FOLLOW US ON: follow us in feedly
GET THE NEWSLETTER
CONTACT US
Fantastic Beasts: Fabulous illustrations from classic Persian book of fables
08.31.2017
09:47 am
Topics:
Tags:

01canopus.jpg
 
Once upon a time, in the land of Persia, there lived a very wise old King called Anushirvan who had heard of an ancient book of tales told by animals and reptiles and the birds of the air. The King he decided he would very much like to read this book as he had read all of the other books in his library and he desperately wanted something new to read at bedtime so he could completely relax after his wearisome day ruling and begetting stuff and doing kingly things. The King asked his doctor, Burzuyah, who was the smartest man he knew, to go off in search of this book and bring it back to him. One bright early morning before the birds started singing, Burzuyah left the King’s palace and went off in search of this fantastic book of tales.

The book is called Anvār-i Suhaylī or Lights of Canopus and that is how our story begins. It sets the frame within which we are told a series of inter-related fables mostly involving animals that are intended to offer good counsel to the reader.

For example, one story (which sounds a bit like The Gruffalo) tells of a big, greedy, ferocious lion and a smart, little hare. When the lion meets the hare, he asks him why he is so late as he was due to be the lion’s dinner hours ago. The hare is most apologetic and tells the lion he is ever so sorry for being late but an even bigger, greedier, far more ferocious lion had stopped him on his way and tried to eat him. Thankfully, the hare escaped otherwise he would never have been in time for his dinner appointment. The lion thinks he’s got a rival so asks the hare to lead him to this other lion. The hare does so, taking the lion to the still of a pond where he points to the lion’s reflection on the surface of the water. The lion is so enraged by the look of this other ferocious beast that he jumps straight into the water and drowns.

Another tale recounts how a cat is caught in the net of a hunter’s trap. The rat the cat had been chasing is happy to see his old adversary caught. But then the rat realizes that without the cat’s protection, he is vulnerable to attack from some of the cat’s other prey like the owl and the weasel. Knowing the cat is trapped, the owl circles the sky looking for the rat to feast on. While the weasel sneaks behind a tree waiting for the rat to return home, so he can have him for his dinner. The rat decides it would be best to free the cat and begins to gnaw through the ropes that hold him. All the while, the rat implores the cat not to eat when he is free. The cat agrees but somehow his words never quite reassure the rat. So the rat decides to set the cat free at the very last moment when the hunter returns. The hunter returns. The owl flies away. The weasel runs home. The rat bites through the last rope. The cat flees from the trap and hides up a tree. And the rat goes back to his home knowing he is safe once again.

You get the drift.

And so the stories go with one tale setting up the next and so on. The idea is that the reader will learn something from these stories about human nature and perhaps about themselves…
 
02canopus.jpg
 
03canopus.jpg
 
04canopus.jpg
 
More fabulous illustrations, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
08.31.2017
09:47 am
|
The hilariously f*cked-up art of defacing kids’ coloring books (NSFW)
08.25.2017
09:09 am
Topics:
Tags:

05colorcorr.jpg
 
Looking for a scintillating opening paragraph to begin this piece on hilariously defaced kids’ coloring books, I thought it’d be fun to share a few of the images with a psychoanalyst friend to get his take. Oh boy, was that a bad idea. His eventual response after a few hours of email silence was:

I’d really like to ask the question “Where did the bad man touch you?”

Note to self: Humor and analysis don’t mix.

Second note to self: Never go to an analyst.

But at least I got my opener, well, other than saying:

You’ll never be able to look your favorite childhood cartoon characters in the eye again after a swatch of these Coloring Book Corruptions. Just take a moment to look at what they’ve done to poor Eeyore or innocent little Bambi and darn-it! even Bert ‘n’ Ernie and you’ll see what I mean. (Though to be fair, the Bert ‘n’ Ernie picture does seem somehow kinda likely, though why I’m not quite sure.)

Since the dawn of cave paintings and other cliched tropes, people have been drawing dicks and tits and generally fucking up other people’s artwork with occasional gut-busting results. Admit it. What was more fun in high school? Listening to the calculus teacher drone on about whatever the fuck calculus is or drawing dicks on the pictures in some text book?

The doodling talent behind Coloring Book Corruptions explains how it all started out of “boredom.”

Boredom will produce a wide variety of things. One fine day whilst visiting my cousin, we decided to color. If not for her enjoyment of this hobby, this past time would have never been born. We sat down to begin and I casually flipped through a rather large coloring book. Perhaps it was fated that this particular coloring book was full of slightly deranged looking animals. I could not help but imagine them plotting and feuding with one another. Inspired, I began to turn a seemingly innocent children’s coloring book into something both awful and hilarious (at least to me). I feel this concept should be shared with the world based on the twisted amusement it has brought me.

Coloring Book Corruptions seemed to disappear for a couple of years (or maybe that was just me not paying attention), but now you too can enhance some treasured childhood memory with some pencils or crayons right here.
 
022colcorr.jpg
 
012colcorr.jpg
 
More comic coloring book chortles, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
08.25.2017
09:09 am
|
Live from the bardo: Éliane Radigue’s synth interpretation of ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’
08.24.2017
08:30 am
Topics:
Tags:


Éliane Radigue as pictured on the cover of ‘Feedback Works 1969-1970
 
In 1988, the electronic composer Éliane Radigue completed Kyema, Intermediate States, a sonic representation of the after-death state described in the Bardo Thödol (or Tibetan Book of the Dead). It became the first section of her three-part meditation on death, Trilogie de la Mort.

Radigue became a Buddhist (with, it’s said, a push from Terry Riley) in the mid-seventies, and Tibetan Buddhism is the subject of much of her subsequent work; she has, for example, composed music based on the life and songs of Milarepa.

Since every source I’ve consulted describes the trilogy as a response to the death of Radigue’s son, Yves Arman, to whom Kyema is dedicated, and to the death of one of her spiritual teachers, it’s worth pointing out that Kyema was completed and had already made its debut when Yves Arman died suddenly in a car crash the following year. Similarly, my powerful search engine only turns up bhikkus associated with Radigue (Pawo Rinpoche and Kunga Rinpoche, in their pertinent incarnations) who died in 1991. So I begin to doubt these deaths inspired the work in its initial stage.
 

 
A limited, numbered edition of Trilogie de la Mort came packaged in a skull sculpted by Radigue’s former husband, the artist Arman.

Continues after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
|
08.24.2017
08:30 am
|
Bad trips and clowning for Christ: An unbelievable collection truly awful library books
08.21.2017
10:36 am
Topics:
Tags:


The fantastic cover of the 2006 book, ‘Knitting With Balls.’
 
I have to give it to the dynamic duo of Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner—a pair of public librarians in Michigan who run the fantastic site Awful Library Books. For about a decade Kelly and Hibner have been posting images of what they describe as “amusing and questionable” library books they have found, as well as submissions from their fans. To date, the site has posted 634 pages full of bizarre books covering topics on the dangers of ritual satanic abuse to the riveting sounding Wonders of Dust—a 79-page book published in 1980 about fucking DUST.

Before I knew it, I had dug through 100 pages on Awful Library Books before I forced myself to walk away from my desk because I couldn’t stop clicking to see what literary horrors were on the next page. Kelly and Hibner are pretty much the greatest people alive, and their prolific work has been featured in TIME, and on Jimmy Kimmel Live! I’ve posted a ton of images from Awful Library Books below, all of which defy logical explanation.
 

The cover of the 1977 book, ‘Looking Forward To Being Attacked.’
 

A page from inside of ‘Looking Forward To Being Attacked.’
 
More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Cherrybomb
|
08.21.2017
10:36 am
|
Naughty Nuns: Vintage nun porn from the classic tale ‘The Nun’ & more (NSFW or church)
08.04.2017
10:42 am
Topics:
Tags:

03naunu.jpg
 
Denis Diderot might sound like the name of some superstar French soccer player but it is in fact the name of a famous Enlightenment writer, philosopher, and playwright, who might do you good getting to know.

Diderot (1713-84) had the smarts. Apart from all his fancy writing, Diderot was also co-founder, editor and contributor of Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (Encyclopaedia, or a Systematic Dictionary of the Sciences, Arts, and Crafts), or the Encyclopedia. His intention was to make information and knowledge available to all—well, at least to all those who could read that is. Diderot and his buddies wanted to break the superstitious rule of religion over their fellow citizens. To this end, he was always asking difficult questions of religious believers, gently poking fun, and writing controversial philosophical tracts on the question of God, belief, design, and all that.

Take, for example, his book The Skeptic’s Walk which featured a deist, a pantheist, and an atheist out on convivial perambulation together where each offered up their thoughts on God, the universe, and so forth. Due to its content, the book was not published in Diderot’s lifetime. It was long believed the only copy of Diderot’s original handwritten text had been confiscated by the police not long after its completion in 1752. Thankfully, it turned out that Diderot had another copy (told you he was smart) which was eventually published in 1830.

Anyway, you’re not here to read about Enlightenment philosophy, you’re here to see naughty nuns, and we’ll get to that shortly, well, unless of course you’ve already scrolled past all of this and are getting an eyeful below. Good luck with that. That’s kinda like people who “Like” things on Facebook but never click the fucking link. But let’s get back to Diderot.

You see, Diderot was also a bit of a scallywag and a wit. He had a propensity for pranking his buddies which on one occasion led to his infamous work of literature, La Religieuse or The Nun.

The Nun all started when Diderot was miffed over the loss of one of his drinking buddies who had moved out of Paris and back to some big fancy country estate in Normandy. To draw him back to Paris, Diderot started writing his pal (Marquis de Croismare) a series of letters purportedly from a nun called Suzanne Simonin. This young lady had been forcibly sent to a nunnery by her greedy and ungrateful family—a common occurrence at the time—where she found herself preyed upon by sadistic lesbian Abbess of Ste-Eutrope.

The Marquis on receiving these missives from such an unfortunate young woman, wrote back offering his help. Diderot continued the ruse until the Marquis demanded to meet with the young lady to get her free from her imprisonment in the convent, at which point Diderot wrote a final letter from another fictional character claiming the young girl was dead. Later, when all was revealed, the Marquis found the whole prank “hilarious,” as he had acted honorably throughout. (I’m guessing that this was expressed with more of a nervous titter than an outright LOL-style guffaw.)

The correspondence started an idea in Diderot’s head to write a book based on his letters and this became La Religieuse. Published twelve years after his death in 1796, The Nun became a scandalous hit. Obviously tame by today’s standards, the book’s notoriety continued right up to the 1960s when filmmaker Jacques Rivette made a movie of The Nun which was banned by French authorities after the Catholic Church ran a letter-writing campaign to have the film stopped. Rivette’s rather dull movie went on to be nominated for a Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.

I’ve never quite got the whole nuns as sex objects thing—maybe the attraction for some is the frisson of deflowering someone who is supposedly betrothed to the Son of God. Or simply a manifestation of “hot for teacher” for lapsed Catholics? Many nuns were forced into convents against their will (like the character in Diderot’s book), and many (even today ) had the sexual attentions of priests and bishops forced upon them against their will. When Aldous Huxley pointed out that the grounds of some convents were littered with the skeletons of dead babies it is as if he is landing the blame solely with the women. This kind of selective blindness never equates male desire and sex with the consequences of pregnancy or disease.

In 1947, Paul-Émile Bécat produced a series of illustrations for Diderot’s The Nun. DM’s featured Bécat’s work before, and he had a highly respected reputation as an artist and for illustrating some of the most infamous and famous books of French literarture—see more here. This small selection mainly features on the nuns Bécat drew for Diderot’s book and some other works.
 
036taceb.jpg
 
06taceb.jpg
 
More sacrilegious nun action, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
08.04.2017
10:42 am
|
The White Russian emigre who drew fairy tales and erotica (NSFW)
07.27.2017
11:55 am
Topics:
Tags:

00rojanero.jpg
 
Amidst the slaughter of the First World War, 23-year-old Feodor Stepanovich Rojankovsky (1891-1970) decided he wanted to be an illustrator of children’s books. Rojankovsky was an officer with the Imperial Russian Army, serving in Poland. When the Russian Revolution came, he moved to the Ukraine, where he started his career as an illustrator of fairy tales and children’s books. But this first taste of his future career was short lived as Rojankovsky was conscripted into the White Army—a rag tag confederation of anti-Communists—and sent to fight against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War. Rojankovsky was on the losing side and ended up behind barbed wire as a prisoner of war. On his release, he escaped to France, where he began his career as an illustrator in earnest.

Rojankovsky later claimed two things inspired his career as an artist. A childhood trip to the zoo to see “the most marvelous creatures on earth: bears, tigers, monkeys and reindeer,” and the present of a set of color crayons. The animals inspired his imagination, with the crayons he could bring his imagination to life.

In France, he adopted the name “Rojan,” an abbreviation of his surname. As an artist, Rojankovsky had a great facility for producing work in various different styles. This made him very popular with publishers who hired him to illustrate hundreds of children’s books and many works of classic and erotic works of literature by the likes of Paul Verlaine and Raymond Radiguet among others.

In 1941, when France capitulated to the invading German armies during the Second World War, Rojankovsky fled to America, where he established himself as a preeminent and award-winning illustrator of kids’ books. His work was so popular that for several generations of young Americans, Rojankovsky’s paintings and drawings were their first introduction to art and illustration. Classic books like Frog Went A-Courtin’, Rapunzel, Snow White, and The Three Bears.

As he established himself as a children’s artist, Rojankovsky also managed to maintain a highly successful career as an illustrator of some pretty hardcore erotica. It was as if that moment of self awareness long, long ago on a battlefield presciently reflected his future double life as an artist of high ideals and far more baser instincts.
 
01snorojan.jpg
Snow White: One of Rojan’s many children’s illustrations.
 
035rojankid.jpg
From ‘The Big Elephant Played His Horn” (1949).
 
00rojanero1222.jpg
 
02rojanero.jpg
 
More of Rojan’s erotic artwork, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
07.27.2017
11:55 am
|
Doctor Faust’s handy guide to conjuring up demons
07.14.2017
10:39 am
Topics:
Tags:

00faustpraxis.jpg
 
The story of Doctor Johann Georg Faust is better known through literature and legend than by the few existing facts which document his life. Even his birth date is an estimate ranging from 1466 to 1480, which covers two broken mirrors’ worth of supposition. Anyway, what little is known can be roughly put down thus:

Faust was a scholar and a Doctor of Philosophy. He was an itinerant alchemist, astrologer, magician, and occultist. He performed magic tricks in shows and wrote horoscopes on commission. During his life, he was variously described as a trickster, a fraud, and a con man—-mainly due to customers dissatisfied with their horoscopes. He was denounced by the Church as being “in league with the Devil,” a necromancer, a practitioner of Black Magic, and a “sodomite” who corrupted and abused his students. This latter accusation almost led to his arrest and imprisonment.

He wrote several grimoires and chapbooks, including the chapbook featured here Praxis Magia Faustiana (1527) in which he described how to conjure up demons like “Mephistopheles.” This was the very first time the name “Mephistopheles” was ever documented. According to legend, Mephistopheles was the demon to whom Faust sold his soul in return for unlimited knowledge and wealth. We don’t what exactly happened when Faust “conjured” up this demon, we do, however, have Faust’s description of him as one of the Seven Great Princes of Hell who:

...stands under the planet Jupiter, his regent is named Zadikel, an enthroned angel of holy Jehovah…his form is firstly that of a fiery bear, the other and fairer appearance is as of a little man with a black cape and a bald head.

