Pendulum of Smoke Micro-Excerpt: Henry Call

When he daily marched and drilled his men and saw the mix of lust and fear in their fresh eyes, Call thought of how few of them would return home with the glory they dreamed of. He fought back his own fear and weariness with the mantra of strength, and with memories of what he had managed to return from before. He had fought first ragged mountain men, tax evaders and heretics, their breath venomous as they died clutching rude trinkets. He had fought cougars and wolves and worse things when they took calves or human babies to kill or to raise. He had scaled cliffs to reach caverns and burned what he found there. He had chased slaves as they stole away, and once one had turned on him and buried into his shoulder a rifle ball that had been an unceasing pain there ever since.

-An excerpt from Pendulum of Smoke, David’s supernatural Civil War novel in progress.

On Lustre, Social Media, and What We Allow in Black Metal

This is a guest post from Black Metal and Brews, a great blogger who reviews craft beer and obscure black metal tapes. This is part of the process of Blown Horizonz becoming more of a full-blown publication rather than just my personal blog.  If you’d like to pitch in with a guest post, or join our staff, we’re seeking weirdo writers

Yesterday, I witnessed a first in the metal community. The man behind Lustre, Nachtzeit, used his band’s Facebook profile to reach out in search of a romantic partner. While it’s easy to view this as misuse of social media, it created something of a chain reaction in the black metal community. He has since made multiple posts explaining his initial update and has mocked the community for its harsh reaction.

First off, let’s look at this as a serious act. If this is the case, the sense of melancholy and longing that Lustre’s music so clearly evokes is sincere, and he’s using an extension of his musical persona to seek partnership. If anything, the trolling from the community, which ranged from “you lost a fan” to “you’re a virgin” to even “members of Cradle of Filth will be laughing at you,” disappoints me.

Now let’s say that this was an attempt at pulling one over on fans. He got a reaction and used it as an opportunity to lash out at elitists. While I’m all for taking a chance to call any community out on unwarranted judgment, it’s stooping a bit low to try to trick people into reacting.

Regardless of the artist’s intentions, the one thing that sticks with me most is that in a community where artists with hateful and bigoted stances receive a pass for making enjoyable music, a man who was allegedly seeking companionship was cast out. Yes, it’s silly to use a Facebook band page to find a partner, but is it career suicide? Lustre’s presence has always been that of an individual who happens to make music rather than a professional band trying to have a detached, business only persona.

What is your take on this? Is this just a social media fumble from an artist channeling his own loneliness, or a severe misstep that could cost a musician his fanbase?

Future Custom Toy Hunting at the Fun-Lan Flea Market

Tampa is a ragged, downtrodden beast of a city, where people in trouble struggle in the sunshine. The upside of this is that there are plenty of willing sorters of cultural detritus, who search through others’ leavings for traces of forgotten value. They often bring their finds to the Fun-Lan Swap Shop Flea Market, which runs Thursday-Sunday on east Hillsborough Avenue. Here’s what you can get for ten bucks – a giant pile of broken, fantastic, forgotten, nameless toys ready to be primed and repainted back to the heights of customized weirdness.

 Found flea market toys

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Other than Spongebob, Terminator, and the trash guy from TMNT, I’m pretty clueless as to what most of these are, which just makes them more awesome in my book.  Four of them are already primed and ready to be turned into one-of-a-kind custom toy masterpieces.

 

‘True Detective’ brings together Burroughs and Lovecraft to make the darkest television ever.

“Death made time for what it kills to grow in.”  That’s the dialogue thought-bomb Matthew McConaughey dropped near the end of Sunday’s True Detective. I knew I knew the line. It comes from William S. Burroughs, from Cities of the Red Night, from a passage celebrating Ah Pook, The Destroyer.

True Detective is already getting attention for its references to weird legends like Thomas Ligotti and Robert W. Chambers and, indirectly, H.P. Lovecraft. And now it’s making references to William Burroughs. That connection hasn’t been widely made, but it’s one that has always struck me. The putrescent aliens and rabid gore and giant centipedes of Burroughs’ Interzone echo the body horror that pervades Lovecraft, and True Detective, with its nihilistic, degraded detective protagonists and its degenerates running through the woods worshiping demons, brings the two worlds together in a way that gets at the heart of both.

