Monthly Archives: November 2008

François Caradec (1924 – 2008)

Jane Avril by  François Caradec

François Caradec is dead. “Oh no,” shouts Jane Avril

Cafe concert by Caradec

“We’ll see about that,” says the café concert visitor

Encyclopédie des FARCES et ATTRAPES et des  MYSTIFICATIONS

“It’s not a farce,” says the book that ought to know

François Caradec (Quimper, 1924November 13, 2008) was a French 20th century writer, biographer and historian of French popular culture and the history of the comic book in particular. He was a member of the Oulipo and a regent in the Collège de ’Pataphysique. He is the co-author of the history of farces, Encyclopédie des farces et attrapes et des mystifications.[1].

He wrote biographies on Lautréamont, Alfred Jarry, Raymond Roussel (translated by Ian Monk for Atlas Press), Alphonse Allais, Henry Gauthier-Villars, Le Pétomane and Jane Avril.

Hauntology and Burial Mixes


“What a Mistry ” Tikiman

Hauntology is a concept in nascent state (to borrow a term from Francesco Alberoni). That’s why it is still flexible. Any good music with the word “burial” in it deserves to linked with the concept. Not including Basic Channel‘s Burial Mixes has been an oversight. I just set that straight. (within 15 minutes from time of posting, check Google)

Some background info on Basic Channel and its reggae releases labeled Burial Mix. If Wackies Records is the natural heir to Lee Perry (the same laid-back percussion, flying cymbals en relaxed groove), then the Burial Mix releases are the natural heirs to Wackies. There, we’ve just connected the 1970s to the 2000s

Some obliquely related burial imagery:

Tomb of Pompeii by Jean-Baptiste Tierce, 1766

Tomb of Pompeii by Jean-Baptiste Tierce, 1766

Cenotaph for Newton (1784) by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée

Cenotaph for Newton (1784) by French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée

Gratuitous nudity #14

My previous post provides me with an opportunity to provide you with a new instance of gratuitous nudity: a beautiful still from Africa Addio.

Africa Addio (1966) – Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Image sourced here. [Dec 2005]

Africa Addio is a 1966 Italian documentary film about the decolonization in Africa. It was shot over a period of three years, by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, two Italian filmmakers who had gained fame a few years earlier (with co-director Paolo Cavara) as the directors of Mondo Cane in 1962. The image was taken from the Captain Trash[1] site somewhere in 2005. This site is a treasure trove of “trash culture“. See its Google gallery here. See for example this image, of which I do not know the provenance.

Any similarity to any person, event, or institution is intentional and anything but coincidential

In search of intentional and unintentional similarities in fiction


Addio Zio Tom (Goodbye, Uncle Tom) (1971) by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi

“All events, characters and institutions in this motion picture are historically documented and any similarity to any person, black or white, or to any actual events, or institutions is intentional and anything but coincidential.” –from the credits to Goodbye Uncle Tom, see fictionalization and fiction disclaimer.

Thus opens or closes Goodbye Uncle Tom of which a clip is listed above and it provides an excellent introduction to the tenuous relation between fiction and reality.

Addio zio Tom (1971) – Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi
Image sourced here. [Dec 2005]

Two more quotes provide further food for thought:

“It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction.” Fiction has to make sense – Mark Twain
“The mind of man can imagine nothing which has not really existed.” —Edgar Allan Poe, 1840

If we represent the relationship between fiction and reality on a sliding scale we find on the left hand side: fiction which makes no claim to reality. This kind of fiction is nowadays always preceded by the fiction disclaimer:

“Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.”

The above is sometimes preceded by “The characters in this film are fictitious,”.

This kind of fiction is helped by Poe’s quote in its theoretical approach. If done well, this kind of fiction is called the fantastique, that area of literary theory which provides us with an unresolved hesitation as to our position on the reality/fictitiousness scale. Another growth of this kind of fiction is the roman à clef a novel and by extension any sort of fiction describing real-life events behind a façade of fiction. The reasons an author might choose the roman à clef format include satire and the opportunity to write about controversial topics and/or reporting inside information on scandals without giving rise to charges of libel.

On the right hand side of the scale we find fiction that does make claim to reality. This kind of fiction is nowadays usually preceded by the claim based on true events:

This kind of fiction is helped by Twain’s quote in its theoretical approach. Real stories are often so unbelievable that we need to make the claim that they are based on actual events.

As a narrator of fiction, one is always aided by this claim to capture the audience’s interest. This is true in the case of a joke (tell it as if it has happened to you), in the case of novels (Robinson Crusoe was soi-disant based on actual events) and film (Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) was supposedly about Ed Gein)

A whole range of concepts falls into this category, listed under the heading fictionalization: faction, based on a true story, false document, nonfiction novel, true crime (genre), histories (history of the novel), stranger than fiction and mockumentary.

The funny thing about the right hand position on the fiction/reality scale is that the act of narrating alters reality by default. I always illustrate this point by going back to your youth. You had a brother or sister and you fought with him over something. You went to your mother or father or any other judge-figure, who gave you both the opportunity to tell the story. You both came up of course with a different version.

Which brings me to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle and the observer effect. If the act of perception alters reality, the act of telling a story alters reality. That is why I dislike films such as Schindler’s List because in this case, “real” documentary material is available. Maybe this is also the case for Goodbye Uncle Tom, but boy, I sure would like to see that film.

Mitch Mitchell (1947 – 2008)

RIP Mitch Mitchell


Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

John “Mitch” Mitchell (July 9, 1947 November 12, 2008) was an English drummer, best-known for his membership in The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Mitchell was known for his work on such songs as “Manic Depression” (a 3/4 rock waltz that finds Mitch playing a driving afro-cuban inspired beat), “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)[1], “Fire” and “Voodoo Chile” (a deep blues groove with subtle hi-hat). Mitchell came from a jazz background and like many of his drummer contemporaries was strongly influenced by the work of Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Joe Morello.

Mitchell pioneered a style of drumming which would later become known as jazz fusion. Alongside Hendrix’s revolutionary guitar work and songwriting, Mitchell’s playing helped redefine rock music drumming.

Electric Ladyland cover, photo by David Montgomery

The death of Mitch gives me the opportunity to discuss the photo on Electric Ladyland, one of my alltime favourite record covers. The photo depicts nineteen nude women lounging in front of a black background.

“The cover was put together by Chris Stamp and Track Records art director David King while Hendrix was in the US. Stamp sent King and photographer David Montgomery down to the Speakeasy to round up some girls, with the brief to make them look like “real people. At £5 a head (or £10 with their knickers off) this sounds like authentic Stamp.” —33⅓ on Electric Ladyland by John Perry[2].

One of the 19 girls, Reine Sutcliffe, told the music paper Melody Maker:

“It makes us look like a load of old tarts. It’s rotten. Everyone looked great but the picture makes us look old and tired. We were trying to look too sexy, but it didn’t work out.”

British visual culture connoisseur Stephen Bayley adds:

“The concept was fully in accordance with the spirit of the Sixties: at the same time Harry Peccinotti and David Hillman had done a memorable photo feature for Nova magazine” –The Independent on Sunday, July 16, 2006 by Stephen Bayley[3]

I’m afraid I can’t agree with miss Sutcliffe on this matter. I find the realism in this photo not enticing but more than fascinating nonetheless, though I also admit I empathize about denying her five minutes of glamourous fame.

L’erotismo by Francesco Alberoni (1986)

L'erotismo by Francesco Alberoni by Jahsonic

Looks like Japanese translation of L’erotismo

I started reading Francesco Alberoni‘s L’erotismo (“Eroticism”, 1986). I discovered Alberoni through de Botton when I read Essays in Love, Alberoni’s predecessor is a cult item.

The main discourse of the book is difference between female and male feelings for eroticism along the continuity/discontinuity axis, an approach I believe first explored by Georges Bataille, although Alberoni invokes Pascal Bruckner and Alain Finkielkraut (Le nouveau désordre amoureux).

