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When Obama met Osama

Brazilian Obama impersonator, Ananias Rodrigues da Silva, posed for some photos with a local São Paulo man named Francisco Helder Braga Fernandes who looks eerily like Osama bin Laden. Apparently folks who live in São Paulo have been begging Frenandes for years to cut his beard because of his striking resemblance to bin Laden. It’s probably a good thing he resisted, because this amusing photo-shoot would not have taken place.

More Osama and Obama palling around after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
William S. Burroughs and Scientology

When I was sixteen, in 1982, I ran away from home and made my way from West Virginia to Boston. There, I soon found myself quite lost. Spying an extremely attractive young woman who was carrying a clipboard and accosting people in a friendly way, I decided to ask her for directions with the most innocuous chat-up line I’ve ever used: “Can you tell me how to get to Newbury Street, please?”

She told me how to get there and we continued chatting. I thought I was really doing great with her, but it soon turned out she was a Scientologist, attempting to recruit random passersby to take the “personality test” like you always see people doing on Hollywood Blvd. She asked me if I’d heard of Scientology and I told her the only thing I knew about it was what I’d read about it in the writing of William S. Burroughs.

That went right over her head, but undaunted, she asked me if I’d be interested in taking a “personality test” and truth be told, I was interested in just about anything this chick had to offer me. So we walked to the huge, embassy-like Church of Scientology building a few blocks away, and she deposited me with staff members there before disappearing back to her clipboard and her post down the street.

I ended up spending a week sleeping there in exchange for doing janitorial work and re-binding a small library of dusty old books that were in bad repair. It was either there or the riverbank (I was also hoping I’d see the Sea Org hottie again, but that never happened).

It was an awfully strange experience going from a small town in the hills of West Virginia to bunking with a cult of headfuckers in “the big city” in less than 48 hours, but one that I will write about here another time.

My point of offering this, um, partial anecdote is to say that if it was not for the fact that I was an avid teenage reader of William Burroughs, I doubt I’d have gotten myself into that zany, madcap situation. Then again, maybe my brief brush with L.Ron Hubbard and crew could be more honestly attributed to me being a teenage guy who was thinking with his dick. That’s probably that’s just as valid of an excuse…

So that’s my introduction to William S. Burroughs’ Wild Ride with Scientology an interesting short essay Lee Konstantinou wrote about Burroughs’ decade-long flirtation with Scientology that appeared on io9 yesterday. Here’s an excerpt:

Scientology appears again disguised as the “Logos” group in Burroughs’s 1962 novel The Ticket That Exploded. As described in the book, Logos has “a system of therapy they call ‘clearing’. You ‘run’ traumatic material which they call ‘engrams’ until it loses emotional connotation through repetitions and is then refilled as neutral memory’ When all the ‘engrams’ have been run and deactivated the subject becomes a ‘clear.’” In the 1964 novel Nova Express, Scientology is for the first time openly described in Burroughs’s fiction. During an interrogation scene in the book, an unnamed character declares “The Scientologists believe sir that words recorded during a period of unconsciousness… store pain and that this pain store can be lugged in with key words represented as an alternate mathematical formulae indicating umber of exposures to the key words and reaction index… they call these words recorded during unconsciousness engrams sir… The pain that overwhelms that person is basic basic sir and when basic basic is wiped off the tape… then that person becomes what they call clear sir.”

At the start of 1968, Burroughs deepened his relationship to the Church. He took an intense two-month Scientology Clearing Course at the world headquarters of Scientology in Saint Hill Manor in the UK and Burroughs was declared a “Clear,” though he later claimed that he had to work hard to suppress or rationalize his persistently negative feelings toward L. Ron Hubbard during auditing sessions. The Berg has almost a dozen files filled with Burroughs’s pamphlets from Saint Hill as well as his almost unreadable hand-written notes on Scientology courses and questions he prepared for auditing sessions he himself conducted. These files include, as I’ve mentioned, an attempt to create a cut-up from auditing questions; from the start, Scientology was very much connected to the cut-up technique and Burroughs’s theory that language constituted a kind of virus that had infested the human host. At Saint Hill, Burroughs entered an intense and obsessive period of auditing sessions with an E-Meter, including a process of exploring past lives, though he slowly began to grow alienated from the Church and what he considered its Orwellian security protocols. Burroughs’s antipathy for Scientological “Sec Checks” are apparent in his strange and violent story, “Ali’s Smile,” which was published in the collection Ali’s Smile/Naked Scientology.

Burroughs eventually rejected Scientology—because of what he called “the fascist policies of Hubbard and his organization”—but cautiously endorsed some of its “discoveries.” His break with the Church developed over course of the late sixties in the pages of the London-based magazine, Mayfair, where Burroughs wrote a series of increasingly hostile “bulletins” about his adventures with the organization. These bulletins culminated in Burroughs’s amusingly titled Mayfair article, “I, William Burroughs, Challenge You, L. Ron Hubbard.” This piece was republished in the Los Angeles Free Press. In his challenge to L. Ron, Burroughs wrote:

Some of the techniques [of Scientology] are highly valuable and warrant further study and experimentation. The E Meter is a useful device… (many variations of this instrument are possible). On the other hand I am in flat disagreement with the organizational policy. No body of knowledge needs an organizational policy. Organizational policy can only impede the advancement of knowledge. There is a basic incompatibility between any organization and freedom of thought.

For his inquiries, Burroughs reports, he was expelled from the organization and in 1968 was put into what Scientologists call a condition of “Treason”; though the exact circumstances surrounding this incident remain unclear. Burroughs’s public battle against the Church continued in a 1972 issue of Rolling Stone, where he expressed his support for Robert Kaufmann’s exposé, Inside Scientology, published by Olympia Press. Here Burroughs uses his harshest language yet: “Scientology is a model control system, a state in fact with its own courts, police, rewards and penalties.” Strangely enough, despite his break with the group, Scientology reappeared in the 1972 film Bill and Tony, which Burroughs made with Antony Balch (the masturbating guy in Towers Open Fire). In Bill and Tony, an image of Burroughs’s disembodied floating head recites instructions for how to operate an auditing session.


Thank you Steven Otero!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Johnny Cash and June Carter window shades

Delightful Johnny Cash and June Carter window shade set by Etsy seller Drink and Dream. They’re $150 for the pair.

Below, Johnny Cash and June Carter performing “If I Were A Carpenter.”

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Photos of Courtney Love during her stripper days
12:12 pm


Courtney Love

A young Courtney Love—looking very Nancy Spungeon-esque—works the pole at seedy Los Angeles topless bar, Jumbo’s Clown Room, sometime before she became famous.

More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
DREAMWEAPON: Exclusive MP3 download from original Velvet Underground drummer Angus MacLise

I blogged here on Tuesday about the amazing looking Angus MacLise show currently on display at the Boo-Hooray gallery space in New York City. I’ve been told the opening party was amazing, with Lou Reed and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge in attendance.

Tonight, at Anthology Film Archives, as part of that exhibit, there will be a special screening of Ira Cohen’s powerfully strange lysergic druidic-hippie odyssey The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda with a soundtrack by MacLise.

Also included in the line-up this evening is the premiere of the late Ira Cohen’s Heavy Canon (also with an Angus MacLise soundtrack), early 70s video work by Marty Topp and three films by Piero Heliczer.

Exclusive for Dangerous Minds readers, you can download the full unreleased soundtrack to Ira Cohen’s The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda (as remastered by Tim Barnes in 2006) with music by Angus MacLise and the Universal Mutant Repertory Co. here.

Below, a clip from Ira Cohen’s The Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda. Buy the limited edition DVD at the Boo-Hooray webstore.

Thank you Jeff Newelt!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Rand Paul: Second Dumbest Republican Senator?

When one is obliged to come up with four or five items a day under the rubric “Dangerous Minds,” the Republican party are the proverbial fish in a barrel. Low(brow) hanging fruit. There are never slow news days with so many craven GOP idiots in Washington. Apparently there is some kind of “Bizarro World” reverse Republican IQ litmus test that you have to pass—or fail, depending on how you look at it—to be a member these days.

Of course it’s always been bad—and there are many, many deeply dumb Democrats to be sure, stupidity is unavoidable in U.S politics—but I’d have to say that the current crop of GOP politicians is the most imbecilic I can recall during my lifetime. Is there a dumber member of the Senate than Rand Paul of Kentucky? (James Inhofe came immediately to mind, I must admit…)

Witness the “universal healthcare is slavery” comments made at a Senate hearing yesterday by the dimwitted senator named after the author of Atlas Shrugged. They’re… special!.

Via Raw Story:

“With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies,” the senator said. “It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me.”

“It means you believe in slavery,” Paul added. “It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.”

“Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services — do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? — you’re basically saying you believe in slavery.”

“I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care,” Paul continued. “You have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be.”

As Max Read pointed observed at Gawker:

In Rand Paul’s America, there will be no slaves, except for the people working to pay off their medical bills.

This guy actually believes this shit!! Breath-taking, ain’t it? Why would a poor state like Kentucky elect a man like this? Uh, don’t answer that….nevermind!

More from Raw Story:

Self-described democratic socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Subcommittee on Retirement and Aging, responded to Paul’s rant by asking witness Dana Kraus, a family physician at a federally qualified health center, if she considered herself “a slave.”

“I love my job,” she answered. “I chose to work there. I do not consider myself a slave. Thank you.”

Sanders and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced federal single payer legislation Tuesday that would ensure that states implement Medicare-like systems for all residents.

Have a look at the trailer for the Denzel Washington film John Q. Rand Paul needs to strapped to a chair like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange with his eyelids pinned back and forced to watch this film until he melts into a puddle of his own pathetic stupidity.

You really have to hear it coming out of his mouth. The man is completely insane… and stupid:

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Story of Be Bop Deluxe’s Bill Nelson and How His Record Label Ripped Him Off

This is the story of Be Bop Deluxe’s Bill Nelson and how his Record Label ripped him off. Written eight years ago it is still unlcear if and how this shocking and shameful matter has been resolved - we can only hope it has. Meantime, let Mr Nelson’s tale be a warning and a reminder (if that were needed) of corporate incompetence and greed.

Some Day, Artists Will Unite and Put a Stop to This Nonsense

For many years, I’ve been trying to discover why I have never received any royalties from EMI records for the sales of my Be Bop Deluxe recordings. I’ve had neither money nor accounting from them since the ‘seventies, despite constant re-issues of the product on both vinyl and CD.  In the 1980’s, when my business affairs were managed by Mark Rye, (expletive deleted,) I attempted to get to the bottom of my non-existent EMI royalty payments. Rye, who was himself an ex-EMI employee, supposedly checked with EMI on my behalf and came back with the answer that the Be Bop Deluxe albums had not yet recouped the advances paid by EMI to the band during the band’s career in the 1970’s and therefore no royalties were due. Fair enough, I thought. They’re bound to recoup before too long and then, perhaps, I’ll be paid something.

Time passed and any further enquiries made by me were simply brushed aside with the “not yet recouped” answer. Eventually, I parted company with the troublesome Mr. Rye, finding myself severely financially ‘distressed’, a situation which had contributed to the rapid deterioration of my marriage and also damaged my health.  To put it simply, I ended up in ‘a bit of a state.’  I was generously helped by a caring friend, David Sylvian who suggested that his own management, Opium, would be prepared to look after my affairs.  I had a meeting with David and Richard Chadwick, (David’s manager), and Richard eventually became my new manager.  Amongst several problems hanging over me at that time was the ongoing non-payment/non-accounting from EMI in connection with Be Bop Deluxe royalties. (And Red Noise too, for that matter.)  Richard eventually made enquiries and came back with a similar answer, that the records hadn’t recouped yet.  Meanwhile, the Be Bop Deluxe catalogue was being regularly re-issued by EMI without any accounting being provided to myself.

A few years later, EMI decided that they would like to make a double ‘best of’ CD compilation available and contacted a friend of mine, Kevin Cann, whom they employed to oversee the design and general direction of the project.  Naturally, Kevin then contacted me to get my input. I explained that I was wary of the whole thing because I was not receiving any royalties for Be Bop Deluxe product.  Kevin said that he would enquire at EMI on my behalf as he had a good relationship with one of the staff there.  Eventually, Kevin came back to me with the news that, apparently, the records were still unrecouped BUT, the proposed double album ‘best of’ compilation would tip the balance in my favour and then I would begin to see some royalty payments.  In view of this, I gave the project my blessing and liased with Kevin on the development of the package which became known as ‘The Air Age Anthology.’  This double album duly appeared in the shops but any accounting from EMI was still not forthcoming, nor were there any royalty payments.

Sometime later, a Harvest Records box set was proposed by EMI to document the history of that label, for which many bands, including Be Bop Deluxe, had recorded in the past. EMI wanted to include some Be Bop Deluxe recordings as part of the package.  They even went as far as asking me to contribute a written piece for the book that they proposed should accompany the boxed set of albums.  The cover of the box featured an especially commissioned painting of many of the musicians and artists featured on the collection of recordings, myself included.  I thought that this release would further assist the recouping of royalties and so I agreed to contribute a written essay on my involvement with Harvest and EMI.

Meanwhile, I had been regularly complaining to Richard about the lack of accounting from EMI and he eventually contacted a firm of music business lawyers to look into the matter.  Over a period of two years, a very strange story emerged.  The first communication the lawyers received from EMI said that they HAD, in fact, been paying royalties…to ‘the band.’  My response to the lawyers was…, “Ask them which band,” as I certainly had not received any royalty payments from the record company.  After a long time and further prompting from the lawyers, EMI said that they actually had been making royalty payments to Nick Dew, Ian Parkin and Rob Bryan. The amazing thing about this is that these three people were NOT on any of the Be Bop Deluxe albums except the very first one, ‘Axe Victim.’  All the other albums were recorded with different musicians, (Charlie Tumahai, Simon Fox and Andy Clarke), under a different contractual set-up.  It seemed that the first line-up, who only ever recorded the ONE album, had been receiving royalty payments from EMI for ALL Be Bop recordings, including re-issues…  Recordings in which they had taken NO part, either as performers or otherwise.  The really damning thing about this is that none of the original members of the band ever spoke up about it and said, ” hang on a minute, I’m getting money here for music I didn’t even make!”  (It would be evident from the royalty statements they received that the payments were for various albums from the Be Bop catalogue, and not just the ‘Axe Victim’ album.)  Record company cock-up aside, what does this say about people you once regarded as your friends?

Anyway, after I had explained to the lawyers, via Richard, that these people had not earned royalties on anything except the band’s first album, letters were then sent to EMI requesting an explanation.  Again, some months went by before any reply.  I seem to remember that there was some muttering about EMI not knowing where to contact me to send royalties, (and me the only member of the original line up to have continued with a professional and public career in music), but, at a later date, they seemed to change their story and said that they hadn’t paid the other members after all.  Actually, they said, EMI were only obliged to pay a company called ‘Be Bop Deluxe Ltd,’ which had been set up by Be Bop’s manager Mike Dolan and which no longer existed.  As the company no longer existed, there was, EMI claimed, no legal requirement for them to pay any royalties generated by the product.  (Despite earlier claiming to have paid money to the band’s first line-up.)
Whilst trying to decide what to do next, I suggested that the lawyers should ask EMI to at least let me know how much my ‘lost’ royalty figures would have been.  This would help me to decide whether it was worth pursuing EMI further.  The legal costs are, of course, prohibitive, very much so for me.  A major company like EMI can easily afford to spin things out until any opponent breaks under the financial strain.  I, as they well know, can’t.

Again, time passed, further reminders were sent to EMI and they finally replied.  It seems that they had now gone back to their first story, that they HAD made payments but only to the three other members of the ‘Axe Victim’ line-up, excluding myself.  A circular argument?  Since then , further communications have been made between my side and theirs.  These communications have always been marked by a painfully slow response from EMI.  Spinning it out as long as possible, hoping that it might go away, perhaps?  Eventually, an offer came…  EMI would pay me any future royalties generated by Be Bop Deluxe product, provided, one suspects, that I didn’t cause any more fuss.  Basically, they said that they were under no legal obligation to pay me anything at all, (due to the ‘Be Bop Deluxe Ltd’ company’s demise), although they do admit to paying royalties to the wrong members of the band.  An administration mistake, apparently.  Does that make it OK then?

The news I received today, from the lawyers via Opium, is that to pursue it further would be horrendously expensive and a long drawn out affair with no guarantee that it would be financially worth it.  As EMI have still refused to divulge the details of how much they’ve paid to the ‘wrong members’ of the band, I have no idea of how much I’ve lost.  I’ve been told by the lawyers, yet again, that my only other recourse is to sue the other three members of the first line-up of Be Bop Deluxe for the royalties they retained unlawfully.  Of course, this isn’t a pleasant thing for me to do, even though it could be argued that those ex-members have unfairly taken advantage of the situation to their own financial benefit and to my own detriment.  (My poor old school chum Ian Parkin isn’t even with us anymore.)  Anyone who knows me knows what a dilemma this would put me in and also what torment it would cause me.  How could I follow this course of action?  It would make me almost as desperate as them.

I’m just terribly disappointed and disillusioned with the whole thing, with both EMI and with so-called ‘fellow musicians’ alike.  At 54 years old, after a 30 year professional life in music, it’s sickening to realize that I’ve been denied the fruits of the most commercially successful part of my career, thanks to the machinations of a huge, fabulously wealthy global company who prefer to make cheap excuses rather than say, ‘o.k., lets be fair, we made a mistake and we’ll reimburse you.’  It’s unethical, it’s mean and it’s cheap and nasty.  Paying me whatever royalties I was originally due wouldn’t hurt EMI’s financial resources a bit. (How many millions did they pay Robbie Williamsrecently?)  However, it hurts ME a hell of a lot, and I don’t just mean financially.  What is the incentive to carry on when this kind of thing is considered acceptable practice?  No wonder there are so many sad stories of artists being ruthlessly exploited and driven to fatal despair.  Poor bastards…it’s not just me this stuff happens to.

Well, that’s it. I’m supposed to roll over and die like an obedient dog, don’t rock the boat and all that.  And people wonder why I seem to be bitter about the music industry.  I perhaps should not have written about this in a relatively public diary.  I’m sure Richard would advise me against it but, damn it…  This is the reality of a musician’s life, this is the kind of thing that happens on a daily basis, not just to me but to many others.  Those who think it’s a cushy number should think again. I’m angry, I’m deeply saddened, I’m sickened…what can I say?  I’m bigger than the whole lot of them?  Maybe, just maybe I am.  Fuck ‘em all…


Bonus clip of Be-Bop Deluxe, after the jump…
With thanks to Steven Severin

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Is 8 years old too young to get Botox injections?

Not according to Kerry Campbell and her daughter Britney. who regularly has Botox injections and also gets “virgin” waxes even though she has not yet hit puberty. You know, ‘cos being 8 can be rough on your skin! From the UK’s Daily Mail:

California mum Kerry Campbell has come under fire after admitting she injects her young daughter Britney with Botox to get rid of ‘wrinkles’ that appear on the girl’s face when she smiles.


Kerry also admitted to waxing her daughter in the name of pageant success.

‘They call it little fluffy hair,’ she said. ‘They get judged on all that stuff. It’s a tough world, the pageant world, I’m telling you. The kids are harsh.’
Eight-year-old Britney added: ‘I just don’t think it’s ladylike to have hair on your legs. I did that one time. It was super, super hard. It hurts.”

Thanks to Samantha Veal for the link, who would like to make it known that she is NOT a regular reader of the Daily Mail.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
End of the world less than two weeks away

I have no idea who shot this photo, but I like it.

(via TDW)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Reality 86’d: Six months on the road with Black Flag

Although it’s fashionable to bash Henry Rollins, when he was the lead singer of Black Flag, the guy was one of the greatest—and most fearsome—punk frontmen going. Back then Rollins was scary. Scary in a kind of Charles Manson meets Iggy Pop, slightly unhinged sort of way. I saw Black Flag play several times back in the day—always right up front—and they absolutely killed it live.

Reality 86’d is a road film by David Markey about the final Black Flag tour in 1986. They spent six months traveling in support of their grunge-metal In My Head album. That tour—which I saw—also featured Greg Ginn’s side project Gone and Painted Willie (Markey’s band). It marked “the end of the line for a trail-blazing American band” in the words of the filmmaker. Reality 86’d is a wonderful document about 1980s underground culture.

Thank you Michael T. Fournier

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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