The terrific Beat This!: A Hip hop History takes us up through roots of hip hop culture starting in the late 1970s in the South Bronx and features Kool Herc, Planet Rock, Kurtis Blow, Jazzy Jay, Afrika Bambaataa, Malcolm McClaren and many more. Great vintage footage of Manhattan, the Bronx, beatboxing, graffiti and breakdancing.
Phil Lynott was Thin Lizzy. The talented, beautiful, iconic Irishman was the band’s heart and soul, and its demise in 1984, presaged Lynott’s early death on January 4th 1986 - fifteen years to the day Thin Lizzy started recording their first album.
Bad Reputation is an honest and affectionate documentary that tells the story Ireland’s greatest band. Starting with guitarist, Scott Gorham and drummer, Brian Downie remixing the classic Jailbreak album, the film quickly revisits the band’s early incarnation as The Black Eagles, Orphanage, and then Thin Lizzy, named after a character from the comic the Beano.
Produced and directed by Linda Brusasco, the film includes very rare footage of a young Phil at the start of his career, and includes revealing interviews with him through the highs and lows, together with interviews from nearly all of the key players, Brian Downie, Scott Gorham, Eric Bell, Brian Robertson, Midge Ure, Bob Geldof, and legendary record producer, Tony Visconti.
The reformed version of Thin Lizzy are currently touring, check here for details.
“A system which consigned me to poverty at birth and Nelson Godawful Rockefeller to riches, is demonstrably insane.”—Robert Anton Wilson
A blog devoted to collecting vintage—and often very obscure—interviews with Robert Anton Wilson posted a long portion of what is apparently only one of three parts from a publican called New Libertarian Notes , issue 39,” from September 5, 1976.
Here’s a gem plucked from deep within it where Wilson discusses the illusion of wealth, one of his favorite topics:
RAW: Of course, my position is based on the denial that money does store wealth. I think it’s a semantic hallucination, the verbal equivalent of an optical illusion, to speak at all of money containing or storing wealth. Such thinking should have gone out with phlogiston theory. The symbol is not the referent; the map is not the territory. Money symbolizes wealth, as words symbolize things, and that’s all. The delusions that money contains wealth is the mechanism by which the credit monopoly has gained a stranglehold on the entire economy. As Colonel Greene pointed out in Mutual Banking, all the money could disappear tomorrow morning and the wealth of the planet would remain the same. However, if the wealth disappeared—if squinks from the Pink Dimension dragged it off to null-space or something—the money would be worth nothing. You don’t need to plow through the dialects of the debate between the Austrians and the free credit people like Tucker and Gesell to see this; any textbook of semantics will make it clear in a few hours of study. Wealth is nature’s abundance, freely given, plus the exponential advance of technology via human intelligence, and as Korzybski and Fuller demonstrate, this can only increase an an accelerating rate. Money is just the tickets or symbols to arrange for the distribution—either equitably, in a free money system, or inequitably, as under the tyranny of the present money-cartel. As you realize, a cashless society could exist merely by keeping bookkeeping entries or computer tapes. Money is a primitive form of such computer tapes, serving a feedback function. If we are not to replace the present banking oligopoly with a programmer’s oligopoly, in which the interest will be paid to computer technicians, we must realize that this is all a matter of abstract symbolism—that it exists by social agreement and nobody owns it, anymore than Webster owns the language. Why is it, incidentally, that the Austrians don’t follow their logic to its natural conclusion and demand that we pay interest to the dictionary publishers every time we speak or write?
You have to watch people playing Monopoly, and see them begin to “identify” the paper markers with real value, to understand how the mass hypnosis of Capitalism works. Fortunately, the Head Revolution is still proceeding and more and more people are waking up to the difference between our economic game-rules and the real existential situation of humanity.
Illuminating Discord: An interview with Robert Anton Wilson (Cleveland Okie)
Below, Lance Bauscher’s enjoyable documentary portrait of Robert Anton Wilson, Maybe Logic:
Poly Styrene’s new single “Ghoulish” deals with the last few years of Michael Jackson’s life. An interesting subject for the singer of “Artificial.”
In an interview before she died, Poly explained the inspiration for the song:
There was all these pictures of him, and the nose had fallen off, and the white face, and the ghoulishness. But then I just wanted to say, I see through that. I see through that, he was probably quite a nice guy.”
“Ghoulish” will be released as a digital EP on August 8 including, appropriately, a dance re-mix produced by Hercules and Love Affair.
Dangerous Minds pal Chris Campion, who runs the Saint Cecilia Knows record label in Berlin writes this post about Mickey Newbury, who has been called “the Nick Drake of Country Music”:
It’s no small irony that the song Mickey Newbury is best-known for is the only one he didn’t write: “An American Trilogy,” the medley of Civil War anthems that was adopted by Elvis as a centrepiece of his Vegas-era shows.
“An American Trilogy” came about on-the-fly during a performance by Newbury at the Bitter End West in Los Angeles (in November, 1970) that was witnessed by Mama Cass, Odetta, Joan Baez and Kris Kristofferson. It was there that he decided to mount a quiet protest against what he perceived as the political censorship of the old minstrel standard, “Dixie”, a song that had become so weighted down by its association with the Civil War that in the civil rights era of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s its public performance literally started riots, and resulted in moves to ban the song outright in various states.
Newbury first performed the song against the backdrop of an era awash with partisan patriotic rabble-rousing, not so far removed from the America of today. During his 1968 Presidential campaign, Governor George Wallace had “Dixie” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” blasted out at his political rallies, attracting pockets of white supremacists. In the early ‘70s, Nixon tried the same thing, as well as appropriating country music to win over working class whites as part of his “Southern Strategy.”
Today, his impassioned defence of “Dixie” would likely be interpreted as the act of a reactionary conservative. But Newbury’s intention was not to provoke or inflame political sentiment further but precisely the opposite. He wanted to expose the insensate hysteria surrounding not only “Dixie” but also the whole issue of American identity, on both sides of the political spectrum and reconnect the song with its emotional core. He wanted, he said, “to take the Klan’s marching song away from them” and return it to the land and its people.
Newbury’s performance of “Dixie” that night at the Bitter End was so impassioned that it moved Odetta to tears. When he saw, from the stage, how he had affected the great gospel singer Newbury, was so distraught that instead of stopping after he finished “Dixie,” he rolled right into “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and then “All My Trials.” It wasn’t until he recorded the medley for his 1971 album ‘Frisco Mabel Joy that he gave it the title, “An American Trilogy.”
The studio version is included as part of a new box set (also titled An American Trilogy) collecting Newbury’s achingly-beautiful late 60s and early 70s albums—Looks Like Rain, ‘Frisco Mabel Joy and Heaven Help The Child—which were recorded with the same group of Nashville session musicians who backed Dylan on his trilogy of Nashville albums (beginning with Blonde On Blonde). Order your copy here or get it on iTunes.
Download a 4-track sampler of the box set, including the studio version of “An American Trilogy”:
Below, Mickey Newbury performing “An American Trilogy” on The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Mickey Newbury on The Johnny Cash Show, March 17, 1971:
Kickin’ Jeans—not to be confused with “Chuck Norris’ Action Jeans”—was advertised in the back of Black Belt magazine in 1979 for a measly $19.95. Notice how the jeans have a “gusset crotch” sewn in them. You know, so your “bits” can be carried light-n-tight..
Have you seen the new BBCThree comedy series The Pranker yet? Starring Nickelodeon UK kid’s show host Ross Lee—who appears to be wanting to break out of that field in a big way, as you will see—it’s one of the funniest, darkest, sickest “hidden camera” prank shows I’ve ever seen.
The Brits have always done this sort of thing the best because they’re more willing to take it to its logical, mean-spirited conclusion (witness the inspired genius of Marc Wootton’s My New Best Friend series, for instance). The Pranker, like Kayvan Novak’s brilliant Fonejacker/Facejacker series, takes the Candid Camera format to new comedic heights. The below clip is just one of many from the first episode I could post here. The Pranker had the wife and I in hysterics from start to finish. I highly recommend it.