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When Johnny Thunders endorsed Jesse Jackson’s presidential bid in song
05.18.2018
08:51 am
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Let it be said that I had this, at least, in common with Johnny Thunders: we both supported Jesse Jackson’s candidacy in 1988. I was just starting the fourth grade, and Johnny was getting ready to graduate from the planet Earth, but we were both willing to forgive Jackson’s offensive characterization of NYC as “Hymietown” and his prudish condemnations of “sex-rock.”

This video of Thunders’ impassioned plea to the American soul comes from September 4, 1988, the last day of the Hotpoint festival in Lausanne, Switzerland. The DNC had come and gone, with Bill Clinton’s windy nomination and Michael Dukakis’ narcotizing acceptance speech. No matter: Johnny Thunders still liked Jackson’s chances, and if he was discouraged by Dukakis’ nomination or Bush’s subsequent election, he gave no sign. He kept “Glory, Glory” in the set in 1989, and when he entered the studio in 1990, Thunders was still stumping for the Rev.

Here, weeks before the first broadcast of the Willie Horton ad, Johnny Thunders sounds like a schoolboy telling the Swiss festival crowd why he’s for Jesse Jackson. Then he “takes them to church”:

Okay! Well, I’m from America, and we’re having a presidental—presidential election. And I think, uh, the only person that I think is worthy of being a president of America is Jesse.

Oh, Jesse!

Oh, Jesse, Jesse Jackson!

Ooh, Jesse, Jesse, Jesse! etc.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.18.2018
08:51 am
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New book collects every issue of the Crass zine ‘International Anthem’


The ‘domestic violence issue’ of International Anthem, 1979
 
This deserves more press than it’s received: a new book collects every issue of International Anthem: A Nihilist Newspaper for the Living, including two never before published. The volume is an official product of “the publishing wing of Crass and beyond,” the venerable Exitstencil Press.

International Anthem was Gee Vaucher’s newspaper, but denying its connection to the band would be a challenge. Its 1978-‘83 run coincided, roughly, with Crass’s (as opposed to, say, Exit‘s), and the Crass logo sometimes appeared on the paper’s cover (see above). Eve Libertine, $ri Hari Nana B.A., Penny Rimbaud, G. Sus (aka Gee Vaucher) and Dave King contributed to its pages.
 

Gee Vaucher collage from International Anthem #2 (via ArtRabbit)
 
The book contains scans of the originals (“bad printing, creases, mistakes and all”), reproduced at full size. If it is good to buy quality art books, it is better to buy them directly from the artist. Buddhists call it “accumulating merit,” and they say you want to do a lot of it in this life, so you don’t have to come back as Eric Trump. Below, consume two hours of Crass programming broadcast on Australia’s JJJ Radio in 1987, featuring some Crass texts read in Australian accents and contemporary interviews with Gee and Penny at Dial House.

Help Gee Vaucher collect 20 million hand-drawn stick figures for her World War I project.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.17.2018
08:47 am
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Ulrike Meinhof’s teenage riot TV movie


“If you obey, they are happy because you are ruined. Then they are cool because they have crushed you.”
 
Right before she embarked on a campaign of left-wing terror, Ulrike Meinhof produced her screenplay for Bambule, a TV movie about the miserable lot of girls in a juvenile reform institution. It was supposed to air in 1970, but the broadcast was canceled after Meinhof helped the Red Army Faction bust Andreas Baader out of prison.

The title means “prison riot,” though apparently the bambule originated as a form of nonviolent prison protest, making a “Jailhouse Rock”-style racket by drumming on anything available. “You lousy screws!”

During one scene, the girls beat a frenzied tattoo on their doors. But in Meinhof’s own definition of the term, from a 1969 radio report (quoted in Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F.), there is no mention of noise:

Bambule means rebellion, resistance, counter-violence – efforts toward liberation. Such things happen mostly in summer, when it is hot, and the food is even less appealing than usual, and anger festers in the corners with the heat. Such things are in the air then – it could be compared to the hot summers in the black ghettoes of the United States.

 

(via ARD.de)
 
Meinhof based the screenplay on her conversations with girls at the Eichenhof Youth Custody Home, for which Bambule is not much of an advertisement. They had a prescription for teens like Monika, expelled from a convent for kissing another girl: discipline and work, with occasional breaks for obeying the rules. The only pleasures in Bambule are the small acts of disobedience available to teenagers. They smoke cigarettes, curse out a few fuckwords, write graffiti about LSD and hash, play the Bee Gees’ “Massachusetts.” All relationships with adults are characterized by violence, cruelty and exploitation; everyone over 20 is dead inside. It’s like watching an episode of Dragnet written by a militant leftist.

More after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.11.2018
08:56 am
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Tricia Nixon’s wedding travestied by the Cockettes, 1971


via IMDb
 
Tricia’s Wedding, a 33-minute dramatization of the solemn rite that joined Patricia Nixon and Edward Cox in holy matrimony, was the first movie the Cockettes made. Per Kenneth Turan, it premiered at the Palace Theater in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco on the very day of the happy event, June 12, 1971. Not only is the Cockettes’ movie much livelier than the televised ceremony, it includes the all-too-brief screen debut of Tomata du Plenty, some five years before he formed the Screamers in Los Angeles.

Incredibly, the Cockettes’ movie was screened in the Nixon White House. In Blind Ambition, John Dean mentions watching it in the president’s bomb shelter underneath the East Wing, John Ehrlichman’s favorite spot for “monitoring” protests. There, Dean saw Tricia’s Wedding on the orders of H.R. “Bob” Haldeman:

I knew I wouldn’t use the shelter for monitoring demonstrations, although Haldeman had told me that that would be one of my responsibilities. The only time I ever returned there was for a secret screening of Tricia’s Wedding, a pornographic movie portraying Tricia Nixon’s wedding to Edward Cox, in drag. Haldeman wanted the movie killed, so a very small group of White House officials watched the cavorting transvestites in order to weigh the case for suppression. Official action proved unnecessary; the film died a natural death.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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05.10.2018
08:28 am
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Peter Gabriel’s curious and provocative ‘Mao’s Little Red Book’ 1980 tour program
05.02.2018
11:37 am
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During Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway tour, Peter Gabriel told his bandmates that he’d be leaving the group at the conclusion of the tour. Two years later Gabriel began an adventurous and wildly successful solo career with the release of “Solsbury Hill.” Between 1977 and 1982, Gabriel released four probing, dark solo albums each bearing his own name and forcing fans to come up with nicknames for them, like “Scratch.” Robert Fripp played on the first three of these albums and actually produced the second one. 1980’s “Melt” is perhaps the best one of the four, featuring “Biko,” “Intruder” (which featured pioneering use of the gated drum effect), and “Games Without Frontiers.”

For the 1980 tour to support the third solo album, Gabriel decided to concoct a clever, subversive version of Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung, also known as “Mao’s Little Red Book,” which had done so much to solidify Mao’s grip on power in the People’s Republic of China in the 1960s. This is what it looked like:
 

 
True to its name, it really was little; it was about the size of the palm of a person’s hand. The 1980 tour program suggested a dystopic work of fiction, echoing Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four in the name of the tour, which was Tour of China 1984, thereby confusing historians for all time: The entire fun of the program, one might say, was that Gabriel was not touring China and it was not 1984. Basically it was all a mindfuck. The tour was limited to the United Kingdom and North America.

Durrell Bowman supplies a solid description of the 1980 tour in his book Experiencing Peter Gabriel: A Listener’s Companion:
 

The tour for Peter Gabriel III began in February 1980, was strangely billed the Tour of China 1984, and its shows began with the performers carrying torches through the audience and Gabriel arriving from the back of the hall like a weird creature, as the unusual drums and sound effects from the beginning of “Intruder” were being played. Presumably to match the tour’s bizarre totalitarian China parody, the band wore black, over-all-like jumpsuits and each audience member was given a program booklet made to look like the 1966 book Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung. ... The booklet included Gabriel’s head superimposed over those of other individuals, as well as Chinese newspaper ads, political posters, and comic books.

 
On his SYNERGY website, synth player Larry Fast has a few pics from and comments about that tour, including the “boiler suits” while “they were still new and black” and his backstage pass—note the Chinese ideograms on the front:
 

 
Of the Mao parody, Gabriel posted the following comment on his website:
 

One of the things at that time was that a lot of bands were keen to get be the first to play in China. There was a lot of press about it. So I thought that I would do the tour merchandise for a fictitious Chinese tour and it was the Tour of China 1984. We used Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book which had had more copies of it sold, or at least distributed, than any other book, as the model for the tour programme. That was fun to do.

 
Gabriel has never played a concert in China, but in 1994 he did play Hong Kong Stadium on the Secret World Tour—but that was three years before the British gave up control over the colony, after which it became the “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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05.02.2018
11:37 am
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Short-lived, almost-forgotten satire mag ‘Americana’ took a shiv to FDR’s America


 
We think of the era of below-the-belt satirical media with a left-wing edge as a thing that was more or less invented in the postwar era, particularly the 1960s and 1970s, as the rise of alternative newspapers ushered in a style of humorous, scurrilous, no-holds-barred sloganeering that was unafraid to transgress the usual borders of propriety. Before that, most of the good comps come from continental Europe, especially in the welter of strident and audacious movements that sprang into existence in the first decades of the 20th century, including surrealism, dada, and expressionism.

Not coincidentally, George Grosz, one of the leading lights of expressionism after World War I, was involved with a genuinely bracing and angry left-wing political magazine in the unforgiving terrain of the U.S.A. Its name was Americana, its editor-in-chief and founder was a colorful young man named Alexander King, and a host of publications such as The East Village Other, The Black Panther, The Berkeley Barb, and The Realist, whether they knew it or not, all owed Americana a great debt.

The imagery of Americana, unlike a lot of stuff that is more than eight decades old, still resonates. The images strike one as what might happen if the original editorial minds behind The New Yorker in the 1920s and 1930s were somehow given the task of publishing the International Times of the late 1960s and early 1970s, albeit with a modernist fibrousness to the art that The New Yorker mostly lacked. (Basically this means that Americana was, unusually, willing to be ugly if it achieved other aims.)
 

King as an older man in the 1950s, here with Jack Paar; photo taken during Paar’s stint as host of The Tonight Show
 
Publishing historians who track Americana cite it mainly for two things: its impressive roster of contributors and its exceedingly brief publication run. Americana existed only for 17 issues in the calendar years of 1932 and 1933, a moment when America was obviously in the throes of a catastrophic depression. While FDR tried to save capitalism from its own successes, Americana, consistently and with great vitriol, challenged the premise that capitalism was worth saving in the first place. To give an idea of what the folks of Americana thought of the likelihood of Roosevelt solving the problems of the working class, here is what Gilbert Seldes wrote in the issue following Roosevelt’s first election:
 

I will suggest to the editors of Americana that they reform. No more sadism. Only pretty pictures of sweet communists welcoming Trotsky back from exile; sweet capitalists washing the feet of the ten million unemployed, and sweet editors of liberal magazines smiling broadly at love triumphant.

 
In his book An Autobiography Grosz reminisced about editor King and Americana:
 

The only person who took me as I was was my friend Alexander King, who put out America’s first and only satirical magazine, Americana, and regularly published my things. He trimmed neither my wings nor my fingernails: “Scratch their eyes out, George,” he would say to me, “the harder, the better!”

