This episode of Steptoe & Son (7-7, 03 April 1972) is a masterclass in situation comedy.
A one-room bottle episode with a sublime premise: the penniless rag & bone men are held up in their own home by escaped criminals looking for money, food, goods and a getaway car. The would-be stick-up-men find that there’s nothing worth having — a horse and cart, a slice of mouldy bread, leftover water-based porridge and some foreign coins — and leave with less that they came with.
The characters are richly drawn parallels of the Steptoes, with a brilliant performance by Leonard Rossiter for Corbett and Brambell to play off, exposing the tensions between the father and son: both captive dependents.
Steptoe & Son is the closest sitcoms have got to the absurd desperation of Beckett, barring maybe Bottom. Porridge is far too comfortable and owes much more to ‘Arold Pinter than despairing Samuel.
It’s brilliant, watch:
Phil Elverum has made a visual playlist of videos and music that are good reference points and (possibly) inspirations behind the newest Mount Eerie albums, Clear Moon (released end of May) and Ocean Roar (September).
It’s an interesting mix of a lot of things I’m interested in: Pacific North West music (Eric’s Trip, Nicholas Krgovich, Earth), ’80s UK goth type acts (This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins), ethereal soundtrack music (Popul Vuh), a good dose of Black Metal, and a lot of natural landscape fantasies.
It’s great that artists can make these kinds of context documents for fans: to share actual inspirations that can be in some way experienced, understood and add value to their own creations. These things used to be limited to the ‘thanks’ section of LP inlays, where I would see which bands, record labels and — occasionally — authors, artists, books and films would be referenced before going into town and spending money on one or two of those things.
Anyway. Enjoy the playlist, and pre-order the LP.
I was invited to take part in the Sheffield leg of a series of events run by Creative Times called The Beauty of Digital.
I spoke briefly about digital not being a thing, and it being a tool. I made a bunch of slides that looked like this:
It was an enjoyable session with a pretty inquisitive audience. The rest of the speakers were James Wallbank (Access Space), Bea Marshall (Moogaloo) and James Boardwell (Folksy).
1. X1172 by Max Capacity, via New Aesthetic
3. Chromaroma by Mudlark
4. Derby  by Mudlark
5. Birmingham Civic Dashboard by Mudlark
8. One Minute Internet, Part 2: Fukushima (March 12, 2011) by Marcus Brown
10 & 11. MemCode, Issue 2 by Mudlark
14. Ugle by Voy
15. SXAESTHETIC by James Bridle
16. Foo Fighters, Live From Reading ’95 by The Uprising Collective
17. You Don’t Compare Wolf, via New Aesthetic
18. Parasol via Circumambient (oft NSFW)
I used Storify to write up my notes from The Story.
It was a bit of a slog, but quite a rewarding process. Some BETA-ness in Storify resulted in the occasional William Burroughs passage, and rewrites. Anyway, there you are. It’s a bit long.
Kathryn Corrick did a much nicer document of the day.