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O C T O B E R 2 0 0 6
• • • Isis of the Aether! She's coming! Goodstyle!
• • • More from the Terrible Twins
Do we mean Meng and Ecker...or Britton and Guidio? We'll leave that for you to decide. Autumn is the favourite season of our pair of scurrilous creators so here's an autumn gift in the shape of a new M&E strip still dripping with bad taste as it leaves the Guidio drawing board. Click the pics for larger versions.
A U G U S T 2 0 0 6
• • • Lash LaRue cracks the bullwhip again!
It's been an eighteen-month hiatus since the last Savoy publicationa long time even for usbut Sieg Heil Iconographers by Jon Farmer is now at the printers. Fittingly, Iconographers will be our only publication in 2006. Coming in at 600-plus pages, with an extra-large trade paperback format, the new opus on all things Savoy will be published on October 16th. As announced at the beginning of 2005 this 'split-personality' manifesto will have a text that exalts the intense and the neglected, and a parallel story of rare and arresting visuals scintillatingly designed by John Coulthart.
M A Y 2 0 0 6
• • • Fenella Reprise / Moorcock and Moore again
For the second and concluding part of The Love Sessions (begun in April last year and held again in Gracieland Studios under the aegis of Dave and Mike) Savoy's favourite theatrical chanteuse laid down vocals for another eclectic mixture of songs:
'Rise' (the John Lydon/Bill Laswell anthem)
Talented hip-bopper Stephen Boyce-Buckley accompanied her on the baton throughout. (Nifty, what?)
Fenella also gave us retakes of 'Angels' and 'Blue Monday', some more Colette and read poems by Auden ('Tell Me the Truth About Love'), Yeats ('Blame it on My Youth'), Thomas Hardy ('Heredity') and others from her repertoire.
The Excalibur film company, presently documenting Savoy and fresh from covering the recent Alan Moore/Michael Moorcock event (above), filmed Fenella as she thrilled the multitudes in the studio with a lip-curling version of 'Blue Monday'. Between songs the crew, who also recently filmed Kris Guidio at his studio home in Liverpool, managed to interview the actress singer, coming away with some enticing reminiscences about the theatre and favourite directors.
The other stars of the show were Martin, Tim and Phil, who came on like the X-Men. Thanks for helping to make this another wonderful and successful session.
F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 6
• • • Michael Moorcock and Alan Moore in conversation
Savoy in conjunction with Excalibur Films filmed the recent Michael Moorcock and Alan Moore event at the Vanbrugh Theatre, London, on the 18th January. Initial reports are that the exchanges have come out splendidly, with slight problems on the sound, though nothing that cannot be rectified. Mike and Alan are a splendid team, sparking a lively interaction, with topics ranging about the subject of Mike’s new book, The Vengeance of Rome, the long-awaited final novel in his Between the Wars historical fiction series. The joke now is that they’re thinking of going on tour as a double act in the manner of Flanagan and Allen! Not as strange as it sounds, as the event could have been sold out several times over. It remains now to edit the film for release on DVD sometime this year.
N O V E M B E R 2 0 0 5
• • • Mitchell book wins award
The story of Savoy, A Serious Life by DM Mitchell, has won an International Horror Guild Award for Outstanding Achievement, in the nonfiction category.
The Award was presented on November 3, 2005, at the World Fantasy Convention in Madison, Wisconsin and was received by Jeff VanderMeer who read out speeches on behalf of DM Mitchell and Savoy. The judges were Ed Bryant, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Ann Kennedy and Hank Wagner. The ceremony was hosted by Peter Straub and Graham Joyce and was administrated by Paula Guran.
A Serious Life by DM Mitchell
Firstly I'd like to thank everyone involved for giving us this award. I say 'us' because this book was in reality a joint project. Mike Butterworth and David Britton gave up so much of their time to giving interviews, providing insights, revising texts and correcting them whenever I missed the mark and giving encouragement. And of course John Coulthart's design and artwork constituted a crucial element, dignifying the project and unifying it in a way I'd never conceived.
I am hoping that this book receiving the award will bring some attention to Savoy's labours over the decades and help to get them taken seriously by a broader readership.
There is no need to justify the merits of horror fiction (nor by extension of SF or fantasy) to anybody hereit is a genre whose contributors more frequently than not transcend the marketplace limits of the genre. But for the sake of making a point I'll pretend that you can split horror fiction into two camps defined more by the reactions and attitudes of its readership than by the work itself.
One kindwhich constitutes the larger campserves ultimately to reassure us. It is a sort of roller-coaster ride. It reminds us of death and darkness but ultimately returns us to a place of safety. This kind of work is cathartic and purging. It returns to us parts of our primal experience lost to the daily routine of what we call life. But the ultimate message is one of reassurance.
The other, smaller, camp reminds us equally of death and darkness but offers us no reassuring message. Their work disturbs, shocks (in a profound rather than prurient way) and pushes us to think about things that we had taken for granted. Some of them disturb subtly by analogy and allegoryRobert Aickman, Thomas Ligottisome of them tear into us mercilesslyWilliam Burroughs, Thomas M Disch. They feel that after unleashing their horrors, to turn around and tell us that 'everything is really ok' would be somehow dishonest. Bad Faith.
Savoy have always been members of the latter camp. They would probably acknowledge that both types of fiction are of value, but would claim that the first sort is somewhat over-represented. They have instead elected themselves the champions of the neglectedthose forgotten in the rush to the cash registers. William Hope Hodgson, Henry Treece, Jack Trevor Story, David Lindsayand others.
