Oliver Reed would have been 75-years-young today. Probably still making movies, entertaining audiences and no doubt fulfilling the needs of unimaginative TV commissioners by appearing, or pretending to be drunk on their tacky chat shows.
I think boredom inspired much of Reed’s bad behavior—it usually took less than 10 minutes of dumb questioning before Reed was playing-up as the resident drunk. It is still refreshing to find an olde interview with the great Hell Raiser, when he was having a night-off and talking (mainly) sense to his interrogator—here Michael Parkinson.
In interviews, Reed could still play the idiot savant (here making daft and knowingly offensive comments about intelligent women—who probably terrified him—Reed was dsylexic, and his own education had been piecemeal), if he had lost interest in the subject matter. Then reveal himself as someone who thought about what he was doing—notably here he discussed making The Devils with Ken Russell, which he tied directly into the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, where Religion had once again divided a country and set its people murderously against each other.
‘I’m still getting paid for that film. Neither Ken Russell or I got any money for that film [The Devils]. We got our expenses—but we made that film because we thought it was the proper time, and in light, maybe, of the Troubles in Ulster now, it was the proper time for that film to be made. We weren’t trying to afford anybody proper niceties, any proper little entertainments, little asides before tea, we were showing them the bigotry that goes on, or that humanity is capable of, and that was all we were doing….
....How many times have armies fought under the banner of Christianity, and how many lives have been destroyed? Let’s not have it again, please.’
The interview is from the Parkinson chat show in 1973, and amongst the guests are novelist Mickey Spillane and TV personality (famed for being on What’s My Line? in the 1950s, who sadly committed suicide after a shop-lifting charge in the 1980s). Throughout, Reed’s self-deprecating humor is evident and he did couple of funny impressions of Michael Winner and James Stewart. However, it’s still sad to think that such a naturally talented actor is no longer with us.
Happy Birthday Oliver Reed!
Bonus: the full interview with Oliver Reed, after the jump…
Two interviews with the iconic Faye Dunaway: the first in bed from 1987, just after she had made Barfly; while the second comes from 1994, when the work was mainly coming from TV series and films.
If Ms. Dunaway had been a man or, had the title “Dame” before her name, I’m sure she would be better appreciated for her talents, rather than put-down as a “ball buster”, or one of those other sexist terms men with small dicks, or people with no talent, use to describe strong women.
Good for her if she is a ball buster, for Faye Dunaway is one of Cinema’s true greats, who rightly deserves to be cherished.
Terence Stamp and Michael Caine once shared an apartment in the early 1960s. Stamp was the star, with Billy Budd, Term of Trial and The Collector to his CV, while Caine was still on his way up. The turning point came when Stamp knock-backed the title role of Alfie, a role he had made his own on Broadway, but didn’t want to reprise on film. Caine spent a long night trying to change Stamp’s mind. He failed and the role was given to Caine.
Years later, Michael Caine wrote how he sometimes dreamt of that long night trying to convince Stamp to take the role, and “still wakes up sweating as I see Terence agreeing to accept my advice to take the role in Alfie.”
Stamp made Modesty Blasie instead, which on paper sounded fabulous - directed by Joseph Losey; starring Monica Vitti and Dirk Bogarde; adapted by poet and writer Evan Jones from the best-selling Peter O’Donell comic strip. Sadly, it flopped, and the blue-eyed, angelic Stamp was slowly eclipsed by his former room-mate, Caine.
Yet, Stamp was no longer interested in making films for the sake of making films. He was beginning to choose roles because he wanted to make them. He turned down an incredible amount of work, as he later explained in an interview with Valerie Singelton in 1978:
‘I didn’t accept a lot of work because I was of the opinion, if one wanted the long career, one should do good, interesting things. One shouldn’t do anything.
‘So, that was a kind of a political decision really, apart from the fact I enjoyed to do things that interested me. It didn’t interest me to play Tate and Lyle lorry drivers, you understand? I did that already. I didn’t want to do that in a movie. I wanted to play princes and counts, and intellectuals and things that I wasn’t, rather than something I was.’
After Modesty Blaise, Stamp opted to work with radical film-maker Ken Loach, on his first movie Poor Cow, which co-starred Carol White. The film was a surprise hit in America, largely down to Stamp’s casting. He then appeared in John Schlesinger’s Far From the Madding Crowd with Julie Christie, Alan Bates and Peter Finch. Yet, for all his success, there was something missing.
