Monday, February 19, 2018

New Artwork About The Cure

Shattered 'Pictures of You'
(water color and ink on paper)

The artist Maeve has just created a one-of-a-kind artwork based on The Cure. More specifically, it's a 3-D work of art based on the song "Pictures of You," which is one of the most popular Cure songs from Disintegration.

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Maeve at her home in southwest Florida. The underground artist is modestly shy. Her flowing blonde hair spills over her shoulders and she smiles when she talks about her art, clasping and unclasping her hands in a confident way, not out of nervousness. This is how it went.

Q1. What was your inspiration for your new artwork?

"'Pictures of You' by The Cure. I love the band and its songs. Of all the current bands I know they will be the ones remembered a hundred years from now. (blushes) 'One Hundred Years,' I guess that's another Cure song."

Q2. Why The Cure?

"They are one of my favorite bands from the 80s, though they are still writing music and I like the band's new songs, too. I like their songs that have a strong chorus."

Q3. Why "Pictures of You?"

"In my new work I wanted to illustrate a song and it has lots of good visuals that I could draw on for inspiration. I went lyric by lyric. Probably 85% of the lyrics to 'Pictures of You' are reflected in my imagery."

Q4. What is the material you used for your new artwork?

"Watercolor, paper, string, pen, felt, cardboard."

Q5. How long did it take you?

"Around two and a half weeks."

Q6. Are you working on anything new?

"Carvings on a stamp is all can say right now. We'll see where it leads. (smiles)"

Q7. What is the title?

"Shattered 'Pictures of You.'"

Q8. Any plans for a website?

Shrugs. Grins.

Q9. Thanks for speaking with me.

"Thanks for the interview . . . and for keeping it short."

Maeve trailed off into the back of the house and that's the last I saw of her. A friend let me out the front entrance. Unfortunately I didn't get the chance to peek behind any of the closed doors on the way out no matter how much I wanted to.

Shattered Pictures of 'Pictures of You' is available for purchase - $10,000 USD.

#CureArt #PicturesofYouArt #TheCure

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review of Gormenghast Series by Mervyn Peake

Mervyn Peake

The Gormenghast trilogy consist of the novels Titus Groan (1946), Gormenghast (1950), and Titus Alone (1959). These are not short stories but at times very Goth and scary. The Gormenghast series ended tragically with the death of Peake at the young age of 57 from Parkinson's disease.

Titus Groan is the name of the first novel in the series and its namesake character, although Peake measured out a long list of fascinating characters in the trilogy. While still a child, Titus succeeds to his rightful place on the throne of Gormenghast by becoming its 77th earl. Backstabbing and outright skullduggery ensue from the vivid characters scampering about Castle Gormenghast. The first novel was met with wide acclaim at its release. 

Gormenghast is the second book in the fantastic Gormenghast trilogy and my favorite of the three. In it, Mervyn Peake has managed to make the sprawling, never ending castle of gray and stone, one of the main characters. Yes, the moldering castle is most certainly a character. It is as large as a city and reminds one of Edgar Allan Poe's The Doomed City. Death is everywhere, lurking in dark corners and worn stairs and crumbling archways. Furtive and building horror sans blood and guts. As with the first book in the trilogy, Peake doesn't let up and cements his trilogy as one of the great Gothic texts of the twentieth century.

The final book in the trilogy was left uncompleted by Peake at his untimely death. As a result, it is disjointed and pales in comparison to the first two novels. In it Titus Groan meets characters outside of Ghormenghast in a rather modern age. For me, this was an unwelcome turn of events. I wanted Gormenghast to exist in its own time and space.

Other artists have paid homage to the books. Robert Smith and his band The Cure were heavily influenced by Gormenghast. "All Cats are Grey," "The Drowning Man," "Forever," and "In Your House" draw on Gormenghast and the ghastly doings that happen within it ever moldering walls. New Zealand progressive band Split Enz wrote "Titus" and "Stranger than Fiction" in homage to the series.

The songs are a must listen and the series is a must read!

#GormenghastReview #GormenghastTrilogy #TheCureGormenghast

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review of The Dice Man and It's Connection to a Cure Song

Albert Camus ("The Stranger"). Jean-Paul Sartre (Author of "Existentialism and Humanism"). Simone de Beauvoir ("She Came to Stay"). They are considered the leading French--if not the worldwide--proponents of existentialism. It's a big word that means, in essence, that to truly be free one kill their conscience; that one should act without fear of moral consequences.

Robert Smith, lead singer of The Cure, was greatly influenced by them. His song "Killing an Arab" was based on "The Stranger" and he stated that he read Sartre in the original French when in high school. It's believe that "Six Different Ways" by The Cure (Head on the Door Album) is about "The Dice Man" and it would seem to fit given Robert Smith's penchant for existentialism. See my Cure blog -- Disintegration Nation.

That's all fine and good, but where does that leave "The Dice Man"? The 1971 cult novel emulates these existential heroes by introducing readers to Dr. Luke Rhinehart, a fictional character (we think) who just happens to have the same name as the author of the novel. Hoomph. George Crockcroft is real name of the author and Luke Rhinehart is his penname, which makes tongue-in-cheek sense. Crockcroft sounds more like a penname or perhaps if you last name is Crockcroft you need a penname.

Dr. Rhinehart adopts the dicelifestyle by doing what a roll of dice tells him to do without regard to morality or social outcome. The protagonist tells readers: "The secret of the successful dicelife is to be a puppet on the strings of the die." We are told to "Create the options. Shake the dice. All else is nonsense."

If you are into existentialism or even nihilism, The Dice Man is for you. If not, the novel can drag over close to 600 pages and doesn't have the plotted storyline one might expect for a novel this size.

Andrew Barger author of The Divine Dantes trilogy.

#DiceManReview #ExistentialismInLiterature

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When Prince and Morris Day Tried to Emulate the Sound of The Cure

Many fail to realize that Prince once tried to emulate The Cure. The sounds of their music was far apart, yet in 1984 Prince co-wrote "Ice Cream Castles" with Morris Day of The Time on the album of the same name. Morris Day recently told Rolling Stone that one of the favorite songs he collaborated with Prince on was "Ice Cream Castles."
[T]here were groups like the Fixx, the Cure [sic] doing those haunting, melodic songs and we wanted to do one of our own.
Robert Smith admired Prince, too. About a year ago I reported on my Cure blog that Robert Smith listed "Starfish and Coffee" as his favorite Prince song from the 1980s. When touring last summer in Minneapolis, Robert Smith again paid homage to the literary song. On his guitar was written a lyric from "Starfish and Coffee": "it was 7:45 we were all in line" Check out the photos at Glide Magazine.

Prince never wrote a Gothic song and The Cure never wrote an overtly sexy song. To at least some extent, however, Prince and The Cure liked each other's music and that's pretty cool.

#Prince #TheCure #TheTime

Friday, March 17, 2017

Robert Smith and Morrissey Feud -- A Chronology

                                            Morrissey                                   Robert Smith                                           

The spat/feud/disagreement (whatever you want to call it) between Robert Smith, of The Cure, and Morrissey, formerly of The Smiths, has been percolating since 1984 when Morrissey first mouthed off to the press. Here is what my research found on the web. Of course, this being a blog about The Cure you know who I think is the winner in the end. Enjoy.
UK music magazine The Face: "If I put you in a room with Robert Smith, Mark E. Smith and a loaded Smith and Wesson, who would bite the bullet first?"
Morrissey: "I'd line them up so that one bullet penetrated both simultaneously (chuckle). Mark E. Smith despises me and has said hateful things about me, all untrue. Robert Smith is a whingebag. It's rather curious that he began wearing beads at the emergence of The Smiths and (eyes narrowing) has been photographed with flowers. I expect he's quite supportive of what we do, but I've never liked The Cure... not even 'The Caterpillar'."

UK music magazine NME, September 16, 1989 issues, Morrissey stated that The Cure gave "a new dimension to the word 'crap.'"

When told about the comment, Robert Smith said, "At least we've only added a new dimension in crap, not built a career out of it."

In the same article Morrissey added, "McDonald's bombed and Robert Smith popped (both actions require a similar voltage of explosives)."

US music magazine SPIN, titled "Happily Ever After" for the November issues of 1993, Robert Smith stated: "I have never liked Morrissey and I still don't. I think it's hilarious actually, what things I've heard about him, what he's really like, and his public persona is so different. He's such an actor. There's one particular photo of Morrissey in his swimming trunks sitting by the pool in Los Angeles. I bet that one hasn't been approved!"

US music magazine Rolling Stone, Robert opined: "I’d much rather have our fans than his — our fans are generally quiet, well-spoken and friendly and not pretentious in the slightest. Hopefully, that reflects the nature of the Cure. Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, we’re a very natural group. The people who have been in the group over the years have been there because they have been friendly with each other. There has been no sense of purpose other than making music together. I think if Morrissey’s fans reflect what Morrissey is like as an individual or the way he projects himself as an individual then ... uh ... I’ll stop there."

In the US Hollywood magazine Entertainment Weekly, Smith said about Morrissey: "He was constantly saying horrible things about [The Cure]. In the end, I kind of snapped and started retaliating. And it turned into some kind of petty feud. I've never liked anything he's done musically, but I don't have any kind of strong feelings of animosity towards him as a person because I've never met him."

Robert Smith gave his thoughts about fans of The Cure who have Morrissey records in an interview with Charlotte Roche: "I'm aware that Cure fans like some Morrissey records. I don't personally understand it, but I'm not going to start worrying about it.

Through the Years - Miscellaneous Statements
"The press tries to portray me as a gloom-and-doom-singer. But take a look at Morrissey. That man is a professional complainer!”"

"There's nothing that links Morrissey and The Cure in my mind," Smith commented. "As the years go by, it's very easy to think we were from the same generation, but we're not. The Cure recorded our first album in 1978 - we were on our third or fourth album by the time the Smiths started."

"[Morrissey] has been away for a number of years and has come back I think to capitalize on this resurgence of interest in a particular period of time," Smith says. "That has nothing to do with the Cure. We've been playing constantly every year for 25 years. We're a living and breathing band."

"Morrissey’s so depressing, if he doesn’t kill himself soon, I probably will."

"If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’m going to eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey."

"fat clown with makeup weeping over a guitar."

#MorrisseyvsRobertSmith #RobertSmithMorrisseyFeud

By Andrew Barger - Author of the Rock trilogy of novels: The Divine Dantes.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize for Literature and Why Robert Smith is a Far Better Poet

This week it was announced that Bob Dylan won the nobel prize for literature. This came as a surprise to many seeing how the award appears based on his song lyrics for having “created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

I, for one, gave pause and rubbed my chin.

I have no issue with Dylan getting the award as some of my other author friends. His lyrics are poetical and speak to the human condition in pointed folkish terms. Raw emotion flows through them and in my view great poetry cannot be created without it.

There are certainly others more deserving than Dylan, however. In the music field alone Robert Smith of The Cure penned a much greater body of work that towers over that of Dylan's.

In terms of volume (not that sheer number has anything to do with literary merit), Dylan has written around 375 songs. Robert Smith has given us around 150 with The Cure and his side projects. Dylan has more than doubled his output.

Many times Dylan clings to didactic poetical methods in his songs by delivering a moral. These preachy songs include "Trust Yourself" and "The Times, They are a Changing." There is nothing didactic in hardly any song by Robert Smith. He tells it like it is and leaves moral implications to the reader as any good poet should.

A host of Dylan songs are junior-highish in their over-handedness and chintz rhyming doggerel. Consider these lines from "Hurricane" (1976):

“How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed
To live in a land
Where justice is a game”

Now read the deep image lyrics of one of Robert Smith's water-themed songs "The Same Deep Water":

Kiss me goodby
Pushing out before I sleep
Can't you see I try
Swimming the same deep water as you is hard
The shallow drowned lose less than we
You breathe the strangest twist upon your lips
And we shall be together
And we shall be together

Kiss me goodbye
Bow your head and join with me
And face pushed deep reflections meet
The strangest twist upon your lips

And disappear the ripples clear
And laughing break against your feet
And laughing break the mirror sweet
So we shall be together
So we shall be together

Kiss me goodbye pushing out before I sleep
It's lower now and slower now
The strangest twist upon your lips
But I don't see and I don't feel

But tightly hold up silently
My hands before my fading eyes
And in my eyes your smile
The very last thing before I go
The very last thing before I go
The very last thing before I go

I will kiss you, I will kiss you
I will kiss you forever on nights like this
I will kiss you, I will kiss you
And we shall be together

A number of critics cite "Forever Young" as the finest of Dylan's lyrics. Do you feel there is a certain tongue-in-cheek plonk being delivered here? You be the judge:

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
May your song always be sung
And may you stay forever young

Robert Smith also addressed the physical world in "The Hanging Garden" where he again delights our Gothic sensibilities:

Creatures kissing in the rain
Shapeless in the dark again
In the hanging garden please don't speak
In the hanging garden no one sleeps

Catching halos on the moon
Gives my hands the shapes of angels
In the heat of the night the animals scream
In the heat of the night walking into a dream

Fall fall fall fall
Into the walls
Jump jump out of time
Fall fall fall fall
Out of the sky
Cover my face as the animals cry
In the hanging garden

Creatures kissing in the rain
Shapeless in the dark again
In the hanging garden change the past
In the hanging garden wearing furs and masks

Fall fall fall fall
Into the walls
Jump jump out of time
Fall fall fall fall
Out of the sky
Cover my face as the animals die
In the hanging garden

In the hanging garden

There is little comparison between the two and the world should take notice. Bob Dylan's overriding limitations as a poet is that the New York School of thought is tied to him like an anchor when it used to be his hot air balloon. Robert Smith's poetry rarely knows time or place and for that it should live forever.

#DylanNobelPrize #RobertSmithPoetry

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899 Anthology by Andrew Barger is Published!

October is the month for ghosts, which bring to mind two of my favorite Cure songs: "All Ghosts are Grey" and "Fear of Ghosts." That's why I'm happy to announce my latest anthology: Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899: A Phantasmal Ghost Anthology is now published! It contains the best ghost stories from the last half of the 19th century. It includes shocking tales from popular American and Victorian authors.

Andrew Barger (that would be me), award-winning author and editor of Phantasmal: Best Ghost Short Stories 1800-1849 and The Divine Dantes trilogy, has researched the finest ghost stories for the last half of the nineteenth century and combined them in one haunting collection. He has added his familiar scholarly touch by annotating the stories, providing story background information, author photos and a list of ghost stories considered to settle on the most frightening and well-written tales.

Victorians: Victors of the Ghost Story (2016) by Andrew Barger - Andrew sets the stage for this haunting ghost anthology.

The Upper Berth (1886) by Francis Marion Crawford - You will never think of cruising on a ship the same way after reading "The Upper Berth."

In Kropfsberg Keep (1895) by Ralph Adams Cram - A gothic setting yields a nightmare for a couple of "ghost hunters."

Lost Hearts (1895) by M. R. James - This early M. R. James classic ghost story is one of his best.

The Familiar (1872) by Joseph Le Fanu - Ever feel like you are being watched?

The Haunted Organist of Hurly Burly (1886) by Rosa Mulholland - You will never view an organ the same way again.

No. 1 Branch Line: The Signal Man (1865) by Charles Dickens - Are the nervous habits of a train tracks operator all in his mind?

Hurst of Hurstcote (1893) by Edith Nesbit - A moldering house and--of course--ghosts.

The Judge's House (1891) by Bram Stoker - The author of Dracula never disappoints.

The Yellow Sign (1895) by Robert Chambers - A painter sees someone watching him from a busy New York street.

The Haunted and the Haunters (1859) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton - The oldest and most haunting ghost short story in the anthology and one that H. P. Lovecraft deemed the best haunted house story ever.

I am deeply and horribly convinced, that there does exist beyond this a spiritual world--a system whose workings are generally in mercy hidden from us--a system which may be, and which is sometimes, partially and terribly revealed. 
"The Familiar" 1872 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Buy today at Amazon: Best Ghost Short Stories 1850-1899

#BestGhostShortStories #BestGhostStoriesBook

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Review of Phantasmal: The Best Ghost Short Stories 1800-1849 by the Examiner

Phantasmal: The Best Ghost Short Stories 1800-1849

Every so often a review of one of my books is so well-reasoned that I share with my friends. This week was no exception when Denise Longrie of the Examiner posted a review of Phantasmal: The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849.

Ms. Longrie did a nice job in pointing out the scope of the anthology: story backgrounds, list of ghost stories considered, preface (though not mentioning annotations and author photos). She goes on to review each story in the collection and concludes by giving it 5 out of 5 stars.

The review was a positive light on a very hard day for me. Thanks, Ms. Longrie, for caring about the early machinations of ghost short stories.

So what does this have to do with The Cure? In the preface to the collection I titled it "All Ghosts are Grey" and, of course, mention The Cure.

#BestGhostShortStories #ExaminerGhostReview

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Cure Setlist in Miami 2016

The Cure gave it all they had in the Miami heat last night, continuing their 2016 US tour is usual fashion by wowing fans with new set lists every night. June 26th was no exception with the first performance of "A Strange Day." The voice of Robert Smith was clear and easily reached above the classic music of the band.

Speaking of the band, it was tight, fronted by 5 world-class musicians, and backed by an array of digital backdrops that related to the particular song they were playing. It would have been more artistic if the backdrops had old photos of The Cure in certain places. The best one was "One Hundred Years" that depicted war scenes as the song punched the audience in the ears in unrelenting awesomeness. Enough said on this Cure blog:

If you are in Miami, try to get tickets to tonight's show, though it won't be easy seeing how it's sold out yet again. While you are at it, check out these cool stats about the number of songs The Cure has played from each album on this tour:

SET LIST - The Cure - Bayfront Park - Miami - June 26, 2016 - 18 Songs


Kyoto Song

A Night Like This


In Between Days

Pictures of You



The Walk

Sleep When I’m Dead

If Only Tonight We Can Sleep

This Twilight Garden


Just Like Heaven


From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea

alt. end




A Strange Day

The Hanging Garden

One Hundred Years


Piggy in the Mirror

Never Enough

Fascination Street




The Perfect Girl

Hot Hot Hot!!!

Wrong Number


Let’s Go to Bed

Close to Me

Why Can’t I Be You?

Boys Don’t Cry

#CureSetList #CureMiamiSet

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Cure Honor Prince with Purple Guitar in Minneapolis

The Cure played Minneapolis this week and delivered a four encore set that has become the norm for the best band on the planet. Yes, epic has become the norm for The Cure on their 2016 tour. Robert Smith played homage to the newly departed Prince by playing with a purple guitar. “The pressure of holding a purple guitar is really getting to me,” Smith said.

Here on The Cure blog I reported that Robert Smith listed "Starfish and Coffee" as his favorite Prince song from the 1980s. Cool, right? It's one of the purple one's more literary efforts and he even played it for the Muppets.

Robert Smith again paid homage to the song. On his guitar was written a lyric from "Starfish and Coffee": "it was 7:45 we were all in line" Check out the photos at Glide Magazine.

#RobertSmithPrince #SmithPurpleguitar