Both Burroughs and Lovecraft saw that the world was something to be feared and hated – Lovecraft, through his maladjustment, Burroughs, through his cynicism and superiority. Cohle, the darkly damaged figure at the center of True Detective, carries Burroughs’ world-weariness, and moves through a world, like Lovecraft’s, ruled over by powers he can’t see or fight.

The explicit references are one thing, but above all, the tone and message of True Detective are more faithful to the weird than any Guillermo Del Toro spectacle.  There are no tentacles in True Detective (at least not yet), but there are monsters. It trades in one of Lovecraft’s great tropes, pitting the forces of order against a chaos personified by the poor, downtrodden, and in this telling, irreparably corrupted.  But True Detective takes this easy dichotomy and tumbles it, by making its protagonists not just broken or weak, but in their own deep ways malevolent.  That’s the Burroughs talking.

This show is dark beyond dark.  For Lovecraft, for Ligotti, for Chambers, the malevolent world beyond the veil often hunts ciphers, investigators who stand in for our own uncertainty. True Detective forces us to wrestle with figures of ourselves that are not simply neutral, but, Like Burroughs’ junkies and murderers, bear the malevolence of the indifferent universe within them.

Announcement: Seeking Weirdo Writers

If you’re an aspiring (or experienced) writer interested in getting paid to write about the kind of weird culture you’ve maybe seen me post about here from time to time, we might have something to talk about. I’ve decided to turn this blog into more of a group affair, with topics including horror movies, surrealist literature, wrestling, board games, art toys, video games, and edgy music from metal to hip hop.

If you’re interested in writing for me, please take a look at the blog, then send a list of 5 ideas to blownhorizonz@gmail.com.  I’m starting off paying $5 for a 200-400 word post, which I know is criminal, but I’m going to be working on ramping up and figuring out how to make this thing pay for itself/pay writers more, and I don’t want to overcommit early.

Alternately, if you run a blog and it makes sense, I’m happy to trade links/posts. Let me know.

Cave Evil Re-Released: Black Metal Board Game With the Greatest Promo Video Ever

I’m pretty behind on this, but the six month lag doesn’t make it less awesome. Cave Evil is a board game featuring art by Mat Brinkman, one of the most incredible nobrow artistst of the bleeding gore/monster/death metal vibe.  Back in 2010 or so when it first came out, I was a dead-broke graduate student, and was absolutely heartbroken to watch as it sold out.

Now it’s back, with a reprint that apparently became available in June of last year, which is when this absolutely mind-boggling promo video came out.

 

So, there’s that. But either these guys aren’t exactly running a tight ship, or there’s some sort of obfuscatory metagaming going on there.  There were ‘pre-order’ mentions on the Cave Evil Twitter account as of a few days ago, for some reason.  Anyway, it looks like you can now order the game here.

Toys are Even Better Than You Remember.

Deathly Headed Zagoran Kaiju

 

It’s been a very slow couple of months around here on the blog. Slow as in stopped, actually. I’ve been focusing on making the very exciting but time- and mind-consuming switch to being a full-time freelance writer.  I’m not quite there yet, but I’m lucky enough to get to spend some time at home these days, and among other things I’ve spent that time looking at stuff to waste my hard-earned money on. That’s how I rediscovered the collectible art-toy community.

I’ve been familiar with this stuff for a while, and I’ve got a history with toys – back when I got my first ‘real’ job ten years or so ago, I spent $100 or so buying He-Man toys off of ebay.  But the temptations now are subtler and more powerful – like Deathly Headed Four Armed Zagoran here, now on pre-order at Lulubell Toys.  That’s $85 for a weird, cool, totally pointless tschochke (sp?) that does nothing but confirm that I’m a weirdo to the few people I let into my home.  But god dammit, I’ve earned some uselessness.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll be hitting you with more of this sort of stuff – He-Man, TMNT, M.U.S.C.L.E. – it all looks more and more like art, the more steps you take back, and the harder you squint.