‘And this thing which came later was a feeling of an inner emptiness success didn’t fill. I had assumed that this inner poverty would be transformed when I became rich and famous. And it took me a few years of being rich and famous to understand that the inner void was very much there.
‘And, you know, if I couldn’t fill it with one Rolls-Royce, I couldn’t fill it with three.
‘I started traveling and looking at myself. Looking, thinking the answer was outside still in a form of, you know, I transfered from beautiful female companion, to highly, holy, spiritualized person. So I was kind of looking for that in truth - it was an inner odyssey that was going on.’
Stamp moved to Italy and then onto an ashram in India, where he found he could get ‘Groovy Kashmiri hash or groovy golden guru - you get what you’re looking for.’ Here he was “transformed from Terence Henry Stamp to swami Deva Veeten.”
The years passed and the roles had dried-up, until (as in all good tales) one day in 1977:
‘On this particular morning, as we enter, I am hailed by the concierge who showed me to my original room. Apparently he remembers me. “Mr. Terence”, he says in an accent worthy of Peter Sellers. “We have a cable for you”. He extricates the telegram from the depths of his nightstand and presents it to me. Dog-eared, with tickertape strips glued onto the square envelope and smeared with dust, I have no idea how long the urgent missive has been waiting. However, as it is dropped into my palm it has the psychic weight of the English breakfast I am about to order. I read the typed front piece and realize why. It is addressed to: Clarence Stamp, The Rough Diamond Hotel, Dune, India. It is a miracle that it is even in my hand. Goose pimples spread up my arm and I have a sense that my life is about to change. The telegram is from my long-suffering agent James Fraser, who came across me playing Iago at the Webber-Douglas Drama Academy in 1958 and, bless his heart, has represented me ever since. The telegram reads: ‘Would you be prepared to travel back to London to meet Richard Donner regarding a role in the Superman films 1 & 2. You have scenes with Marlon Brando. Could you stop over in Paris to talk to Peter Brook who is going to make a film of George Gurujieff’s Meetings With Remarkable Men. I read it again. Can hardly believe it, but yes, it’s there, in the palm of my hand. And yes, my life is about to change.’
After Superman, Stamp was cast as the Count in a London production of Dracula, (one of several productions about the great undead vampire that had appeared on both sides of the Atlantic). It was during this production that the following interview with the BBC took place, where Terence Stamp explained, to interviewer Valerie Singleton the attraction of Count Dracula.
‘I always think of evil and the Devil being terribly groovy - not unattractive at all, they have to be really interesting and really seductive because that’s the magnetism of evil, you know, it has to be outwardly beautiful and fetching.’
Freddie Mercury is of course best known as the lead vocalist and lyricist of the rock band “Queen” , and one of the most flamboyant performers in rock history. As a performer, he was legendary for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range. As a songwriter, Mercury composed many hits for Queen, including the legendary “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Killer Queen”, “Somebody to Love”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “We Are the Champions”.
In addition to his work with Queen, he had a massively successful solo career, and also occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists.
Mercury was noted for his live performances, which were often delivered to stadium audiences around the world. He displayed a highly theatrical style that often evoked a great deal of participation from the crowd. A writer for The Spectator described him as “a performer out to tease, shock and ultimately charm his audience with various extravagant versions of himself”.....
Last night during the fourth (or was it the fifth?) session of the (incredible) two day Everything Is Festival at the (awesome) Cinefamily establishment here in Los Angeles, they had a “Found Footage Battle Royale.”
Now what that means is that the entrants had to submit 2 minute clips and then they’d face off against each other with the audience “applause-o-meter” deciding the winner of each round, who’d then move on to the next. The winner was a fellow named Uneven Eagle who presented clip after clip of an enigmatic Wausau, Wisconsin cable access fitness instructor named “Jim.”
Once “Jim” was unleashed, no one else stood a chance.
For over 20 years, “Jim” has hit record and videotaped himself brandishing a scimitar, his monological musings on having a “little body,” “fat farm boy hands” and the price of magazines, pork chops and apples, as well as his thoughts on the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Because “Jim” edits his show “in camera” (i.e. starts and stops the camera between scenes) he has to hold still for several seconds after each set up to avoid the camera preroll erasing the previous scene. So he just stares into the camera. The winner of the contest had a final clip of these moments all cut together. Maybe it was the free beer, but the entire audience was shrieking in hysterics. The clips below are pretty much arranged in the order that the audience saw them in.
Above: “We can pretend we’re Hercules and we’re crushing…something. Something evil.”
