Friday, 31 July 2009

Vinegar Works Books

I have recently bought some books from the helpful and friendly people over at Vinegar Works Books who specialise in Malcolm Lowry books.

Here is what they have to say:

Lowry’s masterpiece Under the Volcano is the tip of the iceberg for this twentieth century master author. We have a broad range of Lowry literature and significant depth in works of Lowry literary criticism. It is thrilling to read Lowry fiction and spellbinding to study criticism noting how his writing was influenced by his rambunctious life, philosophy, interaction with others, life in Mexico and British Columbia, symbolism, success and reverence for nature.

Please drop by and browse their site.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Malcolm Lowry: persona non grata

Check out the above El Universal article.

Young Man With A Horn 1950

I recently caught Young Man With A Horn on TCM and recalled that Lowry had seen the movie in Vancouver in July 1950 and referred to the film in letter to Frank Taylor.

Apparently, Lowry was not impressed with the film version of Dorothy Baker's novel of the life of Lowry's jazz hero Bix Beiderbecke:

No indication is given of Beiderbecke's genius, & none for that matter, or only a little, & at that wrong, as to what constitutes jazz or unjazz. None of Beiderbecke's compositions were used either which leaves us In A Mist still. The Collected Letters Of Malcolm Lowry Volume 2 1946-1957.

I agree wholeheatedly with Lowry on the portrayal of Beiderbecke but I do admire Michael Curtiz's movie for many things such as the cinematography, real locations and sets. However, I do feel he copped out in the best scene of the film, where Kirk Douglas who plays the lead is lying ill with pneumonia. Douglas in his delirium mistakes the ambulance siren for the dream note he has always wanted to make. He rises up from the bed and should die to add to the drama of the film but we get the Hollywood rewrite of history with him recovering from alcoholism.

It did dawn on me that Lowry may have felt uncomfortable about the scenes set in Bellevue Hospital, New York where he himself had been a patient in 1935.

Here is Bix himself on 2 songs including In A Mist which Malc refers to in the letter to Frank Taylor:

There was a soundtrack to the movie:

Douglas's horn playing is dubbed by Harry James. Louis Armstrong makes an uncredited appearance. The film also called upon the talents of musicians Everett Glass, Ivor James and Julius Wechter.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Centenario del nacimiento de Malcolm Lowry

Please check out the above article in Spanish on the Radio France International.

Malcolm Lowry, en la noche oscura del alma

Please check out the above article in La Nueva Espana

Raisin' The Roof Last Night @ The Bluecoat

No - we didn't go that mad celebrating Lowry's birthday at The Bluecoat last night! However, it was an enjoyable evening with the Bluecoat's Artistic Director Bryan Biggs making us most welcome.

Bryan opened the evening with a short briefing on the forthcoming festival to celebrate Lowry's Centenary. Bryan was followed by Helen Tookey, who is co-editing the new book on Lowry with Bryan called Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the world. Helen then invited me to give the guests a quick tour around the 19th Hole blog to give people chance to see what I have posted and where I am going with the blog.

We then toasted Malc's 100th followed by an evening of listening to Malc's jazz heroes while we chatted and drank.

The above track features one of Lowry's primary jazz heroes Frankie Trumbauer on the track Raisin' The Roof with: Bix Beiderbecke, Andy Secrest, c / Bill Rank, tb / Chester Hazlett, as / Irving "Izzy" Friedman, cl, ts / Min Leibrook, bsx / Matty Malneck, vn / Lennie Hayton, p / Snoozer Quinn, g / Stan King, d. New York, March 9, 1929.

Le gusta este jardín que es suyo? No deje que sus hijos lo destruyán.

Here is a tribute to Lowry on the Origem das Especies blog

En recuerdo de Malcolm Lowry

I've just found another Mexican tribute to Malc on a Mexican news site called

Malcolm Lowry Video From Bellas Artes Mexico

I've just come across this new video on YouTube from Bellas Artes Mexico.

Does anyone know whether this is from a longer feature?

Mexican Celebrations of Malcolm Lowry's Centenary

Don't forget to drop over to the Malcolm Lowry Foundation blog to read Alberto's posting of the discussions around the above.

Alberto has published some interesting text and lots of photographs of the participants and the art exhibition which is accompanying the programme of events.

Malcolm Lowry From the Mersey to the World

Last night at the birthday bash for Malc, Helen Tookey one of the editors of the above new book, told everyone gathered that the book had gone to the printers and was on course for publication in September 2009.

Helen also distributed a flyer detailing the contents:


"The voyage that never ends": Malcolm Lowry - from the Mersey to the world

Bryan Biggs and Helen Tookey

Malcolm Lowry: who he was and who I was and who I am
Ian McMillan (poet and broadcaster)

Lowry's Wirral
Colin Dilnot (Wirral-based artist/writer)

Elliptical journeys: Malcolm Lowry, exile and return
Cian Quayle (Manx artist/writer)

Lunatic city: Lowry's Lunar Caustic and New York
Michele Gemelos (University of Cambridge)

It is not Mexico of course, but in the heart.."
Alberto Rebollo (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

"Lowrytrek": towards a psychogeography of Malcolm Lowry's Wirral
Mark Goodall (University of Bradford)

No se puede vivir sin amar
Ailsa Cox (short-story writer/Edge Hill University)

"Eridanus, Liverpool": echoes and transformations at the edge of eternity
Annick Drösdal-Levillain (Strasbourg University)

Uxorius prose: Malcolm Lowry's October Ferry To Gabriola
Nicholas Murray (Liverpool-born writer)

The Malcolm Lowry Room
Michael Turner (Vancouver-based writer)

Malcolm Lowry's land
Robert Sheppard (poet and writer/Edge Hill University)

Malcolm Lowry: neglected genius
Gordon Bowker (literary biographer; author of Pursued by Furies: A Life of Malcolm Lowry).

You can order an advance copy from Liverpool University Press.

I am very pleased to be involved with the book and I must thank again Helen and Bryan for inviting me to contribute.

In my essay Lowry's Wirral, I have taken 3 aspects of Lowry's Wirral as examples of my on-going research into Lowry's Wirral. The 3 aspects are a detailed analysis of his birthplace 13 North Drive New Brighton, Lowry's first school Braeside in West Kirby and 103 Meols Drive, West Kirby, the former home of the Furniss family who Lowry based the Taskersons upon who feature in Under The Volcano.

I will also be delivering a lecture called Lowry's Merseyside as part of the Lowry Centenary Festival later this year at The Bluecoat, Liverpool. I will post more details of the festival events in the near future.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante

According to the screenwriter of John Huston's Under The Volcano movie, Wieland Schulz-Keil, in his essay The 67th Reading contained in Paul Tiessen's Apparently Incongruous Parts, there were 67 screenplays written for the filming of Lowry's Under The Volcano. One of those screenplays was written by Guillermo Cabrera Infante.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante worked with Joseph Losey on a film adaptation of Under The Volcano movie. I came across a page detailing his letters to Losey in the early 70's in Princeton University. You can read the background to the film script and Infante's intepretation of Under The Volcano in Guillermo Cabrera Infante By Raymond D. Souza.

Apparently, Infante took about 12 weeks to write the script, and near the end he began to go mad. He would, for instance, dress up in a tuxedo to go see his doctor. This sounds amusing, at least in retrospect, but the writer also became paranoid and delusional and finally lost consciousness totally. Electroconvulsant therapy was the prescribed remedy.

Guillermo Cabrera Infante (April 22, 1929 – February 21, 2005) was a Cuban novelist, essayist, translator, and critic; in the 1950s he used the pseudonym G. Caín. A one-time supporter of the Castro regime, Cabrera Infante went into exile to London in 1965. He is best known for the novel Tres Tristes Tigres (literally "three sad tigers", but published in English as Three Trapped Tigers), which has been compared favorably to James Joyce's Ulysses. Read more on Wikipedia

Here is a video about Infante:

Jean-Paul Chambas Manolete Malcolm Lowry

I came across the above book while carrying out research for the 19th Hole.

