Sunday, 29 November 2009

Gregory Corso - wayward genius,an appreciation

When people discuss the Beats it is usually to revere the three key ones; ie Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and of course Jack Kerouac. Strangely and sadly Gregory Corso is often overlooked. For over 40 years , his bad- boy persona tended to cloud in my opinion his very real poetic talent. He often got drunk and pretty wasted, yet what should be remembered about this man was that he was a poet. A damned good one in my opinion.Born Nunzio Corso on March 26, 1930, in Greenwich Village in New York City. Within Italian community he was " Nunzio " while to all others he was known as " Gregory ".I can excuse his waywardnesses because of his genius. Let us remember as a young child he was abandoned by his mum, who he believed to have gone back to Italy, who then had to endure a series of brutal foster homes, and in his infant day's did not enjoy comfort at all,(Unlike the more famous Beats) forced to live on the streets, at the age of 17 he was sent to 3 years in Clinton Correctional Facility, New York State's maximum - security prison. Here he was befriended by powerful Mafia inmates, and luckilly was protected, mainly because of his Italian heritage and the fact he was the youngest inmate in the prison. It was on all accounts a terrible regime.
Is it any wonder that he became bitter and angry with the world spending his adult days addicted to drugs and alcohol, enduring a number of failed affairs and marriages. It was whilst in prison he discovered the world of literature. He studied the Greek and Roman classics, and was a vast consumer of encyclopedias and whole dictionaries. He was particularly drawn to the works of Keats and Shelley. In 1949 he was released from prison and began writing poetry in ernest.In 1950 he met and befriended Allen Ginsberg who ensured that though often wayward, Corso stayed reasonably focussed. He consequently befriended most of the key Beats, and it was Corso's seduction of Kerouac's girlfriend " Mardou " during the summer of 1953 that was the plot of Kerouac's novel " The Subterraneans ". He fitted easily into the group , having in common with them - as one critic observed- " that he was a misfit, self-invented, rebellious, and blessed by the Muse." Also a bit of a hustler , he had had to be. He had an outsiders vulnerability, with sad prophecies to tell!
He started to get published himself in 1955,when his poems were published in a volume titled " The Vestal Lady on Brattle and Other poems. Three years later City Lights published " Gasoline " and his fame was guaranteed. Corso having by now got close to William Burroughs, headed of to Europe with him and Peter Orlovsky and a few others. Corso ended up at the " Beat Hotel " in Paris, then onto Tangiers and London where he lived up to his rascally image , upsetting the poetry establishment of the time with his spontaneous drunken outbursts and general unruly behaviour.
It was while in Europe that through Olympia Press his only novel " The American Express " was published in 1961. Olympia Press were also notable for having championed the work of Burroughs and Alexander Trocchi. Often his behaviour and casual rudeness got him into trouble. Perhaps it was a need for attention and some kind of love that had been absent in his formative days. Despite all this, throughout his works the gloomiest subjects turn comical, projecting his inner sarcasm, wit and sharp humour. His poetry is infused with his deep knowledge of the classics, and instead of fostering rebellion which was the trend of the time was quite happy not to toe the line. Sporadically releasing some outstanding collections over the following years, notably "The Happy Birthday Of Death, 1960", " Earth Egg, 1974 ", and "Herald of The Autochtonic Spirit,1981" and finally "Mindfield, 1991"
It's not exactly clear what he did with his time in the last 20 years or so of his life, their are some fantastic pictures of him out there looking suitably wasted in a cool elegant but I dont really give a fuck kind of way. He never really liked public appearances and was known to dislike the cult of celebrity, especially around the Beats. There is a story doin the rounds that he was initially reluctant to attend the funeral of his mate William Burroughs because he did not have enough methadone to support his journey to Kansas. The story goes that one of Burroughs assistants said to him " Dont worry there's a stack of the stuff in the garage, William kept it in case of nuclear war."
He had always yearned for his mother , who after Ginsberg's death he found alive living in New Jersey whereupon they were reconciled, sadly he died soon after of cancer in Minnesota on January 17, 2001. In my opinion a giant of modern poetry. His ashes were scattered next to the grave of his hero the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in the Cimitero Acattocilico, the Protestant Cemetry , Rome, he had finally returned to the land of his mother. Here's a selection of some of my favourite bits of Corso, hope you enjoy them as much as I do.


