Thursday, February 28, 2019

the truth of pop (unsightly return)

"Listening to the families’ stories, I noticed how as soon as they came into Michael Jackson’s orbit, everything became kind of dreamlike and unreal. It’s easy to condemn the parents who failed to protect their children from the star.... But it seems normal to me. Have you had a period when you suddenly fell in with the cool crowd, or even one person who was glamorous to you? Such magnetism can blind and derange....  These boundaries are far more unstable for children. What unsettles me in hearing Leaving Neverland’s two alleged survivors, now grown men, is that despite everything twisted about it, they’re each telling a love story....

"These families’ stories reflect the whole culture’s relationship with stars, and their relationships with us—stories of idolization and exploitation, of projection and possession, of opportunism and rationalization. And of the wreckage left behind. When you love a star, inherently you’re loving a person who doesn’t exist, a figment of image creation and your own manipulated yearnings. In Jackson’s case, that goes double. He seemed so dissociated in the ways he presented himself through the last half of his life that it’s hard to guess how much of reality he was experiencing. Was he a person who didn’t exist even for himself?

"If there’s anything Leaving Neverland makes me want to get rid of entirely, it is child stardom, which mangled this man’s psyche and went on to be a lure for the children and families who attached themselves to him. I could wish the same about stardom in general, but that would be another rhetorical flourish. Stardom, that atrocity waiting to happen, is what the machinery of this culture is geared to produce, more so than any particular artwork or entertainment. It is beyond the control of any of us..."

- Carl Wilson at Slate on Leaving Neverland

This post is a sequel to this earlier one entitled The Truth of Pop about pop as an industry of child-exploitation.

Which starts with a link to a story on Joe Jackson as monstrous father / father-of-monster.

                                          (not the dude who did "Different for Girls" and "Stepping Out", silly!)

Oh and coincidentally,  a star in my own personal firmament is coming soon with a whole book on the starchild with the lost boyhood

That cover is quite vaporwave

Curious to see if The Awfully Big Adventure is an expansion on the very long essay in Loops from a decade ago, or simply that piece repackaged...

... and also how Morley dances around these very issues...

.... should it even be re-titled The Bigly Awful Adventure?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Suzi Q versus Grace J

other versions

interesting that it should be both a glamthem and considered an industrial ancestor / classic

the glam comes from Grace Jones's version

the industrial from the original 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

the Visitor

"Bowie had been lined up to record an all-new score for The Man Who Fell to Earth, but this had fallen apart owing to various business wranglings as well as doubts on the part of the director and other executives about the early demo tracks Bowie laid down. The score was ultimately provided by John Philips, formerly of The Mamas and Papas.  But the tentative direction pursued for the abortive Bowie soundtrack – “slow and spacey cues with synth, Rhodes and cello” and “a couple of weirder, atonal cues using synths and percussion,” according to Paul Buckmaster, who worked on the sessions – would blossom with Low...

"These four anguished atmospheres on Side 2  are a tantalizing glimpse of what the score to The Man Who Fell to Earth could have been. (Bowie sent Low to Roeg with a note saying, “This is what I wanted to do for you.”) You could even imagine this music as the album in the movie that we never get to hear, made by alien Thomas Jerome Newton’s alter-ego, The Visitor. Certainly there are precious few terrestrial precedents for the genre Bowie invents here."  

David Bowie is The Man Who Fell To Earth – Epilogue - What Happened to The Visitor? – 2017 from Nacho's Productions on Vimeo.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

mirror mirror

"Performance and The Man Who Fell to Earth go together... The two movies form a conceptual pair, bookending the glam era. Filmed in 1968, Performance is absolutely Sixties, but it rehearses the themes of the pop era that followed swiftly upon the film’s delayed release in 1970. Decadence, sexual indeterminacy, the theatricality of performance are all in there, along with a persistent motif to do with mirrors (used for doubling and gender-blurring effects).... 

"The script for Performance was originally titled The Liars. Both rock star and gangster project a front as part of their trade. Gangland enforcer in hiding, Devlin uses intimidation, a psychopathic aura, far more than actual violence. In the movie’s critical exchange, Turner - played by Bowie's frenemy-to-be Jagger - lectures the “juggler” Devlin about theatre:  "I know a thing or two about performing, my boy.... The only performance that makes it, that really makes it, that makes it all the way, is the one that achieves madness. Am I right?” But Turner also knows that he’s lost his mojo: precisely the ability to believe the illusion he’s projecting. Devlin, whose name is close to devil, still possesses his “daemon,” as Turner's lover Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) calls it. She says that the criminal provides a “dark little mirror” that will perhaps help the fading rock star escape the hole in which “he’s stuck. Stuck!”

"The second half of Man Who Fell To Earth-- Newton in house arrest, passing time in kinky but listless sex, drinking gin by the gallon-- virtually repeats the atmosphere of cloistered decadence that pervades Turner’s West London townhouse...."

- adapted from the section in Shock and Awe about Bowie, Nicolas Roeg, and The Man Who Fell To Earth

Monday, February 4, 2019

punk (just) before punk

Coincidentally published around the same time as All the Young Droogs's release, a piece at Dangerous Minds on the well-droogy Heavy Metal Kids - whose Gary Holton got some inspiration from Alex in A Clockwork Orange. The argument advanced - Heavy Metal Kids as missing link between glam and punk - is also advanced in Shock and Awe in the chapter entitled "Ultraviolence".

Only problem with Heavy Metal Kids -  what kept them from being punk - was A/ they were just a bit too theatrical and over the top (a bayonet in the stage?)...  B/ the music was too good-times pub boogie in the Faces style.  With Gary's Ronnie Wood-like hooter, the effect is more like Black Crowes with a gorblimey guvnor accent than a blast of fresh air clearing the stale Dingwalls/Marquee/Rainbow fug of the first-half  Seventies.

Also the name is confusing, because they have nothing to do with heavy metal the genre, but the name makes you think they do - and thus part of something existing, rather than start of something new.


  ... or at least, if not endorsing / encouraging, then at least accepting the existence and inevitability of theatricality as a social mech...