"Since the First World War Americans have been leading a double life, and our history has moved on two rivers, one visible, the other underground; there has been the history of politics which is concrete, factual, practical and unbelievably dull; and there is a subterranean river of untapped, ferocious, lonely and romantic desires, that concentration of ecstasy and violence which is the dream life of the nation."

Norman Mailer
"The whole work of healing Tellus depends on nursing that little spark, on incarnating that ghost, which is still alive in every people, and different in each. When Logres really dominates Britain, when the goddess Reason, the divine clearness, is really enthroned in France, when the order of Heaven is really followed in China--why then it will be spring."

"This new history of yours," said McPhee, "is a wee bit lacking in documents."

C.S. Lewis

Synchronicities this week

  • June 24 Midsummer/St. John’s Day
  • June 24, 1947 The first flying saucers are sighted over Mount Rainier by pilot Ken Arnold.
  • June 24, 1542 St. John of the Cross, Spanish Carmelite mystic and poet, is born.
  • June 24, 1938 500 ton meteorite lands near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
  • June 24, 1717 First Free Masons' grand lodge founded in London.
  • June 24, 1374 A sudden outbreak of St. John's Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion.
  • June 24, 1314 Battle of Bannockburn; Scotland regains independence from England.
  • June 24, 843 Vikings destroy Nantes.
  • June 23 Midsummer’s Eve
  • June 23, 1972 Nixon & Haldeman agree to use CIA to cover up Watergate.
  • June 23, 1942 Germany's latest fighter, a Focke-Wulf FW190 is captured intact when it mistakenly lands at RAF Pembrey in Wales.
  • June 23, 1888 Frederick Douglass is 1st African-American nominated for president.
  • June 23, 1848 Workers’ insurrection in Paris.
  • June 23, 1713 The French residents of Acadia are given one year to declare allegiance to Britain or leave Nova Scotia, Canada. They choose the latter, migrate to Louisiana, and become Cajuns.
  • June 21 Summer Solstice (11:28 a.m.).
  • June 21, 1964 Three civil rights workers-Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney-are kidnapped and murdered by the Klan in Mississippi .
  • June 21, 1948 The 33 1/3 RPM LP record is introduced by Columbia Records.
  • June 21, 1944 Ray Davies of the Kinks born in London.
  • June 21, 1916 Mexican troops beat US expeditionary force under Gen Pershing.
  • June 21, 1877 The Molly Maguires, ten Irish immigrant labor activists, are hanged in Pennsylvania prisons.
  • June 20, 1947 Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, gangster, the “man who invented Las Vegas,” shot dead in Beverly Hills, Cal.
  • June 20, 1909 Errol Flynn, greatest of the swashbucklers, born in Hobart, Tasmania.
  • June 20, 1944 Congress charters Central Intelligence Agency.
  • June 20, 1943 Detroit race riot kills 35.
  • June 20, 1893 - Lizzie Borden acquitted in murder of parents in New Bedford Mass.
  • June 20, 1871 Ku Klux Klan trials began in federal court in Oxford Miss.
  • June 20, 1837 Queen Victoria at 18 ascends British throne ; rules for 63 years ending in 1901.
  • June 20, 1756 146 British soldiers imprisoned in the "Black Hole of Calcutta." Most die.
  • June 20, 1631 The Irish village of Baltimore is attacked by Algerian pirates.
  • June 20, 1214 The University of Oxford receives its charter.
  • June 20, 451 Germans & Romans beat Attila the Hun at Catalarinische Fields.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sleater-Kinney:Headed for Valhalla?

I know I'm a little late on this, but a decade of nattering by rock critics got me to check out Sleater-Kinney. So I got Dig Me Out from the Library. I had dipped into All Hands on the Bad One a couple of yeas ago, and it struck me the sort of aimless indie plinky-plonk, art
damaged stuff that can convince young rock writers and dj's that they're getting the real thing. And Corin Tucker's vocals sounded affected and inhumane, a version of the kind of freak-like dead-affect posing of American punk in the 80's, itself a misreading of English punk of the 70's, a misreading in turn of the New York Dolls. So.
But curiosity got the better of me a few weeks ago, and I picked up a copy of Dig Me Out. Still the same sort of angular noodling around that made me wonder when, if ever, this band was gonna get off the ground. But I decided I was going to put ip with it and see where it went. At first it sounds distressingly like 80's American punk--you know, the "loud fast rules" thing. Loud-fast of course, as should have been eveident at the time, doesn't mean you're rocking. Steve Jones of the Pistols delightfully punctures that stupid aesthetic in a recent issue of Mojo, where he points out that alot of the power of the Pistol's mighty sound had to do with drummer Cook deliberately hanging back creating an exhilarating tension, a sensual technique I wouldn't expect an American 80s punk band to know about it.
Well, anyway. I got to "Turn It On" and it happened. Without warning, we--the band and I--were suddenly There. Frenzy. Ecstasy. The point at which the musician stop playing the music and this particular form of energy we've decided to call rock & roll plays itself through them. A place I've only heard the New Yord Dolls and the MC5 go before, but that I suspect you would have encountered at an early Elvis or Beatles show. It's like accidentally picking up an exposed wire. I hadn't been to that place for a long time, and I can see why some people thought the MC5 or the Dolls or the Pistols scary. It is scary--you go out of your head. This is the ecstasy of rock & roll, this is what the music aims at even in its most deracinated forms. These girls are on intimate terms with it.

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