“This series, which as been quite successful, features four young men who dress as ‘beatnik types’ and is geared primarily to the teenage market.”
A lot of it is still redacted, but here is the pertinent description of the concert from the file:
“…that ‘The Monkees’ concert was using a device in the form of a screen set up behind the performers who played certain instruments and sang as a ‘combo’. During the concert, subliminal messages were depicted on the screen which, in the opinion of [redacted] constituted ‘left wing innovations of a political nature.’ These messages and pictures were flashes of riots in Berkeley, anti-U.S. messages on the war in Vietnam, racial riots in Selma, Alabama, and similar messages which had received unfavorable response from the audience.”
There is a second Monkees-related document that remains classified!
Below, “Daily Nightly,” thought to be the first use of the Moog synthesizer in a pop song. Micky Dolenz saw one demonstrated at the Monterey Pop Festival and was amongst the first people to own one.
Dating Do’s and Don’ts is a classic educational film on dating etiquette from the 1940s, which looks rather like a series of Norman Rockwell paintings interpreted by David Lynch.
The film follows teenage-virgin-about-town, Woody, who after receiving an invite for “one couple” to the Hi Teen Carnival, has to decide through a series of multi-choice options, who ask out, how to ask them out, and finally, how to say goodnight. I flunked on all three questions, see if you can do better.
I wonder why it’s generally the rich and famous who like to tell the public, ‘Money does not bring happiness’? It’s so condescending. Do the poor wander around informing whoever will listen, ‘Poverty does not make you happy’? Hardly. I was thinking about this as I finished reading Stephen Fry’s latest volume of highly readable autobiography, where the great man informs us:
I know that money, power, prestige and fame do not bring happiness. If history teaches us anything it teaches us that. You know it. Everybody agrees this to be a manifest truth so self-evident as to need no repetition. What is strange to me is that, despite the fact that the world knows this, it does not want to know it and it chooses almost always to behave as of it were not true. It does not suit the world to hear that people who are leading a high life an enviable life, a privileged life are as miserable most days as anybody else, despite the fact that it must be obvious they would be - given that we are all agreed that money and fame do not bring happiness. Instead the world would prefer to enjoy the idea, against what it knows to be true, that wealth and fame do in fact insulate and protect against misery and it would rather we shut up if we are planning to indicate otherwise.
It’s a clever piece of writing, and rather troubling. If money hasn’t made Mr Fry happy, perhaps that’s because he wasn’t happy before he had it? As someone who has spent a considerable part of his adult life in poverty, dirt and a miserable ease, I can assure the universally loved writer, actor, broadcaster and tweeter that money can and does bring happiness, for it allows independence. Moreover, if money’s not important, then why is so much of our politics based on the redistribution of wealth?
Of course, it’s not just money, Mr Fry is writing about, but fame, and his depression, and all that entails, which he recently discussed, along with his thoughts on suicide, in the talk-show In Confidence:
‘It is exhausting knowing that most of the time the phone rings, most of the time there’s an email, most of the time there’s a letter, someone wants something of you. They want to touch the hem of the fame, not the hem of the person.
‘You resort to not travelling on the Tube or walking round the street any more and going in a big car with a driver.
‘And people think, “Oh, he thinks he’s so grand, doesn’t he?” Well, no. I’d rather walk, but sometimes I just can’t.
‘I feel I would love to close down for a number of years in some way and just be in the country making pork pies and chutneys and never have to poke my head out of the parapet.’
In 1989, I had the pleasure of meeting Fry, when I was a researcher working on Open to Question, a “yoof” interview series where groups of inquizzitive teenagers grilled various invited guests: from politicians (Gary Hart, Tony Benn), through performers (Billy Connolly, Jim Kerr) to Royalty (Princess Anne). Fry’s show was recorded on the same day we filmed an episode with Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), in which the seventies pop star discussed the fatwa on Salman Rushdie and his Islamic beliefs. In one corner of the green room was Fry with cigarettes and red wine, in the other Yusuf Islam with an entourage of veiled assistants.
Fry was affable, eminently likable, terribly polite and deflected the most intimate and probing questions. When asked if he had always wanted fame, Fry avoided a direct answer by explaining his definitions of fame. There was “real fame like Charlie Chaplin”; and another kind, like original James Bond (on radio) and British TV host, Bob Holness. Fry said when he was younger he wanted to be famous like Holness, and managed to slip this in without the interviewer, (future Channel 4 newsreader) Krishnan Guru-Murthy picking up on his youthful ambition.
In The Fry Chronicles, he explained this ambition more openly:
A part of me - I have to confess this, moronic, puerile and cheap as it may sound - really did ache to be a star. I wanted to be famous, admired, stared at, known, applauded and liked.
Now of course he’s bigger than Holness and as universally loved as Chaplin, which in light of his recent comments about hem-touching fans, does, sadly, seem to confirm what Saint Teresa of Avila once wrote:
“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones”
It’s thirty years since the loveliness that is Stephen Fry first came to prominence alongside Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Tony Slattery, Paul Shearer and Penny Dwyer in the Cambridge Footlights’ comedy revue “The Cellar Tapes”. It’s the last really great Footlights show, as those following it may have highlighted some great individual talent (Sue Perkins, Robert Webb, David Mitchell, and Richard Ayoade) but never achieved the legendary status of “Beyond the Fringe”, “A Clump of Plinths” (aka “Cambridge Circus”) or “The Cellar Tapes”. Understandable, you may say, considering the unique and exquisite talents felicitously brought together for our entertainment.
