Monday, October 31, 2011

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Louse of Usher and The fall (temporarily) of joy

From the wonderful The Fall of The Louse of Usher, James Johnston and Lizi Tribble sing "Ligeia" their rock video depicting when Roderick Usher was the Mick Jagger of his era and he was number one with a bullet. The senseless killing of 49 very rare and endangered captive Tigers, Mountain Lions, African Lions, Lionesses, Monkeys, Bears and wolf in Zanesville, Ohio two weeks ago has created a great deal of sadness. In my spare time reserved for this project,  I drifted into reading dark, freaky books about the Rolling Stones and googling articles about their various wildness years, erotica and misadventures and I did have some great fun listening to the songs of  "Goats Head Soup" and rare outtakes.

I'll say this for Ken Russell, joyfulness and levity is in everything he does even if it is dark. I look towards the next two days for ritual purification to counteract my feelings of glum and then climbing back to the clouds in silver boots to be with stars who twinkle with Russellvision..

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy Birthday 200th to Franz Liszt

Look at the charts today and ask who will be remembered in 200 years and so lauded as heartbreaking genius of staggering creativity and justified pomposity? This Liszt composition, Dream of Love with lyrics created by Rick Wakeman for the Ken-tacular "Lisztomania" is special to me because I originally heard it in a 1970s documentary on Paul Robeson called "The Tallest Tree in Our Forest". That's the music used for shots of Paul Robeson and Eslanda's courtship as well as for an episode of "Tales of the Unexpected" called "Edward The Conquer". A husband and wife adopt a stray cat. The cat Edward, responds to the woman's piano playing to the degree that she becomes convinced that it is the reincarnation of composer Franz Liszt. The woman bonds with the cat much to her husband's jealousy!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meet The Bunnies (sic)?

 (Without a doubt, this one, few second segment of Tommy simply baffles and amazes viewers!! Countless people will tell you these are "Playboy Bunnies" or "Bunny Girls" when they are actually simple showgirls. Their club was bombed and out of their dressing room they fled with gas masks on. A quick cached glance around the net and it seems an almost essential part of the plot for many! See below...)

"...Lanza writes about these hard-to-read pictures with humor, piquancy and inviting clarity. He also obtains quotes from Russell that offer fresh insights to imagery from some of his films: The bizarre sight of chorus girls wearing gas masks in the early part of Tommy, for example, turns out to be something he actually saw during the Blitz. " Tim Lucas 2007 review of Russell biography "Phallic Frenzy"

"Which is where Tommy comes in, the bonkers Brit helmer spying the opportunity to accommodate his interests in lofty themes and base imagery (if it's naughty nuns or barely clad Blitz-era showgirls in gas masks you're after, call Kinky Ken) and throwing himself into it hook, line and flipper." Total Film

And so, took flight with his imagination. In the film’s opening WWII sequence, you can tell you’re not in for anything like a normal cinematic experience when young women are seen prancing through bombed-out London in white knickers and gas masks." - Brian Poyser Austin Film Society

"Meanwhile, Russell’s operatic sensibilities inspire him to try and top each show-stopping number, so that a glimpse of underwear-clad women in gas masks gets trumped a few minutes later by a scene at a Marilyn Monroe-worshipping church..." Noel Murray AV Club

"Blame eccentric satyr director, Ken Russell, whose hallucinogenic vision puts the "higher" in Messiah, jamming the movie with images of sensual nightmare: showgirls in gasmasks, bombers-as-crucifixes, a skeleton with a snake-as-penis, giant pinballs littering the landscape, and Ann-Margret lolling in chocolatey, syrupy goodness." - dunmore_ego from imbd

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Tommy 3: Factory Girl

3. Ball Bearing factory

After a very violent plane crash juxtaposed with Captain Walker broken portrait we now see shiny, silver balls.

