|Crime Against Joe, 1956|
Fanzine revival....anyone? Is there? Was there? Did they ever go away? (Nothing does, you know...someone somewhere is still enjoying Latin House records...though he's on his own, so that's hardly an ongoing support scenario...). I mean, things carry on...perhaps every cultural phenomenon lives in parallel to the rest...all buzzing, roaring, whispering and even waiting to be picked up by someone with clout to kickstart a revival, go mainstream (in a small way), before disappearing again because 'they' got bored with it...who? The Kids? I dunno...whoever makes things 'happening'.
A quick search shows 'zines are still being made...but they've got posh, posher than what used to be 'posh' back when desktops came in, even...posh like fancy print, high quality paper, snazzy design, full colour and all that...except...a lot are all surface glitter masking empty content, or rather, the glitter is the content...never mind the depth, look at the quality...
The good thing about John Eden's Turbulent Times is that it has content in the form of music/'zine/gig reviews and interviews. Another good thing is it's appearance, the form it takes, accentuating content over style, although this kind of old-skool 'zine is a style. Perhaps that's what will be in fashion next as makers abandon flashy tech, escape the iron heel of design and just do it cheap.
Anyway, Turbulent Times is worth getting. It represents an ongoing belief, not a trend or revival. There's a good interview with Concrete / Field too. Oh, and a funny typo in Eraciator's 'All-Nude Noise Fanzine Review' where he mentions 'free jazzman Steve Lazy'. Unless that's a deliberate joke. Either way, I like it.
Buy it here.
1) Did you read my bit on Dexys? You asked what I thought...genius or, as you said Colin said, shit, so now you know (not that I answer simply either or....either / or gets on my tits...like my friend walking 'round Tate Modern going "I like that"..."I don't like that"...black 'n' white...yes / no...it's not always that simple, or shouldn't be because it was everything would be reduced to shorthand thinking...)
2) Glad you're back. I know, you bookmark the blog and notice it every few days, thinking 'Oh, I'll have a look'. Thanks for not deleting it.
3) Haven't seen you in ages! Where have you been? What? Looking at all kinds of stuff? Of course you have. What made you come back? Finally stopped at Include Me Out where it sits at 78th place on your bookmark? OK. Anyway. You'll see that a lot's been posted since you were last here but I don't expect you to spend time going back, back, back. Visit more regularly and you won't miss out.
4) You! You're still a regular. That's great. There aren't many of you and I just want to thank you...'though perhaps you should be thanking me you ungrateful arsehole, 'cause you don't comment, do you? I don't blame you. I do comment if I particularly like a post on someone's blog, but that's me, a fellow blogger, showing a bit of support in the form of visible response. Sorry I called you an arsehole. I didn't mean it...please, no, don't delete me!
5) Who are you? You won't answer that, of course. But...it's your first visit? Welcome. I review albums, post my own pictures and art by others and book covers....sometimes I just talk, which I call 'Musings'...about anything, but usually culture-related...music clips...um...other things I make. You might want to hang around and look at what's in the labels. If you don't have time for that now, bookmark Include Me Out and come back when you do. Pardon? You never have that much time? I know, there's so much to see. If you like the blog, share it...please...I get lonely sometimes...(sob)...
6) Oh, er, hello you...sorry I didn't review the album(s) you sent but...um...you know...it's not my kind of thing. I wish you all the best anyway. I just don't listen to nice ambient music much...unless you count Satie...or the Modern Jazz Quartet, who aren't 'ambient' in the modern sense, I know.
7) You haven't included my blog on your roll, have you? But you do visit regularly. I know, you just haven't got 'round to it. You have a busy life and you blog. We should support each other really. Why? Well, we might be a dying breed...you know...bloggers who actually write instead of just posting 'crazy' pictures. I feel like an old fart sat here tapping away at the keys...dinosaur generation...oh well, we do what we must, eh? Until we feel we mustn't. Then we stop.
8) Hello you. How come you haven't sent me any of your music? You know I like it. It's interesting, vibrant, imaginative. But you can't even be bothered to send a file. I remember the old days when I wrote a zine and people sent actual records - they did! Packaged 'em up, paid for postage and walked out to the post office. I know, mad ennit? KLF sent me a promo 12 once, but I was on the dole and sold it for a fraction of what it was worth. So send me stuff. I might review it.
9) Anyone I've left out? Oh, you, of course.
10) And that person I look at every day in the mirror. I know everything about him. Although, some would say that others know things about us that we simply aren't aware of...which is true. And on that philosophical note, I bid you farewell.
Mixed feelings watching Dexys: Nowhere Is Home on telly last night, unlike those I had when first seeing them 'live' in 1980...
...when I felt strongly that they were special and connected immediately with the Stax/brass/Punk sound because, unlike many Punks, probably, Soul music already had a place in my heart.
Kevin Rowland is all heart, isn't he? Whilst travelling the rock-strewn road that is his career he's always tried to convince us that he means it, ma-a-a-n. I stopped following them soon after Come On Eileen because I wasn't into that new phase. Over the years, the song's become an anthem for every drunken idiot at wedding receptions, which isn't Kevin's fault, of course. Perhaps he endured a kind of shock when it became a shout-along-anthem for types who he could hardly have related to, just as others from that generation have seen their records cross over. The music becomes tarnished. Or is that snobbery?
By the time he created the Ivy League look (typically misunderstood by style-less journos) for Don't Stand Me Down, he was off my radar. That album's since become a 'cult classic', hailed as a masterpiece by some. My problem is that once I stopped believing in him nothing he did could win me back. The appearance in drag...yes, that look, confirmed to me that I was right to have left him behind. I wasn't necessarily right, though.
We know the industry's good at churning out willing stereotypes but in that it only reflects society. Most people aren't made to break moulds but spring from the few that were created decades before. That Rowland was always keen to react against what was going on is a great thing, yet as the film reveals, he can't always articulate his reasons. At heart he's a kind of Mod, always moving on, with style, against the herd, in favour of change, being sussed, being self-conscious of his appearance.
Watching the theatre show I became aware of how self-conscious he is, to the detriment of what he was trying to do, I thought. It struck me that to be 'real', to convince me, at least, he needed to be as great an actor as the best from classic Hollywood. In our favourite scenes we're taken in by the act. Whether it's The Method or old-fashioned professionalism, we believe. In creating a conceptual show, Kevin demanded some acting of his band. At times it was embarrassing (that kiss!), other times, such as the 'casual' banter, it worked.
Not being a great singer has never stopped some of the best performers from being electric on stage. You'll have your own favourites. But when, as in Rowland's case, one of your role models is Van Morrison, you've got work to do. When things are taken care of musically, as they were, you have to deliver as the front man. To his credit, he's never tried to imitate, say, Al Green. In that respect, he knows when he's licked. There's no doubting the original tone of his voice either. Still, he doesn't strike me as being humble enough to have lessons that would enhance the power of what he's doing. I feel bad even suggesting he does.
I'd feel bad putting Rowland down, partly because I can relate to his teen years of endless dead-end jobs, being the outsider stuck in the system. Also like him my teen years were filled with a passion for clothes and music. Some of us, in typically working class fashion, sought salvation in clubs, not just as escapist relief, but in search of something deeper...something in the night...where other lost souls, who wore what they did because it meant more than mere fashion, danced to Soul music. For those reasons alone, I'm sure that if we shared a pint we'd get on well. Somehow, I doubt that will ever happen.
Towards the tail-end of my clubbing years I found a place called Lady Luck. It happened every Friday under a strip club called Secrets in Euston. Seedy, smart punters and the right music, everything from Mel Tormé to R & B and Be-Bop...a Vegas lounge fantasy in London Town...burlesque and tattooed girls...perfect. Imagine my surprise when I saw at the end of the film shown last night that the Lady Luck scene was an Inspiration to Rowland. And everyone on it, apparently. So, despite my reservations, if you're wholeheartedly in favour of the Dexy's show, you can thank me.
I never saw Rowland at the club, so I assume he went when it relocated to a venue that I only visited once. I'm not saying it was 'over' when it moved, simply over for us. The first incarnation had that special atmosphere, a kind of secret, beneath Secrets.
