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William S. Burroughs’ time-traveling experimental flexi disc, ‘Abandoned Artifacts’
08.10.2018
07:04 am
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Talk Talk Vol. 3, No. 6, cover art by William S. Burroughs

The Lawrence, Kansas label Fresh Sounds had a long-standing relationship with William S. Burroughs. In ‘81, owner and proprietor Bill Rich introduced Burroughs to Fresh Sounds recording artists the Mortal Micronotz, to whom the author gave his song lyric about child-chewing, “Old Lady Sloan.” Burroughs later read his Civil War tale, “Death Fiend Guerrillas,” for a Fresh Sounds compilation, and he recorded his own interpretation of “Old Lady Sloan” for a 1995 Mortal Micronotz tribute album.

Bill Rich also edited a magazine called Talk Talk, some of whose numbers came with Fresh Sounds flexi discs. One such issue was Vol. 3, No. 6, published in September ‘81, with cover art by WSB and, inside, a square, six-inch disc of the author reading from the first chapter of The Place of Dead Roads (page 10 in the Picador paperback)—or, more precisely, three Burroughses reading the same text at three different points in space and time. Abandoned Artifacts superimposes recordings from performances in Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco, and it is downright spooky when they match in cadence and tone. Percussion by one Martin Olson juices the passage’s weird, incantatory power.

The interview with Burroughs from Talk Talk Vol. 3, No. 6 helps make sense of the title Abandoned Artifacts, especially if you don’t have The Place of Dead Roads handy:

Mr. B.: We are squandering time and time is running out. We must conceive of time as a resource. That is one of the concepts central to this book. Another is that people are living organisms as artifacts made for a purpose, not cosmic accidents, artifacts created for a purpose.

TT: What are some of the purposes?

Mr. B.: Space. Leaving the planet. We are here to go. This first chapter shows you the concept of living beings as artifacts which is developed much more in the rest of the book. Artifacts created for a purpose, just like arrowheads.

TT: Have you decided on a title?

Mr. B.: Oh, yes, Place of Dead Roads… The planet earth, place of dead roads, dead purposes.

Leaving the planet? Yes, please!
 
Have a listen after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.10.2018
07:04 am
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Acid Ranch: The wild and secret pre-Guided By Voices project that was never meant to be heard
08.09.2018
08:22 am
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Photo shoot for the Guided By Voices album ‘Sandbox,’ 1987. (Courtesy: Robert Pollard)

Robert Pollard, majordomo for Guided By Voices and a host of other projects, isn’t just a prolific songwriter, with over 2,000 published tunes; he’s also one of the best. Pollard’s greatest songs are up there with the finest rock-n-roll ever committed to wax. I’m convinced the Dayton, Ohio, native will one day be called a “national treasure,” but for now, he’s a cult artist with a fanatical following that gobbles up everything he produces—which includes over 100 albums. But it was a long road to respectability and success for Pollard. It would be years before very many people heard Guided By Voices, and along the way, nearly everyone close to him said he should quit fooling around with this music thing.

One of Bob’s early, pre-Guided By Voices undertakings was dubbed Acid Ranch, an endeavor that also included future GBV members Mitch Mitchell and Bob’s younger brother, Jimmy. The trio recorded stealthily in Bob’s basement studio, which he named “the Snakepit.” They had the freedom to do whatever they wanted—both musically and otherwise—and shit did get wild.

Acid Ranch is a key element in Robert Pollard’s development as a songwriter, but it hasn’t been recounted in much detail. That’s about to change with the upcoming biography, Closer You Are: The Story of Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices. Dangerous Minds is happy to have the Acid Ranch section of the book to share with you.

“The most interesting, spontaneously creative, and psychotic, moronic thing we did, we labeled Acid Ranch,” Bob recalls. “You know, secretly. In the lab.” It was the secret part that allowed them to experiment so freely. “Acid Ranch was fearless and ridiculous, because we knew no one would ever hear any of it.”

Recording sessions in the Snakepit circa 1981–1982 were extemporaneous, marathon affairs accompanied by copious amounts of beer, pot, and coke. “We’d go to the point of semi-exhaustion.”

They turned on all the amps, started the tape rolling, and recorded everything—song, interview, or fart. The plan was total creativity, and beyond that there were no further rules. Bob experimented with vocal delivery, falsetto, harmonies, wordplay, and accents ranging from British to a carnival barker’s brassy tone.

