Night flowers: from avante-drag to extreme haute couture by Damien Frost

Merrell, 2016

Merrell, 2016

Sydney born, Newcastle educated, London based artist and graphic designer Damien Frost started a project in 2014 to capture London’s “most fascinating and vibrant inhabitants”, based largely around the late night world of Soho and its environs. As he explains: “These ‘Night Flowers’ are a loose-knit community of drag queens and kings, club kids, alternative queer, transgender and gender-queer people, goths, artists, and cabaret, burlesque and fetish performers who bloom at night and burn bright among the neon lights of inner-city London”. These fabulous people have been captured fabulously by his camera, and it’s rather wonderful to know that some extremely exotic flowers do indeed bloom at night.

Moments in time: a book of Australian postcards by Jim Davidson

NLA Publishing, 2016

NLA Publishing, 2016

Here’s something really delightful from historian Jim Davidson and the National Library of Australia, a wonderful survey of Australian postcards covering just about every theme and subject you can imagine. From the early days when they were, as the author describes them, “the emails of the day” taking advantage of cheap postage costs to send concise messages to friends and family the world over, to their role as tourist, travel and event souvenirs, produced in large numbers to cater for a voracious public demand. The author’s witty and informative remarks under the various themes only add to the pleasure of this visual feast. Like I said, delightful!

Street art / today: the 50 most influential street artists today: text by Elise Luong, Bjorn Van Poucke

Lannoo nv, 2016

Lannoo nv, 2016

Street art, non-commissioned art, graffitti, etc., etc., it goes by many names and is generally accompanied by much sound and fury between those who see it as simple vandalism and those who champion it as the true popular art for the masses. Certainly the astonishing examples of the genre in this volume defy the categorisation of vandalism, and the skill and imagination of the creators responding to the vast brick and mortar canvases they are working on is simply breathtaking.

Frightmares : a history of British horror cinema by Ian Cooper (ebook)

Auteur Publishing, 2016

Auteur Publishing, 2016

If you can resist a book with a picture of Vincent Price as the Abominable Dr Phibes on the cover, you’re a better, stronger person that I am. Mind you, this ebook is a fascinating read which explores a genre of British film too often ignored in general surveys, and then goes a step further by mainly focusing on the non-Hammer slice of this gruesome pie. Looking at the works of various independent directors and producers, as well as the output of “other” studios such as the British arm of American International Pictures (responsible for the abovementioned Dr Phibes and various other grand guignol masterpieces), the author demonstrates how this remarkably vibrant sector of the British film industry can trace its roots back to the fictional world of penny dreadfuls and the British public’s well documented appetite for the most lurid and engrossing real life horrors, from Jack the Ripper to Dr Crippen and beyond. You can read this one hiding behind the couch at home, if you’re one of our registered Victorian members.

 

A charming interview with Vincent Price from 1982; he doesn’t seem scarey at all.

 

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