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Julian Cope: Someone Spiked His LSD
12.09.2009
12:51 am
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I think it’s safe to say that all four of us here at Dangerous Minds are big Julian Cope fans. Jason and I are HUGE fans and I have loved The Teardrop Explodes and followed Cope since I was a teen. The guy’s as cool as anyone’s ever been, he doesn’t care what you think about him and he can write the best guitar riffs since Ray Davies. I’ve seen him in concert four times, read all of his books and I interviewed him once around the time Peggy Suicide was released, in 1991. He was a fascinating guy to talk to, full of energy, his mind wandering off in every direction at once. My guess is also that he was probably pretty stoned that day!

My friend Wm. Ferguson and I met the Arch Drude at the Island Records offices near Tower Records in lower Manhattan. During the interview Cope told us about the mystical experience he had that led to his vision of the earth dying that inspired Peggy Suicide’s somewhat bleak environmentalist message. I recall that we discussed a certain book about Helena Blavatsky which he and I had both read and he compared the physical sensation of his mystic moment to the first time a pubescent boy masturbates, not quite pleasurable and very confusing, a sort of mental orgasm felt in the brain. I asked him if he felt conflicted about bringing a child into a world—his wife Dorian was then pregnant with their first daughter—that he so obviously thought was terminal. He paused and said, “Well, yeah the world is fucked, but it’s not THAT fucked that it can’t be saved, certainly. We’ve got to try.” I then voiced my own skepticism about bring new life into the world—I was 25 at the time—and he said something that I will never forget and have repeated to friends expecting children several times: “If people like you and I stop having children, we’ve ceded our world to the idiots. All intelligent people should have as many babies as possible to prevent all the thick, ungroovy Christians from taking over.”

When we were leaving, I mentioned in passing that I’d seen the infamous Hammersmith Palais show of his first UK solo tour in 1984, a concert that saw Cope performing a bloody act of self-mutilation. During the encore of Reynard the Fox, Cope snapped his mike-stand in half and proceeded to rake the jagged edge across his chest, back and stomach drawing lots of blood and generally freaking out the entire audience! Up until the very end it had been a slick, professional rock show. A girl standing near me puked when she saw what he had done. It cemented Cope’s reputation as a Syd Barrett-like acid casualty.

Cope laughed sheepishly and pulled out his wallet. “Well, you’ll appreciate this: Whenever I’m feeling like I am fucked in the head, I pull out this picture—” it was of a bloodied Cope from the concert I’d seen “—and I remind myself that however fucked up I think I am I am still not THAT fucked!”

And with that he was off. It’s often said of Cope that he’s the last of a dying breed or something to that effect. Not true. This implies that there were more like him, but Julian Cope’s a one off. All hail the Arch Drude!


Above, Julian Cope, tripping on LSD during a Top of the Pops performance of Passionate Friend. Read about this experience in Cope’s own words here.

Great, really intelligent extended Julian Cope interview by Jon Savage

Dennis Cooper on Cope

Julian Cope’s Head Heritage website

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.09.2009
12:51 am
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Serge Gainsbourg of Tortoises Dies
12.07.2009
06:17 pm
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The Guardian reports on a beloved French tortoise named “Kiki,” who apparently amused the French public to no end with his priapic, Gainsbourg-esque antics. Kiki, in addition to being one of the world’s horniest animals, was also one of its oldest. Canonize that mofo! >Via the Guardian:

France was in mourning today for one of its oldest and best-loved lotharios, a giant tortoise named Kiki, who died at the age of 146.

Staff at the M?ɬ

Posted by Jason Louv
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12.07.2009
06:17 pm
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Adam Cohen: Roosevelt Understood the Power of a Public Option
12.05.2009
01:24 pm
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Adam Cohen, writing in the New York Times, discusses FDR’s skill in defining and maneuvering public option towards constructive social goals. Cohen skillfully argues a very fine point here, and picks a great example to make it: Roosevelt’s championing of a different sort of public option. Can you imagine how different American life would be today if something like this was a legacy of the New Deal? WHO in their right mind would have been against this?!?!

As governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt crusaded for ?

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.05.2009
01:24 pm
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Notes From The J.G. Ballard Memorial
12.03.2009
05:50 pm
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Spotted at the Ballardian, Rick McGrath‘s great, first-person account of what went down at the recent memorial for J.G. Ballard on what would have been the “Bard of Shepperton’s?

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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12.03.2009
05:50 pm
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The Infinity Factory: Genesis P-Orridge Interview
12.02.2009
08:25 pm
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Another vintage Infinity Factory show for you fine people. This late ‘90s episode features an in-depth interview with my good friend and lifelong hero, Genesis P-Orridge on the topic of the then new book, Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of Coum Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle.

THEE PSYCHICK BIBLE: A New Testameant is Gen’s latest work, published by Feral House (and edited by Dangerous Minds own Jason Louv). It’s been produced in a high-quality, strictly limited edition of 999, signed copies, each with a 2-hour DVD of GP-O related video rarities, some directed by Derek Jarman and Peter Christopherson. Order yours here.

Parts II, III, and IV

Posted by Richard Metzger
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12.02.2009
08:25 pm
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Amchitka: the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace
11.28.2009
06:46 pm
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As someone who has spent many years acquiring rare Joni Mitchell bootlegs, I can tell you, there’s not a lot out there. I’m sure that many live recordings exist of Mitchell from all eras of her career, but not a lot of them have slipped out to traders (in comparison to Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd or the Grateful Dead where there are hundreds and hundreds of live concerts floating around the Internet). When music business blogger Bob Lefsetz sent out a missive the other day about Entertainment Weekly having an exclusive on a 1970 Joni Mitchell duet with James Taylor streaming from their website, well, “click” I was there. The duet begins with Mitchell solo, performing Carey then segueing into Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man. She playfully forgets the lyrics before calling on Sweet Baby James to help her out. It’s sheer delight.

This sublime moment—one of many—is taken from a new 2 CD set (with book) called Amchitka: the 1970 concert that launched Greenpeace and you can buy it directly from Greenpeace here (I don’t think it’s in stores or Amazon). The show took place on October 16, 1970 in Vancouver, British Columbia and was organized by lawyer/activist Irving Stowe, a man often called the father of Greenpeace. The goal of the evening was to raise enough money to buy a boat to transport activists to Amchitka, Alaska to protest the nuclear testing the US government was doing there at the time. It was to be the very first Greenpeace action

Intense folk singer Phil Ochs starts the set, after some passionate introductory words from Irving Stowe. He is followed by Taylor, who was just hitting the big time and is announced as a special surprise guest. Mitchell, then coming off her million selling third album, Ladies of the Canyon, but still nine months before her masterpiece Blue, was the bill’s topper. In 1970, Joni Mitchell was probably the biggest selling female artist in the world—surely she was the most important—and it has been said of her that she was the midwife to the birth of Greenpeace. 39 years later, both she and James Taylor (and the estate of Phil Ochs) are donating their royalties from sales of the CD directly to Greenpeace.

If you want to sample it first, the entire set is streaming from the Amchitka website—click on Music, then click on the link that says “Play List and Streaming”—but don’t be cheap, the 2 CD set, with 48 page booklet is only $21 from Greenpeace and you’ll be supporting a worthy cause. Makes a great Christmas gift because it gives twice!

Footage from the Greenpeace’s maiden voyage:

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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11.28.2009
06:46 pm
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Happy 252nd Birthday William Blake
11.28.2009
02:43 pm
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And a very happy birthday to William Blake, one of the greatest mystics, poets, painters and visionaries that Western civilization ever produced. Driven to a pauper’s grave in his own time, Blake’s vision remains burning in our consciousness as a touchpoint of human freedom against the horrific machine-like nature of our destructive, planet-killing culture. If you haven’t given him your full time, do! If you don’t know him past “Tyger, Tyger” or a few other poems, have another look?

