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Rupert Murdoch and Jimmy Savile: Civil War at the Heart of the British Establishment?
01:38 pm



Back in 2011, when the UK was being inundated with revelations regarding the extent of News Corp’s nationwide espionage, it was interesting to muse on the hacking victims that weren’t coming forward – and the seamy secrets that weren’t spilled in the tabloids. After all, was there a powerful person in the land whose phone wasn’t tapped – you had to ask yourself what Rupert Murdoch didn’t now know about this country? It was such thoughts that made the subsequent castigation of News Corp so comic, as peasant after peasant was obliged to gingerly hurl a rotten tomato at a master who would all-too-soon be released from the stocks.

And, a few months on from “Hackgate” – wouldn’t you know it – there was “Savilegate.” These consecutive scandals betray a quite provocative symmetry. In the former, a media corporation was raked across the coals because of its perceived callousness towards a victim of pedophilia (the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone), leading to a limb of that corporation – the News of the World – being lopped off. In the latter, another media corporation (the former’s nemesis, no less) was raked across the coals because of its perceived callousness towards the victims of pedophilia, leading to a limb of that corporation – Newsnight – almost being lopped off. Curious.

The genesis of Savilegate is interesting. An excellent source tells me: “the Savile accusations were going nowhere until the Spectator picked them up. An interesting osmosis then occurred: News Corp spotted it, and Rupert Murdoch himself said ‘we can use this.’” Indeed, who else would have the “great clanking balls” (to borrow Tony Blair’s unforgettable phrase) to break that longstanding media taboo?

While one presumed intention in Newscorp lifting the lid on Savile is obvious enough – “screw you, BBC” – an additional, subtler motivation is also feasible. Put simply, by instructing his media empire to turn up the volume regarding the real Jimmy Savile Murdoch must have known he would be sending very awkward reverberations through the wider establishment that was tentatively standing up to him and holding him to moderate account at the Leveson Enquiry.

Yup, Labour, the Tories, the Royals, the cops – Savilegate must have had the lot of them squirming. You can release all the shtick you like about there being “no pedophile ring” involved (I actually caught some BBC Savile coverage where this reassuring message scrolled ceaselessly across the foot of the screen) but his lifetime license to abuse and access the nation’s children without a hint of trouble suggested otherwise, while his manifest intimacy with the great and the good carried further uncomfortable messages into the national unconscious.

Meanwhile, Leveson was still promising to damage News Corp’s reputation and influence around the world…

Step forward Labour MP Tom Watson, the person deserving of the most credit for the development of Hackgate. Savilegate certainly appeared to have influenced his research and thinking in the logical direction, and so, fresh from inflicting a flesh wound on Rupert Murdoch, Mr Watson thinks “fair enough,” and turns his trusty ole .45 on the Devil Himself, asking at PMQs about that “powerful pedophile network linked to Parliament and Number Ten.”

David Cameron’s expression said it all (“won’t someone rid me of this meddlesome priest”), and the ripple of silence that spread through Parliament betrayed the sense that this had an outside chance of going down as one of the most significant moments in British political history. You can only admire Watson’s chutzpah, but the damnedest things will happen if you try to shoot the Devil, and in this incident it was to transpire that the gun was loaded with some very magical bullets indeed – ones that whizzed away from their intended destination to bury themselves in the enemies of… Rupert Murdoch.

Initially, it had all looked eerily promising, and the effect of Watson’s words on the public imagination was compounded when he revealed the death threats he had subsequently received. Coupled with Savilegate, all this was threatening to wake the British public up from its long, deep sleep. Nothing better illustrated the unlikely places extreme disquiet was creeping into than Phillip Schofield’s outright heroic (and, of course, widely reviled) confrontation with the Prime Minister on daytime television.
Then, of course, there occurred that piece of grandiose chicanery regarding Newsnight’s incorrectly “naming” Alistair McAlpine as an abuser of Steven Messham. Only they didn’t name him – and his name had anyway already been in circulation for years, presumably due to a mix-up with a certain Jimmie McAlpine, his deceased cousin (the less said about him the better). This went almost completely unremarked of course, and most of the public was once again successfully frightened away from waking reality.

