Skip along four years since “A Trip Around Acid House (which I posted yesterday) and you can see the changes which had occurred within the UK’s dance scene. By 1992 raves had become massive outdoor events attracting thousands of punters, they had been cracked down on heavily by the police, and promoters had begun to put on licensed raves with professional security, a police presence and mandatory drug searches to minimise trouble and maximise profit.
BBC North’s Rave follows the set up, running and aftermath of one of these very large (but legal) outdoor raves, and highlights how attitudes had changed between 1992 and 1988. The moral panic surrounding acid house and ecstasy culture had peaked by this point. The police were aware that this new outdoor dancing movement was not something that was going to go away any time soon, so rather than trying to stamp it out they instead focussed on regulating it. It’s interesting to see the individual police officers interviewed in ‘Rave’ and their opinions on the culture - unnerved by the “spaced out” demeanour of the participants, but also very aware that they are not violent and cause very little trouble. There were still the supposedly “moral” campaigners who saw the trend as entirely negative, of course, and campaigned to have any event of this nature shut down due to the supposed dangers of drug “pushers”. The inability to compute that people were taking drugs of their own free will, combined with the relatively harmless effects of those particular drugs, give these campaigners distinct shades Mary Whitehouse. It’s all about looking good rather than engaging with reality.
By 1992 the music had now morphed too - four years on from the happy-go-lucky spirit of acid house (with its sampling of different genres and its embracing of the Balearic scene) the music is more streamlined, and beginning to form more regimented genres like techno and rave itself. DJ Smokey Joe does a pretty good job of describing the difference between the German and Belgian strands of techno in this show:
This cover of Donovan’s “Catch The Wind” really works for me. It’s a straight ahead, honest and heartfelt version of Donovan’s ethereal folk tune. Buck puts some Bakersfield twang into the song that gives it a bit of barroom melancholy that would go down nicely with a shot of Jim Beam and a Bud. From Buck’s 1966 TV show.
I used to own one one of those Buck Owen red, white and blue guitars. Buck’s was custom made made by Mosrite and later mass produced by Gibson. I owned the Gibson model. I think I bought mine at Sears.
Two cool clips from Dutch television’s Top Pop of a lip-syncing Iggy Pop in 1978 and a low-key interview. Although it is just pantomime, it’s pretty badass pantomime. For whatever reason he’s doing the seldom heard “I Got A Right” from the James Williamson-era, plus “Some Weird Sin” from Lust for Life.
After the jump: A 1978 TV performance of “Some Weird Sin.”
Lucian Freud, one of Britain’s most distinguished and acclaimed artists, has died at the age of 88. Described as a “great realist painter,” Freud first came to prominence when he was just twenty-one, with his first highly successful one-man-show in 1944.
Freud’s early work was illustrative - doe-eyed portraits of his wife Caroline Blackwood, or his friend, Francis Bacon, which are reminiscent of the work of Stanley Spencer, and seem almost polite representations compared to his later giant nudes. Freud was greatly impressed by Bacon, and the older artist influenced Freud’s development as a painter. Freud and Bacon exhibited alongside Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossoff, a loose grouping of London artists, whose work established the foundations for figurative painting for decades to come.
The critic David Sylvester named Bacon as the head, while Freud
“produced easily the best portraits painted in this country during the last decade.”
During the 1950s and early 1960s, Freud’s technique changed as he began to use impasto to create intense, almost physical assaults on his sitters. Freud said of his portraits:
“I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.”
Mr. Freud, a grandson of Sigmund Freud and a brother of the British television personality Clement Freud, was already an important figure in the small London art world when, in the immediate postwar years, he embarked on a series of portraits that established him as a potent new voice in figurative art.
In paintings like “Girl With Roses” (1947-48) and “Girl With a White Dog” (1951-52), he put the pictorial language of traditional European painting in the service of an anti-romantic, confrontational style of portraiture that stripped bare the sitter’s social facade. Ordinary people — many of them his friends and intimates — stared wide-eyed from the canvas, vulnerable to the artist’s ruthless inspection.
From the late 1950s, when he began using a stiffer brush and moving paint in great swaths around the canvas, Mr. Freud’s nudes took on a new fleshiness and mass. His subjects, pushed to the limit in exhausting extended sessions, day after day, dropped their defenses and opened up. The faces showed fatigue, distress, torpor.
The flesh was mottled, lumpy and, in the case of his 1990s portraits of the performance artist Leigh Bowery and the phenomenally obese civil servant Sue Tilley, shockingly abundant.
The relationship between sitter and painter, in his work, overturned traditional portraiture. It was “nearer to the classic relationship of the 20th century: that between interrogator and interrogated,” the art critic John Russell wrote in “Private View,” his survey of the London art scene in the 1960s.
William Feaver, a British critic who organized a Freud retrospective at Tate Britain in 2002, said: “Freud has generated a life’s worth of genuinely new painting that sits obstinately across the path of those lesser painters who get by on less. He always pressed to extremes, carrying on further than one would think necessary and rarely letting anything go before it became disconcerting.”
Amongst Freud’s great late paintings were his enormous portraits of the performance artist, Leigh Bowery. Theirs was a special relationship, as Freud’s portraits of Bowery revealed the shy humanity hidden behind the make-up and costumes of a performer who invested all in concealing himself.
As Bowery discovered, sitting for Freud was a challenge, as the sitter allowed Freud “maximum observation”, as the BBC reports:
Lucian Freud’s portraits were not concerned with flattery or modesty - disturbing was one adjective applied to them - and some were said to have compelling nastiness.
His early work was the product of “maximum observation”, Freud said
Though sometimes startling, his portraits could also be beautiful and intimate. Freud had been an admirer of the artist Francis Bacon and painted a striking portrait of him.
Freud, who lived and worked in London, said his work was purely autobiographical - he painted “the people that interest me and that I care about and think about in rooms I live in and know”.
A close relationship with sitters was important to him. He painted several affectionate portraits of his mother and his daughters Bella and Esther were also models.
Sittings could last for a year and sitters were often profoundly affected by the process. One of them once said: “You are the centre of his world while he paints you. But then he moves on to someone else.”
Freud seldom accepted commissions. His work is in a number of galleries in Britain and overseas, but much of it is privately owned.
He was one of few artists to have had two retrospective exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery in London.
The following short documentary looks at Lucian Freud’s portraits through the people who have posed for him, from David Hockney to Duke of Devonshire.
Rest of documentary plus Lucian freud speaks, after the jump…
As someone who has seen a hell of a lot of documentaries on Frank Zappa, I’d have to say that this 1971 Dutch TV doc is probably the very best. Featuring Frank composing, puttering around the house with Gail and babies Moon and Dweezil, plus interviews with various members of the GTOs. We also see Frank and Gail go out for burritos in Los Angeles, Miss Lucy tells an anecdote about pissing on Jeff Beck’s chest and Zappa airs his views on “the revolution” (“It’s a matter of infiltration.”) and why he doesn’t want to be the President, but has thought about it. There is a less savory section where Zappa discusses giving VD to his wife in a very matter of fact way….
With some shit-hot concert footage from the Flo & Eddie incarnation of the Mothers, shot at the Fillmore West, Nov 6 1970. This VPRO documentary was directed by Roelof Kiers.