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J A N U A R Y 2 0 0 5
Fuck Off And Die in from the printer
• • • For all the hyperbolic assertions made about the current British art scene, the fact remains that no artist in Britain approaches the daring or invention seen in Savoy's ongoing series of comics.
This, the latest volume, is the first publication from the pens of David Britton and Kris Guidio since The Adventures of Meng & Ecker in 1997 and shows they have lost none of their power to shock and disturb. If only Brit Art had half their chutzpah and backbone!
"This comic contains art which will be repulsive to right-thinking people."
Judge Gerard Humphries"I fear for the readership of Mr Britton's works."
Stipendiary Magistrate Jane Hayward
Into the new year
• • • John Coulthart has begun designing our next publication, Sieg Heil: Iconographers by Jon Farmer. This promises to be the largest Savoy book to date240 x 195mm , and a projected 500-plus pagesand will contain the usual wide-range of eclectic personalities: Mr Punch, Cervantes, Cawthorn, Ruskin, Mosley, Lash Larue, The White Stripes, Nietzsche, Adolf, Borges, Guidio, Eliot, Colette, Fenella, Moorcock, Harrison, Orwell, Hoogstraten, etc.
The text is a further slant on Savoy's history (perhaps the most eccentric yet) in the wake of A Tea Dance at Savoy and A Serious Life, and will run contrary to the illustrations, some of the visuals having only the most oblique reference to the narrative. In effect, we'll be running two books in one, a delicate balancing act.
• • • The next Fenella Fielding recordings will see a change from our usual eyrie at the Strongroom in Shoreditch, London, currently being pencilled in as The 'Love' Sessions. This time Fenella will travel to Manchester to spend a week in the studios here. In a sense, we shall be reprising what we once did with Jim Proby, setting Fenella's remarkable vocal talents to a number of contemporary songs. The session will also see us re-united with our old engineer/arranger Stephen Boyce-Buckley. To date, the songs on our prospective list of the sublime and the ridiculous are:
The White Stripes'In The Cold, Cold Night'
Tom Waits'Big In Japan'
Nik Lowe'The Beast In Me'
...plus an ad hoc mixture of Cole Porter and Peggy Lee (Is That All There Is?). Another reading session will see Fenella narrating a selection of Michael Moorcock writings, from Dancers at the End of Time and the forthcoming Mervyn Peake memoir: Love.
Dave and Mike's inclination here is to go back to the start of Savoy Records when they recorded 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' at their first session in Peter Hook's studio in Rochdale. This time round may see a return journey to Rochdale, maybe to Lisa Stansfield's studio. We'll see...
Fenella was featured recently as narrator ("Dearie") for one of Jonathan Meades' customarily excellent documentaries for BBC 2, the subject this time being Brighton Pavilion. It goes without saying, Jonathan, but as The Cramps would put it, "you've got good taste."
Savoy to feature on Channel 4's Banned in Britain
S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 4
New Meadley Book
• • • Robert Meadley's second book for Savoy, The Odyssey of a Dogged Optimist, is a funny, clever and erudite defence of Colin Wilson following a series of splenetic reviews of Wilson's autobiography, Dreaming To Some Purpose, in The Observer and elsewhere. Lynn Barber, Adam Mars-Jones and Humphrey Carpenter were among those using publication of Wilson's bookand large quantities of broadsheet spaceto attempt a wider demolition on his life and career. Meadley recognises that in these situations attack is the best form of defence and gives no quarter, assassinating each of the egregious hacks in turn, while at the same time examining the qualities that make Wilson's work so insightful and compelling.
Meadley's previous Savoy volume, A Tea Dance at Savoy (2003), is equally witty and erudite, a wry dissection of the Savoy/Lord Horror corpus seen through the prism of Princess Diana's demise, the Holocaust, the Moors Murderers, September 11th, genre fiction and a seasick shipload of buccaneer philosophers. Both these books are highly recommended but then we would say that, wouldn't we?
The Odyssey of a Dogged Optimist is 188pp and is available as a free PDF (2.3MB).
You will need a copy of the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
J U L Y 2 0 0 4
Fenella by Cecil Beaton
• • • In September this year Fenella Fielding is due to appear as Nancy Mitford in Dearest Nancy, Darling Evelyn at The Linen Hall Library, Belfast, a dramatisation of the letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh.
It's easy to see what attracted Savoy to Fenella Fielding. An actress enigma, "a fabulous creature", as early collaborator Kenneth Williams once called her. Famous for her portrayals as the archetypal vamp in English comediesparticularly the Carry On series of filmsshe has trod the boards with Stanley Baxter, Arthur Hayes, Morecombe and Wise and many others, mythic names from a golden age of English comedy. Her gift for eccentricity and parody puts her in the Edith Evans or Joyce Grenfell class. It's always more difficult for a beautiful actress to be taken seriously. As a woman who has made her name in comedies she is somewhat typecast and stigmatised by the media, yet looking past this glib dismissal reveals a huge range of serious roles. Here is a professional actress with a delicate intelligence and a desire to test herself on demanding material.
Her CV is formidable: narrator for the BBC productions of The Miraculous Mandarin and The Damnation of Faust, Lady Parvula in Sandy Wilson's legendary Firbank musical Valmouth, title role in Colette on Broadway, Hedda in Hedda Gabler and Nora in A Doll's House, Marion in Ayckbourn's Absurd Person Singular, Madam Pfeil in Mozart's Der Schauspieldirektor, Chaucer recitals in Westminster Abbey and so on. Not least was her uncredited role as the "Good Morning, Good Morning" village announcer in that landmark of Sixties' TV paranoia, The Prisoner. Patrick McGoohan chose her particularly for that edge of joyous menace her voice conveys.
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