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Ralph Steadman’s grotesquely brilliant illustrations for Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’
06.19.2017
12:04 pm
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George Orwell had difficulty in getting Animal Farm published in the 1940s. His satirical fable about a farm being taken over by a cowardly, power-mad pig was seen as an undisguised and rather offensive attack on Soviet Russia and its leader Joseph Stalin. As Orwell later explained in his introduction to the book, it was not considered the done thing in 1940s Britain to criticize their war ally Russia and especially its leader Stalin in any way. (Sidebar: Orwell’s introduction was not included in the book on its first publication and is still missing from most editions today.)

Due to the war, any criticism of Uncle Joe was not tolerated—even if there was ample evidence that things might not be as jolly as the Russians liked to pretend. The media (including the BBC) and its allies in left-wing intelligentsia swallowed wholeheartedly every piece of propaganda issued by the U.S.S.R. which was then spewed out as fact.  But Orwell was never one to be swayed by the heady eau de cologne of fashionable politics. Orwell actually believed in a practical socialism—not one that resulted in the oppression of the majority by a tiny minority as was the case with Stalin, whose dictatorship had murdered up to 60 million.

Eventually, after a series of surprising knockbacks from British and American publishers (including one from T. S. Eliot at Faber & Faber), Orwell’s tale was successfully published by Secker & Warburg in August 1945 and has never been out of print since. However, its release was not well received. Certain critics tried to damn the book with faint praise or dismiss it as “clumsy” and “dull.” Now, clumsy and dull are not the kind of words I would ever associate with Orwell’s fastidious writing or with this allegorical masterpiece.

Orwell first had the idea for Animal Farm after seeing a small boy whipping a horse:

“...I saw a little boy, perhaps ten years old, driving a huge carthorse along a narrow path, whipping it whenever it tried to turn. It struck me that if only such animals became aware of their strength we should have no power over them, and that men exploit animals in much the same way as the rich exploit the proletariat.”

Orwell wrote Animal Farm between 1943 and 1944, during the height of the Second World War. He also added in some of his own personal experience of having witnessed firsthand the Communist purges during the Spanish Civil War which revealed to him “how easily totalitarian propaganda can control the opinion of enlightened people in democratic countries.” Orwell intended his novella as a warning and a condemnation of Stalin’s vicious dictatorship and his corruption of socialist ideals.

Political cartoonist David Low was the man who first illustrated Orwell’s political parable. While Low’s work was satirical and well-matched to Orwell’s prose, his illustrations pale when compared to the scabrous beauty of Ralph Steadman’s grotesque scratchings. Steadman provided illustrations for the 50th anniversary edition of Animal Farm in 1995.

I’d be hard put to think of any other artist who so effectively depicts the grim satire at the heart of Orwell’s tale. Steadman’s drawings seem to be on the verge of exploding with fury at the raw injustice of life or, in this case, the political allegory of the endless brutal horror of Animal Farm.
 
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See more of Ralph Steadman’s gonzo illustrations, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.19.2017
12:04 pm
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What would Hitler Do?: Notorious ‘80s agit-punks The Feederz return to fuck shit up in the Trump era
06.16.2017
09:22 am
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In the disorienting immediate aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election, a notion I saw expressed so often that it almost felt virally memetic was the idea that “At least with Trump as president, there’ll be great political punk rock again.”

I found this puzzling.

Of course it’s absolutely true that the Reagan era was a musical goldmine for politically-engaged punks, but the arguably worse George W Bush era was notably fallow in that regard—if American Idiot counts as “greatness,” then I guess I don’t need any greatness in my life—and with the debatable exception of the 2004 Punk Voter Rock Against Bush tour, a wishfully grandiose attempt by the pop-punks at Fat Wreck Chords to create a latter-day Rock Against Reagan type of event, no other punk-influenced protest music made all that much of an impression. Going back a minute or two further, not even the stunning and inspiring social movement that emerged from seemingly out of the blue in defiance of the World Trade Organization around the turn of the century seemed to inspire any rebel rock worth discussing—Punk Planet even did a contemporary feature on that notable lack, pity there’s no online archive of that publication.

But though I still expect that the hoped-for renaissance of Reagan-era style protest punk is unlikely to happen, one actual radical band from the Reagan era has reactivated in response to the Trump threat. And it’s one of the MOST radical—Situationist-inspired provocateur Frank Discussion has resurrected his notorious band The Feederz. An unabashed outrage artist, Discussion made his band infamous with confrontational live performances in which he far surpassed even Frank Tovey’s ability to turn himself into an attention-commanding art object, and with stunts like making a sandpaper record cover for their debut album Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss? to ruin other records on one’s shelves, and emblazoning a record called Teachers in Space with a photo of the Challenger disaster.

But after more than 35 years, The Feederz remain best known for the scandalous song with which their existence was announced to the world. “Jesus,” sometimes known as “Jesus Entering from the Rear,” got a widespread hearing when it was featured on the epochally crucial hardcore compilation Let Them Eat Jellybeans. That song sought to tweak right wing Evangelical Christians with lyrics describing The Savior™—or his corpse—engaged in rough gay sex, going way over the top by calling him “Another stupid martyr with another rectal rash” and “Just another faggot in just another mask.” Though it’s indisputably a classic, due to major values dissonance the song hasn’t aged so gracefully, and there is zero doubt that if it were written today it would be excoriated for implicit homophobia, though that was the opposite of its intent—even for the sake of outrage, Discussion isn’t one to punch down.
 

 

 

 
After a long absence from punk rock, the Trump disaster prodded Discussion to begin writing new songs again, and he assembled a band to record two of them in January, with Meat Puppets bassist Cris Kirkwood producing. The Feederz as currently constituted are a trio of Discussion, founding member Clear Bob, and drummer D.H. Peligro, a onetime Feederz member who’s much better known for his tenure in Dead Kennedys. That single was released on April 15 by the Phoenix, AZ label Slope Records (though The Feederz made their mark as a San Francisco band, Discussion is a native of Phoenix and was a presence in the infancy of its punk scene). The single, WWHD: What Would Hitler Do?, sports an unsurprisingly unsubtle cover illustration of Donald Trump affecting a Hitlerian pose and wearing a swastika armband, and it’s fucking good—it’s the most hi-fidelity recording to which the band has ever been treated, and the songs, while they’re thematically of a piece with Discussion’s Reagan-era work, sound like the work of a contemporary band. The A side, “Stealing,” bears an ominous riff and lyrics that champion looting and assaulting police. The flip, “Sabotage,” opens with a chant of “TIME TO PUT THIS COUNTRY OUT OF OUR MISERY,” and includes call-to-arms written in Spanish. Here’s the translation:

What you see with your eyes, destroy with your hands
To be as combustible as a cop car
We don’t need leaders
I love you! Say it with a brick!

 

 
After the jump, the always outspoken Mr. Discussion treated Dangerous Minds to an audacious and lively interview…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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06.16.2017
09:22 am
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Every review you’ve read of the new Roger Waters album is wrong (except for this one)
06.06.2017
06:53 pm
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Last Friday, June 2, I spent the entire day checking the mail. I’d preordered the new Roger Waters album—his first album of original rock material in nearly a quarter century—and was eagerly awaiting its arrival when I got notice from Amazon at about 7pm that evening that the delivery would be delayed, possibly until the following Tuesday. Being as I am, a married middle-aged man, this was going to be the highlight of my fucking week and listening to it on headphones, stoned to the gills, constituted most, if not the entirety of my weekend plans. Drats! Foiled again! My disappointment was palpable, but I googled the reviews to sate my curiosity only to read one critical appraisal after another of the most vaguely worded, tepidly positive sentiments. I’d seen the second (not including the dress rehearsal in NJ) show of Waters new Us + Them tour in Louisville, KY (more on this below) over the recent Memorial Day holiday weekend and the reviews I was reading didn’t really jibe with my expectations for the new album, having already heard a handful of the songs from the upcoming album played live and being blown away by how great the set’s new material was. It was difficult to tell what anyone really thought of it from the early reviews.

Rolling Stone’s reviewer was one of the worst offenders. The nearly pointless review of Is This the Life We Really Want? read as if he’d played the album once and dashed it off in about 15 minutes to collect a couple hundred bucks. (One commenter sighed “This review has zero substance. ‘It’s just Roger being Roger.’ Way to phone it in.”) One after another of these empty calorie reviews used the same words—“bitter,” “bleak” and “dystopian” prominently among them (and all referenced President You-Know-Who)—and indicated that good ol’ Rog was still up to his same old bag of tricks, etc, etc, etc. As the editor of a website like this one, I’m well aware of what lazy writing looks like and frankly nearly all of last Friday’s release date reviews of Is This the Life We Really Want?—at least the ones I read—smacked of it to my trained eye. In aggregate they equaled almost nothing useful. I wondered how it was possible not to have a strong opinion about a new Roger Waters album after so many years. Many of them, I imagine were written by underpaid millennials with only the dimmest idea who Roger Waters is, who were just cribbing from the press release.

The next morning the album was delivered before 10am and my weekend plans were back on.

Now don’t get me wrong, while anyone could be forgiven for assuming a priori that the first new release in decades from a 73-year-old multi-millionaire rock star would not necessarily be something to jump up and down about, by the time the first side was over I was completely gobsmacked, stunned at the darkly gorgeous poetry and sonic brilliance of the musical gold that had just been poured into my ears. I flipped it over for two even better, even more emotionally powerful songs. Riveting stuff. Oh sure, it’s true that not every new album by a septuagenarian rock superstar is going to be an instant classic, standing alongside their best work, but Waters’ astonishing and deeply profound Is This the Life We Really Want? is one, and does. I think it’s the best thing he’s done since Animals and I feel like that is saying quite a lot. This is a major event in pop culture. A big fucking deal with sirens blaring.

Now obviously, if you’re Roger Waters and you’ve got something (anything) to say, you (he) can say whatever you want, whenever you want and however you want to say it and a major media conglomerate will rush to exploit this to the hilt and squeeze every last bit of money they can out of your every utterance. Roger Waters and “the music of Pink Floyd” (as the current tour is billed) is a very big business—his multi-year worldwide The Wall Live trek is the highest grossing solo rock tour in history—but admirably, rather than put out one uninspired going-through-the-motions album after another like so many classic rockers of his vintage, Waters waits—25 years if he has to—to make sure that he’s got something important to say before going into the recording studio. No Sinatra covers for him. No Christmas albums. He’ll never record one of those awful “Great American Songbook” things. It’s just not going to happen. There is no squandered goodwill in that way between Waters and his fans. Since 1999 Waters has toured extensively, but without releasing any new material since 1992’s Amused to Death save for the recording of his French Revolution opera Ça Ira. After decades of playing the hits (and amassing a ridiculous fortune that’s managed to survive four divorces) the material on Is This the Life We Really Want? is just about the most potent musical statement imaginable for the Trump era, even if many of the songs were probably written and recorded before his surprise election. Perhaps the ferocious “Picture This” doesn’t refer directly to Trump, although it certainly seems like it does.

Picture a courthouse with no fucking laws
Picture a cathouse with no fucking whores
Picture a shithouse with no fucking drains
Picture a leader with no fucking brains

Top that! The song pulses and throbs like the best mid-70s Floyd barnburner, obviously quite purposefully and by deliberate design. Producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck) has surrounded Waters with a crack band of some of the finest musicians in America—among them Jonathan Wilson on guitar; vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig from Lucius; REM/Beck drummer Joey Waronker, a Mason-esque octopus-armed pounder to be sure; and Roger Manning Jr. of Jellyfish on keyboards—with what seems to be the canny dual intention of simultaneously providing Waters with some inspired and well-chosen collaborators who bring their own magic to the table, and using this A-list crew to record what is probably the closest thing to a full-on Pink Floyd 70s headphones album experience as could possibly be hoped for (minus the obviously missing participants). The gorgeous string arrangements were done by David Campbell (Beck’s father, who Wikipedia tells me made his recording debut playing cello on Carole King’s Tapestry) and… wow… just wow. This album is just crazy fucking good on every level.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.06.2017
06:53 pm
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Horrible political figures star in tacky prostitution advertisements
06.05.2017
12:26 pm
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If you have any trouble remembering, 2016 was the worst year of our lifetimes, as it featured the deaths of Prince, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael but much more pertinently, a victory for the “Yes” vote in the U.K. Brexit referendum in June as well as the election of the worst human being we could possibly find to be U.S. President in November. It was a tumultuous year to be sure, introducing U.S. observers not only to the concept of Donald Trump as an undeniably important political figure but an entire panoply of abhorrent political figures in Great Britain, including anti-Europe demagogue/liar Nigel Farage and current PM Theresa May.

When the debate is dominated by scuzzy vulgarians like Rupert Murdoch and Boris Johnson, their opponents will be obliged to resort to satirical measures that are less than…. dignified. Not that satire is usually very august or lofty, but these nitwits and assholes call for special tactics.

This will probably work better if you’re in Britain, but if you want to put up a fake prostitution advertisement in your town square, only featuring the comely/disgusting image of David Cameron, Donald Trump, or Theresa May on it, I urge you to visit the Wankers of the World website, where you can get any of these six posters for fifty pounds each. That’s a little pricy, sure, but for just 10 pounds you can get the “Political Whores Flyer Pack,” a full set of all six flyers that even comes with “a ball of Blu Tack so you can stick them up in your local phonebox or work toilet.” 
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.05.2017
12:26 pm
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William S. Burroughs’ answer to the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’


The author at home
 
It’s the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen,” and you know what that means: it’s the 40th anniversary of the letter of support William S. Burroughs sent the band, along with his own all-purpose slogan and answer song, “Bugger the Queen.”

Victor Bockris writes that Burroughs’ piece predated the Sex Pistols’ single by three years, but even so, “God Save the Queen” was the occasion for its debut. As far as I can tell, Burroughs never mentioned “Bugger the Queen” without reference to the Sex Pistols. In October ‘77, writing from Naropa, Burroughs sent Brion Gysin a Rolling Stone feature on the Sex Pistols (presumably Charles M. Young’s contemporary cover story) along with the words to “Bugger the Queen,” which he referred to as a new song he might record with Patti Smith. Though the published letters haven’t yet caught up to the punk rock period, Ken Lopez Bookseller has made the typescript of this one available. Punctuation and spelling are WSB’s:

Dear Brion:

Enclose article from the Rolling Stone on the Sex Pistols and punk rock, in case you didnt see it. This explains the action in Paris. I guess we are classified with Mick Jaeger. I am writing some songs and may do a record with Patti Smith. Here’s one
My husband and I
The old school tie
Hyphonated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
With the restofthe sog
Pull the chain onBuckingham
The drain calls you MAM.
BUGGER THE QUEEN
Whole skit goes withit illustratting everything I dont like about England.

“Bugger the Queen” was still on Burroughs’ mind one year later when he told a writer for the San Francisco punk zine Search & Destroy about his letter to the Sex Pistols (as quoted by Victor Bockris):

I am not a punk and I don’t know why anybody would consider me the Godfather of Punk. How do you define punk? The only definition of the word is that it might refer to a young person who is simply called a punk because he is young, or some kind of petty criminal. In this sense some of my characters may be considered punks, but the word simply did not exist in the fifties. I suppose you could say James Dean epitomized it in Rebel Without a Cause, but still, what is it? I think the so-called punk movement is indeed a media creation. I did however send a letter of support to the Sex Pistols when they released “God Save the Queen” in England because I’ve always said that the country doesn’t stand a chance until you have 20,000 people saying BUGGER THE QUEEN! And I support the Sex Pistols because this is constructive, necessary criticism of a country which is bankrupt.

 

The cover (cropped) of ‘Little Caesar’ #9, the first publication of ‘Bugger the Queen’ (via dennis-cooper.net)
 
The “skit” Burroughs mentions in the letter to Gysin, or a later version of it, is one of the entries in the essay collection The Adding Machine. Burroughs read it toward the end of 1978 at the Nova Convention celebrating his work. It was first published in the ninth issue of Dennis Cooper’s zine Little Caesar, whose previous number featured an interview with Johnny Rotten; International Times ran it too. The gist: chants of “Bugger the Queen” lead to a spontaneous uprising that forces Her Maj to abdicate. From the opening, a few words of inspiration, and the annotated lyrics:

I guess you read about the trouble the Sex Pistols had in England over their song “God Save the Queen (It’s a Fascist Regime).” Johnny Rotten got hit with an iron bar wielded by HER Loyal Subjects. It’s almost treason in England to say anything against what they call “OUR Queen.” I don’t think of Reagan as OUR President, do you? He’s just the one we happen to be stuck with at the moment. So in memory of the years I spent in England—and in this connection I am reminded of a silly old Dwight Fisk song: “Thank you a lot, Mrs. Lousberry Goodberry, for an infinite weekend with you . . . (five years that weekend lasted) . . . For your cocktails that were hot and your baths that were not . . .”—so in fond memory of those five years I have composed this lyric which I hope someday someone will sing in England. It’s entitled: Bugger the Queen.

My husband and I (The Queen always starts her spiel that way)
The old school tie
Hyphenated names
Tired old games
It belongs in the bog
(Bog is punk for W.C.)
With the rest of the sog
Pull the chain on Buckingham
The drain calls you, MA’AM
(Have to call the Queen “Ma’am” you know)
BUGGER THE QUEEN!

The audience takes up the refrain as they surge into the streets screaming “BUGGER THE QUEEN!”

Suddenly a retired major sticks his head out a window, showing his great yellow horse-teeth as he clips out: “Buggah the Queen!”

A vast dam has broken.

Alas, no one has stepped up to record “Bugger the Queen” during the intervening decades. I hold out hope Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye will set it to music. Below, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977, the Pistols make themselves heard from a boat on the River Thames in what must surely be Sex Pistols Number 2.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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06.02.2017
09:30 am
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Who said it: Glenn Danzig or a Fox News pundit?
05.30.2017
01:17 pm
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When I saw Danzig play the Ritz in 1989 (with White Zombie opening), it didn’t cross my mind that I’d be writing about Glenn Danzig’s political beliefs nearly 30 years later.

I definitely didn’t think that anyone would be seeking his take on President Donald Trump.

But here we are.

Danzig was in Los Angeles over the holiday weekend for the Blackest of the Black Festival, which was held at Orange County’s Oak Canyon Park. He granted a reporter named Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times an interview, in which he spoke out in favor of Donald Trump’s so-called travel ban, which would have the effect of restricting hundreds of thousands of travelers from entering the United States without any evidence of wrongdoing. Here’s what he said:
 

It’s really not a travel ban. When you walk into the country, we want to see who you are and what you’re doing. Well, when I go to every country right now, they look at me and they see whether I can come in or not. And I’ve been turned away from Canada and other places before. Where’s my protest? Where’s my parade?

 
Leave aside the unspoken premise that the United States is not already scrutinizing all visitors to the country (absurd). What makes this comment all the more baffling is that one of the crooner’s most famous songs is based on criminal misbehavior in a foreign land. Danzig hails from Lodi, New Jersey, and the Misfits song “London Dungeon” was based on an incident in 1979 when the band was on its first U.K. tour. In This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfits, James Greene, Jr. writes:

On December 2, Glenn and Bobby [Steele] tried to alleviate their hotel-based boredom by attending a Jam concert at London’s famed venue the Rainbow. Outside the concert hall, a group of skinheads began harassing the duo. Things quickly escalated. Somehow Bobby slipped away in an attempt to find some authorities; Glenn stayed behind, arming himself with a broken bottle. When police eventually did arrive they arrested Glenn and Bobby for disturbing the peace. The Misfits spent two nights in Brixton jail, an experience that birthed one of the group’s most solemn and memorable dirges.

“I just turned to Glenn [in the cell],” recalled Steele in 1993, “[and] said, ‘We should make a song about this called “London Dungeon.”’ We were like sitting in this cell, it was like ten feet perfectly square, you know, solid painted walls, it was real echoey in the room ... and we were just like slapping the beat out on our legs and humming ... it sounded so cool ... [and] Glenn took it from there.”

 
Danzig might dispute that he didn’t really do anything wrong on that occasion, and was unjustly incarcerated. Which might give him a little pause on the propriety of prejudging people who almost certainly haven’t done anything wrong or possess any ill intent towards the U.S.A.

In an attempt to show his supposedly liberal bona fides, Danzig made a problematic comment about Planned Parenthood as well:
 

I might be conservative on some issues, and some issues I’m really liberal. I’m pro-abortion and I’m pro-Planned Parenthood. But I don’t think Planned Parenthood should be selling baby parts like a chop shop in Brooklyn, OK?

 
This claim has been debunked so often it’s gotten tedious.

