Nothing to say...
Dragging my feet through the humid air...
Cigarettes & caffeine...
'Dear Meadow Shuffle' by Badalamenti...
Sip water - & ?
..off he went on an improvisational skit about nothing in particular, starting with nothing and yet as the words piled up finishing with something because that's the result of typing, not thinking, just typing, even - he was waiting for something last night - Godot? God? & a god did visit him in the form of James Brown, merely a dead black musician, yet as the music filled the room he felt what amounted to a religious experience (in his atheistic world) -
'The Delian Mode', Delia Derbyshire...
...he pondered the fact that lots of men drank beer at breakfast time in Austria - it didn't seem a bad way to start the day, but surely they didn't do it at home? Before work?
They smoked in bars and restaurants in Austria too - how liberal it seemed compared to the UK's prohibition on nicotine indulgence in such places - & the smell of a smoky bar was nostalgic, reminding him of so many nights in bars and clubs before the ban...
These didn't appear in the book, The Third Mind, as published by Viking Press in '78, and John Calder in '79. You can read that in pdf form here. Criminally, it's never been reprinted, so on-screen is the only way many can read it nowadays. The many images created in 1965 were supposed to be for a large format book, but Grove rejected it on grounds of cost. The book that did finally appear is still an essential document of both cut-ups and the relationship between WB & BG.
Kneel Before Religious Icons first appeared on cassette last year but is now available on vinyl and download. Don't tell me you can resist a track called 'Final Victory: Christ Became a Man and had Truly Assumed Human Nature' - well, obviously, you can, though don't worry, I'm not going to say you'd be foolish to do so because you probably hate that kind of 'advice' as much as I do, especially if you're gullible enough to take a critic's word as gospel and go to all the effort (ie, clicking) of listening to the recommendation only to find that it's not the earth-moving audio orgasm as hyped. No. Besides, I'm not an authority. And you probably don't pay much attention to whatever I'm raving over anyway. Boo-hoo....
But this noise is the right stuff, after all the supposed 'leftfield' this 'n' that (call it TechnoNoiseAmbient whatever) which so often disappointing, Fernow's prolific outpouring of military-obsessed music makes for compelling listening - honest - like 'Shooter In The Same Uniform As The Soldiers', a pure rush of techno warfare. He's a one-man war machine crusading against the massed ranks of musical mediocrity, utilising tanks, choppers, drones (geddit?), aircraft carriers and, er, you know, whatever they use in wars. I mean, he deploys a variety of sonic weaponry, from dub to driving beats that sound like, yes, gunfire, although let's not glamorise war too much. This is outsider art invading several genre territories and conquering them.
The recently released Iraqi Praetorian Guard EP (second image) features two tracks from his superb first release, Byzantine Private CIA, with a tasty remix of 'Church Of All Images' by Regis. It's worth downloading that track and getting the source material. It's also worth spending some time discovering everything by Vatican Shadow if, like me, you've been a numbskull and not already done so. There's a healthy breadth to the material, from skull-busting beats to more restrained material on Mural Of Saddam. All are available from Boomkat.
So I'm on the train clocking the girl with her Kindle, thinking 'We're all anonymous, these days...what with those thin grey slabs and MP3 players' . There was a time when cultural peacockery was possible, which meant an album tucked under your and a visible paperback in your pocket. Alas, there's no more flaunting your Good Taste for all the world to see. We did so in the hope, perhaps, of attracting fellow-travellers, or simply showing off. Sounds crazy, I know, but older readers will get it.
It may be for the best. After all, the rise of both gadgets gives me less opportunity to fall prostrate before Miles and ask 'Why, oh why do so many people lack Taste?!' Poor sheeple, trotting into the pen marked 'Suckers' with the collie dog of Pop Culture snapping at their heels. Oh they go willingly, of course, not as lambs to the slaughter, but as eager participants in the mainstream flow of things.
Before the thin grey slab rose to prominence I recall seeing everyone with either a Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code in their hands. I felt like Michael Douglas in The Game, and became convinced that friends had clubbed together to buy a voucher from Consumer Recreation Services just to see if I could survive the ordeal. Turned out it was far worse, of course, being reality, although I'm starting to believe that CRS really exists and the CEO is Simon Cowell.
As laughable as those old tactics seem now, they did at least act as beacons of light amid the seemingly eternal darkness that is life as an underground dweller. Yes, reader, we cultural outsiders lead tortured lives, prisoners of our own pickiness. Not even 'friending' a stranger on FB because he 'likes' Sun Ra can save us. Noting the amount of people who have 'liked' an underground hero is meaningless, ultimately, except to reaffirm the fact that the Net displays all of life along with all the likings of it slaves. Whereas to see a person in the street or bar with an album you treasured was, however brief, a real connection. They were flesh and blood, and what's more, had invested in the artist instead of merely clicking a mouse. Those streets, bars, carriages and buses were the same ones you inhabited, the physical world of smells, sights, sounds. And there was a living, breathing visible human who shared your love of that artist. So it went.
I'm currently working on inventing a set of headphones that will easily, and securely, hold an album cover. They won't appeal to many people, I know, but I look forward to the day when I can see one of the dedicated few, determined to uphold the cultural peacock tradition by walking around with some Reid Miles artwork stuck to the side of their head.
|Panther Edition 1969|
'Authentic Gooseflesh!', said the New York Times, and at one point I did actually feel a small shiver run up the back of my neck, which hasn't happened since I last watched Britain's Got Talent. A manuscript is discovered in the ruins of a remote house and the rest of the book consists of it's contents. The author's house is besieged by Swinefolk (yes, pig-like quasi-human creatures) and there's a final visitation, the nature of which I won't reveal in case you do read it. In true ripping yarn style he ventures into The Pit, and takes none of this home invasion stuff lying down, but instead secures the property and grabs his shotgun. Not that he's without fear, and it's the first person narration of his dread that helps make this book so compelling. It's a hybrid of Poe and HG Wells, but what elevates it above the average adventure/horror stories of the era are the cosmic voyages (pre-dating Olaf Stapledon's Star Maker by nearly 20 years) and an outstanding time travel episode.
Bought this recently, not because I want to learn how, but in the hope that it would contain some good images, which it does - sadly most aren't in colour. I've worked in the medium over the years, and you can see a few examples here. Perhaps I should read this book. Natalie still works, as you can see here. Jack used to teach at Camden Arts Centre, coincidentally, by which I mean I'm a resident of Camden Town, not a former pupil. More info and interviews with him here.
In idle moments, of which there are few, as you can imagine, in the life of a 24/7 creative type like meself, who never watches crap TV or even sleeps for fear of depriving the world (that's you) of my precious outpourings, one's mind may alight on the strangest of questions - and so it came to pass that last night I wondered when David 'Kid' Jensen dropped the nickname.
I thought, 'When did he no longer feel able to call himself a 'kid'? At what age did it seem inappropriate?' This lead to some pontification over the ageing process and how we perceive ourselves. When would I stop calling myself 'Kid'? 30? 35? 40? I concluded that 40 would have been about right, although you'll probably think that's stretching things a little too far. But in many ways I'm a kid at heart, as I suspect a lot of adults are. To be a kid is to do stupid things, by which I mean frivolous things, such as perform a funny walk, make odd noises, jump up and click your heels (admittedly difficult after a certain age) and so on.
I'm sure that not being a breeder encourages kid-like behaviour because you have no kid to set an 'adult' example to, although it's not uncommon to see middle-aged men puffing and panting as they play games with their offspring. I was going to suggest that fathers also have a great time snatching games from their children and hogging them for half an hour, before remembering that children now spend most of their time on computers watching porn (Dad can do that when he gets the chance) and talking to friends on their mobiles.
I noticed someone moaning about being middle-aged on FB a while back. They're only in their late-30s but seemed eager to embrace all the supposed ills of 'getting old', such as being 'grumpy' (that programme has a lot to answer for), tired, cynical, disillusioned etc. But we supposedly live in an age when actual age signifies something other than it once did, as in 60 being the new 50 and so on, because we're all living longer, and more to the point, older men don't know how to dress and opt for looking ridiculous in khaki combat-style shorts trainers, and t-shirt. What they should be wearing is Tweed, collared shirts and proper shoes, as some teenagers do, and I applaud them.
