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Remembering the brilliant hypocrisy of Death Cigarettes
02:25 pm


Death Cigarettes

The 1990s were definitely a time when the anti-smoking forces got the upper hand over the enemy for good. Airports became 95% no-smoking zones. In New York State, where I lived, Governor Mario Cuomo passed the New York Clean Indoor Air Act in 1990, which banned smoking in many environments, including stores, taxis, certain restaurants, schools, and most significantly, the majority of worksites. Once a normal smoker working at a normal job couldn’t smoke in the office, the jig was pretty much up. Years later came the stringent requirements in New York for separate and ventilated smoking facilities.

The change was especially evident in music venues. A thing that would have been scarcely imaginable in the 1980s—smoke-free music shows—became commonplace. In years to come, a single plume of smoke emanating from the middle of the hall would be noticed by every individual present.

With the advent of no-smoking signs and especially cancer warnings on cigarette packaging, a British entrepreneur named B.J. Cunningham spotted an opportunity to make a buck and also to be clever while doing it. In 1991 Cunningham started the Enlightened Tobacco Company—still have to chuckle at that name—which sold a product called Death Cigarettes with suitably doomy black packaging with white lettering and a skull and crossbones. The black packages contained the regulars, the white ones had Death Lights, jokingly referred to as Slow Death. The cigarettes themselves also had a demure little skull and crossbones on them.

Death Cigarettes founder B.J. Cunningham
Far from flinching at the “required” health warnings, Death Cigarettes positively reveled in them, with mordantly amusing messages like “It’s your funeral” and “Too bad, you’re gonna die.” One of their slogans was “The Grim Reaper, don’t come cheaper,” and posters for Death Cigarettes boldly bore the messages “SERIAL KILLER” and “BLOW YOURSELF AWAY.”

For the budding goth scene, the cigarettes were all but irresistible. British artist and illustrator Matt Lyon put it succinctly a few weeks ago:

“I’ve got fond memories of these from the early 90s. They soon became the cigarette of choice for shoegazers, goths and students alike, not least because of the packaging, but also their use of hemp paper and additive-free tobacco.”

They were healthier?

According to Persuasion in Advertising by John and Nicholas O’Shaughnessy, there were rumors of coffin-shaped vending machines in certain clubs. It would be great to corroborate that one—does anyone remember that?

The post-Internet generation that was coming up was arguably more health-conscious—maybe all that legislation had a positive effect—and Death Cigarettes failed to make it past the year 1999.

In 2015 the Hinterland Gallery in Kent, England, hosted an interesting exhibition on the product, featuring original advertising posters for Death Cigarettes as well as a remarkable Death Cigarettes-themed piano with “DANGER OF DEATH” stamped on the front.

This mug was once available on Etsy, but no longer:


Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Marijuana bouquet delivery service
10:04 am



Okay, so it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and I’m sorta late blogging about this glorious cannabis bouquet by Californian weed farmers Lowell Herb. But does it really only have to be Valentine’s Day to send someone you care a bouquet of cannabis? No. This is perfect for any occasion, if you ask me. Any occasion.

Apparently, the bouquets were going for $400/ounce. I’m uncertain which strain they’re using. I wonder if you can choose from a sativa, indica or hybrid bouquet? Something in a Strawbery Cough, please. That would be excellent.

From what I understand, this was only meant for Valentine’s Day. BUT, they’re still featuring the bouquets on their website with a contact email. Perhaps this will be a year-round gift? I sure do hope so!


More after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Was Groucho Marx’s famous anthem ‘Hooray for Captain Spaulding’ actually a celebration of cocaine?
12:42 pm


Groucho Marx

Rule of thumb, the earlier a Marx Brothers movie was made, the better it probably is. The initial impulse of the brothers’ manic energy and inventive wordplay was difficult to reproduce as time wore on, although they did make seven first-rate Marx Brothers movies before tailing off (the last really good one being A Day at the Races from 1937). 

The first two Marx Brothers movies were The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930), and both were based on successful Broadway musicals. Monkey Business from 1931 was the first script that was originally developed to be filmed by a Hollywood studio, that being Paramount.

For my money, Animal Crackers might be the quintessential Marx Brothers movie. Groucho plays an African explorer named Captain Jeffrey T. Spaulding, and the movie opens with a bang when four African men carry Capt. Spaulding into a hoity-toity gala party in a sedan chair. Groucho immediately breaks into “Hello, I Must Be Going,” which prompts the entire chorus, including Margaret Dumont and Zeppo, to break into “Hooray for Captain Spaulding,” in which Groucho actually doesn’t do much singing, he mainly does funny dances between the choruses.

