Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Conrad Aiken Interview Paris Review 1968

I just came across a copy of an interview on the Net originally given by Conrad Aiken to the Paris Review in 1968. There are many references to Lowry in the interview.

The painting above is Edward Burra's John Deth(Homage To Conrad Aiken)1930. This painting must date from when Conrad Aiken returned to Rye, Sussex to mentor Lowry while Lowry was at Cambridge. Burra, who by all accounts had a fraught relationship with Lowry, would have met Malc in Rye in late 1930. I wonder whether Malc is featured in Burra's painting?

In a later post, I will return to Burra and his love of jazz which would have at least given him some connection with Malc.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Malcolm Lowry & Northern Soul

Volcanos Storm Warning Arctic

Ronnie Forte That Was Whiskey Talking Forte

When I began this project on Malcolm Lowry, I joked with a friend that I would love to find a connection between Malc and my love of soul music. Over this last weekend, I found that link in the fact that one of the cinemas Lowry frequented in the 1920's called the The Century Theatre in Liverpool later transformed into the one of the original homes of what became known as Northern Soul as the Mardi Gras Club in the 60's.

I have posted 2 tracks which have vague references to Lowry to give a taste of the Northern Soul scene.

The Century Theatre was a regular haunt of Lowry's in 1928 according to an interview given by Jay Leyda, a Canadian friend of Lowry's, to Miguel Mota and Paul Tiessen for their book The Cinema Of Malcolm Lowry. Mota and Tiessen only identified the cinema as the "home of the unusual films". However, I was able to identify the cinema frequented by Lowry after reading Picture Palaces Of Liverpool by Harold Ackroyd. Lowry would have enjoyed the irony that the theatre was a former Weslyean Chapel before becoming a cinema in 1908.

Apparently, the cinema specialised in showing rare continental films during this period including Murnau's The Last Laugh and Faust, Ludwig Berger's The Waltz Dream and Fritz Lang's Dr Mabuse.

Unfortunately, the theatre was demolished in the 1970's and the site re-developed into a car park.

The photograph below shows the Mardi Gras Club circa late 1950's

Work In Progress

Tonight, I was musing about work in progress on the blog while I walked on New Brighton beach after the crowds drawn by the warmest day of this year had dispersed. I decided as I reached the 100th post to note what I have planned:

Work In Progress

The Voyage That Never Ends - The ships Lowry sailed on and the ports he visited

Interview with Bryan Biggs Artistic Director Bluecoat on Lowry's Centenary Festival in Liverpool

Cambridge Film Guild Season 1929-30 - complete the list of films

Vancouver Film Club - review all the films seen by Lowry circa 1949/50 in style of Cambridge Film Guild posts

In Lowry's Footsteps - a collection of close-up shots of places near the River Mersey promenades featured in Ultramarine

Lowry's Theatres/Cinemas on Wirral

A second Malc's Jazz Mix

More art inspired by Lowry

Please keep dropping in as I have many more posts lined-up and thanks for everyone's support and feedback.

Eisenstein's The General Line

Eisenstein's The General Line is the next in a series of posts on the films shown by the Cambridge Film Guild in the season 1929/30 while Malc was a student at Cambridge.

There are many references to Eisenstein in Lowry's work and I will be returning to them in the course of other posts on Lowry's cinema.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Bass Ale Blues

Original Memphis Five Bass Ale Blues
I recently included the above track Bass Ale Blues by the Original Memphis Five in a post on the band. This set me off thinking about Bass Ale which I have enjoyed drinking over the years.

Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton like many large companies in the early 20th Century organised annual trips out for their workers. In 1904, Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton organised a trip to Liverpool and New Brighton. The company produced a booklet to help their workers navigate their way around Liverpool and New Brighton. The booklet was reproduced a number of years ago and provides a fascinating insight into what the trips offered but also contained some interesting details such as where to find Bass Ale.

Lowry must have liked a glass of this strong beer as he has the Reverend Bill Goodyear (one of Lowry's many semi-autobiographical figure in his work) drink a glass with Firmin aboard the ferry whilst crossing the Channel in the short story 30th June 1934.

Here are some the pubs in the New Brighton area which served Bass Ale and which must have been familiar to Lowry in his visits back to his birthplace to have fun in the mid-20's to late 20's:

Many of those pubs are still with us today:

The Magazines, one of the pubs listed above, was a primary reason why I located to where I currently live because I fell in love with the area while frequenting the pub in the 70's and 80's. I now call The Telegraph my local mainly because I prefer the ambiance and the beer! Though you do do lose the river views. Probably my favourite memories of drinking Bass go back to my early years of working in Liverpool and drinking in the lunch time at the White Star pub which is one of Liverpool's most famous pubs because of its Beatle's connections.

Whilst writing this post, I discovered that Edward Manet in his famous painting Bar at the Folies-Bergère included bottles of Bass on the bar which I had never noticed before! If you visit the Wikipedia site on Bass Ale you will see that the drink has featured a lot in art.

Django Reinhardt Sweet Georgia Brown

Some more Django as promised! This was one of Lowry's favourite sides by Django.

Clfford "Ukulele Ike" Edwards Story

I have been continuing my research into the ululele and jazz music in the 1920's. There are no direct references to Clifford Edwards in Lowry's work but Edwards was the the most popular ukulele player in the world during the time that Lowry was devoted to the instrument. In addition, Edwards played with Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti who were amongst Lowry's favourite jazz players. So it is safe to assume that Lowry would most likely have been aware of Edward's work.

I came across the above video while carrying out my research into Edwards. What struck me about the video was some similarities between Edwards and Lowry. Lowry and Edwards were both alchoholics and both died in sad circumstances. However, the most striking thing for me was the apparent lack of awareness in Edward's home town of Hannibal USA of Edward's achievements. I think if I went out in my home town of New Brighton and Lowry's birthplace we would have the same reaction - Malcolm who? I thought he lived in Salford!

Here is more of Ukulele Ike with Eddie Lang:

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Rex Santa Monica

I am currently working on posts featuring the ships Lowry sailed on during this lifetime.

I was a bit confused when I read a reference to him visiting The Rex while he was in Hollywood in 1939. I discovered that The Rex was an offshore gambling ship which featured jazz bands and plenty of booze which would have appealed to Lowry. However, the advert featured one of the world's greatest liners The Rex which certainly not the ship boarded by Malc.

This is the story of The Rex below:

You can see a photograph of the ship Lowry visited below and you can read more about this gambling ship on Los Angeles Almanac.

You can read more about Lowry's visit to The Rex in Bowker's Pursued By Furies Pgs 251-52

Quintette du Hot Club de France Paris, May 4th 1936

Quintette du Hot Club de France: Stephane Grappelly (Vin), Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre Ferret (G), Lucien Simoens(b), Freddy Taylor (Vcl)
I was feeling in the mood for a few jazz sides tonight. Here is another favourite band of Malc's which he must have discovered while in Paris during the early summer of 1934. I will be back with a Django Reinhardt mix in the near future and I will also be featuring the band on my next Malc's Jazz Mix.

Adrian Rollini and his Tap Room Gang Weather Man 1935

I follow on from the last post on Joe Venuti's Tap Room Blues with a feature on Adrian Rollini who accompanied Joe Venuti on that track.

Adrian Rollini was a child prodigy on piano; at age four he played a recital at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel (34th sreet and 5th Avenue) in New York. He led his own band at age 14 and began playing with the California Ramblers in the early 1920s. The band also featured Red Nichols, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey.

While in that band Rollini developed his distinctive style of bass saxophone playing. He played in Red Nichols' Five Pennies and appeared on many of Red's recording sessions. He also worked with Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra and recorded with Cliff Edwards and Bix Beiderbecke and his Gang.

Erick Wessels Under The Volcano

Erick Wessels

Felicia Webb Under the Volcano

Felicia Webb

400,000 subsistence farmers live in small villages around the folds of the Popocatepetl Volcano, Mexico. The volcano is predicted by scientists to be one of the most dangerous in the world, but villagers, whose ancestors lived there since Aztec times, refuse to leave their homes and land.

Dennis McGonagle Under The Volcano

Dennis McGonagle

John Steins Under The Volcano

John Steins

Friday, 22 May 2009

Vote For Malc!

