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Remember the 90s? Kind of… Mike Doughty’s ‘The Book Of Drugs’
03.08.2012
11:34 am

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Books
Drugs
Music

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As the old adage goes, the Nineties were just like the 60s but inverted (I think it was on Beavis & Butthead that I first heard that one?) If that was indeed true, then could it be said that the drug culture of the 90s was like that of the 60s only inverted?

Mike Doughty is a singer-songwriter and blogger who is perhaps best-known for fronting the moderately successful 90s alt-rock band Soul Coughing. Doughty’s The Book Of Drugs is a memoir looking back on his time in the band, but moreso (as the title suggests) his addictive relationship with various drugs over the years. From the relatively mild (weed, e) to the more serious (smack, later substituted by alcohol), we’re with him all the way to rehab and the sobering power of the 12-step program (here reffered to mostly as ‘the rooms.’)

This isn’t a book about the insane highs and lows of drug culture, glamorous peaks and perilous troughs - all that sort of thing has been covered in countless other books from the 60s. The Book Of Drugs is rather about the slow, persistent grind of addiction and how it wears the user down over a long period of time, a fitting tone for a book about a period when drug use was seen less as a cutting-edge activity and more a normal part of day-to-day life.

Sure, there are some celebrity cameo drug buddies here, like spliff-caning Redman and the smack-snorting Jeff Buckley (thankfully presented as a regular, fucked up human being rather than some kind of tragic demi-god), but Doughty is still tight-lipped when spilling the real beans. One of the most interesting figures in the book is the unnamed, aging rock star Doughty meets in the New York rooms and who imparts some sage advice. Doughty describes the rock star’s band as basically inventing both punk rock and glam. Hmm, who could he mean? There’s a shortlist of suitable candidates buzzing in my mind…

Doughty does go into lavish detail on the holidays he spent in the far East where his greatest ambition was to stay in his room and nod out. Well, he lavishes upon the reader the bits he can remember, which are scant. Even then, he says, he was pretty crappy at being a good junkie:

I went to the tiny (Khmer] pharmacy to clean them out. I piled box upon box of Valium onto the floor, then noticed—morepreposterous luck!—boxes of codeine. I started flipping those out of the case as well.

I heard a French-accented voice behind me. “What are you looking for?” I turned around and saw a manly, unshaven guy in mirrored shades. I said something half-assed and dismissive.

“Maybe I can help you find what you are looking for?” he said.

I snarled and kept rummaging. He shrugged and went away.


Maybe he was trying to help me in the way I wanted to be helped. who knows what that guy knew how to get—heroin? opium? Here we are in the immediate vicinity of the Golden Triangle. there were a number of basic drug-addict skills that I never got together.

Doughty’s experience of “the rooms,” and especially his squaring of an atheist’s lack of belief with the 12-step program’s insistence upon deferring to a higher power, make for some of the books highlights. In fact, towards the end of the book I was totally sold on the rooms as a potential lifestyle-choice, and had developed an almost Marla Singer-esque desire to go and hang out at my local AA meeting.

However, for all the damage being a drug addict, smack-head and alcoholic has done to Doughty, he saves his real ire not for the drugs, or his various addictions, but for the other members of his former band (who all remain nameless to the bitter end). Some of these passages are bitterly entertaining, and again go to show that like drug consumption itself, by the time the 90s rolled around being in a band was less a glamorous calling than a slog-like routine. One just hopes that, like the drugs he has so successfully kicked, at some point in the future Doughty will be able to let go of all the pain and sadness Soul Coughing has brought him:

I’m full-bore batshit crazy with regards to Soul Coughing. If somebody says they love Soul Coughing I hear fuck you. Somebody yells out for a Soul Coughing tune during a show, I hear fuck you. If I play a Soul Coughing song and somebody whoops - just one guy - I hear fuck you. people email my own lyrics at me—“Let the man go through” or “You are listening”—oddly often (how weird is that, to blurt somebody’s own lyrics at them?), and I type back “Don’t put that one me, I’m not that guy any more, that guy is dead.”

If somebody comes up and says, I’ve been listening to you since 1996, it means I had a definitive youthful drug experience to an old CD, and now you’ll never escape that band that you loathe, and you are forever incomplete without those three hateful faces.

Mike Doughty “Na Na Nothing” (and to be fair, his solo stuff IS better!)
 

