Being a record of the ruminations, ramblings and obsessions of a Hound of the noblest breed (or so His Lordship claims, anyway). The focus being on dark music and culture, style, spirituality and - naturally – Basset Hounds.
Welcome to the chronicles of Lord Bassington-Bassington, coming to you from Little Storping in the Swuff – a quaint place located somewhere between England’s Lake District and the outskirts of the Norwegian capital.
This is intended as a log of His explorations of music, books, films and so on. I, your humble chronicler, is merely His Lordship’s secretary.
For more information on Lord Bassington-Bassington, please confer this blog’s opening post. Contacts can be directed to email@example.com.
‘Would you like to hear the story about Too-ticky who made a great winter bonfire?’
‘By all means,’ replied Moomintroll, good-naturedly.
And Too-ticky started at once to stamp around slowly in the snow, while she sang as follows:
Here come the dumb,
The lonely and the rum,
The wild and quiet.
Thud goes the drum.
Crackle goes the bonfire
Glowing in the white snow,
Swish go the tails,
Swinging through the light snow.
Thud goes the drumming
In the black, black night.
‘I’ve got enough of your snow and night,’ cried the Moomintroll. ‘No, I won’t hear the refrain. I’m cold! I’m lonely! I want the sun back again!’
‘But that’s exactly why we burn up the great winter bonfire tonight,’ said Too-ticky. ‘You’ll get your sun back tomorrow.’
‘My sun,’ repeated Moomintroll in a trembling voice.
Let's face it, sometimes undershirts are not only practical, but necessary. And the shirt above has been one of Lord Bassington-Bassington's favourite garments for leisurely activity since it was purchased on a trip to Brighton a while back. So in a fit of inspiration, His Lordship started looking for more basset-themed undershirts.
This design has an obvious appeal, based on none other than the "Red Baron" von Richthofen.
This design should need no further comment. After all, it contains a monocle!
But one thing easily leads to another. After all, Lord Bassington-Bassington isn't that fond of wearing undershirts in public, so a quick Google search brought the item below to light.
When trying to express the inexpressible, one often turns to spiritual teachers. So while trying to find an appropriate term for the sort of stylistic challenges and paradoxes that increasingly afflict Lord Bassington-Bassington, His Lordship first tried first to turn to Zen Buddhism, where the Koan aptly captures the paradoxical. But to little avail, it simply didn't fit for something as (let's admit it) prosaic as clothes.
Lord Bassington-Bassington also called upon something closer to his own heart, namely Sufism, where the Sufi masters are also good at capturing such matter. But while you can say a lot about the virtues of the wandering dervish, they are not particularly noted for their style. The Christian mystics were not much help either.
So in despair, Lord Bassington-Bassington turned to the font of all true philosophy.
So in keeping with the wisdom of the barbarians of the North, The Lord Bassington-Bassington Chronicles is pleased to present a new series called "The riddles of style".
It seems that His Lordship has gone the grades when it comes to the bow tie. At first, of course, they are hard to tie. And it really doesn't help that most of the tutorials available seem to be intended for men who used to know how to tie bows, but need a quick refresher course. And while tying the bow comes easy after a a bit of practice, it can take a while to figure out how to use the architecture of the tie to your advantage.
Lord Bassington-Bassington's first bow tie, a lovely number from New & Lingwood, was simply ruined by His Lordship's clumsy paws. And after somehow getting the hang of it, the always restless Lord Bassington-Bassington progressed to the diamond tip, and had to learn to tie all over again.
The trick of tying a bow, of course, is that it's not supposed to be too well tied, for then it looks like it is (shudder!) pre-tied. And what individual with an interest in clothes would wear a pre-tied bow?
Now, apparently, His Lordship is at the level where the following situation might present itself:
You find yourself at a party, and someone implies that the bow you're wearing - one of your favourites from Favourbrook - is pre-tied.
Is this an insult, implying that you would stoop to wearing a pre-tied bow (What next? clip-on ties? Velcro brogues?!) or is it a compliment, an acknowledgment that you are now some sort of black belt in bow tying, so adept that you have to make an effort to get the bow slightly askew?
It's a always nice when one's friends start some sort of exciting project. And when it is in a field dear to the heart of Lord Bassington-Bassington, such as small press publishing, it is especially thrilling.
So His Lordship would like to help, in whatever small way, promote the new publishing venture of his dear friends that he just likes to refer to as the Somersetians.
