Monday, December 12, 2011

"Come in and warm youself by this roaring candle."

Stuck for holiday gift ideas?  Maybe I can help.

What do you get for the man who has everything?  A box to put it all in.  Or...

A home vasectomy kit, which doubles as an office stapler.

A nouvelle vague Eastern Smoking Accessories Set.  Also known as New Wave Hookahs.

Retro gifts from Fashion State, including the Elite Gonad Reducer ("If you've GOT IT, GET RID OF IT!").  Vintage sets include Electric Wrist Clamp with Automatic Limper.

A weekend retreat at Ma & Kettle's Spa on the Farm.  Yak sperm facials and monkey knee injections highly recommended.  Feel truly cleansed with the Bo Tox Derek High Powered Colonic Infusion.  Located North of San Diego in Cognito, California.

Holiday music?  How about a download or just unloading some from GuyTunes?  The premiere music service, long before Crapple, features the best of the festive season.  Bing Crosby singing "You're Beginning to Feel a Belt on Christmas."  Inebriated holiday party goers think this song is an ode to a full octane egg nog, but abused children know better.

Or always my favourite: "Chet's Nuts Roasting by an Open Fire" ("...Jack Frost's nipple in your ear...").  This Classic Christmas song from the early fifties is the only recorded noel for nudists.  Speculation over the Naturist's identity, warming his nutsack in front of the hearth, have included Chet Atkins, Chet Baker and Chet Huntley.

The literary minded?  How about something special for the connoisseur?  If you're buying for Dick Cheney, forget it.  He already has the Babylon Scrolls.  But how about a copy of Vladamir Nabokov's little known script for Sesame Street?  Briefly pitched as Elmo Reads Lolita, this text features Humbert Humbert and Ernie.

Perhaps even rarer is the manuscript for Tarzan and the Naked Lunch by Edgar Rice William S. Burroughs, Siamese twin authors, separated at the wallet.

Sample text: "I've GOT a MONKEY on my back!" Tarzan screamed.  "And it's NOT CHEETAH!"

I can hear the hum...BUG!

"And are there two G's in Bugger Off!?"

Happy Christmas from the Pagan Scientist.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"I have nothing to worry about. Except Ken Russell."

It was early Monday morning (what would have been SPR time), on the computer, answering a letter to my friend David Fontana, when I clicked on the IMDB page and saw the news "Ken Russell dead at 84."  Four hours ago...

Surprise and sadness to see that this person who had influenced my antenna was gone.  My last blog, "Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3," had included him in the Fantastic Five: Fellini, Bunuel, Antonioni, himself and Roeg--now the only remaining name on the fungfmeisters.

Russell and Roeg were major early influences on my Seventies mindset, and even earlier with Ken.  I saw his BBC Isadora Duncan biography on PBS on initial airing, probably before I saw Cammel and Roeg's Performance.  Billion Dollar Brain, the third Michael Caine Harry Palmer espionage film, I saw in a Westwood theatre.  I dug Women in Love and The Music Lovers, but The Devils blew me away.  For over a decade I thought The Devils and Performance were the two best films I had seen.  I would debate with film students from UCSB that Russell and Roeg were in the calibre of Fellini and Bunuel.  They snickered at me as if I had said Russ Meyer was as good as Eisenstein.

I loved Ken Russell because he embraced being both intelligent and outrageous.  Like the Goons (he had done a BBC piece on Spike Milligan, Portrait of a Goon, which I still haven't seen), Ken was smart, silly and surreal.  And sexy.

Russell popped up in my stuff all the time.  My short play, Void in Wisconsin, seems like Russell meets Kovacs with Zappa's 200 Motels.  On Space Pirate Radio, Ken Russell and Federico Fellini wrestled in a pre-Monty Python bit for the title of Most Surrealist Director.  And in the play Casanova's Lips, a pre-Amadeus Mozart shows up at a seance, worried only that Ken Russell might film his life story.

I never met Ken Russell but I met a lot of people who had worked with him.  Georgina Hale and Glenda Jackson in London.  Amanda Donohoe in Santa Barbara.  My wife has met Kenneth Colley in her Star Wars universe.  Most of these actors have worked with Russell and Roeg, and often.

When Space Pirate Radio co-promoted a Rick Wakeman concert in Ventura, the wife and I plus friends had a lovely chat with the man post-show.  Wakeman's involvement with the man in Lizstomania was a first question, having done double duty as actor and composer.

Ironically, I purchased not far back, the Ken Russell BBC Collection, released only in the States.  I rewatched the Isadora Duncan one and saw for the first time, the Debussy biopic with Oliver Reed.  Rossetti, Delius, Elgar and Rousseau still call out.  And not too long ago, I bought the Warners Archive release of Savage Messiah.  Like Orson Welles, he's not long out of radar.

And did I say Ken Russell's films are sexy?  Very sexy.  And scandalous.  Pan-Sexual.  He got Richard Chamberlain out of the closet with the Music Lovers and a smashing performance.  He brought Oscar Wilde back to film.  Louis XIII says in The Devils, "Women. Some men love them."  And oh, how we loved those women.

Talking to Georgina Hale in her dressing room (her wearing an amazing dressing gown that I'm sure was designed by Ken's wife, costumer Shirley Russell), did I ever go into Third Person and realize this was that outrageously daring, powderfaced nymphet from The Devils, the woman who danced naked with a classic phonograph player, fondled by SS Gestapo men on Gustav Mahler's coffin?  Or Amanda Donohoe (pictured) being the vampiric snake woman, biting into the intimate bits of a young boy scout in Lair of the White Worm?  She would rejoin Ken again in his version of D.H. Lawrence's The Rainbow.

Glenda Jackson, Labour Member of Parliament, writhing nude on a train to a horrified Tchaikovsky?  Helen Mirren as Nude Descending Staircase in Savage Messiah?  Twiggy in The Boyfriend?  Twiggy and her boyfriend in The Devils?  The Devil and her boyfriend in Twiggy?  Sorry, seized by a moment of Russellmania.  How about Ann Margaret in an orgy of baked beans, a flood of fecal fiber in Tommy?

Rest in Peace, Ken Russell. I would have loved to thank you in person for all the passion, philosophy, photography and pinching at the petticoats of the petite bourgeoisie.  Much appreciated.

And I'm sure you hated it all.  How a great work by Aldous Huxley, The Devils of Loudon, that JFK conspiracy of 17th Century France, and the play adapted from it, which was the basis of your most important film...

That from all of this would come the genre known as Nunsploitation.  From the solitude of my monastic cell, I salute you.

Bye, Bye Blackbird.

"For his sake, I hope he lives forever."

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3."

My wife and friend of over 14 years.
Mad Magazine 1956-1959.
Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn and Incantations by Mike Oldfield.
Harry Secombe's laugh.
Legs and Mini-skirts.
Local Hero and Comfort and Joy.
Jacques Tati.
Body Love by Klaus Schulze (both albums).
The Cosmic Giggle and repeatedly Getting Away With It.
Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing, John Neville, Christopher Plummer and Jeremy Brett, making one feel at Holmes.
Gothic literature.

The ladies I have had the pleasure of knowing: Ex-lovers, a number; Ex-friends, some; Ex-wives, none.
Danse Sacree et Profane by Claude Debussy.
Barbara Steele in Black Sunday.
Raquel Welch.
An oscilloscope, Mack the Knife and Ernie Kovacs.
Bel Air by Can.
Altair-4, for outside appearances can be deceiving.
Klaatu and Eros...same purpose, different methods (Klaatu had Gort, but Eros had Tana).
Turhan Bey's voice.
Orson Welles selling peas.
Atem by Tangerine Dream.
The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir.
The humble potato in any form...baked, mashed, hashed, fried and totted.
WINE...the WINE, oh the WINE (and all the GOOD results that come from it).
Sandalwood incense.
Jean Shrimpton.
Chaplin, Keaton and Groucho.
The music of Basil Kirchin.
The Doctor's Companions.
Shag fact all haircuts, especially long ones, but short ones work too, girls preferred, but it if you got it.
Echoes by Pink Floyd.
Della Street.
Mr. Lucky by Henry Mancini.
Jane Asher and Marianne Faithfull.
Nederlander Dance Theatre.
Isadora Duncan.
Is My Face on Straight? by Premiata Forneria Marconi.
Chef Bruno Languini.
Avec Frommage.
Emmanuelle 2, The Joys of a Woman.
Spike Milligna, the famous typing error.
"I Resign."
Federico Fellini, Luis Bunuel, Michelangelo Antonioni, Ken Russell & Nicolas Roeg--The Fantastic Five!
Roger Moore as The Saint.
All creatures great and small.
Judy Geeson, Sally Geeson and Eva Aulin.
When the pain is gone, like now.
The steamy stuff.
Midi-minuit fantastique.
George Sanders.
"What, Me Worry?"
Raccoons that will eat out of your hand.
Lolita Ya-Ya.
Inventions for Electric Guitar by Ash Ra Tempel.
Margo Lane.
The art of Will Elder.
Playboy, 1964-1974
Peter Sellers in The Battle of the Sexes.
Burt Bacharach and Hal David.
Olivia Hussey in Romeo and Juliet.
Yoda in exile, Trotsky in exile.
In Den Garten Pharoas by Popol Vuh.
Nastassja Kinski.
Senor Wences.
The Isle of Everywhere by Gong.
The Uninvited, 1944.
Go-Go Girls, from Shindig and Hullaballoo to Musikladen.
Happy to be me, appreciating you, glad we are not one of them.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


"...And you'd like to be the sort of person who can use words like inarticulate?"