Hey, I’m so old I can remember when punk rock dudes would be ashamed  to spout right-wing talking points…......

Here’s “London Dungeon,” in which Danzig’s songwriting talent (and not his politics) is enough brighten anyone’s day:
 

 
via Stereogum
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.30.2017
01:17 pm
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Swedish TV accidentally puts children’s subtitles over political debate, and it’s f*cking hilarious!
05.22.2017
01:54 pm
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Civic-minded Swedes who tuned in to a political debate early last year didn’t expect to witness an interplanetary underwater battle involving dinosaurs, but thanks to an innocent mixup at the SVT2 TV station, that’s what they got.

It was probably more entertaining, not to say true-to-life, than what was actually happening in the debate, which involved Environmental Minister Åsa Romson, Liberal People’s Party leader Jan Björklund, Education Minister Gustav Fridolin, and Urban Ahlin, Speaker of the Riksdag, the national legislature of Sweden.
 

 
The subtitles depicted dialogue from the PBS children’s TV show Dinosaur Train

The head of the channel’s subtitle department, Anna Zetterson, smells a rat (or is it a dinosaur?), it seems. It turns out that on some older television models you can swap out the “teletext” page from another channel while keeping the current image. On Facebook she wrote in Swedish, “On some older TVs can still choose the old teletext page for the different channels’ subtitles, while checking on a different channel. So SVT, or any operator, didn’t send these out. But it is something you can amuse yourself with on an older television set.”

We don’t care. Maybe nobody made a mixup and it was all a plot to tickle our brains. All we can say is, mission accomplished!
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.22.2017
01:54 pm
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Explicitly perverse and provocative illustrations of Russian criminal underworld tattoos
05.22.2017
10:07 am
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“Satan and the Devil’s agent in Russia.” This illustration by Danzig Baldaev was copied from the chest of a criminal named “White” in 1991 who had recently completed a 32-year bid in prison.
 
During his time as a prison guard in Russia, and then later as the warden of the notorious Kresty Prison in Leningrad, Danzig Baldaev would become the curator and historian of tattoos worn by the convicts he watched over for nearly 40 years.

Baldaev’s illustrations, 3,000 or so in all, have been compiled into a popular series of books—the first of which was published in 2004 under the title Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Volume I. Had it not been at the urging of his father—who was no friend of the infamous NKVD (the politically repressive Stalin-era “secret” police group, The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs)—the stories behind the tattoos might never have been publicly chronicled. According to Baldaev, after he showed his father photographs of prisoners held in solitary confinement he advised him to start “collecting” images of the prisoner’s tattoos, for if he did not, the stories behind them would “all go to the grave with them.” The tattoos themselves served multiple purposes such as distinguishing a captive’s alignment within the prison population, what kind of crime they had committed or perhaps their affiliation with a specific Russian gang.

In 2009 the duo behind publishing house FUEL, Damon Murray, and Stephen Sorell purchased 750 illustrations done by Baldaev from his widow, which were then compiled in editions of the Russian Criminal Tattoo volumes. Here’s an example of the grim stories that would have gone undocumented by way of one heavily tattooed prisoner (who you can see here), who was photographed by Baldaev collaborator and fellow prison warden Sergei Vasiliev during a visit to the Strict Regime Forest Camp Vachel Settlement in the Penza Oblast Region of Russia.

This prisoner’s tattoos display his anger and bitterness towards Communist power; the tattoos on the face signify that he never expects to go free. He works as a stoker. Text under the eyes reads “Full / of Love;” on the chin “Danger of Death;” around the neck “To each his own;” above each head of the double-headed snake “Wife’ and ‘Mother-in-law;” on the chest “It is not for you whores, to dig in my soul;” on his arm “Communists, suck my dick for my ruined youth.”

Below is a selection of Baldaev’s illustrations, most of which, as you might have already figured out, are absolutely NSFW.
 

Top text reads “The Scary Dicks of the Land of Fools.” The text printed on the penises reads “Everything for the People!”
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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05.22.2017
10:07 am
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‘Do the Oz,’ John and Yoko’s benefit single (and hopeful dance craze) for OZ magazine


John and Yoko march for OZ, August 1971 (via Meet the Beatles for Real)
 
“I think that everyone should own everything equally and that the people should own part of the factories and they should have some say in who is boss and who does what,” John Lennon announced to Hit Parader during his militant period. When he and Yoko Ono joined a march in London in August ‘71, holding up the latest issue of the Marxist newspaper Red Mole, they were demonstrating in support of both the IRA and the underground magazine OZ, whose editors had just been sent up the river on an obscenity beef.