Diorama Five
- Nora is now in a brightly lit ammunitions factory. Just as a diorama artist would not be able to use real ammunition, Ken has taken stout plastic, silver tipped crayons and has the women for the war effort filling them with... pinballs? Ball bearings? We use must our imaginations here. With brilliancy Ken utilizes the classic "Rose the Riveter "  dutifully "mucking in for the common good"  vibe.

The first vocal begins (appropriately with Pete singing a blistering "Captain Walker") as we see an oddly made up messenger with a classical ballet gait approach Nora. As a child I always thought this was a very elegant woman with a moustache. She certainly has a regal bearing and on closer examination of the screen caps it is clear she is made up to accentuate her cheekbones with soot while giving her an androgynous look (above and below right).

The news is delivered and an undone Nora faints with grief and shock. The silver balls fall all around her symbolising her anger as well as foreshadowing the story to follow. She is in the factory working for the war effort after all and the war just wounded her sanity and as we will come to see her good judgement (or at least the little she has built up as such a young person). In pulling down a thousand silver balls, Nora is saying "might as well take at least some of it with me". Ineffectual as causing chaos on a work site may seem here. yet, in this era we all know that it is now a common place occurrence to see people shoot up and/or destroy where they work once tragedy and/ or hardship over takes their senses and personal lives.

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Lion Roars Part One: The Optimists of Nine Elms

(A few days diversion from Tommy. In 1993 Ken Russell published "Fire Over England" republished as "The Lion Roars" a few years later. I'll be referencing many of his choices in the coming months as they have undoubtedly helped to shape who he is-and what he is not- as an artist.)

Ken's overview of classic and modern British films and film makers aka "Fire Over England" is wonderful-please buy this book! Through it I discovered The Archers aka Powell and Pressburger, many heretofore to me unknown films from the 1930s and 40s and best of all Ken's reappraisals of some of my most favourite British films including a little known and astonishingly powerful film starring Peter Sellers- "The Optimists of Nine Elms".

I first saw this film in two parts as an afternoon movie when I was very young. I was floored seeing it again recently as I remembered almost nothing about the plot and had transposed certain costumes and lines it with "Being There" but they are entirely different films. If you can believe it (and you will when you see the film) this is actually the better performance and Sellers greatest role. I had been interested to see that Ken gave it a very long write up and something told me to watch it again. It also shows a London that is almost no more. When the working class and poor was workin' and had jobs and ate home cooked food around a dinner table. English industry was in England and people came to live in the UK and blend in to make the country better not isolated in pockets of separation. "Skunk" and "rocky" were either animals or minerals or possibly something only middle class folks bought from odd men who hung out in Soho and called themselves "Spanish Tony" or "Candyman. Indigenous buskers were all about..where are they now? Dog lovers will love this film-BIG TIME.Be prepared to cry buckets but still be very happy if you see this Tony Simmons' masterpiece.

 From "A Lion Roars" Ken Russell on "The Optimists of Nine Elms"  (contains some plot spoilers)

"Peter Sellers plays a misanthropic street musicians down on his luck, who barely scrapes enough together to feed himself and his only friend a scruffy mongrel. Enter two neglected kids, equally scruffy, who live in a nearby slum. Dad's too busy earning and Mum's too bust with the new baby to bother with them. But at least they have each other and the potential friend in Sellers who they follow around the streets as he plays for pennies. He tolerates the children but is not easily won over. They call him 'mister', he calls them 'Nothing'. He lives in a squalid few with a few creature comforts and the kids don't fare much better-they haven't a toy between them and have to empty the potty in the one and only outside loo every morning and wash under the kitchen tap. But are they downhearted? No! Why? Because they live in hope of moving to a new block of council flats with a little dog to keep them company.

