Monday, 23 February 2015

Liberating Earth

Just published is Liberating Earth, an anthology of short science-fiction tales brought together and edited by Kate Orman. I haven't read it yet, but I've heard good things about it, and Kate Orman's name has become synonymous with a certain standard, so I expect it's worth a look; and it's mentioned here because I painted the cover.

Liberating Earth is available in lovely hardback (or eBook if you have a nose around the site) directly from Obverse Books at this link, and possibly from some other places, but I'm not sure where just yet. Nowhere in North America, I guess. 

In case anyone is interested, I tend to take photographs of my book covers as I paint them, and so I usually have a few work in progress shots for future reference. For Liberating Earth, these are as follows:

...and finally, Cyril?
Finally, Esther, I am indebted to Mrs. R. Simpson of Tonbridge Wells who sent me this naughty carrot...

The links should hopefully take you to my Flickr page where you can see the images without having to scrabble around for a magnifying glass, and the arrow symbol on the right hand side of that page should yield downloads in the event of anyone wanting any of the above for a screensaver or any other non-nefarious purpose.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Cultural Terror

Roughly sixty-five million years ago towards the close of the Cretaceous period, I dabbled in cassette tapes of noisy electronic shite. Noisy electronic shite was the internet when most of you lot were still agonising over Optimus Prime's latest bout of existential nausea in the Transformers comic, and you were probably also listening to the Electric Light Orchestra and watching Michael J. Fox films on a VCR the size of Battersea power station, yer twat.

Amongst the more enthusiastically offensive of my many, many correspondents of the time was the excellent Trev Ward - a lovely bloke in person, and the man behind a tape label known as Zeal SS in 1987 or thereabouts. The SS stood for Severe Systems, naturally. I released a couple of Trev's tapes on my own tape label, and he put out one of mine - a live recording to which he gave the title Death in a Milan Square.

This double cassette compilation was a label sampler comprising excerpts from everything that was available at the time. I'm featured - doing a fairly poor impersonation of Whitehouse as recorded in the sculpture studio at my college in Leamington Spa; as are ESP Kinetic - musical organ of the famous Neil Campbell, Thee Unkommuniti - Tim Gane's group prior to Stereolab, Final - which was the bloke from Godflesh, Asepisis - which was my mate Jez from school making a noise on my stereo, the Apostles, Ashenden, Grey Wolves, and others you may recall if you have a long memory and were into the noisy electronic shite; and it's available for free download here.

I say noisy electronic shite, but the compilation is actually quite varied, even musical providing you're not expecting the Monkees. Some of it may appear extreme to the uninitiated, but it should probably be remembered that this was the decade in which a badly photocopied picture of a concentration camp was probably confronting society with its own inherent hypocrisy whilst hoping to upset you as much as possible, rather than suggesting that concentration camps had necessarily ever been a good thing. I realise there may have been some room for ambiguity in more recent years, particularly amongst those on the fringes of power electronics and certain fat Nazis who seem to be of the belief that the wrong side won the second world war, but if there was any of that here, and I'm pretty sure there wasn't, then I remain unaware of its presence in case that needs stating. We were young and stupid, and it was supposed to be repellant. That was the point.

...and I'm surprised at how good it is to hear this stuff again.