Saturday, July 20, 2013

Quangaroos - best cereal ever - 1973

The best orange flavored cereal ever.

This was my favorite cereal growing up in the 70s. It was round and orange flavored, a spin-off of Quake cereal, which had gotten the ax after losing a consumer vote to Quisp. Sadly, Quangaroos were only around a few years before losing another vote, again to Quisp. I don't remember ever eating any Quisp cereal.

Stupid Quisp.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Spider-walking, head-spinning, floating - The Exorcist 1973

The Scariest Movie Of All Time

One of my favorite scenes in any movie ever is the famous "spider-walk" scene from The Exorcist. This was not in the original release. Director Friedkin cut the very brief scene for technical reasons (you could see the wires holding up contortionist Linda R. Hager). It was restored for re-release with the help of cgi (author and screenwriter William Peter Blatty really wanted it in).

The physical transformation of Regan (Linda Blair) from a cute chubby-cheeked girl to a head-spinning projectile-puking monster was done very well. She changes slowly over the course of the movie, rather than all at once, so you were never prepared for whatever creepy terrors would come next...


Shoot 1971


Performance artist Chris Burden is shot in the arm by an assistant. November 19, 1971, Santa Ana, CA.

“At 7:45 p.m. I was shot in the left arm by a friend. The bullet was a copper jacket .22 long rifle. My friend was standing about fifteen feet from me.”

Monday, July 15, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Van Morrison 1970

His Band and Street Choir
Van Morrison released two classic albums in 1970, Moondance, and His Band and Street Choir. Moondance is generally more highly regarded among the critics, but I actually prefer His Band and Street Choir. It's a little looser, more R & B influenced, plus it has "Crazy Face",  a strange little masterpiece of a song that only Van Morrison could write. In any case these are both brilliant albums which I have listened to dozens if not hundreds of times since the vinyl came out way back when. They both make my top ten for 1970.

Moondance back cover.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy (1973)

Published in 1973, Cormac McCarthy's Child of God is an earthy book, full of intensely poetic prose, illuminating the land the protagonist, Lester Ballard, inhabits. Ballard, "a child of God, much like yourself perhaps" is a man cut loose from societal norms who roams the hills of Tennessee, trying just to live, and occupying himself with... unspeakable acts.

McCarthy brilliantly describes this child's descent into depravity, his bizarre yearnings, and the horrific results when his lusts are acted upon. And there is something childlike about Ballard, not innocence, but the ugly petulance of a child not getting what he wants. Not someone we sympathize with, much, but someone we watch with dreadful fascination. And there are other creatures in these hills, with strange speech patterns and worrisome familial relationships, making the movie Deliverance (released just a year before this was published) seem like a walk in the park.

But this is not just some sensationalized tale of hillbilly stereotypes and profligate degeneracy. There is much to meditate on here, not least of which is what happens to those people neglected, marginalized, on the fringes, forgotten. Nothing good really. They haven't forgotten us after all. Sounds like a drag, but it's a funny book too, with much twisted humor, albeit mostly at Ballard's expense.

Apparently this is being made into a movie directed by James Franco. Hopefully it will be as good as the other Cormac McCarthy books that have made it to film. But the movies don't have McCarthy's haunting and  hallucinatory prose, so you won't get descriptions like: "he moves along the barn wall, himself fiddlebacked with light, a petty annoyance flickering across the wall-ward eye".

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Records - Shades in Bed (1979) - Injections in the Knee

1979 US release was just titled The Records, with a great album cover.

Absolutely one of the greatest power pop records ever made. Starry Eyes was  the hit, but every song is a winner, with Teenarama, Girl,  and Affection Rejected being the equal of that gem. Clever lyrics, great hooks and killer guitar abound, it's about as perfect a pop record as I can imagine. They followed up in 1980 with Crashes, just as good.

Shades in Bed, original UK release 1979

CD release with great bonus tracks 2002