One day they take Sellers to the water's edge and point out the celestial towers gleaming through the sunny mist of the Thames on the far shore. Gradually, and against his better judgement  Sellers guardedly opens up to the kids, whom he recognises as outcasts like himself, and grudgingly decides to help them. He suggests they baby-sit his sick mongrel to earn a bit of pocket money while he slips out for a pint. This will enable them to buy a dog of their own at Battersea Dogs' Home. They jump at the idea and soon have enough saved up to buy a pup which they take home. their parents go crazy. Dad says no pets are allowed in the flats where they are going and even shows the kids a notice nailed to the wall to prove it. They've got the flats mixed up anyway. They are not headed for the posh ones on the far side of the river but the old ones on the wrong side of the river.

(I'm leaving out the rest of the plot and ending as described by Ken)

Told with economy and sensitivity, this underrated film establishes Tony Simmons as a first rate director and justifies the risk Sellers took in tackling a difficult role in an offbeat subject and doing it for peanuts. it was one of his last films and one of his best. The rest of the cast also turned in convincing portrayals. The Optimists of Nine Elms of nine elms was a great achievement all around, with an extra special word of praise for the editor, Jimmy Jympson. And if you need convincing he's one of the best editors around, just look at the scene where the little girl loses her little brother on a refuse site by the river's edge. Screaming gulls, the snapping jaws of the excavator, the rushing river and screeching trains inter-cut with the growing panic on the girl's face, all combine to produce an almost unbearable tension. And how refreshing to meet some real Londoners, resilient dogged, philosophic, with a wry sense of humour second to none.

I wonder what sort of film Tony Simmons would make in Nine Elms now.

(Stunning photos of the above pictured Hyde Park Pet Cemetery featured along with early 1970s London in the "Optimists of Nine Elms" from London Insight which may well be thee greatest blog on the net-alongside this one of course:)

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ken Russell's Film 60 Seconds of Fame Film for BAFTA

This is so sweet. Ken is at the very end, though I also think that may be him in The Golem mask after Lisi who is at :32.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ken Russell Picks Up The First Motovun Maverick Award 2008 NSFW

The opening sequence is very TOMMY! I truly believe only someone from a former Commuinst country would have been brave enough to edit such a tribute. Even his fans who may have seen more films would have shown less of the REAL Ken.

NSFW-big time!!

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Tommy Overture 2: Vacancy at The Morrison Hotel

2. Group Captain Walker called off to war, bombing and plane crash

(the showgirls get their own separate post!) The blossoms of Borrowdale and Lodore Falls melt into a resplendent chandelier and the image of Nora in a light periwinkle ball gown and Captain Walker slow dancing; deeply and sensuously in love. At first they to seem to be in a glittering ballroom but when the phone rings the camera pulls back and we see the Ken's first diorama.

Diorama One: What looked like the London Palladium is actually the bedroom of the Walker home prepared for any potential bombing. Furniture piled up and drop clothed, a Morrison Shelter and only a sparse amount of necessities. Group Captain Walker is now out of his Glen Alpine tweeds and in his full RAF uniform as he's told to report for duty.

Diorama Two a bombed out London including a building where Captain Walker and Nora see the deceased body of young boy (a clear foreshadowing of the end sequence and of the living death their son will endure).

Diorama Three- the train station and Walker's departure. Two silhouettes in unison and that spectacular velvet Russell-vision and keen lighting set a classic Hollywood farewell. Anyone who would accuse Russell of gratuitously going for a cleavage shot with AM's Nora is a hater. There is nothing "for the lads" about the shot.

At this point things become almost Magritte like. What time of day is it? What world, what universe are we in? Captain Walker looks down commandingly yet we feel he is acknowledging Nora who is staring up at the sky unflinchingly rather than at a member of his squadron. Resigned to his duty while she is mentally "gone".

Diorama Four- Now the aforementioned Morrison Shelter with it's steel plate “table” top, welded wire mesh sides, and a metal lath “mattress”- type floor is the tight focus. For most Americans it appears to be part of Ken's arsenal of creative campy tricks when in reality the historical accuracy is beyond sobering. Nora withstands the bombing and Captain Walker is shot down. His National Service booklet lying beside his broken photo.

Paint Nora's hand imprint  as clouds and one has a Magritte painting brought to life. Even "as is" it is still uncannily close to the great Belgian Surrealist.

British Word of the post: Morrison Shelter

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tommy's Overture 1: Our Hearts Were Young and Cluster Bombed

1.Opening sequence
A Film By Ken Russell TOMMY by "The Who"

The opening shot of Tommy is stunning. I was about 10 years old when I first saw Tommy and the first fifteen minutes or so, as I previously mentioned is where people either can't deal or get pulled right in. For me, as a child, I could see the staging was like an opera as soon as I saw Robert Powell turn around from the full moon passing down in front of him (some say the image is of a fantastical sun, some think this is a moon). The two adults (in reality recently just children themselves) seemed very in love which of course as a kid is "gross!!"  As a teen, I got high and laughed at Tommy. "This movie reminds me of my mother" my best friend said at the time we were both tripping. Here I am now and a mother myself and the film has a radically different effect. Now the film to me is very moving despite the grandiose camp.

Robert Powell who also starred as Gustav Mahler and played Jesus Christ for Zefferelli rather convincingly is paired successfully with Ann-Margret who matches his fine, almost petite facial features with her own. As they read a map of the Lake District with Derwentwater and St.Herberts island ( the setting for Beatrix Potter's 'The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin') in the back ground, they are young and and in love forever. The film quality here is like velvet with love making in waterfalls and blossoms billowing down as they go for round two. The diorama effect I previously mentioned has not begun yet as this is a very romantic holiday and must flow from one inter-war oil painting to another.

To many viewers the waterfall is clearly where Tommy is conceived out of love and even if it is only an assumption by the audience it is an important one. Tommy is a wanted child and is created by two people who love each other let sadly don't know themselves yet. (Perhaps, Captain Walker knows who he is through duty?) We should not forget that Walker is a Captain and the possibility of going off to war was always a given. Were this left many young women and children was in a kind of hellish limbo always disguised by the mantle of "soldiering on" and "manning up". There were only letters to exchange while people waited.  Tommy is a quintessentially English story and Pete and Ken are making a clear statement in the film about an entire generation of indigenous Brits (many still in their teens) who was forced to make emotional and physical sacrifices and the even younger children who were often left to pick up the pieces and negotiate with needy adults while they themselves were still helpless. These moments in the Lake District are what Nora will seek to recapture her entire life to feel human.

(Note: all photos can be enlarged and should be as this film is cinematic magic. A huge thank you in advance to American Buddha who has a beautiful Tommy film study page and who provided the screen caps of Ken's masterpiece.) 

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Dioramas in Tommy

As mentioned a few posts ago, I don't see Ken Russell's film of Tommy as a "POP art musical" and I do not see it as a long form music video/precursor to MTV either. (To paraphrase Jello Biafra, it took MTV one year to sink as low as commercial TV had in 25. MTV was and is 99% rubbish.) I instead see Ken Russell's film of Tommy as a series of living, breathing life size, three-dimensional storyboards. Illusion through depth perception. Without one word of dialogue and without sub-titles, I see this diorama format extending into the acting as well.

The mise-en-scène is what allows the actors in Tommy to bring to the screen the corrupt and flawed adults that are around all children. In any film (provided the script is good), with even the weakest and phoniest of characters, we are "reassured" via their spoken dialogue that the characters are somehow "trying" and worthy of empathy even if they are screwed up. In Tommy however, the adults can't talk their way out of their failures. For example: Uncle Ernie winks at Tommy's step father Bernie while reading the "Gay News" heralding "Obscenity Triumphs" with a garter belt on his head and Tommy lying in bed nearby. He can't talk his way out of being a child abuser and rapist. Bernie stares at him and sets his paper on fire, effectively burning (and thus erasing) the truth away to ashes. The lack of dialogue does not give Bernie the chance to feign concern, express anger or speak with indifference.

