Saturday 26 March 2011

Eddie O'Keefe - The Ghosts

I recently came across American film maker Eddie O'Keefe's new short 'The Ghosts'. A tale of a girl in a small town, the film has a hypnagogic, lucid dreaming quality - did this happen? Is it a projection of the hopes and dreams of the main character? Decide for yourself. As well as being beautifully photographed, it has a wonderfully atmospheric soundtrack.

'The Ghosts' features two of my favourite things - fairground architecture and 'Sleep Walk' by Santo & Johnny. Watch!

The GHOSTS from Eddie O'KEEFE on Vimeo.


We're back after an interminable wait to fix the scanner, and here is the magazine 'Spacemen' as promised. This copy was bought in Oxfam for 50p, which must be an Oxfam record as most of it's books are somewhat on the pricey side. Rather charmingly the cover bears the date March 1964, which has then been blacked out and replaced by 'June'. It's billed as 'The World's Only Space Movie Magazine' and was a precursor of the various cult TV / SFX type publications. The chief interest in 'Spacemen' is that it must have provided the only source of information on SF and fantasy films for many fans in the early sixties, and probably the only source of images. The pages of the magazine are full of adverts for 8mm prints of films, spoken word LPs and film-related books and comics. You can also buy Venus fly traps and parachutes, but that's another story.

The 'Orbituary Department' section is the one that really catches the attention of the modern reader. Fans write in and request a still from a film that has caught their eye or stuck in their memory - so we get a printed image that confirms a fleeting impression from a film seen in the recent past. What we don't know is whether, for example, Fran Keylark thought that the Martians from 'The Three Stooges in Orbit' were worth the price of a stamp (I for one think they do). For all the technology and fantastical happenings that these sci-fi films portray, the society that produced them was unable to produce a way of capturing them and allowing their fans to watch them or look at still images 'on demand'. The fact that I can now, with a few keystrokes watch the 1958 clinker 'Queen of Outer Space' for free says a lot about the strides made in digital technology in recent years. It's poignant to think that we now have vastly more technology in our homes than is portrayed in these uber-futurist fantasies of the late fifties and early sixties, and probably more poignant that people cared deeply enough to write a request to see a single picture.

As well as the requests service, 'Spacemen' also played a practical role by informing readers of new sci-fi and fantasy releases. Stills accompany the listings and some of them look great. I really want to see German film 'Sonny's Flight to the Moon', if only to confirm that it really does have six women in bowler hats and snorkels patrolling the lunar surface with umbrellas. Anyone heard of it?

Then there's 'Planet of the Storms', the 1962 Russian film that was later chopped up and used as the basis for Curtis Harrington's 'Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet' and the Peter Bogdanovich / Mamie van Doren barrel scrape-athon 'Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women'. Interestingly (to me) the black and white pictures I scanned from 'Spacemen' look much more like images from Mars or Venus than the crisp, full-colour cinematography of the actual film.

Inevitably there will be more from 'Spacemen' later. And if anyone really has seen 'Sonny's Flight to the Moon', I'll send you a letter requesting a synopsis and photograph.

Thursday 17 March 2011


It's typical. Just when I'd got a load of old sexist adverts from seventies trade magazines as well as esoteric early seventies avant-garde architecture and a weird sixties American sci-fi fan magazine (which has a page where readers request a still from a particular film to be printed because they remembered it was a good scene) my bloody scanner breaks. As we are on a tight budget at between channels there may well be a short hiatus whilst I search eBay for a new thermionic valve (or go to Staples). To tide you on here's an old back issue of 'Processing' magazine, featuring a bloke and a big bank of controls. Until later ...

Monday 7 March 2011

Aktion! or, C.E. Fudge unmasked.

I don't know, nothing for ages and then two posts in a day. This is advertising H.A. Schult's 1970 performance piece 'Aktion 20.000km'. Schult travelled across Germany in a Citroen Diane, recording his thoughts and experiences on tape, and photographing people and things he saw on the way. At each stop he sold his photographs, used maps, tapes and spare bits of car. In Schult's own words; "A whole land as an environment ... For twenty days people have reacted who have never heard about art."

