I’ve been on a bit of a Monkees kick recently. The other day I was listening to Headquarters album—something I’ve not put on in years and years—and within seconds of the track “Zilch” starting, Tara and I looked at one another like “Hey, this is where the sample from “Mistadobalina” comes from!”
“Zilch” is a nonsensical, dada fugue composed and performed by all four Monekees. It begins with Peter Tork saying “Mr. Dobolina, Mr. Bob Dobolina. Mr. Dobolina, Mr. Bob Dobolina,” etc., before Davy Jones comes in with “Zilch. China clipper calling Alameda. China clipper calling Alameda,” etc., before Micky Dolenz comes in with “Zilch. Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self defense. Never mind the furthermore, the plea is self defense,” (which is a line from Oklahoma) and Mike finally joins in with “Zilch. It is of my opinion that the people are intending. It is of my opinion that the people are intending,” etc. Ultimately the four repeat these lines faster and faster until they break up in laughter.
The Monkees would sometimes sing “Zilch” as they entered a public performance. It was also used in one episode where they’re being interrogated by a police sergeant and a bit of “Zilch” is what they respond with.
Below, the video for Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s hip-hop classic, “Mistadobalina”:
The other samples used by Del tha Funkee Homosapien in “Mistadobalina” are “Pin the Tail on the Funky” by Parliament and James Brown’s “Stone To The Bone.”
“Zilch” is also referenced in the film Honeymoon in Vegas when “Bob Dobalina” is paged over a PA system.
Last year, the actor and director Peter Mullan took top honors at the San Sebastian Film Festival with his latest film Neds. Neds is short for Non Educated Delinquents, and Mullan’s film deals with the subject of “neds” and their teenage gangs in Glasgow of the 1970s. Something, as Mullan explained to Demetrios Matheou of The Observer back in 2001, he knows about from his years as:
...a member of knife-carrying Glasgow street gang the Young Car-Ds; hanging around, fighting with other gangs, chasing girls, getting drunk. Despite being a bright, bookwormy boy, he was truant from school for the entire year of his gang career. He recognises this now as a crossroads in his life, from which his fellow Car-Ds inadvertently helped him find the right path. ‘They eventually asked me to leave, for two reasons: one, they always felt I was slumming it - because I would use words like “flabbergasted”.’ He grins, remembering the embarrassment. ‘And also because I wanted to up the ante, I wanted us to do really crazy things.’ For a change, he won’t elaborate. ‘Quite rightly they said no. They saved my life, no doubt about it.’
Mullan went on to study at the University of Glasgow, where he excelled as a student until he suffered a nervous breakdown.
‘I just put a ridiculous pressure on myself,’ he recalls. ‘I was terrified of failure, and paralysed by the idea of success. It had a lot to do with class, I think, with deep-rooted class insecurity. Everyone I met at university was middle class. I thought, “Who am I to be here?”’
He eventually returned and re-sat his finals, but in-between, Mullan found a stability amongst actors and joined the student theatre. From this his career as an actor began.
For seven years after he left university Mullan combined teaching drama in the community - in borstals, prisons, community centres and, for two years, at the university itself - with performing. This was the heyday of left-wing theatre companies such as 7:84 and Wildcat. And Mullan helped set up guerrilla troupes with names like First Offence and Redheads, touring western Scotland with overtly political plays influenced by the likes of Brecht, Howard Barker and Dario Fo. Thatcherism, the miners’ strike, the National Front, were typical subjects - ‘anything that related to what I felt to be true about the working class’.
He knew he was a Marxist by the time he was 15, despite his Catholic background. ‘Truth is I don’t think God on a daily basis,’ he shrugs. ‘I think politics, science.’ In the 80s he regarded himself as being further to the left than Militant, refusing to join either those rebels or the Labour Party itself. ‘The irony was that Labour very mistakenly sent me a letter throwing me out - when I wasn’t actually a fucking member.’
Mullan is now an internationally respected actor and director - with acting credits in such films as Trainspotting, My Name is Joe, The Claim, Miss Julie, and work as an awrd-winning director with his feature films Orphans and The Magdalene Sisters. This year will see the release of his third feature as director, Neds.
However, his first work as a director was Close - a grim, brutal and darkly humorous tale of one man’s murderous breakdown in a tenement block or “close”. It is a powerful and violent piece, one that hints at the violence in Mullan’s own background:
More than that, Mullan describes a household almost under siege from his alcoholic father’s dark personality. ‘There are some people who walk into a room and they oxygenate it, by their very being there’s fresh air,’ he says. ‘Then there are those who come in with the smell of death and they suck the life out. He was one of those. I remember the undiluted, black-as-coal bile that used to come out of his mouth.’
As Charles Mullan’s lung cancer worsened, so the abuse strayed from the psychological to the physical. ‘In the later years, when he got drunk on whisky, you didnae wanna know. Eventually our household went completely nuts, because the boys became teenagers and physically strong, and violence became a way of life.’ Mullan and his brothers hit back. ‘We had no choice. I think it’s fair to say that if you walk in from school and he’s got your mother over the table with a knife at her throat, one’s going to get physical.’
Close isn’t for the faint-hearted, so you have been warned.
Mullan’s film Neds opens on the 21st January in the UK, as yet, there is no US release date.
Part 2 of ‘Close’ plus bonus trailer for ‘Neds’, after the jump…
In the late ‘60’s I worked for Bell Labs for a few years managing a data center and developing an ultra high speed information retrieval system. It was the days of beehive hair on the women and big mainframe computers. One day I took a camera to work and shot the pictures below. I had a great staff, mostly women except for the programmers who were all men. For some reason only one of them was around for the pictures that day.
I must say how very, very sorry I am to see Alan Grayson leaving Congress. He’s a true progressive hero and I do hope we’ll still be seeing a lot of him in the future. Judging from the sentiments he offered The New York Times in this fiery “exit interview.” I don’t suspect Grayson’s planning to go quietly. Let’s hope not, this country needs more—many more—like him. It’s inspiring to read such clear-headed thoughts coming from a Democrat:
During the long conversation, Mr. Grayson, a 52-year-old father of five, faulted Democrats for failing to deliver for some of their most potent constituencies, among them labor unions and antiwar voters.
“What did the environmentalists see over the last two years?” he asked. “A proposed monumental increase in subsidies for nuclear power industry and offshore drilling.”
As for gay voters, he said: “What they got to see was a judge order that ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ no longer be enforced and a Democratic president appeal that decision. That is what that constituency saw before Nov. 2.” (The law was repealed in the final hours of the 111th Congress.)
By Election Day, Democratic voters in many districts felt that they had no real choice, Mr. Grayson said.
“If you want people to support you, then you have to support them,” he said. “You have to think long about what you did for people who voted for you, made phone calls for you, who went door to door for you.”
Mr. Grayson, of course, finds much to like within the Democratic Party. He offered a glowing assessment of the departing speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi of California, giving her an A “without reservation.”
And he considers the political right to be intolerable. He called the Republicans “a hopeless sellout party that will never do anything constructive for ordinary people in this country.”
“I don’t have to speculate about it anymore,” he said. “I worked with them for two years.”
If the execs at CNN have a brain cell amongst them, they will sign Grayson up for his own talk show before MSNBC does!
A new meme is born! A video letter from a concerned Christian man with “insider information” from God to those of us who’ll be “left behind” when Jesus takes up all the Christians and Republicans to live in the clouds with him. After that begins the seven-year Tribulation period and this is when we’re all supposed to dial up YouTube and with this clown’s help, get right with the Lord… and eat dirt and paper. Or something.
Whether to point and laugh or to weep at how dumb and delusional this poor fucker is? This guy’s entire, pitifully small worldview is based on the Left Behind novels and Jack Chick tracts! He appears to be well-meaning, but there’s also an air of smug superiority to his advice which I find bust-a-gut funny coming from someone so obviously… not very bright.
“You must not accept the ‘Mark of the Beast.’ That is the main thing you must not do. So basically if anybody… if the government, basically, enforces some sort of a tattoo, or stamping of some sort, on your right hand or your forehead, do not take it at all costs. I don’t care if you can’t buy or sell anything, I don’t care if you don’t have any food, you are better off to eat dirt. Eat dirt. Paper. Basically anything you can find to basically to numb the feeling of your hunger. And it will be worth every bit of it if you refuse the ‘Mark of the Beast.’ Because if you receive the ‘Mark of the Beast,’ that basically guarantees that you are gonna be spending eternity in the lake of fire.”
So far only a couple of hundred people have watched this clip, but as it picks up speed, the commenters on YouTube are going to be merciless to this doofus. I predict remixes and 4chan infamy for this fellow, not to mention drinking games based on how many times he utters the word “basically.”
Here are some from the past 24-hours:
“this is sort of like the videos that suicide bombers make. have fun on your ufo!”
“You should speed up the process.”
“wow you got msg from god..you must be very smart an powerful person,,,im goin go eat some dirt an paper now,, caio”
“Maybe it’s already happened, and you’re one of those left behind?”
From her Subaru, a car painted as white as the fourth horse of Revelation, Allison Warden proclaims that Jesus shall return May 21.
By her reckoning, His return will fall on a springtime Saturday. And if the world weren’t ending, you might find people celebrating other notable highlights of the day: Mr. T’s birthday, Montenegro’s independence or the Red Sox-White Sox game.
But to Warden and hundreds of like-minded Christians, Judgment Day can be calculated precisely by tracing biblical genealogy or by following history forward 7,000 years from the day Noah shut the door to his ark.
So if May 22 rolls around and you’re still here, wailing and gnashing your teeth, don’t say nobody warned you.
“It’s a very jarring thing to be told you have five months on Earth,” Warden, 29, said. “That may interrupt any earthly plan.”
They say that ignorance is bliss, but I’m not so sure about that… It’s not like these two decided to be stupid.
Poet, pilgrim, spiritual warrior and prisoners’ rights activist, Janine Pommy Vega has passed on.
Janine Pommy Vega, a poet and intimate of the Beat generation luminaries Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky whose lifelong quest for transcendence took her to San Francisco in the 1960s and on a pilgrimage to neolithic goddess-worship sites in the 1980s, died on Dec. 23 at her home in Willow, N.Y. She was 68.”
In the early 1970s, I was involved in a literary scene in Boulder, Colorado revolving around the Jack Kerouac School Of Disembodied Poetics at the Naropa Institute. At the time, I was managing the Hotel Boulderado, a funky century old building in the middle of downtown Boulder. Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs were staying at the Boulderado and it was through Ginsberg that I came to know the poetry of Janine Pommy Vega. While visiting Allen, I noticed a copy of “Poems to Fernando” by Vega sitting on the desk in Allen’s room. It was a City Lights publication and I was reading everything that Lawrence Ferlinghetti published. Plus, the fact that Ginsberg had it in his possession was more than enough to make me immediately seek the book out. Reading it was the beginning of my being enthralled by Vega’s poetry and prose and an awakening to the beauty of the goddess unleashed.
In addition to being a stellar writer, Vega was one of the few women of the Beat Generation who held her own in a male dominated scene. Along with Diane di Prima, she would break down walls that existed even in the so-called counter culture. Vega opened up pathways that Patti Smith, Lydia Lunch and Exene Cervenka would later walk.
Peter Orlovsky was her first lover at a tender age. They lived together and she confronted the complicated sexuality and male chauvinist ethos early on when Allen took Peter off to India, with nary a thought to her feelings. “Is this the way it is with the poets? This is my first lover and this is the way it goes? Fuck those people, man, I don’t want to know about the writers. I rather meet the painters, the musician, the magicians, let’s get to the street.” And meet them and the street she did. Janine was a populist, a street fighter, a survivor, a world traveler and hugely prolific writer many decades. Tracking The Serpent: Journeys to Four Continents is an amazing account of an adventuresome life. She spent the last 11 years with poet Andy Clausen, tending her garden when she wasn’t traveling the world performing her magnetic and politically engaged poetry, and doing the scholarly work as well, burning the midnight oil. Even after being hampered with debilitating arthritis she was out on the road, her uplifted voice and spirit cutting through anyone’s gloom.”
French film director Jean Rollin died last month and this just released short clip of the Sexploitation legend catches him at home giving an improvised tour of his books and trophies. It was filmed by Merrill Aldighieri during the making of a documentary on Rollin.
Fred. L’Epee is a visual artist and experimental film-maker, who has made several short films and documentaries (including Athens December 6th) since 2008. The Passengers is his most recent experimental short, which L’Epee describes as:
The first form of solar love is a cloud that rises above the liquid element; the erotic cloud sometimes turns into a storm and falls down again on earth as rain, while the bolt breaks through the layers of the atmosphere.
When the body lose his shape to become shapeless .... The Endless Aïdos.
Something maybe lost in translation, but it’s worth a watch.