(Austin Osman Spare)
Based in England (but recently moved away from Somerset), ZOAS Press specializes in Polish-language editions of rare, esoteric books. So far, ZOAS has produced one title by artist Austin Osman Spare, a towering figure in modern magic(k) and occulture, and one by the considerably more obscure occult poet Boleslaw Wójcicki. The books are truly amazing to behold, real works of art and passion.
If you can read Polish, or if you area collector of the esoteric or just appreciate beautiful books, you owe it to yourself to cruise by their website.
Despite Lord Bassington-Bassington's skepticism regarding big international fashion houses, His Lordship has to admit that these adverts from Tommy Hilfiger feature some stunning looks. What textures! What colour combinations! What flair!
"I should describe mine own nature as tripartite, my interests consisting of three parallel and dissociated groups – (a) Love of the strange and the fantastic. (b) Love of abstract truth and of scientific logic. (c) Love of the ancient and permanent. Sundry combination of these three strains will probably account for all my odd tastes and eccentricities".
Lord Bassington-Bassington needs to learn to dress down now and then. Because you know you're in trouble when you move in circles where t-shirts, jeans and hoodies are worn for most occasions, and your own idea about casual dress is to use pocket hankies, ties and bows of cotton or wool...
Well, let's face it, His Lordship will never quite fit into the modern world. But he found these pictures from Drake's Fall/Winter 2012 lookbook to be particularly inspiring.
At first glance, Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer might appear to be some sort of novelty artist. The outfits who mix the ridiculously conservative with the plain ridiculous, the humorous covers of vintage hip hop hits and so on are certainly funny.
And to be sure, Mr. B is simultaneously parodying and paying homage to hip hop, a genre of music that surely deserves both. But he is also so much more. Lord Bassington-Bassington has loved Mr. B for a few years now, and would surely ahve grown tired of him now if there wasn't something deeper.
(Photo by Dan Fullerton McIntyre.)
The secret is, of course, that this isn't a joke. While anyone who has been lucky enough to meet Mr B will know, the man has an immense sense of humour about himself (after all, he is an Englishman!) he also takes his craft very seriously. And having been a musician and performer for more than two decades, it shows in his compositions and in his live performances.
Chap-hop is no more a fad than, say, rockabilly. And Mr. B's new video is the ultimate proof of that. It alone would be enough to make him an artist worth sitting up from one's Chesterfield and take notice of. And as Mr. B is the hardest working man in chap-hop, he will just keep getting better.
By the way, the video reminds Lord Bassington-Bassington that it's high time to get a pocket watch to go with his three-piece tweeds. More about that later.
Lord Bassington-Bassington's good friend Mr. Huseby has a new video out for his project S(ermo) III. His Lordship thinks it's splendid stuff, and very seasonal, as the Yuletide is Lovecraft season here at Bassington Manor.
Judging from Lord Bassington-Bassington’s interest in his whiskers and his taste for combining charity with style, one could reasonably suspect that Movember – where men all over the world grow moustaches for charity during November – would be right up His Lordship’s alley. And sure, Movember has a lot to recommend it. It makes men try moustaches, and charity is a good thing.
So why does Lord Bassington-Bassington have such mixed feelings about Movember?
Frank Sinatra once remarked that he never drank on New Year's, because that was amateur night. This contrarianism might have something to do with His Lordship’s views on Movember. After all, Sinatra probably wouldn't grow a moustache in November either, and when it comes to style it's usually a good idea to take tips from Ol' Blue Eyes.
There is also a deeper reason. While Basset hounds of both sexes have magnificent whiskers, in the human, moustaches are about being a man and proud of it. So it is hardly surprising that moustaches tend to thrive in cultures where traditional masculine values are held in regard. But what does Movember do to this powerful symbol of masculinity? The picture below, shared by Movember Norway on Facebook, shows precisely what.
Yes, this chap is sporting a snappy moustache, but what on Earth is he wearing? The outfit looks like it was purchased in a joke shop, fancy dress outfitter or – even worse – hipster boutique.
Instead of a proud man, with the soup strainer the final touch to a self-assured masculinity, he looks like someone posing for a giggle. So what we see is that Movember makes moustaches – and thereby manhood – into a joke.
Lord Bassington-Bassington won’t be going quite as far as the people over at No-vember, who recommends that one dispense with the lip weasel altogether. No, His Lordship recommends that if you have mustaches and whiskers, celebrate them all year round. If you're normally smooth-cheeked, don't stop it because it's suddenly not October anymore.
And just like your personal style preference, charity is an all-year thing. Here at Bassington Manor, we have our favourite charitable causes. More about those later.
King Dude, a - well, dude - that Lord Bassington-Bassington has been following for a while now, has a new twelve inch out. And His Lordship just received notice that a copy of it has been shipped from Van Records.
This fantastic Basset bust was spotted in a coffe shop in New Jersey, USA, by the family (or perhaps "servants" is a more apt term) of the good Gustav Beowulf of Lulubelle. Lord Bassington-Bassington thanks heartily for the permission to use the picture, and is frantically trying to find out how to get something like this for Bassington Manor...
Recently, Lord Bassington-Bassington found himself chained outside a cinema in the West End of Oslo. As a consequence, His Lordship had plenty of time to watch workers leave their offices, and reflect on their appearance. And what struck the good Hound was how pervasive the trend of wearing suits without neckwear had become.
This is a bad idea. The reason is that men's business suits tend to be made of dark and, let's face it, rather drab material. The reason for this is, of course, that men prefer to look... well, masculine. And that businessmen prefer to look like… business. This is fine. But it is also why neckwear is so necessary.
For it is through the choice of ties, bows, cravats, pocket handkerchiefs and similar accessories that one injects individuality into the suit. It is the matching of tie and hankie, or the more dapper bow tie that shows your personality through the rather uniform look of the business suit.
Thus, remove the neckwear (and hankie) and you remove the personality.
It is perhaps ironic that it is when you dispense of the tie that you actually achieve the corporate drone or conformist look that you're desperately trying to avoid. It gets even worse when Nordic men try to unbutton the top two or three buttons of their shirts, a look that one needs darker complexions to carry off. A typically pale Nordic chest should, as a rule, never be inflicted on one's fellow citizens.
While Lord Bassington-Bassington is obviously above working, having a job is nothing to be ashamed of (after all, somebody has to take care of certain important matters). Fitting in is no sin either. So embrace the fact that you are wearing a suit by complementing it with accessories that show your personality. And celebrate your gender.
If you don't want to take Lord Bassington-Bassington's word for it, listen to our old friend Major Hoad lecture on the subject.
“I'm all for individuality but not wearing a tie with a suit just isn't cool. People think wearing a suit with an open shirt is somehow anti-uniform. It's not. It's cheesy TV presenter.”
(from this article, which is admittedly rather cheesy too).
There are, however, times when a suit without silken accessories would be acceptable. One example would be if you are a devout Muslim and find yourself praising God at an Islamic holy site. As certain Hadiths proscribe the wearing of silk for men (though like all Islamic teachings they are hotly debated), and Islamic holy sites tend to be located in climes where a woolen tie would simply not work, skipping the tie is perfectly acceptable on such occasions.
While on the subject of werewolves, it feels appopriate with a small notice about an artist that has so far eluded Lord Bassington-Bassington's keen sense of smell. This is now officially over, as His Lordship just sent off a Discogs order for the vinyl version of Chelsea Wolfe's Ἀποκάλυψις (seen above). And is considering ordering her newest record, which incidentally is released today.
Ms. Wolfe's sound, which is a bit like a Marissa Nadler (who also happens to have a new album out) with an even heavier black metal influence, is just what Lord Bassington-Bassington needs these days. The starkly gothic video doesn't hurt, either.
Just some press pictures from Iranian-Norwegian Karen Nikgol's new piece The Silent Song Of the Sphinx. Because, let's face it, who can resist a theatre/performance piece where one can see Aleister Crowley play chess with Fernando Pessoa, Heinrich Himmler hunt a Yeti and some stunning ritual scenes?
All coloured in shades of Jodorowski and Anger and set to the music of Norwegian experimental maestros Tarfield?
Malört, one of Sweden's most exciting small presses and certainly the best dressed, has a new book out. Varulven (The Werewolf) is a reprint of a classic from 1943, a study of werewolves in Swedish folk traditions by pioneering anthropologist Ella Olstedt.
And damn if it doesn’t seem like an absolutely essential addition to the library here at Bassington Manor. For not only is lycanthropy an extremely interesting subject in itself, wolves are canines (though less evolved than the noble Basset hound) – which of course makes the book even more relevant.