 
Pollard brothers
Jimmy Pollard (left) and Bob Pollard (right), 1982. (Courtesy: Robert Pollard)

They got the name Acid Ranch from Spahn Ranch, the Manson’s Family’s hideout, but it was also a play on acid rain. It was only one of the band names Bob and Mitch—and Jimmy once he was back home—recorded under, but it was a favorite. (They were Mailbox when a drum machine was included. “Mailbox was a little bit more refined,” Bob says. “We were influenced by the Smiths and shit.”)

They played whatever was at hand: someone would bang out a rhythm on the clothes dryer or a plastic bucket, Bob played an acoustic guitar or Mitch played bass, they warbled a cappella barbershop harmonies, or even used squeaking squeeze toys—as in the song “Mongoose Orgasm,” a frantic blood relative to the Residents’ Duck Stab and Pink Floyd’s “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict.”

 
Continue reading after the jump…

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Posted by Bart Bealmear
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08.09.2018
08:22 am
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‘I went straight to Hell’: Philip K. Dick did NOT like LSD
08.03.2018
08:25 am
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‘The cross took the form of a crossbow, with Christ as the arrow…’
 
The interview with Philip K. Dick embedded below, recorded in Santa Ana on May 17, 1979, touches on many of the author’s experiences and obsessions—the combat his father saw in World War I, how he came to join the Episcopal Church (“My wife said if I didn’t, she’d bust my nose”), the dying rat who shook his faith, the coming of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point, contemporary attitudes towards homosexuality, compulsory ROTC at the University of California, the time he got pancreatitis from using “bad street dope” cut with film developer, the constant threat posed by authoritarian movements—but I’ve cued it up to this vivid description of a bad, bad trip he had in 1964:

I only know of one time where I really took acid. That was Sandoz acid, a giant horse capsule that I got from the University of California, and a friend and I split it. And I don’t know, there must’ve been a whole milligram of it there. It was a gigantic thing, you know, we bought it for five dollars and took it home and we looked at it for a while—looked at it, we were all gonna split it up—and took that, and it was the greatest thing, I’ll tell you.

I went straight to Hell, is what happened. I found myself, you know, the landscape froze over, and there were huge boulders, and there was a deep thrumming, and it was the Day of Wrath, and God was judging me as a sinner, and this lasted for thousands of years and didn’t get any better. It just got worse and worse, and I was in terrible pain, I felt terrible physical pain, and all I could talk was in Latin. Most embarrassing, ‘cause the girl I was with thought I was doing it to annoy her, and I kept saying Libera me domine in die illa. You know, and Agnus dei qui tollis peccata mundi [...] and especially, Tremens factus sum ego et timeotimeo meaning “I’m afraid”—and I said Libera me, domine! Whining like some poor dog that’s been left out in the rain all night. Finally, the girl with me said “Oh, barf” and walked out of the room in disgust.

It was a little bit like when I rolled my VW. I mean, it was all very messy and strange. The only good part of it was when I looked in the refrigerator, and I hadn’t defrosted the refrigerator for a long time, and there was nothing in the freezer compartment. I looked in, and I saw this giant cavern with stalactites and stalagmites, and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Ashtray, with cigarette butts in it? Most horrible smell I’d ever smelled! But music sounded very beautiful.

About a month later, I got the galleys for Three Stigmata to read over, and I started reading the galleys, and I thought, “Oh dear, I can’t read these galleys. They’re too scary.” Because all the horrible things that I had written about in Three Stigmata seemed to have come true under acid. So I used to warn people then, that was ‘64, and I used to warn people against taking it. I begged people not to take it.

 

 
Dick put one of the characters in A Maze of Death through the same religious bummer, and he wrote about the ways the psychedelic experience resembled mental illness in two mid-sixties essays, “Drugs, Hallucinations, and the Quest for Reality” and “Schizophrenia & The Book of Changes.” The latter includes a passing reference to the eternity he spent in Hell one night:

Yes, friends, you, too, can suffer forever; simply take 150 mg [sic] of LSD—and enjoy! If not satisfied, simply mail in—but enough. Because after two thousand years under LSD, participating in the Day of Judgment, one probably will be rather apathetic to asking for one’s five dollars back.

Biographer Lawrence Sutin reports the eyewitness account of Dick’s friend Ray Nelson, who remembers the author “sweating, feeling isolated, reliving the life of a Roman gladiator, speaking in Latin and experiencing a spear thrust through his body.” Sutin also quotes this portion of a 1967 letter Dick wrote to Rich Brown, which discloses a few more details of the acid vision of God:

I perceived Him as a pulsing, furious, throbbing mass of vengeance-seeking authority, demanding an audit (like a sort of metaphysical IRS agent). Fortunately I was able to utter the right words [the “Libera me, Domine” quoted above], and hence got through it. I also saw Christ rise to heaven from the cross, and that was very interesting, too (the cross took the form of a crossbow, with Christ as the arrow; the crossbow launched him at terrific velocity—it happened very fast, once he had been placed in position).

