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  • Perfect posters for the genius comedy-horror TV series ‘Inside No. 9’

    If you aren’t already, then you really should be watching Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith‘s masterful series Inside No. 9, which is currently rolling out for a third season on BBC television.

    Shearsmith and Pemberton, alongside Mark Gatiss and Jeremy Dyson formed the finely-tuned quartet of young writers and performers who saved British television comedy from near irrelevancy in 1999.

    Together they called themselves, and their comedy series, The League of Gentlemen. In the long history of British comedy, these guys were the most important new arrivals on the telly since say The Comic Strip Presents…, or The Young Ones or even further back to Monty Python. Their show was a fearless mix of horror and comedy which became an international cult hit leading to the inevitable book, movie, and stage production. Along with The Office, the three series of The League of Gentlemen are the crown jewels of this generation of BBC comedy productions. The best of the best.

    In 2002, when The League of Gentlemen finished their run on television.  Dyson went off to write very good novels and stage shows. Gatiss sharpened his nib working on Doctor Who and then stunned the planet by co-devising and writing Sherlock. The Lennon & McCartney of the band, Pemberton and Shearsmith continued in their own wicked ways writing and starring in the much darker sitcom Psychoville and most importantly Inside No. 9 in 2014.

    Inside No. 9 is an anthology series, much in the style of those masterful compendium horror films produced by Amicus Productions in the sixties and seventies like Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), Tales from the Crypt (1972), and From Beyond the Grave (1974). Each episode offers up one complete mini-movie written by and starring Pemberton and Shearsmith alongside such renowned actors as David Warner, Gemma Arterton, Rula Lenska, Sheridan Smith, Jessica Raine and Roger Sloman. The tales range from haunting ghost stories to Gothic horror to troubling psychological thrillers—all neatly laced with the deadliest of black comedy. And as with the Amicus films, each 30-minute drama has an unnerving and genuinely unexpected twist.

    The third series has already started—and it’s utterly fantastic. Which understandably explains why the BBC have already commissioned a fourth one for 2018.

    Inside No. 9 is promoted by a lovingly produced movie poster which captures the style and genre of each production. As a fan of the show (and all the work of Messrs. Pemberton and Shearsmith), I thought these posters are something well worth sharing. The first was designed by Graham Humphreys who produced the knock ‘em for six poster for Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. Each of these beautiful artworks is a mouthwatering appetizer for the main dish—which, as said, if you aren’t already watching then you should be feasting on them right now.
    Sardines’ Season One #1, February 5th 2014, poster by Graham Humphreys .
    A Quiet Night In’ Season One #2, February 12th 2014, poster by Matt Owen.
    More posters promoting the god-like genius of Pemberton & Shearsmith, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    Iggy Pop and Kraftwerk’s Florian Schneider go shopping for asparagus in the 1970s
    12:18 pm


    Iggy Pop
    Florian Schneider

    Kraftwerk was the most important and influential German musical act of the 1970s, and David Bowie and Iggy Pop spent a few years in Berlin in the late 1970s in one of their most productive phases. The two camps never actually worked together, and there’s been no shortage of speculation about that.

    For his part, Bowie insisted that Kraftwerk was not a significant influence on his Berlin output. In an interview for Uncut in 1999, Bowie did credit Kraftwerk for directing his attention to Europe, but felt that their methods and aims were sharply different:

    My attention had been swung back to Europe with the release of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn in 1974. The preponderance of electronic instruments convinced me that this was an area that I had to investigate a little further.

    Much has been made of Kraftwerk’s influence on our Berlin albums. Most of it lazy analyses, I believe. Kraftwerk’s approach to music had in itself little place in my scheme. Theirs was a controlled, robotic, extremely measured series of compositions, almost a parody of minimalism. One had the feeling that Florian and Ralf were completely in charge of their environment, and that their compositions were well prepared and honed before entering the studio. My work tended to expressionist mood pieces, the protagonist (myself) abandoning himself to the zeitgeist (a popular word at the time), with little or no control over his life. The music was spontaneous for the most part and created in the studio.

    As David Buckley put it in Publikation, his book on Kraftwerk, “What is known is that the Bowie camp and the Kraftwerk camp were on friendly terms.”