The song was written for the stage musical by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby in 1928. Interesting choice for a name, “Captain Spaulding,” because that name was actually associated with a cocaine dealer who had gotten into serious legal trouble a few years earlier. It’s hard to project back in time to know what it meant to name a Groucho Marx character Captain Spaulding, but it seems a fair supposition that for certain ears, the phrase “Hooray for Captain Spaulding” might essentially have been the equivalent of “Hooray, my coke dealer is here!”

Who was this original Captain Spaulding? For that we turn to the tragic life of one of Hollywood’s early stars, Wallace Reid, who had appeared in D.W. Griffith’s two most famous movies, Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, but was better known as a romantic lead in movies like Carmen (1915) and The Affairs of Anatol (1921). After suffering a serious injury in a train wreck in 1923, he became addicted to morphine and passed away at the age of 31.

In his biography Wallace Reid: The Life and Death of a Hollywood Idol, E.J. Fleming described the drug scene in the silent era as follows:

Drugs were plentiful and expensive. Stars used them to cure hangovers from “bathtub gin” or from fruit punch laced with 200-proof alcohol. The bigger dealers concentrated on a single studio and used a network of low-level studio employees as paid couriers. “Mr. Fix-It” served Fox, “the Man” and “Captain Spaulding” at Lasky. “Spaulding” was once arrested for selling drugs but when he threatened to name names the charges were dropped.

So one of the main drug dealers in Hollywood used the name “Captain Spaulding” in Hollywood, but there was also an incident in Paris in 1920 that gave the name a strong association with cocaine. Olive Thomas was a silent film actress who died in 1920 at the age of 24 of acute nephritis caused by accidental poisoning. Her death was eventually declared accidental, but her sudden hospitalization and initially mysterious death ensured that her case would be headline fodder for weeks. A man with the name of “Spalding” was connected to the case, and actually was given a prison sentence for smuggling cocaine into France. As the New York Herald reported on September 6, 1920: 

American is Imprisoned for Smuggling Cocaine
    An American who gives his name as Spalding has been sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for smuggling cocaine into Paris from Germany.  The supply, which amounted to four kilogrammes, was concealed in a trunk which went astray and was sent to the depot for lost articles.
    Here, after several days, it was claimed by Spalding, who declared to the Customs’ officers that it contained nothing of a dutiable nature, a statement which was disproved upon examination.  In his defense, Spalding stated that the trunk had been consigned to him by a friend, one Mrs. Green, from Mainz.

This “American named Spalding” actually was a captain and was referred to as such in an article that appeared a week later.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Donald Trump bong
10:00 am


Donald Trump

This is truly a bong that could go for any political party or group affiliation. Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, alt-right, liberal, socialist, libertarian etc. it could work for you! (With the caveat that you are smoking with like-minded individuals who feel the same way that you do about the current inhabitant of the White House who apparently doesn’t know if it’s a strong US dollar that’s good for the American economy or a weak one?)

You can hate smoke out of a Trump bong or alternately you can believe you’re making America great again with every toke of your “Grown in the USA” herb stash when you inhale it via this unique tribute to our illustrious talking yam leader. It’s entirely up to whatever you project onto Trump. Kinda genius in that way.

“Make America High Again” should be the marketing slogan for this. Lord knows we need more like it. Weed brings Americans together.

The bong is designed by Tom Mason, an artist from Byron Bay, Australia. I looked on the website where it was being sold for $89.00 and couldn’t find it. Maybe it’s already sold out? Perhaps contact the site and they’ll bring it back!


Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Catnip is one hell of a drug
09:19 am



As the story goes, this cat (name unknown) supposedly got away from its owner and entered a pet store unwittingly. Apparently the cat then made an immediate beeline for the catnip section and got high as a kite on copious amounts of feline “entertainment insurance.” The rest is history as you’ll see in these two short videos, below.

This cat entered the pet store by accident and had the time of his life rolling around in catnip toys! Pure kitty bliss :D Oh, and his owner came to pick him up, so all’s well that ends well!

I highly doubt the cat “accidentally” entered the pet store. It had to have known what it was doing. It could probably smell that catnip from a mile away. I’d do the same exact thing too if I were that cat. He was probably trying to drug himself silly to escape all the political arguments on Facebook. It’s heavy out there, folks!


via Geekologie

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘It’s fun to smoke dust!’ Satanic panic preacher gets mashed-up with Queen
08:53 am


backward masking
Gary Greenwald

From renown mashup artist, DJ Lobsterdust, comes this brilliant ode to 1980s Satanic Panic hysteria over “backward masking,” a process which many preachers insisted was being used to brainwash young music consumers into devil-worship and committing various other sins. These preachers claimed that backward subliminal messages were placed in rock songs, either by the design of the artists, or perhaps, demonically in order to seduce young people with Satan’s spell.

