HOME ABOUT INTERVIEWS REVIEWS FEATURES BLOG ARCHIVAL BIBLIOGRAPHY CONTACT TWITTER BOOKSHOP

Archive for the ‘celebrity culture’ Category

‘No Original Response’: J.G. Ballard predicts Social Media, CCTV, Reality TV

By • Jul 3rd, 2013 •

Category: alternate worlds, Applied Ballardianism, Bruce Sterling, CCTV, celebrity culture, dystopia, features, Gilles Deleuze, hyperreality, Lead Story, media landscape, reality TV, science fiction, surveillance, television, William Gibson, YouTube

A post at Buzzfeed has been doing the rounds this week, on how J.G. Ballard “predicted social media in 1977″. According to Buzzfeed, “he made this uncanny observation in a Vogue essay”. Here’s Simon Sellars’ response, in text excerpted from his forthcoming book Applied Ballardianism, about life through a Ballardian lens. Read on for Ballard’s disturbing warning about the dangers that await when we have the capacity to broadcast “the inside of our heads”…



Animal Spirits: A Ballardian Bestiary

By • Dec 12th, 2011 •

Category: academia, advertising, Anthony Burgess, celebrity culture, features, Freud, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Lead Story, media landscape, postmodernism, science fiction

In this excerpt from his book Animal Spirits, Matteo Pasquinelli explains how ‘the novels of J.G. Ballard can describe the nature of technology and the contemporary mediascape better than any philosopher, media theorist or cultural studies academic — a sort of political agenda born from the perspective of science fiction’.



RIP Elizabeth Taylor: A Ballardian Primer

By • Mar 25th, 2011 •

Category: alternate worlds, celebrity culture, consumerism, features, film, Lead Story, media landscape, sexual politics, WWIII

With the sad news of Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, the time seems right to review the appearance of this enigmatic actress across a significant chapter in Ballard’s work, spanning the publication of the experimental story ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ in 1966 through to 1973 and the notorious Crash.



Myths of a Near Future: Simon Sellars, Bruce Sterling and V. Vale

By • Nov 15th, 2010 •

Category: Barcelona, body horror, boredom, Bruce Sterling, celebrity culture, consumerism, cyberpunk, deep time, features, inner space, Lead Story, New Worlds, Salvador Dali, surrealism, William Burroughs

Two years ago, Simon Sellars, Bruce Sterling and V. Vale appeared on a panel, ‘Myths of a Near Future’, to discuss the work of J.G. Ballard. Our friend Tim Chapman was in the audience and he has kindly transcribed the discussion. Here it is, two years late, but hopefully still of interest: ‘Myths of a Near Future’.



A Fascist State? Another Look at Kingdom Come and Consumerism

By • Jul 7th, 2010 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Bentall Centre, celebrity culture, consumerism, dystopia, fascism, features, Lead Story, media landscape, Salvador Dali, Shanghai, speed & violence, sport, surrealism

Ballard’s final novel, Kingdom Come, a dystopian account of consumerism as a type of ’soft fascism’, received lukewarm reviews and suggestions that the author was, perhaps, finally losing his touch. Others were eager to point to parallels between it and events around us: aggressive car commercials, racist behaviour by sports fanatics. In this article, Mike Holliday re-examines Kingdom Come and asks: can we really equate consumerism with fascism?



“Ambiguous aims”: a review of Crash: Homage to J.G. Ballard [NSFW]

By • Mar 12th, 2010 •

Category: America, Andy Warhol, celebrity culture, Lead Story, media landscape, nuclear war, reviews, Salvador Dali, speed & violence, visual art, WWII

Ballard’s writing has a strong connection to visual art. It informed his work and led to him befriending some of the leading artists of his time, while in turn his work has influenced today’s crop. As Ben Austwick reports, the exhibition Crash: Homage to J.G. Ballard represent these diverse strands in a haphazard, yet always interesting fashion.



Review: Jeremy Reed’s West End Survival Kit

By • Feb 8th, 2010 •

Category: alternate worlds, biology, body horror, boredom, CCTV, celebrity culture, conspiracy theory, consumerism, cyberpunk, death of affect, entropy, Hawkwind, inner space, Lead Story, psychopathology, reviews, surrealism, surveillance, technology

A review-essay of Jeremy Reed’s latest collection of poetry, West End Survival Kit. The review also discusses the long and enigmatic relationship Reed has with Ballard, who wrote the foreword to the collection, where he paid tribute to Reed’s ‘extraterrestrial talent’.



Michael Jackson’s Facelift

By • Jul 2nd, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, body horror, celebrity culture, consumerism, features, horror, Lead Story, medical procedure, Michael Jackson, pastiche, science fiction

“As Michael Jackson reached middle age, the skin of both his cheeks and neck tended to sag from failure of the supporting structures. His naso-labial folds deepened, and the soft tissues along his jaw fell forward. His jowls tended to increase. In profile the creases of his neck lengthened and the chin-neck contour lost its youthful outline and became convex.”



JGB: A 'billionaire' in Shepperton?

By • Jan 22nd, 2009 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, biography, celebrity culture, film, Shanghai, Shepperton

Thoughts on Ballard, fame and reclusiveness, and Shepperton.



Kosmopolis 08: Landing Gear

By • Nov 11th, 2008 •

Category: academia, alternate worlds, architecture, Barcelona, celebrity culture, crime, features, Futurists, inner space, Lou Reed, media landscape, Salvador Dali, surrealism, theme parks, Toby Litt, visual art

I’ve finally captured my impressions of Barcelona and Kosmopolis, with main ingredients: Lou Reed, Claire Walsh, Laurie Anderson, Kafka, Brecht, Dali, brilliant public space, Ballard, and the sheer unbridled thrill of one of the most amazing cities in Europe.



J.G. Ballard: In the Raw

By • Jul 22nd, 2008 •

Category: Barcelona, celebrity culture, dystopia, features, film, hyperreality, utopia, visual art, war

Promotional film and catalogue prologue for the exhibition J.G. Ballard: Autopsy of the New Millennium, at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Film features Marilyn Monroe’s ghost, Ballard’s mellifluous tones, snatched Aphex Twin, what looks like James Dean’s car and a severe case of the night terrors.



The kid stays in the picture

By • May 15th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, CCTV, celebrity culture, film, gated communities, surveillance

Samuel L. Jackson is back in the game, soon to work with the best material he’ll ever clap eyes on.



Indexed out of existence…

By • May 2nd, 2008 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, censorship, features, humour, pastiche, short stories, Will Self

Is Woody Allen a Ballard fan? Lucy Vickery at The Spectator certainly is.



Zodiac 3000

By • Apr 22nd, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, deep time, photography, psychology, Salvador Dali, sexual politics, speed & violence, surrealism, visual art

For this upcoming exhibition, the International Project Space in Birmingham will be transformed into the J.G. Ballard Centre for Psychopathological Research, “an institute built to interrogate the New Psychology explored in Ballard’s fiction.”



'Vomit, violence, tabloid architecture…'

By • Mar 11th, 2008 •

Category: architecture, Australia, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, fascism, media landscape, micronations, psychology, sport, television, urban revolt

MelbPsy gets all Atrocity Exhibition on the House that Sam Newman built, the ‘tabloid architecture’ sheathing yet another backyard Aussie micronation.



‘Genius eye for the killer detail': Parsons, Harris & Myerson on Ballard

By • Feb 14th, 2008 •

Category: archival, autobiography, celebrity culture, interviews, Shanghai, Shepperton, Steven Spielberg, WWII

This one’s a transcript of BBC 2’s Newsnight Review segment on Miracles of Life. It features Tony Parsons, Julie Myerson and John Harris and is presented by Kirsty Wark.



Come in no. 27, your time is up

By • Jan 6th, 2008 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, David Cronenberg, Jean Baudrillard

Ballard comes in at no. 27 in the Times list of the Greatest British Writers Since 1945. But one thing baffles me…



Michael Jackson reads J.G. Ballard

By • Dec 28th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, body horror, celebrity culture, music, posthumanism, science fiction

Chris N-B asks: ‘What is Michael Jackson’s favorite literary science fiction? I’ll bet you dinner at Picasso that right now he’s curled up in the overstuffed armchair of his penthouse suite at the Bellagio, giggling at The Atrocity Exhibition.’



'Meet you all the way, Rosanna yeah'

By • Dec 14th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, body horror, celebrity culture, censorship, David Cronenberg, death of affect, film, sexual politics, speed & violence

How strange is this: Rosanna Arquette, and Crash, popping up in all sorts of places. This film, Ballard’s story, still packs a powerful psychological enema.



Drowned Geoff

By • Nov 17th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, cult-doom peddling, dystopia, enviro-disaster, utopia

Image by Pedro Armestre and Mario Gómez. The influence of BLDGBLOG’s Geoff Manaugh is spreading far and wide, so much so he is now featuring in a personality profile (disguised as a walking tour) in the Los Angeles Times in which the colour of his hair is discussed! Luckily, the writer, architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne, […]



Ballardian Secession Theory

By • Nov 8th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture

J.G. Ballard is being suggested as a nominee in the arts section of the Morgan Stanley Great Briton Awards, which seek ‘to explore, express and celebrate what it means to be British according to people living in Britain today’. Morgan Stanley recently held a ‘Great Britons debate’ which asked, ” ‘Can Britishness be taught?’ The […]



Autopsies on Celebrity and Desire

By • Jul 29th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, Chris Petit, literature, speed & violence

More on the Dead Di meme, as Chris Petit reviews 12:23 by Eoin McNamee and The Accident Man by Tom Cain: The princess, as a largely self-invented figure, is a gift to fiction, not least because the reasons she might have been killed are finally less arresting than speculation on her untimely death: the swansong […]



Atrocity II

By • Jun 28th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, body horror, celebrity culture, death of affect, film, media landscape, short stories, urban revolt

While I think Jonathan Weiss’s film of Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition was successful in its own right, I still believe there’s potential for a version (maybe not a straight adaptation, perhaps an obliquely angled ‘nod and a wink'; maybe even a sequel) that updates the notion of celebrity culture, that takes up the direction hinted […]



The Brangelina Exhibition

By • Apr 17th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, media landscape, Salvador Dali, surrealism, visual art

‘If Dali Had Painted Angelina Jolie’, by 14. Copyright 2006. I’ve just discovered the Gallery of the Absurd, maintained by the artist known simply as ’14’ and devoted to her sharp, witty and frightening caricatures of A-list celebrities. There’s TomKat recast as TomRat — two furry, grotesque rodents cradling their hideous offspring; there’s The Three […]



Fantastical Literary Celluloid Icons

By • Apr 15th, 2007 •

Category: alternate worlds, Ballardosphere, Borges, celebrity culture, film, Philip K. Dick, television

Back in 1986, Kurt Vonnegut (RIP) made an amusing cameo in Rodney Dangerfield’s fake-fart laden masterpiece Back to School. But did you also know that William Gibson appeared in Wild Palms alongside Jim Belushi; that Philip K. Dick guest-starred in a 1971 episode of Bewitched; that Jorge Luis Borges stole the show in an ep […]



Quote of the Day

By • Apr 12th, 2007 •

Category: academia, advertising, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, Jean Baudrillard

Pertinent, in the wake of this and this: Tired after my meeting with Zander, I sat down and ordered a vin blanc from the young French waitress, who wore jeans and a white vest printed with a quotation from Baudrillard.” —————————————————————————- J.G. Ballard. Super-Cannes. (p. 88). —————————————————————————-



Sticking It to the Man

By • Apr 10th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, politics

I’ve never been able to wrap my head around the image of musicians and artists, who have built a career on left ideals and a rigorous program of apparent anti-authoritarianism, accepting knighthoods, or OBEs, or any of the hollow gongs that seem to get passed out like candy of late in the old country. Sir […]



More on Myspace

By • Apr 8th, 2007 •

Category: academia, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, gated communities, Jean Baudrillard

As I’ve been taken to task regarding my last post about the J.G. Ballard Myspace profile, in hindsight I can see that my tongue had actually pierced my cheek, and for that I apologise. Just to clarify, my post was chiefly to comment on Myspace as an entity; my rant against ‘a terrible evil gated […]



Ballardosphere Wrap-Up, Part 3

By • Mar 31st, 2007 •

Category: advertising, architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, crime, speed & violence, urban revolt

+ KILLING CARS Rich, car-crashing idiot No. 2: Stefan Eriksson. Over at The Wrong Advices, Dan writes, ‘After watching Eddie Griffin destroy a Ferrari Enzo I was reminded of some of the other times rich idiots have killed beautiful and expensive cars. I’ve put together a list of some of the more memorable crashes.’ My […]



Ballardosphere Wrap-Up, Part 1

By • Feb 26th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, cyberpunk, deep time, Jean Baudrillard, photography, space relics, speed & violence

Photo: Stephen Hughes. Read recently… + Via Fanny Magnate, David Chandler’s essay on the work of photographer Stephen Hughes: Over the last five years Hughes has worked all over Europe, developing an interest in what might be called ‘peripheral places’, sometimes places literally on the edge — of cities perhaps, or by the sea — […]



The Greatest

By • Feb 24th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, literature

The Guardian has sparked off an unholy war: When the Guardian referred to Martin Amis as ‘Britain’s greatest living author’ last week, one reader was so outraged she threatened to emigrate – or worse. So if not Amis, who? Stephen Moss assesses the field.” [ via Ben Austwick ] Again, Ballard doesn’t make the cut. […]



Structural Burglary

By • Feb 18th, 2007 •

Category: architecture, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, speed & violence, urban revolt

The infamous Texas Book Depository window, and the fatal frame from the Zapruder JFK assassination film. Abraham Zapruder was a tourist in Dealey Plaza whose amateur cine-film captured the President’s tragic death. The Warren Commission concluded that frame 210 recorded the first rifle shot, which wounded Kennedy in the neck, and that frame 313 recorded […]



Thom Two

By • Feb 10th, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, music, speed & violence

Writer Tim Footman unpacks the Thom Yorke/Ballard thing (I posted on Yorkey’s Ballard quote yesterday): I referred to [J.G. Ballard’s Crash] in some depth when discussing ‘Airbag’, the opening track of OK Computer, in my forthcoming book. … The sexual/spiritual rush that Thom Yorke’s narrator seems to achieve from near-annihilation on the road is prefigured […]



Invisible Celebrity Literature

By • Dec 18th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, Jean Baudrillard, speed & violence

No Fear of the Future, a new group blog that’s recently come on line, features a jaw-dropping analysis of celebrity culture from the talented Chris Nakashima-Brown. It begins by outlining the Ballardian aspects of Operation Paget, the inquiry into the death of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed. Chris sets Paget up as the sequel to […]



Hello America (1981)

By • Sep 16th, 2006 •

Category: America, bibliography, celebrity culture, deep time, media landscape, William Burroughs

OPENING LINE: ‘There’s gold, Wayne, gold dust everywhere! Wake up! The streets of America are paved with gold!’. From the Carroll & Grad 1981 edition: A century after America’s financial collapse and the climactic upheavals of the 1990s, Wayne stows away on SS Apollo, bound for the New World on a voyage of rediscovery. He […]



A User's Guide to the Millennium (1996)

By • Sep 5th, 2006 •

Category: advertising, architecture, bibliography, boredom, celebrity culture, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, fashion, film, flying, humour, invisible literature, media landscape, medical procedure, non-fiction, photography, politics, psychogeography, psychology, Salvador Dali, science fiction, sexual politics, space relics, speed & violence, surrealism, television, urban decay, visual art, William Burroughs, WWII

OPENING LINE: “In his prime the Hollywood screenwriter was one of the tragic figures of our age, evoking the special anguish that arises from feeling sorry for oneself while making large amounts of money”. (from ‘The Sweet Smell of Excess’). From the 1996 Harper Collins edition: The first-ever collection of J.G. Ballard’s articles and reviews, […]



J.G. Ballard: The Complete Short Stories, vols 1 & 2 (2006)

By • Sep 1st, 2006 •

Category: advertising, architecture, bibliography, boredom, celebrity culture, consumerism, death of affect, deep time, dystopia, enviro-disaster, flying, humour, invisible literature, media landscape, medical procedure, New Worlds, photography, politics, psychogeography, psychology, science fiction, sexual politics, Shepperton, short stories, space relics, speed & violence, suicide, surrealism, television, terrorism, urban decay, urban revolt, visual art, WWII

OPENING LINE: “I first met Jane Ciracylides during the Recess, that world slump of boredom, lethargy and high summer which carried us all so blissfully through ten unforgettable years, and I suppose that may have had a lot to do with what went on between us.” (from ‘Prima Belladonna’). From the 2001 Flamingo edition (originally […]



JG Ballard vs Dan Melchior

By • Jun 12th, 2006 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, consumerism, music

Googling for an mp3 of Orson Welles monstering, for semantic crimes, the director of the frozen-peas radio spot he was appearing in, I instead ended up with J G Ballard and frozen peas — in the 2002 lyrics to “Me and J.G. Ballard”, which appears on the Bitterness Spite Rage and Scorn album by Dan […]



At the Airport Hanger

By • Nov 7th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, politics

BEATTY TRIES TO CRASH SCHWARZENEGGER RALLY By MICHAEL R. BLOOD Associated Press Writer SAN DIEGO Actors Warren Beatty and wife Annette Bening tried to crash a campaign appearance Saturday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the governor sought to drum up last-minute support for a group of statewide ballot measures. The Hollywood couple strode side-by-side to […]



Chariot of Fire: Preliminary Analysis & Damage Reconstruction of the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

By • Oct 7th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, features, pastiche, sexual politics, speed & violence, sport, suicide, surrealism

by Annik Hovac GRAVITY’S PEAK IS SURVIVABLE “About midnight, Diana walks out, all green eyes and friendly breast velocity. Dodi, her Prince, is there to sweep her away from the insatiable paparazzi.” The following extract is presented by the JG BALLARD INSTITUTE for the Study of Eroto-Responsive Kinetics, Canberra. “On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana […]



Why I Want to Fuck Arnold Schwarzenegger

By • Sep 28th, 2005 •

Category: advertising, Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, politics

In the ongoing battle between the two movie stars: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Warren Beatty, there has already been a number of Ballardian moments. If Beatty actually throws his hat into the ring for the governors race, we’ll surely be witnessing something that will appear to be more fictional than set in reality. Here’s the […]



JGB on Jordan

By • Aug 28th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, non-fiction

A JGB-quoting story from the Daily Telegraph, on the ‘news’ that popular glamour model Jordan is to ‘write’ two novels – Several heavyweights of the literary world were impressed to have an unexpected new novelist in their midst. JG Ballard, the veteran author of more than 30 books including Empire of the Sun, said: “I […]



JG Ballard Was Not Killed in a Car Crash

By • Aug 11th, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, speed & violence

Over at who2.com, they write: “Ballard, like actor Matthew Broderick, is an honorary member of our loop Death By Car“. He’s joined by the usual Ballardian suspects – Princess Di, Jimmy Dean – as well as the likes of ‘Left Eye’ Lopes.



Has Reese Witherspoon read Crash?

By • Aug 3rd, 2005 •

Category: Ballardosphere, celebrity culture, sexual politics

The New York Times recently reported on the phenomenon of Los Angeles paparazzi inventing their own photo ops by crashing their cars into those of their celebrity targets. “Ms. [Cameron] Diaz recalled walking in the street with Mr. [Justin] Timberlake and a friend and his dog about two years ago, when a photographer in a […]



William Burroughs: Preface to The Atrocity Exhibition

By • Jul 9th, 2005 •

Category: archival, celebrity culture, psychopathology, sexual politics, speed & violence, suicide, visual art, William Burroughs

by William Burroughs (1970) The Atrocity Exhibition is a profound and disquieting book. The nonsexual roots of sexuality are explored with a surgeon’s precision. An auto-crash can be more more sexually stimulating than a pornographic picture. (Surveys indicate that wet dreams in many cases have no overt sexual content, whereas dreams with an overt sexual […]