Album primo-avrilesque, meaning April-Foolish Album, is a collection of visual jokes published by the French humourist Alphonse Allais (1854-1905) on 1st April 1897. Note that some of the captions can’t be translated fully into English, because they use French idioms that refer to color.
N.B. The title of this incendiary intervention is a paronomasia on Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising (1972) (which I ain’t never seen nohow).
Goop to pay out over unproven health benefits of vaginal eggs
Goop, the new age lifestyle and publishing company founded by the [actress] Gwyneth Paltrow, has agreed to pay a substantial settlement over unproven claims about the health benefits of its infamous vaginal eggs. Goop’s website still claims that inserting the eggs into the vagina helps “cultivate sexual energy, clear chi pathways in the body, intensify femininity, and invigorate our life force”.
Its $66 Jade Egg and $55 Rose Quartz egg are still offered for sale on the site, but the company has agreed to pay $145,000 to settle allegations that it previously made unscientific claims about the eggs, and a herbal essence that it had said helped tackle depression.
It also agreed to refund customers who purchased the products from January to August last year. During that period it claimed the eggs could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse, and increase bladder control, according to officials in Santa Clara part of a group of California district attorneys who filed the lawsuit. — Goop to pay out over unproven health benefits of vaginal eggs, The Guardian, 5ix2018.
N.B. The title of this incendiary intervention is a paronomasia on the old British advertising slogan “Go to work on an egg.”
οὐσίαν θεοῦ σφαιροειδῆ, μηδὲν ὅμοιον ἔχουσαν ἀνθρώπωι· ὅλον δὲ ὁρᾶν καὶ ὅλον ἀκούειν, μὴ μέντοι ἀναπνεῖν· σύμπαντά τε εἶναι νοῦν καὶ φρόνησιν καὶ ἀίδιον. — Διογένης Λαέρτιος, Βίοι καὶ γνῶμαι τῶν ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ εὐδοκιμησάντων
“The substance of God is spherical, in no way resembling man. He is all eye and all ear, but does not breathe; he is the totality of mind and thought, and is eternal.” — Xenophanes’ concept of God in Diogenes Laërtius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers (c. 280-320 AD), Book IX, chapter 2 (translated by R.D. Hicks, 1925)
“The recent election of Syriza in Greece offers a vibrant glimmer of hope for the future of social and economic democracy in Europe.” — from a letter to The Guardian by Judith Butler, Slavoj Žižek, Jacqueline Rose, et al.
Some of the most beautiful patterns in nature arise from the interaction of three very simple things: sand and water, sand and air. Sculptrix Sabulorum, a side-project of the Exeter band Slow Exploding Gulls, are an attempt to do with sound what nature does with sand: turn simple ingredients into beautiful patterns. Here are extracts from an interview and review in the Plymouth fanzine EarHax:
Hector Anderton: OK. The obvious first. Sculptrix Sabulorum. What does it mean and why did you choose it?
Joe Corvin: It’s Latin and literally means “Sculptress of the Sands”. We chose it, well, because we thought it looked and sounded good. Good but mysterious.
Hector Anderton: And who is the sculptress? The sea?
Joe Corvin: Well, the sculptress is Mother Nature, in the fullest sense, but she uses the sea. The wind. Gravity. Simple things, but put them together with sand and interesting things happen.
Cath Orne: Which we wanted to explore, but we didn’t think S.E.G. [Slow Exploding Gulls] was the way to explore them.
Hector Anderton: But hadn’t you done that in Silica?
Joe Corvin: We’d started to, but Silica hadn’t exhausted the theme. Of sand, I mean. It’s something I’d always been interested in, but with S.E.G. we tend to go with the organic side of the sea, with sea life.
Hector Anderton: Whereas sand is inorganic?
Joe Corvin: Exactly. Silica was a bit of a departure for us, in that respect. It was as though we were walking down a corridor and we opened a door in passing and thought, yeah, that room looks interesting.
Cath Orne: So we’ll come back and have a proper look later.
Joe Corvin: Yeah. Under a new name. Which we’ve done. Hence, Sculptrix Sabulorum.
Extract © EarHax (1992)
Skulsonik, Sculptrix Sabulorum (Umbra Mundi 1995)
Macca to Madonna: “Listen to the music playing in your head.” In fact, we never do anything else. We don’t experience the world: we experience a sensory simulacrum of the world. Light or sound-waves or chemicals floating in the air stimulate the nerves in our eyes or ears or nose and the brain turns the resultant stream of electrical pulses into sight or sound or smell.
But it does more than that: it covers up the cracks. Raw nerve-stuff is not smooth and polished sensation. We have blind-spots, but the brain edits them out. Only a small part of our visual field is actually in clear focus, but we think otherwise. If we could see raw nerve-stuff, it would be a blurry, fuzzy mess.