One so-called expert on backward masking in the ‘80s claimed that Richard “The Nightstalker” Ramirez was driven to commit murder from hearing the backward messages “I’m the law,” “my name is Lucifer,” and “she belongs in Hell” on the AC/DC album Highway to Hell. In 1990 Judas Priest was taken to court by families who claimed that two young men in Nevada had formed a suicide pact after hearing hidden messages in the song “Better By You, Better Than Me.” The case was dismissed by the judge for insufficient evidence.

I remember being in Catholic school in the 80’s and hearing constantly about backward masking. A song which was touted as one of the “clearest examples” of backward messages being placed into popular music was “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen. It was claimed that playing the chorus backwards gave you the hidden message “It’s fun to smoke marijuana.” To be honest, if you use your imagination just a bit, it does kiiiinda sound like Freddie Mercury is saying that… but really only if you’d ALREADY BEEN SMOKING marijuana.

A great deal of the backward masking hysteria was spread by cable TV evangelist Gary Greenwald, who hosted a religious television program called The Eagle’s Nest. Greenwald crusaded against rock music, both on his program and through a series of popular audio tapes (which were the subject of great deal of sampling and laughing at by punks and metalheads in the ‘80s). Greenwald claimed most rock music contained demonically-inspired backward masking. He has also railed against action figures and Saturday morning cartoons, which he believed were influenced by the occult.

Listen, after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Moe Tucker hates ‘Heroin’: VU drummer talks about recording ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’
10:36 am


The Velvet Underground
Maureen Tucker

Lou Reed and John Cale (but mostly Lou) get the lion’s share of the love when it comes to assessing the brilliance of that visionary American proto-punk band of the late ‘60s The Velvet Underground, but that group’s magic was a four-way synergy. Yes, Reed’s songs were ahead of their time, and yes, Cale’s avant-garde bona fides gave the band’s music shapes and timbres that were previously unknown in rock, but imagine how those songs would feel without Sterling Morrison’s slippery guitar stylings and the distinctive drumming of Maureen “Moe” Tucker.

The last thing, you don’t actually have to imagine—the band’s final album Loaded (please spare us any nerd-rage about Squeeze, nobody thinks that counts) was, contrary to what the credits read, recorded without Tucker, who was pregnant at the time of its recording. The difference is stark. Gone is the foreboding and moody thrum of Tucker’s cymbal-less mallet attack, replaced by standard 4/4 rock beats that a kid could play. And in fact, a kid DID play them—V.U. bassist Doug Yule recruited his teenaged brother Billy to fill in. It’s an irony that since Loaded was the only Velvets studio record never to go out of print it ended up being the album from which any given ’80s band that “sounded like the Velvet Underground” was most likely to have taken notes, though partly because of Tucker’s absence, it was the Velvet Underground album that sounded the least like the Velvet Underground.

Of the many songs Tucker did play on, “Heroin” from the band’s debut The Velvet Underground and Nico remains one of her most jaw-dropping moments. Starting with a caveman-ishly simplistic pulse, she ramps up the speed and the tension until the band eschews time-keeping altogether to swell into chaos, her tom-tom gallop coming just as unglued as the rest of the song, often dropping out completely, allowing the guitars to fly away. It was a breathtaking rebuke of all that was normal in rock ’n’ roll.

And Tucker went on record saying it sucked.

What Goes On was the official print organ of the Velvet Underground Appreciation Society. Founded in the mid ‘70s, the Society was pretty much the best way for a curious mutant to find out about the band in any kind of depth during those wilderness years of the ‘70s and ‘80s when much of its music was out of print. The Society curated an incredible series of bootleg cassettes called the “Afterhours Tapes,” which included the essential “Searchin’ for my Mainline,” a substantial historical survey of the band boasting plenty of rarities with high-quality sound. What Goes On was sporadically published—years went by between issues, and so it was that issue #4 came out in 1990, a decade and a half into the Society’s existence, and five years after issue #3. The featured article was a lengthy interview by Boston musician and Society co-founder Phil Milstein with Moe Tucker, in which she offered her take about the canonical recording of “Heroin”:

I was pleased because it was really exciting to have a record out. I was just so excited to have a record in the store, that I could go up the street to my local Levittown store and find my record. I was thrilled! I was not very excited about the production. Back then, it didn’t bother me as much as it does now, but the boys, they were, for some zany reason. I don’t know, maybe they thought, “Well, this is the best we can do with the time given, so we’ll take it,” but I hate it. “Heroin” is a mess. We had done the album in eight hours in the studio, and the producer was…Andy (laughter). So we didn’t know what the hell we were doing, and he certainly didn’t, as you can hear from the record. And then when MGM bought it, and agreed to put it out, they gave us three hours in California in the studio to fix it, to fix ten songs. And you can’t do anything in three hours. We did “Heroin” over, and, I’m pretty sure, “Waiting for the Man,” and maybe two others, which I don’t remember now. But so quickly, and with no time to say, “Well, let’s do this” or “Let’s do that.” We just didn’t have the time. “Heroin” drives me nuts. That’s such a good song, I remember getting chills whenever we played it, and to listen to it on the album, it’s really depressing. Especially to think of someone who listens to that, and never heard us play live. And they think that that’s “Heroin,” and they say, “What’s the big deal?” It’s a pile of garbage on the record. Because on that one, the guys plugged straight into the board. They didn’t have their amps up loud in the studio, so of course I couldn’t hear anything. Anything. And when we got to the part where you speed up, you gotta speed up together, or it’s not really right. And it just became this mountain of drum noise in front of me. I couldn’t hear shit. I couldn’t see Lou, to watch his mouth to see where he was in the song. And I just stopped. I was saying, “This is no good, this isn’t gonna work, we need phones or something.” SO I stopped, and being a little wacky, they just kept going, and that’s the one we took (laughter). And it’s infuriating, because you’ve seen us live, that’s a bitch, that song. I consider that our greatest triumph. Lou’s greatest triumph too, maybe, songwriting-wise.

Continues after the jump...

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Trust us, you’ve never seen ANYTHING like ‘We Are The Flesh’
10:42 am


We Are The Flesh

One of the outstanding films of Fantastic Fest 2016 was also one of the most divisive. While audiences cheered the pasteurized mainstream sci-fi film Arrival and the sumptuous beauty of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Mexican director Emiliano Rocha Minter’s We Are The Flesh shocked audiences into stunned silence. Fest attendees inured to extreme gore and torture porn found something in We Are The Flesh that still retains the power to disturb and provoke: explicit sex. Like directors Gaspar Noé and Alejandro Jodorowsky and author George Bataille, 26-year-old Minter conjures images that take us deep into areas that were and are still taboo. He’s a pilgrim descending into darkness in search of light. If there is a God and God is everywhere then even in Hell there is rapture. And sometimes you gotta be the turd in the punchbowl to do Jesus right.

A film like We Are The Flesh uses cinema in the service of what movies do best: replicate dreams. In the hellish bardo that the movie plunges us into, plot and narrative take a backseat to a series of surreal images and a trance inducing soundtrack that insinuate and point to things beyond knowing. We see but we don’t completely understand what we’re seeing. Like ceremonial magic, film is a language that transcends symbol and gesture. We are often left at the celluloid door breaking holes in it with the fists of our eyes. In the case of We Are The Flesh, the plot, such as it is, is best described by the the press notes:

A young brother and sister, roaming an apocalyptic city, take refuge in the dilapidated lair of a strange hermit. He puts them to work building a bizarre cavernous structure, where he acts out his insane and depraved fantasies. Trapped in this maddening womb-like world under his malign influence, they find themselves sinking into the realms of dark and forbidden behaviour.


There was a great line in the ad campaign for George Romero’s masterpiece Dawn Of The Dead: “When there’s no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the earth.” Emiliano Rocha Minter was born in Mexico City, a city that until recent years had been spared the full brunt of Mexico’s drug wars. But drug-related atrocities have hit the streets of Mexico City and continue to grow rampant on the city’s outskirts. More than 100,000 Mexicans have died in the past decade in drug battles between warring gangs. How does a young artist channel what he is witnessing in his own home, when the serpentine line between waking and dreaming nightmare is constantly shifting? How does one maintain sanity in an insane world? You write. You sing. You make fucked up movies.

