This time last week we had a staff day out to the seaside and ate a chippy lunch on the pier at Bognor Regis in our shirtsleeves. Now we’re wrapped up in thermal underwear, watching the snow fall.
The weather may not be predictable, but at least you can count on your pals at The Cut for something juicy to snuggle up to in front of a blazing fire (as no-one can afford to run the central heating any more).
This week–putting bad mojo on Hitler, the unexpected beauty of slime moulds and what to do if you’re trapped in a cabin with Lord Byron.
Now is the time. Here is the place. This is The Cut.
We’ve spoken before about Steve Albini—musician, producer, troublemaker. He speaks his mind, and there’s a lot on it. Steve was the fearsome intelligence behind the soundscapes of a ton of brilliant albums, guided by some simple rules and straightforward guidelines. Here, courtesy of Letters Of Note, is the pitch he sent to Nirvana when they were looking for a producer to their follow up to Nevermind. Steve got the gig.
Science fiction is the guiding force for a lot of the technology we’re living with today. A bold statement, we know, but as an example Star Trek communicators and tricorders were a key influence behind the tablets and smartphones we carry around with us. The folks that built them admitted as much. But science fiction has always been about more than the science, as the folks behind the Sci-Fi Economics Lab are keen to prove. We’re not just talking about bitcoin, but a fundamentally different way of looking about money…
Sotherans is one of the oldest book dealers in the UK, with a proud history of dealing in rare and distinctive volumes. They also have a great sense of humour and an endearingly nerdy streak. What other bookshop do you know would publish a ready-to-roll one page role-playing game called Trapped In A Cabin With Lord Byron?
How do you combat evil? Do you treat it with kindness or violence? Do you skewer it in a withering light, or cast it into the outer darkness? For occultist William Seabrook, faced with the greatest evil of the 20th century, the choice was obvious. Along with a merry band that included an heiress to the Birdseye frozen food empire, he set out to hex the heck out of Hitler…
A couple of nice big photo galleries in this week’s ep. First up, these pics of disaffected American youth in the 70s and 80s from photographer Joseph Szabo are tiny stories from which you could build much bigger narratives. These scream of a time and a place that’s gone, an attitude which is eternal.
From the sublime to the more sublime. Or slime. Slime moulds, to be exact. Not glamourous, right? The clue’s in the name. But once you get up close—we mean really, really, close—a different story emerges. Barry Webb’s pictures are alien, bizarre, but beautiful.
This long piece on the work which went into the creation of Robert Eggar’s latest movie The Northman (out in cinemas later this month) affirms the point we made last week about the collaborative nature of film. At the same time, it recognises the importance of a singular vision in art. We stand by our views but are prepared to admit there’s an element of truth to auteur theory after all…
(In the interests of full disclosure we should note Editor Rob, in his professional capacity, had a small role in putting The Northman on screen. No, he’s not Fourth Viking From The Back).
This one is a bit of a head-spinner, but worth the whirlies. Adam Roberts is one of our cleverest writers, and this bit on Victorian ghost stories and how they can be a way to think about the future play strongly into his joint areas of specialty–SF and Dickens. If you think the two subjects can’t track together, then buckle up, buttercups. This one’s for the hardcore…
We initially read the headline on this next piece as ‘The Life And Confessions Of Mob Chief David Ruggiero’ and nearly spun onwards. Then we read the lede again and found our interest re-piqued. Fair warning–the article is unflinching in its portrayal of mob violence. But it’s one heck of a story.
And finally. This chat with the magnificently named Jackson Galaxy will have some members of The Readership taking furious notes, and the rest rolling their eyes. If you’re cat people (Cut Central is firmly feline-friendly) you’ll understand.
We head back to 1986 for our Exit Music with the climax to Infected, Matt Johnson’s furious state of the planet statement—a statement which seems to make as much sense today as it did in the Thatcher-cursed times in which it was written. Directed by Tim Pope, the videos which accompanied the album were shot in Bolivia and have a febrile, apocalyptic verve which boils into full-on Jodorowsky-style surrealism when we hit the final track, The Mercy Beat. As Matt rampages through the streets of Bogotá in a custom-painted Caddy, challenging the devil to a knife fight, it’s all we can do to hang on for the ride.
See you next Saturday, hellions.