NYC, Munch, Folk Art & QoE

Being far too lazy to choose between photos, I have posted the majority of them to a Facebook album which is publicly visible. But I had a fabulous day out with the Queen of Everything. As I got there a bit earlier than she did I popped over to the Morgan to see Warhol by the Book and have since been filled with ideas about artist books. And saw this fine sculpture at the Polish Embassy around the corner (click to embiggen).

2016-03-10 11.40.56.jpg

Then I met the fab Stephanie at Grand Central and we headed north to the Neue Galerie to see the Munch & Expressionism exhibit. We panicked a bit when we saw there was a line but it wasn’t that bad, mostly security (for valid reasons). When I saw all the woodcuts, I realised why Stephanie had been so excited to see this show. Great stuff, lots of Schiele — not a single female artist, alas. And as an elderly viewer noted, ‘Not a happy face to be seen’ anywhere. There’s also the room of Klimts and wow, having mostly seen the portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer reprinted I was astonished at its beauty. So much texture.

We had a late lunch at the New Amity Restaurant because ‘as you know, Amity means friendship’ and it lived up to its name and was quite wonderful.

Then because the afternoon was slipping away all too fast we took a cab around the park to the Folk Art Museum (and got a Muslim woman driver which pleased us) for the Mystery and Benevolence exhibit featuring folk art from the Odd Fellows and Masons.

ram staffWow, just wow. I didn’t expect it to be quite so interesting. Maybe because I’m a sucker for secret societies. Maybe it was the more folksy touch to the art, rather than the very grand versions that you can see in the London museum. If you go to the album, you’ll see most of the pictures I took were there. Fascinating! A newish museum and a really friendly staff there — if you go be sure to check out the shop. Lots of tempting things there.

Despite the predicted rain there was never more than a sprinkle or two. We enjoyed a wander through the park and then had a round of drinks because we were two dames in the city and why not? Then it was time to hop our trains back. Busy day, but fun and great company.

Review: Furia by The Fates

Buy from Finders Keepers Records


The Fates


Originally scheduled for release on Halloween 1985 this privately pressed all female post-punk/broken-folk collective concept LP was resurrected from the ashes of the original line-up of The Fall and Velvet Underground singer Nico’s Blue Orchids backing band at the command of pioneering Manchester female punk icon Una Baines before disappearing into the annals of UK punk purgatory.

Comprising all the DIY traits and snarling attitudes of Manchester’s smartarsed punk retaliation, with haunting mechanical folk, pastoral drones and a back story that unites sleeve artist Linder Sterling (Ludus), Spider King, Martin Hannett, Tony Baines, Martin Bramah and John Cooper Clarke with the 16th Century Pendle Witches, this virtually unknown LP is a vital missing piece in Manchester’s self-help anti-pop industry.  Lost in the ether, lauded by collectors and likened by Mark E. Smith to the Third Ear Band this unclassifiable arty-fact renders tags like Pagan punk utterly redundant.


I had heard of this LP but until I discovered Baines online I didn’t know it was getting a new release. What a pleasure! As the Quietus covers in their far-ranging review-cum-history, the death of Baines’ mother had a huge impact on the recording, including the song ‘Brigit of Ireland’ which cements the link to the mythic that runs throughout the album. The Fates manage to draw on the two major figures from the past — both Mark E. Smith and Nico cast heavy shadows — without ever feeling derivative. You can hear echoes of the Velvets in ‘Ceaseless Efforts’ and elements of the Fall’s earlu Casio-fueled repetitions in many of the tracks, but the voice of the new band, while at times tentative, is strikingly definitive. Like the invocation of a ritual, Furia develops organically from pop to more outré experimentalism. The influence of Graves’ White Goddess is strong in the musical evocation of a lost pagan past (liner notes of the original LP apparently also made more of a link to the Pendle Witches). The track actually called ‘Ritual’ receives its power from “our will so strong it shapes the nature of things” and the persistence of this ‘lost’ recording suggests that power itself.

Pagans will definitely enjoy the album, but it works as chill music too, sort of experimental folk. What’s truly amazing is how contemporary it sounds. Yet also ripe for some interesting remixes, too — I can almost hear them in my head already. Incredible grace and power here. Check it out. Click the image below to listen/buy: