Friday, 27 September 2013

Dandified canines

The British artist Julian Quaye has produced some stunning studies of superbly stylish canines. With the artist's kind permission Lord Bassington-Bassington would like to share them with the readers of the Chronicles.

From a Bassetological standpoint Mr. Quaye's work has some obvious flaws. Where is the master race, one might ask. But Lord Bassington-Bassington isn't going to let the lack of droopy jowls and droopier ears detract from his enjoyment of these magnificent pieces. And His Lordship certainly feels tempted to acquire a piece or two.

This is how stylish canines can hope to be. As for humans – those hairless apes – they are beyond help. Lord Bassington-Bassington can only hope that they will realize what is good for them.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Nightmarish reviews

About a decade ago, Lord Bassington-Bassington fell asleep while reading a collection of tales by Clark Ashton Smith – and ended up being awakened by the sound of his own screams. Realizing that this might be the ultimate compliment for a writer of weird (or horror) fiction, this experience has inspired His Lordship to launch a completely new form of literary criticism.

The Hypnocritical Method is deceptively simple: One reads a book, goes to sleep and later recounts the dreams the book inspires. In short, one gets one's subconscious (if such a thing exists; Lord Bassington-Bassington doesn't really buy all this Freudian stuff) to do the work. One could of course insinuate that only a Basset Hound could come up with a form of literary criticism where sleepi is essential to the method. But such insinuations will be sharply rejected by Lord Bassington-Bassington - before His Lordship goes back to dozing on the sofa.

Reading Joseph S. Pulver, Sr's Blood Will Have Its Season on a recent trip to Copenhagen (a trip which might have coincided with Rome playing there) gave Lord Bassington-Bassington some rather magnificent nightmares. The first night, spent in a comfortable cabin on a huge ship, brought on three distinct dreams.

Mr. Pulver (top) and his magnificent moustache (bottom)

The first dream was of a poltergeist phenomenon, and a rather spooky one at that. It didn't help that His Lordship woke up at 1 a.m. because the television had turned itself on.

The second was of three men dressed as Sikhs. Sadly, Lord Bassington-Bassington doesn't remember much of this dream. He hopes it was creepy.

The third was of meeting weird writer W.H. Pugmire on the bus. It possibly has something to do with Mr. Pugmire being referenced in the book, but also with Lord Bassington-Bassington having long wanted to meet "The Queen of Eldritch Horror".

Mr. Pugmire. About to embark on a bus journey?

The next night had a truly beautiful rainstorm raging outside the hotel window, and brought on an epic (or perhaps just a bit long-winded) dream about vampirism. Splendid!

Lord Bassington-Bassington, who actually has a past as a literature student, could of course share his opinions about Mr. Pulver's literary style, reference the author's inspirations (Lovecraft etc), discuss the standard of editing and proofreading of the book and so on.

But to heck with that. Let's read, sleep – and dream. And perhaps wake up screaming.

Blood Will Have Its Season rates four sweat-soaked pillows out of five. Get it here.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Delayed tape

Gyron V is an example of the rarest of flowers: A Norwegian neofolk band. They're slowly but steadily getting a cult following of sorts by playing on the art circuit, and also recently opened for Blood Axis. Though Lord Bassington-Bassington's favourite Gyron V gig will always be the set they played at his and lady Mju's combined stag-and-hen-party.

Gyron V has some rather charming self-released (and self-made!) records behind him, but here, finally, is the proper debut.

Muscae Volitantes marks the tenth anniversary of Gyron V's existence and is released on an ultra-limited tape which should appeal to anyone with the slightest hint of geekiness. Not least to Lord Bassington-Bassington, who dabbled in tape trading in the olden days, and who feels sweet waves of nostalgia wash over him when he holds this frail piece of plastic in his paws.

It doesn't hurt, of course, that Muscae Volitantes is a pretty solid release. It runs the gamut of Gyron V's reportoire, from folk songs to more metal-inspired stuff and the occasional arty electronic touch. The stand-out track, though, is "Shepherd of the Owls". This is not only the best neofolk track ever produced in Norway, it's pretty close to a perfect new-wavey neofolk pop songs. In short - a real hoot.

Go get it already. You can also get it electronically, if you don't share Lord Bassington-Bassington's luddist tendencies.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013