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David Lynch recites Captain Beefheart’s ‘Pena’
07.20.2017
09:09 am
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Don Van Vliet, ‘Crepe and Black Lamps’ (via beefheart.com)
 
Among the treasures stored on Magic Band alumnus Gary Lucas’ Soundcloud is this recording of David Lynch reading “Pena” from Trout Mask Replica.

The director, who also appears in Anton Corbijn’s short movie about Beefheart, Some YoYo Stuff, recorded “Pena” for a Beefheart tribute show Lucas put on at the NYC Knitting Factory in 2008.

“Three little burnt scotch taped windows.” Where Antennae Jimmy Semens shrieks “Pena” like it’s his last words at the gallows, Lynch’s measured recitation lets you picture every image. They could come from one of his own paintings:

Pena
Her little head clinking
Like uh barrel of red velvet balls
Full past noise
Treats filled ‘er eyes
Turning them yellow like enamel coated tacks
Soft like butter hard not t’ pour
Out enjoying the sun while sitting on
Uh turned on waffle iron
Smoke billowing up from between her legs
Made me vomit beautifully
‘n crush uh chandelier
Fall on my stomach ‘n view her
From uh thousand happened facets
Liquid red salt ran over crystals
I later band-aided the area
Sighed
Oh well it was worth it
Pena pleased but sore from sitting
Chose t’ stub ‘er toe
‘n view the white pulps horribly large
In their red pockets
“I’m tired of playing baby,” she explained

Listen after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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07.20.2017
09:09 am
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William S. Burroughs’ answer to the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’


The author at home
 
It’s the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen,” and you know what that means: it’s the 40th anniversary of the letter of support William S. Burroughs sent the band, along with his own all-purpose slogan and answer song, “Bugger the Queen.”

Victor Bockris writes that Burroughs’ piece predated the Sex Pistols’ single by three years, but even so, “God Save the Queen” was the occasion for its debut. As far as I can tell, Burroughs never mentioned “Bugger the Queen” without reference to the Sex Pistols. In October ‘77, writing from Naropa, Burroughs sent Brion Gysin a Rolling Stone feature on the Sex Pistols (presumably Charles M. Young’s contemporary cover story) along with the words to “Bugger the Queen,” which he referred to as a new song he might record with Patti Smith. Though the published letters haven’t yet caught up to the punk rock period, Ken Lopez Bookseller has made the typescript of this one available. Punctuation and spelling are WSB’s:

Dear Brion:

Enclose article from the Rolling Stone on the Sex Pistols and punk rock, in case you didnt see it. This explains the action in Paris. I guess we are classified with Mick Jaeger. I am writing some songs and may do a record with Patti Smith. Here’s one
My husband and I
The old school tie
Hyphonated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
With the restofthe sog
Pull the chain onBuckingham
The drain calls you MAM.
BUGGER THE QUEEN
Whole skit goes withit illustratting everything I dont like about England.

“Bugger the Queen” was still on Burroughs’ mind one year later when he told a writer for the San Francisco punk zine Search & Destroy about his letter to the Sex Pistols (as quoted by Victor Bockris):

I am not a punk and I don’t know why anybody would consider me the Godfather of Punk. How do you define punk? The only definition of the word is that it might refer to a young person who is simply called a punk because he is young, or some kind of petty criminal. In this sense some of my characters may be considered punks, but the word simply did not exist in the fifties. I suppose you could say James Dean epitomized it in Rebel Without a Cause, but still, what is it? I think the so-called punk movement is indeed a media creation. I did however send a letter of support to the Sex Pistols when they released “God Save the Queen” in England because I’ve always said that the country doesn’t stand a chance until you have 20,000 people saying BUGGER THE QUEEN! And I support the Sex Pistols because this is constructive, necessary criticism of a country which is bankrupt.

 

The cover (cropped) of ‘Little Caesar’ #9, the first publication of ‘Bugger the Queen’ (via dennis-cooper.net)
 
The “skit” Burroughs mentions in the letter to Gysin, or a later version of it, is one of the entries in the essay collection The Adding Machine. Burroughs read it toward the end of 1978 at the Nova Convention celebrating his work. It was first published in the ninth issue of Dennis Cooper’s zine Little Caesar, whose previous number featured an interview with Johnny Rotten; International Times ran it too. The gist: chants of “Bugger the Queen” lead to a spontaneous uprising that forces Her Maj to abdicate. From the opening, a few words of inspiration, and the annotated lyrics:

I guess you read about the trouble the Sex Pistols had in England over their song “God Save the Queen (It’s a Fascist Regime).” Johnny Rotten got hit with an iron bar wielded by HER Loyal Subjects. It’s almost treason in England to say anything against what they call “OUR Queen.” I don’t think of Reagan as OUR President, do you? He’s just the one we happen to be stuck with at the moment. So in memory of the years I spent in England—and in this connection I am reminded of a silly old Dwight Fisk song: “Thank you a lot, Mrs. Lousberry Goodberry, for an infinite weekend with you . . . (five years that weekend lasted) . . . For your cocktails that were hot and your baths that were not . . .”—so in fond memory of those five years I have composed this lyric which I hope someday someone will sing in England. It’s entitled: Bugger the Queen.

My husband and I (The Queen always starts her spiel that way)
The old school tie
Hyphenated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
(Bog is punk for W.C.)
With the rest of the sog
Pull the chain on Buckingham
The drain calls you, MA’AM
(Have to call the Queen “Ma’am” you know)
BUGGER THE QUEEN!

The audience takes up the refrain as they surge into the streets screaming “BUGGER THE QUEEN!”

Suddenly a retired major sticks his head out a window, showing his great yellow horse-teeth as he clips out: “Buggah the Queen!”

A vast dam has broken.

Alas, no one has stepped up to record “Bugger the Queen” during the intervening decades. I hold out hope Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye will set it to music. Below, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977, the Pistols make themselves heard from a boat on the River Thames in what must surely be Sex Pistols Number 2.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.02.2017
09:30 am
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DEVO meet William Burroughs: ‘David Bowie would never make an audience shit their pants. We would.’
05.04.2017
02:44 pm
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Marilyn Chambers said no. The star of Behind the Green Door and Insatiable did not consent to participate in one of those two-way interview features with DEVO for Trouser Press in early 1982.

So Trouser Press enlisted William S. Burroughs to do it instead.

According to the magazine’s longtime editor Ira Robbins, the editorial assignment belonged to Scott Isler, “who set this thing up (after failing to get Marilyn Chambers to interview Devo).”

This was back in the days of no-Internet, when the U.K. audience and the U.S. audience could be considered two entirely unrelated entities. Trouser Press had an arrangement with New Musical Express to run the same material Isler had put together. Robbins noted that the encounter “proved to be a lot less entertaining or illuminating than we hoped it would be” and that “it took a lot of editing for Scott to fish out what we published.”

Even though they went about expressing it in entirely different ways, DEVO and Burroughs share an absolutely withering take on the accepted American empire as we know it. Burroughs responded to it with randomness, calculated perversity, and debasement, DEVO with a tongue-in-cheek insistence that the decline of the capitalist system was irreversible and indeed, salutary. Both placed the standard and stupid conformist stance of Middle America squarely in its sights.
 

Beat Meets Blank: A lovely spread from the NME version of the interview
 
According to Isler’s intro, Burroughs was on hand to promote Cities of the Red Night, his first novel in a decade, while DEVO was between albums. Their most recent effort was New Traditionalists, released several months earlier. Oh, No! It’s Devo wouldn’t hit the shelves until the end of 1982.

By the way, “DEVO” is here defined as the two main spokesmen for the group, Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh, who are both identified as fans of Burroughs in the intro to the piece. Unexpectedly, almost as soon as the interview is underway, Casale goes into a lengthy explication of DEVO’s goals and methods. Casale cites Burroughs’s 1974 conversation with David Bowie in Rolling Stone about “sonic warfare” and then the Casale and Burroughs speculate as to how much abuse it’s proper for an artist to put his or her audience through. Death is too far, surely, but “making them shit their pants”?

Read the whole thing after the jump…........

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.04.2017
02:44 pm
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Jean Cocteau’s poem for Orson Welles
04.21.2017
08:16 am
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Orson Welles by Jean Cocteau (from the frontispiece of André Bazin’s book on Welles)
 
Orson Welles and Jean Cocteau first met at a performance of “Voodoo Macbeth,” the all-black Shakespeare production Welles staged in New York in 1936 with funding from a New Deal program. They remained friends and encouraged one another’s rascality, according to Simon Callow’s account of the 1948 Venice Film Festival in One-Man Band, the third volume of his Welles biography:

He and the perenially provocative Jean Cocteau formed a sort of anti-festival clique, clubbing together to commit what Cocteau rather wonderfully called lèse-festival. [...] Together in Venice, the two men behaved like two very naughty boys. Welles shocked his hosts by ostentatiously walking out of the showing of Visconti’s uncompromisingly severe masterpiece, La Terra Trema.

 

Cocteau and Welles in Venice, 1948
 
Welles was a member of the Comité d’Honneur at Cocteau’s 1949 Festival du Film Maudit, at which both The Magnificent Ambersons and The Lady from Shanghai were screened. (Kenneth Anger’s Fireworks made its European debut there, too, and Artaud’s “Sorcery and Cinema” was first published in the festival catalog.) Cocteau contributed this sketch of his friend to the program for Welles’ The Blessed and the Damned, an evening of two one-act plays that opened in Paris in 1950:

Orson Welles is a giant with the face of a child, a tree filled with birds and shadows, a dog who has broken loose and gone to sleep in the flower bed. An active loafer, a wise madman, a solitary surrounded by humanity, a student who sleeps during the lesson. A strategy: pretending to be drunk to be simply left alone. Seemingly better than anyone else, he can use a nonchalant attitude of real strength, apparently drifting but guided by a half-opened eye. This attitude of an abandoned hulk, and that of a sleepy bear, protects him from the cold fever of the motion picture world. An attitude which made him move on, made him leave Hollywood, and carried him to other lands and other horizons.

Quoting some of the increasingly hysterical praise for Welles printed elsewhere in the program and then in the show’s reviews, Callow wonders: “At least Cocteau had the excuse of being an opium addict; what were these chaps on?”

Keep reading, after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.21.2017
08:16 am
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Mouth-watering trailer for a ‘what if?’ 1970s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s ‘High-Rise’
04.04.2017
02:12 pm
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Ben Wheatley’s recent adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s masterful 1975 novel High-Rise scratched a profound itch many of us had had for years, but by rights we really should have had an adaptation from its own time, a brutalist B-movie with dissonant stereophonic music that should take its rightful place alongside Death Race 2000 and Logan’s Run.

We never got that movie, but that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend.

Adam Scovell has helpfully put together a marvelous trailer for a make-believe BBC series based on High-Rise using imagery from a really interesting-looking series from the early 1970s called Doomwatch that garnered controversy at the time for several episodes, including one that focused on mutant rats taking over the streets of London. The episode Scovell used is called “The Human Time-Bomb,” and it ran on the BBC on February 22, 1971.

I don’t know much about the plot except that the bland plot synopsis from the time sounds intriguingly Ballardian: “Dr. Fay Chantry performs a biological study of tower block life—and finds far more than she expected.”

On his blog Celluloid Wicker Man, Scovell raises a very interesting point, which is the possibility—one might even say the likelihood—that “The Human Time-Bomb” is actually a direct source for Ballard’s novel:
 

The Human Time-Bomb rather uniquely pre-empts almost all aspects of High-Rise in such detail that it must be considered whether Ballard himself actually saw it when broadcast. I have little doubt that he at least knew about the series, such was the crossover of the series’ goals with his own conflation of science and disaster.

 
He also notes that during this time, it wasn’t hard at all to find Ballard’s themes played out on the telly:
 

British Television of this period is brimming with Ballardian imagery; endless brutalist structures, obsessive emphasis on cars, violence and misogyny.  This is all compacted into a huge variety of drama, only ever really escaping from such aspects when a series or play was set in period.

 
Have a look at the trailer for the 70s ‘High-Rise’ that shoulda been, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.04.2017
02:12 pm
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‘Insomnia or the Devil at Large’: Gorgeously primitive watercolors by Henry Miller
03.31.2017
08:47 am
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In the mid ’60s, Henry Miller, the great and often controversial American writer whose works were mostly banned in the US until 1961, developed an infatuation on a Japanese lounge singer and actress named Hoki Tokuda. Miller and Tokuda would eventually marry (a true May-December affair—their age difference was almost 50 years, and the marriage was reportedly…unconventional in other respects as well), but before sealing the deal, fretfulness over their relationship would provoke a prolonged bout of insomnia in Miller, and during that spell of sleeplessness, he produced a series of watercolors and the short story “Insomnia or the Devil at Large.” Miller described the watercolors thusly:

They reflect the varying moods of three in the morning. Some were sprinkled with bird seed, some with songes, and some with mensonges. Some dripped from the brush like pink arsenic; others clogged up on me and came out as welts and bruises. Some were organic, some inorganic, but they were all intended to lead their own life in the garden of Abracadabra.”

 

 
“Insomnia” would eventually see its most widely-distributed publication as a 33-page book in 1974, but in 1970, Loujon Press of Albuquerque, NM produced a rather lavish boxed portfolio featuring 17x22” reproductions of the Insomnia watercolors and a letterpress book containing the story. Several editions were made, with the intention of producing 999 boxes in all, but the reality was somewhat more modest. Evidently only about 300 of the wooden cases were made, and the editions, designated with letters A through F, were all published in smaller numbers than originally hoped, some in cheaper boxes, some in an “economy” edition comprised of simply the book and prints with no case at all.

