Devil’s Gateway: Throbbing Gristle live in Manchester
04.15.2014
07:57 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Throbbing Gristle


Cosey Fanni Tutti onstage at Rafters. Photo by Peter Bargh

About twelve years ago I was having a conversation with a rock snob pal of mine who opined that Throbbing Gristle was “noise… unlistenable shite.” As I normally respected his taste in music, I decided to to make him a mixed CD to prove that this wasn’t even close to being accurate (they make classical music for a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape, obviously!) I’ve listened to TG for over thirty years and I know that catalog better than most people. In fact, I even had a long-running argument with Genesis P-Orridge about a song he insisted didn’t exist called “Want You To Kill,” which I was ultimately able to prove did exist. I really do know the insides and outs of TG’s recorded output.

I based my TG mix on the notion explored by A Young Person’s Guide to King Crimson, in other words, a “primer” for a notoriously difficult to categorize band. Something to ease in new listeners who could have been scared off the group should they have picked up something like the live Mission of Dead Souls album first. Over the years there have been a lot of unofficial TG releases. If you don’t know what the good stuff is, it’s probably more of a crapshoot with them than with most groups. (There is one TG bootleg titled Kreeme Horn that Genesis told me was mostly just him and Chris Carter turning stuff on in their studio and letting it warm up and feed back on itself while a tape was running.)

Convinced that this needed to be an actual product in the marketplace—call it a gateway drug—I suggested it to the members of the group. Ultimately they released The Taste of TG (subtitled “A Beginner’s Guide to the Music of Throbbing Gristle”) compilation, but the overlap with my picks was minimal.

A very sweet spot if you’re dipping a toe into Throbbing Gristle’s wall of noise is a live 1979 performance in Manchester released as “Live at The Factory” (and “Live at the Death Factory”) on bootlegs. Most of it is spread across volumes 3 & 4 of the live TG boxset released in 1993 as well. I think it’s the best start to finish TG concert. I’d even give it the edge over their Heathen Earth set. Everything that was astonishing about TG live comes together in this one show. They called their gigs “psychic rallies” and the Manchester show certainly was one. There’s an incredible “mind meld” going on here, as their shows were largely improvised.

“... the one in Manchester… It only happens once every six or seven. You suddenly hit it. It’s like a seance. It’s almost like you’ve been taken over or something’s coming through that’s nothing to do with you or the people there - and everyone can feel it, but you can’t describe it, and that’s why sometimes when it’s like that and people try and describe the gig to someone else they sort of talk about it like a kind of drug or a religious experience. The words they use are much more like that and they almost never talk about the music… because it isn’t music, it’s something else… It was very tribal and pagan, the whole feeling. Like one girl got hysterical… she just couldn’t handle it, and it was like one of those gospel meetings where the odd person goes over the top, you know… and that’s why we started calling them psychic rallies… it’s actually more accurate; a rally or a ceremony that we’re trying to generate a psychic event, and that’s why we deliberately changed it to say that we’re basically no longer affiliated with music in any way. Although we use sound in some musical pattern, our basic concern is a psychic one… and it will become more so, and that’s probably why I feel we’ll have to change the name. So that we can start again and become even more and more focused on that side of it without the history of TG to spoil it.”

Genesis P-Orridge, 1981

 

Gen, looking just a little bit nuts, onstage at Rafters. Photo by Peter Bargh
 

Live at the Death Factory (side one): “Weapon Training,” “See You Are,” “Convincing People,” “Hamburger Lady”
 

Live at the Death Factory (side two): “His Arm Was Her Leg,” “What A Day,” “Persuasion,” “Five Knuckle Shuffle”
 
Manchester audiences seemed to inspire the group. Here’s a second astonishing TG set from Manchester, shot at the Rafters nightclub on December 4, 1980. The softness of the vérité VHS video lends the proceedings an impressionistic gloss. but the sound quality is quite a bit better than their shows that were supposedly recorded on cheap Sony cassette tapes. The voice you hear on tape at the beginning is Aleister Crowley’s, by the way.