The book was published in conjunction with an exhibition of Jean-Paul Chambas's work in La chapelle du Mejan, Arles, France. Below is an outline of the exhibition:

L‘exposition ouvrira pour la Feria pascale, mais il ne s’agit pas d’une exposition de Feria aux accents taurins laudateurs. Si le taureau s’invite souvent dans l’œuvre de cet artiste, comme une identité, une racine affirmée, évidente de cet aficionado avisé, né à Vic Fezensac, il se refuse à peindre l’acte, le geste tauromachique, car pour lui c’est au torero de suspendre le temps et pas au peintre de l’arrêter : « On ne fait pas de l’art sur de l’art. On n’a pas le droit d’arrêter avec son crayon le torero qui cherche à arrêter le temps !

Ainsi lorsqu’il traite ce sujet, il dessine et peint ce qui est autour, avant, après, les acteurs communs et les personnages mythiques. L’un d’eux, Manolete, cet austère révolutionnaire de l’art tauromachique est l’une des éminences du Panthéon de l’artiste. Il y côtoie Géricault, Lautréamont, Scott Fitzgerald, Manet, La Callas, Glenn Gould, Edgar Poe, Jim Morrison , Joyce, Velázquez, Lautrec et le bouillonnant, l’excessif Malcom Lowry, depuis longtemps présent dans l’œuvre, la vie de Chambas, comme un frère ou un guide vers cette chose à toucher, ce temps à arrêter.
Il y a du Malcom Lowry dans la peinture de Chambas qui, comme le personnage, est multiple, curieuse, entière, provocante, fournie, généreuse. La couleur y est dense, saturée parfois. Son dessin est vif, précis, essentiel.

L’œuvre de Chambas est nourrie de ses lectures, de l’œuvre de ses maîtres comme Vélasquez à qui il aimerait pouvoir téléphoner depuis son atelier quand il cherche des solutions pour une peinture avec laquelle il est en difficulté.

Jean-Paul Chambas crée des décors pour le théâtre et l’opéra depuis 1976, à la Comédie Française, au festival d’Avignon, aux Chorégies d’Orange, à l’opéra Bastille, à Bruxelles, New York, Rome, Salzbourg et souvent à Nanterre avec Jean-Pierre Vincent pour lequel il vient de réaliser à l’Odéon le décor de« l’Ecole des femmes.

Il n’est pas sculpteur et compose ses décors en ordonnant des objets, des matériaux, des végétaux, des surfaces peintes, comme de grandes installations. Il y fait vivre des personnages qui à leur tour s’invitent dans son atelier, sa peinture.

L’exposition présentera au rez-de-chaussée un ensemble de peintures et une installation relative à Manolete et à l’étage, une série de grands formats, réalisés au Mexique et inspirés par le chef d’œuvre de Malcom Lowry « Sous le volcan.

Cer ensemble sera complété d’éléments du travail de l’artiste pour les décors de théâtre et d’opéra : dessins préparatoires, dessins de répétition, éléments de maquette, photographies de décors en situation.

Les œuvres de cette exposition seront reproduites dans un ouvrage édité pour la circonstance et précédé de textes de Chambas sur Manolete et Malcom Lowry.
Jean-Marie Bénézet, commissaire de l’exposition.

Jean-Paul Chambas was born in a village near the French Pyrenees in 1947. He baegan painting at the age of 20. He regularly contributes to exhibitions, in France and numerous other countries. He has designed many decors, posters and costumes for theater and opera and has decorated subway station ceilings and walls in Paris, Toulouse and Mexico City with frescos. Read more on Wikipedia

Chambas has said: "When I was twenty, I refused to join my dad’s company, and I set out on the road, armed with no more than my brushes and canvases. Ever since then, all my life has been in painting. In my pictures you find a parade of my heroes, whether literary (Blaise Cendrars, Malcolm Lowry, Arthur Rimbaud and James Joyce) or historical (Marx and Robespierre), a statue of a red devil, a souvenir of Mexico… and my native village, Vic, a well -knownvenue for bullfighting. But when I paint decors for theater and opera, then I am representing otherpeople’s lives — writers or directors." Read full interview on Colas

You can obtain copies of the book via French Amazon.