Listen to what the man says, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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08.03.2018
08:25 am
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Shaken Not Stirred: Recipes for James Bond Cocktails
07.20.2018
10:25 am
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At the height of Bond-mania during the Cold War in the 1960s, some sixty applications arrived every week at the desk of Lieut.-Col. William (“Bill”) Tanner, Chief of Staff at the British Secret Service. That might not seem much in today’s money considering how many billions of texts and emails randomly ping across the world, but these letters were long-considered, deftly-composed, neatly hand-written in the applicant’s best script, and then posted via mail in an envelope with a stamp purchased from the post office (closed Sundays, half-day Wednesdays and Saturdays) to arrive a day or two later on Lieut.-Col. Tanner’s desk.

The writers of these letters were not applying for “clerical or menial grades” but wrote in the hope of being trained as an agent in the “00 Section, the one whose members are licensed to kill.”

Unfortunately for these well-intentioned young men and women, this was not the way by which the Secret Service recruited its spies. Lieut.-Col. Tanner wrote back to each hopeful applicant to say so—but this “went against the grain. So much keen ambition and enthusiasm shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste.”

When he retired from the Service, Tanner decided to do something about this. He compiled The Book of Bond or Every Man His Own 007, which contained “a mine of information for would-be Bonds.”

Of course, Lieut.-Col. William (“Bill”) Tanner (retired) was a fictional creation—the nom de plume of that brilliant writer Kingsley Amis, who was a long-time fan of Bond and his author Ian Fleming. Using Fleming’s novels as his source material, Amis compiled “[a] glorious [tongue-in-cheek] guide to easy Do-It-Yourself Bondmanship…how to look…what to wear, eat, drink and smoke…”

Under the opening chapter on “Drink,” Amis listed James Bond’d favorite cocktails, which included “The Vesper” as featured Fleming’s first Bond novel Casino Royale. This is a “dry martini” served in “a deep champagne goblet” as Bond described it:

“...Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel…..”

Bond describes this concoction as his “own invention,” one that he planned to patent.

“I neve have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be a large and very strong and very cold and very well-made, I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad.”

But note, Bond’s favorite tipple can no longer be made with Kina Lillet or Lillet Vermouth, as they are no longer produced—see below.
 
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In The Book of Bond, Amis detailed the recipes to Bond’s five favorite cocktails as follows:

From ‘Thunderball,’ Ch. 14.

The Old-Fashioned

Made as follows—you don’t do the making, of course, but you should know how: Dissolve a level teaspoon of castor sugar in the minimum quantity of boiling water. Add three dashes of Angostura bitters, squeeze of fresh orange-juice, large measure of bourbon whiskey. Mix. Pour on to ice-cubes in short tumbler. Stir. Garnish with slice of orange and Maraschino cherry.

From ‘Doctor No,’ Ch. 14.’

The Martini.

Made with vodka, medium dry—say four parts of vodka to one of dry vermouth—with a twist of lemon peel. To be shaken with ice, not, as is more usual, stirred with ice and strained.

The full-dress, all-out version of this is

From ‘Casino Royale,’ Ch. 7.


The Vesper.

You will have to instruct the bartender or waiter specifically as follows:

Take three measures of Gordon’s gin, one measure of vodka, half a measure of Lillet vermouth. Shake very well until ice-cold. Serve in a deep champagne goblet with large slice of lemon peel.

...

When the drink arrives, take a long sip and tell the barman it’s excellent, but would be even better made with a grain-base vodka than a potato-base one.

i) The original recipe calls for Kina Lillet in place of Lillet vermouth. The former is flavoured with quinine and would be very nasty in a Martini. Our founder slipped up here. If Lillet vermouth isn’t available, specify Martini Rossi dry. Noilly Prat is good for many purposes, but not for Martinis.

ii) Make sure the barman is very ignorant, or very deferential, or very both, before talking about vodka bases. Potato vodka is the equivalent of poteen, or bath-tub gin, and getting hold of a bottle of it through ordinary commercial channels wouldn’t be easy even on the far side of the Iron Curtain.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.20.2018
10:25 am
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From Bed to Worse: The awesomely bizarre and sleazy pulp art of Robert Bonfils
07.17.2018
08:30 am
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A cover painted by artist Robert Bonfils for a Greenleaf Classics Candid Reader, 1969.
 
For about a decade starting in the early 1960s, up until the time he retired from painting art used for pulp paperbacks and digests, Robert Bonfils (not to be confused with French artist Robert Bonfils), was employed by Greenleaf Publishing. Run by William Hamling, Greenleaf published many things including a vast number of adult-oriented books using art provided almost exclusively by Bonfils until the early 70s, paired with stories written by the wildly prolific, larger-than-life Harlan Ellison, who we just lost late last month, and Kurt Vonnegut.

During Greenleaf’s peak-adult pulp years, Hamling was known to keep his lawyer Stanley Fleishman on the payroll, as his adult books were a constant target of the morality police. While Nixon was occupying the White House in the early 1970s, he came hard for Hamling as did FBI head J. Edgar Hoover. For years Hamling fought lawsuit after lawsuit filed against Greenleaf by the Federal Government and won. Unfortunately an obscenity charge filed by the feds in 1974 did stick and Hamlin and his editor Earl Kemp were both convicted and spent time in federal prison.

Now, here’s the thing. I’m not here to tell you what is or is not obscene. This decision is up to you and you alone—and for sure it should not be up to the fucking government to decide. Of course history often tells a much different version of this battered old story concerning the First Amendment as it relates to freedom of speech and expression. At any rate, Greenleaf was forced to shut down, and the total cost of the books pulled from the shelves following the case equaled nearly a million dollars in sales as Greenleaf was and had been the top distributor of adult sex novellas since the mid-1950s.

Now let’s get to another reason Greenleaf’s books were so controversial—the graphic and shall we say sexually adventurous covers painted by Robert Bonfils. Bonfils was responsible for the vast majority of Greenleaf’s adult lit covers, producing as many as 50 a month starting sometime in the early 1960s. Even when he wasn’t painting strange sleaze for Greenleaf, his style was mimicked by other artists employed or freelancing for the publisher as “readers” responded so strongly to Bonfils’ nearly X-rated paintings for titles such as Dr. Dildo’s Delightful Machine, and God’s Little Orgy.

Which brings me to another point about many of Greenleaf’s adult books—THE TITLES. They are as hysterical as the deviant topics they mean to inform you about—case in point being 1971’s masterpiece of sleaze about swingers, Spicy Meatball Swap. As I mentioned, Bonfils retired from the pulp paperback game in the early part of the 1970s, but would remain a vibrant member of the San Diego Fine Art community where he still resides to this day. For the purpose of this post, I’ve included examples of Bonfils’ super-charged artwork for many of Greenleaf’s amusingly titled books below—all of it is NSFW. YAY!
 

1965.
 

1965.
 

1968.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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07.17.2018
08:30 am
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Harlan Ellison’s stoner rock song
07.10.2018
09:20 am
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(via Pinterest)
 
Harlan Ellison was not a head. In his review of 2001: A Space Odyssey, set in Canter’s Deli at three in the morning, Ellison tells how Rob Reiner and Sal Mineo’s raptures over the movie nearly ruined his matzo ball soup. He subjected their enthusiasm to the full 10,000-watt glare of his withering scorn, disabusing the showfolk of their fond beliefs that 2001 told a story, or had a meaning—pure bullshit, he heard straight from “one of the men listed in the credits as having devised the bloody story” (Clarke?)—and returned to slurping his chicken broth.

And while he was impressed by Three Dog Night during the week he spent on the road with the band in 1970 (“the writer[...] cannot be bought but certainly can be rented”), Ellison preferred Bach and jazz to teenage rock and roll. If he cherished any hopes for youth culture, they were categorically different from the Beatles’; see his 1973 essay, “Why I Fantasize about Using an AK-47 on Teenagers.

Now, if I had ever seen Harlan Ellison stalking the sidewalks of Los Angeles, I would have crossed the street, because I value my life. (If you think his belligerence was just an act, tell it to the ABC executive with the broken pelvis.) But somehow, despite the author’s well-documented hostility to people, places and things, the Ultra Electric Mega Galactic, an instrumental psych-rock group featuring ex-Monster Magnet guitarist Ed Mundell, coaxed these vocals out of Ellison for their self-titled 2013 album.

Here’s Harlan Ellison’s lone essay in heavy rock, “Unassigned Agent X-27.” I love the way he pronounces the “g” in “gnat,” and the way he never curbstomped me while he was alive.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.10.2018
09:20 am
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The British neurologist who uses William S. Burroughs’ ideas to treat Parkinson’s disease
06.14.2018
07:08 am
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Though he never met William S. Burroughs, the British neurologist A.J. Lees credits the author as an important teacher in his recent book, Mentored by a Madman: The William S. Burroughs Experiment.