On Space Pirate Radio, I am proud (humbly) to have introduced German imported experimental music to commercial radio.  The German hipsters, inspired by Pink Floyd and Jefferson Airplane and all things electronic, ethnic, eastern and eclectic.  When this peculiar, non-American rock began to be noticed by Westerners, the uninspired needed a label for it.

I am pleased that in my entire history of broadcasting, I NEVER ONCE called this genre KRAUTROCK.  The term, then and now, makes me sick to my stomach.  This hideous description was created by the clueless cretins who had NO IDEA what the German Experimental Music Scene was all about.  Just a lump all name for something that inarticulate xenophobes used to brand music that didn't have English lyrics some of the time, and was performed by possible Aryan types from the Deutsche Republic.

Progressive?  As progressive as calling Blues and Jazz, Post Modern Minstrel Music.  That's N-tertainment, in a Word.  Arschloches!

And while we're at it, how about Italian progressive?  Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Premiata Forneria Marconi.  Shouldn't we put a sticker on their LPs?  WOPMUSIC.  "Wop, wop, wop muzik!  Everybody talking about...Wop Muzik!"

Granada and Triana from Spain?  SPICROCK?

Sadistic Mika Band and Yellow Magic Orchestra?  NIPROCK, of course.

Ange, Atoll, Heldon and Malicorne from France?  FROGROCK?  How about FROGRESSIVE MUSIC?  Magma would have to be FROGFUSION.  ("What we got here is a Ball of Frogfusion.")

I admit I'm going off on a rant here ("A FINE ride for the cranky"), but I feel focused and justified.  I HATE LABELS.  They are the cliff notes of the uninspired.  When you are in the realm of something new, it doesn't have to be indexed immediately.  Only LATECOMERS to the party need a description, and then ALMOST ALWAYS for marketing purposes only.  "I don't know what you've got here Boy, but HERE'S how we'll sell it."

Anyway... KRAUTROCK, the term offends me. And don't even GET me started on the label New Age Music!  Excitement over something new can be quickly neutered by a dull description--a philosophical ethnic slur.  People who cry "MURDER!" can be dismissed as "conspiracy BUFFS."  Rebels become Patriots.  Allies become Terrorists.  How quickly a feeling can be changed by a turn of phrase.  Or a belief altered in a brand name.

So to all of the German artists I introduced on Space Pirate Radio, including...Amon Duul (1 AND 2), Tangerine Dream, Can, Ash Ra Tempel, Kraftwerk, Popul Vuh, Faust, Cluster with a C and Kluster with a K, Neu, Harmonia, La Dusseldorf, Guru Guru, Floh de Cologne, Eloy, Jane, Embryo, Niagara, Klaus Schulze, Scorpions, Novalis, Deuter, Al Gromer Khan, 18 Karat Gold, SFF, Michael Hoenig, Nina Hagen, Gina X Performance, Eroc, Grobschnitt, Sweet Smoke, Eberhard Schoener (with a pre-Police Sting and Andy Summers), Cosmic Jokers, Walter Wegmuller, Peter Michael Hamel, Propaganda, Thomas Fehlmann, Einsturzende Neubauten, Mouse On Mars, etc., etc., my apologies. For the shortsighted, unenlightened Westerners, clueless, tuneless and full of fear, when the space for knowledge is empty, but the tummy must feel full.

Did any German folks buy American music filed under YANKROCK?  How about WANKROCK?

Zen Question: "What is the sound of one hand wanking?"

Yoda Guy sez: "I will just go back to the music.  The sounds are always individual and open to interpretation.  They're filed under... "

Friday, November 18, 2011

"I can hear the hum."

I recently watched Magic Trip, Ken Kesey's Search for a Kool Place.  After the recent viewing of the acid drenched Skidoo, I'm seeing trails, man.  It's been the 24 Hour Technicolour Trip.

Flashback...! (Is it Chris Karrer's voice or Lothar Meid saying that?)

As I said in the previous entry, a lot of straight looking people were dropping acid courtesy of the medical profession during the early Sixties.  They didn't look like the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers or Syd Barrett's Madcap yet.  A book could be written about the slick Vaseline hair groomed Madison Avenue types who were Madder than they appeared.  The ties hadn't come off to be replaced by Nehru jackets and love beads.  Wait a while kittens.  Sammy Davis Jr. will be the first Rat Packer to change his wardrobe.

1968 and it's like the Pep Boys meets your high school gym coach: "Turn on, tune up and drop for ten!"

This seems like an ongoing series in the psychedelic experience.  Southern California and this NEW STUFF is floating around Orange County.  Tab acid.  Made in someone's tub in Huntington Beach.  Orange Wedge. What the...?  "Cut with strychnine."  "Too much Speed."  Double What the?  Kilo What the?  Kids in Pomona and Covina weren't as Experienced yet.  They were taking mini-whites with Old English 800 and heading to the drive-in.  Spirits of the Dead with Terence Stamp and Jane Fonda, or Two Gentlemen Sharing with Judy Geeson.  Always movies from American International.

So let us slow down and ponder this awakening to the new colour vibe.  This better living through chemistry? Cube, tab, pyramid, blotter.  Liquid or Salvo, like you used to put in your washing machine?  Being an innocent bystander, I never saw most of this.  Tab may have been in the fridge.  And there were Pyramids on the wall.  But cubes and blotter, never.

If I HAD been like Doctor Hoffman, hypo-thetically speaking of course.  AND ONE FELT COMPELLED to consult with the ly-surgeons, it would seem ESSENTIAL to have the PERFECT environment to conduct such experiments into higher consciousness.

These could include:

a) an all-nighter before going in for your military draft physical.

b) driving on a freeway in Anaheim, seeing an orange glow in the fog, initially thinking it's a fire, calmly reassuring yourself that it's only the light from the neon sign, only to drive by and see a residential home on fire, being first on the scene 'cause it's after 3 AM.

c) in bed, pillows, curtains, candles, incense, naked girlfriend, feeling you died and this must be heaven.

d) in bed, pillows, curtains, candles, incense, naked girlfriend, seeing orange glow outside window, thinking it's only the light from neon sign, realizing there IS NO neon sign outside, seeing van on fire in driveway.

e) watching appropriately spiritual/sensitive movie in Hollywood like Raw Meat with Donald Pleasence and Christopher Lee dealing with tormented survivor zombies in London Tube.

f) listening to cool imported space music on Sunday night/Monday morning radio.

g) actually playing cool imported space music on Sunday night/Monday morning radio.

Epilogue that is really a prologue:

In retrospect, Mercury in Libra kicking in folks, I think my generation could be considered quite insane to have experimented with something born of the straight world, controlled by the military, created in effect to control human behaviour.  What were we thinking?  At the beginning, much less than would be acquired.  We were reacting, much more.  Reacting against the social controls.  Breaking the bonds FELT GOOD.  It DID feel good.  "What's so bad about feeling good?"  The question for me is, did we take those feelings and transform them into collective freedoms?  Overall, I think not.  I think at least 80 per cent of us can still identify with those wire implanted mice, questioning whether they want to cross the electrified grill and hit that switch to give them the brain pain reliever.  The other 20 per cent own stock in the electric company.


Memories of an orange wedge that came from Orange County which later became an orange glow, from the orange glass that held the candle, while playing Wendy Carlos A Clockwork Orange or Pink Floyd Apples and Oranges.

I hate the electric company, but orange you glad that the power's still on?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Plenty of jam jars, baby."

Yes, Senator.  I admit it.  I AM a Marxist!  Groucho, that is.

I recently bought Skidoo, the infamous psychedelic filmic disaster from director Otto Preminger.  Featuring the last film appearance of Groucho and a gallery of Hollywood greats caught up in a 1968 car crash of Catskill meets capsule humour.  Infamous for a time because of the conflicting tones of Ed Sullivan presents Hair, this cult item was long kept in the vaults.  Watching Jackie Gleeson trip out on acid, as well as three villains from the old Batman TV series: Burgess Meredith, Caesar Romero and Frank Gorshin.  Plus Mickey Rooney and fellow birthday boy Frankie Avalon being seduced by a nymphomaniac Carol Channing. Mondo bizarre.

Anyway, Groucho plays a character named God.  And supposedly he dropped acid to be in tune with the kids.  Not that LSD was sole property of the Now Generation.  It seems it was used rather extensively by the Then Generation.  Cary Grant.  Gig Young.  More pretty leading men than Middle America would have cared to known were taking the stuff "by Doctor's Authorization."  I watch actors from the late Fifties and especially the early Sixties and see window pane eyes in those method performances.  Hollywood High is not just a school.

But back to Groucho...

Very trippy in the film.  Seeing him with a beautiful, half naked, African-American, super tall, runway model type, dressed in a total back to butt cleavage exposed gown.  Far out.  And further out as a yogi type, smoking a joint on a peace/love bedecked sailboat.  From Margaret Dumont to Marilyn Monroe to Carmen Miranda to Jayne Mansfield.  And now this.  Baggy pants, indeed.