Set list: “Illuminated 666,” “Betrayed Womb Of Corruption,” “Very Friendly,” “Something Come Over Me,” “Playground,” “Auschwitz,” “Devil’s Gateway”
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Did the Illuminati build a secret defense pyramid in North Dakota?
04.15.2014
03:32 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Nekoma
Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex

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I don’t believe in the Illuminati, but if I did then I’m sure that I would feel that my pet conspiracy theories about a secret cabal running the world would be bolstered by these incredible photographs of a secret pyramid built by the US government in the middle of North Dakota, one of America’s least populated states.

These pictures are of the Nekoma Pyramid, which was part of the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex, named after the former U.S. Army Air Defense Commanding General. Construction started in the early seventies and was completed in 1975. The Nekoma Pyramid was a missile site radar complex, used to locate missiles fired from foreign powers at the USA so that they could be destroyed. The base was armed with 30 Spartan anti-ballistic missiles and sixteen short-range Sprint missiles.

Firstly, why build a pyramid? The pyramid is one of the key symbols associated with the Illuminati, so was the architect “one of them” or was it just a coincidence? Who suggested a pyramid? Was it a more functional geometry for an all-seeing eye?

Secondly, who knew this base even existed out there in the tundra? Not many, I’d guess.

The Mickelsen Safeguard Complex was deactivated on February 10th, 1976, less than a year after it had become operational and after tens of millions of dollar had been spent there. The reason was an arms limitation treaty that had been signed with the Soviet Union in 1972 limiting each side to only one such base.

A set of pictures taken for the government by photographer Benjammin Halpern, are available for viewing at the Library of Congress.
 
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More photographs of the Nekoma, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Meet Dan Leno, ‘The Funniest Man on Earth’
04.15.2014
01:34 pm

Topics:
History

Tags:
Dan Leno


 
I consider myself to be a world class comedy nerd, but the limits of my otakudom were exposed when I was recently made aware of the name of Dan Leno.

Dan Leno. Does that ring a bell at all for you? Probably not, but as a comic performer, Leno was considered without peer in the British music hall of the late 19th century. He was a huge, huge massive star, both for his appearances in the “dame” role of panto comedies like Mother Goose and for his one man shows where he muttered surreal musings and observations about the mundanities of life. He is, in a sense, the actual “inventor” of stand-up comedy.

He would do a little bit of a song and then carry on, speaking in character, like in “Mrs. Kelly” which he recorded in 1901:

“You know Mrs. Kelly?... You know Mrs. Kelly?... don’t you know Mrs. Kelly? Her husband’s that little stout man, always at the corner of the street in a greasy waistcoat… good life, don’t look so stupid, don’t - you must know Mrs. Kelly!... Don’t you know Mrs. Kelly?... Well of course, if you don’t, you don’t - but I thought you did, because I thought everybody knew Mrs. Kelly. Oh, and what a woman - perhaps it’s just as well you don’t know her… oh, she’s a mean woman. Greedy. I know for a fact - her little boy, who’s got the sore eyes, he came over and told me - she had half a dozen oysters, and she ate them in front of the looking-glass, to make them look a dozen. Now that’ll give you an idea what she is.”

Leno appeared every Christmas as the star the of the panto production of the Drury Lane Theatre (where both Monty Python’s Flying Circus and The League of Gentlemen would later perform) from 1888 to 1903 and he topped the bill when he toured the American Vaudeville circuit. He was touted as “The Funniest Man on Earth” and possessed one of those faces that just caused people to laugh uncontrollably the minute he walked onstage. Up to 4000 people a night would line up to see him perform.

Leno appeared onstage before Charles Dickens (who told him “you’ll make headway!”), King Edward VII (earning him the title of “the King’s jester”) and the great British caricaturist Max Beerbohm, who was an unabashed fan. He was the young Charlie Chaplin’s hero and Stan Laurel absolutely worshipped him (and allegedly appropriated his famous dopey grin from Dan Leno as well.) “Dan Leno Walk,” in London is named for him and Peter Sellers claimed he was possessed by Dan Leno, or at least Leno was his spirit guide. Sellers based his performance in The Optimist of Nine Elms on his knowledge of Leno.
 