Understandably, much has been made on the blogosphere of the following exert from Alistair McAlpine’s 2001 book, The New Machiavelli: The Art of Politics in Business, and the following – shall we say coincidental? prophetic? fishy? – suggestions regarding dealing with the media.

“Another useful ploy is the false accusation. First, create a situation where you are wrongly accused. Then, at a convenient moment, arrange for the false accusation to be shown to be false beyond all doubt. Those who have made accusations… become discredited. Further accusations will then be treated with great suspicion.”

What was really interesting, however, is how the effects of this apparent masterclass in mass manipulation weren’t delimited to “discrediting” those who would like to see powerful pedophiles exposed and prosecuted, but also influenced Leveson, providing a smokescreen behind which Lord Leveson himself could switch costumes – when it cleared he was no longer the judge of News Corp (as he was supposed to be) but of the Internet, and the “online dilettantism” that had supposedly resulted in the conveniently close-to-hand defamation of Alistair McAlpine.
Admire and wonder at the course of those magic bullets! Did someone get to Leveson (or rather the Establishment he represents)? Furthermore, was Savilegate somehow the instrument of this manipulation?

Certainly something is going on behind the scenes. The question is how much the British Establishment is able to put its collective interests (in other words, survival) above its intestine disputes. Since the outbreak of hostilities we’ve seen suspicious deaths (Christopher Shale and Sean Hoare) and death threats (Tom Watson and Steven Messham) – the stakes are clearly high. Meanwhile, there are thousands more people – including some honest and intrepid politicians and journalists – for whom Pandora’s Box is now very much ajar. Certainly the British Establishment can often look too rotten to burn, but you might once easily have thought that about the Catholic Church….


Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
The sound of heaven: isolated vocals tracks from The Ronettes’ ‘Baby I Love You’
01:55 pm



It just occurred to me, I never wished you all a Happy New Year!

Well, here we are people. We made it past the Mayan apocalypse, past the predictions of the I-Ching and Terence McKenna’s computer, past the fiscal fucking cliff (whatever that actually meant) and we’ve arrived in a new age!  

And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate by sitting back and listening to a 50 year old record, one of the greatest works of popular music to come out of the 20th Century, here stripped of the wall of sound and with its beating heart laid bare. It’s the isolated vocals from the Ronettes all-time, stone-cold classic “Baby I Love You”, and, frankly, it’s stunning. 

This will raise the hairs on your neck high enough to match Ronnie’s infamous beehive. And if rumors are to be believed, one of those backing voices is none other than Cher.

And I completely agree with the sentiment - I love you all and let’s have a Happy New Year! xx

The Ronettes “Baby I Love You” Isolated Vocal mix



Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Notes From The Niallist #12: ‘Work It’ with Egyptian Lover & friends
12:19 pm



It’s the first Notes column of the new year, and it’s time for a little bit of self-promotion!

When I first joined the DM crew I remember talking to Richard Metzger (he;‘s not just bigger than Jesus, you know, he’s bigger than God!) about self-promotion on the site. I explained that the British people are actually pretty shit at promoting themselves, and he agreed. Not that I’m British, mind you. But it’s just one of those things that Americans do so much better than Europeans: selling yourselves, without coming across like utter cocks. Most of the time, anyway.

One of the points of starting this NFTN column was to have a little corner of the site all to myself, where I could talk about the more niche stuff I am interested in, but also to show off some of the stuff I do beyond blogging for Dangerous Minds. And I do a lot. Film-making, event organising, writing, djing, and, first and foremost, making music. 

So anyway, enough beating around the bush.

I’ve just released my latest single, remixes of a hip-house cover of Missy Elliot’s “Work It”, which is available to buy now, exclusively, from Juno Download.