There were 5 Marx Brothers, later 4.  And then there were 3.  Like the Goons, first 4 and known as 3.  Thank Krishna the Beatles were 4.  Many claimed to be number 5.  "Who is number 1?"  You ARE...number 6!"

But back to Groucho...

Supposedly after Richard Nixon lost the Governor's race in California, he moved to a home on Groucho's street in Hollywood.  "Isn't it terrible?" a neighbour asked Groucho, about their new arrival.  "Well, better here than in Washington," was his reported reply.

I once interviewed Bud Cort, half the star of Harold and Maude.  He lived in Groucho's home for a time. That seems pretty surreal to me.  Like Kato Kaelin living on O.J. Simpson's property.  Or Truman Capote living with Johnny Carson's ex-wife.  I asked Bud more about his friendship with another psychedelisized leading actor, Peter Sellers.  But high times seemed a constant with both comedians.

The closest I came to Groucho was in 1975.  I was in Westwood Village with my girlfriend at the time, seeing an early show of the just released Woody Allen film, Love and Death.  Staying after the credits ended, house lights up, we lingered discussing the merits of the film.  It sort of dawned on me that people were not entering the theatre for the next showing.  This was odd because at that time, intermissions between showings were very short.  It was then that we discovered that the theatre managers had held back the next audience in order to escort Groucho Marx and his lady companion to the row behind us.  "Oh my God, it's Groucho!" Wearing his checkered tami or beret or cap, we smiled, nodded a silent greeting and left the theatre.

Outside, the patrons were queued up to be let in.  Strangely, and this is true...there were young men dressed up as Groucho waiting to get in.  Like a pre-Star Wars thing, I was never sure if they were fans, groupies or just a coincidence.

Or maybe it was the acid.  I wasn't tripping, but I can't vouch for the rest of the cast.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"He walked with a pronounced limp. L-I-M-P. Pronounced LIMP."

The 1970's.  Still in pursuit of the Cosmic Giggle.  Working, if you can call it that, at freeform wireless station KTYD in Santa Barbara.  No one has grown up yet.  That perversion won't begin till late 1980 and the murder of John Lennon.  For the time being, the children have STILL taken over the daycare center.

The steam madness of KTYD radio was a place where business as Unusual was the modus operandi.  How cool is that?  You turned your jokes into art, and art became commerce.  Simply because people bought what you were selling GAVE it away first!  And most of all...if they actually could tell that you loved and believed what you were doing.  You can feel this LOVE VIBE at Verizon, Chevron, B of A and News Corporation today, can't you Children of the Revolution?  Especially at Fox.  Those brown shirts smell Downey fresh!

So for a brief time, the work ethic was Labours of Love.  If you thought it was good, do something with it. That would creep in with the creeps later, but I am really trying to hold back my kitchen cynic mode and accentuate the positive.

And that Cosmic Giggle.

The station was always involved in local artistic endeavours: concerts, film shows, plays and art events.  We still thought of Santa Barbara as a community.  Not just the playground of the wealthy, or a place where bodies from the San Fernando Valley or Orange County could be conveniently dumped over the Mesa Cliffs.  No sir.  A real community of multi-talented artists.  That's what made freeform KTYD the place EVERYONE tuned into.  Rock? Every variety.  Jazz.  Man, the station was a hipster's paradise!  Blues?  The BLUEST!  Folk?  You bet.  American or British?  Joan Baez or Fairport Convention?  Space Pirate Radio was there, bringing Gentle Giant to the Arlington Theatre, Renaissance to UCSB, Alan Stivell to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.  The station's list of musical guests is amazing.  Almost endless, really.

And cinema?

Santa Barbara in the Seventies was a movie lover's paradise.  One local promoter would do triple bills of eclectic offerings at the Arlington Theatre.  In an age when seeing a film was not yet a convenient home viewing experience, the film lover was desperate for a sympathetic venue.  If there was a film I hadn't seen or wished to view a lost favourite, we simply booked it into a local theatre.  Pink Floyd films, like in Pompeii or More or La Vallee or Stamping Ground or Zabriskie Point...these would show up at a Midnight Double bill with Yes in Concert at the Airport Drive-In (pictured in a previous entry).  But more likely in Isla Vista at the Magic Lantern Theatre.  This WAS the cool theatre.  Two theatres actually, with the mini left wing smaller cavern on the opposite side of the snack bar.  Called Midnight Flicks, flyers were printed for each weekend's offering.  We snickered when the artist would put the L and the I rather close and the Kinkos copies would blend.  Suddenly a different event was being advertised.

It's movie night at the Chateau.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Because I'm in no condition to receive bad news."

Inside every elderly person is a juvenile delinquent crying out to be set free.  The dreaming creature inside this mortal coil is a spirit filled with an amount of experience, sometimes called wisdom, wishing to have the vitality of younger foolish days, hoping to find a balance of the two.  Alas, it is not to be.  It is a rare moment when Goethe can engage in pure philosophy, yet still have the power of thrust to engage in a three-way.  (If you smoke after a three-way, do you call a cig-alert?)

Older people are like out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  Tiny midgets of mirth trapped in barely walking corpses of curve.  But in true English tradition, we Carry On, Regardless.  The youngins laugh.  Pathetic geezers.  Quite clueless.  Logan's Run.  "Your hand crystal has changed colour."  This is why people over 40 don't commit mass suicide.  And why I don't own a cellphone.

But first, your local weather...

Cloddy.  Partially cloddy.  Obscured by Clods.  Clods in way.  Can you see me now?  Highs tonight...hopefully.  Otherwise, more of the same with a chance of something.  Early morning stuff, but that should change later.  And now a word from our sponsor:
Bongos (when one bongo is not enough).

When you're young and stupid enough to think you're an actor, playing OLD seems a lark.  Twentysomethings love to pretend to be sixty.  Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten in Citizen Kane.  Peter Sellers in The Smallest Show on Earth or better yet, in The Battle of the Sexes.  I played a fat old man of the cloth in Abelard and Heloise in college (pictured).  People said, "Oh look, they got an older adult to play with these college students."  Should I be flattered or seriously depressed?  Probably both.  Actually, at the time on stage, I was more concerned with the silver goblets we were drinking from.  The tech crew had painted them with a silver spray and the paint floated ominously in the water we were drinking.  Anyway, all of this could have been avoided if the phone company had given me a job.

I haven't bored you yet with this story?  Prepare to look in the Medusa's eye and be taken for granite.

When I was looking for work in the late Sixties, I thought my radio voice would work well as an operator for the telephone company.  I went for an interview and test somewhere in the hellhole of the San Gabriel Valley.  It took all day.  I was the only male applying for the job amongst a small group of women.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE women and was happy to be in their company.  I'm a suffragette.  I read Mary Wollstonecraft and Germaine Greer.  More likely than the woman who was doing the interviews.  In the skill tests, I scored higher than the group.  Zowie!  This is in the bag . But then came the FINAL SOLUTION, the psychological profile.  Some faceless female asked me about my previous job.  That job was (if you've noted in a previous entry. POP QUIZ!) working for the Los Angeles Times soliciting new subscriptions.  I was really good at it.

But I failed to realize that honesty is NOT the best policy when trying to get a job with a monolithic company like Pacific Telephone or Bell or whatever it was, post coffee cans and string.

Like a patient talking to his shrink (which I have never done, so this is a hypothetical Romantic device I am using simply for a lyrical/symbolic ironic metaphor, shaded in satirical symbolism), I confide to Ilsa, the She-Wolf of the S.S., that I FELT GUILTY calling people at home and convincing them that they should subscribe to the daily paper.  Big mistake.  Red lights went on.

The creature looked down at me and said, "It's my job to feel whether or not there is a fit with the applicant and the company, and in YOUR CASE, I feel there is no fit."  So even though I scored higher than her fellow Amazons, I was out because of an ethical consideration note on invading one's privacy.  She even sarcastically said, "Well, you're not out anything...except spending your entire day here."

Would Gloria Allred have taken this as a sexual discrimination case?  Probably not.  This was still the Sixties and SOME women still had issues.

So, despite my cynicism, I still like women more than men.  But whoever you were Madam...things probably changed for you.  If they were good, well terrific.  But if they went bad, consider the small details.  Every turn, even the tiniest, makes a difference.

Trust me.  I've given this a lot of thought.  I used to put baby powder in my hair to look older (helps you buy beer when you're under age).

No one asks for ID now (only if I need help with the oxygen tank to the car).

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Does it come every night?"

During the run of Space Pirate Radio, there were always some pauses or intervals between broadcasts from station to station.  Sometimes the station was the same station.  Other times, a new frequency.  Frequently.  So pondering the days up to All Hallows' Eve, getting in the mood and such, considering all the influences...from early days in the horror TV business, to all the passions gothic, I went back to when Space Pirate Radio returned to the air on Halloween Sunday, Monday the First of November on NPR ass-filiate KCBX in San Luis Obispo, California.  This was 1999.

Shall we party like it's 1939 instead?  Yes!  Let's!  Why not?  Certainly the station was sixty years behind the time.

This is your Obedient Servant, Orson Welles, and we are here to make contact with the departed spirit of Harry Houdini.  Everyone seated round the table?  Good.  Fingers on the wine glass.  Ouija board yet?  Letters begin.

