Tag Archive: Ashington

Clark Ashton Smith, The Crawling Chaos, Artistry

Artistry

Bow down, I am the emperor of dreams. - Clark Ashton Smith
my pre-ramble… :-)

Letter From Clark Ashton Smith About Crawling Chaos And Art - April 14th, 1937

Letter From Clark Ashton Smith About Crawling Chaos And Art

While doing some link rot checking using the Broken Link Checker plugin I came across this old post which is about an old edited letter from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) to August Derluth.

A screenshot is at left – click to enlarge or see the original here.  CAS tells about the creation of The Crawling Chaos by the two authors, showing a natural deference for his friend, Howard Phillips Lovecraft (HPL).

Some people may know that CAS also sculpted, from soapstone if my memory is correct.  The letter mentions some of this, but mainly describes a gripe that all artists have – now, quoting directly from CAS, emphasised & paragraphed for web clarity by me…

I am pleased to hear that the sculptures continue to attract so much favorable attention. I am writing to Sloane, and offering him a copy of The Double Shadow if he hasn’t seen it. . . . On second thought, I’ll mail him an inscribed one anyway.

As to a volume of my stuff, I suppose there is no harm in trying, It makes me pretty sick to remember that at least five publishers asked HPL to submit story-material for a possible book and then turned it down.

It is curious how ready people are to admit the worth of a writer after he is dead, and how goddamned cautious they are about it while he remains alive. Death seems to bring about a sort of crystallization, so to speak. . . .

As for me. I am pretty tough, and come of a hardy and long-lived ancestry. I’ll survive my present difficulties. What the future holds, I am not sure. But I have made up my mind to quit California at the earliest possible date.

Plugging Away

So CAS just kept plugging away.  He never had any money, yet mysteriously, I’ve read nearly all his stuff!!  The bulk of this was some time ago when Panther published stacks of compilations by HPL, CAS and many others.  But, just as CAS mused, he was dead by the time I read them…

The original issues had wonderfully mystical, sometimes horrible, artwork by Bruce Pennington….

Crawling Chaos

When the band (The Crawling Chaos) was formed, it was just Jeff Crowe, Keith Wear & myself.  We all read and devoured everything to do with The Cthulu Mythos – and more! [e.g for myself it led me to Lord Dunsany, Robert Heinlein, Frederik Pohl, Philip K Dick, Daniel Keyes & the rest of SF]

Genius Loci cover

Genius Loci cover

In particular, since there’s only a few folks that now know this, Keith took it upon himself to copy the whole Bruce Pennington cover for the 1st Panther book version of CAS’s Genius Loci.

I scanned my book some time ago and cleaned away the title etc just leaving the work. That’s it, left.

Bedroom Wall

So…….Keith copied the key guts of the thing onto his bedroom wall in Ashington!  The whole wall…

You can see his copy as part of the cover for our first recorded output, Magnum Innoninandum (sic) here:

Crawling Chaos - Magnum Innoninandum (cassette cover)

Crawling Chaos – Magnum Innoninandum (cassette cover)

The original (nicked at Tynemouth) drumkit is there as well as the really noisy HH amp, Jeff’s record player, speakers & discs on the floorof his mum’s living room. Keith did the cover.

The Black Abbott of Puthuum

Genius Loci also includes one of my favourite CAS passages in the description of the Black Abbott.  (I think my favourite story has to be “The Coming of the White Worm“, but that’s for another time).  Anyway, here’s the bit about the black abbott blokey…

To add to their distress, the terrain grew rougher and steeper, and they climbed acclivitous hillsides and went down endlessly into drear valleys. Anon they came to a flat, open, pebbly space. There, all at once, it seemed that the pandemonium of evil noises drew back on every hand, receding and fading into faint, dubious whispers that died at a vast remove. Simultaneously, the circling night thinned out, and a few stars shone in the welkin, and the sharp-spined hills of the desert loomed starkly against a vermilion afterglow. The travelers paused and peered wonderingly at one another in a gloom that was no more than that of natural twilight.

“What new devilry is this?” asked Cushara, hardly daring to believe that the hellish leaguers had vanished.

“I know not,” said the archer, who was staring into the dusk.” “But here, mayhap, is one of the devils.”

The others now saw that a muffled figure was approaching them, bearing a lit lantern made of some kind of translucent horn. At some distance behind the figure, lights appeared suddenly in a square dark mass which none of the party had discerned before. This mass was evidently a large building with many windows.

