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TV taboos: Things you can’t do on television, 1949 edition
02:01 pm



I don’t know who wrote and photographed this guide to “Television Taboos” but it seems to have appeared in 1949, just as the new household technology of television was on the verge of staging a massive takeover of the American mindshare.

Taking a cue from the Hays Code that enforced strict standards of chastity and morality in the movie industry after 1934, TV producers after World War II were worried that a reputation for indecent programming would cause a severe backlash among the American viewing public. You may think of these censorious regimes as having died out long ago, Jimmy Fallon still can’t say the word “shit” at 12:25 a.m. on NBC—even in 2016. These taboos are deeply embedded. 

At the same time, it’s fun to imagine the gales of laughter you’d elicit if you tried to tell the producers of True Blood, Girls, or The Americans that they are henceforth forbidden from showing “too much leg” or sweaters that are too tight.

I really appreciate the tongue-in-cheek tone of the captions, which make a show of agreeing with the TV censors while winking at the reader (and showing exactly the things that TV isn’t supposed to show). Here are a few samples from the captions, all of which cleverly start with the word “TOO”:

TOO-HOT KISSING is a major television “Can’t Do!” Here she is wearing too little clothing. He isn’t allowed to put his hand around her waist. She mustn’t swoon.

TOO MUCH BUST is revealed in this shot, as you can see by the shocked expression worn by the director. Also she isn’t permitted to adjust her stocking on television.

TOO-GAY DRINKING scenes aren’t permitted by television censors for fear they’ll give the viewers some ideas. The actors mustn’t enjoy drinking.

Here’s the full magazine feature, just to remind you what not to do if you ever find yourself on TV in 1949…....


Much more after the jump….....

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Sex, drugs and terrible things: Lurid and decadent poster art from the bad old days
03:16 pm



A Socialist “Murder of Crows” poster uses the horrors of war for its political agenda.

Thomas Negovan, the gallerist behind the quirky Los Angeles-based Century Guild specializes in Art Nouveau and the Symbolist movement. He’s an expert at tracking down weird and wonderful things and now he’s offering new “Patronage Prints” struck from rare images from his archives. The prints are produced in small editions and prices start under $50. The idea is to support the research and also make it so that affordable versions of what would otherwise be ungodly expensive can be appreciated without spending your life savings. (And if you want to do that, no problem, he can sell you the originals.)

The originals of these posters are excruciatingly rare works on paper; in some cases, the ones Century Guild have exist in quantities fewer than five and they’re primarily in museums.  They’re true “underground” modern art. When they were created, they were meant to be destroyed, not kept, but their designs and sensibilities permeated the underground art culture and informed works that blossomed decades—or a century—later. Their common thread is that they were once trash, but we recognize them today as incredibly modern treasures—and the reason is because of that underground influence.

They’re printed on 11” x 14” archival paper. Order from Century Guild.

Decadent Weimar-era icon Anita Berber seductively reveals her heroin injection marks in a 1919 film titled ‘Prostitution,’ its racy subject matter disguised under the auspices of being a “social hygiene film.”

A giant poster celebrating a 1907 novel studying the life—and death—of Nostradamus.

White Slavery was a hot button in popular culture, capitalized upon in this 1927 “grand adventure” film by legendary political illustrator Mihaly Biró.
More mayhem after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Peep Shows, Pimps and Prostitutes: A Walk on the Wild Side of New York in the 1970s
10:19 am



Leland Bobbé started his career as a photographer in the mid-1970s shooting street scenes around Times Square and the Bowery in New York City. Bobbé was living downtown near the Brooklyn Bridge. He played drums with a band on the CBGBs/Max’s Kansas City scene.

Because I didn’t write music, I eventually realized through taking pictures I was able to make more of a personal statement than playing rock n’ roll written by others.

At night Bobbé drove a taxi. He scouted the streets in different neighborhoods. During the day, he returned to these neighborhoods to take photographs of the people who hung around the sidewalks, peep shows, bars, and flop houses.

Hard as it is to remember now, at that moment New York was kind of on its ass. Crime was at a high. Destitution and poverty were spreading like plague. Drugs and vice seemed to be the only booming enterprises. The Son of Sam slayings terrorized New Yorkers. The city was virtually bankrupt—President Gerald Ford told New York to “drop dead,” as the New York Daily News famously had it. He eventually relented and stumped up a loan to save the Big Apple. Bobbé‘s photos captured the city long before its gentrification as a rich hipster’s playground.

Bobbé often shot from the hip using a 28mm to avoid detection. Others were shot with a telephoto lens. The resulting photographs are stunning, gritty and powerful—filled with character and atmosphere that captured the city at an unforgettable point in its history.
More of Leland Bobbé‘s gritty photographs of New York in the 1970s, after the jump…..

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Suzy Speedfreak, this is the voice of your conscience, baby’: Frank Zappa’s anti drugs PSAs
04:56 pm



Frank Zappa was a well-known teetotaler for such a supposedly “far out” rock star. Although he chain-smoked cigarettes like they were food and pounded coffee, the head Mother frowned on drug use and actively discouraged it in his sidemen to the point of allegedly even firing future Little Feat leader Lowell George (who was on Weasels Ripped My Flesh) just for smoking pot—that per Pamela Des Barres—or it might have been for composing a pro-pot song that he wanted the Mothers to play. As George himself revealed to a Rochester, New York audience onstage in 1975 right before playing “Willin’”:

“I was in a group called the Mothers of Invention, but I got fired for writing a song about dope. How ‘bout that shit?”

Perhaps he should have taken his mentor’s advice. Later Zappa was alleged also to have fired Ike Willis for enjoying the high life.

Zappa was so anti-drug that he did something few other rock stars (especially ones with as weird a reputation as he had) would have done (at least convincingly) at the time: He recorded several improvised anti speed PSA radio spots for the Do It Now Foundation. In one of them he claims that using speed will turn you “into your mother and father.” He also tells the listener not to “use smack or downers.”

In the first one, Zappa addresses someone who will be familiar to all Mothers fans and wonders what’s gotten into her…

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Instead of diseased lungs, what about putting obnoxious assholes on cigarette packs?
11:50 am

Pop Culture


Starting today, EU regulations require that cigarette packages carry large-format “Shockbilder” (German for “shock-pictures”) on them. You may have seen these before, especially in foreign countries—usually they are super-disgusting medical pictures of diseased lung tissue and things like that.

Such “Gruselbilder” (“gross pictures”) are definitely enough to give one pause, but all in all, they probably don’t affect cigarette consumption all that much. The left-leaning German newspaper taz.die Tageszeitung, however, ran a cover page today with an intriguing take on the issue—taz thinks that putting annoying public figures like Heidi Klum or right-wing politicians like Donald Trump, France’s Marine Le Pen, and Germany’s Markus Söder on cigarette packages might be fiendishly effective. Other pictures taz proposed were Korean leader Kim Jong-un and a thick, green smoothie. Here, look: 

Donald Trump is so incredibly loathsome that taz hardly deserves credit for including him. Obviously the entire continent of Europe is quivering with dismay at the prospect of a Trump presidency.

I decided to speculate on what the cigarette packs might look like if they were targeted at a U.S. audience:

I’m pretty bad at Photoshop, but even I was able to alter a few of taz’s examples to get what I wanted. Here’s the original image. I’m sure that the talented DM readership will be able to surpass me in no time at all…...
via Kraftfuttermischwerk

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Man posts ‘I sell weed’ ad to Craigslist, is promptly arrested
09:07 am

Current Events


A Clover, South Carolina man was arrested on Wednesday after police saw his Craigslist ad offering to sell weed.

According to local drug enforcement officers, James Kinley III, posted a Craigslist ad titled “Pot… I SELL WEED - $200.

The text of the ad:

Whole zip lock bag of Loud Smoke
Half an bag is $100
1/4 of a bag is $50
Great smoke
I got it


The ad included his PICTURE and PHONE NUMBER.

A police officer texted the number asking if the ad was real. The would-be dealer reportedly called the officer back, asked what he needed, and arranged a meeting.

Kinley arrived at the specified meeting place to sell the officer a half ounce of weed and was promptly taken into custody.

It’s not clear whether the man thought weed was legal in South Carolina (it’s not), or if he thought that cops don’t have access to Craigslist (they do), but it’s likely that Mr. Kinley broke the cardinal rule of drug dealing: getting high on your own supply.


Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Own Elvis’ personal Quaalude bottle
09:01 am



There seems to be quite a market for Elvis Presley drug paraphernalia out there! Just six months ago we posted about an auction featuring Valium and Naldecon bottles once owned by The King™, along with a prescription written by his infamous doctor George “Dr. Nick” Nichopoulos (R.I.P February 24, 2016). Tomorrow, still more prescription bottles are being made available to “lucky” bastards with more money than sense—each is expected to fetch $6,000-8,000, and auction house estimates tend to be on the low side so as not to discourage bidders.

I’d love to know who the hell is buying these. Is there a trader scene, like with Grateful Dead tapes? “DUDE, you have doubles of Trisoralen? I’ll swap you two Valium and a Maolate!”

This auction—being held tomorrow by “Auction House to the Stars” Julien’s—features not only the evidently de rigueur Valium and Naldecon, but Dalmane, Temaril, Triavil, Trisoralen, and something called “Sanilert” that doesn’t appear to be a drug that actually existed but one that sounds alarmingly like a portmanteau of “sanity” and “alertness.” (What’s visible on the partial label in the photo provided clearly reads “keep sanity.”) God only knows what the hell that actually was. And then there’s the grail: a bottle that once held Elvis’ supply of that most acutely ‘70s chemical refreshment, Quaaludes.


See more of The King™‘s drug bottles, after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The Stranglers’ 1979 cricket match against the UK music press, featuring Lemmy and a bag of drugs
09:42 am



On September 16, 1979, the Stranglers held a cricket match to promote their new album The Raven and raise money for Capital Radio’s charity Help A London Child. They assembled a black-clad group of punk and reggae musicians to face a team made up of their usual adversaries and objects of abuse: rock journalists. Earlier that year, JJ Burnel had gaffer-taped writer Philippe Manoeuvre to the Eiffel Tower (Burnel: “it was only about 300 feet up”) and left him there, with his pants pooled around his ankles. “He wasn’t best pleased,” Jet Black remembers.

Cricket is played by teams of eleven, but the Stranglers were only four. To fill themselves out to the Stranglers XI for the charity match, the band recruited members of Motörhead, the Damned, X-Ray Spex, Flying Lizards, Steel Pulse, and other bands—a lot of people, according to their opponents in the Music Press XI, who claimed they saw a few supernumerary players on the field. Even Eddy Grant was on the massive team of rockers (“as many as 40 [...] at any one time,” the NME reported) that assembled at Paddington Recreation Ground on that storied day.

via Aural Sculptors
Lemmy showed up with a note from his doctor excusing him from the match because of a wart on his foot, but he lent his team moral and chemical support, while Kate Bush cancelled, according to Hugh Cornwell’s account in The Stranglers: Song by Song:

That was a fantastic event. [The Stranglers’ publicist] Alan Edwards came up with the idea of playing against the music press and managed to secure Brondesbury cricket ground in north London. Our team were dressed head to toe in black and wore black pads, black gloves and black caps. We even used black bats.

Kate Bush was going to play but pulled out. Lemmy turned up but had injured himself and had a sick note from his doctor, which was quite funny. He said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ll be watching on the boundary. If anyone needs a pick-up, my friend has a bag of whizz!’

Jet played and maybe John did. Some of the Finchley Boys played and a couple of members of the Damned. It just so happened that a friend of our dealer at the time had been a Hampshire [C]olt and was a demon fast bowler in his youth, so we got him out of retirement.

We batted first, with Jet and one of the large Finchley Boys opening the batting. We were all out quite cheaply, but managed to secure a tie because when the other team batted we kept sneaking on extra fielders to stop the run flow.

The opposition started complaining, but it was all for charity, so it got a bit ridiculous. The funniest point was when Richard Williams, who was editor of Melody Maker, came out to bat. He was brimming with confidence and had very expensive new equipment and strode out looking very professional. But our dealer clean bowled him almost immediately and Richard became very upset.


via Aural Sculptors
The blog Aural Sculptors has three press clippings about the match, and all of them contradict Cornwell on its outcome (“a fairly comprehensive drubbing,” the NME reported; “the Stranglers [...] spent a lot of their time lying down and threatening to take the bus home”), but at least Record Mirror corroborates Lemmy’s “bag of whizz”:

The Motorhead bit of the team had to keep vanishing behind bushes and under trucks. I really couldn’t figure out if this was for Lemmy to rest or to have some more talcum on his feet which he kept whipping out from the little paper bag. At least [I think] it was talcum, you never can tell with these rowdier boys.

Continues after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘Snorting Coke with the BBC’: A tabloid romp through the BBC’s most notorious drug scandals
04:30 pm



In a past life I made documentaries for television. These were mainly hour long arts films on artists like Francis Bacon and Virginia Woolf, or what was then described as “factual entertainment” shows on celebrities, their obsessions and misdemeanors—these ranged from Peter Sellers to Freddie Mercury. One of the many tabloid tales was a romp through the stories of four BBC presenters and their unfortunate dabbling with a Class A drug.

Called Snorting Coke with the BBC this documentary is small fry compared to the scale and horror of recent scandals that have engulfed the BBC since—see DM passim. The program focused on four highly successful presenters whose lives were unraveled by a liking for the sherbets.

These four men were:

Frank Bough—a likeable, avuncular, seemingly very, very ordinary breakfast time host who had a secret life enjoying the pleasures of drugs, cross-dressing and S&M dungeons.

Richard Bacon—another highly likeable, pleasant, young children’s presenter who was grassed up about having a snort after a night out with friends.

Angus Deayton—an acerbic, witty, actor-cum-quiz show host whose private life almost destroyed his career.

Johnnie Walker—a legendary radio DJ who was ensnared by a fake sheik journalist in a very underhanded sting.

Like most—or at least many—of the people who work in the media, this quartet had sampled the delights of powdered goods. Unfortunately for them—they were caught out in lurid and rather unfair tabloid exposes.

By being caught, these four individuals placed the BBC in a very difficult position. In many respects, the Beeb was being led by the nose (ahem) on how to respond to their stars’ misdemeanors.

The names may not be well known outside of the UK—but that honestly doesn’t matter as the stories are interesting, well-explained and still have a certain relevance to today.

This is how broadcaster Channel 4 described the program on its release in August 2003:

Snorting Coke with the BBC takes a wry look at some of the most highly publicised cases of BBC TV and radio celebrities caught using drugs and examines the attitude of the media towards their behaviour, their subsequent fall from grace and, in some cases, their rehabilitation. Frank Bough, Johnnie Walker, Richard Bacon and Angus Deayton are the stars featured as the circumstances surrounding their dismissal from the BBC are examined. Along with their cocaine use, Frank, Johnnie and Angus were caught in various sexually compromising positions, raising questions about the connection between drugs and sex.

The programme looks at the reaction of their employers, their colleagues and the press to what happened, asking if their response was at times an over-reaction, or if there were inconsistencies in the way that they were dealt with.

Amongst those interviewed are journalists, presenters and media commentators (including the now ubiquitous Piers Morgan and current CEO of the New York Times, Mark Thompson) who all discuss the BBC, the media and their relationship to drugs.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
All About the (counterfeit) Benjamins: Play drug-dealer with fake drugs & fake money from Amazon
05:11 pm



We’re not going to ask what you want to use them for, but in case you do want optically convincing fake drugs and fake money for your own amusement, Amazon’s got you covered.

Amazon has several products that are intended for use as movie props to substitute for illegal drugs (and illegally obtained cash). Up top you will what Amazon calls “PROP MONEY Combo 4,” with two bricks of marijuana, a few plausibly schwaggy dime bags, and some fake moolah.

If Combo 4 doesn’t grab you, you might prefer “Combo 3,” which is another variation on the pot dealer set of props, but with a higher class of weed.

Then there’s the “XMAS SPECIAL,” which may or may not be a reference to “snow”:

Fake drugs don’t endanger one of being convicted of drug dealing felonies, but the same can’t be said of fake money and counterfeiting charges, where the distinction is a bit more subtle. That’s the reason the money is comically wrong when you get a closer look (also why the bundles don’t persist past the first bill):

All of the above products cost around $50, and they are all purely props. There’s nothing preventing you from supplementing them with useful and legal items that actual drug dealers would use. For instance, a gun. OR there’s Amazon’s #1 rated money counter, the “G-Star Technology Money Counter With UV/MG W/Counterfeit Bill Detection.” It costs $99.99:

By comparison, the American Weigh 100g x 0.01g Digital Scale is a steal at $8.84.

That scale is purportedly so popular among drug dealers that the “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Bought” section on its Amazon page has become a kind of informal Amazon Guide to Dealing Drugs, with links to various, erm, “spice” grinders, a scientific spatula, a digital caliper, and so on.

We hope you have fun fooling your buddies into thinking you’ve become some kind of Tuco Salamanca, but be careful—it’s impossible to list all the ways flaunting items like this could get you into trouble. Don’t blame us if you land in hot water!
via Boing Boing

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
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