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Proto-Atkins, suction & ‘the rack’: Weight-loss fads in 50s Britain were as stupid as they are now
07.25.2014
08:01 am

Topics:
History

Tags:
diets


 
Nothing is quite so reassuring as proof that the neuroses of humanity remain historically unchanged. Despite the prevailing myth that at some magical point in time, people were both naturally healthy and naturally hot, diet and exercise fads have always existed. This 1958 footage from British Pathé—which leads with “Take heart, girls, you can reduce without starvation diet!”—has a couple of super-weird “human interest” features on how to keep skinny.

There is a sort of pre-Paleo, proto-Atkins diet from a doctor who guesses that we were way healthier before the advent of agriculture gave us delicious, wonderful potatoes and bread (if you can’t tell, I have no patience for such chicanery). There are models doing what looks like the most genteel, ladylike, and totally ineffectual exercise ever. There’s a terrifying suction machine, and my favorite... “the rack,” which stretches out your body to “tone muscles” and is named after a popular pre-Enlightenment torture device.

You laugh, but I’m sure you’ll see at least five ads for a purportedly magical diet food on the Internet today—at least the old fashioned rack doesn’t preclude mashed potatoes. Just beware of the Spanish Inquisition when you’re using it, okay?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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The Hawkwind sci-fi trilogy
07.25.2014
07:45 am

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Hawkwind
Michael Moorcock


 
There are lots of ways to have fun with Hawkwind albums, but one of the more wholesome is to pretend that the members of the band are real live outer space aliens. Weigh space anchor and hoist the star mizzen? Aye aye, Cap’n Brock! We were born to go! But if you find it hard to fantasize in this vein, there exist three official tie-in products that relate Hawkwind’s adventures in the far reaches of the cosmos.

In 1976, a sci-fi novel called The Time of the Hawklords appeared in the UK and US, crediting Michael Moorcock and Michael Butterworth as co-authors. Aside from Dik Mik, all your favorite members are there: Lemmy (“Count Motorhead”), Stacia (“the Earth Mother”), “Baron” Dave Brock, and Nik Turner (“the Thunder Rider”). Even Moorcock, who had collaborated with Hawkwind since the early 70s, plays a part in the story as “Moorlock the Acid Sorcerer.”

Moorcock immediately disowned the book, according to Carol Clerk’s band biography The Saga of Hawkwind: “While the saga was based on concepts of Moorcock’s, he vehemently denied being involved in the writing and fell out with the publishers.” Nevertheless, his famous name also featured prominently on the cover of the following year’s sequel, Queens of Deliria, which bore the lawyerly credit “by Michael Butterworth based on an idea by Michael Moorcock.”
 

 
The back cover of Deliria promised that the third volume of the trilogy, Ledge of Darkness, would be published in 1978. As it happened, Ledge of Darkness was not published until 1994, when it turned up as a graphic novel in Hawkwind’s scarce 25 Years On box set (not to be confused with the 1978 Hawklords album of the same name).

In the decade-plus that has passed since I purchased my copy of The Time of the Hawklords, I have never yet made it past this sentence on page eleven: “Next came Lord Rudolph the Black, most recent champion sworn to the ranks of the Company of the Hawk.” It seems better suited for bibliomancy than reading. Since the jacket copy on the back might be superior to the actual contents of the book, here it is in its entirety:

Rocking on The Edge of Time

From a ruined London on a burnt-out Earth, the Hawkwind group beams out its last, defiant concert. The Children of the Sun, the tattered remnants of the Hippies, gather to listen. But when the music ends, withdrawal symptoms begin—a dreadful, retching illness only the Hawkwind sound can allay.

This new malady may be more than debilitated mankind can withstand. Desperately the rock group begins research: first, with the few electronic instruments miraculously still intact; then with a book whose existence is an even greater miracle—an ancient, magical tome, The Saga of Doremi Fasol Latido, whose prophecies seem to be coming true.

And here’s the sales copy from Queens of Deliria:

Earth had already been devastated by the Death Generator.

Then the Red Queen meddled with the very laws of Time to advance her evil ambitions. She transmogrified the planet into a world stalked by decaying ghouls and policed by satanic Bulls, their amplifiers meting out the punishing music of Elton John.

Only the Hawklords could save the remnants of humanity – only the Hawklords could restore the forces of Good.

Their sole ally Elric the Indecisive; their sole weapon their music; they fought to the death with their awesome enemies, the macabre Queens of Deliria.

ROCK AND ROLL SCI-FI

This is the second volume in the trilogy which began with The Time of the Hawklords.

The final volume Ledge of Darkness will be published in 1978.

Below, the BBC’s excellent Hawkwind documentary. That’s Michael Moorcock seen in the still frame:

Posted by Oliver Hall | Discussion
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Stanley Kubrick faked the Apollo 11 Moon landing?

smoonkub.jpg
 
So, did Stanley Kubrick fake the Moon landing?

Well, that’s the proposition of William Kare’s documentary (mockumentary?) Dark Side of the Moon, which originally aired on French TV channel Arte in 2002 as Opération Lune.

According to Karel’s (fictional?) film, Kubrick was hired to fake the Apollo 11 mission by the U.S. government. The evidence? Well, secret documents alluding to Kubrick’s involvement in the “fraud” were discovered among the director’s papers after his death in March 1999.

Moreover, Kubrick apparently left clues to his involvement into the scam: firstly, his being loaned lenses by NASA to recreate the candle-lit scenes in his film Barry Lyndon—how else could have got hold of these unless NASA owed him a BIG favor?; secondly, Kubrick allegedly made a confession of his involvement in the conspiracy that is contained in his film version of Stephen King’s The Shining.

Adding substance to these alleged facts, Karel wheels out a highly convincing array of contributors: Henry Kissinger, Buzz Aldrin, Jan Harlan, Richard Helms, Vernon Walters (who is claimed to have mysteriously died after filming) and Christiane Kubrick.

It’s a great romp, and for those who are tempted to believe, watch the bloopers reel at the end.
 

 
Via Open Culture

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Magic mushrooms inspired Frank Herbert’s ‘Dune’
07.25.2014
07:07 am

Topics:
Books
Drugs

Tags:
Dune
Frank Herbert
magic mushrooms

blueeyesdune.jpg
 
Anyone who has read Frank Herbert’s classic science fiction novel Dune will have pondered on the inspiration for the book’s fictional spice melange—supposedly the most valuable commodity in the universe. This naturally occurring drug can only be found on the planet Arrakis. The spice is much sought after as it can give users heightened awareness, longevity and the ability to see into the future. Melange is also the source of power for the Spacing Guild’s spacecrafts called “heighliners”—the drug allowing users to safely steer the heighliner during a “navigation trance.” It’s a useful drug. The downside? The spice leads to addiction, turning the users eyes a luminous blue. Withdrawal can be fatal.

At the time of publication in 1965, many thought Herbert was making reference to LSD—something director Alejandro Jodorowsky considered when he planned to film the book back in the 1970s, when he claimed his movie:

...would give the people who took LSD at that time the hallucinations that you get with that drug, but without hallucinating.

In fact, Herbert was making a reference to psychedelics in particular his own predilection for magic mushrooms, as Paul Stamets explains in his book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World:

Frank Herbert, the well-known author of the Dune books, told me his technique for using spores. When I met him in the early 1980s, Frank enjoyed collecting mushrooms on his property near Port Townsend, Washington. An avid mushroom collector, he felt that throwing his less-than-perfct wild chanterelles into the garbage or compost didn’t make sense. Instead, he would put a few weathered chanterelles in a 5-gallon bucket of water, add some salt, and then, after 1 or 2 clavs, pour this spore-mass slurry on the ground at the base of newly planted firs. When he told me chanterelles were glowing from trees not even 10 years old, I couldn’t believe it. No one had previously reported chanterelles arising near such young trees, nor had anyone reported them growing as a result of using this method.” Of course, it did work for Frank, who was simply following nature’s lead.

Frank’s discovery has now been confirmed in the mushroom industry. It is now known that it’s possible to grow many mushrooms using spore slurries from elder mushrooms. Many variables come into play, but in a sense this method is just a variation of what happens when it rains. Water dilutes spores from mushrooms and carries them to new environments. Our responsibility is to make that path easier. Such is the way of nature.

Frank went on to tell me that much of the premise of Dune — the magic spice (spores) that allowed the bending of space (tripping), the giant worms (maggots digesting mushrooms), the eyes of the Freman (the cerulean blue of Psilocybe mushrooms), the mysticism of the female spiritual warriors, the Bene Gesserits (influenced by tales of Maria Sabina and the sacred mushroom cults of Mexico) — came from his perception of the fungal life cycle, and his imagination was stimulated through his experiences with the use of magic mushrooms.

