Happy Birthday Dave Davies - founder of The Kinks and highly original guitarist, whose innovative playing style influenced Psychedelic Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock and Brit Pop.
Mr Davies continues to make wonderful music and has just released a fab new CD Fortis Green 2, a follow-up to his 1999 release, named after the district in London where Davies was born, sixty-six years ago. The album is exclusively available at Dave Davies homepage.
Happy Birthday Dave Davies and long may you continue to make music.
Dave Davies - ‘Fortis Green 2’ promo
The Kinks - ‘Got My Feet On The Ground - written and performed by Dave Davies
The Kinks - ‘Susannah’s Still Alive’ - written and performed by Dave Davies
Dave Davies - ‘Death of a Clown’ Live Belgian TV, 2002
Lot 1011: “A Marilyn Monroe signed ‘United States of America Department of Defense’ identification card, 1954.” Sold by Bonhams for $57,000 (incl. premium), at an “Entertainment Memorabilia” auction, December 21st, 2008.
A Marilyn Monroe signed ‘United States of America Department of Defense’ identification card, 1954
Laminated with a black and white photograph of the star in the upper left-side corner, a date of “8 Feb. 1954,” and a typed name of “DiMaggio, Norma Jeane;” Monroe’s signature using this name is penned in blue fountain pen ink on the lower right-side corner; back of card shows her two finger prints as well as her personal statistics: “Height [5’5 1/2”], Weight , Color of Hair [Blonde], Color of Eyes [Blue], Religion [None], Blood Type [Unk], Date of Birth [1 June 26].” Though this ID card has been reproduced as a souvenir item and sold in stores and has also been seen in many books, this piece appears to be the actual one that Monroe used when she performed for the troops in Korea while she and Joe DiMaggio were on their honeymoon.
I Am The Cosmos was the title of a beautiful and groundbreaking album by Chris Bell, originally recorded in the mid-1970s, but not released until 1992 - fourteen years after Bell’s death in a freak automobile accident. While I Am The Cosmos is now recognized as a cult classic - the name I Am The Cosmos is now fast becoming more associated with a brilliantly talented duo from Dublin, Ross Turner and Cian Murphy.
Since their formation in 2010, I Am The Cosmos have been making considerable impression with their music. From their first release “Dislocate”, they have been cautiously producing material of such quality and originality that it promised I Am The Cosmos would one day release a masterwork. And now it would appear this day has come early, with the release of their sublime debut album Monochrome. I contacted I Am The Cosmos to find out more about Ross and Cian, theri backgrounds, what brought them together, and how they wrote and recorded their brilliant debut Monochrome.
Paul Gallagher: How did you first meet and what drew you together as musicians?
Cian Murphy: ‘Ross [Turner] is a drummer by trade and was involved in the Dublin music scene from quite an early age, so I was a fan of bands he played with long before we started making music together. We would meet at gigs, or he would come into where I worked and buy records and we would talk about music. There was always a mutual interest in what the other was up to musically.
‘When it comes to making music, I think even though the desired outcome is the same, we do have different approaches. I would tend to be a little more gung-ho with my ideas while Ross is more restrained. There are times when Ross will tell me to keep it simple and not throw so much at a song, and he’s always right! Wherever that balance is struck - that’s usually where the good ideas are. There are similarities too though - we both love a good melody and wanted to explore the notion of songs being quite melodic while still being something people can dance to.’
Ross Turner: ‘Cian [Murphy] and I had mutual friends growing up when we were teenagers - we lived pretty close to each other on the outskirts of Dublin. Usually bumping into each other at parties or in “discos”, spending most of our time talking about very similar tastes in music. Time passed along and some growing up took place before we actually did anything together, although I think we had always wanted to do something together musically. I was gifted the amazing opportunity to work out of and run a great studio space in Dublin, the owners had moved away for a short spell. When this came up I got in touch with Cian straight away to see if he wanted to come along and mess around with some music I was working on. Just previous to this Cian had done a remix of a very early version of “Look Me In The Eye” under the name Leisure Wear. I really liked what he did with the song, so I was eager to develop something after that.
‘The fact that our tastes are so similar we moved quite quickly into a process of putting tracks together.’
Previously on Dangerous MInds
I Am The Cosmos: EXCLUSIVE premiere of their album track ‘Lost Rhythm’
Nothing is more fascinating, frightening and at times, awe inspiring, than human nature. That moment when our nature becomes predatory is a theme examined in countless true crime TV specials, slasher films and pulp novels. But when you approach the pathology, impulse and modus operandi of a killer with a stark, borderline surrealistic touch, you end up with a film like 1998’s Pig.
A collaboration between Dutch filmmaker and Cult Epics founder Nico B. (Bettie Page: Dark Angel) and musical innovator, the late Rozz Williams (Christian Death, Premature Ejaculation, Daucus Karota, Shadow Project), Pig is an incredible work. Being available only on a long out-of-print VHS and DVD, Cult Epics is re-releasing this along with the long-awaited follow up, 1334 on Blu Ray. While it’s too early for me to comment on 1334, I can say that Pig is one of the most tonally dark and melancholy films that yet possess a strange beauty. While some will be instantly turned off by the subject matter and at times, extreme imagery, Pig is a film that has more in common with surrealism than it does with, say, Hostel. If anything, it lies more in the ether between Un Chien Andalou and Helter Skelter.
Pig opens up with a black suitcase, as a pair of male hands start to methodically pack it. A deck of cards here, a copy of Lillian Hoban’s children’s book, Mr. Pig & Sonny Too there. We see images inter cut, including a shot of a bare man’s torso, featuring the title carved into his chest and a rotten window decorated with photos and dice. The man with the suitcase (Rozz Williams), dressed in a suit and his long hair pulled back, closes the door and descends to his car. He ends up in the middle of the desert, with only little desolate signs of life, including graffiti’d rocks with words like “Ellie” and “Dead Man’s Point” painted on them. The latter phrase in particular is incredibly hard to read without the aid of freeze frame, making it almost a nice and morbid subconscious film blip.
A solitary figure (James Hollan) wanders around the landscape, lanky and clad in black except for the white bandages wrapped around his head. The two paths interconnect, with the man in bandages getting in the man’s car. Through a reflection of the rear-view mirror, we see that the driver is wearing a pig mask. They pull up to an abandoned house in one particularly desolate stretch of nowhere. The bandaged man is put through a series of physical tortures, including blood play, piercing and cutting. Curiously, he seems extremely passive, not unlike a patient studiously enduring an assortment of painful medical procedures. There’s less of a feeling of creepy killer tactics and more of human interaction put through a mutilated filter. The man’s passive behavior, despite looking to be a good foot taller than his captor, only adds to this. His body language is more of an animal calmly awaiting its fate, than anything else.
The boundaries become even more blurred, with one particularly striking scene directly referencing Rene Magritte’s famous painting, “The Lovers.” As both men have their heads bandaged, they start to communicate via hand signals. Even more startling, is one shot of one of the men (judging by physical size and briefcase placement, more than likely Rozz), sitting alone in an empty stove, looking like a sad child. It’s this blurring of the lines of black/white/good/bad that make this film so compelling. It’s too easy to get babied by the old school way of villain/hero, which is one of the reasons why Pig is a fascinating work.
Without giving too much away, Pig ends on an dreamy yet somber note, giving you no firm answers, only the memory of violence and sadness.
When films are prefaced with such carny-tastic warnings like “for strong stomachs only” or “sensitive viewers beware,” it usually means that either you’re about to sit through a fantastic camp fest of grue or some torturous bit of film extremism Ala the Guinea PigPig is a strong work and sure, if you’re sensitive to violence, you will definitely be put in an very emotionally uncomfortable place, but it’s not excessive just to be excessive. It doesn’t necessarily revel in its stronger images, though it does not shrink from them either. The violence here seems to serve two purposes. One is literal, since our main character is a predator by nature, but the second is more tenuous, with the violent images often bordering on the surreal, making them blend in with the rest of the film’s dreamlike imagery. Strong imagery is certainly nothing new for anyone influenced by the surrealists, whether you’re talking Bosch, Duchamp or Jodorowsky. For people that have an auto-bias against anything branded “horror,” a work like Pig shows that there are many shapes to a deceptively simple genre.
Being the debut film work for both director Nico B. and star/writer Rozz Williams, this is such a strong start. Nico would go on to create the amazing film company Cult Epics, which has been responsible for spreading the word and preserving the work of such cinematic luminaries as Radley Metzger, Walerian Borowczyk, Rene Daalder and Fernando Arrabal. He also directed the well made Bettie Page bio-picture, Bettie Page: Dark Angel. Rozz Williams, whom despite leaving this plane of existence at only age 34, already had a considerable musical legacy behind him, especially with his pioneering work in bands like Christian Death, Shadow Project and Premature Ejaculation. With this musical history, it’s fitting that Williams’ stellar work, along with some editing help by Premature Ejaculation alumni Chuck Collision, on Pig’s soundtrack, is eerie and standout. An artist like Williams, if nurtured more and if he had stuck around, would have and should have been a new generation’s Bowie.
The collaboration of these two artists is fascinating and makes one wish that more could have come from this tree. But at the end of the day, there is always Pig. Disturbing, thoughtful and highly creative, this short is finally back in print and available on both Blu Ray and DVD via Cult Epics. It is a must for anyone who loves experimental film, dark subject matters, as well as fans of both Rozz Williams and Nico B.
My good friend Binky Philips writes a column for The Huffington Post which basically recounts what it was like being in a rock band in Manhattan during the 70s. It’s a lovely column that is full of telling details about the scene surrounding CBGB and Max’s at a time when we were all trying to form bands in an all-out assault on the musical status quo. Binky was in the middle of it, but somehow managed to stay sane enough to have a cleared-eyed take on the scene. Binky’s a fanboy with just enough cynicism to keep it real.
