A Dozen Horrors for Hallowe’en

As it’s Hallowe’en this weekend, it’s a great opportunity to highlight our extensive AV collections once more. Below are a dozen horror films we have in our collections; some well-known, some more obscure. If you fancy a scare this weekend, why not grab one of them?

Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)

Frankenstein_poster_1931One of the first horror films made by a major American studio, the iconic ‘Frankenstein’ adapts Mary Shelley’s original story but adds a heavy dose of German Expressionism, which was starting to influence Hollywood movies at the time (hence why we’ve not included ‘The Cabinet of Dr Caligari’ or ‘Nosferatu’ in the list!). 791.43714 FRA

Eyes Without A Face (Georges Franju, 1960)

Eyeswithoutaface_posterA quite astonishing French-Italian horror film that made censors and audiences nervous. A well respected and gifted surgeon is obsessed with restoring his daughter’s face, which was badly damaged in an accident, and will go to any lengths imaginable. Co-written with the writers of ‘Les Diaboliques’ (equally terrific) and ‘Vertigo’, its impact can be seen in its heavy influence on Almodovar’s ‘The Skin I Live In’. 791.43744 EYE/YEU (for English and French titles)

The Innocents (Jack Clayton, 1961)

The_Innocents_Poster‘The Innocents’ is a quite superb adaptation of Henry James’s ‘The Turn of the Screw’, a Gothic ghost story novella about a governess charged with looking after two strange young children. The psychological horror is subtle, mostly achieved through lighting and its black and white cinematography. as well as an early use of electronic sound, thanks to Daphne Oram. 791.43714 INN

Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965)

Repulsion_(1965_film_poster)Forget the initial ‘Swinging London’ clichés, Polanski’s film is a deeply unsettling account of a young woman’s breakdown. Catherine Deneuve is a shy Belgian manicurist living with her sister in Kensington, suffering from androphobia (the pathological fear of interaction with men). Polanski uses quite exquisite imagery and effects to depict her anxieties. 791.437 REP

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jaromil Jireš, 1970)

4467_print2Based on a well known Czech novel of the same name (891.863 Ne on the shelves!), this strange horror film is inspired by fairy tales and Gothic fiction and was a big inspiration for the English writer, Angela Carter. It’s difficult to know where to start describing this film, but needless to say, its young heroine has to ward off vampires, priests and all sorts of oddballs. 791.437437 VAL

Don’t Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973)

Dont_look_movieposterThis is one of the most acclaimed British films and horror films of all time. Based on a Daphne Du Maurier short story, Roeg uses a highly fragmented narrative including flashbacks and flash-forwards to increase the tension and sense of unease. A grieving couple who recently lost a child travel to Venice for the husband’s work, but find themselves caught up in a fatalistic chain of events. 791.43711 DON

Suspiria (Dario Argento, 1977)

SuspiriaItalyNow, this is a strange film. ‘Suspiria’ is the best known giallo, an Italian sub-genre of horror which usually features lots of violence and sex. A young American girl joins a well respected ballet academy in Germany and well….none of it really makes sense. However, it’s one of the most stylish films you could possible imagine. The use of colour is exceptionally vivid, the prog-rock score pounds your ears, the dubbing is um, interesting and the camera sweeps all over the place. Seriously recommended. 791.43714 SUS

Dawn of the Dead (George A. Romero, 1978)

Dawn_of_the_deadNow you might be surprised that I didn’t choose the earlier, seminal horror film ‘Night of the Living Dead’ but I think ‘Dawn…’ still resonates with audiences now as it did then. Zombies have take over the US and society is on the verge of collapsing. A few survivors head to the only place that’s safe….the mall. The target here is consumerism and Romero is merciless in his satire. 791.43714 DAW

Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981)

Possession_film_coverNow when I said ‘Suspiria’ was weird, watch ‘Possession’ to see what weird REALLY is. Set in Cold War Berlin, it follows a married couple (Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani) who’re heading for divorce. He’s a spy (we don’t know who for), she’s having a breakdown. But when he meets his son’s teacher who’s the double of his wife and she takes a lover who’s erm, very different to Sam, then you’ll understand what I mean. There are no easy explanations for what any of this is about, but it’s superb. 791.43744 POS

The Thing (John Carpenter, 1982)

