a new low in topical enlightenment

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Issue #145 (April 3, 2013)

East of Sand Lake, Wyoming
Photo by Joe Carducci

The Gay Blues Unsung
by Joe Carducci

I went to Catholic schools and Latin Mass in the small-town Midwest during the sixties. Naperville was about 6,000 German-Americans and a few Poles, Irish, and Italians when we moved there in 1956. Hard to say what any of us thought of homosexuality other than we laughed whenever anybody referred to “Homo Milk” or some assigned novel used the word “faggots”. By the time I was on the west coast in the seventies I noticed on visits home that my youngest siblings’ grade school cohort would judge, “Aw that’s gay,” anytime something offended their moppet sense of propriety. For them: Randy Mantooth was cool; Donnie Osmond was gay.

The sexual revolutions happened slowly in old working class Naperville, but they smoked pot at Central High by 1970, and while the city fathers passed a law preventing the Naper Theater from playing R-rated movies effectively closing it down, the small-town pharmacists at some point stowed their qualms and just sold the un-marital aids to all comers.

The west coast as I knew it wasn’t much like Naperville. I looked around Hollywood for a couple days on arrival in August 1976, then I went up to the bay area and looked around San Francisco and Berkeley, and then went back to Hollywood and took a room at the YMCA. I found a job at a movie theater, the Vogue, and got a cheap apt at Yucca & Wilcox. You didn’t have to look for trouble to notice it was available. One of the theater’s assistant managers disappeared suddenly; I heard later he sold speed at all hours at the nearby Gold Cup diner and got himself into a fix. One evening one of the Hollywood High Filipina beauties who worked behind the candy counter exclaimed, “Hey, I think that Ed who just walk pass.” I turned but he was gone. The Vogue had a recessed glass front and in the long, slow minutes between show-times the constant stream of tourists, local deviants and panhandling regulars walking the Boulevard was our own mesmerizing movie. Could this really be Hollywood?!

It was. Never mind what might be going on under the bleachers at Naper Central, seventies Hollywood High girls were in Midwest terms, loose. Unfortunately not the Island girls, God bless ’em. Into 1977 they wondered about a new guy; they thought him handsome but a little… fussy maybe. Steve on the other hand just got fruitier and fruitier, especially on the quiet afternoon shifts. He hit on me once or twice, gave up, and then just stopped hiding that he wanted to dance around the lobby like a prima ballerina.

The street life was harsher just a bit south on Selma, and Santa Monica. There were different kinds of tourists rubbernecking those streets. I mostly saw them during the day walking to some record shop or bookstore. Selma was where prostitutes did the stroll, and the papers reported housewives complaints that men propositioned them from cars even if they were pushing a baby-stroller in broad daylight. Santa Monica Blvd was where the male hustlers worked, though I didn’t see that myself until years later when I moved back down to L.A. to work with Black Flag; Unicorn Records and the SST sublet office were there next to the Tropicana Motel. It was interesting to read in the late Brendan Mullen’s L.A. punk oral history, We Got the Neutron Bomb, what all punk-wise was going on around me that year that I didn’t see.

I was paying attention to Hollywood’s cinemabilia shops; you didn’t see those in Chicago or Denver, the other cities I’d lived in. I began to pick through Larry Edmunds Bookstore, and I still do that any time I’m in L.A. I did a lot of writing that year in Hollywood and saw a lot of films, then moved up to Portland for breathable air and less despair.

Portland is where I got into the music business, such as it was. The town had a small punk rock scene and as I got to working a few hours a day at a record shop which produced a few concerts and got to do a punk show on KBOO, I met the whole scene quickly. There were the punks themselves, kids into the music and finally finding others with similar interests. Then there was the rocker wing of the scene, a bit older and still related to sixties garage bands and seventies hard rock bands and hanging out at a music instrument shop. Also, there was the gay wing, older too but more sophisticated or pretending such; they seemed to hang out at clothing shops or museums and galleries. The punks often went to San Francisco to be in bands or to see them. SF was also where they could really live the punk dream, a weird mix of asserted cultural idealism overlaying whatever base realism it might take to get by. Neither wing, nor the punks themselves bought many records from us but I do remember that the Monday after my Sunday night show played songs from the Tubeway Army’s first album Peter said he sold all the copies to the gay wing who immediately cottoned to Gary Numan’s desolate future-world of android love in the park. I liked his guitar playing on the early records but he soon parked the guitar for a sci-fi synthesizer. I lost interest; he went solo and hit No. 1 worldwide.

As I’ve written about elsewhere we turned Renaissance Records into Systematic Record Distribution and moved it to Berkeley at the end of 1979. We’d been encouraged to do so by SF bands we’d distributed and promoted shows for, and by Rough Trade who had been working thru us for American distribution and promotion and who would be opening up their own new world branch alongside us in Berkeley.

Systematic was well off the beaten bay area path, though also on Heinz Ave was the Berkeley Barb, and Kicking Mule Records. Whatever was gay in the bay area shared space with various well-aged hippie and folkie and beatnik dreams. Also late communism in the form of the RCP, the UC-Berkeley faculty, hairy-legged feminists, and the Black Panthers. One thing about the bay area punk scene in the early eighties is that it lacked the dividing line that L.A. had. Down south the gay or gayish Hollywood punk scene quarantined itself from the younger hetero suburban scenes. (Slash magazine, The Germs, and X were notable exceptions.) In San Francisco the gay or gayish art bands blended through to the younger rock-oriented bands in a large gray area, and though bands were from all over the area, the scene mostly operated in a concentrated space in a couple seedy San Francisco neighborhoods.

Punks talked loosely and roughly and in many ways the entire movement was really just a foul-mouthed sexualized extension of what kids had been obsessed with since the fifties: rock and roll, Mad Magazine, comics, horror movies, etc. Only the old enthusiasm for westerns didn’t survive into punk-era iconography, probably due to the decadent aspects of both the late John Wayne westerns and the early counter-culture westerns. (Malcolm McLaren did steal some gay cowboy porn "art" for a T-shirt.) But in an amplification of what my little brother and sister were doing, the nominal adults of punk rock used words like “faggot” and “nigger” quite a lot, and in their art used swastikas and pornography as often. I recall Peter, who owned the Portland record shop that became Systematic, feeling he had to make excuses as a hippie negrophile who liked Patti Smith for her song, “Rock and Roll Nigger” and for her own excuses as well, which she made every time she surfaced in mainstream rock media. (She was the only punk to surface in some part due to the way punk etiquette took aim squarely at hippie sensitivities.) Patti claimed to be able to greet black people on the street with, “Hey nigger!” ‘course that street was probably Avenue B.

Maybe it’s only in retrospect that it seems the word “faggot” flew around San Francisco’s punk scene more often than in L.A.’s. I recently programmed my SF Special on John Allen’s WFMU program with records and live tapes of The Sleepers, Negative Trend, Flipper, and Toiling Midgets, and John told me my name had been besmirched on the station blog by some righteous homophile activist and by an ex-Rough Trade San Franciscan who might’ve known better. I mentioned to John off air how the invective flew in the olden days, and then as we did the show such was evident as use of the words “fag” and “faggot” piled up, flying out the mouths of singers, audience members, girls or boys, punk-ass mo-fos one and all. (The program is archived at "wfmu.org" and you can tune in and be outraged all you want all over again as many times as you’d like; but I warn you, you’ll have to put up with some of the best music of the era.)

Most surviving punks long ago became hippies in a very middle class way, suddenly paying more for artisanal this and compostable that. Punks used to laugh or wretch at pretense. They lived hard and left cigarette burns and DNA wherever they went. L.A. was a bigger mess than San Francisco but SF had its own confusion. Greg Ginn asked me once if the guys in Flipper were gay. Black Flag played with them often and they got along though didn’t know each other really well. I didn’t think so but his question made it clear that the scene in the bay area had adopted a kind of gayish local accent. At the same time Will Shatter’s comment on KPFA that Flipper wanted to experiment with music “without becoming an art band” might have been taken as homophobic by many an art band in the city. Bruce Lose of Flipper had famously presided over Jello Biafra’s wedding, asking his intended, “Do you, Therese, take this flaming faggot to be your lawfully wedded husband?” She answered yes. Patrick Miller’s band, Minimal Man, seemed to split that rock band/art band difference even closer. Patrick had been in Voice Farm and Tuxedo Moon but his own band put his keyboard experimentalism atop a hot rhythm section and played on bills with Flipper and Dead Kennedys. Not all the albums are fully band lineup recordings but Patrick’s music was distinguished by his way with punk mess in an art band. In his life too. There was an unusual and welcome appreciation of Patrick by Neil Strauss in the New York Times, of all places. Patrick was a very funny, grubby, grabby character who could worm his way into your space and be stroking your stomach when you thought you were discussing record promotion. Or maybe he didn’t do that with everyone.

I remember some art band party in SF that was a kind of business-mandatory for me in the early days of Berkeley-Systematic, probably a Club Foot, Ralph Records or Voice Farm soiree. The guys in those scenes were great guys with a musical genius or two thrown in too, but mostly people at the party talked about their apartments and who’d been able to trade up to a better location in North Beach or the Castro at what price. Though the gay or gayish musos were not living as sloppy as the hetero or heteroish they did for awhile share the general punk objection to hippie or disco sell-out style consumerism (audiophile stereos, Volvos, designer jeans, cocaine…). And the younger gay punks carried puritan aspects of the aesthetic rock and roll reformation into their lives and so rejected the established thirty-something gay culture of rococo body-building and high-style Epicurean living as well as, say, the sloppier sex lives of the pre-movement bath-house cowboys. These men-with-no-name were out chasing anonymous group sex to insure the fieriest damnation possible.

