New project announced in the newsletter yesterday.
New song by the excellent Birds Of Passage.
New winners of annual Drone Photo Awards:
It is said that there is a place for everything and everything in its place.
Of course, there is always a place for chaos, but here at the modernist we do think that there should be some order to proceedings. Was it not Le Corbusier himself that claimed, “to create architecture is to put in order”?
So, with this issue, we are exploring the idea of LAYOUT and how modernism has sought – with varying degrees of success – to bring clarity and coherence to our lives via the use of good design and no small amount of ‘rules’.
Those little while flowers are on a zitava pepper plant that I raised from seed in June. With a bit of luck, it will produce peppers next year. I could use a bit of luck this week.
I need to start writing the newsletter today, and also to start figuring out some of the extra bells and whistles that the new hosting platform provides me. I’ve been talking recently in the newsletter about returning to digital publishing, which I’ve done a lot of in the past — NORMAL. CUNNING PLANS, ELEKTROGRAD and FREAKANGELS are just a few examples — and I’ve just today thought of a fun way to do that, so today’s status is: thinking.
On loop today: NEW SPACE MUSIC, Brian Eno, which you’ll find in the 2CD edition of NEROLI. I would suggest doing a Discogs dive for a copy if you need it, and don’t buy the single-CD edition by accident.
It is the Japanese microseason of:
Fiddleheads And The Melancholy Thistle – “…ancient native plants have great names, resonant of folklore and the old times.”
They Caught And Drowned God: PRIMEVAL AND OTHER TIMES, Olga Tokarczuk – “This world went on for a very long time, and bored God to death.“
The Bastards Of Old England – ROBIN HOOD: A TRUE LEGEND, Sean McGlynn – “Eustace the Farting, Foul-Mouthed, Cross-Dressing Monk and Notorious Medieval Pirate...”
CAT CALL, Kristen Sollée’s New Book About Cats, Myth & Magic – “…feminine feline archetypes reveal the ways in which women have been revered and reviled around the world—in Greek and Egyptian mythology, the European witch trials, Japanese folklore, and contemporary film.”
random collection morningcomputer 21mar22 – “It is too often accepted that during the 19th and early 20th centuries it was the male writers who developed and pushed the boundaries of the weird tale, with women writers following in their wake—but this is far from the truth.”
Tripped over this George Saunders quote today:
When I was a kid I had one of these Hot Wheels devices designed to look like a little gas station. Inside the gas station were two spinning rubber wheels. One’s little car would weakly approach the gas station, then be sent forth by the spinning rubber wheels to take another lap around the track or, more often, fly out and hit one’s sister in the face.
A story can be thought of as a series of these little gas stations. The main point is to get the reader around the track; that is, to the end of the story. Any other pleasures a story may offer (theme, character, moral uplift) are dependent on this.
“A series of little petrol stations” is a nice way to image a story that’s getting tricky.
New images of the Tarantula Nebula, which is of course mostly gas. 30 Doradus is a stellar nursery, which I guess is a series of gas stations.
When stars are born, clouds of gas and dust that were not incorporated into the final stellar system remain. Moving on an orbit around the Milky Way that takes some 230 million years to complete, the Solar System encounters these clouds, one of which is the Local Interstellar Cloud, although as Brandt told Richard Stone in the Science article, we really know so little about the cloud environment that our conception is on the order of a child’s sketch.
Or, indeed, on the order of a child’s Hot Wheels construction.
What’s unique in Britain’s case, though, is the way these genres slip and smear into one another. Sci-fi is more often about the past returning to haunt us than about gleaming visions of the future. Horror frequently implicates itself tightly with the British landscape and its eerie, unsettling atmospheres. History invoked via period drama may be scattered with ghostly apparitions. Stories set in the realist present can acquire a mythological underlay. Britain’s self-image as a moated, ‘sceptred isle’ recurs time and again in fascist dystopias and speculative invasions. Class, social inequality and colonialism drive historical and period dramas, from genteel literary adaptations to muddy rural sagas. As I seek to ‘bruise a lane on the grass’ of all this untamed material, in Virginia Woolf’s exquisite phrase, my lens sweeps in a deliberately wide arc, seeking a telemetric folklore of the British Isles.
THE MAGIC BOX, Rob Young (link)
I haven’t quite succumbed to the urge to add a “garden” or “horticultural therapy” category to LTD yet, but this was a nice surprise worth noting. I don’t do the social media, but I can link to countrygardenuk.com right here as a thank you for the free seeds thrown in with my order of yarrow seeds for the pollinator/wildlife-corridor section I’m planning to plant up. Autumn is set to kick in on Friday, so these will go in the ground at the weekend.
Martian dunes. ” The image was taken using the red-green-blue filter on the camera, giving the sand a blue appearance.” So, not true colour. More like storytelling.
But there’s a specific incident in (Frank) Herbert’s life that seems to have set him off in this direction. He made his living as a reporter before his fiction writing took off. In 1957, when he was in his 30s, he was sent to write about a system of dunes in Oregon that were migrating and therefore endangering towns.
The US Department of Agriculture were using grasses to try and stabilise the dunes. And Herbert had been really struck by this – modifying an ecology to achieve a goal, as opposed to using technology, such as big fences.
In November, just three months later, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was ambushed, shot and killed outside Tehran. This was no ordinary murder. Fakhrizadeh was Iran’s top military nuclear scientist, and, rather mysteriously, the gunmen were nowhere to be seen. His heavily armed bodyguards could only haplessly shoot back into thin air. The murder weapon – a robotic machine gun – was equipped with artificial intelligence and controlled by satellite to target Fakhrizadeh, and only Fakhrizadeh. His wife, sitting centimetres away from him in the car, escaped unharmed.
HOW TO STAGE A COUP, Rory Cormac (link)
I’ve been revisiting Hugh Howey’s BEACON 23, which I got in its serial form – now it’s collected — and it was such an elegantly executed prose serial.
Entering autumn, slow cinema regains its place on the big (not that big) screen in my office, and I’m wrapped up again in the gorgeous 24 FRAMES, Abbas Kiarostami’s last film. I wrote a little about it here.
I’ve been listening to Sarah Davachi’s TWO SISTERS on a loop. Massive, immersive drone music with organic classical instruments.