 
Featuring names like William Steig and James Thurber, Americana did have a fair bit of cross-pollination with the aforementioned New Yorker. (King managed to run an interview with New Yorker grandee Alexander Woollcott in which the acerbic writer allowed that the New Yorker “is got out by a shiftless reporter with the help of two country bumpkins,” the latter two being non-East-Coast-ers Harold Ross and Thurber.)

In addition, Americana published contributions by E.E. Cummings and Nathanael West. Americana’s run coincided precisely with the West’s first great productive period, during which he wrote and published A Cool Million and Miss Lonelyhearts (The Day of the Locust arrived a few years later)—it’s not too much to say that Americana was an near-perfect periodical correlative for West’s corrosive fiction, and it’s not surprising that he found a warm welcome there. Americana was also an early venue for the work of Al Hirschfeld, who later became much more renowned for sticking the word “NINA” into the whiskers of Orson Welles and the locks of Bernadette Peters.
 

A remarkable editor’s note from Americana
 
Not surprisingly, King himself was from the Continent—he was born Alexander Koenig in Vienna in 1899. In his later years he became a talk-show personality and wrote several books which did very well. In its review of King’s 1960 book May This House Be Safe From Tigers, Time magazine summarized the author’s eventful life, with some affection, as follows:
 

an ex-illustrator, ex-cartoonist, ex-adman, ex-editor, ex-playwright, ex-dope addict. For a quarter-century he was an ex-painter, and by his own bizarre account qualifies as an ex-midwife. He is also an ex-husband to three wives and an ex-Viennese of sufficient age (60) to remember muttonchopped Emperor Franz Joseph. When doctors told him a few years ago that he might soon be an ex-patient (two strokes, serious kidney disease, peptic ulcer, high blood pressure), he sat down to tell gay stories of the life of all these earlier Kings.

 
It’s my impression, researching this topic, that there is just damn little out there about Americana, which is a real shame. However, the images of the publication have aged remarkably well in my estimation, still possessing the power to catch the eye and even to shock, whether it’s the casual yolking of the “modern messiahs” Stalin and Gandhi (!) or the unflinching presentation at the suffering of the destitute. Here is a representative sample of images from the magazine, but by all means there’s more here.
 

 
Much more after the jump…....
 

READ ON
Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.24.2018
10:21 am
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‘Take anyone in the street’: That time Jean-Luc Godard was a no-show at a film festival, 1968
04.18.2018
12:29 pm
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02jlcfilm.jpg
 
1968: Jean-Luc Godard was scheduled to appear as the opening speaker at a movie festival organized by British Film Institute in London. Godard was the fashionable director whose movies, radical chic, and Marxist politics matched the turmoil and uncertainty of the times. The “Summer of Love” was over. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated. Eldridge Cleaver led a group of Black Panthers on an ambush of police in Oakland. Students rioted on the streets of Paris, demonstrated against the war in Vietnam outside the American Embassy in London. Violence and revolution had replaced the hippie mantra of “peace and love.” 

Godard seemed an appropriate fit. He was booked to give a talk about his movies, politics, and thoughts on cinema to kick off the BFI’s John Player Lectures at the National Film Theater. He had just completed Week End his infamous anti-bourgeois movie with its eight-minute tracking shot of a traffic jam and closing credits which announced Godard’s rejection of narrative cinema with a caption that read “End of Cinema.” He agreed to appear. His transport and hotel reservations were booked. Tickets for the lecture were selling well. Everything seemed ready to go. Then, a few days before his scheduled appearance, Godard sent a telegram in which he suggested he might not make it and if he didn’t, well, invite someone off the street “the poorest if possible” to give a lecture in his place:

TS 15/113 LN H0073 XF7964

NEUILLYSURSEINEPPAL 4651 60 19 1210

NATIONAL FILM THEATER SOUTH BANK WATERLOO LONDON

IF AM NOT THERE TAKE ANYONE IN THE STREET THE POOREST IF POSSIBLE GIVE HIM MY 100 POUNDS AND TALK WITH HIM OF IMAGES AND SOUDN (sic) AND YOU WILL LEARN FROM HIM MUCH MORE THAN FROM ME BECAUSE IT IS THE POOR PEOPLE WHO ARE REALLY INVENTING THE LANGUAGE STOP YOUR ANONYMOUS GODARD