Posted by Jason Louv
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11.28.2009
02:43 pm
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Burroughs vs. Kerouac!
11.24.2009
03:23 pm
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Via Paul Di Filippo. Paul captions: “I’m the King of the Beats!” “No, I am!”

Posted by Jason Louv
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11.24.2009
03:23 pm
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Wallace Berman’s Aleph
11.20.2009
04:17 pm
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Wonderful addition to the bottomless pit of greatness offered over at Ubu, American assemblage artist Wallace Berman‘s first and only film, Aleph.  Best known, perhaps, for spearheading the SEMINA art publication, Berman labored on Aleph from ‘56-‘66.  Here’s what Ubu says of the film:

Aleph is an artist’s meditation on life, death, mysticism, politics, and pop culture.  In an eight-minute loop of film, Wallace Berman uses Hebrew letters to frame a hypnotic, rapid-fire montage that captures the go-go energy of the 1960s.  Aleph includes stills of collages created using a Verifax machine, Eastman Kodak’s precursor to the photocopier.  These collages depict a hand-held radio that seems to broadcast or receive popular and esoteric icons.  Signs, symbols, and diverse mass-media images (e.g., Flash Gordon, John F. Kennedy, Mick Jagger) flow like a deck of tarot cards, infinitely shuffled in order that the viewer may construct his or her own set of personal interpretations.  The transistor radio, the most ubiquitous portable form of mass communication in the 1960s, exemplifies the democratic potential of electronic culture and serves as a metaphor for Jewish mysticism.  The Hebrew term kabbalah translates as “reception” for knowledge, enlightenment, and divinity.  According to the artist’s son Tosh Berman, Wallace Berman treated Aleph ‘...as a creative notebook, and like a true diary, it has no beginning and no end.’

Posted by Bradley Novicoff
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11.20.2009
04:17 pm
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Iceberg Slim: Reflections
11.18.2009
03:17 pm
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Iceberg Slim is well-known as the literary progenitor of gangster rap (Ice-T, Ice Cube and Jay-Z have all listed him as a formative influence), mostly for his groundbreaking autobiography Pimp. Check out this great tribute to Slim by Josh Alan Friedman:

Like the painter Grandma Moses, Iceberg Slim was reborn an artist after age 40. His third, and harshest prison sentence - 10 months in steel solitary at the Cook County House of Corrections - finally crushed the pimp right out of him. Vilifying past predatory values, he exorcised his demons into folklore, leaving a seven-book legacy. Pimp: The Story of My Life, contained bookend warnings against the life. But Iceberg’s masterpiece only bolstered pimp liberation amidst the blaxploitation movie craze. In Times Square, for instance, a hundred fur-coated Superflys lorded over a thousand streetwalkers, taking renegade control of 8th Avenue. For them, Pimp declassified the sorcery of whore control, became a textbook for wannabe’s, and lent ethnic pride to the hideous profession.

Pimp still holds as perhaps the greatest chronicle ever written on male-female relations. In the flush of literary success, white feminist-journalist types sought out interviews like intellectual groupies. Pimp philosophy, Iceberg believed, might be adapted to mainstream relationships. “My theory is that some quantum of pimp in every man would perhaps enhance his approach to women,” he told the Washington Post. “Because I think it’s a truism that women gravitate to a man who can at least flash transient evidence of heelism. . . Women are prone to masochism, anyway. I think if you are able to manufacture a bit of ‘heelism’ in your nature and give them a sense of insecurity as to whether some voluptuous rival might come along and steal you, then you are a treasured jewel.”

I read Pimp when I was 13. I’m not sure it exactly uh helped my skills with women, but it certainly gave me a new vocabulary to irritate my friends with.

However, nothing compares to Slim’s readings of his own work on the album Reflections. Hearing Iceberg Slim’s renditions of key points in his life?

Posted by Jason Louv
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11.18.2009
03:17 pm
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