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Pigeon caught smuggling ecstasy pills in tiny little backpack
05.25.2017
09:15 am
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Well here’s something you don’t hear and see every day: A homing pigeon—normally used for carrying messages—was apprehended by Kuwaiti custom officials as it was crossing over from Iraq. The pigeon sported a tiny bird-friendly backpack with 178 narcotic pills inside of it. According to the reports I’ve read online, some sources are saying the pills were ecstasy while others reporting it was ketamine.

One burning question I do have is how exactly did the Kuwait custom officials capture the bird? That would seem almost impossible to do. Also, what’s next for the bird? Do they set it free or is there some type of jail for birds that smuggle drugs?


 
via BBC, Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.25.2017
09:15 am
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Electric Kool-Aid Cuckoo’s Bus: Go further with Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters
05.24.2017
01:51 pm
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In 1964 Ken Kesey published Sometimes a Great Notion, the follow-up to his smash novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; in order to meet certain obligations in New York City, Kesey decided to use a psychedelically-painted school bus as his means of getting there from the West Coast. The bus, of course, was called Further or, if you were in the mood, Furthur.

It was all a great romantic quest to make known the benefits of LSD, at a time when the drug was not illegal in the United States (that wouldn’t last long), and only a couple of years after Cary Grant, of all people, had been touting its benefits in the pages of the New York Herald Tribune and elsewhere.
 

Timothy Leary and Neal Cassady on the storied bus Further
 
Tom Wolfe chronicled the memorable trip in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, but if you’re looking for a more audio-visual account of the journey, you could do a lot worse than Tripping, which appeared on Channel 4 in Great Britain on August 7, 1999.

Kesey called the whole idea of their magic bus “an American glyph,” which is interesting. As Kesey says, Further was a powerful symbol of a vehicle that will pick you up and safely transport you to a place where your mind will be expanded.

Go further, after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.24.2017
01:51 pm
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Desert trip: Gram Parsons and ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’
05.23.2017
11:11 am
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A recent poll of young Britons found that nearly a third of younger millennials—29% of 18 to 24-year-olds to be exact—claimed that they had never knowingly listened to an Elvis Presley song. Zero percent of this age group reported listening to Elvis’ music daily. This really isn’t all that surprising—or at least it shouldn’t be. We’re soon approaching the 40th anniversary of Presley’s death and while everyone of a certain age can probably recall exactly where they were when they heard that the King of rock ‘n’ roll had died—whether you were a fan or not, it was earth-shaking news in 1977—to someone born after that, bluntly put, the once titanic cultural importance of Elvis Presley is pretty negligible. If your reaction is that this is depressing—and perhaps it is—then you’re only showing your age. It’s just the way things are.

As the editor of a blog like this one—I was eleven years old when Elvis ate his final fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and frankly I doubt that I listen to him more often than once annually myself—I’m acutely aware of the balance between nostalgia and discovery. The biggest cohort of our readership is comprised of millennials. If nearly a third of young Brits have never purposefully or consciously listened to an Elvis Presley number, then how many of them would know a DEVO song? If you were born in 1965 or 1975, how much knowledge of the music of the 1940s or 1950s do you realistically possess? DEVO’s heyday is even further back than that for someone who is a high school senior in 2017.  “Oldies” radio doesn’t play Herman’s Hermits, the Supremes or Sonny & Cher anymore, it programs Sting, Nirvana and Celine Dion where that format even still exists.
 

The FBB in their custom Nudie suits. You’ll note that Parsons’ suit is festooned with pot leaves and opium poppies
 
So where would that leave the legacy of a cult artist like Gram Parsons, who died in 1973 at the age of 26 with but a small, yet influential body of work, as the 21st-century marches ever onward? If you are of a certain age, and presuming that you are a pretty big music fan, you no doubt have heard and hopefully appreciate the “cosmic American music” of this golden-voiced country rock progenitor/genius. To be sure, I think that there’s still a pretty strong Gram Parsons cult out there, but in 2017 its members tend to be know-it-all baby boomers with graying ponytails who want to give you their opinions of whatever album you happen to be looking at in a record store.

Only in Southern California, always a stronghold of Flying Burrito Bros. fandom, does there seem to be an organic all ages awareness of the great Gram Parsons. This has much to do with the desert and how inextricably intertwined the desert trip is with the mythos of Parsons’ death by OD in room 8 of the Joshua Tree Inn and how his body was subsequently stolen and given a drunken cremation near Cap Rock by his manager, Phil Kaufman.