One of the nicer sets, from edition G, has just come up for bidding via the Aspire Auction company. Its provenance is about as direct as can be—it was procured directly from Miller himself by a book and art dealer named Arthur Feldman, and it’s signed.

Insomnia or The Devil at Large”, book and a portfolio of twelve works, 1970. Lithographs on paper, book with comb binding, marked Edition G out of 385 copies to colophon, first edition, signed and dated by the artist “May 1st 1970”, published by Loujon Press, Albuquerque, NM. In wooden box with sliding lid, overall 24” x 19 ⅛”

Bidding closes on Thursday, April 6th. Best of luck. The images that follow are from the copy being offered for sale, and are culled from the auction house’s web site. Clicking spawns an enlargement.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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03.31.2017
08:47 am
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Months later, Bob Dylan is STILL trolling the Nobel Committee! (Updated)
03.29.2017
09:31 am
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After last year’s surprising choice of Bob Dylan to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, some observers surely saw it coming that the prototypical trickster Dylan would largely ignore the experience and—implicitly—deny the Nobel Committee’s authority even to make such a distinction.

Initially, Dylan did not deign to mention the fact of the award in public, maintaining a silence so thorough that it tolerably irked the Nobelites: A few days after the announcement, writer and Swedish Academy member Per Wastberg referred to Dylan as “impolite and arrogant” for neglecting to utter a word on the matter. Interestingly, a few days after that Dylan positively gushed over the event, calling it “amazing, incredible” and asking “Whoever dreams about something like that?” But he soon announced that “pre-existing commitments” would force him to miss the ceremony. Patti Smith performed a Dylan classic in his stead.

Dylan never really stops touring, and 2017 is no exception. Dylan has a six-week tour of Europe coming up, and the first two shows take place in Stockholm on April 1 and 2.
 

 
According to literary omnivore Michael Orthofer, who helpfully deciphered some foreign-language reports, even though he will be a matter of blocks away from the Swedish Academy, Dylan has not made contact with the Swedish Academy in any way:
 

But, as the lady in charge, Sara Danius, now admits/reveals… well, they apparently haven’t been able to get him on the phone for months. So they have no idea what his plans are, or aren’t. As she says: “Vad han sedan beslutar sig för att göra är hans ensak”.

 
Interestingly, delivery of a lecture is practically the only demand placed on Nobel laureates, and Dylan’s apparent lack of interest could theoretically endanger his receipt of the hefty check that also comes with the Prize—Danius has indicated that failure to comply would result in nonpayment.

The prevailing theory is that Dylan is wealthy enough not to mind losing the check.

As Orthofer snarked, “This continuing humiliation train-wreck is something to behold. But I bet they all have their concert tickets…..”

Update: Much to the relief of the Swedish Academy, mere hours ago Dylan agreed to accept the Nobel Prize in Literature. Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy quoted above, commented:
 

The good news is that the Swedish Academy and Bob Dylan have decided to meet this weekend.

The academy will then hand over Dylan’s Nobel diploma and the Nobel medal, and congratulate him on the Nobel prize in literature.

 
The ceremony will be “small and intimate,” with no media present. Danius added, “Only Bob Dylan and members of the academy will attend, all according to Dylan’s wishes.”

Dylan will submit a taped version of his required lecture, which is not unprecedented. Much as Michael Orthofer predicted, the Swedish Academy does have a group outing planned for one of Dylan’s Stockholm performances.

It’s good that Dylan does actually have the basic politeness not to snub the Swedes as thoroughly as seemed to be the case just a few hours ago. Dangerous Minds still holds to the view that Dylan is doing the absolute minimum he can do to acknowledge the award and still collect his 8 million Swedish Krone, which is after all nearly a million dollars.

Posted by Martin Schneider
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03.29.2017
09:31 am
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Killer clowns: Kooky pulp novels & magazines featuring gun-toting, knife-wielding circus clowns
03.16.2017
10:26 am
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The cover of ‘Uncensored Detective’ 1946.
 
Oddball vintage publications are one of my favorite things to write about here on Dangerous Minds—and like many of you just when I think I’ve seen it ALL (whether I wanted to or not), some “new” vintage weirdness comes across my radar. People often ask me how we find all the high octane, low brow goodness that we feature here on the blog every day. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also the same as the answer to the first and second rules of Fight Club. Besides, you should consider yourself lucky as these eyes have seen some really, really weird things. (Things no one should see!) Which is a perfect introduction to the subject of this post—bizarre vintage pulp novels and magazines that feature circus clowns gone bad on their covers. And when I say bizarre I mean gorilla-shooting, sneaky, knife-throwing, clowns.

