If memory serves, it was Greil Marcus who pointed out the Armageddon specter that haunts the works of Richard Thompson. Heartbreak in a Thompson song doesn’t merely feel like the end of the world, it writes small the general doom, like a pinhole camera. One such cruel gem is How Will I Ever Be Simple Again from the strangely hard to find Daring Adventures (1986). It is a song of war and aftermath where wounds are forever and pain always fresh as the day. Consolation flirts and departs (like she did). Here I’ve paired it with cuttings from Insignificance (1985) by Nicolas Roeg, a wise bit of lunacy, a collision of icons and a fable of the Red Scare, the impossible blonde bombshell and looming atomic annihilation.
Some talk of Buñuel here at the Paltry Sapien prompted me to put this clip together. Luis Buñuel made this strange film L’Âge d’Or in 1930. When I first saw it, I had a eureka moment as I thought I had discovered the cradle in which Monty Python had been birthed. The inception point comes earlier in the movie, when the protagonist becomes enraged at the site of a blind beggar, runs over and kicks the man in the belly for no apparent reason. Tennis anyone? Watch how he sneaks into the party the second time, bristling with craven pomposity, and tell me that John Cleese would have played it any different.
The song I,Showbiz comes from The Sound And The Jerry (1997), a late album that may lack the power of the Sons of Rhythm band but contains some of Jerry Jerry’s best and funniest writings. If a forlorn girl sucking the toe of a cold, remote statue isn’t a perfect icon for Rock-and-Roll stardom, well then I guess I don’t understand imagery. I wonder if anyone ever tried to clamp their lips on the end of Jerry’s cowboy boot.
Apologies to all loud-mouth liberal clueless kumquats.
See also The Drift
Four-string, no-cymbals sludge-a-billy duo of Montreal Deja Voodoo put Viet Cong on their third album, Swamp of Love in 1986. They also ran Og Records which played an essential role in allowing Canadian indie music to flourish. A lifetime of kudos is owed them (and perhaps a couple of seats in our appointed senate).
In 1989, Peter Jackson, now of Lord of the Rings fame, released Meet the Feebles, his audaciously tasteless and utterly brilliant assault on the Muppet Show (and The Deer Hunter).
It occurred to me that these two works really did belong together and any liberties I may have taken are more than justified by the fact that there is a band wandering around New Zealand calling themselves Deja Voodoo.
Despite having a lock on a spot near the top of the best Canadian bands of all time shortlist, Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra have a decidedly small Youtubular footprint, so I set out to change that with The Drift (1987) – the swift-running shit-kicker that tended to send the live gigs smashing through the guard rails, back in the day – a pair of scissors and a copy of Sean Penn’s Indian Runner (1991). Yes that is Aragorn with the tattoos, David Morse with the shotgun, and Dennis Hopper as bartender Beelzebub. If you’re inspired to check out the film (which I strongly recommend) watch for an unknown Benicio del Toro in a tiny role with a ludicrous hairdo. Watch the entire Penn cycle, with the Crossing Guard and the Pledge if you feel like spending the holidays bummed out and grim in a what’s-yer-take-on-Cassavetes sort of way.
Here’s hoping Sean Penn doesn’t show up and punch me – hmmm, actually I’d be cool with that.
Here’s my first fan video. It’s for the tune Oh Be Joyful by the Pack AD, from their second album Funeral Mixtape (2008). I learned from Maya, when they last came through town, that they had indeed gotten the title from Ken Burns’ the Civil War (Oh Be Joyful was one of many colourful names the soldiers gave to their DIY hooch), and so I open with a soundbite from that series. I thought about using clips from Ravenous – which was also a source for the song – but opted for moonshine over cannibalism. The rest of the video is comprised of a how-to-build-a-still montage, courtesy of Hamper McBee and some pals. I strongly recommend viewing the whole of Hamper McBee: Raw Mash (1978) (See also, Rich Hall’s Dirty South, he’s got plenty to say on the subject of home brew in southern culture.)
While touring the Bay Area, wine tasters run afoul of evil-doers in the rear view.