Malcolm Lowry Cocktail Recipe

With had the edible Under The Volcano and now a cocktail to go with it - what next?

Barranca in Cuernavaca

I recently came across this short clip of a visit to the barranca (ravine) of in Cuernavaca.

The barranca in Cuernavaca is an important symbol in Lowry's Under The Volcano as well as being the final resting place of Geoffrey Firmin, the Consul and hero of the novel.

Angus Balbernie: Materials For a Small Winter

I only recently came across this event held last year featuring the dancer and choreographer Angus Balbernie:

The teenage years can feature some pivotal moments. For choreographer Angus Balbernie it was the discovery of Malcolm Lowry’s 1947 novel Under the Volcano, widely regarded as one of the great literary works of the 20th century.

Balbernie’s life-long love of Lowry has inspired a quintet of dance theatre pieces created over the past five years, the latest of which is Materials For a Small Winter. ‘I’ve always loved Lowry’s work,’ explains Balbernie. ‘I discovered Under the Volcano when I was a teenager and was just fascinated by him as a writer. And then I read a biography about his extraordinary life – his fantasy world, his alcoholism and how he ended up living in a ruined fisherman’s stilt house in Vancouver. He was a remarkable writer who led a remarkable life.’

The show also features another of Balbernie’s great passions, which he has moulded to fit Lowry’s story. ‘I’ve had a lifetime’s addiction to film noir,’ he says. ‘Once I found out that Lowry’s second wife was a failed Hollywood starlet, I turned her into a failed film noir starlet and used that in the concept of the piece.’

Featuring choreography, film footage, text and a live soundscape, Materials For a Small Winter reaches beyond Lowry and film noir into even darker territory – abuse. ‘I’ve never been accused of making light work,’ says Balbernie. ‘And abuse in its many forms is a dominant theme in many areas of life, while Lowry, as an alcoholic, was the archetypal self-abusing artist.’ Kelly Apter The List

Angus Balbernie has created and directed over 60 pieces in Europe, N & S America, Canada and Asia. He teaches choreography, directing and composition internationally. Currently teaches at Artez Arnhem, and as an associate lecturer at The Scottish School Of Contemporary Dance and Dartington College of Arts, and is a visiting professor of Choreography at The Korean National University Of The Arts.

He originally gained a BA(Hons) in theatre and dance at Dartington (with an emphasis on Anatomical Release and Contact Improvisation, and was trained and influenced there, and since, by the work of Mary O’Donnell Fulkerson and Steve Paxton).
Ongoing research and teaching focuses on somatic, perceptual and physical tuning systems in choreographic and compositional form, and in environmental interaction, wild landscape and the potential for relationships between art, metaphor and nature. He has been nominated for an Isadora Duncan award in the USA.
Angus Balbernie

malcolm lowry band

I have been meaning to post a link to the band's website for sometime. I wonder what Malc have made of having a band named after him?

appearance in spring 1998. since then the band has played its way steadily through the berlin club scene and produced its first full-length cd in autumn 1999.

musically, malcolm lowry sets the tone for melancholy. its independent sound and unconventional instrumentation (cimbalom, vibraphone, 60ies-surf-guitar, bass guitar and minimal drums) bridge the poles of musical styles, like john barry's film music (james bond theme) and drum 'n' bass influences à la red snapper. the charismatic, deep voice of the singer keeps it all together.

thus malcolm lowry's music may seem like a film soundtrack itself sometimes, in which the anonymous, always hectic big city, fleeting acquaintances, loneliness and unrequited love are the leading parts.

malcolm lowry is certainly a special, highly individual band, which, just like the liverpudlian novelist from which it takes its name, is very define in terms of conventional categories.

in keeping with the anxiom "less is more", a concert by malcolm lowry is just as optically understated as it is musically intensive. in any case, it makes an impression.
malcolm lowry band

David Levine's Caricature of Malc 1973

The above caricature was produced by David Levine for a review of Day's Malcolm Lowry: A Biography by By William H. Gass in the New York Review Of Books.