I urge all Lowryans as part of raising Malc's profile in his Centenary to vote for Malc to be included in the mapping of Liverpool:

Hello everybody,

Liverpool Daily Post is currently running a vote to find which 20th / 21st Century cultural Liverpudlians helped put Liverpool on the map. Oh no you say, not another vote about Scousers? However the results from this vote will actually will be around for a very long time, so your input is important. International artists Inge Panneels and Jeffrey Sarmiento will be using the results in ‘The Liverpool Map’, a large glass sculpture they are creating for the new Museum of Liverpool.

So your vote really will count, plus if you believe anybody is missing from the list you still have a chance add them. Just click on this link Liverpool Map Vote
to get voting.

Please act soon as the vote closes on 31st May; it will only take a couple of minutes.

Please feel free to pass this on.

Thank you!

Charlotte Corrie
Open Culture Facilitator
Culture Liverpool
0151 231 4816 | 077939 46994| Fax: 0151 231 4812
Open Culture, Liverpool Innovation Park, 2nd Floor Faraday House, 360 Edge Lane, Liverpool, L7 9NJ

Thursday, 21 May 2009

A Drunken Tribute From Malc

Undated. An unaddressed tribute apparently paying compliment to the son (daughter?) of the writer of "The Lonely Faun," Reginald Redman, a noted jazz composer. Signed "Malcolm Lowry" on verso and "Malcolm (not Michael) Lowry" on the front. In addition to the other text, on each side Lowry has written the fragment "green ties among the supervisor's candles blues." Lowry's tribute, presumably never sent, was apparently written in a drunken state, as might be expected, and he repeats his sentiments, and self-doubts, several times for emphasis, in commenting on the recipient's volume (or writing) "Thought." "Let me pay my small alcoholic tribute. At any rate The Lonely Faun is wunderbar and Thought is - is - is - one of the huge fragilities before which comment is disgusting." 7" x 9". Folded in half, with prominent drink stain; very good. A revealing glimpse of the author's urgent, and self-critical, perception and commentary. Manuscript material by Lowry, the author of the classic Under the Volcano, is exceedingly rare. ILAB

Ray Pride Notch.d

Ray has posted a series of photogrpahs inspired by Under The Volcano on Shark forum.

Now he was the one dying by the wayside where no Good Samaritan would halt…
How could he have thought so evil of the world when succour was at hand all the time?
And now he had reached the summit.
Malcolm Lowry Under The Volcano

James Eldin Reed Pacific Northwest Renaissance

Pacific Northwest Renaissance: Religion and Cultural Modernism in an Unfinished Landscape A Work-in-Progress by James Eldin Reed. This essay places Malcolm Lowry in the Pacific Northwest Rennaissance.

The above picture is by Emily Carr, Blunden Harbour, 1931-32.

Observations Under The Volcano

Director Christian Blackwood filmed this documentary of John Huston directing his actors and camera crew as he created the 1984 film version of Lowry's Under the Volcano.

Blackwood shows how scenes were developed, run through, and then completed -- and offers clips of the final product. He interviews people on the set about the history of the film and asks for their interpretations of characters or of other people or events connected with the shoot.

Christian Lagat Under The Volcano

"No se puede vivir sin amar"

Cuenavaca (Cuauhnahuac during the pre-hispanic era), Palacio Cortez , few days after the Day of the Dead.

As I was visiting the Palace of Fernando Cortez, the Malcom Lowry book "Under the Volcano" in my pocket (youth is beautiful!), I saw this little altar, dressed in his honnor! Very touching.

"Le gusta este jardin que es suyo?
Evite que sus hijos lo destruyan!"

Check out more of Christian Lagat's photos.

Under The Volcano Workshops In Tepoztlán Mexico

Under The Volcano Workshops

Alejandro Mos Riera Under The Volcano

Alejandro Mos Riera born Oviedo (1978) Spanish poet & painter

Pierre Alechinsky's Under The Volcano

Pierre Alechinsky born Belgium 1927.

An edible Under The Volcano!

Apparently, a culinary delight inspired by Lowry's Under The Volcano featured in the 2007 International Edible Book Festivalworld and was consumed sometime during the event.

