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Bizarre vintage ads for life-sized inflatable sex dolls
06.08.2017
01:54 pm
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Let’s imagine it’s 1973. I have my bachelor pad, my 28” color TV, swivel chair, hi-fi stereo gear, fondue set and my corduroy bellbottoms. I live in a Space Age world. I have everything I ever wanted. But somehow I feel empty. I feel I’ve mortgaged my happiness on things I don’t really need. I have a lifestyle but no life. There’s something missing. I’m lonely. I’m missing that certain someone special to share all this luxury with.

But relationships are messy. They’re downright difficult. And I don’t know if I’m ready to commit, you know what I mean? I really need someone who is always ready to please, always ready for me and what I want. When I want it. But where can I find such a person? Do they even exist? 

I flick thru the latest issue of Man’s World where I find an ad for a life-size inflatable doll…

Just add air…Life-like in every detail…Snuggle up to your own Love Maid.

Eight dollars ninety-five. It all seems too good to be true. But I know nothing about “Love Maids.” I know nothing about inflatable love dolls…but maybe I might know a man who does. Bryan Ferry. He sang about inflatable dolls. He’s the man to ask. Maybe I should call him up?

Bryan, I live in this perfect world, all mod cons, everything I need, but why, why do I have this utter sense of loneliness?

Bryan (for it is he….): In every dream home a heartache… And every step I take. Takes me from heaven.

What do you mean by “heaven,” Bryan?

Bryan: The perfect companion. Deluxe and delightful.

You seem to know a lot about this, brah. Way too much…

Looking for a playmate? Well, here I am. I’m Lori, the latest, wildest, party-time sensation and I’m ready for action…

Bryan: Inflatable doll. Disposable darling… My breath is inside you… I dress you up daily. I blew up your body… But you blew my mind.

Ew. Too much information, man…

The earliest sex doll is credited to Dutch sailors in the 17th century, who used a dame de voyage—a masturbatory doll made of cloth for relieving sexual stress on long voyages. In 1908, the first recorded “manufactured” sex doll made its appearance in psychiatrist Iwan Bloch‘s The Sexual Life of Our Time. Bloch described this doll as “Vaucansons” intended for fornicatory purposes. These were made from:

...rubber and other plastic materials, prepare entire male or female bodies, which, as hommes or dames de voyage, subserve fornicatory purposes. More especially are the genital organs represented in a manner true to nature. Even the secretion of Bartholin’s glans is imitated, by means of a “pneumatic tube” filled with oil. Similarly, by means of fluid and suitable apparatus, the ejaculation of the semen is imitated. Such artificial human beings are actually offered for sale in the catalogue of certain manufacturers of “Parisian rubber articles.”

During the Second World War, it was long rumored but never actually proven that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler ordered sex dolls to be supplied to German troops fighting on the front line. The real change in sex dolls took place in the 1960s with the development of the vinyl inflatable doll with realistic “openings.” These became very popular in the 1970s, as can be seen by the following selection of bizarre adverts. Click on image for a closer look.
 
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More ads for inflatable bachelor companions, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.08.2017
01:54 pm
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Playboy Playmates recreate their iconic covers 30 years on
06.07.2017
09:57 am
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Monique St. Pierre, Playmate of the Year, June 1979.
 
Marilyn Monroe was the first Playboy cover girl featured in the magazine in December 1953. That copy of Playboy wasn’t actually dated as publisher and editor Hugh Hefner didn’t know if there would ever be a second issue. Marilyn was also the magazine’s first “Sweetheart of the Month,” a title which changed to “Playmate of the Month” with Playboy’s second issue in January 1954 when Margie Harrison became the magazine’s first ever centerfold. Marilyn’s iconic photo spread only appeared over pages 16-18. Since then, Playmate of the Month has continued right on up to present day with Elsie Hewitt featured as Playmate of Month for June 2017 and Brooke Power featured on the cover as Playmate of the Year.

There was a well-told urban myth about the glamorous Playmates featured on the cover that claimed they were given a marking, out of twelve, according to Hefner’s tastes. This was based on the stars printed on the cover either on or next to the letter “P” of Playboy. This rumor alleged Hef was giving “stars” for either the cover girl’s looks, or performance in bed, or even how many times the old goat had slept with her. This was never true. The stars which appeared on the cover between 1955 and 1979 denoted regional or international advertising for that particular issue.

Playboy is now synonymous with America and American values as Mom’s apple pie, the Stars and Stripes, and Abraham Lincoln. That Hefner’s magazine and his multi-million dollar porn industry have achieved such a strange (shall we call it?) respectability says much about the dynamic changes in culture and morals over the past six decades.

A selection of Playmates was recently offered the opportunity to replicate their iconic covers some thirty years on from their original appearance. Playmates Candace Collins, Monique St. Pierre, Cathy St. George, Charlotte Kemp, and Reneé Tenison, among others, were photographed by Ben Miller and Ryan Lowry as part of this project. As can be seen from the photographs below, the results are quite incredible.
 
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Monique St. Pierre, 2017.
 
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Candace Collins, Playmate, February 1979.
 
More then and now Playboy Playmates, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.07.2017
09:57 am
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You asked your mom to pick up a fidget spinner and instead she bought you…
06.02.2017
11:32 am
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Fidget spinners are the latest inexplicable toy fad, the popularity of which most adults find absolutely confounding.

Parents who fail to remember their disappointment when their own parents bought them a “Rybick’s Cube” or a “Lettuce Patch Doll” or a “Beeny Baby” may make the mistake of picking up a “Widget Spinner” or a “Whirlerz.”

In the tradition of Nightmare Feddy, Robert Cop, and Anna Montana, here’s a collection of sorry knock-offs from the “Crappy Off Brands” Reddit page

Spot the difference and survive.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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06.02.2017
11:32 am
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Try to imagine how insane this TV footage of Roxy Music (with Brian Eno) looked in the early 1970s
05.26.2017
11:41 am
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Roxy Music: Not just another guitar band.
 
The great Roy Wood said on some late-nite radio show that for a long time he thought Ike and Tina Turner were a cool-sounding R&B band called I Can Turn A Corner. Easy mistake. For a long time, I thought Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was singing about “wee-wees up the walls, and mashed-potato smalls…” when he sang “weary of the waltz, and mashed-potato schmaltz” on “Do the Strand.”

That I thought Roxy Music could sing about urination as decoration or squidgy y-fronts and not consider it at all out of place in their repertoire gives but some small idea as to how radical, how shocking, how breathtakingly original Roxy Music seemed when they first landed. Their debut single was named after a packet of cigarettes (“Virginia Plain”—actually a painting of a packet of cigarettes). They sang about blow-up dolls (“In Every Dream Home a Heartache”), and a kind of Ballardian love interest contained/hidden in a car’s license plate—the CPL 593H on “Re-make/Re-model.” So why not edible undergarments? It seemed all too feasible in an era of instant mash, Angel Delight, moon landings, Teflon frying pans, group sex, safari suits, and silver hot pants.

Roxy Music sounded as if they had just beamed down from outer space and brought along the music of the spheres. In fact, they had. Roxy Music was the sound of the future—but we just didn’t realize it then. Roxy was so overwhelmingly new. No one knew what to think. The group was originally comprised of Bryan Ferry (vocals, keys, and chief songwriter), Graham Simpson (bass), Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe), Paul Thompson (drums and percussion), and last but not least, Brian Eno (VCS3 synthesizer, tape effects, backing vocals and “treatments”). Ferry had started the band alongside Graham Simpson. The cool suave vocalist came from a poor working class background. His grandfather had courted his grandmother on a horse and plow for ten years before getting married. Times were tough. Ferry later claimed his parents lived “vicariously” though they were always better dressed than everyone else. It was via his mother that Ferry got his introduction to rock ‘n’ roll—she took him a Bill Haley concert in the 1950s. But Ferry preferred jazz and soul and his ambition was for a career in art and possibly teaching if that didn’t work out.

This all changed after Ferry hitchhiked to London to catch an Otis Redding concert. Redding was one of the greatest soul singers/performers of all time. It was a life-changing experience. Ferry knew he had to be a singer.
 
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Roxy model for the IKEA catalog.
 
Most of his life Ferry had felt out-of-step with his contemporaries. He felt like “an oddity.” It wasn’t until he started studying Fine Art under the tutelage of pop artist Richard Hamilton at Newcastle University that he found the confidence to push forward with his own ideas and believe in his own talents. Inspired by Redding and by Hamilton’s pop art aesthetic, Ferry started writing songs. He also started singing and performing. Graduating in 1968, Ferry moved to London. After a couple of false starts with the bands the Banshees and Gasboard, Ferry formed Roxy Music with Simpson in 1970. Andy MacKay and Eno soon joined, then Thompson and finally Phil Manzanera.

As Manzanera later recalled, the rich diversity of those early sessions together created Roxy sound:

“We’d start off with ‘Memphis Soul’ Stew, and then we’d go into ‘The Bob (Medley)’, this heavy bizarre thing about the Battle Of Britain with synths and sirens. We had everything in there from King Curtis to The Velvet Underground to systems music to ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll. At the time we said this was ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s rock’n'roll. Eno would respond to something that sounded like it came off the first Velvets album, then Ferry would play something ‘50s and I’d play my version of ‘50s. I was always a terrible session player. I could never learn a solo and I stuck that ‘not quite right’ approach onto Roxy. Six people in a band created this hybrid.”

More early Roxy Music, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.26.2017
11:41 am
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VHS fan builds a functional video rental store in his basement: ‘It’s like the 80s threw up’
05.26.2017
09:43 am
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Though the advent of streaming video has made nearly any programming under the sun just a few quick clicks away, some of us still miss the ritual of going to a video store and spending quality time browsing the aisles searching for a particular title that struck our fancy.

There was something really special about investing such time planning for how you would further invest your time later in the evening with whatever stack you decided was worthy of a viewing. The video store experience allowed us the opportunity to peruse and investigate and make decisions based upon lurid box art or recommendations from geeky employees or the fact that the movie we really wanted to see was already checked out, but this other, more obscure film, in the same genre is available.The video store experience gave us the thrill of the hunt, and made the reward of that particular two-day-rental that much sweeter. Algorithms that tell us what we are likely to enjoy remove the sense of discovery that the video store provided.

One Houston, Texas-based VHS collector has taken his nostalgia for the video store experience to a level of awesome that most would never consider. He has recreated an ‘80s style video store in his basement.

Jason Champion’s Champion Video is a fully-functional video rental outlet that issues memberships and boasts over 4,500 titles. True to the era, memberships and rentals are tracked on an ancient Commodore 64 computer with a spreadsheet program.

In an interview for Lunchmeatvhs.com, Mr. Champion details the shop’s authenticity:

There is a display case with candy, trading cards, VCRs, blank tapes, tape rewinders, and popcorn for people to “buy.”  Also, I have a horror themed arcade set on free play, since a lot of old video stores used to have them. Oh man, there’s so much more stuff like video store promos, posters, horror and 80s collectibles all over the place, it’s like the 80s threw up everywhere.

Lots of people have basement “man-caves,” but it’s really something else to completely recreate a specific environment that harkens back to a simpler time. I’ve got to hand it to Mr. Champion, this is beyond cool.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Christopher Bickel
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05.26.2017
09:43 am
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Cool for Cats: Squeeze’s East Side stories, working class poetry and kitchen-sink dramas
05.23.2017
11:36 am
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Squeeze: The classic line-up.
 
