A Few Bizarre, Gothic, Psychedelic Or Paranormal Full Length Shows From 90s British TV

Pip pip, what what and other meaningless phrases. Here are a few full length episodes of ‘documentaries’ from my distant memories. It seems to me that the 90s developed an obsession with the odd in all it’s forms, from Fortean Times to sun, moon and star decorations (which of course I had as wallpaper). Perhaps my memory is biased because I lapped it up like a crazy cat, but here are my favourites IN FULL!

Sacred Weeds. There were four episodes in this series: Blue Lily, Henbane, Salvia Divinorum and Fly Agaric Mushroom. They were fascinating for a couple of reasons; firstly for the study on natural drugs, secondly for the stubbornness of  the scientists who very rarely if at all change their minds and thirdly for the sheer oddness of suited men and women questioning people tripping their tootsies off. Here’s the Henbane episode, thought to have been taken by witches:

For an added treat here’s Salvia Divinorum

BBC Weird Night. Back in 1994 the BBC had a ‘weird night’ which became legendary in my mind, partly because there’s almost no information on it and the programmes were never shown again. It will always have a special place in my mind as a defining moment of weirdness setting me on a particular path with my fiction. I personally don’t believe in the paranormal anymore, but it’s still a fun watch if only to bask in 90s tastic weirdness. Also of note, follow the link above to see which films, including David Lynch, were shown after the programmes.

Fortean Review of the Year (1994)

The next was WSH, The Myth of the Urban Myth. Urban myths are fascinatingly grotesque, and this show weaves drama with genuine experts discussing them from all angles:

Weird Thoughts. Continuing Weird Night, here’s a gathering of ‘experts’ in the bowels of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum discussing the meaning of weird. I love this because the London museum was the destination of mine and Bill’s second date:

This is slightly cheating as this programme was first broadcast in 2002, but the image of a kitty cat drug orgy was burned onto my retinas. Here’s Weird Nature, Peculiar Potions:

Weird, Horror Or Rave Valentine’s Nail Art With Professional DQ

This nail lady is brilliant! Visit her youtube channel here and see what other stuff you can find. In the meantime here are a few Valentine’s Day tutorials from Professional DQ:

Voodoo and hearts? Of course!

Pirates and hearts? Why not!

Skulls and hearts? Hooray!

Black and white striped gothic hearts? Woo hoo!

More gothic hearts? Goodness!

Sparkly pink heart pendant (but still cool, don’t panic)

Bizarre Book Club 11: A Love Letter To Louise Brooks, Pulp Lovecraft And Clowns In The Attic

Today’s pretentious (and frankly quite silly) book club picture is brought to you by a poster of the London Literature Festival.madeleine-swann-bizarre-book-club

Let’s look at what lovely droplets of word wonders we have today.

1. Strange Vs Lovecraft by various. We all know the Lovecraft way: Lots of high strange-vs-lovecraft-madeleine-swann-bizarre-booksminded dialogue and description, a few masterful aliens and a lot of cowering humans, all with a dash of racism thrown in for good measure. Or is it? Lovecraft has spawned a multitude of fan fiction and this is probably the most unusual. These folks love Lovecraft but they’ve taken his ideas to a new place – a trash/pulp/bizarro type place.

Kevin Strange, the editor, says of Lovecraft in the intro: ” I love the pomposity, the snobbery, the feeling of exclusion. No other horror fiction feels like a private clubhouse as much as Lovecraftian fiction. It’s part of the genre’s charm and mystery. But I’m here to crash the party.”

And crash it they do. It’s a very entertaining collection of stories even if some do get a little juvenile (you may argue that that’s the point), and it’s definitely not for the easily offended. However Lovecraft himself could be quite offensive when he wanted to be, so go ahead, have a read and make up your own minds.

2. The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares. Partly a study in loneliness and partly the exploration of our relationship with big screen performers, who are completely clueless of our existence while we feel we know them so well, this was apparently inspired by the author’s fascination with silent siren Louise Brooks. I don’t blame him, she was a fox.

