courbet’s birthday – the case for conscious iconoclasm

  Gustave Courbet was born 101 years ago today, but although he remains one of the key figures in nineteenth century art and the roots of modernism, this isn’t about his painting. During the Franco-Prussian war, Courbet, by then in his 50s and an elder…

yesterday was crazy; D’Angelo’s Voodoo by Faith A. Pennick

  Faith A. Pennick D’Angelo’s Voodoo 33⅓ books This review may not be fair to writer/filmmaker Faith A. Pennick and her excellent book, not because I didn’t like it – it’s great – but because since I was sent the book (by now onsale), events…

“Ane doolie sessoun” covid-19 and the art of isolation

  At some point in the late fifteenth century, the poet Robert Henryson (who lived in Dunfermline, not too far from where I’m writing now), began his Testament of Cresseid with one of my favourite openings of any poem: Ane doolie sessoun to ane cairfull…

messages from the past for the future

  Sitting down to write this, a month after breaking my leg and having to grapple with hitherto-unconsidered questions like ‘how do I usually sit on a toilet’? and one week before a General Election where my preferred of the apparently plausible outcomes is an…

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere; notes on the margins of everywhere

This piece of writing was originally supposed to be posted in September, then at Halloween, but now that it’s finally finished maybe November is the right time after all. It’s about those nameless places that are nowhere, or even the ‘middle of nowhere’, and maybe…

birds & murderers; raptorama

As I write these words it’s the first day of summer and I’m sitting in my study (sounds pompous, but ‘room full of books and records where I work’ is less economical), with Atom Heart Mother playing, looking out at a beautiful sky of quilted dove-grey clouds…

Inevitably, the Releases of the Year 2017 (part two)

  The list continues, at this point with no rhyme or reason and in no particular order, so… The Doom Trip label went from strength to strength in 2017. The Doom Mix Vol 1. compilation should be heard as a matter of course (personal favourite:…

Inevitably, the releases of the year, 2016 (Part One)

Last year, I ended up writing multiple ‘releases of the year’ lists because I kept forgetting great things and having to add more posts to include them. I feel like keeping it (relatively) concise this year but will probably end up doing the same again….

The First Monthly Report: January 2016

  Along with some tragic deaths, abysmal weather and so forth, 2016 began with lots of good stuff, some of it inevitably acquired at christmas, like for instance… FREZNO by Tony Stamolis (Process Books, 2008) Frezno is great partly because photographer Tony Stamolis’ hometown Fresno is, or appears…