Friday, October 20, 2017

Raquel Welch: The Beauty of Defiance


Somewhere between Las Vegas and
Haight-Asbury, she found a fur bikini
This kitten had no whip, though each film seemed an act of defiance. It was her attitude to her face and body that set her apart, not the corporeal charms themselves. But we were all looking in the wrong/right places and didn’t see.

The most successful American 1960s sex symbol couldn’t act much and just sang and danced a little. 

Determination hardened her eyes but softened her curves. She wasn’t blonde. She wasn’t dumb. She wasn’t available.

Surrealism vs. Reality
Somewhere between Las Vegas and Haight-Asbury, she found a fur bikini and rocked the world.

Life itself is sexy
The former cocktail waitress never looked back and never once took it all off. She didn’t need to – not with such a ferocious spirit and the realization, known to only a chosen few: it's Life itself that's sexy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

All Yesterday's Parties: Anita Pallenberg and sweet milk of decadence


With Keef
She was a suitably dissolute member of the Royal Court of Rock. In through the backdoor with Fellini and Warhol. Then on the arm of ill-fated Brian Jones, and contiguously joined to junkie Keith Richards. Always stronger than the men, but without their discipline or guitars.

All yesterday's parties
And there were others. All through it she swayed like a wasted enchantress, leaves of the Black Forest commingled with trellises of blond hair all dusted with pixie powder.

Anita Pallenberg remains beautiful in a tableau of three-chord decadence, spun by late-night exhortations for flesh and sweat and blood, excesses amplified through Marshall stacks and road-house thunder beats.


(See the witch deep in the dark mountain’s den, dancing by a fire orgy, imprisoned and crazed, for she on honeydew hath fed and drunk sweet milk of decadence).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Adam Diment: A Dandy in Aspic


 A kinky, cool mod flare that is outrageously entertaining….If you appreciate clever plotting, plenty of excitement, sex at its most uninhibited, a dollop or two of explicit sadism, Adam Diment is a name to remember. – Publishers’ Weekly, 1967

Adam heads for the sky
The author as book cover
Adam Diment’s greatest creation was himself. Whereas Ian Fleming liked to
pose with a firearm now and then, just for a bemused homage, Diment seemed to have fallen full-born from the pages of his own spy novels.

There he was, draped in scarfs, tall, long blonde hair, leaning against a sports car, with a detached attitude that suggested drug-based dissolution. The fact that it was confected and stage managed only added to his appeal.

The young women who appeared throughout his promotional photos were, one might conjecture, paid for their services, including cab fare. That too is immaterial.

Always the women
Adam D: Partius Maximus
His four spy novels, The Dolly Dolly Spy (1967), The Great Spy Race (1968), The Bang Bang Birds (1968), and Think, Inc. (1971), are in and out of print – mostly out. But like many things 60s, he’s coming back.

After his last novel, he vanished. Poof! Never to be seen again. “He’s in Zurich!” “He’s in London.” “He’s dead. “There was talk of criminal proceedings; that he changed his name; that he became bored with fame. Who was he?

Oddly, the story of Adam Diment has no protagonist, no hero, villain or love-interest. There’s no linear plot development or character exposition. No forward movement. Rather, with his billowing sleeves, satin vests, and bevy of hippy chicks, Time has left him unscathed. He’s a dandy in aspic. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Elvis Presley: 1968 Comeback Special. “I have no need for all this.”

It’s true, Elvis was never the same after he came back from the Army in 1960. There was a knowing in the famous lopsided smile, a restlessness fueled by something other than youth.
The Final Performance

The songs came and were forgettable; the films even worse. The hippies didn’t even wears shoes, let alone blue suedes.

Eight years passed by. He dyed his hair blue/black and became an eccentric relic, more a novelty than an entertainer.

For reasons known only to a Robert-Johnson-Cross-Roads shaman, the gods handed Elvis one last chance and he didn’t even know it.

A television special would have been unthinkable before. But this was not ‘before’. The producer noticed that Elvis liked to sit with his buddies and just play the old songs. So why not do some of that?

And it became the first unplugged segment in pop music.

It didn’t take long for Elvis to go off script. In a way, he was always off script, something all the others (Bobby This or Frankie That) never really got.

Off the grid. No auto-tune. Full bore.
Watch him. He slides off the grid and swings a trapeze up to his long dormant talent. Suddenly he has hold of an electric guitar with no strap. Doesn't stop him. Deep in his Memphis soul he must know this could be it, the Final Performance, no matter how long he lives.