 
You can buy Mike Doughty’s The Book Of Drugs here.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Brave New World: Heart disease pill mitigates racism???
03.08.2012
10:17 am

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Get your head around this: Test subjects given the heart disease medication, Propranolol, a beta blocker, were found to score lower on a test of “implicit” racist prejudices and fears. From the Telegraph:

Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear.

Propranolol acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses. The drug is also used to treat anxiety and panic.

Experimental psychologist Dr Sylvia Terbeck, from Oxford University, who led the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology, said: “Our results offer new evidence about the processes in the brain that shape implicit racial bias.

“Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality. Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”

I’d say so!

Despite the study’s small size and limitations, the researchers believe it raises important ethical and philosophical questions.

Co-author Professor Julian Savulescu, from Oxford University’s Faculty of Philosophy, said: “Such research raises the tantalising possibility that our unconscious racial attitudes could be modulated using drugs, a possibility that requires careful ethical analysis.“Biological research aiming to make people morally better has a dark history. And propranolol is not a pill to cure racism. But given that many people are already using drugs like propranolol which have ‘moral’ side effects, we at least need to better understand what these effects are.”

But Dr Chris Chambers, from the University of Cardiff’s School of Psychology, said the results should be viewed with “extreme caution”. He said: “We don’t know whether the drug influenced racial attitudes only or whether it altered implicit brain systems more generally.
And we can’t rule out the possibility that the effects were due to the drug incidentally reducing heart rate. So although interesting, in my view these preliminary results are a long way from suggesting that propranolol specifically influences racial attitudes.”

Fascinating stuff, although my first thought was wondering how you’d get an Archie Bunker-type (or a Telegraph reader) to agree to take it?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
If You Think You’re Groovy: The Amazing Soul Rock Sound of P.P. Arnold
03.08.2012
09:45 am

Topics:
Music

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image
 
P.P. Arnold was one of the Ikettes, the backing singers for the Ike and Tina Turner Revue in the 60s, but after a visit to London, Mick Jagger, impressed by her powerful voice and stunning beauty—who wouldn’t be???—connected her with Andrew Loog Oldham, who signed her to his Immediate Records label, alongside acts like the Small Faces, Chris Farlowe (recognize that one?) and pre-Velvet Underground Nico (who was then recording songs Dylan had written for her with session musicians like Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones). The Small Faces backed Arnold on several of her hits, including this one, “If You Think You’re Groovy,” which was written by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane:

 

 
P.P. Arnold appears alongside the Small Faces for “Tin Soldier” on Flemish television from 1968:

 

 
P.P. Arnold has been firmly entrenched in my “rock goddess” pantheon for years and years. It was super annoying to see Roger Waters right up front at Madison Square Garden a few years ago, only to find out that PP Arnold was one of the back-up singers—she even had a featured number—and I didn’t even know it for a couple of days after the fact!

“Something Beautiful Happened” (my top favorite P.P. Arnold track, audio only)

P.P. Arnold: “Life is But Nothing” (60s music video)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Kate Bush: ‘Wuthering Heights’ slowed down to a gorgeous 36-minute symphony
03.08.2012
08:19 am

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Amusing
Dance
Music
Pop Culture

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kate_bush_slow_wuthering
 
My word, this is something. “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush slowed down to a 36-minute symphony of gorgeous spookiness and thrills by Looking At Blue from the Kate Bush News and Information forum.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Lamps made from the tail fins of bombs
03.08.2012
07:59 am

Topics:
Art
Design

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The Megaton Massive Bomb Lamp made “with the tail fins of a 100-lb bomb from the Korean War” is a new item on my need want list, you know, along with that Godzilla candelabra I want, too.

The interior of the fins retains the original turquoise paint, for a subtle wink of color. Finished with a polished nickel socket, elegant cloth-wrapped cord, and a natural linen shade.

The lamp will cost you $780.00 + $60.00 for shipping. Seems a bit expensive, but then again, what do I know about making “bomb lamps”?
 