Here are the scenes broken down that we'll be studying:

1. Opening sequence

2. Called off to war and plane crash

3. Ball bearing factory, birth of Tommy and cenotaph

4. Bernies Holiday Camp

5. 1951- Tommy's father's murder-What About The Boy

6. Amazing Journey

7. Christmas

8. Eyesight to the Blind

8. Acid Queen

9. Do You Think It's Alright? (1) Cousin Kevin

10. Do You Think It's Alright? (2) Uncle Ernie

11. Do You Think It's Alright?(3) Sparks

12. Extra, Extra (1)

13. Pinball Wizard

14. Champagne aka Beans and Chocolate

15. There's a Doctor

16. Go to the Mirror

17. Tommy, Can You Hear Me?/Smash The Mirror

18. I'm Free

19. Mother and Son

20. Sensation

21. Extra, Extra(2)/Sally Simpson

22. Welcome

23. T.V. Studio

24. Tommy's Holiday Camp

25. We're Not Gonna Take It

26. See Me, Feel Me

27. Listening to You/End

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Background Details on Tommy

So before we start breaking down the scenes and studying the masterpiece that is Tommy here are a few details and observations:

*Pete Townshend spent countless hours and time perfecting the film's soundtrack and working on the new songs. As far as I know he received no extra money from the film producers for doing this yet worked tirelessly for the better part of nine months. Such was the era. Had this been today, he'd have walked away with at least 500k for all the extra hard work, perhaps much more given Tommy's unprecedented stature. Something to consider.

*A new linking song, "Extra Extra", narrates Tommy's rise to fame and introduces the battle with the pinball champ. It is set to the tune of "Miracle Cure". Both are performed by Simon Townshend, Pete's younger brother. We will study the changes, additions and differences in the soundtarck as opposed to the album in the upcoming days.

*The film version of Tommy differs in numerous ways from the original 1969 album. The primary change is the period, which is moved forward to the post-World War II era, while the original album takes place just after World War I. As a result the song "1921" is renamed "1951" and the opening line "got a feelin' '21 is gonna be a good year" changes to "got a feelin' '51 is gonna be a good year". The historical alterations allowed Ken to use more contemporary images and settings.

*Much of Tommy was shot on locations around Portsmouth, including the scene near the end of the movie featuring the giant 'pinballs', which were in fact obsolete buoys found in a British Navy yard, which were simply sprayed silver. Several other segments, including part of the Bernie's Holiday Camp sequence and the concert scenes in the 'Sally Simpson' sequence were shot inside the Gaiety Theatre on South Parade Pier at Southsea in Hampshire.

*On June 11, 1974, the pier caught fire and was badly damaged while the production was filming there; according to Russell, the fire started during the filming of the scene of Ann-Margret and Oliver Reed dancing together during the "Bernie's Holiday Camp" sequence, and smoke from the fire can in fact be seen drifting in front of the camera in several shots; Russell also used a brief exterior shot of the building fully ablaze during the scenes of the destruction of Tommy's Holiday Camp by his disillusioned followers

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Composer, The Avatar and The Director Who Heard Tommy

(3:54 Underture)

In "The Story of Tommy" documentary from the mid 90s, Pete Townshend makes what I once thought was a funny, lovingly pejorative quip about Ken Russell:

"We did a production of Tommy with the London Symphony and  Lou Reizner and it was a great success. And it led directly to Ken Russell's film because I don't think he could have understood Tommy without hearing it played by a symphony orchestra."

I always thought Pete meant that Ken's big personality is so bombastic that he needs a big production to be satisfied but I was incorrect in this case. Pete meant that Ken's love of classical music runs so deep and so passionate that it is the standard by which he judges all music and most art. Apparently the Who's 1969 Tommy album Ken found boring. It was only after going over the orchestrated music that he pointed out to Pete:

"...if one was going to do it as a film, that there were huge gaps in the story of the deaf, dumb and blind boy who finally gets to see the and see the light so to speak in many ways. You never knew who the father was, why he was killed, why the boy went blind, deaf and dumb. It's almost as if his album started half way through the story and the other half was in his mind and had not been written down."