Like everyone else, I’m a sucker for a song that marries a well-crafted lyric to an unforgettable tune. That for me is what makes classic popular music. It can be Chuck Berry with “No Particular Place To Go,” or Sparks with “Something for the Girl with Everything,” Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” or even a music hall number like “My Old Man (Said Follow the Van),” or George Formby’s “When I’m Cleaning Windows.” Each of these songs has a clever lyric that tells a little story matched by compelling music that carries us along to a little nirvana of pure pop joy.

Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook write these kinds of perfect songs. Songs like “Up the Junction,” “Tempted,” “Labelled with Love,” “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Cool for Cats,”  “Black Coffee in Bed,” and “Pulling Mussels (from the Shell).” Beautiful works of art that touch both heart and mind.

Together Difford and Tilbrook are the core of Squeeze—the band they formed sometime in late 1973 or early 1974. It all started after Difford put an advert in a newsagent’s window for a musician to gig and record with, who liked the Small Faces, Hendrix and Glenn Miller. Difford had been writing poetry for years but had a desire to write and perform songs. Tilbrook had been playing guitar and writing songs since around the age of eleven. He was the only musician who replied to Difford’s ad. It was one of those marvelous quirks of fate that brought together the two young men who would one day be hailed as the “new Lennon and McCartney.”

Difford and Tilbrook were joined by boogie-woogie pianist Jools Holland on keys, Gilson Lavis on drums and eventually John Bentley who replaced Harry Kakoulli on bass. This became the classic Squeeze line-up. Through their manager Miles Copeland III (who also managed the Police, and later released albums by R.E.M., the Cramps and the Bangles), the band had their first EP A Packet of Three and their first album produced by John Cale. 
 
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Squeeze: The eighties line-up.
 
Difford and Tilbrook had taken the name Squeeze from the Velvet Underground’s (worst) album Squeeze, so there was some synchronicity that Cale produced Squeeze’s earliest output. But Cale wanted sex and imagined passions rather than the world of personal experience and kitchen-sink drama from which Difford pulled his cache of working class poetry. Whereas the first album and single (“Take Me I’m Yours”) put the band on the map and led to their three-month tour of America, it was the second Cool for Cats that showcased Difford and Tillbrook’s genius for songwriting, which was followed by the classic albums Argybargy and East Side Story, right up through to the band’s fourteenth studio album Cradle to the Grave in 2015.

Squeeze arrived at a time of a great and rich musical diversity. When there were various genres like punk and ska, new wave and rap, disco and synthpop, and so on. It was also a time when pop music no longer had that shiny exciting novelty it once had in the fifties and sixties, which meant that sometimes the praise and respect Difford and Tilbrook richly deserved was occasionally diminished or overlooked by rock critics searching for the next Sex Pistols or Paul Weller. Not that Squeeze weren’t popular or greatly loved, far from it, but that there was an equally talented (and often times not as talented) number of other bands also demanding attention who were simply less conventional.

Watch Squeeze in concert from 1982, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.23.2017
11:36 am
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Everybody—even Dick Clark—knows that the bird is the word: The Trashmen on ‘American Bandstand’
05.11.2017
09:22 am
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While it may be a stretch to say that the Trashmen invented punk rock, with 1963’s “Surfin’ Bird” they were very clearly one of the earliest bands to capture its snotty, anarchic spirit. The song has been a rallying cry for hip weirdos ever since. It was even the voice of a singing asshole in John Waters’ magnum opus Pink Flamingos. Pee-wee Herman belted it out on the soundtrack of Back to the Beach. It’s also been covered by dozens of bands, including The Ramones, the pre-Stooges Iguanas, and even German thrash metal giants Sodom. The Cramps basically owed their entire career to the song.

There is no way to sit in silence when “Surfin’ Bird” comes on the radio. You will scream along and probably flail around the room, flapping your arms like a big dumb ostrich. That song could start an all-night party at a funeral. The bird remains the word, even after all these years.
 

