Every generation has at least one song that captures the essence of their era. For the loved-up clubbers of the late 1980s and early 1990s, there are more than a few generation-defining songs to choose from. Near the top of any such list would be “Weekender” by London five-piece band Flowered Up.
Released in 1992, “Weekender” was Flowered Up’s ironic paean to rave culture—a hedonistic life of partying all the time, living life for drugs and music. It was the band’s biggest chart success, just skirting the UK top twenty and was deservedly hailed as their “masterpiece.”
Formed in 1989 by brothers Liam and Joe Maher, Flowered Up had a short but bright career that promised much more than was delivered, with the group sadly disbanding before achieving their full potential.
Apart from being a classic rave song, “Weekender” became a short film written and directed by W.I.Z. (aka Andrew “W.I.Z.” Whiston)—a hip young promo director who went on to direct music videos for Primal Scream, Oasis, Massive Attack, Manic Street Preachers, Kasabian and Dizzee Rascal, amongst many others. W.I.Z. took Flowered Up’s song and created a film that captured the hedonism of “E” culture and tied it back to its musical antecedent The Who’s Quadrophenia. Flowered Up were often “lazily compared” to “Madchester” bands like Happy Mondays and Northside, but as W.I.Z. once wrote in his obituary for Flowered Up’s lead singer Liam Maher, who died in 2009 from a drug overdose, Flowered Up were:
...much closer to The Clash or The Who, sharing the contradictions of white boys within a black music scene, Liam articulating with incandescent anger the doubts hidden by the prevailing euphoria.
W.I.Z. described Liam as “a vital poet, like Pete Townshend before him”:
...he was the first of his generation to eloquently question the sincerity of its unbridled hedonism. Nowhere more savagely succinct than in their swansong, ‘Weekender’.
W.I.Z.‘s film Weekender opens and closes with the iconic image of lead actor Lee Whitlock staring directly at the camera as he slowly descends on a window cleaning platform, while Phil Daniels’ dialog from the film Quadrophenia plays underneath.
There’s nothing romantic about this, as when ecstasy culture finally expired, [Liam] like many of his peers were cast-offs, left skint with crippling drug addictions, unable to reconcile the comedown and the missed opportunity (for social change) that he, before anyone else, had had the honesty to admonish.
A quarter of a century on, Weekender has lost none of its power and daring in capturing the hedonism of rave culture—and here it is in its uncensored glory.
Who would have thought that doing a fashion photo shoot using a refugee theme—during a time when a major refugee crisis involving Syria is in the headlines every freaking day—would be in poor taste and might piss a few people off?
Well, it apparently didn’t occur to Hungarian fashion photographer Norbert Baksa, who did just that last week, when he did a fashion shoot with visible barbed wire at the Hungarian border and uploaded the photographs to his website and Twitter feed. Within hours of doing so, Baksa became the target of an enormous torrent of criticism in the international press. The name of the series is “Der Migrant,” which is German for “The Migrant.”
One picture depicts a woman taking a selfie at a barbed wire border, using a cellphone with a prominent Chanel logo on the back. Her shirt is unbuttoned and one of her breasts is exposed, which isn’t exactly a tasteful way to depict anyone who might be associated in the viewer’s mind with Syria, where such garb would be surely considered haram under Islamic law.
On October 6 Baksa took to Twitter to defend himself, unleashing a series of self-serving “no harm, no foul”-type tweets that were unsuccessful in deflecting attention from his own responsibility in publishing these images:
Der Migrant people: realize the complexity of the situation and address it in different angles! Neither pro nor con, raising awareness!
Baksa, who has done shoots for Elle, Playboy, and Cosmopolitan, among others, said in a statement that the pictures were “not intended to glamourize this clearly bad situation,” but rather “to draw the attention to the problem and make people think about it.” He added that the images he created were based off of real photographs of refugees attempting to cross the border.
I hoped people would realize that the situation is very complex and see that they are taking stands based on partial or biased information. ... This is exactly what we wanted to picture: you see a suffering woman, who is also beautiful and despite her situation, has some high quality pieces of outfit and a smartphone.
