Friday, 8 September 2023

New From The Howling: Incredible Night Creatures of The Midway!


Incredible Night Creatures of The Midway is the latest album from The Howling, the collaborative project that Howlround and I started back in 2019, inspired by our deep love of Text, Tape and Trash. Available on CD or as a digital download, Incredible Night Creatures of The Midway is intense collision of spoken word and analogue tape effects splattered across five tracks that provide the missing link between John Cage and Suicide. It’s the all-singing, all dancing follow-up to our debut album All Hail Mega Force, hailed by The Wire as a ‘mesmeric disorientation’ when released by Tapeworm in 2022.


Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway celebrates some of The Howling’s favourite exploitation movies. ‘Contents Warning’ pays tribute to the quantities of sex, horror and violence to be found in the genre as a whole, while ‘David Gest, Liza Minelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’ is a Trash favourite from our live performances and is currently available as digital single. Each of the remaining three tracks is devoted to a specific movie dear to our hearts. ‘The Skydivers’ is a deadpan exposition of a spectacularly lacklustre 1960s soap opera set on a California airfield, backed by the throbbing of a customised street rod engine. ‘The Picture of A Picture of Dorian Gray’ is a pounding response to a 1970s Italian soft-core porn adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic novel. Finally, Howlround and I are joined by Beth Arzy of Jetstream Pony and composer/performer Ela Orleans for ‘Miss Frost Miss Leslie Miss Frost’, an exacting dismemberment of Miss Leslie’s Dolls, a creepy Florida-based slasher flick rumoured to have been produced with money smuggled out of Castro’s Cuba. We dare you to play it in the dark!


You can pre-order Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway direct from Tapeworm by clicking here. Copies will be shipped on September 29. Order it from Tapeworm, and you also get The Howling Wormzine as a downloadable PDF containing full versions of all the texts from the album. 


‘David Gest, Lisa Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor’ is available right now as a digital single – find it simply by clicking here.




The Howling will be doing a special performance based on material from the album at Iklectik Lab on September 19 as part of Vox Interruptus. For more details of the event and to book tickets, click here. Copies of Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway will be available for purchase on the night.


The Howling – ‘The First Name in Excitement!’


Pictured above: Mind-bending artwork for the album, the digital single and The Howling Wormzine by the amazing Stefan Fahler.

Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway front cover

‘David Gest, Liza Minnelli, Michael Jackson and Elizabeth’ digital single 

Incredible Night Creatures of the Midway back cover 

Saturday, 20 May 2023

Utopia, the 1964 New York World’s Fair and The Dialectics of Oblivion


To mark the launch of the recent release, Utopia or Oblivion (CN5) Constructive Music have created a website ‘which will serve as a focal point for a series of essays, articles, artists work and information resources that will be derived from the same broad remit offered to the musicians’ who have contributed to the project, inspired by the writings of R Buckminster Fuller.


Their website announcement continues:


‘Whether it is to be Utopia or Oblivion will be a touch-and-go relay race right up to the final moment. Humanity is in a final exam as to whether or not it might qualify for continuance in the Universe.’ (Utopia Or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity R. Buckminster Fuller) Constructive are pleased to announce a compilation of work by 10 artists inspired by and in response to the work of R. Buckminster Fuller, specifically from the essays Utopia Or Oblivion first published in 1963.


In response to their request, I have written an essay on the theme on Utopia and the Dialectics of Oblivion, inspired by the 1964 New York World’s Fair. This global event, better known for the US corporations drawn to it rather the nation states it sought to represent, has always fascinated me. It opened the same year that Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man and McLuhan’s Understanding Media were published. It was also the year that Jonny Quest and Bewitched first appeared on American TV. ‘The Trip that’s Worth the Trip’ is a tribute to this unique moment in the history of progress. It is another in my series of occasional essays that take their structure directly from Walter Benjamin’s ‘On the Concept of History’.  I follow the same numbering and divisions of his original text and retain all of the extracted quotes with which he begins and ends some of the sections. I also try and keep the relative length of each entry to approximately the same proportions as those used by Benjamin, even though the overall length of the text itself might vary. I first used this approach in the essay ‘On The Concept of History, Brexit, Covid and the Paradise of Sovereignty: A fable in eighteen parts with two addenda and seven supporting quotations’ - which you can find in its entirety here


You can find The Trip That’s Worth the Trip: Utopia – the Dialectics of Oblivion on the Constructive website by clicking here.  


