Archive for January, 2016

humbug

Posted in Uncategorized on January 12, 2016 by johnny haddo

For many years I dismissed David Bowie as a shallow opportunist. What was he doing that Andy Warhol and Lou Reed, conceptually and musically, hadn’t done with more wit and originality? I saw him at the Greyhound in Croydon in the summer of 1972, supported by Roxy Music in a pub room that can’t have held more than 200 people. He did the Ziggy Stardust thing, he and the band in full costume, and I didn’t care for it much.

Those particular songs still don’t do anything for me, but time sometimes dissolves prejudices and now I can see that what I took to be shallowness and opportunism were aspects of what we call the pop process: the way things evolve through mimesis and metamorphosis, adapting to their time. And the response to the sudden news of his death leaves no doubt of the profound impact he had on people whose lives were then in the process of being formed.

It wasn’t until the time of the Berlin trilogy that I started to take him seriously, but then he lost me again. I went to see him again at Wembley Arena in the early ’80s, and he looked to me like a man who’d run dry. But I liked the records he made with Nile Rodgers — if you’ve seen Frances Ha, you’ll know the wonderful sequence in which Greta Gerwig’s character skips through the streets of New York to the sound of “Modern Love” and the whole cinema seems to lift about a foot off the ground.

This morning I found myself going into Soho to buy his new album, queuing behind a bunch of people doing exactly the same thing. I could tell you that I was going to buy it today in any case, and it would be true: the idea of Bowie working with jazz musicians sounded intriguing, if not necessarily guaranteed to work.

I’m listening to blackstar now, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that Bowie knew exactly what he was doing when he scheduled its release. It sounds like the supremely elegant farewell of an artist standing squarely on the platform of his past achievements in order to reach still further, one last time. It’s worthy of the famous line fromMacbeth: “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it.”

It isn’t jazz, of course, or anything like it. The skills of the musicians are put to a different purpose. In the mesh of textures created from the available palette, in the brilliant settings of his allusive lyrics, in the masterful sense of pacing (listen to the closing of “Lazarus”), in the aching poignancy of “Dollar Days” (“If I never see the English evergreens I’m running to/It’s nothing to me/It’s nothing to see”), in the purposeful channeling of energy and the constant sense of newness from start to finish, this sounds like Bowie music at its most fully realised and powerfully affecting. What a way to say goodbye.

Frestonia: the past is another country

Posted in Uncategorized on January 4, 2016 by johnny haddo

nicked _

The Library Time Machine

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away (the past) a brave person of restricted growth and his staunch companions threw off the bonds of oppression and created their own magical land…….

Well, perhaps that’s not the way to tell it. North Kensington, once called by Michael Moorcock “the most delicious slum in Europe” was once a hotbed of community activism. Barricades were built, protests were made, community newspapers were published, councillors were locked in meeting halls. In the days before social media and citizen journalism, people made theselves heard with all the means at their disposal. One of those means was the creation of the Free Republic of Frestonia.

The building of the Westway cut through North Kensington leaving some parts of it a bit stranded. Latimer Road was truncated, Walmer Road was bisected (see this post, which has many interesting comments from former residents) and…

View original post 787 more words

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Robert Graham's Anarchism Weblog

Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas

DantéBéa

PHOTOGRAPHIE - COLLAGE - PEINTURE

Vintage-Haberdashers Blog

Quality vintage menswear

Letters to the World

The bright senses, sight & hearing, make a world patent and ordered, a world of reason, fragile but lucid. The dark senses, smell & taste & touch, create a world of felt wisdom, without a plot, unarticulated, but certain - Crowley

Paul D. Brazill

Writer, Editor & English Teacher.

Bibliodeviancy

book lust unbound...

Victorian Paris

Life in 19th Century Paris

Folk Medicine

Remedies from the 1800's that will either cure or kill you!

In:Sites

Landscape, Place, Memory

Contrappasso Magazine: International Writing

Edited by Matthew Asprey Gear

North Kensington Histories

Recollections of people from North Kensington, London

Mal Earl

Art : Illustration : Comics : Design

78 RECORDS, CYLINDER RECORDS & VINTAGE PHONOGRAPHS

Information and Resources for Historic-Sound Enthusiasts

Points: The Blog of the Alcohol & Drugs History Society

short and insightful writing about a long and complex history

Rastafari Talmud

Biblical Reasonings based on The Teaching of Qedamawi Haile Sellassie

Travalanche

Being a web log for the observations of actor, author, cartoonist, comedian, critic, director, humorist, journalist, master of ceremonies, performance artist, playwright, producer, publicist, public speaker, songwriter, and variety booker Trav S.D.