Tuesday, December 30, 2008

a brief word on religion

RT 015: photograph by janette beckman; rigid digits music 1979.

The Catholic Church has a saying:

"Give me a boy until the age of seven, and I will give you the man."

Well. My grandfather was taught by Jesuits, and renounced religion in order to marry my grandmother. His priest was livid.

I grew up in a family of devout agnostics - atheists even - a token Presbyterian enclave, and like my father before me I supported Celtic. Ordinarily, protestants on the west coast of Scotland support Rangers FC. Every New Years' Day there is an old firm derby to further cement the mutual contempt.

One thing. When I was a child of eight or nine, I remember being taken into town to purchase a new school bag. The vogue was for nylon in football colours. Primarily, blue or green. I remember asking for a Rangers grip - just to fit in with my schoolmates, although my school was ostensibly 'mixed' - and I'll never forget the withering look my dad gave me.

Back in those days, Rangers were famous for refusing to field a Catholic. Celtic's most famous manager, by contrast - Jock Stein - was staunchly Presbyterian by upbringing, as was their most celebrated player on the park, Kenny Dalglish. Rumour even had it that Stein had a tattoo of King Billy (of Orange) on his forearm. He went far, although he was never made a fully fledged member of the board; on account of his not being Roman Catholic, of course.

After some prompting, I finally settled on a Scotland International bag. This was a source of some minor embarrassment. Both Rangers and Celtic were respected the world over as league champions. Scotland, on the other hand, were crap.

The only person who objected was my grandfather. A notoriously lapsed Catholic, he detested Celtic with an uncomely vengeance which bordered on the ridiculous.

Things have changed a modicum on the sectarian footballing front. Rangers now routinely field Catholics, as anybody familiar with the politics of the game will surely attest. On the terraces - or stands, rather - the old discriminations continue to fester.

It's still a bag of shite, and I live right in the cancerous heart of it.

I'm thinking of this as I look at newsreel footage from Gaza. Try to remember should you feel your sympathies tilt one way or the other that there are no heroes in white hats in the midst of this bloodshed; neither side offered a referendum, and rest assured that today's orphans have already received an AK-47 as their 'Christmas' gift. Oiled, loaded and ready to spit.

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: BREAKOUT from "Inflammable Material" LP (Rough Trade) 1979 (UK)

STIFF LITTLE FINGERS: GOTTA GETAWAY from "Nobody's Heroes" LP (Chrysalis) 1980 (UK)




My grandfather went into hospital sometime before Christmas in 1999 as the result of cardiovascular issues. My son was eight months old at the time, and I did not dare take him with me. The surgery wards were - and remain - rife with a virus, MRSA, which establishes itself in open wounds and minor abrasions. The young and old are the most vulnerable. Poor hygiene on the part of nursing staff and visitors is the primary cause of introduction.

My grandfather did not make it back out. He was eighty years old, but looked fifty to sixty in a flattering light.

What initially should have been a routine recuperation was complicated when he contracted this virus. The surgeons began snipping at his feet, and soon a major amputation was the only prognosis.

On one occasion I visited him after first attending the Accident and Emergency unit as the result of a stabbing. My own wound was not serious, and I didn't mention it, but as I sat on the vinyl chair beside his bed I was unable to concentrate on small talk for worry that this insidious and invisible virus was at work under the dressing.

Later on, he was moved to another ward - elevator going down - and when I arrived as per the visiting schedule, a seventy year old patient was attempting to sit up in one of the beds in the row opposite. Late afternoon sunshine not so much poured but trickled through the high Victorian windows. The man was still groggy from the anaesthesia and a nurse hurried to find him his spectacles.

"Mum ?" he said. "Mum?"

He looked down at his missing leg and started to cry.

"Oh, no... Oh, no! "

My grandfather stared at him with seemingly dead eyes. There was compassion there, but you needed to know where to look for it.

"Oh, yes," he said. His jaw set and rigid. His own father was from the Ukraine, and he served as a Polish paratrooper in Arnhem. He had seen this type of thing before.

He turned to me and asked how I was doing. Several other patients rolled on past in wheelchairs on their way to a small zone set aside for inveterate smokers. Not so long ago, but you could still light up a cigarette if you were stubborn enough.

I sometimes feel his ghost close by my elbow when I smoke a cigarette and look out the window at people caught in traffic twenty-two floors below. Bent over and traumatized in the rain and insipid cold. Trailing shopping carts and taking their chances on the street.