"You don't want me to leave Windwood house, do you Mother?"

Halloween and Space Pirate Radio were always a wonderful time for musical mayhem and sonic spookiness.  Of course, for some listeners familiar or not with the program, it seemed like every show was Halloween.  There were fine lines between Harmony, Humour and Horror.  I dubbed these early experiments Audio Alchemy, and this fourth sabbat of the year was a perfect time to reach for the Philosophers Stoned.

Every Space Pirate Radio show enjoyed voyaging to the Outer Limits.  On Halloween, we could get a little darker, but still be safe.  Musical choices from Europe could be a tad more horrific (wasn't Tad Moore Horrific that good looking blonde kid in A Summer Place?).  Nothing could be more extreme than Brainticket's Cottonwood Hill.  Or White Noise and An Electric Storm in Hell.  Lighten things up?  Bonzo Dog Band with Monster Mash or Look Out, There's a Monster Coming.  Back to the literate with Alan Parsons and Edgar Allan Poe or Prelude with the Seven Deadly Sins.  How many Halloween shows had Christopher Lee telling the story of Dracula, only to be interrupted every three minutes, in true local LA TV style, by Oscar B. Chow.  Hoping that you are enjoying "your...Golden Morning Movie."

Ah, yes Dracula.  You had to be a vampire to listen to the show.  Bed ridden with Nocturnal Transmissions.  The illustrious Steam Count, wearing the famous crest of his family, is shown above.  Giving Salute to the Radio Managers.  So much for subtlety.  It impales by comparison.  But more on the one who never drinks wine in a moment.

All Hallow's was also a festive time at the Green Neon Motel, located in the heart, or rather, bladder of the San Industrial Valley.  Year after year, front desk man Grungie Steinberg would be amazed by the arrival at the door of the latest costume design by longtime guest Chef Bruno Languini.  It is my opinion that his tomato & cheese omelette was his crowning achievement.  "Wow, Chef!  When you bend over, I can see the melting cheese."

Or how many variations were there of that classic 1941 Unilateral film The Wolf Guy?  Lon Chairs, Jr. so touching as the cursed Larry Tallbutt (so named after a family deformity).  How many times did we quote the Old Gypsy Lady saying, "Though the path you walk is thorny. Through no fault of your own."  "What the Hell does THAT mean?" Lonny would ask in pure torment.  "Even a man who's pure of heart.  And says his prayers at night.  May become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms.  And his trousers are too tight."  Pure magic.

Obviously, to the long time listener, three horror films have been a constant mantra in the Space Pirate Radio mix.  From 1974 till the end, 1931's Dracula began the show after my introductions.  "Listen to them.  Children of the night.  What music they make."  That to me was the start of showtime.  When I left Santa Barbara and went El Norte, the 1931 Mexican version of the same lines became the appropriate opening.  I know I have played Klaus Kinski doing his low key version of the lines from Nosferatu, both in English and in German.  These were giggles and not long term.  The other two films are, of course, 1944's The Uninvited and 1956's Plan 9 From Outer Space.  Like the resurgence in Lounge Music, I am intensely proud that Space Pirate Radio brought these unpopular works of art back into the current culture of ultra-chic.  For those who didn't get it the first time round, I can cheerfully say, "Kiss my Capri pants enveloped derriere."

So stiletto heels off, zipper down, back to front. " Does it come every night? "


Just when you begin to think you've dreamt it...

Monday, October 24, 2011

"Per Un Amico."

My dear old artist friend David Fontana sent me this wonderful piece of art as a birthday gift.  I felt I had to share it, as it captures the crazy dream time that was Space Pirate Radio in the early Seventies.  As I have mentioned here before, David was one of my earliest friends who just happened to be a multi-fauceted artist ("He had the PIPES, man!").  Painter, cartoonist, a doodles weaver AND a musician.  Ultra cool man.  The Banana Man.  The Banana Moon Man.  Fontana di Luna.

A Cool Cat.  A REAL talent.  And man, a joy to do so many projects together on.  What is wonderful is when you hook up with someone who is completely on your wavelength, very inspiring, totally original, secure in their own talents, willing to collaborate to make the vision happen in double time, not a competition, two individuals, united on sharing the joke...the ultimate Cosmic Giggle.

That is my dear friend.  He painted the artwork on my Space Pirate Radio album when I thought we should trip out on the old RKO logo (it was good enough for King Kong in 1933 and Orson Welles in 1941).  He worked with me on my play, Casanova's Lips, the later book publication of the same, and my TV program Crackers at Eight.  He did art for an attempted magazine called The Hermit.  We were dreamers, digging the music, drinking wine with Daevid Allen in a candlelit room filled with Gong LPs, considering the impossible.  Flatulence Groove, or it was a Gas man.

And with all the great memories of past days, I can't keep up on all the adventures he has had after leaving Santa Barbara: playing music with experi-Mentalists in Germany, doing art in England, making cartoons abroad and back in Hollywood.  Like a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, the liquid detergent, this cat's a pure sudsy bubble man.  Floating between Myth and Magic.

I'm not sure of the complete histoire de banana.  I've put his family tree in the Elvis P. band.  They founded Fontana Records and started the city of Fontana, California.  Created the art of letter printing.  Font derived from the family name.  Or not.

Either way, he is an a-Peel-ing fellow, with many a story to tell, if you can coax one or two out of him.  I am happy we are still friends and can recall those early days of artistic enthusiasm.  And dare I say, LUNA...? Si!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"Time to Noodle."

Dr. Wu-hu Returns!

Okay, Jo!  We have just returned from many exciting adventures in the Far East.  The Brigadier suggested we Nip Around the Corner (his yuck-yuck Colonial Era racist type of music hall humour) and pick up some takeaway Chinese food.  As Time Laird, I suggest we jump into re-Tardis, set Wayback Control for early era, really fresh Szechuan food.  Hot & Spicy!  It Szechuan fire.  Chapter end.

The story so far...well, you remember Jo, off we go in a flurry of shakey camera work.  Winds whip your little mini-skirt.  Have your undies like Chubby Checker.  How you say?  Knickers in a Twist?  No matter.  Before you could say Hammer Burt Electrique (featuring Gong Lee), we were in the Ming Dynasty (it was So Mercilous!).  Quite an adventure!  But not to bore you with minor details, save to say that thanks to Sonic Screwdriver (3 parts vodka, 1 part hedgehog), a certain talent with pasta and my inimitable impersonation of Robert Wyatt, the day was saved along with 8 separate species.  But that's another story.

The Story of O by Pauline Reage.  Well, that's another story too.

So back into the re-Tardis, Brigadier food kept warm on hot plate, off for an evening of clubbing in Shanghai.  Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

But as so often happens on program, co-ordinates off due to abundance of cat fur (don't ask) and we wind up in pre-Eighties Cathay.  Shanghai, yes.  But yak loving, pre-disco dancing authorities think mysterious blue box smuggling opium.  Monkey farts!  If only.  Don't you Melrose Avenue extras from Von Sternberg film recognize me?  I am Doctor Wu-hu!  Cosmic Celestial Cabin Cruiser.  To no avail.  Must hide on train, Shanghai Express.  Jo and I meet lovely ladies.  Share their car.  Bohemians.  Tall blonde lady of Germanic descent.  And mysterious Chinese woman in black.  Jo asked if they were going to a Siouxsie & the Banshees concert.  A chilling quiet filled the room, which was already filled by tons of cigarette smoke.  Many birds died for their clothing.  I was attracted to them both.  And with Jo in the room, I suddenly felt the desire to start a commune in Scotland or Big Sur.  Me, as Yogi.  My ladies as Handmaidens or Dacoits.  Ah, what delights!

This reverie was soon interrupted by a halting of the train.  The seriousness of the situation came fully back to me.  A military man, who in evening dress reminded me of Charlie Chan, demanded to see my papers.  I showed him this psychic paper thingee I have which becomes whatever the viewer thinks it should become.  I don't understand how it works but it seems to get me past the doorman everytime.  Anyway, this credential, backstage pass/passport thingee bought me some time for a moment.  Until an unfortunate question came up. Unlike most episodes, we show up in the Forties, my companion is half naked in short skirt, thighs glistening in the bunker, lit only by the Battle of Britian.  No questions asked.

Not this time.  These damnably fiendish Chinese instantly noted the peculiarity of our clothing.  Bryan Ferry haircut and Fox News Conservative bowties.  And Botox ("Bowtox are cool").  Mon Dieux!  We didn't FIT IN!  The question was put to me.  What kind of undergarments was I wearing.  Never one to lie except when it is necessary, I replied, "I am a Calvin Klein man.  I am wearing black briefs."

Without realizing it...I had started the Boxer Rebellion.

We escaped by our chins.  Seriously, Max and Mabel Chin, laundry entrepreneurs, helped us get back to the re-Tardis, hidden in a cart of un-starched shirts ("no washee without tickee," we heard them shout while being pushed madly down the coach aisle, safely hidden amongst the shirt-tails).

Before safely leaving in the re-Tardis, I bought two shirts with the face of the lovely Chinese woman I had met earlier on the train car.  Arriving back safely in Golders Green Cemetery, East Finchley, Jo and I, still wearing the shirts you see pictured, met a man who offered to trade a shirt with Betty White on it for our two shirts.

