Monday, 28 September 2009

Ivor Cutler- (15/1/23- 3/3/06) - Magical Surrealist


Ah Mr Cutler, beloved scotch poet, songwriter and humorist,I remember fondly listening to him under the bedclothes, on John Peels wonderful show.Cannot forget my first sighting of Cutler as Buster Bloodvessell ,in the Beatles Magical Mystery Show and later on one of Neil Innes television programmes and on Robert Wyatts records.I also remember him appearing on numerous occasions the Andy Kershaw show ( now what ever happened to him).No need for questions, he was a complete original. I think I passed my English "o " level with Ivor's help. Happy innocent days

WINDFALLS

On the turf ,below the tree of life, lie the windfalls.
They are tunnelled through, but the tunnells go
nowhere. If you ask a tunnell where it leads, you
get a bleak look." I am just a hole through a
solid. I was just eaten." The eaters lie on the turf,
little brown dessicated bits of nature, waiting for a
strong wind to blow up to the air and into
the hedge


A SLIGHT CURVE

An insecure man decided to live below a mountain,
so he dug a tunnell till he came to the middle, but
his ruler had a slight curve and he came out a
quarter of the way round. However, all the healthy
exercise inside the mountain cured his insecurity
so he laughed and went back to his wife and
children and grandchildren and in-laws.


MISS PRISM


She gave him, a glassy stare from the top of a
vitreous ladder.


WHAT ABOUT THE HORNS


In the middle of the moon, a huge man who
smells like your favourite granpa lights a candle
and settles down to read.


THE GREAT REFLECTOR

I sit in the dark dreesed in a formal suit. I am
waiting for the moon to reappear so that I can
continue my sketch of the kitchen.

PHILOSOPHICAL SPECULATION

How many anglers dance on top of the bin


A PERPENDICULAR ATTITUDE

When life gets too much , do not lie down and cry,
stand up and weep

THE CAKE OF LIFE

It is only in the autumn that I date the month in
Latin:-IX, X, XI, XII. And then return to Arabic:-
1, 2, 3. It's the icing on the cake of life . An ort of
schoolchild culture. As good as a degree in the
classics.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

KENNETH REXTROTH -THOU SHALL NOT KILL ( a memorial for Dylan Thomas )


Kenneth Rextroth was born on December 22,1905, in South Bend,Indiana, and died on June 6,1982, in Montecito,California.He moved to San Francisco from Chicago in 1927 to become involved in leftist politics and began by helping to organize maritime labour unions. During World War II Rextroth was a conscietious objector, a political stance he shared with his friend , the Californian poet William Everson, who later summarized Rextroth's predominant influence on local writers in the essay "Rextroth: Shaker and Maker."

An Anarchist poet, critic, translator and playwright,Rextroth also wrote regular columns as the West Coast literary correspondent for the NATION and the Saturday Review. In particular ,Rextroth's interest in Asian literature and philosophy contributed to the Beat writers' study of what Ginsberg called "Bhuddha consciousness."Rextroth's translations of Asan poetry published by New Directions were a seminal influence on Gary Snyder and other young poets.

It was at one of Rextroth's weekly "seminars in his apartment at 250 Scott Street above Jack's Record Cellar that Ginsberg heard him read an early mimeographed version of his eulogy for the popular Welsh poet Dylan Thomas titled "Thou Shalt Not Kill."Rextroth wrote the poem shortly after Thomas's death from alcoholism on November 9, 1953. In "Thou Shalt Not Kill," Rextroth's scathing charge that capitalism had vanquished the century's most promising writers in it materialistic pursuit of power and its worship of the destructive god Mammon would reverberate in Ginsberg's' later poem "Howl."


AUTHOR'S NOTE......

This poem was written in one sitting, a few hours after a phone came from New York with the news that Dylan(Thomas)had died. It was circulated widely, mimeo'd to all my friends. The copies were all plainly labelled "NOT FOR PUBLICATION".Nevertheless it has been printed without my permission, in Japanese, Greek, French, English and several other languages, in a shortened form. In most cases I believe it was thoght to be effective ammunition in the Cold War. After seeing the last section in print a friend wrote me "You have a point, powerfully put, but the other side is much worse." The "other side "? Dylan and I are the "other side" The poem is directed against the twentieth, the Century of Horror. It says the same thing Holderin or Baudelaire said of the nineteenth century, but it has the benefit of what the philosophers call " an inclusion series ";one hundred more years. I am well aware that ther are no loger the suicides east of the Iron Curtain there used to be. The first wave was thorough and effective.
Kenneth Rextroth


1

They are murdering all the young men.
For half a century now, every day,
They have hunted them down and killed them.
They are killing them now.
At this minute, all over the world,
They are killing the young men.
They know ten thousand ways to kill them.
Every year they invent new ones.
In the jungles of Africa,
In the marshes of Asia,
In the deserts of Asia,
In the slave pens of Siberia
In the slums of Europe,
In the nightclubs of America,
The murderers are at work.

They are stoning Stephen
They are casting him forth from every city
in the world.
Under the Welcome sign,
Under the Rotary emblem,
His body lies under the hurling stones.
He was full of faith and power.
He did great wonders among the people.
They could not stand against his wisdom.

They could not bear the spirit with which
he spoke.
He cried out in the name
Of the tabernacle of witness in the wilderness.
They were cut to the heart.
They gnashed against him with their teeth.
They cried out with a loud voice.
They stopped their ears.
They ran on him with one accord.
They cast him out of the city and stoned him.
The witnessess laid down their clothes
At the feet of a man whose name was your name -
You.

You are the murderer.
You are killing the young men.
You are broiling Lawrence on his gridiron.When you demanded he divulge
The hidden trasures of the spirit,
He showed you the poor.
You set your heart against him.
You seized hin and bound him with rage.
You roasted him on a slow fire.
His fat dripped and spurted in the flame.
The smell was swwet to your nose.
He cried out,
"I am cooked on this side,
Turn me over and eat,
You
Eat of my flesh."

You are murdering the young men.
You are shooting Sebastion with arrows.
He kept the faithfull stadfast under
persecution.

First you shot him with arrows.
The you beat him with rods.
Then you threw him in the sewer.
You fear nothing more than courage.You who turn away your eyes
At the bravery of the young men.

You.
The hyena with polished face and bow tie,
In the office of a billion dollar
Corporation devoted to service;
The vulture dripping with carrion,
Carefully and carelessly robed in imported
tweeds,
Lecturing on the Age of Abundance;
The jackal in double-breasted gabardines,
Barking by remote control,
In the United Nations;
The vampire bat seated at the couch head,
Notebook in hand, toying with his decerebrator;
The autonomous, ambulalatory cancer,
The Superego in a thousand uniforms;
You,
The finger man of behemoth,
The murderer of the young men.

II

What happened to Robinson,
Who used to stagger down Eighth Street,
Dizzy with solitary gin /
Where is Masters, who crouched in
His law office for ruinous decades?
Where is Leonard who thought he was
A locomotive? And Lindsay,
Wise as a dove, innocent
As a serpent, where is he?
Timor mortis contubat me.
What became of Jim Oppenheim?
Lola Ridge alone in an
Icy furnished room? Orrick Johns,
Hopping into the surf on his
One leg? Elinor Wylie
Who leaped likr Kierkeegaard?
Sar Teasdale, where is she?
Timor mortis conturbat me.

Where is George Sterling, that tame fawn?
Phelps Putnam who stole away?
Jack Wheelwright who couldn't cross the bridge?
Donald Evans with his cane and
Monocle, where is he?
Timor mortis conturbat me.

John Gould Fletcher who could not
Unbreak his powerful heart?
Bodenheim butchered in stinking
Squalour? Edna Millay who took
Her last straight whiskey? genivieve
Who loved so much; where is she?
Timor mortis conturbat me.

Harry who didn't care at all?
Hart who went back to the sea (Hart Crane 1899-1932)
Timor mortis conturbat me.

Where is Sol Funaroff?
What happened to Potemkin?
Isidor Schneider? Claude McKay?
Who animates their corpes today?
Timor mortis conturbat me.

Where is Ezra, that noisy man? ( Ezra Pound)
Where is Larsson whose poems were prayers?
Where is Charlie Snider, that gentle
Bitter boy? Carnevali, (Italian poet)
What became of him?
Carol who was so beautiful, where is she?
Timor mortis conturbat me.


