➤ A handful of diverting links for culture vultures
✤ All the avant-garde audio-visual art you can swallow at UbuWeb, the most continually rewarding archive online since 1996, inspired by poet Kenneth Goldsmith expressing a collector’s passion for Aspen, a multimedia magazine of the arts from the 1960s. Immaculately presented, constantly full of surprise, and free. “UbuWeb is a completely independent resource dedicated to all strains of the avant-garde, ethnopoetics and outsider arts”. . . A taster among composer John Zorn’s top 10 films at Ubu — Guy Debord’s Critique de la séparation (1961, 18 minutes) can be viewed at Ubu.com with accompanying translation: “The function of the cinema, whether dramatic or documentary, is to present a false and isolated coherence as a substitute for a communication and activity that are absent.” (No, that mugshot above is neither Goldsmith nor Debord, but be assured that your instincts will identify him. The website’s title honours the play which heralded 20th-century modernism, glimpsed in the video below.)
✤ The Quietus is a ten-year-old new-music and pop-culture website published from London. It has given space to thousands of contemplations on people’s personal passions such as the sorry state of pop marketing… Baby boomers and their myth of a musical golden age… Why Jesus would have been a Pussy Riot fan… The next decade of black-sky thinking… Why gaming is an art form, etc.
✤ Vintage hair stylist Nina Butkovich-Budden says she combines “the theatrical with the everyday, creating catwalk collaborations, avant-garde advertising and unrivalled hair styles for fans and aficionados”, both men and women, by appointment only.
✤ The Look blog: Adventures in Rock & Pop Fashion is a knowing trip down Memory Lane for all stylists of any age. An associated blog Paul Gorman is… has a direct line to designer Tommy Roberts, the hugely influential owner of the Mr Freedom boutiques of the 1970s.
✤ Coolest of the cool collections are at Showstudio, Nick Knight’s “Home of Fashion Film” since 2000, based on showing the creative process from start to finish, to deliver fashion live as it happens.
✤ Every original Blitz Kid knows Derek Ridgers who for 40 years as a professional photographer has loved shooting in the subcultural edgelands. He also has a way with words, as his spasmodic blog The Ponytail Pontifications testifies. His work has been seen everywhere, in UK publications such as NME, The Face, The Independent, The Sunday Telegraph, Time Out and Loaded. Above we see his pic of comedian Alexei Sayle, still making his name in 1982 when Derek saw his “alternative” act bomb as a bunch of students took him at face value.
✤ Consult 30 years of cutting-edge art exhibitions, mostly free of charge, at the Saatchi Gallery which attracts 1.5 million visitors a year.
✤ VIEW VID: Biomimeticist Adrian Bowyer at Bath Uni takes us beyond web 3.0 and computer printers to a future that’s with us now. This video introduces the RepRap self-replicating 3D printer (cost €500) with which we can all design and make everyday plastic objects such as coathangers using free “open-source” technology under the GNU General Public Licence.
✤ Miss Peelpants trawls vintage fashion pages from the 60s and 70s in search of British boutique gear (Clark, Bates, Bender, Hulanicki, Gibb etc) with a view to locating and trading. Now revealed to be Liz Eggleston, she doesn’t mind the odd detour that discovers, say, Tyrannosaurus Rex alive and well and living off Ladbroke Grove.
✤ 3:AM Magazine – “Whatever it is, we’re against it” is a pan-cultural critical website that provides a special place for new writers surveying a dizzying circus-market of philosophy, poetry, critical theory, modern and contemporary marginalia, experiment and innovation. Topics include the pataphysics revolution, the migrant poetry of Athena Farrokhzad and Yahya Hassan, the awe of sculptor Bill Woodrow, peripateticism in Robert Walser, and so on.
✤ Rockarchive.com is the brainwave of Jill Furmanovsky, the former in-house photographer at the Rainbow Theatre in its heyday. She makes her work, and that of other music photographers and visual artists, accessible to fans and collectors by publishing more than 750 images by 60 practitioners as embossed fine-art prints in limited editions to act as investments. [Shown here: The Human League (Susanne Sulley; Philip Oakey; Joanne Catherall) by Jill Furmanovsky, 1981, from the National Portrait Gallery collection.]
✤ Global youth culture, lifestyle and music research site PYMCA represents the content of hundreds of creators of photographic, film, design and writing.
✤ Today’s front pages from 521 newspapers from dozens of countries at Washington DC’s Freedom Forum, a nonpartisan foundation “dedicated to freedom of expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment” since 2008.