The organizers were somewhat surprised—what the fuck does this mean? The event was sold out—what the fuck do we do? Then, on the morning of the lecture, Godard fired off another missive—you gotta be fucking kidding me…! His message read:

WILL NOT COME TOMORROW MOVIES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH CIGARETTES AND REALITY WITH SMOKE YOUR UNKNOWN GODARD

The night of Godard’s “no-show,” the movie theater at the NFT on London’s South Bank was packed…

Godard interviewed by Dick Cavett, after the jump…
 

READ ON
Posted by Paul Gallagher
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04.18.2018
12:29 pm
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Dirty Work: Steely Dan was trolling conservative TV host Laura Ingraham way back in 1999
04.18.2018
10:10 am
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You’d think that having achieved the ignominious and largely accidental goal of landing Donald Trump in the White House would have sent conservative “commentators” into a full-on, four-year reverie of glee, but the opposite has been the case. Conservative nattering heads have been consumed with penny-ante rage and pinched with loathing ever since Trump began his term, beating the drums against Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, and Obama’s attorney general Loretta Lynch with the fervor of people who cannot countenance the transparently incompetent and corrupt regime that they have saddled our country with. Tucker Carlson has been doing his best to give white nationalism a limp sheen of preppy respectability, while Sean Hannity has been totally unhinged all year long and this week he learned that he may face serious legal problems due to his questionable relationship with the weirdly mobby Michael Cohen.

And then there’s Laura Ingraham. The crowning achievement of the host of, er, The Ingraham Angle (gag) in 2018 has been to get into an overdetermined brouhaha with arguably the most sympathetic players on the political scene today, those being the young survivors of the horrific shooting spree at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, two months ago. Ingraham mocked the brief spell of misfortune experienced by David Hogg after learning that some California universities had declined his application despite his 4.2 GPA. (He’s since been accepted by UC Irvine.)

The tweet by the Dartmouth graduate started, “David Hogg Rejected By Four Colleges To Which He Applied and whines about it.” It’s difficult to see under what circumstances a teenager would not be permitted to be upset about a college rejection letter but in any case, Ingraham let her core inhumanity show a bit there. The public outcry after Ingraham’s inane expression of schadenfreude were apparently enough to make her advertisers take notice, because she apologized a day later. (Hogg sensibly refused to credit her apology, correctly perceiving it to have been a business decision, pure and simple.)
 

 
Back when she was a more normal sort of conservative, before the existence even of Fox News, when she had a program with this silly name of Watch It! on (of all places) MSNBC, Ingraham got on the bad side of rock music’s wittiest jazz-rock duo Steely Dan when she used some of their music in her program. It should have been predictable that ur-Boomers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen would have been spending their lengthy mid-career hiatus (20 years between studio albums) keeping abreast of Monicagate on whatever rudimentary (by our standards) newschannel was available.

Becker and Fagen during this period were fond of writing angry or mock-worshipful missives to people like Owen Wilson and Wes Anderson. In this instance, in early 1999, the two of them tapped out a cease-and-desist letter addressed to Ingraham in which they proposed that Richard Wagner (a favorite of Nazis everywhere, don’t you know) be played instead of the band’s early hit “Dirty Work.”

