The D.A.F sex machine

Hmm, I’m thinking of writing a post on the DAF ‘sex machine’…

Particularly in lieu of the 1985(ish), more explicitly ‘camp’ version of the group…

For Every Wolf That Roams

Huggy Bear’s super rare 1994 live cassette For Every Wolf That Roams features, as I was reminded just the other day, the very best version of Pansy Twist ever.

Origin and Destiny in Mildred Pierce

The Ranald MacDougall authored screenplay of Mildred Pierce diverges from the 1946 Joan Crawford film in its underscoring of class. The Mildred of the screenplay lacks the glamour and sophistication of Joan Crawford, and it is the lack of these very qualities that inform Veda’s hatred. Veda makes this hatred blatantly apparent in scene 260, with the words: “You still don’t understand, do you? You think new curtains are enough to make me happy. [...] No. I want more than that …  I want the kind of life that Monte taught me. And you won’t give it to me. The way you live isn’t good enough for me” (MacDougall 211-212). The point is that Mildred of the screenplay cannot give Veda the kind of life that she wants because it is not predicated on material goods and consumerism, but on social standing and the entitlement that come from having been born into money. It is simply not possible to work one’s way up the social ladder in this reality, something that Veda underscores further with the words: “You think now you’ve made a little money you can get yourself a new hairdo and some expensive clothes and turn yourself into a lady, but you can’t, because you’ll never be anything but a common frump, whose father lived over a grocery store and whose mother took in washing” (MacDougall 201). In MacDougall’s screenplay, origin is destiny. The film, however, effaces this reading. The Pierce family of the film are positioned on a higher-rung of the class ladder in the first place and thus, for them, there is less at stake and less of a schism between where they start the film and where they end up. 

Interiority/Exteriority and the Gothic

It’s hardly noteworthy to remark that within the traditions of Gothic novel and the horror film the site of terror shifted over time from being one of exteriority to one of interiority.

In the Gothic novel the move is away from the disruptive force being located or associated with an alien/demonised religion or culture, such as the Catholicism of Southern Europe (The Monk), or the racial other (Vathek). Replacing this fear of the ‘other’ there is instead a focus on the instability of the self (Jekyll & Hyde), or a meditation on madness and anxiety about the collapse of the nation state (Dracula).

A similar parallel can be seen in the horror film. Horror moves from something located in a castle in Europe (Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster in their filmic incarnations) to something connected to madness (Psycho), day to day life (Halloween), the social (Dawn of the Dead), or the body itself (Shivers, The Brood etc).

In contrast, the move within the musical Gothic seems to have run in the other direction. Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees, as progenitors of the genre (although not necessarily part of it), were concerned with the horror of the interiority and the lacerating qualities of the dominant social order. Their followers, on the other hand, proceeded to once again to link horror to a castle in Europe (Bela Lugosi’s dead) and the ‘Orient’ (Orient).

Overground

Suburban Relapse

She’s Lost Control

Orient

Bela Lugosi’s Dead

Notes on re-reading Crash

Crash is a novel that is as much concerned with images, and the specific kinds of focalization that accompany them, as it is with car crashes. Throughout the text we are presented again and again with images. Vaughan’s room is covered with “hundreds of photographs”; Renata flicks through a copy of Paris-Match containing a photo of a “bloated corpse”; James visualises an accident “filmed in slow motion”. Not only are the characters within Crash unable to think or perceive without reference to images, the insinuation is that they are only able to act in a manner mediated by the images they have consumed. Thus we read that: “Catherine’s mock-grief was a mere stylization of a gesture – I waited for her to break into song, tap her forehead, touch every second temperature chart around the ward, switch on every fourth set of radio headphones”. In this sense, not only is the external landscape of the motorway and the airport car-park mediated and reconstructed by technology, but so are the inner lives of the characters. They are simply unable to conceive of any event without thinking of it in terms of a (mediated) image. In this regard it could be argued that the car crash is simply a metaphor for the ‘car crash’ of images that confront us in the multi-media landscape of modern life.

Live Skull

Now this is tasty. A whole Live Skull show from 1989.

I wonder if those reissues will ever see the light of day?

Nico

A nice retrospective on Nico’s best three albums can be found over at The Quietus.

And here is the video for Morning of Light which I never knew existed until this morning.

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