It also mentions a 1894 funny study by Francis Galton on skin sensitivity in women and men: The relative sensitivity of men and women at the nape of the neck.

The book is well-informed and references Nina Baym (mother of Nancy Baym) and her work on women’s fiction and female reading and writing practice (and the mishistoriography thereof). It equates female pornography with the novels of Barbara Cartland and her equivalents in Europe (Liala in Italy and Delly in France).

Also mentioned are Helen Hazel, the author of Endless Rapture: Rape, Romance and the Female Imagination[1], a work on the rape fantasy (bodice rippers), and Opus Pistorum by Henry Miller (but actually ghost-written by female writer and entrepreneur Caresse Crosby.

And I’ve only read 10 pages.

Dare I say one of the more interesting works on eroticism to have crossed my hands?

P. S. I’m reading a Dutch translation, I’m not sure if L’erotismo has been translated into English.

In praise of compilations

[FR] [DE] [UK]

One of the best CDs in my collection is Nova Classics 01. I am not much of an album man, so my entire collection nearly consists of CD comps (besides my record collection, which is mainly twelve inch singles).

Over the summer, when we were in Nocito I was joined by friends and I had the Nova Classics 01 with me.

So this friend really liked it and two weeks ago I proposed that I’d buy it for her. The prices were incredibly high however and I was lucky to find a copy for 20USD in the states, because the prices were between 50USD and 290USD.

The good news for you my friends, is that I’ve managed to track down YouTube version of 12 out of the 17 songs.

Enjoy by clicking the numbers.

My inner werewolf

The Howling (1981) – Joe Dante [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

I woke up yesterday night bathing in sweat. I get up. I look outside, full moon. That explains. My inner werewolf was trying to get out.

So I give you Joe Dante‘s The Howling, IMNHO the best werewolf film since WWII. Dante was an alumnus of Roger Corman, for whom I have an excessively soft spot. The film is WCC #71.

Luz Casal @ 50

Luz Casal @ 50

Luz Casal (born November 11, 1958 at Boimorto, Galicia) is a Spanish pop singer. She is best-known for songs such as “Un Año de Amor” and “Piensa en mí,” popularized in the films of Pedro Almodóvar.


Un Año de Amor” by Luz Casal


Un Año de Amor” by Mina

Un Año de Amor” is a Spanish language song performed and recorded by Mina and Luz Casal. The latter recorded a version for the film High Heels by Pedro Almodóvar. The song is based on Nino Ferrer‘s “C’est irreparable” (1966).

Introducing Adventures in the Print Trade

Introducing Adventures in the Print Trade[1] by British writer Neil Philip, who currently has a post on Degenerate Art during Nazism, a fave subject of mine, illustrating the beneficial side effects of censorship best illustrated by Lichtenberg:

“The book which most deserved to be banned would be a catalogue of banned books.” —Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms (G 37 in R. J. Hollingdale‘s translation and numeration)

Neil, author of Adventures in the Print Trade, begins his post thus:

“In 1929, the artist Richard Lindner, whose work can be considered the bridge between Cubism, Surrealism, and Pop Art, was appointed art director of the Munich publishing house of Knorr and Hir. Lindner remembered, “I saw Hitler every day in Munich at the Café Heck, a small café with about ten tables and thirty seats… Hitler used to sit there every day at his usual table. Our table was beside his and we knew each other because we avoided direct contact… He always wanted to be with artists.”[2]

The Window, 1958 Original lithograph by Richard Lindner [3]

Child’s Head, 1939 Original lithograph by Paul Klee [4]

Le Jardin d’Amour, 1981 Original silkscreen by Herbert von Arend [5]

Aus de Walpurgisnacht, 1923 Original woodcut by Ernst Barlach [6]

Woodcut for 10 Origin, 1942 Original woodcut by Wassily Kandinsky [7]

Untitled, 1979 Original lithograph by Boris Herbert Kleint [8]

Maschinenwerkstätte, 1921 Original lithograph by Lili Réthi [9]

Fabulously original, my only and usual gripe is that, art blogs should use Flickr or a similar service.