Saturday, 22 January 2022

i had to phone someone so i picked on you

Announcing his sexuality in an interview with Melody Maker magazine reported Michael Watts, published on this day in 1972, David Bowie’s statement, “I’m gay and always have been,” was not unnoticed but failed to register with more mainstream audiences until his performance of Starman with Mick Ronson on Top of the Pops in July of the same year. The article continues: “He despises all these tribal qualifications. Flower Power he enjoyed, but it’s individuality that he’s really trying to preserve. The paradox is that he still has what he describes as ‘a good relationship’ with his wife. And his baby son, Zowie. He supposes he’s what people call bisexual.”

Friday, 21 January 2022

barn

From Neil Young and the ensemble Crazy Horse, with whom the artist has been collaborating for over a half a century, with videography by Young’s wife Daryl Hanna, we are quite enjoying this new album—his forty-first and seventh together with Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina of Crazy Horse since 1968—released last month.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

pegbox and promenade

Via Swiss Miss, we invited to get tiny and explore the microcosmos of spaces within musical instruments, as in this load-bearing “soul post” between the f-holes of a violin. The series from Charles Brooks of architecture in music also features flutes, pianos, organs and a didgeridoo.

Wednesday, 19 January 2022

7x7

tomm¥ €a$h: rapper presents a sofa in the shape of bread  

banana republic: an exhibit that takes a critical look at the fruit trade—see also  

field manual: the predecessor agency to the US CIA issued a guide to simple sabotage which speaks to America’s present state 

bio-rovers: Marimo moss balls (previously) could become ambulatory—see also here and here  

spinthatiscope: an actual 1940s toy harnessing radioactive decay fragments of life: a suite of animated emoji from Andreas Samuelsson 

 middle c: a space-saving piano designed to fit in a corner—see also

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

king’s pawn game

Via the always attuned Things Magazine, we are introduced to the brilliant and influential ambient, electronica artist Manuel Gรถttsching, leader of the Ash Ra Tempel group, through the lens of his solo work, named for the opening chess move (also a reference to the harmonic range of a guitar, Gรถttsching’s primary instrument)—an hour long track improvised with a sequencer in 1984. A mainstay of techno happenings, the artist was rather taken aback to learn that people danced to his music.

Friday, 14 January 2022

low

The first of three collaborations known as the Berlin Trilogy with Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, David Bowie’s eleventh studio album was released by RCA on this day in 1977 and is an exploration of ambient and electronica, influenced by experimental and progressive German bands, like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream. A departure from the artist’s usual music-the project started when Bowie and Iggy Pop moved to the French countryside to get away from the temptation of drugs in Los Angeles and sober up and recorded the first tracks at Chรขteau d'Hรฉrouville before relocating to West Berlin-reception was initially divided but the album was a commercial and critical success and is credited with giving rise to the post-punk style with groups like Joy Division, Human League and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in that musical genre. The lyric “Don't look at the carpet-I drew something awful on it” is in refenence of Bowie’s habit of drawing the Tree of Life diagram on the studio floor during breaks into between sessions, having cultivated an interest in Qabalah and Thelema during that period.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

do you think there will ever be a time when you’ll be hung as a thief?

On this anniversary of the first day of recording sessions in 1965 at Columbia studios in New York City with the artist producing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and Subterranean Homesick Blues,” we’re directed towards Bob Dylan’s interview and press-conference held at the end of that same year after going electric. Much more at the link above.

Sunday, 9 January 2022

hello che si dice you getta happy in the feetsas

Despite a lack of airplay domestically as the American Broadcasting Company deemed it below their standards of “good taste,” the Bob Merrill number written for Rosemary Clooney, accompanied by the The Mellomen, a pop string quartet founded by Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice talent behind the Grinch, Tony the Tiger, the Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion attraction) became an enduring standard and reached the top of the UK singles charts on this day in 1955. It was since covered by Dean Martin, Carla Boni (making it popular in Italy the following year) and British electronica duo Shaft in 2000 and has appeared in numerous film soundtracks.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

true love and apple pie

Originally the titular jingle, the lyrics were rewritten by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway for a 1971 television commercial campaign performed by the Hillside Singers as “Buy the World a Coke,” with a message of hope, inclusivity and love—the closing tagline being “On a hilltop in Italy [Trident studios in London], we assembled young people from all over the world…” The British pop group the New Seekers (“Circles”with Harry Chapin, “Pinball Wizard” from Tommy, “Sing Hallelujah!”) recorded a full-length version of the song, dropping references to the soft-drink, which climbed to the top of UK singles charts on this day in 1972, ultimately going Gold and selling over a million copies. The Coca-Cola Company and advertising agency waived the rights to the song and instead made a substantial donation to UNICEF.

