A New Release

Prion/Autoclave

Prion/Autoclave - AA single from GLASS

The new single is now available on CD by mail order for £2.50 including postage anywhere in the world. See the Prion/Autoclave page for more details. There are very limited number of hand-personalised and numbered editions.

The music is also available on BandCamp as a digital download in a variety of formats.

An Expedition

A few months ago, the band GLASS visited The Grange nursing home in Stamford Bridge, near York. As far as I can tell, it’s where Anthony Philip Glass spent his last few years, deep in delirium but withdrawn and peaceful.

The building has been abandoned for many years, and is in a terrible state of disrepair. Despite this, much of the furniture and equipment remains. We spent as long as we could there until it got too dark and it became very unsafe.

An Interview

Martyn Rudd of Screaming Tarts magazine has kindly published an interview with me discussing my research into Anthony Glass, and the music that has been created as a result.

Click here to read the interview in full

Loose Ends

I’ve been researching the life of Anthony Glass for over a year, and so far I’ve got more questions than answers. A bizarre collection of coincidences, synchronicity and luck, or are there larger forces at work?

Since the album launch I’ve had more time to start filing and organising the resources I’ve managed to lay my hands on so far. It’s a baffling jigsaw puzzle of first, second and third hand reports about a mysterious man who might never even have existed – at least in any way we would recognise. I’ve been taking copious notes in a bid to get my thoughts in order and have managed to transport a good carload of papers and documentation back to my home where I can start putting the known facts in some kind of context.

Which are the most pressing questions? Well, the death of Glass Snr. is obviously a key event – and Colonel Van Riper’s involvement in it. There’s much to learn about the lives of both men which I think could lead to some kind of answer as to how Edward Glass died and who was responsible. The machines, both full sized and portable – what happened to them? Was Anthony Glass a clever hoaxster, as his father was purported to be? And what of Anthony’s mother, Edward’s wife – the trail rapidly goes cold once Anthony is sent away following his father’s death (murder?).

And bringing us up to date – how do the cassette tape, the discovered video recording and the business cards people report finding fit in? Am I the subject of an extension of the Glass myth? Is someone mocking me, and if so – why? All I know is, I must find answers. Anthony Glass and his peculiar story are seeping into my life, my work, and the music I produce to the point where I wonder how much of it I’m in control of.

A Press Release

YORK BAND ‘GLASS’ RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM WITH A LAUNCH SHOW AT THE DUCHESS, YORK ON SATURDAY 16th JANUARY

In early 2008 GLASS singer/guitarist Alexander King inherited the contents of a storage unit, in which was a suitcase of letters, news clippings and journals relating to Anthony Philip Glass, a 19th Century inventor and showman. Anthony Glass had a colourful life, purporting to have invented a machine that transmits sound through time which he toured the world demonstrating. His life story – pieced together in a gripping blog updated by Alexander (www.thesoundofglass.com) – is peppered with murder, intrigue and a stay in York’s own Bootham Park Hospital (then York County Lunatic Asylum).

Inspired by the man himself, the band GLASS was formed, and present their debut album with a launch show at The Duchess in York on Saturday the 16th of January. Compared to Roxy Music, Wire, Editors, Magazine, The Cult, Interpol and The Cure among others GLASS deal in stark, powerful rock with surrealist lyrics and a highly theatrical live show.

Support on the night comes from two of York’s finest indie-rock acts – Dorien Starre and The Blueprints.

About GLASS

Formed in early 2008 GLASS represent the best of the classic post-punk and new-wave acts while tapping into the current vogue of dark rock (Editors, White Lies, Interpol etc). The band consists of Alexander King (vocals and guitar), Andy Curry (vocals and synths), Jim Stafford (bass) and Dan Whiting (drums). GLASS have already shared a stage with up and coming national acts like Ipso Facto, Cinematics, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club.

GLASS

(l-r) Alexander King, Jim Stafford, Andy Curry, Dan Whiting

An Obituary

From the Eastern Daily Press, May 8th 1926:

Colonel Maurice Van Riper (born in Norwich 8th April 1850) has passed away aged 76, of heart failure.

