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‘Sez Les’: What John Cleese did after ‘Monty Python’
01.22.2012
05:42 pm
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If John Cleese hadn’t gone into Monty Python, then he would “have stuck to his original plan to graduate and become a chartered accountant, perhaps a barrister lawyer, and gotten a nice house in the suburbs, with a nice wife and kids, and gotten a country club membership, and then I would have killed myself.”

Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and men. Sensibly, Cleese opted for plan B, and all the success that entailed. It was therefore a surprise when Cleese quit Python in 1973, after its third TV series, and joined up as a supporting player to stand-up comic called Les Dawson, in his comedy sketch show, Sez Les.

Dawson and Cleese could not have been more dissimilar - Dawson short and plump, Cleese tall and skinny. Dawson was working class and self-educated, who had worked a long apprenticeship of stand-up in the working men’s clubs in the north of England, while maintaining his day-job as a Hoover salesman. Cleese was middle class, university educated and was upper-middle management, white collar material.

Dawson had originally wanted to be a writer, inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, he had hitched the highway to Paris, where he found work as a pianist in a brothel. Unable to find a publisher for his poetry, Dawson returned homewards, and inspired by his experiences as a pianist, tried his hand as a comic. Though he made his name with mother-in-law jokes, Dawson was a clever and verbally dextrous comedian, who dismantled jokes, only to recreate them in a funnier form. Cleese described Dawson as “An autodidact, a very smart guy who was fascinated by words.”

After a winning run on the talent show Opportunity Knocks, Dawson earned his first TV series, Sez Les (1969-1976), and fast became one of Britain’s best loved comics. In 1974, Cleese joined Dawson on the series, and the pairing (like a hybrid Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) proved highly successful. Both men had great respect for each other, and more importantly had a genuine affection which came over in their performances together.

Cleese eventually left to make Fawlty Towers, but for 2 series of Sez Les in 1974, Dawson and Cleese were top drawer comedy entertainment.
 

 
More from Dawson and Cleese, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.22.2012
05:42 pm
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Wolfgang Riechmann’s ‘Wunderbar’ in a video mega-mix
01.22.2012
04:40 pm
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Here’s something from the Dangerous Minds’ archives that was originally posted on March 4, 2011.

Wolfgang Riechmann was part of the German electronic scene of the 1970s centered in and around Düsseldorf . He started composing music in the 60’s in a group called Spirits of Sound with Wolfgang Flur who later became a founding member of Kraftwerk.

Riechmann released only one album, the brilliant Wunderbar, just one month before he was tragically stabbed to death in a random act of violence.

In Wunderbar, which was released from Sky Records in 1978, the influences of the so-called Berlin school (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze etc.) and the so-called Düsseldorf School (NEU!, Kraftwerk, La Düsseldorf) can be recognised. The main elements of his compositions are simple sequencer and drum patterns, filtered through Riechmann’s personal harmonies and simple (even simplistic) but mature melodies. The music in Wunderbar has been described as ‘‘modern, electronic pop, in a league with Kraftwerk and NEU!.”

The following video consists of all six tracks of Wunderbar.

1. Wunderbar (5:40)
2. Abendlicht (4:21)
3. Weltweit (7:00)
4. Silberland (7:41)
5. Himmelblau (8:38)
6. Traumzeit (1:11)

The video is a collage of vintage European erotica that contains some nudity that most viewers will find more campy than sexy. But I think it works nicely with Reichmann’s music.
 

 
Previously on DM: Brad Laner on Wolfgang Riechmann

Posted by Marc Campbell
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01.22.2012
04:40 pm
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What’s wrong with British cinema: ‘Kevin Curtis is a Dead Man’ explains NSFW
01.21.2012
08:08 pm
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A spoof trailer explaining in a nutshell what’s wrong with British independent cinema. NSFW.
 

 
Via Scheme Comix
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.21.2012
08:08 pm
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Francis Bacon’s women
01.20.2012
08:02 pm
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Francis Bacon occasionally settled outstanding food and drinks bills with one of his paintings. It didn’t always satisfy the creditor. One London restaurateur, not taken with the Irishman’s work, sold each painting on as quickly as he received them. What then would this dear gentleman make of the news that a single portrait by Bacon is expected to reach £18m at auction?

Described as “seductive and sexually charged,” the painting shows one of Bacon’s famous muses, Henrietta Moraes, slightly tipsy, lying naked on a rumpled, stained bed, in some Soho apartment. The image was based on a series of photographs Bacon commissioned from John Deakin—Vogue snapper, Colony Room habituee and chronic alcoholic. Deakin always ensured he took enough intimate photos to hock around as under-the-counter porn at ten bob a print.

Though he lived an exclusively gay lifestyle, women were central to Bacon: they were his muses, who loved, nurtured, inspired and developed his talents. Indeed, Bacon surrounded himself with strong women—almost replacements to the mother who had been callously indifferent to her son’s brutal beatings, when caught as a child dressing-up in her clothes and flirting with the stable boys.

In moments of fancy, I think Bacon had the hawk-like look of Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple, especially when all glammed-up for a night on the piss. I can imagine him solving an Agatha Christie, or board game mystery - Professor Plum, in the library, with a candle-stick - for there was the shadow of the country house and jolly maiden aunt (doling out make-up tips to younger girls, and at night reading Mrs Beeton recipes in bed) at the heart of him.