 
Sadly, there is very, very little we have today—save mostly for news clippings, photographs, some memorabilia and a few primitive voice recordings—that would indicate what exactly it was that made Dan Leno so beloved to audiences of the late Victorian era. Everyone who ever saw the man perform—along with their memories—is long dead. However, in the years before his death (in 1904, probably of a brain tumor), Dan Leno made several “Mutoscopes,” which were coin-operated hand-cranked animation flipbooks where metal or glass frames were rotated like a Rolodex for one person to watch at a time. (The Mutoscope was colloquially known as “What the Butler Saw” machines and could be found in British seaside resort towns until the 1960s.) Two of Leno’s Mutoscope performances—out of thirteen—have been located and are undergoing restoration in greater than HD quality due to the efforts of The Dan Leno Project of Studio 1919.

They’re hoping that by getting the word out, that Mutoscope collectors would be able to tell if they’ve got a Dan Leno short in their possession and the complete set could be assembled and a documentary eventually made about “The Funniest Man on Earth.”

Below, Dan Leno, his wife, kids and their dog in “Dessert at Dan Leno’s House” as restored by Studio 1919’s The Dan Leno Project.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Prepare to shit yourself (or take a Xanax before watching this!)
04.15.2014
12:26 pm

Topics:
Sports

Tags:
Mountain biking


 
“Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off the cliff I go!”

I literally clenched my ass cheeks the entire time I watched this batshit POV helmet cam filming a bonkers downhill mountain bike competition. From what I understand, this was part of a Red Bull Rampage tournament. Good lord, how much adrenaline does one need? One false move or wrong turn would put you in a wheelchair for life, right?!

This is one crazy motherfucker.

 
Via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
TL;DR Wikipedia: Condensed for your reading pleasure
04.15.2014
11:00 am

Topics:
Amusing

Tags:
Wikipedia
tl;dr


 
TL;DR Wikipedia is an excellent source of information for the “fuck it, I don’t have time to read this shit” generation. It cuts to the chase, getting rid of those annoying words Wikipedia entries are full of and summarizes everything you need to know about a topic / subject in just a sentence or two. Invaluable, I tell ya! You’ll learn something new—but not too much—every single day!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Daily Dot

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘True Detective’ meets ‘The Family Circus’
04.15.2014
08:43 am

Topics:
Amusing
Television

Tags:
True Detective
The Family Circus


 
Like The Nietzsche Family Circus, we now have the pitch-perfect pessimistic witticisms from True Detective‘s Rust Cohle nicely depicted Family Circus-style. It’s called “Time is a Flat Circus.”


 

 

 

 
Via AV Club

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
‘The Beast With Five Fingers’: Vintage amateur ‘home movie’ version of the classic horror film, 1947
04.15.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Amusing
Movies

Tags:
Horror Fiction
W. F. Harvey

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The amiable, Irish comedian Dave Allen had the top of his left forefinger missing. As part of his act, he would tell various amusing and often macabre tales as to how he came to lose it: his brother bit it off; it was dissolved by whisky; he cut it off to avoid conscription to the army; his father chopped it off with an ax. Of course, these stories were all untrue—Allen had lost the top of his finger when he was child playing with an old machine cog.

However, my favorite story that Allen told about his missing digit was the one he told on his hit TV show, in a darkened studio, with only a single light illuminating his face. Allen had been traveling by car across desolate moor in the north of England. A storm (thunder, lightning) had waylaid him en route to his destination, and he had to overnight at an old, rundown hotel, miles from anywhere.

Lightning had downed the power, and the hotel was lit by flickering candles. As he was shown to his room, his host asked the comedian if he believed in ghosts. Allen told him no, he was an atheist, thank God. The manager smiled, and replied that was all well and good, as sadly, the hotel rarely received any guests as the house was said to be haunted by an evil spirit.

Allen thought little more of the conversation, and prepared for bed. But as he slowly drifted off to sleep, he began to dream about an evil, brooding presence that lurked down in the basement. In his dream he could see the pitch black of the basement room, and in that darkness he saw something move, something slowly writhing towards him, a thick, oily darkness. Allen moved away, back up the stairs to his room. It followed.

The corridor was swallowed by damp, creeping shadows. The evil was moving nearer. Allen woke and found he was lying in bed. The room was silent. He felt the pin prick of sweat on his neck. He knew there something with him in the room, waiting.

