Yet another essential recent BBC music doc, this time a fascinating glimpse into the history of the seminal indie label/empire Rough Trade. More beloved late 70’s post punk records are touched upon than would be wise to list, but I was particulary awestruck to see footage of the original lineup of Scritti Politti sitting in a dilapidated bedsit earnestly hand-assembling the epochal “Skank Bloc Bologna” single. Founder Geoff Travis comes across as a passive aggressive faux-naif with faultless taste and a talent for the elusive right place/right time nexus. Watch, learn and listen. above photo : Genesis P-Orridge delivers the 2nd Throbbing Gristle L.P. D.O.A. to Geoff Travis @ Rough Trade HQ, 1978
Last night when I stumbled across the Bob Dylan/Bette Midler bootleg on Vimeo, I saw that the poster, dagb (that’s all I know about him and I suspect he would like to keep it that way) had also uploaded One Man’s Week, the 1975 documentary about the late great British eccentric and Bonzo Dog Doo Dah band singer, Vivian Stanshall. Erudite—and alcoholic—Vivian is interviewed and seen working on his African-influenced album Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead.
If you’re a Bonzos fan, this is a little bit of heaven, I promise you.
For a quick overview of who Stanshall was and why you should care, I suggest watching this, first:
(Dick, right, with Blade Runner director, Ridley Scott)
Fascinating 3-part interview with sci-fi author and visionary Philip K. Dick (VALIS, Ubik, Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said) conducted for French television. Footage of Dick is hard to come by. Equally hard to come by? Passionate boosting of France! Watch below as Dick discusses his (seemingly justified) paranoia, equates being a writer with being an enemy of the state, and schools us on the Nazi origins of “egghead.”
Wait, what ? Giorgio Moroder did a coffee table book for Taschen about all of the most gorgeous colored vinyl/ picture disc/ odd shaped records produced during vinyl’s multi-decade reign as sound medium of choice ? One for me, please !
The picketing hate group known as the Westboro Baptist Church—which is basically just one family, led by patriarch the Rev. Fred Phelps and his daughter Margie—is infamous the world over for its hate speech aimed at Jews, blacks, Catholics and especially homosexuals. The Phelps family made a trip to West Virginia earlier this month to picket things the Phelps family—calling them a “church” is really twisting language—view as sinful. This could be just about anything with the Phelps family, of course, and often is: The WBC once picketed an appliance store that sold a particular brand of Swedish vacuum cleaner.
Why? Because Sweden supports gay rights, of course!
Make sense? Of course it doesn’t. These are the same people who picket the funerals of dead American service members with signs reading “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and instruct their children to desecrate the American flag as families grieve. Astonishingly, during their stay in West Virginia, as news from the Montcoal Mine disaster became known, the Phelpses targeted the families of the dead miners!
But how do you counter such people when they decide to inflict themselves on your community? First off, you don’t even bother trying to counter them, you siphon off their media thunder. Concerned civic and religious groups in Wheeling and Charleston took the novel approach of using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to organize Stop the Hate Rallies, Spread the Love flash mobs.
Signs in front yards also spread the message: “West Virginia is No Place for Hate!” with symbols of Judaism, Christianity and a rainbow (representing gay and lesbian residents) by far outnumbering the placards carried by the Phelps family (one read “God Hates WV.” Another said “You Will Eat Your Babies”!). But it was the disco dancing flash mobs doing the electric boogaloo to “Take Me Home Country Roads” that stole the show.
“We want to become the story; to steal the story from the WBC,” said one organizer, Rabbi Jim Cohn of Temple Israel. “We’re annoyed by the idea that they get the publicity through hatred.”
Dangerous Minds pal, Peter Bergman is back on the radio! The Firesign Theatre funnyman has resurrected the Radio Free Oz moniker of his legendary KPFK radio show of the mid-1960s and is trying something new for 2010.
Broadcasting from his new homebase in Whidbey Island, WA, Bergman’s new incarnation of Radio Free Oz continues on with his unique take on freeform radio and features cameo appearances from his comrades in the Firesign Theatre (I even make an appearance in one of them). Currently a weekly program going out live on Sunday nights, Radio Free Oz will soon be on five nights a week.
The highlight for me are the segments about weirdo evangelist Tony Alamo by Philip Proctor in each show. I laughed so hard I cried. Co-hosted by David Ossman.
And speaking of Radio Free Oz, Proctor and Bergman, I found this unusual—and really interesting—piece on YouTube today and it features Peter Bergman and Philip Proctor reading from William Burroughs. Peter reads “Death Dwarf in the Street” on the old Radio Free Oz show in the ‘60s and Phil reads “The Saragossa Cafe” in a more recent recording. An excerpt from Nova Express, a film by Andre Perkowski.
Well, it might not have worked for Darby Crash, but mohawks do save lives. Look what happened to 3-year-old Maddox Tallowin:
When father Ben, 32, and mother Barbie, 33, from Kirby Cross, Essex, took the scissors to their little boy’s hair they were shocked to discover strange-looking lumps on the back of his head. They rushed him to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where doctors told the shocked parents the bumps were a tell-tale sign of leukemia. Mr. Tallowin, 32, said: ‘It was more luck than anything else that we found it.
‘Maddox had a Mohawk haircut. He has really big blue eyes and bright blond hair and it was a cut chosen by him a few months before. But it had got too long, about four or five inches, and it was beginning to flop so I decided to shave it off. ‘The sides were short but when we touched the actual mohawk there were these bumps on either side of his neck at the bottom of his head. It didn’t feel right so we took him to the doctor.’
The youngster is now in remission and the doctors have reduced the level of leukemia in his blood but he still has to make long trips to hospital several times a week and will need chemo and intensive steroid treatment for three years.