Posts Tagged ‘Dark Mountain’

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery

November 22, 2018

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery, a trek out to south east London, a nightmare to find.

Before setting off, I ask of the Baldwin Gallery, a fee, need to book, how to find?

Sadly clueless on the use of social media. No reply, by the time I do eventually receive a reply, too late, but they did have the courtesy to apologise.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network – many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social network.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford, alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no.

When in the vicinity and unable to find, I ask a passing local. No he has never heard of.

I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

I expect to find no one there, I am surprised to find quite a few have turned up, maybe twenty or more.

The original concept of Dark Mountain, thought provoking essays and short stories, art and poetry, was excellent. I was happy to support. But the reality, incomprehensible writing badly written, very little worth reading, the art badly reproduced. And then to be insulted with a poor quality paperback when had subscribed to what Dark Mountain describe as ‘Each issue takes the form of a beautifully-produced hardback.’

The evening was reading from Terra.

Nothing more boring than reading what has been written, I can do that myself. Public reading of poetry a different matter, it is meant to be read out loud. Far more interesting is for the contributors to talk about the subject they have written about.

Reading of a short story, a postman posted to back of beyond, I must have missed something, as the end was back at the beginning.

Reading of two essays, a native Indian massacre, the struggle of Palestinians, deserved deeper exploration, which would have been been possible had the contributors discussed their contribution not read from it. Worse still, it was a waste of there being present.

One of the criticisms of Dark Mountain, apart from too much pretentious badly written incomprehensible drivel, is the typeface, too small, not easy to read.

What was Terra?

I thought next volume, but when I saw a tiny slim volume, I thought no, must be a supplementary book, especially when I learnt this was the second book launch.

The topic was travel, a sense of place, how we interact with the landscape, how the landscape interacts with us.

Terra is the next volume, the typeface microscopic, needing a magnifying glass to read.

Copies of Terra were on sale. I did not see any sold. Nor did I see early volumes of Dark Mountain on sale.

At £20 for a slim volume, too pricey, especially when paid for by subscription, unlike most publications which go from publication to remainder to pulp.

It was only later when I checked the Dark Mountain website I learnt why no other volumes on sale, all sold out. Only available as a pdf file. I would recommend upload to leanpub and have in an e-format that flows as is more suited to reading on a tablet or e-reader or smartphone than pdf, though pdf would still be a format to select from.

Interesting exhibits at the Baldwin Gallery, strong Mexican influence, or at least Cenrtral America.

Cold misty day in London

November 22, 2018

A cold misty day in London.

Not sure if I will make the train.

Girl on bus told me long wait for the bus, the previous bus driver had refused to let her on with a buggie, even though there was room on the bus.

Ten minutes wait for train, five minute and queue has not moved, only one ticket office open. Barriers closed.

Luckily man operating barriers operated ticket machine for me. I asked he did the same for other passengers else they would miss the train.

Train companies must stop treating passengers as criminals.

Woking, only stop, massive tower blocks going up on both sides of the tracks.

On approach to Waterloo, more tower blocks under construction.

Waterloo Station concourse wide expanse, except being taken up by kiosks.

New food outlet Pure. Free water help yourself, biodegradable cutlery.

This should be the norm, free water as a human right, biodegradable coffee cups and cutlery. And councils must enforces the norm, especially on their own markets.

Kiosk outside Waterloo Station, Four Corners, packing up. Man tells me they have a coffee shop of same name in Lower Marsh. Coffee sourced from Origin.

Where once stood Shell Building, now massive tower blocks under construction.

Beany kiosk at foot of Hungerford Bridge serves excellent coffee, but no time to stop.

Misty walking over Hungerford Bridge.

Another coffee kiosk Embankment Station Blues and Royals.

I cut through Embankment Gardens, cross The Strand at The Savoy.

As I walk up towards Covent Garden I see a coffee shop Grind down a side street. I look in, turn on my heels and walk out, loud music blasting out.

I am cutting through Covent Garden to Algerian Coffee Stores in Soho.

I pass The Espresso Room. I am tempted to stay. Excellent coffee.

I am told of a shop like Magazine Brighton or Ideas on Paper, that sells quality magazines. I am told the name, head up towards Seven Dials, but I do not find.

I pass the road leading to Bar Italia. Excellent coffee shop, but no time.

I eventually find Algerian Coffee Stores.

Passing by Bar Italia on my way back to Covent Garden, a man called George says speak to his agent. I have no idea who he is.

Then retrace my steps to Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, excellent pizza. I time it right, not busy, but starting to fill up.

I had wished to walk back to Soho as number of coffee shops, but no time.