Republication of the book that accompanied an exhibition in 2005 about Wallace Berman and his circle of friends, the title comes from his Semina art-book-zine ('57-'64). There are brief biographies of the people involved and examples of their work. Like the Beat scene itself, it looks very much like the early days of many things now taken for granted as 'underground/alternative' culture. Post-war art-making, poetry-writing folk living the flip side of the comfy nuclear family all-American dream/nightmare. Whilst some, such as Dennis Hopper and Allen Ginsberg (featured in Semina) rose to fame in different ways, Berman stayed beneath the radar - too 'alternative' and eclectic in his vision, perhaps, and too busy doing his thing to worry much about 'making it'.
|Mz. Bell, Jean Connor, 1969|
|Untitled, Bobby Driscoll, 1964|
|Berman by Edward Hopper|
|Untitled, Dean Stockwell, 1963|
Kanye 'I Am A God' West is playing Glastonbury - oh no-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o! I don't care. Who does care? Glastonbury's never meant a thing to me...sharing fields with the masses...the idea of which I find horrifying...because I'm a snob - ha-ha! Because, anyway, I don't like crowds, except at football matches...in the 1970s...and on the Council Tax riot...although when it turned into cops on horses ploughing through panicking crowds...I didn't like that...
I don't even go to ordinary gigs any more...(tries to think of the last good one...fails...hold on, does Time Attendant at Cafe Oto count as a 'gig'? In my mind, no. Gigs are what bands play. Paul Snowdon isn't a band. He twiddles knobs, brilliantly. I'm not one for watching people do that either, normally, but his music's so good that I was tempted out of my lair.)
That clip doesn't convey how good a total set is.
This clip conveys something of how good the Art Ensemble of Chicago were 'live'...
One of my all-time favourite bands/'live' experiences. I saw them a few times and they were never less than captivating. I wonder who would be in my Top 10 Live bands?............
The Art Ensemble of Chicago
Ornette ColemanRip Rig & Panic
......so many I've forgotten...all the Punk gigs, Jazz gigs (Cedar Walton Trio in Brighton!)...and on...I can't make a definitive list...perhaps Kanye at Glastonbury will be on somebody's in the future...
|(C) aRTomens 2015|
...damn! I had an idea five minutes ago and now I can't remember it...it was a good one too...
Painters, poets, composers, all completely marginal, divorced from any mass audience, a small lumpen among petty bourgeois professionals, rationalising their marginality by entertaining each other with the elitist theories they have been brought up on and by their boundless capacity for make-believe.' - John Pitnam Weber, 1971
...s'true, ennit? But there are art worlds within art worlds within etc, aren't there? The real 'elite' (you know 'em), the wannabe elite, the pedestrian professionals (saw a woman on telly last night who painted replicas of Modigliani and others, but precisely, down to the correct paint etc. She could have been a conceptual artist, but she wasn't, 'cause she was on The One Show, so she just copied...), successful Etsy and other online shop sellers of prints, Sunday painters. From the first in that list to the last, theoretical concerns and how to express them disappear.
Having theories, or being able to describe their work in Artspeak, is what wannabees and Be's have to do, so I hear, unless...perhaps it's post-modern to adopt a Warholian shrug instead, which is easier and probably more honest. I dunno, I ain't a Fine Artist, but if I was, that's what I'd do.
Weber's notion of 'elitist theories' makes sense. Internalised, marginalised (wilfully?), the art crowd detached from any 'mass audience' will spawn it's own speak, much like Hipsters of old, except they were, some of them, from the masses anyway, rather than being created in ivory towers by god-like beings and sprinkled with Special stardust, like the art crowd.
These days artists needn't be divorced from a mass audience, of course, but most still are. They can put work on the internet and pretend/prey/dream that The World looks on in amazement...but it doesn't buy...unless the work's beautiful...in which case they have a chance, but only as much of a chance as they create by desperately hyping themselves everywhere and spending half their time connecting, networking, following and liking what others do...and having lots of internet 'friends'...then they stand a chance.
I felt divorced from the mass audience the minute I started writing/drawing...well, I was a kid...but when I got older I realised that I wasn't going to be any kind of big success. The masses were beyond me anyway...somewhere else, in the world around me, but feeling like a stranger in a strange land the world never felt like mine. Poor me. I know.
Some deliberately isolate themselves, as Weber suggests, whilst others feel isolated anyway, despite being proles, therefore lumpen, therefore supposedly in tune with the rest of the mob. The difference between chosen isolationism from notions of elitism and affirming differences unashamedly may be marginal, but it's real. Ironically, I've been called a snob many times. It's not a label I welcome. I do laugh, though. It's some people's way of pecking at you to try and put you in your place, I suppose.
Unlike Weber's art crowd, however, where I'm from, make-believe was never an option. Reality smacked me in the face too often. I'd dream at school, but that was all. Dream of what, as I stared out the window, I can't recall. Like that good idea I had this afternoon, the dreams long since disappeared. Still, I'm not complaining. At least I don't have to try thinking up any elitist theories about pictures I make...