    Further evidence of that claim popped up in the well-regarded 2009 documentary on German prog music from the ‘70s, Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany. Iggy Pop is featured telling a story of going shopping with Florian Schneider and one other member of Kraftwerk. According to Pop, Schneider indicated that it was “asparagus season,” and so he would be visiting the market to “select some asparagus.” Pop responded that he would be happy to join Schneider and told the interviewer that they ended up “having a very nice time.”
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Before Depeche Mode was Depeche Mode: Minimalist synth demos from 1980
    10:56 am


    Depeche Mode

    Before there was Depeche Mode, there was Composition of Sound, a minimalist synth act that Vince Clarke, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher formed in the spring of 1980. COS were able to put together a 4-song demo with Clarke on vocals. A few weeks later Clarke heard Dave Gahan singing David Bowie’s “Heroes” at an informal jam session, and asked him to join the group.

    Daniel Miller, the founder of Mute Records who first signed Depeche Mode and was an early musical influence on the band, said of Composition of Sound: “I just thought they looked dodgy—dodgy New Romantics. I didn’t even hear the music at that point.”

    According to Jonathan Miller’s Stripped: Depeche Mode, Composition of Sound did play a handful of gigs. The first COS show with Dave Gahan on vocals happened on June 14, 1980 at Nicholas Comprehensive in Basildon. The poster for the show touted a “Discotheque featuring French Look and Composition of Sound.” Composition of Sound was the headliner and French Look opened. Vince Clarke remembered the gig going pretty well, because Gahan “had all his trendy mates there.”

    The most amusing show COS played sounds like something out of This is Spinal Tap:

    Composition of Sound played a third, as it turned out, final gig with the same line-up at a youth club at Woodlands School, Basildon, where their audience consisted of a bunch of nine-year-olds. “They loved the synths, which were a novelty then,” remembers Fletcher. “The kids were onstage twiddling the knobs while we played!”

    Keep reading after the jump…

    Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
    Life in McHell: The profoundly evil McDonaldland ‘hellscapes’ of Jake and Dinos Chapman

    A tiny version of Ronald McDonald dancing on top of a cross. Part of a ‘hellscape’ by Jake and Dinos Chapman.

    Jake and Dinos Chapman have been creating miniature “hellscapes” for nearly twenty years, with their first one being unveiled to the public in 1999. The diabolical work was unambiguously entitled “Hell” and took two years to make. In a not-so-strange twist of satanic fate, the warehouse that “Hell” was residing in caught fire and the pair’s debut hellscape was destroyed within in a matter of minutes. According to the Chapmans they received a phone call from a journalist about the demise of “Hell” asking them if it was true that “Hell” was “on fire”? Now that’s some cosmic irony.

    Taking the loss in stride the brothers continued their work and followed up “Hell” with “Fucking Hell” which included over 30,000 figures, and the “Sum of All Evil” which focused on bringing together McDonald’s and Nazi symbolism, tormenting the fictional inhabitants of McDonaldland (you know, the place where French fries grow in gardens, hamburgers grow on trees and friendly fishies frolic around in Filet-O-Fish Lake) with visions of cannibalism, mutilation and death. The multi-faceted hellscape took more than six months to complete with the help of fifteen additional workers. While their hellscapes are about as grim as anything I’ve ever seen (and these eyes have seen a lot of grim), the Chapmans insist that their subversive work is meant to be more humorous than shocking. Here’s more from Jake Chapman on that:

    It’s as pessimistic as we can make it, really. But it’s pessimistic in a joyful sense.

    Jake’s sentiment made me pause for a moment during which time I recalled my reaction to the final scene in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 film, Inglourious Basterds wherein the cast gets to rewrite history by obliterating Hitler and his Nazi ilk in a theater. Which was both incredibly gratifying and at times humorous thanks to Tarantino’s uncanny ability to make you laugh while people’s brains are being spattered all over the floor. So, is there joy in seeing a tiny plastic version of Ronald McDonald preparing his signature hamburgers made from the cannibalized remains of dead Nazis? Yes, yes there is some joy there. That said, absolutely everything you are about to see in this post is NSFW. And I’m lovin’ it.

    A shot of the original “Hell” hellscape by Jake and Dinos Chapman that was ironically destroyed in a fire.

    A shot of “Fucking Hell” featuring Hitler serenely painting on a hilltop.

    Another grim angle on “Fucking Hell.”
    More McHell after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    There’s a Cup Noodles Museum in Japan. Let’s take a peek inside.
    09:44 am


    Cup Noodles

    I had no idea there was actually a museum dedicated to Cup Noodles. But there is! And it’s located in Yokohama, Japan, not a college dorm room. Photographer Sam Graham visited the Cup Noodles Museum to show us what it’s like inside. There’s even a life-sized silver sculpture of Nissin founder Momofuku Ando, holding his favorite food.

    I’m intrigued by the Cup Noodles slides and by the artistic interpretations on the Cup Noodles theme. There are so many…

    It also appears there’s a Cup Noodles factory-style cafeteria/restaurant inside the museum similar to that of an IKEA.

    You can see more photos of the museum at Juxtapoz.



    More after the jump…

    Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
    Behold a custom built Lemmy Kilmister fire pit that that spews flames from its face

    The most metal fire pit known to man (or woman), the custom-built Lemmy Kilmister fire pit by Kustom Fire Pits.
    So here’s the deal—I don’t know a whole lot about this custom Lemmy Kilmister fire pit. But I do know enough to tell how to get your hands on one, or one of the other Motörhead inspired fire pit designs done by an outfit in the Netherlands called Kustom Fire Pits.

    According to their Facebook page, the incredibly cool artisan behind these completely metal creations is an artist known as Sjaak. In addition to his many designs, he also accepts commissions. Over on Sjaak’s official site, I learned a little more about the Lemmy fire pit, specifically that it took 120 hours to craft and weighs about 88 pounds. Which unless you live in the Netherlands or Netherlands adjacent, getting the massive Lemmy fire pit to your zip code without taking a second mortgage out on your house might be a challenge. However, once you get a look at some of the other Motörhead pits as well as more of the creations by the talented Dutchman, I think you’ll seriously consider making one of them yours. Here’s a link to Kustom Fire Pits official site where you can get more info on how to do that. Images of the metal as fuck fire-burning Lemmys and other very metal fire pits follow.


    More fire-breathing Lemmy after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    Interstellar Zappadrive: When Frank Zappa jammed with Pink Floyd
    08:43 am


    Frank Zappa
    Pink Floyd

    This post was originally published in 2012, but at that time, the actual footage of Frank Zappa jamming with Pink Floyd had yet to materialize. That changed late last year with the release of the mammoth Pink Floyd box set, The Early Years (released as individual volumes at the end of the month.)

    “The Actuel Rock Festival,” sponsored by the fashionable Parisian youth culture magazine Actuel (along with the BYG record label) was to be the first ever major rock festival in France, and was heralded as Europe’s answer to Woodstock. French authorities, still smarting from the riots of May 1968, forbade it and the festival, which was originally going to take place in or near Paris, was held just a few miles beyond the French border, in Amougies, Belgium.

    The festival took place over the course of five freezing cold days in late October (24-27) of 1969. The audience numbered between 15-20,000 people who were treated with performances by Pink Floyd, Ten Years After, Colosseum, Aynsley Dunbar (this is allegedly where Zappa met his future drummer), former Yardbird Keith Relf’s new group Renaissance, blues legend Alexis Korner, Don Cherry, The Nice, Caravan, Blossom Toes, Archie Shepp, Yes, The Pretty Things, Pharoah Sanders, The Soft Machine, Captain Beefheart and many more.

    From the notes of the 1969 The Amougies Tapes Zappa bootleg:

    Frank Zappa was present at the festival in a twofold capacity. First, as Captain Beefheart’s road manager; secondly, as M.C., assisting Pierre Lattes, a famous radio/TV presenter at the time (and the pop music editor for Actuel magazine). The latter task proved problematic given Zappa’s limited French, the prevailing language among the audience, who themselves didn’t seem to understand much English. Instead, Zappa relinquished his M.C. job for one of occasional guest guitarist. He plays with almost everybody, especially with Pink Floyd, Blossom Toes, Archie Shepp and Aynsley Dunbar, a fabulous drummer he will hire shortly thereafter. He introduces his friend Captain Beefheart and provides a powerful stimulant to all the other musicians. Most legendary, of course, is Frank Zappa’s jam with Pink Floyd on a very extended “Interstellar Overdrive”. The festival was filmed by Jerome Laperrousaz, and the film was to be called MUSIC POWER. Due to objections from various bands (most notably Pink Floyd) whose permission hadn’t been properly secured, the film was never officially released.”

