they ostensibly ‘represent’. Generally these vermin are both older and stupider than anyone else present. And the organisation of these fuckfests is particularly reprehensible. Thus, if you want to get a vegan brunch at 14.30hrs it will be served at site location 68, but if you need technical assistance on stage at 21.00 hours beacuse the amps are fucked you might as well forget it because the technical staff whose number is worthy of a D.W. Griffith epic have all fucked off to smoke ‘draw’, quaff the artists beer or update their fucking tumblr. You know one cunt actually said ‘peace’ to me. Non-ironically. Despite all this, the show itself was great, due, in part, to employing sound engineer worthy of the name. SF, as usual, was immense, and ploughing huge furrows of drone sound & intense stage charisma. Earlier in day had been strolling though town when random stranger called out “Hey Sarah!”. I’d better get used to this. Light guy had usual instruction of “imagine you’re auditioning for Van Halen”. And, again as usual, fucked off after 10 minutes. Still, volume throughout venue was truly unpleasant yet astonishingly clear. Needless to say, hated all support acts (War, Lust For Youth etc., though Ice Age intrigued me). My main problem is the 80s fixation of these young fucking cunts, thus you get familiar tropes of Robert Smith-style vox (tick), banks of horrid synths (check), wanky drum machines (ubiquitous), ‘new romantic’ strides (present and correct), added to floppy quiffs, ‘dancing’ and all-round OMD worship. Ugh.
PHILIP BEST INTERVIEWED BY MARTIN BLADH (extracts)
Photo by: Karolina Urbaniak
Let’s talk about your defunct blog from which the majority of the text material in this book is taken from. You did put a lot of energy into it. Tell me about your ambitions when you started it and why you chose to take it down?
The blog you refer to, “The Child Botanical”, served a number of purposes and was probably the only creative endeavour I’ve ever been involved with (save a few experimental live performances) in which the final outcome was far from certain, in which an almost complete surrender of control was required. Generally when I work I have a very definite idea of where I’m going, of exactly what I want to achieve. I actually think this is a prerequisite of making effective art. The ‘Child Botanical’ blog was a different, quite intimidating, but ultimately liberating way of working. It was a proving ground for fresh ideas, for the new connections I was teasing out through my reading, image-making and day-to-day life. The blog was somewhere I could post snippets of works-in-progress, juxtapose seemingly unrelated words and images, snatches of lyrics, extracts from reading and viewing, my personal responses to unfolding news stories and audience reactions to increasingly inflammatory Consumer Electronics performances. I’ll address those performances later but, again unusually for me, it wasn’t really a conversation I was looking for. I deliberately disabled comments on the blog so I had no idea how or even if this material was being received. I was just throwing this stuff out there, like shit against the wall in a dirty protest.
Some, but not all, of the text in “Alien Existence” originated from that blog, but I have quite painstakingly edited and retooled the material to create what I hope is a more coherent whole. You’re quite correct, I put a lot of energy into maintaining the original blog, working virtually daily on it and putting everything I was reading and viewing through the prism of it. After three or four years I was exhausted, and had also started to perform again as Consumer Electronics with fellow musicians Sarah Froelich and Russell Haswell. The first album we recorded together as a trio, “Estuary English” (2014), very much had its genesis in the pages of the blog – but as I honed the lyrical content of that album and readied it for release I needed the record to stand alone, as a finely crafted summation of where we had arrived at. That’s the main reason I took the blog down. This book, too, is me trying to get a grip on all the stuff I was trying to make sense of in the postings on “Child Botanical”. But hopefully with the benefit of reflection and greater understanding of what I was dealing with or trying, however clumsily, to get my head around. Now when I work, I just keep everything to myself, in notebooks and scrapbooks, safe from public viewing! The “News from Warring Tribes” section, for example, is an extract from a much larger prose text I’ve been working on for the last year or so. No idea if I’ll ever use it beyond the extract printed here, but I like the simplicity (and challenge) of just working with language and nothing else. No images, no sounds, no studio engineers, no small fortunes spent on professional (but totally invaluable) record mastering. When I was much younger, in my teens and obviously way before we had blogs or anything like the range of digital forums we have today, I had the idea of producing a weekly magazine which solely detailed what I was getting up to and my reaction to everything that stumbled across my path. For various reasons, most notably finances and a somewhat chaotic private life, it just didn’t work out but as I’m getting older I’m returning to the idea of publishing just one book a year. Focussing my energies on a single project, and if no-one pays attention, that’s really not a problem at all.