Under The Volcano New York

Here's another bar inspired by Lowry's Under the Volcano in New York:

You don’t have to have read Malcolm Lowry’s novel of the same name to appreciate this Mexican-inspired neighborhood hangout. But you do have to like crowds. This would be a perfect after-work spot in a relatively barren area, if everyone else didn’t think the same thing. Under the Volcano is always packed to the hilt with music blaring too loudly for the decent literary conversation the brown leather, golden-lit venue begs for. But if you can squeeze through to the bar, the impressive stock of top-shelf tequilas and over 20 beers will make you feel at casa in no time. The crowd is mixed like its neighbor (with the same owners), The Ginger Man; buttoned-up after-work suits mix with lit hipsters and frat guys. But by the end of the night and a few shots of tequila, they all look the same.

Under The Volcano
12 E. 36th St.
(5th & Madison Aves.)
Murray Hill

Starevich's The Portrait 1915

Lowry held Gogol in high regard, as shown in a letter to Conrad Aiken in late February 1940, where Lowry used the Russian writer as a benchmark to compare the quality of his own work against in particular Under The Volcano which was still in draft in 1940.

I came across the above film version of the Gogol short story The Portrait while researching films for posts on the Cambridge Film Guild 1929/30 season. The film was directed by Russian filmmaker Vladislav Starevich best remembered as a pioneer of puppet animation.

Kozinstev & Trauberg The Club of the Big Deed (С.В.D.) 1927

This post returns to the films shown at the Cambridge Film Guild in the season 1929-30 while Lowry was a student at the University.

The Club Of The Big Deed is an early collaboration between Kozintsev and Trauberg, the originators of F.E.K.S. (Factory of the Eccentric Experimental Actor), is set during the revolutionary period of the Decemberist movement of 1825.

Born in 1905 in Kiev, Ukraine, Grigori Kozintsev started to make films after his studies at Imperial Academy of Arts in Leningrad (St. Petersburg). In 1921 together with Leonid Trauberg he founded The Factory of the Eccentric Actor (FEKS). Rooted in the Soviet avant-garde of the 1920s, his first silent feature films "The Overcoat" (1926) and "New Babylon" (1929) collaborations with Leonid Trauberg) which are influenced by expressionism.

I have not been able to discover any stills for the film. You can read a synopsis of the film on Silents Are Golden. You can also view the film on Fimografia Cine Mudo but you will need to download peer to peer software to view.

The above clip is taken from Kozinstev & Trauberg's other collaboration entilted The Overcoat 1926 which is based on the Gogol story. Gogol was one of Lowry's favourite writers and I will return shortly with a post about Lowry on Gogol. You can watch the whole of The Overcoat on Youtube in segments.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Bryan Biggs & Helen Tookey Editors: Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World

Helen Tookey mailed me today with the final details of the new book on Lowry that she is editing with Bryan Biggs called Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the World.

I was very proud to be asked to contribute to the new book. My involvement in both the book and the forthcoming festival to celebrate Malc's centenary later this year have galvanised me to bring all my research on Lowry's work into this blog. I thank both Helen and Bryan for supporting my work and giving me focus after years of researching about Lowry and doing nothing with my discoveries.

Here are some details about the book:


Malcolm Lowry described Liverpool as ‘that terrible city whose main street is the ocean’. Born on the Wirral side of the river Mersey, Lowry’s relationship to the Merseyside of his youth informs all of his writing and Liverpool itself continued to hold tremendous significance for him, even though he never returned.

On the occasion of the centenary of his birth in 2009, the Bluecoat, Liverpool’s contemporary arts centre, is working with a group of Lowry enthusiasts in the city and international experts to celebrate this event with an exhibition and related programme (25 September–22 November) examining Lowry’s life and work. The book will be an integral part of this celebration.

The publication will follow a similar trajectory to that of the Bluecoat exhibition, visiting points on Lowry’s compass, and comprising twelve sections (reflecting the symbolically significant twelve chapters of Lowry’s masterpiece, Under the Volcano). It will combine academic and personal perspectives on Lowry and will integrate images of works from the exhibition and other illustrations. It will consist entirely of new research, some of it into lesser-known aspects of Lowry, as well as creative writing in response to his life and work.