ThingPosterAgain, I might be deliberately obtuse with some choices here (why not Carpenter’s ‘Hallowe’en – one of the most influential horror films of all time?), but ‘The Thing’ is terrific; one of those films that will unsettle you throughout….and for a long time after. A group of research scientists in Antarctica discover something not quite human, and it can take the form of any of them. Cue loads of paranoia and gore! 791.43714 THI

Braindead (Peter Jackson, 1992)

Braindead-posterNowadays Peter Jackson is well known for directing the Lord of the Rings films. However back in the 80s and 80s he made some quite brilliant low budget horror films in New Zealand. Braindead is more comedy than horror, especially given that the home-made effects look somewhat well, home-made. A meek son lives with his dominant mother, but when she’s bitten by a rat-monkey, turns into a zombie and becomes contagious, he finds himself having to save Wellington from the zombie Apocalypse! 791.43714 BRA

Audition (Takashi Miike, 1999)

Audition-1999-posterCrikey, ‘Audition’ is one creepy movie. Once you’ve seen it, scenes from it will haunt you forever. A widowed film producer uses the audition process to find a new wife. In walks a shy and hypnotic young woman whom he immediately falls for her. However, when he digs deeper when finds that her CV doesn’t quite add up, but he pursues her nonetheless. Now what is in that sack? 791.43752 AUD

Brand Republic

brandrepublic_2012_1_webGoldsmiths’ subscription to Brand Republic provides access to the following websites, all essential for students of advertising, branding, marketing, PR and the media:

Each website has a mix of news, opinions, features, job adverts, events and more. Browse between sections or use the search to find something specific that interests you.

To access these websites, you must first register using the ‘sign in’ option. Create an account using your Goldsmiths email address (a personal email address won’t work).

Once you’ve registered, you’ll need to follow the instructions in the verification email Brand Republic sends you.

Changing between websites is easy – scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and choose another website in the Brand Republic network.

The Curious Case of the CICAM Cloth

Batik1

Goldsmiths Textile Collection (part of Special Collections & Archives) houses an array of eye catching & intriguing fabric based objects. From embroideries to cultural significant fashion garments, many of these items have been collected over time with the intention of inspiring creative and academic imaginations from a variety of disciplines. As this blog post will attempt to explore, many of the objects housed within the Textile Collection have a rich cultural and social history that extends far beyond the first impression.

A problem that many academic researchers will no doubt be familiar with is attempting to analyse the authentic story at the heart of a matter. Many an academic have scratched their heads upon finding that deeper inspection of a subject sometimes ends up complicating the matter at hand rather than resolving it. This sort of quandary is an everyday occurrence during research, and the objects based in the Textile Collection are no less exempt from such issues around history and identity. Such is the case for the subject of this blog post, a highly colourful waxed cotton print from Cameroon. This particular object gets quite significant amount of attention here in the Textile Collection, thanks in no small part to an attractive and somewhat psychedelic colour scheme, with a fiery orange hue that evokes vivid sensations of warmer climates south of the equator. Amongst the blazing backdrop is a highly presidential looking figure with the text ‘Republique Unie Du Cameroon/United Republic of Cameroon’, ‘JCNU’ and ‘YCNU’ sitting below it. A small insignia of ‘CICAM’ along the borders of the cloth gives some indication as to who the manufacturers might have been, or perhaps the organisation who might have commissioned production of the cloth.

Batik3 

As far as actual historical detail goes, this is where things get a bit more puzzling for the enigmatic wax cloth. As is sometimes the case with objects donated to archives, we don’t actually have much knowledge of the object’s provenance beyond that. So visual information of the cloth is all we initially have to go on. Crucially, we didn’t know who the presidential figure might be, the year the cloth was made or what it was specifically commemorating. The amount of gaps in the cloth’s story leaves the exact intention somewhat ambiguous, so equal measures of luck, intuition and detective work would be needed in order to ascertain more. Luckily, there is a lot of information on the cloth that can be garnered with the naked eye, and so this was as good a place as any from which to proceed.

Firstly we could arguably identify the cloth as being from Cameroon, as it bears the commemorative text of United Republic of Cameroon – the functioning government for the nation since 1972. Researching the cloth’s manufacturer, CICAM (Cotonnière industrielle du Cameroun), reveals it to be Cameroon’s national textiles company. This confirms both the origin and stately significance of it as an historical object. The cloth is likely commemorative in nature, as it seems to be celebrating both a public figure and an institution from Cameroon. These particular details seemed like a worthwhile place from which to proceed an investigation.

An internet search of ‘Cameroon commemorative cloth’ reveals that cloth making is a popular activity across the sub-Saharan continent, and has a particularly strong following in Cameroon. According to Tommy Miles from tomathon.com, they are referred to interchangeably as Wax Prints, Pagnes or Batiks. As he explains:

I’m using the French term ‘Pagne‘ as sometimes they are called “Pagnes commeratifs”. Coming from Portuguese, pagne really describes the cut of cloth not the patterns or content. It has come to be one of several terms used to denote these brightly colored, intricately designed, and socially significant cotton fabrics produced and worldwide, and especially throughout tropical Africa. In West Africa, these tend to be “Fancy” (i.e. cheaper, one sided) mass produced “roller” prints on cotton. Also known as Wax prints (like the more expensive double sided Waxes, by companies like Vlisco), and occasionally as “Batiks” (which they are not), the names come from the production process. Batiks use hand painted wax to mask off areas from dye. Most roller prints use resins to achieve this effect, but retain the vein like “crinkles” characteristic of hand printed fabrics with wax fixer, a technique also known as starch resist or wax resist. Machine made, they feature repeating patterns rolled onto a long cotton cloth, usually 46 or 47 inches wide. The forms and design traditions are ubiquitous in West Africa. The slightly different “khanga” form of similar cotton fabrics is popular in East Africa and points south.

Tom’s description is useful in providing us with important information for our investigation. He provides detail into the elaborate creative processes that go into producing a commemorative cloth, as well as describing their cultural importance for establishing historical events.

Returning to the visual details of the cloth, it seemed necessary to examine other details so as to get further indications about whom the presidential figure previously described might be. The text of ‘JCNU’ and ‘YCNU’ seems to be politically significant to the design of the cloth. Searching through library catalogues, Churchill Ewumbue-Monono’s Youth and Nation-building in Cameroon (2009) holds some answers as to what these acronyms might represent. JCNU and YCNU interchangeably to refer to the youth wing of Cameroon’s National Union (CNU). The youth party was set up by the CNU’s first president, Ahmadou Ahidjo in 1966, so it’s possible he may be the figure depicted on the cloth.

ahidjo3

Former & Current Presidents of Cameroon Ahmadou Ahidjo & Paul Biya

Batik2

However, the image isn’t a clear match for the one on the cloth so we couldn’t be positive. Furthermore, the cloth seems relatively modern and colourful in comparison to others from Ahidjo’s presidency. However, his successor Paul Biya, could also possibly be the figure in the wax cloth (albeit without the ubiquitous moustache). Biya took the presidency of Cameroon under somewhat controversial circumstances and remains in control to present day. Despite being involved in various scandals throughout his presidency, Biya has expressed a commitment to the JCNU/YCNU. In 1984 Biya began the roll out of a brand new youth policy for Cameroon. This included a New Deal agreement geared towards getting the youth of Cameroon into employment. It’s highly possible that the cloth was manufactured around this period to commemorate Biya’s new hopes for the youth of Cameroon.

Unfortunately, this is as far the investigation into the wax cloth has been able to get. We are unable to provide an exact photo match with the image on the wax cloth, making identification and provenance problematic once more. On the other hand, a high volume amount of information has been pieced together using some highly disparate sources. This information has led to the accumulation of knowledge about a moment in Cameroon’s national history. By getting us to explore further into this particular moment in time, the CICAM wax cloth is very successful in its function as a commemorative object. It demonstrates that the process of research can be a highly enlightening experience in lots of unexpected ways, and that objects of inquiry can be transformative in their effect on reseachers.

If anyone has any more precise information on the Cameroon Commemorative Cloth then we would be very excited to hear from you, so we can add more to the origin story of this unique object. Alternatively you wanted to view the wax cloth or any of our other wide variety of items in person, then contact the Textile Collection at textiles@gold.ac.uk for more details. Opening times are Tuesday – Thursday, 11 – 5.00 pm.

By Jack Mulvaney

Enhancing Academic Skills

Enhancing Academic Skills is a series of free workshops run by the Library, Student Services (Learning and Inclusion Team), Careers and CELAW, to help Goldsmiths students develop first class academic and writing skills.

These workshops are designed to help you unlock your full potential. Be the best you can be academically and achieve success in your chosen subject.

Attend one or all of these workshops to learn about:

  • How to get the most out of lectures and seminars
  • Research skills and effective use of learning materials
  • How to plan and write great essays
  • How to use the library and online resources to research

Enhancing Academic Skills workshops are free and open to all Goldsmiths students.

With the Academic Skills Certificate you can gain recognition for enhancing your academic skills. The certificate can be achieved through attendance at workshops and reflection on the learning and skills gained.

For more information visit The Frame on learn.gold or email frame@gold.ac.uk.

Please see below for the workshops, dates and locations. First workshop is next week.

Enhancing Academic Skills

Information Skills Sessions

The Library is running information skills sessions across the academic year, designed to support your studies and help you prepare for assignments and exams.

If you want to learn how to use online software to make referencing simple, how to search for peer-reviewed journal articles, how to access other libraries in London and the UK, how to use our Special Collections and Archives, how to find online newspapers or video, how to use our online reading lists system or even how to confidently present your work, then we’ve something for you and you’re more than welcome to attend.

No need to sign up in advance. If there’s a session you like the sound of, just turn up. Please check the dates, times and rooms of sessions – most are in IT labs in the Rutherford Building (ground and first floor), but some are in Special Collections (ground floor) or the Prokofiev Room (second floor). Each session lasts 45 minutes to an hour.

Referencing and Zotero

 

Learn about using Zotero (free and open-source online reference management software)

 

Wednesday 28th October, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Tuesday 1st December, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Thursday 3rd December, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Wednesday 13th January, 13.00-13.45 (RB102)

Tuesday 9th February, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Thursday 11th February, 13.00-13.45 (RB103)

Wednesday 9th March, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Wednesday 4th May, 13.00-13.45 (RB102)

 

Searching for information

 

Advanced tips for searching the catalogue

Effective database searching

Searching alternative formats

 

Monday 30th November, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Wednesday 2nd December, 13.00-13.45 (RB102)

Friday 4th December, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Monday 8th February, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Wednesday 10th February, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

 

Using other libraries

 

Goldsmiths students can use many other libraries in London and beyond – discover how to find them and access them

 

Wednesday 2nd December, 14.00-14.45 (RB102)

Wednesday 10th February, 14.00-14.45 (RB008)

Finding & Using Special Collections & Archives

 

What is a ‘special collection’ or an archive?

Find the collection you need, in London and beyond

Work hands-on with items from our collections

Discover how special collections and archives can contribute to your research

 

All sessions held in Special Collections and Archives

 

Wednesday 11th November, 17.00-18.30

Tuesday 1st December, 14.30-15.15 (Finding SC&A)

Thursday 3rd December, 14.30-15.15 (Using SC&A)

Tuesday 19th January, 17.00-18.30

Tuesday 9th February, 14.30-15.15 (Finding SC&A)

Thursday 11th February, 14.30-15.15 (Using SC&A)

Thursday 17th March, 14.00-15.30

Wednesday 13th April, 14.00-15.30

Finding newspapers and news online

 

Where to find primary source news reports and newspapers online

 

Wednesday 18th November, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Wednesday 16rd March, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Searching for audio-visual resources

 

Learn more about Goldsmiths’ audio and video collections and more that are publicly available and suitable for research

 

Wednesday 25th November, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Wednesday 23th March, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Using online reading lists

 

The Goldsmiths online reading lists system shows the real-time availability of items in the library; as well as linking directly to online resources such as ebooks and journal articles.


This session will show students how to access the reading lists system and online resources both on/off campus, and the functionality of the reading lists system.

 

Friday 20th November, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Friday 12th February, 13.00-13.45 (RB008)

Presenting with confidence

 

Come and learn tips on how to speak to different audiences with confidence. We will examine clips of public figures like Obama, Clinton, and well known academics, and discuss useful strategies that will leave you more prepared to face the world!

Tuesday 3rd November, 14.00-15.00 (Prokofiev Room)

Tuesday 1st December, 14.00-15.00 (Prokofiev Room)

Wednesday 20th January 14.00-15.00 (Prokofiev Room)

Tuesday 9th February, 14.00-15.00 (Prokofiev Room)

Black History Month – Audio-visual resources

DO_THE_RIGHT_THINGTo support the activities of Black History Month at Goldsmiths, we’ve explored our audio-visual resources to highlight the British and American feature films that depict the histories and experiences of individuals, families and communities.

From Britain, we start with 1961’s ‘Flame in the Streets’, which looked at the tensions in Notting Hill, in the wake of the 1959 riots, and end with John Akomfrah’s 2013 documentary, ‘The Stuart Hall Project’.

From the US, we include the films of Spike Lee (‘Do The Right Thing’, ‘Bamboozled’) and a number of important films that deserve much more awareness and recognition (‘Nothing But A Man’, ‘Sidewalk Stories’).

Furthermore, we’ve looked into various archives to look into Black British History. The BFI Player has a number of free documentaries, whilst BFI InView: British History Through The Lens has documentaries that require sign-in with your Goldsmiths username/password. Both sites highlight the Black British experience from the 1940s-1990s and highlight the changes in society during that time.

We’ve also used Box of Broadcasts to create a bespoke playlist of documentaries that look at the Black History in both Britain and the US. Hall

Use the PDFs below to find out how to access these resources:

American Movies

British Movies

BFI In View

Documentaries

National Poetry Day 2015

National Poetry Day

In 1994 William Sieghart, the British philanthropist and founder of the Forward Prizes for Poetry, organised the inaugural National Poetry Day as ‘a day of mass celebration of all things poetical’[1], an annual multi-organisational cross-institutional series of events and initiatives to illuminate the unrecognised and unheard poets of our time, who by implication spend the rest of the year scribbling in the dark. At the time of the inaugural National Poetry Day in October 1994, Nicolette Jones wrote in The Times that, ‘ambitious poetry promotions are not new. It all began in the 1980s with Faber’s “poetry train”, carrying bards to readings all over the country. That is now a commonplace publicity stunt, but then it was considered newsworthy enough to make the dailies.’[2] The Forward Foundation have continued to maintain a relationship with Transport for London, this year running free outdoor open mic at the London Transport Museum and featuring poems at stations on the London Underground. If this was tame in 1994 then it is even less likely to attract mainstream media attention today.

In their quest for column-inches The Forward Foundation have recently introduced celebrity panellists to judge their prizes, most notably Jeremy Paxman who found Guardian headlines last year with his blustery assertion that ‘poets now seem to be talking to other poets, and that is not talking to people as a whole.’[3] His criticism, however, says more about Paxman’s lack of engagement in contemporary poetry than contemporary poetry’s lack of engagement with people. Continuing his appraisal he says, ‘what has been lost is the habit of buying and reading books of poetry’ as though they were the same thing, before dragging us into the twenty-first century by suggesting we might disseminate verse digitally like the iPods kids are downloading now as though this doesn’t already happen.

The same article notes that Nielsen announced a 7.14% decrease in UK sales of poetry books between the years 2009-2014, though fails to address the fact that Nielsen stats for poetry sales are for the most part a record of high street book sales – itself a market becoming ‘risk-averse’ as it remains under threat from online publishing and, to a certain extent, piracy. It also appears to be wilfully ignorant of a dearth of independent publishing in this country – celebrated at the annual Poetry Book Fair organised by Chrissy Williams and Joey Connolly which has enjoyed coverage in The Guardian’s pages – not recorded by these statistics. I could go on, and that’s the point.

Paxman is of course entirely disingenuous in his criticism of contemporary poetry, and this highlights the main function of National Poetry Day; it is not attention-seeking in order to make poetry relevant, but asserting its relevance by drawing others in to the questions we ask about poetry. His arguments betray a deep ignorance of what is really happening in poetry in this country and his starter for ten is designed to re-engage us in picking apart his carefully-off-hand remarks.

Library exhibition space

Here at Goldsmiths library we are celebrating National Poetry Day as an opportunity to remind everyone of the wealth of poetic activity ongoing in the Goldsmiths community. This week saw the start of the second season of Ashbery to Zukofsky : The Glen Baxter Poetry Reading Group which will convene on the second Tuesday of the month in Special Collections & Archives. We have lit up our exhibition space with poems and a wealth of information on the extent of poetry resources available both in the library and elsewhere (which we have also documented here) and invite you to submit your poems for consideration for display in the library by emailing library@gold.ac.uk. Next week Lit Live, the literary series curated by Goldsmiths Writers Centre, returns to the Peckham Pelican with readings from current students and alumni alike as part of the Literary Kitchen Festival 2015; an ambitious and diverse finger-lickin’ literary mezze that would satisfy Lord Paxo himself.

by Angus Sinclair


[1] http://www.forwardartsfoundation.org/about-us/ Retrieved 06/10/15

[2] Jones, N. 1994, Going metric for the day;Poetry, London (UK).

[3] Flood, A. 2014, Front: Today’s poets write mostly for each other, says Paxman, London (UK).