I’m not a Michael Jackson fan. Never have been. But this makes me cry. I don’t think he was a genius, or the greatest entertainer the world has ever known, or the artist of the millenium, or any of those big titles that have been thrown around lately. He’s just a guy with a high pitched voice who made a handful of songs that were the musical equivalent of Joose; lowbrow and slight, but oh so intoxicating. Like millions of people, I grew up watching the tragedy of his life unfold – and there’s no argument that his life was a tragedy, an epic one. It may be the definite cautionary tale of our time. I’m too young to remember him as anything but the Kabuki-faced Wacko Jacko of the tabloids. In fact, it took me years to realize that the pointy-nosed ghoul in the newspapers and the little boy with the big Afro on late night MTV were the same person. In recent years, the entertainment value of awaiting the next rumours and allegations, bouts of eccentricity and terrible decision-making had overshadowed his musical output. We didn’t feel comfortable extending him our sympathy, because what if he let us down? What if he did get put away for child molesting? What if he did drop his baby out of a window? Well now Michael Jackson is dead. He’s safely buried in the ground and he’ll never do anything bizarre again. Now we can enjoy those old videos without feeling squamish. It’s finally safe to admit that we really like dancing to Thriller. Now we can begin to accept the possibility that maybe, just maybe, he really was a nice person and a good father.
13 Jul 2009 1 Comment
Guy Peelaert, who passed away last year, was a Belgian artist whose work included illustration, comics and photography. He is best known for his photorealsitic painting style, and his fascination with pop culture, particularly rock’n'roll. In the 60′s Peelaert found success in France with a comic strip featuring a heroine modeled on Francoise Hardy. He went on to mine his obsession with rock stars in Rock Dreams, a book of fantasy paintings featuring his favorite movers and shakers. And, of course, he cemented his legacy with a series of iconic album covers. (He also seems to have liked kinky sexual things)
13 Jul 2009 Leave a Comment
Yes, that’s Liz Taylor.
Sometime in 1974, David Bowie had the great idea that he would write a rock musical adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984. What such a project would have looked like has been a cherished wet dream for Bowie fans ever since. The musical never got past the embryonic stage, because Orwell’s widow, guardian of his legacy, refused to surrender the rights. Fortunately for us, Bowie did not abandon the songs he’d written for the musical. He simply integrated the material into his own dystopian vision, and they fit there very well. Big Brother, obviously, is one of those songs. 1984, as you will certainly remember, ends with the triumph of Big Brother over the dissenting Winston. Eventually, the message was, we will all succumb to the appeal of dictatorship. This song is in reference to that ending, and that appeal. Of course, Winston arrove under brainwashing and torture, but that does not diminish the appeal of not-resisting and not-thought.
Below you see what is not actually a live performance. The live version is from David Live, the album of the Philly Dogs tour. Sadly, the tour was not filmed, and only fragmentary documentation survives. It’s hard to judge from the poor quality film, but db appears emaciated and sick. The late 70′s were not a good time for him, health and sanity-wise.