Glad to be home, food still warm, I had to refuse.  "Sorry, no, " I replied.  "Two Wongs don't make a White."

Friday, September 30, 2011

"There are no friends left."

An old comrade from the White Russian daze, Steamer Ed (of the Industrial Revolution, not the Bolshevik), sometimes asks on message boards, regarding yours truly, "Is he still alive?"  Or if this very own beacon of cathode fails to prove any vital signs, he will email the same question.  Below is the form letter sent in reply:

Dear Mr. Steam R.

Thank you for your letter regarding Mr. Gui Godden.

Unfortunately, Mr. Gulden passed away in 2002 and our company has retained sole licensing and image rights to Mr. Gudin's creative output for these past eleven years.  If you wish to incorporate any of our highly visible, yet late lamented client's unique creations, say on cocktail napkins or Scandinavian Pleasure Enhancers, please feel free to inquire on our rate system.  We all sorely miss Mr. Gunden's contributions to the world of art, but know that his spirit will live on in our vast array of tasteful yet highly profitable commercial options.

Best regards,

Mort Scavanger

CEO Pacific Relations Industrial Celebrity Keepsakes (prick, for short...for certainly it is)

Now this could be a Howard Hughes sort of thing.  You know, where the head of it all has long shuffled off this mortal coil but the shadow corporation pretends he's still alive.  He's an eccentric, you understand.  Stays up all night.  Heavily medicated.  Wears Kleenex boxes for slippers.

More sober minds prevail.  Taking care of business and all that.

Who can say for sure.  But like that film with Paul Le Mat and Jason Robards, here are some claimed recent sightings:

F for Fake?  G for Guise?

(End title, Burt Bacharach, "Disguise in love with you.")

Snack bar theme.  House lights up.  Intermission.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"You say it's your birthday. It's my birthday too, yeah."

Being a Time Laird is tough, folks.  Ancient clockwork inside, running the pantomime.  Outside, the perennial juvenile.  Dick Powell on acid.  For you youngsters without reference, that might be John Cusack in a Chinatown opium den.  Still too elderly?  How about one of those child stars on Nippleodeon (the network for under-nourished, non-breast fed children).  iGnarly?  Sorry, I'm losing it here  This is what Old Age will do to you, folks.  That's what being a Time Laird is all about . You start out as William Hartnell and end up as Matt Smith.  Talk about cosmetic surgery.  And what about all those companions?  Sure, being around the young keeps you young.  But there are laws out there, Citizens!  So, if a blue police box appears outside your child's school...

But I digress...

Six Hundred & 20 Candles.  Boy, is that a John Hughes film from Hell?  (I believe Molly Ringwald was a companion around 1985-1986.)  620.  Pretty antique.  People say, "You don't look look a day over 500," but I know their lying through their non-false teeth.  Bastards!  Carbon-based lifeforms of undetermined parentage!  Don't you realize how you break both of my hearts?  (Time Lairds actually don't have twin hearts, only twin bladders. How do you think we make those long trips from one end of the universe to Croydon?)

But enough of this sentimentality.  It's my party and I can cry if I want to.  Billy Barty can have pie if he wants to.

Quick, Jo!  Let's step into re-Tardis and head out to desert and Burning Midget Festival.  So created in honour of great little artist, Billy Barty, who, sadly committed suicide.  He jump off curb!

But wait!  I have oddly different idea.  Let's set Wayback Machine to 1968.  (Mr. Peabody and Boy Sherman, not that different from Colin Baker and male companion who look like lead singer from Prodigy.  Or was it Peter Davison?  Not sure.  Loss of memory.  Too many re-degenerations.)

Why 1968?  Because it is the year that the Beatles will personally wish me a birthday greeting in song for my 577th natal or 190th Earth year.

How is this, Dr. Wu-hu?

The Beatles are recording their double album, which will later be referred to as The White Album.  Most songs take several days to record.  But on September 18th, 1968, after watching Jayne Mansfield in The Girl Can't Help It on British telly, the boys return to Abbey Road studios to record what is basically Paul's idea, "Birthday."  Supposedly, it is one out of only two songs on the album that features both Paul and John on lead vocals, as well as Yoko Ono singing back-up.  George Martin was not in the studio.  It is the only song done on one day, September 18th.

As a Time Laird, I would love to be gracious and perhaps share the song with Beach Blanket Bongomeister, Frankie Avalon.  Or the "What do I care for your orders.  You can't frighten me, " double GG companion, Greta Garbo.  But in my double heart and double bladder...I know the song....belongs to me!  Thank you Fabs.

Now quick, Jo.  Let's head into re-Tardis and set course for Ming Dynasty and get quick takeaway of Szechuan food.  So hot and spicy, it will Szechuan fire!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"I don't know who you are Sir, or where you come from, but you've done me a power of good."

Hello folks!  A September ramble here.  Computer was down, so I listened to an old Goon Show that I probably hadn't heard since the mid Seventies or early Eighties.  "The Great Regent's Park Swim" from October 1957.  Recently released on the BBC's ongoing CD series.  During those decades, I was fortunate to have had one of the most complete collections of Goon Show tapes from a variety of sources.  These included reel to reel tapes of BBC World Service recordings throughout the years.  David Ossman of the Firesign Theatre was kind enough to lend me his personal collection of transcription discs.  He had broadcast them originally in New York.  And over the years, I met fellow Goon fanatics who had the odd show, different from the original, highly edited EMI/Parlophone LPs or the later BBC vinyl series.  Each new show was a cosmic/comic find of immense psychedelic proportions.

So as we hit September 8th, the twin birthdays of Peter Sellers and Sir Harry Secombe, I feel that modern rhythm Min!

Those with nothing better to do have seen in previous pages my meager encounters with the Goons in varying degrees.  Peter Sellers was always a big influence.  I have spoken before of my involvement with the Sellers Estate, especially with his widow, Lynne Frederick.  Her initial blessing on the Sellers documentary I had put together, "Life is a State of Mind: The Life and Work of Peter Sellers," pretty much capped my obsession.

Earlier, I was proud to get Spike Milligan's consent to do a cameo in my "Space Pirate Video" pilot.  He turned down a video project with Rolling Stones member Bill Wyman, but agreed to mine.  No offense Bill, but there was a slight glow in the Space Pirate's intestinal system.  Spike's secretary, Norma Farnes, treated me very kindly in Spike's office off Hyde Park in Orme Court (having introduced the Italian band Le Orme to U.S. audiences on Space Pirate Radio, I was always fond of the street name).  I'm sorry the event did not come together, but I am pleased that Norma continues to carry on all artistic matters Milligna (the famous typing error).

Never met Neddy.  Probably the sanest of the three (or four if we count original member Michael Bentine).  Bentine or Milligan.  Which one is Syd?

Didn't connect with Sir Harry, or his daughter, whose phone number and address was always on the desk, but I never felt like intruding.  Son Andy, yes...see previous Star Wars entry.

Ray Ellington...Ellinga or Rage Ellington as Sellers called him in one hopped up episode.  No.  Nor his son, who portrayed his father in that HBO Sellers film.  Wally Stott or the transformed Angela Morley?  No.

But that great harmonica player, the butt of Jewish jokes and the Great Conk?  Max Geldray.  Yes.  He was cool.  And harmonicas are cool

Quick, into the re-Tardis.  But first, a Time Laird Gnote...

Sellers was born in 1925.  Secombe was born in 1921.  Milligan was born in 1918.

Sellers died first.  Secombe died second.  And Milligan died last.

It's all in the mind, you know.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"You know, my astrologer says that Virgos are subject to cosmic boredom."

Well friends, here we are once again under the sign of Virgo, my earthly solar Master.  With moon in Cancer, my wet & wild watery Mistress?  It's like laying naked in the mud at Woodstock, waiting for Jefferson Airplane to greet the morning.  Or not.

But back to the Quote...I am marginally amused by those who claim to know yours truly; that I am easily bored.  Or that I get bored with stuff quickly and then move on.  NOT TRUE!  I can honestly say that I haven't felt a state of boredom since my teen years or perhaps moments in a math classroom.  I am never bored.  Impatient, yes.  Quite often.  Frustrated also at times.  But NEVER bored.  This will sound SO POMPOUS, but to me, boredom is an air or attitude of the uninspired.  To be bored is to be boring oneself.  It means a definite lack of creative spirit and if that isn't SO POMPOUS 2 ("BIGGER THAN THE ORIGINAL!" so sez Murray Grope of the Brea Shop Fondler, your guide for Orange County Entertainment), than let's agree upon this: that it is definitely the domain of the unenthusiastic.

That's right folks!  The SECRET INGREDIENT in every box of ENTHUSIASM is...N2ZSM.  Created by the early alchemists.  Distilled through the ages.  Sought after by the Knights Templar.  Hoarded by the Walkyrians.  Recently plundered from the archives of Babylon.  Now in vaults in Wyoming.  And available in easy suppository capsule as daily used by Dick Cheney.  It is the ELIXIR VITAE!

Coveted by the Ancients...available to only a Privileged Few (the upper 4%), this modern miracle is now YOU!

Call the number on your screen.  Operators are standing by or getting bi.  BUT WAIT...!  If you order in the next ten minutes...YOU WILL HAVE ORDERED IN THE NEXT TEN MINUTES!!!