Allen felt the evil move slowly up the bed covers. Its legs dimpling his flesh, dragging its body behind. As it crawled nearer, Allen knew he was going to die, would die, if he didn’t do something. The creature, heavier now, moved ever closer. One hard limb at a time, dragging its fleshy body nearer, nearer, until it would have him by the throat. That was when Allen struck. He grabbed the beast, and bit hard into what he thought was its neck and head. He tasted blood, felt pain. And then he screamed, spitting the top of his finger out of his mouth.

The idea of hands having an evil will of their own was first put to paper by author Maurice Renard in his novel Les Mains d’Orlac (The Hands of Orlac). This was later made into the German Expressionist film Orlac’s Hände starring Conrad Veidt, in 1924. A Hollywood version Mad Love, with Colin Clive and Peter Lorre, came along in 1935, and was remade again, this time as The Hands of Orlac with Mel Ferrer and Christopher Lee in 1962.

Les Mains d’Orlac tells the story of a concert pianist, who loses his hands in an accident, and receives the transplanted hands of a murderer. These new hands possess him and he becomes a killer. It’s good story and the nearly forgotten Renard wrote some highly original and influential tales, which are well worth checking out.

Another author who wrote about disembodied hands was W. F. Harvey, who is one of my favorite horror writers and wrote “The Beast With Five Fingers.” This classic tale deals with the life and death of Adrian Borlsover who “was exceedingly clever with his hands.” When Borlsover goes blind, he adapts by using his supple fingers to read Braille, and explore the world by touch alone. His fingers are so delicate that he can identify flowers by just the feel of their petals.

Towards the close of his life Adrian Borlsover was credited with powers of touch that seemed almost uncanny. It had been said that he could tell at once the colour of ribbon placed between his fingers.

When he dies, Adrian apparently bequeaths his nephew Eustice a strange gift—his severed hand.

This story inspired Curt Siodmak to write a jumbled screenplay that mixed elements of Renard’s Orlac with Harvey’s Beast, for the movie version The Beast With Five Fingers, which starred Peter Lorre (again). Harvey was a much better writer than Siodmak, and his tale is far superior to the film, and more memorable.

However, the disembodied hand didn’t stop with The Beast With Five Fingers, it would reappear most successfully in Doctor Terror’s House of Horrors, where artist Michael Gough’s severed hand claims gory vengeance on Christopher Lee’s jealous critic; and then in Oliver Stone’s B-movie The Hand, starring Michael Caine, which is definitely one to miss.

An interesting addition to this collection is Ed Foley’s Super-8 home movie version, which he made in 1947 when he was an eighteen-year-old high school student. Foley’s film owes more to Siodmak’s screenplay, but it is a well-made, impressive and delightful short film for a kid to have made, especially at that time. Check out his amateur special effects!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
North Korea ‘threaten’ London hairdresser over ‘disrespectful’ Kim Jong-un bad hair day poster?
04.15.2014
08:01 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion

Tags:
hairstyles
Kim Jong-un

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Last month it was reported supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Kim Jong-un had (supposedly) suggested that all loyal citizens of North Korea should trim their hair in “accordance with the Socialist lifestyle.” In other words, get that very unflattering haircut the supreme leader (and fashion icon) has himself. Apparently, legions of indoctrinated followers queued to have their follicles trimmed in accordance with their leader’s wishes.

Now, the supreme leader, or at least a spokesperson on behalf of North Korea, has become involved in another fashion war this time over a London hairdresser using a picture of the supreme leader to advertise his services.

Mo Nabbach, who runs M&M Hair Academy in South Ealing, put a poster of Kim Jong-un in his shop window with the headline:

“Bad hair day? 15% off all gent cuts through the month of April.”

Since the poster went up, Mr. Nabbach claims to have been targeted by officials from the North Korean Embassy, based in nearby Gunnery. He claims men from the embassy took pictures of the salon, wrote notes in their books, and then asked for the poster to be taken down, as it was “disrespectful” to their leader.

Mr. Nabbach told the London Evening Standard:

“I told them this is England and not North Korea and told them to get their lawyers,” he added.

“We did take it down but then some of our clients told me to put it back up because we have a democracy here.

“The two guys were wearing suits and they were very serious. It was very threatening.”

Mr. Nabbach contacted the police, who then spoke to both parties over the incident. The police came to the conclusion that “no offence has been disclosed.”