Having moved to London early in his teens, Van Riper first worked as a butcher before enlisting with the British Army and seeing action in Abyssinia, the first and second Boer wars among others, and being rightly and notably recognised for his leadership and firm resolve.

Van Riper retired due to illness in 1920 with full honours and worked mainly in the private sector offering his extensive skills to the world of commerce and business.

The Colonel will be most familiar to readers due to the unfortunate allegations made against him at the turn of the century by the son of Edward Glass, a London entrepeneur who was shot and killed in suspicious circumstances. Van Riper was cleared of all charges and maintained until his death he had never met Edward Glass or his son, blaming the elder Glass’ peculiar mindset being as he was something of a fantasist.

He is survived by a son Terence and a daughter Lilly.

Years in the Wilderness

It has now come to light that following the York Incident, Anthony Glass spent between 1933 and 1940 in Bootham Park Hospital, also in York. Whether this was a direct result of what happened at the City Art Gallery, or if his crumbling mental state finally required him to seek rehabilitation is not clear. Either way, the trail goes somewhat cold at this point.

Bootham Park Hospital was built  as York County Lunatic Asylum around 1777, and was one of the earliest psychiatric hospitals in the North of England.

In 1772 at a meeting at York Castle, the Archbishop of York called together gentlemen of the three ridings of Yorkshire, along with Dr Alexander Hunter and architect John Carr. His intention was to create a lunatic asylum to prevent the mentally ill from being placed in unsuitable institutions like prisons.

Carr’s practice was at its peak and the grand building was completed by 1777.

With its applied Tuscan columns, pediment and fashionable Venetian windows, it was reported in the press as ‘an elegant and expensive affair’, but it didn’t please everyone.  William Mason, a Precentor at the Minster, wrote that its extravagant design was a waste of public money and suggested it should instead be advertised as ‘a lunatic hotel’.

It was later discovered that despite its grandiose exterior some patients were held in terrible squalor.  Indeed the conditions at the asylum were the stimulus for the foundation of the The Retreat at York which became world renowned for its pioneering treatment of the mentally ill.

The abuses at the York Asylum later became the centre of a great controversy.  A national investigation in 1813-14 led to questions in Parliament.  Some of the asylum records were burned in a suspiciously timed fire and two different sets of financial accounts were discovered.  The resulting scandal led to substantial reforms in the way the hospital was run.
-
historyofyork.org.uk

If the information I’ve discovered is correct, Glass would have been around 50 years old when he emerged from Bootham Park, by which time the Second World War was underway. I think it’s quite unlikely he would have been drafted to the war effort with his history of mental instability – but with no career, no reputation, very little family and surely a dwindling or non-existent inheritance, what would Glass do next?

A Recurring Dream

Lately I’ve been having a recurring dream, which I can only assume is in some way linked to the amount of time I have spent researching the Glass mystery.

It always starts the same way – a crack opens in my bedroom wall, and for some reason I climb through the crack and find myself in the bowels of a machine. Steam scorches my face and huge oil-slick cogs grind around me like slavering jaws, dripping their saliva on my head and back as I crawl beneath them. A continual cacophony – like every piece of music ever made played at once – assaults my ears and I am terrified.

After what seems like an age, I glimpse a sliver of light at the end of a shifting corridor and make my way towards it. The light is emanating from a crack in the machine’s wall, much like the one I used to enter it. Relieved I clamber through to find myself on my back in a huge library. I lift my head and see a man with a large moustache and a young boy. The boy looks scared and hides behind his guardian, as the man raises a shotgun, levels it at me, and with a smile on his face, pulls the trigger.

At this point, I awake.

The Colonel’s Daughter Writes

Yesterday I received the following email, which I’m posting in full. While I obviously respect the privacy of Colonel Van Riper’s family I’ve not reported anything that I know to be untrue or isn’t part of public record. I would like to apologise to Eleanor and her family if she feels I’ve not been sufficiently thorough in quoting my sources.

Dear Mr King,

I was directed to your ‘Sound of Glass’ website by a colleague and am writing to express my concern and dismay at your public slandering of my late father, Maurice Van Riper. While I respect your right to investigate and research the Glass family I feel that to date your representation of my father is inaccurate and damaging to my family’s reputation. The most alarming aspect is that you appear to have inferred quite clearly that my father was in some way responsible for the death of Glass Sr. (Edward Glass).

