4.10.09

OMNI & THE ART OF THE INNER EYE

An unconventional combination of high brow science fact, fiction & speculation with a prohibitive price tag, Omni was a very glossy, full colour monthly magazine published by Bob Guccione's Penthouse organisation (!) from the late 1970s onwards. Though it was way out of my financial league (I was blowing all of my meagre pocket money on 2000AD, Smash Hits & Refresher bars in those days), I was fortunate in that a rich & slightly eccentric American great uncle of mine was a subscriber & was generous enough to periodically mail me hefty packages of his unwanted back issues (at great expense too I suspect, it was a real doorstep of a mag!). Though most of the purely scientific content left me feeling slightly giddy (& probably still would tbh), it's ingenius short S.F. stories, paranormal supposition & ravishing illustrations turned my head in multiple new directions. Omni was unashamedly pretentious, but positively so.

Regrettably, now that S.F. cover art has largely retreated into conservative 1950s classicism, dominated by frivolous re-interpretations of it's archaic zapgun/rocketship pulp archetypes, the fantastical inner landscaping of Omni's visually opulent cover art seems almost kitsch by comparison. Often resembling a Max Ernst version of Tron, it's imagery was drawn from the same somnambulistic strand of pop surrealism that, for me at least, Dali's enduring The Persistence Of Memory & Ballard's Vermillion Sands never fail to invoke. I'm still secretly rather fond it, though I wouldn't rush to hang much of it on my wall you understand...
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2 comments:

  1. Been meaning to comment for a while but this seems like a good a time as any! Wasn't sure if you had that or not but boy, did my heart start racing looking for that other stuff...I also noticed that you had Shane?h-head's blog there. Boy is that guy an amazing writer!
    Regards/

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  2. Is this the EPs? Excellent (& thanks). That Shackleton/Perlon stuff I mentioned over at YMT (albeit by accident!) is really something btw, you defo have to track it down sharpish...

    Yeah, H.Head is a terrific blog, leaves pages like this one eating dust really!

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