It's been a 23 Skidoo afternoon, started by a track someone posted on FB, which inspired me to play their first two albums with the mental snapshot I have of them playing The Venue (London) in 1982 flickering intermittently and in nanosecond bites therefore defying attempts to clearly remember but I think they wore military uniforms and one or two of them played enormous horns, like alpine ones...
Seven Songs (1982, their first album) was exciting at the time and still sounds great, reminding me that all was not lost after the glory decade that was the 70s (my personal odyssey from bootboy Glam/Art rock through Funk to Reggae/Punk) aided by Rip Rig & Panic, A Certain Ratio, Defunkt, The Lounge Lizards and others - it just always feels that way. Those bands, I know realise, acted as a portal to Jazz, that thing I spent the whole of the 80s exploring - well, there's a lot of it, isn't there?
Listening to the (urban) Gamelan on The Culling Is Coming (1983) puts me in a contemplative mood...as if I might start practising some tai chi and reciting T. S. Eliot before slaughtering an ox...you know, I might...apocalyptic thoughts inspired by this track, of course...sampling the film...
...of their time (once) but keen to shed the white boy Funk shackles, 23 Skidoo had hinted at other things early on but when they really changed most critics boo-hooed (as usual) and fans who thought they knew them probably got confused too, so the band unwittingly did some 'culling'. It must be tough in music of you dare to evolve and explore new areas...or any other art form for that matter...people like you for one thing, only to see you doing a new thing later.
Around the time 23 Skidoo were changing I still dreamt of writing a novel...years later I realised I couldn't do it...and finally, I didn't want to, preferring the play of plagiarism and text sampling. 23 Skidoo knew all about that, being fans of William Burroughs. I didn't have a fan base to worry about, though, so my changes bothered no-one. When my biography is written is the time those changes will seem significant...naturally...
Yes, RCA Victor proudly announces it New Vista TV, placing it in a cosmic setting despite the fact that it looks like the outer design hasn't changed since the 1940s...no matter, it has Space Age Sealed Circuitry!
Yes, Bird flew the nest on March 12th 1955...although it's uncertain how he got the nickname 'Yardbird', shortened to 'Bird', appropriately, because his flights of improvisation were something else, from somewhere else...planet Bop of his own mental sphere spinning magical lines 'round and 'round...reinventing standards and writing his original things such as this...
...of course I never met Charlie Parker but I knew Slim Gaillard back when he was a Wag Club regular in the 80s so that was getting close to the legend by association, right? And you can bet I'll always savour the memory of buying drinks for (he never bought me one, the tight sod!) the man who did know Charlie Parker. The guest spot on Slim's Jam is great, not only for it's informality and Slim's vout-speak but also hearing Bird-orooni talk... (at 1.07)
...so I made this piece of art a few months back as part of a Bop/Bird whatever tribute...I do really hope you 'dig it the most'...heh!
"... and up on the stand Bird Parker with solemn eyes who'd been busted fairly recently and had now returned to a kind of bop dead Frisco but had just discovered or been told about the Red Drum, the great new generation gang wailing and gathering there, so here he was on the stand, examinign them with his eyes as he blew his now-settled-down-into-regulated-design "crazy" notes ... whom I saw distinctly digging Mardou several times also myself directly into my eye looking to search if really I was that great writer I thought myself to be as if he knew my thoughts and ambitions or remembered me from other night clubs and other coasts, other Chicagos - not a challenging look but the king and founder of the bop generation at least the sound of it in digging his audience digging the eyes, the secret eyes him-watching, as he just pursed his lips and let great lungs and immortal fingers work, his eyes separate and interested and humane, the kindest jazz musician there could be while being and therefore naturally the greatest - watching Marldou and me in the infancy of our love and probably wondering why, or knowing it wouldn't last, or seeing who it was would be hurt..." - Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans
Building the zine....another page...this you may enjoy in colour but the zine will be black and white....limited edition...from the image hoard.....welcome to the Nice Age...rough and almost ready...
Yes, space is the place...
...where we perform the dance of the cosmo aliens...
...to the sound of interplanetary music...
...before travelling strange celestial roads in the name of more Saturn research...
Speaking of which, here's a great new document from Harte in the form a book containing two versions of the film and the soundtrack on CD (inc bonus tracks). Lots of photos from the production along with essays from people who were involved.
From the interview with Ray Johnson, who played the Cosmic Overseer...