Dan Savage is one of the wisest, sanest people in America today. Watch this short clip where he makes the case for Christian people who are pro-gay rights to stand up for what they believe in to “right-wing fundamentalist bat-shit crazy douchebag Christians” like Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer, and in their own churches and communities.
Proud to share a county with an evolved fellow like Dan Savage. He’s a good citizen and I really admire him. Bravo, sir!
There was a terrific, moving documentary last week on BBC Radio 4, “The Twilight World of Syd Barrett.” Featuring Barrett’s caretaker/sister Rosemary, original Floyd manager Peter Jenner, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and one of the last interviews with Rick Wright:
Five years after his death, Syd Barrett lives on freeze framed, still young and a striking lost soul of the sixties whose brief moment of creativity outshines those long years of solitude shut away in a terraced house in his home town of Cambridge.
This revealing programme hears how his band Pink Floyd (and family) coped with Barrett’s mental breakdown and explores the hurriedly arranged holiday to the Spanish island of Formentera - where the star unravelled. In the programme we also hear about Barrett’s pioneering brand of English psychedelic pop typified on early Pink Floyd recordings ‘Arnold Layne’, ‘See Emily Play’ and the strange songs on Pink Floyd’s impressive debut album ‘The Piper At the Gates of Dawn’.
Undoubtedly Barrett’s experimentation with the drug LSD affected him mentally and the band members reveal how concerned they were when he began to go catatonic on-stage, playing music that had little to do with their material, or not playing at all. By Spring 1968 Barrett was out of the group and after a brief period of hibernation, he re-emerged in 1970 with a pair of albums, ‘The Madcap Laughs’ and ‘Barrett’, but they failed to chart and Barrett retired to a hermit life existence under the watchful gaze of his caring sister Rosemary (featured in the programme)
Below, “Rhamadan,” a sprawling, 20-minute-long instrumental jam recorded during The Madcap Laughs sessions with Tyrannosaurus Rex bongo player Steve Peregrine Took. This comes only as a free download for people who bought An Introduction to Syd Barrett on iTunes or the physical CD. As someon\e who owns more Syd Barrett bootlegs than is perhaps necessary, it’s great to be able to finally hear this quasi-legendary track.
It’s worth noting that the new stereo remixes done by David Gilmour are especially nice-sounding. I thought they were a huge improvement myself. If you have any doubts, have a quick listen to “Octopus.” Not an insignificant upgrade in the audio fidelity department, I think you’ll agree:
One question for EMI, though: Where are “Scream Thy Last Scream” and “Vegetable Man” anyway??? WHEN will these tracks be given a proper release?
Nice homage to iconic female rockers with these cool skateboard decks, “Girls Girls Girls” from Girl’s 2010 Summer collection. Sadly, it appears they are no longer available on Girl’s website, but with a lil’ investigating, you’ll be able to find them. Ebay, perhaps?
The mystery of the crystals under closer examination. What is it that makes them possess magic powers as claimed by mystics of all ages? Through growing crystals directly on film their mystical qualities shine straight to the screen. Unfiltered, only aided by light which gracefully breaks its rays into rich visual textures.
The film consists of three home movies: Warhol at the Whitney, May 1, 1971, George’s Dumpling Party, June 29 1971 and Warhol revisited, May 1971 which show scenes from the opening of a Warhol retrospective, followed by footage of Warhol, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and founder of the Fluxus movement, George Maciunas at what looks like a fondue party in 80 Wooster St., Soho, before returning back to the Whitney.
The narration is by Mekas, who talks about the relationship between Warhol and Maciunas, Pop Art and Fluxus, which he says are the same, as both dealt with nothingness - “both took life as a game and laughed at it.” Warhol standing on the side, never a part of it, with George “laughing, laughing all the time.”
These beautiful short films are like water-colored moments from pop history, which as Cima points out:
It started when producer Barry Hanson asked writer Barrie Keeffe, one night, what film he’d like to see? Keeffe said he wanted to see an American gangster film set in the East End of London. There was nothing like it on at the cinema, so Hanson told Keeffe to write it. The result was The Long Good Friday, a movie regularly voted the greatest British gangster film, and one of the best British films, of all time. High praise for a movie that was nearly re-cut, dubbed and pumped out onto TV by its original parent company, ITC, who hated it.
I was lucky enough to see The Long Good Friday, when it was screened at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1980 as the highlight to a mini-retrospective of director John MacKenzie’s work. It had an indelible effect.
MacKenzie was established as a major talent, having made the films Unman, Wittering and Zigo with David Hemmings in 1969, and Made with Carol White and Roy Harper in 1972. He had also achieved further success directing Peter MacDougall’s brilliant dramas Just Another Saturday, which won the Prix Italia, Just A Boys’ Game, which starred rock singer Frankie Miller, and MacDougall’s adaptation of notorious hardman, Jimmy Boyle’s biography, A Sense of Freedom. Now he had just completed a film that captured the essence of 1980’s Britain under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Written by Barrie Keeffe, a former journalist who made his name writing political drams for TV and theater, Scribes (1976), about newspaper workers during a strike, .Gimme Shelter (1975–7), a powerful trilogy that dealt with deprivation, frustration and anger of working-class youth, and the tremendous BBC drama Waterloo Sunset, starring the legendary Queenie Watts.