Though most of the fictional clowns on the covers of the various pulp novels and magazines posted below are up to no good, there is at least one that preferred to behave like a Robin Hood of sorts known as “The Crimson Clown.” Created by playwright, novelist and screenwriter Johnston McCulley—the man behind masked swashbuckler Zorro—the Crimson Clown stories were really popular with the detective lit-lovers set since his first appearance in Detective Story Magazine back in 1926. The Crimson Clown would steal from people he deemed “too rich” giving half of his booty to charity and keeping the rest for himself. He was also known to carry a syringe full of some sort of drug that would render his victims unconscious. But just because he was vigilante who liked to help out the needy doesn’t necessarily make the idea of a clown with a syringe full of cuckoo-juice running amok any less terrifying. Nope. Nothing creepy about that at all. I’ve posted the covers of all the clown-oriented vintage pulp I could dig up and man, there was a lot. Of course, if you are at all coulrophobic, you might want to look at the images below in your “safe place.” See you under the bed!
 

‘Detective Magazine’ 1948.
 

‘Detective Novels Magazine’ February 1944.
 
More killer clowns after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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03.16.2017
10:26 am
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Too much junkie business: John Cooper Clarke on ‘Confessions of an English Opium-Eater’
03.10.2017
08:34 am
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John Cooper Clarke at Thomas De Quincey’s grave (via BBC)
 
“Are you aware, my man, that people are known to have dropped down dead for timely want of opium?” This, one of the great all-purpose sentences in the English language, has lost none of its utility since it first appeared in Thomas De Quincey’s 19th-century drug memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. If you don’t have a personal valet to try it out on, see how it works on your boss, or when you get to the front of the line at Baja Fresh. Tapping the back of your left wrist for punctuation when you get to the word “timely” drives the point home, I find.

In this episode of the BBC series The Secret Life of Books, John Cooper Clarke, punk poet of Salford and quondam dope fiend, takes viewers on a literary journey to the bottom of a bottle of Mother Bailey’s Quieting Syrup. Though Clarke doesn’t use Alexander Trocchi’s phrase “cosmonaut of inner space,” I can’t help thinking of it when he pits dopers’ rights to the sacred disorder of their own minds against the depredations of capital:

De Quincey used opium to explore his dramatic inner world. To my mind, he was a visionary in a utilitarian age. In the early days of the Industrial Revolution, the qualities of vigor, productivity, and strength were valued over opiated idleness. And then there’s De Quincey, living like a secular monk in the tainted monastery of his own mind.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.10.2017
08:34 am
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The amazing Dr. Hal, Subgenius ‘Master of Church Secrets,’ will answer any question!


Submit to the superior mind of Dr. Hal!
 
One name alone could never properly designate the spellbinding polymath who calls himself Dr. Howll and Dr. Howland Owll, though he is known to hundreds of listeners around the world as the host of the Ask Dr. Hal! show.

A clergyman and theologian of the highest attainment in the Church of the Subgenius (“Master of Church Secrets”), Dr. Hal is a man of great learning, the numerosity of whose specializations is exceeded only by the perspicuity of his understanding, which in turn is outstepped only by the very testicularity of his hauteur. Why, Dr. Hal’s conversation makes Dr. Johnson sound like an analphabetic dirt farmer doing whip-its in an Andy Gump at the Gathering of the Juggalos, if you’ll pardon my French!
 

Ask Dr. Hal! via Laughing Squid
 
When did Dr. Johnson, so comfortably provisioned with nitrous tanks up in his ivory tower, ever give the American working stiff a break like this? “I refute it thus”: for $5, Dr. Hal will answer any question you can fit into an HTML form. Alternatively, “if you’re going to San Francisco,” be sure to wear some dollars in your hair, because your trip to the ¢ity by the pa¥ just got even more expensive: there is a run of Ask Dr. Hal! shows coming up in April at Chez Poulet in the Mission. If Chicken John likes your question, he will even pour you a shot of Fernet.

That’s Dr. Hal’s partner in the live show, Chicken John Rinaldi, the author of The Book of the IS, Volume I: Fail… To WIN! Essays in engineered disperfection and The Book of the Un, Volume 2: Friends of Smiley! Dissertations of dystopia. The live Ask Dr. Hal! show works like this, according to Chicken John:

You fill out the slip, you write your name, you write your question—any question about any topic, left or right, up or down: science, entomology, etymology, Greek mythology, sex, religion, jewelry, what’s the plastic thing on the end of your shoelace called. Aglet, by the way, on the end of your shoe. Aglet.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.03.2017
09:16 am
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