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.

A Belated Update

Firstly, apologies once again for the delay in getting this update online. Partially this has been due to my continuing computer issues – despite upgrading to an Apple Mac, any attempt to record music in my studio is crippled by this “crosstalk” or interference I’m experiencing. I’ll try and post an example so hopefully one of you might be able to shed some light on a possible solution?

My research has continued, albeit slowly. For the most part I’m trying to determine the real story behind Anthony Glass’ fathers death. A shred of newspaper I’ve found in the bottom of a suitcase seems to report that Maurice Van Riper at the time of his acquital not only claimed his innocence but also asserted that he’d never even met Glass Snr. At the moment, I’m unsure if this was just a clever defence from the Colonel, or if Edward Glass was using people he was aware of in society at the time to bolster his fantasies.

My second main avenue of investigation concerns the machine itself – I’m assuming it must have actually existed as Anthony Glass mentions it in his journals throughout his life, even in his published “confessions”, when he would undertake speaking engagements with the sham portable version of the contraption.

Thirdly, I’m desperate to find out about the incident in York, UK where a routine execution of the portable machine somehow malfunctioned with what I take to be very grave circumstances. The original journal entry (posted here a few weeks ago) infuriatingly cuts off before AP Glass can give specifics, but so far I’ve not found any documentation after that date that mentions speaking engagements, or any public activity at all. I believe Glass did spend a considerable portion of his life in seclusion, it’s possible that the “York Incident” is what triggered this.

I’m continuing my fact-finding to the best of my ability, but I would appreciate any help the readers of this site could give me. Any clues, no matter how small and insignificant they seem, may be crucial.

An Invitation

An Invitation

A Confession Continues

I must confess, after living with Aunt Claire for seven years, just as isolated as I was previously in my father’s library night after night, my perceptions of reality were twisted. I had no friends to speak of, and took to wandering the neighbouring forest for hours on end. Aunt Claire’s age and waning health meant she was never too concerned about my whereabouts and I revelled in nature, as a stark contrast to my upbringing around machinery, science and mathematics.

My father’s death, which occurred only days after I was exiled from him, came as no surprise. Nor was it surprising that it was at the hands of Colonel Maurice Van Riper. Van Riper was never tried or brought to justice for his actions, my father’s official cause of death being suicide by overdose. Cruel though it may sound, my father brought it upon himself. His web of lies grew so large that he had no escape, and although his final act was selfless, in sending me away, I still wonder if he had any idea what impact his fantasies would ultimately have. A child without a father, a wife without a husband. And for what? One old man’s escapism.

In my early twenties, with no sense of direction, no formal qualifications and no network of contacts I am ashamed to admit I did the only thing I could to survive: I propagated my father’s myth and undertook speaking engagements all over the world telling anyone who would listen about the Great Machine and the work we undertook to transmit intellectual matter through time. My lectures were an unmitigated success, and I travelled the world for the best part of ten years getting paid very well to demonstrate a small prototype (in reality a dummy box adorned with typewriter parts and a smoke generator) which of course would always encounter some last-minute problem that would stop the demonstration dead in it’s tracks. On occasion the crowd would become unsettled and vocal about my apparent failure but the confidence of my patrons and my soothing speaking manner invariably won them over.

And so I went on, until a speaking engagement in York, England one summer went very badly wrong. I was at the point in the lecture where I was [page ends]

An Appreciative Audience

Dear Mr Glass,

I am writing to thank you once again for a most enthralling and informative lecture at our school last month. The teachers, parents and pupils have spoken of little else since your visit, even those who expressed skepticism as to the veracity of your research! For such a young gentleman you have a commanding presence and a most thrilling speaking style and it is to your credit.

We were so pleased you were able to give us a demonstration of the new portable version of your apparatus, and hope you didn’t take too seriously the boos and catcalling from certain sectors of the audience when the success of your “transmission” could not be tangibly proved. Of course I understand this is a hard thing to verify and am happy to take you at your word that the transmission did indeed find it’s target. Certainly the noises and lights of your contraption would suggest nothing else!

We find the fact that you built this machine while only 13 years old to be a great verification of our core ideals here – that children have a boundless capacity for invention and creativity when freed from the shackles of traditional desk-bound learning.

I implore you to keep in touch with regards to your future endeavours and should you find yourself in Italy in the future please pay us another visit.

Yours Sincerely

Maria Montessori

Casa dei Bambini, Roma