You can find a PDF of the book here.

Meantime, here’s a rare clip of the sci-fi bard on television.
 

 
Via the Daily Grail

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Color me disenchanted, ‘Coloring for Grown-Ups’ paints a bleak picture
07.24.2014
01:53 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art

Tags:
coloring books


 
Woe betide those who might cling to the dreams of their youth. You want financial security? Pffft. A rich social life? You gotta’ be kidding! Romantic love? Just who do you think you are? You may not be able to transport yourself back to a time of starry-eyed optimism, but you can reflect on the miserable state of modernity with therapeutic past times of your youth. Coloring for Grown-Ups has it all—self-medication, disaffection, alienation, and yes—the soul crushing disappointment so many of us face daily in our cubicle farms!

And the best part is, you can print out as many as you want. Where else in life do you get a do-over?

You can buy Coloring for Grown-Ups from their website, or get a few samples from The Wall Breakers.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Via The Wall Breakers

Posted by Amber Frost | Discussion
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Aleister Crowley’s curried rice recipe
07.24.2014
01:37 pm

Topics:
Food
Occult

Tags:
Aleister Crowley


 
English occultist Aleister Crowley wasn’t merely a poet, painter, mountain climber and the Great Beast 666, he was also an aspiring chef, his specialty apparently being lethally hot curries.

Here’s a passage referring to his “glacial curry” taken from his autohagiography, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley:

“The weather made it impossible to do any serious climbing; but I learnt a great deal about the work of a camp at high altitudes, from the management of transport to cooking; in fact, my chief claim to fame is, perhaps, my “glacier curry.” It was very amusing to see these strong men, inured to every danger and hardship, dash out of the tent after one mouthful and wallow in the snow, snapping at it like mad dogs. They admitted, however, that it was very good as curry and I should endeavour to introduce it into London restaurants if there were only a glacier. Perhaps, some day, after a heavy snowfall”

The exact method by which Crowley made his “glacial curry” has been lost to time, but if you’d like to make some magick in the kitchen tonight, The Master Therion’s recipe for his, I suppose infamous curried rice dish, “Riz Aleister Crowley” was found among his papers at Syracuse University in New York.

Unfortunately, The Great Beat didn’t list any actual quantities for the ingredients, but Nico Mara Mckay added the ratios, which can be modified to make any quantity

Riz Aleister Crowley (to be eaten with curry)

Ingredients
- 1 cup brown basmati rice
- sea salt
- 1/4 cup sultanas
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds(1)
- 1/4 cup pistachio nuts
- powdered clove
- powdered cardamoms
- turmeric powder (enough to colour the rice to a clear golden tint)
- 2 tblsp. butter

Steps
Bring two cups of salted water to a bowl. Throw in in the rice, stirring regularly.
Test the rice after about ten minutes “by taking a grain, and pressing between finger and thumb. It must be easily crushed, but not sodden or sloppy. Test again, if not right, every two minutes.”
When ready, pour cold water into the saucepan.
Empty the rice into a colander, and rinse under cold tap.
Put colander on a rack above the flames, if you have a gas stove, and let it dry. If, like me, your stove is electric,  the rice can be dried by placing large sheets of paper towel over and under the rice, soaking up the water. Preferably the rice should seem very loose, almost as if it it has not been cooked at all. When you’ve removed as much water as you can,  remove the paper towel.
Place the rice back into the pot on a much lower temperature.
Stirring continuously, add the butter, sultanas, almonds, pistachio nuts, a dash or two of cloves and a dash of cardamom.
Add enough turmeric that the rice, after stirring, is “uniform, a clear golden colour, with the green pistachio nuts making it a Poem of Spring.”
 

 
You can find larger, readable versions of Crowley’s original cooking narrative here and here.

Via Music is the Heart

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Awesome Alfred Hitchcock action figure unveiled at Comic-Con
07.24.2014
12:30 pm

Topics:
Movies
Pop Culture

Tags:
Alfred Hitchcock


Photo via Ain’t It Cool
 
I was a little apprehensive when I heard there was going to be an Alfred Hitchcock action figure. Would Austin’s Mondo—known for their gorgeous posters—be able to do the great director justice in three dimensions? Well, I think they certainly have if this photo of the toy figure that’s starting to make the rounds on the Internet is anything to go by. Mondo did an excellent job with “The Master of Suspense,” IMO.