How much time do you spend going through source material for your collages and scrapbooks? How important is juxtaposition and choice of colour? Do you have a specific audience in mind? Is response and communication of importance to you?
As I think you can imagine it takes a fair amount of time to harvest the images for my collages and scrapbooks. Obviously I have a certain type of image I am looking for, and within that group I have a quite specific idea of what I ultimately want. As with a lot of things, it’s very much a matter of cutting away what is unneeded, of knowing exactly what you don’t want, to arrive at precisely what you do. Every small detail is vital so colour is obviously of strong importance. I haven’t trained as an artist so I have a fairly untutored eye and technique. That doesn’t matter. It’s all about juxtapositions and connections, either the ones that are readily apparent when you construct the collage, or the ones that emerge at a slower pace, as the material gathers and develops. I guess my fascination with scrapbooks as objects has its genesis (like many things) in my childhood wanderings in the streets of Plymouth. In the old Barbican area of the city there was a huge and baffling colour mural of numerous historical figures (some recognisable but many completely obscure) painted along the entire side of a building and beside it a dusty old shopfront window display stacked with oversized antiquarian folio volumes with patently false and incredible titles. I was mesmerised by these fake volumes, bound in old vellum and with wildly crazed titles inked painstakingly in hand on the ancient spines. I would return again and again to see fresh books added to the pile and to gaze in wonderment at the anatomical engravings that were occasionally on display. As I stood there nose virtually pressed against the dirty, darkened glass I saw people come and go, long-haired shuffling figures and beautiful, almost Pre-Raphaelite women. Trust me, not a common sight on the streets of Plymouth in the 1970s. Years later I discovered that this intriguing building was the working studio of the remarkable artist Robert Lenkiewicz (1941-2002), in fact I even ended up sourcing rare occult materials for his renowned collection of sorcery and witchcraft. It was during this time that Lenkiewicz sadly passed, and in due course his executors found a fully-preserved tramp that the artist had embalmed and placed behind the bookcase.
The question of audience reaction is a crucial one and my attitude towards how the work is received has varied over the years. When I first started making music in the early 1980s there virtually was no audience to speak of, so they were not really considered as a significant part of the equation. And if they were it was generally with a view of total contempt. It was a different time. I think that to make the music we were making, and then to take it out and play it with utter seriousness in standard rock clubs and established punk venues as opposed to welcoming avant-garde spaces (if, indeed, they even existed) you had to be pretty single-minded about what you were doing. Audiences and fellow musicians might have been young, but booking agents, venue owners and most crucially sound engineers tended to be older people with a very set idea of what was and what was most definitely not ‘music’. It might have been the 1980s but in many clubs and bars it was like punk never happened. One of the reasons Whitehouse, for example, had such a simple, but brutally effective, set-up was so that sound guys (and it always was ‘guys’) in venues could grasp it easily, once they’d recovered from the heresy of you not having a drummer. Another reason was so you could leave the venue as quickly as possible with all your gear in one bag – sometimes running directly from the stage and straight back on to the street. Did that a number of times! I guess that we were arrogant assholes in a way, but of necessity I would suggest, because I doubt we could have done it at all without that obnoxious cockiness and unshakeable self-confidence. Over time and as audiences grew you’d begin to receive feedback on how the records and concerts were being received. And that developed into an increasingly valuable part of the process, but let’s be brutally clear here – making music or creating art is not a fucking popularity contest. I enjoy all reactions to my music and work and have never particularly minded whether the feedback received is positive or negative. The Whitehouse album “Cruise” (2001) for example was absolutely detested by a reactionary old guard of fans who thought it too ‘digital’, or too ‘arty’, or not ‘extreme’ enough. That fucking word again. It was music to our ears to hear the complaints of these disappointed punters. As a performer you need to move on and not listen to the more conservative elements of your audience. Enough people in your existing audience will get it and you’ll probably attract new people to what you are doing as well. And, if not, well, at least you’ve stayed true to what you wanted to do and avoided becoming a fucking human jukebox where they put the money in and you pump out the song they want to hear. So negative reactions don’t bother me. The only exception to this I can recall was the (to my mind) sexist and misogynistic comments that were made when my wife Sarah joined Consumer Electronics. I couldn’t believe it! I hated those comments and was glad those idiots had shown their true colours and no longer liked us. It felt like a job well done. But having said all that, sometimes, as I mentioned above regarding my blog, it’s good to just put stuff out there and not elicit any reaction. Just do it for yourself.
There is a text passage called ‘Coitus And Collecting’, which seem to be quite revealing. It is of course a simplification, but I know that some people believe that this is what it all comes down to, a compulsive attempt to collect and pinpoint an obsession, sex by proxy etc. There is some truth there right?
Oh yes, I’d agree with you there, undoubtedly. You’re getting these guys now who are getting busted with hundreds of thousands of images on their hard drives. More images than you could possibly even look at. But that’s not really the point, is it? Collectors can be quite astonishing. In the real world (as it were) I’ve had occasion to work on and off with high-end antiquarian books and other collectibles and ephemera. You meet some quite extraordinary people, like Lenkiewicz for example. I’ve kind of worked my work up in that trade. One of my earliest calls was to a terraced house in a quite poor neighbourhood in Bristol. There was an obese man squashed into an armchair and his fingernails were completely uncut and curling over, his big paws brown from nicotine staining. His wife was a small bird of a thing, white-haired and neatly dressed. She immediately told me she was making her husband sell his collection because if he didn’t she would leave him after forty years of marriage. The “collection” was piled around the house. Literally each room upstairs and downstairs was piled high with porn magazines, complete collections in running order and the guy had a handwritten guide he’d assembled with remarks on each of the models (“Raven”, “Jacquie” etc.) and their characteristics. He thought I might find it useful when I came to sell the collection. Trouble is the magazines weren’t really old or ‘specialist’ enough to have much of a resale value (they’d probably be worth a small fortune today), just mountains of recent porn. I ended up selling them on privately to an academic at a local boys school and he then sold them on to a contact in the Israeli army. The modern day soldier requires a certain amount of adult stimulation I was told – and the army was happy to provide for its men. Other material I’ve handled or even turned down has given me quite an eyeopening perspective on the ingenuities and depravities of the human imagination. And, of course, collectors, enthusiasts and amateur photographers can be total pigs. Anton Pachinger, the great Austrian collector of antiquities, who also amassed an astonishing collection of erotica, is mentioned in the ‘Coitus and Collecting’ section; he’s notorious for robbing a grave so he could saw a silver chastity belt from a corpse. Just barged the gravediggers out of the way and got down in the dirt such was his fervour. View all collectors with deep suspicion!
Why did he have to make the tape? Why did everything have to be recorded, detail after detail, condemning them both to this living death? He was like a clerk, filing away his sordid little catalogue of murder mementoes. All that talk of liberation and immortality and all the time he was just a bloody stamp collector.
Jean Rafferty Myra, Beyond Saddleworth. Wild Wolf Publishing, 2012.
Let’s talk more about your lyrics (some of which are printed in this book). To my taste you’re probably the best wordsmith within the (excuse the term) “extreme” electronic music scene today. How do the words come to you, some concepts and motives seem to carry a deep personal meaning? There’s of course a big difference between the teenage anger of “Tit Pulp” (Right To Kill, 1983) compared to the lyrics from “Dollhouse Songs”. How do you feel that your writing has developed over the years, and are you trying to express yourself differently?
Not so a great difference as you might imagine. One prominent feature of my lyrics is that they tend to have many autobiographical elements within them, my numerous faults, fuck-ups and countless wretched times I’ve let myself or others down. Allied to this is my perhaps inexcusable inability to leave other people in my life out of my songs. So, “Tit Pulp” for example”, although on first look a prime example of the 1982 power electronics ‘aesthetic’ (for want of a better term), is actually a record of the miserable few months I spent living in London with a person who is actually named in the lyrics of that song (William wisely removed her name from the accompanying lyric sheet). Now I would never of course write a song quite like that these days – but even so, people like “bright-eyed Anne” in “Ruthless Babysitting” is a real person (or, more exactly, a conflation of this person with Anne Frank scribbling in her Amsterdam diary) and I could give numerous other examples from Whitehouse or CE lyrics based on real people, real conversations, real incidents. A surprising number of lines. Of course, the songs are not pure autobiography, but these elements are incorporated into other observations, narratives, investigations, self-reproaches. I am also a tireless proponent of Intertextuality. The final section of the song “The Push” (from “Dollhouse Songs”), for example, is based on events related to me by a lover interlaced with lines from Samuel R. Delaney’s novel “Dhalgren” (1975). The original conversation with my lover had astonished me at the time and stayed with me for over a decade, I’d written numerous songs in the meantime and hadn’t felt the need (or couldn’t find the way) to address what she had related to me but suddenly there it was, needing to be said. Ripeness is all.
