Early color footage of The Beatles, from November 20, 1963. The fabs were on a 6-week tour of the UK and Ireland, when British Pathe caught up with them at the ABC Cinema, Manchester, filming them backstage and perfroming “She Loves You” and “Twist and Shout”.
Hard to remember it now, but it was well into the 1980s before VCRs were commonplace in America life. I lived in lower Manhattan at the time and there were very few video rental stores there. The only ones I can recall are Kim’s Video (originally sharing space with a dry cleaner, then several locations, now down to one again) and the New Video mini-chain, now a DVD distributor. By mid-decade the “tape trading underground” was starting to organize itself (aided by the then burgeoning zine scene) and an unlikely character named “Dan the Record Man” became a key node in that machinery.
“Dan the Record Man” was probably in his mid 50s when I met him, but he was in such terrible shape that he looked far older. He was a classic example of what eating SHITTY FOOD 24/7—in his case dirty water sauerkraut and mustard slathered hot dogs sold by street vendors outside of the Canal Street flea market where his stall was located—could do to a human body. My god did he just reek of poor health and future strokes and heart attacks, but he was a super cool old guy who had been a dancer on Hullabaloo and knew everything about music and had records so rare it made my head spin. Case in point he had copies of The Great Lost Kinks Album as well as the live Yardbirds LP and the novelty record “Stairway to Gilligan” both which Led Zeppelin’s lawyers had yanked off the market. Once he knew you were “cool”—he was really paranoid—he’d pull back the black curtains covering the top shelves in his overstuffed corner booth and show you the bootlegs (there were thousands) and the real treasure he had, the bootleg videos.
Dan had EVERYTHING you ever wanted or could ever want. And if he didn’t have it, he could get it for you (he scored Nancy Sinatra’s TV special for me as I recall). Tapes were $20 and he’d do trade if you had something really good, but in keeping with his Gollum-esque character, you had to have two really good things in order to get one of his really good things for free. Those were his rules and you could fuck the fuck off if you weren’t prepared to play by them. Old school record collectors out there will feel me when I say: you did play by his rules. Otherwise you were cut off from so much illicit bootleg goodness.
Every once in a while you could surprise Dan with something incredibly rare. At the time I knew Dan, I was working in a digital video studio that did Super-8, 16mm and 35mm film transfers. On one occasion, photographer Robert Frank booked time to make a film transfer from his little seen documentary of the Rolling Stones’ 1972 American Tour with the title Cocksucker Blues. The Stones had an injunction against Cocksucker Blues being screened (unless for charity) because, well, it was a fairly decadent and at times quite unflattering portrait of them, let’s just say. The staff were told that under no circumstances could we make our own copies of what Frank was coming in to transfer. Yeah right! So, uh, this friend of mine, yeah this friend of mine, made copy, a copy of which I then traded to Dan, for, as I recall, a live video of David Bowie’s “Heroes” tour from 1978 and Bowie’s “1980 Floor Show” performance from The Midnight Special. Whenever I saw a bootleg of Cocksucker Blues, I would always look to see if it was a generation or two (or ten) away from the one I traded to Dan. Over the decades, most of them were my copy’s progeny (I can tell by a warble in the opening credits) although this has changed in recent years as a far better version has surfaced on DVD and torrent sites.
In any case, my rambling anecdote about the VHS tape trading underground of the late 1980s is because I wanted you to know that the legendary Cocksucker Blues documentary has been posted once again by some kind soul for viewing on the Internet. My 25-year-old copy is NOT the parent of this version, which looks pretty good (Note: The film was shot on Super-8 film to begin with, so it’s never going to look much better than this. You can find torrents for a great looking DVD version all over the place).
No, these are not photos of Mumford And Sons or the many faces of Bon Ivers or mugshots of Brooklyn hipsters. These are photos from 1957 of entrants in an annual beard-growing contest that took place in Kansas.
I swear I saw a couple of these guys walking around Austin earlier today.
Turkish punk, new wave, no wave, psychedelia and hard rock vs. Turkish Star Wars (The Man Who Saved The World).
Turkish-made film Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam commonly known as “Turkish Star Wars” because of its notorious bootlegging of Star Wars film clips worked into the film. Released in 1982, Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam was created in Turkey caught in the midst of massive political upheaval. As a result, American-made films were not easily acquired and were often remade with a Turkish cast and setting. The musical soundtrack is entirely lifted from Western film hits of the time, primarily using Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are also scenes incorporating the music of Moonraker, Flash Gordon, Battlestar Galactica, Planet of the Apes and Disney’s The Black Hole.”
01. Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayim - Özdemir Erdogan Ve Orkestrasi
02. Zardanadam - Kalbim Yok
03. Rashit - Kapak Güzelleri
04. Deli - Ösym
05. Gokhan Dabak - Sekiz Kahkaha
06. Dynamit - Yok Olmaz
07. Hayaksi - Dur Dinle
08. Panik - Bahtsız Bedevi
09. Vae Victis - Tek Tabanca
10. Zibidiler - isterler
11. Kilink - Boktan Mesele
12. Headbangers - Beni İlgilendirmez
13. Kırık Çizgi - Mirimari
14. Ask it why - Yükselen Degerler
15. Güray Binay - Roma’ya Varış
16. Antisilence - Kesme Sesini
17. Second - İki Bomba
18. Horanta - Davuluna vur
19. Noisy Mob - Kısır Döngü
20. Dehr-i Yalan - Yangın Var
21. The Androids - Elhamdurus
22. Tünay Akdeniz & Cıgrısımlar - Disi Denen Canlı
23. Bundan Sonra -Selda Bağcan, Vurulduk Ey Halkim
Thanks to my Turkish sweetheart, Mirgun, for the inspiration.