While it is common knowledge that Glass and Van Riper families were acquainted around the time of Edward’s untimely death, my father was only an occasional visitor to the Glass household, and even then only at the insistence of Edward Glass. It was only when Edward’s diaries were scrutinised immediately after the shooting that my father became a suspect, despite a very solid alibi provided by my mother. Save for the rantings of an obviously very disturbed man, there was no evidence whatsoever that my father was even in the vicinity of the Glass household when Edward was fatally shot. The ensuing public scandal continued to linger long after my father cleared his name and he was never quite the same afterwards, becoming quite withdrawn and easy to temper. He forbade any mention of the Glass name in our house in fact.

It appears your interest lies mainly in Edward’s son Anthony – who according to my mother was a bright but introverted boy before being sent away after the tragedy – about which I have no comment but I would ask you please to consider my family’s reputation when reporting without comment either the fantasies of Edward Glass, a known charlatan, or his poor disturbed son as fact.

Yours Sincerely

Eleanor Teddy (nee Van Riper)
London

A Tragedy Occurs

After spending some time at York public library, searching the microfiche archive for anything relevant, I came across this disturbing account.

A demonstration at the City Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York took a tragic turn last night as a young inventor’s demonstration went badly wrong.

Anthony Glass, 43, of Holborn, London was undertaking the latest speaking engagement in what was planned to be a national tour when the malfunction occurred. Mr Glass has become quite infamous for his ‘talking box’ through which, he claims, sounds from the future can be heard.

Dr. David Peters from Huntington, York was an eyewitness to the events. “I attended with my wife as we have read accounts of Mr Glass’ life and works through specialist publications for many years. We were very much looking forward to hearing him speak as although his detractors are most vocal we were staunch supporters of some of his more outlandish theories.”

Dr. Peters continues; “We arrived at 7pm and were seated by ushers dressed in black, which we thought unnecessarily melodramatic. At 7.30pm or thereabouts Mr Glass took to the lectern and began to extol the virtues of his ‘Portable Machine’. In fact, beneath a thick cloth by his side lay the very machine itself and the sense of excitement in the room was palpable as we reached the climax of his most animated monologue.”

Other eyewitnesses to the event concur that Mr Glass seemed irritable and distracted through the course of his presentation, often mopping his brow with his handkerchief and pausing as if to gather his breath on frequent occasions.

When the machine itself was revealed, Dr. Peters recounts, an audible gasp was heard. “It was an otherwise normal looking device, approximately the size of a typewriter, with a series of fins along the top, and some gauges and bulbs along the front. A flexible hose led to the floor, one would assume to vent waste matter of some kind. With a flourish, Mr Glass announced he was about to start the machine and we should watch very closely as sounds and images from the future were to be played to us before our very eyes.”

“Mr Glass turned a series of handles and almost instantly a horrible wailing filled the room. People seemed unsettled by this, and indeed Mr Glass appeared taken aback. The noise grew louder and wisps of smoke appeared from the device’s fins – at this point people had stood up and wanted to leave, but the black-clad ushers firmly pushed them back into their seats. My wife started to cry and I was getting increasingly angry. Mr Glass was trying in vain to switch the machine off, but the wisps of smoke had become seemingly more solid and were conspiring to remove his hands from the handles of the machine, raising visible welts on his arms as they did so”.

“The cacophony and stench emitting from the machine at last became too much to bear, and the director of the City Art Gallery, a sturdy man by the name of Milton, released us all from this torment by taking a chair and smiting the machine repeatedly until it lay still and silent. Mr Glass had been reduced to a weeping, shaking shell of a man cowering in the corner of the raised stage area and was led backstage by some of the ushers. The doors were opened and everyone fled.”

Sadly, this is not the end of this strange tale – Christina Terry, a six-year-old attending with her family was found to be in a catatonic state under her chair and at the time of going to press cannot be roused.

Mr James Milton, director of the City Art Gallery, was not available for comment at this time.

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