Category Archives: death

RIP Tom McGrath (1940 – 2009), co-founder International Times

RIP Tom McGrath

Logo (IT Jan–Feb ’69).

See “Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds

Tom McGrath (born 23 October, 1940 in Rutherglen, Glasgow, died 29 April 2009) is a Scottish playwright and jazz pianist.

During the mid 1960s he was associated with the emerging UK underground culture, participating in Alexander Trocchi‘s Project Sigma and becoming founding editor of the International Times. He was involved with the International Poetry Incarnation and published in the anthology Children of Albion: Poetry of the Underground in Britain.

The International Times (it or IT) was an underground paper started in 1966 in the UK, based in central London. ITs first editor was the acclaimed playwright Tom McGrath.   Paul McCartney helped found the paper.The iconic logo for IT was a black and white photo of Theda Bara, vampish star of silent films. The original idea had been to use an image of actress Clara Bow because she was iconically known as The IT girl – but an image of Theda Bara was used accidentally and once deployed, it was never changed.

Tom connects with Hawkwind, John Peel, Alexander Trocchi, Schoolkids OZ, Arthur Brown (musician), The Pretty Things, AMM (group), Soft Machine, Felix Dennis, Jeff Nuttall, The Incredible String Band, Blackhill Enterprises, Children of Albion: Poetry of the Underground in Britain, Joe Boyd, Edgar Broughton Band, Steve Peregrin Took, Mick Farren, UK underground, International Times, UFO Club, Pink Fairies, Gay News, Martin Sharp, Oz (magazine), Freak scene, John Hopkins (political activist), Quintessence (English band), Tomorrow (band), The Deviants (band), Mark Boyle, Peace News, Third Ear Band, The Mersey Sound (book), Jimmy Boyle (artist), The Purple Gang (band), Gandalf’s Garden, Friends (magazine), The Black Dwarf (Ali), Barry Miles, James Haynes, Hapshash and the Coloured Coat, Pink Floyd, Thomas McGrath, Caroline Coon, Spare Rib, The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream, Michael Horovitz, Richard Neville (writer), Jim Anderson (editor), International Poetry Incarnation, Tron Theatre, Granny Takes a Trip, Play for Tomorrow, Release (agency), Derby Playhouse production history, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and Germaine Greer.

RIP Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1950 – 2009)

RIP Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1950 –  2009)

Epistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofksy Sedgwick

Please let me know if you know the origins of the cover.

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (May 2, 1950 – April 12, 2009) was an American theorist in the fields of queer theory and critical theory. She is best-known for her literary study Epistemology of the Closet (1990) in which she referenced Herman Melville, Henry James, Marcel Proust, and Oscar Wilde. A pity she did not use film as a basis for her analysis. She could have been the American Zizek.

She was popular with the American left, witness the review in The Nation. It’s not hard guessing how she was perceived in the bible belt.

RIP Jack Cardiff (1914 – 2009)

RIP Jack Cardiff (19142009)

Jack Cardiff OBE, B.S.C. (18 September 1914 – 22 April 2009) was British cinematographer (Black Narcissus, A Matter Of Life And Death), director and photographer.

He was best known for his influential cinematography for directors such as Powell, Huston and Hitchcock.


The Girl on a Motorcycle (music by Les Reed)

Of importance to the Jahsonic canon is his film The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968) starring Marianne Faithfull and Alain Delon. The film is based on the story La Motocyclette by André Pieyre de Mandiargues[1], co-written by Cardiff himself, Ronald Duncan (The Rape of Lucretia) and Gillian Freeman (The Undergrowth of Literature).

A married woman leaves her husband, zooms off on her motorcycle to see her lover, and crashes to her death while indulging in sexual reverie, a motif –or variant thereof — also to be found in Ballard’s Crash.

The film isn’t all that great, I suspect, it’s just one of those films where the idea of the film, and its paratext, are more interesting than the film in itself.

See “When the paratext is more interesting than the text.”

RIP J. G. Ballard (1930 – 2009)

RIP J. G. Ballard (1930 – 2009)

The Atrocity Exhibition (1970) – J. G. Ballard [] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Cover for the first edition of The Atrocity Exhibition.

James Graham Ballard (born November 15, 1930 in Shanghai – 19 April 2009) was a British writer. He was a prominent member of the New Wave in science fiction. His best known books are the controversial Crash, and The Atrocity Exhibition, Crash was made into film by David Cronenberg.

The adjectiveBallardian“, defined as “resembling or suggestive of the conditions described in JG Ballard’s novels and stories, especially dystopian modernity, bleak man-made landscapes and the psychological effects of technological, social or environmental developments,” has been included in the Collins English Dictionary.

His work was most recently celebrated in the exhibition J. G. Ballard. Autopsy of the new millennium.

2591 Reprint (1974) by mjkghk 2499 Reprint (1974) by mjkghk 2229 Reprint (1974) by mjkghk The Drought by Martin Isaac

David Pelham covers

RIP Marilyn Chambers (1952 – 2009)

RIP Marilyn Chambers

Behind the Green Door

Marilyn Chambers (April 22, 1952 – April 12, 2009) was an American pornographic actress, exotic dancer, and vice-presidential candidate. She was best known for her 1972 hardcore debut porno chic title Behind the Green Door. For a brief time, mainstream cinema noticed Chambers, who in 1977 nabbed a major role in David Cronenberg‘s low-budget Canadian-made  body horror film Rabid.



Behind the Green Door (1972) was the first hardcore pornographic movie widely released in the United States. Directed by the Mitchell brothers and starring Marilyn Chambers as Gloria Saunders, the movie depicts her abduction to a sex theater, where she is forced to perform various sexual acts in front of an audience, with characters including nuns and trapeze artists. The Mitchell brothers appear in the film as her kidnappers. In a psychedelic and colorful key sequence, an ejaculation on Chambers’ face is shown with semen flying through the air for seven minutes. Along with Deep Throat, released later in the same year, the movie launched the “porno chic” boom and started what is now referred to as the “Golden Age of Porn“. The production of the movie is dramatized in the movie Rated X[1] starring the brothers Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez as Artie and Jim.

Rabid (1977) – David Cronenberg []

Picture shows Marilyn with orifice under an armpit, within it hidden a phallic stinger

Rabid is a 1977 body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg starring Marilyn Chambers and Robert A. Silverman. The plot is about a critically-injured woman (Chambers) victim of a motorcycle accident is taken to the plastic surgery clinic of Doctor Dan Keloid, where some of her intact tissue is treated to become “morphogenetically neutral” and grafted to fire-damaged areas of her body in the hope that they will differentiate and replace the damaged skin and organs.

Unfortunately, the woman’s body unexpectedly accepts the transplants: she develops an orifice under an armpit, within it hides a phallic stinger. She uses it to feed on the blood of other people, and afterwards wiping their memories of their incidents with her.

It soon is apparent that her every victim transforms to a rabid zombie whose bite spreads the disease, eventually causing the city to fall into chaos before the outbreak can be contained.

RIP Corín Tellado (1927 – 2009)

RIP Corín Tellado

María del Socorro Tellado López, known as Corín Tellado (April 25 1927, Viavélez, Asturias, Spain – April 11 2009, Gijón, Spain) was a prolific Spanish writer of romantic novels and photonovels that were best-sellers in several Spanish-language countries. She published more than 4,000 novels and sold more than 400-million books which have been translated into several languages. She is listed in the 1994 Guinness World Records as having sold the most books written in Spanish.


the romance novel

A romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and generally has a happy ending.

One of the earliest romance novels was Samuel Richardson’s popular 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, which was revolutionary on two counts: it focused almost entirely on courtship and did so entirely from the perspective of a female protagonist. In the next century, Jane Austen expanded the genre, and her Pride and Prejudice is often considered the epitome of the genre.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, first in 1813, is the most famous romance novel. Its opening is one of the most famous lines in English literature—”It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

On genre vs. literary

No matter how “literary“, all novels also fall within the bounds of one or more genres. Thus Jane Austen‘s Pride and Prejudice is a romance; Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller; and James Joyce‘s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a coming-of-age story. These novels would usually be stocked in the general or possibly the classics section of a bookstore. Indeed, many works now regarded as literary classics were originally written as genre novels. —Sholem Stein

A Young Girl Reading (c.1776) by Fragonard

A Young Girl Reading (c.1776) by Fragonard

Literacy: with some exceptions, only a small percentage of the population in many countries was considered literate before the Industrial Revolution. Reading as a means of consuming fiction was at the height of its popularity in the 19th century.

Did women and men have different reading habits? Is there any truth in the claim that women have always read more fiction, women have often been pioneering professional writers and have produced a score of successful authors (Doff, Liala, Delly), yet have been patriarchally excluded from literary histories.

I have many questions regarding the nature of the literary experience. Perhaps I shoul read The Space of Literature?

The Space of Literature, first published in France in 1955, and translated into English in 1982 is central to the development of Blanchot‘s thought. In it he reflects on literature and the unique demand it makes upon our attention. Thus he explores the process of reading as well as the nature of artistic creativity, all the while considering the relation of the literary work to time, to history, and to death. This book consists not so much in the application of a critical method or the demonstration of a theory of literature as in a patiently deliberate meditation upon the literary experience, informed most notably by studies of Mallarmé, Kafka, Rilke, and Hölderlin.

Landru @140

Henri Désiré Landru (born April 12, 1869 in Paris, France – executed February 25, 1922 in Versailles, France) was a notorious French serial killer and real-life Bluebeard. Landru was the inspiration for Charlie Chaplin‘s film Monsieur Verdoux (1947).

Landru by you.

Henri Désiré Landru (born April 12, 1869 in Paris, France – executed February 25, 1922 in Versailles, France) was a notorious French serial killer and real-life Bluebeard who was guillotined for at least 11 murdered women. Landru was the inspiration for Charlie Chaplin‘s film Monsieur Verdoux (1947). The method of lonely hearts killing was also used by the real-life couple portrayed in The Honeymoon Killers.


I was surprised to find in that film, Verdoux, references to Schopenhauer. When Verdoux is told that he appears to dislike women, he protests: “On the contrary, I love women, but I don’t admire them. He goes on with a chthonic trope and adds “Women are of the earth, realistic, dominated by physical facts.”

Last time I heard [an implied]  Schopenhauer mentioned in a film was Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt. Verdoux thus becomes World Cinema Classics #95.

P.S. There is a pretty good YouTumentary on the guillotine here[1] with an incredible soundtrack, “Élégie” by Igor Stravinsky.

RIP Ronald Tavel (1936 – 2009)

RIP Ronald Tavel

Poster by Alan Aldridge for Chelsea Girls (1966), for which Tavel wrote the script.

Ronald Tavel (May 17, 1936 – March 23, 2009) was an American writer, director and actor, and was known for his work with Andy Warhol and The Factory. He was involved in the Playhouse of the Ridiculous and wrote the scripts for Chelsea Girls, Poor Little Rich Girl and Vinyl.