Ian McMillan, ‘Malcolm Lowry: who he was and who I was and who I am’; Colin Dilnot, ‘Lowry’s Wirral’; Cian Quayle, ‘Elliptical journeys: Malcolm Lowry, exile and return’; Michele Gemelos, ‘Lunatic city: Lowry’s Lunar Caustic and New York’; Alberto Rebollo, ‘It is not Mexico of course, but in the heart…’: Lowry seen from Quauhnáhuac’; Mark Goodall, ‘Lowrytrek’: towards a psychogeography of Malcolm Lowry’s Wirral’; Ailsa Cox, ‘No se puede vivir sin amar’; Annick Drösdal-Levillain, ‘ “Eridanus, Liverpool”: echoes and transformations at the edge of eternity’; Nicholas Murray, ‘Uxorious prose: Malcolm Lowry’s October Ferry to Gabriola’; Michael Turner, ‘The Malcolm Lowry Room’; Robert Sheppard, ‘Malcolm Lowry’s land’; Gordon Bowker, ‘Malcolm Lowry: neglected genius’.

128pp., 40 colour illustrations, 234x156mm, Paperback

Publishing September 2009

You can pre-order the book from Liverpool University Press

Monday, 18 May 2009

Great Homer Street v Sea Road

Lowry's book Ultramarine opens with a scene where Dana Hilliot the main character signs onto Oedipus Tyrannus the ship which takes him on a voyage to the Far East. The story is based on Lowry's own similar voyage which he made as a mess boy on the Blue Funnel ship Pyrrhus.

This opening scene immediately sets the tension between Dana (Lowry) and his other shipmates. Though Dana, Andersen the cook and Norman the galley boy all have Norwegian roots, they are set apart by their home addresses. Andersen and Norman live in Great Homer Street in Everton which was a poor working class area of Liverpool in the 1920's.

In contrast, Dana lives on the Wirral and for some reason Lowry doesn't place his character in Caldy where Lowry lived at the time of his sea voyage in 1927. However, Lowry's choice of Sea Road Port Sunlight is significant. There is no such road in Port Sunlight but Lowry places Dana in a road named after the sea which was so important to Lowry. Port Sunlight was a model village for workers built by Lord Leverhulme ,which can bear comparison to the upper class idyllic community created in the village of Caldy built by David Benno Rappart, in that both were visions of alternatives to the slums and deprivation of Liverpool.

The tension Lowry creates in that scene is that Dana is different from the rest of the crew. The Wirral is seen as an alternative to Liverpool which is a theme Lowry continued to develop in other works.The Wirral was Lowry's first Eridanus, the name he gave to his later Dollarton home, and Liverpool which Lowry called "that terrible city whose main street is the ocean".

The photograph above shows the Everton/Kirkdale areas of Liverpool, with Great Homer Street running through the middle of the photograph from left to right, and New Brighton Lowry's birthplace can be seen in the background across the River Mersey. This photographs contrasts with the highly stylised postcards of Port Sunlight below which demonstrate the "paradise" for workers created by Lord Leverhulme.

King Of Jazz Meet The Boys

Watch some of Malc's favourite jazz players including Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang together in one segement of film in the movie King Of Jazz as they play with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.

Read the story behind King Of Jazz on Red Hot Jazz

Original Memphis Five

The Original Memphis Five were one of Malc's favourite combos consisting of Frank Signorelli, Phil Napoleon, Jimmy Lytell, Charlie Parnelli, Jack Roth.

The Original Memphis Five was founded in 1917 by Phil Napoleon and Frank Signorelli after playing in dance bands together at Coney Island in New York. They were one of the most prolific of the early White Jazz bands. Their first record was actually released as an Original Dixieland Jazz Band record with the blessing of Nick La Rocca. The Original Dixieland Jazz Band had just broken up after La Rocca's nervous breakdown in 1922. Frank Signorelli was the only member of the Original Memphis Five who had been in the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.They recorded under a variety of other names including Ladd's Black Aces, Jazzbo's Carolina Serenaders, Bailey's Lucky Seven, The Southland Six and The Cotton Pickers. Red Nichols, Miff Mole, and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey also played in the band from time to time. None of the band members were from Memphis or even the south. The band was named after W.C. Handy's song Memphis Blues.

Enjoy the short mix of the Original Memphis Five cuts above.