I am not especially brave, but I keep on. All around this tiny globe there are people doing the same.

Monday, December 29, 2008

withnoël and i

The last gasp of Christmas present.

In memory of my cherry red stratocaster, which I sold
to pay the rent sometime in 1997.
Never did learn to play it like this, though.

Recorded live, June 18th, 1967.

Recorded live, February 24th, 1969.

i'm a man you don't meet everyday

This is quite possibly my favourite Pogues song, culled certainly from my favourite Pogues' album, a traditional arrangement delivered with stunning clarity and understatement not by Shane MacGowan on this occasion, but by the incredibly beautiful Caitlin O' Riordan. This is forever a New Year's Eve staple in my house.

Beauty, of course, will burn you eventually if you can't let go.

Henry Banagh: fiddle; Dick Cuthell: horns;
Shane MacGowan: vocals; Caitlin O' Riordan: vocals, bass;
Spider Stacey: tin whistle; James Fearnley: accordion;

Andrew Ranken: drums; Philip Chevron: guitar;
Jim Finer: banjo; Tommy Keane: uileann pipes.

Produced by Elvis Costello and Philip Chevron.
Recorded at Elephant Studios, London.

The Raft of the Medusa" by Théodore Géricault, 1818-19.

THE POGUES: I'M A MAN YOU DON'T MEET EVERYDAY from "Rum, Sodomy & The Lash" LP (Stiff) 1985 (UK)


Sunday, December 28, 2008

i. begg your pardon ?

TRLS 189.

I am not sure on which label this early Big Youth - Manley Augustus Buchanen - production first appeared; it features prominently on several Trojan compilations chronicling the period 1972-1976, but it definitely predates 1973's "Screaming Target". It very possibly first appeared under the title "Ace 90 Skank" as a 7" on the Mafia, Down Turn label.

Written, I believe, by Manley Buchanen in collaboration with Keith Hudson, and produced by Keith Hudson.

BIG YOUTH: S.90 SKANK from "Everyday Skank (Best of Big Youth: 1972-1977)" LP (Trojan) 1980 (Jamaica)


tales of snow and woe

With backing vocals by Orphan Annie - aka, Annie X-Mas - one may be excused for thinking this in fact none other than the Incredible String Band. Not so.

Born in Dublin as a duo comprising Tim Booth and Ivan Pawle in 1967, the good doctors soon became a fully fledged band with the addition of multi-instrumentalist, Tim Goulding and his girlfriend, Annie, signing - almost inevitably, on the enthusiastic recommendation of friend and mentor, Robin Williamson - with the String Band's manager, Joe Boyd in 1969.

Goulding was to exit after their second album in 1970, taking up residence in a Buddhist monastry, and the band soon splintered and folded under the weight of his absence. Phil Lynott would later acknowledge his debt to Booth and Goulding in 1972's "
Tales of a Blue Orphanage"; named after the house owned by Goulding's girlfriend where the original collective practiced and rehearsed.

Tim Booth: vocals, guitar; Ivan Pawle: vocals, bass, keyboards;
Tim Goulding: additional instruments; Orphan Annie: backing vocals.
Produced by Joe Boyd.

DR. STRANGELY STRANGE: FROSTY MORNINGS from "Kip Of The Serenes" LP (Island) 1969 (Eire)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008


RR 1272.

It seems a tad obvious, granted.

Issued on December 20th, 1972, this was the Residents' festive ever self release on Ralph Records. 500 copies in total, deliberately misnumbered with their silk-screened sleeves hand-folded and glued flat before the varnish had the opportunity to dry.

"Santa Dog's a Jesus foetus... has no presence, has no presence in the future."

Side 1: Ivory & The Braineaters - Fire.
Side 2: The College Walkers - Explosion.
Side 3: Delta Nudes - Lightning.
Side 4: Arf & Omega featuring The Singing Lawnchairs - Aircraft Damage.

"Strange titles until you realise the whole thing is designed to look like a gift/greeting card from an insurance company. President Nixon refused his copy, confirmation of his basically evil nature if it was needed."

THE RESIDENTS: FIRE from "Santa Dog" 2 x 45 (Ralph) 1972 (US)


Monday, December 22, 2008

love is all ib ring...

check out the bleed...

Strictly speaking, this is a Christmas 45 - a good one - and a rehash of a much older post I pulled months ago.

