Famed director Alfred Hitchock sat for this hour-long interview with Tom Snyder for The Tomorrow Show in 1973. Even the normally inept Snyder seems to up his interviewer’s game around the master (who is framed with his iconic profile in full view, as you can see below).
Synder tells Hitch at the outset that he wants to discuss “ideas” and not just talk about films. He’s fairly successful (for Tom Synder). Hitchcock is on form here, this is a delight.
This Channel 4 UK program from the mid-80s compiles some incredible performances culled from Tony Wilson’s late 70s Granada TV series, So It Goes. Includes the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop (with horsetail sticking out of his ass and saying “fucking” on 70s TV), The Fall, The Jam, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sham 69 and ending with the classic clip of Joy Division performing “Shadow Play.” Many of the groups represented here were making their TV debuts on So It Goes, a regional tea-time program.
Commemorating the Civil War’s upcoming 150th anniversary, NPR is currently showcasing a nice collection of stereoview photographs—some familiar, some not—from the war. All the photos are courtesy of the National Museum of American History.
To toke or not to toke, or rather did he toke, that is the question. That’s right, you heard me, did the Bard smoke weed?
Not to get all “Lord Buckley” on you finger-poppin’ daddys, but is it possible that Willie the Shake was a “viper”? That’s what a controversial paleontologist wants to find out.
After some two dozen pipes were found buried in Shakespeare’s garden, many containing residues of smoked cannabis, a South Africa scientist named Francis Thackeray, with help from Professor Nikolaas van der Merwe of Harvard University, obtained fragments of these pipes via the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. They handed them over to South African Police forensic scientists for lab analysis. Low levels of marijuana residue was found in the pipes.
Cannabis was known to have been cultivated at the time in England and so it is certainly plausible that Shakespeare partook of the herb superb, but it would take looking at bone samples to say for sure. (Two of the pipes also tested positive for traces of cocaine, but this is a more difficult to swallow than the idea of the Bard smoking the “noted weed,” as cocaine first gets synthesized around the time of the Civil War).
Thackery says that his team could get into Shakespeare’s final resting place—he was buried under a church in Stratford-upon-Avon—unobtrusively, because a full exhumation of the body is not required and the remains would not have to be disturbed at all. Good thing, too, because Shakespeare was notoriously wary of anyone screwing around with his skeleton. A curse is engraved on his tomb that reads:
“Good frend for Jesus sake forebeare/ To digg the dust encloased heare/ Bleste be the man that spares thes stones/ And curst be he that moves my bones.”
If you’ve seen the legendary 1940 screwball comedy His Girl Friday, you’ll know why this edit clocks in at only 8 minutes. If you haven’t seen it, just know that it’s one of the fastest paced and dialogue-heavy films ever made. Director Howard Hawks made sure that Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell spoke their lines over each other as much as they possibly could because, well, that’s what people do in reality.
But all that disappears in this cut by video pro Valentin Spirik. The dialogue is completely cut out, leaving an almost hypnotic quick-cut body of jerky scene sequences layered with incidental verbal and atmospheric noise. Check it out.
In the history of popular music, disco and dance culture generally get a raw deal when it comes to talking about of social change. Sure, some massive changes happened in the Sixties, but to paraphrase Nile Rodgers, the Seventies was when people started to enjoy their new social freedoms. It was an age that saw huge breakdowns of race, class, sexual and social boundaries that were not just confined to small social groups, and much of this was down to the disco and party scenes.