1. Blues Serenade
2. Bass Ale Blues
3. Fireworks
4. Ivy
5. Kansas City Kitty
6. Lonesome Mama Blues
7. Meanest Blues

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Jorge Martínez García Under the Volcano and Other Works: Interpretaciones gráficas of the Literature of Malcolm Lowry

The above etching is called Espiritus del Mezcal - Spirit of the Mezcal (Lowry) by Jorge Martínez García. The etching featured in an exhibtion called: Jorge Martínez’ “Under the Volcano and Other Works: Interpretaciones gráficas of the Literature of Malcolm Lowry” held in Toronto during October 2007. The exhibition featured 33 new works, in progress since January 2006, that emerged from interpretive dialogues with, and inspired by the work of Malcolm Lowry.

Jorge Martínez lives and works in Valparaiso, Chile; he is a painter and printmaker, and also a professor fine arts and of philosophy.

Martínez was born in 1963 and grew up in Chile. He was schooled as an artist in Ecuador in the period from 1985 to 1991. Prior to his return to Chile and taking up teaching in the fine arts there, Martínez received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in Ecuador at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Ecuador in Quito and went on to become a professor of modern philosophy, the philosophy of aesthetics and the philosophy of religion at the Faculty of Theology of that university.

Mexico Book Club Review Of Under The Volcano

I can recommend Mexico Book Club for anyone interested in Mexican writing and art. John Simon has written a review of Under The Volcano on the site which contains the above etching by Jorge Martínez García.

Bessie Smith St Louis Blues 1929

I recently included Bessie Smith's St Louis Blues song in the first Malc's Jazz Mix.

In 1929, Bessie Smith made her only film appearance, starring in a two-reeler titled St. Louis Blues, based on W. C. Handy's song of the same name. You can watch the clip above of the title song directed by Dudley Murphy. She sings the song accompanied by members of Fletcher Henderson's orchestra, the Hall Johnson Choir, pianist James P. Johnson, and a string section.

Eddie Lang Church Street Sobbin' Blues

Church Street Liverpool Late 1920's

Eddie Lang didn't write Church Street Sobbin' Blues with Liverpool's main thoroughfare in my mind. But I love the coincidence that one of Lowry's favourite jazz players wrote a song with that street title and I am sure Lowry would have loved the coincidence. Church Street would have been a street which Lowry would have often walked down on his visits to the city. You can see Lord Street at the top of the photograph which would have taken Lowry down to the river front. Paradise Street, with its infamous Museum Of Anatomy mentioned by Lowry several times in his books, is a street off to the right at the point where Church Street runs into Lord Street.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Red Nichols

Lowry makes several references in his work to Red Nichols who was another one of his favourite jazz artists. I will be featuring Red Nichols on my next Malc's jazz mix. In the meantime, enjoy these clip of video.

Buster Keaton & The Ukulele

I came across the above video while researching 1920's and 1930's ukulele material. This classic jazz tune is performed by Tommy Mattiniero. The clip contains footage from Buster Keaton's "The College" (1927). This got me wondering whether Malc said anything about Buster. I discovered from a letter to Carol Brown, a friend from Caldy, that he had seen Buster's Go West in Cambridge while at the Leys, but though he enjoyed Brown Eyes the cow in the film, Lowry was not that impressed. Though I had to smile a the clip of Buster below which not only has a ukulele connection but the film is set in Mexico.

Buster Keaton attempts to serenade a senorita and discovers it's more trouble than it's worth. From the Columbia short "Pest from the West", 1939. It was produced by Jules White, the man behind the Three Stooges.

Frank Crumit & Ukulele Lady

But Hugh, if he could not play quite like Django Reinhardt or Eddie Lang on the one hand or, God help him, Frank Crumit on the other, could not help remembering either that he had once enjoyed the reputation of a tremendous talent. Malcolm Lowry Under The Volcano

Hugh is one many characters in Lowry's novels that are based on personas Lowry may have wished to portray i.e. the jazz composer who had sailed the oceans composing songs on his guitar or ukulele. In fact, Lowry had portrayed his voyage to the Far East in 1927, which provides the autobiogrpahical details of Hugh's experiences at sea, to the newpapers who covered the story as "Seeing The World With A Ukulele".

Lowry first started playing music around 1925 on a banjo brought home by his brother Russell before the pair embarked on learning the then popular ukulele to compose songs probably not that far removed from Frank Crumit's Ukulele Lady. Lowry seems to have had a low opinion of Frank Crumit and would have probably preferred Vaughn De Leath's version as she sang with Eddie Lang and Red Nichols who were more to Lowry's jazz tastes.