Via Neatorama

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Mae West proving she was still ‘Hard to Handle’ at the age of 77
03.08.2012
06:08 am

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Amusing
Movies
Pop Culture

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mae_west_1970
 
The incomparable Mae West proving she was still “Hard to Handle” at the age of 77. Here Ms West sings the Otis Redding classic from the 1970 movie Myra Breckinridge. The film, based on the novel by Gore Vidal, and starred Raquel Welch, Farrah-Fawcett and Mae West, but was sadly a flop. Watching this fab little clip, who couldn’t be won over by the incorrigible Statue of Libido?
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Mae West Room in the Dali Theater-Museum


 
With thanks to Tommy Udo!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Paris: City of Fashion 1950-59
03.08.2012
05:05 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
History

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Paris_City_of_Fashion
 
Paris: City of Fashion is an elegant little featurette from British Pathé, which looks at a variety of women’s fashions from the 1950s, posed against the boulevards and avenues of the gorgeous City of Lights. Watching it makes me feel I should be Cary Grant wandering around markets on the lookout for a Swedish 4 shilling, an “Hawaiian Blue” or a “Gazette Moldar”.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The (Odd) Future of soul is ‘Purple Naked Ladies’
03.08.2012
05:00 am

Topics:
Hip-hop
Music
Queer

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…or flip that headline around and it could read Purple Naked Ladies is the soul of Odd Future.

Purple Naked Ladies is the first album by The Internet, nom-de-artiste of Matt Martians and Syd Tha Kid. Syd is best known as dj and beat-maker for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and Tyler The Creator. And those guys are controversial, right? Notorious for their misogyny and homophobia, it’s hard to make those ideals square with an album that is co-written, performed and produced by an out-lesbian who sings songs that are explicity about relationships with other women.

OFWGKTA’s music is complex, bizarre, and most definitely not pop in any way. In contrast, The Internet is not so much a rap group as a modern soul outfit, one that lies closer to the breathy vocal sensuality of Erykah Badu and Aaliyah than the melismatic histrionics of Alicia Keys, but which shares with Tyler et al a kind of dizzy modern psychedelia that’s utterly divorced from the pastorailsm of the hippies and weened on a diet of Cribs and animal tranquillizers. It’s also the most musically-accomplished release from the OFWGKTA camp to date - dare I say it’s accessible, even?

There are two videos taken from the album that can be watched sequentially. Both are directed by Matt Alonzo and featuring Syd and her girlfriend/accomplice as they alternately rob diners á la Pulp Fiction or snort drugs at the fairground. The first is called “Fastlane” and is featured below. The second is “Cocaine” which is after the jump, where you will also find a 20-minute documentary/interview with The Internet.  You can buy Purple Naked Ladies here.

The Internet “Fastlane”
 

 
After the jump, “Cocaine” and The Internet interviewed…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Steven Severin: Interviewed on ‘Music Box’ from 1987
03.07.2012
04:10 pm

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

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steven_severin_1987
 
Steven Severin has always been cool as fuck. From when he first appeared on TV, looking edgy at the back of the infamous Bill Grundy interview that launched The Sex Pistols’ “filth and the fury” onto the nation, through Siouxsie and The Banshees, to his position now as one of our leading film composers. Just take a look at Mr. Severin in this interview for Music Box, from 1987, with his blonde crop and silk waistcoat, and compare him to the mullet haired interviewer, who looks like he’s come off the set of Miami Vice, or failed the audition for Conan the Barbarian, again. Mr. Severin has always been ahead of the pack, and that’s what makes him so interesting musically, creatively, intellectually, and in his sense of style.

In this brief, rare interview, Steven discusses how he first met Siouxsie (at a Roxy Music concert in 1975); why the band’s line-up has changed for the better; his thoughts on being the first band to tour Argentina since the Falklands war; why The Banshees recorded “Dear Prudence” in Stockholm; and how tax problems affected The Glove, his band with Robert Smith.

Steven Severin is touring with his superb score for Carl Dreyer’s Vampyr in May and June this year, details here, where you can also buy a copy of his Vampyr CD.
 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds

The Glove: Robert Smith and Steven Severin’s experimental side-project


 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Incredible video footage of dolphins beaching themselves
03.07.2012
03:19 pm

Topics:
Animals
Current Events
Environment

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Unbelievable footage of a pod of dolphins (about 30 or so) deciding to bum rush a beach in Arraial do Cabo, Brazil, on March 5th, 2012. Fortunately, this has a happy ending, as the beachgoers and vacationers come to the pods’ rescue in absolute unison and with zero hesitation or fear to help the dolphins back into the ocean. Well done!
 

 
Via High Definite

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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