More recently their books centred on the character Lord Horror have attracted them much adverse attention. I believe that this cycle of books and comics is one of the most important works of the twentieth/twenty-first century, alongside The Naked Lunch, Ulysses, The Miracle of the Rose and others. My hope is that intelligent readers and writers will, in time, approach these books objectively and see them for what they area milestone in the development of modern literature and thinking.
So thank you to the International Horror Guild and thank you to Savoy for having lived a very, very serious life.
(Acceptance speech by Michael Butterworth on behalf of Savoy Books)
These last thirty years have been a rough tough ride. Were we sane we would have repeatedly questioned what we were doing and perhaps, on one of those occasions, given up. But fortunately, ordepending on your viewpoint unfortunately, evidently we aren't sane, as this book proves.
It is a record of those years of fantasy, surrealism, science fiction, rock'n'roll and horror madness all melded into one that no rational person would have attempted. I don't know if it is "horror" in the strict sense of the word. That might possibly have been decided here tonight. The book Dave Mitchell has written is as much an account of his own thinking as it is about Savoy Books. He draws original insights about a certain kind of horror fantasy literature, set in the context of a very personal Celtic vision of how he sees the world. As much as it is about us, as publishers of the strange and wonderful, we felt it was deserving of print.
Although we're regarded by some as outsiders and misunderstood, in terms of our enthusiasms we've always considered ourselves as part of the great fantasy traditionLovecraft, Lindsay, Hodgson, Moorcock, etc. In this sense we're not outsiders looking in. We're coming from inside the genre, and Dave Mitchell has articulated this.
We didn't think we would make it this far. We certainly didn't think we would survive long enough to begin the process of becoming veterans, which is what this award may be signalling. Dave helped start this process, and, very fortunately, there have been other people aroundour representative who is reading this acceptance speech, Cheryl Morgan, Douglas Winter, Paul di Filippo, the judges here at this award ceremony and others, who have been very public in their appreciation of A Serious Life, who have proved us wrong, and to whom on behalf of Savoy Books I extend a big and heartfelt thank you. It is a great honour to have our work acknowledgedit has not been easy, but it has definitely been worth it. Our insanity is still intact. We'd do it all over again.
M A Y 2 0 0 5
• • • Fenella FieldingThe Love Sessions, 11th-15th April
At our last recording session in April 2004, Fenella read JG Ballard's Crash, an event which went curiously unreported in these pages. Following this we felt it was perhaps time to reprise our '80s recording entrée and once again advance upon some musical sacred cows with sharp implements, this time choosing songs from the 1930s to the present day, a project suitably worthy of our money, time and energy. We could even include a different take on New Order's 'Blue Monday' and fillet Robbie Williams' inane 'Angels'. For this endeavour, Fenella, not PJ Proby, would be our artiste of choice, our nightshade, our rose. And Stephen Boyce Buckley (below) would be on hand to supervise just as he had twenty years ago, maintaining the production continuity brought to all our work. After a gap of fifteen years during which there seemed little to interest Savoy in the UK music scene, here again was the chance to conjure aural surrealism and anarchy.
So we set the ball rolling in Lisa Stansfield's studio, 'Gracieland', a superb facility, plush and comfortable, the best we've been in (thanks Martin, Tim and Phil); it suited Fenella perfectly.
Fenella has immense vocal energy, bursting with exuberance. As well as freshly interpreting the Williams/New Order/Waits/Lowe/Stripes numbers that we announced in January, and the readings from Michael Moorcock's Love and Dancers at the End of Time books, she sang Cole Porter's 'Laziest Gal In Town', 'It's Alright With Me' and 'The Tale Of The Oyster', Peggy Lee's 'Is That All There Is?', Marlene Dietrich's 'Black Market' (a smoky nightclub song from the 1948 Billy Wilder A Foreign AffairFenella does a wonderful Dietrich), 'The Snake', written by Oscar Brown Jnr, 'The Animal in Me', a very funny review number written by a friend of Fenella's, and a reading from Dearest Nancy, Darling Evelyn (Jane McCulloch's stage adaptation of the letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh). She also read some poems, 'Ah, Are You Digging on my Grave?' (Thomas Hardy), 'May I Feel Said He' (ee cummings), 'Burns' (Fran Landesman) and sang 'The Ovaltine Song'.
She attacked the contemporary songs with gustoan intimate 'The Beast in Me', a wig-hatted 'Big In Japan', a Fever-ish 'In The Cold Cold Night' and an interesting female reading of 'Blue Monday'. Her take on 'Transmission', the Joy Division classic, didn't quite work out (too generic) but hey, you can't bag all the big game in one go. Next time...
Our expectations of January were met, and imbued with the same frisson of excitement we initially had with our first recording, PJ Proby's 'Love Will Tear Us Apart', and later Bobby Thompson, second-lead singer with Kingsize Taylor and the Dominos, when he masqueraded as Lord Horror in the reworking of 'Blue Monday'. Recording with characters cut from a mythic cloth is a boon, a special kind of talent pours from their fingertips, giving the aura of maverick individuality we've always sought, whether they're authors, artists or singers.
Now we have the hard work of production to occupy us over the next twelve months. In the meantime we hope to schedule release dates for the earlier readings, La Squab, Colette, Eliot and Ballard.
To echo an old refrain, we thank all friends and fellow travellers for accompanying usduty now for the future and Hi Yo Silver!
On a trivial note, Fenella was on UK TV again this week via her (uncredited) dubbing of Anita Pallenberg in the role of the Black Queen in Barbarella. Watching that film once more, one can't help thinking they could easily have dispensed with Anita P (a rather wooden presence, even in Performance) and made the most of Fenella's sultry tones and her equally sultry demeanour instead.
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