The release contains six remixes, with the lead-off track being a rework by the legendary founder of electro music on the West Coast, Egyptian Lover. I gotta admit, I was pretty stoked when he said he liked my track enough to remix it, but that was nothing compared to how I felt when I heard it. It’s classic Egypt, a straight-up electro-funk bomb, and I am honored to release it. In fact, it made my year.

That’s not to knock any of the other artists who provided remixes, oh no siree. This release is really strong from start to finish. Additional mixes are supplied by upcoming legend Hard Ton, who turn in an Italian piano-house version that would have rocked the original acid raves at Shoom, Berlin based Electrosexual, who comes on strong with a percussive industrial mix, and rising star Ynfynyt Scroll, who turns in a mix half-way between southern hip-hop and Jersey club banger.

There’s also a remix by the mysterious new act Cunt Traxxx, in a “vogue house” style, but you’ll be hearing more about them right here in the very near future. For now, here are the tracks for your earholes:

If you want to purchase any of the “Work It” remixes, hop over here.

The original version of “Work It” is available on my mixtape AKA, which came out last year. You can hear it, and download the whole tape for free, at my Bandcamp page.

And here’s a video I put together for the track, featuring footage from our annual Vogue Brawl party, where only the most fabulous and fierce survive, and everybody is made to werrrk it…

THE NIALLIST “Work It” (AKA album version)

You can follow The Niallist on Twitter:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Terence Stamp on Being, Nothingness, Acting and the Devil: A rare interview from 1978
04:42 pm

Pop Culture


Terence Stamp and Michael Caine once shared an apartment in the early 1960s. Stamp was the star, with Billy Budd, Term of Trial and The Collector to his CV, while Caine was still on his way up. The turning point came when Stamp knock-backed the title role of Alfie, a role he had made his own on Broadway, but didn’t want to reprise on film. Caine spent a long night trying to change Stamp’s mind. He failed and the role was given to Caine.

Years later, Michael Caine wrote how he sometimes dreamt of that long night trying to convince Stamp to take the role, and “still wakes up sweating as I see Terence agreeing to accept my advice to take the role in Alfie.”

Stamp made Modesty Blasie instead, which on paper sounded fabulous - directed by Joseph Losey; starring Monica Vitti and Dirk Bogarde; adapted by poet and writer Evan Jones from the best-selling Peter O’Donell comic strip. Sadly, it flopped, and the blue-eyed, angelic Stamp was slowly eclipsed by his former room-mate, Caine.

Yet, Stamp was no longer interested in making films for the sake of making films. He was beginning to choose roles because he wanted to make them. He turned down an incredible amount of work, as he later explained in an interview with Valerie Singelton in 1978:

‘I didn’t accept a lot of work because I was of the opinion, if one wanted the long career, one should do good, interesting things. One shouldn’t do anything.

‘So, that was a kind of a political decision really, apart from the fact I enjoyed to do things that interested me. It didn’t interest me to play Tate and Lyle lorry drivers, you understand? I did that already. I didn’t want to do that in a movie. I wanted to play princes and counts, and intellectuals and things that I wasn’t, rather than something I was.’

After Modesty Blaise, Stamp opted to work with radical film-maker Ken Loach, on his first movie Poor Cow, which co-starred Carol White. The film was a surprise hit in America, largely down to Stamp’s casting.  He then appeared in John Schlesinger’s Far From the Madding Crowd with Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Peter Finch. Yet, for all his success, there was something missing.

‘And this thing which came later was a feeling of an inner emptiness success didn’t fill. I had assumed that this inner poverty would be transformed when I became rich and famous. And it took me a few years of being rich and famous to understand that the inner void was very much there.

‘And, you know, if I couldn’t fill it with one Rolls-Royce, I couldn’t fill it with three.

‘I started traveling and looking at myself. Looking, thinking the answer was outside still in a form of, you know, I transfered from beautiful female companion, to highly, holy, spiritualized person. So I was kind of looking for that in truth - it was an inner odyssey that was going on.’

Stamp moved to Italy and then onto an ashram in India, where he found he could get ‘Groovy Kashmiri hash or groovy golden guru - you get what you’re looking for.’ Here he was “transformed from Terence Henry Stamp to swami Deva Veeten.”