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

6x6

media archive for central england: browse tens of thousands of amateur films—via Things Magazine  

el vaquita: a small town in Chile staged a fake protest to persuade a dog to visit the veterinarian—via Super Punch 

fluid dynamics: cloud waves in the skies of Tenerife 

watery fowls: an unaired pilot (see also) for the 1978 US adaptation of Fawlty Towers, starring Betty White and Harvey Korman  

different realities: American democracy in crisis—via Miss Cellania 

public domain revue: hundreds of thousands of audio recordings made prior to 1923 are free to use as one sees fit

Sunday, 2 January 2022

eddie calvert & orchestra

The first chart topping hit to come out of the storied Abbey Road recording studio (previously) was the trumpeting-rendition of the nostalgic Swiss-German number “Oh, Mein Papa,” which began a nine-week run on this day in 1954. Known throughout his career as The Man with the Golden Trumpet, Calvert’s other number one hit came the following year with “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White,” with versions “Miserlou” and “Stranger in Paradise” also later charting.

Saturday, 1 January 2022

space music

Begun a decade earlier as a three-hour-long radio programme featuring contemplative, ambient music with a selection of classical, Celtic, electronic and experimental genres airing late nights in the Berkley-area hosted by “Timotheo” (Stephen Hill) and “Annamystic” (Anna Turner), Hearts of Space entered syndication of National Public Radio on this day in 1983 and is still going strong, with over thirteen hundred transmissions (episodes) in their archives. The longest-running show of its type, each instalment signs-off with “Safe journeys, space fans—wherever you are.”

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

mmxxi

As this calendar draws to a close and we look forward to 2022, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the things and events that took place in 2021. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

 january: In the US state of Georgia’s run-off election, Democrat candidates prevail and thus switch the Senate’s controlling majority. The joint session of Congress to certify the votes of the Electoral College in favour of the Biden-Harris ticket is interrupted by a violent insurrection on the Capitol incited by Donald

Trump, yet the proceedings are resumed undeterred. For his gross incompetence and treasonous actions, the US House of Representatives impeaches Trump for a second time. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated president and vice-president of the United States of America in a socially-distanced ceremony held on the same portico where the violent coup attempt occured two weeks prior. Across Russia, thousands protest the arrest and detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  English filmmaker Michael Apted (*1941), entertainer Siegfried Fischbacher (*1939, see also last May) and baseball players Tommy Lasorda (*1927) and Hank Aaron (*1941), actress Cloris Leachman (*1926) as well as accomplished star of stage and screen Cicely Tyson (*1924) pass away.  

february: A military uprising in Myanmar wrests power from the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.  Actor Hal Holbrook (*1925) and veteran become fund-raiser who raised millions for the National Health

Service Sir Captain Thomas Moore (*1920) himself succumbed to COVID-19.   French screen-writer and director Jean-Claude Carriรจre (*1931) passed away, and so veteran actor Christopher Plummer (*1929). The US Senate again convenes as jury to vote on whether to acquit or prosecute Donald Trump’s impeachment.  Larry Flynt (*1942), publisher, pornographer and self-styled anti-censorship champion, passed away, as did jazz virtuoso and twenty-three-time Grammy Award winner Chick Corea (*1941).  The US Senate votes not to acquit Donald Trump a second time after his second impeachment.  A polar vortex brings severe winter storms to Texas and Mexico, leaving millions without heat and electricity has the power grid is overwhelmed.  Talk radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh (*1951)  dies after a year-long struggle with lung cancer.  Poet and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti passes away, aged 101. Martian probe Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet to begin a search for signs of past life. The US rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement.  

march: Oprah Winfrey interviews the estranged, self-exiled Sussexes about Meghan Markle’s treatment

by the Royal Family, causing consternation and many to question the institution of the monarchyPhantom Tollbooth author Norton Juster (*1929) passed away aged ninety-one.  A container ship gets lodged in the Suez Canal, hindering global trade and could potentially be stuck for weeks.  Legislators in the American state of Georgia pass selectively restrictive laws to disenfranchise Black voters.   Children’s book author Beverly Cleary (*1916) writer of the Ramona Quimby series passed away, aged 104.  The usurping military forces in Myanmar gun down dozens of pro-democracy protesters.  Islamic rebels besiege the city of Palma in Mozambique.  Undercover operative whose missteps brought the Watergate scandal to the press and public, G. Gordon Liddy (*1930) died, aged 90, as did author Larry McMurtry (*1936) who penned Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment.

april: Prince Phillip passes away, aged 99.  As tensions escalate between Russia and NATO with a troop

build-up along the border with Ukraine, US President Joe Biden proposes to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to normalise relations and restore diplomatic ties.  The police officer who murdered George Floyd is found guilty on all charges.  Walter Mondale (*1928), former vice president under Jimmy Carter, and presidential candidate with running-mate Geraldine Ferraro passed away, aged ninety-three.  Astronaut Michael Collins (*1930) who orbited the Moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the lunar surface passed away, aged ninety.

may: Accomplished actor Olympia Dukakis (*1931) passed away, aged eighty-nine.  Architect Helmut Jahn (*1940) behind the Messeturm in Frankfurt and the Post tower in Bonn died in a bicycle accident.  Dozens of rebel priests across German defy the Catholic church and offer benedictions to same-sex couple.  Israel airstrikes in Gaza escalate.  Actor, author, televangelist and TV’s Captain Merrill Stubing Gavin MacLeod (*1931) after suffering a long bout of ill-health.  

june: G7 leaders meet in Cornwall, in person.  A coalition government in Israel unseats Netanyahu after a

dozen years as prime minister.  The US government establishes Juneteenth as a new federal holiday though new laws to disenfranchise Black voters continues apace in many Republican controlled polities.  The space station Tiangong receives its first crew.  Software and computer security pioneer John McAfee (*1945) found dead in a Spanish jail cell awaiting extradition to the US over charges of tax evasion.  Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was disbarred for peddling the lie that that the election was stolen from his former client.  The US government issues a declassified report to congress regarding unidentified aerial phenomenon.  A twelve storey condominium complex near Miami, Florida collapses with dozens injured and unaccounted for.  

july: Outrage as more mass-graves of indigenous pupils found at historic Canadian residential schools.  Hundreds perish from record heatwaves and wildfires along the Pacific coast of North America.  Angela Merkel makes her last official visit to the United Kingdom, addressing the Houses of Parliament, the last

foreign leader to do so since Bill Clinton in 1997.   Richard Donner (*1930), film director behind The Goonies, Superman and the Lethal Weapon franchise passed away.  England plans to fully reopen with no COVID-19 restrictions late in the month despite a resurgence in cases and the rapidly spreading Delta variant.  Jovenel Moรฏse, the Haitian president, was assassinated.  Continual and torrential rains exacerbated by the climate emergency caused severe flooding in western Germany and the Henan region in China.  The Special Committee on the January 6th Capitol Insurrection heard opening testimony from law enforcement on the scene of the terror attack.  Inventor and infomercial pitchman Ron Popeil (*1935) passed away.

august: The UN Panel on Climate Change issues a stark, bleak forecast for the planet’s future as a suitable place for life as we know it.  Wildfires rage throughout the Mediterranean, Siberia and the North American west coast.  As coalition forces depart, the resurgent Taliban takes several regional capitals in weeks with Kabul poised to soon collapse as authorities flee and embassies are evacuated.  A massive earthquake strikes Haiti.  Tragically, most Afghani government officials flee the country and the capital falls as the Taliban retakes power and restores the emirate after nearly two decades of warfare.  US army installations in Germany assist with Operation Allied Refuge (OAR) as thousands of Afghans are airlifted from the country.  Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (*1941) passes away. 
Just days ahead of the deadline imposed to complete evacuation missions out of the Hamid Karzai international airport, an Islamic State affiliate and sworn enemy of the Taliban for being too Westernised, lax, undisciplined detonated twin suicide bombs outside the gates, killing dozens.  Veteran actor and advocate Ed Asner (*1929) passed away as did Jamaican musical giant Lee “Scratch” Perry (*1936).  On the sixteenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, a destructive storm called Ida makes landfall.  The Taliban celebrates with fireworks and firing rifles in the air the departure of the last US flight from the Kabul airport, declaring victory.

september: The legislature of the state of Texas passes a tranche of new laws curtailing voting access, restricting teaching of America’s racist past and present, mandating the national anthem at sporting events, permitting universal carry laws for firearms and doing away with licensure or training requirements and

essentially banning abortion by placing a bounty on abettors and deputising neighbours to litigate the ban against neighbours.  New Wave actor Jean-Paul Belmondo (*1933), whose roles defined the genre and called the French counterpart of Marlon Brando, James Dean and Humphrey Bogart, passed away.  El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.  “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” singer Marรญa Mendiola (*1952) of Baccara passed away in Madrid.  An effort to recall and replace Democrat governor of California fails and Gavin Newsome retains his place, though the balloting and counter-campaigns cost taxpayers of the state in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars.  The first commercial, all-amateur space tourism mission safely splashes down after three days in orbit.  Entrepreneur, inventor and computing pioneer behind the ZX Spectrum, Clive Sinclair passed away, aged 81 (*1940).  Justin Trudeau’s party retains power following national elections.  After three years under house arrest in Canada and fighting extradition to America on charges of espionage and circumventing sanctions against Iran, business executive Meng Wangzhou, daughter of the head of Chinese communications giant Huawei, is released. 

october:  US president Biden’s agenda is derailed, diminished by moderate voices in his party.  A vaccine for malaria is trialled in Africa.  Amid a growing corruption scandal, Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz

tenders his resignation, though choosing to remain leader of his political party and will retain his seat in parliament.  William Shatner, aged ninety, as a space tourist becomes the oldest human to enter the Earth’s orbit.  Attending an open-advice surgery for his constituents from Leigh-on-Sea, long-time MP David Amess was murdered by an attacker with a knife.  Former US Joint-Chief-of-Staff and Secretary of State, Colin Powell (*1937) dies from complications arising from COVID-19.  President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, under pressure from elements of his own party, is rather austerely pared back, dropping proposed benefits like universal college tuition and paid family-leave.  Garbage social media network rebrands its parent company as Meta as it prepares to build and embrace its concept of the metaverse.  A military coup in Somali plunges the country into chaos with no signs of peaceful resolution.

november: A powerful storm-flood in western Canada cuts off Vancouver from the rest of British Columbia.  Weaponised refugees massed at the EU frontier by a provoking Belarus at enormous personal

cost are slowly being repatriated to the lands they fled.  After exonerated in a gross miscarriage of justice, Republicans acclaim a teenage, white supremacist murderer as their new hero.  Award winning Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim passes away, aged ninety-one in the same week as Schoolhouse Rock! lyricist Dave Frishberg (*1933).  The COVID-19 Omicron-variant, first detected in South Africa, is causing major concerns as convention cases rage resurgent in Europe, poised to be more widespread and deadly than the same time a year ago.  Inflation and supply-chain issues threaten global economic recovery.  On the anniversary of its independence from the UK in 1966, Barbados becomes the world's newest republic, with Sandra Mason as the island’s president. 

december: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows releases Power Point slide-deck that outlined options for Trump to hold on to the presidency in the chaos of the 6. January insurrection to the commission investigating the attempted coup.  Monkees singer Mike Nesmith (*1942) passes away.  An unseasonal tornado rips through western Kentucky, leaving over a hundred dead.   Gothic novelist Anne Rice (*1941 as Howard Allen Francis O’Brien) passed away.  Tensions continue to mount at the Russo-Ukraine border with Russia putting forward a litany of demands for NATO to avoid invasion.   Journalist and author Joan Didion (*1934) passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.   Borders close and travel-restrictions re-imposed over truly exponential spread of the the Omicron variant; preliminary findings suggest although less lethal, hospitals and other essential services could be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and vulnerable populations still need protection.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu (*1931), anti-apartheid hero and moral-centre, passes away aged ninety.  Sadly veteran blogger Jonco, behind Bits & Pieces, passed away quite suddenly, leaving the blogosverse a dimmer place.  On the last day of the year and just weeks short of planned celebrations for her one-hundredth birthday, beloved talent and treasure with a career spanning over eight decades, Betty White (*1922) passed away.

