“I was wearing an old Salvation Army shop boy’s suit. As I went to the bathroom I heard people saying, ‘Hey, faggot’. They slammed my head into a locker. I fell to the ground and they started to kick the shit out of me. I had to have stitches. The school kicked me out, not the bullies.
“Years later, I went to a coffee shop and I ran into one of the girls who’d kicked me, and she said, ‘Winona, Winona, can I have your autograph?’ And I said, ‘Do you remember me? Remember in seventh grade you beat up that kid?’ And she said, ‘Kind of’. And I said, ‘That was me. Go fuck yourself.’”
Yesterday John Lydon threw a hissy fit on Australian TV talk show The Project and ended up the fool. Looking like a pudgy old tart with a stick up his arse, Lydon’s rant was bereft of even the slightest trace of humor or punkish charm. It’s really quite embarrassing.
Hey, hey, hey Mrs, shut up. Whoever you are, shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Now listen, when a man is talking do not interrupt.
Johnny needs a good kick in the dentures. What a wanker.
While Lydon is obnoxious from the get-go, the real unpleasantness begins at the 4:10 mark.
You could say it all started with Adolf Hitler. That was who John Cleese could impersonate when he was at school. Highly wrought, apoplectic impressions of the deranged Nazi leader. It brought Cleese laughs and popularity, which all made the shy young schoolboy feel less awkward and less self-conscious about himself, and particularly his height.
Being Hitler was also a release for his anger, his frustrations, and it allowed him to develop his natural comic skills. Most importantly, it offered Cleese an alternative career to the one his family expected.
‘When I was 16, everyone told me, “John, the thing to do is to get a good qualification. You go in an accountant’s office now and by the time you’re thirty-seven, you’ll have several letters after your name, you know you’ll be able to get married…” It was that kind of feeling. Fine. It’s one type of life, but it was laid down to me as a sort of golden pathway leading up to the A.C.A.’
A sense of duty saw Cleese study Law at Cambridge University. He soon found it frighteningly dull, and after 3 years, was more proud of a 12-minute sketch he had written and performed for the Cambridge Footlights than his knowledge of libel laws or past trials.
The sketch was the start of his long and successful career as a writer and performer, firstly in Cambridge Circus, then The Frost Report, At Last the 1948 Show, to Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the brilliant Fawlty Towers. Each of these shows, in their own way, allowed Cleese to vent the anger he could never express in his public life.
‘I know something’s manic in me,’ thirty-six-year-old Cleese explained in this BBC profile. ‘Yes, there is something manic somewhere in me, and I think it’s something to do with being trapped in a shell of lower middle class reasonableness, politeness.
‘Sometimes I get very angry and I find it frightfully difficult to be angry, and I think anger in particular—people talk to me at parties, and they really do talk, talk at me. And I have fantasies of picking things up, cheese dips and…[mimes rubbing the dip in someone’s face].
‘But I’ve never had the courage to do it.’
Broadcast in February 1976, after the highly successful first season of Fawlty Towers, this profile of John Cleese includes interviews with the great man himself, his then wife and co-writer, Connie Booth, as well as performers, writers and friends such as Tim Brooke-Taylor, Antony Jay, Alan Coren and David Frost, who said of Cleese:
‘I think it was the element of benevolent-sadism in his work really, in the sense that his humor can be immensely cruel—and the nice thing is that he means it.’
Here’s the first in a series on “hip.” It is for educational purposes only. Dangerous Minds cannot guarantee that you will achieve your desired level of hipness by merely reading this material and watching the video. While we have done everything possible to draw on the knowledge of our expert on “hip” (M. Campbell), there will undoubtedly be those among you who simply are incapable of being hip. And for that, we can only offer our profound regrets.
Hip vs. hipster:
The hipster thinks being un-hip is cool. In striving for total squareness, the hipster often dresses like an old man: scraggly beard, thick-framed glasses and a straw hat. He spends most of his time desperately trying to avoid being a cliche and in doing so becomes one. He thinks being cool is not cool. Therefore, he is not cool. The hipster is in a perpetual state of trying to escape himself for fear that he might be tagged a “hipster.” He re-invents himself one Carpenters album at a time.
Hip is eternal, immutable and undeniable. If you were truly hip in the 1960s, you’re still hip. Hip is cool but not ironic. When you see it, you know it, you want to be it. Who wouldn’t have wanted to be Mick Jagger in his twenties? Who wants to be Bon Iver?
Little known fact: Hip people appear to be anywhere from nine to eleven inches taller than they actually are.
While hipness is eternal, maybe the days of hip are over. It’s kind of sad when the hippest living person I can think of is in his seventies, Bob Dylan. Maybe Iggy’s still hip. Jagger certainly ain’t, which signifies that a person can be eternally hip at one point in his life and not at another. Young Jagger = eternally hip. Old Jagger = not hip.
Now is the time for a return to hipness. A time to be cool again, to dress up and be slick. To be sexy. To get out from behind your computers, iPads, Pro-Tools and walk the streets like uncaged leopards, ready for anything, slicker than the pomade on a pimp’s doo-rag. But it is essential to keep it real. To find your own style. We need more Marianne Faithfulls and fewer Lana Del Reys. We need more Kinks, not so many Strokes. I know you can do it. I’m here to help.
When I first got to Manhattan in 1977 I had no money and good jobs were scarce, particularly for a cat who didn’t like to get his hands dirty. Like many struggling musicians, I ended up working in a clothing store. The joint was on lower Broadway and was huge, a warehouse in fact. I started out selling vintage and surplus clothes and quickly worked my way up to being a buyer for the store. My job: finding cool retro fashions to sell.