The figure, drawing near, was revealed by the dim yellowish lantern as a black man of immense girth and tallness, garbed in a voluminous robe of saffron such as was worn by certain monkish orders, and crowned with the two-horned purple hat of an abbot. He was indeed a singular and unlooked-for apparition: for if any monasteries existed amid the barren reaches of Izdrel, they were hidden and unknown to the world. Zobal, however, searching his memory, recalled a vague tradition he had once heard concerning a chapter of negro monks that had flourished in Yoros many centuries ago. The chapter had long been extinct, and the very site of its monastery was forgotten. Nowadays there were few blacks anywhere in the kingdom, other than those who did duty as eunuchs guarding the seraglios of nobles and rich merchants

The animals began to display a certain uneasiness at the stranger’s approach.

“Who art thou?” challenged Cushara, his fingers tightening on the haft of his weapon.

The black man grinned capaciously, showing rows of discolored teeth whose incisors were like those of a wild dog. His enormous unctuous jowls were creased by the grin into folds of amazing number and volume; and his eyes, deeply slanted and close together, seemed to wink perpetually in pouches that shook like ebon jellies. His nostrils flared prodigiously; his purple, rubbery lips drooled and quivered, and he licked them with a fat, red, salacious tongue before replying to Cushara’s question. [isn’t this bit amazing? – SP]

“I am Ujuk, abbot of the monastery of Puthuum,” he said, in a thick voice of such extraordinary volume that it appeared almost to issue from the earth under his feet. “Methinks the night has overtaken you far from the route of travelers. I bid you welcome to our hospitality.”

So, buy the book, or read the whole story here.

Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams?

(clue – “The Hashish Eater”)
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-colored sun
Of secret worlds incredible, and take
Their trailing skies for vestment when I soar….

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Google Tsunami Alert

Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Google Tsunami Alert

Google Tsunami Alert

Following this morning’s (using GMT) earthquake just off Japan (now set at 8.8 on the Richter Scale, but it keeps rising as more information is analysed), I noticed that the Google search page has a Tsunami warning for all to see.

I thought I’d capture it for posterity.

Enormity

This truly is an enormous event, the TV videos this morning of the wave’s advance making this perfectly clear.  How and when it finishes, we can only watch and wait as one of the great forces of nature plays out before us.

Tsunami Transit Time for Japanese Tsunami of 11/3/11

Tsunami Transit Time for Japanese Tsunami of 11/3/11

Fortunately, the Tsunami warning system seems to be doing its job, and hopefully, those countries around the Pacific and the small Pacific Islands within have had enough time to warn folks to get to high ground.  This image shows how much time they’ve got!

 

NOAA Tsunami Warning @ 10:30 GMT

This is the state of play a short time ago and the actual alert, showing wave heights and periods out at sea.  When they hit the coast, things are very, very different.

000

WEPA40 PHEB 111030

TSUPAC

TSUNAMI BULLETIN NUMBER 006

PACIFIC TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER/NOAA/NWS

ISSUED AT 1030Z 11 MAR 2011

THIS BULLETIN APPLIES TO AREAS WITHIN AND BORDERING THE PACIFIC

OCEAN AND ADJACENT SEAS…EXCEPT ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…

WASHINGTON…OREGON AND CALIFORNIA.

… A WIDESPREAD TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT …

A TSUNAMI WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR

JAPAN / RUSSIA / MARCUS IS. / N. MARIANAS / GUAM / WAKE IS. /

TAIWAN / YAP / PHILIPPINES / MARSHALL IS. / BELAU / MIDWAY IS. /

POHNPEI / CHUUK / KOSRAE / INDONESIA / PAPUA NEW GUINEA /

NAURU / JOHNSTON IS. / SOLOMON IS. / KIRIBATI / HOWLAND-BAKER /

HAWAII / TUVALU / PALMYRA IS. / VANUATU / TOKELAU / JARVIS IS. /

WALLIS-FUTUNA / SAMOA / AMERICAN SAMOA / COOK ISLANDS / NIUE /

FIJI / NEW CALEDONIA / TONGA / MEXICO /

KERMADEC IS / FR. POLYNESIA / PITCAIRN /

GUATEMALA / EL SALVADOR / COSTA RICA / NICARAGUA / ANTARCTICA /

PANAMA / HONDURAS / CHILE / ECUADOR / COLOMBIA / PERU

THIS BULLETIN IS ISSUED AS ADVICE TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES. ONLY

NATIONAL AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE

DECISIONS REGARDING THE OFFICIAL STATE OF ALERT IN THEIR AREA AND

ANY ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN IN RESPONSE.