In the tradition of filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky, Fernando Arrabal and Juan López Moctezuma, Minter has attempted to discharge the alchemy of film to transform and inflame the dark stuff: art as exorcism. We Are The Flesh rages against the complacency of the viewer. It demands you sit up and pay attention. It screams at you and seduces you. The imagery veers from blunt, violent, angry in-your-faceness to fluid, swirling, mind shattering psychedelia. Sex organs in extreme close-up pulse to the beat of the heart, labial gates form portals to the ultimate question mark in the sky. Flesh is torn, blood flows. This is the meat pit of absolute reality. Minter takes you places you’ve only dreamed of… if your dreams were that of a man in the throes of some mad fever—all of it stunningly realized by cinematographer Yollótl Alvarado. At times, I was reminded of Stan Brakhage’s The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes. Brakhage filmed autopsies so close-in that celluloid rendered flesh into land and seascapes. Alvarado does something similar with genitals. A close-up of a penis lounging on testicles looks like a bullfrog with inflated vocal sacs. The objectified view of the camera takes the erotic right out of the picture. We Are The Flesh is ripe with sex but it’s not sexy, though it is filled with life force.

“Eroticism is assenting to life even in death”—George Bataille.

Minter has made something of a masterpiece in We Are The Flesh. It is a search for meaning in a world that has lost its center. In its thrashing chaos, there is an artist trying to work things out. Like the elaborate structure of wooden sticks and plastic tape that the characters are building within their underground world, Minter has built his own makeshift reality. But Minter’s has better bones.

The film glows with crepuscular light. There are cum shots and penetrations lit in the heightened pastels and posed comic book architecture of F.X. Pope’s porn mindbender Cafe Flesh. And Minter, whether he knows it or not, has ventured into Gerard Damiano’s “dark night of the hole” melancholy of The Devil And Miss Jones. When Catholics do this shit , they go all the way, propelled by centuries of sexual repression. Pasolini’s Salo took us there only to drop us into a pile of fascist-flavored shit.

We Are The Flesh features one of the truly great performances of the past few years. Noé Hernández plays the role of the Manson-like madman who abducts the brother and sister. It is one of the most committed, naked, raw feats of acting you’ll ever see. Imagine Frank Booth crossed with a troglodyte spewing wisdom like “the spirit does not reside within the flesh, the flesh is the spirit itself! So I kindly ask that all you lowlifes devour me until nothing is left. Eat every bit of my rotten flesh. Drink my blood.” Jesus the thug in a sacramental heat while dressed in Member’s Only disco attire. I do my best, but words fail me in the face of such lunacy. Just see it…  because you’ve never seen anything like it.

Video after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Porny, provocative pop-art mashed up with pharmaceutical packages
08:38 am


pop art
Ben Frost

A painting by Ben Frost.

Birds shit wherever they want ‘cause they all know it’s crap down here.

Words by artist Ben Frost inscribed on his 2005 piece “Birds and Bad Things”

Artist Ben Frost hails from Australia and has spent time living in Japan. His subversive pop-art contains references to Japanese Manga as well as a myriad of well-know commercial images such as a box of McDonald’s famous french fries that has been layered with a erotic image of a Lichtenstein-esque looking woman being whipped by a proper female Victorian-era librarian during her off time. And that’s one of Frost’s more demure works of art.

Frost himself is as risky as his boundary-pushing paintings. In 2000 the artist faked his own death as a publicity stunt to promote his solo-show of the same name and invitations to the event consisted of Frost’s “faux funeral” notice. Later that same year a painting at the show “Colussus”—a collaboration with fellow artist Rod Bunter—was slashed apart by an attendee.

It’s not hard to understand how Frost’s work might stir some intense emotions with his confrontational art, because the concept of mixing propaganda with pornographic images, Dracula or Ren and Stimpy on a box of Epinephrine is perhaps a little out there for some people. However if everything about that statement makes perfect sense to you, then you’re going to really enjoy looking over the images of Frost’s work included in this post. From time to time Frost sells his artwork on his website Ben Frost IS DEAD.

A few of the paintings are NSFW.



Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Own your own vintage Irish whiskey vending machine
10:43 am


vending machine
jameson's whiskey

For the lush who has everything, we present this 1971 vintage Jameson’s whiskey vending machine.

It’s new old stock in the original packaging, and dispenses a glass of Jameson’s when fed with three (1960s to 1980s vintage) Irish 10p coins. And it’s actually for sale (a mere €850—approximately $888 USD). The seller is offering free shipping, worldwide.

The site selling this gorgeous novelty,, says that the machine dispenses 1/3 gill measurement of whiskey and that the machines were designed for use in shops, offices, and pubs in 1971.

According to the site, the machines have been in storage for 45 years, and may need some minor reconditioning to achieve working order.

Still, I couldn’t imagine anything cooler for a home bar—as long as you have a good supply of out-of-circulation Irish 10p coins handy.

See this baby in action after the jump…

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
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