The much-hated haters of the Westboro Baptist Church, well-known for their “God Hates Fags” signs and picketing the funerals of dead soldiers, announced over the weekend that they were planning a demonstration at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Callously disregarding the residents of Newtown, Margie Phelps, a member of the Phelps clan tweeted that “fags” and gay marriage had brought the mayhem to the CT town. A freakish musical statement from the WBC purports that God had sent the shooter (personally, I guess).
Residents of Newtown don’t need this shit right now. Enter Anonymous.
In a video uploaded on Vimeo, the hacker collective throws down the gauntlet:
We will not allow you to corrupt the minds of America with your seeds of hatred. We will not allow you to inspire aggression to the social factions which you deem inferior. We will render you obsolete. We will destroy you. We are coming.
An awful lot of people would very much like to see that happen judging from the supportive comments (unsurprisingly, the WBC attracts few “care trolls” who stick up for them, or even for their First Amendment rights. Most people just loath them and want to see them hurt).
WBC members do-to list for today: Apply for a new SSN, change phone numbers, and call every local pizza place and tell them no pizza.
So far Anonymous has published the email addresses, phone numbers and street addresses of a number of Westboro members (And what do ya know, most of them are named “Phelps”!). A US government official predicted earlier this year that soon enough Anonymous would have the expertise to be able to bring down parts of the power grid.
Fuck the Phelps, sure, but just imagine if they took down Wall Street for the day.
“My heart goes out to the grieving families as well as the rest of the surrounding community during this time of unthinkable mourning & tremendous loss. The news that my sister & the rest of my family intend to protest the funerals of those lost in this national tragedy is, to me, a stark reminder that anyone’s interpretation of religious texts serve more as a reflection to the character of those reading it than whatever the author intended in the first place. My sincere hope is that the Sandy Hook community is able to grieve & mourn privately, & with whatever peace can be had in knowing the rest of the world mourns with you.
“To those considering offering WBC an alternative to protesting these funerals, I say, ‘let them show up’. WBC is running out of money & their leader is a frail old man whose power & reach is tremendously limited to those who provide them an audience. Their recent tactic has been accepting media air time in lieu of protesting high profile funerals. By allowing them this luxury, they get free publicity with no effort or expense on their part, while potentially traumatizing a much wider audience than those strong enough to stand against them in silent but effective counter-protest. These counter-protests have, many times, prevented the grieving mourners from being impacted by WBC’s childish, attention seeking behavior. Please do not allow WBC the option of a less costly alternative. By calling their bluff, they will either ask for police protection, which allows police to control where they are located, or not request police protection, which would clearly be an unwise decision considering the emotionally charged environment they will be entering. Either way they alone will bear their costs, along with sole responsibility for harassing the community, without the benefit of a national platform in which to do it.”
Marc Bolan’s career was in decline by the time he appeared on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. His singles were failing to chart back in Britain, the original T.Rex line-up had split after the departure of Bill Legend, and Bolan was no longer working with his key producer Tony Visconti. There were also rumors of Bolan living an out-of-control, tax exile, lifestyle of cocaine and brandy, and his once svelte, androgynous frame, had ballooned into a debauched cherub.
The fans had changed too. A new generation had sworn allegiance to the tartan-trewed Bay City Rollers, rather than fantasies of Glam. This then was the background against which Bolan was first introduced to the American public on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, in 1974.
In a new line-up that included Bolan’s girlfriend Gloria Jones on keyboards and backing vocals, T.Rex kicked ass (even Bolan’s voice was occasionally flat) as they played “Jeepster”, “Zip Gun Boogie”, “Token of My Love” and “Get It On (Bang A Gong)” to an audience that seemed both literally stunned and amazed.
The times when the grimoire operating system, Windows 95, was the specter that haunted our technical world. And now, there is a Tumblr to remind us of that reign of terror, a Tumblr we can use to tell our children of the horrors of the long ago.
So let us clutch our Linux tightly. Let our Mac OS guide us through the forest of Internet porn and YouTube kitten videos. And let us be safe in the comfort that Windows 8 keeps us secure, like a benevolent, albeit loveless, marriage.
Real men do cry, as the legendary Rod Stewart proved last night, when he burst into tears after his beloved Celtic F.C. beat ‘the world’s best soccer team’ Barcelona, 2-1, at their stadium in Glasgow.
While some wags thought Mr. Stewart must have lost his wallet to elicit such a response, I can attest, as a fellow Celtic supporter, tears of joy were more than understandable after such a tense and exciting, Champions League game. Now, here’s to the next one.