The New York Review of Books has a gallery of work by the artist David Levine, whose brilliant caricatures have graced the Review's pages since 1963:

About the gallery

This gallery contains over 2,500 illustrations by David Levine, from 1963 to the present. Here you'll find presidents and poets, composers and scientists—from Achebe, Agnew and Albee to Zapata, Zola and Zyuganov. Each image is now available for sale, printed on heavyweight archival paper, in an attractive 12" x 16" frame. Use the search and browse functions below to view the drawings by date or subject, and click on the thumbnails provided for a larger image and ordering information.

About the artist

Born in Brooklyn in 1926, David Levine studied painting at Pratt Institute, at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, and with Hans Hofmann. His work has been exhibited extensively in major galleries and museums throughout the world, and several collections of his paintings and drawings have been published. John Updike (one of the artist's frequent subjects) paid tribute to Levine more than 30 years ago, and his words still hold true today:

"Besides offering us the delight of recognition, his drawings comfort us, in an exacerbated and potentially desperate age, with the sense of a watching presence, an eye informed by an intelligence that has not panicked, a comic art ready to encapsulate the latest apparitions of publicity as well as those historical devils who haunt our unease. Levine is one of America's assets. In a confusing time, he bears witness. In a shoddy time, he does good work. Here he is."

Visit David Levine's gallery.

High on tequila and eloquence

It is great to see a world-wide interest in Malc's centenary but where are the UK newspaper features?

Here is another article from The Australian: High on tequila and eloquence


Read New Yorker Book Club feature on Under The Volcano

Open Book: Philip Marchand on Malcolm Lowry and Modernism (aka Unfriendly to Readers)

Read Open Book: Philip Marchand on Malcolm Lowry and Modernism (aka Unfriendly to Readers)in the National Post

The life of Malcolm Lowry on display at Rare Books

A showcase about one of B.C.’s most famous resident-writers is on display in Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC). The exhibition of UBC Library’s Malcolm Lowry Collection coincides with the Malcolm Lowry Centenary International Conference, held at UBC from July 23 to July 25 (more information can be found at

Lowry (1909-1957), a British poet and novelist, was perhaps best known for his novel Under the Volcano, completed while he and his wife Margerie lived in Dollarton, B.C. The RBSC exhibition examines Malcolm Lowry through four overlapping perspectives: his life, his work, Under the Volcano and the Malcolm Lowry Collection – the largest collection of material in the world related to the author. It includes archival material generated by Lowry, as well as material from those who knew and studied him. The exhibition is curated by UBC Ph.D.student Mark Diotte, and will be on display until September 30, 2009.

For more on the collection, please visit archive

RBSC is located on the first level of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC Vancouver campus. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays noon to 5 p.m. during September.

Centenary of Wirral writer Malcolm Lowry’s birth marked by festival

Read article in Liverpool Echo on forthcoming Lowry Centenary event in Liverpool at The Bluecoat

B.C.'s beauty inspired author to write – and put the bottle down

Read Tom Hawthorn's Lowry article B.C.'s beauty inspired author to write – and put the bottle down in the Globe & Mail

Oaxaca en Malcolm Lowry

Read Oaxaca en Malcolm Lowry in

Centenario del nacimiento del autor de 'Bajo el volcán'

Here is a tribute to Malcolm Lowry in

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A Birthday Post for Malc on Periodic Circumspection

I've had a message through from Hélder António to tell me about a celebratory post on Hélder's blog for Malc's birthday.

Please drop by Hélder's blog and read the post.

