What we do in the shadows
“This show transcends horror as a genre and situates it more as a provocative reaction to the turbulent times of the last fifty years.” With these words he introduces The Horror Show!: A Twisted Tale of Modern Britain. This is an exhibition at Somerset House, one of London’s historic buildings, which brings together more than 200 artists who have explored supernatural phenomena and deviations of all kinds to account for the subterranean worlds that inhabit among us. From the disruption of punk to the modern witchcraft echoed by feminism, The HorrorShow! It is, as its name indicates, a twist on the cultural rebellion in the English language of the 70s here and its worldwide influence. And a tribute to a film as iconic as The Rocky Horror Picture Show whose director, Richard O’Brien, is one of the stars of this dark firmament. From the WITCH activists who took to the streets with manifestos and spells to the film Blue, which Derek Jarman filmed shortly before he died of AIDS in the 1990s. From the gothic Bauhaus songs to the cover art that Guy Peellaert drew for Diamond Dogsby David Bowie. From Jamie Reid’s “no future” images that gave punk its identity to the post-apocalyptic sculptures with which Camelia Parker signals the future debacle. All of this forms part of the route that the exhibition proposes. For this reason, to order so much creative chaos, the tour is divided into three acts: Monster, Ghost Y Witch. “Each era is shown through the archetypal objective of each of these horror characters, through paintings, installations, sculptures and photos and thematically connected”, explain the curators; that is, the filmmakers Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard and the artist Claire Catterall. The show is on view until the end of February at the Embankment Galleries and the Somerset House website offers a synthesis that is as inspiring as it is horrifying for virtual visitors.
A small, small vinyl
Far from the times when records could measure 12 inches (that is, almost 31 centimeters), a group of scientists created the world’s smallest vinyl, so tiny that it can barely be seen with the naked eye. Measuring just 15 by 15 micrometers and grooves just 65 nanometers deep, the record plays 25 seconds of Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”. This was announced by the creative team from the Technical University of Denmark, who chose that Christmas song because it was then that they reached the final version of this Lilliputian-sized object. To get an idea of how small it is, postdoc Nolan Lassaline of the University’s Faculty of Physics noted that it “fits in a single slot on a regular vinyl record.” He tells it in a fifteen-minute video that can be seen on YouTube where he explains the manufacturing process, and also clarifies that the song can only be played by specific computer systems. Professor Peter Noggild recognized that it is a diversion that can be useful in other ways. “We are doing something that we have never been able to do before in physics and materials science. We would also use it to make tiny magnetic field sensors that allow us to measure brain currents. And this would allow us to create a technology in the long term that allows us to answer questions related to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease”. Christmas tree nonsense, then. With or without rock’n’roll.
The real metalheads
Neither Ozzy Osbourne nor Brian Johnson. Bats are the ones that can produce the highest pitched sound known. In fact, bats have the largest vocal range of any mammal, at seven octaves. So its low-pitched range is just as impressive because most human voices span only three octaves. Now, a study from the University of Southern Denmark published in the journal Plos Biology explores why bats can produce such sophisticated variations. For the first time, researchers have captured on video, at up to 250,000 frames per second, how the bat’s larynx works to create remarkable highs and lows. It is now known that while these animals produce shrill tones to find their prey via sound waves, they can also produce low grunts for what are known as “agonistic social calls,” indicating distress or discomfort in front of other bats. Also, for the first time, the researchers have photographic evidence of the distinct laryngeal structures of these squealers, similar to heavy metal vocalists. “The fact that we’ve also discovered how they produce agonistic calls was a surprising and welcome additional finding,” said Jonas Haakansson, of the current research team. Perhaps Ozzy sensed all this and ate a bat onstage to make his superpower lasting. vocal.
The return of Facha Distel
When Sacha Distel received the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor in 1997, he had just been the poster boy for the chanson française and the glamor of France towards the rest of Europe for three decades. He was also the archetype of the sexy boy of those golden times, with his Parisian accent, his incombustible smile on his tanned skin and romances with stars like Brigitte Bardot. That somewhat superficial reputation, points now le figaro, put aside his finesse as an award-winning jazz guitarist and composer before dedicating himself to singing. Also forgotten were the TV shows he created in the ’60s to encourage young talent, a few years before he performed with Liza Minelli and played under Quincy Jones. Distel’s star seemed to fade when he passed away in 2004. However, the revival also knocked on his door and now his voice is once again claimed and included in soundtracks for series and movies. In England, where he was so famous that he even presented a Miss World gala, his song “Ting toung” was dusted off for an episode of killing eve, produced by the BBC. Too sex education made use of the Distel archive with “Allez donc vous faire bronzer”, which was played in its third season, in the same chapter where the song “Mon amour, mon ami” was also included, by Marie Laforêt, an artist with whom Distel put together duets and television presentations. The hit “La belle vie”, composed by the French artist and whose international fame made Tony Bennett do his own version of it, is played in a current advertisement for Orange, the French telecommunications company. Laurent Distel, who at 58 manages the property rights to his father’s music, acknowledges that in the last year the price of songs has risen to record levels since Sacha’s death. In an interview, this playboy confessed that his romance with Brigitte had not prospered “because he never had food for dinner.” The phrase, a bit old-fashioned, is repeated in various current publications, although there are many fewer that, for example, point out that Distel is the voice-over of the English documentary. Django Legacy, released in 1991 in memory of Django Reinhardt. consulted by le figaro, Gaëtan Kolly (manager of French Tonic, a multinational linked to advertising music) attributes this popularity “to the need for light and elegant romanticism in times as soulless as those that the post-pandemic left us”. In other words, while continuing to be what he always was, Sacha is having the last laugh. Something that he did not need, judging by the photos, to laugh better.