follow us in feedly
Pinball machine featuring the Stones, Elton John, The Who, AC/DC, KISS and many more
09.06.2016
10:17 am

Topics:
Amusing
Games
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

003rollingstonepinball1.jpg
 
The pinball arcade was where the boys in leather jackets hung out. The guys into Heavy Metal, Hell’s Angels and books by Sven Hassel. That’s what I recall from growing up. The pinball machines were always situated at the far end of the arcade—past the lines of slot machines with itchy-fingered retirees spending their hard-earned cash and the whey-faced office clerks on their lunch break in off-the-peg suits and white socks.

In those days smoking was permitted indoors—so the back of the room where the pinball machines and the boys in denim and leather hung out was always thick with blue cigarette smoke. Just go down to the back of the room and inhale a few breaths—it saved you on the cost of buying smokes.

For some reason pinball machines were associated with being tough. I was never really quite sure why. Manliness and the ability to use flippers dexterously meant—obviously in some secret code I was unable to fathom—that you were a tough guy. These boys sneered at punk. Tolerated Prog. Hated Glam and Mod—which was strange as most liked Slade and The Who. What they did like was Black Sabbath. Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. AC/DC. And The Rolling Stones—post 1968.

Their bravado was all front—like the flashing lights and bells of the pinball machines they played. The pinball was a totem for their nascent identity. In a few years time, some of these boys would be in their own off-the-peg suits playing slot machines during their lunch breaks.

Pinball has always had that macho outsider image—which probably explains why certain hard rockin’ bands and artistes have opted to merchandise their product through pinball machines.
 
003Arollingstonespinball.jpg
 
More rock and pop pinball machines, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Incredible: Little girl boxes a tree like nobody’s business
09.01.2016
12:31 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Here’s a video of a little girl named Evnika boxing a tree into smithereens. She’s got some serious moves and she’s lightning fast! I’m damned certain she could beat me into a bloody pulp in seconds flat. I wouldn’t have a fighting chance against her (not like I go looking to fight little kids or anything, to be clear there!) She’s just that tough! 

As Geekologie points out, she’s like a cross between Eleven from Stranger Things and Die Antwoord’s Yolandi Visser.

What I want to know is how are her knuckles not completely destroyed?

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
A young Depeche Mode perform a slice of synthpop perfection on Swedish TV, 1982
08.31.2016
10:38 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:

001depmodesmahi82.jpg
 
A few years ago there was a theory that Kraftwerk was the “most influential group in pop history.” The pitch goes something like this: The Beatles’ influence lasted about thirty-plus years while the electronica heralded by Kraftwerk continues to be of influence to this day. One of the chief proposers of this argument was Andy McCluskey from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark who said:

When you listen to pop now, do you hear the Beatles, or do you hear electronic, synthetic, computer-based grooves?

It’s a moot point as nearly everything is electronic today. McCluskey clearly remembers the day he first heard the future of music—when Kraftwerk played the Liverpool Empire on September 11th, 1975. Though the venue was about half-full, this gig had far-reaching consequences. It was a starting pistol announcing the launch of bands like OMD, the Human League and Cabaret Voltaire who were to pioneer electronic music in Britain.

When OMD signed to Factory Records, McCluskey was utterly horrified when label supremo Tony Wilson said their music was the future of pop. OMD saw themselves (quite rightly in many respects) as creating serious artistic music. Though McCluskey vehemently disagreed at the time, Wilson has been proven right. Yet it wasn’t until Gary Numan, Visage, Soft Cell, and in particular Depeche Mode, could synthpop be said to have truly arrived.

Depeche Mode was originally a guitar band from Basildon, Essex called No Romance in China. It was formed by two schoolmates Vince Clarke and Andy Fletcher in 1977. The line-up changed as different members came and went until the band morphed into Composition of Sound with the arrival of Martin Gore on guitar.

When Clarke saw OMD in concert in 1980, he reinvented the group as wholly synthesizer-based band. With the addition of Dave Gahan on vocals, Depeche Mode were complete.

Clarke was the principal songwriter and main driving force behind the band. At the time he was working as a delivery driver for a lemonade company to pay for his synthesizer. They recorded a demo and hawked it around to different labels, yet, it wasn’t until Daniel Miller—head of the newly formed electronic record label Mute—saw Depeche Mode play a gig in London that he offered them a deal on the spot

Miller was one of the pioneers of electronic music. As The Normal he released two seminal singles “T.V.O.D.” and the J.G. Ballard-inspired “Warm Leatherette.” One of the reasons he offered Depeche Mode a contract—apart from the obvious synthpop association—was the fact people at the gig weren’t watching the band play, but dancing joyously to their songs.

Watch Depeche Mode perform, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Low Tide: The Beach Boys hit rock bottom in 1992 with ‘Summer in Paradise’
08.30.2016
10:53 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

Summer in Paradise album cover
 
In 1989 The Beach Boys were riding a huge wave success, “Kokomo” had just become their first number one U.S. hit in 22 years. The success of “Kokomo” was largely due in part by producer Terry Melcher, who co-wrote and sang vocals on the track that was certified gold and sold over a million copies worldwide. The only child of singer Doris Day, Melcher is perhaps more famously known for being the target of the Manson family murders which were carried out at his former residence at 10050 Cielo Drive.

In 1991 all living original Beach Boys members (except Brian Wilson, still under the care of his abusive psychologist Gene Landy) returned to the studio with Terry Melcher to record their follow-up to “Kokomo” with the album Summer in Paradise. This marked the first and only Beach Boys studio album that Brian Wilson had no participation in whatsoever. Produced entirely on a Macintosh Quadra computer, Summer in Paradise was recorded using a Beta version of Pro Tools with a rhythm section that was almost entirely synthesized. Despite its effort to be “the quintessential soundtrack of summer” the album quickly turned into an unmitigated disaster: musically, lyrically, and commercially. Al Jardine was suspended from the band in the early stages of the recording due to a “severe attitude problem,” however he was reinstated in final weeks leading up to the completion the project.

From the albums very first track, a cover of Sly & the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” followed by a re-recording of the Beach Boys first ever single “Surfin’,” it is immediately brought to any listeners attention that something isn’t quite right. The bands signature sound has become overwhelmingly saturated with treble and reverb, and The Wrecking Crew‘s musical instrumentation heard on previous recordings has been replaced with programmed keyboards and drum machines.
 

 
The albums third track finally gets into some new and original material with the quasi-rap number “Summer of Love”, originally intended to be a duet between Mike Love and Bart Simpson for a planned Simpsons movie. John Tobler, author of The Complete Guide to the Music of The Beach Boys called “Summer of Love” quite possibly the worst set of lyrics Mike Love has ever concocted. “We’ll be bay watchin’ everyday, just off the Malibu surfin’ U. S. A.” The track appropriately turned up in a 1995 episode of Baywatch. The Beach Boys fearlessly reference the shit out of their dozen gold albums that came before: in fact the album’s titular song Summer in Paradise references not one, not two, but three Beach Boys song titles (“Fun Fun Fun,” “Help Me Rhonda,” and “Barbara Ann”) all in the very first verse.

More fun, fun, fun with the Beach Boys, after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
Vintage driver’s licenses once issued to Alfred Hitchcock, Johnny Cash, James Brown & more!
08.26.2016
11:23 am

Topics:
Movies
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:


Johnny Cash’s California driver’s license issued in 1964.
 
Back in 2013 my Dangerous Minds colleague Tara McGinley put together a post containing images of passports once used by David Bowie, Johnny Cash and Janis Joplin (among others) which I found very entertaining. Mostly because the celebrity subjects look less than thrilled to in their photos—with the exception of Joplin who is grinning from ear to ear. Perhaps the result of an unplanned acid flashback, who can say? At any rate, while conducting my ongoing “research” for my “job” here at DM I came across one of Cash’s old driver licenses from 1964 and that discovery led me down a rather intriguing rabbit hole that was full of other vintage driver’s licenses—some with equally intriguing backstories to go with them.
 

Robert De Niro’s taxicab licence from 1976.
 
Cash’s California state driver’s license (pictured at the top of this post) was sold in an auction in 2014 for $4,480 and even made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman along with the man who had acquired it, Rick Harrison (the star of the reality television show Pawn Stars) who purchased it from an individual who brought it into his store in Las Vegas. Not one to be outdone by the Man in Black, a license once belonging to Alfred Hitchcock (which you can see below) sold at an auction for the tidy sum of for $8,125. Whoa

Then there’s the coolest one in the lot I dug up belonging to a 33-year-old Robert De Niro (pictured above) issued by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in 1976. Known for his commitment to getting as “method” as possible when it came to his acting roles, De Niro prepped for his role as Travis Bickle the aspiring vigilante about to go off the rails in Taxi Driver by spending a number of weeks driving a New York City yellow cab. According to folklore associated with De Niro’s time behind the wheel, when he was recognized by one of his passengers they actually believed that De Niro was still working as a taxi driver after winning an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in The Godfather II for his impeccable portrayal of young Vito Corleone. Who knew?

When it comes to the story behind Manson’s alleged driver’s license things are a little sketchy. In the 1971 book The Family author Ed Sanders was able to substantiate that Mason lived at the address noted on the license in Santa Barbara—705 Bath Street—along with Lynn “Squeaky” Fromme and Manson Family member Mary Brunner (the mother of Manson’s son Valentine) sometime during 1967—two years prior to his participation in the brutal slayings of director Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate and four others at Polanski’s home in Benedict Canyon. The license notes Manson’s date of birth as November 11th—which is a point of contention between historians and criminologists alike as Manson’s date of birth has also been said to fall on November 12th. So while the jury is still out on the actual authenticity of this creepy artifact, it’s still nothing short of chilling to actually see a mundane personal document belonging to the one of the most notorious criminals in history.

You can see Manson’s maybe driver’s license as well as others that once belonged to Davy Jones of the Monkees (RIP), Joe Strummer, Dean Martin and a beaming James Brown all of whom look about as happy as we all do (with the exception of Brown of course because, cocaine) in our DMV photos which proves that the DMV does in fact hate everyone.
 

California driver’s license allegedly issued to Charles Manson in 1967.
 

Back in 2008 this driver’s license once belonging to Alfred Hitchcock sold at an auction for $8,125.
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Irritate the shit out of know-it-alls with these cleverly stupid t-shirts
08.25.2016
09:40 am

Topics:
Amusing
Fashion
Pop Culture

Tags:

001wrongtshirts.jpg
 
As a suit, tie, and two pipes a day kind of guy, I’m not really au fait with the all the vagaries of t-shirt fashion. For me t-shirts were something I left far behind in my teen years—getting into my tweeds and plus fours as soon as I was over the threshold of my twenties. I was born middle-aged.

However, my attention was recently brought to a range of “tees” (as I believe you young ‘uns call them) which are slightly amusing because of their potential to annoy.

I think it fair to say we’ve all had that irritating run-in with some geeky pedant who wants to correct our inconsequential spelling, grammar, syntax or explain in as much trivial detail as possible why the quote we just gave from some film or TV series is just not quite right—in fact it’s ever so slightly wrong. You know the type.

And they know who they are too. In fact they’d probably correct you on the subject of who they are if you ever got that wrong. Well now, looky here—now there’s a t-shirt, indeed an entire genre of the—just for those kind of people. One that should (hopefully) irritate the living shit out of them.

Slightly Wrong Quotes on T-Shirts is a Tumblr site showcasing t-shirt designs by Michael M Physics. These fashionable items do what they say on the label having been specifically designed to annoy pedants and know-it-alls everywhere. If you should be so inclined, many of these Slightly Wrong Quotes on T-Shirts are available to buy.
 
006wrongtshirts.jpg
 
009wrongtshirts.jpg
 
More t-shirts to annoy, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Posers’: Vintage doc takes a stroll down the King’s Rd. looking for New Romantics, 1981
08.22.2016
12:35 pm

Topics:
Art
History
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

01visblit1.jpg
The Blitz Club where the Eighties were invented.
 
Punk was boring. Punk was dead. Punk stopped being interesting when it became chart music. In its place came New Wave—which was really just more of the same played with jangly guitars by bands with a taste for Sixties music. The next really big thing was the utter antithesis of punk. Elitist, pretentious, preening, vain, camp yet utterly inventive.

It was called “the cult with no name”—because nobody knew what to call it. It didn’t fit any easy categorization. There were soul boys, punks, rockabillies, with a taste for dance music and electronica all in the mix. It was the press who eventually pitched up with the tag New Romantics which stuck.

I was never quite sure what was supposed to be romantic about the New Romantics. They weren’t starving in garrets or brokenhearted, writing poetry, indulging in absinthe or committing suicide by the dozen. They were all dolled-up to the nines, flaunting it out on the streets—demanding to be seen.

It had all started with Rusty Egan and Steve Strange running a club night playing Bowie, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk at a venue called Billy’s in 1978.

Egan was a drummer and DJ. He was in a band with ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock called Rich Kids which featured Midge Ure on vocals.
       
Strange had been inspired to move to London and form a punk band after he saw the Sex Pistols in concert. He moved out of Wales and formed The Moors Murderers. The band included punk icon Soo Catwoman, guitarist Chrissie Hynde and Clash drummer Topper Headon. Together they recorded one notorious single “Free Hindley.”

The same year, Egan, Strange and Ure formed Visage—which was to become a catalyst for the New Romantics in 1980 with their hit single “Fade to Grey.”
 
02vistrio2.jpg
Visage: Steve Strange, Midge Ure and Rusty Egan in 1978.
 
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, so let’s be kind and rewind.

1978: Egan and Strange move their club night to a wine bar-cum-restaurant-cum-dance-club called the Blitz. Egan was the DJ. Strange was on the door. Strange has a strict door policy. No one gets in unless they dressed like superstars.

More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Vintage postcards featuring go-go dancers, beach parties and swinging sixties nightclubs
08.19.2016
10:29 am

Topics:
Amusing
Dance
Pop Culture

Tags:

001galaxie_night_club_san_francisco_california.jpg
Galaxie Night Club, San Francisco.
 
Going solely by these promotional postcards for hip and happening nightclubs this was where all the beautiful people hung out in the late 1950s and 1960s. Apparently. Beach parties in Miami. Go-go clubs in San Francisco and Florida. Discotheques in New York. Youngsters twisting the night away in South Fallsburg? Most of the postcards are promotional fliers for hotels, motels and restaurants hoping to lure in that lucrative youth market.

Once upon a time, I collected postcards like these. I found them more fascinating than say collecting stamps or coins. Postcards offered a touchstone for creating stories about other people’s lives. Which kinda makes me sound like that freaky kid who didn’t like to mix. Well, yes probably.

When I started underage drinking—in and around Edinburgh—it was always the small hotel bars and faded nightclubs I preferred. These once swinging sixties haunts—with their dated interiors and occasional mirrorball dance floors—were generally so desperate for customers they never checked if you were over eighteen before serving up a pint of warm, flat beer. I certainly would not have minded imbibing in a few of the venues featured below. At least the beer would have been properly chilled.
 
002psychedelic_dance_scene.jpg
‘The psychedelic dance scene’—apparently.
 
003teenagers_twistick_lounge_raleigh_hotel_south_fallsburg_new_york.jpg
‘Teenagers at the Twistick Lounge, Raleigh Hotel, South Fallsburg, New York.’
 
More vintage scenes of swinging fun, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The true story of the unauthorized, daredevil documentation of the Horizons ride at Disney World
08.17.2016
07:46 pm

Topics:
History
Pop Culture

Tags:


 
Unless you happened to vacation at Walt Disney World Florida in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you might not be familiar with Horizons, a dark ride attraction at EPCOT widely thought of as the greatest vision of “future living” ever created. The two-story, spaceship-shaped pavilion located on the east side of the park’s “Future World” housed a remarkable 54 Audio-Animatronic figures, 770 props, 12 projectors, and a pair of massive OMNIMAX screens (groundbreaking technology at the time) spread across 24 sets set in the year 2086. Upon its opening in October of 1983, Horizons showcased man’s relationship to the sea, land, air, and space through a beautiful series of stunning futuristic vignettes. In a 1989 interview, Michael Jackson cited Horizons as his personal favorite Disney attraction (alongside Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain). Many still consider Horizons to be the greatest Disney theme park attraction, ever.
 

 
However, when the 1990s rolled around the ride had significantly lost its popularity with the general public. With tastes rapidly changing and short attention spans increasing, many park guests no longer had the patience to sit still for 15 minutes, and priorities began shifting towards more “thrill-based” rides such as Test Track and Mission: SPACE. In December of 1994, Horizons closed its doors indefinitely without any formal notice or announcement. Serious Disney park goers were devastated by the sudden news and regretful they weren’t given the chance to say a proper goodbye or ride one last time.
 

“Hoot” (left) and “Chief” (right) in the Art Deco Apartment scene at Horizons. Photo courtesy of the Mesa Verde Times.

Let’s fast forward exactly one year later to December 1995, as two best friends in their late twenties were working mind-numbing desk jobs and living in a shitty downtown Orlando apartment. Dave Ensign (aka “Hoot Gibson”) and Ed Barlow Jr. (aka “Thunder Chief”) had been insanely huge Horizons fans ever since it opened when they were 15 years old. They were thrilled when the announcement came in: Horizons was to be re-opened for a limited time due to the closure of two other attractions that were down for refurbishment in Future World (Universe of Energy and World of Motion). That’s when this story really begins: Hoot and Chief set out to document the ride and get as much photo, video, and audio coverage as they could before it closed again. Not knowing exactly how much time they had to get it done, not knowing how it would be done, just knowing that it had to be done.
 