Wibbly Wobbly Walk

I have just received a message from my friend Mark Goodall from Bradford University, and a fellow contributor to the new book Malcolm Lowry: From the Mersey to the world, on his return from the Lowry conference in Canada at UBC.


Thanks to everyone for a great conference.

Please all raise another glass to Lowry on this day and then do the 'Wibberly Wobbly Walk'

Best wishes,

Mark sent a link to video of the musical hall song by Fred Elliot released on the Scala label in 1913. (August 2011: Unfortunately, this was removed - I have now replaced it with Bert Courtney's version).

This song was sung by the Lowry brothers at their boarding school The Leys in Cambridge to escape the excesses of the ritual initiation ceremonies for new starters at the school. Malcolm Lowry referred to the song in Under The Volcano when his character Jacques Laruelle recalls the song.

Malcolm Lowry Born 28th July 1909

On Thursday 29th July, the births columns in the Liverpool Echo announced: ‘LOWRY – July 28th, at Warren Crest, North-drive, New Brighton, to Mr and Mrs Arthur Lowry, a son’

Malcolm Lowry was born 100 years ago today. In celebration of his birth, I have decided to produce at a timeline through the year 1909 in the New Brighton/Wallasey area where he was born, a short slide show to illustrate the timeline accompanied by a Bix Beiderbecke track called Oh, You Have No Idea.

Below is an aerial photograph of New Brighton taken in August 1920. You can see North Drive near New Brighton Presbyterian Church almost central in the photograph.

New Brighton/Wallasey Timeline 1909

January 1909

Emmanuel Church Seabank Road New Brighton completed
Foundation stone for New Brighton Presbyterian Church laid
New Roman Catholic School opened in Mill Lane, Wallasey
Quarry between Rake Lane and Withens Lane New Brighton purchased as an open space
Wallasey Municipal Golf Course opened in Harrison Park
Wallasey Wesleyan Church foundation stone laid

Dominion liner Ottoman crashed into Seacombe landing stage

Funeral of Wallasey hermit Frederick Krueger

Princess Louise and the Duke of Argyll visited the Navy League Homes, Withens Lane, Liscard

Gaelic went ashore off Egremont

The Irving Theatre, Borough Road Seacombe, which had been closed for nine months due to fire, re-opens as the King's Theatre
Wallasey High School for Girls opens in Mount Pleasant Road

Wallasey Earlston Central Library opens
All Saints Church opens in Hoseside Road, Wallasey

Bix Beiderbecke Oh, You Have No Idea

Visit Wikipedia's international timeline for 1909

Monday, 27 July 2009

Malcolm Lowry Birthday Celebrations @ The Bluecoat 28/7/09

Tuesday 28 July 6-8pm Free

The Bluecoat, School Lane, Liverpool L1 3BX



born 28 july 1909

Come and celebrate the birthday of writer Malcolm Lowry, born on Merseyside 100 years ago. We will be announcing a new book, a blog and an exciting programme of events taking place this Autumn at the Bluecoat to mark the life and work of this remarkable writer, whose Under the Volcano is considered a classic of modern literature.

Palais De Danse

I shut my eyes and imagined that this was indeed Janet and I dancing at the New Brighton Palais De Danse. Ultramarine Pg 106

I have spent some time researching Lowry's reference to the Palais De Danse in Ultramarine. I cannot find any reference to the Palais De Danse amongst the many dance halls and theatres in New Brighton during the 1920's. I recently discovered that there used to be a dance hall in Pasture Road Moreton, Wirral in the 1920's called the Palais De Danse as seen in the above 2 photographs.