ACT NOW!  ("To be or not to be. That is the question. Whether 'tis noble to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  Or to wear the soiled toupees of forgotten anchors, or uh.... LINE!")

Where's my credit card?

Hold on.  I'm getting sort of bored with this program.  That's the problem with late night TV.  Maybe there's something on The Hitler Channel.  Who designed Goebbell's suits.  Nazi lapels.  Trousers of the Gestapo.  And shoulder pads of the S.S.  Archie in the Bunker.

What's on E (the only cable entertainment channel inspired by a rave drug)?

Oh, look.  It's Pop Singer Sybil Janus of the band Spliff Personality and the Shapeshifters.  I think that's Elvis Costello on her right.  He's also a Virgo.  In fact, today's his birthday.  On her left, I'm not too sure who that is.  Either some failed DJ or Lady Gaga before her operation (he was Laddie Dada then, sometimes only known as Gaga).  "Lah dee da da dah!"

Who cares?  Change the channel.  G4?  Oh no, more games.  Boring.  What's the channel between E and G4?

Oh yeah. F. U.

(What happened to all those Extenze ads?  Combine them with David Cronenberg's film of nearly the same name.  And oh dear!  Not a pretty concept.)

But I digress...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Baby you can drive my car."

Hello kats and kittens.  Sorry for the month long delay.  After seeing the photo I posted of yours truly with that interesting man...I knew I needed a tune-up.  A samurai and a friar.  A nip and tuck.  And a little hebrew dutch homeland.  A re-JEW van nation.  "Are there any groups I haven't offended yet?"  Getting old is nasty.  I needed some sincere pampering.  As Bette Davis said in between murdering husbands, "Old age is not for sissies" or something butch like that.  I knew it was time to visit the fat farm.  La Bob Costa.  The spa of the stars.  Run by Fraulein Doktor.  Hers and himmlers.  Let the years peel away...

It was worth the time and expense.  Madame Blavatsky gave me a full body rub.  The medium IS the massage.  I received the monkey ball injections (please don't tell PETA...I've recently become a member).  Also the yak sperm facials.  Plus the bo tox derek.  I'm a NEW MAN!

So what else should a less than potent, but mentally rejuvenated alpha male do to thwart a mid-wife crisis?  BUY A NEW CAR!  Yes, sir!  There is no better way to scream to the faceless masses, that...I AM IMPOTENT, yet I drive a NEW, INTIMIDATING fossil fueled vehicle, that I will scare you upon the roads . Let me make up for my physical, mental and spiritual shortcomings, by OVER COMPENSATING with this hyper-sized metal machine.

Well, I tried to avoid some of that bit by getting a car that fits with my persona and philosophy.  Astute viewers of this page have already noted that in my lifetime, I have owned 3 white cars ("los trios autos blancos"), plus a red car that was a wedding gift from my mother-in-law.  I had to get another white car.  And there it is...!  A Rolls-Canardly!  Rolls down one hill...Canardly get up the next!  ("Taa-dah!")

Please note in the photo that the car is small.  I've always driven small cars.  Confidence.  Nothing more need be said.  And eco-friendly.  Foot power.  A high brow hybrid.

Oh, and as the foto reveals...there are the results of my recent spa visit.  Trying to avoid obvious vanity...but I REALLY do think I look younger.  I got rid of the hippie, I am Gandalf hair.  Why would I want that?  And the wardrobe?  You don't think the MAD MEN look is cool?  Retro-fifties, lets bring back the black-list and tie.  Bongos are in the trunk.  Or boot, as the British would say.  And with my little white car...this boot is made for walking.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"It took more than one man to change my name to Shanghai Lily."

Hey, isn't that Michael Caine in Children of Men?  Sure looks like it.  No,'s yours truly with recent holiday snaps.  Hawaii, I think.  Gaikiki.  Why not?  Taken in the garden of the I Can't Copacabana.  Met this fellow.  Seemed interesting.

Seems we are drinking.  A double X cat he was.  My brew is triple X, but it usually comes in film stock, not alcool.  No matter.  I was drinking Smiths and an olive.  Hold the meat.  A Johnny Marr-tini.  I'm not sure.  It's kind of a blur now.  A Raymond Blurr.  That's the Ironic Side of it.  I think he was an apparent Mason.  Never got his name.  At first I thought he was the actor from Eyes Wide Shut, you know...the one who pimped his daughter, Leelee Polish Vodka.  Then I thought he might be that Italian actor who played Sylvia Kristal's husband in those Emmanuelle movies.

Not sure.  Still a little hungover (isn't that a Korean jeep?).  Anyway, an interesting man.  Not the MOST INTERESTING man I ever met, but up there.

Which leads me to the belief that I find women more interesting than men.

Not trying to boast here, but I think I made more enemies among my male friends, simply because I was in the company of women rather than hanging with the boys.  Sorry.  That's just how it was.  I've met many interesting people throughout my life and I wish I could converse with so many of them many questions, thoughts and reflections.  But in my Bliss State, my love of is always the women I want to be with.

Probably has something to do with a strong willed Mother and an older Sister.  Both quadruple Leos.  Strong willed and the fur flied.  All my family members were Fire Signs.  I was the odd Earth one (with tons of Water...hence, a lot of mud).  Still, I am pretty happy with the placement.  It's that Venus in Scorpio that kept me in the salons des les femmes rather than the sports bars of the grunting alpha males.  Thanks to a cool Dad, the balance was perfect.  A perfect perspective.  I worship at the altar of the Goddess without being afraid of the Spider Woman.  I love the Web.  (Is the Freudian Symbolism too THICK HERE?)  I'm hearing the voice of Roger from American Dad! when I write this.  No, that can't be right.

Sorry, maybe it's still the after effect from the drink and the sun.  I'm not usually out in the day this early.  And I don't start the liquid consumption until it gets dark.  Now that I think of it, the drink could of been a Bert I. Gordon's Gin.  The Amazing Colossal Martini.  Attack of the 50 Foot Wallbanger.  Featuring Bombay Sapphire Blue Screen.  Attack of the Puppet Pina Colada.  Not sure.  Kinda fuzzy.  Navel?  Air Force, actually.

Oh, yeah, the women.  I love writers.  Have had many encounters with some of the most celebrated authors. Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Jr. Jim Harrison.  Yet, I am still intrigued by the conversation I had with Erica Jong or the chance to talk to Isabel Allende.

Must be my lunacy.  Moon in Cancer.  Maternal waters.  The K-Tide man.  Ebb and flow.  Didn't Linus say, "I love humanity, it's just people I can't stand."

Well, I love people, but I prefer women.  Interesting.  Thank you Doctor Freud.  Same time, next week?

By the way, your couch has a lump near the lower left thigh.

(An excerpt from the soon to be released musical based on a psychiatrist's notepad, entitled Our Hearts Were Jung and Gay.)

Technical note: in the photo, the martini glass is real, the liquid is water and the olive & pimento on a toothpick is made completely of glass.

Movie magic.  Tricks of the trade. :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Well, I can see you're serving drinks..."

My wife really loves Star Wars.  And she likes the Goons.  I really love the Goon Show.  And I like Star Wars.  Quite a bit, actually. is a mysterious harmony of bliss when the two can Come Together and form a loving balance.  Let me explain.
My darling wife quite often occupies the Star Wars Universe.  I am old enough to have entered same space from Day One, yet in Rebel spirit (Galactic, not Confederate), I have retained a Jed Guy attitude of hermiticism.  Obi in the desert.  Yoda in the swamp.  Like Space Pirate Radio, I am the Sputnik spinning around the Death Star.  KTYD, Y-97, KCBX.  They were all, at one time or another, Death Stars.  But I digress...

How does the anarchistic BBC radio show of the Fifties and very early Sixties--launching pad for Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe--connect with the intergalactic world of George Lucas?  In many ways.  There are not Six Degrees of Separation.  I've got it down to Three.  Tee-hee!  Thinks....

I've mentioned before my earlier encounters with Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness, and the mementos I hold from those days.  Now Sir Alec was obviously the most important influence on Peter Sellers.  A book could be written on it.  But what is the Star Wars connection?  Sellers lived to see the first film, but died in the year Empire Strikes Back came out (1980) and obviously never saw Return of the Jedi (1983).

Now let us jump into the re-Tardis and flash forward (or flash time can be rewritten) to Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.

Having shared the experience of being in the queue for midnight showings of the reworked episodes and later the Holy Trinity, the little lady and I are kindred souls in the Happening.  The new films give as much a thrill as the earlier encounters.  And in contrast to many cynics, I find myself liking the new characters that seem to irritate the hoi polloi.  I like Jar Jar Binks, 'cause I get the joke.  He's the Robert Crumb Keep on Truckin' dude.  It's San Francisco, Lucas Land, not Orange County.  And Watto.  Dig the subtext.  He's Middle Eastern. Jewish or Arab.  Isn't the nose a Nostrilferatu image?  And remember, Christ-like Liam Neeson can't talk him out of the Deal with those Jedi Mind Tricks.  I've worked for a money-minded Muslim from Pakistan who could become Watto in a nanosecond.  "I'm sorry Annie, I sell your Mother.  But I got GOOD PRICE."

Watto.  Just a small businessman.  Has a gambling problem, but would join the Elks or the Rotary Club if only they would let him in.