Audio-Animatronic figure with Bionic Fonzi in the Desert Habitat Kitchen scene. Photo courtesy of the Mesa Verde Times.

Their next several workdays in the office following the announcement involved making an extensive checklist as they broke down all 24 scenes in the ride and itemized a list of props, hand-painted backdrops, and set pieces. They wanted to document every detail in the ride at all costs. Over the following weeks and months, they equipped themselves with mag lights, still cameras, and huge JVC VHS and Super 8 camcorders. They quickly realized that properly documenting everything on their checklist the way they wanted to would require exiting the “OMNIMOVER” ride vehicle while it was in motion. How would they be able to pull this off without getting caught, and just how extensive was the security on Disney park rides?

In a pre-9/11 Walt Disney World, security measures were basically implemented only when the park noticed significant and repeated incidents of park guests climbing out of their ride vehicles. Only then would they apply whatever security measures were necessary for that particular attraction: Universe of Energy was monitored on closed circuit television; The Living Seas and Haunted Mansion had intrusion mats (a security system that completely shuts down the ride when stepped on by someone who had exited their vehicle); and Spaceship Earth eventually got infrared sensors. To their good fortune, Horizons was perhaps the only Disney attraction ever built without any security whatsoever.

Hoot and Chief started Phase I of their operation with a very basic strategy for exiting their OMNIMOVER ride vehicle: “Jump out, get shots, jump back in.” However, after this went on for a while they wanted to spend more time on the sets, so they began testing different strategies using trial and error to get a larger gap of empty ride cars. Chief would hang out right near the loading area and watch people board the ride using the mirrors in the entry hallway, and Hoot would stay at the front entrance where people entered the building. Chief would count the ride vehicles; there always had to be at least six empty vehicles ahead of them and six empty vehicles behind for them to remain unseen. Upon boarding the ride and rounding the corner they’d jump out and run like the wind to get as far ahead as possible. By keeping count of the car numbers they had a precise idea of how much time they could spend in each individual scene, sometimes 30 seconds, sometimes a minute or two.
 

Chief jumps back into his OMNIMOVER vehicle. Courtesy of the Mesa Verde Times YouTube channel.
 

Chief hangin’ out in the Undersea Classroom scene. Photo courtesy of the Mesa Verde Times.

Over the course of the next several months Hoot and Chief had mastered their technique, meeting at EPCOT in the evening after a long day of work at the office. They got very good at knowing how much time they could spend in each scene simply by doing it over and over. But soon this became boring and repetitive; they wanted to explore the ride more, and make it to some of the areas they weren’t able to get to. This began Phase II of their efforts, exiting their ride vehicles and staying inside Horizons while it was operational, sometimes for as long as 4-8 hours at a time!

More of the adventures of Hoot and Chief at Horizons, after the jump…

Posted by Doug Jones | Leave a comment
Post-punk and New Wave: Back to the future with Simple Minds live in New York, 1979
08.17.2016
11:37 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:

01simpminleafsq.jpg
 
When Simple Minds started out they could do no wrong.  From their debut album Life in a Day to New Gold Dream, 81, 82, 83, 84—they were the sound of the future. Their antecedents were Bowie, Bolan, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk.

Their early records ranged from the synthpop of Empires and Dance to the non-commercial experimentation of Real to Real Cacophony. They were post-punk, New Wave and greatly liked by the New Romantics.

However, by the release of Sparkle in the Rain in 1984, Simple Minds had evolved into stadium band—vying with U2 for world domination.

It’s almost forty years since Jim Kerr and co. started off as punk band Johnny and the Self Abusers. There’s been plenty of highlights since then but for me, I still get a kick off those early records that sounded like music that’s been transported from the future—“I Travel,” “Chelsea Girl” and “Theme For Great Cities.” Euphoric music to be played loud, shared and enjoyed.

To get a taste of what I mean—here’s Simple Minds at Hurrah’s in New York City performing “Premonition,” “Changeling” and “Factory” in October 1979. It was filmed (I believe) for BBC’s Old Grey Whistle Test, and includes an interview with the show’s host “Whispering” Bob Harris.

Listening to Simple Minds perform back then—you could almost believe these songs were written today.
 

 
More from the Minds, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Page 2 of 203  < 1 2 3 4 >  Last ›