And thus the main framework of Tommy's narrative as we know it today and what would eventually become the mega-watt stage production performed all over the world today was created by Pete and Ken. The two great men who inspire so many are forever linked by Tommy.

Where does Meher Baba fit in here? Well, it is clear that the ground based spiritual teachings of Baba gave Pete a new direction and purpose in all aspects of his life. Meher Baba's influence on those of us who love him is very personal so I cannot interpret this, I'm just glad Meher Baba's teachings made it to the West while he was still alive. 

"The experiences are so innumerable and varied, that the journey appears to be interminable and the Destination is ever out of sight. But the wonder of it is, when at last you reach your Destination you find that you had never travelled at all! It was a journey from here to Here." -Meher Baba

That quote to me sums up Tommy and I feel the lives of those of us who had dramatic and traumatic childhoods. As in the film there is a circular narrative to those words of Baba. Tommy, flees as flames engulf the Holiday camp. He escapes and arrives at the same place in the wilderness in the beginning of the film where his parents spent a romantic day together (presumably the day he was conceived). Though now alone and no longer a rich and famous messiah, Tommy attains an even greater sense of self-awareness and one hopes freedom as he faces the rising sun and a new dawn. His arms are outstretched to face the sun as his father's were in the film's opening scene.

Here are a few blog cross posts on Tommy being influenced by Meher Baba and how it helped form the foundation of the work.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Dioramas Viewed Through Kaleidoscopes: Ken Russell's Film of Tommy

                                                        His eye is on the sparrow.

Good morning converts! I have no doubt that we'll be able to break some new ground here by studying  "Ken Russell's Film of Tommy." Despite being thee unrivalled rock opera to end all rock operas and talked, written and performed endlessly,  Tommy never stops morphing. In my lifetime thus far, Tommy has gone from a wild film on cable to a classic album you stole, begged or borrowed as a tween; then a 20th reunion revival act "featuring The Who and guests"; to a Tony Award winning Broadway play; various remastered cds, laser discs, dvds, blu rays and soundtracks galore; all the way to the present where Roger Daltrey and friends are performing it live and in classic original unadulterated style as we speak. Yet, the preceding was only a fraction of Tommy's many incarnations. It is one of the reasons why, in about two  generations, that Tommy along with The Who as a band will be reappraised and as popular as ever much like The Doors were a decade after Jim Morrison died. Many will continue to perform the rock opera but no one will approach a remake of Ken's film.

The first view many of us Who fans ever have of Ken Russell is in the Kids Are Alright when his flamboyant TV interview precedes the Tommy segment:

"This countries' in a weird, feeble grotesque state and its time it got out of it and what could get it out of it is rock music. And I think Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon could rise this country out of its decadent , ambient state, more than Wilson and those crappy people could ever hope to achieve!"

When many of us saw the film as children we either were scared and could not deal or watched it on repeat over a dozen times (guess who?)  I'd seen many live action Disney films and masterpieces like "Willy Wonka" with wild clothes, giant mushrooms and flying cars but Tommy to me was so uncluttered in comparison. Each segment was a impeccably laid out, dazzling diorama box viewed through a lavish colour dipped lens. Not psychedelic, not the messy breathing paisley blanket yet not sparsely Pop Art either. Sure one could use all those adjectives and be accurate though none of them are technically true. So much of the film mocks the convention of the adult world; the false stances, the neediness, the poses to impress the neighbours. As a child I picked up on that at once. I also had no problem working out that Tommy was "shocked" into deaf/blind/mute submission.

In the coming days I'll show how Ken lays each song's scene out so methodically that the essence of the corrupt adults in the film simply seeps through.

