Thursday, December 26, 2013

Graham Hancock: The War on Consiousness (TEDx Talk)

Graham Hancock is the author of The Sign and the Seal, Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis, Heaven’s Mirror, Supernatural and other bestselling investigations of historical mysteries. His books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over five million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity’s past. Hancock's first venture into fiction, Entangled, was published in 2010 and his second novel, War God, on the Spanish Conquest of Mexico, was published in April 2013.

The War on Consciousness", was presented at the TEDx Whitechapel event in London on 12 January 2013 and posted to the TEDx Youtube channel on 13 February 2013. A month later, on 14 March 2013, TED deleted the talk from the TEDx Youtube channel (original location here:, where it had accumulated more than 132,000 views, and relegated it to an obscure section of its website surrounded by prejudicial statements intended to bias viewers against it from the start and ensure no harm was done to the "TED brand". At the same time a talk by Rupert Sheldrake entitled "The Science Delusion" was also deleted from the TEDx Youtube channel and reposted in the same deliberately obscure fashion. But TED's decision effectively to act as a censor in the very real war on consciousness that is underway in our society has backfired.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Mick Farren on Media Revolution Counter Culture and Anarchism

Mick Farren (1943-2013) on the subject of Watch Out Kids, the counterculture comic he co-produced with Edward Barker (1950-1997) in 1972. In 2011 the comic was the subject of an exhibition at SPACE, London in 2011 (interview by SPACE Exhibitions Curator, Paul Pieroni).

In 1972 writer and musician Mick Farren, collaborated with artist Edward Barker to produce Watch Out Kids.

Up in until 1969 Farren had been the lead singer anarcho-psychedelic rock outfit The Deviants. Following the band's psychotropic implosion on tour in Canada, Farren had returned to London -- pursuing a solo career while also becoming heavily involved in London's burgeoning underground newspaper scene through his editorial work for the International Times.

Farren's text for Watch Out Kids is marked by a strong sense of subcultural unity. In it he argues that the same spirit of rebellion that awoke a post-war generation of Rock and Rollers was the fuel behind the late 60s countercultural boom. Watch Out Kids documents the development of that sprit -- tracking its many mutations over a twenty-year period.

Farren's words sit amongst a loud and unapologetic design and layout by Barker -- at the time also working at the International Times. Drawing heavily on the alternative comic scene, Watch Out Kids features Barker's own work alongside that of luminaries such as Spain, Robert Crumb, Malcolm Livingstone and Gilbert Shelton, amongst others.

Sharp, brash and ideological, Watch Out Kids is a fascinating document; at once historical yet entirely personal. For the exhibition at SPACE the entire book will be displayed on the Library walls alongside a video archive featuring a new interview with Mick Farren by SPACE curator Paul Pieroni.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Amon Düül

This is the earliest known film of Amon Düül made in 1968 in Munich. Amon Düül was a German political art commune formed out of the student movement of the 1960s that became well known for its free-form musical improvisations. This spawned two rock groups, Amon Düül (sometimes referred to as Amon Düül I) and the more famous Amon Düül II. After both groups disbanded in the 1970s, some of the original members reunited in the 1980s under the name Amon Düül again, though this incarnation is commonly referred to as Amon Düül (UK) to avoid confusion with the original one.

Amon Düül engaged in exuberant open-ended experimentation that at times equalled their psychedelic rock equivalents in countries such as the USA or Brazil (e.g. Os Mutantes), with a focus on political activities. The members were close to Kommune 1 in Berlin and boasted, for a time, a prominent member in the model and activist Uschi Obermaier. Amon Düül signed a contract with the firm "Metronome Records", and continued for seven years with varying degrees of success and in various guises. They wound down in 1973 after releasing four official albums (and a posthumous fifth), though all except one were recorded at the 1968 sessions for their debut. Apparently, the man responsible was producer Peter Meisel, who released the albums without the band's approval in an attempt to capitalise on the success of Amon Düül II. The LPs are these days regarded as unique, if unessential, records in the history of German rock. In contrast, their Paradieswärts Düül album featured a pastoral, folk-influenced sound (produced by Julius Schittenhelm) which is highly regarded amongst krautrock fans. The name 'Amon Düül' was trademarked by Chris Karrer and Peter Leopold of Amon Düül II, meaning that re-issues of Amon Düül's albums have been required to license the name from them.

Rüdiger Nüchtern’s short film Amon Düül II Spielt Phallus Dei dates from 1968 and is a single camera documentation of the Krautrock legends performing the title track from their soon to be released first album. The band perform in a studio in Munich against a wall with psychedelic projections, with shots of a sunrise, sunset, clouds, trees and the German countryside added in. The personnel here are Christian ‘Shrat’ Thiele (bongos, vocals) Peter Leopold (drums), Dieter Serfas (drums), John Weinzierl (guitar), Falk Rogner (organ), Chris Karrer (violin, guitar) Renate Knaup (vocals) and Dave Anderson (bass).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Martin Sharp's "Street Of Dreams" - Brighton Edit (1988)

Part documentary and part collage, "Martin Sharp's Street Of Dreams" is an amazing and magical look at the one-and-only Herbert Khaury (a.k.a. Tiny Tim), as well as a look at Sydney's own Luna Park and the infamous Ghost Train fire (an incident which killed seven people). An almost decade long labor of love, Martin Sharp provides an inside look at pop music's most eccentric and sincere performer, long after fame and fortune (and Miss Vicki) had left him. He was more than a musician, or an entertainer. He was a direct link to the music of days gone by, and in Martin Sharp's words "The Eternal Troubadour". To call him anything else would be ignoring the fact that he poured both his heart and soul into every performance, be it for ten people or ten thousand. However, Tiny Tim wasn't without his fair share of personal demons. He constantly struggled with a love for alcohol and an obsessive passion for women, and there are many instances where both his desires and devotion to Jesus seem to present a man with mental instability. But it is these imperfections, combined with his ever-present humility and overall good humor, that fully round out the man and make him all the more believable and human. The film, while mainly focusing on Tiny Tim, also covers the story of Sydney's Luna Park and the controversy of the Ghost Train fire.

The film is tied together with video footage of Tiny's 1979 attempt to break the World Professional Non-Stop Singing Record (a record he would later break again in the same year this film was completed), as well as footage of the time he spent as an entertainer at Luna Park. This particular edit was aired May 24th 1988 in Brighton, England. After the film was shown Tiny began his third and final World Professional Non-Stop Singing Record. There are several people to thank for this, and they would be Martin Sharp, Esteban Rincon, and the administrators of the Tiny Tim Facebook fanpage. Without Martin Sharp's love and adoration for Tiny Tim, almost two decades of the singer's life would have been lost to history. Martin Sharp first saw Tiny Tim perform at The Royal Albert Hall in 1969. After seeing him perform, Martin Sharp would go on to record many of Tiny's on and off stage performances, his first recording being from 1974 at the Newcastle West Leagues Club. He continued to produce and support Tiny Tim well into the early nineties, and in 2007 re-released two of Tiny Tim's albums he produced ("Chameleon" and "Wonderful World Of Romance") as well as a compilation of previously unreleased studio and live performances titled "Stardust". Without Esteban Rincon, I would have never received a copy of the film and therefore been unable to share it with the world. Many thanks to the Admins. at Tiny's Facebook page for providing facts about the film. I do not claim ownership of this video, and I believe rights belong to Martin Sharp and everyone mentioned in the credits (Credits start at 1:42:00) Licensing of songs and music are also presented in the credits.

(Disclaimer: There are several scenes in the film containing nudity, though it is presented tastefully.)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell - Peter O'Toole

Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell is a play by Keith Waterhouse about real-life journalist Jeffrey Bernard. Bernard was still alive at the time the play was first performed in the West End in 1989.

Bernard wrote the "Low Life" column in The Spectator. The play's title refers to the magazine's habit of printing a one-line apology on a blank page when he was too drunk or hung-over to produce the required copy and a substitute article could not be found before the deadline for publication. Its premise is that Bernard has found himself locked in overnight at his favourite public house, the Coach and Horses, Soho, and uses the occasion to share anecdotes from his life with the audience. A highlight of the play is a trick involving a glass of water, a matchbox, and an egg which must remain unbroken at the end of the trick. This trick is more fully described in an obituary of Keith Waterhouse in The Guardian.

Often remembered as a one-man show, but in fact packed with characters performed by a versatile supporting cast of four, Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell was a highly successful vehicle for its original star Peter O'Toole. The show opened in Brighton in September 1989, moved to Bath and made its triumphant London debut at the Apollo Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in October. O'Toole also appeared in a later revival at the Old Vic. The Old Vic run was totally sold out and on August 23, 1999, the London Evening Standard published a 'Bluffer's Guide' to enable readers to pretend they had seen it: "thereby allowing dinner party conversations and watercooler debates to run their course unhindered by ignorance."

A filmed version of the stage play was shot at the Apollo Theatre with a live audience and was released in both full and abridged versions.

O'Toole was followed in the part by Tom Conti who starred in a revival of the play until September 2006 at the Garrick Theatre in London. The part has also been played by James Bolam, Dennis Waterman, Robert Powell, and most recently Simon Hill in the Frayed Knot Production of the play.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sky Needle

From the wilds of Australia, Sky Needle bleed over Europe in the summer of 2013.

Part concert footage and part fly-on-the-wall travelogue, it was shot on consumer-point camcorders by different band members and produced and edited by member Alex Cuffe, who photographed the cover of Sky Needle’s recent second album Debased Shapes.

Like their music, which is proudly made using only homemade instruments, the film teases out tranquil beauty from the margins of weird, misshapen jags. It’s as much about the band’s clatter-delic soundtrack as it is about the constant downtime, spanning museums, airports, churches, rental cars, runways and travelators and taking in quick snatches of meals, drinks and timely one-liners. There are other idiosyncratic bands captured live as well, including The Pheromoans and Yuri Landman.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Einsturzende Neubauten - Palast der Republik 2006

The concert performance on this session was filmed at the Palast der Republik in Berlin, the former Parliament building and symbol of the no longer existing DDR (East Germany). The Palast der Republik has since been torn down in order to make space for a new building in the location of the old Royal City Palace. The Neubauten found the steel skeleton of the ruins of the Palast a congenial location for their architectural-musical fanatasies and field studies. Accompanied by a 100 member choir, recruited from the supporters of the Internet project, they played in and with the building in their inimitable, almost literally building-collapsing fashion.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Butthole Surfers - Full Show - Live 1987

Glory from the last word in south of the border psychedelia. There are quite a few mid-1980s shows from the Butthole Surfers on YouTube these days. This is one of the better ones. Its from 5 May 1987 at Rollick (formerly 688 Club), Atlanta. This is a stripped back bare psychedelic sound, complete with near nude dancer. It is as close to a pagan ritual as you can probably get in Georgia.

USSA - Rocky - Cherub - Two Parter - Julio Iglesias - Graveyard - Johnny Smoke - Psychedelic Jam - Gary Floyd - Sweat Loaf - Pittsburgh to Lebanon - Weird instrumental (later became a song I can't recall) - Jimi - No Rule - Noise. This was back when they played a lot of jams that turned into future songs.