Maestro, a 2002 documentary by the director Josell Ramos, tells the story of the legendary New York club the Paradise Garage, and its equally legendary resident DJ Larry Levan. Levan is often cited as being the best DJ of all time, particularly by some of the most popular DJs in the world, and the music he played at his club spawned a whole genre named in its honour. The Garage’s cultural and musical legacy has been global, influencing some of the world’s best known nightspots, but Maestro is also careful to explain where the roots of the club and the world that developed around it lay - in the seminal underground New York nightspots of the very late Sixties and early 70s.,
Levan in the DJ booth at the Paradise Garage
Many of the characters still left standing from the era are interviewed in the film. Among these is David Mancuso, whose own private loft parties in his living space kick-started the serious dancing scene and gave birth to the modern idea of clubbing..There is the late Francis Grasso, the first man to ever mix two records back in the late 60s at the Sanctuary; Nicky Siano, who in 1972 and still a teenager opened the night spot the Gallery; Frankie Knuckles of Chicago’s Warehouse (the birthplace of garage music’s broodier twin house), reminiscences on his close childhood friend Levan with stories that are both funny and sad. Most movingly of all respected DJ and remixer Francois Kevorkian remembers how the AIDS epidemic swept through his social circle killing many of his friends and decimating the party scene.
The Paradise Garage was a true melting pot where black, white, gay, straight, male, female, old and young mixed, got high, danced, and had sex. The footage of the Garage, the Sanctuary and the Loft in Maestro is great, and really makes you want to grab a time machine to visit these incredible parties. While this film is flawed, it’s good to have the story of this era told from the perspective of the people who were there and helped shape it. Oh, and needless to say, the music is FANTASTIC:
Peter Falk’s death today will bring back memories to Boomers and Gen X-ers of his title role as the good-natured and shambling L.A. detective in the ‘70s TV show Columbo. But by the time he donned that character’s famous trenchcoat, he had about 15 years of acting under his belt, most famously in gangster roles in films like Murder Inc. and Frank Capra’s last, Pocketful of Miracles. (Of course, he augmented the Columbo years with amazing performances like his role as Nick in John Cassavettes’s masterful A Woman Under The Influence.)
He also appeared as the Chief of Police in Joseph Strick’s 1963 adaptation of Jean Genet’s surreal play The Balcony. The film stayed faithful generally to Genet’s meditation on revolution, counter-revolution, and nationalism, which is set in a brothel/movie set/fantasy factory designed for its authoritarian allegorical characters while unrest boils over in the fictional country outside.
Here’s Falk’s big segment after his character breaks up the party. May he rest in peace.
The complete set of Famous People 1869-1969: 50 of the Greatest Britons, my dog-eared album of collectible picture postcards, which came free with packets of Brooke Bond tea in the 1960s. Like most children at that time, I collected these little potted biographies, trading duplicates in the schoolyard. Interesting the people we considered “famous” back then, compared to the kind we describe as “famous” today. Though as a Scot there was always a grievance over the inclusion of England soccer manager, Sir Alf Ramsey.
The last hundred years have seen greater changes in Britain than any previous century - changes in work and in recreation, in education and in politics, in thinking and in feeling. So long as Queen Victoria reigned - until 1901 - there was a strong sense of continuity. During this period Britain produced not only new men of wealth and power but writers of exceptional creative ability. Eminent Victorians were people of character and will as well as of ability.
During the twentieth century there have been far sharper breaks in people’s experience two world wars. There has also been a growth in the size and scale of organisations concerned with government, business and society. Nonetheless, the twentieth century has produced many outstanding people who have made unique contributions to the development of our country and the life of our people.
Selecting a team is never easy. yet the men and women in this album are sure of their place in our history.
The “Famous People” vary from writers like Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, and H. G. Wells; political figures like Disraeli, Gladstone, Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, founder of the Labour Party Keir Hardie; social and charitable activists Lord Shaftesbury, David Livingstone, Florence Nightingale, Emmeline Pankhurst, William Booth and Thomas John Barnardo; scientists Charles Darwin, Lord Lister, and Sir Alexander Fleming; as well as artists Landseer and Augustus John.
Lord Shaftesbury 1801-85), Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-73), Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92)
Charles Robert darwin (1809-82), Benjamin Disraeli (804-81), William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98), Charles Dickens (1812-70)