I feel there is an inherent ignorance in me
deep in my being
to the very core
I know its prescence is my essence

Yet the very essence of being
has no signature -

Everyone knows the motherless boy
he stads alone in the street
picking his nose

Mother, I weep for you
as I watch the child
weeping for his mother


What simple profundities
what profound simplicities
To sit down among the trees
and breathe with them
in murmour brood and breeze-

And how can I trust them
who pollute the sky
with heavens
the below with hells

well, humankind
I'm part of you
and so my son

but neither of us
will believe
your big sad lie

I AM 25

With a love a madness for Shelley
Chatterton Rimbaud
and the needy-yap of my youth
has gone from ear to ear:
Especially old poetmen who retract
who consult other old poetmen
who speak their youth in whispers,
saying:- I did those then
but that was then
that was then -
O I would quiet old men
say to them:- I am your friend
what you once were, thru me
you'll be again-
Then at night in the confidence of their homes
rip out their apology-tongues
and steal their poems.


I am watching them churn the last milk
they'll ever get from me.
They are waiting for me to die;
They want to make buttons out of my bones.
Where are my sisters and brothers?
That tall monk there, loading my uncle,
he has a new cap.
And that idiot student of his-
I never saw that muffler before.
Poor uncle, he lets them load him.
How sad he is, how tired!
I wonder what they'll do with his bones?
And that beautiful tail!
How many shoelaces will they make of that!


I spun another man's prayer
with the wind of my words
and another man,s god
answered me with death.

It came in form of a mouth
and it kissed my mouth with breath
Passionate breath; cold breath,
freezing my body in lifeless snow.

It floated before me, smiling;
and soon the sun appeared.
It melted me,
and the mouth knelt down to drink my terrible flow


One night fifty men swam away from God
And drowned.
In the morning the abandoned God
Dipped His finger into the sea,
Came up with fifty souls,
And pointed towards eternity.


Gone the day
Gone the song and dance
Like the sun of the drying grass-

the sun I don't even trust
- can blow up anytime

All the goings gone
All the comings came


- What do you think about the Beat Generation?-
- I don't think it's anything. I don't think it exists. There's
no such thing as the Beat Generation.-
-You don't consider yourself beat?-
- Hell no! I don't consider myself beat, or beatified.-
- What are you if not beat?-
- An individual, nothing.-
- They say to be beat is to be nothing.-
- I don't care what they say, there's no Beat Generation.-
- Don't you care about the existence of the beat?-
- Hell no! man!-
- Don't you love your fellow men?-
- No I don't love my fellow man in fact I dislike them very
much, except the individual if I get to know him; I don't want
to govern or be governed.-
- But you are governed by laws of society.-
- But I'm trying to avoid that.-
- Ah, by avoiding society you become seperate from society
and being seperate from society is being BEAT.-
- Oh, yeah?-
- Yeah.-
- I don't understand. I don't want to be in the society at
all, I want to be outside it.-
- Face it, man, you're beat.-
- I am not! It's not even a conscious desire on my part, it's
just the way I am, I am what I am.-
- Man, you're so beat you don't know.
- Oh, yeah?-
- Yeah.-
- Crazy, man.-
- Cool, here, light a joint.-


I ate sausages with you at the feast.
I ate sausages, and across the street
the butcher counted his daughter's feet!


My hands are a city, a lyre
And my hands are afire
And my mother plays Corelli
while my hands burn

Saturday, 28 November 2009

H.G.WELLS - New Worlds For Old

That Anarchist world, I admit, is our dream; we do believe - well I at any rate, believe this present world, this planet, will some day bear a race beyond our most exalted and temeraious dreams, a race begotten of our wills and the substance of our bodies, a race, so I have said it, " who will stand upon the earth as one stands upon a footstool, and laugh and reach out their hands amidst the stars," but the way to that is through education and discipline and law. Socialism is a preparation for that higher Anarchism; painfully, laboriously we mean to destroy false ideas of property and self, eliminate unjust laws and pisonous and hateful suggestions and prejudices, create a system of social right-daling and a tradition of right-feeling and action. Socialism is the school of true and noble Anarchism, wherin by training and restraint we shall make free men.