It’s a SoCal rite of passage to do magic mushrooms in Joshua Tree and trip out under the desert stars listening to The Gilded Palace of Sin by the Flying Burrito Bros. as there is simply no greater soundtrack for this sort of activity in that particular place and I’d wager that 99% of all the patrons of Pappy & Harriett’s, whether young or old, male or female could readily identify any song from it that came on their jukebox. But again, it’s specifically a desert kinda thing. Let’s assume that the rest of the country’s Gram Parsons fans are probably spread out a little bit more.

Which is why the word needs to get out about Intervention Records’ recently released vinyl and (upcoming) SACD re-issue of The Gilded Palace of Sin. Mastered by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio, this is one of the best-sounding slabs of wax that I’ve ever heard in my entire life, which is exactly what you would want someone to say if you’re a new boutique record label catering to the snobbiest of jaded (and easily disappointed) audiophiles.

Much more after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.23.2017
11:11 am
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Explicitly perverse and provocative illustrations of Russian criminal underworld tattoos
05.22.2017
10:07 am
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“Satan and the Devil’s agent in Russia.” This illustration by Danzig Baldaev was copied from the chest of a criminal named “White” in 1991 who had recently completed a 32-year bid in prison.
 
During his time as a prison guard in Russia, and then later as the warden of the notorious Kresty Prison in Leningrad, Danzig Baldaev would become the curator and historian of tattoos worn by the convicts he watched over for nearly 40 years.

Baldaev’s illustrations, 3,000 or so in all, have been compiled into a popular series of books—the first of which was published in 2004 under the title Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I. Had it not been at the urging of his father—who was no friend of the infamous NKVD (the politically repressive Stalin-era “secret” police group, The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs)—the stories behind the tattoos might never have been publicly chronicled. According to Baldaev, after he showed his father photographs of prisoners held in solitary confinement he advised him to start “collecting” images of the prisoner’s tattoos, for if he did not, the stories behind them would “all go to the grave with them.” The tattoos themselves served multiple purposes such as distinguishing a captive’s alignment within the prison population, what kind of crime they had committed or perhaps their affiliation with a specific Russian gang.

In 2009 the duo behind publishing house FUEL, Damon Murray, and Stephen Sorell purchased 750 illustrations done by Baldaev from his widow, which were then compiled in editions of the Russian Criminal Tattoo volumes. Here’s an example of the grim stories that would have gone undocumented by way of one heavily tattooed prisoner (who you can see here), who was photographed by Baldaev collaborator and fellow prison warden Sergei Vasiliev during a visit to the Strict Regime Forest Camp Vachel Settlement in the Penza Oblast Region of Russia.

This prisoner’s tattoos display his anger and bitterness towards Communist power; the tattoos on the face signify that he never expects to go free. He works as a stoker. Text under the eyes reads “Full / of Love;” on the chin “Danger of Death;” around the neck “To each his own;” above each head of the double-headed snake “Wife’ and ‘Mother-in-law;” on the chest “It is not for you whores, to dig in my soul;” on his arm “Communists, suck my dick for my ruined youth.”

Below is a selection of Baldaev’s illustrations, most of which, as you might have already figured out, are absolutely NSFW.
 

Top text reads “The Scary Dicks of the Land of Fools.” The text printed on the penises reads “Everything for the People!”
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.22.2017
10:07 am
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Man has hilarious reaction to Ketamine while in hospital, now everyone will want to break their foot
05.17.2017
10:44 am
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Everyone, meet Neil. Neil is in the hospital for a fractured ankle that needs to be manipulated back into place. In order for the doctors to fix Neil’s ankle, he was given the powerful “dissociative anesthetic” known as Ketamine. His reaction to the drug is, er, something else. I think it’s safe to assume that he’s feeling no pain. Neil’s “the man” and thinks he can dance on the ceiling.

There’s not much else to say except click “play” and watch. If you’re at work, you may want to turn down the volume as Neil really, really goes for it.

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.17.2017
10:44 am
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24 Hour Partying People: Happy Monday, it’s the Happy Mondays!
05.15.2017
11:20 am
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“You know you talk so hip man! You’re twistin’ my melon man!”

Although, of course, they are still well-loved and known as one of the two defining bands (along with The Stone Roses) of the so-called “Madchester” rave era in the UK, for the majority of American rock fans, Happy Mondays are seen more as early 90s British one-hit-wonders for “Step On” and just that. For a brief spell they looked set to make a breakthrough here, too, with their incredible Paul Oakenfold-produced third album, Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, but that never happened. Today, in the US, Happy Mondays are no better recalled than, say, the Soup Dragons or Jesus Jones, something you might see flipping past MTV Classics.