Yet the urge to embrace a supposedly suitable grumpy outlook persists. It's as if a generation is resistant to having eternal youth foisted upon them, clothing excepted, perhaps because of the associated characteristics such as optimism, naivety, energy etc, unless the youth in question are rioters (or would-be rioters), in which case being miserable and negative is essential.
At a certain age, despite the media message, time will take it's toll, physically. Psychologically, bittersweet memories and the creeping conviction that yours were the best teenage years possible, culturally-speaking, begin to take hold. Perhaps your career path became a tangle of thorns in the form of bad luck and poor decision-making or, like me, you never got on one to start with.
On the plus (?) side, taking your kids to festivals is now quite the thing, if you're the type to embrace the idea of bouncy castles and Rizzle Kicks, along with hundreds of other parents and their kids. At Camp Bestival this year, along with Rolf Harris, you can see Henry Rollins (!). Not together, sadly, because I like to imagine Rolf accompanying a rabid Rollins on didgeridoo.
David Jensen dropped 'Kid' around 1981, by the way. And he's a Freemason. No kidding.
Who could resist a book about electronic music written by Andy Mackay? OK, perhaps you could. Not me, though, so I was pleased to find this the other day. There's Andy on the cover, past his prime, you might say, probably making an 'electronic' recording, which turned out to be rubbish, but I'd forgive him, and you know why. Good book, as it turns out, with a handy glossary and concise summaries of all the main players in the evolution of the music...
...here's Daphne Oram, a photo I hadn't seen before...hanging out in her converted oast house, probably. Off-camera, wired up to a chair, is the head of the BBC, who would not sanction her progressive tendencies when she worked for him...he's having a few thousand volts sent through him...which is why Daphne's smiling. I don't know how she got any housework done, that woman...
...here's proof that the book was published in 1981, because when else would such an awful illustration be published? There are others, of Hendrix and Mike Oldfield, but for the protection of sensitive readers, I haven't included them...
...a superb photo of Pierre Henry...making up a sound revolution as he goes along...
...and another great photo that I hadn't seen before - Salvador Dali & Eno hanging out together like a couple of crazy dudes, Eno looking particularly camp. Dali was, according to the caption, 'a professed admirer of the work of Roxy Music', although Andy might have just made that up.
What larks, Pip! I thought I'd seek out some favourites from my collection, along with musical links, if I can find them. We know classics by Dickens, Orwell etc, but I hope that by limiting the selection to my own books you might discover some that you don't know. This first one doesn't seem to crop up often in lists, but I think it's one of the very best.
"Richard Gere, why him?" Asks LJ, still groggy from sleep during which she dreamt that Richard Gere painted a portrait of her, but not a full portrait, only her waist and bum. In answer to her question, I could only smile, saying "Why indeed", although I put his anatomical focus down to the role he played in American Gigolo. Thus, a fictitious celluloid character re-emerges in dreamland. After all, Fellini said that 'Talking about dreams is like talking about movies, since the cinema uses the language of dreams'.
When I tell you that I spent a recent evening chatting to a couple of philosophy tutors whilst attending a private view of a friend's paintings you might get the wrong impression; namely that I am, if not a bit posh, then almost certainly middle-class. But as regular readers will know, nothing could be further from the truth. Still, Impressionism, as I've decided to call it, despite that being completely the wrong word, therefore demonstrating my lack of either education or literary capability, is big, these days, isn't it? Online, where we all live, we may be what we want others to think we are, such as someone with impeccable taste and infinite knowledge (thanks to Wikipedia & Google). That said, I'm aware of the fact that others like nothing better than to bare heart and soul online, along with their failings, thus using forums and FB as therapeutic outlets. Perhaps even perfect online façades reveal covert imperfections, such as the desire to inhabit ideal alter egos rather than be honest, to err, and therefore be human.
Whilst the tutors joked about the relative merits of John Stuart Mill I calmly drank wine rather than worry about being 'out of my depth', as the saying goes. Luckily, we later found waters in which I could swim quite comfortably, if I may continue the analogy, although by then I was actually drowning in red wine. I talked music with one of them, who revealed his love for The Who, along with his occupancy of a canal boat he shared with spiders. At last I was able to teach the teacher something; that all spiders must be called Boris, after The Who's song, 'Boris The Spider'. He agreed, naturally. Whether my advice impressed him or not is another matter.