Another factor that makes this publication a near compulsory purchase for any Swedish-reading person with a taste for the weird is the fact that Malört, being a small press, is going through a rough patch. So helping them by purchasing the book is probably a religious obligation for any decent individual out there.
The book isn't just a stand-alone thing, either. It comes accompanied by a CD with music inspired by the lycanthropic, created by an assortment of great neofolk and folk artists, from Birch Book to Hedningarna. This record, of course, has the added advantage of being enjoyable for people who can't read Swedish.
As we've come to expect from Malört, the book is produced to the highest standard. Indeed, bibliophiles of a sensitive nature might perhaps want to stay away from Malört. For Dog only knows that Lord Bassington-Bassington feels faint from merely glimpsing the paw print on the front cover.
And the interior is just as dizziness-inducing. Oh, the caninity!
Lord Bassington-Bassington hasn't had time to sink his teeth into the book yet, but is quite optimistic. For a small hint about the quality of the contents can be gleaned from the picture of Ms. Olstedt below. Admit it: With a writer this stylish, you just know the book has to be great, don't you?
So now, as the evenings grow shorter and nights grow darker up here in the North, Lord Bassington-Bassington is looking forward to a bit of hibernation on the sofa, curled up with some properly canine reading material. Perhaps His Lordship will turn into a Were-Basset? Anyway, with our deeply psychic powers we can foresee that Lord Bassington-Bassington will be recreating some classic movie dialogue.
The Oktoberfest tends to drag on a bit here up North, possibly so it won't crash with Fårikål season. But who cares anyway. Just as when you're a Goth, every day is Halloween, for Alpin-folk fans everyday is Oktoberfest. So it is time for another update on the subject. Oktoberfest revisited, if you will.
Despite being a Norwegian, Lord Bassington-Bassington loves the Oktoberfest. For while these festivities are no doubt a more Southern phenomenon (most things are Southern when you're from Scandinavia), His Lordship likes to mix cultures.
For not only can a striving for cultural purity be unhealthy; cultural crossovers can become utterly sublime. Still, we here at the Chronicles are a bit unsure what to make of this outfit proposed by Lord Bassington-Bassington in what His Lordship refers to as the "Anglo-Alpine style".
Tweed hacking jacket, made to measure, by David Saxby.
Shirt, quite well-worn at this point (Hackett shirt) by Morris.
Cravat by New & Lingwood. Tracht-vest purchased second hand in Salzburg.
Edelweiss pin (what Lord Bassington-Bassington likes to think of as a "Bavarian buttoniere") purchased in Munich.
Hopefully this is a cultural cross-pollination that works. Because sometimes, cultural crossovers can be taken a bit too far.
But anyway, here is a small selection of Oktoberfest necessities from Sturmpercht, Jännerwein, Waldteufel and other appropriately Alpine artists. The delightful drinking vessel is, appropriately enough given the theme of this update, purchased in a second-hand shop in Poland.
Lord Bassington-Bassington would like to share this picture with the readers of the Chronicles, because it is International Blasphemy Day. And because Lord Bassington-Bassington prefers to blaspheme against His Lordship's own beliefs. And last, not least, because the picture contains a monocle.
Tony Wakeford has, with German guitarist Gernot Musch, a new project called Twa Corbies. Old-fashioned talk for "two ravens", it is a name with a lot of right references for the genre (Sonne Hagal deals with this material on their lovely Nidar), but also utterly unoriginal and stunningly uninteresting.
Who gives a damn about fowl, anyway?
(Original Twa Corbies logo.)
So Lord Bassington-Bassington has been pestering the poor Mr. Wakeford for a new name and logo. Ladies and gentlemen: We give you Twa Corgies.
And the other day, as we here at the Lord Bassington-Bassington cruised by the Twa Corbies Facebook page, we saw to our - and Lord Bassington-Bassington's – delight that the duo has indeed adopted a more canine logo.
Lord Bassington-Bassington has little to comment, apart from growling "VICTORY!"
Lord Bassington-Bassington would, however, like to point out that any aggravation from His Lordship's constant pestering should be directed at Sara, who is a far easier target. Not only does she live closer to Twa Corbies HQ, but unlike us here at Bassington Manor, who are part of the International Canine Conspiracy, she isn't protected by a squad of crack Assault Corgis.
The Basset assassins, however, are still not back from Bergen. Damn, those guys are useless.