Writer Frank Bill’s monosyllabic appellation could be attached to any number of the sociopathic characters in his unrelentingly brutal and bloody debut Crimes In Southern Indiana. With its drug-addled, inbred, white trash knuckleheads doing each other dirt and worse, Bill’s southern Indiana is a place of dark deeds and vengeance doled out via perverse systems of arcane backwoods justice. Imagine the ninth circle of hell cluttered with double-wides and clapboard shacks populated by dead-eyed redneck gangsters twitchy with meth-fueled bad intentions and lots of fire power. These crazed fuckers make Robert Mitchum’s angel of death in Night Of The Hunter look like the Fuller Brush salesman. One bloodshot glance from any of Bill’s hoosier badasses would make Blue Velvet’s Frank Booth spew his Pabst across the bar and shit his sharkskin slacks.
Crimes In Southern Indiana is a genuine jaw dropper. It contains bursts of brilliant writing that come at you like a sawed-off shotgun loaded with prose so hard and wicked it’ll knock you flat to the ground as sure as a blast of buckshot. I’m not kidding. This is intense stuff, mean, cruel and darkly beautiful, with more memorable lines than a dozen pulp fictions.
Bill’s tales of dope deals gone bad, incest, and blood vengeance in America’s heartland is gothic noir that scrapes at the coffin lid that separates the dead from the not-so-dead - a netherworld where the only sign of life are the insects tap dancing on the inside of your skull and the palpitating heart under the pale bruised flesh of your step-daughter’s tit.
When Bill describes acts of violence he does so with a mix of blunt force and twisted delicacy. A man shot in the head point blank and his “complexion disappeared across the soil.” The line “Pitchfork buried a .45-caliber Colt into Karl’s peat moss unibrow” is, like all good noir, hardboiled and funny. A rapist named Melvin has “the scent of coagulated chicken swelled in hundred-degree heat.” Blood peels off a man’s face like “three day old biscuits.” A loudmouth psychotic killer has the tables turned on him by a knife in the neck, his karmic check cashed “like a dog chasing and biting at a passing car’s tires only to have its bark replaced by the crunch of its skull between rubber and pavement.”
For fans of Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, Boston Teran, Donald Ray Pollack, Joe R. Lansdale and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, add the name Frank Bill to your list of profane pleasures.
Crimes In Southern Indiana should come wrapped in butcher paper tied with a ribbon of barbed wire. It’s bloody great entertainment.
Check out Frank Bill’s website. He’s on a book tour and may be coming to a town near you. Check out his schedule. Consider it advance warning to lock your doors and draw your blinds.
From 2003, The Importance of Being Morrissey is the most revealing and quotable documentary made on Steven Patrick Morrissey.
In it he compares meat eating to child abuse; attacks the Royal Family and Tony Blair; responds to the accusations of racism; and we hear about his depression. There’s also some great concert footage, and a mixed selection of celebrity fans who explain their fervor for the Mozz: J K Rowling identifies with Morrissey in a darkened room, though still won’t give up bacon; former neighbor, playwright Alan Bennett couldn’t say his name, but thinks he has an interesting face with a story to tell; Will Self likes his muscular intellect; Noel Gallagher thinks he is the greatest ever lyricist; Chrissie Hynde thinks people who don’t get him can go fuck themselves; Bono thinks he’s funny; and Nancy Sinatra says he’s a great hugger.
Today is the anniversary of 1920’s Wall Street bombing. On September 16th a horse-drawn wagon stopped in front of the J.P. Morgan building. At noon, the driver disappeared into the street and a powerful explosive killed thirty-nine people and injuring hundreds more, in what Dorian Cope describes as “the first symbolic terrorist attack on American capitalism and power” in today’s entry at On This Deity:
The Washington Post at once declared the incident an “act of war.” Impervious to the lack of any suspects, or even any credible claim for responsibility, the newspaper nevertheless did not hesitate to name the enemy: “The bomb outrage in New York emphasizes the extent to which the alien scum from the cesspools and sewers of the Old World has polluted the clear spring of American democracy.” Without any supportive evidence, this was a dicey statement which only served to further fuel the zeitgeist of post-World War One America in the grip of its Red Scare and ongoing labour disputes. Thus it was, with an amnesiatic shamelessness, that A Nation of Immigrants proceeded to blame the attack firmly and indiscriminately on its most recent arrivals. Fear of further violence intensified the so-called Palmer Raids – the gigantic Government-backed human dragnet, targeting Italians, Russians, Germans and Jews suspected of harbouring radical ideas. In the ensuing hysteria, thousands of ethnic-minority citizens were detained – 10,000 would ultimately be deported – in the name of “national security”, even though there was no evidence to link most of them to the terror plot.
Meanwhile, Wall Street – which, before the attack, had been suspiciously viewed by many for its unchecked growth of power – emerged as a new symbol of patriotism. Stock trading resumed the next day, and the continuing financial boom came to represent an act of defiance against terrorism. Anyone who dared to voice concerns about capitalism or the investigation into the bombing was denounced as unpatriotic, effectively smothering any public debate on the matter (is this beginning to sound familiar?). The attack also served to consolidate the position of the Bureau of Investigation (which, in 1933, was re-named the Federal Bureau of Investigation). Previous public concerns and criticism for a federal secret police evaporated as the fear of radicalism spread.
As one of Dorian’s readers points out:
“Given the current state of the Western economies, I’m surprised Wall Street is still in one piece.”