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.
A writer first made the connection between the poppy and battlefield deaths during the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, remarking that fields that were barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended. Continue reading
I recruited Darren Zenko to write for the Paltry Sapien earlier this year. He seemed keen to participate, and I was eager to have some share of his prodigious gifts for irreverent humor and subversive invention. In addition to these – standard fare for anyone who knew him – he told me that he had learned a very great deal from his time listening, watching and talking with people in the cancer wards and treatment centers he’d been spending much of his time in. He had some hard-won wisdom, he told me, and hoped to live and to give it expression. Most sadly, the disease took him last week, at age 39.
Sometimes, rarely maybe, or maybe that’s just me showing my age, Edmonton seems to be filled with big-hearted and beautiful people, like it did last night. Sorry that it had to be a funeral. Zenko abides. Godspeed to him.
As an observer and writer Darren would have pointed out, there’s a reason they put funerals in the movies. It’s so that people can have epiphanies, set aside quarrels, bond through shared emotion and experience, see each other anew, show their kinder natures. Grief makes us better people.
Three members of Moscow’s Pussy Riot continue to languish in pre-trial incarceration, but the international movement to see them freed continues to swell, and their enemies remain vulnerable to and deserving of mockery:
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.
This show was largely inspired by the spectacle of various Occupy encampments getting rolled up with varying degrees of brutality. Else-wise the show explored Iggy Pop’s strange line that he is ‘Doing the things a 5’1″ man can do’.
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.