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Rest In Peace Steve Jobs

I Movie, pro-tools and Final Cut Pro now saves many a film maker and musician from the development and funding hell that Ken faced many times. Ken himself is able to make films on his own now and call all the shots. Mac Book Pro (the biggest one) and a nice carrying case is worth every penny. Everyone can be an artist now thanks to Steve  Jobs.

"Steve Jobs was a visionary genius and very, very cool. I would never have gone near a home computer if he hadn't made the interface of "emotional-human meeting intelligent-machine" a matter of relating your biofield to an appliance that was part Porsche and part comic book. Part parallel universe, too, the Mac became part of the family. Elegance, beauty and wit resound in the design and simplicity of everything Apple. He made instantaneous global communication a reality to bridge the gap while people's telepathic skills are still in development. An artist who changed the world."

-Lisi Tribble

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Crazy Like A Fox : Keith Moon in Tommy

The below pic is not from Tommy but it is my all time favourite picture of any celebrity. I have a small copy of it framed, cut out from a booklet that came with The Kids Are Alright LP and it has not left my side since I was about 15. Ken gave Keith Moon easily his best moments on big screen. I guess it is now TOMMY time as of tomorrow-it just has to be. Grace and all of us out there in the Blogisphere should have fun with the next few weeks!

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Monday, October 03, 2011

1001 things KEN!

(Tweakin and trippin: My new Ken Russell book did not arrive today. I am now free to leave my body with disappointment.)

Today I ran to the post to open what was to be Ken Russell Directing Film: Directors Art From Script to Cutting Room" by Ken Russell. Can you imagine that such a book ever even existed? Well it does! I had no idea until about a week ago and oh joy! It will be mine soon. Or so I thought. Instead I was sent "Evaluating Research in Health and Social Care" by Roger Gomm, Gill Needham and Anne Bullman. Hmmmm..... I'm not stranger to disappointments in the post. If you order a lot of things this way you get used to the occasional snafu and that often things just seem so much different when they arrive. I don't expect this same muck up with books though.

Perhaps my biggest most desired item to ever come by mail and be a grand let down was a booklet sold out of Archie Comics book back in the day, called "1001 Things Free". I believe today a facsimile exists called "1001 Things You Can Get For Free" but this was the classic old school name of what can only be described as the biggest con since Sea Monkeys. "1001 things free" was advertised alongside alum gum, joy buzzers and whoopee cushions so you think that might have given me just a bit of a clue! The ads usually featured a post box bursting with gifts and fancy packages or better yet simply a cornucopia brimming with free Kodak film, cosmetics, sunglasses etc etc! I was about seven and scrapped together the 3.75 needed and mailed it off (they always jacked up the shipping). It took an ETERNITY to arrive-at least two months-and then there it was. It turned out if you sent twice as much as you paid for the actual booklet you'd get some kind of film for a kind of camera few used any more (36mm?) and nearly everything else was either addresses to mail away for discount detergent vouchers or travel handouts!

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

A Martinet on the Studio Floor

(Waiting to get some: Glenda Jackson as Tchaikovsky's wife in The Music Lovers)

I watched six of Ken films these past few days (Music Lovers, Salome, Whore, Isadora Duncan, Dante's Inferno and Delius:Song of Summer) and I'm still trying to decide which film to cover next. Maybe I'll stick with fun quotes and anecdotes for a while longer. Our son loved Isadora Duncan: Greatest Dancer in The World. Lots of speeded up people jumping about and lots of children dancing!

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Elgar Study and Who's Next?

A Japanese user on You Tubed named Nankipoo was kind enough to make this interesting comparison of Ken's 1962 Elgar and his 2002 take.

I'm still not sure which film to tackle next. For some reason each work I choose seems to set the mood of the world. Delius co-existed with the lightness of summer and then Mahler set the cryptic and pyre like mood during the riots. What I am sure of is that all of Ken's films and his related works are for me resplendence in a dark world. A colourful way to see the truth in both life and history.

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