Sporting a fine-tailored suit, this replica of the legendary horror director comes with his directors chair, clapboard, cigars, and props from his most famous films—including a butcher knife, a raven and a seagull. The figure also comes with interchangeable hands and a stand.

I wish there were better images, but these will have to do for now. More to follow.


 
Via Superpunch

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The strange, but true, story behind the Beatles’ ‘She’s Leaving Home’
07.24.2014
11:29 am

Topics:
History
Music

Tags:
Beatles

image
 

John and I wrote “She’s Leaving Home together.” It was my inspiration. We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who’d left home and not been found, there were a lot of those at the time, and that was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up ... It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our song-writing we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.

While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents. Then there’s the famous little line about a man from the motor trade; people have since said that was Terry Doran, who was a friend who worked in a car showroom, but it was just fiction, like the sea captain in “Yellow Submarine”, they weren’t real people.

—Paul McCartney to Barry Miles in 1997

The Daily Mirror story that inspired “She’s Leaving Home” was about Melanie Coe, then aged 17. “Wild child” Coe snuck out of her parents’ comfortable North London home in February of 1967. She was pregnant and afraid of what her mother might do, but had not run off with the father of her unborn child—or “a man from the motor trade,” for that matter—but rather with a croupier she’d just met. They shacked up for ten days before her parents found her. She returned home and had an abortion.

But here’s the weird part: three years earlier Coe had actually met Paul McCartney when he was the judge of a miming contest that Coe won on Ready, Steady, Go! Coe mimed to Brenda Lee’s “Let’s Jump The Broomstick” and Macca gave her the award. Winning the contest meant Coe would be a dancer on the show for an entire year.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Just a few really cool photos of Silver Apples’ homemade electronics rig, 1968
07.24.2014
10:31 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Silver Apples


 
WFMU on Twitter hipped me to these insanely cool photos of psychedelic electronic music group Silver Apples’ homemade electronic gear. Holy hell these are great!


Silver Apples live in Los Angeles, 1968. “In this shot you can see I have the oscillators mounted horizontally in plywood along with echo units, wah pedal, and so on. Here I am playing the ‘lead’ oscillator with my right hand, keying in rhythm oscillators with my elbow on the telegraph keys, changing the volume on an amp with my left hand, and singing. This was typical.”
 

 

This photo was taken at an earlier, outdoor concert in New York City, again in 1968, “before the plywood configuration, where I just had all my oscillators, amps, pedals, and so on piled onto a table. There were 30,000 people in the audience — we were terrified!”
 

Photo by Syeus Mottel
 
These electronics in action on “Lovefingers” (1968):

 
via SOS, WFMU, HZ

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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The gleefully twisted absurdist animations of Chriddof
07.24.2014
08:07 am

Topics:
Animation
Art

Tags:
Chriddof


 

Chris Lyons AKA Chriddof is one of the great enigmas of the Internet. A British culture-jamming, avant-garde surrealist and absurdist mixing video and audio, music and noise, comedy, horror, and retro television altogether into a delightfully incomprehensible, arty mess. And yet he never takes himself too seriously (except for the cases where he decides to close his account[s]); in fact, if you were to ever ask him on YouTube what the sources of any of his videos or the tools he used are, he’ll answer you perfectly straightforward. He’s a strange bloke, but a cool one.—ThornBrain

With his long filmography of not-at-all-very-long films, the English artist Chris “Chriddof” Lyons is a front-runner for best YouTube surrealist ever. Working in so many styles he can barely be said to actually have one, and with an oeuvre spread across multiple media and countless YouTube channels (many of them deleted, some resurrected), he is an exasperatingly mercurial figure in spite of the sheer amount of work he shares with the world. The ‘About’ page on his web site is this…
 

 
...and that’s all. His work, it’s our good fortune, is significantly easier to access than biographical information. He regularly updates a Tumblr with his videos, music, drawings and writings. Many of his videos are rhythmically edited and really, really funny found media cut-ups, but the pieces I’m keen to share with you are his twisted 3D animations. He warps what appear to be rudimentary DAZ or Poser figures into short, freakish, body-horror creations that make me laugh even as I’m weirded out, baffled or horrified, which is a hell of a neat trick.
 

 

 
SO MUCH MORE after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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