Pee-wee heard about the bird back in 1986

But what do we know about this mutant anthem, really? Well, for one thing, The Trashmen didn’t write “Surfin’ Bird.” It was a mash-up of two Rivingtons’ songs, 1962’s “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and its sound-alike follow-up, ‘63’s “Bird is the Word.” The Trashmen never even heard the original. They actually nicked it off another local Minneapolis band called The Sorensen Brothers. The Trashmen version was even louder and wilder, and once DJ Bill Diehl heard it, he encouraged the band to record it. They did, and the word-of-the-bird quickly spread, eventually getting the band to number four on the Billboard charts and ensuring their place in Freak Heaven forever.
 

The unlikely granddaddies of punk: Trashmen in 1964

But here’s the thing. The Trashmen initially attempted a rock n’ roll swindle, stating that they wrote the song themselves. The ‘63 single credits Trashmen singer/drummer Steve Wahrer as the composer and by the time the song was racing up the charts, he was happy to take the credit. Eventually, the Rivingtons got a lawyer and worked it all out but by then the world moved on to other dance crazes.  While “Surfin’ Bird” remained the Trashmen’s biggest hit, they had a fistful of ‘em as the decade wore on, including “Bird Dance Beat”, “Peppermint Man” and “Whoa Dad”. None of ‘em were as good as “Surfin’ Bird,” but what could be?
 

The little-known follow-up to “Surfin’ Bird.”
 
After the jump, the greatest thing you’ll see this week, I promise…

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Posted by Ken McIntyre
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05.11.2017
09:22 am
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‘Blade Runner’: The Marvel Comics adaptation
05.10.2017
11:19 am
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Never trust a critic. Most of them know fuck all.

Strange as it may seem now, Ridley Scott’s movie Blade Runner received a decidedly mixed bag of notices upon its first release in June 1982. Some newspapers scribes considered Harison Ford wooden; the voice-over cliched; the storyline way too complex; the whole damn thing butt-numbingly slow and just a tad boring. One broadsheet even described the film as “science fiction pornography,” while the LA Times called it “Blade Crawler” because it moved along so slowly.

But some folks knew the film’s real worth—like Marvel Comics.

In September 1982, Marvel issued a “Super Special” comic book adaptation of Blade Runner. This was quickly followed by a two-part reissue of the comic during October and November of that year. This was when those three little words “Stan Lee presents” guaranteed a real good time and Marvel’s version of Blade Runner fulfilled that promise.

The comic was written by Archie Goodwin with artwork from Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon with Dan Green and Ralph Reese. While movies have time to develop story, plot, and character, and create their own atmosphere, comic books get six panels a page to achieve the same. Marvel’s Blade Runner managed the transposition from screen to page quite successfully. The artists picked up on some of the movie’s most iconic imagery while still managing to add their own take on the Philip K. Dick tale. Williamson offered his own (cheesy) definition of the term “Blade Runner” at the very end of the story:

Blade runner. You’re always movin’ on the edge.

What???

You can read the whole comic here. Click on images below for larger size.
 
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More from Rick Deckard , Roy Batty and co., after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.10.2017
11:19 am
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From comic book to art gallery: The brilliant and beautiful art of James Jean
05.08.2017
03:00 pm
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‘Bouquet’ (2016).
 
My closest, kindest and best friend has a family motto, “Per ardua surgo.” “I rise through difficulties/difficult things.” It’s a sentiment that could easily apply to the brilliant artist James Jean, who has risen through his own personal difficulties to achieve incredible success as an artist and designer. What could be more personal than an unnecessarily long, painful, and acrimonious divorce where a spouse refuses to settle? This is what apparently happened to Jean. His ex-wife refused to settle, leaving the artist allegedly penniless, homeless, utterly depressed and “neutered.” Eventually, Jean had to move overseas where he lived on “subsistence and barter.” Yet, even when his art was being commodified by lawyers as potential future assets, Jean kept drawing, kept painting, and kept illustrating his way through.