H.G.WELLS, 1908


Thursday, 26 November 2009


What a tangled web of arms companies the Welsh Assembly , the UK Government and the MOD are welcoming to Parc Aberporth.
On the one hand the UK Government's attempts to avoid controversy by telling Elbit Systems - the maker of the Hermes 450 UAV ( being used by Watchkeeper) not to test the drone over the occupied Golan Heights in the West Bank, on the other hand it is happy to ignore Elbit Systems' other activities, such as supplying surveillance equipment which is used along the Judea and Sama on the other side of the Israeli Security Wall.
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund withdrew its investments because of a certain company's role in actually building the Israeli security wall. Guess who ? That's right. Elbit Systems!
The prime contractor for Watchkeeper is Thales UK, which awarded a contract for a large part of the program to U- Tacs, 51% owned by Elbit systems, the other 49% of UTacs is owned by Thales. U-Tacs is more formally Known as UAV Systems Ltd., of Scudamore Road, Leicester, UK.

Full story with links here

Sunday, 22 November 2009

HENRY VAUGHAN - Silurist, Hermeticist Welsh Poet and Doctor

Henry Vaughan, was a seventeenth century poet and doctor,who appended the term Silurist to his name.It was said that Locrinus, the son of Brutus, after his father's death divided the lands of Britain between himself and his two brothers. After overcoming Humber, Locrinus found in one of the king's ships, three damsels of celestial beauty, one of which was called Esyllt. She became associated with the country around the rivers Wye and Usk. Esyllt had a daughter with Locrinus called Hafren, who became immortalised in Mor Hafren, which is the Welsh name for the severn Sea, in which both mother and daughter drowned.

The Silures were natives of the regions arond the rivers Wye and Usk, including parts of Herefordshre, Monmouthshire, Breconshire and Glamorgan. The name Siluria came from a corruption of Seisyllwg. The people were a hardy race ,ruled by princes, the most famous of whom was Caractacus, whose seat was said to be at Isca Siluram, known now as Carleon, belived to have been the seat of King Arthur. Patriots of this area became known as the Silurists, which is where Henry Vaughan took his name.

Henry Vaughan dedicated his life to poetic writing, medicine and Hermeticism.We know he died at LLanstantffraed and was buried in a little churchyard here, in a quiet corner of the churchyard, under a yewtree, here we see that Vaughan died in 1695. On his gravestone are his coat of arms consisting of a chevron between three boys heads, each with a snakes entwined about the neck. Included on the stone are words from Vaughan's poem, " The Mount of Olives ".

On the stone it says he died at the age of 73, so he must have been born in either 1621 or 1622.He was born the elder of twin brothers at Trenewydd, or Newton St Bridget in a house in the hamlet of Scethrog, in the parish of Llansantffraed.

Henry's younger twin Thomas was to become the famous mystical poet, Eugene Philathese.He also had a younger brother called William. Not much is known of his childhood, but is believed to have gone with his brother in 1638 to study at Jesus college, Oxford. His brother finished his course but Henry did not and was taken by his father to London where it is thought he studied at the Inn of Court at the same time as the mighty Oliver Cromwell was studying at Lincolns Inn. Henry was not called to the bar.

From 1642 until the battle of Naseby on 14th June, 1645, Henry was a clerk to the judge, Sir Marmaduke LLoyd. Unfortunately for me at least he became a strong Royalist supporter, but whether he actually saw any armed combat is again speculative. Henry wrote a poem in 1646 to being a captive at Raglan, which fell to the great Cromwellian army on 19th August 1646, shortly before the end of the Civil War.

At the end of the war Henry returned home to concentrate on writing poems and began translating many important philosophical works. He was fluent in Welsh and English, although he mostly used the former. He also knew Latin, Greek, German and French.

In 1646 he published a translation of Iuvenal's " Tenth Satyre", along with 14 other poems, and in 1650 saw him publish "Silex Scinillans", which was a volume of 122 sacred poems he had written and compiled wen he was only 22 or 23. Poetry was very much in the air, a time when people seemed to actually breath it. Around this time he translated the works of Plutarch, and one of these was "Of the diseases of the mind and the body". In 1651 his most famous work was published " Olor Iscanus, The Swan Of Usk". He became interested in medicine, especially the causes of diseases and their relation to the different schools of philosophy. He began to believe in to different kinds of diseases, the diseases of the soul and the diseases of the body. times !

In 1665 at the age of only 34ish came the second part of "Silex Scinillans" completed after a serious illness and a religious conversion, being completely different to the first part, and dealt chiefly with the concerns of metaphysics. Included were large references to medicine which had been found in previous works by John Donne and George Herbert, who I believe he must have studied at some point.

In the late 1640's he started practicing medicine in an area near Brecon. Here again their is not much evidence as to where or how he actually got his medical degree, he had M.D caved on his tombstone anyway, and like plenty of this era there is an air of mystery about it all. In 1673 he was to writ to his cousin sayin "My profession is in Physics which I have practiced now for many years with good success ( I thank God ), and a repute big enough for a person of greater parts than myself".

In 1655 Vaughan published "Hermetical Physick, or, the right way to preserve, and restore Health".It contained physics based on the "principles of true philosophy" as was the "Physick Of Hermes".It was a tranlation of the work of one Henry Nollius.

The Hermeticists related the causes of all diseases to the powers pf philosophy, especially the astrological ones, so Hermeticism has been regarded as an esoteric religion, full of counter signs, fantastic beiefs and exotic rites, though based on doctrine and demandind spiritual preparation. Fantastic really ,in an age where belief in superstition was rife, religious fundamentalism nothing new ,one had to be careful what one believed. The Hemetcisists also thought that where some diseases were caused by gods, others caused by fire, and that pregnancy was due to impregnation by a star, unbelievable perhaps, but even today belief in fantasticals all around, an age where some peoples absolute truths are still being fought for.

The most famous of the Hermetical Physicists at this time was Henry's brother, Thomas, who died in year of the great fire of London. His death recorded in true Hermetical fashion when " as twere suddenly when he was operating strong mercurie, some of which by chance getting up into his nose marched him off".

The Hermetical Physicians, Henry included believed they could cure diseases which the Galenists could not including epilepsies. Their basic message though were for the prevention of diseases. Several ideas were -
1.Lead a pious and wholly righteous life.
2.Follow after sobriety.
3.Eat not greedily and drink not immoderately.
4.Eat simple foods.
5.Eat only one type of food and drink at each meal.
6.Eat only foods to which you are used.
7.Use antidotes freely.
8.Change habitation if the air is contagious.
9.Use not too frequently the permission of marriage.

That's me fucked then, along with many of my fair-weathered friends. Hey ho!
Vaughan was perhaps attracted to the Hermeticists by their principle not to accept anything at its face value, but to critisize even the most accepted of theories by testing it with experiment. He was convinced that to be a successful physician one must be addicted to no particular school, but must be prepared to learn from all. Fair enough I say. I too like to learn, at the foot of mystics like Henry Vaughan their will always be questions to ask after all.

In 1695 Vaughan died a Welsh poet with an English tonque.In the words of Siegfried Sasoon-

Here sleeps the Silurist; the loved physician;
The face that left no portraiture behind;
The skull that housed white angels and had vision
Of daybreak through the gateways of the mind.
Here faith and mercy, wisdom and humility
(Whose influence shall prevail for evermore)
Shine, And this lowly grave tells Heaven's tranquillity
And here stand I, a suppliant at the door.

The Retreat

Happy those early days, when I
Shined in my angel-infancy!
Before I understood this place
Appointed for my second race,
Or taught my soul to fancy aught
But a white celestial thought;
When yet I had not walked above
A mile or two from my first love
And looking back, at that short space,
Could see a glimpse of his bright face;When on some gilded cloud, or flower,
My gazing soul would dwell an hour
And in those weaker glories spy
Some shadows of eternity;
Before I taught my tonque to wound
My conscience with a sinful sound,
Or had the black art to dispense
A several sin to every sense,
But felt through all this fleshly dress
Bright shoots of everlastingness

O how I longed to travel back,
And tread again in that ancient track!
That I might once more reach that plain
Where first I left my glorious train;
From whence the enlightened spirit sees
That shady City of Palm-tress.
But ah!! my soul with too much stay
Is drunk, and staggers in the way.
Some men a forward motion love,
But I by backward steps would move,
And when this dust falls to the urn
In that state I came, return

Henry Vaughan


Bennett, Mrs. J. (Frankau) 1953. 4 Metaphysical Poets; Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw, Cambridge University Press.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

SUN RA! - hattie gossett

apologies for not crediting him earlier his site hosts an excellent archive of portraits of Jazz legends at


ive been dancing all my life
probably came out of the womb doing a liitle step
i've danced on 4 continents plus several islands
in places hifly la la la and lowdown lowlife ummmph
i got a dance major masters degree
someones even doing a thesis on me
danced solo duet trio quartet and ensemble with my own dance company
with music
witout music
even got rave reviews in new york times
but more than anything else i've always wanted to dance eith sun ra
now hes left this planet
guess i gotta wait til we meet somewhere over there on the other sideof
space is the place space is the place space

voice of the universe
sun ra speaking:
"there are other worlds they have not told you of
somebody elses idea of how the world should be
aint necessarily how its got to be
there are other worlds they have not told you of
a walkin
they a walkin
a walkin up
on the moon
if you wake up now
if you wake up now
if you wake up now
it wont be too soon
take your first step into outer space
like a little baby who never walked before
if you fall down get up and walk some more
like a little baby
go on & walk some more
walk some more
travelling the spaceways
from planet to planet
rocket number nine
second stop is jupiter
rocket number nine
from planet to planet
second stop is jupiter
rocket number nine
second stop is jupiter
rocket number nine
from planet to planet
second stop is jupiter
second stop is jupiter
second stop is jupiter"

sun ra & his myth science arkestra
from the universe
the entrance will last 2 centuries at least
just the entrance alone
imagine the costumes
cant you just see all those singers elephants capoeraistas birds lifesized
puppets giant lizards mimes musicians and tigers all working together for
"precision discipline & beauty" cant you see sun ra with all his sequins
glitter feathers jewels gowns & crowns doing the space walk walking space
spinning infinitely spinning spinning spinning infinitely spinning the
universe spinning & somewhere among all that " precision discipline &
beauty" will be lil ole bow-legged
jawole willa jo zollar from Kansas city
dancing with sun ra & his myth science arkestra

when i was in paris & spoleto i did it like this
in brazil & chicago they screamed when they saw this
in boston & new york i whipped it on em like this
in jerusalem & miami they were speechless when i did this
in jamaica & los angeles they couldnt get enough of this


sun ra speaking
the voice of the cosmos
"this is the creators song of tomorrows world
cosmic paradise
its sprigtime again
song of tomorrows world
springtime again
song of tomorrows world
cosmic paradise
song of tomorrows world"


me & sun ra
when we do our duet
just me & sun ra
iam gonna do it like this
thats good for the duet dont you think
then when i do it with the arkestra
with sun ra & the whole big myth science arkestra live!
& me
i am gonna do it like this
"from planet to planet"
& like this
& like this
& then "from planet to planet"
i am gonna
"from planet to planet"
"from planet to planet"


voice of the omniverse
sun ra speaking
excerpt from a cosmic musical:
" lets go slumming
take me slumming
lets go slumming
on park avenue
lets hide behind a pair of fancy glasses
lets make faces when a member of their classes
lets go smelling
where theyre dwelling
sniffing at everything the way they do
they do it
why cant we do it too
lets go slumming


sun ra
a/k/a herman sonny blunt
earliest earthly manifestation date: 22 may 1913 or 1914

earthly transformation date: 30 may 1993
at his sisters house



danced on 4 continents
plus several islands
in places la la la & ummmph
with music
without music
more than anything i always did want to dance with sun ra
now hes left the planet
guess i gotta hook up with him somewhere space is the place space is the
place space


sun ra speaking
voice of the universe:
"this is the song of tomorrows world
you cant just play the notes
you gotta fell the spirits
4/4 time point 2
fractions in rhythym harmony melody
spirits dont need to count"


listen i gotta go now cuz idont want to be late for my gig in the omniverse
with sun ra & the myth science arkestra live! with me
the original urban bush woman infinitely spinning spinning
spinning the omniverse infinitely spinning the entrance
alone will last 2 centuries i am gonna do it like
this " from planet to planet" & like this & like
this travelling & then " from planet to planet"
traveling gonna gonna gonna " from
planet to planet "
"from planet to

NOTE: all material in quotation marks is either a direct quote or paraphrase from sun ra. some quotes are from songs by sun ra. some quotes are from the 4 hr interview between sun ra & phil schaap originally broadcast live during the sun ra festival on radiostation wkcr-fm at columbia university.

Poem originally appeared in
ALOUD,Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe- henry holt and company,New York 1994

Sunday, 15 November 2009

David R Edwards - Y TEIMLAD (the feeling)

portrait by Macolm Gwyon Picture by Malcolm Gwyon

Ah, Mr Edwards, a person who I regard as a dear friend,so the following is a little biased.
Formerly of the greatest band to emerge from Wales, Datblygu were a firm favourite of the late great John Peel, Dave's band managed in their time to record 5 brilliant sessions for Peel between 1987 -1993.They sang in Welsh, but that in itself does not really matter.
A unique acerbic point of view, a masterly command of language ( which just so happens, was in the medium of Welsh) . His live performances were legendary and incendiary, a real tour de force, I was lucky to see him in full flight a couple of times, unforgettable . His uncle used to live down the road from me  when I was younger, so I'd see a lot of Dave (my sister became his nephews godmother)... he'd mention bands that sounded exciting, and had me searching furtively at night for John Peel. Daves' musical influences  werevery wide ranged from the mighty Fall, the mekons, to the outer limits of Can, Beefheart  to Frank Sinatra and Charles Bukowski. Sadly ignored by the Welsh establishment of the time, he raged too hard you see. His music always seemed to convey a pissed- off, phlegmatic menace. Fucked up on Thatcherism, and general shitty Politicianism , a real peoples' poet he spoke for everyone, and the people still love him. His influence on the modern Welsh music scene enormous. He is acknowledged ,rightly so I say as a living legend.
Sadly Dave succumbed to alcoholism, depression and mental illness at the height of his creativity. Musically his voice has remained silent for over ten years bar one final single "Can Y Mynach Modern"(ANKSTMUSIC 121)2008. Perhaps he had nothing more to say. Yet he left behind a recorded legacy that anybody could be proud of, it all sounds great today. Bloody brilliant, in my opinion. Most of his output still available through the ANKST record label,and I believe they are all essential purchases, but if you unfamiliar with his work I strongly recommend " Datblygu The Peel Sesions 1987-1993(ANKSTMUSIK 119)2008.
Well he's just broken his tacitum having recently bought out his autobiography - Atgofion Hen Wanc (memories of an old Wank) Y LOLFA £6.95 ,well worth checking out,an honest account of his life up to now. Told with humour and candour.When you suffer from a mental illness it is not very easy to get motivated, so I admire Dave's new thirst for words.
" Y Teimlad" is a song that Dave and his band Datblygu recorded in 1984 and literally translates as the feeling, it was later covered by The Super Furry Animals on their Mwg album, and in Welsh sound more profound than in translation.Here Dave shows his emotional depth and lyrical genius. It was in all probability the most straightforward song he wrote. Datblygu meant "developing" and a lot of the music he created was very improvised and experimental. Y Teimlad is a song about love, or about not knowing what love is or what love means. When sung it had hints of melancholy and dissonance. It has so much emotional depth for me, the hairs on the back of my head stand up, a truly beautiful song. A reason to learn Welsh in itself. I will not translate it, I would not be able to give it justice. In the words of John Peel " You'd have to be a bit of a ninny to ignore Datblygu". Check them out, you will not be dissapointed. Such beautiful music, makes me proud you know. Long may he inspire. He currently lives in Abertefi, West Wales.
Oh and he does the usual things that legends do, spends time in the bookies, spends money in local supermarkets. His articulacy still shining, happy in himself, motivated by his own reasons,sometimes the days are strange, but legends do not have to explain themselves, now if you want to understand the meaning of his songs, well perhaps it's time to learn some Welsh.

Y TEIMLAD ( The Feeling)

Y teimlad sy'n gyrru pobl
i anghofio amser
y teimlad sy,n gyrru ti feddwl
nad yw'r dyfodol mor fler
y teimlad sydd yn dod
ac yn sbarduno gobaith
t'in gweld y tywod llwch
ond ti'n gweld fod yna flodau

Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad?
Y Teimlad
sydd heb esboniad
Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad
Y teimlad
Sy'n cael ei alw,n gariad
Y teimlad

Mae Hapusrwydd yn codi ac yn troi
yn wir rywbryd
ac mae'n dangos fod yna rywbeth
mewn hyd yn oed dim byd
a pan mae'r teimlad yno
mae bywyd yn werth parhau
ond yn ei absenoldeb
mae'r diweddglo yn agosau

Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad?
Y Teimlad
sydd heb esboniad
Y Teimlad
beth yw y teimlad?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The voice of Sun Ra

If you're not suitable for the future,
you probably won't make it in the present either.

- Sun Ra

Sunday, 8 November 2009

MICHEANGELO ANTONIONI ( 29/9/32- 30/7/07) - Reflections on the film Actor.

The Film Actor need not understand, but simply be. One might reason that in order to be, it is necessary to understand. That's not so. If it were, the nthe most intelligent actor would also be the best actor. Reality often indicates the opposite.

When an actor is intelligent, his efforts to be a good actor are thrre times as great, for he wishes to deepen his understanding to take everything into account, to include subleties, and in doing so he trespasses on ground which is not his- in fact, he creates obstacles for himself.