The Constructive album release details are as follows: CN5 Various Artists Utopia or Oblivion 2023 LP / DL


Pictured above:

The Pop Up New York World’s Fair

The General Motors Futurama pavilion

Jonny Quest gets his jetpack

From the Bewitched opening animation sequence

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Let Me Die a Monster @ Camden Art Centre


To celebrate the publication of the long-awaited Strange Attractor Journal 5, my publishers hosted a special launch event at Camden Arts Centre on Thursday April 27, which included the staging of a couple of scenes from Let Me Die a Monster, an exploitation movie script I had cowritten with ‘the Truffaut of smut’ (BBC Radio 3) David McGillivray at the distant start of 1997.


The experience took me back nearly 25 years to the end of the previous century and the start of the new millennium. There were two things that struck me about this unique period. The first was a sense of looming catastrophe. It was a very apocalyptic time: one of mass suicides, technological terrors, potential alien invasions and the collapse of civilization itself. The message was in the mainstream media, out on the streets and in the air: everything must end. The second and more encouraging thing about this period was the sense of frivolity that went with the apocalyptic mood – if the whole thing was about to come crashing down, people’s attitude seemed to say, let’s at least have a party while it’s happening.


Living on the edge of a disaster that hadn’t happened yet produced a strange kind of gallows humour – and the screenplay that David McGillivray and I worked on together back in 1997 remains a good example of it. I have written a short account of how the project came about as a preface to the published version of the screenplay in Strange Attractor Journal 5 for those who wish to learn more. Perhaps a better introduction to the script might be to consider some of the forces driving it. At the time it seemed perfectly normal that the production company who had initially approached me and then later brought David and I together to write Let Me Die a Monster should be called Trash 2000 – it suited the times, or at least it suited how I understood those times. Trash 2000 had been making videos for Stereolab, Cornershop and Leftfield, which were using a lot of the imagery and attitudes that appealed to me, so when filmmaker Nick Abrahams approached me on behalf of Trash 2000 to ask if I had any ideas, I was ready.


So, did I have any ideas? Well, no – I didn’t. It was only after the initial meeting that I recalled that there was a story I was very interested in writing – and that was the one about the American movie actor Nick Adams. He was one of a small bunch of Hollywood stars, including Russ Tamblyn and Joseph Cotton, who had made monster movies for Toho films in Japan. At the time, I’d been a consultant for a BBC2 history of the horror movie, dealing specifically with the kaiju phenomenon in general and Godzilla in particular. Nick Adams had appeared in one extraordinary Godzilla movie, known in the West as Monster Zero AKA Invasion of Astro Monster


As far as I was concerned, Godzilla was the apocalypse incarnate. What made the Nick Adams connection so fascinating was not only that Adams died relatively young, overdosing on pills, but he had also been close friends with two other mythically self-destructive figures: Elvis Presley and James Dean. This connection was the starting point for Let Me Die a Monster. I developed a story that begins with Adams’ suicide – the pills producing a powerful hallucination in which Nick sees himself back in Tokyo making one last kaiju movie; but things are not going so well for him. His part keeps being rewritten, and he’s gradually being upstaged by a second American actor, who’s clearly after the starring role. Adams starts cracking up. The script for Let Me Die a Monster concerns itself with the flashbacks and fantasies unfolding in the dying actor’s brain.


For the Camden Art Centre reading David McGillivray selected two scenes and assembled a wonderful cast to interpret them. I am particularly indebted to him, Kamura Atusko, Iain Stirland, Daryl Crick and Henry Galvan for such an extraordinarily special event.


Pictured above:

Strange Attractor Journal 5

David McGillivray and KH posing for the camera

Stirland and Crick in character

The cast and the writers from right to left: Henry Galvan, Daryl Crick, Iain Stirland, Kamura Atsuko, David McGillivray and KH



Tuesday, 28 March 2023

Strange Attractor Presents ‘At the Gates of Purgatory’ @ Iklectik April 5


On the evening of Wednesday April 5 at the fabulous Iklectik Lab I will be presenting an extended reading from my latest book Purgatory – The Trash Project Volume II. In the past I have always given short readings based on extracts from my work, but increasingly I have had members of the audience coming up to me afterwards saying that they would have liked to hear a little more. So, I thought I would give them a lot more. 


