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Posts Tagged ‘Joy Division

“I traveled far and wide through many different times”*…

Fifty years ago this month Harold D. Craft, Jr., published a remarkable black-on-white plot in his Ph.D. dissertation at Cornell University. A stacked series of jagged lines displayed incoming radio waves from pulsar CP1919, as detected at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Several months later the chart appeared as a full-page visualization in Scientific American, this time with white lines on a field of cyan [above]…

Scientific American

In 1977, the image was included in The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy

… where, two years after that, Factory Records graphic genius Peter Saville discovered it and adapted it as the cover art for Joy Division’s debut album, Unknown Pleasures. He reversed the image from black-on-white to white-on-black, against the band’s stated preference for the original. “I was afraid it might look a little cheap. I was convinced that it was just sexier in black.”

It has, of course, become an icon.

* Joy Division, “Wilderness,” from Unknown Pleasures

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As we tap our toes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that the U.S. Senate held hearings on what they called “porn rock.” The session was convened at the urging of the Parents Music Resource Center, a group founded by Tipper Gore, wife of Senator and later Vice President Al Gore; Susan Baker, wife of Treasury Secretary James Baker; Pam Howar, wife of Washington realtor Raymond Howar; and Sally Nevius, wife of former Washington City Council Chairman John Nevius, and devoted to forcing the music industry to affix Parental Advisory stickers– “warning labels”– to albums and CDs deemed to contain morally challenged material (like the “Filthy Fifteen” songs the group condemned).

Three musicians– Frank Zappa, John Denver, and Dee Snyder– testified in opposition to the proposal at the hearing… which was in the end moot, as the industry, afraid of negative publicity, agreed voluntarily to begin the labeling.

It is unclear that the “Tipper sticker” was/is effective in preventing children from being exposed to explicit content. Some, citing the “forbidden-fruit effect,” suggest that the sticker in fact increases record sales, arguing as Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire has: “for the most part [the sticker] might even sell more records… all you’ve got to do is tell somebody this is a no-no and then that’s what they want to go see.”

Tipper Gore at the hearing

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“Don’t hate the media; become the media”*…

 

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“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Johnny Rotten aka John Lydon’s closing words at the last Sex Pistols gig (watch it online) seemed apt this week when Virgin Bank announced their current line of credit cards would feature the band’s signature artwork. That Jamie Reid’s famous cut-n-paste zine-cum-Situationalist aesthetic has turned into a bit of capitalist plastic for your wallet is an irony that the Sex Pistols might never have seen coming back in 1976, when they played the “gig that changed the world.”

Recreated above in a clip from Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People, the June 4, 1976 gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall spawned the British punk movement and the post-punk movement that was soon to follow in a scant two years. For in the audience were future members of the Buzzcocks Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley (who organized the gig and opened for the Pistols); a nascent version of Joy Division; the two founders of Factory Records Martin Hannet and Tony Wilson; Mark E. Smith of The Fall, Mick Hucknall of Frantic Elevators and much later Simply Red; and a one Steven Patrick Morrissey, who would form The Smiths. (That’s Steve Coogan playing Tony Wilson in the clip, by the way.)…

More on that extraordinary evening– with audio clips of the Pistols’ performance– at “The Sex Pistols’ 1976 Manchester “Gig That Changed the World,” and the Day the Punk Era Began.”

* Jello Biafra

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As we politely pogo, we might recall that it was on this ate in 2002 that Queen Elizabeth II issued her annual Honours List, on which she tapped 60-year-old Mick Jagger for a Knighthood.

Sir Mick Jagger, his two daughters, and his then-92-year-old father at the Investiture

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

June 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

So it went…

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In the late 70s, Tony Wilson— who would go on to co-found Factory Records (the seminal independent label that embodied “The Manchester Sound”) and The Hacienda (the warehouse-based club that was the birthplace of the rave)– hosted a tea-time television show called So It Goes.

A weekly arts/culture/music series, the program’s passion was emerging new pop music…  which in those days meant Punk and New Wave.

The Way We Were is a Channel 4 (UK) retrospective first broadcast circa 1984.– a compilation of performances by bands performing on So It Goes– many of them making their TV debuts: Sex Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop, The Fall, Elvis Costello, Blondie, Penetration, Wreckless Eric, Ian Dury, Tom Robinson, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, XTC and Joy Division…

[TotH to Richard Metzger and his essential Dangerous Minds for the lead to TWWW]

As we slam dance down memory lane, we might recall that it was on this date in 1976– as we in the U.S. were beginning our Bi-Centennial Day celebrations– that the Clash gave their first public performance: they opened for the Sex Pistols at The Black Swan in Sheffield, England.  As U2 guitarist The Edge later wrote, “This wasn’t just entertainment. It was a life-and-death thing….It was the call to wake up, get wise, get angry, get political and get noisy about it.”

The Clash, 1976 (source)

A Monument for Mr. Wilson…

Long-time (pre-blog) readers will recall the passing of Anthony H. “Tony” Wilson in 2007.  In 1976, Wilson, a recent graduate of Cambridge serving as a feature reporter for Granada TV in the British Midlands, saw the Sex Pistols at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall.  It was, he said, “nothing short of an epiphany.”

Wilson booked the Pistols onto his weekly cultural show, So It Goes (their first appearance on TV), and over the next few years turned the program into the leading broadcast outlet for new music in the U.K.

Much of that music was percolating in Manchester; Wilson became it’s catalyst.  In 1978, with a couple of friends, he started Factory Records, the seminal label that introduced such bands as Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column, Happy Mondays, James, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.

But Wilson remained devoted to live performance, anxious that others should share the conversion he had experienced in 1976,  He founded the Hacienda, a nightclub/performance space, where Factory acts and other leading bands of the 80s played– and where the rave was born.

Both Factory and the Hacienda faded with the decade.  But Wilson remained a fixture in British culture, largely as a political commentator on the BBC and ITV.

Tony Wilson died in August 2007. Just over three years later, a memorial headstone designed collaboratively by Wilson’s long-time associates Peter Saville (the art director for Factory Records) and Ben Kelly (the designer of The Hacienda), was unveiled in The Southern Cemetery in Chorlton-Cum-Hardy, Manchester.

 

More, at Creative Review.

As we hum “God Save the Queen,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1992 that Jesus did not appear on earth and the Rapture did not occur.

Edgar C. Whisenant, a former NASA engineer and an avid student of the Bible had predicted the Rapture would occur in 1988, between September 11 and 13.  Whisenant’s predictions were taken seriously in some parts of the evangelical Christian community.  Indeed, as the window approached, regular programming on Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) was interrupted to provide special instructions on preparing for the Rapture.

When it didn’t materialize, Whisenant revised his estimate to 1989.  When that date passed uneventfully, he returned to his sources and returned with an even more confident prediction that it would be on October 28, 1992.  Subsequent predictions were for 1993, 1994, and 1997.

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