Those outlaws indeed died horrible deaths and that changed gay culture. The gay rights movement defaulted to lesbians and middle class movementeers who’d never been comfortable with the crazed exhibitionist wing. And further, something about the legal system’s concurrent colonization of American politics and then the culture itself had forcibly calmed the cross-currents, whorls and eddies that once made not only counter-cultures but the American mainstream itself so rich and interesting. Now culture and counter-culture have been homogenized like the milk. Music is thin and doesn’t reach back to true folk-root mess, and the stand-alone feature film has lost its mojo to TV series whose open-ended unraveling of tragicomic metaphor leaves just a burlesque of drama.

In this Gay Marriage moment the debate exists as this kind of neutered legal exercise. Some principle or other may well result tomorrow from today’s linguistic legerdemain. In the New York Times last week Ross Douthat recounts a 1997 Slate debate between David Frum and Andrew Sullivan, both then conservatives. Frum thought to defend a “weakened” traditional family against the sixties and seventies “process of social dissolution”; Sullivan countered that marriage was already done-to by the Pill and divorce and was no longer about procreation so might as well be Holy Sodomy as Holy Matrimony (not his words!). Days later in the NYT David Brooks teases out a sotto voce thread that’s contributed a faint counter-melody through these court proceedings: “same-sex marriage will be a victory for the good life, which is about living in a society that induces you to narrow your choices and embrace your obligations.” Douthat notes that Frum like almost everyone else in this one-sided polite society non-debate is now in favor of gay marriage. In the WSJ Bret Stephens ties things together nicely, “[T]he reality we find is millions of Americans who want to participate in all the institutions of American life, from politics to the military to marriage. What is there not to like?” The stopgap of civil union with the promise of tax and inheritance equality was offered too late in the New Deal Great Society day, and the middle class needs of today’s “GLBT community” have comforted the mainstream about the very idea. And counselors and researchers no longer fret that each micro-generation of young gay men will suddenly reprise their seventies fore-uncles’ idea of table manners.

Douthat notes that Frum like almost everyone else in this one-sided polite society non-debate is now in favor of gay marriage. The stopgap of civil union with the promise of tax and inheritance equality was offered too late in the New Deal Great Society day, and the middle class needs of today’s “GLBT community” have comforted the mainstream about the very idea. Counselors and researchers no longer fret that each micro-generation of young gay men will suddenly reprise their seventies fore-uncles’ idea of table manners.

When the media chorus harmonizes it can be as mellifluous as a gay men’s choir, but there is usually a missing note in the chording. In this case I think that missing note is the true character of this moment. One has to remember those sexual outlaws of the seventies, and then recall that nobody young in the seventies, whether gay or straight, believed in marriage, other than practicing Christians. That homosexuals now want to come in out of the cold is hinted at in Brook’s column but nowhere else. Any such admission would require humility or even gratitude on the petitioners’ part to whomever-all it might have been kept the damn institution of marriage upright and afloat on the rough seas of the sexual revolution. But as any attorney advises: Concede nothing! And so the petition becomes one more in-your-face maneuver, even as it covertly counts on our uniquely American-style of Christian good will. Think of how the issue sets in Latin America, east Asia, south Asia, Russia, and black Africa, never mind the Islamic world before gagging at the very idea.

Middle class feminists and gay activists stole from black America’s march to basic civil rights and playacted their own liberation fantasy as farce. Now with regard to same-sex marriage gays are stealing something from women, something ancient and designed to protect the interests and shore up the vulnerabilities of both sexes in the parenting couple. Maybe “stealing” is too strong a word when feminists are so determined to give it away. Today for young women birth control is protection enough, leaving young men free to fuck around any old way they want, though I wouldn’t dignify it as sexual outlawry. As Sullivan might say, there’s just no backdrop context of a law-abiding citizenry anymore so there can be no brigandage. There’s merely a stylistic judgment of bad form made as if by the old hereditary ruling class. Much of the hipster mystique is just hetero theft of what gay mannerisms can help young bucks pose as user-friendly dildos to women with the upper hand. Marriage will still be around for these too as a kind of ambulatory retirement once they can’t swing it at the bars and cafés.

Next, whither moves the eternal battle for civil rights? Mormons and Muslims want to know. So do NAMBLA, the animal loving community, the Parental Infanticide Rights Organization, and the Mercy Killers of America.

Image: Financial Times, March 27, 2013 clipping (photos: Reuters/AFP)


The New Vulgate Top Ten
(Should really be a Top 40.)

1. New Vulgate #10

David Lightbourne – “Elvis Up North”; Joe Carducci – “Breakdown Lowdown: Upland Breakdown 10”; Chris Collins – “The FYF Fest 2009”; art by James Fotopoulos; art by Maya Carducci; photograph by Joe Carducci.

“The cops came out for Elvis in force, as did twelve thousand shrieking girls of all ages. From our folding metal seats, six rows back stage left, all the hall looked like a sea of young women. A high, box-like, unpainted temporary stage projected out from the wall at our end, maybe seven feet above the floor and fifteen-feet square. A cordon of police, arms locked, ringed the three exposed sides, hats well below stage level, with very little to worry about, on generous overtime. As our family entourage of six waited for the hall to totally fill and house lights go down, I scanned the stage and had a true shock of recognition. The microphone stand at center stage, a pro Atlas with the large, heavy base, rose only chest-high, where a horizontal extension rod held, side by side, a pair of large microphones, one at each end on stubs, about four feet apart. I knew those mikes well. Five years earlier an identical one had occupied the center of the table during our family’s daily breakfast radio show.”

2. New Vulgate #106

James Fotopoulos – “Thoughts on Tron”; Steve Beeho – “A Voicemail Hack Scandal Handbook of the Players for Americans”; art by James Fotopoulos; photography by Joe Carducci.

“And to this day I ask myself when making work = how much is that machine doing? The film stocks… The computer programs… Therefore the need to master the parts, control them, fracture and reduce them in order to repress the level of their influence and maintain a primitive core, so that these pieces move through and brush against the primal center as the maker weaves them into a whole. When I began to show my work I described what I was attempting to do as trying to “elevate a film above the machinery that creates it.” If one could master the breakdown and assembly of the parts, an “elevation” could occur = the creation of a unified whole, which creates tension in the viewer’s perception, pushing him back onto his own personal history and into a state of strangeness and unknowing. As I got older this was further complicated when it became clear that a lack of mastery can also achieve the same affect.”

3. New Vulgate #41

Bart Bull – “Fuck a Duck: A Flocking of Canards”; art by James Fotopoulos; photograph by Rodilla Tumanda; photograph by Joe Carducci.

“In 1928, Charles Pathé, announcing that film was no longer profitable, stripped Pathé Cinema down to a shell company and sold off its assets. Bernard Natan risked acquiring it, transforming it into the dynamic Pathé-Natan. He began purchasing theaters, sixty-two of them across France; in September of 1929, he produced France's first talkies, licensing RCA's sound system for his new theaters; he re-launched Pathé's newsreels and added sound to the pioneering international news source that would be both distributed and widely imitated worldwide and which would lead to television news; by November of 1929, he had created France's first television company; it developed a transmission of television using telephone lines. He funded the research that led to the anamorphic lens, which led to Cinemascope and the contemporary wide-screen film. He innovated what we would now call vertical integration, controlling not only the means of production but the production labs as well, and the distribution and the theaters themselves. By 1930, no longer so convinced it was impossible to make money with movies, Charles Pathé wanted his company back. Articles began to appear in the press, so many that they could surely be considered a well-organized campaign. Despite the fact that he'd been married to the same woman since 1909, despite the fact that he had two children, despite the fact that he made at least 60 major movies during the first half of the 1930s, he was now under steady attack: a Jew, an étranger, a pornographer, a pederast, perhaps even a foul violator of feathered fowl, and yet with his grasping grip clutching such an important economic institution of la France.”

4. New Vulgate #4

David Lightbourne – “The Little Sandy Review and the Birth of Rock Criticism”; Amy Annelle – “Okemah, Okfuskee Country, Oklahoma USA”; photograph by Glen E. Friedman; photograph by Chris Collins.

“Thus, from 1957 on, as “folk music” records suddenly multiplied, countless other pop artists acceded to this marketing bandwagon and rushed to record blatantly dubious “folk” albums of every conceivable description. Obliged to acknowledge these ersatz offerings and in the same breath dismiss them forever, Pankake and Nelson located their first enduring neologism at the intersection of genuine “folk” and carnival “hokum.” “Folkum” meant just what it sounded like it meant, and in its utter brevity implied far more. Readers never knew when the next howls of empty-calorie outrage would carry all the way to Minneapolis from some professional schlockmeister sitting on a stack of cheese-ball musical arrangements on the east or west coasts.”

5. New Vulgate #59

Steve Beeho – “Rough Trade Records”; Ray Farrell – “Rough Trade U.S.”; Joe Carducci – “Renaissance Records, Systematic Record Distribution, and Rough Trade”; Joseph Pope – “Tower Records, Systematic, and Rough Trade U.S.”

“A new, smaller, Independent Distribution system for rock music was a necessity in the mid-seventies. In fact the reigning powers that were/are made us reinvent the rock label, the club circuit, and radio outlets, too. We weren't good enough to air, though the Ramones can now be heard all over MLB PA systems. And after we and others did it we now have to hear it called by the diminutive ‘indie’, used as a flavor of college rock. If that's what it means then everything below is a lie.”

6. New Vulgate #45

Spot – “Tale of the White Snake”; Carolyn Heinze – “Attack of the Carpet Munchers”; Nick Hill – “Goose Hollow Blues”; Steve Beeho - “The Stooges, ‘Raw Power’, Hammersmith Apollo, London”; David Lightbourne RIP miscellany; art by James Fotopoulos; photograph by Bart Bull; photograph by Joe Carducci.

“As I stated early on, hot rod fare was de riguer for the average teenager in the early 60's and this beautiful little American hot rod happened to be manufactured within mere miles of where my family lived at the time. The Shelby-American plant was located on some undeveloped acreage in the middle of what was once swampland in Venice, California; not very far at all from the old Hughes Aircraft plant where Howard had built the legendary Spruce Goose. For some reason SoCal's post-WWII landscape not only invited real estate developers but also, and perhaps more significantly, encouraged Oddballs and Beat-Gennies to erect their "freak flags" ala coffeehouse cool, pinstriped ethical, flamed surfboard, the Dodgers have left Brooklyn and come here! Ecstasy! WOW! So why shouldn't a rabid Texan establish a foothold in the middle of a cultural hotbed of ideas that was already infecting the rest of the nation's sensibilities? It couldn't have been a better time and California was full of both dreamers and doers.”

