Burning Flags Press The website of Glen E. Friedman. Renowned for both his work with musicians like Fugazi, Minor Threat, Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys, Slayer (and many, many more) as well as his groundbreaking documentation of the burgeoning skateboard phenomenon in the late `70's, Glen has been privvy to (and has summarily captured on film) some of the coolest stuff ever. He's also an incredibly insightful and nice guy to boot.
SoHo Blues - Photography by Allan Tannenbaum Allan Tannenbaum is a local photographer who has been everywhere and shot everything, from members of Blondie hanging out at the Mudd Club through the collapsing towers of the World Trade Center on September 11th. You could spend hours on this site, and I have.
Robert Otter Photographs Amazing vintage photographs of New York City, specifically my own neighborhood, Greenwich Village.
oboylephoto Just some intensely cool photographs of abandoned places.
The Weblog of Spumco's John K. The weblog of cartoonist John Kricfalusi, crazed mind and frantic pencil behind the original "Ren & Stimpy," as well as "The Goddamn George Liquor Show." Surreal, unapologetic, uncompromising genius.
I have a couple of posts in the works, notably yet another Flaming Pablum Interview, which I hope all will enjoy.
Unfortunately, the news events of the day (from the Brexit to the continued failure to enact meaningful gun control legislation to the ongoing, terrifying circus of abject idiocy that is Donald Trump), make it all feel more meaningless and trivial than can be quantified.
As such, consider this applicable tune a place-holder....
Even before Cruz and Kasich dropped out of the race this week, thus making Donald Trump the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee (I envision Donald experiencing some sort of flatulent approximation of the Quickening from “Highlander”), I started hearing allusions as to how we -- and by we I mean people who don’t have their heads way up their own ass -– all need to start finding ways to co-exist with, empathize with and even respect Trump supporters as their ineloquently bloviating candidate gets a more mainstream makeover in the press and starts acting more “presidential.”
Yeah, pardon me, but fuck all that!
I have one particularly learned friend and former colleague on Facebook who posted an article from Bloomberg View by one Ramesh Ponnuru, recently, about how frothy-mouthed vitriol-cannons of the East Coast “elite” -- like, I guess, myself -- are only fueling the fire of Trump supporters by continuing to be so vocally disparaging of their evidently challenged cognitive abilities. Here’s a choice excerpt from Ponnuru’s piece…
People who disdain Trump voters en masse are, it seems to me, confusing two questions: Should an intelligent and decent person back Trump? And can an intelligent and decent person back Trump? I’m a firm no on the first question. But the answer to the second question is yes.
Sorry, but NOPE!
True to form, I weighed in on the ensuing thread on my friend’s Facebook page and it took very little time before things simmered to a testy boil. Cooler heads prevailed, mutual apologies were exchanged, and we all endeavored to keep things civil, if only out of courtesy to our mutual friend who first posted the provocative article.
Here on my own goddamn blog, however, I still cannot fathom how or why a sentient human being SHOULDN’T bristle with abject contempt at the notion of someone endorsing and supporting the ideas Trump’s been espousing. I have several lefty friends who tell me to not even worry about it, as Hillary is a complete shoe-in, so why not just sit back and enjoy the circus?
But, see, I don’t agree with that either.
Personally speaking, I’m not a particularly huge fan of Hillary’s (I voted in the New York primary for Bernie), but I’d sure as shit prefer her in the White House than Trump. At the very least, you cannot discount her smarts, professional experience and demeanor (none of which can be said for Trump).
That all said, you’d have to genuinely be an idiot not to notice the palpable rage Hillary inspires in large swathes of this nation. I’m related to a boat-load of Republicans, and a single, well-timed invocation of her name will set them off like no other. I’ve seen it in action. A lot of people really think she’s the quintessence of evil and everything that’s wrong with Washington D.C.
With that in mind, I’m not at all convinced that she can beat Trump in November, leaving me with the very genuine fear that Donald Trump could very well ascend to the office of President of the United States of America, and if that notion doesn’t send a chill down your spine, check your pulse.
Here’s another choice tidbit from Ponnuru’s article…
[Trump supporters] already think that people who oppose Trump look down on them, and it’s one reason they are backing him. When anti-Trumpists openly announce they have no respect for Trump voters and wish to shun them, they just confirm these Trump supporters’ view and harden their resolve.
As I tried to assert on my friend’s afore-cited Facebook thread,THAT DOESN’T MAKE TRUMP SUPPORTERS ANY MORE SYMPATHETIC, ANY MORE JUSTIFIED OR ANY LESS INTELLECTUALLY INFERIOR!