The Moreton Palais De Danse was built in the early 1900s from 2 army huts and was owned by Mrs Oborn. The house adjourning the dance hall was a former farm cottage and was demolished in the 1960's. However, the dance hall still stands as can be seen in the photographs below. The dance hall is now called The Apollo Club and has gone through many transformations since the 20's including being a skate rink, a community food hall during WW2, the Labour Party Club before reverting back to a dance hall. It is currently the home of the Apollo Dance Club which is run by the Merralls Dance Academy

Lowry would have been familiar with Moreton which lies a few miles west of New Brighton where he was born. In the mid-20s, he frequented dance halls and cinemas with Tess Evans (Janet in Ultramarine) on the Wirral. A close reading of Ultramarine reveals that he and Tess wandered all over the north Wirral and it is entirely possible that they frequented the Moreton Palais De Danse which was very popular with young courting couples. The photograph below of Moreton shore in the early 1930's indicates the popularity of the area. The Palais De Danse is in the row of buildings in top left corner of the photograph.

We will never know for sure whether Lowry was referring to the Moreton Palais De Danse or whether he liked the title of the dance hall and used it in Ultramarine or he may have also been familiar with other sources of the name.

The phrase Palais De Danse was a popular name given to many dance halls in England during the early 20th Century conjuring up images of cosmopolitan Europe.

The above photograph is one of the most famous dance halls called Palais De Dansein Berlin before the First World War and maybe the precursor to the others. I have posted below a YouTube video of the Orchester vom "Palais de danse" Kapellmeister with Giorgi Vintilescu recorded in 1912. Vintilescu was "The King of Rags" in Germany. The band recorded the latest rags from America. His Band at the luxury "Palais de danse" consisted of: 2 cornets, 1 trombone, flute, 2 violins, piano, brass bass and drums.

There were Palais De Danse halls in Hammersmith,Edinburgh Leicester, Nottingham as well as in Melbourne and Sydney.

There was also at least 2 films with the title Palais De Danse one made in Germany in 1913 and another in UK in 1928 by Maurice Elvey. Here is a synopsis of the 1928 film:

With a rags to riches story, an intrigue with an older woman, a lounge lizard, and secrets to prevent a scandal, 'Palais de Danse' has all the ingredients to make this late British silent a success.

Starring Mabel Poulton (above), a short, impish faced girl who failed to make the transition to sound and was therefore coming to the end of her career in this film, it starts with a Cinderella type plot - Mabel is with her war veteran father watching the bright young things going to party, when she's invited to join them as their token 'poor one'. Of course she falls in love with someone much higher in class than she - Tony King (Robin Irvine), who loves her right back, and even more when she becomes a dance partner at the Palais, under the lecherous gaze of Number One dancer, Juan Jose (a splendidly villainous John Longden).

With Tony's mother, Lady King (Hilda Moore), not entirely receptive to the budding romance, while hiding a secret of her own, the stage is soon set for drama, passion, and a final fight to the death. Along the way there is considerable room for dancing, comedy, and intrigue, and it is all done very well.

With a ballroom sequence not unlike the one at Blackpool in Maurice Elvey's earlier 'Hindle Wakes', and some excellent close-up work, especially of people's eyes, this is an unusual film which repays the attention. A forgotten drama with charm, energy, and some excellent performances.

I have posted the video below from 1926 to give us an idea of how Lowry and Tess may have danced during their evenings out:

You can read more about the dance crazes of the 20's and 30's in Ross McKibbin's book Classes and Cultures.

Sussex University also has a collection of mass observation records on dance halls in the 1930s in the UK.

You can also read a book published by the Liverpool Institute of Popular Music entitled Let's Go Dancing: Dance Band Memories of the 1930's Liverpool which paints a vivid picture of dancing to live bands in the Merseyside area including New Brighton.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Red Nichols and the Five Pennies

I have just been re-reading that Malcolm Lowry's first wife Jan Gabrial bought him a set of Red Nichols and Bix Beiderbecke records for a wedding present while they were in Paris in 1934.

I thought I'd post a few sides by Red Nichols as up to know I have neglected one of Lowry's heroes on the 19th Hole.

