31 October 2006

Happy Samhain and the Pepper Calendar

16 Wandering - 39 p.r.S.P.

For about five or six years now, I have been marking the Celtic new year's eve--also called Samhain (pronounced 'Sow-in'--like the pig, not sowing seeds)--mainly to remind myself that "reality" isn't just contained in an X-tian/Gregorian matrix. Not all new years start on January 1st--in fact, only the Gregorian new year does. I did get a small inkling of this when I was younger, because I would see footage of Chinese New Year celebrations and those took place in February (Gregorian)--if I'm recalling correctly, which seemed strange to me at the time because they didn't mark their new year in January "like everyone else".

I only really became aware of calendar differences after reading this piece by Robert Anton Wilson (it appears in one of his books--maybe Cosmic Trigger III--I can't remember which one at the moment, but I read it there before I read it in an on-line form). It hits home the idea of how your "reality" is shaped by others' ideas of timekeeping and imposed "order" on universe.

I've been asked by Pixie and Singing Bear about "those weird numbers" and words above each of my posts. I've taken R.A.W.'s advice as an exercise (yeah, I'm ripping him off a bit) and I'm heading each of my posts with a date from a different calendar, whether it's the Hebrew, Islamic, Discordian or Thelemic (Aleister Crowley's calendar), even the Mayan 'Long Count' calendar. I've also developed my own system, based partly on Ezra Pound's calendar, which uses the publication of James Joyce's Ulysses in 1921 (Gregorian) as it's 'Year Zero' start. My system is based on the 1967 album by The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The record seems to be the high (no pun intended...maybe)-water mark of the fabled "Summer Of Love" to me. It was released on June 1, 1967--so that becomes the Year Zero date. Each month has 33 days (from the original album turntable speed of 33 and 1/3 r.p.m.)--making a total of 11 months and 363 days in a year.

The month names are:
Month 1 - "Pepper"
Month 2 - "Shears"
Month 3 - "Lucy"
Month 4 - "Change"
Month 5 - "Wandering"
Month 6 - "Home"
Month 7 - "Kite"
Month 8 - "Wight"
Month 9 - "Rita"
Month 10 - "Tea"
Month 11 - "Dream"

As you may have guessed--the names come from either words in the title of the tunes, or part of the lyrics in each tune (barring "Within You Without You" and "Sgt. Pepper's (reprise)"--I couldn't do much with those two). I haven't come up with any weekday names yet--so the days are just numbers, such as: 3 Lucy, 10 Dream, etc. The year is shown as "p.r.S.P."--meaning 'post-release Sgt. Pepper's'. It's been a fun exercise to throw off the shackles of Pope Gregory's reality-tunnel, even if I lapse back into his concensus "reality" for work hours and social occasions.

Speaking of the good Dr. Wilson--he had a couple of bad falls over the summer, due to the worsening of his post-polio condition. He has been in care since and is slowly recovering. Since the U.S. still (and probably never will) has no national health-care system, R.A.W.'s medical bills went through the roof. Douglas Rushkoff, another ontological guerilla and friend of Wilson, put out an on-line appeal and the Wilson-heads responded in droves. After seeing R.A.W.'s grateful 'thank you' to his fans at his website, I wanted to give a bit back to the man who's inspired me greatly with his writing--so I made a donation as well. If you're a Wilson-head and want to help the man out, you can make a donation by going to PayPal and sending it to R.A.W.'s account: olgaceline@gmail.com

Enjoy your Hallow's Eve.

30 October 2006

Forgotten Heroes of Pop (An Occasional Series)

Here's the first of occasional strolls down my memory tunnel to the (best?) forgotten heroes of 'pop'. Winnners of this week's Bear Award For Peak Pop Perfection In Groovy Hats goes to THE RUBETTES, who hit the UK 'charts' back in January 1974 with the awesome 'Sugar Baby Love'.

Sugar baby love, sugar baby love
I didn't make to make you blue
Sugar baby love, sugar baby love
I didn't mean to hurt you

All lovers make, make the same mistakes, yes they do
Yes, all lovers make, make the same mistakes as me and you

Sugar baby love, sugar baby love
I didn't make to make you blue
Sugar baby love, sugar baby love
I didn't mean to hurt you

People take my advice
If you love someone
Don't think twice

Love you baby love, sugar baby love
Love her anyway, love her everyday

As can be seen (I hope!) from the image above, they were a sartorially hyper-cool bunch of chaps. They appeared on 'Top of The Pops' many times during the mid-70's but none of their subsequent appearances could ever match that very first time when singer/strummer, Alan Williams, mimed the first high-pitched wails that open their seminal hit record. Interestingly, it is an established fact that Williams himself never actually 'sang' those histrionic, trouser-squeezing, vocals on the record; it was some anonymous backing singer type. Still, us Rubettes fans will never let that bother us, as 'Sugar Baby Love' is an incredidble slice of mid-period Brit-Pop that has rarely been bettered by any. Coming on like a rocknroll revivalist meeting mixed by Joe Meek, 'SBL' is a must for any self respecting popular music obsessive. After this the 'Rubes' went into steady decline and can now be seen at a workingmen's club near you.

Buy the album and sample tunes here at Amazon UK. (sorry links don't seem to work but please check the song out if you don't know it!)

16 October 2006

Bob Dylan and John Lennon, stoned in a London cab

This IS quite funny. From 'Eat The Document' but sadly cuts out before Dylan puked up.

Video Posts

Oh yeah, the Fiona Apple video wasn't funny, was it?! In fact it wasn't even a particularly good video! I quite like her, myself, but what I really liked more was the discovery that I could post videos here. Maybe better ones to come?

Random Musical Thoughts

Prickle-Prickle, Bureaucracy 70 - Year Of Our Lady Of Discord 3172

Pixie and I are going to reorganise the massive CD collection, which has led me to wonder about a few things:

1979 (Gregorian): I'm not sure (as always, there's room for doubt)--but was this a pretty shit year for music? I mean, for pop & rock, as I do claim ignorance of what was happening in classical music or world music or jazz (though Miles Davis was still in 'retirement'--so it was prolly a pretty shit year for jazz, too) or folk and country. Seriously, the airwaves seemed to be ruled by corporate-rock behemoths (Boston, Journey, Styx) and a few 70s dinosaurs were still lumbering around (Kiss, Ted Nugent). Progressive rock was nearly gone (the "big 4" were just about done--King Crimson and E.L.P. had already split and Genesis and Yes were already making pop crossover sounds), punk (as a revolutionary musical force) was on it's last legs. Pink Floyd issued their Roger Waters-led overblown ode to a depressed rich rock-star, The Wall, and a generation of white-trash miscreants received a call-to-arms with the "we don't need no education" line (and yeah, I did that whole "carrying the boom box through the halls on the last day of school, blasting 'Another Brick In The Wall - Part 2" thing also, so I'm poking fun at myself here, too). Fleetwood Mac went the Floyds one better and spent an unprecedented (at the time) 8 months in the studio creating (under the guidance of guitarist/singer Lindsey Buckingham--I suppose the rest of 'em were too coked-out to object) the hugely over-rated Tusk double-album. Like "The Wall", there are a few good tracks sprinkled in amongst the chaff--but I haven't bothered to listen to it in 15 years. There were the young up-starts--but when was the last time you listened to Regatta De Blanc, or Candy-O? I thought so. Even Kate Bush's Lionheart seems like a holding pattern album. I suppose the New York scene was still thriving and Talking Heads and Blondie were making pretty good records at this time. Overall, though..was 1979 crap?

Here's a few good records from '79 that I can think of:

Wire - 154
Steve Hillage - Rainbow Dome Musick
Public Image Ltd. - Metal Box
Tangerine Dream - Force Majeure
The Clash - London Calling (I know - a perennial list-maker's favourite - but it is a good record)
Talking Heads - Fear Of Music
Robert Fripp - Exposure
Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats

Not very definitive, I suppose--but you see what I mean.

What Happened To Bob Seger?: Man, in the early 80s, this guy was ubiquitous. I remember once in 1982, I think the local radio station played that Night Moves (or whatever it's called) song all day--no other songs, just that one. It certainly seemed that way. And that was the poppier, 'Top-40' station. If you turned to the rock stations, ya got Mainstreet, Kathmandu, Betty Lou's Gettin' Out Tonight, Ramblin' Gamblin' Man..and that warhorse, Old Time Rock And Roll, which, if I hear it now--makes me want to claw my ears off of my head and choke 'The Seeg' with them. I mostly blame Tom Cruise and that stupid scene in that film where he dances around in his tighty-whiteys with a tie wrapped around his head, or something. Because of that, the song became an anthem for overweight, white, inbred idiots who would request the song everywhere (weddings, bars, dances), then go into spastic movements that they would refer to as 'dancing'. I know it's not really The Seeg's fault--but he did write the damn tune. It's tough to believe just how popular the guy was then, given that he seems to have virtually disappeared now. I mean, he was giving Bruce Springsteen a chase for the "classic all-'Murican boy" crown. I suppose his career was given a shot in the arm when Metallica covered his whiny rock-star-on-the-road dirge Turn The Page (yeah, Seeg--it's tough making all the bread and getting all that head, but y'know--someone's gotta do it..it's a good thing you've stepped into the fray and taken some for the team). Ford, or Chevy (does it matter?) also used his last big radio hit, Like A Rock (from 1986), for their truck ad campaign...for oh, about 200 years now. I feel a bit sorry for him, despite all of that--'cos once the greying 70s generation are shuffled into the nursing homes of the future--it seems that The Seeg's tunes will follow them there and stay--it doesn't seem to bode well for a Bob Seger revival. That's O.K., The Seeg is somewhere, still workin' on his night moves...

14 October 2006

Ursine Celebrations

Without wanting to seem utterly self obsessed, this post is here to mark my birthday, which occured a few days ago. Similarly, without wanting to seem too full of self pity, I'll make the following observations:

I've become an age that is kind of neither here nor there ( although one always seems to be becoming more 'there' as the years pass! ). What I mean to say is...it's just a middling, non-descript age. I'll leave it at that.

I've been in rather ropey health lately and this clouded the occasion a little. having said that, on the day, I was okay. The night before, I'd been chucking my guts up but I was blessed on the day itself.

As a consequence of the above, the day passed tather quietly.

My presents (bless the Bear family!) consisted of CDs and I'm suffering from one of my occasional bouts of semi-deafness!! D'oh!

So, having made these observations, it still must be said that ANY birthday HAS to be something to celebrate, so here's to me!

Anyway, today I went out and treated myself to a bunch of things by way of further celebration (terribly materialistic of me but I hope I may be forgiven). I bought a lovely little four CD set of Woody Guthtie songs. 99 tracks for £14. Yes, I have them all already on vinyl but it was time to take Woody into the new century. Great little collection. I also nabbed Johnny Cash's American 3: Solitary Man for a mere fiver. On top of this, I managed to get myself a wonderful poetry collection called The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, which is a massive tome that has poems/writing by the likes of Jack Micheline, Alan Kaufman, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Lenny Bruce, Gregory Corso, Ginsberg, Kathy Acker and many others (including Jim Morrison and Tupac but I'll probably skip those pages!). It's pretty awesome stuff. Not ALL great but well worth spending time on.

Thanks to all my family and friends for their love and thoughts. I love you all and once I'm feeling better I'll be bugging the hell out of you all one way or another again!

04 October 2006

Here's To Hoping...

12 Mehr - Year 1385

..'Cos something is happening, and you don't know what it is...do you, Mr. Bush.