The defense of Trump’s disarmingly vast field of support is that his acolytes are intent on sending Washington a wake-up call designed to broadcast their discontent with both parties. I am not for a moment suggesting that our current system of government is flawless (remember, I’m rooting for Bernie), but putting Trump in the White House will not remedy the problem. It’s like putting a lit firecracker into your broken toaster -– yeah, it’s sure as Hell gonna shake things up, but it’s not going to fix the problem.
Whether it was initially calculated to turn out this way or not, Trump has stirred up something deeply ugly in this country. No, he’s not the first to do this (hello, George Wallace), and he probably won’t be the last. But by unleashing it in supposedly enlightened 2016, we’ve collectively taken a giant leap backwards. Violence has been flat out encouraged by the candidate, and hateful, racist rhetoric is now validated under the guise of dispelling “political correctness.” Listen, assholes –- “Political Correctness” is just a catch-all term for being considerate, inclusive and egalitarian. Last time I checked, those were all noble, all-American ideals.
Point Blank: An endorsement of Trump is an endorsement of his message, and you’d have to be DEEPLYFUCKING STUPID not to recognize that message as one steeped in bigotry, misogyny, hatred, violence, avarice and crippling myopia.
If you cannot recognize Donald Trump as the repugnant, ineloquent, megalomaniacal villain that he so inarguably is, you should be seriously ashamed of yourselves. I will continue to have nothing but derision and contempt for you, and I will NEVER feel otherwise.
Incidentally, the image at the top was appropriated from a t-shirt that’s been encouragingly sold (out) by Reaper Records. It’s essentially an homage to the cover art of this single.
In the wake of the last twoposts, I just wanted to quickly expound on something, lest I run the risk of seeming oblivious, insensitive, incurious or just plain stupid.
Since about the autumn of 1984, I have had one replication or another of Mike Coles’ iconic cover of the first Killing Joke album adorn my walls. A poster of it hung in my bedroom during my latter high school years. That same poster graced the interior of each and every dormitory cell and off-campus bedroom I occupied throughout my college days (see above). Years later, as an arguable professional, I have a lovingly framed print of it in my office (you can fetch your own here).
I’ve boasted the image on myriad t-shirts over the years, and even fleetingly entertained the notion of getting a bit of it as a tattoo about twenty years back (I demurred from that one, although I have friends who proudly sport that ink).
In a nutshell, the visual representation of that first LP by Killing Joke, as I said in that first post, is inexorable from the band’s music. Those striking images are part of Killing Joke’s entirety.
That all said, of course, their origins --- as starkly captured by Don McCullin in the dark days of 1971 -– are something else entirely.
In taking a step back from the giddy search my comrade dub and I undertook in order to pinpoint the photographs' (both front cover and inner gatefold) locations, I would like to say that we deftly and respectfully side-stepped delving very deeply into the actual events transpiring in the photographs in question beyond surface details. But, in retrospect, I don’t think that’s enough.
Put plainly, the scenes depicted in McCullin’s photographs are part of a much larger and much more complicated story than a bit of provocative album cover art by a post-punk band. While “the Troubles” didn’t play out here in the United States in anywhere near the same capacity they did in Northern Ireland and in England, the story was certainly in the news. To many, the specifics of that narrative may seem abstract or convoluted, but they were very real and very serious.
Even this many decades after the fact, the conflict in that part of the world remains nothing to make light of. Regardless of one’s stance on the subject, blood was shed, lives were lost, and families were affected. For those who lived in the flashpoint of those tumultuous times, I can only imagine the sensations McCullin’s original images must continue to conjure. I sincerely doubt any of those sensations are positive.
Given the stark worldview espoused, at the time, by Killing Joke, those pictures matched their music and their sensibility to a tee, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the photos ultimately mean something else – something that doesn’t belong to anyone other than the individuals depicted. It seems easy to divorce them from their proper context, but it’s that very context that gives them their power to begin with. Killing Joke adopted those visually arresting symbols because they provoke such responses. They’re not supposed to go down smooth and easy.
But it’s somewhat shamefully easy to forget all that and get caught up in comparatively trivial minutia. With all that in mind, while I cannot and do not speak for any of the concerned parties, please understand that in putting together these posts, it was never mine nor Dub’s intentions to appear disrespectful or flippant regarding the underlying (but ultimately indelible) associations of these images.