The expert in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases first encountered Burroughs on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. During the 1970s, after reading Naked Lunch, Lees began experimenting with apomorphine, the substance Burroughs advocated to cure junk addiction, as a treatment for symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

In 2013, again following Burroughs’ example, Lees traveled to the Amazon rainforest to take yagé, or ayahuasca. He told the Guardian that taking the drug “broke down certain rigid structures that were blocking innovations in Parkinson’s disease research.”

Lees has also used apomorphine and Brion Gysin and Burroughs’ Dreamachine to investigate visual hallucinations in Parkinson’s patients.

Below, in an interview at the Beat Hotel, Lees talks with Andrew Hussey about Mentored by a Madman. He’s also spoken about the book on Erik Davis’ Expanding Mind podcast and in a video for ACNR Journal
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.14.2018
07:08 am
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‘The Shining,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ and ‘Frankenstein’: Bags for Book Lovers
06.06.2018
11:00 am
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“If you go home with somebody,” John Waters once said, “and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!”

To save the bother of waiting until you get back to someone’s home before realizing they have no booklined shelves here are some neat bags that let any suitable mate, friend, or potential one-night-stand know you’ve got the literary smarts.

Since 2011, Moscow-based designers Max and Lyuba have produced a series of 129 book bags featuring covers from some well-thumbed classics like Alice in Wonderland, The Catcher in the Rye, and even J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. Each bag is handmade and sold via Max and Lyuba’s KrukuStudio boutique on Etsy.
 
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More bags for book lovers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.06.2018
11:00 am
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Tom Adams’ macabre, surreal, and unsettling covers for classic crime novels
05.23.2018
01:52 pm
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Tom Adams is an artist best-known for his cover artwork for books by Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Kingsley Amis, and John Fowles during the 1960s and 1970s. He also produced posters for the likes of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Soft Machine and album covers for Lou Reed and Iron Maiden. You may not know the name but you will certainly recognize one of the many book covers he has designed, in particular, those for Christie and Chandler.

Adams’ covers for Christie’s classic whodunnits? were usually painted as collages that featured key scenes (and sometimes clues) from the book. These paintings were macabre, unsettling, and very often surreal. Adams continued this style with his covers to Chandler’s novels where two or three storylines are woven into one dream-like image. Lou Reed was such a fan of Adams’ Christie covers, he asked him to provide a painting for his self-titled debut solo album.

Born in in Providence, Maine, in 1926, Adams studied at the Chelsea School of Art and then Goldsmith’s College where he graduated with a diploma in painting. Adams went onto work on a variety of comics including Eagle where he wrote and illustrated Regimental Histories. In 1958, he co-founded a design company producing murals for various institutions and then furniture for the likes of Harrods. In 1962, he was asked to design the cover for Christie’s A Murder is Announced, which led to Adams designing covers for Christie’s back catalog. However, it should be noted that Adams’ covers for the UK print run differ considerably from the US editions. UK publishers Fontana allowed Adams free reign to create his own designs. PocketBooks in the US commissioned Adams to produce only one scene for the cover. Prints of Adams “alarmingly realistic’ covers are available here.
 
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More dark and disturbing covers, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2018
01:52 pm
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Ghouls, H.P. Lovecraft & beyond the beyond: The deeply creepy creations of artist John Holmes
05.17.2018
10:49 am
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A painting by British artist John Holmes.
 
From the time he held his first solo art exhibition in 1961, the art of British painter and illustrator John Holmes has expanded the minds of his fans with his imaginative take on monsters and other makers of mayhem. After hustling his craft hard in the early 60s, a few years later Holmes found himself busy working almost non-stop creating artwork for all kinds of publications including Playboy and UK women’s magazine, Nova. Later, Holmes would hook up with the art director for British publishing company Granada Books, and his ghoulish illustrations would be used widely on titles from authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Pynchon and perhaps most famously on the cover of the 1970 edition of Germaine Greer’s book, The Female Eunuch. Holmes’ floating female torso for Greer’s book was preceded by his disquieting work featured on the album cover, gatefold and back of Ceremony: An Electronic Mass—the collaboration of prog rock band Spooky Tooth and French electro-producer Pierre Henry .

Initially, Holmes’ work was much more abstract—a stark contrast to his strangely realistic work which would make him famous. His art was also widely used for the popular series The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories—and if you were a child of the late 60s, 70s or even the early 80s, I’m sure you will recognize at least one of Holmes’ eerie, minimalistic paintings in this post. Much of what follows is NSFW.
 

Holmes’ artwork which appeared on the cover of an edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Tomb (and other stories).’
 

The cover of Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow.’
 

Holmes’ cover for the 1973 book by Poul Anderson, ‘Beyond the Beyond.’
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.17.2018
10:49 am
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