    Simpsons creator Matt Groening asked Zappa about the festival in a 1992 interview, but oddly he doesn’t even mention sitting in with Pink Floyd:

    Frank Zappa: I was supposed to be MC for the first big rock festival in France, at a time when the French government was very right-wing, and they didn’t want to have large-scale rock and roll in the country. and so at the last minute, this festival was moved from France to Belgium, right across the border, into a turnip field. They constructed a tent, which was held up by these enormous girders. They had 15,000 people in a big circus tent. This was in November, I think. The weather was really not very nice. It’s cold, and it’s damp, and it was in the middle of a turnip field. I mean mondo turnips. And all the acts, and all the people who wished to see these acts, were urged to find this location in the turnip field, and show up for this festival. And they’d hired me to be the MC and also to bring over Captain Beefheart. It was his first appearance over there. and it was a nightmare, because nobody could speak English, and I couldn’t speak French, or anything else for that matter, so my function was really rather limited. I felt a little bit like Linda McCartney. I’d stand there and go wave, wave, wave. I sat in with a few of the groups during the three days of the festival, but it was so miserable because all these European hippies had brought their sleeping bags, and they had the bags laid out on the ground in this tent, and they basically froze and slept through the entire festival, which went on 24 hours a day, around the clock. One of the highlights of the event was the Art Ensemble of Chicago, which went on at 5:00 a.m. to an audience of slumbering euro-hippies.

    More (including video footage) after the jump…

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
    Tesco Vee of The Meatmen auctioning off rare vintage toys from his ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ collection

    The great Tesco Vee of The Meatmen sans his giant inflatable penis.
    Perhaps it was his time teaching elementary school for a few years while working to get his zine Touch & Go off the ground that got Tesco Vee interested in collecting toys. Maybe he’s just a big kid himself. Whatever it was, during his lifetime Vee has amassed a rather large array of collectibles that include everything from ABBA dolls, to anything to do with Satan and Red Devil toys. And then there is Vee’s affinity for stockpiling vintage television related-toys such as plastic artifacts created for Get Smart, The Munsters, and The Addams Family. But these things somewhat pale in comparison to Vee’s collection of Man from U.N.C.L.E. toys which the man who still has (and uses) his wide variety of inflatable penises on a regular basis, says may be the largest of its kind in the entire world.

    In a 2014 interview, Vee mused about buying a building where he could open the “Tesco Toy Museum.” There he could showcase his collection of the atomic age fun he’s been collecting since the 80s. Vee is pretty serious about his toy army and sticks by the motto “if it comes in a box, it stays in a box.” Though the reason Vee has decided to sell off 24 toys associated with his Man from U.N.C.L.E. stash isn’t clear, the fact is that he is selling it. So if one of your teenage dreams was to own a toy that was once owned by Tesco Vee, then this is your lucky day, punk.

    A quick peek at eBay tells me that pristine Man from U.N.C.L.E. memorabilia is highly sought after and items such as a handheld pinball game based on the show can sell for a couple hundred bucks. All of the items up for grabs from Vee’s own basement are available to bid on over at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles including a super rare Man from U.N.C.L.E. Target Set that was originally sold through the 1965 Sears Wishbook. Zowie. I’ve included a few images of my favorite items from Vee’s auction below. Happy bidding!

    A puppet based on actor David McCallum’s portrayal of Agent Illya Kuryakin on ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’

    ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Attache Case circa 1965.

    ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Halloween masks for Napoleon Solo (played by actor Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin. Made in 1966. 
    More after the jump…

    Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
    The beautiful lost sculptures of Augusta Savage
    03:30 pm


    Augusta Savage

    The African-American artist Augusta Savage was born in Florida during a leap year on February 29, 1892. Her earliest memories were of the heavy rains and making ducks and chickens from the wet red clay out in the yard. She decided early to become an artist but her father, a strict Methodist minister, tried to whip this dream out of her. He sometimes beat her four or five times a week. It didn’t work. Augusta was determined to go her own way.

    The options for most poor girls at the turn of the last century was go to work, get married and have kids. Augusta married at the age of fifteen in 1907 and gave birth to her only child, Irene, a year later. Not long after this, her husband died. Augusta then got hitched to a carpenter by the name of James Savage. The marriage lasted until the early 1920s when the couple divorced. Augusta liked the surname so decided to keep it.

    With marriage and a baby to look after, Savage didn’t manage take up sculpting again until 1919 when a local sculptor gave her some clay. She knew she had talent but how much she wasn’t sure. Her talent was decidedly confirmed when she entered a couple of her latest sculptures into a local fair. She won top prize. This was just enough encouragement for Augusta. She gave her daughter over to the temporary care of her parents and headed off to New York to enrol as a student at the Cooper Union School of Art.