You can find more details and book tickers by clicking here.


At The Gates of Purgatory is a special ‘live audiobook’ adaptation featuring support from Lori E Allen, Martin McCarrick, Mark Pilkington and Howlround, incorporating voice, cello, electronics and tape loops. I have worked with each of these wonderful performers individually in the past; but this is the first time I’ve collaborated with all four of them at the same time. Expect a long deep dive into digitally looped cello, shimmering electronics and raw analogue tape effects. This is going to be a unique spoken-word experience.


The Trash Project is a three-part work modelled upon Dante’s Divine ComedyInferno, the first volume, deals with US underground and exploitation movies made during the 1960s, while Purgatory examines how nineteenth-century European attitudes towards Beauty and Sin, Art and Morality continue to influence the way we think about Trash today. The first nine essays of Purgatory correspond directly to Dante’s account of the journey made by the dead to reach the gate to Mount Purgatory, where they will eventually atone for their sins. This may be a long reading for me, but it’s going to get very weird very quickly.


In the second part of his Divine Comedy, Dante describes the souls of the dead arriving on the shore of Purgatory, a mountainous island in the middle of an empty sea. The dead must then journey upwards on a steady incline past many perils until they reach a gate set in a wall. Once beyond this gate they begin the long and painful climb up the terraces of Mount Purgatory, shedding their sins as they go, until they reach the Earthly Paradise at the summit.


Over the course of At the Gates of Purgatory, horror and violence, corruption and desire become inextricably entwined as we travel from the pleasures of the Palace of Art during the day to the terrors of the Wax Museum at night. Along the way we meet Anthony Hancock and Dorian Gray, Lola Montez and King Ludwig I of Bavaria, Daphne and Apollo, Aphrodite and Medusa. 


NOTE: At the Gates of Purgatory is a continuous performance without any breaks or intermissions. You are welcome to come and go as the mood takes you, listen to as much or as little as you wish, but please be mindful of the other audience members when entering or exiting the hall. 


My sincere thanks are due to Lori E Allen, Martin McCarrick, Mark Pilkington, Howlround, Lucie Štěpánková and Isa Ferri for their unstinting support of this project.


Strange Attractor Presents At the Gates of Purgatory

At Iklectik

Wednesday 5 April 2023

Doors: 7.30pm 

Start 8.00pm


Pictured above

KH (photo by Rachel Hollings)

Lori E Allen 

Martin McCarrick (photo by Nelle Strange)

Mark Pilkington (photo by Rachel Hollings)


Purgatory (cover by Tihana Sare)

Saturday, 4 February 2023

The Howling in ‘The Clown House’ @ the Horse Hospital

On Thursday 9 February at London’s most prestigious arts venue, The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury, The Howling are pleased to present their first new work of 2023. 


The Clown House is our latest performance for spoken word and reel-to-reel tape – and Howlround and I are delighted to be sharing the evening with the fabulous Tears | O V. Together we are presenting a bill of clown-based horror and absurdity to celebrate the Horse Hospital’s latest exhibition ‘Drole’, a selection of mind-blowing archive material and curios torn from the history of clowning.


I have always, like any sane person, looked upon clowns with a mixture of fear and loathing. They always think they’re so goddamn funny, for a start. However, working with material or themes with which you have no natural connection can often be extremely productive. 


Hence, The Clown House, our latest performance, which reveals all you need to know about The Clown Inside – a neurodivergent condition with which I have been feeling a growing sympathy.


The Clown Inside is always crying. The Clown Inside isn’t there for your amusement. The Clown Inside keeps you in your place. The Clown inside wants to be your friend.

The Clown inside is always angry. 


The Clown Inside knows how to bear a grudge. The Clown Inside knows what you did. The Clown Inside remembers everything.


Combining media samples, field recordings, spoken word and analogue tape effects, Howlround and I take you inside the Clown House, letting you to hear everything that’s going on in there – everything the Clown Inside hears and sees.


The Howling is a collaborative project started I started with sound artist Howlround devoted exclusively to our shared love of text, audiotape and trash aesthetics. Our debut album All Hail Mega Force, released by Tapeworm in the summer of 2022, was described by The Wire as a ‘mesmeric disorientation.’ And who are we to argue?