Jacob the Angel an English Coffee House, a new coffee shop in Neal’s Yard. They are serving Square Mile, which is a good sign, as unlike Clifton or Union who do not care about their reputation and will supply anyone, Square Mile are very picky. But it is closing. Not a good sign the two girls working there did not know the name of their espresso machine.

I decide on Monmouth Coffee. It is never very good, and today was no exception, though very helpful girl serving. A pity as they were pioneers of specialty coffee in the 1970s but have sadly lost their way.

I pop in Neal’s Yard Dairy. A mecca for cheese lovers. They ask me to try a cheese, Doddington. It is excellent, I buy a piece.

It is then to Covent Garden Tube Station. Considering the number of people who pass through Covent Garden, it is insanity the ticket office is closed.

Dark Mountain Terra book launch at Baldwin Gallery. A trek to south east London.

Train from Charing Cross to Dartford. Alight at Lee.

Can I find Baldwin Gallery, no. I pass by and find myself in Greenwich. I retrace my steps.

I find the venue, Baldwin Gallery, eventually.

Then back to Waterloo East. Wait for a train? I decide to find Maria’s Cafe in Lower Marsh.

Maria’s Cafe is packed and very noisy. Problem is a gang of drunken yobs on a table. I stay and have stir fried cashew nuts and pork served with rice.

As I leave a couple also leave, they comment they too could not stand the noise. It is not usually like this.

I return to Waterloo Station in time to catch a train at 2212, a slow stopping train.

Shedding Light on a Dark Mountain

April 16, 2015

Dark Mountain is an anthology, a collection of art, poetry, essays and short stories. It was an annual publication, since last year published twice a year.

The early volumes had writings by George Monbiot, Naomi Klein and other writers worth reading, volumes that sold out. Later volumes have gone steadily downhill. Dark Mountain 6 was dire, much of the writing unreadable, turgid, pretentious drivel. That is not to say all, there were some gems, a delight to read, but exceptions not the norm.

The art leaves much much to be desired, not helped by being badly printed.

The art in Dark Mountains 7, badly printed, little more than dark smudges.

wood cut in Monasterio de San Martín Pinario

woodcut in Monasterio de San Martín Pinario

Woodcut prints on old printing presses are of far better quality.

Why so bad? Bad editorial judgement, not sufficient submissions, too many submissions to make a sensible choice?

Dark Mountain has with some justification been accused of being nihilist, defeatist, failing to face up to, to fight the problems engulfing the world.

Ironically this is acknowledged in the opening paragraph of the editorial in Dark Mountain 7.

In Aeon’s review of Dark Mountain’s 2012 Uncivilisation festival, the author sounded a warning about the ‘sinister undercurrents’ of the movement: ‘The anti-technology polemics, the witchy nature mysticism and huntsman imagery,’ for this first-time attendee, ‘brought to mind nothing so much as English “neo-folk” acts such as Sol Invictus and Death In June, mainstays of Britain’s far-right bohemia, with its reveries about masks and antlers and the Brownshirts.’

Yes, we can sit back and do nothing, welcome in a world that will be uninhabitable, fiddle whilst the planet burns.

Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything, highlights the problem, that beyond 2C rise we do not know, the models break down. But she does not give up, wrap herself in a nihilist blanket, she proposes solutions, deep carbon cuts of at least 10% a year since yesterday, no longer business as usual, recognises that is is the capitalist system with its reliance on unlimited growth that is destroying the planet, not sit back and do nothing, but see as the opportunity for radical change, to create a fairer more equatable society.

Russell Brand does not stick his head up his arse, he is prepared to stand up and be counted, to enthuse others to stand up and be counted.

I would rather die fighting on my feet as a Warrior of Light, than give in on my knees.

Dark Mountain collection on Medium, is a collection of writings on the many problems we face, of the many solutions that are being put forward.

It is not part of Dark Mountain, has never claimed to be, has never passed off as acting for or representing Dark Mountain.

It came a surprise therefore to receive a complaint last year from Dougald Hine one of the co-founders with Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain. A complaint that quickly descended into an unpleasant exchange of e-mails.

The nub of the complaint was that it led to confusion. Difficult to see how, and when pressed for evidence of this, the best Dougald Hine could come up with was the quote cited from the Dark Mountain Manifesto.

The machine is stuttering and the engineers are in panic. They are wondering if perhaps they do not understand it as well as they imagined. They are wondering whether they are controlling it at all or whether, perhaps, it is controlling them.

This was ludicrous, so ludicrous, I could not stop laughing. How many pieces start with a quote? Does that lead the reader to confuse what they are reading with the source of the quote? Of course not.

