The Cultural Gutter

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"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Strange Men and Magic

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This week’s Guest Star Kate Laity writes about the television adaptation of Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell. Laity is an author, Medieval Studies scholar and History Witch. At Edge-Lit 4, my publisher, Adele Wearing of Fox Spirit Books, was on a panel about Grimdark. What is ‘grim dark?’ Well, that was the first topic. It […]

“Strange & Norrell: III–Away With The Fairies”

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John Reppion continues his series on English magic and Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell. Next up, “Away With The Fairies.”

“Strange & Norrell : II–On Fairies & Witchcraft”

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John Reppion continues his discussion of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell at The Daily Grail, “pluck[ing] out some of the more easily disentangled fragments of folklore, magic, and the like from the book (and the show) and takes a closer look at them.” This time, he considers fairies and witchcraft.

“Strange & Norrell: The Language of Birds”

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At Daily Grail, John Reppion writes about Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, English magic and the language of birds.

It doesn’t matter, it’s in the past

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I’m not much for making New Year’s resolutions. The idea of a chance to reset the clock on things I keep meaning to do more consistently or successfully than I ever seem to manage is appealing, but it seems like a bit of a gimmick to me. It’s never really a clean slate because you […]

RIP, Francis Matthews

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Actor Francis Matthews has died. Matthews voiced Captain Scarlet in the Supermarionation adventure show Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-8). He also appeared in Hammer horror films The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966) and Rasputin, The Mad Monk (1966) and as the suave detective, Paul Temple in the eponymous television series. […]

RIP, Rik Mayall

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Actor and comedian Rik Mayall has died. Mayall is probably best known for his roles in The Young Ones (1982-4), Blackadder (1983-9), The New Statesman (1987-94) and Bottom (1991-5). He also starred in Drop Dead Fred (1991) and Guesthouse Paradiso (1999). The Telegraph, The Guardian and Rolling Stone have obituaries. ITV has clips and lines […]

RIP, Bob Hoskins

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Actor Bob Hoskins has died. Most sources are mentioning Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but Hoskins also appeared in Brazil, Nixon, The Long Good Friday, Pink Floyd The Wall, Unleashed, The Secret Agent and the tv show, Tales From The Crypt (“Fatal Caper”). And Hoskins was Chris Claremont’s first choice for Wolverine (via @Zemrag).  The Guardian, The […]

Black Victoriana

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A gallery of photographs of people of African descent from the Victorian era. (Via Kit Marlowe)

RIP, Kate O’Mara

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Actor Kate O’Mara has died. She performed the Rani in Doctor Who, Caress Morell in Dynasty, Mademoiselle Perrodot in The Vampire Lovers and Alys in The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara also had roles in Absolutely Fabulous, The Avengers, The Saint, Danger Man / Secret Agent, The Persuaders and Adam Adamant Lives!  The Guardian, Digital Spy […]

“What’s To Be Done With The Fantastic Four (Part 1)”

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Colin Smith returns to Too Busy Thinking About My Comics to ask, “What’s To Be Done With The Fantastic Four?”

Theater as Seance

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“In 1911, the famed American medium Anna Eva Fay held a public seance at the London Coliseum, inviting audience members to ask questions that she would answer by channelling the dead. Seated in the auditorium was Violet Coward, whose beloved 11-year-old son, Noël, had just begun his stage career after Violet spotted an advert in the […]

RIP, Roger Lloyd-Pack

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Actor Roger Lloyd-Pack has died. Lloyd-Pack appeared in Doctor Who; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Only Fools and Horses; The Vicar of Dibley; Tinker, Tailor Soldier, Spy (2011); and many other films and television shows. The BBC and The AV Club have obituaries. The BBC is collecting and sharing reader’s memories of Lloyd-Pack. […]

The Graves of Russian Mafiya Bosses

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Denis Tarasov has photographed the elaborate graves of Russian and Ukrainian organized crime bosses. They’re currently being shown at London’s Saatchi gallery. (via @jakeadelstein)

“How Corpses Helped Shape the London Underground”

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‘In her excellent and morbidly fascinating book Necropolis: London and Its Dead, author Catharine Arnold describes in detail the subterranean presence of corpses found throughout the British capital. To no small extent, she makes clear, dead bodies were basically buried everywhere, to the point that, as Arnold pithily states, ‘London is one giant grave.”’ More […]

Haunted History

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Just in time for Halloween, The Gutter’s own Keith Allison explores haunted history in New York City; Louisville, KY; Centralia, PA; London, UK; and Sydney, Australia at his website, Teleport City.

RIP, Antonia Bird

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Director and producer Antonia Bird has died. Bird is probably best known for her films Ravenous (1999) and Priest (1994), but she also directed UK television series, episodes and  tv movies such as, The Village,  Cracker, MI-5, Inspector Morse and EastEnders. The BBC has an obituary. The Guardian has collected tributes to Bird. The Guardian […]

“A History of British Folk Horror”

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Spectacular Optical has an overview of British folklore in horror film and television. (Thanks, Colin!)

Teddy Girls

A gallery and some information about the British Teddy Girls of the 1950s. (Thanks, Keith!)

Jane Eyre is a Darker than People Think

“[T]he mainstreaming of Jane Eyre as a vanilla romance, or even as an exploration of a woman’s pure, uncompromising, and uncomplicated (and religious! and feminist!) integrity, says all kinds of things about our inability to speak honestly about violence and sex.” More on Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, consent, sex and submission, here. (via K.A. Laity)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Projection Booth watches Night Moves (1975) with special guest host the Gutter’s own Carol. “Arthur Penn’s Night Moves (1975) stars Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby, a private eye trying to find himself in a post-Watergate America. We’re joined by Nat Segaloff, author of Arthur Penn: American Director and Carol Borden of the Cultural Gutter.”

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    At Graveyard Shift Sisters, Ashlee Blackwell considers love in Ganja & Hess. ” It is up to the viewer to map a path that suits their understanding. What writer/director Bill Gunn (who plays Dr. Hess’ assistant) wanted was a disruption of mainstream fare. Gunn didn’t seem too interested in what Hollywood desired, and like many writers, wrote a screenplay that felt personal and needed to be written. It tackles so many themes, it’s almost difficult to begin. While most rely on it being vampiric and about addiction, it’s important to note the journey that Hess and Ganja embark on together. Their romantic entanglement may by one of the most fascinating aspects of the film that is commonly overlooked because it is challenging to simplify.”

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    Friend of the Gutter Less Lee Moore interviews friend of the Gutter Colin Geddes about his work on the new horror streaming service, Shudder.

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    The Bowery Boys Podcast dedicates an episode to New York City in the history of comic books. “In the 1890s a newspaper rivalry between William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer helped bring about the birth of the comic strip and, a few decades later, the comic book.  Today, comic book superheroes are bigger than ever — in blockbuster summer movies and television shows — and most of them still have an inseparable bond with New York City.”

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    Pornokitsch’s One Comic Podcast looks at Red Sonja #10: “To everyone’s surprise, despite some of the covers and the character’s reputation, this isn’t the exploitative boobs’n’swordplay production it could have been. How did it achieve that? Listen and find out.”

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    Los Angeles Magazine has a gallery of self-portraits of Bunny Yeager and a bit about the career of a model and photographer most famous for her pin-up photographs of Bettie Page. “Having dedicated her life to photography and modeling, not to mention publishing 30 books on the subject (one of which shares a name with the Gavlak exhibition), Yeager had an influence on a generation of artist-photographers including Diane Arbus and Cindy Sherman. Arbus even went as far to call her ‘The world’s greatest pin-up photographer.'” (Thanks, Stephanie!)

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