Okay, so it's Watto that holds the key here.  My wife goes to the big Star Wars Celebration to meet as many people who may have stumbled into frame as possible (triple price if you have an action figure of yourself).  She completes the Seth: Seth Green, Seth MacFarlane, Seth Rogen, Pink Floyd's Seth the Controls for the Heart of the Sun...Revenge of the Seth.  And for ME...the voice of Watto...Andy Secombe....who--wait for it--my lovely wife DOESN'T realize is the son of Neddy Seagoon, Harry Secombe!  TAA-DAAH!!!  ("Waits for audience applause...not a sausage.")

I love this woman.  She's my Minnie Bannister, companion to a decepit Henry Crun and lust object to a gas filled Major Bloodnok.  And we like the same movies and go to the same concerts.  Got tickets for the CANtina Band.  Actually, to bear out how much of a Star Wars lover my little lady is, she just came back from Star Wars in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl.  She saw Saturday's show (having already seen an earlier presentation in the past years), and was happy to see special guest, composer John Williams.  "Stop that modern sinfull saxophone playing!"

And there's more where that came from....

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Sin Spots Of Europe

"Yumpin' yart fanoot!  Effer tim I write, it seems I don't know vhere to begin.  It seems dat all of Europe is philled vith der steaming Sin Spots."

So begins another letter from my friend Olaf Sniffsen, Sweden's greatest authority on the pleasure palaces of the world.  I know I could print his letter in its entirety, but Olaf writes like he talks; in an accent as thick as cream of monkey soup.  Instead, I'll mention some of the unusual nightspots my friend frequents.

"Hamburg is probably der dirtiest city in Europe, if not just Germany," writes Olaf.  The Reeperbalm is known as the Street of Sin.  The Alleyway of Sin is the Tigerbalm.  The streets are filled with clubs, movie houses, shops for unusual appliances and parlours of certain pleasures.  Here is the home of the notorious "Ich Bin Naughty Naughty Klub."  It features live sex shows with naked toasters and nude washing machines.  Fraulein Beebee and the Typewriters of Sappho was the current popular attraction at the Klub.

"Der room is philled vith der scent of human steam.  You can cut der atmosphere vith a knife, but most preferred a garden trowel.  Beebee is on der stage, groping vith a Smith-Corona 2200 Electric.  Businessmen, on veekend from Munich, are shouting out 'Backspace!  Backspace!' and 'Release your margins!'  Beebee is not too good on der forward cartridge motion, but her backspace is incredible.  Men in der front row could see just how loose her margins vere."

Olaf Sniffsen further describes some of the specialty shops.  Every taste is catered to, every kink is satisfied, no matter hour outre.  For a certain sum of Deutsche Markes, a man can wrestle in the nude with a sofa, or be massaged with an electric golf cart.  In a shop catering to humiliation, a woman named Gretta will criticize the length of your trouser legs.

"But be careful of der bogus German Sex Clinics," warns Olaf.  He mentions that one clinic offers a home vasectomy kit, which doubles as an office stapler.

The best porno films in Europe are in Holland.  "Hot Sheets in Amsterdam is probably my favourite film," Olaf writes.  "Based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, der modern setting of a Dutch call girl operation only heightens Gogol's rustic observations.  Der colour is pretty good too.  No purple tint."

Olaf goes on to mention that the audiences for these films are better in Holland also.  Certainly the Screaming Beaver Theatre chain in America is one of the finest operations anywhere.  But a bad audience of loud, rude and unsophisticated juveniles can always ruin it for the discriminate erotic cinemagoer.  You'd think they had never seen a woman before with 20 Chinese waiters (as Veronica Nose had in Throbbing Big Guys).  It's the discomfort of audiences like these that is forcing people into the purchase of adult home video equipment.  Soon we shall all be urban voyeurs.  But enough commentary.  My thanks to Olaf Sniffsen for his global observations.

Speaking of films, on a less pornographic but still graphic level, is Paper Schrader's latest work Penguin People.  The films stars my favourite Pistachio Kinki (daughter of German enigmatic actor Krauts Kinki).  British actor Malcolm McDroll plays Kinki's brother who, due to ancient relatives having intimate relations with Arctic seabirds, turns into a penguin.  The only way to stop this Eskimo Curse is for the brother to have sex with his sister.  Despite a recent obsession with the frozen fish section in the supermarket, Kinki refuses to fall for his ploy and, needless to say, all Hell freezes over.  After endless havoc, Kinki accepts her fate to be.  "I just couldn't believe my brother could transform himself into a deadly penguin," Kinki says to the Eskimo housemaid.  "I guess I should have suspected something was wrong when I saw his bedroom slippers in the freezer."

[First published June 8, 1982.]

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Cold hearted orb that rules the night."

Full moon.  The little one and I have been to the Rock Show.  We have seen The Moody Blues in San Luis Obispo.  It is our first concert together since Jon Anderson in Santa Barbara at the Lobero Theatre.  My full time cinematic commitments prevent me from having the mobile artistic freedom I had in earlier years.  My wife has more room in seeing shows than I do.  Besides the work ethic, the sincere agoraphobia doesn't help matters either.  This is why it is important to break habitual patterns whenever you can.

"Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers at night.  May become a wolf, when the wolfbane blooms.  And his trousers are too tight."

How I have never forgotten those classic words from looney Hungarian actress Maria Ouspenkayak in the classic 1941 Unilateral Film, The Wolf Guy.  Playing the eccentric gypsy lady, telling the fortune of actor Lon Chairs, Jr. (portraying the character Larry Tallbutt, so named after a family deformity).  "I see you live alone," she sez, reading the lines in his hand.  "How do you know that?" Tallbutt responds.  "Because your palm is so hairy."  Classic.

Back to the show.  Are the best concerts performed on Full Moon or nearly Full Moon days?  I remember Pink Floyd performing Dark Side of the Moon at the LA Sports Arena on a Full Moon.  When the show was over, they had the spotlights (the old fashioned theatre premiere arclights) trained up into the sky, circling the full moon.

So here we are at the Moodies.  Days of Future Passed was one of my most favourite albums in my youth and definitely inspired me to go into radio.  When I did, the band always appeared on my broadcasts.  I remember at KTYD the week that all the solo albums came out, like which Moody is your favourite?  Of course, this happened with Yes member albums and Floyd to a degree as well.

But back to the show...with all my concert going, I have never actually seen the Moody Blues perform in concert.  At KTYD in the nineties, we sponsored a show with Justin Hayward at the Coach House, which me and the wife saw, but only my wife had been to an actual Moody Blues show.  I sort of dropped out from the whole thing, thinking they had gone Elvis...too Las Vegas.  Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see the circle come full turned; that the psychedelic enthusiasm had returned and that the craftsmanship of the performers was in full bloom

Wolfbane bloom.

Of course, a show like that can make you feel antique.  Or optimistic.  Original member Graeme Edge comes on and tells the audience he just celebrated his 70th birthday (in March).  He dances on stage with the young girls who have been added to the band (and talented they are, covering flute, guitar and keyboard passages that early members Pinder and Thomas would have filled), before going back to his drum kit.  I think that this must look like me, trying to be young and cool, but really pathetic and more than a foot in the grave.  But wait.  Hope springs eternal.  And delusion is only an illusion with a passing grade of D.

It's ironic that I discard bands like the Moodies for decades and then come back when the unfashionable comes back in fashion (at least to me).  Maybe it takes that long for the drugs to kick in.  Or it could be because I can't travel down to LA to see the Yellow Magic Orchestra in June (Space Pirate Radio played them first on commercial radio).  Sad, really.  Trieste.

Lunacy, maybe. I would just hate to think that as a progressive rock n' roller, I've entered the Hallmark Channel phase of music.  It's Peter Fonda for the Time/Life collection "Flour Power"...blanched while, a whiter shade of pale, more days than nights in white satin, stronger than white...white power...mucho blanco.

Let me, I think everything is okay.  It was good to see the three key members of classic Moodies, reinspired and reinvigorated with the enthusiasm of the dream state--that which was 1967.  Parts of the show had the power and space of a Pink Floyd concert, the lyricism of a Yes concert and the raw energy of a Yardbirds show.  Nice.  I understand that Edge is the only cat from day one Moodies, and the boys kept referring to Days of Future Passed as their first album.  But to us oldster Anglophiles, Moody Blues #1 (The Magnificent Moodies) was the first album.  It's as almost pathetic as David Gilmour considering the first Pink Floyd album to be Saucerful of Secrets, 'cause hey, that's when Jesus was born.  Get over it.  Even Steve Howe plays on "Owner of a Lonely Heart" now.  And in the past he'd rather cut his wrists with a conductor's punch than touch that riff.

"Go Now" would make an appropiate final song. was a great show.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Monday, May 16, 2011

"You fill me with inertia."

Oh, the Eighties!  What the Hell was that decade all about?  Orwell was right.  So, I believe...was Space Pirate Radio.  But hey, it was just a crazy paranoid radio show, going to extremes...which doesn't seem that extreme today.  Parody or Prophetic?  A warning, or a warming of the hearth?  Who can tell?  But I must say this: every time I try to write one of these manic musings, Windows comes on and shuts me down, telling me that new updates are being installed.  Master or servant?  It's f**kin HAL in monotone saying, "I'm sorry Guy...hold that inebriated thought...don't shut down your computer...32% complete."  Orwell was right.  Why do we even play with this toy created by the C.I.A. and the Pentagon?  No need to worry Mothers.  Let Donald Rumsfeld babysit your children.  Are you sleeping yet?  The pods are here.