I had the good fortune to see Happy Mondays do one of the greatest live sets, like, fucking ever, at the Sound Factory in New York in 1990. The Sound Factory was a legendary dance club catering mostly to black and Latino gay men. Hallowed house music DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Junior Vasquez spun there and the place was known the world over for having one of the most insanely powerful, bass-heavy sound systems that you could ever possibly experience at top volume while tripping your face off on Ecstasy. It was the sort of place where the bar sold mostly bottled water and the crowd spilled out into the streets as the sun was coming up. Although not generally thought of as a live music venue, the Sound Factory seemed to be THE place where all of the British “Acid House” and rave-related groups wanted to play when they came to New York in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

That night Dee-lite were the (perfect) opening act and they killed it, as they always did (I saw them dozens of times during that era), leaving the E’d up crowd good and energized for the headliner’s set. The Mondays came out and absolutely blew the roof off the place (not that easy to do, the club was in a basement). From the minute they walked onstage, hundreds of joints were lit up and with that crazy Sound Factory BASS moving the crowd as one, it was a high-energy, you-had-to-be-there-to-believe-it experience. It was you might say, a memorable evening of music being made for people on drugs by people who were on drugs themselves. A crazy good time was had by all and this was on a weeknight.

As far as rock shows go, their druggy, trippy, shamanistic set was a triumph by any standard and the Happy Mondays must’ve felt like they were the kings of New York that night. Because they were! From low-level Manchester hoodlums and drug dealers to the top of the pops at home and being welcomed as conquering heroes in New York City? What an experience that must have been for them. Even better on the drugs they were packing…
 

 
But it didn’t last long. Singer/lyricist/ringleader Shaun Ryder—whose surreal wordplay Factory Records boss Tony Wilson compared to W.B. Yeats—was deep into a heroin habit that turned into crack addiction—all he could get in Barbados as the band recorded Yes, Please! the lackluster follow-up to Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads. The idea was to get Ryder to a place where drugs would be difficult for him to find… like Barbados?

More after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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05.15.2017
11:20 am
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Ornate Chinese opium pipes and other exotic drug paraphernalia of the 19th century
05.12.2017
10:33 am
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A vintage artistic interpretation of two people enjoying some opium to help get you in the proper mood for this post.
 
In 2013 the first ever exhibition to feature antique drug paraphernalia from China went on display at Maggs Brothers Ltd. bookstore in London’s Mayfair district. It’s a wonder it took so long, considering Britain’s long love affair with opium.

The collection belonged to Julio Mario Santo Domingo Braga, who died in 2009. Referred to in size as immense, Santo Domingo’s treasury of drug paraphernalia is said to contain approximately 3,000 different items, from “dream sticks” (a common name for an opium pipe) to jars for storing the drug, carved from a variety of different materials including ebony, bone, silver, rhinoceros horns, porcelain, and ivory. There were even a few pipes in the collection that were meant for the itinerant opium addict which could be taken apart to make traveling with them easier. Apparently, Santo Domingo’s obsession with building a drug library of sorts ran so deep that he spent most of his life traveling the world amassing items he deemed worthy of being included in his growing collection. The vast majority of Santo Domingo’s opium implements are now archived at Harvard.

I’ve also posted a few other items I found on various auction sites, such as opium candles and other implements that the opium user relied on to get high, most of which can be had for a few hundred bucks if you’re looking to cultivate your own personal drug paraphernalia compendium. A plastic bottle from CVS just isn’t classy enough for your Oxy stash, is it?
 

An ivory storage box for opium from Santo Domingo’s collection, with an erotic carving.
 

Vintage opium pipe.
 
Many more examples after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.12.2017
10:33 am
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Leonard Nimoy speaks out: Why Spock approved of LSD and ‘dirty movies’

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Throughout his life, the actor Leonard Nimoy appeared to be always open to discussing nearly everything in his life. He answered questions frankly and honestly on subjects as diverse as space travel, photography, or his own personal tastes in music or books. He answered these questions in a seemingly calm and rational way. His ability to do so was most possibly down to the very real personality changes brought on by playing Mr. Spock on hit TV series Star Trek. This was something Nimoy touched upon in an interview with TV Star Parade magazine in January 1968, where he discussed his thoughts about adult movies and the liberating potential of psychoactive drugs.

