Friday, 1 July 2011

Sebastian Peake and Alan Moore

Apart from the fact that its Sonisphere next week which is exciting enough, i'm also going to see Alan Moore talk at the British library. I saw him speak at the ICA last year and it was brilliant, he's a seriously fascinating guy with a very cool attitude toward creativity and ethics. At the ICA talk I got him to sign my copy of swamp thing which he was very underwhelmed by. I guess once you've written graphic novels like watchmen which was included in Time magazine's 100 greatest novels of all time list, when someone comes up with one of your first comics that isn't even based on your own character but an adaptation, it seems a little strange. I can't help it, I love swamp thing.

Also, the following week there's a talk by Mervyn Peake's son Sebastian to celebrate the launch of the newly discovered sequel to the gormenghast trilogies. Mervyn Peake is one of my favourite authors so its pretty magic that there's a secret book found posthumously. Its as exciting as if they found another Nirvana record.

The book launch is at a place called the last tuesday society in Hackney which is worth a visit even if its not whilst there's a talk going on. Filled with weird objects, taxidermy and general weirdness its like a museum where you can buy all the stuff. Lecture wise it described itself as being "devoted to exploring and furthering the esoteric, literary and artistic aspects of life in London and beyond. "
have a look at the website and get tickets for the Titus awakes launch if you're not going to sonisphere-

Friday, 24 June 2011


Really interesting four part documentary on creativity that my good friend and director of our Milk Teeth video Stephen Agnew (!/agnewsucks) introduced me to. Reminds me of one of my favourite quotes on writing music, from Dylan Carlson of Earth:
No-one invents anything in music, its all a continuum and people just rediscover stuff, change the shape and add..."

Watch Everything is a Remix HERE

Sunday, 5 June 2011


per·va·sive  adj. (esp. of an unwelcome influence or physical effect) spreading widely throughout an area or a group of people: ageism is pervasive and entrenched in our society.

substantia innominata, which literally means “substance without a name.”

cor·po·re·al  adj. of or relating to a person's body, esp. as opposed to their spirit: he was frank about his corporeal appetites.    having a body: a corporeal God.

ne·ot·e·ny  n. [ZOOLOGY] the retention of juvenile features in the adult animal. Also called PEDOMORPHOSIS.  the sexual maturity of an animal while it is still in a mainly larval state, as in the axolotl. Also called PEDOGENESIS.

pre·hen·sile  adj. (chiefly of an animal's limb or tail) capable of grasping.

syl·van (also sil·van)  adj. CHIEFLY POETIC/LITERARY consisting of or associated with woods; wooded: trees and contours all add to a sylvan setting.

se·man·tic  adj. relating to meaning in language or logic.

vo·ta·ry  n. (pl. -ries) a person, such as a monk or nun, who has made vows of dedication to religious service.  a devoted follower, adherent, or advocate of someone or something

qua·li·a  plural n. [PHILOSOPHY] the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena.

o·nan·ism  n. FORMAL 1 masturbation. 2 coitus interruptus.

Welt·an·schau·ung  n. (pl. -schau·ung·en ) a particular philosophy or view of life; the worldview of an individual or group.  German, from Welt 'world' + Anschauung 'perception'.

ob·fus·cate  v. [trans.] render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible: the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins.  bewilder

um·bil·i·cus  n. (pl. -ci or -cus·es) [ANATOMY] the navel.    [ZOOLOGY] a depression or hole at the center of the shell whorls of some gastropod mollusks and many ammonites.

ep·i·cene  adj. having characteristics of both sexes or no characteristics of either sex; of indeterminate sex

cos·mog·o·ny  n. (pl. -nies) the branch of science that deals with the origin of the universe, esp. the solar system.

sur·cease  n. cessation: he teased us without surcease.  relief or consolation

in·ter·ne·cine  adj. destructive to both sides in a conflict: the region's history of savage internecine warfare.

