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Friday, April 21, 2017

The Dongas Tribe in the Summer of 1996


The Dongas Movie was shot at Brian's Field & Sherborne in Dorset. This video was created by a German Television production company and expresses a desire for a sustainable life on Planet Earth. The people who participated are Collin & Jo & Tansy, Liz & Soren, Brian, Tegwyn & Elkana, Sam(antha) & Joya & Tom, Sarah, Vicky, Laugh, Gipsey John and the people of Sherborne.

The Dongas Tribe was a collection of road protesters and travellers in England, noted for their occupation of Twyford Down outside Winchester, Hampshire. The name Dongas comes from the Matabele word for "gully", given by Winchester locals to the deep drovers' tracks on Twyford Down.

John Vidal, writing in The Guardian in 2012, said of The Dongas that "the 15-20 urban youths who camped out to try to defend Twyford Down in 1992 are recognised to have fired up British environmental protest and kickstarted a major shift in green attitudes in both government and the public."

The Twyford Down protest was a protest against the M3 motorway extension which destroyed some rich ecological sites, one of the very few habitats of the Chalkhill Blue butterfly and six species of rare orchid, and ancient monuments there (SSSI and Scheduled Ancient Monument).

Following "Yellow Wednesday", when hordes of police and security guards invaded the camp to bulldoze the area, the Dongas Tribe left Twyford Down for Bramdean Common. Earth First!, who had been heavily involved in the setting up and support of the camp and actions, continued the protests and restarted a camp in Plague Pits Valley.

They constituted about twenty people. Some of the tribe maintained involvement in various subsequent road protests (Solsbury Hill, North Wales, Newbury bypass), but gradually morphed into a semi-nomadic "tribe", traveling the South West of England on foot, squatting various hill-forts and putting on seasonal gatherings in an attempt to reawaken a sense of connectedness with the land. The last of the nomadic Dongas were travelling in Cornwall until the end of 1999, after which some moved to France to continue their nomadic lifestyle.

The cutting at Twyford Down, during construction of the M3 motorway in 1994. Some of the 'original Dongas' (as they became called) of the mid 1990s were musicians who made a living by busking, sometimes using traditional music from Brittany.

The first child born in the Dongas tribe, to Rosie Lambert, was named May Brigit "Donga" Lambert and was born on 1 May 1994, Beltane and May Day.

An archive of recordings from The Dongas Tribe can be heard and downloaded from here.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Coleridge: One of the Greatest Biographies of the Century - Darker Reflections (1999)


Samuel Taylor Coleridge (/ˈkoʊləˌrɪdʒ/; 21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. Coleridge coined many familiar words and phrases, including suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence on Emerson and American transcendentalism.

Throughout his adult life Coleridge had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression; it has been speculated that he had bipolar disorder, which had not been defined during his lifetime. He was physically unhealthy, which may have stemmed from a bout of rheumatic fever and other childhood illnesses. He was treated for these conditions with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.

Between 1810 and 1820, Coleridge gave a series of lectures in London and Bristol – those on Shakespeare renewed interest in the playwright as a model for contemporary writers. Much of Coleridge's reputation as a literary critic is founded on the lectures that he undertook in the winter of 1810–11, which were sponsored by the Philosophical Institution and given at Scot's Corporation Hall off Fetter Lane, Fleet Street. These lectures were heralded in the prospectus as "A Course of Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton, in Illustration of the Principles of Poetry." Coleridge's ill-health, opium-addiction problems, and somewhat unstable personality meant that all his lectures were plagued with problems of delays and a general irregularity of quality from one lecture to the next. As a result of these factors, Coleridge often failed to prepare anything but the loosest set of notes for his lectures and regularly entered into extremely long digressions which his audiences found difficult to follow. However, it was the lecture on Hamlet given on 2 January 1812 that was considered the best and has influenced Hamlet studies ever since. Before Coleridge, Hamlet was often denigrated and belittled by critics from Voltaire to Dr. Johnson. Coleridge rescued the play's reputation, and his thoughts on it are often still published as supplements to the text.

In August 1814, Coleridge was approached by Lord Byron's publisher, John Murray, about the possibility of translating Goethe's classic Faust (1808). Coleridge was regarded by many as the greatest living writer on the demonic and he accepted the commission, only to abandon work on it after six weeks. Until recently, scholars were in agreement that Coleridge never returned to the project, despite Goethe's own belief in the 1820s that he had in fact completed a long translation of the work. In September 2007, Oxford University Press sparked a heated scholarly controversy by publishing an English translation of Goethe's work that purported to be Coleridge's long-lost masterpiece (the text in question first appeared anonymously in 1821).

