Being a record of the ruminations, ramblings and obsessions of a Hound of the noblest breed (or so His Lordship claims, anyway). The focus being on dark music and culture, style, spirituality and - naturally – Basset Hounds.
Welcome to the chronicles of Lord Bassington-Bassington, coming to you from Little Storping in the Swuff – a quaint place located somewhere between England’s Lake District and the outskirts of the Norwegian capital.
This is intended as a log of His explorations of music, books, films and so on. I, your humble chronicler, is merely His Lordship’s secretary.
For more information on Lord Bassington-Bassington, please confer this blog’s opening post. Contacts can be directed to email@example.com.
Of the Wand and the Moon have released two small slabs on vinyl to coincide with the season's festivities. Lord Bassington-Bassington couldn't resist these, of course, and they are somewhere in Europe, in the huge mess the postal system becomes before the holidays.
So what better way to wish the readers of the Chronicles a merry Yule, Christmas (or whatever way your personal path makes you celebrate the season) than to share a song from OFTWATM's "It's Like Dying On Christmas Day" with our readers. We hope to see you in the new year, when His Lordship will hopefully be tempted out of his semi-hibernation underneath several thick blankets, so that this blog can be updated more often.
It arrived this morning; Mr. B Gentleman Rhymer’s new long-playing compact disc I Say! To say that this release has been eagerly awaited by Lord Bassington-Bassington is a bit of an understatement; its arrival is like, well, like Christmas. Which, of course, it is, judging from the calendar.
Sadly, all is not tea and roses in the land of chap-hop. The time of the release of I Say! finds our hero in a precarious situation, as he is embroiled in the first chap-hop ”dissing match”, being challenged by MC Elemental to some sort of spat. Well, we’re sure our mild-mannered hero prefers the sort of spats one wears to protect one’s shoes.
Lord Bassington-Bassington has not yet had the time to get his teeth properly into I Say! yet, but it sounds extremely promising, to say the least. So here, to celebrate the new album, is Mr. B's lament to the problems of getting good help, something Lord Bassington-Bassington knows all about (just look at the sub-standard job His Lordship’s secretary does with this blog).
While there’s a lot of exciting things happening in the world of small press publishing, it’s not an everyday occurence that an exciting publisher sees the light of day in the neighbourhood of Bassington Manor. But this is precisely what has happened with the recent launch of Malört Förlag (Wormwood Publishing), who, according to their own mission statement, are dedicated to "texts about the fantastic, the numinous and the aberrant”. Well, Lord Bassington-Bassington likes weird fiction, and he likes wormwood, so all portents point to Malört Förlag becoming one of His Lordship's favourite publishers.
As Malört publishes books in Swedish, this limits their readership to Scandinavians. However, their first release is a two-CD compilation intended as a companion to their forthcoming translation of The Devil in Love which is originally French, and seems to be available in several other languages as well.
And you need not be a linguist to enjoy the record, which includes contributions from artists ranging from Jarboe and Gavin Friday to Shinjuku Thief and Stone Breath, with a special mention for Rikke Lundgreen, one of Lord Bassington-Bassington's favourites on the contemporary Norwegian art scene.
His Lordship would like to congratulate these illustrious Swedes with their first release, and looks forward to following Malört Förlag in the future.
Cuckoo clocks are cool. That's what Lord Bassington-Bassington has always felt, anyway. And because of that, he is extremely enthusiastic about the current cuckoo clock revival.
Young artist Stefan Strumbel leads the field when it comes to the fusion of Germanic folk art (grown-up talk for "kitsch") and high art (grown-up talk for "pretentious"), and while he produces some stunning works, one is usure about whether one would want them on one's wall. Not to mention whether one could ever afford them...
So for something that's more moderate both in price and execution, one can do worse than turn to Italian company Diamantini & Domeniconi, who produce cuckoos where Germanic tradition meets Italian design in a mix that is stunningly European.