For me, the literary underpinning from Delaney adds extra resonance to her words and empowers the song tremendously. As a small aside I can also be at times a useless judge of my own music. I’d shelved the song from the album until Russ and Sarah insisted it be included and for many people it proved to be a highlight of the record.
We achieved absolutely everything we wanted on Estuary English – in simple terms a state of the nation jeremiad crossbred with an honest catalogue of my own numerous personal failings.
Philip Best interviewed. Quietus, 12 January 2015.
Infinity Land Press provides exclusive, clandestine publications which are inoculated against the circulatory system of the established book market.
Founded in 2013 by Martin Bladh and Karolina Urbaniak, Infinity Land is a realm deeply steeped in pathological obsessions, extreme desires, and private aesthetic visions. Having disappeared over the horizon from the nurseries stocked with frivolous babblings of apologetic pleasures, Infinity Land is foundationally a geography configured by the compulsive, annihilating search for impossible beauty. In the words of Yukio Mishima, “True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys.”
p.s. Hey. This lucky blog gets its second opportunity in a week to help usher an amazing book into the world. This time the tome is by the great Philip Best, co-mastermind of two of the most seminal and innovative noise-shaping music units of our recent lifetimes aka Whitehouse and Consumer Electronics. As you’ll see in the post, his talents obviously exist heavily outside of music creation as well, and the fine Infinity Land Press, whom you guys around here might know as the publisher of my scrapbook ‘Gone’, Michael Salerno’s ‘Childhood’, and other excellent books, has brought some of Best’s visual and textual work out for public scrutiny. I just got my copy of ‘Alien Existence’ in the mail yesterday, and it’s gorgeous. Enjoy the post/ introduction, consider a purchase, and thank you. And really big thanks to Mr. Best and to Martin and Karolina at Infinity Land. ** Armando, Hi. No, I’m not in ‘I Apologize’. Maybe you’re thinking of Ishmael Houston-Jones’ and my piece ‘Them’. I was in that. Mm, I think I sent my first letter to Bresson even before I saw ‘Le Diable Problement’. The first Bresson I saw, and the one that changed my life, etc. was ‘Lancelot du Lac’. His widow is alive. She edited the new book of Bresson interviews that was just published. I don’t watch Bresson’s films often because the experience is too intense and emotional for me. The ‘Jerk’ performances in Paris will be two in French, two in English. I have no idea if I’ll be here then yet. Dude, if an agent is saying he or she will definitely accept it in late 2017, that’s an offer to take very seriously. This shit takes a lot of time. Without patience, you’ll never succeed at it. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. Anyway, I wouldn’t burn that bridge unless you already have. Try other places and use that offer as a fall back. I’m not that into painting, to be honest with you. It’s not very often that I respond to paintings. I’m drawn more to sculpture, installation, video, etc. I can’t even think of favorite painters. Strange. ** Joakim, Hey! Well, gee, that sounds incredibly intriguing and exciting that ‘The Sluts’ influenced or positively interfered with what you’re making. Thanks, gee. Right now is crazed with writing projects and the film, but I would love to contribute if I can, and something with Zac would be great. Let me talk to him and see what he thinks. Those are very cool tattoos. That’s coming from me who is not an inherent huge fan of tattoos. Nice. And good placement. Happy birthday a day late to Asger! <3, me. ** New Juche, Hi! Oh, it’s amazing, man. You’ve felt uncertain about it? That’s interesting. That can be a really good sign as long as you have a deep underlying faith in something beneath the uncertainty, and publishing it is probably due to that faith. No, it’s really beautiful! Be very proud. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. ‘Hair’, wow. I saw ‘Hair’ when I was a young teen at the Aquarius Theater across from the Palladium. That might have been before your time in LA. I practically had to blackmail my mom to take me because of that outrageous, at the time, moment when the cast stood naked onstage for about 30 seconds in very low light. ** Sypha, Ha ha. I told Kristen that everybody was going to think the darkest art in that show was my pick when, in fact, she chose most of the wild stuff. Coincidentally, there’s ‘Alien Existence’ right up there. So you beat the blog by 24 hours. I’ve only started looking at my copy, but it seems great, yeah. Ah, the tidal wave of initial no’s when submitting a mss. Urgh. Ride it out, man. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi, Dóra! Yeah, see, I totally, totally get your thinking about tattoos, and that makes absolute sense to me. I guess I feel like I’m into tattoos when one really thinks about what a tattoo does and means and how it effects people. I really get and respect that. Yes, if you do think of Hungarian writers you can recommend, I’m extremely interested. My day ended up being less active than I’d thought. Plans got delayed for practical reasons. I just worked and did some emailing and blah blah. Paris is having this weird, extreme air pollution problem right now. And it was weird to be outside and see the smog/haze over everything. Yikes. The art shows that I was going to see and will see probably on Saturday are this one and this one. And probably some others too. I’m looking at that apartment where I had that wrong address mix up tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Did Thursday treat you really well? How so? ** Steevee, Hi. Yes, Zac was very happy with your thoughts. Thank you again. That is tough: 2 to 3 weeks in advance. At the same time, it doesn’t seem strange and difficult for studios to do critic screenings quite early on. What a weird and self-defeating strategy on their part. Have you read Lim’s book on David Lynch? I haven’t but I’m meaning to. ** Morgan M Page, Hi! Thank you on behalf of Kristen and myself. Yes, the ice record is pretty good. I put it at the top for a reason. There are actually two other dissolving ice record works I came across while looking around. That one had the best video, which is basically why it got chosen, ha ha. Oh, wow, yes, I know Cassils’ work a bit, albeit mostly via the internet, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen very much, but I hadn’t seen that ‘Tiresias’ piece. I would’ve put it in the show if I’d found it. Thank you for hooking me up. I’ll see the next potential apartment tomorrow morning. Ugh, it’s stressful, but I’m just hoping to find a place and get it over with asap. Yes, ‘Jerk’ was revived from a long dormant period specifically because of that gig in Montreal. I hope you get to see it. I think it’s definitely one of Gisele’s my best works, and the performer Jonathan Capedevielle is really brilliant in it. Have an awesome day! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Me too, about Eggleston’s Xmas pix. They were among Kristen’s finds. ** Misanthrope, Thanks, G. Glad you had fun. Well, as you can imagine, I haven’t eaten at a McDonald’s in … God, decades? Not much there for me. I think the only thing of theirs I’ve ever eaten was a scalding hot, terrible apple pie-like thing. I would say that supporting Trump does not fall into the category of mundane, no. Aw, a bunny in your yard, aw. There probably isn’t a rabbit in ‘God Jr.’. It’s just the only work of mine where I could imagine it was possible. Poor, poor LPS. He’s got it bad. God, in a week that strapping young fella should be on fire again, no? I’m sure. Let me know what you think of ‘Manchester by the Sea’. I’m curious about it. ** Chris dankland, Hi, Chris! Thank you very much for your thanks, man! No, you’re awesome. How’s your Xmas looking? ** Okay. You know what to do around here today, so go do it. Please? Thank you. See you tomorrow.
“Alien Existence” and “Infinity Land Press” are both absolutely fascinating, particularly in this reactionary era in the U.S.
No I wasn’t in L.A. for “Hair” but I sure as hell knew about it in New York as it was a show that employed a great number of people who never acted before — or since. Our late beloved friend Nat Shapiro was the Behind the Scenes Power that put “Hair’ in place and kept it there for years.
Jim Hoberman on Bresson
Latest FaBlog: Special Victims Unit — Hold the Anchovies
great post. thnx so much. unsurprisingly, infinity land continues 2 impress & delight.
no, im sure (that doesnt mean im convinced, or much less certain its true, of course) i read somewhere that at 1 point during the performances of ‘i apologize’, u appear readin some texts of urs. well, guess, its not true, since ure tellin me, rite? or perhaps i did read it indeed but the place where i did had erroneous info.
well, if ud b willin 2 accept someone who could help with the most menial tasks durin the makin of the movie, itd mean a lot 2 me if u could think of me. where will it be shot, btw?