✤ Latest news of new words from information triage and pancake people to funemployment and vote mobbing and pomosexual at Word Spy, created by Canadian author Paul McFedries. Still going strong after 21 years devoted to lexpionage.
✤ After 19 years of lexical effrontery the crowd-sourced Urban Dictionary still tells it like it is from facebook as verb, to shizzle, wigger and far worse among its 7.8million definitions — just don’t let mum and dad near. Among its 80 million monthly users are courtroom judges seeking to define slang terms.
✤ Epic 2015: a discomfiting vision of the future of all media, much of which has come into being since this Flash movie was originally shown in 2004 by two graduates at the Poynter Institute. We still await the merger of Google and Amazon into one mighty conglomerate.
✤ Explore every web page archived since 1996 (475 billion web pages and counting) at the non-profit Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine founded by Brewster Kahle and, yes, the savvy will find what they seek.
✤ London Review of Breakfasts — upmarket praise and damnation for what should be a better treat than it is. “Because we’ve had enoeuf.” After 10 years of blogging, founder Seb Ebima went on diversion to Iraqi Kurdistan, then called it a day. The 522 reviews written by 106 contributors are still visible to consult online.
✤ Egg, bacon, chips and beans — Russell Davies seems to have paused this blog, and his photographic journey through those traditional “Full English” starts to the day is now an archive. Still worth a detour.
✤ Rico has dedicated Select Magazine Website to his favourite 90s music magazine and he plans to scan in every single feature, “to give random flashbacks to the 90s music scene”. So far covering 1990 to 2001
✤ The Criterion Collection’s online cinematheque (pictured: John Ford’s landmark 1939 western Stagecoach, fully restored). Stream classic movies for $5 a week, plus auteur forums and buff stuff. . .
✤ . . . from among which you can view vintage movie best bits in Criterion Trailers on YouTube
✤ Not forgetting Yvonne Gordon’s affectionate 1999 documentary about the 1987 cult film Withnail and I about London in 1969 in which “every single line is quotable, memorable, hilarious, witty and heartbreaking”. Critic Roger Ebert includes the film in his Great Movies list while Time Out London named it the 7th-greatest comedy film of all time.
✤ Jelly as art? Bompas & Parr designs spectacular food experiences often working on an architectural scale with cutting edge technology. “Projects explore how the taste of food is altered through synaesthesia, performance and setting.” Mm-mm.
✤ The “Shoreditch style” that will come to characterise the 20-tweens is personified in the Maiden Shops on Bethnal Green Road. Kitsch is the only word for its “little things that make your life nicer” — otter eggcup, Miffy light, bookrest lamp, bloody shower curtain, royal wedding knick-knacks plus solar-powered effigy of Her Maj QEII which waves regally when the sun comes out.
MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC ♫ ♫
✱ An orgy of Sound Toys is being constantly replenished at this meeting place for audio-visual artists
MORE MUSICAL TASTEMAKERS ♫ ♫
✱ The Line of Best Fit is a UK-based independent online music magazine covering the best in new and alternative sounds and run by an editorial community of creative people. TLOBF was recently elected Most Influential Music Blog in the UK and claims 2million readers a month, though major analysts estimated between 284k and 520k monthly during 2016.
✱ Peter Robinson still exacts his irreverent brand of Popjustice with attitude, giving pop precisely the level of respect it deserves. Daily since the year 2000.
✱ Pop news and reviews from Sean Adams at Drowned In Sound, an editorially independent music webzine, founded 1998 in London W2.
✱ Now in its 12th year, The Soul Survivors Magazine offers a back catalogue of interviews with premier soul icons including Smokey Robinson, Teena Marie, Leroy Burgess and Frankie Beverly, Jean Carn, Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith, George Duke, Charlie Wilson, Larry Blackmon, Linda Clifford, Jocelyn Brown, Carleen Anderson, Omar, Noel McKoy, Patrice Rushen, Josh Milan, Louie Vega, “Bootsy” Collins and Nile Rodgers – as well as the fans who have made a difference to the soul scene. There’s a website, weekly radio show and events newsletter, all coordinated by Fitzroy Facey the original Soul Survivor.
✱ Created in 1995, AllMusic was once the most reliable of the many online music encylopedias and the only one to get the British scene right. No more. The relaunched website is a shadow of what went before and much expertise has been junked. Trust to vintage copies of the printed publication.
✱ Alex McCann’s Designer Magazine was Manchester’s third largest source of indie entertainment news 1999–2014, attracting 10,000 readers a week through low-spec computers at university, work or school. Let’s hope its archive remains online for ever.