III

Was their end noble and tragic,
Like the mask of a tyrant?
Like Agammemmon's secret golden face?
Indeed it was not. Up all night
In the focsle, bemused and beaten,
Bleeding at the rectum, in his
Pocket a review by the one
Colleaque he respected, "If he
Really means what these poems
Pretend to say. he has only
One way out-." Into the
Hot acrid Caribeann sun,
Into the acrid, transparent,
Smoky sea. Or another, lice in his
Armpits and crotch, garbage littered
On the floor, grey greasy rags on
The bed. " I Killed them because they
Were dirty , stinkin Communists.
Ishould get a medal." Again,
Another, Simenon foretold,
His end at a glance. " I dare you
To pull the trigger." Sheshut her eyes
And spilled gin over her dress.
The pistol wobbles in his hand.
It took them hours to die.
Another threw herself downstairs,
And broke her back, it took her years.
Two put their heads under water
In the bath and filled their lungs.
Another threw himself under
The traffic of a crowded bridge.
Another, drunk, jumped from a
Balcony and broke her neck.
Another soaked herself in
Gasoline and ran blazing
Into the street and lived on
In cutody. One made love
Only once with a beggar woman.
He died later of syphilis
Of the brain and spine. Fifteen
Years of pain and poverty,
While his mind leaked away.
One tried three times in twenty years
To drown himself. The last time
He succeeded. One turned on the gas
When she had no more food, no more
Money, and only half a lung.
One went up to Harlem, took om
Thirty men, came home and
Cut her throat. One sat up all night
Talking to H.L Mencken and
Drowned himself in the morning.

How many stopped writing at thirty?
How many went to work for Time?
How many died of prefrontal
Lobotomies in the Communist Party?
How many are lost in the back wards
Of provincial madhouses?
How many on the advice of
Their psychoanalysts, decided
A businss career was best of all?
How many are hopeless alcoholics?

Rene Crevel!
Jacques Ricgaut!
Antonin Artaud!
Mayakofsky!
Essenin!
Robert Desnos!
Saint Pol Roux!
Max Jacob!
All over the world
The same disembodied hand
Strikes us down.
Here is a mountain of death.
A hill of heads like the Khans piled up.
The first born of a century
Slaughtered by Herod.
Three generations of infants
Stuffed doen the maw of Moloch

IV

He is dead.
The bird of Rhiannom.
He is dead.
In the winter of the heart.
He is dead.
In the canyons of death,
They found him dumb at last
In the blizzard of lies.
He never spoke again.
He died.
He is dead.
In their antseptic hands,
He is dead.
The little spellbinder of Cader Idris.
He is dead.
The sparrow of Cardiff.
He is dead.
The canary of Swansea.
Who killed the bright-headed bird?
You did, you son of a bitch.
You drowned him in your cocktail brain.
He fell down and died in your synthetic heart.
You killed him,
Oppenhemer the Million-Killer.
You killed him,
Eintein the Grey Eminence.
You killed him.
Havanahaana, with your nobel prize.
You killed him,General,
Through the proper channels.

You strangled him, Le Mouton,
With yor mains etendus.
He confessed in open court to a pince-nezed skull.
You shot him in the back of the head
As he stumbled in the last cellar.
You killed him,
Benign Lady on the postage stamp.
He was found dead at a liberal weekly luncheon.
He was found dead on the cutting room floor.
He was found dead at a Time policy conference.
Henry Luce killed him with a telegram to the Pope.
Mademoiselle stangled him with a padded brassiere.
Old possum sprinled him with a tea ball.
After the wolves were done, the vaticides
Crawled of with his bowels to their classrooms
and quarterlies.
When the news came over the radio
You personally rose up shouting, "Give us
Barrabas!"
In your lonely crowd you swept over him.
Your custom built brogans and your ballet slippers
Pummelled himto death in the gritty street.

You hit him with an album of Hindemith.
You stabbed him with stainless steel by Isamu
Noguchi
He is dead.
He is Dead.
Like Ignacio the bullfighter,
At four o.clock in the afternoon.
At precisely four o'clock.
I too do not want to hear it.
I too do not want to know it.
I want to run inyo the street,
Shouting,"Remember Vanzetti!"
...And all the birds of the deep sea rise up
Over the luxury liners and scream,
"You killed him! You killed him.
In your God damned Brooks Brothers suit ,
You son of a bitch."

Friday, 25 September 2009

jim carroll- R i P (August 1st 1949 to September 11 2009)


jim carroll
Originally uploaded by horsager
Just found out,that Jim Carroll (James David ) died at his desk last week, an author , poet , autobiographer and punk musician.
Perhaps best known now for 1978 autobiographical work the Basketball Diaries, which was made into 1995 film starring Leonardo Di Caprio as Carroll.
A ,true original, innovator, harnessing the spirit of rock and roll like a hurricane. For many years Carroll struggled with heroin addiction, and addiction did remain a concern of his many poems.
His books of poetry included " Living at the Movies" (1973), "The Book of Nod " (1986) and " Fear of Dreaming" (1993).
These books reflected Carroll's poetic stance as an outsider and bohemian in the tradition of Arthur Rimbaud or Charles Baudelairre.
In his role as a performance poet I saw him as someone who carried forth the mantle of the Beats. Allen Ginsberg himself saw Carroll as the lower East Sides unofficial laureate.
He bought a beautifully sensitive yet visceral edge to the poetry scene. His streetwise style and life on the edge experience giving him credibility.
But for a Rock and Roll poet, (his group , The Jim Carroll Band,issued a popular album Catholic Boy, in 1981 )his work was markedly literally.
His influences were drawn from poets of the New York School, especially Frank O Hara and Ted Berrigan.It was Berrigans list poem " People who died " that provided inspiration for Carrolls most celebrated song of the same namer.
As a singer and songwriter he had been compared to Lou Reed and Patti Smith ( a life long friend and it was her band he first performed his poetry " a la Rock and Roll).
Recently he had returned to performance poetry and was writing a novel " The petting Zoo ".Some say heroin stopped him reaching greater heights yet the body of work he left us reveal a poet of depth and vision.His readings continually sold out. He never did ,the facts speak for themselves.
Well he's caught the rock and roll train now, it will be one hell of a party. Slice up the moonlight, mainline some poetry ,offer some benediction, dont forget to pass on the joint. R I P , Jim Carroll.




Paregonic Babies - Jim Carroll

Clocks blue seconds fold over me
Slow as swamps dream I feel
heavy like metal shade pre-dawn thickness
I sit
in my chair of nods shivering
from a sickness I took years to perfect

dark paddling in the wave membrane
the monkey woman's dream sreams
are places of shy creatures, head, infants
I had born on a whim and abandoned ... my eye

drips the strain to the sweet March air, frozen
pure as my blood refuses to flow ...
stilled, sweat that shines the breath of my poem.



I Write Your name -Jim Carroll

I write your name
With thick blue ink
On stones I throw just to watch 'em sink

I write your name
On a great wood beam
On an ancient ship in a fading dream

I write your name
On every move I make
On the things I fake ,on my own mistakes

I write your name
On my naked fright
For the final time, I write your name tonight

I never knew a word
Could take it all away
And I wish I never heard
The words you had to say

But there is nothing left to find of you
I left behind the final clue
But I still have this pen
And every now and then
I write your name
I write your name
I write your name

................................................................

Sunday, 20 September 2009

JOHN CLARE (13/7/1793 -20//1864) - They called it madness


Oh sweet John Clare, much maligned, poet, romantic, lover, I say genius.
He was born into abject poverty in a roadside tenement on the edge of Deeping Fen, Helpston, Northamptonshire (July 13 1793). He minded horses ,did odd jobs, learned his letters, fell in love, liked a drink, a good read, joined the militia, courted gypsies, an ordinary man .
He came across James Thomsons- "The Seasons" and began to write verses, full of streams of consiousness. I love it.
At his best he suggests the tiny detail of nature, nest and eggs of wild birds, insects in the pools, markings on leaves, "and full many in a nameless weed, neglected, left to run to seed," when in hot july " e'en the dew parched up from the teasels jointed cup" . He had the eye of a countryman and delighted, like a painter , to show the slightest detail of nature. His muse: ......... "sits her down. Upon the molehills little lap, Who feels no fear to stain her gown. And pauses by the hedgerows gap."
so sensitive, too sensitive for his times,they bloody well got him for this. This was the time of the enclosures, he wrote about their injustices ,
"It levelled every bush and tree and levelled every hill.
And hung the moles for traitors,
though the brook is running still,
It runs a naked stream cold and chill."
Perhaps they punished him for this , sure he fell into tormented love, but love alone is not a crime, is it ?
He married a local lass, Patty Turner , in 1820 and had 7 children. Unfortunately he liked a drink and was prone to depression. He also had not forgotten his first love, Mary (Joyce), who he clearly loved dearly, with perhaps too much devotion. Is not all true love blind, possibly today with some kind of therapy he could have left it behind.
In 1820 his first book was published- " poems descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery" and the following year, followed it up with "Village Minstrel and other Poems."
Similar to todays modern celebrities, courted by admirers, fans. Fame was a fickle game, they liked a good peasant poet at the time, yet as soon as the fad was 'passe' , he was dropped like a lead balloon. After pawing him with affection, they grew tired, yearning for a new sensation and deserted him.
This and poverty alienated him and his increasing devotion to a past flame was perhaps tippng him towards an edge, towards what today is termed a nervous breakdown. He internalised and drove himsef too hard, complaining of;
"a confounded lethargy of low spirit that prisses on me to such a degree that at times makes me feel as if my senses has a mind to leave me."
In 1837 he was cruelly sectioned, imprisoned. He became reborn, reaching further into his inner torment , his yearning for his lost love Mary. Isolated , in fear, he stated "I'm John Clare now "
" I was Byron and Shakespeare formerly". He was very self aware and became "a half mad melancholy dog".
Over the years he became prone to even more distraught thoughts , increasingly alienated from family, friends and love. He started to believe he was married to two wives . At this time asylums were essentially prisons. He turned himself into a warrior poet, fighting against tyranny and oppression, waging war on cant and lies. I believe he peeled away the veneer of civilised gentility and unveiled the lust, greed, envy ,deceit and malice that lay beneath.
"Never act hypocrisy " he wrote " for deception is the most obvious knavery in the world."
For years he had to mind his ' P's and Q's' amidst his love for nature and his two wives.
In 1841 he escaped, aided by his friends from the gypsy community, walking 100 miles back home to Northampton. It is worth noting that while walking home, not one person mistook him for an escaped lunatic. He returned to his wife , until someone grassed him up and he was returned to Northampton General Lunatic Asylum.
Here he remained for the rest of his life, isolated , talking to himself, leaving poems unfinished, undeciphered . He continued to write, and letters reveal a man in some kind of control, demonstrating tender passionate love. Twenty years of quality poetry proved this.
This was a time of slavery, this was also a time of trade in lunacy, when many were improperly locked up. A privatisation of madness, in Clare's case there was profit to be made.
Where once he had been independant and proud, he was powerless, dispossessed, forced into solitude,occassionally visited and treated like a freak and puppet. There was money to be made, poetry on tap.
Sure he suffered from delusions, but was he actually mad/insane? With pen or pencil in hand he wrote the most beautifull poetic effusions, no indication of insanity in his poems.
There was no attempt to cure him or discharge him, no therapy , lest this encouraged delusions, introspection or over excitement. His life passed by almost like an unbroked poetic dream.
Oh sweet John Clare, long may his stature grow. Let's never forget him. his sentiments echo today in these disturbing times, a metaphysical strength , a vision of truth.

I AM (sonnet)

I feel I am;- I only know I am,
And plod upon the earth, as dull and void:
Earth's prison chilled my body with its dram
Of dullness, and my soaring thoughts destoyed,
I fled to solitudes from passions dream,
I was a being created in the race
Of men disdaining bounds of place and time:-
A spirit that could travel o'er the space
Of earth and heaven, - like a thought sublime,
Tracing creation, like my maker, free,-
A soul unshackled - like eternity,
But now I only know I am,-that's all

Further reading
Jonathan Bate - John Clare, a Biography. picador 2003
Iain Sinclair- The edge of the Orison. Hamish Hamilton 2005
Alan Moore- Voices of the Fire- Victor Gollanz

Saturday, 12 September 2009

GEORGE FORMBY - Its turned out nice again

"Not stuck up or proud ,Im just one of the crowd, a good turn I will drop when I can". The preceding words spoken by the man himself could sum up Formby's oeuvre, only when a person dies do we learn the exact truth about our feelings towards someone. When George Formby died in 1961 ,allegedly over 75,000 people attended his funeral, a staggering amount, im sure you might agree.
He was one of my first introductions to nostalgia, to another age, another time, a place of innocence , innuendo. The one quality I keep finding in Formby is passion and devotion,to his people, to his music, to his beloved wife Beryl.I am listening to a downloaded compilation of Formby's greatest hits, absolutely corking stuff.Once I hear his nudging , winking voice on the stereo I am hooked.When I listen to the Beatles, I hear his echo, ( They were fans you Know ).
Born in 1904 in Wigan he was famous for playing the ukelele, a banjo like instrument.( popularised today by the ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain,check out fantastic post of their recent concert at the proms, over at the excellant ROCKET REMNANTS blog)I believe the ukelele owes its modern survival due to George,he played it with virtuosity and style , he played the peoples instrument, he was a peoples star.A cacophony of twangs and twiddles, its an awesome sound, primitive yet modern.
I believe he was one of the last centuries first genuine folk star, singing in his own voice,to the people for the people.Like today he sang in a time of austerity and depression, his spirit lifts us , releases us , comforts us. When Formby went to Apartheid era South Africa in 1946, he could not understand why he was playing only to white audiences, he decided to refuse to play to racially segregated audiences, and went to the townships to play to the black populations in their own villages. They loved him for this , cheering him on. The National party leader at the time Daniel Malan berated him for this , eventually expelling Formby from the country. Beryl told Malan "Why don't you piss off, you horrible little man".( can you imagine Saint Sir Cliff Richard, having this experience) .
In 1944 a Russian poll showed George to be the most popular figure in Russia after Stalin. What I believe binded Formby with the people is that through his songs, there is a sense of community and solidarity, laughter can be such a powerful weapon.For me he seemed to sing for the people , all the people. He may not have sung about injustices, but he sang to all as equals. Ordinary people were his lifeblood.In his films ( over 20 blockbusters) he always seemed to play the underdog, who succeeds in the end, in a Formby film the toffs are seen as bad tempered , idiotic, bullying, and small minded.In the Second World War he reached out to the troops,fighting the nazis on a propaganda front, the British troops loved him, he was one of their own. George Formby one man and ukelele anti fascist machine.The upper classes might have been running the show, but it was the ordinary man who like today had to fight it.George in his own style reached out to them with humour,always looking on the bright side of life.
The class struggle is, as always fought most fiercly in the realm of language, and George never lost his voice. Here was a man who stayed humble to the end. "We dont become stars.You people make us stars. We could not be anything without you.And if they believe in anything different they are crazy."
Nearly 60 years after his death (March 6th 1961) people still pin the performer to the tune, when his records are played. He came partly through familiarity, partly through loyalty to the public, to transcend comedy. A unique voice. George Formby I salute you, a genuine working class hero. " Its turned out nice again, hasn't it ."

Thursday, 10 September 2009

BUÑUEL, Luis - A Statement


BUÑUEL, Luis
Originally uploaded by Morales de los Ríos
1.In none of the traditional arts is there such a wide gap between possibilities and facts as in the cinema.Motion pictures act directly upon the spectator; they offer him concrete persons and things;they isolate him, through silence and darkness, from the usual psychological atmosphere. Because of all this , the cinema is capable of stirring the spectator as perhaps no other art. But as no other art, it is also capable of stupefying him. Unfortunately, the great majority of todays films seem to have exactly that purpose; they glory in an intellectual and moral vacuum, movies seem to prosper.

2. Mystery is a basic element of all works of art. It is generally lacking on the screen. Writers, directors, and producers take good care in avoiding anything that may upset us. They keep the marvellous window on the liberating world of poetry shut.They prefer stories which seem to continue our ordinary lives, which repeat for the umpteenth time the same drama, which help us forget the hard hours of our daily work. And all this, of course, carefully watched over by traditional morals , government and international censorship, religion, good taste, white humour and other flat dicteria of reality.
3. The screen is a dangerous and wonderful instrument, if a free spirit uses it. It is the superior way of expressing the world of dreams, emotions and instinct. The cinema seems to have been invented for the expression of the subconscious, so profoundly is it rooted in poetry. Nevertheless, it almost never pursues these ends.

4. We rarely see good cinema in the mammoth productions, or in the works that have recieved the praise of critics and audience. The particular story, the private drama of an individual cannot interest -I believe - anyone worthy of living in our time. If a man in the audience shares the joys and sorrows of a character on the screen, it should be because the character reflects the joys and sorrows of al l society and so the personal feelings of that man in the audience. Unemployment, insecurity, the fear of war, social injustice, etc., affect all men of our time , and thus, they also affect the individual spectator. But when the screen tells me that Mr X is not happy at home and finds amusement with a girlfriend whom he finally abandons to reunite himself with his faithful wife, I Find it all very moral and edifying, but it leaves me completetly indifferent.

5. Octavia Paz has said :" But that a man in chains should shut his eyes, the world would explode." And I coould say : But that the white eyelid of the screen reflect its proper light, the Universe would go up in flames. But for the moment we can sleep in peace : the light of the cinema is conveniently dosified and shackled.


The above originally puplished in "FILM CULTURE ", no 21, Summer 1960, pp. 41-2. Still relevant methinks

Sunday, 6 September 2009

THE JAZZ sound ,turns on and on and on and on


Charles Winick had a theory that in jazz, the kind of stimulant or depressant chosen by an addictive personality has been connected with the kind of music he plays.New Orleans jazz e.g," was generally outgoing and aggressive " and " alcohol has the effect of facilitating aggressive tendencies ,"When jazz became more light and swinging,alcohol began to give way to marijuana"
The post-World War 2 development of a more detached and cool jazz was simultaneous with the great increase in musicians use of junk ,which makes the user seem more cool and detached. Jazz for me takes me far out , fast and bulbuous one minute slow and cruising the next.When Jazz kind of became cool in the late 40s early 50s ,im sure it was because most of the more inspiring musos of the day were out of their minds,Miles Davis,Dexter Gordon, Gerry Mulligan and of course the late great Charlie Parker.
Perhaps it was the end of the second World War, old paranoias and inhibitions were swept aside.Hipsters verses squares,straights verses daddy cool,the birth of rock and roll,jive talking , do you get my drift? Today i have had a couple of joints and a couple of glasses of wine, i feel free and less inhibited,more relaxed.In the end surely the drugs dont really matter ,its the notes and the music that become part of creation,preserved and saved.
Not all far out music was,is created by the use of drugs. Perhaps its because jazz comes from the soul ,from a pulse, a rythym,a sense of space,from another galaxy.Jazz touches me intensely and i can not play a damned note.It is immediate,direct in the right hands downright sensational,inspiring,intense. Some like to prolong the ecstacy ,some want to come down, relax ,be easy. I dont know but I believe in its power its unaccountability, its blue notes ,its rebellion, its intoxicating force.
Charlie Mingus,Jack Kerouac, sweet Bessie Smith ,the lord John Coltrane,Sonny Rollins,Frank Zappa, Fela Kuti,Sun Ra .The dreamers,the players with innervision. It can be crazy out there, let it flow,connecting the primitives to the masters.And the moon I forgot to mention the moon,its difficult, if not impossible to explain the pull.It can feel like love,like validation,like the sweetest medicine,put the needle on the record ,let it feed you ,soothe and heal.
Be nice,Pull the shades down.Turn off the lights.Shut your eyes..................................................

Kenneth Patchen

Friday, 4 September 2009

A safer Britain


Doodle 8/24/09
Originally uploaded by Daily Doodles
I lose my head often in the midst of thought, I feel no sudden loss or unexplained pain
I lose her voice on end of telephone,
disconnected by a silence , are they tapping my attitude.
I lose my resolve in the middle of the day,
I have no urge to participate, or lose my patience ,
now its afternoon,it no longer rains,
just another september day,another day in a safe Great Britain.
The power of convictions verses the power of lies,
same old chorus the world still burns.
Theirs nothing new he said ,nothing Knew ,the same choreographed slaughtering of those we seek to protect.
Mr Brown your wrong again,
dyings hard, have some toast ,dont lose sleep, a glass of good wine ,
dont set your alarms , try not to worry ,every day is full of surprises,
it does not matter anymore,the more we do, the more they hate,
watch out beware, everything is safe, everything is allright..................