AN EARTHQUAKE HAS OCCURRED WITH THESE PRELIMINARY PARAMETERS

ORIGIN TIME – 0546Z 11 MAR 2011

COORDINATES – 38.3 NORTH 142.4 EAST

DEPTH – 24 KM

LOCATION – NEAR EAST COAST OF HONSHU JAPAN

MAGNITUDE – 8.9

MEASUREMENTS OR REPORTS OF TSUNAMI WAVE ACTIVITY

GAUGE LOCATION LAT LON TIME AMPL PER

DART 21415 50.2N 171.8E 0845Z 0.27M / 0.9FT 52MIN

WAKE US 19.3N 166.6E 0928Z 0.39M / 1.3FT 14MIN

NAHA OKINAWA JP 26.2N 127.7E 0901Z 0.25M / 0.8FT 60MIN

SAIPAN US 15.2N 145.7E 0916Z 0.65M / 2.1FT 30MIN

TOSASHIMIZU SHIKOKU 32.8N 133.0E 0753Z 0.92M / 3.0FT 68MIN

OMAEZAKI HONSHU JP 34.6N 138.2E 0818Z 1.42M / 4.6FT 56MIN

DART 21419 44.5N 155.7E 0716Z 0.40M / 1.3FT 20MIN

DART 21413 30.5N 152.1E 0659Z 0.76M / 2.5FT 32MIN

HANASAKI HOKKAIDO J 43.3N 145.6E 0657Z 2.79M / 9.2FT 76MIN

DART 21401 42.6N 152.6E 0643Z 0.67M / 2.2FT 40MIN

DART 21418 38.7N 148.7E 0619Z 1.08M / 3.5FT 06MIN

LAT – LATITUDE (N-NORTH, S-SOUTH)

LON – LONGITUDE (E-EAST, W-WEST)

TIME – TIME OF THE MEASUREMENT (Z IS UTC IS GREENWICH TIME)

AMPL – TSUNAMI AMPLITUDE MEASURED RELATIVE TO NORMAL SEA LEVEL.

IT IS …NOT… CREST-TO-TROUGH WAVE HEIGHT.

VALUES ARE GIVEN IN BOTH METERS(M) AND FEET(FT).

PER – PERIOD OF TIME IN MINUTES(MIN) FROM ONE WAVE TO THE NEXT.

NOTE – DART MEASUREMENTS ARE FROM THE DEEP OCEAN AND THEY

ARE GENERALLY MUCH SMALLER THAN WOULD BE COASTAL

MEASUREMENTS AT SIMILAR LOCATIONS.

EVALUATION

SEA LEVEL READINGS CONFIRM THAT A TSUNAMI HAS BEEN GENERATED

WHICH COULD CAUSE WIDESPREAD DAMAGE. AUTHORITIES SHOULD TAKE

APPROPRIATE ACTION IN RESPONSE TO THIS THREAT. THIS CENTER WILL

CONTINUE TO MONITOR SEA LEVEL DATA TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT AND

SEVERITY OF THE THREAT.

A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF WAVES AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE

LARGEST. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND CAN VARY

SIGNIFICANTLY ALONG A COAST DUE TO LOCAL EFFECTS. THE TIME FROM

ONE TSUNAMI WAVE TO THE NEXT CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO AN HOUR, AND

THE THREAT CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AS MULTIPLE WAVES ARRIVE.

FOR ALL AREAS – WHEN NO MAJOR WAVES ARE OBSERVED FOR TWO HOURS

AFTER THE ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL OR DAMAGING WAVES HAVE NOT

OCCURRED FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS THEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES CAN ASSUME

THE THREAT IS PASSED. DANGER TO BOATS AND COASTAL STRUCTURES CAN

CONTINUE FOR SEVERAL HOURS DUE TO RAPID CURRENTS. AS LOCAL

CONDITIONS CAN CAUSE A WIDE VARIATION IN TSUNAMI WAVE ACTION THE

ALL CLEAR DETERMINATION MUST BE MADE BY LOCAL AUTHORITIES.

BULLETINS WILL BE ISSUED HOURLY OR SOONER IF CONDITIONS WARRANT.

THE TSUNAMI WARNING WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

THE JAPAN METEOROLOGICAL AGENCY MAY ALSO ISSUE TSUNAMI MESSAGES

FOR THIS EVENT TO COUNTRIES IN THE NORTHWEST PACIFIC AND SOUTH

CHINA SEA REGION. IN CASE OF CONFLICTING INFORMATION… THE

MORE CONSERVATIVE INFORMATION SHOULD BE USED FOR SAFETY.

THE WEST COAST/ALASKA TSUNAMI WARNING CENTER WILL ISSUE PRODUCTS

FOR ALASKA…BRITISH COLUMBIA…WASHINGTON…OREGON…CALIFORNIA.

 

Wake Island

I wonder how Wake Island is getting on?  The highest point on the island is only 20 feet and the wave should be there about now….

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Long Live Wikileaks!

Long Live Wikileaks!

Wikileaks at 213.251.145.96 Wikileaks at 213.251.145.96

These images will take you to the current IP addresses of Wikileaks. It follows on from my earlier help to the organisation here when a bunch of Swiss bankers mysteriously managed to influence “independent” judicial decisions in America.

The fact that I even have to do this is an abomination on the face of our so-called freedoms.

Governments: Unfit for purpose.

The Wikileaks “Cablegate” revelations have ensured that the vested interests of non-elected mad Arabs (UAE, Saudis) insisting that the US should bomb an elected group of mad Arabs (Iran) are plain for all to see.

They’ve also have ensured that a whole raft of dirty tricks are now afoot. Coincidentally (not), as soon as Wikileaks released all the”Cablegate” stuff into a full download, the US Gov could then see what was coming and the dirty tricks have become even deadlier, nastier, and even less freedom-loving. It obviously proves that worse revelations are to come.

The Obamas/Clinton democrats are now joined in unison with the US republicans bellowing for instant executions without trial, Israelis, Arabs, Chinese and a host of other countries in an amazingly eclectic unholy alliance that proves that the whole diplomatic world is a very unhealthy cabal of back-scratching plebian egoists with the safety and reputation of their own peoples far below that of the maintenance of their own expanding clique of free-loading arse-lickers.

The fact that they can get the tiny oligarchy of the DNS servers to pull the website index globally on whistle-blowers says it all about internet freedom and even the Internet’s resilience to nuclear attack (yes – its first purpose was to ensure that all nukes got released and that there would be some vestige of command and control, when invented by DARPA).

The fact that normal journalism is now so economically cow-towed that they are for the most part meekishly submissive to the authoritarian demands of various states and multi-national corporations, also says it all.

The fact that sexual allegations against Wikileaks founder coincided with the start of the leak about helicopter gunships mowing down unarmed civilians in broad daylight and have since been expanded to continue with the recent shut-down of the site following an unprecedented DDoS website attack says it all.

The fact that Wikileaks has upset all sides of all governments says it all and reveals them all to be unfit for purpose.

It makes me wonder if my father should’ve bothered turning up at D-Day or Okinawa. What was he fighting for, or against?

Buddhism, Ikeda, Mandela and Education

Today (coincidentally!), Daisaku Ikeda in his Daily Encouragement address to the world, said;

Monday, December 6th, 2010

—- DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT —-

“It has been more than 20 years since I first had the privilege of meeting with Nelson Mandela, the lionlike champion of human rights. Recently, former President Mandela, who had just turned 92, sent me an inscribed copy of his latest book. …I wish to share these words…as an expression of my deepest respect: ‘To the youth of today I also have a wish to make: ‘Be the script writers of your destiny and feature yourselves as the stars that show the way towards a brighter future–for our country, our continent and the world.’ ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.‘”

What we see with the attacks upon Wikileaks, is an attack on freedom as it attacks the open knowledge base with which people need to be informed and thus educated. Without knowledge we are nothing.

We are like the women of Afghanistan, shackled by their surroundings of a male hierarchy and ignorant of everything except that which they’re told – except in our case, it’s our elected representatives who choose to hide the truth from us. And in the USA, with over 850,000 people now holding “top secret” status, (which is 1.5 times the population of Washington), we see that the weight of state machinery now devoted to hiding the truth, is immense.

What must be remembered, is that in nearly every single prominent Wikileak, the government has been found out to be doing bad things in our name. It’s nothing to do with national security as they claim, and everything to do with protecting those with comfy state jobs and a falsely clean reputation, no matter what they do.

Further Reading:

This is a copy of the main page entry.

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Music Archaeology – Bad Summer Science

I saw some news today that apparently gives some creedence to the idea that music is what makes us human.  It’s here:

‘Oldest musical instrument’ found

A flute carved more than 35,000 years ago has been unearthed in Germany and scientists believe it is the worlds oldest musical instrument.

A flute carved more than 35,000 years ago has been unearthed in Germany and scientists believe it is the world's oldest musical instrument.

The academic in charge, Nicholas Conard, said that the development of music probably helped social cohesion in our ancestors, making their survival and our own existence, possible!  This is because the artifact was found with some homo sapiens bits, although this isn’t stated in  the article, so I’m surmising here.  It was in a German cave.

Big BBC Problem

This seems like a very plausible thing.  It’s saying, in the article, that Neanderthals (who died out), didn’t have have such art and culture.  The “experts” are saying that we are here because of music!  These flutes are 35k years old.

