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Ashtray Chat BLACK LIVES MATTER Design GOOD SHIT HEXES the sunday spectra

GOOD EVENING MISFITS // North Korea’s “Fuck you” // Reed Diamond + Andre Braugher + HOMICIDE // The Creep’s Best BLACK LIVES MATTER Mag Covers (So Far)

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Reed Diamond portrayed detective Mike Kellerman on Homicide, Life on the Street.

“You and I both know that human desire is kicking our ass.” Toni Lewis, Erik Dellums, the brilliant and multi-talented Clark Johnson, and Reed Diamond. This scene genuinely shocked me when first broadcast.

Uh, lookit dat, youtube automatically queues to the clip w/ Andre Braugher confronting Steve Buscemi as a racist in the box. It is something! Warning, it has the N-word.

 

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The Creep’s Favorite BLM Magazine Covers (So far)

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That is all. More later. Carry on.

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Categories
HEXES the sunday spectra

HEXES The Final Hex

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Cover Illustration: Maxim Peter Griffin

 

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I n t r o d u c t i o n

Welcome to my last gathering of light and shadow, welcome to The Final Hex.

HEXES got its start in March, 2011 largely as a very stoned Sunday lark. Basically I wanted to share “cool links,” with a special emphasis on a podcast I was fond of at the time, Jason Pitzl-Waters’ A DARKER SHADE OF PAGAN.

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HEXES quickly evolved into a full blown webzine, one that I remain modestly proud of. If nothing else I had a lot of fun…

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There were several “themed” issues, such as The Vampire Special, a heartfelt salute to the late Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith of Doctor Who), and, working within that vein, several “Death” issues marking the passing of Jean Giraud (Moebius), Ralph McQuarrie, Eiko Ishioka, Christopher Hitchens, my black cat of 19 years, and several others.

But as of 2014 new issues became sporadic and irregular, prompting me to change the zine’s subtitle from The Sunday Spectra to The Sometime Spectra, and I am weary and sad to admit that entire calendar years slipped by without a single appearance of HEXES.

HEXES still matters to me, however, and I want to lower the curtain with something special. Thus The Final Hex. All of the artists represented in this issue were approached personally, and I am grateful and dazzled by their generosity and talent.

Thanks to all readers and friends through the years. And so,

 

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G A L L E R Y

 

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Andrew Liefer is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer who likes to combine digital and traditional media in new and exciting ways. His work is created as an attempt to fill the empty gaping void of our soulless contemporary society. It is a means to create personal excitement while immersed in the boredom of day-to-day wage slavery.

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F I C T I O N

 

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It was one of those cold, bright days in early autumn and traffic was a monoxide-emitting river on the Mombassastrasse from Narodni Basilica to the Windmill. I caught a Harrisbus tram as far as Nijinski’s and ducked into the arcade between Marx & Sparx and the Golden Palace Casino. The ceilings of the arcade were netted off to prevent pigeons from landing on the roofs of shops and vacant retail units.

Hundreds of these arcades could be found between places on Mombassastrasse: the voids that made matter viable. Down this particular arcade there was a jeweller, which sold silver cannabis leaves, golden clowns and other assorted bling; a camera shop; a francophone bookshop; two shoe shops; a travel luggage stall; a women’s costumers; a non-stop bookies; and, of course, the inevitable Kinemat.

I was tempted to leave. The bad lighting and the shabby shopfronts reminded me that I was drifting – between places. The arcade curved around to the right like a lower-case “r” and out of the far end there was a grassy square where it had started raining. Intermittent bursts of euro-techno came from somewhere behind. Discovering my tobacco pouch to be almost empty I faced up to my responsibilties and entered into the primary-lit darkness of the non-stop bookies. Digital gunfire and grandstand audiences roared from left and right, up ahead was a small hatchway overshadowed by a brow of LED readouts.

“Is The Mandarin here?”

The old woman in the portal blinked at me and took off her glasses, “do you mean Henry…”

“Hush Grandma!” I put two fingers on her mouth, “he is as he describes himself. I don’t know and I don’t want to know anything else.”

“The, uh, The Mandarin is over at the Kinemat at the moment. You’ll probably find him in the bar. You don’t happen to have anything, do you?”

“Anything?”

“Any pukka adreneline? You have anything like that?”

“I’m surprised at you, old girl!” I’d seen it a thousand times. Pensioners who worked the arcades to pay for their habit. A fifteen minute burst of teenager followed by two days of senility. I pointed two fingers at her eyes and took my leave of the non-stop.

 

I had never been into this particular Kinemat before. It was walled with frosted mirrors decorated with bevelled diamond-shaped patterns and dark wood, or more likely dark wood veneer. There was a ticket office in the middle and stairs: a bar and a screen to the left, two more screen to the right.

Climbing the lefthand stair case I was stopped by a steward in a green uniform, “do you have a ticket, sir?”

“I don’t need a fucking ticket, boy!” I touched his ear and he shook his head and backed off.

“Tickets can be purchased from the…”

“I don’t want to watch a fucking kino, boy! Do you understand me?” I reached out to stroke his cheek by he shrugged me off.

“Blind customers are required to…”

I pushed past him and up the stairs. He grabbed at the back of my coat. I turned, kicked out at him, failed to connect. He fell over anyway and tumbled down the stairs. I pushed through the double doors. A boy was towelling a shaggy haired dog dry on a huge screen in front of a steep flight of seats. I took the archway to the left and into the bar.

 

There was a big horseshoe sofa in the middle of the saloon. The Mandarin was sitting at a table with a black-haired chick who looked like a panel game assistant. There was no-one else in the bar apart from a waistcoated barman who was lost in the gleam of bottles and chintz beneath the moorish arch of the far wall.

“Hej, Johnnie!” The Mandarin looked up from a viewtext screen and attached a long moustache to his face. Low-res colours flickered off his mirrors. The chick didn’t move. Not an inch.

I pulled up a stool, “How’s the fucking lifestyle, Herr Mandarin?”

“So, so, Johnnie,” he closed up the viewtext screen, “Hong King Dairies Anchovizers are down against the Westinghouse model. The Grailings is a very different list to what it was in our day, Johnnie.”

“Who’s your friend?”

“This is Lucie Divaldo, Johnnie,” he grasped the back of Ms Divaldo’s hair and pulled to reveal a short blonde bob, “don’t you never get out to the theatre? You should take some time to educate yourself. Education is a beautiful racket,” he showed a lot of titanium dentures, “do you like her, Johnnie?”

“What’s not to like?”

“Lucie is out at the moment, else everything we’re saying would be going back to the group mind. Nah mean?”

“I don’t see no strings.”

“You never do, Johnnie. You never do.”

A waiter with a waistcoat to match the one at the bar brought The Mandarin another bottle of Heineken and a Becherovka for the doll. “What you drinking, Johnnie?” I pointed at the Heineken and gestured the waiter away. The Mandarin placed the Becherovka glass in front of Ms Divaldo. She took the glass, drank it off, and put it back on the table.

“There are things we are not talking about here, Johnnie. You know that, I know that. She is the merchandise, she is currently offline, she needs to be taken somewhere safe.”

“Where are you thinking, Herr Mandarin?”

The waiter arrived with my beer. The Mandarin indicated that he should leave.

“I want you to take her off-world, Johnnie. There are places where the tentacles won’t stretch, and one of them is not-here,” The Mandarin put the black wig back onto the doll, “and I want you to leave her alone, Johnnie. I want the merchandise to reach its destination intact.”

 

The moment they got the faintest whiff that Lucie was incommunicado tentacles would be starting to twitch around the Royal Borough. We needed to be not-here quickly but the Kilburninreal Hauptbahnhof wasn’t safe for the likes of us.

Ducking back through the back streets running parallel to the Mombassastrasse we caught a monocar as far as the funicular railway near the Wassgotterspeck Viaduct and at the top of the hill stopped for a breather at the Seeland in St Real Increments.

At Seeland they were doing a special on haddock, so I got two portions with fries and a pilsner.  Seelands are better than many jonts, in that they always have bier on draught, they still serve it in collapsable plastic steins. I put the fish in front of Lucie and told her to eat. After she had efficiently polished off the food with all of the relish of an ocean trawler it was time to play twenty questions.

“Okay, doll. Prophesy!”

“I remember: going on holiday on the Pergolesi Littoral as a child. My mother was a beautiful tall woman with a great mass of black hair and deep-eyes that would scare me so much when he succumbed to madness after father died…”

“Switch channels. Tell me about networks!”

“The group mind propgates as a form of airborne pollen, although it is more literally fungal in structure. Some fourteen hundred bodies currently carry Giptic symbiotes in the Royal Borough, although only eight of these are active at any one time. The central nervous system is curretly located…”

I missed the rest of the sentence as a short order cook swung a chair at my head. I threw myself back off of my seat and rolled to avoid a pile of plates that one of the waiters attempted to drop on my head. I pulled an Ascii-izer from my jacket and turned both of them to text.

“Let’s get out of here, doll!”

We took a train from St Real Increments to Chingford. Chingford is one of those end of the line stations. Raw, slightly prettified and lopsided. Two lines run down beside the station itself while the others end short at buffers beside what appear to be garden sheds. There are duck boards between these tracks which reinforce the feeling of being in a garden centre or nursery.

Lucie had started to lose the automaton blankness and had started to sag, becoming greyish and tired. Whatever voodoo The Mandarin had cast on her was starting to wear off. She would regain consciousness soon and who knows what would happen then. We were on the other end of the line and the cilia of the group mind shouldn’t be able to affect her here but who knows what local conditions we might expect.

“Where are we?” she looked up and down the road trying to find identifiable landmarks.

“Chingford. London. Or at least it’s on the edge of London. We’re going to try to get you a coffee someplace.”

“I’ve never been to London before,” she replied in a dazed sing-song voice and pulled off the black wig, “and who are you?”

“I’m Johnnie.”

“Johnnie who?”

“Johnnie fucking who to you too! C’mon, doll. Let’s get you that coffee.”

Turn right out of Chingford station and you’re not likely to find much but forest. The only other thing you find is a golf course. We didn’t need a golf course at the moment so we went in the other direction past bistros, restaurants, pizzeria – all just a bit too conspicuous for my liking. Soon we discovered the grubbier end of Chingford and we took a table at the Starburger in search of coffee.

One table was populated with a local family. Heavy men with spare chins and middle aged women with shreiking voices, teenagers with big hoop earrings and all of them in shellsuits. The uniformity of dress made me wary – signs of a symbiotic group mind? But it soon became apparent that there was precious little mind of any sort amongst them.

“What are we doing here, Johnnie?”

“Drinking coffee, or at least we will be as soon as I can get some service,” another waitress with plates full of fat and cholestorol avoided my eye.

“No, but what are we doing in Chingford?”

“I’m not sure yet. You’ve got a friend back in the Royal Borough. A heavy friend. Not heavy like those guys over there, but heavy – as in heavy influence. He wants you out of the Borough ‘cos you’ve been getting in too deep with the wrong crowd.”

“The wrong crowd? What the fuck does that mean, Johnnie? Who is this heavy friend?”

“I wouldn’t like to say, doll. Put it this way: do you know a guy with a ‘tache like Fu Manchu?”

“Henry?” she cried. Those voice projection classes sure had paid off.

“Not so loud. Yeah, Henry. He wanted you outta the scene. You’d been hanging with some funny people.”

“What I do and who I associate with are no concern of his. What does he mean anyway? I work with a lot of “funny people” – actors, directors – that’s my work, that’s my life…”

A young guy in a Starburger uniform stopped at the table, “excuse me, madam. You wouldn’t happen to be Lucie Divaldo, would you?”

I reached inside my jacket for my ascii-izer.

The young guy backed off rapidly, “sorry mate, I didn’t mean to be rude or anything,” stopping with his back to the Chingford family, who remained oblivious to the scene being played out behind them, he pointed at the barrel of the ascii-izer, “but why are you pointing that chunk of Lego at me?”

“How do you know Ms Divaldo, kid?”

“Oh, I’m a huge fan of her work. I loved ‘Ta Fantastika’ and her portrayal of the flower-girl in ‘Buffooneries!’ was deeply touching,” he looked down nervously at the ascii-izer again, “but I don’t mean to invade her privacy or anything, mate, and um, what does the Lego do?”

“I touch this trigger and you’re text, kid! It might take decades for a low-life like you to get reappraised by the critics and by that time you’ll be deeply unfashionable.” This wasn’t strictly true of course. It often happened that Joes who got ascii-ized would reincarnate more vividly than ever if they caught a wave of retro-fashion, but he wasn’t to know that, “So if you want to retain your physical structure you’d better start talking. How do you know Ms Divaldo’s work?”

“I’m a very well regarded actress,” Lucie interrupted.

“Can it, doll!”

“She is,” the kid insisted, “but I guess she’s not very well known Over Here, if you know what I mean?”

“Keep talking.”

“I only know of Lucie (you don’t mind if I call you Lucie, Ms Divaldo?) because I spent a few years over on your side. That is to say,” he stepped closer, “over in the Royal Borough.”

I closed the safety catch on the ascii-izer and put it back into my jacket, “what’s your name, kid?”

“Arker, sir. Spiro Arker.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr Arker. Now listen. Ms Divaldo here is in some danger, that’s why were Over Here. It’s not safe for her in the Royal Borough.”

“You are so patronising,” Lucie interjected.

“Whatever. The thing is: we don’t know how much longer it will be safe for her in London so we’ve got to get her off-world. Lucie needs your help, kid. Now, being an experienced gentleman as you are, you must know agencies who can move people.”

Spiro looked nervous, “I’ll be finished here in an hour. Wait in the pub by the station. Have you got a motor?”

“We can get one.”

“Good. We need to find a certain B.G.Ramachandra. And I’m not sure it’s going to be easy.”

Spiro Arker guided us to an address in between Leytonstone and Stratford, “just up the road from Maryland monorail.” It was late in the afternoon when we arrived at a tree-lined avenue of tall Edwardian houses.

“It’s number twenty-six,” Spiro told us.

A girl in a big coat was sitting on the steps in front of the house. It was difficult to get any idea of what she looked like. Her head was crowned with a car-wreck of hair and her eyes were obscured by large flying goggles. There was a carrier bag on the steps beside her and she was eating a yoghurt. I stepped past her and knocked on the front door.

No reply.

Looking up and down the doorframe I found a row of doorbells. I pressed the one labelled “Ramachandra” a few times and then tried knocking again. Still no reply.

“Have you got a mobile number for this Ramachandra character?” I asked Spiro.

“I don’t think he has a mobile,” he replied. He didn’t look like he was joking, “he doesn’t like them.”

“Are you sure?”

“Pretty sure I’m sure,” he looked up at the windows of the house, “maybe he’s gone out?”

“He left five minutes ago,” the girl on the steps said.

“How do you know that?” Spiro asked.

“Because I arrived five and a half minutes ago and I saw him leaving.”

“Where did he go?” I asked.

“He didn’t tell me,” she took another yoghurt out of the carrier bag and opened it, “he left in a bit of a hurry.”

“Where might he be going?”

“Somewhere bad.”

“Why ‘somewhere bad’?”

“Because,” she sighed, “he was being carried over the shoulder of a big man.”

Lucie started laughing.

“What did this ‘big man’ look like?”

“He was about your height,” she squinted behind her goggles, “perhaps a little taller. He was wearing a well-tailored suit and sunglasses,” she took another spoonful of yoghurt, “mirrored sunglasses. It would have looked ridiculous if it wasn’t for the fact that he was carrying BG into the back of van,” she finished another yoghurt pot and put it beside the previous one, “that was about the time that I got here. The van almost drove me over. It was quite frightening. So I decided to have a little sit-down and decide what to do.”

 

“Okay, start talking, Mr Arker. Who might be likely to abduct B.G.Ramachadra?”

“I’ve no idea.”

“Does he have any enemies?”

“Not that I know of.”

“What does Ramachandra do?”

“What do you mean?”

“What line of work is he in? What is his business?”

“Oh, I’m not really sure. He sort of makes things.”

“He’s a noted manufacturer of electronic shruti boxes,” said the girl in the big coat.

“A maker of what?”

“Electronic shruti boxes. Although he was also known for designing some of the first shortwave anchovizers.”

“You know about anchovizers?” Spiro Arker looked like he might be in love.

“I think he did some design work for Hong King when they were still owned by Maurice Donne in the nineties. The anchovizer as we know it today owes as much to ideas that were plagiarised from Soma Jones.”

“Soma Jones!” Arker flapped his arms with an impressive lack of dignity, “how do you know about Soma Jones?”

The girl in the big coat smiled, “I was married to him once.”

“You must be Bilhelmina Carrow!” Arker was in danger of taking off. All of this was making no sense to me whatsoever.

 

We drove up through Stratford and across the Plaistow Marshes following the course of the River Lea where possible until we got to Canning Town. The air was sweet with fumes from the Tate and Lyle factory beside the Thames. A few light aircraft flew overhead carrying small loads of white goods. From here we followed the course of the river down to the Woolwich Ferry. The Ferry, when it arrived, was full of local kids howling and shouting as they fought in the corridors of the boat.

At Woolwich we took the car as far as Maze Hill where the road was blocked. An articulated lorry had been hit by a Zanussi fridge-freezer and an Ariston washing machine, a black cab and an early eighties Ford Escort had ploughed into its back end.

“We can walk from here,” Bilhelmina announced. Greenwich was a scene of devestation. White goods – fridges, freezers, washers, dryers, dishwashers – were crumpled and buried in the road at awkward angles. Shattered glass and roofing tiles were scattered across roads and pavements where appliances had smashed into roofs and windows. A bus shelter was bowed under the weight of an electric cooker.

We followed bill across Maze Hill. “Look, that’s the Greenwich Observatory!” Spiro Arker observed. Bilhelmina stopped long enough to give him an impatient look.

“Where are we going?” Lucie asked.

“I think we’re trying to find this Ramachandra guy,” I replied.

“And why do we need to find him?”

“He can get us out of this place.”

“But what are we doing here anyway?”

“Beats me, doll!”

“Are there always all these household appliances here?”

Bilhelmina Carrow stopped in front of the rose garden to get her bearings. “It’s that road over there.” Looking back over the Hill towards the river a flight of light aircraft were coming out of the black clouds. Half a rainbow emerged from the Greenwich Dome. “We’d better get under cover before the next bombing run.”

Traffic was taking heavy casualties as we ran up Shooters Hill. A bus had fallen sideways after being struck repeatedly by chest freezers dropped from a twin prop aeroplane. By staying to the park side of the road we avoided the worst of the bombardment. It seemed like the aviators were mainly targetting roads and properties.

“This one here!” Bilhelmina indicated an imposing town house with a dark stone facade, quite out of keeping with the character of the street. Some of the topiary had been damaged by a flurry of microwave ovens. Spiro Arker reached the front door first and was rapping the big brass knocker rapidly. There was a sickening crunch in the road as a motorcycle was engulfed by a large photocopier.

“Jesus Christ!” exclaimed Arker, “they’ve moved onto office equipment.”

No-one seemed to be answering the door, I pulled out the ascii-izer, “stand aside, kid!” A stream of alphanumerics turned the door into a mass of punctuation.

We plunged through the doorway. I use the word “plunged” advisedly. If this had been any normal doorway we might have just “stepped inside” or “entered the building”, the matter of crossing the threshold could have been ignored altogether, but in this case “plunged” is entirely accurate.

The classical columns and chequered floor of the entrance hall twisted as we stepped through the portal. We might have withdrawn from this commitment but for a terrible gravity that drew us into the house. By the time I had crossed the Welcome mat the entrance hall had spun into a fierce vortex. Spiro Arker was pulled past me and over my head into the gyrating perspective. I was pulled off my feet and towards the singularity, winds tore past me as I rushed headlong. Looking back the way I had come the doorway had become a tiny rotating rectangle of light which spun away across an eccentric trajectory…

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Zali Krishna is a writer, painter and musician living in Graz, Austria. The above selection is a forerunner and a digression from his three novels Dashanka Junction, The Narthex and Sine Cygnet & Signifier. A fourth related volume, entitled Kings of Infinite Space, will appear sometime this year through Polyversity Press. He doesn’t eat celery. Ever. http://www.iotacism.com

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V I D E O

 

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G A L L E R Y

 

Wood Spirits

Crescent Moon (Waning)

The High Priestess

Wood Spirits, by Paul Watson

Dionysos Skeptouchos

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Paul Watson is an artist based in Brighton, UK, whose work deals with themes of the weird and the eerie, progressive politics, and potential futures, using motifs from myth and folklore. He is currently working on a series of artwork called Acid Renaissance: Albion’s True Standard Advanced which includes photography (including the two pieces here), drawing, printmaking, and video pieces. He has published two books – Myth and Masks (2016) and England’s Dark Dreaming (2018) – which are available to order from his website at http://www.lazaruscorporation.co.uk/shop along with selected large prints and smaller postcards.

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M U S I C

 

Wood Spirits

You Do Not Have to be Good

a spotify playlist

 

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S Elizabeth, aka Mlleghoul, and The Ghoul Next Door is Florida-based writer and blogger, rambling about art, music, fashion, perfume, anxiety, and grief—particularly as these subjects intersect with horror, the supernatural, and death. Her complete collection of spotify playlists can be found here.

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G A L L E R Y

 

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Earlier – we drove from Saltfleet after a night on the stout and sloe gin. The early tide brought the usual junk – bottles – fragments – debris – trees – dead seals – I see more plastic on the coast than before – pick up what I can.

There is always a Frozen balloon in the thorns – I saw Olaf washed up once, like a drowned mariner.

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werner1127A bright fog – low sun diffused and filtered enough to look at the disc of it.

The road is above the fields – land drops down – glacial valley – old railway line in the murk – black headed gulls, flying with us.

The usual landmarks are hidden – road through the trees to the Bluestone Heath – a space for painting – a big painting – might be too Hockney.

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Fog thickness on the top road – the sun goes out – crows on the turn – right – an older couple preparing to go rambling, dressed for a different landscape – nylon walking poles, neoprene skull caps.

Red Hill – other side of the fog – in the valley, green fields divided with black lines / purple woodland – exposed chalk, pale grass.

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Over the valley – Colley Hill, Imber Hill – down the hill – an iron age herepath – crossroads – gibbet – ditch, bank, tributary, bog.

A hawthorn with rags – a Cold War listening station – a deep tunnel that leads to a private church – a triangle enclosure with brambles + one swing.

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Maxim Peter Griffin…

I was born in 83

I’m almost 37.

Youngest of 6

I like the North Sea

Big, low rivers

And flat round pebbles

Right now I’m listening to

Pyroclasts by Sunn O)))

It makes me feel like a mountain

I swam in the sea earlier

But it was freezing

Then I flew a kite with my sons

Later, I cooked a simple meal

Beef pie, chips, greens

Gravy etc then fruit cake

and drank beer from Spain

as a ship from Singapore rolled up the Humber

and wrote this as Chinese sailors prepare for a night on shore in Goole

F I E L D   N O T E S

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P R A Y E R

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Prayer to the Gods for bringing transformation, awareness and more understanding to the cause of the disabled, neurodivergent and chronically ill. It is time for the eyes of the abled to be wide open to our cause and for more kindness, compassion and aid to be the norm towards us. May the Gods hear us!

O Asklepios, Patron of Medicine, thou who was punished for thy craft, bring knowledge and open the eyes of those who do not want to see the suffering of those who are ill.  Dear Healing God, bring peace and safety to those who need thy help and unleash the serpent on those refusing to bring their help to the sick. O thou who was human like us, understand our suffering and our plea. O blessed resurrected one, thou received thy place on Olympus as a God for thine sorrow and woes, may thee bring strength to our cause. O Saving God, thou who loved humans and the ill so much, we worship thee, may thy staff always heal true.

O Cerridwen, Goddess of the Cauldron, bring the transformative power of magic and wisdom to the ill and disabled. Help their might be reborn so their souls may have the strength to help the fight. Bring fertility to the cause and bring them the inspiration for their words to flow, bringing understanding to those who have their eyes shut. O Goddess of science, make researchers and doctors be more compassionate, but also help them find the way to make the lives of the disabled, neurodivergent and sick as best as possible. O Wise One, transform the world for us into a better place and may your cauldron-womb birth again the Earth into a safer and more empathic place. O Goddess of the Dark Moon, we worship thee and ask for thy help, please bring us all out of the darkness.

Prayer to the Gods for transformation 1

O Hathor, Primeval Goddess from whom all others are derived, with thy sistrum drive evil from the land and inspire goodness in all. O Patron Goddess of joy and celebration, bring happiness and light in the darkness to all who hurt and can’t find the light. O Patron of the evening and morning star, take us out of the night, and may each new day bring us strength and inspiration to make the world a better place. Dear Goddess of Rebirth and Rejuvenation, birth us all again into a better world. O Mother, bring the Field of Reeds to this world and protect us all. O thou who fertilises the land, we worship and honour thee for paving the way for a more compassionate world.

 

O Cernunnos, Wild God of the Forest, bring fertility and prosperity to those who need it.
O God of Death and the dying, comfort the dead and dying by singing to them on their way to the spirit world. Make the path easier to those who fear death and bring thine blessings to the disabled and ill. O Horned God, thou who reflects the seasons of the year and the cycles of life, death and rebirth, please help us see the right path. Dear God of bi-directionality, be the mediator between us and the abled, bring peace, fruitfulness and understanding to our cause. O Green Man of the Woods, thou who brings life to the forest and all the beings, we worship and honour thee.

O Hekate, Goddess of the Moon, magic and the night. Bring calm and peaceful sleep to those who suffer so they may have the power to fight. O thou who guided Persephone through the night with thine flaming torches, guide the ill, disabled and neurodivergent so they find the strength in themselves to bring understanding for those who suffer of chronic illnesses, who are disabled or even just different. Please lift the mysteries and bring empathy and knowledge to those who refuse to see our light and beauty. O Mighty Goddess, ruler over the souls of the departed, make their suffering not in vain so their lives have meaning. O Goddess of Crossroads, show the right path to the world so we may all live as equals. O Goddess who has power over the heaven, earth and sea, we honour and thank thee for thy help.

O Cailleach, Creator Deity and Queen of Winter, lift the veil from the eyes of those who refuse to see us. Take us out of the cold winterland and show us the path out of the wilderness. May thee show the abled that their thoughts about us are wrong and need to change. O dear Goddess, freeze the soul of those who refuse to help us or to have compassion so they may see the error of their ways. Please bring thy firewood to our hearths so we may battle out of this long winter and finally see the dawn. O Ancient Crone of Wisdom and Bringer of Transitions, the winter might bring death, but it also brings the spring, and all will be endlessly renewed. Thou who is also Brighid, bright Goddess of the Flame, Medicine and the Well, may your many faces help us have the power to change the world, and finally destroy the walls built around us.

Prayer to the Gods for transformation 2

O Helios, God of the Sun, thou who emerge each dawn on your chariot and who fly the land from East to West, please bring understanding to the whole world and bring light to the unfairness that is the bane of the sufferers. O Guardian of Oaths, make that doctors and physicians follow their promise of bringing no ill to the sick, neurodivergent and disabled, make them remember their oath of helping us all, without judgement, unfairness and ill-will. O God of Sight, make all see the errors of their ways so they may protect the ones who are different, ill and disabled, as they should, and not keep us in the darkness, alone and lonely. O God of Light we honour thee and thank thee for bringing the fire to fight to our hearts.

O Gods and Goddesses, hear our pleas and make the world a fairer and safer place for us all. May we live as equals and may the abled see beauty and worth in our differences. May they realise that we are all one, abled and disabled, neurotypical and neurodivergent, ill and healthy. Bring transformation, compassion, awareness and more understanding to our cause and lives, and bless us all with strength in our struggles. We thank you and honour you all!

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HEXES the sunday spectra illustration

HEXES The Final Hex Cover Reveal

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Featuring an original illustration by Maxim Peter Griffin, one of three stellar artists to be profiled in THE FINAL HEX, this cover has been generating many “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs” by all who have seen it. We are pleased. We are gathering steam. Soon, True Believers.

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Coming in January, THE FINAL HEX

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No, that’s not the cover, merely a teaser poster. Make no mistake, draxfans, HEXES: THE FINAL HEX is going to be the thing of things. It will not only feature completely original material from a stellar league of contributors including Maxim Peter Griffin, David Southwell, Zali Krishna, Allison Bloom, Paul Watson, Christina Sholtz, Andy Liefer, Chris W., Leigh Wright, Malcolm Johnson and others, but it will also be a formatted as a downloadable PDF magazine, something I’ve never attempted before. Yes, the headaches involved will be considerable, but it will be worth it. So watch this space, true believers!

Ω

 

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Happy All Souls, AKA Saturday November 2; HEXES Final Issue Update; Recent Films + Books + More…

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Intro!

HELLO, hello! May we please go vertigo? We will accept your silence as an implicit yes so here we go, shuffling through the wrinkled Snickers and Twix wrappers and uneaten candy corn of Halloween, another Samhain come and gone, sad but true but oh babies, don’t you panic! By the light of the night it’ll all be all right, we’ll get you a satanic mechanic…

Entry! HEXES The Final Issue, aka The Final Hex is shaping up to be the thing of things, an issue compiled entirely of original material solicited exclusively for this issue. You might want to re-read that sentence, because it’s quite the break from normal operations in HEXES land. Ya see, the modus operandi usually went like this: The Creep in the Art Department would find an image so compelling he just HAD to turn it into a magazine (or webzine, if we’re splitting atoms) cover, and then it was over to the editor (moi) to scour that week’s internet offerings for an engaging TOC and links, featuring clips of text and very pretty pics, and that was that. There were exceptions, of course, most notably in the “themed” issues, such as THE VAMPIRE SPECIAL and HELL AT LAST and DEATH BY SOUND. But even so, any given issue of HEXES was compiled entirely of preexisting material.

Not so for The Final Hex. The final issue will consist entirely of original pictures and words commissioned specifically for the bid bad swan song. Big artists, Big writers.  Behold, The Creep’s call for cover models…

HEXES Model flyer

Of course it’s internationally recognized! We have readers in the UK, Europe, Asia, Russia. Just sayin’.

At any rate, The Final Hex will be the Bees’ Knees, the Show of Shows. But we already know of at least one feature that won’t be included…

Entry! SABBATH by Nick Mamatas…

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…will be published by Tor later this month. I had originally planned on reviewing said tome in The Final Hex. However, once I began approaching certain artists and writers for the above mentioned original material, I realized they needed a doable deadline (which is December 31st, curious scribblers). SABBATH pubs in a few weeks, so my review will coincide with the release. Perhaps Nick will agree to an excerpt for inclusion in the Swan Song. Who knows? In the meantime, stay glued to these pages…

EH_pevCWwAIhWSvSpecial thanks to Tor for the ARC

Entries! Current (and currently favorite) Book: MOON by Oliver Morton. It’s a masterpiece, and Morton is nothing less than a poet.

“Oliver Morton explores how the ways we have looked at the Moon have shaped our perceptions of the Earth: from the controversies of early astronomers such as van Eyck and Galileo, to the Cold War space race, to the potential use of the Moon as a stepping stone for further space exploration.” And so much more. This book belongs on every Lunaphile’s shelf.

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Followed by the very best heroic action film we’ve seen in way too many Moons, ALITA, Battle Angel! 

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This movie kicks ass, man, putting all the Marvel shit to shame… Wait, what? What’s that you say? Ah. The answer is Nnnno. I am in no way prejudiced or predisposed to sing Alita’s praises. Yes, I loved the original manga and 90’s era anime, but if anything that love would make me even more critical. Example: I liked this “live-action” version of Alita far more than I liked the 2010 live-action version of Space Battleship Yamato. There are solid reasons for Alita’s potency, as it was directed by Robert Rodriguez with a screenplay by James Cameron, who also served as producer with Jon Landau… um, these guys know what the fuck they’re doing. They deliver the goods.

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And finally

Entry! For all the limp scarecrows.

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HEXES is Dead! • World Dracula Day! • The Fox in the Backyard • and more

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A few weeks ago. Trying to terrify my children on instagram. 

HELLO AGAIN. So, yes. HEXES is dead. It was good but it’s gone, hours gone. All good things, yadda yadda ad nauseum. But as it is World Dracula Day, Hey now!

 

 

There will be a final issue of HEXES, the “goodbye” or “zero” or “infinity” issue. Here’s a sneak peak.

Molly Big Witch Energy Hi (resized)

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The Fox in the Backyard

 

More Later. Peace and Love.

Ω

 

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Ashtray Chat HEXES the sunday spectra

Feeling Fucked Up Is Normal

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Feeling fucked up is what makes us human… though marine biologists are increasingly convinced that dolphins and whales have complex emotional lives [mammals, babies, mating, yeah yeah—but more than that. The emotional and societal intelligence of elephants, for example, has been well documented]. Side note: I think EVERY life form possess complex emotional lives: dogs, cats, bugs, whatever. Yeah. Even bugs. Even if it’s mere sensory input: “Food! GOOD! Time to burrow, GOOD! GIANT HUMAN THUMB DESCENDING TO SQUASH ME, BAD! BAD! BA—”

The image above is THE SEER from VIKINGS.

He can’t face the mirror every morning and say “Hello, beautiful,” yet, he can tell the future. [Yeah, I know, the Blind Seer is a horrid cliché. But his presence in the story of VIKINGS is vital.]

Because we are looking back through the lens of history.

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The Seer is an easy, fun character. Maybe too fun, too easy. Just look at the toy they made out of him, FFS!

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This post is a bonus to the forthcoming edition of HEXES, wherein I really babble uncontrollably about VIKINGS. Sneak peek:

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The past will always catch us. The future, too. Because we’re fucked-up humans. Tragically aware of the inescapable web of time.

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HEXES the sunday spectra

HEXES the sunday spectra (At Last)

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Unknown Photographer, Portrait of three Women, 19 Century.
From The Unseen Eye, the photography collection of W.M. Hunt — Thanks, @mlleghoul

How can you call this “The Sunday Spectra?” it’s THURSDAY.

—Inconstant Reader

It’s Sunday on Easter Island. It’s always Sunday on Easter Island.

—The Editors

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INSIDE THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS

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From The New Yorker by Stacy Schiff

In 1692, the Massachusetts Bay Colony executed fourteen women, five men, and two dogs for witchcraft. The sorcery materialized in January. The first hanging took place in June, the last in September; a stark, stunned silence followed. Although we will never know the exact number of those formally charged with having “wickedly, maliciously, and feloniously” engaged in sorcery, somewhere between a hundred and forty-four and a hundred and eighty-five witches and wizards were named in twenty-five villages and towns. The youngest was five; the eldest nearly eighty. Husbands implicated wives; nephews their aunts; daughters their mothers; siblings each other. One minister discovered that he was related to no fewer than twenty witches.

The population of New England at that time would fit into Yankee Stadium today. Nearly to a person, they were Puritans. Having suffered for their faith, they had sailed to North America to worship “with more purity and less peril than they could do in the country where they were,” as a clergyman at the center of the crisis later explained. On a providential mission, they hoped to begin history anew; they had the advantage of building a civilization from scratch. Like any oppressed people, they defined themselves by what offended them, which would give New England its gritty flavor and, it has been argued, America its independence…

Meticulously researched and dynamically presented with the precision of a laser, Stacy Schiff’s article is a must-read. Click and enjoy. Your responses will be graded.

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PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (full movie)

Ridley Scott’s ALIEN would arrive 14 years after this creeper by the great Mario Bava, and Scott swears up and down that he never ever ever EVER saw Planet of the Vampires. Okay, that may very well be; Ridley’s a strange chap, after all. He might take two months to shoot a fifteen second battle scene and neglect to call his mother or brush his teeth for the duration of the shoot. (Total hearsay, by the way. The Creep swears he heard this story from the cousin of a friend he met in a detoxification unit for nitroglycerin withdrawal.) But hey, man, just look at what’s onscreen: somebody in the ALIEN camp saw POTV, Giger or the screenwriters or somebody, because the coincidences aren’t just visual riffs, they’re plot details, too, details that would resurface in 2012’s PROMETHEUS. Whatever the origin, there’s something lurking in the shadows. If you’re never seen PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES this is your lucky night. Because this film is so much more than a curious forerunner in the ALIEN mee-thös, it’s so original and filled with real dread. The landscape is one of the best purgatories ever exposed to film. And everybody is passable in semi skin-tight black leather.

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PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES is mandatory viewing and yes your comments will be graded.

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There is Much That Darkness Knows

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Vögguvísa, a commissioned work of art by Becky Munich

Mlleghoul writes:

Many years ago, when my sister and I were very young, my mother would sing us bedtime songs as she tucked us in for the evening.  Well, my sister really.  The little lullabye wasn’t for meant me, but I listened from the twin bed on my side of the room and was comforted by it anyway.

As my younger sibling lay sleepily, clutching a faded pink crocheted afghan in one small hand and a red wooden rooster named “Wolf” in the other, my mother crooned to her in soft, low tones:

“Well, a-hee hee hee and a-ha ha ha, and a couple of ho ho hos…”

Not much of a lullaby really.  Who knows what it meant? Harmless nonsense that she made up to send a fussy child off to dreams, most likely.

Older now, and having a lifetime of observing my mother (and yet still not really knowing the woman at all), I found myself growing vaguely uneasy the other evening, wondering what exactly she might have been thinking about as a young single mother  – and a very troubled woman -singing her children to sleep on a moonless night in the suburbs.

This came about, I suppose, due to some late night reading of an article about the somewhat horrifying nature of Icelandic lullabies.

Bíum, bíum, bambaló, Bambaló og dillidillidó. Vini mínum vagga ég í ró, en úti bídur andlit á glugga.

“Beeum, beeum, bambalow, Bambalow and dillidillidow. I rock my friend to sleep, but outside there’s a face in the window.”

Mlleghoul has outdone herself with this remarkable and compelling post. Inconstant reader, you are urged to to explore the full fathom of this piece here. Your responses will account for 1/3 of your final grade.

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Barry Graham: THE QUESTIONS THAT HAUNT US

from

THE BIG CLICK September 2015

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I remember the first time a piece of fiction left me haunted. It was one of the stories in William Hope Hodgson’s collection Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. I won’t say which story, so as not to spoil it for you, and you should read the entire, wonderful book. All the stories have as their protagonist Thomas Carnacki, a Sherlock Holmesian detective who investigates supernatural manifestations. If you think your manor house is haunted, you can hire Carnacki to investigate and, if there’s a ghost, to try to get rid of it.

Sometimes the haunting turns out to be real, and Carnacki battles the supernatural entity from his “Electric Pentacle.” Other times, he discovers and reveals that it’s a hoax. The stories in the former category are vivid and scary, and the ones in the latter category are intriguing mystery yarns. But there is another, more powerful category…

In one story, Carnacki investigates what seems to be a haunted house, and he proves that it’s a scam by debunking and explaining all the supposedly supernatural events—except for one. It’s in keeping with the rest of the manifestations, but it’s not part of the hoax. So what is it?

Carnacki doesn’t know. It remains a mystery.

When I first read that book as a kid, some of the stories scared me while I read them, but afterward I was unscathed. But that story, with one mystery left unsolved, wouldn’t leave me alone, especially after the lights were switched off at night. There was the relief of knowing that there wasn’t really a ghost… but, if there was no ghost, what could have been the cause of that one thing?

An outstanding essay by one of the greatest contemporary Masters of the Dark. This is a pop quiz.

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36 Days of Judaic Myth: Day 1, Lilith

To celebrate the October 13th release of my forthcoming debut novel, King of Shards, I will be featuring one new blog entry a day about a different Judaic myth for 36 days. Today’s entry is on Lilith, Adam’s first wife. — MK

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“Lady Lilith” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

(The author has graciously allowed HEXES to repost his LILITH post in toto.)

Lilith was Adam’s first wife. As you can guess, it wasn’t a long marriage. They argued a lot. Adam desired Lilith to lie beneath him, but Lilith refused and said, “No, Adam, you shall lie beneath me!” They argued and fought for a long while, until one day Lilith had had enough. She uttered God’s Name, which has great powers, and she flew off into the air. Adam grew upset and cried out to God, “Lord, the woman you gave me has just fled! What gives?” God, hearing Adam’s cry, called upon three angels, Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, and told them to bring Lilith back, whether by her own free will or by force.

Lilith meanwhile had been living in a cave by the Red Sea, the same sea where Pharaoh’s army would drown centuries later. The angels found her and demanded she come back to Adam. “God commands you to go back to him! If you come with us, all will be swell. If not, we’ll drown a hundred of your demon offspring every day.”

And Lilith replied, “Do what you will. Did you know I already slept with the Great Demon, Samael? Also, don’t you know I was created to strangle newborn infants in the crib, boys before their eighth day and girls before their twentieth?” She made a pact with the angels: if in the future she ever saw the angels’ names on an amulet, she would have no power over the person near where the amulet hangs. The angels tried to bargain with her further, but this was the best they were going to get from her. And so they agreed, but with one addendum: one hundred of her demon children would have to perish every day. Lilith said, “No sweat!”

This is why one hundred of Lilith’s demon children die every day and why the names of the three angels, Senoy, Sansenoy, and Semangelof, written on an amulet, protect people from her evil influence.

The Myth’s Origins

In the book of Genesis 1:27 it says, “Male and female, He created them.” But to the ancient rabbis who interpreted this text, this passage seemed to contradict the sequential creation story of Adam and Eve later in Genesis 2:21-22. So in order to rectify this contradiction of two creations, the myth of Lilith arose. The name “Lilith” itself originates in Isaiah 34:14, where the passage reads, “Yea, Lilith shall repose there.” Lilith here is generally understood to be a reference to ancient and pre-existing Babylonian demons. The Babylonians feared “Lilitu,” a succubus who seduced men in their sleep. They also feared a demon called “Lamashtu” who slew newborns in their cradles. These singular demons in turn came from the myth of the “lilû,” a class of demons who were hungry for victims because they themselves were the spirits of young men and women who had died young. These demons snuck into people’s homes looking for victims to take the place of husbands and wives they never had. It’s also interesting to note that originally these “lilith” demons came in both male and female forms, and only later does “Lilith” become singular and female. It is likely that the demons Lilitu and Lamashtu were blurred together into one being, and the demon references in Isaiah and later in the rabbinical commentary came from these existing Babylonian sources.

However, another possible source of the myth comes from the first century text, The Testament of Solomon. The text recounts how King Solomon uses a magic ring to call demons before him in a quest to get them to aid on his construction of the ancient temple in Jerusalem. One of the demons is called Obyzouth. She is a strangler of children, but she can be thwarted by the angel Raphael and by women who write her name on an amulet.

Scholars surmise that Lilith became such a large mythic figure that she absorbed the roles of many of these lesser-known demons. A full history of Lilith was eventually written out in the ninth-century text, Alpha Beta de-Ben.

Lilith was said to have long red hair, a face white and pink. In some depictions, she has wings. She adorns herself in all manner of decorations. Six pendants from Egypt hang from her ears, her neck is circled with all the ornaments of the East. Her words are smooth and seductive, causing a man to let down his guard. Only then will she reveal her true self, a fierce warrior, her garments flaming, her eyes burning and horrible. She slays men and casts them down into the lowest hell.

People feared Lilith so much that men were advised not to sleep alone in a house, lest her spirit seize him. It is said she dangles her long hair in a man’s face, causing him to have lustful dreams. While asleep, she will steal his seed and use it to make cambion children (half demon, half human) who will be outcasts from both the human and demon worlds for being neither fully human nor fully demon.

The Spell to Banish Lilith

The following text is found inside amulets or inscribed on their surface and then placed near pregnant mothers or newborns to protect them from Lilith’s influence.

“Out Lilith! I adjure you in the Name of God, and in the names of the three angels sent after you, Senoy, Sansenoy, and Samengelof, to remember the vow you made that when you find their names you will cause no harm, neither you nor your cohorts; and in their names and in the names of the seals set down here, I adjure you, Queen of Demons, and all your multitudes, to cause no harm to a woman while she carries a child nor when she gives birth, nor to the children born to her, neither during the day nor during the night, neither through their food nor through their drink, neither in their heads nor in their hearts. By the strength of these names and seals I so adjure you, Lilith, and all your offspring, to obey this command.”

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An amulet to protect mothers from Lilith

Lilith and Feminism

Beginning in the 1960s with the rise of the feminist movement, women began to recognize Lilith as a model of a strong and independent woman. Lilith would not submit to Adam’s request for the missionary position and instead demanded Adam lie beneath her. When he refused, she said, “Pshaw! I don’t need you.” And she flew off, making a home by herself, sleeping with whomever she wanted, where she was perfectly happy to dwell without Adam or the patriarchal God. She didn’t need a man to complete her. Women recast Lilith not as a killer of children and night demoness, but as a symbol of feminine power and independence.

In 1972, in the feminist magazine Ms., Lilly Rivlin published an article aiming to reclaim Lilith as a symbol for modern women, and the idea quickly spread. In a 1998 book, Whose Lilith?, Lilly Rivlin said, “In the late twentieth century, self-sufficient women, inspired by the women’s movement, have adopted the Lilith myth as their own. They have transformed her into a female symbol for autonomy, sexual choice, and control of one’s own destiny.”

Lilith continues to be a powerful symbol of feminism and the independent woman today, spreading far outside of her ancient Jewish origins.

Lilith Today

While Lilith continues to be a powerful symbol among feminists as a strong, independent female figure, among many ultra-Orthodox communities around the world, amulets protecting newborn children from evil Lilith are considered essential. The habit of tying a red ribbon around a child’s bed is also connected to the Lilith myth. One can, in certain sections of Jerusalem, purchase protective amulets against Lilith.

While one part of the globe fears her influence, another embraces her power. Her mythology is rich and long and diverse, and all because of one extra sentence in the bible!

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What an ambitious, original, and IRRESISTIBLE project! Hats off to the Kressel dude! Matt’s currently up to Day 23, The Seven Shepherds of Sukkot. It is our passionate hope that all of these entries will be assembled in book form. We’d buy it, and you would, too! Otherwise you would receive a big fat EFF MINUS LOVE DRAX on your final grade.

Matt’s novel KING OF SHARDS pubs on October 13!

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Om Unit – Gate 1 – “Sleep/Surrender” (“Gates” mix series)

Gates is a new mixtape series from Om Unit. While drawing on elements familiar to Om Units regular fans and listeners, the series focuses on sonic architecture and listener experience.

There will be seven “Gates”, each exploring a unique and concisely expressed theme and containing music and sounds chosen without the constraints of genre or style.

Gate #1 is “Sleep/Surrender”

Listen & Enjoy… and this is OPTIONAL. Who says we’re mean and evil teachers? 

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And finally

HELL’S CLUB

There are mashup videos, and there are mashup videos. And then there’s the Nobel Prize worthy HELL’S CLUB.

This is your final test. SKIP IT AT YOUR PERIL, PUNY HUMANS.

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— breathes a sigh of relief that’s been a month in coming —

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HEXES: The Votes Are In! And The Winner Is…

HEXES_September_2015_Ver3

Comp C by a hair. Note corrected/improved setting of features.

The runner up was…

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Comp B. A favorite of many, including me. Rest assured, this will be a HEXES cover sometime in the future.

Some notes.

The features “Echo and The Bunnymen LIVE” and “Sexy Girls” will be dropped from this issue and replaced by a shout-out for the new BIG CLICK featuring an essay by Barry Graham and a new exciting daily blog post by Matthew Kressel, 36 Days of Judaic Myth; Day 1 features Lilith.Sexy Girls” will no longer appear in HEXES but move instead to that “other” webzine we infrequently pub, ANGRY MORON, a much more appropriate space to squat. HEXES is a zine of class (we hope); a feature like “Sexy Girls,” an unashamedly borderline misogynistic gallery that caters to The Male Gaze has no real place in HEXES. Unlike all the other “respectful” pics of sexy witches and shit, right?

The Echo concert and the intended Sexy Girls gallery will run as separate stand-alone posts later today.

Thanks again for voting, thanks to everybody who got the word out!

And that is all for this hour. Carry on. To Arms. Up the Irons. Keep Calm and Kill Zombies, etc.

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New HEXES Cover: Vote for Your Favorite!

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A

HEXES_September_2015_Ver2

B

HEXES_September_2015_Ver3

C

Huh. Guess wordpress took away that nifty little voting tool. Anyway, email your choices to draxsimon@gmail.com at WBRI FM before midnight Tuesday 9/8 EST. Or make your preference known in comments, below. You can also get my attention on twitter. Vote A, B, or C.

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