Peter Lanyon: Liminality & Psychogeography

The art of Peter Lanyon - who died 53 years ago today - is, like all great art, uncompromising. For those seeking “Cornish Art”, it has none of the serenity of the calm seascapes on offer in every gallery in every tiny cove. But if you’re prepared to look beyond the initially daunting surface of … Continue reading Peter Lanyon: Liminality & Psychogeography

Cornwall: two landscapes

Driving west on the A30, it's impossible to miss the post-industrial landscapes of clay- and tin-mining country. Whatever your feelings toward them, they are impressive, and very different from each other. Clay mining - the Cornish Alps - sprawl over the area north and west of St. Austell (and give the Eden Project it's home). … Continue reading Cornwall: two landscapes

21st century pseudonyms, or “furthermore known as the JAMMs”

On 23rd August, Faber will publish "2023: A Trilogy" by the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. Written by (I am assuming) Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, whose best-known guise is The KLF, the publication date will mark exactly 23 years to the day since the pair set fire to a million pounds in a disused … Continue reading 21st century pseudonyms, or “furthermore known as the JAMMs”

Claude Ollier’s “Law and Order” (1961)

I wrote a review recently of Ollier's best-known (in English, which isn't saying much) work, The Mise-en-Scene. As one of the less-publicised nouveau-roman authors, only four of his books have been translated into English. The first of these - Law and Order (translated by Ursule Molinaro) - was published in 1971 by Red Dust in … Continue reading Claude Ollier’s “Law and Order” (1961)

None the wiser: Claude Ollier’s “The Mise-en-Scene” (1958)

A confession: I'd never heard of Claude Ollier until a few weeks ago. Although I've read numerous mid-century French nouveau romanistes (Robbe-Grillet, Duras, Sarraute, Simon, Butor, Pinget) I had never come across any reference to Ollier, probably because his work had not been published by John Calder, and the few English translations of his work … Continue reading None the wiser: Claude Ollier’s “The Mise-en-Scene” (1958)

Killing the parents: Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”

"There are no new tales, only new ways to tell." Clive Barker, in introducing Christopher Marlowe's renaissance drama Doctor Faustus, acknowledges that the challenge for the modern writer lies in the "shaping of a fresh and original interpretation of a story cast and re-cast several hundred times." The artist must drive "his imagination to new … Continue reading Killing the parents: Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser”

L’année dernière à Manderley

I’ve long wanted to read – or to write, and I’ve tried1 – something which marries the claustrophobic atmosphere of Daphne du Maurier’s short stories (such as ‘The Birds’ and ‘Don’t Look Now’ obviously, and also ‘The Blue Lenses’), with the formal experimentation of French nouveau-romaniste Alain Robbe-Grillet (1922-2008). Although they both published some of … Continue reading L’année dernière à Manderley

“There’s been a breakdown at the BBC”: the rural horror of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Birds’

It’s my birthday today. I’ve always liked that I share it with two favourite writers: poet and nature writer Kathleen Jamie (born 1962), and the master of mid-20th century English gothic, Daphne du Maurier (1907-1989). I’m going to take a brief look at du Maurier’s short story The Birds, which can be read as an … Continue reading “There’s been a breakdown at the BBC”: the rural horror of Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Birds’

“What’s that man doing, Mummy?”

There have been times when, stuck for inspiration but desperate to keep the wheels turning, I’ve turned to a something that I’m interested in to use as the starting point for a story. This has happened more than once. Want to hear about stories you’ll never read by an author you’ve never heard of? Read … Continue reading “What’s that man doing, Mummy?”