A spokesperson for the North Korean embassy refused to confirm or deny the story, other than to say, “We are not in a position to comment.” Maybe they were too busy getting haircuts?
 
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Now here’s ten things you might not know about his supreme leadership.
 

 
Via the ‘Evening Standard
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
‘Dr. Death’: The macabre and disturbing paintings of Jack Kevorkian
04.15.2014
07:55 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Jack Kevorkian
Dr. Death

Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
The world’s most famous advocate for the right of terminal patients to elect physician-assisted suicide, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, was a fairly gifted painter as well. I’m no art expert; while his draftsmanship skills and imaginative brio appear to have been in fine shape, his sensibility was perhaps a touch blank, straightforwardly literal for my tastes. These pictures, in a way, are almost precisely what you’d imagine would fancy the much-maligned “Dr. Death,” who himself died in the summer of 2011 of thrombosis (once the disease had progressed past an advanced state, there were no artificial attempts to prolong his life).

There’s a resonance here…. if he was fond of Magritte, it wouldn’t stun me. Basically, you can divide the paintings into ones that seem entirely of a piece with his public persona, and the ones that don’t. The one of the 9th Amendment and the astonishing one with Adolf Hitler and the “New Seal of the Loyal Papal State of Michigan” certainly fall into the former category, as do the more metaphorical meditations on the terror of the human body. The musical clefs, and the two anonymous-feeling portraits are more unexpected. And then there’s Bach.

Gallerie Sparta in Los Angeles is “paying homage to a lesser known side of the famed activist” through the end of the month. All paintings are available for purchase, but apparently a few have sold already, so act fast!
 
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Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
Dr. Jack Kevorkian
 
In this video gallery featuring Kevorian’s paintings, the flute and organ music are likewise performed by “Dr. Death.” Yes, he was a jazz musician, too!
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
The peerlessly weird Beefheartian post-punk of Stump
04.15.2014
07:31 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Unorthodox

Tags:
Stump


 
Stump were a uniquely aberrant Irish/British foursome active in the mid to late ‘80s. After some success in London with the Mud on a Colon EP, the Quirk Out mini-LP, a Peel Session, and a track on NME‘s famed C-86 compilation, they were picked up by Ensign Records to make 1988’s LP A Fierce Pancake, a supremely screwball statement-of-purpose, at turns and at once absurdist, whimsical, and dark. The performance that brought the band to Ensign was their appearance on The Tube, wherein they performed their song “Tupperware Stripper” as “Censorship Stripper,” probably in a dodge against trademark concerns.
 

 
The band initially caught my ear in 1988, with the preposterous single “Charlton Heston,” which featured croaking frogs for a rhythm track and the facepalm-worthy refrain “Charlton Heston/Put his vest on.” But when I heard the whole album, the mere zaniness I expected turned out to be a veneer for some truly mind-bending and aggressively awkward Beefheartian experimentation. The guitar and bass playing here are a few leagues beyond merely idiosyncratic–indeed, there are many passages where one can’t quite tell which instrument is which, and if U.S. Maple didn’t have some Stump in their diet before they set upon their own deconstructions of rock tropes, I’ll eat my foot. The madcap persona and lyrics of singer Mick Lynch must have made it all seem like a joke to some listeners, and sure, it IS mighty fucking daffy to have the chorus of a single consist of a bug-eyed man with Tintin’s hair shouting “LIGHTS! CAMEL! ACTION!” But then you hear songs like “Living It Down” and “Heartache” and you say “whoa, damn.”
 

 

Living it Down by Stump on Grooveshark

 

Heartache by Stump on Grooveshark

 
Stump split by the end of 1988. A Fierce Pancake was deleted in 1990 and has never been reissued in physical media, except as part of a complete anthology CD set from 2008, which is itself also out of print. In spring 2014, Cherry Red UK will be releasing Does the Fish Have Chips—Early and Late Works 1986-1989, which encompasses all of their recorded output except the LP. So just listen to the LP and enjoy some of their videos here.
 

Stump, A Fierce Pancake, full album
 

 

 
This last one sounds too poor to really represent the song properly, it’s a live fan-cam thing shot from behind the P.A. But in one respect, that’s a boon here, inasmuch as all you can really hear is the astonishing bass player Kevin Hopper. Who plays like this? The man is brilliantly mental.
 

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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