The same is true of hearing. And Skulsonik is an attempt to record raw nerve-stuff: to capture not sound out there, but sound in here – the music playing in your head. Sculptrix Sabulorum have set out to answer a simple question: “What does music really sound like?” Or rather: what does music cerebrally sound like? What does it sound like in your head?
Extract © EarHax (1995)
Previously pre-posted (please peruse):
• Mental Marine Music – Slow Exploding Gulls
I’m sorry, but let’s face facts: you cannot consider yourself a keyly committed core component of the counter-cultural community unless you own at least three copies — a reading copy, a prominent-shelf-of-the-bookcase copy and a wrap-carefully-in-brown-paper-put-away-in-a-cupboard-and-never-touch-or-look-at-again copy — of each of these toxic’n’tenebrose titles:
• Can the Cannibal? Aspects of Angst, Abjection and Anthropophagy in the Music of Suzi Quatro, 1974-1986 (University of Nebraska Press 2004)
• Doubled Slaughter: Barbarism, Brutalism and Bestial Bloodlust in the Music of Simon and Garfunkel, 1965-2010 (Serpent’s Tail 2007)
• Re-Light My Führer: Nausea, Noxiousness and Neo-Nazism in the Music of Take That, 1988-2007 (U.N.P. 2013)
• Base Citizens Raping: Revulsion, Repulsion and Rabidity in the Music of the Bay City Rollers, 1972-2002 (U.N.P. 2014)
• Underground, Jehovahground: Ferality, Fetidity and Fundamentalist Phantasmality in the Music of the Wombles, August 1974-January 1975 (forthcoming)
All are by Dr Miriam B. Stimbers, of course. And what can I say about them? Simply this: these books hold an uncompromising mirror up before the pestilent, pustulent and pox-pocked features of so-called Western so-called society and say: “Look. That’s you, that is.” Dr Stimbers’ ruthlessly radical research and sizzlingly psychoanalytic scholarship will overturn your preconceptions so hard that, in some cases, they won’t appear to change at all.
“Yo no tomo drogas. Yo soy una droga.” — Salvador Dalí (1904-89).
“I do not take drugs. I am a drug.”
Gweel & Other Alterities, Simon Whitechapel (Ideophasis Press, 2011)
This review is a useless waste of time. I can tell you very little about Gweel. It’s a book, if that helps. It’s made of paper. It has pages. Lots of little words on the pages.
What I can’t do is classify Gweel into a genre, not because none of them fit, but because the concept of a genre doesn’t seem to apply to Gweel. It stands alone, without classification. Calling Gweel “experimental” or “avant garde” would be like stamping a barcode on a moon rock.
It may have been written for an audience of one: author Simon Whitechapel. If we make the very reasonable assumption that he owns a copy of his own book, he may have attained 100% market saturation. However, there could be a valuable peripheral market: people who want to read a book that is very different from anything they’ve read before.
It is a collection of short pieces of writing, similar in tone but not in form, exploring “dread, death, and doom.” “Kopfwurmkundalini” and “Beating the Meat” resemble horror stories, and manage to be frightening yet strangely fantastic. The first one is about a man – paralysed in a motorbike accident, able to communicate only by eye-blinks – and his induction into a strange new reality. It contains a rather thrilling story-within-a-story called “MS Found in a Steel Bottle”, about two men journeying to the bottom of the ocean in a bathysphere. “Kopfwurmkundalini”’s final pages are written in a made-up language, but the author has encluded a glossary so that you can finish the story.
Those two/three stories make up about half of Gweel’s length. The remainder mostly consists of shorter work that seems to be more about creating an atmosphere or evoking an emotion. “Night Shift” is about a prison for planets (Venus, we learn, is serving a 10^3.2 year sentence for sex-trafficking), and a theme of prisons and planets runs through a fair few of the other stories here, although usually in a less surreal context. “Acariasis” is a vignette about a convict who sees a dust-mite crawling on his cell wall, and imagines it’s a grain of sand from Mars. The image is vivid and the piece has a powerful effect. “Primessence” is The Shawshank Redemption on peyote (and math). A prisoner believes that because his cell is a prime number, he will soon be snatched from it by some mathematical daemon (the story ends with the prisoner’s fate unknown). “The Whisper” is a ghost story of sorts, short and achingly sad.
No doubt my impression of Gweel differs from the one the author intended. But maybe his intention was that I have that different impression than him. Maybe Gweel reveals different secrets to each reader.
I can’t analyse it much, but Gweel struck me as an experience like Fellini’s Amarcord… lots of little story-threads, none of them terribly meaningful on their own. Experienced together, however, those threads will weave themselves into a tapestry in the hall of your mind, a tapestry that’s entirely unique… and your own.
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