The only reason it was used, was it quite eloquently summed up the state of the world. We think we are controlling Nature, but as many disasters have shown, we are not in control, and it is arrogant of us to think we are.

Had anyone been confused, they would have quickly been put straight.

Having got nowhere, events took a turn for the worse. There was then a crude attempt to persuade Medium to delete the account. A crude attempt that happily failed.

All went quiet, until today.

A rather unpleasant e-mail from Dougald Hine demanding once again theDark Mountain collection be deleted.

What triggered this latest tantrum, and it is like dealing with a petulant child throwing a tantrum, was a twitter exchange around ten days ago, with a person unknown to me.

To which elicit a response from Dougald Hine.

Deep ecological thinking is our only hope, something you will not find from Dark Mountain, instead, a nihilist, stick head in sands, dance around a bonfire dressed as animals, which is as about as effective as Nero fiddling whilst Rome burned.

Someone likes what they read, has come across a couple of times Dark Mountain Project, but this is immediately inferred to mean, must be a connection, that it is somehow passing off one as the other.

Had any connection been assumed, the misconception would have been addressed.

But in light of the tweet from Dougald Hine implying something that was not, a tweet was sent to ensure absolutely no misunderstanding.

At no time has it been claimed, masqueraded, passed off as part of or in any way acting as a representative of Dark Mountain Project.

But as I found, not only a tweet, also an e-mail:

Since you made no attempt to correct his misunderstanding that you were a representative of Dark Mountain, it is clear that you are making use of the Dark Mountain collection on Medium to pass yourself off as representing our journal and the non-profit company, The Dark Mountain Project Ltd, that publishes the journal.

As before, wild accusation, if not smears, but no evidence provided to support. At no time claimed to be a representative of Dark Mountain, the Dark Mountain collection is not being passed off to represent anything or anyone. Nor can any such nonsense be inferred from or implied by above tweets. Thus difficult to correct a misunderstanding that does not appear to be there.

Dark Mountain is a collection, an anthology of essays, poetry, art and short stories. Contributors do not get paid. They get a free copy. Copyright remains with contributors.

But having got nowhere with previous false allegations, now implying trademark infringement. Which puts in a whole new ball park.

Please take this email as a final request to either change the title of that collection or delete it. If you do not do so, we will file a trademark notice with Medium, asking them to delete your account, according to their policy:
https://medium.com/policy/mediums-trademark-policy-e3bb53df59a7

I would agree, trademark infringement is a whole new ball game.

I have before me Dark Mountain 7, the latest anthology published this week.

Dark Mountain is not a trademark, there is not even the usual copyright claim for the book, either for Dark Mountain Project as publisher, or individual contributors.

Trademark infringement would therefore seem to be yet another red herring.

Dark Mountain relies upon public support, both in terms of funding (first volumes crowdfunded later subscription) and contributions.

Are Dark Mountain supporters and contributors happy with what amounts to bullying and intimidatory behaviour being carried out in their name?

Reposted from Medium.

An Introduction to Dark Mountain

April 17, 2014

I can recommend Dark Mountain, an anthology of essays, prose, poetry and art from The Dark Mountain Project.

Over Christmas, I read most of Dark Mountain 4.

The last couple of days, Dark Mountain 5 was published.

Rather than order Dark Mountain 5, and keep having to use their website to order each volume afresh, which is a pain in the neck, I have taken out a subscription, which had the added bonus of letting me order Dark Mountain 5 at a discount. I could have ordered two volumes at an even greater discount, but it only gave a choice of Volume 4 or Volume 5.

Dark Mountain was an annual publication, the funds raised for each volume raised through crowd funding. To put it on a more secure footing, it is now funded through subscription, with two volumes a year.

The books are not available as e-books. This is a mistake. E-books reach a far wider audience, the reader may not have the pleasure of a real book, but at least they will not be denied the pleasure of the contents. I suggest publish on leanpub, set a low minimum price, with the option to pay more.

There are zero marginal costs with e-books, therefore set the price less than a dollar, with the option to pay more. This would mark a move towards the collaborative commons, the gift economy.

Dark Mountain is a collaborative venture. Contributors do not get paid, in return, they receive a copy of Dark Mountain to which they have contributed.

The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers in search of new stories for troubled times. We promote and curate writing, art, music and culture rooted in place, time and nature.

Note: Haunting music in the video is by Evi Vine.

Explaining a few things to Neruda

December 23, 2013

You will ask why my poetry
speaks of leaves and green rivers
and that family of goosanders
spinning and diving and drifting downstream
on the ebb tide this rainy morning.

Where are the unemployed? you ask,
the litter, the broken windows,
graffiti curse-words and allegations,
the lost generation, the hope of revolution?

You will ask why my poetry is so pretty,
all those woodlands and winter skies,
when jobs are scarce and art is strangled
and freedom is bought and sold with oil.

In those fields we have no lapwings,
no hares, a stillness of yellow rape,
and wheat after barley after wheat.
The skylark song is quenched in rain.
The moon rises over green absence.

Once there were bitterns in those reeds –
salmon, kingfisher, tufted duck,
children at the village school – all gone.
We wash the guilt of extinction off our hands.
Oh see the blood of extinction on our hands!

— Elizabeth Rimmer

Published in Dark Mountain 4, an anthology of poetry, plays, prose, essays and art.

A contrast between a fairy tale and reality.

Why do we write fairy tales, not of reality?

Elizabeth Rimmer, poet, gardener and river-watcher, lives in Scotland. Her first collection of poems, Wherever We Live Now, was published by Red Squirrel Press in 2011.

The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers in search of new stories for troubled times. We promote and curate writing, art, music and culture rooted in place, time and nature.

Call for art for Dark Mountain

December 18, 2013
Dark Mountain 4 cover art by Kit Boyd

Dark Mountain 4 cover art by Kit Boyd

A call for art for the next two Dark Mountain books, deadline 2 January 2014, but please first read

and ideally, obtain a copy of Dark Mountain, to see what has gone before.

Contributors do not get paid, but you do receive a copy of Dark Mountain as a thank you.

Dark Mountain is an anthology of essays, prose, poetry and art.

The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers in search of new stories for troubled times. We promote and curate writing, art, music and culture rooted in place, time and nature.

From the Mourning of the World

December 2, 2013
From the Mourning of the World

From the Mourning of the World

I love the album artwork.

I tend not to like compilation albums, even when by the same artist. If several artists, it is best seen as a sampler.

I though make an exception for From the Mourning of the World, an eclectic mix put together by Marmeduke Dando for The Dark Mountain Project. I can see I am going to have to follow up each and every one of the artists on this album.

At £10, From the Mourning of the World, is though way overpriced, and as a sampler, even more so. This is not even for a CD, it is for a digital download.

When I see street musicians selling CDs at £10, I tell them no, sell for £5.

At Staycation Live, both Staycation Live 2012 and Staycation 2013, nearly everyone was selling at £5.

For a fiver you will take a chance, at a tenner, you will think twice.

If it is a sampler, then why no links for the various artists?

The Sonic Arcana was inspired by a tarot card set, with links to the contributors.

Dark Mountain Project tried crowd sourcing to raise the money for From the Mourning of the World. Crowd sourcing is great if you have the fan base and the means to reach beyond that fan base. If not, you will fail.

Dark Mountain Project used IndieGogo, which I have never heard of. Again no links. They failed to reach their target, raising only £3,000 of the requested £5,000. This was to fund their limited edition 400 copies vinyl release of From the Mourning of the World.

Why no CD? I can see Dark Mountain wish to make it a quality hand-crafted limited edition, hence the LP format, but it does not have to be in a jewel case.

The figures do not stack up. Let us assume limited release of 500 (the crowd-source fundraiser says 500) and set aside digital downloads. £5,000 works out at £10 per album.

But at least they have released on bandcamp.

The crowd source fund raiser says download CD quality for £10. Bandcamp enables FLAC downloads. I would expect much better than CD quality. I would expect studio, master tape, quality.

A classic case of how not to.

The FingerPainting Sessions, Vol I and Vol II digital downloads a fiver each, or buy as double CD album for £12.

Hope & Social give their music away, at least they do for digital downloads. For CDs, pay what you think it is worth, minimum price based on production cost. And guess what? They are making more money, and having more fun, than when they followed the conventional model of being on a corporate record label.

Check out Cotton Wool and Knotted Wood. That there is a low or free price or pay what you think it is worth, does not mean people pay that low price, or take for nothing, they will generally pay more.

I came across From the Mourning of the World via Transition Free Press, serendipity in discovery, and ironically learnt more about the album, the cover artist and a couple of the artists, than I did from the album on bandcamp!

The amazing cover art, which I’d love as an original painting, is by artist Rima Staines.

The compilation put together by singer-songwriter Marmeduke Dando, whose own song, From the Mourning of the World, or at least his performance of, is not included on the album.

From their IndieGogo crowdsourcing, information obtained from Transition Free Press, I found details and links for all the contributors.

The Dark Mountain Project is a network of writers, artists and thinkers in search of new stories for troubled times. We promote and curate writing, art, music and culture rooted in place, time and nature.

The Dark Mountain Project began with a Manifesto in 2009.