Here is the letter in its entirety:
 

From: Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
To: Laura Ingraham, Host, MSNBC Television
Date: February 12, 1999

Dear Ms. Ingraham:

It has come to our attention that you have used the Steely Dan recording of our song “Dirty Work” as cutaway music at the end of your show last Monday. We understand that “Watch It!” is a political talk show. We have been sternly advised by a valued visitor to our official website that we should steer clear of politics, so as not to embarrass ourselves and our fans. While we recognize that you are clearly not bound by any such injunction, we nevertheless owe it to our admirers to stay out of trouble when we can. So we must regrettably insist that our recordings not be used on future broadcasts of your show.
It seems likely that, as the impeachment saga draws to a close, your show will be cancelled or else will morph into one sort of non-political daytime talk show or another (although certainly not a fashion show). If, for some unfathomable reason, “Watch It!” continues in its present form, may we suggest some other more suitable music for use during breaks:

          “Horst Wessel” - Traditional Teutonic anthem
          “Ride of the Valkyrie” - Richard Wagner
          “Theo, Wir Fahr’n Nach Lodz” - 70’s German chartmaker
          “The Lady is a Cryptofascist” - by The Welders of Zion
          Anything by Lou Reed, Helmet, or The Velvet Underground

After learning that you were using our music without permission, we looked in briefly on your show this morning. Being the political naifs that we are, we could hardly be expected to follow the learned colloquy between you and your guests. Are they all Ivy Leaguers? Anyway, we did notice that you looked so sad and maybe a little blotchy too. You’re not allergic to plaid, are you? We are very sorry to be cracking down like this at what is clearly a difficult and trying time for you and your pals. Please don’t take it personally. It’s just business. Okay?

Yours,

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
Founders, Steely Dan

 
Here’s the song Ingraham played on her show, with lead vocals by David Palmer:

 
via Glenn Kenny
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.18.2018
10:10 am
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When Luis Buñuel wrecked Charlie Chaplin’s Christmas
04.12.2018
09:30 am
Topics:
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Eduardo Ugarte, Luis Buñuel, Jose Lopez Rubio, Leonor and Tono at Charlie Chaplin’s house, 1930

Whenever someone voices alarm about the “war on Christmas,” I think of my hero, Luis Buñuel, and smile. In 1930, Buñuel disrupted a Christmas party in Los Angeles by leading an attack on the tree and, when it proved hard to destroy, jumping up and down on the presents. Among the guests was Charlie Chaplin, whose house Buñuel often visited “to play tennis, swim, or use the sauna”; sometimes, he sat by the pool drinking with Sergei Eisenstein.

I seem to remember Buñuel or his son, Juan Luis, saying somewhere or other that Buñuel and his comrades attacked the Christmas tree because they found both it and the custom of gift-giving intolerably bourgeois. In My Last Sigh, however, the director writes that he was offended by a patriotic gesture.

He and his roommate, the screenwriter Eduardo Ugarte, were at the house of the Spanish comedian Tono and his wife Leonor, who had been Buñuel’s companions on the recent voyage from Le Havre to Hollywood:

At Christmastime, Tono and his wife gave a dinner party for a dozen Spanish actors and screenwriters, as well as Chaplin and Georgia Hale. We all brought a present that was supposed to have cost somewhere between twenty and thirty dollars, hung them on the tree, and began drinking. (Despite Prohibition, there was, of course, no shortage of alcohol.) Rivelles, a well-known actor at that time, recited a grandiloquent Spanish poem by Marquina, to the glory of the soldiers in Flanders. Like all patriotic displays, it made me nauseous.

“Listen,” I whispered to Ugarte and an actor named Peña at the dinner table, “when I blow my nose, that’s the signal to get up. Just follow me and we’ll take that ridiculous tree to pieces!”

Which is exactly what we did, although it’s not easy to dismember a Christmas tree. In fact, we got a great many scratches for some rather pathetic results, so we resigned ourselves to throwing the presents on the floor and stomping on them. The room was absolutely silent; everyone stared at us, openmouthed.

“Luis,” Tono’s wife finally said. “That was unforgivable.”

“On the contrary,” I replied. “It wasn’t unforgivable at all. It was subversive.”

The following morning dawned with a delicious coincidence, an article in the paper about a man in Berlin who tried to take apart a Christmas tree in the middle of the midnight Mass.