The years passed and the roles had dried-up, until (as in all good tales) one day in 1977:

‘On this particular morning, as we enter, I am hailed by the concierge who showed me to my original room.  Apparently he remembers me. “Mr. Terence”, he says in an accent worthy of Peter Sellers. “We have a cable for you”.  He extricates the telegram from the depths of his nightstand and presents it to me. Dog-eared, with tickertape strips glued onto the square envelope and smeared with dust, I have no idea how long the urgent missive has been waiting. However, as it is dropped into my palm it has the psychic weight of the English breakfast I am about to order. I read the typed front piece and realize why. It is addressed to: Clarence Stamp, The Rough Diamond Hotel, Dune, India. It is a miracle that it is even in my hand. Goose pimples spread up my arm and I have a sense that my life is about to change. The telegram is from my long-suffering agent James Fraser, who came across me playing Iago at the Webber-Douglas Drama Academy in 1958 and, bless his heart, has represented me ever since. The telegram reads: ‘Would you be prepared to travel back to London to meet Richard Donner regarding a role in the Superman films 1 & 2. You have scenes with Marlon Brando. Could you stop over in Paris to talk to Peter Brook who is going to make a film of George Gurujieff’s Meetings With Remarkable Men. I read it again. Can hardly believe it, but yes, it’s there, in the palm of my hand. And yes, my life is about to change.’

After Superman, Stamp was cast as the Count in a London production of Dracula, (one of several productions about the great undead vampire that had appeared on both sides of the Atlantic). It was during this production that the following interview with the BBC took place, where Terence Stamp explained, to interviewer Valerie Singleton the attraction of Count Dracula.

‘I always think of evil and the Devil being terribly groovy - not unattractive at all, they have to be really interesting and really seductive because that’s the magnetism of evil, you know, it has to be outwardly beautiful and fetching.’

With thanks to NellyM

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Lindsay Kemp’s ‘Flowers’: A legendary dance production inspired by Jean Genet’s novel
03:48 pm

Pop Culture


Jean Genet wrote Our Lady of the Flowers while in prison in 1942. It was published anonymously the following year, and sold around 30 copies. It wasn’t until after the Allied Forces liberated France in 1944 that the bulk of the copies were bound and sold.

Due to its sexual content Our Lady of the Flowers was sold as high class erotica, but Genet never intended it as such. It would take until the book had been revised and reprinted by Gallimard in 1951 that Our Lady of the Flowers received the critical accolades it richly deserved - even if Jean-Paul Sartre described it as “the epic of masturbation.”

It was an over-the-wall conversation with a neighbor that led Lindsay Kemp to create and produce his now legendary dance production of Flowers in 1974. As Lindsay recounted to Dangerous Minds last year:

‘I’d just rented a little cottage, a country retreat, in Hungerford in Berkshire, and my next door neighbor - it was one Sunday morning and we were listening to Round the Horne, we all did on those Sunday mornings - and my neighbor across the fence leaned over and said.

“Oh hi, I think this book might interest you.”

And it was Genet’s Our Lady of the Flowers. And I began to read it, and as soon as I began to read it I could already see it on the stage, and I could see myself as Divine, the central character. And two weeks later, we opened it.

Only someone of Kemp’s incredible talents and vision could have produced Flowers, and the production put Kemp and his dance company literally “on the map.” Since then, Kemp and Co. have performed Flowers all across the world to incredible acclaim.

In 1982, a video was made of the Lindsay Kemp Dance Company performing Flowers at the Teatro Parioli, Roma. It is rarely been seen since, and the video is a incredible treat for anyone interested in dance, performance and theater.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

Lindsay Kemp is on the ‘phone: Scenes from his life from Genet to Bowie


Lindsay Kemp: Seldom seen interview about his production of ‘Salome’ from 1977


David Bowie and Lindsay Kemp’s rarely seen production ‘Pierrot in Turquoise’ from 1968

With thanks to Lindsay Kemp’s Last Dance

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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