“His widow is alive. She edited the new book of Bresson interviews that was just published.” wow. with all due respect, she must b of a quite advanced age now. but, whatever, its so fuckin cool shes still workin at protectin & preservin her husbands immense Legacy. brava. id no idea at all bout that book. y do i always learn of the good things & the best things way after every1 else? *sigh*. anyway, that book just sounds out of this world.
well, would u, by any chance (i very much doubt u do at all, but i just have 2 ask) know of any upcomin performances of any of ur works (preferably in english, of course, but id b willin 2 c it in french) thatll occur while ure indeed there in paris???
yeah, i know i probably fucked up with that agent thing, but, well, i tried 2 explain my reasons. *sigh*. as soon as i can, ill keep lookin, & if i dont find any agents that work/r willin 2 work with stuff like my manuscript, guess ill go gravelin 2 that agent. *sigh*.
wow. not a single 1? ok.
if u happen 2 talk 2 Michael at all anytime soon would tell him i said hi, please???
good luck; good day & all the best,
This and the book posted yesterday look so delicious. I’m a huge PE fan, so it’s interesting to keep witnessing those artists putting out these epic works of art. A little too expensive for me though lol. I think my fav Philip Best project is the ‘Iphar Clinic’ cassette, which came out in ’83. Man, this post totally reminded me of a Whitehouse live action album that I cannot remember for the life of me and haven’t been able to for years. Basically, it has a dark ambient vibe, a sound of a saw cutting wood, and a cat meowing for like 25 minutes. If anyone else knows what it is, please tell me!
Sorry it took me so long to respond. It’s the end of the semester, so things are super chaotic. A review of mine was posted this morning ( http://the-attic.net/reviews/1895/somnoroase-p%C4%83s%C4%83rele-_-tion.html ) of a wacky psychedelic electroacoustic project from Romania. Other than that, not much else is going on.
Take care! <3
Wow, speak of the devil. Yeah, I finished reading this book before bed last night and totally loved it. Great combination of art and texts. It might surprise some people but I really don’t pay all that much attention to song lyrics when I’m listening to music… however, there are a few lyric writers whose words I’ll always scrutinize, such as David Tibet, Richey James, Ian Curtis, and of course, Philip Best.
Dennis, did you hear that Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer died yesterday?
I’m right in the middle of reading the Bresson interview book and it’s really great. He has a really strong stance against a certain type of film that is fascinating. And I noticed that a Bresson helped with or edited the book, but i just presume it was the daughter not the wife! Great book (so far).
And to the writer, who made comments about publishing/agent issues – publishing itself takes a great deal of time, and also a very expensive venture. Patience is a must, on both sides of the fence.
The Bressons had no children.
Hi, Tosh Berman. My name’s Armando.
“And to the writer, who made comments about publishing/agent issues – publishing itself takes a great deal of time, and also a very expensive venture.”
^ Could you possibly maybe elaborate on that statement if you can, I’m not bothering you and it’s not too much to ask?
Thank you in advance anyway,
Good day; good luck,
Yes, I actually think I’m into all kinds of tattoos as long as they really… ‘belong’ to their owners – even if I personally wouldn’t like to see certain pieces on my own skin.
I’ll keep that in mind and make that list!!
I’m sorry about the postponed plans. I didn’t hear about the air pollution situation in Paris but it sounds really shitty! What can they even do about it, really?
Both art shows seem exciting, I hope you get to see them on Saturday! If so, please tell me about them, I’m interested!
I had a nice day except for some post office rounds – I had to track down a book I tried to send to someone because it never arrived. It turned out to be the post office’s fault but of course they make it really difficult and I’ll have to start the process all over again. Eh.
How was your day? Did something interesting happen? Is Zac finally feeling better?
I’m excited to see the 8-hour O.J. Simpson documentary O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA on the 17th. Until now, its extreme length and limited theatrical distribution (its had some TV play) have kept me away, but I feel like I should take a chance now after seeing it on umpteen top 10 lists. The SATANTANGO of documentaries? I hope.
also, remember idk ANYTHING AT ALL bout the publishing business. all i know is ive been waitin & waitin & waitin when it comes 2 this stupid pseudo-“book” thing i wrote 4-fuvkin-ever 4 1 reason or another. & waitin 1 + whole fuckin year is just way 2 fuckin much. i cant do that. idk, maybe there r a lot of people who can afford the luxury 2 wait a whole year 4 a thing like this, but i sure as fuck am not 1 of em. yeah, wait 4 1 + year just 2 wait + & at the end bein told: “oh, im so sorry; no press was interested”… also, as i dont trust human beings, theres just no way i can know if hes really bein sincere, or if hes lyin, or if hes just takin me 4 a ride or if hes goin 2 change his mind in a year from now. 1 year is just way 2 much time. even if he was 100% sincere, he could change his mind while i wait & wait & wait & wait.
