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Friday, December 28, 2012

Caslon Antique fetish

OK, gang, here's the last for 2012...

Among so many others, Leonard Cohen used it in 1974,

Bob Dylan used it in 1979,

The Clash in 1980,

Bauhaus used it for just one release in 1983,

Tones on Tail used it too for almost all their releases,

Rosetta Stone used it shamelessly! 

But we all know it and became associated with goth due to the heavy and succesful use it found in the hands of the Sisters and Merciful Release label. Since then all true Goths (sic!) make a connection upon its sight.

Caslon Antique was designed by Bernie Nadal in 1894 as a tribute to prominent type founder William Caslon who designed fonts around the1720s. 
Mr. Caslon was a gunsmith who used to engrave gun locks and barrels and was incouraged to create a type foundry in London in which he designed, now famous, for their legibility, fonts.

The most famous print using his font is of course the "United States Declaration of Independence" in 1776 (part of it!)
Nadal designed Caslon Antique to emulate the look observed on prints when consecutive printing, chipped and damaged metal type in the 18th century American print houses.
Other famous uses of it, include Lemony Snicket's book series "A Series of Unfortunate Events"

And the logo of the famed musical "Les Miserables"!

Have a great New Year's Eve folks!
See you next year...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A writer and the Nephilim

It was around 1986 when a new great goth band emerged ...
A handsome post-apocalypric cowboy growled through amazing music, smoke and flour ; supported back then by a fantastic band...
The band's name was equally mysterious and you had to try to remember it...
Fields of the ... errr, something hebrew sounding, ending with -im...
We only later figured out that mr. McCoy was into something biblical and grim...
Where did he got this Nephilim idea, though?

I got the strong suspicion that he must have read more than one book by Zecharia Sitchin (July 11, 1920 - October 9, 2010).
Sitchin was an Azerbaijani-born American writer and a scholar who in the '60s and early '70s deciphered ancient Sumerian texts and developed a weird theory according to which men were descendants from ancient astronauts who visited earth, aeons ago in search of gold.

These gigantic creatures came as he claimed from the planet Nibiru (called "the twelfth planet"). They were a technologically advanced human-like extraterrestrial race called the Anunnaki in Sumerian myth, who Sitchin states are called the Nephilim in Genesis. They were also later associated with fallen angels.
Actually the sources told me that they were mentioned only twice in the Scriptures and in quite a confusing way...

According to Sitchin, ancient inscriptions report that the human civilization in Sumer, Mesopotamia, was set up under the guidance of these "gods". Primitive workers (Homo sapiens) were created by genetic engineering as slaves to replace them in the gold mines by crossing extraterrestrial genes with those of Homo Erectus.

Since the release of his first book The 12th Planet in 1976, now in its 45th printing(!), Zecharia Sitchin wrote seven other books as part of his Earth Chronicles series, and six other companion books, all of which are still in print. Sitchin's sold millions of copies worldwide and been published in more than 25 languages and gained a huge following worldwide.
In the mid 2000s though, when Sumerian text were better studied his theory, translations and astronomical calculations were found inaccurate... Mistakes and miscalculations saw the light and his work was credited as pseudoscience...
His fans though remained adamant on his side till today...
The hypothesis was far too good... and he inspired a wonderful band. Didn't he?

Thank you Mr. Sitchin!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gothic rock bands and art Vo.5 (the March Violets)

Teresa d'Avila was a 16th century Carmelite nun and a mystic who was canonised as a saint in 1622 by pope Gregory XV. She was famous for her mystic and meditation practices
through her books and  also for the reformation she brought to the Carmelite nuns order.

Of her many portraits here's one by french painter Francois Gerard. 

Santa Teresa as she became known, had ecstatic visions in which she felt what she referred to as "devotions of ecstasy" a state that she claimed brought her in direct unison with God. Around 1559 she had a strong vision of a seraphim visiting her. 
Here's the description in her own words:  
" I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it..."

Around 1650, the great Baroque architect and sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, made a monumental sculpture of the aforementioned episode in Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome. It was entitled: "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa".

The piece was openly criticized from the very beginning since the overall body posture and facial expression of the saint, has strong allusions to sexual intercourse. Rivers of ink have since flown over the debate of Bernini's true intentions.

About 25 years later Bernini repeated the same posture and allusions on another sculpture, titled "Beata (blessed) Ludovica Albertoni" even more amplified !
The statue is in the Chapel of San Fransisco a Ripa also in Rome. Once more religious ecstasy resembles too much sexual climax.
And a detail of this very sculpture was used buy the March Violets to illustrate the cover of the , now highly collectible, 1983 single "Grooving in Green" on Merciful Release...