With everything that’s going on in New York City right now — to say nothing of the rest of the United States — I have to say that it feels remarkably disingenuous and trivial (more so than usual) to carry on posting entries here about gripes about gentrification, forgotten punk bands, since-closed record stores and photo quizzes asking to name the location of that park bench where Lynne Goldsmith once photographed the Boomtown Rats.
90% of the time, I try to avoid discussing big issues and social causes here on Flaming Pablum. While it’s a topically open-ended blog, it just doesn’t seem like the place for that. I’m more than happy to argue `til we’re all red in the face about whether or not it’s “hardcore” or “hardcore punk” or who the best drummer for the Circle Jerks was (inevitably Chuck Biscuits, with all due respect to Lucky Lehrer), but much like at the holiday dinner table, I find that getting into politics and divisive social issues only invites trouble — although I’m currently feeling like that’s a major league fuckin' cop-out right now.
Suffice to say, I’m a big ol' liberal lefty. Draw whatever conclusions you like from that. And while I don’t like earnest displays, catchy hashtags, simplified sloganeering or symbolic grand-standng (you will never see me wear a friggin' Guy Fawkes mask — and, really, isn’t it time we retired that anyway?), I firmly stand with those who are shocked and appalled at the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officers involved with the death of unarmed Eric Garner (which, let’s remember, the medical examiner ruled a homicide).
If that assertion means you will thornily never visit this weblog again, well then — thanks for reading.
I have no further point other than that I hope that in the days to come that the proceedings involving protests and demonstrations remain smart and peaceful. Let’s all try to learn from this and move forward together.
I'll get back to my usual shtick shortly. Sit tight and stay safe.
For some reason, my mother thinks Mick Jagger is the lowest mutation of human life on this planet. I can’t understand it. I could play her any number of suitably ribald selections from albums like Dial ‘M’ For Motherfucker by Pussy Galore, Filth by SWANS or, say, Freaks, Faggots, Drunks & Junkies by G.G. Allin, and she’d still think the Rolling Stones were the rudest, evilest, most degenerate gaggle of transgressive, drugged-up cut-throats to ever blight the earth. I mean, Jagger’s even been knighted by this point, hasn’t he? (He has, but it seems the Queen shares my mother’s view). I don’t get it.
I’m not even the biggest Stones fan in the world, but as a result, I cannot stop myself from picking that scab. I just don’t see how one of the most revered rock bands in history inspires such palpable disgust in her. Even the sight of the fabled Rolling Stones logo — Jagger’s exaggerated tongue -- makes her scowl (which, of course, means I started wearing that t-shirt on the regular).
In any case, it’s Thanksgiving week, which means my little brood and I will soon be bound for my mother’s house for the holidays, where I’ll be undertaking the perilously herculean task of side-stepping any/all conversations of even a tenuously political nature (especially in the wake of Monday night’s events in Missouri). Thanksgiving should be about good cheer and the reinforcement of the bonds of family — not venomous teeth-gnashing and circular arguments with no hope of meaningful resolution.
This Thanksgiving, don't take the bait. Regardless of your side of the fence, don't get into a heated political debate, no matter how tempting. You'll be doing yourself and your whole family a favor. Keep the peace!
But don’t ask me to back down on the Stones matter — `cos that ain’t never gonna happen!
I found the image above courtesy of the Facebook page of Julia Caffritz (ex of Pussy Galore/Action Swingers/Free Kitten, etc.)
The unbelievable events in Boston are still unfolding as I type this. It's somewhat hard to fathom everything that's going on at the moment, from the manhunt for the surviving Boston bomber (and his possible co-conspirators) to the ricin letters arrest to the massive fertilizer explosion in Texas to the incredibly dispiriting gun bill filibuster to North Korea. How can all this be happening at once?
In any case, there were a few other items I would have otherwise spent large amounts of time on here on Flaming Pablum if the world wasn't currently imploding around us. Here's a quick roundup.
I'd originally penned a longer piece on this -- and may revive it at a later point -- but I was very saddened to learn of the death of graphic designer Storm Thorgerson of Hipignosis. As a budding music devotee, I was a tremendous fan of his work on so many seminal albums, notably for Floyd and Zeppelin (to name but two). The visuals he helped pair with the music are truly iconic. We have lost a master.
Iggy & the Stooges have a new album titled Ready to Die slated for release later this month. Presumably, the artwork for the sleeve was designed months ago, but I'm wondering if it's going to get a radical re-think in the wake of this week. The artwork in question looks like this.