7. New Vulgate #56

Jane Stokes – “In Cambridge, Mass. 1969”; Joe Carducci – “David Lightbourne and Outlaw Folk in Seventies’ Oregon”; Shaun Kelley – “David Loe Lightbourne: Folk Musicologist”; Mike Safran – “High Country Nail Puller”; Michael Hurley – “The InformaTon”; photographs by Chris Collins; art by James Fotopoulos; photographs by Liz Fitting; photographs by Joe Carducci.

“We weren’t political, as David reminded me later; from the different themes of the sixties -- political, music, black, drugs -- we were black and drugs. Johnny was black -- tall, thin with very black dark skin. He was always moving around quiet and graceful, finding small treasures with his eagle eyes. He and his cousins, who were never far behind, came from nearby Medford. By profession, Johnny was a silversmith. The exquisite hash pipe he made for David never left David’s hands. David called Johnny a true prince. Even after Johnny died a decade later, David continued to find new adjectives for him -- regal, judicious, wise. If you didn’t know Johnny, you would still want to luxuriate in David’s description of him. Johnny and David could talk forever-- fuckin’ this and fuckin’ that -- twenty times a fuckin’ sentence. David would gradually bring out his blues collection as the night went on, and they would comment together about back fuckin’ then in the 19 fucking 20s and it would go on all night from Robert Johnson to B.B. King. I would fall asleep in the hallway room where our mattress was, listening to their melodious circumlocutions all fuckin’ nightlong.”

8. New Vulgate #120

Joe Carducci – “Paul Nelson: First You Dream Then You Die”; art by James Fotopoulos; photograph by Joe Carducci.

“When friends want to chop me down to size they often insist I am just another rock critic, no better than all those guys I reamed in R&TPN. Paul was one of those deeper critics who so loved certain work by certain artists that he obsessed about jumping the fence and becoming the creator Satan’s compulsion. Lionel Trilling was a high culture version of this. He wrote fiction enough to realize his limitations and stopped, but he had options in the world of scholarly publishing that Paul did not. Paul had an ass-wipe like Wenner, or friends not much more solvent than he. My vague sense of Paul’s actual living situation, which I got from Lightbourne, was that he was trading off a more comfortable life by his determination to stay in Manhattan. I’ve moved all over west of Chicago, and not many knew this country more thoroughly than Dave, so we’d just shake our heads over what some folks will put up with. In their conversation on Lightbourne’s tapes Dave explores their common small town Midwestern origins and mentions how much he liked living in Laramie. He’d been dug deep into the Portland music-drug scene when I convinced him to leave it for his own good and my benefit. I could offer him free rent until he found his footing, an album deal of sorts, and Jane helped him with some emergency dentistry -- emergency because she didn’t want to be seen with him anymore. (Like Paul, Dave drank Coca-Cola as others drink coffee or alcohol.) Paul received similar help but Manhattan doesn’t allow for free rent.”

9. New Vulgate #78

Joe Carducci – “Pirates-Yankees Game 7, Oct. 1960”; photograph by Stephanie Smith; art by James Fotopoulos; photographs by Joe Carducci.

“We moved back to the Chicago area in 1956 and settled in Naperville the next year where Dad looked around at all the Germans and wondered if they’d allow an Italian to touch them. But it worked out great; they had nine kids, and Dad is well remembered and often out at a restaurant he is approached by former patients, so many he often couldn’t remember their names even before he developed Alzheimer’s. Mom worked at the office often enough in later years as my brother took over the practice to remember many of them though. Sometimes Mom or my sisters have to reassure him that he has no worries financially because that immigrant kid’s fearful drive can still surface. That and Alzheimer’s paranoia made caretakers and an anti-depressant necessary, so I moved back to Wyoming last spring. In November I linked to an interesting story about the discovery of a complete 16mm kinescope of Game 7 of the 1960 World Series when the Pirates beat the Yankees on Bill Mazeroski’s 9th inning home run -- the only time a World Series ended that way. Bing Crosby was part owner of the team which played at Forbes Field in those years. Crosby, the article related was too nervous to watch the game. The series was tied and the Yankees had crushed the Pirates three times while Pittsburgh had barely won three close games. Just before he stepped on a plane to Paris Crosby decided to have an assistant film the game just in case the unimaginable happened. The game is one of the only full baseball games filmed before the 1965 introduction of videotape. My Dad would’ve understand Crosby’s anxiety. He often listened to Bob Prince call the Pirates games on KDKA-AM in the car at night, or up in his room when reception permitted once games got important late in the season.”

10. New Vulgate #99

James Fotopoulos – “Alice in Wonderland”; Alan Licht – “Don Krim and Kino International c. 1990 (and beyond)”; Joe Carducci – “Christopher Hitchens-90% Atheist / 10% Socialist”; art by James Fotopoulos; photograph by Joe Carducci.

“In 2003 I was invited to an opening of an art exhibit and while wandering in the museum’s lower level, I stumbled upon a Lewis Carroll photography exhibit. A number of images struck me in what at the time they were created was probably perceived as amateurism and how now in the 21st century, this sense of the amateur was erased. It evolved into something completely different and not just because the technique used was unique, fragile and antiquated – but I felt a certain level of mastery in the repetition, construction and choice of the images. This fusion of both amateurish approach and mastery was at the heart, from my own experience, of the creative process – in a way the territory of the artist and his personal space – through this perception, this sense of the uncanny that I mentioned earlier is revealed. A line is created through time that emotionally connected me to the past (I had a similar sense of this when I saw Chaplin’s The Circus and I could see very clearly the makeup on his face and it filled me with a strange sense of horror) – revealing the similarities of the human experiences of the past – and through the images, sounds, colors – the ever present sense of decay and death.”

(Thanks to all our contributors over the last few years: David Lightbourne, Chris Collins, James Fotopoulos, Mike Safran, Mike Vann Gray, Steve Beeho, Bart Bull, Carolyn Heinze, Spot, Jane Stokes, Jack Hammond, Valbona Shujaku, Ray Farrell, Joseph Pope, Chris Carlsen, Henry Carlsen, Nina Carlsen, Mark Carducci, Nunzio Carducci, Maya Carducci, Dana Carducci, Alexandre Cohen, Travis, DB, Mike Watt, Glen E. Friedman, Jordan Mamone, Rebecca Pavlatos, Mike Wolf, Arthur Krim, Elliott Johnston, Pat Banks, Ben Hanna, Shaun Kelley, Carlo Prosperi, Amy Annelle, Michael Hurley, Jon Boshard, Janet Lynn, Alan Licht, Grace Krilanovich, Naomi Petersen, Chris Petersen, Jake Austen, Liz Fitting, Michael Lightbourne, Priscilla Lightbourne, Lindsay Olson, Al Rivers, Johnny Myers, David Buelow, David Fitschen, Chris Woods, Tamara L. Smith, Vincent Anton, Jean Chien, Jon Fine, Tan Nguyen, Kendra , Jan Leonhardt, Dan Burbach, Lee Ranaldo, Don Fausett, Anthony Collins, Jonathan Haynes, Rosetta Mason, Josh Mason, Doug Cawker, Kathryn Frederick, Tillie Whitt, Asakura Akira, Stephanie Smith, Rodilla Tumanda, Nick Hill, Gary Sisco, Cheshire Bat…)


List Addenda…

Top Five New Labels

Electric Cowbell Records (Brooklyn, NY) -jazz-funk imprint run like a punk rock label except the 45s are better looking.

Richie Records (Philadelphia, PA) -Nice mix of bands and one crazed wailing 2xLP: Birds of Maya – “Ready to Howl.”

Superior Viaduct (San Francisco, CA) -Nicely turned reissue label moving from SF to L.A. and beyond.

Feeding Tube Records (Easthampton, MA) -How is it the most experimental label is also the busiest?

Moniker Records (Chicago, IL) -The new ONO record sounds and looks great and there’s other good stuff too.

Centennial Valley from Sand Lake, Wyoming

Photo by Joe Carducci

From the London Desk of Steve Beeho…

Greg Ginn interview by Hank Shteamer at heavymetalbebop.com.

What was it about them that stood out?

Well, there wasn’t anything like it. I don’t know if you’d call it jazz or rock; it had a lot of classical influences too. It was kind of a fusion of more than rock and jazz. Just real powerful and I just loved the songs—the intensity of the songs. Sometimes I’ll just go back to it and have a Mahavishnu Orchestra phase. But I think that had a lot of impact, starting in ’72, ’73, something like that. They kind of had a groove. I love Rick Laird’s bass playing; I think it’s just amazing. And I think that was very key when you have a drummer like Billy Cobham who was really going off. He had good time, but he’s not really a groove drummer by any stretch, so having that kind of bass player that’s really not like later fusion bass players—I don’t like much in terms of later fusion. I like some Chick Corea and that kind of stuff, but I started in losing interest in all that. But I’ve always liked the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But when it started to smooth out… When you bring up metal and jazz, I see a lot more crossover between fusion and metal, and I’m probably not real big on that. As far as metal, I’d rather hear Ritchie Blackmore—with more groove. In that sense, my jazz influence is more the older jazz or the first wave of fusion.”


Robert Christgau at barnesandnoble.com on Richard Hell's book, I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp.