On New Year’s Eve, Chaplin—a forgiving man—once again invited us to his house, where we found another tree decorated with brand-new presents. Before we sat down to eat, he took me aside.

“Since you’re so fond of tearing up trees, Buñuel,” he said to me, “why don’t you get it over with now, so we won’t be disturbed during dinner?”

I replied that I really had nothing against trees, but that I couldn’t stand the kind of ostentatious patriotism I’d heard that evening.

Below, the French TV series Cinéastes de notre temps catches up with Luis Buñuel in ‘63 or ‘64.
 

Posted by Oliver Hall
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04.12.2018
09:30 am
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When Iron Maiden’s mascot knifed Margaret Thatcher
03.29.2018
08:45 am
Topics:
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Derek Riggs’ original artwork for the ‘Sanctuary’ single sleeve
 
Who doesn’t love the metamorphoses of Iron Maiden’s cover star, Eddie? (Don’t answer that.) To flip through a stack of Maiden LPs is to revisit his many guises: ancient Egyptian pharaoh, lobotomized mental patient, time-traveling cyborg, zombie shock jock, outer space alien, outer space alien outlaw in an outer space saloon, and so on.

But before he set out on any of these merry adventures, Eddie spent an unforgettable evening with Mags. There he is on the cover of the “Sanctuary” single—the one with Maiden’s best singer, the future inmate Paul Di’Anno, pleading for “sanc-choo-ree from the lahhhhhhhhhhhh-hawwwwwwwww”—there’s Eddie the Head, fresh from knifing the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on a desolate streetcorner. He does not appear extra jazzed that you, the viewer, have caught him in the act.
 

The censored version of Riggs’ artwork on the Japanese ‘Prowler’ single
 
Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden says the depiction of Thatcher was the band’s idea, some kind of goof on her nickname, “the Iron Lady.” In Run to the Hills: The Official Biography of Iron Maiden, Mick Wall places the image in the context of UK politics and tabloid reporting c. 1980:

A knife-wielding Eddie is depicted crouching over the slain, mini-skirted figure of a woman that, on close inspection, appears to be Margaret Thatcher, the Conservative prime minister who had been swept into power in Britain at the 1979 general election. Judging by the scene, Eddie had apparently caught the malingering PM in the unforgivable act of tearing down an Iron Maiden poster from a street wall, a crime – in Eddie’s mad, unblinking eyes – worthy of only one punishment. The blood is still dripping from his twelve-inch blade as we catch up with them. However, the single’s release had coincided with a series of highly publicised real-life acts of violence perpetrated by the various disaffected members of the British public against several top-level Tory government officials. (Lord Home had reportedly been set upon by a gang of skinheads at Piccadilly Circus tube station and Lord Chalfont was given a black eye by another closely cropped youth while walking down the King’s Road.) [...]

On 20 May, The Daily Mirror reproduced the uncensored version of the ‘Sanctuary’ sleeve under the banner headline “It’s Murder! Maggie Gets Rock Mugging!” Soon questions were being asked in Parliament. “Premier Margaret Thatcher has been murdered – on a rock band’s record sleeve,” reported The Mirror in shocked tones. Hilariously, it quoted a ministerial spokesman as saying, “This is not the way we’d like her portrayed. I’m sure she would not like it.”

 

There’s no such thing as society’: the ‘Women in Uniform’ single
 
On the advice of their publishing company, Zomba Music, Maiden’s next single was a cover of Skyhooks’ “Women in Uniform” recorded with AC/DC producer Tony Platt. (Can you guess what Zomba Music was trying to achieve, and in what part of the Australasian subcontinent?) The sleeve art picked up the continuing story of Eddie and Maggie: as the ghoul struts down the street with a girl on each arm, just around the corner, the PM lies in wait in beret and olive drabs, ready to cut them all in half with a few blasts from her submachine gun.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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03.29.2018
08:45 am
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