John and Yoko took up the cause of the “OZ Three.” For their now-famous “school kids issue,” number 28, OZ had solicited and printed contributions from teenage readers, and was alleged thereby to have struck a mighty blow against the morality of English youth. During the ensuing obscenity trial, the defense actually called an expert witness to testify that just seeing the cover illustration was not enough to turn a healthy young person into a lesbian.
 

Note the “OZ Obscenity Trial” souvenir T-shirt, featuring R. Crumb’s character Honeybunch Kaminski
 
In the end, the editors got fifteen months in prison, and the hip community rallied to their defense, Jon Wiener reports in Come Together: John Lennon in His Time:

The OZ defense committee announced it would appeal, and John and Yoko joined the fundraising effort. They wrote the songs “God Save Us” and “Do the Oz,” released as a single by Apple in July 1971. John played on both and sang lead on “Do the Oz,” calling the group “the Elastic Oz Band.” Full-age ads appeared in all the British underground and radical newspapers: “Every major country has a screw in its side, in England it’s OZ. OZ is on trial for its life. John and Yoko have written and helped produce this record—the proceeds of which are going to OZ to help pay their legal fees. The entire British underground is in trouble, it needs our help. Please listen—‘God Save Oz.’”

Bill Elliot (later of the Dark Horse band Splinter) sings the A-side of the Elastic Oz Band single, which Lennon originally called “God Save Oz” but retitled “God Save Us.” Both sound the same in a Liverpool accent, I think Lennon is telling Sounds here:

First of all we wrote it as God Save Oz, you know, ‘God save Oz from it all,’ but then we decided they wouldn’t really know what we were talking about in America so we changed it back to ‘us’.

But the B-side, “Do the Oz,” is the keeper. Mutilating the lick from “Smokestack Lightning” on guitar, John hollers the steps of his modified hokey pokey while Yoko sings the terrifying, beguiling hum of modernity. Backing them are the Plastic Ono Band and, on acoustic guitars, two contributors to the “school kids issue,” future NME contributor Charles Shaar Murray and “Michelle.”

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.18.2017
07:50 am
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Hear a full confession from Tricky Dick on the novelty single ‘The Altered Nixon Speech,’ 1973
05.12.2017
09:36 am
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(via Syntonic Research Irv Teibel Archive)

The immediate ancestor of the “Rappin’ Ronnie” record was The Altered Nixon Speech, a one-minute tape collage made from Nixon’s August 15, 1973 speech about the Watergate break-in. I’m no lawyer, but gosh, it sounds kind of incriminating:

I had prior knowledge of the Watergate break-in. I authorized subordinates to engage in illegal campaign tactics. I accept full responsibility for the break-in and bugging of the Democratic National Headquarters and other campaign abuses. Let me explain to you what I did about Watergate after the break-in occurred. I took part in the subsequent cover-up activities. My effort throughout has been burglary and bugging of party headquarters, obstructing justice, harassing individuals, and compromising those agencies of government that should be above politics. We of course must be extremely careful in the way we go about this. I shall continue to subvert the institutions of government by unlawful means. How to carry out this duty is often a delicate question. That is the simple truth.

The novelty single was the work of Irv Teibel, the field recordist behind the Environments albums. (Environments’ marketing slogan, “THE MUSIC OF THE FUTURE ISN’T MUSIC,” still points the way to a better world. Stop the madness! Let us pump nature sounds, not dance beats, into our pharmacies and “off-price” department stores.) What Teibel achieves with 140 tape splices is more than a gimmick: in the alchemical retort of the Syntonic Research laboratory, he transforms the Trick’s tissue of horseshit into a series of truthful statements. The B-side, which reproduces Teibel’s source material, is the homely “before” picture to the A-side’s handsome “after.”

Teibel knew that when you are standing on the president’s testicles, it is wise to tread lightly…

More after the jump…

READ ON
Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.12.2017
09:36 am
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