In April 1816, Coleridge, with his addiction worsening, his spirits depressed, and his family alienated, took residence in the Highgate homes, then just north of London, of the physician James Gillman, first at South Grove and later at the nearby The Grove. It is unclear whether his growing use of opium (and the brandy in which it was dissolved) was a symptom or a cause of his growing depression. Gillman was partially successful in controlling the poet's addiction. Coleridge remained in Highgate for the rest of his life, and the house became a place of literary pilgrimage for writers including Carlyle and Emerson.

In Gillman's home, Coleridge finished his major prose work, the Biographia Literaria (mostly drafted in 1815, and finished in 1817), a volume composed of 23 chapters of autobiographical notes and dissertations on various subjects, including some incisive literary theory and criticism. He composed a considerable amount of poetry, of variable quality. He published other writings while he was living at the Gillman homes, notably the Lay Sermons of 1816 and 1817, Sibylline Leaves (1817), Hush (1820), Aids to Reflection (1825), and On the Constitution of the Church and State (1830). He also produced essays published shortly after his death, such as Essay on Faith (1838) and Confessions Of An Inquiring Spirit (1840). A number of his followers were central to the Oxford Movement, and his religious writings profoundly shaped Anglicanism in the mid nineteenth century.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Benjamin Smoke (2000)


"I have this bad habit of punishing myself when things are going bad cause I don't think they are going bad enough" - Benjamin Smoke

Benjamin Smoke (born Robert Dickerson) was an American singer-songwriter who fronted the Atlanta, Georgia bands Smoke and the Opal Foxx Quartet. He was noted for being a radical, gay rock 'n' roll performer. He died on January 29, 1999 due to liver failure caused by Hepatitis C at age 39. He performed his final concert in Atlanta, Georgia on New Year's Eve, 1998.

Benjamin was a known character in the underground scene in 1980s Atlanta and participated in a number of Atlanta music experiments such as Easturn Stars, Monroe is Naked Again, Freedom Puff, Blade Emotion, and the Opal Foxx Quartet (which often had up to 12 members). His bands played in such venues as 688, Celebrity Club, Pillowtex, Destroy All Music Festival, among others. For the band, Smoke donned the stage name "Miss Opal Foxx".

During this time his vocals received media attention and Tom Waits comparisons arose. His voice has since been described as "resembling the roar of a wounded lion". After some of the musicians of the group died, the band Smoke was conceived in 1992 with members Bill Taft, Brian Halloran, and Todd Butler. Coleman Lewis and Tim Campion later joined the band, followed by Will Fratesi.

Smoke was renowned for his on-stage banter, never shying away from provoking his viewers, "for a faggot, do I have a rockin' band or what?" Benjamin was an amphetamine addict and he also had AIDS, though he claimed "HIV is not a death sentence". AIDS brought him closer to his mother, though he eventually lost his life due to Hepatitis C.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

We Have Signal: Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2016 Tour)


I am quivering like a delirious child. Godspeed at the height of their powers. Cascading walls of sound of infinite depth. Nothing can stop them and nothing should. Just magnificent. Happy Equinox!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tangerine Dream at Coventry Cathedral 1975


In December 1974 Tangerine Dream were invited to play in the grand setting of Rheims Cathedral, a move certainly seen at the time as groundbreaking. Following the concert the Vatican issued an order banning them from playing in any Catholic church anywhere in the world. Because of this, they were then invited to perform in the Church of England cathedrals of York, Liverpool and Coventry. The tour attracted unprecedented coverage in the media, especially at Coventry Cathedral, an iconic building rising like a Phoenix on the ruins of the old cathedral bombed to bits by the Germans in 1940 (Tangerine Dream is, after all, a German band) as a celebration of peace and reconciliation, as well as a lasting showcase for great contemporary art. The nave is dominated by a gigantic tapestry by Graham Sutherland, the main door dwarfed by a sculpture of St Michael and The Devil by Jacob Epstein, and the consecration in 1962 heard the first performance of Britten's incomparable 'War Requiem. To their lasting credit, Tangerine Dream contributed to this celebration.

Friday, March 31, 2017

War of the Worlds musical by Jeff Wayne


Stage production of the classic War of the Worlds musical, retelling the story of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, released September 6, 1978. A concept album, its main format is progressive rock and string orchestra, using narration and leitmotifs to carry the story via rhyming melodic lyrics that express the feelings of the various characters. The two-disc album remains a bestseller, having sold millions of records around the world, and by 2009 it was the 40th best selling album of all time in the UK with sales of 2,561,286.