These grim childhood beatings opened Francis up to the delights of S&M: he claimed he fucked all the grooms who had horse-whipped him; said he fantasized about his father—whose purple face screams from so many Popes or glowers from under blackened umbrellas; and had a life of violent relationships with his lovers. 

Even so, it was the women who shaped him.
  image “Portrait of Henrietta Moraes” (1963)   Previously on Dangerous Minds Notes towards a portrait of Francis Bacon   More on Francis Bacon’s women, after the jump…  

Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.20.2012
08:02 pm
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‘Shady Love’: Sick new Scissor Sisters/Azealia Banks team-up
01.20.2012
05:05 pm
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I’m an unabashed Scissor Sisters fan. I fucking love them. Like Gorillaz, Spice Girls, Pet Shop Boys, Human League, ABBA and the Bee-Gees before them, the Sisters are practitioners of a polished brand of pure pop perfection that makes it nearly impossible not to give into their music and sing along. The Scissor Sisters write pop hooks like nobody’s business. Their production is flawless, the musicianship as good as it gets. The put out albums with no filler. They’re here, they’re queer—well, some of them are, anyway—so why can’t they score a proper breakthrough in the US despite being massive superstars the rest of the world over?

And it’s not that they’re “too gay for America”—that doesn’t mean shit anymore. Why haven’t they had a hit record here? It boggles the mind. You’d figure that there’s about an 85% overlap between their fans and Lady Gaga’s in the rest of the globe. Just not in America. I can’t figure it out. Even the biggest grouch could find something to like in their bag of tricks. They’re the best pop band in the world right now and they get no respect at home.

Maybe things will change with the release of their latest single “Shady Love,” a sick collaboration with hot property Azealia Banks (performing under the pseudonym “Krystal Pepsy”). She really keeps Jake Shears on his game here. Sublime!

I’ve been playing this like crazy for the last week. “Shady Love” could be the first monster song of 2012. It’s about time for the Scissor Sisters to have a hit in America. They deserve it. The country deserves them!

Awesome “Shady Love” video directed by Hiro Murai.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.20.2012
05:05 pm
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‘Cat Soup’ with David Cross
01.20.2012
02:54 pm
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Comedian David Cross makes light of the Internet’s obsession with… cats. NSFW.
 

 
(via BuzzFeed)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.20.2012
02:54 pm
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Andy Warhol’s ‘Kiss’
01.20.2012
02:28 pm
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Andy Warhol’s Kiss is probably the artist’s earliest film work that was screened in public. Harkening back to the time when Hayes Office censors would not allow lips to touch and linger for more than three seconds in Hollywood films, with Kiss, Warhol decided to shoot male/female, female/female and male/male snogs that went on for three minutes. The concept was likely also influenced by a 1929 Greta Garbo film called The Kiss which apparently was screened at Amos Vogel’s influential Cinema 16 experimental film society right around the time that Warhol bought his first Bolex film camera.

The Kiss films were started in 1963 and shown in installments during weekly underground film screenings organized by Jonas Mekas. Eventually a 55-minute long version of Kiss was assembled. Among the participants were Ed Sanders of The Fugs, actor Rufus Collins from the Living Theatre, sculptor Marisol, artist Robert Indiana, as well as several of the outcasts and doomed beauties who would come to comprise the Factory’s “superstars.” The woman who you see kissing several guys, is Naomi Levine, who probably also came up with the concept (many of the kisses were also shot in her apartment). Andy Warhol referred to Levine as “my first female superstar.”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.20.2012
02:28 pm
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Marijuana mohawk (you heard me, correctly)
01.20.2012
01:40 pm
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I’ve never really cared for the mohawk much as a hairdo—it’s more of a hair don’t as far as I am concerned—but THIS, yes, this, I can deal with.

Apparently, the above photo is from a 1995 issue of High Times.

(via KMFW )

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.20.2012
01:40 pm
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David Bowie profiled on ‘20/20’ in 1980
01.20.2012
12:52 pm
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A couple of weeks ago, I posted a vintage interview with David Bowie from the BBC that included more footage from his Broadway turn in The Elephant Man than I have ever seen elsewhere. This is a follow-up to that, a personality profile from ABC’s 20/20 shot around the same time.

You don’t tend to think of 20/20 as being so cutting edge today, but this story must’ve been quite a startling thing for some Americans to have beamed into their living rooms 30 years ago. I can vividly recall my parents being very perplexed by this piece and why I thought David Bowie was “cool” in the first place. It just didn’t make sense to them.
 

 
Part II here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘The Elephant Man’: David Bowie on Broadway, 1980

Posted by Richard Metzger
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01.20.2012
12:52 pm
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Beavis and Butt-Head in real life
01.20.2012
12:50 pm
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I’m not certain we should be thanking special makeup effects artist Kevin Kirkpatrick for creating these IRL prosthetic busts of Beavis and Butt-Head. This is going to give me nightmares!

I can’t unsee them!
 
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(via Nerdcore)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.20.2012
12:50 pm
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