In this excerpt from his column, Binky writes about his first encounter with Patti Smith. You can read it in its entirety here.
One day, about a month into my tenure at Guitar Lab as their gopher the summer of 1970, Bruce, this hotheaded very not-politically-correct kid from Long Island working there, a master repair and modification man at age 22, walked into the back room and said, “Hey, Binky. Ya wanna see Keith Richards with tits?” Uh, yes! I do!
I walked out to the main customer area and there was this skinny pale black-haired ragamuffin chick (I never use that word, but this was a chick) holding a beat up Fender Duo-Sonic (at the time, a total loser/beginner’s guitar; I’m now a proud owner of a 1964 worth more than $2,000) and she was just about falling out of a really large, loose, and worn-out-to-paper-thin t-shirt with prominent and frankly fabulous breasts. She was frantically and inarticulately explaining over and over again that her Duo-Sonic was…
“Buzzin’! It sounds like shit. I mean, it’s buzzin’. It’s buzzin’ bad. You can fix buzzin’, right? God, this sucks, it’s bad buzzin’ alla time. Really buzzin’ bad, man. Why’s it buzzin’?”
Almost like she had Tourette’s.
And, as it turned out, Bruce’s description was utterly on the money. Her haircut was exactly Keef’s in Gimme Shelter. Her cheeks were gaunt, the black eye-liner was thick, the bone earring was in place, as was a skull ring, ditto old black ankle boots with rundown heels, (maybe more Dylan in the footwear department… what with the price of snakeskin, even then). No hips in ratty black skin-tight jeans. Even at the age of 17, I could see that she was so immersed in her dream that she was genuinely unaware of the effect she was having on five 1970 chauvinist pig guys who worked in a guitar shop. We were all smitten and totally in novelty lust with her. At least two Guitar Labbers kept her there talking for quite awhile. But, after a few minutes, I kinda drifted away and went back to opening cases of guitars left for repairs that I could drool over. I guess I was the least infatuated. I mean, I dug her. Her look was down so cold. I was jealous, even in my ultra-cool Granny Takes A Trip boots. But she seemed like she really was a total urban-hillbilly goofball. Actually, just not sexy at all.
Yeah, it was Patti Smith.”
Here’s a clip of The Patti Smith Group live in Spain in 1976. By this time Patti had come a long way in the six years since Binky had first encountered her. This is quite a stunning performance. Buzzin’ and all.
Why did it take Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett—formerly the state’s attorney general—almost three years before he launched an investigation into convicted pedophile and child abuser Jerry Sandusky after the first accuser had come forward?
That’s what Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s new attorney general, would like to know, too. Kane has launched a full investigation into Corbett’s rather odd handling of the case of the politically-connected former Penn State football coach—surely Sandusky should have been arrested immediately or at the very least brought in for questioning with TEN YEARS of damning evidence against him—something that’s been hanging around the unpopular Republican like the stench of a stale fart. A special prosecutor, Kane told the New York Times, would be named within a matter of days.
During that time, Corbett was campaigning for governor, and board members for The Second Mile, the charity founded by Sandusky, contributed more than $200,000 to his campaign. Once he was elected, Corbett’s administration approved a $3 million grant to the charity, which was later rescinded.
Corbett has been haunted by questions about the Sandusky case, and says it took 33 months to arrest Sandusky because at first there was only one accuser and investigators didn’t think they could win a conviction. Kane, who specialized in child sex abuse cases as a former county prosecutor, countered, “It’s never taken me that long” to build a case against a molester.
Kane has been careful to stress that she’ll accept whatever conclusion the special prosecutor comes to, since some see a political element in the investigation. Kane is a popular Democrat, and Corbett is a Republican with low approval ratings and an election coming up in 2014. The investigation could complicate Corbett’s reelection bid, though his involvement in the toxic abuse scandal would probably be a major issue either way.
Personally, I can’t wait to here how Corbett justifies personally approving a $3 million taxpayer-funded grant to Sandusky’s Second Mile charity, when he KNEW that Jerry Sandusky was under investigation for multiple child rapes!
Last year, Jerry Sandusky was convicted of 45 counts of child abuse and sentenced to at least 30 years in prison If Gov. Corbett is shown to have “slow-walked” the matter so as not to rock the boat on his own election prospects, this guy is fucking toast politically (and as a human being). Meanwhile, the Sandusky scandal drags on with several Penn State officials still awaiting trial.
Here’s hoping that they, and Gov. Tom Corbett, get what they deserve. It’s highly probable that Jerry Sandusky continued to molest kids while Corbett and his prosecutors dawdled. Had Corbett worried more about Sandusky’s child victims than his own political future, he wouldn’t be in this mess. Good on Kathleen Kane for taking this bastard on.