The Howling + 

Tears | O V

Thursday 9 February

7.00 pm to 11.00pm

The Horse Hospital



London WC1N 1JD

For tickets and more details click here.


Pictured above

KH and Howlround at the BFI, photographed by @lahollings

HH at the HH

Grilled Cheese 30 seconds

HH at the HH

Clown Graphics by Tears | O V




Sunday, 15 January 2023

‘As Above, So Below’: Literature, Divination and Lisa Marie Presley

I cannot remember the exact sequence of events that led up to it, but I had been invited by Mar A Rodrigues, who runs a podcast series out of Portugal called ‘As Above, So Below’, to be interviewed by her for a new episode. MAR had approached me because she wanted to talk about my book The Space Oracle, which had inspired her to create the podcast series in the first place. We were finally able to meet online and talk on the morning of Wednesday January 11, and it turned out to be an absolute pleasure. Lisa Marie Presley hadn’t been part of the story at that point.


MAR and I discussed literature and the divinatory arts, history and science fiction, plus some of my earliest memories of space, astrology and magic. Other topics covered in no particular order included:


Destroy All Monsters, the Gulf War and 9/11

The Bright Labyrinth, science, magic and eroticism

Dante, The Divine Comedy and The Trash Project 

Purgatory, alchemy and the planets

Strindberg in Paris, the events of May 68 and Mario Bava’s Danger Diabolik

Comic books, spiritualism and clairvoyance


I enjoyed it all very much – especially when we went on to astrology, a subject about which MAR knew a great deal more than I did. Overall, the conversation lasted about an hour and a half, which has resulted in the first episode of ‘As Above, So Below’ to be broadcast on Spotify in 2023. You can find it by clicking here.


Or if you prefer, there is also a video version of our conversation on YouTube, which can be found by clicking here.


And then there was Lisa Marie. I am currently finishing Paradise: the third and final part of my Trash Project for Strange Attractor Press. I’d reached the point of compiling a Glossary of Names and References, as I have done for the previous two volumes. These compilations of entries cover all of the individuals mentioned in the text. As a large part of this new book is devoted to Elvis Presley, there were a lot of references to both him and his family entered under ‘P’. I took time away from working on this to record the interview with MAR. I did a little more work on it the following day and managed to complete all the Presley references, except for one. I didn’t really know what I wanted to say about Lisa Marie, so I had deliberately left her until the end. I rose very early on the morning of Friday 13 January, around 5.50 am, specifically to complete the glossary entry for her. As I was preparing to start work, I had the phrase ‘with a heavy heart’ running through my head. I switched on the computer, checked the news headlines, and the first thing I saw was a statement from Priscilla Presley that began ‘It is with a heavy heart…’ announcing her daughter’s death. 


To discuss the relationship between writing and divination is interesting enough in the abstract. To go from that to the intuitive foretelling of a death in a couple of days is matter for further conjecture. MAR and I swapped some fascinating messages over the course of the morning, extending the correspondences between writing and divination further still – as if they were ever going to stop. ‘There,’ as Karlheinz Stockhausen once said to me regarding an equally strange connection. ‘I leave that with you.’



Pictured above



The Space Oracle (2018), available from Strange Attractor Press

MAR and KH on the mic

Purgatory (2022), available from Strange Attractor Press


Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Purgatory Launch Event at the Horse Hospital November 17


On the evening of 17 November, Strange Attractor Press is holding a launch party for my new book Purgatory at the world famous Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury. This is Volume II of The Trash Project which I began in 2020 with the publication of Inferno. There will be movies and music, and copies of both books will be on sale, along with some choice items from my Strange Attractor back catalogue.

Following my reading from Purgatory at Iklectik in September and my recent lecture at the BFI, this will be the main event to welcome the second part of The Trash Project into the world. All are welcome, so I hope you will come along and help me celebrate.  I will present a reading from Purgatory and signing copies over the course of the evening. Join me and the wonderful people from Strange Attractor Press and The Horse Hospital if you can.

You can find more details from the Horse Hospital website by clicking here. But here's the basic information:

Where: The Horse Hospital, Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

When: from 19.00 until Roger gets tired of the whole thing and kicks us all out

Pictured above: Strange Attractor invite to the Horse Hospital event (Tihana Sare); copies of Purgatory and Inferno on sale at the BFI bookshop; KH concluding his lecture at the BFI's Reuben Library - Thank You