I had a knack for tracking down never worn clothes and shoes from the 1950s-60s. I was eventually given my own department at the store. I called it “Rockers.” It became a big attraction for people who wanted hip inexpensive threads to wear and fashion designers from places like Fiorucci who wanted styles to knock-off. My customers included Lux Interior, Ivy Rorshach, Joey Arias, Klaus Nomi, Betsy Johnson, Billy Idol, Joe Strummer, Dianne Brill… virtually every fashion freak in Manhattan and those who passed through it. But the customer that I most cherished was Willy DeVille.
Willy was drawn to the huge inventory of winklepickers and cockroach killers I had in the store: Pointed-toe boots or shoes with Cuban heels. Suburban kids called them Beatle boots. Urban kids knew them as the kind of footwear worn by people you didn’t fuck with. Willy was the kind of person you didn’t fuck with. In many ways, he was a proto-type for the gangster rapper: pimped-out, gold teeth, sinister, street-wise, etc. The public personae wasn’t much different than the personal. He had the kind of nervous grace you associate with people living on the wrong side of the law. Over time, he would lose a lot of that edginess and mellow into a kind of beautiful nobility. And while there were many things one could accuse Willy of being (talk to his friends and foes), he was never ever uncool. As a friend of mine said “Willy was the professor of cool.”
Being hip can both be of the moment and ahead of its time. In Willy’s case, people are just catching up to how totally hip he was. I remember seeing him strike fear into the heart of Mick Jagger at a club, Trax, in 1978. DeVille was on stage and Jagger was in the audience. You could see the awe in Jagger’s face as he watched Willy work the crowd. It was as if Jagger suddenly realized he was not the hippest man on the planet. The cat with the gold tooth, epic pompadour and snakeskin boots was. The devil had met something even he couldn’t deal with. We’ll address this later in the “dark side of being hip.”
Here’s lesson #1 in being hip: How to make cool facial expressions. Watch the video carefully. Practice the moves. Put your own grease on it. Hit the streets.
Rocket News 24 hipped me to this life-size Ray Charles animatronic that plays parks in Osaka, Japan. Apparently the animatronic Ray isn’t really belting out any tunes or playing the keyboard (there’s a speaker in the heart of the machine).
Whatever the case, we need animatronics like this one playing parks in America. Maybe a GG Allin one that hurls feces at onlookers?
To me, Micky Dolenz was always the coolest Monkee. Plus he’s one of the first three people ever to own a Moog synthesizer, having bought one after seeing it demonstrated by electronic music pioneers Paul Beaver and Bernie Krause at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967 (Wendy Carlos and Buck Owens bought the other two).
Here’s Micky sportin’ some seriously futuristic shades. At first I described his sunglasses as “retro-futuristic,” but such a concept wouldn’t really have existed at the time, so I changed it.
Below, Micky Dolenz and the boys do “Daily Nightly”:
Graham Russell: Before you go, tell me about the time you met Nico.
John Waters: Nico ... I met her when she played in Baltimore. Well, (before that) I saw her play with The Velvet Underground at The Dom on St Marks Place(in New York) with The Exploding Plastic Inevitable. I have the poster still. But I met her much later when she had her solo career, which I loved. She was a total heroin addict. Did you ever read that book The End? (The 1992 book is a jaundiced and not exactly objective account by her former keyboardist James Young). It’s so hilarious. It was that – although it wasn’t that, that was later when she was touring England.
She played at this disco, and I went. And people went, but not a lot, it wasn’t full. And she was heavy and dressed all in black with reddish dark hair, and she did her (makes guttural moaning noise). Afterwards I said, “It’s nice to meet you, I wish you’d play at my funeral.” and she said (mimics doom-laden Germanic voice), “When are you going to die?” I told her, “You should have played at The Peoples Temple; you would’ve been great when everyone was killing themselves!” Then she said, “Where can I get some heroin?” I said, “I don’t know.” I don’t take heroin, so I don’t know. But even if I did, I wasn’t copping for Nico!
“But that was basically it. But I’ll always remember her, and I love Nico. I remember when she died, when she fell off the bicycle (in 1988). Every summer my friend Dennis and I, we play Nico music on the day she died (18 July). I saw that documentary Nico-Icon (Susanne Ofteringer, 1995), which was great. It’s a shame: she was mad about being pretty! She was sick of being pretty, being a model. And I remember her when she was in La Dolce Vita (1960), even before.
Nico ... great singer; and even the Velvet Underground hated having her. And her music can really get on your nerves. You have to be in the mood. Sometimes it gets on my nerves. You have to be in the mood to listen to it. To put on a whole day of Nico can be ... my favorite song of Nico ever, and I only have it on a tape that someone made, it’s a bootleg. Did you ever hear her sing “New York, New York”? It’s great! I wish she’d done a whole album of show tunes! Like “Hello Dolly” or “The Sound of Music”! (Mimics Nico singing “Hello Dolly”).
Below, Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman describes his experience with Nico when he put out The Marble Index and Nico sings “Janitor of Lunacy” on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975:
I have no idea what the source is behind this clipping or quote. Who is “Jack”? Why is Tom Waits wearing “Jack’s” pants and not his own? Is he referring to Jack Kerouac? Why doesn’t Tom Waits want Rickie’s bare feets all over “Jack’s” pants?