“Although he's self-deprecating about it of course -- mocking his early incompetence, shrugging that he ‘knew how to pick 'em’ -- Hell was New York punk's great ladies' man, and here again he scrupulously acknowledges his debts. Although his portraits of male musical buddies -- Tom Verlaine, Robert Quine, Johnny Thunders, Dee Dee Ramone, Lester Bangs, Peter Laughner -- are equalled only by Dylan's in the rock memoirs I've read, he's even more impressive honoring major girlfriends for a few paragraphs or pages: Patty (Mrs. Claes) Oldenburg schooling the artist as a young man; Marisol assistant Anni cushioning their amicable breakup; Aphrodite-with-money Jennifer Wylie and her nice apartment; gracious scenester-photographer Roberta Bayley (‘the prettiest breasts I've ever seen’); Stiletto and ‘slut (like me)’ Elda Gentile; supergroupie Sabel Starr (‘She truly lived for fun and joy, and the thing that was the most joyous of all to her was to make a meaningful rock musician happy’); lifelong beloved Lizzy Mercier (‘hair so wild and abundant it looked like it would have leaves and twigs in it’); ‘psycho fiend’ Nancy Spungen before she bagged Sid Vicious; dominatrix turned sub Anya Phillips before she bagged James Chance; rent-a-punk Paula Yates before she bagged Bob Geldof, shagged Michael Hutchence, and OD'd; photographer and future Mrs. David Johansen Kate Simon (‘I didn't treat her right’); big-hearted John Waters/Nan Goldin fetish object Cookie Mueller; childlike Dutch prostitute Liva; and the ‘stupendously generous’ Susan Springfield of the Erasers, who my wife and I would watch from our corner window walking sweetly hand-in-hand with Hell toward his apartment a few blocks east.”


Richard Williams at thebluemoment.com, "Double Exposure".

“Hell and Verlaine didn’t speak for a long time. ‘Tom was highly protected, well defended,’ Richard writes in a shrewd but hardly impartial assessment of his erstwhile partner’s temperament. ‘There are good things and bad things about that. It gave him a certain kind of integrity — he wasn’t going to be blown around by fashion, he was discreet and reliable, but it made him really difficult to work with or be friends with. He was afraid of infection and robbery, so he lived in this high, remote, walled-in place, which enabled him to look down on everybody else… I respected his abilities and valued his friendship, but his coldness and egotism came more and more to the fore as he began to get more public attention. He was a lot easier to get along with before strangers started admiring him.’ Maybe Hell saw me as one of those strangers. I didn’t keep up with him because his side of the new wave didn’t interest me greatly, but I listen to everything Verlaine does in order to see if he’s still trying to get closer to the ideal version of what Hell calls his ‘crystal-clear crisp sweet-guitar suites’. In my view he came nearest to such perfection in Television’s 1992 reunion album, in great songs such as ‘Shane, She Wrote This’, ‘1880 or So’, ‘No Glamour for Willi’ and ‘Call Mr Lee’.”


Ben Watson at ukant.com, "Anti-Wire".

“A drunk Evan Parker once tried to turn a whole roomful of free improvisors against me because I'd written a book on Frank Zappa. Sober, his line on reviews is that it's 'damaging' to write any negative reviews of Free Improv events or releases, because it's a form which must be protected and nurtured. This is like SWP members being told to stop talking about rape allegations. It's a ridiculous injunction on a writer or indeed anybody, who should be told to follow their conscience and tell the truth as they see it. How stupid Parker's line is was proved when the London Musicians Collective started issuing a magazine. It named this radio station: Resonance. Pages and pages of mates extolling each others' albums? Reading it was stomach-churning, I tell you. And economic nonsense too. The only people it could convince to buy albums were the musicians, and they all expect to get them free anyway.”


Billy Childish interview at thewhitereview.org.

“The White Review — You have often been referred to as an outsider but you have said that this label is a bit patronising, that instead you’re the ultimate insider. Do you think living outside of London, living in a provincial town has affected the way you are perceived?

Billy Childish — Possibly, but my contention is that London and major cities are the most provincial places on earth because they’re full of provincials trying to make out that they’re not provincial. For years and years we came to London every week to play music and I’d always deplored Londoners because they had no sense of humour and worried about everything. Then we had a Londoner join our group, ‘You’ve never met any Londoners,’ he said. ‘These po-faced bastards aren’t from London! Laughing] These people have come from the provinces desperate to appear not provincial.’ In a way major cities are magnets for the provincial and the worldly people stay in the provinces. Or some of us do.”


Gerard Cosloy in CONFLICT #53.

“Over the course of 52 issues (1979-1991), with a slight hiatus in the mid-’80’s), Conflict was one of the most overrated fanzines of the era. Sure, there were funny moments here & there (over the final dozen or so issues at least), but the early years were mostly typified by horrible writing and lousy taste. There were slight improvements towards the end, but none of it was helped by a generally bullying tone and a penchant for petty vendettas. It is my fervent hope that with this possibly (HOPEFULLY) final issue, Conflict will experience some measure of redemption.”


Vice’s Shane Smith interview in GUARDIAN.

Vice has come an awful long way from its origins as a free and underground music magazine in Smith's native Montreal 20 years ago. He created it with a couple of friends – having persuaded the city fathers to let them take over an earnest community title called the Voice. In the two decades since Vice dropped its middle ‘o’ it has grown from being a ‘hipsters' bible’, given away on street corners and in record stores, to a global brand with offices in 34 countries. The high-traffic online and documentary film incarnations of the Vice sensibility are about to spawn a 24-hour terrestrial news channel available in 18 countries. A documentary series in partnership with august HBO will include the Rodman and McAfee films. There is also a record label and an ad agency, Virtue, which numbers Nike and Dell among its clients. Announcing some of those departures at an industry event in Abu Dhabi last year, Smith envisioned ‘a changing of the guard within the media,’ and announced his ambition for Vice to become both the largest online media network in the world and ‘the voice of the angry youth’.”

Burbank and LA from the Verdugos

Photo by Chris Collins

Drawing by James Fotopoulos

From the Wyoming Desk of Joe Carducci…

Abigail Pesta in WSJ, "Looking for Something Useful to Do With Your Time? Don’t Try This".

“In a world dominated by smarter and smarter gadgets, one of the dumbest machines on earth is making a quiet comeback. Invented in the 1950s by an artificial-intelligence expert, the device is known as the ‘useless machine.’ It is typically a small box with an on/off switch and a hinged lid. Turn on the switch and a lever pops out, turns off the switch, then retreats. That is the machine's sole purpose: You turn it on, and it turns itself off. Largely forgotten for a half-century, the useless machine is now finding a new purpose: entertaining a subculture of people who want to build their own. In the past few years, people around the world have created versions of the machine, boasting of their work with videos online.”


smartertimes.com: "Palm Oil Doughnuts".

“A Times news article reports on a successful campaign by the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, to convince Dunkin' Donuts to remove ‘environmentally destructive’ palm oil from its doughnut recipe. The Times article reports that palm oil's production has ‘in some places" led "to the destruction of rainforests and increased greenhouse gas emissions.’ The article further reports that Dunkin' Donuts began using the palm oil ‘in 2007 when it moved to rid its menu of trans fats.’ Now why, one wonders, would Dunkin' Donuts have ‘moved to rid its menu of trans fats’ in 2007? The Times article doesn't mention it, but that is when Mayor Bloomberg's ban on trans fats went into effect. Include that fact, and the story becomes one about the unintended consequences of government action, and how a trans fat ban intended to improve public health by reducing heart disease wound up wreaking environmental destruction and perhaps even death (if you think Sandy was a result of climate change) by increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, as presented by the Times, the story is about a government official intervening to protect the fragile rainforest from a corporation that would otherwise ravage it.”


Sean Collins at spiked-online.com, "Scourge of the Elites".

“He was raising a question that continues today: has the decline of the family been liberating for people? He argued no: the family has been unravelling, but alternative arrangements that have emerged in its wake, such as co-habitation, are accommodations to the family’s demise rather than positive and viable forms of commitment. More broadly, he was critical of the state’s encroachment on all aspects of family life. The ‘helping professions’ were practitioners of a new form of ‘priestcraft’ that ‘undermined the family’s capacity to provide for itself’, he said. For example, schools had become a vehicle for the state to override the family: ‘The school claims to be able to teach you how to live, how to cook, drive a car, get along with people, and all the other things that were formerly left, wisely, to agencies better equipped for this kind of training.’”


Christopher Duggan in TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT on Lucy Hughes-Hallett’s book, "The Pike – Gabriele d’Annunzio, Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War".

“There was a tragic irony in Italy’s cultural drift at this time. In the wake of unification in the 1860s the most respected arbiters of the nation’s civic values had called for sober realism after the “poetry” of the Risorgimento. The country needed, they said, to address the complex social and economic problems confronting it with harsh sobriety and not succumb to the old traditions of rhetoric in which words began to drift free from thought (and morality) and become vehicles for the generation of emotion. But many of the most influential cultural figures from the 1870s vented their disappointment with what they saw as the paltriness of the new Italy with grandiloquent appeals for glory and escape from the dull ‘prose’ of liberal politics. As Giosuè Carducci, Italy’s most revered poet until his death in 1907 (when D’Annunzio publicly assumed his mantle as national ‘prophet-bard’), famously put it, the country had called out in the Risorgimento for ‘Rome’ – with its attendant associations of greatness and strength – but instead had been saddled with “Byzantium” – flaccid, weak and corrupt.”


Leon Wieseltier in NEW REPUBLIC, "A Darwinist Mob Goes After a Serious Philosopher".

“Is there a greater gesture of intellectual contempt than the notion that a tweet constitutes an adequate intervention in a serious discussion? But when Thomas Nagel’s formidable book Mind and Cosmos recently appeared, in which he has the impudence to suggest that ‘the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false,’ and to offer thoughtful reasons to believe that the non-material dimensions of life – consciousness, reason, moral value, subjective experience – cannot be reduced to, or explained as having evolved tidily from, its material dimensions, Steven Pinker took to Twitter and haughtily ruled that it was ‘the shoddy reasoning of a once-great thinker,’ Fuck him, he explained. Here was a signal to the Darwinist dittoheads that a mob needed to be formed.”


Nicholas Wade in NYT, "An Anthropologist’s War Stories".