    To her tutors it became quickly apparent that Savage was an exceptional talent. She passed her four year arts course with flying colors in a speedy three. But not everyone was impressed with this bright and talented young woman. 

    In 1923,  Savage won a place among one hundred other American students to travel to Fontainbleau, France for a summer arts program. Arriving at the venue just outside Paris, Augusta was barred from entry and ejected off the course by the French organizers on grounds of her color. But other people’s racism and stupidity was never going to stop Augusta.

    She returned to New York where she soon set-up a studio in Harlem. Augusta established herself as a portrait sculptor seeking commission from well-to-do African-American families to produce busts. It was during this time that Augusta produced one of her most famous and celebrated works Gamin.

    In 1929, Augusta Savage won another fellowship to study in Paris. This time there was no institutionalized racism standing in her way and all went well. It led to a second fellowship the following year. But upon her return to America in the early thirties, she found the country devastated by the Wall St. Crash and the ensuing Great Depression. No one wanted portrait busts or civic sculptures. Undeterred, Augusta opened the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in Harlem 1932, where she taught art to young kids in the neighborhood.

    Success followed in 1934, when Augusta became the first African-American to be elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. Three years later, she became the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center—which played a crucial role in the lives of many black artists.

    Yet, Augusta Savage’s life always seemed shadowed by obstacle and opposition. The height of her greatest sculptural achievement came when she was asked to create a large sculpture for New York’s World Fair in 1939. Augusta produced a work called The Harp. It took her two years to develop and create. This massive piece of sculpture was inspired by the poem Lift Every Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson. The poem was written in response to “a group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, [who] arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900.”

    Lift every voice and sing  
    Till earth and heaven ring,
    Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
    Let our rejoicing rise
    High as the listening skies,
    Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
    Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
    Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us. 
    Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
    Let us march on till victory is won.

    Augusta’s statue featured twelve black singers rising up from the palm of God forming the shape of a harp. It was one of the main attractions at the fair. But when the show closed, no one was interested in helping Augusta keep the work or having it cast in bronze. The sculpture was smashed to pieces. It was a symbolic finale to Augusta’s career. On returning to Harlem, she found her position at the Community Arts Center had been taken by someone else. Things began to fall apart—more so after America entered the Second World War in 1941. Thereafter, nearly everything Augusta attempted failed. She moved to Saugerties, in the Catskill Mountains and started producing smaller works. But something had been lost. Something that had once been so powerful and resilient had been destroyed.

    Augusta Savage produced less and less work. Most of her original work had been lost or destroyed. By the time of her death in 1962, Augusta Savage was tragically relatively forgotten

    I have created nothing really beautiful, really lasting, but if I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be in their work.

    I don’t know if Augusta celebrated her birthday every four years or shifted around between the 28th Feb. and first of March, but as this is the last day in February maybe we should celebrate Augusta Savage who was truly one of the most significant American sculptors of the twentieth century.
    Augusta in her studio.
    ‘The Harp’ (1939).
    Read more about Augusta Savage, and see more of her work, after the jump…

    Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
    ‘Circus’ by Tom Waits & Kathleen Brennan. Illustrated by Joe Coleman. Narrated by Ken Nordine
    03:16 pm

    Pop Culture

    Narrated by Ken Nordine

    Cover illustration by Daniel Nayari

    Stories for Ways and Means is a new book that features original “grown up” children’s story collaborations by some of this era’s most compelling storytellers from the worlds of music and contemporary art. It’s being published by the long-running indie record label Waxploitation run by entrepreneur and photojournalist Jeff Antebi. The Stories for Ways and Means project lends support to several non-governmental organizations and nonprofit groups aiding children’s literacy causes around the world including Room to Read, Pencils of Promise, 826 National and many more.

    Some of the featured musicians contributing to the project include Frank Black, Laura Marling, Del the Funky Homosapien, Gibby Haynes, Alec Empire, Kathleen Hanna, Devendra Banhart, Nick Cave, Alison Mosshart, Satomi Matsuzaki of Deerhoof, Will Oldham, Gary Numan and ska great guitarist Ernest Ranglin.

    You can order the Stories for Ways and Means book at

    The animated video below, “Circus” is based on a short story by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. It was illustrated by painter Joe Coleman and narrated by the voiceover legend Ken Nordine. It’s really neat.

    Thank you kindly (and happy belated birthday) Sean Fernald of Hollywood, California!

    Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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