Thursday, January 23, 2014

THE OCCULT - Revival of Evil (1980).

You just can't beat this kind of vintage Christan Right anti-New Age propaganda schlock for laughs.  Imdb synopsis: "Revival of Evil investigates the growth of the occult in the United States from New Age religions and Dungeons and Dragons to heavy metal and psychic powers."


Friday, January 17, 2014

Folksangere - A Danish Look at the London Folk Scene in 1967.

John Renbourne and Bert Jansch

Following up the last Mod London post, here's a Danish documentary from 1967 focusing on the then glamorous and even illicit lifestyle of the London folk-musician.  This was a fascinating period for English folk.  In America, folk music was responding to the charge of Postwar culture either by embracing electric rock influences, or circling the wagons of traditionalism.  In London, following the trailblazing influence of Davy Graham, young musicians turned instead to a baroque mixture of jazz, blues, and Moroccan music to reinvigorate the traditional forms: 


There are no subs for the Danish narration of the documentary, but it's the performance footage that matters.  (As the programme takes a lengthy, Beatles-scored ogle at London's new species of mini-skirted bird, and the interviewer only really seems interested in asking the musicians about drugs, it's unlikely to be very insightful anyway.)  The footage, however, is magical, and will be of particular appeal to finger-style guitar enthusiasts; look out for a fantastic live performance by John Renbourne, historical footage of a just pre-Pentangle John and Bert Jansch working on a tune in a flat, as well an interview with a reticent (and probably stoned) Jansch:

As a bonus, check out this wonderful clip of the newly formed Pentangle filmed a year later:

Primitive London: British Beatniks, Rockers, and Assorted Scallywags.

Arnold R. Miller's Primitive London (1965) falls roughly into the same category of film as the witchploitation documentaries we looked at in earlier posts - mild titillation masquerading as stern condemnation.  No occult shenanigans to scold this time around, though, just a buzzing London in full postwar Swing.  In this enjoyable excerpt, the documentary turns its attention on the burgeoning youth subcultures of the day - Mods, rockers, beatniks, and an intriguing and all to brief section on the life of the lone wolf pinball addict:

And here's a little extra Brit Beatnik bang for your buck:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Market, and the Room of Coveted Objects.

(This is a short poem of vaguely Sufi or Buddhistic character.  The image above is of Paul Bowles in Morocco.)

There is a rumour in the squares
Of upheaval, of some great change
Undermining all the old foundations
So that they will crumble down
Around us, and never raise their
Familiar forms again.

But this, too, is an ancient rumour
Spoken each summer in the squares
Someday perhaps, the squares will
Be empty, and their fountains dry;
I cannot imagine such a time.

I have gone to the stalls, every day now
For many years, to see what is new
Beneath their awnings;
I have never tired of browsing among
The wares, seeking out some novel
Object that I might possess,
Or long to possess, dreaming always
More acutely of those things that were
Deemed precious beyond my means.

When my mood is low, I am apt to think
That there is never any new thing in the stalls
Only the sensation I experience of finding
Some novel object of desire, a sensation
I have experienced many times before
So that it is not like going somewhere along a straight track
But rather a kind of pattern, as is woven by a shuttle, or a melody
That makes no progress, and only returns to the beginning

One of the dervishes told me
That a place exists where all the things
I have ever desired, yet failed to
Acquire, are all gathered together
In a room, that I might partake of
them, to my heart’s content, if
Only I could find that place.

“If it were an object” he said
“That object is there.  If it were
A person, that person is there
Waiting to turn their will to
Whatever purpose you
Had designed for them”

I asked him how I might
Find such a place, or if it were
Possible to travel there, and
He said “That room is always there 
Filled with your heart’s desires, and
You go there only by ceasing to
Desire the things that it contains.

Each thing you cease to desire
Brings you a step closer to that room;
And as you cease to desire a thing,
It vanishes from the room, so that
When you have finally taken all the steps
To arrive there, the objects of your
Desire have fled, and the room is bare.”

A related poem "No More Street Shows."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Alejandro Jodorowsky on The Tarot.

Images of Le Tarot des Imagiers du Moyen Age from Eno's Tarots.