Needless to say, if Baksa’s intent was to provoke and turn himself into an object of controversy (sure to lead to better-paying future gigs), he succeeded—but at what cost?
Shout Factory TV has given us an early Halloween treat by posting a twenty-five-year-old roundtable discussion from The Dick Cavett Show with Stephen King, George Romero, Ira Levin, and Peter Straub.
The discussion, in two parts, was originally broadcast on October 16 and 17 in 1980, shortly before Stephen King and George Romero began collaborative work on the film Creepshow.
King at that point was “the best-selling author in the world.” Romero’s greatest successes to that date were with Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. Peter Straub’s major accomplishment up to that point was Ghost Story, which would be adapted into a motion picture the following year. Ira Levin represented the old guard on the panel, having written Rosemary’s Baby in 1967 and The Stepford Wives in 1972.
The fascinating discussion takes place over two separate 30-minute programs. Personally, I could have watched another two hours of these guys talking about their work and inspirations. If you are a fan of any of these individuals, or the horror genre in general, the conversation is crucial.
The panel analyzes the appeal of horror, which Stephen King describes as a healthy way of exorcising the dark emotions of fear, aggressiveness, anger, and sadism in a harmless way. He calls it a way of “blowing off anxieties and bad feelings.” According to King, “You seek out the things that [as a child] scared you the most and you try to get rid of them.” Romero states that the success of horror is based on the ability to induce involuntary responses in the audience.
In 1985, a possibly (probably?—it was the ‘80s) high David Lee Roth misunderstood a question, blowing two and a half minutes of his network TV airtime on a rambling story about a cult LA punk singer. The Nielsen families may have had no idea what he was talking about, but for fans of the seminal LA synth-punk band, the Screamers, it was an unexpected treat.
David Lee Roth appeared on Late Night With David Letterman on January 2, 1985, promoting his then upcoming solo EP, Crazy From the Heat.
During the course of the segment, Letterman asks Roth standard scripted questions which are typically revealed to the guests by show staff during a pre-interview. Early in the conversation, Roth expounds on directing videos, his system and code for identifying the most fuckable groupies (“red right, red t-shirt, out of sight, six feet back”), and the future of Van Halen (at this point he believed he’d be going back into the studio to record a follow-up to 1984.)
Things get interesting when Letterman asks about a “club” Roth belongs to. Letterman is prompting Roth to open up about “the Jungle Studs,” a group of adventurers Roth hung around with in the 80’s, making extreme sport-style expeditions to places like Nepal and the Amazon. Diamond Dave epically misses the prompt and instead launches into a story about an after-hours LA bar and an artist named “Ta-mata.”
Roth is probably referencing Zero One Gallery, an after-hours bar and art-space on Melrose, which was considered by glitterati of the day to be LA’s lowbrow answer to Warhol’s Factory.
Despite remaining unsigned and never recording a proper album, the Screamers were one of the top-drawing LA club acts between 1977 and 1981. Unfortunately breaking up just before the dawn of MTV, the band was determined to record their first album as a video-only release. Sadly they dissolved before seeing that project through to fruition.
Tomata du Plenty’s post-Screamers art career began in 1983 with a one-man exhibition of watercolor portraits at the Zero One Gallery, and apparently—as evidenced in this interview—David Lee Roth was a massive fan.
Sadly, Tomata died of cancer in 2000 at the age of 52.
It’s fascinating to watch David Lee Roth blow (cocaine pun intended) over two and a half minutes of his network television screentime on a rambling anecdote about the Screamers frontman hanging art in a bar, and if you’re a fan of the Screamers (which you should be), then it’s an interesting bit of punk art history related to their brilliant lead singer.
Here’s an excerpt of Roth’s interview on Letterman:
And here’s “Ta-mata” before he was one of David Lee Roth’s favorite artists, performing live with the Screamers:
On Twitter, Matthew Yglesias of Vox has been arguing with people about why San Francisco smells so much like urine. Some people think it’s because it’s a dry city, so such smells aren’t washed away so often, while others have opted for a much more straightforward reason: people in San Francisco pee in public a lot.
