The Sun called us... and with that spelling too...
GALLERY artefact #001
Photo Kristan Morrison - 2004 -
The Sun called us… and with that spelling too…
Whatever gave them that idea?..
Let’s you and I investigate together!
‘In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome decree…’
So raved celebrated 18th century laudanum fiend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, newly roused from a spectacular, bejeweled and sizzling Xmas cracker of an opium dream that was well worth getting down on paper, only to be interrupted on line 54 by that pesky man from Porlock with his insistent WhatsApp InstaTwit messaging.
Or as Frankie Goes to Hollywood put it, taking it upon their collective self to improve on the words of the great Romantic poet and freed from the requirement to rhyme with ‘sunless sea’ that frankly ruined it for Coleridge – ‘In Xanadu did Kublai Khan a stately pleasure dome e-rect!’
‘…Today, almost as legendary, is Florida’s Xanadu, world’s largest private pleasure ground…’ – so begins Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece Citizen Kane.
And now - in the proud tradition of these three works of genius comes the towering human folly that is almost as almost as they are - XANADUUM!
Welcome to 2022 and the Project of a Lifetime!
I’m not one for looking back with rose-tinted giggle-goggles into the gone mulch of composted events we call ‘the past’.
Retrospection reliably comes at the cost of deep embarrassment but… I’ve noticed how as we accumulate ‘past’ and get remarkably older and the collected debris of a lifetime froths up, like Rorschach’s ‘filth’, around the waist first, then the armpits, there comes a creeping desire to create some order from the memorabilious quease of it all, a late-life compulsion to arrange the flotsam and jetsam into some final meaningful cri de couer!
Faced with a monstrous, threatening archive of unseen drawings, photographs, rare recordings and unpublished writing, it struck me there had to be a way to make all that past current again, to give it a fresh creative context and a jolt of new life.
It occurred to me I could perhaps use the debris to build something, like le Facteur Cheval with his surrealist palace assembled from junk, seashells and good intentions.
Then along came Nick Spencer and Substack, offering me a rare opportunity to do just that and to get paid for having fun!
Wouldja believe it?
No! Look over here! Puppies!
Xanaduum! An ephemeral stronghold! A Serious House on Ludicrous Earth! A magic castle with its walls made of lost fragments of etc etc…
What’s that you say, Wazoo? The curated life is no life at all?
GALLERY artefact #002
Photo Leigh Morrison - 1984 -
Why, you know you might just be onto something, Wazoo but it’s surely too late for the likes of me!
Still, there’s no reason to feel depressed and anxious, cheated and misunderstood at all is there, when you put it like that?
Prioritize the good bits, you say! Filter out the rest!
And so, to Xanaduum –
We’z been immersing myselves in the ‘super early stuff’ – from the ‘70s and ‘80s when as GM I was doing home-made comic books, fanzines, band posters, and mix tape inserts – a lost world of collage, cut and paste, staples and glue, Letraset and Rotring ink cartridges.
A renewed desire to cut out the middlemen and go back to my roots led all the way to the primordial depths of Xanaduum, my attempt at autobiographical sci-fi collage comicks done in the lo-est of hands-on anti-NFT lo-fi with felt pens, coloured pencils, scissors and blackmail graphics. Crude, primitive post-apocalyptic and back to basics before computers roamed the Earth!
Hope you dig it...
Ticking off outstanding commitments to monthly comic books during 2020 and early 2021, freed up some time to catch up on offers I’d been putting off for decades and after twenty years and three false starts, enabled me to finally finish that novel I’d been promising my brilliant book agent Peter McGuigan at Ultra Literary! It’ll be out later this year.
Otherwise, I spent 2021 deep in development with two TV shows based on well-known, non-genre literary classics.
Also have exec producer credits on a couple of very interesting projects but other than that the general anxiety of PR departments means that’s all I can probably say for now!
Those of you paying attention, may wonder where the long in-development Invisibles series fits into this flurry of televisual activity…
Sadly, as of this moment, The Invisibles is once more in limbo with a pretty great pilot draft. Feel free to watch this space although holding your breath may be inadvisable!
What else? Somewhere in the background I’m working on some new comics, more prose and an indie film adaptation of a famous horror novel with my mate, the young actor and director Jack Reynor, who played rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons in the TV series Strange Angel - in which I was to have made a cameo appearance as Aleister Crowley had it been renewed, which it wasn’t…
Jack’s spooky short Bainne set during the Irish potato famine and starring Will Poulter, the upcoming face of Marvel’s Adam Warlock, is well worth watching.
I’m often asked what I’m reading or listening to and I generally forget or sometimes fear that I’ll enthusiastically big up a band or book that some poor audience member then checks out only to be horribly let down and disillusioned by my taste.
Just this once, for Xanaduum, here’s what I’ve had on so far today at twenty past five on a purple evening at the start of a tiger year.
Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life CD album.
Momus – Athenian CD album.
Muttonbirds – The Envy of Angels CD album.
King Missile – Mystical Shit CD album
Ronnie Bookless – Ill Health and Inefficiency and Now That’s What I Call Misery…Vol. 4 cassette tape albums.
Plus, honorable mentions for Softcult – BWBB and other songs available online - Prospertine’s Home, Kate Tempest for Europe is Dead and K. Flay for a bunch of stuff, especially Weirdo my most-listened to song of the last few months.
Stuff I’ve read recently:
Merlin Sheldrake – Entangled Life
Virginia Postrel – The Power of Glamour
Bimini Bon Boulash – Release the Beast
Doug Rushkoff – Survival of the Richest
I’m delighted to see the return of John Robinson’s engrossing blog Fifteen People… featuring his brilliant analyses of every Momus record since the mid-‘80s. Having covered all of Momus’ 20th century releases (a painstaking project released in print as Famous for Fifteen People) he’s made it to the millennium and the watershed Folktronic album. This latest blog entry includes Robinson’s take on the song Pygmalism which of course inspired the character of Professor Pyg I created during my Batman run.
On telly nothing much since Succession with Brian Cox and that other Brian Cox’s Universe (not to be mistaken for the somewhat less ambitious Brian Universe’s Cock).
Dune was the best film I’ve seen recently.
SUBSCRIBE OR DIE TRYING!
It’s that simple, effendi!
If this opening salvo has triggered in you some inexplicable craving for MORE, then do the sign up NOW NOW TODAY and tell all your friends, and indeed any suspicious looking strangers you may encounter, that Xanaduum is 2022’s hottest ticket!
Remember this is YOUR forbidding mansion of broken dreams! This is YOUR final resting place too!
Without YOU, Xanaduum is simply Xanadm and that won’t do, so let’s build this sucker together – for if we build it, they will come, and come again, and again until no come remains!
And if that’s not a cast-iron guarantee of something worth fighting for I don’t know what is!
Everyone else is doing it! Be like the rest and join the WINNING team!
Then be with us on Wednesday as our tiptoe through the creaking door into the haunted house begins with episode 1 of ‘In Xanaduum…’ – a new and original comic book story by Your Humble Narrator and Droogie!
Just for YOU!!!
GALLERY artefact #003
Photo Agnes Lygate – 1992 –
Happy Birthday Grant. I once drunkenly spilled my guts to you in Las Vegas about your work helping me cure my own cancer. Update: the spell is still working.
Happy birthday Grant. I absolutely can not wait to see how exactly you cause me to descend into madness.