28 November 2006

RIP Alan 'Fluff' Freeman

I've just heard the news that the venerable DJ, Alan 'Fluff' Freeman has passed away. One of the original BBC Radio One DJs, Fluff was best known for being the voice of the Top 30 or 40 (depending which year it was) 'countdown' where he was prone to using his well known catchphrases 'pop pickers' and 'not 'alf!'. Fluff's Sunday evening chart show was a must for all pop fans back in the 70's when the charts really meant something and a single had to sell around a million to reach number one.

If he is most famous for all things 'top 30' there was another, groovier side to Fluff. In the 70's, someone decided that it would be cool to give him his own 'rock' show on Saturday afternoons, where Fluff could play the stuff he really loved. So it would be that I would find myself glued to the radio on most Saturdays, come rain or shine, listening to the likes of ELP (his faves), Yes, Deep Purple, VdGG, Genesis and all sorts of other wonders for a whole three hours! A true education for a great-coated teenager back then. This was pretty revolutionary programming. The funny thing was, Freeman still did stints on the weekday 'housewives' afternoon slots where he would sneak in some real rockers. On a number of occasions I recall hearing the likes of Purple rocking the old dears to pieces. Well done, Fluff!

Fluff was also the true inspiration behind Harry Enfield's Dave Nice (I believe that's the Enfield one). Don't let anyone ever tell you it has anything to do with that prize creep, Simon Bates. RIP Fluff. Let's rock! Not 'alf!!

25 November 2006

Down In The Digital Flood

25 As - Year 169 Pataphysical

I haven't been posting much here either lately--mostly due to being busy doing other things and also a bit of "lack of inspiration". The busy part comes down to our long-awaited upgrade to broadband (Yee-Haw!)--we finally bit the bullet and signed up about six weeks ago. Since then, I have been a virtual kid-in-a-candy-store, downloading rare and out-of-print prog stuff from MP3 Sale and fromSoulseek. I did attempt to go "legit" with Napster, but the sign-up process failed, and I ended up being charged for the fee without being able to log in--I had my money refunded, but I decided not to try again. I've also d/l'ed Azureus, the bit-torrent client, for use at The Trader's Den, but I haven't figured out how to increase the upload speed--so until I do, I can't use it much--lest I be labelled a "leech" and get booted from the site. I did manage to grab Yes' show from Colston Hall in Bristol from May 1975 and I will be passing a copy to Singing Bear--as that lucky bastard was actually there. I've also d/l'ed records from Klaus Schulze, some Tangerine Dream boots--mainly from '74 to '77, Dzyan, Finch, Heldon and the Voice Of Eye/Life Garden collaboration, The Hungry Void - Volumes One and Two--and there'll be lots more (fingers crossed that the RIAA won't be able to shut MP3 Sale down for a while yet).

I talked with Aloicious P. McGinnis last night and everything seems O.K. with the fam. He says that he's been running around like the proverbial "chicken missing it's head" and has has zero time to post. Hopefully he'll have more time in a little while.

Robert Altman, one of the last real cool film directors, has left the planet. His finest achievement will probably always be M*A*S*H, the anti-war film set in the Korean conflict, but released at the height of the debacle in Vietnam--that in itself took balls of stainless steel. It also launched the careers of Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould, who played the proto-hippie, anti-establishment surgeons, 'Hawkeye' Pierce and 'Trapper John' McIntyre. Also featured, in a strong performance, was Robert Duvall, as self-righteous X-tian patriot, Frank Burns...and of course, Sally Kellerman as "Hot Lips" Houlihan, who shared Burns' respect for 'the rules' and God-fearing patriotism. The film was made into a TV show (ironically, Altman started out as a television director) and it's biting anti-war/anti-establishment humour was dumbed-down and Burns' character was transformed into a simpering wimp, played by Larry Linville. Alan Alda is now more-remembered for the Hawkeye role than Sutherland. Such seems to be the way. Altman continued on, releasing 'tiny epic', large-cast films throughout the 70s. I did see most of Nashville, but to be honest--I started watching it somewhere past the beginning and so I couldn't grasp what was going on. He flopped with Popeye in 1980 (though I thought it was genius casting Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl)--but bounced back with the acclaimed Tanner '88 series on HBO (way before Tim Robbins' Bob Roberts film), which chronicled the U.S. presidential election goings-on, much like an American version of Yes, Prime Minister. His Hollywood satire The Player also brought him back to the forefront, as did Short Cuts, which I didn't like as much as I thought I would--still, a unique film for '93..before all the Tarantino clones would sweep cinemas. He endured a few more flops, such as Dr. T. And The Women--which I did see and didn't really like at all--too much preening Richard Gere--but came back again with Gosford Park, an excellent English murder mystery, featuring Stephen Fry as the bumbling inspector investigating the case--and the great performances from Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith and Emily Watson. Altman was also a long-time pot-smoker--and didn't hide that fact. His maverick style will be missed. R.I.P. Robert.

There was the whole ex-Russian spy poison plot, too. I guess in the age of "The War On Terrah", some folks got nostalgic for some good ol' Cold War cloak-n-dagger stuff. Just in time for the new James Bond flick, too. Hmmmmm.....

Last--but certainly not least--I received an e-mail from Antares at Magick River. Here's the bulk of it:

Aloha all, I just received the following message to the world UFO community from A.J. Guevard who is the editor of Brazil's UFO Magazine. In it he announces the prediction of a Brazilian spiritual teacher and contactee, Jan Val Eliam, that extraterrestrial contact will occur some time between November 16, 2006 and April 30, 2007. What got my attention was the manner in which he described extraterrestrials showing up and ending the Cosmic Watergate:

"It will involve many huge spacecrafts that will be seen by everybody all over the world. The sighting will last only a couple of hours and the ETs will not perform any direct contact with the governments, but only with selected people here and there". Freitas also claims that the UFOs will be seen and largely registered by media, in such a way that the sighting will be undeniable by any means. "They will go away after a few hours but will be back after some months, and repeat it over and over, until we are prepared for their landing".

The above contact scenario matches in my opinion the optimal way for extraterrestrials to end the prolonged UFO/ET coverup by minimizing societal disruption and potential governmental opposition. Guevard maintains a neutral position on Eliam's prediction and describes the great controversy it has generated in Brazil. Guevard is one of Brazil's most competent UFO researchers so his neutrality suggests that one should not simply dismiss Eliam's prediction. While there have been many predictions of extraterrestrials showing up in mass landings, we should pay special attention to the method described by Eliam's prediction which is pretty close to how it will eventually occur. This prediction is something to definitely keep in mind over the months ahead.

Michael Salla, PhD

I suppose most will either dismiss that as rubbish, or completely believe every word. Either way, I suppose it depends on Game Rules. That is, if you play by the believer/non-believer UFO game--the rules seem to be: 1) All "UFO"s 'are' alien spacecraft and 2) the 'Space Brothers' really do/do not exist. I'm staying agnostic, as much as I try to do these days. Maybe it'll happen--maybe it won't. If it does, then it'll seem that all of the UFO/contactees will be vindicated...if it doesn't, then Guevard will just seem like the kook that all the non-believers think he is anwyay. As for the believers, they'll just think he got his timing wrong--and keep waiting for the Space Brothers to appear.

24 November 2006

Neil Young : Living With War

Apologies to my colleagues here at Blog Is Not......I haven't posted in an age and what I have posted has been pretty ephemeral. Apologies too, of course, to our legions of readers out there in Blogland. Anyway, I'm not really going to make it up to you right now because I only have time for a rapid-fire, guerilla style post but I just want to say how much I love Neil Young's most recent album. I know this one came out some months ago and it has taken me a long time to get to it but I'm glad I have. Neil makes a lot of albums and in recent years some have been a little hit and miss but Living With War really does hit the spot. For this album Young is back in 'Godfather of Grunge' (yuck!) mode, really cranking up the amps and hitting some very dirty chords. The reason for his burning passion? Seems he's wound up a little about the 'Iraq Debacle' and twisted minds in the White House. Lets be generous to Neil and forget that he once, around the time of 'back to the land' album, Old Ways, came out as a born-again Reaganite. We've all made mistakes, Neil, and you've certainly made up for it now! Every track reminds one of his glory days with Crazy Horse, from opener 'After The Garden', through the storming rage of 'Shock and Awe', the anger of 'Let's Impeach The President' to the penultimate 'Roger and Out'. The album closes, much like The Deer Hunter, with a wonderfully ironic 'America The Beautiful, except of course, he does think that America is beautiful but it's been hi-jacked by the Neo-Cons who have dragged it into the depths of the cess-pit.

Some might say that Young makes it seem all too simple and that global politics is far too complicated to be analysed on rock and roll album but really it IS that simple. Killing people is terrible; sending people to fight in an unjust and illegal war is terrible; politicians lying to the electorate is terrible; the establishment using the 'War On Terror' as an excuse to spy on the public and lock people up for years on end without charge is terrible; fraudulent elections are terrible...I don't need to go on. Neil Young has taken the temperature of the Western world and found that it is gravely sick. Best protest album in a very long time.

12 November 2006

The TSOG's House Of Cards Crumbles??

12 Tula - 1927 Saka era

The mid-term elections in the States happened last week--essentially a battle for the Congress (I can't remember if local state elections are involved also).

It seems that the TSOG (the Tsarist Occupation Government) took a bit of a beating at the polls--and George W. Moron crouched down with his tail lodged between his fore legs, hind legs and ears. He tried to joke about the situation, but, as usual, fluffed his lines.

Another consequence of the backlash is that Donald Rumsfeld, "architect" (if that's how you can describe the action) of the Iraq invasion and seemingly every inch a cartoon villain, was forced to step down from his post. Was it a "brave soldier taking his punishment" or "the rats deserting the sinking ship"...or maybe both?

So the Democrats have control of the Congress for the first time in 12 years--hoop-dee-doo. I don't think it's gonna be all "sunshine, lollipops and cotton candy" now. The Democrats have proved themselves to be the other side of the same coin time and again, full of the same professional politician class that makes up the Republicans. Still, it was nice to see any sort of humbling of the TSOG--especially over it's botched invasion and woeful domestic policies.

Meanwhile, back at the Baghdad ranch--Rummy's ol' buddy, Saddam Hussein, looks set to wear a rope necktie. There was a lot of talk about capital punishment and sovereign nations' right to choose their own methods of law. I still think that if the git was assassinated 3 years ago--it woulda saved a whole lot of aggrevation and bloodshed--but that's only my humble opinion. I don't agree with the death penalty--but then, a lot of Goddamn Insane's victims prolly didn't either--it's a tough call to make.

So The Smirking Chimp officially becomes a lame duck--it'll be interesting to see what happens in two years. In another, sorta related but maybe not way--I agree with Elton John in his view of organised religion. I don't like much of his music (well, anything after 1976 seems to be pretty much AOR twaddle to me)--but I think he's right on when it comes to this topic.