A man is stuck on a desert island with only a handful of strangers for company, however these strangers don’t acknowledge him. Who are they and why do they repeat the same actions day after day? It’s an intriguing and slightly spooky read which made me think of immersive plays where you wander from room to room watching the performance, and it’s really quite a clever idea.

3. Attic Clowns Volume Four by Jeremy C Shipp. Apparently there are other attic-clowns-four-madeleine-swann-bizarre-book-clubvolumes of clown in attics which I have not read yet, but this includes a standalone novella called The Ascension of Globcow the Foot Eater and a short story called Hobo.

An angel who takes his job far more seriously than his co-workers is asked to help a small demon called Globcow mend his ways and live among the angels, a task that turns out not to be as easy as he thought. Globcow is actually quite a cute story, albeit one that includes murder, dismemberment and a scary clown. In an attic!

Jeremy has an endearing sense of humour which I find very appealing and it was enough to make me want to search out his other stuff too. Which I will.

4. Discouraging At Best by John Lawson. This is an intriguing, sometimes confusing, sometimes funny, occasionally disturbing stream-of-consciousness story that highlights the author’s concern with the state of the world, including it’s views on violence and race.

It’s a barrage in the shape of a narrative but one I feel is worth reading rather than just a simple lecture. It’s unusual and interestingly presented, and it might just tickle your brain.

Well, that’s enough mind licking for now, toodle pip!

Crucifixion Re-enactment, Girl Whipping and Death Dancing: Odd Easter Customs

Merry almost Easter! Is it me or does the date keep changing? Here we’re used to exchanging eggs and dancing naked whilst weeping (just me?) but other countries have their own ideas of spring tradition.

1. Girl Whipping (and Soaking) in Eastern Europe. Yes, show those Slovak ladies who’s boss! In the Czech Republic you give them a good hiding with a willow stick and then a dousing with freezing water! The water tradition occurs elsewhere in Eastern Europe too. Apparently the voracity of the dousing can vary from “having a teaspoon of warm tap water dribbled over you to a bucket of frigid well water thrown at you.” Likewise the strength of the stick beating can depend on how drunk people are, but it’s not really supposed to hurt. Read more about it here.madeleine-swann-slovak-whipping-easter

2. Semana Santa in Spain and Latin America. An odd spectacle indeed, chosen members of the Christian Order of Penitents wear robes known as capirotes. Read more (and see videos and pictures) here.

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Semana Santa

3. Crucifixion in the Philippines. Flagellation, genuine crucifixion… these people take the grim part of religion very seriously. Be warned, the video below features some very unpleasant business. Have a read about it here.

4. ‘Halloween’ Easter in Finland. In a kind of reverse trick or treat children dress up as witches and bring gifts door to door. Those gifts might be twigs and crepe paper but it’s the thought that counts, and they still manage to extort chocolate so all is right with the universe.

5. Pot smashing in Greece. Greeks just love breaking stuff! If you’re ever annoyed with a person it’s probably best to get down there and smash up a load of china – just be sure they’re not trying to eat off it at the time.

6. The Dance of Death in Spain. If you go to Verges, Costa Brava, you may find yourself surrounded by a procession of skeletons. Apparently to remind people that ‘death can occur at any time,’ everyone dances to drums and carries something ‘death related’ such as a scythe.

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The Death Dance in Verges
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The Death Dance in Verges

Some surreal fashion and art, or: birdmen, spaceships and pencil sharpener women

Just some quick ones today of pictures that made my eyeballs explode with delight from blog Morfes.

Go to this blog post and have a look at these pretties by Russian artist Tatiana Kazakova. mixed-art-illustrations-tatiana-kazakova-8

I love this pencil shaving fashion lady by Matthew Brodie. matthew-brodie-fashion-photography-3

I do have a penchant for Georgian excess, photos by Helen Sobiralski. baroque-painting-inspired-photography-helen-sobiralski-1

These digital collages by Catrin Welz Stein are quite pretty. digital-collages-catrin-welz-stein-3

The 3d art by Andrey Bobir was quite interesting I thought. 3d-art-by-andrey-bobir-5

Fashion photographer Eugenio Recuenco recreated Picasso’s paintings for a photoshoot. photography-real-life-picasso-women-2