Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph
 
     


Simon Strong
b. October 1964, Sheffield, UK.

BIOGRAPHY:   Simon Strong was born in Parson Cross, Sheffield and attended a local comprehensive that made the school in Ken Loach’s Kes look like Hogwarts. He became interested in computer programming after seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey as a four-year-old and deciding that it looked safer than being an astronaut. In 1982 he moved to Brighton where he worked with Dr Blay Whitby on artificial intelligence research projects at The Computer Aided Animated Arts Theatre before abandoning the field due to belated ethical concerns.

A period of homelessness followed and Simon took jobs as an audiovisual technician, toilet cleaner, nightclub doorman, bookseller and eventually production manager at Overground Records. He had been writing poetry, stories and novels unsuccessfully since his sixteenth birthday but meeting Stewart Home in 1987 changed his approach and fortunes and Simon published his first experimental novel in 1995. Its unexpected success persuaded him to withdraw it after just nine months and to suddenly leave the country.

 

After landing in Australia Simon worked at the “the World’s Freakiest Bookshop”, PolyEster Books in Melbourne, and later at Melbourne University Bookroom, one of the leading bookshops on the bottom half of the planet. In 1999, he launched Australia’s first viable online bookshop there, writing most of the code himself, and by 2008 he had expanded the Bookshop’s services into print-on-demand with the Custom Book Centre—the first public offering of such technologies outside the USA.

Contemporary with these events, Simon co-founded psychedelic new-wave group The Pink Stainless Tail as frontman to provide research for future novels, but he soon discovered that he preferred making music to books and the group went on to play many shows and make three classic albums over the next decade. Notwithstanding his literary ambivalence Simon went on issuing experimental novels and non-fiction books sporadically and he continues to do so whilst simultaneously playing music with his new group which is called Ekranoplans.


CRITICAL OVERVIEW:  

STATEMENT:

 
 
..

Back in the olden days, before YouTube was invented, I started making short film clips to promote tunes by me and my pals. Since I was in my own group I couldn’t easily film myself so I made some of the earliest “mash-up” clips out of vintage porno loops and propaganda films.

I was keen to see a film about my pal Paul’s fantastic bookshop where I had worked but I couldn’t persuade any serious filmmakers to take up the job so I formed Golden Fist prods with my pal Aaron and together we made Totally Weird Shit! which was surprisingly well received and spurred me onto more ambitious projects. My confidence got another boost in 2011 when I was invited by Prof. Ken Goldsmith to contribute to the celebrated UbuWeb avant-garde archive. You can find me between Jean-Marie Straub and Survival Research Laboratories. Online views of some of my films run into tens of thousands but it goes without saying that my channel isn’t monetised. The films have very rarely been screened offline which is a shame as I’m interested to see if people throw things at me.

I don’t like the 21st century very much and I try to ignore it wherever possible. I haven’t seen hardly any films made after 1990 unless they were made by my pals. I still edit my films with my twenty-odd year old version of Adobe Premiere and never do anything on the computer I don’t know how to do (in theory) offline.

My primary cinematic influences (as distinct from my favourite filmmakers) are Antony Balch, Craig Baldwin, Walerian Borowczyk (shorts), Dziga Vertov Group, Stewart Home, Isidore Isou, Jeff Keen, John Krish, Dušan Makavejev, John Smith, Amos Vogel and Peter Watkins. I’m sorry. I don’t make the rules. I don’t recall asking you anyway. Cheers. Keep on chooglin’.

Simon Strong, April 2024.

Totally Weird Shit! (trailer)
Pink Stainless Tail: Blood Sugar Dropping


FILMOGRAPHY:

 
 
The Function of the Gorgon

Pink Stainless Tail: The Function of the Gorgon (2004, 7 mins, B&W, music clip, suppressed)

A 1920’s era pornographic film recut to a tune by Pink Stainless Tail with words by Percy Shelley. Suppressed due to music clearance issues.

Pink Stainless Tail: Blood Sugar Dropping (2004, 4 mins, B&W, music clip)

A dubious 1940’s propaganda film about Soviet animal experiments recut to a tune by Pink Stainless Tail about confectionary.

The Bites: I’m Not Coming Down (2004, 3 mins, music clip)

Melbourne combo The Bites filmed in a trippy Ira Cohen-inspired 1960s style.

 
 
Dial S for Sundial

Pink Stainless Tail: Dial “S” for Sundial (2007, 4 mins, music clip)

Acted by puppets. Footage filmed at Itty Bitty World in Kryall Castle, Ballarat, scored to a PST tune.

Pink Stainless Tail: King Edward Memorial Film Clip (2008, 4 mins, music clip)

An abstract Derek Jarman style film about a statue on Hove seafront in UK, set to a PST tune about said statue.

The Conquest of Space in a Time of Power (2008, 2 mins, B&W, experimental)

First of a series of films planned to mark the Paris évènements of Mai 68. Based on an essay by Situationist Eduardo Rotha.

 
 
The Bites: I’m Not Coming Down

Pink Stainless Tail: The Message Most Difficult to Transmit (2008, 51 mins, music documentary, suppressed)

A compilation of PST clips and live footage interspersed with interviews with SS. Suppressed due to music clearance issues.

Totally Weird Shit! The Strange and Terrifying Saga of the World's Freakiest Bookshop (2008, 27 mins, documentary)

Co-director: Aaron Goldberg. Paul Elliott, proprietor of the iconic PolyEster bookshop, talks about his hilarious but often harrowing adventures from twenty tears of trying to bring the freakiest books, comix, and underground culture to the streets of Australia.

To Arms and All That (2009, 1 min, B&W, experimental)

Another Mai 1968 film, this time inexplicably starring CSIRAC the computer.

 
 

Beauty is in the Street: L’Atelier Populaire, Paris, 1968. (2008, 3mins, animation)

An animated film done as a service for English-speakers interested in the posters produced by the People’s Workshop during the disturbances.

The the Naked Lunch and the Naked the Naked Lunch (2012, 57 mins, B&W, documentary)

Inspired by Warhol’s durational cinema, an intoxicated old experimental novelist tries to explain why he dislikes David Cronenberg's film of William Burroughs' book The Naked Lunch so much. It caused a brief hoo-ha on the Burroughs internet forum but I only found out five years after it was over.

Shoot the Wrx! Artist and filmmaker Jeff Keen (2012, 7 mins, documentary short)

A walkthrough of a retrospective exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery devoted to the career of the visionary artist and filmmaker who worked in Brighton and Hove most of his life.

Bring me the Head of Rafaello Carboni! (2013, 27 mins, experimental)

A flawed satire on the process of bourgeois historicisation. Funty and with a banging soundtrack but in questionable taste. Starring Sönke Rickertsen.

 
 
Spring of the Vampire

Spring of the Vampire (2014, 25 mins, documentary, uncompleted)

A Marxist reading of Jean Rollin’s Le Viol Du Vampire done in the style of Chris Marker’s La Jetée. Abandoned because I couldn’t cast the francophone narrator.

Sönke: I am a Frog (2015, 5 mins, live music clip)

Sönke improvises a funty mating call / tune in a bar with his cello and the punters flock in...

AWOTT: 3CR Melbourne, Australia (2017, 40 mins, music documentary)

As long-time fans of Simon’s book in translation, Moscow-based avant-garde electro jazz combo AWOTT were stoked when he invited them to perform a live-to-air set at a 3CR Community Radio. Full banging show!

 
 
Ekranoplans: You Think This is Bad?

Ekranoplans: You Think This is Bad? (2019, 8 mins, music clip)

An eye-bleedingly psychedelic music clip set in Sönke’s derelict shanty shack for a long tune inspired by Kurt Vonnegut.

Ekranoplans: Unconditional Loop Promotional Film aka ULPF! (2021, 50 mins, music documentary)

On 18 December 2020 the Ekranoplans went into the studio between lockdowns to record their second LP. This film is cobbled together from studio footage, live clips and specially shot interviews to help explain things. “50 laff-packed minutes of pub-n-dub action!!”

Performance

 
 
XTRMN8mm

XTRMN8mm (1997, 4 mins B/W, experimental)

d. David Cox. An afternoon in the life of a William Burroughs impersonator spent wandering the streets of Melbourne, Australia.

Pink Stainless Tail: The Poet’s I (2005, 6 mins, music clip)

d. Dave Cox. Members of the Pink Stainless Tail kill time at a derelict glue factory as it gets dark.

Implications of the Copernican System for Our Future Prospects (2006, 4 mins, documentary short)

d. Aaron Goldberg. Simon tries to figure out how to get into a boozer where he is meant to be playing a show.

