The Last of the Best of…

I’d like to thank everyone who kindly submitted a list of 2009 memorabilia to the parish mag and to wish those of you who enjoyed reading it a merry Yule.  Please share your own 09 cultural highlights in the comments below.

Julian House 
(Graphic Designer, Film maker, the other half of Ghost Box, The Focus Group)
Stuff I’ve been watching on Youtube

01 Visa de Censure X: Pierre Clémenti
02 Hausu: Nobahiko Obayashi
03 Simon King of the Witches (trailer)

04 Viy: Georgi Kropachyov

05 Les Jeux des Anges: Walerian Borowczyk
06 Les Stronauts: Chris Marker, Walerian Borowczyk

07 OMOZAP2: Jeff Keen
08 Grizzly Bear ‘ Ready, Able’: Allison Schulnik
09 The Devil’s Ball: Wladislaw Starewicz
10 Kachi Kachi Yama: Tadanori Yokoo
(also ‘ムー一族’ I think its by him, weird TV titles, translates as Mu Family to the best of my knowledge)  

Mark Pilkington
( writer, curator, priest of the improbable and editor of Strange Attractor )
Ten to remember, 2009

Goblin, Scala
Equinox Festival, Conway Hall
Belbury Youth Club, Shunt
Viktor Wynd’s Little Shoppe of Horrors

Secret Rites (Derek Ford, 1971)
I Start Counting (David Greene, 1969)
Hausu (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977)
Stanley Chapman RIP
John Keel RIP
John Michell RIP

….and here’s something Christmassy from Mr. House’s list.

… and this late addition just in from Mark P – RIP Jack Rose of Pelt.

Khristmas Krautrock Special on Resonance

Tonight (23rd December) at 8pm, Resonance FM present part 1 of a Kraut Rock Xmas Special. Hosted by Ken Hollings, it features David Stubbs, Mark Pilkington, Nikos Kotsopoulos (editor of ‘Krautrock: Cosmic Rock and Its Legacy’), David Knight (of Arkkon and Unicazürn fame) and the writer and musician Frances Morgan. Part 2 is tomorrow at the same time.

Essential listening, a question on this will almost certainly come up in next year’s exams.

Two More 2009 Charts

Two more peculiar lists of 2009 highlights from highly respected members of the Belbury flock:

Ian Hodgson (Moon Wiring Club)

New Stuff:
1. Joker. Digidesign
2. Datassette. The Aviatrix
3. Annie. Two of Hearts
4. Broadcast/Focus Group. Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age.
5. Timbaland (featuring Nelly Furtado & Soshy) Morning After Dark
6. Belbury Poly. From an Ancient Star
7. Dam-Funk. Toeachizown
8. VHS Head. Video Club
9. Nite Jewel. Good Evening
10. Madlib. Beat Konducta Volume 5/6
Old Stuff:
1. Francis Monkman. Achievments of Man
2. George Breed & John Rossman. Top Decision Makers
3. Secret Service. Flash in the Night
4. Clannad. Atlantic Realm OST
5. Laura Brannigan. Hot Night
6. Spooky Voice. Killing Myself (Instrumental Version)
7. Maze. Twilight.
8. Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Theme from The Book Tower.
9. Awake. Fasce in Colore
10. Harry Robertson. Hawk the Slayer OST
Favourite overall new/old record:
Harmonia & Eno ’76. Tracks and Traces.

Jon Brooks (Producer, Composer & the brains behind The Advisory Circle)

Nine things I couldn’t live without this year. Not necessarily released this year, but certainly discovered, and in no particular order of importance.

Book: “On Some Faraway Beach” by David Sheppard.
Album: “Tomorrow Today” by Seeland.
Book: “Case Study Houses (25th Anniversary Edition)” by Elizabeth Smith
Cosmetic: “Black Cab” nail polish by Rimmel.
Book: “Ways Of Seeing” by John Berger.
Place: “Libby’s Cafe”
Drink: Twinings Earl Grey tea.
Book: “Painting With Sound – The Life and Music of Hans-Joachim Roedelius” by Stephen Iliffe.
Album: “Hands” by Little Boots

Free Tracks from Roj

Ghost Box artist Roj is kindly giving away two tracks over at the Ghost Box shop, one of them a collaboration with German voice artist Wolfram Wire.
To download them you’ll need to sign up to the Ghost Box mailing list and then go here.
Also new in the shop there’s a Ghost Box T-Shirt . Reminiscent of the old BBC globe colour scheme it’s the perfect thermal underlayer for those of you in more wintery parts this December.

Parish Hit Parades

‘Tis the season for lists, and in this spirit I’ve invited several of our parishioners to contribute a top 10 chart for 2009. Musical, cultural or otherwise. First in are the following:

Top Ten Good And Bad Celebrity Records I found this year.

Rock, Gently – Rock Hudson

Brian Maxine – Brian Maxine
Jack Palance – Jack Palance
Brian Clough – You Can’t Win ’em all
Kenny Everett – The Electro People
Ahab The Arab – Jimmy Saville
The Bard’s Recipe – Vincent Price
Shut That Door LP – Larry Grayson
Joan Collins – Chalk And Cheese
Dave Prowse & The Green Cross Code Kids sing Old MacDonald and  other hits

Woebot

10, music only and excluding  Ghost Box releases (how kind ! vic.)