“Men form coalitions to gain access to women. Because some men will be able to have many wives, others must share a wife or go without, creating a great scarcity of women. This is why Yanomamo villages constantly raid one another. The raiding over women creates a more complex problem, that of maintaining the social cohesion required to support warfare. A major cause of a village’s splitting up is fights over women. But a smaller village is less able to defend itself against larger neighbors. The most efficient strategy to keep a village both large and cohesive through kinship bonds is for two male lineage groups to exchange cousins in marriage. Dr. Chagnon found that this is indeed the general system practiced by the Yanomamo. After overtaxing one of his informants, the shaman Dedeheiwa, about the reason for a succession of village fissions into smaller hostile groups, Dr. Chagnon found himself rebuked with the outburst, ‘Don’t ask such stupid questions! Women! Women! Women! Women! Women!’”


Ross Douthat in NYT, "The Secrets of Princeton".

“Every elite seeks its own perpetuation, of course, but that project is uniquely difficult in a society that’s formally democratic and egalitarian and colorblind. And it’s even more difficult for an elite that prides itself on its progressive politics, its social conscience, its enlightened distance from hierarchies of blood and birth and breeding. Thus the importance, in the modern meritocratic culture, of the unacknowledged mechanisms that preserve privilege, reward the inside game, and ensure that the advantages enjoyed in one generation can be passed safely onward to the next. The intermarriage of elite collegians is only one of these mechanisms — but it’s an enormously important one. The outraged reaction to her comments notwithstanding, Patton wasn’t telling Princetonians anything they didn’t already understand. Of course Ivy League schools double as dating services.”


Helen Rittelmeyer in FIRST THINGS, "Sex in the Meritocracy".

“This overachiever’s mentality has also determined campus attitudes toward sex. Few notice the connection, because the end result—sexual permissiveness—is the same as it was in the sixties and seventies, when the theme of campus culture was not overachievement but liberation, and the eighties and early nineties, when it was postmodernism and the overthrow of all value judgments. The notorious Yale institution known as Sex Week—a biennial series of sex toy demonstrations, student lingerie shows, and lectures by pornographers—wouldn’t have been out of place in either of these eras. Consequently, Yale’s sexual culture is often mistaken for mere depravity by outside observers who assume that it is just another byproduct of moral relativism. It would be more accurate to say that Yale students treat sex as one more arena in which to excel, an opportunity not just to connect but to impress.”


Ann Friedman at newrepublic.com on Emily Matchar’s book, "Homeward Bound – Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity".

“For all of the profiles of “lushly bearded” artisanal chocolate-makers in Brooklyn and Portlandia sketches about avian accessories, broadly speaking we still associate domesticity with female subservience, usually with a religious bent. Matchar shows that this isn’t quite right. While many of the gurus of the new domesticity have deeply conservative religious ties—the greatest concentration of Etsy sellers is in Provo; the founder of attachment parenting is a conservative Christian; a disproportionate number of popular mommy bloggers are Mormon—the newer practitioners of the new domesticity are just as likely to be avowed liberals. Many of the women, despite nominally occupying a far-left niche of the ideological spectrum, venerate an idea of authentic femininity rooted in nurturing, and chalk up their traditional gender-role breakdown to natural inclinations.”


Maria Massi Dakake in FIRST THINGS on Tom Holland’s book, "In the Shadow of the Sword – The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire".

“If Holland’s thesis about Bakka places the geographical origin of the Islamic movement closer to Byzantine territory, his focus on the Qur’an’s reference to the Persian defeat of the Byzantines gives him not only a temporal marker, but also a possible catalyst for the origin of the movement. Since this is the only independently corroborated historical event mentioned in the Qur’an, Holland argues that it must be integrally significant to the early Arab-Islamic movement. Holland suggests that the Arabs drawn to Muhammad’s movement were tribesmen who had been part of a federation (shirkah, or shirkat, as Holland renders it) of Arabs allied with the Byzantines and working to secure its southern border. He speculates that these Arab ‘confederates’ were likely paid handsomely for their service to the Byzantines, but when the Persians overran substantial portions of the Byzantine Empire in the early seventh century, the confederates lost this valuable income and were ripe for new, more profitable modes of association, which Muhammad offered them with his movement. Holland argues that those tribesmen who were initially reluctant to abandon the confederation were none other than the mushrikun, Muhammad’s most implacable religious opponents in the Qur’an, where they are identified with the pagan and polytheistic Arabs of Mecca.”


Kanan Makiya in NYT, "The Arab Spring Started in Iraq".

“To see the connection between the overthrow of Mr. Hussein in 2003 and the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, one must go back to 1990, when Iraq’s army marched into Kuwait. The first gulf war — in which an American-led coalition ousted Iraq’s occupying army — enjoyed the support of most Arab governments, but not of their populations. Mr. Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait threatened the order that had kept authoritarian regimes in power for decades and Arab leaders were willing to fight to restore it. Citizens tend to rally around their leaders when faced with external attacks. But Iraqis didn’t. Millions of Iraqis rose up against Mr. Hussein following the 1991 war, and did what was then unthinkable: they called upon the foreign forces that had been bombing them to help rid them of their own dictator. Mr. Hussein’s brutal response to the 1991 uprising killed tens of thousands of Iraqis. For the first time, the rhetoric used by Mr. Hussein’s so-called secular nationalist regime turned explicitly sectarian, a forerunner of what we see in Syria today.”


Jacob Collins in NEW LEFT REVIEW, "The Other French Theory".

“Clastres put the political at the very origins of human society in his research on Amerindian chiefdom. He argued, contrary to existing anthropological canons, that primitive societies were not just stateless, but were specifically against the state – a refusal of power that revealed a complex political attitude among societies that pre-existed the state form. This insight was the impetus behind Gauchet’s early work: ‘I was convinced’, he wrote many years later, ‘that this enigma of primitive politics – politics in the apparent absence of politics – contained the keys to the understanding of our political condition. It’s on this wager that I staked my intellectual career. The rest came as a solution that I believed could answer this problem.’ Gauchet supplemented Clastres’ work by focusing on the religious origins of political reason. In the religious structure of primitive societies, founded on the separation of the visible from the invisible, the here from the above, Gauchet detected the origins of the state: ‘In this primordial knot, the political and the religious illuminate one another.’”


Robert Paxton in NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS on Cecile Desprairies’ book "The Heritage of Vichy – One Hundred Measures That Are Still in Force".

“The Vichy regime was a welfare state. L’Héritage de Vichy serves as a useful reminder that the welfare state was not originally a socialist or Communist project. It was introduced into European political life from the right, first by Bismarck, with sickness and accident insurance in imperial Germany in 1883–1884, and emulated by Count Eduard von Taaffe in the Austrian Empire in 1887. Bismarck had just outlawed the German Social Democratic Party, and his intention was to eliminate its reason for being as well as to consolidate a paternalist and statist social order. Continental European Marxists opposed piecemeal welfare measures as likely to dilute worker militancy without changing anything fundamental about the distribution of wealth and power. It was only after World War II, when they abandoned Marxism (in 1959 in West Germany, for example), that continental European socialist parties and unions fully accepted the welfare state as their ultimate goal.”


Barton Swaim in WSJ on Leszek Kolakowski’s book, "Is God Happy? ".

“The collection begins with a grouping of nine essays examining the Western responses to Soviet communism. One of these, ‘What Is Socialism?’ (1956), enjoyed a long notoriety within the Polish underground. It is a satirical enumeration of things that socialism wasn't supposed to be: ‘a state whose neighbors curse geography’; ‘a state that produces superb jet planes and lousy shoes’; ‘a state whose philosophers and writers always say the same things as the generals and ministers, but always after the latter have said them.’ The essay was posted for a brief time on a bulletin board at Warsaw University, where Kolakowski taught, before being taken down by government minders. Twelve years later its author was pushed out of Polish academic life altogether, freed to take positions in England and North America. To those younger than 35, communism must seem like some ridiculous hoax. How could so many Western intellectuals have defended an ideology—and defended it into the late 1980s—that had never produced anything but economic devastation, cultural perversion and mass murder? And yet they did. In ‘Genocide and Ideology,’ from 1977, Kolakowski asked why Soviet communism attracted so many artists and intellectuals and Nazism so few. He pointed out that Nazism at least stated its aims straightforwardly: Nazis promoted Teutonic racial superiority and the conquest of Europe. Communism, on the other hand, ‘never preached conquest, only liberation from oppression; it never extolled the state as a value in itself, only stressed the necessity of reinforcing the state as an indispensable lever to destroy the enemies of freedom.’ All it took to gain the loyalty of influential writers and thinkers, in other words, was some heavy-handed rhetorical legerdemain.”


Tod Lindberg in POLICY REVIEW, "Left 3.0".

“Though largely unspoken, the Left’s implicit acceptance of limiting principles for its egalitarianism now constitutes one of its key strengths and is the first element that distinguishes Left 3.0 from its progenitors. The acceptance of limiting principles allows the Left to avoid the temptation of radicalism. It keeps the Left in ‘the system.’ The Left’s ambition is to obtain majority political support — no more, no less. The Revolution has been canceled. ‘The system is the solution.’ The Democratic Party is the sole legitimate representative of the aspirations of Left 3.0. There are, no doubt, a few aging radicals who still dream of sweeping the whole capitalist system away and starting over. But never in the history of the Left have such views been so marginal. Once the vanguard of the Left, the radicals are now its pets. Violence on the Left seems largely confined to scuffles during demonstrations, and indeed, the Left is now heavily vested in the proposition that the real danger of political violence comes from the extreme right. Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, casts a longer shadow now than any remnant of the Weather Underground. The last thing Left 3.0 would wish to be thought is dangerous.”


Christopher Caldwell in BOOKFORUM on Angus Burgin’s book, "The Great Persuasion – Reinventing Free Markets Since the Depression".