Simon Strong Reads from “Rape vs Murder” (2009, 6 mins, live reading)

d. Paul Elliott. A rare spoken word reading from Simon, filmed at PolyEster Books. “MA 15+ Adult Themes”

 
 
Implications of the Copernican System

Visions: Episode 80 - Books on Demand (2010, 4 mins, documentary short)

p. University of Melbourne. An overview of the Custom Book Centre featuring Simon in his day job then. A slice of history and a vision of democratic publishing in a future that could never be.

Simon Strong talks about Walerian Borowczyk for 12 minutes more or less (2016, 13 mins, documentary short)

Simon irreverently introduces a Borowczyk screening at Melbourne Cinematheque. This clip inexplicably has more than 92,000 views on YouTube despite being pretty much incomprehensible.

Ekranoplans: We Told Ya (2017, 4 mins, music clip)

d. Jarret Gahan. The Ekranoplans play a tune about classic dystopian science fiction films and then the world explodes.

Installation

Pussy (Space Studios, London, E8. 12 April 2 June 2013)

With Kathy Acker. A recording of Kathy reading from her 1996 novel Pussy, King of the Pirates, plays on a loop, accompanied by a large panel of autobiographical text from Simon about meeting Kathy and commissioning her debut CD.


The The Naked Lunch and The Naked The Naked Lunch (trailer full film at UbuWeb)


You Think This is Bad?
ULPF! (Full film)


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Sous la páve, le pláge!: Lesbian Vampires Vs the Situationist International”, by Simon Strong. Senses of Cinema, Issue 31, April 2004

The Cinema Too Must Be Destroyed: An Interview with Stewart Home”, by Simon Strong. Senses of Cinema, Issue 33, October 2004

The Second Most Annoying Film Ever Made... Simon Strong talks about his film The The Naked Lunch and the Naked The Naked Lunch on the occasion of its public premiere by ubu.com” , UbuWeb, 29 November 2011.

Dictated by the Whims of the Heavens: An Interview with Simon Strong”, by David Cox, Otherzine (San Fransisco), Issue 24, Spring 2013.

Review: Against Control by Jack Sargeant”, by Simon Strong, Otherzine (San Fransisco), Issue 28, Spring 2015.

CTEQ Annotations on Film: The Story of a Sin, Senses of Cinema, Issue 79, May 2016.

The Limits of Emetophobia: Simon Strong with Jack Sargeant”, Otherzine (San Fransisco), Issue 31, Fall 2016.


Publications

 
 
Ekranoplans: We Told Ya

A259 Multiplex Bomb “Outrage” [experimental novel] (CodeX: UK, 1995 / T-Ough Press:, Russia, 2005)

Louder! Faster! Sh’tr! The Marquis De Sade Meets the Post-Modern Art Cannibals During the Course of a Psychogeographical mission (754-202: The World in the Artist 2a) [prescribed readings] (Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, 2002)

66mindfuck99 [experimental erotic novel, credited to Prof. Jason Crest] (hors commers, 2005)

Rape vs. Murder [experimental erotic novel, credited to #579] (hors commers, 2005 / CD version, 2022)

Even the Old Dude Is Cool: William S. Burroughs on the Wheels of Steel and the Silver Screen [non-fiction] (LedaTape Organisation, 2013)

Unquiet Dreams: The Bestiary of Walerian Borowczyk [non-fiction] (LedaTape Organisation, 2015)

The Bastardizer Polishes a Turd [experimental novel] (Cripplegate Books (UK), 2022 / CD version, 2023)


Discography

 
 
Ekranoplans: Unconditional Loop Promotional Film

Physical longplay releases only

Pink Stainless Tail: The Skys a Soft Target (CD, 2003)

Pink Stainless Tail: This is me in the park with no clothes on​.​.​. I like the flowers. (CD, 2005)

Pink Stainless Tail: The Infinite Wisdom of the Pink Stainless Tail (CD, 2008)

Simon Strong Reads Selections from "Rape vs. Murder" by #579 (CD, 2011)

Ekranoplans: Sanity Testing (LP/CD, 2019)

Ekranoplans: Unconditional Loop (LP/CD, 2021)

Simon Strong Reads "The Bastardizer Polishes a Turd" by "Chus Martinez" (2xCD, 2023)


© Simon Strong, April 2024.

The LedaTape Organisation (contact Simon Strong here)

LedaTape Org YouTube channel

Simon at UbuWeb

Simon’s IMDB page

Back to Melbourne independent filmmakers index page


   
 

 

Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis