Category Archives: grotesque

RIP Cesare Canevari (1927 – 2012)

Italian director  Cesare Canevari died six years ago but it went unnoticed by me.

I learned of his death yesterday when I landed on Canevari’s Last Orgy of the Third Reich (1977) via Nazi Love Camp 27 (1977). God knows what brought me there.

So this morning I watched Matalo! (1970), the Spaghetti Western directed by Canevari.

It’s a whole lot better than Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot![1] (1967), which I watched this January.

Matalo! sets itself apart by its psychedelic sequences, the silence, the lack of dialogue, the sound effects and the soundtrack by Mario Migliardi.

The full soundtrack is here:


RIP Hardy Fox (1945 – 2018)

Hardy Fox was the anonymous primary composer and producer for The Residents.

The Residents are an American art collective best known for avant-garde music and multimedia works and their composition “Kaw-Liga“.

Kaw-Liga was released in 1986 and is a re-interpretation of the eponymous song by Hank Williams, replacing its original backing music with the bassline of Michael Jackson‘s Billie Jean.

RIP Michel Lemoine (1922–2013)

I finished another ‘roman dur’ by Simenon, L’Enterrement de Monsieur Bouvet, one might say a rather unremarkable novel were it not for the fact that it makes one realize that it used to be possible to lead a double life, to disappear many times in one’s life and start all over again elsewhere without leaving a trace. And were it not of course that this is a Simenon ‘roman dur’ and this is the only ‘genre’ I currently enjoy, and have for a year or three.

 L'Univers de Simenon, sous la direction de Maurice Piron avec la collaboration de Michel Lemoine

L’Univers de Simenon, sous la direction de Maurice Piron avec la collaboration de Michel Lemoine

Wile researching this novel, I came across L’univers de Simenon : guide des romans et nouvelles (1931-1972) de Georges Simenon[1](1983) by Maurice Piron and Michel Lemoine. It’s hard to believe that Michel Lemoine is the same person as the cult actor and director of French cinema of which I will post a photo.

Michel Lemoine in I Pianeti contro di noi (1962) - Romano Ferrara

Michel Lemoine in I Pianeti contro di noi (1962) – Romano Ferrara

I intend to read every ‘roman dur’ by Simenon

'The Move' by Georges Simenon

‘The Move’ by Georges Simenon

The Move (1967) is a ‘roman dur’ by Belgian writer Georges Simenon.

I intend to read every roman dur by Simenon.

The Move is both a flawed novel and at the same time one of his more interesting ones due to its near total plotlessness and focus on psychological detail.

Its sub-theme is a criticism of the anonymity of modern high rise, the lack of social control, a side effect of living in the banlieue, in the same vein as Jacques Tati’s films Mon oncle (1958) and Playtime (1967).

Its protagonist is an unwilling eavesdropper.

Another of its themes is an exploration of dark sexuality, a recurring motif with Simenon, such as in Un nouveau dans la ville (1950).

Related: Dick Bruna covers of the ‘romans durs’.

Grotesque photography

The Grotesque in Photography. Coleman, A. D. Summit Books, 1977.

The Grotesque in Photography. Coleman, A. D. Summit Books, 1977.

The death of Fakir Musafar led me to A. D. Coleman‘s study of the grotesque in photography.


Like this: Charles Gatewood directed Fakir Musafar’s Dances Sacred and Profane, Gatewood also wrote Sidetripping (1975) which was praised by Coleman, which led me to Coleman’s book The Grotesque in Photography (above).

The grotesque is one of my favourite sensibilities.

I’d like to own this book. Can anyone tell me which photo is on the cover?

RIP Mel Gordon (1947 – 2018)

Research occasioned by the death of Adam Parfrey (see prev. post) brought to my attention that one of the writers who were often published by Parfrey, Mel Gordon, also recently died.

Mel Gordon was a theatrical historian. He wrote on 1920s BerlinGrand GuignollazziHanussenDadadrugs and Expressionism.

From left to right: Hanussen: Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant (2001) The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber (2006) Horizontal Collaborations (2015) Voluptuous Panic (2006) The Stanislavsky Technique (2000)

From left to right:

RIP Adam Parfrey (1958 – 2018)

Adam Parfrey was an American writer, editor, and publisher whose work centered on unusual, extreme, or “forbidden” areas of knowledge. He is perhaps best known for Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989), which he co-edited with Bob Black.

Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989)

Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989)

Rants and Incendiary Tracts (1989, above) is an anthology of 56 pieces of invective in the style of An Anthology of Invective and Abuse (1929) by Hugh Kingsmill.

Thanks to the death of Adam, I watched The Hate That Hate Produced (1955, above)

By the way, can anyone illuminate me on the cover photo of Rants?

Of obfuscation and elucidation 

I finally hold a copy of Lequeu : An Architectural Enigma (1986) in my hand, a book on the oeuvre of French visionary architect Jean-Jacques Lequeu.

It is a strange mix of obfuscation and elucidation by its author Philippe Duboÿ.

It drew — among many other things — my attention to the satirical vignette against Bertrand Chaupy (above), an engraving better known as the “turd engraving by Piranesi.”

Regarding the obfuscation in this book, Robert Harbison says in The Built, the Unbuilt, and the Unbuildable (1993):

“Recently the idea has infiltrated academic consciousness that the eighteenth-century crank Lequeu, one of the world’s fringiest paper architects, is really Marcel Duchamp inserting himself Trojan-horse-like into the musty tomes of the Bibliotheque Nationale, whiling away countless hours creating a large hollow space in which a few hundred pseudo-eighteenth-century beings can roost.”

See on elucidation and obfuscation the dictum by Cioran:  between the demand to be clear, and the temptation to be obscure, impossible to decide which deserves more respect.