His reflections on the character he is playing, which according to populat theoryr should bring him closer to an exact characterization, end up thwarting his efforts and depriving him of naturalness. The film actor should arrive for shooting in a state of virginity. The more intuitive his work, the more spontaneous it will be.

The film actor should work not on the psychological level but on the imaginative one. And the imagination reveals itself spontaneously- it has no intermediaries upon which one can lean for support.

It is not possible to have a real collabotation between actor and director. They work on two entirely different levels. The director owes no explatations to the actor except those of a very general nature about the people in the film. It is dangerous to discuss details. Sometimes the actor and director necessarily become enemies. The director must not compromise himself by revealing his intentions. The actor is a kind of trojan horse in the citadel of the director.

I prefer to get results by a hidden method; that is, to stimulate in the actor certain of his innate qualities of whose existence he is himself unaware- to excite not his intelligence but his instinct- to give not justifications but illuminations. One can almost trick and actor by demanding one thing and obtaining another. The director must know how to demand, and how to distinguish what is good and bad, useful and superfluous, in everthing the actor offers.

The first quality of a director is to see. This quality is also valuable in dealing with actors. The actor is one of the elements of the image. A modification of his pose or gestures modifies the image itself. A line spoken by an actor in profile does not have the same meaning as one given full-face. A phrase addressed to the camera placed above the actor does not have the same meaning it would if the camera were placed below him.

These few simple observations prove that it is the director- that is to say, whoever composes the shot - who should decide the pose, gestures, and movements of the actor.

The same principle holds for the intonation of the dialoque. The voice is a noise which emerges with other noises in a rapport which only the director knows. It is therefore up to him to find balance or imbalance of these sounds.

It is necessary to listen at length to an actor even wken he is mistaken and at the same time try to understand how one can use his mistakes in the film, for these errors are at the moment the most spontaneous thing the aqctor has to offer.

To explain a scene or piece of dialoque is to treat all the actors alike, for a scene or piece of dialoque does not change. On the contrary, each actor demands special tratment. From this fact stems the necessity to find different methods: to guide the actor little by little tothe right path by apparently innocent corrections which will not arouse his suspicions.

This method of working may appear paradoxical, but it is the only one which allows the director to obtain good results with non-professional actors found, as they say, "in the street". Neo-realism has taught us that, but the method is also useful with professional actors- even the great ones.

I ask myself if their really is a great film actor. The actor who thinks too much is driven by the ambition to be great. It is a terrible obstacle which runs the risk of eliminating much truth from his performance.

I do not think I have two legs. I have them. If the actor seeks to understand, he thinks. If he thinks, he will find it hard to be humble, and humility constitutes the best point of departure in achieving truth.

Occasinally an actor is intelligent enough to overcome his natural limitations and to find the proper road by himself - that is, he uses his inate intelligence to apply the method I have just described.

When this happens, the actor has the quality of a director.

From "Film Culture", nos.22-3, Summer 1961, pp. 66-7.

Friday, 6 November 2009

A Listening ear?

The Government reclassified cannabis to a less serious category in 2002 after recommendation of their own appointed drug advisory council.Yet by 2004 cowing to the right wing press the government went back to their advisors looking for some reconsideration, or bullying by any other name.The advisors looked into the issue again and their advice remained the same.Fair play to Charles Clarke, home secretary at the time , he accepted their advice.
That was then,but then Mr Brown became P.M and realised he had to appear tougher than his predecessor,so he went back to his advisors to try and get them to reverse the situation. Yet again the advisors stayed true to their original findings, but this time the then home secretary Jacqui Smith overode them.We have to remember this in light, this week of Professor David Nutt's sacking by present home secretary Alan Johnson.
My point is this, the government pretends to listen but fails to do so, why do they set up advisory committees and so forth, pandering to some kind of high sensibility then refuse to listen to the advice given to them, politics is a dirty business, and the government has to appear tough, but public debate is essential, and to sack an expert just because of one remark is clearly farcial.I'm not goin to say here whether the effects of cannabis are harmful or beneficial but scientific experts are appointed because, well their experts in their fields.What is the point of seeking scientific advice that when offered is simply rejected. It does not seem logical to me, but then maybe I've been smoking too long.
It seems to me Professor Nutt was sacked not because of of him crossing the line into politics, he was sacked because his advice does not fall in line with the government's own political position.Professor Nutt and his colleaques are experts in their fields, to snub them so publically is mind boggling!