Mith·ra·ism  n. the cult of the god Mithras, which became popular among Roman soldiers of the later empire, and was the main rival to Christianity in the first three centuries AD.   Mith·ra·ic adj. Mith·ra·ist n. Mith·ras [MYTHOLOGY]   a god of light, truth, and honor, the central figure of the cult of Mithraism but probably of Persian origin. He was also associated with merchants and the protection of warriors.

a·cet·y·lene  n. [CHEMISTRY] a colorless pungent-smelling hydrocarbon gas, which burns with a bright flame, used in welding and formerly in lighting

hor·rip·i·la·tion  n. POETIC/LITERARY the erection of hairs on the skin due to cold, fear, or excitement.

cic·a·trix (also cic·a·trice )  n. (pl. cic·a·tri·ces ) the scar of a healed wound.    a scar on the bark of a tree.  [BOTANY] a mark on a stem left after a leaf or other part has become detached.   cic·a·tri·cial adj.  late Middle English (as cicatrice): from Latin cicatrix or Old French cicatrice. cic·a·trize  v. (with reference to a wound) heal by scar formation: [trans.] it was used to cicatrize certain types of wounds | [intrans.] his wound had cicatrized.   cic·a·tri·za·tion n.

Jung's Red Book

If you want to immerse yourself in the deepest recesses of one of the greatest minds of all time, try to find a copy of Jung's Red Book. An indecipherable labyrinth of pictures and text, leading you through Jung's unconscious whilst he grapples with man's purpose, the struggle between good and evil, his own spiritual journey. Some light fluffy reading for you. Its not a literal narrative, but it goes back to the post I put up about automatic writing. See the below quote from an article written upon the book's publication.
"A clue to its value for Jung can be found in the advice he later gave to a client who was experiencing the deeper and sometimes frightening parts of her mind. “I should advise you to put it all down as beautifully as you can — in some beautifully bound book,” Jung instructed. “It will seem as if you were making the visions banal — but then you need to do that — then you are freed from the power of them. . . . Then when these things are in some precious book you can go to the book and turn over the pages and for you it will be your church — your cathedral — the silent places of your spirit where you will find renewal.”

For more pictures from the red book

For more information on Jung

For a book about Jung's relationship with the esoteric


"on the evening of the third day, I kneel down on the rug and carefully open the egg. Something resembling smoke rises up from it and suddenly Izdubar is standing before me, enormous, transformed, and complete. His limbs are whole and I find no trace of damage on them. It's as if he had awoken from a deep sleep. He says:

"Where am I? How narrow it is here how dark, how cool-am I
in the grave? Where was I? He seemed to me as if I had been outside in the
universe- over and under me was an endlessly dark star-glittering sky- ]and I was in a passion of unspeakable yearning.
Streams of fire broke from my radiating body-
I surged through blazing flames-
I swam in a sea that wrapped me in living fires-
Full of light, full of longing, full of eternity-
I was ancient and perpetually renewing myself-
Falling from the heights to the depths,
and whirled glowing from the depths to the heights-
hovering around myself amidst glowing clouds-
as raining embers beating down like the foam of the surf, engulfing myself in stifling heat-
Embracing and rejecting myself in a boundless game-
Where was I? I was completely sun."

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Transmigration- rebirth

Been reading a lot about metempsychosis or reincarnation. This is an extract from the new advent summary of beliefs concerning metempsychosis through various religions and cultures throughout history. This specific excerpt comes from a chapter on the Jewish Rabbins and the parts in quotes are taken from Traditions of the Rabbins (Quarterly Review, April, 1833)

The imagery is phenomenal.

The following is a sample of what awaits the "guiltiest of the guilty". "The dark tormentors rush after them with goads and whips of fire; their chase is ceaseless; they hunt them from the plain to the mountain, from the mountain to the river, from the river to the ocean, from the ocean round the circle of the earth. Thus, the tormented fly in terror, and the tormentors follow in vengeance until the time decreed is done. Then the doomed sink into dust and ashes. Another beginning of existence, the commencement of a second trial, awaits them. They become clay, they take the nature of the stone and the mineral; they are water, fire, air; they roll in the thunder; they float in the cloud; they rush in the whirlwind. They change again; they enter into the shapes of the vegetable tribes; they live in the shrub, the flower, the tree. Ages on ages pass. Another change comes. They enter into the shape of the beast, the bird, the fish, the insect. . . . Then at last they are suffered to enter into the rank of human beings once more."

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The tell-tale brain

This is a passage from V. S. Ramachandran's book The Tell-Tale brain which is an exploration of the abnormalities in human brain function and what they can reveal about how the brain works. Its super interesting and looks at all kinds of weird and unusual phenomena such as synesthesia (seeing numbers as colours, tasting words etc) and phantom limbs.

This passage really fascinated me though- its an explination of humour, why we find things funny- in scientific but simple terms.