Doesn’t sound so terribly demonic, does it?

Faust did have some fans—including one bishop who considered his astrological work very convincing and some academics who praised his medical knowledge. But generally, he was greatly feared and was banished from Ingolstadt in 1528. Faust died in an explosion during an alchemical experiment circa 1541. His body was hideously scarred. This gave rise to the legend he had died during a conjuring rite and the Devil had sent his emissary Mephistopheles to bring Faust’s soul to Hell.

Faust’s chapbooks provided the source material for Christopher Marlowe‘s play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (circa 1588), in particular the following volume that first detailed Faust’s dealing with the tricky Mephisopheles.

The text opens with a long list of the names of angels and demons before invoking the “Spirit by the power and virtue of the letters which I have inscribed - do I command thee to give me a sign of thy arrival.”

Then more names:

Larabay + Belion + Sonor + Soraman + Bliar + Sonor + Arotan + Niza + Raphael + Alazaman + Eman + Nazaman + Tedoyl + Teabicabal + Ruos, Acluaar + Iambala + Cochim

Zebaman + Sehemath + Egibut + Philomel + Gazaman + Delet + Azatan + Uriel + Facal + Alazamant + Nisia + By the most sacred and holy mercy of God + Zeyhomann + Acluaas + Niza + Tachal + Neciel + Amatemach + Her somini +

By this I compel thee to appear unto me before this circle and to do what I command thee…

Before finishing:

Now do I conjure and command thee O Evil Spirit by the powers of Heaven and by the words of life…Mephistophilis and by the power off the words +Tetragram + Agla + Adonay + Amin

~Snip!~

Now I conjure thee to come from thy abode even from the farthest parts by these great and mighty names - Tetragrammaton - Adonai - Agla - and to appear before me receiving and executing my demands truly and without falsehood I command thee O Spirit Rumoar -, even by t[h]y great sovereign Lucifer.

A full transcript can be read here.
 
01faustpraxis.jpg
 
02faustpraxis.jpg
 
More of Faust’s conjuring tricks, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
07.14.2017
10:39 am
|
Confessions of a Dirty Book Writer: The sexy, saucy paperback books of ‘Timothy Lea’ & ‘Rosie Dixon’
07.14.2017
10:31 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
George Orwell is said to have kicked off the arena of pop culture analysis when he published his essay “The Art of Donald McGill” in 1941. Donald McGill was a graphic artist who excelled at a certain type of vulgar postcard with a saucy punchline that could be purchased at seaside resorts in England in the first decades of the twentieth century. Orwell, who had been a middle-class scholarship case at upper-crusty Eton, was fascinated by the peculiar and repressed relationship to sex that the postcards tended to reveal among the English masses who adored the cards.

Kate Fox, author of the 2004 book Watching the English, noted that in her hundreds of interviews of British citizens for the book, there was only one subject that made them truly uneasy, across the board. “Trying to interview people about sex” was difficult, she said. “The English simply cannot talk about it without making a joke of it. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction.”

All of which brings us to the impressive novelistic oeuvre of Christopher Wood, a name that will likely not ring any bells. Wood as a British advertising executive who became a one-person publishing sensation in the 1970s when he pitched the idea of writing erotic comic novels to Sphere, a publisher of paperbacks. The first one was called Confessions of a Window Cleaner, and it set the template for many more, such as Confessions of a Milkman, Confessions of an Ice Cream Man, and Confessions of a Long-Distance Lorry Driver. He used the pen name “Timothy Lea.”

In 1973 Wood/Lea told Penthouse that each book took him about five weeks to complete. Using the Lea pseudonym, Wood wrote 19 books in the Confessions series. He also invented a female alter ago named “Rosie Dixon,” whose best-known book was Confessions of a Night Nurse.
 

 
1974 saw the start of the movie versions of some of the Confessions books, starring Robin Askwith. Confessions of a Window Cleaner was the first one, and it was followed by Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Driving Instructor, and Confessions of a Summer Camp Councillor. In 1978 Rosie Dixon: Night Nurse came out, starring Debbie Ash in the title role. To say these movies were popular is putting it mildly: according to the Independent, Confessions of a Window Cleaner had the most profitable box office of any movie in the U.K. for 1974.

The prolific Wood also published novelizations of James Bond movies (many of which, obviously, started out as Ian Fleming novels). He co-wrote the script for The Spy Who Loved Me and wrote the screenplay for Moonraker.

The Confessions books have become collector’s items, and many are available as ebooks or used on Amazon.
 

 

 
Many more excellent book covers after the jump…...
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
|
07.14.2017
10:31 am
|
For the lush who has everything: Hollowed-out A.A. ‘Big Book’ reveals a hidden hooch flask
07.14.2017
07:52 am
Topics:
Tags:


 
What better place to store your hooch than in an Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book?”

Punnily-named Etsy seller SleepyHollowedBooks deals exclusively in hand-made hollowed-out books, or “book safes.”

Another one of their listings first caught my eye, a hollowed-out Holy Bible that houses a paperback of LaVey’s The Satanic Bible.
 

Guaranteed to get you into Hell (if you believe in that sort of thing).
 
But it’s the A.A. book with the hidden flask that really won me over, conceptually. Pure genius.

This booze-safe is made from a copy of Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition from 2001. The cover is blue faux leather with gold print.

This is a one-of-a-kind item and may go fast. The price is $39, which is actually kind of a steal for a hand-made item that includes a flask.

According to the seller, the first two pages are not glued down, so at first glance, it appears to be a normal book. The book is glued with three layers of Mod Podge, reinforced inside with brad nails, and glued to the back with wood glue.
 

 

 
You can find more hollowed-out book treasures at the seller’s Etsy shop. The seller also offers a hollowed-out book on first-year parenting with a hidden flask.

Posted by Christopher Bickel
|
07.14.2017
07:52 am
|
Bad Bunny: True children’s stories of violent, drug-fueled family life presented as a kids’ book
07.07.2017
10:48 am
Topics:
Tags:

015welneigh.jpg
 
Childhood is sometimes described by those privileged enough to know as the best years of our lives. This may be the case for the few but not always so for the many.

An American educational charity called Youth Ambassadors, which helps underprivileged kids reach their full potential, has come up with a rather simple idea to highlight the often grim reality of how some young people spend their childhoods. It’s a fake children’s book called Welcome to My Neighborhood.

It’s presented just like any other kids picture book with friendly, cuddly bunnies, cats, and mice telling the story of their lives. The big difference is this ain’t no Beatrix Potter or Wind in the Willows. This is a collection of disturbing true stories of domestic violence, drugs, crime, murder, and prison as recounted by disadvantaged children from some of America’s most deprived places. Not even the seemingly family-friendly illustrations can disguise the brutality of the children’s lives as drug-addict Daddy Rat beats his kids, the Bunny Brothers whack people, and Mister Fox is a gung-ho, trigger-happy cop.

Whether Welcome to My Neighborhood will actually make any real difference to the plight of these youngsters other than being something the chattering class will smile knowledgeably about over their quinoa salads and tofu chai latte, I ain’t so sure. But it’s certainly 10/10 for originality and effort. Download a PDF of this book here or, if you’re interested in doing some good, find out how to help Youth Ambassadors here.
 
01welneigh.jpg
 
02myneigh.jpg
 
More sad tales, after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
|
07.07.2017
10:48 am
|
Page 3 of 81  < 1 2 3 4 5 >  Last ›