(I don’t know San Francisco well—does it really smell like pee?)
The debate has had one clearly important positive by-product, which is that it introduced me to the existence of this utterly amazing map, put together by a data visualization enthusiast who goes by simply “William,” which illustrates all of the sightings of “human waste” in San Francisco from the summer of 2008 until the present day—and there are a lot of them.
Amusing as it may be, the map does serve an absolutely useful purpose, which is to help make the case that cities need more public bathrooms—but perhaps San Francisco especially so.
Yglesias’ final words on the subject are worth quoting:
I conjecture that street pooping and street peeing tend to be closely correlated and that in San Francisco’s case the underlying cause is an epidemic of homelessness—an epidemic generated, in part, by overly restrictive zoning that prevents the construction of enough new homes to accommodate the number of people who want to live in the Bay Area.
Now your ears can also “Feel the Bern,” thanks to Seattle artist, Thais Marchese. Marchese makes some of the strangest, coolest studs for your ears (like the ones of Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, above) that I’ve seen in a long time.
Jack Nicholson as “Jack Torrance” from The Shining
Marchese uses images of pop culture heroes like Steve Buscemi, Jack Nicholson (as Jack Torrance, both above), and director Wes Anderson, and like many of us, it appears that Ms. Marchese is quite a devotee of Anderson, as many of her studs feature colorful characters from Anderson’s many films, such as Margot and Richie Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums, and runaway teens Sam Shakusky and Suzy Bishop from Moonrise Kingdom.
Each pair will run you nine bucks and can be obtained over at Marchese’s shop, Sleepy Mountain. A small price to pay to have Steve Buscemi quite literally in your ear.
More images of the other tiny studs in Marchese’s shop after the jump…...
I know how it is: you read the trilogy of sci-fi novels, saw the play, listened to the audiobook, even picked up the card game, but you still can’t get enough of Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s conspiracy epic, Illuminatus! Where is the balm that will soothe your hurt?
Back in 1987, underground comix publishers Rip Off Press—the persons responsible for the fourth edition of the related sacred text Principia Discordia, not to mention The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers—put out Eye-n-Apple Productions’ comic book adaptation of Illuminatus! A few months ago, Eye-n-Apple (which seems to be identical with one Mark Philip Steele) announced plans for a digital reprint on its Facebook page:
Good news, folks, the ILLUMINATUS! comic I published back in 1987 is now in e-comic format, including text commentary. It’s a zip file available for download, and may end up at other sites in other formats. If you’re interested, download the comic and contact me about it. Some of the comments MAY be posted in further editions. There was one self-published issue, then 3 with Rip Off Press, and an unpublished 4th issue. Plans are for us to release one a month from now till we’re done.
No word yet on subsequent numbers, but you can download a free PDF of the first issue here, and it seems this is the space to watch for updates. Below, Robert Anton Wilson and Rev. Ivan Stang of the Church of the Subgenius discuss the consolations of the Discordian faith on Hour of Slack.
