Friday, March 27, 2009

we do wie dü

'church' organist, larry clark gives it up for black monk time, 1966.

As I have intimated previously, I have procured tickets for consecutive nights of Mark E. Smith & The Fall's Glasgow bash, kicking off this evening on the Renfrew Ferry now permanently moored at Anderson Quay on the River Clyde. A location not ten minutes' furious pumping of feet from my hulking block of flats.

Last of the 'projects'. Lost of the Mohicans.

I have lived here for a decade now. We shuffle through yards of refuse jettisoned from windows with no fear of censure, let alone tonsure. Yesterday it was tentacles of imported squid - unthinkably exotic only a few years ago - today it is rudely hewn dreadlocks, a carpeting of scalps.

Up until the mid sixties, when Glasgow's Clyde Tunnel was first opened to traffic, the Renfrew Ferry was the only means of bridging the main artery of water separating Yoker on the North West and Renfrew on the South. Crucial if one found employment just an awkward stone's throw on the other side of town. Similar ferries had operated the same route since the 17th century as an effective means of trade, and long after the Tunnel began conveying road transport the Renfrew Ferry enjoyed sustained commercial success beyond its years; only ceasing operation in 1984 as a result of Glasgow's declining shipbuilding industry coupled with, ironically, a rise in private vehicle ownership.

In 1964, a little over a year in the Irish wake of the Kennedy assassination, for many Glaswegians a motor car was still an undreamt of luxury.

So. What the f@ck has all this got to with the Monks, you might ask ? Indulge me. A noted admirer of the Monks, five US ex-sevicemen who formed a garage band in post-war Germany, I was introduced to their shit via "Black Monk Theme" which made its appearance on The Fall's '90 opus, "Extricate".

Rosa and I will be on the ferry tonight*. Babysitters have been arranged. Drinks will be poured. Zen Master, I love that woman.


Gary Burger: guitar, lead vocals; Dave Day: electrified banjo, vocals;
Larry Clark: organ, vocals; Eddie Shaw: bass, vocals;
Roger Johnston: drums, vocals.

Produced by Jimmy Bowien. Recorded in Koln, Germany, November 1965.

MONKS: I HATE YOU from "Black Monk Time" LP (Polydor) 1966 (US / Germany)

MONKS: SHUT UP from "Black Monk Time" LP (Polydor) 1966 (US / Germany)



Anonymous said...

Those two Fall gigs were cancelled back in early February.


ib said...

Well. It seems the promoter printed up and circulated the tickets without waiting for Mark E. Smith's confirmation. Having spoken to the ticket vendor, I have the option of a cash refund or can trade for a later appearance in April. Ho Hum.

davyh said...

Bummer. And yet this whole thing itself sounds like a putative Fall song, don't you think?


(ad lib to fade)

ib said...

Indeed, Davy (a)H!


davyh said...

You nailed it.

ib said...

Ha! Nailed it, or shot myself in the foot ?

WZJN said...

What a find you've posted! Black Monk Time is a must-have for anyone with a serious interest in early garage/alternative influence.

"Boys are boys ..." and Black Monk Time ... ah, just imagine seeing that live in '65 or '66?

An amazing choice of artists - thank you.

ib said...

Thanks, WZJN. "Boys are Boys and Girls are Choice" very nearly found its way up here in place of "Shut Up"; great song!

Gorillan said...

Check out the new Light in the Attic reissius...

Peewit said...

I've fond memories of the Renfrew Ferry and a New Years Eve Caeli 15 odd years ago

Hope you wern't affected by the great West Coast power outage

Your driver said...

Really very interesting post about the current Fall tour and wheelchairs a bog called the Gimp Parade:

Includes a ghastly pic of Smith.

I missed Merle Haggard last night. A ten minute drive from here.

By the time I finally decided to stay home, not go to the desert, the tix were sold out. Ah well, Merle loves Jimmie Rodgers even though he never saw him live. I wonder if he ever saw Lefty Frizzell? I still love Merle. Even though he still has most of his teeth.

ib said...

Yes. Truly ghastly.

Those printed lyrics to "Blindness" - a song I am not familiar with - are vastly entertaining, and thoroughly real in their grimness, as is the report of Smith singing from a wheelchair. Thanks for that link. "The Gimp Parade": great title for a blog.

Sorry you missed Merle, although I am guessing it was not a huge disappointment. I can take or leave missing gigs.

What was the intention in going out into the desert ? I am envious that you have all that sand and cactuses on your doorstep. And snakes.

Your driver said...

The desert is not exactly on my doorstep. It's an eight or nine hour drive. I wanted to go down to Boron, visit my friend there. His son, my 'nephew' (he calls me Uncle Jon) was here recently.

I wanted to go because I like it down there. It really is another world. Also, for most of my life, when not constrained I tended to get up and leave. It wasn't so much the destination as the feeling of motion.

I was surprised that, when I got a few nights sleep, the thought of travel was not especially appealing. I am starting to understand why old guys would name there little houses "Dun Roamin" or something like that.

I have a friend, Jeremy, who is an elderly hippie. He was born in Britain, raised in Argentina, schooled in Britain. He served in the British Army and then the British Airforce. He was posted all over what remained of the empire. He went on to work in London, Mexico City, New York and San Francisco, where he dropped out and became a hippie, circa 1967. He has ex wives and children beyond counting. These days he lives in a small coastal town where he is self employed fixing lawn mowers. He doesn't like to go more than about ten miles from his apartment. He isn't feeble. He is quite strong and active. He just likes it where he is. I can sympathize.

In terms of mileage, I have driven around the world about 45 times. Lots of old bastards can't wait to retire and travel. Maybe they felt trapped for all of the years they worked. I'm surprised to find that I can't wait to retire and sit still. I never felt grounded. I never felt that I fit in. I craved new sights and new faces. Lately, I find that I like it where I am. I like the quiet. I like knowing a lot of people here. I like running into friends and acquaintances at the grocery store. This is OK.

I've gotten a bit off the subject of The Monks and The Fall. You did ask, sort of, and I am a notoriously windy bastard. As to Merle: I've had lifelong bad luck with shows. For years, I would get all excited to see some band, be the first in line to buy tickets and then have my heroes show up drunk, forget the words to their big hit, do a twenty minute insipid blues jam, maaan, and stagger off the stage. These days, if I manage to see a band, and they don't fuck up too badly, I'm pleased, but I don't worry if I miss them. Even though he has sobered up, Merle can't keep touring much longer. It would be nice to see him once before he's gone.

ib said...

As somebody who has always relished quiet - with or without the accompanying peace - I can all too easily empathize with your desire to stay put and reflect on shit a little.

I like the idea of living close enough to the desert to countenance the odd pilgrimage. Possibly I've simply read too much Carlos Castaneda and I'm dangerously over romanticizing things. That, and Old Testament biblical imagery. Whatever, I like the idea of arid wilderness. Quite a different matter, of course, if one happens to be a Mexican alien skipping over the border.

Your friend, Jeremy has certainly lived a bit.

Your driver said...

Jeremy can be a royal pain in the ass, but he is alright. Here's a tiny Jeremy story: If you've ever seen the Hitchcock film, The Birds, you've see the town where Jeremy lives. If you remember, there was a scene in a bar where a group of locals argue over what to do about recent events. Jeremy used to make his living hanging out in that bar selling meth to the fishing boat crewmen. The place was unchanged from the '50's until quite recently. A few years ago the family who have owned the place for 60 years tore it down and rebuilt it as a much bigger and fancier establishment. Still a good place and good people, but the old joint is no more.

The desert, at least the American Southwestern desert, which is the only one I know, is truly weird. In places it can be stunningly beautiful but California desert towns like Brawley or Boron are among the ugliest places I have ever been. I say this having lived in Detroit and New Jersey, two places that are generally considered world class shitholes. There really are forces out in the desert that are scary and amoral and they will make their presence felt. A lot of Indians consider the stuff that Casteneda was messing with entirely real. They also consider it very, very dangerous. My brother in law is a full blooded Navajo who grew up speaking Dine in the desert. He has a very low opinion of Brujeria.

Finally, it is incredibly easy to die in the desert. That became very apparent to me, very quickly. I am horrified by elderly people from Northern Climates (my parents among them) who move to the desert because it's "warm". They live this weird air conditioned pod life that creeps me out. The desert demands that your movements be slow and purposeful. Your attention has to be external. You must pay attention. No wool gathering. The funny thing is, there isn't that much to pay attention to. I've found that, when moving slowly through the desert, paying close attention to small things, my emotions detach themselves from the anchors of reason. I have found myself suddenly caught up by vast and solemn joy, or just as suddenly pulled under by a sense of truly cosmic menace.

Not this week though.

WV is foreshi

ib said...

I have a friend who had a very bad experience with Datura. Its effects were potent and long lasting. No brujeria involved, but just the intrinsic chemistry of the powdered root appeared to be malignantly consequential. Here we have Mandrake - a powerful ingredient in Wicca and other pagan religions - although I have never dabbled. Amanita Muscaria are also abundant but notoriously difficult to prepare and quantify.

"Slow and purposeful" seems like a good way to go about one's daily business.

ib said...

By quantify, I mean assess its potency.

I remember once I was out gathering psilocybes when I stumbled across an unusually large Fly Agaric growing very near a reservoir. The sun was high in the sky, and the mushroom's milk was freely lactating. It was very inviting.

I smoked a couple of joints and seriously debated taking it home with me to dry and powder. In the end I decided just to leave it be.

When I returned a few days later, it had been uprooted and almost completely destroyed. It resembled a ripe fruit which had been bludgeoned and left to spoil in the grass. The phrase, "no use crying over spilt milk" sprang to mind.

LV said...

Mandrake is a key component in many chemotherapy treatments, alongside many other natural roots and herbs.
I think the distrust of Brujeria is fair enough, there is a similar charlatan mystique surrounding the Saddhu's in India; I think that these people are often on a margin with the black marketeers and hustlers of any society, and as I mentioned elsewhere, they distract the gullible explorer/tourist from experiencing the depth of that culture, and the feeel of the soil! as well as filling their pockets...

ib said...

Good to hear from you, LV: "long time no speak", indeed!

I didn't know that mandrake was an active part of chemotherapy... Those early Wiccans and druids were clearly as switched on as the invading Romans who brought opium with them as an analgesic to be used on the battlefields of Northern Europe.