✱ AbsoluteRadio80s is a slave to the obvious and its playlist pretty soon bores you rigid. If you must: tune to the semi-national Sound Digital multiplex on DAB at rubbish 80 kbit/s quality, or through digital TV channels Sky 0200, Virgin Media 951 and Freesat 726.
✱ Free videos at Artistdirect from performers across the music spectrum.
✱ June 2018: London’s Mayor’s office has published a music map of the M25 area showing venues, studios, musical theatres, pub and bars with music, rehearsal spaces, retail and equipment facilities. . . Surprisingly thinner on the ground than you might actually have experienced.
✱ Compare my radio stations pretends it’s not a robot that discovers who’s playlisting your favourite tune right now.
✱ Since 1979, the roots of world music explained at Froots, “the essential folk, roots and world music guide” for more than 400 issues.
✱ For the best history of the rise of the very English subculture called goth, visit Pete Scathe’s venerable Demon website An Early History of Goth (now archived so boggle at its text-driven HTML formats from 1998). In a realm where he has no rivals and you can’t trust the rock historians (“who usually weren’t there”) cited by Wikipedia, his labyrinthine site turns over every sign of the dark, introspective, fantasy mindscape of goth music and fashion. He traces the evolution of what he calls the “Gothic Rock” bands in 1985 as distinct from the earlier “Gothic Punk” bands. His sheer earnestness speaks volumes and his determination guarantees authenticity.
✱ Olli Wisdom who fronted the Batcave club-night in Soho in the 80s together with his gothic rock band Specimen pretty much pioneered the goth subculture in London. Though they broke up in 1985, they reunited for a 25th anniversary and released the album Specimen Alive at the Batcave on Metropolis.
✱ Pooterland has a page about Alice In Wonderland, a club-night born out of the early 80s UK psychedelic revival and run by Christian Paris and Clive Jackson. The writer claims “Alice’s started life in 1983 in the dark basement of a club called Gossip’s that in a former life had been known as The Batcave”. That basic assertion is simply wrong, which suggests the writer never went there, so take the rest with a pinch of salt.
✱ Biba’s Champagne & Novocaine is a musical walk through the Biba store of 1975 in a revue of glam sounds spearheaded by Bowie and Roxy Music
✱ Classic Cat is a catalogue of 5,000 free legal downloads from the other world of music, classical. Sample Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring that shocked Parisian ears in 1913 and changed the course of modern music.
✱ The Official UK Charts — current singles, albums, videos – plus an archive of hits since 1960.
✱ Shapersofthe80s picks the landmark pop videos from the Swinging 80s at YouTube, plus uploads.
✱ Hear five sensational minutes of Ravel in blues mode. Or is it Dada? In this video, the Blues movement from the French composer Ravel’s Sonata for violin and piano in G major (1927), is played by David Oistrakh on his Stradivarius in the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1965, accompanied by Vsevolod Petrushansky. As one of the century’s pre-eminent violinists, Oistrakh was allowed to allowed to tour abroad, so performing this “jazz” piece at home represented a courageous public gesture under Soviet-era communism and its leader Leonid Brezhnev.
TASTEMAKERS SADLY RELEGATED
TO THE ARCHIVES R.I.P.
✱ The self-proclaimed “world’s oldest music blog” at the bleeding edge of popular culture Pinglewood (1983–2011) is now defunct though its archive is eminently consultable via the Wayback Machine. There still appears to be a live Pingle presence at Twitter.
✱ Since 2000, the UK-based DJhistory.com has become the dance-music rendezvous for discriminating deejays, collectors and writers who love the legacy and want to get their facts right.
✱ Read an extensive history since 1989 of London’s land-based pirate radio stations at londonpirates.co.uk, now a ghost site with audio archive accessible through Wayback Machine. . . Further links to current and past London radio stations of all genres via Transmission Zero.
✱ If it’s new it’s at All Tomorrow’s Parties — promoting festivals, concerts and records throughout the world for 15 years.
✱ The essential online resource for worldwide music and culture, from 2000 to 2013. All global colours of music are at Mondomix — plus cinema, literature, society, travel, events, reports, artists, downloads. “Une poignée de journalistes et de réalisateurs web lançait l’un des 1ers magazines musicaux en ligne.”
✤ Pictures On Walls 2003–2017 was a street art gallery-shop selling contemporary graphics and outdoor graffiti online. Offered Banksy authentications.
✤ 360-degree living: VRmagazine showcases breathtaking panoramic images from worldwide locations, drawing on the first true third-generation website with 360-degree interactive content.