Bene Gesserit: Fashion is a Dirty Word
Die Gesunden: Die Gesunden
Die Kapizatat: Leichte Stimmen
Rod Stewart: Gasoline Alley
Kraftwerk reissues
Micachu & the Shapes: Jewelry
Konkrete Kanticle
Swell Maps: Jane from Occupied Europe
Position Normal: Position Normal
Mattias Aguayo: Ay Ay Ay

Ken Hollings

a 2009 Cultural Top Ten

Death of J G Ballard

Death of Tony Hart
Death of John Keel

Death of Hans Holzer
Death of Lux Interior
Death of Sir Ludovic Kennedy
Death of Claude Levi-Strauss
Newspaper headline: Wrestling Midgets Are Killed by Fake Hookers
Newspaper headline: Beauty Queen Dies After Buttock Lift
Death of Michael Jackson

More to follow as they come in.

Not Exactly Ghosts

This December on Resonance FM Jonny Mugwump will be curating a series of Ghost Stories for Christmas in the tradition of the old TV favourites like Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad and The Stone Tapes. I was asked for a Belbury Poly contribution and the author Lawrence Norfolk kindly agreed to adapt and read. Lawrence and I spent an interesting four weeks reading as many supernatural stories as possible. We quickly ruled out MR James as too obvious a choice and we also felt my old favourites like Blackwood and Machen from weirder end of the supernatural spectrum were not quite “Christmassy” enough. So ploughing through some more anthologies of obscure early twentieth century exponents of the genre we hit upon Sir Andrew Caldecott.

Andrew Caldecott was a colonial civil servant during the 1930’s serving as governor of Hong Kong and then Ceylon. Later in life during the 1940’s he began writing ghost stories, two anthologies of which were published, Not Exactly Ghosts and Fires Burn Bright. Caldecott’s post war fictional world is tweedy, polite and teetering on the brink of insanity. Although some of the tales follow the pattern and atmosphere of MR James, Caldecott generally stops short of the big reveal, and the supernatural agency in the stories is inferred by events. Horrifying questions linger in the mind, in a way that prefigures the more sophisticated stories of Robert Aickman.

One story  in particular, His Name was Legion, stood out as having a great affinity for the Ghost Box world dealing as it does with a fake parish magazine, and spirit channelling through TV and radio equipment.

The story is in production now and will feature new music and sound by Belbury Poly. It will be broadcast at some point during the week before Christmas, I’ll post the exact time and dates and news of other contributors as soon as we have them.

Lawrence reads His Name Was Legion in The Resonance Studio with Jonny Mugwump at the controls.

Striped Paint for the Last Post

The new album from Moon Wiring Club, Striped Paint for the Last Post is finally here. Like the previous two Moon Wiring Club albums its a window onto a world created by artist and musician, Ian Hodgson. Its a glamorous, yet parochial world of  Edwardian parlour hip hop, saucy occult rituals, supernatural sleuths and boiled sweets. At the heart of Hodgson’s world is the town of Clinkskell, a kind of Royston Vasey re-styled by Biba and Hammer. Its populated by a huge cast of characters: chimeric animal headed magicians, sinister svengalis and impeccably tailored electronic musicians.

These 22 tracks form a kind of psyched out narrative of a parallel world England where the south is obliterated by flooding and a new and surreal monarchy is established in the North. Fuzzy voices with clipped accents rescued from lost VHS tapes of  British TV drama pepper these mannered and spooky tunes, giving us just enough hints as to what might be happening.  This is helped along by a bonkers little CD booklet full of beautifully imagined advertisements, and magazine clippings. Like all Blank Workshop output this is designed and illustrated by Hodgson himself.

In Striped Paint  bright synth clarions and big echoey basses alternate with hazy recycled keyboard washes and TV sound FX. Its all buoyed along by jaunty and unashamedly strident trip-hop style beats, which drop (in and out) at all the right dramatic moments and propel events forward at an easy, ominous pace. Hodgson achieves a sound world that’s comical and creepy in equal measure making Moon Wiring Club perhaps more worthy of the  “H” word than anyone else these days. Needless to say this is hugely popular with all the youngsters at the Belbury Youth Club.

Striped Paint for the Last Post is available from the Blank Workshop giftshop.

The marvel of Ghost Box

Is it just me or is this…

No surely not.
Could these comic book covers designed by Rain Hughes for Marvel’s Iron Man be an homage to our favourite record label ?

Penguins – The Perfect Christmas Gift

WWF recently produced a TV ad for their penguin adoption scheme with specially commissioned music by Belbury Poly. They currently have a micorsite  for the scheme that hosts a version of the ad minus voiceover, here

Ghost Box is a record label for a group of artists exploring the misremembered musical history of a parallel world.

“Buying one of its releases feels like stepping into another world” The Guardian

“...what's most impressive about Ghost Box is the aesthetic consistency and sheer quality of the material, recalling the heydays of labels such as Factory, 4AD and Warp.” Quietus

“...some of the most delightful electronica to arise in Britain since Aphex Twin, the Black Dog and Global Communication.” The Sunday Times

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