Sorry, went off on a Tangent there (wasn't that the small Italian motorbike Gregory Peck whisked Audrey Hepburn off in Roman Holiday?).

Oh, yeah, the '80s...second to petroleum was peroxide.  Why were we all nuts to highlight our hair?  I'm a natural blonde.  Why did I need to be more blonde?  A case of Aryan identity?  Did we all think we were members of The Police?  Police state, more likely.

So during these mythical times of Big Hair and thin ties and electronic drums, yours truly subsidized his extreme artistic covert projects by appearing to be commercial friendly with RADIO PROMOTIONS.  Like Jekyll and Hyde, my late night persona was counterbalanced by a sort of slightly capitalistic friendly, but subtly irreverent host to promotional events of on air salesmanship.  Think Casey Kasem on mescaline.  The actor in me could do the total professional bit, while trying to sneak in hipster code to those who might catch on.

For awhile at KTYD, I became quite good at this.  It started with a live broadcast at a new Radio Shack in Carpinteria.  Giving away free pizza at a new Domino's on Milpas in Santa Barbara.  Opening a new blues club called BJs on State Street.  If it was NEW, I was there.  So the NEW had spread to Robinsons department store...and the hip NEW boutique, the Red Bag.  Can we turn it into the Red Brigade, while Pappa's got a Brand New Red Bag?  I'm there.

Robinsons department store in the La Cumbre Plaza.  I'm invited by management to host the radio premiere event of the Red Bag--a hip, youth oriented boutique located in the fashion department of the store.  I remember being driven by ultra-paranoid General Manager to meet the LADY director of promotions for the chain, to co-ordinate the opening affair.  This is the cat who hated me, but tolerated moi because it meant big bucks for the station, and I was the one they had requested to host this on air affair.  The lady was smart and well prepared and I clearly remember the visible agitation from el presidente swine-o being dictated to by a woman.  I loved it and wished the radio sales staff could see the blustering god of the mountain so easily emasculated.  Tee-hee!

The Event is planned.  Yours truly will host the radio broadcast from mighty department store.  There will be entertainment from a break dance group.  But the special guest will be an instore appearance by fitness expert to the stars, Jake Steinfeld, author of Body By Jake.  This is just before his TV fitness show of the same name became highly recognized.

Showtime.  KTYD's regular programming of Quality Rock (and a side of Roll) is interspersed or interrupted by breaks from yours truly, telling you that the air of excitement is SO THICK you can cut it with a garden trowel.  I have concert tickets to give away...The Go-Go's at the County Bowl.  This IS the place to be.

A couple of footnotes, anklenotes and a kneenote here...before my mega-successful career as a radio icon, I had actually worked at Robinsons.

First in shipping and receiving, and later as a mobile idiot who went from department to department, delivering items and sending stock to other stores throughout California.  When I did the latter, my in corpus appearance required the application of a cheap hair apparatus, this due to my Jesus length of spiritual (but not yet high dilated) blonde locks.  Wouldn't want to shock the Watergate wives of Hope Ranch who might be shopping for over-priced, nonessential goods.  The wig was some awful thing, possibly bought in a porno shop in Chatsworth, very brown and looking like a cross between Alfalfa's hair and Fess Parker's coonskin cap.  I'm sure it was made of missing cats in Thousand Oaks and not Peta friendly.  I remember some cat (the salesman variety) in Men's Apparel, wearing on his head what looked like Marilyn Chambers' quasi-blonde beaver, calling out to me while I'm hustling some coat from the Women's Department on the mobile rack, "Where did you get YOUR wig from?"  Who knows what he looked like without it. Fast forward to event:

Although I am here to promote this new cool boutique...I am wearing the glacier styled fashions of the Eighties from Gary Paul, the tres chi-chi clothiers on Middle State Street, a loogies distance from the old KTYD studios in the Granola Building.  Dig all that grey, man.  Only in the Eighties was it cool to look like Edward G. Robinson in a Thirties gangster film like Bullets or Ballots.

Okay.  So the choreographed street dancers do their thing.  Next, Jake is going to show slightly aged ladies how they can stay in shape by gyrating with a broom.  Seriously.  While all this is going on, I am phoning in heated on air reports to the mothership.  Of course, no one in the store is hearing this.  So on air, I tell the listeners, "You really got to come down here and see this Jake Steinfeld.  He IS INCREDIBLE!  He's built like a concrete bunker.  He's like two separate gorillas.  This man is AMAZING!  Now listen folks, I have a pair of tickets to see The Go-Go's this weekend at the County Bowl.  If you have the GUTS to come up to Body By Jake and SAY something RUDE to him, I WILL GIVE you these pair of tickets."  :)

The show progresses.  It is going well.  Lady promotion director is pleased with the success of the turnout.  Breakdancers are doing their thing again.  We are off to a side of the store.  Jake comes back.  "How did that work for you?" she asks Jake.  "Fine," he says, "except there were a bunch of people who kept saying rude things to me.  Someone said I was big poo-poo.  Or 'are those muscles real?'"  I feigned shock and amazement that people could be so RUDE.

Years later, Jake Steinfeld and I would appear in the motion picture, Into the Night, but not in the same scenes.  I would have told him.  The truth, I mean.  Seriously.  I would have.  I really liked him.  If we had been in the same scenes.  But we weren't.  So I couldn't tell him.  But I would have.

The poo-poo people won the tickets.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Most Forgotten Cult Films

What is it that turns a film into a cult classic?  Usually the film is of limited appeal, or dealing with a controversial subject.  Cult films are mostly smaller budgeted affairs, or films featuring actors in lesser known roles.  What usually sets the cult film apart from other celluloid ventures, however, is that it is god awful.  Here is a list of some of the lesser known cult favorites:

This is the grand daddy of them all.  A favorite of the weekend midnight movie set.  This film brings out audience members dressed as their favorite Jay Ward animated character.  Though most imitate the lead character of Bullwinkle J. Moose, as well as countless femme fatales posing as Natasha, quite often a Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Peabody or Wrongway Peachfuzz appears at these gatherings.  This reviewer was complimented on his Sherman costume.  I was wasn't wearing any.

Many consider this film the worst ever made, but I profess a secret love for the movie.  Directed in 1956 by furniture transvestite Edward D. Drapes (who often appeared on the set decked out as a Danish modern coffee table), this is the last film to ever feature famed vampire actor Bela Lumbago.  Lumbago died during the making of the film, or so everyone thought.  Actually, he ran off to Tustin with his secretary Mona, in an attempt to cure himself from his fromage fix, a deadly addiction to cheese aged long enough to smell like gym towels.  Scenes with Lumbago early in the film do not match with later ones, partially because director Drapes curiously replaced the actor with a standing three-way lamp fixture, a move never explained to this day.

The plot of this film deals with outer space beings attempting to take over the world by raising dead condoms.  Not a pretty sight.  The film is intercut with quack fortune teller Kitschkin intoning doomlike lines such as "Who can say for sure that beings from another world may not attempt a world takeover bid by controlling douchefoam?"  My favorite line in the film, however, is when space guy, Mister I.U.D. says to the captured earthmen, "All you of earth are seriously bogus!"  Truly of what a cult film should be made.

This three-hour film takes place entirely at a lunch time restaurant.  The famed frog director Louis Air Maille attempts a random film made up of chowtime banter.  The longest scene in the film is when each of the men slowly pulls out his respective wallet waiting to see if the other will pick up the tab.

This is truly a curiosity.  A Chinese film attempting to imitate the English Mod movement.  Bands of rivalling Mods and Rockers in Shanghai are simply called Woks, who meet in China's first four-level shopping mall.  Music is supplied by Wokband, the Wu, lead by riveting guitarist, Pete Taoism (who earlier had written the first Wok Opera about a blind Sushi cook called Tatami, featuring the famous lyric, "Sashi me!  Touch me!  Heal me!").  Many classic Wu songs appear in Quadrapateria, including the lost sales slip anthem, "I Can't Exchange."  Truly, there has never been another film to better depict the rise of youthful Mandarin angst. 

As I look over the flyers for many revival theatres, I am amazed at the quantity and variety of films that become the so-called cult film.  Old time musicals like Meet Me In El Monte.  Foreign films like Federico Fettucine's 6 & 7/8.  And hardcore X rated A-Dult entertainment like Grunting Squatties.  It warms my heart, and sometimes other body parts, to see this truly international, ageless, and philosophically unfettered array of cinematic offerings.  To heck, I say, with the Hollywood hype of wide run motion pictures.  Give me the cult film, the revival festival.  Now what should I see next?  Harlan Elementary's sci-fi classic A Boy and His Slug?  A Matt Dullard brainless youth film festival?  A French farce like Pierre Regurge in The Tall Blond Man With One Bland Sandwich?  A psycho slasher film like I Was Beau Bridges.  Or maybe a classic Hollywood adventure film like Tarzan and His Common Law Wife?  Ah!  So many films and so little time.

[First published May 9, 1984.]