Keeffe wrote The Long Good Friday in three days, over an Easter weekend. Originally called The Paddy Factor, the story dealt with East End gangster Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins) who plans to go into partnership with the Mafia to redevelop London, only to fall foul of the IRA. The film co-starred Helen Mirren, (who battled to make her character, Victoria, stronger), a young Pierce Brosnan, and Eddie Consantine, as the Mafia don.
The script came from all the stories Keeffe heard growing-up and working as a reporter on the Stratford Express, as he told the Arts Desk last year:
The seeds were planted then; it was a very fertile time, just before the end of the Krays’ empire, and a lot of my plays, and some of the incidents in The Long Good Friday, came from my experiences. For instance, one of the gangland punishments, if you strayed into someone else’s territory, was to crucify you to the warehouse floor. As a very innocent junior reporter, a young 18, I was sent to interview a guy in hospital. He was covered in bandages and I asked him what had happened. He said, with that wonderful East End humour, “Do you understand English, son? Well, put it down to a do-it-yourself accident.”
Filmed the same year as Thatcher’s election, The Long Good Friday predicted much of the change Conservative rule would bring to London and the British isles.
The Long Good Friday was obviously about the transformation of the East End. The Bob Hoskins character was talking about the end of the Docks and mile after mile of territory for “profitable progress” - I think that was his phrase. I saw the film again about five years ago and it has a scene showing this model of how the area would look under the developers. It underestimated it completely - it ought to have shown Canary Wharf looking like Manhattan. Looking at it, I was taken by the fact that none of us had foreseen the enormous scale of change.
The Long Good Friday was a film “raging” at what was about to happen to the country, the story of gangsterism / Thatcherism / Captialism coming face-to-face with terrorism / idealism.
Cast and Crew: The Long Good Friday brings together John MacKenzie, Barrie Keeffe, Barry Hanson, actor Derek Thompson, casting director Simone Reynolds to discuss the film, its making and its legacy. There are also interviews from Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. Watching Keeffe and MacKenzie around a table together, there is still the crackle of creative tension, as writer and director both lay claim to the film’s success.
Porn actress Bree Olson, the star of “Deep Throat This #37,” “Deep Throat This #43” and “Eat My Black Meat 4”—but who is perhaps best known as one of Charlie Sheen’s “angels”—tweeted this TwitPic earlier today of herself at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “Readymade” Fountain in the background.
“Art museum in Philly last week. They had some creepy shit!”
Although their passionate, anthemic ode to flower power, “Something in the Air” has been used countless times in films and television commercials, Thunderclap Newman, the group behind this classic song remain unfairly obscure.
Thunderclap Newman were formed in early 1969 when Pete Townshend and Who producer Kit Lambert brought together fifteen-year-old guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and jazz pianist Andy “Thunderclap” Newman to form a three-piece group to play the songs of former Who roadie (and Townshend’s sometime chauffeur) John “Speedy” Keen. Townshend originally planned to work with each of the musicians separately, but since he was concurrently working on his rock opera Tommy at the time, Lambert suggested that a group be formed instead. Newman, Keen and McCullough all met for the first time at the inaugural recording session for “Something in the Air” at Townshend’s home studio. Townshend produced the single and played bass guitar under the pseudonym “Bijou Drains.”
“Something In The Air” was written by Keen for the soundtrack of The Magic Christian film with Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. The original title was “Revolution” but that had to be changed due to the Beatles’s song of that same name. By the end of 1969 it was a gold record.
The group recorded an album, Hollywood Dream, again with Townshend in the producer’s chair. It’s a stone classic, there’s not a single weak song on it, but since the band never really had anything in common with one another, after a year of touring Europe supporting Deep Purple and Leon Russell, they just broke up.
Jimmy McCulloch went on to play guitar with Paul McCartney and Wings. His debut with Wings was “Junior’s Farm,” a great showcase for his talents. In concert with Wings, McCulloch would switch to bass when Macca sat down at the piano or played an acoustic guitar. He left Wings in 1977 (good timing!) to play with a reformed version of the Small Faces. McCulloch died of heart failure caused by a heroin overdose in 1979, apparently seated upright in a chair (“America’s Funnyman,” Neil Hamburger told me this, btw. He would know).
“Speedy” Keen had one more hit single, “Y’know Wot I Mean?” and went on to work as a producer with Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers on L.A.M.F. in 1977 (their only studio album) and Motörhead’s debut album before leaving the music industry. He died in 2002. Andy Newman formed a new version of Thunderclap Newman in 2010 and plays Hollywood Dream from start to finish in his set.