I can never fathom the way in which people fail to be attached to things worthy of fascination. That is to say, I don’t get why people don’t get my shit. I don’t hate these people - in fact, I benefit with regularity from their fits of cleansing - I just don’t know them and fail to understand them in part because of that. Also because they throw things like this out which, you know, is good for me albeit mystifying. Here is the rabbit and here is the hole.
Berlioz’ ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ by the Hallé Orchestra - conducted by James Loughran in the summer of ’76 - is a beautiful piece of music. To boot, the cover art is eye-catching as hell. Not only that but it may have more to do with that infernal place than first meets the eye. Miss H was quick to point out the similarities between the assorted weird menagerie dancing ‘bout the belle and the fantastical paintings of hell by the Dutch painter, Heironymus Bosch. In particular, ‘The Garden Of Earthly Delights’, in which Adam and Eve fall from God’s presence through sin and are exiled from the good place.
The Thames & Hudson book, ‘Bosch’ depicts the guy as having been conservative yet insatiably curious, creating in TGOED (because that's what I shall type from here on in) an inspired renaissance triptych; a prophecy for humanity. He’s most curious about nature. Look at those fucking birds. He’s precise in his details, organic in his architecture and keenly interested in anatomy, the exotic and even sci-fi. Considering this was most likely painted toward the very end of the 15th Century, it’s fair to say he was somewhat ahead of the curve and it didn’t take long for his peers to catch on to the fact. Fifty years after he was in the ground, Pieter Bruegel painted ‘The Fall Of The Rebel Angels’ and ‘The Triumph of Death’, the latter of which currently hangs directly across from TGOED in Madrid’s Prado museum.
If we’re going to go this far, we may as well trace the line from Bosch’s work through madness of The Beatles' ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band' or 'Yellow Submarine', Bowie’s short film for ‘Black Star’ and Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Hellboy’. Fashion’s been at it too, from Christian Dior to Dr. Martens and naturally, Taschen are more than happy to get you up to speed with ‘Hieronymus Bosch - The inventor of monsters and chimeras’. There’s even a god damned colouring book and I want it. Then there’s this. I don’t care so much about the chronological order of things so much as confirming to myself that we weren’t going insane seeing so much of Bosch in the cover art for ‘Symphonie Fantastique. So I called him.
Michael Lye, the gentleman responsible for said cover is a long-time talented Devon based illustrator and scenic artist. He was busy designing a doll’s mansion house in the Queen Anne style for the Museum of York when I got him on the phone and more than a little surprised that work from forty years ago had returned to haunt him in this fashion. He explained that the last time this happened, it was a Reggae album and it was for Lee Perry and another museum had a price on his head. That last part may not be accurate. Either way, it turns out that we were not quite headed for the madhouse and Bosch had indeed been whispering over his shoulder while he painted the cover for Music For Pleasure LTD in 1978. I can only be grateful to whomever was diligent enough to include his credit on the sleeve. It also goes to show that we needs must take care lest we welcome weird, bearded men into our homes at some undisclosed point in the far-flung future.
I shall return you to the surface, now that our curiosity has been sated. Before I do, I shall leave you with this: in 2014, a deviant by the name of Amelia noticed a bunch of musical notation on the butt of one of Bosch’s tortured souls in TGOED. Naturally, she transcribed it and recorded a ‘600-years-old butt song from Hell’. I should note here that when I finished that last sentence, my word count was most specific and that a well manicured man has now put a choral arrangement to Bosch’s paint.
Cthulhu has been summoned and we shall all be held accountable.
JD - TACOCAT