 



Monday, 27 December 2021

7x7

the year that was: Miss Cellania’s Winterval tradition of annual lists—including arts and entertainment, animals and more  

market volatility: unusual vintage shot glasses track ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average—via Super Punch 

a sight for sore eyes: a coffee table edition from rock royalty The Residents  

where the wild things are: Maurice Sendak directed a darker version of The Nutcracker ballet, truer to the original narrative and far more captivating  

ultimate rendering: Picasso’s first and last self-portraits—see also—via Messy Nessy Chic 

boop: robot reacts to a poke in the nose

lend me your ears and i’ll sing you a song about a sad, dysfunctional d.c.: US president Joe Biden’s first year in review presented by Politico

Sunday, 26 December 2021

fyc

Recorded earlier in the studios of Prince’s Paisley Park outside of Minneapolis and released on this day in 1988 as a single featured on their later anthology The Raw & the Cooked, the Fine Young Cannibals’ hit (Birmingham musicians David Steele and Andy Cox) peaked only at number five in the charts at the time but would gain much more stature in later years and has since become instantly identifiable with those last years of the decade.

Thursday, 23 December 2021

strings palewise throughout counterchanged

The venerable College of Arms granted Sir Paul McCartney on his fifty-ninth birthday in June 2001 his heraldric achievement, presenting it for the first time on this day during the following year.The chequered flaunches of the escutcheon—the finish of a Gibson guitar—represent the four Beatles. For the crest, the avian creature perched on the knight’s helmet supporting a fretted instrument is the mythological liver bird that symbolises the city that our Liverpudlians are from. The motto below: ECCE COR MEUM—Behold my heart, is taken from the oratorio dedicated to his first wife, Linda. Incredibly, the college was able to deliver to McCartney an elegant design that references his life and career whilst adhering to the vocabulary and tradition of their trade and charge.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

8x8

schwibbogen: a look at Germany’s Erzgebirge’s Christmas decorative arts traditions—see also

lakshmi-narayan: a looted sculpture returned to Nepal becomes a god again  

wind in your sails: a giant kite will pull a ship across the ocean in a demonstration project to cut emissions

all songs considered: NPR’s Bob Boilen’s recommended listening from the past year  

farmscrapers: advances in hydroponics and robot-assisted harvesting are making vehicle crop-growing a reality  

wysiwyg: Anna Mills on her typography and creative outlook  

carry on regardless: the comic language pf Professor Stanley Unwin  

god rest you merry, gentlemen: the comma in this carol makes us wonder about punctuation

samwi$e g

In case you missed pre-anniversary acknowledgments on Friday, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert celebrated, two decades on, the cinematic premiere of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Fellowship of the Ring (previously) on this day in 2001 (I recall seeing this in theatres with my father, not on opening perhaps day but soon after, and it was the first time we’ve been to the movies since 9/11, a fear of large gatherings needed to be overcome) with a rap video about the LOTR trilogy with some Elvish lyrics and featuring cameo appearances that reunite the cast by Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom and more.

Friday, 17 December 2021

hunky dory

The titular fourth studio album released on this day in 1971 by a twenty-four year old David Bowie was a departure from the guitar-dominant The Man Who Sold the World from a year before with a softer piano composition, backed by Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey on drums—the group that would form the Spiders from Mars within the next year. The track listing from this monumental recording that defined the artist includes “Changes, “Oh—You Pretty Things,” “Life on Mars” and “Andy Warhol.”

Thursday, 16 December 2021

๐Ÿ•‰

To celebrate the fifty-plus-one anniversary of the release of George Harrison’s triple album in November 1970 (see also), marking his first solo endeavour after the Beatles disbanded, Lance Bangs created an official music video for the song “My Sweet Lord” from the All Things Must Pass recording that features a cavalcade of celebrity cameos, including family members, former bandmates, Mark Hamill, Jeff Lynne, Weird Al Yankovic, Patton Oswald, Rosanna Arquette and others. It’s a treat to watch a song this chill.