It appears they missed the ball on this occasion, to much time listening to the editors of the Daily Mail, Express et alle, giving two fingers to everybody else.Personally this is what I have come to expect from this government, when their comfort blankets are taken away, they throw away their toys like spoiled kids. Not saying the other lot would be any different in the end, perhaps the only thing they are all able to listen to are the sounds of silence.

Further listening.

Carl Carlton - " I can feel it "

Brian Eno _ Needle in the camel's eye

The Beatles - Ticket to ride

Sunday, 1 November 2009

FOUR LOVE POEMS by Jeremy Reed

Syd Barrett
Exchange vertical for horizontal;
the man is always shifting laterally
towards the big dip. There's a little tree
planted somewhere, a mile before the drop
into a bottomless gorge where dead mules,
scrapping cars, a rotting elephant

are jostled by the torrent.
Madmen pick thrugh the flotsam, poke about
for broken mirrors,books of nursery rhymes.
Reverse the years to 1966,

a ringleted, red velvet jacketed
voyour implodes with chemicals.
His mind's pyrotechnical Van Gogh
exploding into brilliant fall-out,

he sinks a canoe on the Cam and swims
clutching a fuzzy radio.
He picks the water jewels out of his hair,
they are a gift for Emily. She lives

inside a vase, inside a tree,
each green oak leaf's a peacock's ocelli.
His burn out so fast he watches it,
up on the fourteenth floor waves a white sheet
to his blinding demise and scrambles down

into a wasteland. There is no one there,
the town is empty, evacuated
decades ago. He walks through Cambridge dead.
He might be carrying his severed head.

Patti Smith
Delirium. A meteroric blaze
at CBGB's and the Bottom line,
a cocktail-shaker of mixed drugs
imploding,thin as a light flex
sustaining megatons inside a bulb

which had to blow; the Keith Richards',
emaciated grandeur, street poet
in bondage chains, gutteral, whipping lines
to stinging lariats, hyped up to bring

an epicentre to the stage,
an apocalypce of flaming horses
running headless for a ravine
in which junked cars are smashed to nickel cans,
and there's a woman in her pointed boots
celebrating the debris,stomping hard

on a black Cadilllac's bonnett.
Music meant auto-combusting,
pulling hysteria out of the throat
as a volatile fizzing coil,
a hit and run killer crouched at the wheel...

We look for her through fire. It's dead ash now,
the whole impulse defused; the dynamic
remembered through her records, the wild one
like Rimbaud, temporarily static.

John Cale
Symphonic dissonance. A viola
cuts worse than any whip. At Tanglewood
I smashed a table with an axe,
a form of sonic mania, a need
to assasinate harmony,
break things to their minimal components,
then stand back concussed by the noise.
Performance depends on paranoia,

the tension building like a hurricane.
Recording is the tight control
of fortunate accidents, improvised
felicities. Inside a studio
I'm Mozart, Wagner blowing themselves up
to rematerialize as unorthodox pop.

On stage, I've smashed glasses clean of the piano top,
decapitated a chicken,
declaimed like Artaud. And it's not enough.
There's a dimension to be broken through

called extra-sensory insanity.
I travelled that way once with Lou; the mad
empty the ash out of their ears and eyes.
They watch their heads float off into red skies.

I'm waiting for the big experiment,
the potentialized fuse inside my head
to blow, the ultimate schema take shape.
the one that leaves all other music dead.

William S Burroughs
Bullet holes pepper the shotgun painting-
a yellow shrine with a black continent
patched up on wood.
he sit's impeccable, no lazy tie,
the knot perfect between blue collar points,
a grey felt has tilted back off the head,
the face vulterine, eyes which have stepped in
to live with mental space and monitor

all drifting fractal implosions;
the man is easy in his Kansas yard,
his GHQ since 1982,
the New York bunker left behind, and cats
flopping around his feet, finding the sun,
picking up on psi energies.

He's waiting for extraterrestials,
psychic invasion; we can bypass death
by shooting interplanetary serum.
Some of us are the deathless ones. He pours
a cripplig slug of Jack Daniels.
The body can't function without toxins
or wierd metabolic fluctuations.
He's waiting for the big event.

And he has become a legend, now a myth,
a cellular mythology.
His double pressure-locked in the psyche,
for fear he blows a fuse, goes out on leave
and kills. He is invaded by Genet,
his presence asks for love, for completion.
The man wanders to his tomatoe patch;
his amanuensis snatches a break.
The light is hazy gold. He'll outlive death,
be here when when there's no longer a planet.

FROM "Pop Stars" Enitharmon Press 1994.