In the article “Leonard Nimoy Speaks Out on LSD, Religion and Dirty Movies—an unblushingly honest confession as told to Roger Elwood,” the actor was interviewed in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel. He is described as being “relaxed and comfortable” and sipping from a “glass of ginger liquid.” Who knows what was in this amber nectar but the main interest here was the actor’s comments on LSD and “dirty movies,” as Elwood wrote:

And so is the topic of LSD. The self-hallucinatory drug. The ticket to a trip somewhere at the farthest reaches of man’s intellect. Or so its proponents say without telling you of the dangers, the obstacles on the road to mental Utopia.

Leonard is especially outspoken on the subject, apparently one to which he has devoted a great deal of time and serious thought.

“It is a useful tool in the hands of proper medical experts,” he told me. “I am convinced, as a result of reports that I have read, that it will bring about some very useful effects in certain instances and under suitable and necessary medical controls. However, as it is being used by so many young people as a means of escape and personal investigation without control, I consider it rather dangerous.”

But Mr. Spock wasn’t finished there.

He paused, obviously thinking of his own children and hoping that, as they got older, they wouldn’t be similarly imperiled.

Then, clearing his throat, he continued, “There have been too many unsettling reports of young people using it without the necessary supervision and having difficulty recuperating from the trip. In many cases, I believe that young people resort to drugs with the excuse that it will help develop their minds, whereas they haven’t done the necessary work involved for themselves so that this could happen.

“The point is—they are looking for a drug or pill which will do the work for them, and this attitude in life is disastrous whether LSD is involved or not. The drugs can, I understand, be properly used, when the essential mental climate and conditions are already present—however, I believe in natural development processes of the mind. The creative process for me has always operated best at the very conscious level—in other words, only when I’m in complete control of my own thinking do I feel that I am creating at my best.”

As a sidebar, it’s worth noting that Nimoy was so in “control” of his personal life during the making of the original Star Trek series that he became (by his own admission) an alcoholic and ended up in rehab. This may have been as a result of Nimoy’s identifying with the character of Mr. Spock. He later claimed acting Spock twelve hours, five days a week, impacted on his personality making him more rational but less emotional.

More from Mr. Spock, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.05.2017
09:04 am
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A young Primal Scream before ‘Screamadelica’: Live in London 1987

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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…

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.03.2017
11:13 am
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Pain is skin deep: Extreme close-up portraits of people on the edge
04.25.2017
11:47 am
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A portrait from photographer Bruce Gilden’s 2015 book ‘Face.’
 

“The older I get, the closer I get.”

—Photographer Bruce Gilden on his ever-evolving creative process

 
In an article from 2015 on photographer Bruce Gilden’s book Face, the word “dehumanize” was used to describe the artist’s grim, unflinching portraits of people he encountered across the country who in many cases had fallen on desperate, dire times. With craggy and withered faces beat by the street or the horrific effects of drug and alcohol abuse that manifests itself by destroying skin and teeth, Gilden’s subjects are unsettling to look at for so many reasons. It is nearly impossible to not feel empathy for them—an emotion that also might give the viewer cause to reconsider Gilden’s motivation for taking the intimate images. Bruce Gilden is no amateur. He is an artist who has honed his craft on the streets of New York and elsewhere for the better part of 40 years. Gilden also doesn’t really care if you don’t like his work, an admirable personality trait when it comes to the world of art and other creative pursuits. It’s a gift to be able to do something really well while giving zero fucks about what other people think.

When discussing his own personal style of photography, Gilden is quick to mention his obsession with professional wrestling, noting that his favorite wrestlers were always the “ugly” ones and that TV wrestling typically goes in for grimacing close-ups. Growing up in Brooklyn also afforded the budding photographer much in the way of inspiration thanks to the human diversity of his surroundings in New York City. Though he is considered to be self-taught, Gilden did enroll in night courses at the School of Visual Arts in New York before dropping out of Penn State where he was pursuing a degree in Sociology. Gilden and his camera have traveled all over the world taking pictures of Russian drug dealers and criminals running amok in a small rural town; members of the highly guarded Yakuza; and what is likely his most famous series of photos taken of beachgoers and other assorted nut-jobs who flock to Coney Island to let their freak flags fly.

Gilden’s work has been featured in many books, has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and his life was the subject of the 2007 documentary film Misery Loves Company: The Life and Death of Bruce Gilden. Thankfully for all of us, the title of the doc is merely a clever play on words and Gilden is still very much with us and continues getting up close and entirely too personal with his subjects. I must be honest with you, many of the images that follow are incredibly difficult to look at. But they are no different from the faces that most of us divert our eyes away from on a daily basis. And that’s a fact.
 

 

“Angel” photographed in Florida.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.25.2017
11:47 am
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