“But where Hayek had been diffident and tragical, Friedman was ebullient and constructive. His rise marked an end to the Mount Pelerin Society’s – and to conservatism’s – attempt to reconcile capitalism and traditional values. Friedman didn’t solve the contradictions; he just failed to see them. As Bertrand de Jouvenel put it around this time, the society ‘had turned increasingly to a Manicheism according to which the State can do no good and private enterprise can do no wrong.’ It was now a much more efficient engine of battle and a much less interesting intellectual movement.”


Janan Ganesh in FT, "The Iron Lady Towers Over the Country She Reshaped".

“Still, most of the grievances fudge the essential reality that the UK needed to go through some approximation of what came to be known as Thatcherism. That became obvious not as late as the winter of discontent in 1978, but in 1976, when the world’s first industrial nation had to go to the International Monetary Fund for a loan. The remaining question then becomes the manner in which the painful reforms were executed, and here there is too much cant that goes unchallenged. “Divisive” – the charge that dogs Thatcher like no other – is the most feeble, mealy-mouthed word in politics. It is almost impossible to do anything significant without enraging some people. Attlee’s creation of the NHS was divisive – it angered much of the medical establishment – but that does not mean it was wrong. Even Thatcher’s moderate critics sometimes indulge the fantasy that her reforms could have been undertaken consensually, as though the National Union of Mineworkers and hard-left local councils were led by biddable technocrats aching to strike a bargain. It is true she lacked her friend Ronald Reagan’s flair for radiating emollience while shaking up a country, but he himself became a villain to many Americans.”


David Brooks in NYT, "The Axis of Ennui".

“My main impression over the past five years is that the conference circuit capitalists who give fantastic presentations have turned out to be marginal to history while the people who are too boring and unfashionable to get invited to the conferences in the first place have actually changed the world under our noses. Shai Agassi’s company, Better Place, for example, has generated glowing magazine profiles, but it has managed to lose more than $500 million while selling astoundingly few cars…. Meanwhile, the anonymous drudges at American farming corporations are exporting $135 billion worth of products every year and transforming the American Midwest.”


Paul Berman in NYT on Marie Arana’s book, "Bolivar – American Liberator".

“Indian warriors with bows and arrows made up a portion of his armies, and Indian women a large portion of his camp followers. Slaves and the descendants of slaves from Africa played a central role in the war, sometimes fighting on the Spanish royalist side, ultimately on Bolívar’s republican side; and the spirit of conspiracy being what it was, he executed the finest of his black republican generals. Unfortunate executions apart, Bolívar’s positions on slavery and race were in every respect superior to Washington’s. At a moment when the anti-Spanish struggle seemed hopeless, the president of Haiti, Alexandre Pétion, came to Bolívar’s aid (as no president of the United States ever managed to do, which is pitiful to see), and Bolívar responded in 1816 by ordering the abolition of slavery, not merely for strategic reasons. Arana quotes a speech from 1819: ‘Our people are nothing like Europeans or North Americans; indeed we are more a mixture of Africa and America than we are children of Europe.’”


Mark Smith in WSJ on Walter Johnson’s book, "River of Dark Dreams".

“Mr. Johnson's appreciation of the global and imperial aspirations of Mississippi Valley slaveholders helps us to make sense of the events leading up to the Civil War. These ‘full-throttle capitalists’ were filled with expansionist zeal. Valley planters and politicians made dedicated efforts to overthrow Cuba's Spanish colonial government in the 1850s. They feared what might happen if the anti-slavery British gained control of Cuba. Emancipation there might inspire slave insurrections and even race wars in their own part of the world. More optimistically, they thought Cuba could be the key to further economic success, valley-style. ‘It is sufficient to look over the extensive valley of the Mississippi,’ wrote one supporter of annexation, ‘to understand that the natural direction of its growth, the point of connection of its prodigious European commerce and of its rational defense, is Cuba.’ So, too, with Nicaragua. If Cuba functioned as the imperial slaveholders' transatlantic connection, Nicaragua, at least in the conviction of William Walker (who invaded the country in 1855, proclaimed himself president and promptly reinstituted slavery), represented the slaveholders' ambitions to link to the Pacific. (Walker was overthrown by local troops and shot in Honduras in 1860 after another attempt to establish a colony.) Louisiana and Mississippi slaveholders were keen to reopen the African slave trade in the late 1850s, which, the thinking went, would allow more whites to own slaves and dilute the tensions from an emerging class of slaveless whites.”


David Stockman in NYT, "State-Wrecked: The Corruption of Capitalism in America".

“These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net. All this would require drastic deflation of the realm of politics and the abolition of incumbency itself, because the machinery of the state and the machinery of re-election have become conterminous.”


Ishmael Reed in NYT, "Neo-Classical Republicanism".

“The original Republicans were born from a challenge to the far right — Lincoln gained influence by criticizing the Know-Nothing Party, the far right of his time. The same could happen today, gaining millions of adherents tired of the right’s racism and the left’s big-government stereotypes. Call it ‘neo-Classical Republicanism.’ The door is wide open. As Mr. Obama’s critics on the black left have noted, blacks haven’t benefited from his presidency as much as other factions of the Democratic coalition. He’s less of a Malcolm X than a Booker T. Washington, who would have endorsed the president’s belief that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Yet most of Mr. Obama’s black critics, mainly from academia, want him only to move further left; they seem to lack confidence in the ability of blacks to create businesses, when blacks have been operating businesses since colonial times. Since 1979, when I moved to inner-city Oakland, I’ve observed the work ethic of those residents holding legitimate low-wage jobs as well as those engaged in the underground economy.”


Michael Ames in HARPER’S, "The Awakening".

“Ron Paul insists that he is the only true small-government conservative on the national stage. But listening to Schottenheimer and White, I had the disorienting thought that the man Jon Stewart once diagnosed as ‘Tea Party patient zero’ might also be the only compelling liberal among recent presidential candidates, or at least the only one who seems genuinely interested in pushing certain causes that progressives hold dear. President Obama claims that his administration reformed the financial industry, yet his Wall Street fund-raising suggests that the banks know well they have nothing to fear from him. Five years after ‘Too big to fail,’ the biggest banks are all larger than before. Yesterday’s moral hazards have become tomorrow’s federal guarantees.”


Elizabeth Hoffman in NYT, "Come Home, America".

“Everyone talks about getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan. But what about Germany and Japan? The sequester — $85 billion this year in across-the-board budget cuts, about half of which will come from the Pentagon — gives Americans an opportunity to discuss a question we’ve put off too long: Why we are still fighting World War II?”


Ron Rosenbaum in SMITHSONIAN on Bernard Bailyn’s book, "The Barbarous Years".

“‘The ferocity of that little war is just unbelievable,’ Bailyn says. ‘The butchering that went on cannot be explained by trying to get hold of a piece of land. They were really struggling with this central issue for them, of the advent of the Antichrist.’ Suddenly, I felt a chill from the wintry New England air outside enter into the warmth of his study. The Antichrist. The haunting figure presaging the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation plays an important part in Bailyn’s explanation of the European settlers’ descent into unrestrained savagery. The key passage on this question comes late in his new book when Bailyn makes explicit a connection I had not seen before: between the physical savagery the radical dissenting Protestant settlers of America wreaked on the original inhabitants, and the intellectual savagery of their polemical attacks on the church and state authorities they fled from in Europe—and the savagery of vicious insult and vile denunciation they wreaked upon each other as well. ‘The savagery of the [theological] struggle, the bitterness of the main contenders and the deep stain it left on the region’s collective memory’ were driven by ‘elemental fears peculiar to what was experienced as a barbarous environment—fears of what could happen to civilized people in an unimaginable wilderness...in which God’s children [as they thought of themselves] were fated to struggle with pitiless agents of Satan, pagan Antichrists swarming in the world around them.’”


Michael Lewis in NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS on John Lanchester’s book, "Capital".

“Nothing functioned properly; everything that wasn’t broken was about to fall apart. The food was almost deliberately inedible, an inside joke cooked up by the locals to see what human beings would willingly consume. (I had a friend from Manhattan who said that every time he passed a British sandwich shop ‘I want to go in and strangle the owner.’) And the most extraordinary anticommercial attitudes could be found, in places that existed for no purpose other than commerce. There was a small grocery store around the corner from my flat, which carried a rare enjoyable British foodstuff, McVities’ biscuits. One morning the biscuits were gone. ‘Oh, we used to sell those,’ said the very sweet woman who ran the place, ‘but we kept running out, so we don’t bother anymore.’ If you had to pick a city on earth where the American investment banker did not belong, London would have been on any shortlist. In London, circa 1980, the American investment banker had going against him not just widespread commercial lassitude but the locals’ near-constant state of irony.”


Olivier Guez in NYT, "Are There Any Europeans Left? ".

“In important ways, the Europe of 1913 was more cosmopolitan and European than the Europe of today. Ideas and nationalities mingled and converged in a hotbed of creativity. That year saw the height of Futurism, the beginnings of abstraction in Picasso and Braque, the debut of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring,’ the publication of ‘Swann’s Way’ by Proust. Collaborations to uncover science’s deepest secrets jumped borders easily. The architecture of imperial Austria and republican France found imitators in smaller gems of cities throughout Central and Southern Europe; they were called Little Vienna or Little Paris. And there were large communities of cosmopolitan expatriates — ‘passeurs’ between cultures, notably urbanized Jews, as well as German minorities, scattered throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Though prejudice ran deep and they were harshly mistreated in many places, in others they could identify as citizens of a broader European group, not merely the land they inhabited, and aspire to respect and comfort. Later, at the hands of totalitarians, most of the Jews would be slaughtered, and the Germans — like other groups — deported to their country of origin. Alongside their greater crimes, Hitler and Stalin thus did their parts to erase the idea of cosmopolitanism as the old Europe had understood it. Which makes the usual starting point of the modern European narrative — the rubble of 1945 — all the more poignant.”


Michael Pettis in FT, "Why the World Needs Reckless Bankers".

“Banks, after all, act as middlemen between savers, who value stability above all, and borrowers, who usually want to take risks with their loans. History suggests he was right. No growing economy has sustained a stable financial system. In fact, long-term wealth creation accrues most to societies in which the financial system most willingly funds risk-taking entrepreneurs. But the more a financial system is willing to finance risky new ventures, the greater the likelihood of banking instability. That, perhaps, is why the system that delivered the subprime crisis also funded the computing and internet revolutions. The Belgian historian Raymond de Roover once explained that, in the 19th century, ‘reckless banking, while causing many losses to creditors, speeded up the economic development of the United States, while sound banking may have retarded the economic development of Canada’.”


David Pilling in FT, "Abe Is Right to Take From the Old and Give to the Young".

“One objection to ‘Abenomics’, the reflationary creed adopted by Japan's new government, is that it will erode hard-earned savings. Instead of simply grabbing them over the weekend - as has become fashionable in certain parts of Europe - the government hopes to siphon them off gradually through gentle inflation. This is a dastardly plan. It is unlikely to prove popular with the over-60s, who make up a quarter of Japan's population, but who control two-thirds of its vast household assets. It is a good idea all the same. The reason for welcoming this intergenerational theft is that, for 20 years, Japan has prioritised the interests of older generations over younger ones. That is not only unfair. Penalising youth is also not the best way to build a nation's future.”


Joseph Chamie at yaleglobal, "US Could Be World’s Most Populous Country".

“If immigration to America were increased to 10 million immigrants per year throughout the remainder of this century, the demographic result would be a US population of about 940 million by 2060 and 1.60 billion by the close the 21st century (see Figure 1). The world’s second and third largest populations in 2100 are projected to be India, 1.55 billion, and China, 0.94 billion.

However, if in the coming decades America continues with net immigration of about 1.2 million annually, as currently assumed, the US population would reach 420 million by year 2060. Although this projected growth would be an increase of more than 100 million, the US population would fall to fourth place as Nigeria takes over the number three position with a projected population of 460 million in 2060. The populations of the three countries currently larger than Nigeria – Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan – are expected to peak around midcentury and begin declining thereafter due to projected low fertility rates falling below replacement levels. Also in the longer term, the gap between projected US population, with 1.2 million immigrants annually, versus the larger US population, with 10 million immigrants annually, widens rapidly, resulting in a difference of 1.1 billion Americans at the close of the century.”


Ian Johnson in NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, "Will the Chinese Be Supreme? ".

“Luttwak argues that China’s growth will cause countries to band together and stymie its rise. Just as nineteenth-century Germany’s economic and military growth caused one-time enemies like France and England to ally with each other (and England to swallow its disgust over tsarist Russia’s primitive repression of human rights and make friends with it), China’s beeline to the top is already causing a reaction, as we see with Japan and the Philippines, not to mention the new welcome being shown to the United States in the region. Why doesn’t China change course? Here is one of Luttwak’s most interesting ideas, which he calls ‘great-state autism’—the failure of powers to break free of ways of acting and behaving. Just as Wilhelminian Germany should surely have seen that building a blue-water navy would cause Britain to form alliances against it, so too should China understand that demanding control over islands far from its shores but close to its neighbors’ would cause a backlash. (Here one thinks not so much of the Senkaku/Diaoyus but of the shoals, reefs, and islets in the South China Sea.) Even the battle for the Senkaku-Diaoyus seems to have no satisfactory endgame for China except a permanent state of tension with its most important neighbor.”


Lamido Sanusi in FT, "Africa Must Get Real About Its Romance with China".

“The days of the Non-Aligned Movement that united us after colonialism are gone. China is no longer a fellow under-developed economy – it is the world’s second-biggest, capable of the same forms of exploitation as the west. It is a significant contributor to Africa’s deindustrialisation and underdevelopment. My father was Nigeria’s ambassador to Beijing in the early 1970s. He adored Chairman Mao Zedong’s China, which for him was one in which the black African – seen everywhere else at the time as inferior – was worthy of respect. His experience was not unique. A romantic view of China is quite common among African imaginations – including mine. Before his sojourn in Beijing, he was the typical Europhile, committed to a vision of African ‘progress’ defined by replicating western ways of doing things. Afterwards, when he became permanent secretary in the external affairs ministry, the influence of China’s anti-colonial stance was written all over the foreign policy he crafted, backing liberation movements in Portuguese colonies and challenging South Africa’s apartheid regime. This African love of China is founded on a vision of the country as a saviour, a partner, a model. But working as governor of Nigeria’s central bank has given me pause for thought.”


Ali Sadrzadeh at qantara.de, "A Tsunami of Atheism".

“The official campaign against ‘false mysticism’ was started more than two years ago personally by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. He spent a week in the holy city of Ghom in October 2010, where he met with a number of Grand Ayatollahs. On the last day of his visit, he gave a keynote address to theology students in which he said, ‘The prevalence of licentiousness, the propagation of false mysticism, and the so-called house churches are attempts undertaken by the Zionists and other enemies to fight against Islam.’ As soon as he left the city, which is seen as the main centre of Shiite scholarship, one Ayatollah after another issued a fatwa against ‘false mysticism’, declaring that the propagation of its teachings meant apostasy and sacrilege. In spite of repression, the numbers who seek their salvation in sects or other religious minorities continues to grow. The number of New Christians who organise themselves in underground churches is believed to have increased significantly in recent years. According to the website of the evangelical organisation ‘Open Doors’, the number of Christians in Iran has risen from 300,000 to 460,000. There's no evidence for the figures, but the trend towards faiths other than Islam is unmistakable.”


CHICAGO TRIBUNE Gallery: "Union Station stopovers".


Johan Kugelberg at PERFECT SOUND FOREVER, "60’s Punk Compilations".
“I started buying '60's Punk/garage compilations in the fall of 1982. Friends of mine pointed out that you could purchase cut-out copies of Nuggets in its Sire Records incarnation, as well as cheap copies of Pebbles volume 9 and 10 from Ginza, the biggest of the Swedish cut-out mail order houses, where we furthermore bought cheapo copies of albums by the Seeds, the Sonics, the Chocolate Watch Band and the Standells. My friends, who were older than me, provided context for the albums (‘so you think you are a punk kid, you know nothing’) and motivated us to form a band playing Count Five, Seeds and Kim Fowley covers. The first two volumes of Back From The Grave were purchased in '83/'84, and were so much better than anything else on the market, that I remember the listening experience ended up feeling a bit baffling. To this day, as most collectors of the genre will attest, nothing else comes close, pretty much. And in that 'pretty much' I compile this list of my favorite '60's punk/garage compilations with the BFTGs on top. The '60's punk compilation narrative also contains the fascinating story of independent record shops of the 1980's, especially those that put together mail order catalogues. In Sweden, it was Musik & Konst in Malmö, which was one of the few outlets in the old country for you to obtain '60's punk comps, alongside obscure U.S.-import seven-inchers, fanzines and bootleg LP's by the Velvets and the Cramps. As I spent my teen years in the absolute boonies, these mail order catalogues were lifelines of hep, and they also provided aesthetic directives in a manner much more efficient (and important to us) than the Brit music weeklies, radio, or even fanzines.”


Andy Langer in NYT, "Psychedelia Redux for Billy Gibbons and His Old Band".

Q. The set list featured the Jimi Hendrix songs ‘Foxy Lady’ and ‘Red House.’ I imagine that’s a nod to the fact that Hendrix championed the Moving Sidewalks in the press, toured with you and invited you to jam.

A. We’ll always cherish that time. It was like school. We were front and center watching a guy inventing things on a guitar the designers never imagined. And it stayed with me the rest of my life. Our bassist, Don Summers, turned to me at one point onstage and said, ‘Man, I didn’t know Hendrix was still inside of you.’ He always is. He always is.”


Archie Patterson at rocksbackpagesblogs.com, "Giorgio Gomelsky – Behind the Red Door".

“In the 1970’s Giorgio migrated to NYC and bought a 3-story building, he christened it the ‘ZU House’. There Bill Laswell and many New York artists came to practice. Laswell formed the ‘ZU Band’, later renamed Material, who put out one of the most powerful No Wave 12 Eps along with an album, before he went on to become a major force in the music industry.

In 1978, I visited NYC for Giorgio’s ZU Manifestival that was one of the first showcases of Indie and Alternative experimental rock in those days. I crashed on the second floor of Giorgio’s ZU House for 3 days, helping him when he brought his travelling alternative rock caravan across country for another Manifestival in Los Angeles. Over the years, we have kept in sporadic contact and met up a couple other times at music festivals. By the end of the 1970’s the ZU House had been rechristened ‘The Red Door’ and became an intimate performance and rehearsal space, as well as crash pad for a host of luminaries, to mention a few – Nico post VU when she was broke and homeless, Bad Brains, Richard Hell, Richard Lloyd and countless others.”


Kevin McCaighy at thequietus.com, "Joe Carducci".

“Can you tell me about the non-music business-related books that you've written since the publication of ‘Rock & the Pop Narcotic’?

The new book, ‘Life against Dementia’, is an anthology and about half of it is music, one quarter film including material from work on my next book, ‘Stone Male – Requiem for the Living Picture’, which is about the action-film and its acting style going back to the silent era, and one quarter on political stuff. The earliest stuff is a piece on film I wrote for an anarchist paper called The Match! in 1975 when I was 19, and some music and film pieces I wrote when I was at Systematic before I went to SST. I should’ve done some writing while at SST when D. Boon and Raymond Pettibon asked me, but I was writing the PR stuff and by 1984 had resumed writing screenplays once I wasn’t living at the office anymore. ‘Wyoming Stories’ is a collection of the three Wyoming-set screenplays I’ve written after ‘Rock & The Pop Narcotic’, each of which will get made in the next five years. There’s another ten scripts but not sure I’ll publish those. I started ‘Stone Male’ in 1991 right after finishing ‘Rock and The Pop Narcotic’ and all the other stuff has been produced during interruptions in this work, so I see it as a big book like the Rock book, but much better researched and will be better written.”


Tony Rettman at vice.com, "We Interviewed Sleepers Guitarist Michael Belfer".

What exactly happened?

We were just met with so much adversity on that tour. The guy who put out Painless Nights was holding the record back because he was bitter at us; I guess he could feel that we regretted working with him. So he held the record back. They were no copies to be found anywhere. Then, he flew out to New York with a guitar in a case that he didn’t know how to play. He just decided to follow us around. He’d carry this guitar, walk into the club and say he was with the band, even though we didn’t really want him there. When we were in New York, we were staying with a girl named Ray Anne Deanstag and he wanted a place to put this guitar and his other stuff. So he leaves this guitar at her place and her and my girlfriend at the time Kim Hunt pawn it and go buy drugs with the money. This happened without me knowing it. At the time, I was in a cab with Ricky and our tour manager, Patrick Roques. We pulled into the Union Square area and Ricky somehow spots someone doing a transaction and he jumps out of the cab and ran and grabbed this guy. The guy was selling Ricky’s favorite pills; tuinals. I don’t know how he spotted the guy. I didn’t know what was going on, but Alex did. He chased Ricky and finally cornered him in an alley. The guy he bought them from ran away and Ricky just looked at Alex and swallowed them all. We get back into the cab and go back to Ray Anne’s place at Avenue B and 14th Street. Ray Anne and Kim look really happy and tell me ‘Hey! We got you some dope!’ I was like ‘Uh…ok. How’d you get the money for that?’ They tell me and I hit the roof. We get back in a cab, get to the show and the pills start to take effect of Ricky.”


Lost Stooge interview: Jimmy Recca.

“Finally, the grand finale, we went into this jam, and Iggy came flying back to the stage, ‘Just keep playing!’ We just played the same groove for maybe like 20 minutes, 30 minutes. He’s starts and he’s going across the stage and jumping out in the crowd. He comes back and he’s got the fucking microphone, doing a Roger Daltrey, swinging it out, and I’m ducking, here it comes again, this SM-57 Shure microphone, just swinging it around, I duck again and it just clears the top of Scotty’s cymbals, Ron’s walking away and it just fucking nails him, right in the center of the back. He got the full impact of that microphone, and he just dropped to his knees, guitar fell down, and he was done. Took him out. That was the end of the show right there. I guess they didn’t pay us much, if anything. They wanted to charge us damages to the club, because they fucked up that place. The roadies -- this guy Don Kuhl from Hamtramck, he was straight up from the coal mines, and this guy Tim, we used to call him Groovy Tim -- got pissed off because [the promoters] held the money or didn’t pay us, so they broke into their store and stole cases and cases of candy bars from the movie theater. We found out when we got back to unload the truck and there’s all these Almond Joys…ridiculous! Those were our spoils.”


"Richard Hell interview" by Brad Cohan at vice.com.

“You devote a big chunk of Tramp to Bob Quine. Is there a song of yours you can point to where Bob just floored you with what he could do with a guitar?
One that always blows my mind is the solo on ‘Betrayal Takes Two’ from Blank Generation and also the solo on the original demo version of my song ‘Time.’ People always single out the solo on ‘Blank Generation,’ and that’s really good, too. You write in Tramp that sometimes you’ll see Verlaine in the street, and you describe a happenstance where the two of you spoke. Are you friends or at least on speaking terms?
No. We haven’t been friends since 1975.”


Steve Appleford at latimes.com, " Black Flag Fans, After Years of No Band, Now Get Two".

“They acknowledge the strangeness of two versions of the same band hitting the road this year. Flag's announced dates begin April 26 at the Monster Bash Festival in Munich, Germany, and include the Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival in Las Vegas on May 27. Ginn's Black Flag begins its tour May 15 in Luxembourg and arrives at the Observatory in Santa Ana July 12-13 and at Vex Arts in Los Angeles on July 14. ‘Part of me wants to be angry, but it's just not worth getting angry over,’ says Morris, looking and sounding as energetic as always, despite a recent diabetic coma that caused the cancellation of tour dates with his other band, acclaimed modern hard-core act Off! ‘Ron's my friend. I'm happy for him. As for Greg Ginn, that whole thing is a giant question mark.’”


Erick Lyle at vice.com, "Can I Get in the Van?"

“There were no songs, I quickly discovered; the audition would be completely improvised. A couple minutes in, we locked into a tight groove. Ginn played with his eyes closed, his head swiveling around in a trancelike headbang. Anytime I’d try to play a fill on the bass, one of Ginn’s eyes would snap open and glare at me. At first, I thought he was signaling me to stop. Then I realized he was just paying attention to see where I might be trying to take the song. When he suddenly blasted off on a series of guitar solos, I finally realized, Holy shit! I’m playing with GREG GINN, and his solos are melting my mind! The wordless communication of forming the songs on the spot together was fascinating, and for the first time, I understood the appeal of improvised music. I had been playing with Ginn for less than an hour, and I had already learned something important.”


Last Ron Asheton Stooges tune from Three Stooges movie credit roll?


West Magoon exhibit, "Raku Ray Guns and the Books that Spawned Them"
Night Heron Books, 107 Ivinson Ave in Laramie
April 1 until June 1, artist's reception Friday, April 12 5-7 pm.


EUROCK cover gallery.


Ralph White in "Hardly Sound".


NAPERVILLE SUN: "Is there a doctor here? ".

“A few days before Dr. Donald Carducci moved in to his new office at 107 W. Jefferson Ave. at the end of 1956, he turned a corner driving there and his 3-month-old son, Matthew, in the front seat with his brother Joe, fell out. ‘Don was so excited, he jumped out of the car to get him, but the car was still moving, so when he realized that, he jumped back in the car, and someone stopped and picked up Matthew. The man said, ˈyou’ve got to take him to the doctor, he just fell out of your car!ˈ My husband never told the man he was the doctor!’ Jacquie Carducci said. ‘My husband just ran down there, and the kids were in their pajamas. He was giving me a break. I’m not sure why the door opened. Joe might have tried to open it! After that, they rode in the back seat, and we took the inside handles out!’ The Carduccis had just moved to Naperville because Jacquie’s sister lived here. She told Donald that Edward Hospital had just converted from a TB sanitarium to a full-service hospital with opportunities for family practice physicians. Dr. Carducci’s new office consisted of an exam room, a bathroom (where he tested specimens) and a small waiting room. ‘Sometimes people waited on the front stoop — it was like an extension of the waiting room, the waiting room was so small,’ said Matthew Carducci, who survived the car fall to become a Naperville doctor himself.”


Obituaries of the months

Tom Boerwinkle (1945-2013)

“On this day in 1954, the Hawks and Lakers played a game with 12-foot rims instead of the standard 10-footers. Why? Because there was a mounting concern that it was too easy to score – “Something has to be done to make a basket worth a cheer,” wrote one sports columnist — and many feared the dominance of the big man was undermining the game. There was no bigger man in those days than Lakers’ post man George Mikan, who’d led the Minneapolis club to four league championships in five years. A quick glance at the box score from the game suggests mission accomplished: Mikan scored 12 points on 2-for-14 shooting — more than six below his season average. Most reactions to the rule change were negative. ‘It threw the whole game out of sync and made it tougher on the smaller man,’ Mikan said. ‘It just makes the big man bigger.’…What surprised many was that the biggest man, Boerwinkle, who is fairly agile and quick, had the most difficulty. While he had 15 rebounds, a little above his average, he had trouble getting them, although most of the missed shots fell within a 12-foot radius of the basket. He had no chance at all to get the shots that hit the front of the rim. The rebounds usually caromed over his head and were taken by one of the smaller men. On many shots the ball took longer to come down, giving the other players time to crowd into the lane and fight Boerwinkle for the ball. Several times he had the ball stolen away when he came down with it. He failed to block a single shot and did not score on a tip-in. He made only one basket in 16 tries, a jump shot from the foul line.”


Paul Williams (1948-2013)

“In its two-to-three-year run (as Williams described it), the magazine's distribution went from 500 copies to 25,000 and could count among its fans Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Luc Sante. Following the initial success of Crawdaddy!, Williams closed up shop in New York and moved to Mendocino, Calif. where he traveled with Timothy Leary and ‘ended up at John and Yoko's Bed-In for Peace in Montreal.’ It was also around this time that Williams struck up a friendship with the influential science fiction author Philip K. Dick, a relationship that continued after Dick's death, when Williams was named his literary executor. Williams is credited with helping to secure Dick's literary legacy.”

Crawdaddy! archive 1966-1968.


Lawrence McKiver (1915-2013)

With the founding of the McIntosh County Shouters in 1980, Mr. McKiver introduced the ring shout to wide audiences throughout the country. Despite its name, the ring shout entails little shouting. That word refers not to the singing but to the movement: small, deliberate steps in a counterclockwise ring. (‘Shout’ has been said to be a Gullah survival of the Afro-Arabic word ‘saut,’ the name of a ritual dance around the Kaaba, a sacred site in Mecca.) Mr. McKiver was the Shouters’ songster, as the lead singer is known. A shout typically begins with the songster singing the opening lines; other singers, known as basers, reply in call-and-response fashion. The group’s ‘stick man’ beats a syncopated rhythm on the floor with a tree branch or broomstick as other members clap contrasting rhythms. The circular steps for which shouting is known are by no means dancing. To avoid even the faint appearance of dance (considered sinful in some Christian traditions), shouters may neither cross their feet nor lift them high. The result — a low, measured step that is sometimes described as a shuffle — is shouting’s visual hallmark. On the plantations of the antebellum South, where it took on elements of Christianity, the ring shout flourished covertly for generations of slaves. ‘They were just doing something to keep their mind off the past tense,’ Mr. McKiver said, speaking in the local dialect, in an oral history in Mr. Rosenbaum’s book. ‘It was their happiness. They didn’t sing it for nothing at all sad.’”


Thanks to Amy Annelle, Peter Aaron, Jay Babcock, Archie Patterson, Jacqueline Carducci, Ray Farrell, Andy Schwartz.

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• The New Vulgate
• Joe Carducci, Chris Collins, James Fotopoulos, Mike Vann Gray, David Lightbourne (1942 - 2010)
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