Any joke or humorous incident has the following form. You narrate a story step-by-step, leading your listener along a garden path of expectation, and then you introduce an unexpected twist, a punch line, the comprehension of which requires a complete reinterpretation of the preceding events. But that’s not enough: No scientist whose theoretical edifice is demolished by a single ugly fact entailing a complete overhaul is likely to find it amusing. (Believe me, I’ve tried!) Deflation of expectation is necessary but not sufficient. The extra key ingredient is that the new interpretation must be inconsequential. Let me illustrate. The dean of the medical school starts walking along a path, but before reaching his destination he slips on a banana peel and falls. If his skull is fractured and blood starts gushing out, you rush to his aid and call the ambulance. You don’t laugh. But if he gets up unhurt, wiping the banana off his expensive trousers, you break out into a fit of laughter. It’s called slapstick. The key difference is that in the first case, there is a true alarm requiring urgent attention. In the second case it’s a false alarm, and by laughing you inform your kin in the vicinity not to waste their resources rushing to his aid. It is nature’s “all’s okay” signal. What is left unexplained is the slight schadenfreude aspect to the whole thing.

And the same holds for tickling. The huge adult approaches the child menacingly. She is clearly outmatched, prey, completely at the mercy of a hulking Grendel. Some instinctive part of her—her inner primate, primed to flee from the terrors of eagles and jaguars and pythons (oh my!)—cannot help but interpret the situation this way. But then the monster turns out be gentle. It deflates her expectation of danger. What might have been fangs and claws digging fatally into her ribs turn out to be nothing but firmly undulating fingers. And the child laughs. It may well be that tickling evolved as a early playful rehearsal for adult humor.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

comic con

pretty excited about THIS
amazing line up of comic book artists, should be amazing.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Fury and Tropic of Cancer

Tour continues and I've been reading Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. Famed both for being one of the great literary achievements of the 20th century and for the pornography trial that followed its publication in the US in 1964. I've been really enjoying the baffling mix of philosophical thinking and base sexual themes that run through the book, twisting and flipping from the high to the low with unnerving rapidity. I'd recommend it. Here are some of my favourite quotes so far...

For there is only one great adventure and that is inward toward the self, and for that, time nor space nor even deeds matter.

They were painfully clean. But inwardly they stank. Never once had they opened the door which leads to the soul; never once did they dream of taking a blind leap into the dark.

Also been reading Fury by Salman Rushdie:

This is what we are, what we civilize ourselves to disguise—the terrifying human animal in us, the exalted, transcendent, self-destructive, untrammelled lord of creation. We raise each other to the heights of joy. We tear each other limb from fucking limb.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Definitions and Yeats

I lost my voice on tour so I've been shut up at home doing a lot of reading. Found some interesting words:

ne·pen·thes  n. 1 (also ne·pen·the) POETIC/LITERARY a drug described in Homer's Odyssey as banishing grief or trouble from a person's mind.  any drug or potion bringing welcome forgetfulness. via Latin from Greek 'dispelling pain', from 'not' + penthos 'grief'.

phe·nom·e·nol·o·gy  n. [PHILOSOPHY] the science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being.  an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience.   phe·nom·e·no·log·i·cal adj. phe·nom·e·no·log·i·cal·ly adv. phe·nom·e·nol·o·gist n.

Lo·gos  n. [THEOLOGY] the Word of God, or principle of divine reason and creative order, identified in the Gospel of John with the second person of the Trinity incarnate in Jesus Christ.  (in Jungian psychology) the principle of reason and judgment, associated with the animus. Often contrasted with EROS.  Greek, 'word, reason'.

sub·li·mate  v. 1 [trans.] (esp. in psychoanalytic theory) divert or modify (an instinctual impulse) into a culturally higher or socially more acceptable activity: people who will sublimate sexuality into activities which help to build up and preserve civilization; | he sublimates his hurt and anger into humor. 2 [CHEMISTRY] [intrans.] another term for SUBLIME.  n. [CHEMISTRY] a solid deposit of a substance that has sublimed.  
sub·li·ma·tion n.  late Middle English (in the sense 'raise to a higher status'): from Latin sublimat- 'raised up', from the verb sublimare.

au·tom·a·tism  n. the performance of actions without conscious thought or intention.    [ART] the avoidance of conscious intention in producing works of art, esp. by using mechanical techniques or subconscious associations.  an action performed unconsciously or involuntarily.  mid 19th cent.: from French automatisme, from automate 'automaton', from Greek automatos 'acting of itself' (see AUTOMATON).

o·nei·ric  adj. FORMAL of or relating to dreams or dreaming.  mid 19th cent.: from Greek oneiros 'dream' + -IC. Linked entries: -IC oneiro-  comb. form relating to dreams or dreaming: oneiromancy.  from Greek oneiros 'dream'. o·nei·ro·man·cy  n. the interpretation of dreams in order to foretell the future.

on·to·gen·e·sis  n. [BIOLOGY] the development of an individual organism or anatomical or behavioral feature from the earliest stage to maturity.   on·to·ge·net·ic adj. on·to·ge·net·i·cal·ly adv.  late 19th cent.: from Greek , ont- 'being' + genesis 'birth'.

I think that last one ontogenesis is my favourite. I like that as apposed to phylogenesis which is the study of a group of species or organisms through its evolution, ontogenesis "pertains to the developmental history of an organism within its own lifetime" which makes it feel more intimate. I'm not sure if you could apply it to the study of an individual person's development but with the album being called yolk I feel like its a fitting word to be fixated on for a while. The picture at the bottom of this post is a diagram of human embryogenesis, I might try and draw one for the songs.

Automatism is also interesting because it makes me think of writing techniques like automatic writing, a technique which the poet Yeats famously used. Its the idea of "the performance of actions without conscious thought" which I find interesting. It also ties into the idea of the occult and the writer as a messenger of the spirits/gods which is a whole other fascinating topic. If you're interested in it there's a brief run down of what its about HERE have a look at Kipling's quote especially. I like the idea of a "Daemon" writing The Jungle Book.

Yeats produced a whole volume of work derived from automatic writing which he undertook with the help of his wife. There is a lot of discussion as to what was actually happening in these writing sessions and Yeats himself was always ambiguous when talking about his position on its origin- as Virginia Moore wrote "Invariably students of A Vision ask, Was it really spirit-controlled discourse? Or was it, on Mrs. Yeats’ part, either a garnering of her subconscious, or a telepathic reading of her husband’s mind, neither of which requires extranatural help? Or was it a fabrication on the part of Yeats and/or his wife? or something else?"
Read more HERE

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Patti Smith

The first time I heard Patti Smith's album Horses was a formative experience for me, I remember feeling amazed at the power of it, the urgency of her writing, the primal intensity of her delivery. I remember feeling as if my eyes had been opened to the possibilities of self expression, and even now that my musical tastes have shifted toward the heavier stuff, that album always manages to bring me back to that place of inspiration and a sense of everything being possible. It is with that backdrop that I wanted to post up yesterdays interview with her from the Guardian and an excerpt form her book Just Kids, I haven't read it yet but its just come out in paperback so I'm going to get it asap.




Friday, 21 January 2011


I went to see some Kenneth Anger films last night, he was an experimental film maker who explored themes of sexuality and the occult. This film was made in 1953 when Anger was in his mid twenties and there's something very beautiful about the simplicity of the piece combined with Vivaldi's Winter Movement from the Four seasons which I find very moving.
Really its just a lady walking through a garden so I'll understand if everyone doesn't enjoy it but at the very least its aesthetically pleasing, so be pleased...



Friday, 14 January 2011

OLIVER PIETSCH at the Nettie Horn gallery

For anyone living in London this film by Oliver Pietsch is really worth seeing. An exploration on death in cinema told through filmic montage its free and on till the 30th of January.


Monday, 10 January 2011

The Brain: A Secret History

This new bbc documentary series looks at the darkest moments of psychology and how they have led to advances in the modern understanding of how the human brain works. Its a very interesting program which raises a lot of ethical questions about the means justifying the ends and whether it is morally acceptable to put people/animals through pain in order to further illuminate our understanding of human psychology. I've always been fascinated by the fragility of sanity and the danger of western medicine in its approach to medicated cures for mental illness so this series is pretty illuminating for me. Enjoy

Monday, 3 January 2011


Listening to Shelly Kagan's lectures on the philosophy of death from the Yale podcasts on itunes u. The fact that you can get whole course lectures from a university as prestigious as Yale for free online has made me very excited. This series of lectures is incredibly inspiring and very interesting if thinking about death isn't something you shy away from.