Well, for various reasons a slight hiatus here at Allumination; most recently because I am shattered, having been enjoying an epic cycle commute between Clapham Junction, Acton, Stoke Newington, Acton, Oxford Circus and at last Clapham Junction again over the last couple of days! Very satisfying. So this is going to be more of a roundup post than anything else.
That’s not to say that there’s not been – as ever – much Weird Pondering going on at Allumination Central; most recently about H P Lovecraft, and in fact even as I type I’m about to get into the bath and carry on re-reading a key HPL masterpiece, ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ (which rocks, as they say, like an out of control battleship).
As a true HPL geek, I’m typing this while listening to psychedelic 60s rock loons H.P. Lovecraft play their mind altering classic, ‘At the Mountains of Madness’ – key lyric, ‘no, my friend, you’re not toooo hiiiiiiggghhhh… you beloooooong… aaaat the moooooouuuunnnntains ooooooooooooof maaaaaaddddneeeeesssss….’ (which is perhaps missing the point somewhat – but hey, it was the 60s – and in fact that album saw me safely through many a Glastonbury back in the 90s, so they must have been doing something right); and much other HPL related stuff has synchronously popped up over the last couple of days.
First of all, there’s this, recorded in Summer ’97 by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration, somewhere in the Pacific – perhaps the sound of Cthulhu himself, RISING FROM UNKNOWN R’YLEH?!?!?!?!?!? I certainly hope it’s not him; the Bloop is actually a rather unimpressive sound, and in fact my sanity is scarcely blasted despite repeated listenings. A disappointment.
This is rather less disappointing. It’s Charles Stross’ most excellent novelette, ‘A Colder War’, which is both a superb alternate history, refracting the Cthulhu Mythos through cold war paranoia and beyond, and a ferociously pointed warning about where the innate destructiveness and paranoia of those we too often let lead us might take us all.
It’s also very interesting in the light of Farah Mendlesohn’s comment that Lovecraft was in fact writing ‘the epic poetry of the age of corruption’ in her (very enjoyable and just released) ‘Rhetorics of Fantasy’. That’s something I’m going to ponder further and return to, so I’ll leave you with the thought unrambled on for now. And on RoF – I’m about halfway through it, so more on that too when I’ve finished it; for the moment, well worth picking up a copy.
And finally, much pondering of HPL’s relationship with modern art, and in fact Modernism in general. Many debates to be had there, for sure, but for now – Unknown R’yleh as Cubist as it gets? For sure – and is it not spooky just how well Ezra Pound’s Imagist diktat ‘no ideas but in things’ fits the thing-ridden New Englander? Ho yes… but for now, my plush Cthulhu and I wish you good night, as once again the bath has run, and it’s almost Kadath-o-clock…