Jack White showed up at a neighborhood potluck and nobody knew who he was: Celebrated musician Jack White has called Nashville home for a while, but this weekend was the first time that he was able to attend his suburban neighborhood’s annual potluck. We’d love to have seen everyone’s face when he explained Record Store Day to them. “You charge how much? For WHAT?” The wonderful photo above is from the Instagram of White’s neighbor Jedediah Jenkins. (Consequence of Sound)
The Confederacy was a ‘con-job’ on white people: The Beaufort County, South Carolina’s Frank Hyman wants people to know that for a significant share of white Southerners, the Confederacy — and the slave economy it defended — was a huge scam. And in an essay that ran last month in a number of newspapers across the South, he argued that the mythology surrounding the Confederacy still hoodwinks many of his white working-class Southerners to this day. (RawStory)
Brian Blessed claims “I delivered a baby in a park, bit the umbilical cord and licked the infant’s face”: The large ham BRIAN BLESSED, who it’s impossible to forget as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon and as King Richard IV in Black Adder, made the foregoing claim and more in an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Midweek. We believe it. (The Telegraph)
The Nazis made an exploding chocolate bar to kill Winston Churchill: Fortunately, England’s Prime Minister did not sink his teeth into the candy-coated bomb, and the MI5 hired an artist to illustrate it and the other German booby traps it had discovered. These drawings were lost in a drawer for 70 years, but were recently found and have been published by the BBC. (BoingBoing)
New Tiger Hatchery/Paul Flaherty LP reviewed at Tiny Mix Tapes: Tiger Hatchery ARE what’s happening in under-the-radar jazz today. On their newly released LP, recorded live in fall of 2013, they join forces with saxophonist Paul Flaherty, who’s played with Thurston Moore and Weasel Walter, among others. “Flaherty’s playing astounds in its diversity, encompassing a palette of warp speed atonal trills, yelped cries, and occasional moments of somber melodicism that evoke Albert Ayler’s typically consonant and/or reappropriated head passages. On Live in New Haven, Flaherty locks into symbiosis with Tiger Hatchery saxophonist Mike Forbes, tracing a jagged pathway of legible melodic interplay that breaks off at a moment’s notice into freefall runs of conjoined squalling.” (Tiny Mix Tapes)
Trump, Carson & the rest of the American right seem to actually think they’re Dirty Harry: Trump is a clown, we know that — a very wealthy celebrity clown who has captured the imagination of millions of people. And if there’s one thing he’s known for, it’s his macho swagger so this isn’t exactly a shock coming from him. But who could have guessed that his closest rival, the sober, quiet, respectable neurosurgeon Ben Carson would hold the same delusions of masculine grandeur? (Salon)
Hillary Clinton’s support tumbles in California as Sanders surges: Less than half of likely Democratic voters in the June 2016 presidential primary in California, 47 percent, now say they will vote for Clinton, whose candidacy has been damaged by a scandal over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Meanwhile self-styled socialist Sanders, so far Clinton’s most prominent challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination, has since May climbed from single-digit voter support among California voters to 35 percent, according to the poll. (Reuters)
The mystery of ‘crow funerals’ solved: Scientists say birds are trying to learn about potential dangers to their own lives. “The funeral behaviour of crows is so widely observed, and people often asked about it - but we haven’t known what was happening,” said University of Washington researcher Kaeli Swift. (Signs of the Times)
If Apple didn’t hold $181B overseas, it would owe $59B in US taxes: Microsoft and Google pull the same moves, of course. So OK, Republicans and Randroids, tell us again all about how people on food stamps are leeches? (Ars Technica)
Security footage of Morrissey’s alleged TSA groping has been released: “The Voice” claimed last summer that a security officer got a little too fresh with him at a checkpoint in San Francisco. Gawker filed an FOIA request for the CCTV footage, and their request was granted. Read about it on Gawker, or if all you’re about is the voyeuristic part, watch the video right here:
Welp, here’s another story that is headed straight for the ever-growing Stoner Hall of Fame.
According to a story from the Seattle Times published yesterday (via The Youngstown Vindicator), last Friday a 22-year-old Ohio man called 911 because he had apparently gotten “too high” smoking marijuana. I don’t think any amount of police training could have prepared the cops for what they found upon arriving at the abode of the stoner in question.
According to a report filed by the Austintown Township police, the man was found in a fetal position on his floor, with an assortment standard stoner junk food like Doritos, Goldfish crackers and Chips Ahoy cookies scattered around him. He also complained that he “couldn’t feel his hands.” Which is sad because it sounds like he was really hungry. Johnny Law found his stash, but have yet to charge him with a crime. Although they did take away his car keys. Now how is he going to get to 7-11 the next time he gets the munchies? Poor guy.
I’ve often said that the most dangerous thing a stoner has ever done is eat too much junk food such as polishing off an entire box of Cap’n Crunch (with Crunch Berries of course) in one sitting. But the image of this guy (which is captured pretty accurately in the photo above I think) really takes the cake. I don’t know about you, but I’d do just about anything to see the “crime scene” photos from this caper.