The success of “The Cellar Tapes” led Fry and Laurie to be asked by the BBC to come up with a pilot for a possible series:
We conceived a series that was to be called The Crystal Cube, a mock serious magazine programme that for each edition would investigate some phenomenon or other: every week we would ‘go through the crystal cube’. Hugh, Emma, Paul Shearer and I were to be regulars and we would call upon a cast of semi-regular guests to play other parts.
This is that pilot, in all its VHS glory, and as someone comments on the youtube page was there a more brilliant threesome as Fry, Laurie and Thompson? Answers on a postcard, care of the usual address.
By now you’ve probably heard that assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, AKA “Dr. Death,” died this morning at the age of 83.
But what you might not know is that Kevorkian was an accomplished painter and jazz musician.
Yep, it’s true. One day I was crate-digging in some record store in New York City and I came across his jazz CD, Kevorkian Suite: Very Still Life for a buck, so I bought it. The CD booklet has several full-color reproductions of his paintings, and as you can see in the video below, the subject matter of his paintings often pertained to rather macabre things, as I am sure will come as no surprise. And yes, that’s his music, he’s playing flute and organ. Not bad, but it wouldn’t be the last thing I’d want to hear…
Released only on VHS and Laserdisc in 1995, Neil Young’s film Human Highway, filmed in 1978, contains this marvelous footage of Young and Devo having their way with Hey Hey My My. Match made in heaven sez I ! Enjoy this excellent quality clip before the corporate music police take it down.
This is a genius prank (or a principled stand, take your pick—there is no third choice). The kids who are responsible for this magnificent move should all be given full scholarships by the Daily Kos college fund:
Open up the Russellville Middle School yearbook. You’ll see the students’ pictures, the administration, and a pretty controversial list that’s supposed to be covered with a piece of black tape.
“My problem is the tape can be removed easily,” said School Board Member Chris Cloud. Cloud has two kids in the Russellville School District and one brought home the yearbook.
“I’m furious as a parent and as a board member and as a tax payer and as a resident of Russellville,” he said. “It’s wrong.”
If this is wrong, as the song goes, then I don’t wanna be right:
The list is titled “Top 5 worst people of all time.” The top three, in order, are Adolph Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, and Charles Manson. Numbers four and five are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
And here I thought public schools in Arkansas were supposed to be the nation’s worst??? This gives me hope for the next generation!
Superintendent Randall Williams calls the list “an oversight.” Parents caught it after the yearbooks were printed. The district’s solution was to cover the list with tape. It didn’t work.
Superintendent Williams says the yearbook editing process is under review. I’ll bet it is!
I have written about Ben Butler and his magical Mouse Pad on DM before, calling Joe Howe (who is in effect Ben Butler) the “Herbie Hancock of the Scott Pilgrim generation” and “Bernie Worrell jamming a Gameboy”. I stand by that because Joe is a brilliant producer. His lo-fi synthtastic noodlefunk is not to everyone’s liking, but if you dug some of the skwee sounds I posted a wee while back, if you like some 80s MOR pop but think it’s just too slick, or even if you just have a general interest in leftfield electronica, then BB&MP are worth checking out.
Having released their debut album Formed For Fantasy earlier this year, BB&MP’s record label LOAF are now giving away as a free download the first single, “Infinite Capacity (For Love)”, which features The Niallist on lead vocals. Who is that I hear you ask? Yes, it is me, and I know that makes me open to accusations of nepotism, but I would post about BB&MP even if I didn’t know Joe. There’s a reason I worked with him and that is because he is really good, and I am very happy with our collaboration. But you can judge for yourself - to have “Infinite Capacity (For Love)” sent to your inbox, enter your email address into this widget:
Other guest vocalists on the album include San Francisco’s Vice Cooler (aka Hawnay Troof), LA’s Bobby Birdman and the brilliant Scottish oddbod Momus. Formed For Fantasy is being streamed in full on the LOAF Records website. For more info (and free tracks) check out the Ben Butler & Mouse Pad Bandcamp site, and for general shits and giggles they also have a Tumblr. LOAF have also just released a new video for the track “Design” featuring Bobby Birdman. It’s the wigged out animated tale of a psychedelic Jesus-meets-Vishnu character:
The first episode in the new series by Adam Curtis, All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace is now available to watch in full on YouTube.
Starting by examining our current era of supposed economic, social and online freedoms, Curtis manages to join the dots between Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, the IMF’s involvement in East Asia, radical Islam and Silicon Valley’s economic boom. This episode features some very interesting and candid interviews with Rand confidants Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, Nathaniel having had an affair with Rand that lasted many years. Presented in the typical, excellent Adam Curtis style, using lots of obscure stock footage and a great soundtrack, this is essential viewing.
Episode two of All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (“How The Idea Of The Ecosystem Was Invented”) is available to watch here.