Yes, I have read Lim’s book on Lynch. It’s hampered a bit by its brevity (Lim races right past Lynch films he considers minor and spends almost all his time on the one he thinks are masterpieces.) Nevertheless, it’s a great introduction to Lynch’s work – I wish it had been around right after I saw MULHOLLAND DRIVE for the first time.
Wow – that is one precious book. Somehow it almost looks damp because it’s so rich in texture and detail. I’m also very much into both the writing and juxtaposition of photos. Nice.
Okay, cool – I think the deadline would be in the end of February, so that everyone has time to figure out their contribution. I’m thinking 1-4 pages per contributor/s but it’s flexible. It’d be super cool to see what you and Zac would make around the theme. If you want, I can email you more of a description and some info about the other contributors (as of now) and their work – what’s your email these days?
To be honest, I’m not crazy about most tattoos either and I suppose that’s why I got one so late. My parents allowed me to have one from age 14 because my brother had nagged them deaf – so only to be fair I guess. I’m very happy young Joakim decided to wait, thinking back to what I was considering… Eeek.
Yeah that’s a good way to put it. I think the uncertainty was due to the fact that it’s the first purely visual thing I’ve ever done. What was the first visual project you undertook? How late back does your Gone scrapbook date from?
The Best looks great, it’s too expensive for me, but this is a nice taste of it along with what’s on the Infinity Land site. The colour is lush. Especially the greens.
My postman attempted delivery of this yesterday but I was away at work. Friday 16th is the soonest I’m at home to receive it, but at least today’s post guarantees that the prize is worth waiting for. I love American Campgrounds and this looks like being a real development ie even weirder and more brilliant than that was.
I just watched a DVD of Eugenie: The Story of Her Journey Into Perversion by Eurosleaze auteur/hack Jess Franco. Supposedly based on Sade’s Philosophy in the Boudoir, it’s really just softcore cheesecake nonsense but does feature a great end scene where a nude Marie Liljedahl wanders across a desert landscape surrounded by crucifixes. I have a soft spot for this kind of film, as you do get some proper surrealism thrown in occasionally.
*Franco’s more auteur, though.
This is a beautiful, lust-worthy book, thank you for featuring it. I own Gone by Dennis Cooper and Childhood by Michael Salerno, both from Infinity Land Press, so it looks like I may have to order this one, too. Trouble is I’m broke right now. If I was still 22 yrs old and 120 lbs, I’d consider entertaining a few johns for some book dough, but I stopped sex work 24 yrs and 50 lbs ago. Know anyone who is ‘into’ cottage cheese thighs and batwings??
Wow, these images are fantastic. Really stunning work. And it looks like Infinity Land did another knockout job on the production. I didn’t know about this side of Best’s work or the book and adding it to the list.
Sent you a guest post a little while ago so it should be waiting in yr inbox. Let me know if you have any questions, anything didn’t come through, etc.
I was thinking about Yury the other day. How’s his fashion foray coming along?
And any word on the TV show yet?
Great post! Thank you. I’m thinking of moving to Paris for a while. How are you finding the various apartments you are checking out? Is it through a particular agency? If so, May i ask which? And can you tell me how it works if they find your new home— do they take a percentage of monthly rent ofpr a flat fee up front? Thank you! Anna and Jimmy
Dennis, This looks tres interesting. The little I know about Best is what Sypha’s told me in the past. I like the idea of his doing this.
Well, I’ll give you two cases of things that bugged/bug me about people I like. 1. It bugs me that Brandon Flowers of The Killers is a Mormon. Or actually, that he gives X amount of money to them every year because he is a Mormon and a lot of that goes to anti-gay stuff. 2. It bugs me that Morrissey likes to bowl. I don’t know, just so odd to me.
Yeah, LPS is still down. Better but down. He’s dropped down to 172 lbs. now. Can barely eat. But he’s staying hydrated. He should be fine.
McDonald’s salads aren’t too bad if they’re fresh. Of course, as I typed that I remember now that the last time LPS ate one there -about 2 months ago- he got sick and was on the toilet for 2 days. Scratch that.
I rarely say this but I’m excited about seeing “Manchester by the Sea.” Really looking forward to it. I read a review -which gave very little detail- and got choked up. I don’t know, it just seems it’s gonna be that type of film for me. I was watching the trailer last night and got a bit choked up. Kind of like you with father-son scenes.
Speaking of which, you still have to see “The Mudge Boy.” The scene at the end’ll tear you to ribbons.