Clad in black leather, with no vocal overdubbing and no auto-tune and no reverb and no backup singers, he becomes what he always was - among the best rock singers of the twentieth century, and one of a few genuine pop culture icons.

Today, it is impossible to hear him sing ‘Trying to Get to You’ and not notice how careful superbowl-style pop music has become. This is the mother-lode. The high-water mark. Pre-punk. The gold standard. 

Whatever rock was supposed to be, it doesn't get better. Rock critic Greil Marcus watched the show that night with a friend, who at one point turned to him and said, shocked, "He's doing all this with just three chords? Impossible."

And then, he leaves the stage forever. Just like that. Resigned to bedazzled white jumpsuits and ill-health, going through karate-kid motions and praying for an early release.
Savage. Mindless. Real.

Later, he writes a note to himself (to what he was, what he is to become) not to be shared, but discovered after his death:

-          “I feel so alone sometimes. The night is quiet for me. I'd love to be able to sleep. I'll probably not rest. I have no need for all this. Help me, Lord.”

Friday, March 3, 2017

William F. Buckley Jr.: Strategically Disheveled

Buckley. Vidal. Let's get it on.
He enjoyed being hated by liberals. They served to validate his beliefs. “There is an inverse relationship between reliance on the state and self-reliance,” he suggested.

William F. Buckley Jr. was often the smartest guy in the room, but he usually chose the room.
Entertainer/Entrepreneur

Bill was the go-to telegenic conservative public intellectual for much of the 60s. He was everywhere. Even ran for mayor of New York City – likely for the platform, not the position.

They called his accent ‘mid-Atlantic’. It gave him a natural, privileged aura. He often appeared strategically disheveled.

Of the Vietnam War he said, “The pity is that we are saving our tactical nuclear weapons for melodramatic use.” Near the end of his life, looking back, he surmised Vietnam was a mistake. Also reversed himself on Civil Rights. Flip-flops…but he had the guts to flop.

His TV show, Firing Line, was on the air for thirty-three years. He met his match with guest Noam Chomsky and purposely avoided him from thereon.

The writer Gore Vidal believed “[Buckley] was a very stupid guy, who never read any of those books he referred to, and Americans, being such hicks, thought he was a great nobleman and a real gentleman.”
Bardot. Buckley. Let's get it on.

He wrote a series of spy novels.

Buckley wasn’t really an intellectual, academic, capitalist or provocateur. He was an entertainer/entrepreneur. He once said it was a tough way to make a buck.

Someone with his learning, brains, and vocabulary wouldn’t last thirty minutes on today’s airwaves.

His career? ...Commenting on his convictions.

Love him or leave him, William Buckley had a very rare talent for a TV host. He made people... think.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Jean de Breiteuil: The Jet-Setting Angel of Death

“Jean wаѕ a horrible guy, ѕоmеоnе who had crawled out from under a stone. Sоmеhоw I ended uр with him…it wаѕ аll аbоut drugs аnd sex.” – Marianne Faithful

“The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.” - Shakespeare

Jean de Breiteuil. As a drug dealer/addict, he was in the right business. He just wasn’t good at it. Jim Morrison. Jimi Hendrix. Brian Jones. Janis Joplin. Talitha Getty. Pam Courson. Keith Richards. All clients, all dead – except for Keith Richards – for as we all know, what doesn’t destroy Keith only makes him
Jean de Breiteuil: Jet-setting
stronger.

Maybe along the way, Jean’s self-loathing somehow metastasized into homicidal fantasies. Likely he didn’t care. Perhaps his spirit was cast at Altamont. He himself overdosed at the age of twenty-two. 1972.

Devil assumes a pleasing shape

The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.One could argue that taking out Morrison and Joplin changed the course of rock music, however subtly. His involvement with Hendrix and Jones was more tangential.
.
His family owned French-language newspapers in North Africa. On the death of his father, he inherited the title of 'Count de Breteuil'. A debauched aristocrat if ever there was. Became a Eurotrash, drug-addled playboy. A rock n’ roll celebrity  drug enabler.

A few of his customers
What to make of it? ‘Heroin Dealer to the Stars’ isn’t a typical career choice. Who knows his passions. But when so many of your customers become young corpses, one may question a professional aptitude.


Jean de Breiteuil. The soundtrack of his life should include The Pusher, People Are Strange, and for this jet-setting junkie, Hank Williams’ Angel of Death. “The Angel of Death/ Will come from the sky/ And claim up your soul/ When the time comes to die.”