"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, December 18, 2008

Another European Socialist Spouts Off

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MC5 for the Rock Hall! Tell Jann Wenner

Rock critic Dave Marsh once said that, if the MC5 and the Rolling Stones (at the height of their powers) were playing across the street from each other, he would choose to go see the 5. So would I, and we're far from alone in this. There seems to be near unanimity among people who saw the 5 live that it was one of the greatest rock and roll shows they'd ever experienced. There's now something of a concensus that the 5 belong on a short list of contenders for the title of The Great American Rock and Roll Band. All the "alternative" movements in hard rock that have come since them--glam, punk, grunge, indie-- are unthinkable without them. But you will not find them in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The concensus would be stronger if not for legal hassles holding up the release of The MC5: A True Testimonial, a thrilling, inspiring, long-overdue documentary telling of the band's career. It now looks like the legal obstacles are clearing up, and if A True Testimonial sees the light of day, run, do not walk, to get a copy of one of the key rock and roll documents of recent years. Those wanting to know more of the story of the MC5 in the meantime are referred to Don McLeese's excellent Kick Out the Jams.

Do this experiment for me. Go watch the You Tube video of the 5 performing Kick Out the Jams. Then come back and try to explain to me why Bobby Darrin, the Bee Gees, Ricky Nelson and the Four Seasons belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the 5 don't. Do not forget the name of the institution: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Then e-mail Jann Wenner, founder and editor of Rolling Stone ( jann.wenner@rollingstone.com) and the 800 pound gorilla of the Rock Hall induction process.

If you need to hear more of the 5, buy their three albums here.

The Rock Hall may have compromised its mission in the years since its founding, but maybe an appeal to conscience may still work. In theory it exists to recognize and promulgate awareness of great rock and roll, and if the MC5 aren't great rock and roll, then my definition of the term is completely invalid. Go watch the video. Then buy Kick Out the Jams. It'll change your life.

Get the MC5 in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Watch this space...