Nichols was born in Ogden, Utah, the son of a music teacher. By the age of 12 he was playing cornet with his father's brass band. He decided to take up the new style of music called jazz after hearing the phonograph records of the Original Dixieland Jass Band. In 1923 he moved east to perform with a band in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and (with a few tours of the midwest) made New York City his base throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He worked for various bandleaders including Paul Whiteman and Harry Reser and Henry Halstead., was a regular in the cooperative California Ramblers in addition to leading groups under his own name (often called Red Nichols & His Five Pennies), and of the band of his friend trombonist Miff Mole. Nichols became one of the busiest phonograph session musicians of his era, making hundreds of recording sessions of jazz and hot dance band music. He also played in several Broadway shows.

Read more on Wikipedia

I will be back with a special mix of Red Nichol's tunes in the near future but I will leave you this video below of Nobody's Sweetheart by Eddie Condon 1929 with Red on trumpet.

Marcelo Texeira's On the Way to the Volcano

The Malcolm Lowry Foundation has announced the publication of the above book:

As part of the celebration of the Lowry’s centenary the next July 17th, in Lisbon, Portugal, a new book will be presented: On the Way to the Volcano by our friend Marcelo Texeira, with illustrations by the mexican painter Terumi Moriyama and a prologue by Urbano Tavares Rodriguez. The book has been published by Edições Porta do Cavalo in Porguguese and Spanish and deals about a fictitious encounter between Fernando Pessoa and Malcolm Lowry while the author of Under the Volcano was in Lisbon on May 30th 1933 on board of the Strahaird. The english writer was on his way to England after a vacation in Granada where he met Jan Gabrial, the young American journalist that in that encounter was unkind to the romantic Malcolm Lowry. The book will be presented by the Mexican writer Antonio Sarabia, who lives in Lisbon since several years now, the theatrical group called Passagem de Nível will recite some poems by Pessoa and Lowry and the pianist Jaime Oliveira will play some pieces. There will also be a petit celebration with mezcal del Consul and “Ginjinha Pessoana.”

On the Way to the Volcano, in the Mexican edition, will be published by Editorial La Rana del Sur, and will be presented on the Lowry One Hundred Years Festival in Cuernavaca, Mexico, on July 27th, 2009 10 pm Auditorio de Alfornelos, Amadora. You are invited.

Cien-Anos-Tras-el-Paraiso-Exposicion Colectiva

I have picked up further details of the above event to celebrate Malc's 100 anniversary next week from the MALCOLM LOWRY FOUNDATION blog.

Monday, July 27

5:00 p.m. Inauguration with the participation of Oscar Menendez, John Prigge, Felix Garcia, and Jose Luis Martinez.
6:00 p.m. Presentation of the book 'Saving Lowry's Eden' with the participation of Kenia Cano, John Prigge. Moderator Sol Peña.
8:00 p.m. Inauguration of the exhibit '100 Years In Search of Paradise' (exhibition open to public until Aug. 10) with the artists Terumi Moriyama, Cisco Jimenez, Carlos Marin, Dany Hurpin, and Alejandro Arana. Partaking of mescal.

Tuesday, July 28

5:00 p.m. Round Table with Elisa Corona and Leonardo Compañ.
6:00 p.m. Presentation of the book 'Path to the Volcano' with Marcelo Teixeira and Terumi Moriyama. Moderator Nayeli Sanchez.
7:00 p.m. Presentation of the documentary 'Malcolm Lowry in Mexico' by Oscar Menendez. Partaking of mescal.

Wednesday, July 29

5:00 p.m. Round Table with Oscar Mata, Rodolfo Uribe, and Jose Peguero.
6:00 p.m. 'Quauhnáhuac: A Wilderness of Symbols.' Conference by Francisco Rebolledo.
7:00 p.m. Presentation of the documentary 'Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry' by Donald Brittain and John Kramer. Partaking of mescal.
8:00 p.m. Music. Gypsy Jazz. More mescal.

Reading Marathon of 'Under the Volcano' at La Rana de la Casona Bookstore July 27, 28, and 29 from 5:00 p.m. on. One and all are invited to read aloud from Malcolm Lowry's novel to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of his birth. Information and registration at La Rana de la Casona Bookstore or call 3143468.