These clocks are available in two versions, the most elaborate (and thus most tempting) version having a working cuckoo. In order to not deprive the owner of sleep, it has a light sensor to make the bird inside take the night along with the owners, but this raised a number of questions. How would a light sensor handle the Norwegian seasons? Wouldn't the cocky cuckoo just refuse to accept that it's nighttime during the white nights of July, for instance? The clinching argument, though, was presented by Lady Mju. Lady Mju. being a feline sort of type, pointed out that she wouldn't get much done if she had to sit under the clock all day stalking the birdie inside. So the choice was clear: Some things had to be sacrificed.
Lord Bassington-Bassington thinks the clock works quite well on the wall here at Bassington Manor. (The white roses are obviously a small tribute to a band His Lordship quite enjoys).
So what else can one do than join those founders of neofolk, Death in June, in singing "Ku ku cuckoo, baby!"
We had a small gathering at the Café Grössenwahn this past Saturday. This event, entitled "The November Men (and Ladies)" was without any concert or big brouhaha, just a bunch of nice people, food and drink. All in all, a perfect way to unwind after a hectic first year of Café Grössenwahn.
And as we're wont to do here at the Chronicles whenever we've been out and about, we'll post the playlist from the night. So here it is.
Sol Invictus: "The Bad Luck Bird"Rome: "Chanson des Gestes" Anthony and the Johnsons: "Salt Silver Oxygen" Sub Luna: "A Distance Between" Thomas Nöla et son Orchestre: "The Rose-Tinted Monocle" Fräkmündt: "Wuotisheer" Sturmpercht: "Der Tanz des Tatzelwurms" In Slaughter Natives "Ashes of Angels" Dernière Volonté: "Immortel" Spiritual Front: "Darkroom Friendship" Ronny: "Blue Cabaret" Paul Giovanni: "Willow's Song" Gyron V: "The Boat of the Moon"
The glass painting of Cthulhu is progressing nicely. To use an understatement. While Lord Bassington-Bassington finds it interesting to get such insights into the working process of a glass artist, His Lordship can hardly wait to see the finished piece.
Because one of our favourite artists, Johannes Høie, together with his better half, Filippa Barkman, are having an exhibition right now in Oslo, and because Lord Bassington-Bassington and Lady Mju are seriously considering purchasing one of their works for the walls of Bassington Manor, we had to share these pictures with the readers of the Chronicles.
Rust by Johannes Høie.
Aghast by Filippa Barkman (and yes, it's named after the band. Miss Barkman does have a lot of interesting references in her work.)
As Jorge Luis Borges once wrote, gentlemen are only attracted to lost causes. And few causes are more lost, and therefore more suited for gentlemen, than Cryptozoology.
Furthermore, few causes are more entertaining. Who can resist pictures so grainy that the purported sea monster might as well be a log? Or jumpy films of “sasquatches” that look suspiciously like men in gorilla costumes? Well, certainly not Lord Bassington-Bassington!
There is nothing wrong with His Lordship’s curiosity (after all, Bassets are basically a nose on legs), but being of the homely type, he lacks the drive to go out into jungles and deep lakes and look for dinosaur survivals or Nessie. That doesn’t mean he isn’t interested, just that he prefers to explore the world from the safety of the sofa here at Bassington Manor.
So imagine Lord Bassington-Bassington's delight when, on one of his morning walkies, he found this on the pavement right outside the aforementioned Manor.
His Lordship is absolutely convinced that this severed limb is a part of a mythical, lost crypto-beast of some sort, and will keep referring to this photograph as proof that any story of outrageous monsters should be taken seriously.
Still, His Lordship doesn't quite feel ready to become a full-time monster hunter just yet. He'll leave that business to the professionals. Such as the people that produce completely factual TV documentaries such as this.
Like all worthwhile projects, the glass painting of Cthulhu commissioned by Lord Bassington-Bassington has taken more time than expected.
We promised our readers that we'd keep them updated on its progress, however, and here we are proud to present some pictures from the workshop of glass artist Jeanne-Sophie Aas.
His Lordship can hardly wait to see the finished work!
Miss Aas even seems to have offered up a small blood sacrifice to Great Cthulhu while working. While Lord Bassington-Bassington thinks that this shows real spirit, His Lordship also feels sorry for Miss Aas' paws and would like to take her out to dinner when the painting is ready. One should look after up-and-coming artists.
An astute comment from a reader on a previous post here at the Chronicles got Lord Bassington-Bassington thinking more about dandyism.
More precisely, on the enormous difference between the dandy as envisioned by brand-obsessed fashion victims and the vision of that arch-dandy Sebastian Horsley, whom His Lordship had the pleasure of seeing in action when he (Mr. Horsley, that is, not His Lordship) introduced Current 93's concert in London this summer.
These passages are culled from Mr. Horsley's autobiography, Dandy in the Underworld, one of the most interesting autobiographies His Lordship can recall reading. It is essential material for anyone with the slightest interest in dandyism. And anyone else for that matter. For how can anyone resist a chapter with a title like "Mein Camp?"
Mr Brummell was the original and most celebrated dandy but he was no hero of mine. He was so refined that I do not regard him as a dandy at all. I am more concerned with style than breeding. And the key is to dress in such as style that you would attract attention at a Liberace concert.
When it comes to dress, it takes a strong man to be an extrovert. A true dandy needs complete conviction that he is right; the views of the rest of the world simply don’t matter. ’If someone looks at you, you are not well dressed,’ Mr Brummell tells us. But then Mr Brummel would say that; prissily precise, he was essentially a conformist. True dandyism is rebellious. The real dandy wants to make people look, be shocked by, and even a little scared by the subversion which his clothes stand for.
And yet, dandyism is social, human and intellectual. It is not a suit of clothes walking about by itself. Clothes are merely a part – they may even be the least important part of the personality of the dandy. Dandyism isn’t image encrusted with flourishes. It’s a way of stripping yourself to your true self. You can only judge the style by the content and you can only reach the content through the style.
Being a dandy is a condition rather than a profession. It is a defence against suffering and a celebration of life. It is not fashion, it is not wealth, it is not beauty. It is a shield and a sword and a crown – all pulled out of the dressing up box in the attic of the imagination. Dandyism is a lie which reveals the truth and the truth is that we are who we pretend to be.
Rest in peace, Mr. Horsley. It feels good to know that you suceeded in defining dandyism to such a degree that there's little point in us lesser mortals even trying.
There's few contemporary folk singers Lord Bassington-Bassington appreciates more than Marissa Nadler.
This Boston-based singer of ghostly, Gothic folk songs not only captures the sense of His Lordship’s spiritual homeland, New England, perfectly. In a world seemingly filled to overflowing with young ladies strumming acoustic guitars, Marissa Nadler stands out like a shining gem. Her music is a bit like the best architecture you find in New England: A product of the youthful enthusiasm of the "new world", yet filled with a nostalgia for the world left behind. An approach to art that, in turn, creates dreams of a better, more beautiful world.
And as all her four album releases have been spun regularily here at Bassington Manor, His Lordship has been eagerly awaiting more music from Miss Nadler.
And lo and behold, recently Miss Nadler issues this call to support the recording of her next album.
And as Miss Nadler's records are the kind Lord Bassington-Bassington would definitely buy without hearing them first, all "Caveat emptor" instincts are immediately suspended. His Lordship has already donated.
Show your chivalrous side and ride to the rescue of this damsel in distress! Preferably on a Basset hound!
Lord Bassington-Bassington hasn't quite landed yet after the last instalment of the Café Grössenwahn, where the small club managed to get neofolk founder Mr. Wakeford to come for a spin (and Mr. Jivek to open for him).
So here's a small memento of a night of flowing absinthe and wonderful music.
Lord Bassington-Bassington occasionally waddles into art museums. Especially if there's something Lovecraftian there to tempt him.
But the museum to visit these days, if you happen to find yourself in Scandinavia, seems to be Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. The museum is putting on an exhibition about dandyism which seems quite worthwhile. And which has prompted us here at the Chronicles to shamelessly steal from their press photos. For surely The Lord Bassington-Bassington Chronicles is a legitimate publication?!
Interior decoration tips for Bassington Manor?
The curse of the Scandinavian climate means that wonderful soles like these must be covered in rubber.
In conjunction with the exhibiton there is also a competition, in which the visitor is invited to vote for one of the interpretations of the dandy provided by several Swedish style personalities. Not being Swedish, we here at the Chronicles have no idea who these “personalities” are, but we are highly skeptical. Case in point: One of them wears what appears to be a baseball cap. And to put it bluntly, Lord Bassington-Bassington is of the opinion that learning about style from someone wearing a baseball cap is a bit like, well, like taking French lessons from a Scotsman.
A small video in honour of the first snow of the season to fall over Bassington Manor. Though we do hope the ground will be clear a little longer. For, as we've shown before, bassets aren't very good at traversing snow.
Despite having a penchant for Swedish neofolk acts such as Apatheia and Solblot, His Lordship had not given Swedish band Sub Luna a sporting chance to impress him. This situation quickly changed when the latest offering from this intrepid neofolk outfit arrived here at Bassington Manor.
The album Awake! is nothing less than a well-crafted collection of neofolk songs, with a distinct touch of Leonard Cohen (a definite plus in anyone’s book, we dare claim).
The album only seems to grow with each listening, and has been hogging the stereo here at Bassington Manor more than we care to admit.
Mikael Lindblom, who more or less is Sub Luna also functions as a live member of one of the world’s most exciting martial industrial bands, Karjalan Sissit. In fact, he seems to be an all-round good egg. In the picture below Mr. Lindblom is captured while wearing a stylish jacket and indulging in a glass of absinthe; activities which garner Mr. Lindblom a lot of goodwill here at the Chronicles.
Surely this picture alone should be enough for any discerning neofolk fan to ensure that there will be more Sub Luna albums? Lord Bassington-Bassington suggests you do this by keeping Mr. Lindblom in absinthe money, by simply buying Awake!
For years, Kaiser's Bunker has been one of Lord Bassington-Bassington's favourite stops on the Interwebs. It is an example of old-school web at its best: A person has an intense passion, and wants to share it with the world. In this case, a passion for Prussian (and Canadian) uniforms. The result is nothing less than marvellous. How can one possibly resist an entire essay on the Hanoverian Gibraltar cuff-title?
But the best thing about Kaiser's Bunker undoubtedly the Kaiser the website is named after, namely Kaiser the Dachshund, who also consents to model some of the headgear. And yet again, we see how humans can never compare to canines when it comes to style.
The phenomenon of “Alpinfolk” has grown into a small wave, a wave Lord Bassington-Bassington has been observing with quite some interest. Not least because Alpine artists such as Jännerwein, Klammheim and Sturmpercht make His Lordship’s droopy ears tickle in delightful ways.
So there was great rejoicing here at Bassington Manor when the latest release from Swiss outfit Fräkmündt, Urbärglieder, arrived.
For anyone who appreciates Alpine folk this is a must-have, but don’t take our word for it. As is often the case, the neofolk connoiseurs over at The Shadows Commence put it better than we can. Go read their review.
Lord Bassington-Bassington can only add that not only is Urbärglieder a really enjoyable album, the band Fräkmündt itself inspires an endless barrage of dubious puns (hence the title of this post). And as His Lordship is already under surveillance by the humour police, we’ll spare you any more (but feel free to get fräky in the comments section).
(Limited version of the record, which His Lordship was too slow to get hold of a copy of. Yes, His Lordship is sometimes a bit slow).
Some of our associates claim that Fräkmündt have also recorded a version of the song “Chainsaw Gutsfuck”, originally recorded by some Norwegian metal band His Lordship can’t quite remember the name of (was it Return?), but sadly, that’s not included on Urbärglieder.
Of the Wand and the Moon are playing in Paris. And the poster was just too beautiful not to reprint here. Not least because Lord Bassington-Bassington has always had a weakness for constructivist poster art.
Figure-enhancing cut, warm wool, velvet collars. Nothing beats a covert coat - it dresses down a suit and dresses up more casual outfits. No wonder it's the coat of choice for both country gentlemen and skinheads. Don't just take Lord Bassington-Bassington's word for it, listen to Major Hoad.
There are many English clothing companies famous for their covert coats. Cordings and Crombie have more or less defined the coat, but any self-respecting company will sooner or later try their hand at an interpretation of the covert coat.