Cast

·       Richard Burton – narration (The Journalist) (via a "virtual" Richard Burton: a large bust of the Journalist plus a projected image)
·       Liam Neeson – narration (The Journalist) (The New Generation 2012, 2014 and the Dominion Theatre stage production 2016)
·       Justin Hayward – vocals (The Sung Thoughts of the Journalist) (all tours: 2006, 2007 Australian, 2007 UK, 2009 30th Anniversary, and 2010 tour)
·       Alexis James – dialogue and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2006, 2007 UK, and 2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       Michael Falzon – spoken words and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2007 Australian tour)
·       Jason Donovan – dialogue and vocals (The Artilleryman) (2010 tour)
·       Chris Thompson – vocals (The Voice of Humanity) (all tours: 2006, 2007 Australian, 2007 UK, 2009 30th Anniversary, and 2010 tour)
·       Russell Watson – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2006 tour)
·       Shannon Noll – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2007 Australian and first half of 2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       John Payne – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2007 UK tour)
·       Damien Edwards – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (second half of 2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       Rhydian Roberts – dialogue and vocals (Parson Nathaniel) (2010 tour)
·       Tara Blaise – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2006 tour)
·       Rachael Beck – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2007 Australian tour)
·       Sinéad Quinn – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2007 UK tour)
·       Jennifer Ellison – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2009 30th Anniversary tour)
·       Liz McClarnon – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2010 tour)
·       Carrie Hope Fletcher – dialogue and vocals (Beth) (2014 tour)
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·       Daniel Boys – dialogue and vocals (Male Understudy) (all tours: 2006, 2007 Australian, 2007 UK, 2009 30th Anniversary, and 2010 tour)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Quantum Men


The work of Cristobal Jodorowsky, the son of the famous director, artist, poet and writer Alejandro (psycho magic and psycho shamanism). The film explores the shamanistic practices of the Americas.

Friday, March 03, 2017

John 'Hoppy' Hopkins Interview (2009)


"Professionalism is a state of mind rather than a state of income" - John Hopkins

The significant counter culture figure John Hopkins on photography and 'Seeing'.

John "Hoppy" Hopkins (15 August 1937 – 30 January 2015) was a British photographer, journalist, researcher and political activist, and "one of the best-known underground figures of 'Swinging London' " in the late 1960s.

At the age of 20 he graduated from Cambridge University (which he had entered on a scholarship in 1955) with a degree in physics and mathematics, and embarked upon a career as a nuclear physicist. However, a graduation present of a camera changed his career. Arriving in London on 1 January 1960, he began to work as a photographer for newspapers, music magazines including Melody Maker, and Peace News. He photographed many of the leading musicians of the period, including The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He also recorded the seedier side of London, with photographs of tattoo parlours, cafes, prostitutes and fetishists.

By the mid-1960s he had drifted into the centre of London's emerging underground scene and recorded many peace marches, poetry readings and "happenings", as well as photographing leading counter-cultural figures including Allen Ginsberg and Malcolm X. He compiled and stencil-duplicated the names, contact details and interests of all of London's "movers and shakers". He then gave all of them a copy. This action is credited with greatly boosting the cultural velocity of the 1960s London-based underground movement.

In 1965 Hoppy started the first of a lifelong series of projects to democratise communication and information. The London Free school, based in Notting Hill, achieved few of these goals, but its cash-raising events gave Pink Floyd its start and Hoppy’s inspired collaboration with the local West Indian community helped bring about the first annual Notting Hill Carnival.

In October 1966, he and Miles published the first edition of International Times, Europe’s first underground paper. The IT launch party at the Roundhouse – with music by Pink Floyd and Soft Machine – inspired Hoppy him with Joe Boyd to open the UFO Club in a West End dance hall. Every Friday, Hoppy would sit atop a scaffold at the back of the club, playing records, making gnomic announcements, showing films, and projecting light shows; he imbued those nights of music, theatre and dance with an unforgettable atmosphere.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Language Of The New Music - Documentary about Wittgenstein and Schoenberg, 1985


This is a film about Ludwig Wittgenstein and Arnold Schonberg; two men whose lives and ideas run parallel in the development of Viennese radicalism. Both men emerged from the turmoil of the Habsburg Empire in its closing days with the idea of analyzing language and purging it with critical intent, believing that in the analysis and purification of language lies the greatest hope that we have. They never met and might never have fully understood one another, because while the nature of their genius they found themselves alone breaking new ground of the very frontiers of their respective disciplines. But their work springs from the same soil and shares a common ethical purpose, so that their ideas and methods echo and illuminate those of each other to a remarkable degree.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Une Femme Coquette (Jean-Luc Godard, 1955) with English subtitles


Jean-Luc Godard's Une Femme Coquette has had less than half a dozen public screenings since the 1960s; we were able to track down the only known 16mm print to a national film archive in Europe, where it was being stored unlisted for a private owner, to be loaned out only with the personal permission of Jean-Luc Godard himself. This makes it the holy grail of the game-changing New Wave era—a film so rare that it has often been listed as lost by biographies and film history books. And it might as well have been. No other surviving narrative film by a major, big-name director has been as difficult to see — until now.