Jean first came to prominence as a commercial artist and cover illustrator for comic books like Batgirl, the Green Arrow, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and most spectacularly Fables. His awe-inspiring work earned Jean a sackful of prizes including seven Eisner awards, three consecutive Harvey awards, and a row of gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators in both Los Angeles and New York. He has also collaborated on designs for Prada.

With such a prodigious and prolific talent it was perhaps inevitable that Jean made the switch from comic books to art galleries in a series of beautiful and brilliant prints and paintings in mixed media and oils which he has been exhibited in group and solo shows since 2001.

James Jean was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1979, and raised in New Jersey. As a youngster, he has said he was more interested in playing the trumpet than making art. This changed under the tutelage of his high school teachers, Steve Assael, Thomas Woodruff and Jim McMullan, who recognized his artistic talent. Their encouragement inspired Jean to enroll at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1997, where he engaged with various different techniques before developing his own intricate and recognizable style. He graduated in 2001 and then began his career with DC Comics.

I think James Jean is one of the major artists of the twenty-first century who is in a direct line from Warhol, Hockney, and Koons, and further back to Dali and Picasso. The range of Jean’s work—in its diversity of technique, style, and subject—is virtually unparalleled. His oeuvre includes minutely detailed almost hallucinogenic sketches like “Samurai” to more traditional portraiture and Surreal digital work like “Aides Lapin,” to his progressive pop art of canvases like “Sprinkler” or “Bouquet.”

When once asked what advice to give young, budding artists Jean replied:

“Keep making work even if you don’t know what you have to say. You’ll only find your voice through the struggle.”

Jean has found has certainly found his voice.

See more of James Jean’s work here.
 
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‘Good Lord’ (2016).
 
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‘Flip’ (2006).
 
See more fabulous art by James Jean, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.08.2017
03:00 pm
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A young Primal Scream before ‘Screamadelica’: Live in London 1987
05.03.2017
11:13 am
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One small but hugely significant turning point in the long career of Primal Scream came when Alan McGee gave Bobby Gillespie an ecstasy tablet at a Happy Mondays gig in 1989. McGee was the visionary top dog at Creation Records. Gillespie the Primal’s lead singer. The pair had known each other since school.

By 1989, the Primals had been together for seven years and had released two moderately successful albums. Their debut Sonic Flower Groove had a slightly fey upbeat jingly-jangly sound which some music critics unfavorably compared to Arthur Lee’s Love and the Byrds. Today, Sonic Flower Groove is considered a “retro masterpiece,” but at the time it was out of sync with the infectious drug-fueled club and rave culture that was changing the beat.

The Primals’ self-titled second album sounded as if the band had woken up one day and decided to be the Rolling Stones. It’s a good album with some key songs—in particular “I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have” which was later remixed by Andy Weatherall to become the generation-defining track “Loaded” on Screamadelica. At the time of its release, one wag of a rock critic claimed Primal Scream was the album when one could hear the band’s “testicles drop catastrophically.”

Despite the albums’ high points and their current critical reassessment, both records were like cool young kids trying on the grown-ups clothes to see what would fit and what matched their style.
 
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For Gillespie, the band’s music had to be rock ‘n’ roll like Johnny Thunders or Link Wray, but this was at odds with the music being produced under the influence of ecstasy.

Alan McGee had seen the light. He also believed in Bobby and Primal Scream. But he thought that maybe if they necked a few “eccies” then they might get into the groove too.

At the Happy Mondays’ Hacienda gig in 1989, McGee had three ecstasy tablets. He took one and gave the second to Gillespie, who managed to drop it on the floor. McGee then (probably reluctantly) gave Gillespie his last pill. But it was well worth it.

“Gillespie got it,” McGee later said. “By about June, [he thought] he’d invented acid house!”

Everything changed after that.

Watch Primal Scream in concert from 1987, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.03.2017
11:13 am
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