Produced by Joe Gibbs, and featuring the trademark killer drum & bass combination of Sly & Robbie, this 45 crept up the UK charts in February 1978 thanks to the repeated championing of veteran BBC DJ John Peel.

Recorded at Dynamic Sounds in Kingston. I have this still on Lightning Records on 7" somewhere, bought well before it reached the No. 1 spot, but I'd have dearly loved to possess the Jamaican original imprint.

ALTHEA & DONNA: UPTOWN TOP RANKING from "Up Town Top Ranking/Calico Suit" 45 (Gibbs/Trojan) 1977 (Jamaica)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

a christmas card

Yes, folks! Jesus Saves!

But these are desperate times, and desperate times call for drastic measures. With everyone feeling the pinch, the temptation is surely to buckle down and save for that rainy day. But as we know, that rainy day is here, and what the economy needs right now is for all good Christians to get out on the high street and spend this Christmas. God knows, the Good Lord wouldn't have it any other way!

Get drastic with that plastic, and do your bit for America!

God bless you, one and all!

George W. Bush

illustration by ib.
inspired by this true story.

Happy Christmas to readers of SibLINGSHOT ON THE BLEACHERS everywhere.

cry tuff, holler tuffer

Style Scott: drums, percussion; David Toop: flute; Sowell: lead guitar;
Bing Bunny: rhythm guitar; Earl "Chinna" Smith: rhythm guitar;
Prince Far I: percussion; Steve Beresford: toy synthesizer, melodica, whistle.

Produced by Prince Far I; mixed and overdubbed by Dub Syndicate.

PRINCE FAR I & THE ARABS: FINAL CHAPTER from "Cry Tuff Dub Chapter 3" LP (Front Line) 1980 (UK)


Saturday, December 20, 2008

from pillar to post...

you can't make an omelette without turning up the heat.

Further to my ongoing dispute with Scottish Power - this nation's biggest electricity provider - here is a brief update.

Currently, for every £17 I am paying directly into my pre-payment service, I am receiving 39p of power. Despite my paying £1,560 over the past six years to cover an original debt of less than £200, the powers that be are under the misconception that this debt remains unpaid. In total I have paid them £3,995 over that same period for my supply.

Having changed over the old token meter for a newer, allegedly more efficient model, Scottish Power remotely reset the meter to collect £16.61 pw to cover this alleged outstanding debt. Last week I sought legal advice via the Citizen's Advice Bureau and they agreed to lower the fixed weekly charge to a more manageable £4.66 pw while they investigate the case.

That was on Tuesday. In the interim I have spent a total of £45 ($70) for one week's supply, and they have not reset the prepayment figure as agreed. They have consistently refused to send out an engineer to reset the meter - even though there are several engineers in the area engaged in replacing existing meters - and every attempt on their part to reset it remotely to the agreed lower rate has so far failed. Apparently, there is still blood to be squeezed out of this stone.

Apparently, too, they have little qualms standing by while me and my son slowly freeze to death.

Now, that's what I call an excellent service.

Well done, Scottish Power; you are a bunch of f@cking crooks.

I am not alone. Thanks to Jon from Poetry Is For Assholes for sharing this via Dear Kitty. Some Blog:

The economic crisis continues.

A survey released Wednesday shows that utility service was cut off to 1 in 20 households in the US in 2007, spelling hardship for families forced to go without heat, hot water, lighting, or cooking facilities, and exposing them to the danger of house fires: here.

Hunger and homelessness grow across US cities: here.

Madoff collapse has global impact: here.

While the Bush administration has yet to reveal its rescue package for the auto industry, the collapse of worldwide auto production has accelerated, with major US and European automakers announcing unprecedented production suspensions: here.

Less than three months after assuming office, the future of Japan’s Prime Minister Taro Aso is in doubt as both the economy and his government’s approval ratings have plunged sharply: here.

British economy sinks like a stone: here.

Recession looms for Turkish economy as job losses accelerate: here."

KING IWAH: GIVE ME POWER VERSION (PRODUCED BY LEE "SCRATCH" PERRY) from "Give Me Power ('69-'73)" LP (Trojan) 1988 (Jamaica)


Thursday, December 18, 2008

little fingers put you down

Guy Kyser: vocals; guitar; Roger Kunkel: guitar;
John Van Feldt: bass; Frank French:
Josef Becker:
*Produced by Tom Mallon & Thin White Rope.
Produced by Paul McKenna & Thin White Rope.
Recorded at Tom's Place, San Francisco & Metropolis, Studio City, CA.

illustration by ib

THIN WHITE ROPE: RED SUN (ORIGINAL VERSION)*from "Red Sun" 12" EP (Demon) 1988 (US)
THIN WHITE ROPE: RED SUNfrom "Captain Long Brown Finger In The Spanish Cave" LP (Frontier) 1988 (US)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

sibling whispers #19: brumalia

birthday of the sun: the true meaning of x-mas.

"...It seemed to the people that their god was forsaking them. The shortest day of the year came around... Several days later it became evident that the sun was coming back.

...a great celebration called the Brumalia began on December 25th."

a time for giving

prehistoric family gathering in the libyan desert.


You are using a cave painting on your site which has been in my family for the past 7,000 years and is protected by international copyright. The rock-art of

Wadi al-Hayat
is ordinarily fortified by an elaborate series of very high fences
built by successive generations of this same family - the precise method of construction being covered by patent - and it is customary to blind all paying visitors leaving said site, lest they financially profit from anything they may or may not have seen.

Please take immediate steps in accordance with the DMCA and kindly remove
said image post haste. In future, please desist from using any rock-art - or its derivatives - to illustrate those banal posts on your rock-blog.


Muammar al-Flintstone."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

block up your chimneys ?

creepy #68: warren publishing, 1975.

bronner's christmas wonderland.

"world's largest christmas store, frankenmuth, michigan U.S.A."

"Frankenmuth, Michigan, is the home of Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland. Bronner's, a fascinating year-round attraction for all ages, was founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner. It has grown to be the world's largest Christmas store and welcomes more than 2 million visitors annually from throughout the United States, Canada, and the world. Bronner's impressive Alpine-design building, which is the size of 5.5 football fields, is nestled on 27 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds featuring delightful Christmas displays. The amazing shopping wonderland inside the building is the size of 1.7 football fields. Bronner's believes every day of the year should be a celebration of Christ's birthday; therefore Bronner's motto is "Enjoy CHRISTmas, It's HIS Birthday; Enjoy Life, It's HIS Way." "

Jesus H. Christ!

And if that is not enough to chill your blood:

"...Year-round Christmas trims adorn lampposts and grounds along Bronner's 1/2-mile Christmas Lane where every evening visitors may enjoy a spectacular exhibit of outdoor Christmas lights. A majestic, life-size Nativity near each entrance focuses attention on the Christ child's birth.

Inside is a world of singing carolers, dancing Santas, and over 700 whimsical animated figures. "Welcome" signs greet visitors in more than 60 languages. The international theme continues throughout Bronner's where ornaments from dozens of countries around the world decorate a multitude of trees. Ornaments are also available in more than 70 languages with a "Merry Christmas" greeting."

The following cautionary festive ditty I originally stubbed my toe upon over on the fabulous Probe Is Turning On The People! a couple of Christmases ago. Curiosity mildly aroused, these few telling facts were all I was able to subsequently uncover:

Paddy Roberts was born and trained as a legal eagle in South Africa, but following a stint in the RAF during WWII relocated to London and forged a career as a pilot for BOAC. A popular entertainer on the side, he apparently "held offices in the Performing Rights Society and the Song Writers Guild". He died in the UK in the autumn of 1975.

Recorded at the height of the cold war, in the wake of the Bay of Pigs, I think it safe to assume Paddy may have been an active member of the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament.

Mere curmudgeon or idealist ? You decide.

PADDY ROBERTS: MERRY X-MAS YOU SUCKERS* from "Merry X-Mas You Suckers b/w Got n' Idea" 45 (Decca) 1962 (UK)

* Released in the US on London Records, under the title "And A Happy New Year".


life's a drag, petrolhead


Tearing down the straight and narrow in 1963 with Johnny Sudetta, a Clevelander who moved out west to CA in 1959.

Written by R. Christian & J. Sudetta, and recorded by the rechristened Fortune Cookie at the age of just sixteen; he was invited by Johnny Burnette to tour England in the same year on the back of "Soul Surfer", but as a juvenile was prohibited from applying for a working visa. Johnny also provided sterling session guitar for bigger acts including Sam Cooke, Glen Campbell and - on one occasion - even toured with the Beach Boys.

JOHNNY FORTUNE: DRAGSTER from "Dragster b/w Siboney" 45 (Park Avenue) 1963 (US)


Saturday, December 13, 2008

where were you ?

fast 7.

Another from Bob Last's Edinburgh based Fast Product, this one - Fast 7 - featuring a double 'A' side from The Mekons, and one of the best drum intros from the period. Packaged in a plastic coated sleeve.

Jon Langford: vocals; guitar; Sally Timms: vocals;
Sarah Corina: bass; Steve Goulding: drums.

Recorded on 20th & 22nd October, 1978
at Spaceward Studio, Cambridge.

THE MEKONS: WHERE WERE YOU ? from "Where Were You ? b/w I'll Have To Dance Then (On My Own) 45 (Fast) 1978 (UK)


ahh but, it hurts me now...

"...in 1965 they were spotted by leading record producer Tom Wilson, who had earned acclaim as the producer of the seminal Bob Dylan album '
Bringing It All Back Home' and the single, 'Like a Rolling Stone'."

Frank Zappa: guitar, conductor, vocals;
Ray Collins: vocals, harmonica, tambourine, finger cymbals, tweezers;
Jimmy Carl Black: drums; Roy Estrada: bass, guitarron, boy soprano;

Elliot Ingber: lead guitar, rhythm guitar.

Produced by Tom Wilson.



kink kong reduxe

"Now we'll have the Residents doing Frank Zappa's "King Kong",
with Snakefinger Lithman on guitar..."

Philip Charles Lithman: June 17th, 1949 - July 1st, 1987.

From Wiki:

"Lithman was born in Tooting, South London, and came from the British Blues scene. He moved to San Francisco in 1971 and became associated with the avant-garde group The Residents. It is said he was given the name 'Snakefinger' by The Residents themselves when they saw his proficiency with the guitar during their first live performance together. Another explanation for the name comes from a story concerning a party in San Francisco, at The Residents' collective, wherein all in attendance watched Lithman's fingers dart snake-like at the neck of his violin."

From the sleevenotes to "Eat Exuding Oinks!":

"300 copies of this 1 hour show were sent to radio stations. No artwork was included. Only printed sheets which contained track listings. In 1983 Ralph Record began to sell copies to the public. The first 100 copies came the same as the original. The second pressing of 700-800 copies listed the contents on a white card in the cassette box. The final edition of 1000 copies has a blue card listing the contents."

Originally released on cassette only.

THE RESIDENTS: KING KONG from "Eat Exuding Oinks! (Radio Special)" LP (Ralph) 1977 (US)


downed economy

You may recall a fairly recent post featuring Buffalo Drive's excellent "Shock Therapy" from their promo on Sweet Touch Records: "Peter & His Chromatic Fantasy" was produced by Boston's Emil Hewitt.

Emil - dj and 'Whack-it Ball' inventor - now has his own EP, "Downed Economy", out on Sweet Touch. If, despite current economic trends, you have spare change to squander on travel, he has an upcoming show scheduled on the 19th December at the Kamikaze Club, Metropolitana de Santiago. Tell 'em SibLINGSHOT sent you.

EMIL & FRIENDS: OUT WEST from "Downed Economy" EP (Sweet Touch) 2008 (US)


Friday, December 12, 2008


a christmas tree in arizona.

"a dead tree on the edge of the grand canyon". photograph by john ur, 2008.

Rockette Morton: bass; Drumbo: drums, percussion;
Ed Marimba: drums, percussion, marimba;

Zoot Horn Rollo: slide guitar;
Captain Beefheart: vocals, harmonica, saxophone.

Produced by Captain Beefheart.

Today I feel crippled by inertia and irritated by the nagging impulse
to 'do'. There are many things I could do; there are many things I should be doing. Already I am on my sixth cup of coffee of the morning, and I am drumming my fingers next to the keyboard and mentally logging strokes. Woolworths is in the death throes of its closing down sale. I should throw on my jacket and speedwalk on over there to see if there are any bargains still to be had. Ignore the pained expressions of the soon to be jobless drones manning the
cash registers and throw in my lot with the slavering mob. The prospect of doing so is not overwhelmingly appealing. Ho-fucking-ho. If I suffered from hemorrhoids, I would sooner scratch my ass.

I had to look that one up in the dictionary. "Hemorrhoids". Just so I wouldn't appear illiterate. I had to key in "piles" to get that far; it seems a lot of people out there have a problem with the spelling, if not the condition.

Excuse me while I fetch another cup of coffee. I may be some time.

CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & THE MAGIC BAND: PETRIFIED FOREST from "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" LP (Straight) 1970 (US)


Thursday, December 11, 2008

wh@ck the dudes, now...

"And Wendy's stealing clothes from marks & sparks
And Freddy's got spots from ripping off the stars
from his face... funky little boat race."

David Bowie.

Well. The DMCA strikes again. This article originally appeared on 22/08/08. It is reprinted here in its entirety, sans an expanded verse or two from Bowie's lyric and - what I assume were - those offending links. The two songs which accompanied the post were Mott The Hoople's 45 version of "All the Young Dudes", from the album of the same title released in 1972 on CBS, and Bowie's demo from "The Alladin Sane" sessions which is available on the "RarestOneBowie" RCA release. Unfortunately, unless I were to simply import the piece and republish retrospectively (according to its time-stamp) I am not able to reproduce comments - of which there were several - without resorting to cut and paste. Also absent are the purchasing links.

david bowie: just watch me now.

ian hunter, from barber's chair to a window seat on death row.

"Keeping the thread running from yesterday, Mott The Hoople's massive 1972 hit was of course written and produced by David Bowie. With its viscerally accurate portrayal of juvenile delinquency like tv photo-montage, all that was required to catapult his "Alladin Sane" session demo - custom fit for the Hoople - into instant home brewed classic was the trademark insouciance of Mott's Ian Hunter and the rest of his commercially neglected crew.

Bowie, of course, had been famously booed off the stage in 1969 by an audience of recently evolved skinheads who took umbrage with the former mod's bubble-perm and latest installment of suspiciously hippie oriented lyrics. By 1972, skinhead subculture had percolated into every urban shopping centre throughout the UK, but - diluted through populist recruitment - the kids who flocked to shave their heads and don a pair of oversized Doc Marten's were more interested in Glam Pop than Jamaican Ska and Rude Boy front. The anthemic lyrics and bombast of "All The Young Dudes" summed up the adopted fashion mantra perfectly. Suedeheads in duffel coats queued up in Woolworths to get themselves a copy. All the girls plucked their eyebrows out of existence, and looked more like "Pin-Ups" era Bowie than the boys could ever hope or want to emulate; androgyny was a two way street, and all the kids falling off the buses were out their skulls on pills. The air was thick with the smell of testosterone and strawberry lip balm, and when it rained it crackled from the static of nylon pantyhose. Even in the midst of a national miners' strike the pavements were alive with bottled up energy.

Aside from The Clash's "White Man In Hammersmith Palais", this 45 contains the most fantastic and snidiest laugh ever committed to vinyl.

Feel it. Good times."

ib, 22/08/08.

Picture credits: photographers unknown. Skinhead from the photoshoot for the 1970 cult NEL paperback of the same name, by Richard Allen.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

"whaddya got ?"

lee marvin in
lászló benedek
's "the wild one", 1953.

Screenplay from the
short story, "The Cyclists' Raid" by Frank Rooney, in turn based the article, "Hollister Riot", which featured prominently in the July 1947 issue of 'Life' magazine.

angel of the coast

california angels, 1965. photograph by billy ray for 'life' magazine.

berdoo chapter, 1965. photograph by billy ray for 'life' magazine.

With thanks to Brian Turner of WFMU, New Jersey for originally
samples of the V.U. Norman Dolph acetate:

"By now most music heads have heard the story of Warren Hill
picking up the rare acetate of the Velvet Underground's lost Scepter
studio sessions on a Chelsea Street for 75 cents, and how it recently
turned into E-Bay mania (selling for $25,000 after an aborted
first attempt that was ruined by fake high bidders)."

DONOVAN: THE FAT ANGEL from "Sunshine Superman" LP (Epic / PYE) 1966 (UK)

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND: BLACK ANGEL'S DEATH SONG (DIFFERENT MIX) from "April 1966, Scepter Studios (Norman Dolph Acetate)" Acetate (Scepter) 1966 (US)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

i'm only sleeping


This morning I discovered an unsmoked - and relatively unbent - cigarette among the crumbs lurking under the cushions of my sofa.
I am smoking it now. Looking at the hoarfrost melting in the sun from my window here on the twenty-second floor, and pondering John Winston Lennon's December demise twenty-eight years ago.

I considered posting a song to commemorate his death yesterday, but given all those DMCA notices circulating currently I think it safe to assume they are just waiting for an excuse to pounce.

You know the drill. Imagine a number and hum along. Just not that one, please; the post title will suffice.

Monday, December 8, 2008

snow, what f@cking snow ?*

Oh yeah. And somebody - somewhere - mentioned to me it was Christmas. Is that right ? By my calendar it's still December 8th.

F@ck Billy Bob Thornton. Next thing you know, we'll all be getting sentimentally dewy eyed over Bill Murray's million dollar panto turn
in "Scrooged".

What a load of shit. I'm always getting caught on the yuletide hop.

My watch is broke, I'm unprepared, and people babble about elves ?

Show me Angelina Jolie's pussy and I may just yet crack a smile. Then again, maybe not. I am not in the f@ckin' mood.

* Currently, the skies are too clear, and the overnight temperatures too cold here, for snow to be viable. Not much in the way of cocaine either, but - as always - ice is freely available from those vendors
desperate enough to loiter outdoors.

WILLIAM S. BURROUGHS: THE 'PRIEST' THEY CALLED HIM from "The 'Priest' They Called Him" 10" EP (Tim Kerr) 1993 (US)


a cruel & unusual punishment

"Ah-huh!" Motherf@cker.

Written, with uncanny prescience, by Johnny Cash's good pal, Carl Perkins. Caution, siblings: we are now entering serial killer territory.

From the days before halfway decent typography in the press became a given.
illustration by ib.

THE RESIDENTS: BLUE SUEDE SHOES from "The King & Eye" LP (Enigma) 1989 (US)



Sunday, December 7, 2008

what goes up...

what goes up, must come down.

Blogger is now at a crossroads regarding user confidence in the face of a continued campaign of seeming harassment, and the wholesale removal of its users' posted content. Where once Blogger was the ubiquitous tool of choice for independent creativity and networking - an application at the very forefront of a publishing revolution - that position is increasingly on the wane as other alternatives emerge. That is a shame. The situation is now so serious, that many bloggers are uncertain as to whether it is viable to continue expending time, energy and resources on a means to an end now viewed by many as a "liability".

What is here today, may indeed be airbrushed out of history by tomorrow; with no respect for years of carefully cultivated trust.

illustration by ib.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

saga of the ageing DMCA takedown

Perhaps I am ruffling feathers. I have just this moment received a second DMCA Takedown Notice via Blogger support, this time concerning Thin Lizzy's debut 1971 LP on Deram. I do not intend to reinstate this post verbatim from back-up at present, even without the offending link(s).

The album itself featured the following line-up:

Eric Bell: lead guitar, 12 string guitar; Brian Downey: drums, percussion;
Phil Lynott: bass, vocals, acoustic guitar.

Please be advised. There are no link(s) to Thin Lizzy material elswhere on this blog, unless a purchasing link to Amazon is deemed to contravene the DMCA.

However, for those with an abiding interest in all things relating to Phil Lynott, I will reprise the link below - from that original post - to Muzu TV, who solicited me directly by e-mail specifically to publicize this material.

evil is as evil does

From Wiki:

""Don't be evil" is the informal corporate motto (or slogan) for Google, originally suggested by Google employees Paul Buchheit and Amit Patel at a meeting. Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he "wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out," adding that the slogan was "also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent."

"Don't be evil" is said to recognize that large corporations can often maximize short-term profits with actions that destroy long-term brand image and competitive position. By instilling a Don't Be Evil culture, the corporation establishes a baseline for decision making that can enhance the trust and image of the corporation that outweighs short-term gains from violating the Don't Be Evil principles.

While many companies have ethical codes to govern their conduct, Google made "Don't Be Evil" a central pillar of their identity, and part of their self-proclaimed core values."

From the article "Free Association: Sound of Silence", Wiretap Magazine, Nov. 28th, 2008, by Larisa Mann:

" What About Author's Rights?

Worse yet is the fact that music bloggers' own original material is being deleted. Even if some links in a post are not fair use, two wrongs don't make a right. Google has made its name by promising to do right by its users and the data they host for the public. If they keep deleting our own creative works, why should the public trust them?

Blogger is a private company, but it provides public services similar to those offered by libraries, archives and broadcasting. It's a growing problem in the internet era: These private companies, controlled only by private law, have the ability to run their businesses with little or no respect for the public.

Google recently made a deal with book publishers over access to scanned books for Google Book Search. We have to be vigilant that they don't snub the reading public the way they are currently dissing the listening, writing and remixing public on Blogger.

(Author's Note: Only one blogger agreed to be identified for this column. Others say they are concerned about being further targeted. So much for "Don't Be Evil"!)

Larisa Mann writes about technology, media and law for WireTap, studies Jurisprudence and Social Policy at U.C. Berkeley and djs under the name Ripley. She is a resident DJ at Surya Dub, San Francisco, and collaborates with the Riddim Method blog-DJ-academic crew, Havocsound sound system, and various other cross-fertilizing organisms in the Bay Area and worldwide."

illustration by ib.


Friday, December 5, 2008

who is watching big brother ?

oz #3: may, 1967

"Strongly identified as part of the underground press, it was the subject of two celebrated obscenity trials, one in Australia in 1964 and the other in the UK
in 1971. On both occasions the magazine's editors were acquitted on appeal after initially being found guilty and sentenced to harsh jail terms."

Edited by Richard Neville - in association with Jim Anderson and (later) Felix Davis - contributors included Germaine Greer; designer, Martin Sharp; filmmaker, Phillipe Mora; photographer, Robert Whitaker; and one Richard Branson, now chairman of Virgin Media.

cover design by martin sharp.

all the young punks

In which, Chicken Little bribes some older roosters to purchase illicit substances on his behalf, fashions a guitar made out of an old spoon once belonging to William S. Burroughs, and writes a hit song about how the music industry sucks. Big Time.

Less than a week ago he was a callow factory farmed piece of fluff with an armful of Velvet Underground records on the wing. By this time next week, this soon to be jailbird will have the chicks lining up around the block to slurp on his ding-dong.

That's cock n' roll for you. That Chicken Little.

illustration by ib.

HASIL ADKINS: CHICKEN WALK from "She's Mine b/w Chicken Walk" 45 (Air Records) 1962 (US)


Thursday, December 4, 2008

"the sky falls in!"

Chicken Little says, "Oh, where is my post!"

"Oh, wicked, wicked DMCA Takedown Notice!

It's probably just as well I took the precaution of backing up all my posts. Oh, dear! On the run-up to Christmas, too!

And to think, the artist which caused all this consternation has been dead now for a number of years... It's those industry executives I
feel for; oh really, I do!! Grey suits are so expensive these days."

Chicken Little begins to ramble:

"...Honestly, I wouldn't have minded. I wouldn't have been so concerned if whoever was so mad had simply e-mailed me and asked me to remove a file.
I do so like amicable solutions. That way, too, I wouldn't feel like so much like somebody
much bigger was trying to gag me; they deleted all my thoughts
in the blink of a chicken little eye. Oh, dear! Oh, my! Whatever shall we do ?"

That Chicken Little. He's an excitable little f@cker.

If this goes on, I'll just have to start asking every visitor to hum along
in the vague hope that they're familiar with the tune.

illustration by ib.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

rules of good conduct

experimental digital scribble. ib.

As somebody kindly pointed out, the posts have been getting progressively chilly here of late.

In an attempt to inject some warmth, I was aiming for summer but seem to have stumbled back into Autumn in the process. One step forward...

Think Catherine Wheels and one thinks of fireworks. Of Guy Fawkes. The provenance of the Catherine Wheel is decidedly more wicked than pyrotechnical and entertaining.

From A History Of Violence [A Resource for Writers and Other Curious Folks]:

"The Catherine Wheel was a product of the middle ages, especially popular in Germany. The victim's limbs were crushed with blunt objects. His (or her) still-living remains were subjected to the wheel. This meant the mangled arms and legs were threaded through the spokes. The wheel was then hoisted into the air using a long pole. Hungry vultures and crows picked at the body...

A seventeenth-century chronicler wrote the victim looked like, "A sort of huge screaming puppet writhing in rivulets of blood, a puppet with four tentacles, like a sea monster, of raw, slimy and shapeless flesh mixed up with splinters of smashed bones.""

One may be forgiven for surmising that this form of cruel and unusual punishment might perhaps have Roman origins. Indeed, one can safely be excused; the wheel was christened after the purported fate of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, dispatched under the Roman Emperor, Maxentius, during his reign in the early part of the 4th century A.D.

I happened on this fairly gruesome tidbit after listening to some more of the Durutti Column, and the track "Katharine", in particular. A wholly innocent and quite pleasant piece.

A couple of Googles later, and here we are.

Interestingly, too, I seem to have suffered lately from one or two file deletions without any prior consultation as to copyright infringement or notification as to which file - or files - have engaged the wrath of the invisible 'man'. Just a brief e-mail from my hosting provider.


Not that you can see it, but there is actually a medieval depiction of a Catherine Wheel in the above illustration.