And Here’s the Problem

On this very same BBC webpage is a link to an article from 2000 – Oldest flute sounds again

The article starts with the phrase:

After 50,000 years of silence, the music of a prehistoric flute has been heard once again.

This 50,000-year-old Neanderthal flute was discovered in Slovenia by Ivan Turk, pictured. Does it contain clues to the musical scales used by the ancients?

This 50,000-year-old Neanderthal flute was discovered in Slovenia by Ivan Turk, pictured. Does it contain clues to the musical scales used by the ancients?

Now even the thickest amonst us must surely be able to see that 50k years is older than 35k years in the past?

Not only that, but 50k years ago, these musical instruments were being made and played – by Neanderthals! The cave was in Slovenia (see better article by clicking on image at left), which isn’t that far really, from Southern Germany, the site of the latest discovery.

Conclusion

Unless there has been further research into the previous (2000) work and the dates have been revised, Nicholas Conard needs to change his whole theory!  That is, it’s complete, un-substantiated, bollox!

That’s the trouble with news in the summer.  No-one checks anything.

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Colony Holidays and Tubby the Tuba

Colony Holidays

 I’ve just had a hit from someone looking for Colony Holidays…  Sooo I’d better write this down fast!  I’ve been meaning to do it for a while.

Typical ATE Centre (Bredenbury Court, an original Colony Holiday location)

Typical ATE Centre (Bredenbury Court – my first one!)

A few years back I fished around on the web to find out what had happened to the CCHS, Council of Colony Holidays for Schoolchildren.  I wanted my final child to have a crack at it.   I found it had morphed into ATE by getting in touch with Chris in his last tenure of office, but to my eternal chagrin, all my kids have now grown up and missed the benefit of a Colony Holiday like I did, something that I went on half-a-dozen times when I was at school.  The last child never made it and is now too old….

I’ve just read this article in the Telegraph which describes the organisation and all the real fun and confidence that children get from it.  True, my children had their times at our local council’s place, Kilve Court Residential Educational Centres, but when I visited – well it just wasn’t the same.

It lacked the joie and the vivre.  The madcap antics and bizarre quests.  The nutty tunes, most of which I can remember, and the practical tasks and games.

Tubby the Tuba

Chris Green (Tubby the Tuba) - an original from the Council for Colony Holidays for SchoolchildrenChris Green is a genius, and a very hands on genius at that!  He’s now 74-ish I suppose.  The picture is taken on our beloved Malvern Hills back in 2006.

I spent many a time up there on bizarre hunts and quizzes.  In total I went to;

  • Bredenbury Court
  • The Abbey (Little Malvern/Malvern Wells) – 4 weeks at that one, the best year of my life.
  • Ramsey, Isle of Man (forgotten the name)
  • Inverliever Lodge, Argyll

I think I had one other but it’s slipped my mind.

The important thing, I now realise, is the amount of work that Chris Green did.  The centres were dotted all over the country, and usually three or four were on the go concurrently – all summer if need be.  I think at the peak, maybe seven centres were running at the same time.  You could tell this from the catalogue.

Someone once said to me, “Hey.  I bet Chris Green is coming.  He always comes to every camp.  He makes sure of it.”

I said, “Who’s Chris Green?”

He said, “It’s the guy that runs it.  He’s Tubby the Tuba and nobody is supposed to know!!!”

It was at this point I realised that I had indeed seen Tubby the Tuba running over the Malvern Hills to British Camp, hiding (not very well) in bracken and heather around Inverliever Lodge, and yes, even on the Isle of Man.  True, he’d be doing his checks, staff and all, but it was the effort that I noticed at that point.

When I say Tubby the Tuba – it really was the same man, dressed almost head to toe in stiffened gold foil, face hidden, arms poking out the side, hands playing the valves at front, making muffled farty noises as he passed on the next clue.

The ramblers and holidaymakers didn’t know what to say…  it was just sooo funny.  A bit like Gert Frobe in “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines” – but covered in a gold tuba costume, of course!

So hats off to Chris Green and Tubby the Tuba.  A life well spent!

Nutty Tunes

When I get time, I’ll write some ‘lyrics’ out here and try and get the tune out as an mp3 to give a taste of them.  I well remember doing the tongue-twisting ‘Poor Old Man Crossing the Road’, ‘Old Abram Brown’ and others on the platform of New Street Station on the way home with my new found friends.  Then, as the journey lengthened, the party would get smaller and the volume quieter until eventually there was only me in Newcastle.

I’d stop singing then.

It gets a bit daft singing “steam engine with a chimney that sends smoke signals to Ceylon” repetitively on the 403 back to Ashington.

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