Vaughn De Leath liked the booze as much as Lowry and died of alcoholism at the age of 48

I am currently collating all of Malc's ukulele references and will return with other posts about his love of the instrument.

Olympia Liverpool

The advertisments were now for the Liverpool theatres. At Olympia, Jack and The Beanstalk was still playing. Malcolm Lowry Enter One In Sumptuous Armour

Here's another post featuring an extract from Lowry's early story Enter One In Sumptuous Armour. Lowry again uses a reference to a poster he sees while on his way back to the Leys school. This reference comes before his mention of the poster for Fritz Langs' film Die Nibelungen which I have already posted on.

I am currently collating all references to posters and advertisments made by Lowry in his work for a bigger project.

The juxtaposition by Lowry between the popular Jack and The Beanstalk and Fritz Lang's avant garde film is an early demonstration of Lowry's love of both low and high brow art forms.

Recent Interior and exterior shots of Olympia

The Olympia Theatre in West Derby Road, Liverpool is still in use and you can read some of the history on Arthur Lloyd's site. Lowry's reference to Jack and The Beanstalk is probably to a performance of the popular winter time pantomine.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Fritz Lang's Die Nibelungen

You can read Lowry's reference to Fritz Lang's classic film in a post on the Liverpool Futurist cinema. Read more about Lang and Die Nibelungen on Wikipedia.

Check out more clips of the film here:

Google Video

Or buy the video from Amazon.

Futurist Cinema Liverpool

The advertisments were now for the Liverpool theatres.... A German film called the Nibelungs was at the Futurist. Malcolm Lowry Enter One In Sumptuous Armour

The film The Nibelungs which Lowry mentions is the Fritz Lang silent classic Die Nibelungen.

Enter One In Sumptuous Armour was published after Lowry's death in Psalms and Songs.In the short story, Lowry looks back at his school days at The Leys.

I will be returning to this story because it has many references to the Wirral and Liverpool. Lowry was a great admirer of German Expressionist film and must have seen the film The Nibelungs. What is intriguing is whether he went to see the film which was released in 1924 when he would have been 15. He certainly was a frequent visitor to cinemas during the is period. Lowry doesn't usually reference something in his work without it having meaning for him. The Futurist is still a Liverpool landmark.

The original cinema opened on 16th September 1912, the Lime Street Picture House was a very upmarket city centre cinema with a tiled Edwardian facade and 1,029 seats in the stalls and circle auditorium which was richly decorated with plasterwork in the French Renaissance style. Dummy boxes with a riotous pediment were either side of the screen opening and looked down into the orchestra pit. The lower walls were panelled in a dark oak wood. An unusual feature for such an early cinema was the provision of a lift for the circle patrons. There was a cafe-lounge located on the first floor. It was re-named City Picture House from 14th August 1916.

In 1920 the City Picture House was renamed the Futurist Cinema, a name the closed and derelict building still bears.

Read more here:

Chris Routledge on Futurist

Nerve Magazine article

Here is film director Alex Cox talking about the Futurist:

I was quite taken with the next video seeing that Lowry often used birds as symbols:

A bird nesting in the roof of the Futurist Cinema, Liverpool from Sean Hawkridge on Vimeo.

The cinema also featured in Terence Davies film's Distant Voices, Still Lives. Here's the trailer to the film:

It seemed fitting that while we are looking back at a Liverpool long gone that we should sample another Terence Davies movie Of Time And The City:

Of Time and the City is both a love song and a eulogy to Liverpool. It is also a response to memory, reflection and the experience of losing a sense of place as the skyline changes and time takes it toll.

Terence Davies returns to his native Liverpool and to his film making roots to capture a sense of the City today and its influences on him growing up in the late 40's and early 50's.

Liverpool’s phoenix-like rise is portrayed like it’s never been seen before; how a city can change itself and the people under its influence…
Read more here

Also check out Yorkie's performance in Futurist in 2004:


Earlier this year, artist Paul Rooney also made a short film for the Tate Liverpool exhibition Ideas Taking Space. The film is shot in the Futurist cinema. The film features stand-up comedic efforts by scouse group MUCK (Merseyside Uncut Comedy Kollective). I have not been able to find any clips of the movie. Here is a still from the film courtesy of Paul Rooney:

Here is the cinema last year during the City Of Culture festival: