Paper: The Saintmaker – Céline Martin, Thérèse of Lisieux and the Creation of a Religious Commodity

Paper given at the ‘On commotions and commodities. Catholic celebrities in 19th and 20th century Europe’ international workshop held on 22nd June at the Ruusbroec Institute, University of Antwerp (part of the ERC-funded Stigmatics project).

Publication forthcoming.

 

 

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Filed under Academia, Cultural history, Religion

Talk: ‘I’m just the space cadet, he’s the commander’ – Reflecting on Bowie Fandom

Talk given at Club Critical Theory seminar as part of Strange, Mad Celebration, a Bowie all-dayer held at The Railway, Southend-on-Sea on 19th June.

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The Guardian, Comment is Free: Will a night in Kurt Cobain’s apartment offer fans religious rapture?

From Graceland and the Chelsea Hotel to Depeche Mode’s Basildon, places hallowed by rock stars are the pilgrimage sites of our times

With today’s US release of the much-hyped documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, it has emerged that for $150 a night you can stay in the Nirvana frontman’s early 90s home – “You’ll be soaked in rock history,” claims the rental site ad. Cobain lived in this two-bedroom apartment in LA’s Fairfax district with wife Courtney Love when he was at both his commercial and creative peak – Smells Like Teen Spirit was getting constant airplay and he was writing songs that would later appear on In Utero (the lead single Heart-Shaped Box was allegedly written in the apartment’s bath). Yet the Cobain residence has been considerably smartened up since the chaotic Kurt and Courtney moved out (thankfully) and there’s nothing of the individual or his life to see. What would draw fans to shell out a not inconsiderable sum on a stay here is unclear and raises questions about fandom, the difference between religious and secular devotion and the rock pilgrimage…

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The Guardian, Comment is Free: There’ll be no musical like a David Bowie musical

In a genre that often veers towards the naff, Lazarus should bring a little alienation and desperation – and makes oddly perfect sense in the context of his career

A musical version of David Bowie’s 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth can’t have been high on many people’s lists of likely projects for the increasingly reclusive star. Yet last week the New York Theater Workshop announced it will be staging just such a production later this year, featuring new songs from Bowie. Lazarus will be based on Walter Tevis’s 1963 novel – the plot sees alien Thomas Jerome Newton land on Earth seeking to ship water back to his drought-stricken home planet where his family are dying, but he ultimately descends into an alcoholic haze, betrayed by those around him, thus suffering a two-fold alienation. But as unlikely as it seems, this project honours some enduring themes in Bowie’s work and looks set for creative success…

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The Quietus: An Interloper In The World – Confessions Of A Heretic Reviewed

Sophia Deboick considers the English-language version of Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski’s autobiography, a work of more than just sensationalism for its own sake, via the Polish people’s love for scrambled eggs, The Voice and polarising views on religion

Music and religion have shared a close relationship for Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski ever since he bought his first electric guitar with money he was given for his first communion. The now infamous Bible-ripping incident at a 2007 gig in Darski’s home town of Gdynia cemented this relationship in the public imagination and has dogged the Behemoth frontman for years. Dragged through the courts on the basis of an anachronistic blasphemy law, Darksi was only finally cleared of all offences in the Polish Supreme Court earlier this month. His compelling confrontation of his 2010 leukaemia diagnosis as a literal battle – ‘It was not a hospital, but more a front line’, he explains – as well as his appearance as a judge on TV talent show The Voice of Poland, provoking antagonists from the Polish Catholic Church and right wing populist Law and Justice Party to threaten a licence fee strike over the appearance of this ‘Satanist’ on publicly-funded television, has seen Darski become a personality of interest far beyond the boundaries of metal culture. Now, in a book that sets him up as a kind of Renaissance man, the notoriously opinionated Darski gets the chance to lay out his philosophy on celebrity, religion, history, Polishness, life and near death in full. Taking an ‘in conversation’ format, and translated from the 2012 Polish original which won a place on Polish book chain Empik’s bestseller list, the book confirms Darski’s image as a serious and unique character who has more to offer than just his music…

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Filed under Music, Politics, Religion

Talk: ‘That is walking on hallowed ground’ – Place, Pilgrimage, Identity and Otherness in South Essex Fan Cults

© Paul Deboick

Talk given at Club Critical Theory, Southend-on-Sea, on 4th December, as part of the Theorizing the Other: Migration and Cultural Tourism event, chaired by Andrew Branch.

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Lecture: ‘There’s no doubt – I’m one of the devout’: Fandom and Popular Cults, Sacred and Secular

theposterscamefromthewalls.com

Guest lecture given on COM 5218 Celebrity and Fan Culture module, Richmond American International University, London, on 16th October, at the invitation of Associate Professor of Communication, Dr Fred Vermorel.

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