As a postscript to my adventures with C.E. Fudge, I can now reveal the great man's identity. Professor Colin Fudge is Pro-Vice Chancellor & Vice-President of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and I have contacted him with regard to returning his portfolio of pictures. No answer as of yet but I wait with bated breath. Many large thank-yous to Chris Marsden of Huddersfield gem and Manchester Modernists, who provided this (and much more) information on Professor Fudge. Please check out the links as Huddersfield's Queensgate Market is definitely of interest to readers of both this blog and Found Objects.

It feels strange knowing the identity of C.E. Fudge. The young man who boldly travelled to the farthest corners of modernist Britain, from Cumbernauld to the Chelsea Drug Store, is now revealed as a Professor and an expert in his field. I wonder if he had any inkling he would end up in Australia, or as a senior figure in an educational establishment. Probably - people like that are both talented and driven, with a will to succeed in their chosen field and a willingness to take risks that can offer them professional and personal fulfillment. However, if it wasn't for people like me - beetling around charity shops and second hand book dealers when they could be writing that CV - nobody would have seen Professor Fudge's wonderful photographs in the first place. I do have some work-related things to do tonight, but might just do a bit of scanning first...

Spring Reading

Like a squirrel burying its nuts in winter, I have recently stockpiled a few paperbacks for reading in more clement times. These are they ...

It all starts with the CND, and ends with the Reds marching down Whitehall (according to the blurb). Tantalisingly there was a TV adaptation filmed by Associated Rediffusion in 1962 featuring Peter Vaughn and Denholm Elliott. By the same author (full name Robert Louis Constantine Lee-Dillon Fitzgibbon) - ahem - 'Adultery Under Arms'.

A collection of John Wyndham science fiction and horror stories, the titular name is short for 'Giselle', before I get any smutty comments (although you're welcome to comment on the word 'titular'). This is the 1978 edition, with uncredited ace title artwork.

Random sample - Page 219. 'Retribution - 'Baptize with dirt.' 'Throw stones at his feet to make him dance.' 'Take off his shoes and put water, grass and earth down his neck.' 'Spit in his face.' 'Make him cut his finger.' 'Put itching powder down his neck.'

I like Stapledon, one of the more agreeably bonkers classic British sci-fi writers. I have misplaced my copy of 'Odd John' (which, according to the rear cover 'explores the concept of man-love') but am looking forward to 'Sirius', where a puppy is born with the mind of a man following a series of experiments. Seeing as I also like Bulgakov's 'Heart of a Dog' there is a great sense of expectation. The cover is Paul Klee's 'In the Land of Precious Stone'.

Sample chapters; 'Abodes of Horror', 'Messages from the Grave' and 'Beware of the Sheep'. I'm sure Acid Mist released a concept album about this...

Featuring some great photographs that, weak spine permitting (the book's not mine) I will scan at a later date. There is mention of Tom Ventress and the near-two-ounce gooseberry he entered in the Egton Bridge Old Gooseberry Show in 1952, but sadly no photograph.

Plus about five people cornered me for World Book Day, so I also have lots of bestsellers to read and pass on. Perhaps Found Objects could do something similar - I'd be willing to swap some old copies of 'Practical Wireless' for a salacious primer on witchcraft. Anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Groovy Pads

After a recent hiatus I will quickly post some groovy pad designs, and there are some at Found Objects too. I think we're safe to assume these designs are from the late sixties / turn of the seventies.

'Centering Environment' by Ted Hallman Jr. I'd get pretty centered in there, I can tell you.

'Moon Man Fountain' by Neke Carson, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, New York.

'Reclining Space for one' by Wendell Castle.

'The Sitting Room' designed by Elizabeth Harrison, ICA.

I'll be back on track with a little C.E. Fudgery later in the week.