Many of my favourite films of recent years have been classified as documentaries (The Fog Of War, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, Inside Job, Beware Of Mr Baker, Nostalgia for the Light, Stories We Tell….) but the one that won the Bafta in that category last year takes the genre into brave, new territory.
In The Act Of Killing, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer puts in front of the camera a handful of the gangster* paramilitaries who helped the Indonesian army torture and kill around a million ‘communists’ in 1965/66. He then encourages them to create fictionalised versions of their acts. Being still highly-regarded by the current regime, they are keen to do so and, being fans of Hollywood films, they use the language of the Western, film noir, the musical and the gangster film.
The result is a devastating, upsetting, mesmeric, often surreal, portrait of corrupted humans who are celebrated and still valued by a corrupt government. It is now available on DVD/Blu-ray and I urge you to see it.
*The label ‘gangster’ is worn as a badge of honour, as it is understood to mean ‘free man’. Hence the use of Born Free in the film.
I recently received an early Christmas present in the shape of a pen drive loaded with the entire Buried Treasure back catalogue, and as Tom Petty’s radio programme is currently in its eighth season and there are 24-5 programmes per season with 20 or so tracks per programme you better believe that’s a fair old amount of music. I’m currently listening my way through Season Two and I came across this Christmas show which I thought you people might like. He does play two of his own recordings, which isn’t usual, but those of you who don’t like TP&TH can always skip those.
1 Theme Song
2 I Feel OK – Detroit Junior
3 Merry Christmas, Baby – Otis Redding
4 Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
5 Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas – Staples Singers
6 Silver Bells – Booker T and the MGs
7 White Christmas – Otis Redding
8 Tom’s Mailbag
9 Christmas Comes But Once A Year – Albert King
10 Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley
11 Merry Christmas – Lightnin’ Hopkins
12 Santa Claus Baby – The Voices
13 Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ – Sir Mack Rice
14 The Christmas Song – King Curtis
15 Run, Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry
16 Red Rooster – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
17 Back Door Santa – Clarence Carter
18 Happy New Year – Lightnin’ Hopkins
19 Christmas Song – The Chipmunks
20 Feels Like Christmas – Al Greene
21 Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/
Auld Lang Syne – Jimi Hendrix
22 Jingle Bells – Booker T and the MGs
Ray Manzarek died last week, he was the keyboard player with the Doors. I never met him but living in LA for 40 odd years I was always conscious of who he was, he was frequently on the air or being interviewed in the music press.
Around 1966 I applied for admission to the graduate program of the UCLA film school and was accepted. At approx. the same time, the Doors who were well known around town as the house band at the Whiskey, released their first album which became a huge hit and was played constantly on the radio. At the film school it was common knowledge that several members of the Doors were using the facilities after hours to edit a film. I never saw them but those in the know had tales of their nocturnal presence. Upstairs in the dept was a long corridor, 60 – 80 ft long, every 6 ft on each side there was a door to an editing room, which was about 6ft by 10 ft with only a 16 mm. Movieola editing machine, a film bin, a chair and a shelf: very basic, very primitive, though from those tiny rooms emerged many works of filmic genius. The word around the department was that there was a student who was a friend of the Doors who regularly signed up for an edit room and then gave them the key. We used those rooms day and night, I was editing one of my films with the radio on the night that Robert Kennedy was shot at around midnight at the Ambassador hotel only a couple of miles away. Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison were the two who were most frequently mentioned as being the film editors; I’ve never seen or read anything about the film they were working on but as usual whenever they’re mentioned, as in this week’s obituaries, there’s usually a line that states they were UCLA film students, I don’t think that’s actually true.
That first album ‘The Doors’ was released in 1967 and became a huge success in the US once the single “Light My Fire” scaled the charts, the album peaked at #2 in September 1967. “Light My Fire” was the first song ever written by Robby Krieger and was the beginning of the band’s success. The other standout hit from that album was ‘The End’, Coppola, another film student at that time used it for the finale of Apocalypse Now.
Here’s a clip from a 1998 recording of Ray Manzarek talking about the origins and the musical evolution of ‘Light my Fire, it’s very interesting how it came to be, particularly John Coltrane’s contribution, the boogie boogie influence and the Bach component, well worth a listen for Spillers.
Some time back I spent a day digitizing a lot of vinyl, most of which I hadn’t played in years, it was basically much of what we on the west coast were listening to through the late sixties and into the seventies. Finny, another westcoaster, just posted the Youngbloods on Earworms and and that was enough to send my off to my iTunes file to find some of those vinyl cuts, always loved the Youngbloods. So here’s a short playlist, I suspect that many of them will be familiar, but you, like me might not have heard them for a while.
I think it’s what those square DJ’s call ‘A trip down memory lane’ or ‘A blast from the past’.
The Asafareans (Ancient Mystical order of the Revered Dinosaur – Lahontan Branch) are once again holding their Memorial Day fundraiser concert at the Fillmore. An over zealous member has booked 11 bands with only 10 spots available. Won’t you, our parishioners, would be parishioners or even barely interested pagans please help us by picking one band to headline & one to go on next years list of hopefuls. Be gentle they’re all great folks & just want to help others get their freak in order. Remember – Dinos are fond of a large aural space to frolic in so if you have speakers with a large set of woofers it’ll make them smile. Play thingy on this side to listen to in a blissfully unaware state or play thingy with playlist for those impatient for knowledge on the other side. Click gently so you don’t disturb the dinos.
Forgive a plug but glasshalfempty came down a few years ago and we’re doing it all again. We’re in a new venue this year – All Saints Church in Hove, with a bar running throughout the shows, a new set on Sunday night – The Life Of Brian (Wilson) which is a history of The Beach Boys, and on the Saturday our award-winning concert Pet Sounds/Sgt Pepper for the eighth year running…Friday we’re playing a new improved 1969 Show (best pop of that great year) to support the wonderful thing that is Abbey Road, the last Beatles album (or LP as I prefer to call it). A 16-piece orchestra will bring these timeless albums to life before your very eyes and ears. It’s a thing of wonder and love
see also https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brighton-Beach-Boys/343338702433070
Winter sun through a window in Pamplona (C)lgconnolly
So with all of the excitement in the world of organised religion this week, I found myself pontificating (how apt) about the strangeness of it all. It was prompted specifically by some comment that I read about “primitive religions” worshiping the Sun – and for some reason that really rankled with me… Continue reading →