MCMLXXVI Rock and Roll Heart

It feels like spring is here, this day in May. It’s been a cultural revolution.

Microsoft teases a ‘next generation of Windows’ announcement ‘very soon’

https://www.theverge.com/2021/5/25/22453222/microsoft-windows-next-generation-announcement-sun-valley-build-2021-keynote

One evening, the other day, I’d got to feeling, oddly, like how I did when I was an unfulfilled young person, feeling regret at letting time go, without, you could say, stopping to smell the roses.

Two weeks ago, the YouTube channel for IGN posted the Indiana Jones trailer commemorating forty years since Raiders of the Lost Ark made its premiere in 1981.

#IndianaJones
Darth Vader and the Death Star

It was kind of weird to think about a related film, The Rise of Skywalker, being in theatres an entire year in the past. Things have certainly changed.

Song Lyric Sunday is is a blog hop organized by Jim Adams. For Sunday, December 20, Jim’s prompts include: “circle.”

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/12/19/the-shape-im-in-2/

A blog hop is a social experience, a little fun if you blog.

About music, to be a famous musician is a powerful fantasy. I regard exciting music or any sort of expert musicianship.

The prompt circle reminded me of the late, great Lou Reed’s song Vicious Circle, on the album Rock and Roll Heart. In 1976, Reed’s first album with Arista Records followed the records he did for RCA after The Velvet Underground ended, and was kind of immediately enjoyable for a casual listener, though Reed seems to flirt again on Rock and Roll Heart with self-destruction, not unlike what a depressed but notable musician can be like. Rock and Roll Heart is the seventh solo studio album by Lou Reed, released in 1976. Heart is the seventh collection by Lou Reed. It was his first for Arista Records after record magnate Clive Davis safeguarded him. There’s a TV interview with Reed in Australia recorded around 1975, just before he made Rock and Roll Heart, where Reed seems unhappy.

Reed tries a joke about the tyrant Adolf Hitler, calling him a great organizer. The interviewer admonishes him. I think Reed was obliquely referring to Andy Warhol, who once managed him as a musician.

Reed is a championed rock guitarist and singer who is seldom rivalled, given the influence of his personality. He is gone, but when I was in college, one long-haired, heavyset history teacher taught us a little about him, calling Reed “the godfather of punk.” In the library, I found a little book about subculture, music subculture in the nineteen seventies, and I put energy into understanding it.

Lou Reed’s New York

Because of the acclaim of The Velvet Underground, that was after they ceased making music together, as a group, songs of theirs began to be popular.

When in the year 1999 I went into the HMV store in New York City, the international chain of CD shops where you went if you wanted music, in the days when you bought music on physical media, the Velvets were well-advertised, as in giant letters in the store announcing, “The Velvet Underground.” You knew it was their town.

Years before I was born, Lou Reed had a Top 20 hit, contributing to the new popularity of both Reed, and, consequently, the Velvets. The most popular song by Reed is a song I first heard on FM radio, cruising the streets of my town, probably for no particular reason, or for no good reason.

Lou Reed a Life by Anthony DeCurtis

I didn’t know who that singer was, on the radio, until I heard the song again, as though it were still 1972, in some kind of Doctor Who-type parallel universe. I still didn’t know whom it was singing like that, but eventually, a friend of a friend listened to me describe the song, and he knew who it was, given a moment (between thought and reflection).

I was in a circle, then, being a kid in high school, dealing with pressures that are specific to what I think is most kids’ experience. It wasn’t vicious, by the way, just sayin’.

The song Vicious Circle could be about having social pressures, like specific patterns ingrained in you to run up against a wall. The song is less up-tempo than most of the songs on Rock and Roll Heart. I am not sure the better part of Reed’s listeners would embrace music like his, if they didn’t feel, at least from time to time, that the intrigue about the music was coming from a place touched by despair.

There are stories about Lou Reed, when he was the frontman of the Velvets, like that he played Woodstock in ’69, but nobody could hear the sound. I don’t think the Velvets did play Woodstock. They broke up amid tension.

The third and fourth of the Velvets’ records were more straightforward as rock albums than the first and second albums. I believe in 1968 they performed in Hamilton, Ontario, but if so, that was likely the Velvet Underground’s only show in Canada.

Lou Reed’s hit in 1972 includes the B-side Vicious (not Vicious Circle). Four years after that, after Reed was back to being a struggling songwriter, Reed with Vicious Circle was possibly pointing to his choice of making a livelihood as a rock singer, because Vicious Circle points to the song Vicious, and the 45 format itself is circular in shape, music being on vinyl discs, records. There is a hint of weariness in Vicious Circle.

There is a Bowie song, too, with the word circle in its title, and I know there’s a reference to him in the title of Vicious Circle in all likelihood.

Reed had a great sense of humour, I read in college, the Velvets’ drummer Moe Tucker remarking on that about Lou Reed.

Reed expounded on experience in his music, including thoughts about sex and culture. Reed did much of his very best music with the Velvets, who were John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and Doug Yule.

Everything Lou Reed did music-wise is very acceptable, I think. The Velvet Underground is a legendary band. Many an amateur rocker knows whom the Velvet Underground are, and get songs like What Goes On, and Sweet Jane, west coast surf type stuff.

I used to wonder what Reed intended for the fate of his music.

I think with Rock and Roll Heart Reed was trying his hand at again being a straightforward rock musician. I would venture to guess that he was a pretty hot musician, trying to move into AM Radio with the record Coney Island Baby, but had simultaneously conveyed the ability to fail with his 1975 noise opus Metal Machine Music.

Metal Machine Music sort of seems easier to take as an experimental ambient noise album, but I take it fans of the artist would have wanted more rock songs, not something altogether weird like Metal Machine Music. Wikipedia says, “In 1979 Reed said ‘Saying ‘I’m a Coney Island baby’ at the end of that song is like saying I haven’t backed off an inch. And don’t you forget it.'”

Photo by Emanuele Bresciani from StockSnap

Reed lived a long life, until October 27, 2013, passing away at the age of 71. When I was In college, I didn’t believe Reed’s image as a street-weary rock musician, compared to who he was. I don’t have any acquaintance with it all, however.

Thanks to Jim Adams for the December 20 word prompt circle.

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Vicious Circle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfceMTlEq7s

You’re caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You’re caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
‘Cause some people think that they like problems
And some people think that they don’t
And for everybody who says yes
There’s somebody who’s staring, saying don’t

You’re caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You’re caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
‘Cause some people think that it’s nerves
And some people think that it’s not
And some people think that it’s things that you do
And others think that you were cold, when you were hot
They think that that is what it was about

You’re caught in a vicious circle …

Surrounded by all of your friends

WordPress Discover: Hidden

Today’s WordPress Discover theme is the idea of “hidden,” organized by Ben Huberman.  Last night on Twitter, I saw a tweet that included a landscape by fantasy painter Boris Vallejo.  The landscape is Cloud City, the Star Wars locale where the Sith’s Lord Vader captures Han Solo in preparation to return the smuggler and hero to an otherworldly gangster who Solo owes.

The Empire Strikes Back

    The landscape of Cloud City, the carbon freezing chamber which Vader utilizes to hold Solo without fail, is painted hidden by steam, except for the sight of Solo’s friends and the traitor Lando Calrissian.  Cloud City is hidden in the painting much as Darth Vader is hidden underneath his Sith mask.  The Sith Order is an ancient order of Force-wielders devoted to the dark side of the Force, as starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Sith explains.

    The Force is an energy field that is wielded by Jedi on the side of good and Sith on the side of evil.  An enduring saga, the timeline for this hidden landscape of Cloud City refers to the culmination of events in the 1980s The Empire Strikes Back film.  Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia swears her love for Han Solo.

    Billy Dee Williams, as Lando Calrissian, does his best to rescue the Princess from Darth Vader, but at the cost of surrendering Solo to Vader, and Anthony Daniels as droid character C-3P0 is in pieces, having been shot by a laser blaster when he strayed around the wrong corner a few scenes earlier.  Fortunately, C-3P0 is mechanical.  C-3P0’s master at the time of events in The Empire Strikes Back is incongruously absent from the painting.

It would be Jedi apprentice Luke Skywalker, who comes to the realization that his friends are in terrible danger from Vader and that he has precious little time to train as a Jedi.  The order of Jedi is a counterpart to the evil order of Sith.

Today Disney explained on Twitter that they have an interest in taking advantage of May the 4th tweets with the hashtag #maythefourth. May the 4th is a long running day that commemorates the Star Wars film franchise with the idea that the Star Wars toast “May the Force be with you” translates to “May the Fourth be with you,” as is well known as Star Wars fans. Disney announced today that hashtagging a tweet with #maythefourth, while making it eligible to be celebrated by Disney on Twitter, automatically makes that tweet the property of Disney themselves.

It isn’t a doable contingency. Clownfish TV on YouTube explained today that while Disney does own the trademark “May the Fourth,” the trademark is only guarded where apparel and events are concerned. There is no protection for Disney when Star Wars fans tweet #maythefourth about their love of Star Wars.

However, Disney clearly is trying to get protective of the trademark with the idea of putting their authority to use in the face of anyone who would tweet #maythefourth. Even that idea that Disney would like control of the hashtag #maythefourth could be enough to dispel an interest in tweeting the hashtag. The recognition from Disney would be nice, but implying that Disney has control of the hashtag isn’t right when they really don’t.

I would hope that Disney’s posturing to defeat tweets that don’t meet the bar that Disney would like to hold presents the idea that the sequel trilogy of Star Wars films, while fine movies I think, is somewhat irresponsible when it comes to respecting the film fandom. Clownfish TV didn’t even watch The Rise of Skywalker.

The Empire Strikes Back

Why Skywalker`s Students Should Have Been Afraid

Dimensions: 4500 x 2981

The “Stupendous Wave” Star Wars YouTube channel said yesterday that John Boyega’s people have said that an official trailer for Rise of Skywalker would air at halftime during Monday Night Football, and go to YouTube at the same time. This sounded like bullshit to me, and as troubles continued after the backlash given what Rian Johnson did to the story arc directing The Last Jedi, I was mostly aware that I should try to get a night’s sleep that Monday and get the same scoop of trash that had been grabbed several times too many already the next morning.

Or whenever. They’re not the worst movies in the world, but they’re not really good, either.

I wanted to say something more about the character of Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi, played in 2017 again by Mark Hamill.

Luke Skywalker wanted there to be more Jedi Masters, heroes of The Force, who help police their galaxy.

The word disciple often refers to people dedicated to learning about The Bible from Jesus Christ. The Last Jedi retells how Jesus could do only so much, as when Luke is unseated by Ben Solo, son of Han Solo, and Leia Organa. Ben has betrayed Luke and murdered the other disciples, becoming Kylo Ren, like his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker.

This is not that different than the Apostle Judas betraying Jesus to Pontius Pilate for thirty pieces of silver. Unlike Jesus Christ, crucified by the Romans, Luke enjoyed the freedom to retreat to Ahch-To. He is done with enlisting potential Jedi, at least until Rey seeks him, and tells him what she knows is happening in the First Order, across the galaxy.

The difference between Ben Solo and the other Jedi disciples Luke was trying to train is that Ben is the son of Leia and Han. Luke had known when teaching Ben, that the young man could be trouble for the galaxy if the Dark Side of the Force began to grow in him.

Some of the tragedy of The Last Jedi, tragic in the sense that the events of the story are irreversible, and of an ill nature, is that what Luke could teach caused the apprentices’ demise. The Jedi dedication to The Force could not combat the voice of the darkness in Benmind. Young Ben Solo is seduced by the Dark Side, as the transformation into Kylo Ren begins (with, I think, the interrogation of Rey), not too different from the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader, in Revenge of the Sith.

Dimensions: 3200 x 1967
Photographer: Luca Baggio

Not a big surprise, Luke Skywalker is my favorite character in The Last Jedi because of the reminders Mark Hamill creates of the original Star Wars trilogy. Luke`s powerful abilities in The Force, begun in Star Wars in 1977, and explored in the next two sequels, are what fans usually like about him. For Luke to teach the ways of a Jedi Master is great because Luke learned from Yoda, in The Empire Strikes Back, the ways of The Force.

“Pass on what you have learned,” Yoda finally tells Luke in Return of the Jedi.

Dimensions: 4500 x 2981
Photographer: Michal Jarmoluk

The Star Wars audience knows of events in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens because they have been told to Rey by Han Solo when the two are aboard the Millenium Falcon after Rey leaves home. If Luke`s other disciples had anticipated Ben’s seduction by the Dark Side, and his protégés, they would have become afraid, as this is Anakin Skywalker’s grandson and potentially very powerful. No one facing death would fail when a pressing objective very much requires the opposite: the objective to become Jedi and to defeat the First Order.

Luke`s remorse is evident. Mark Hamill displays the emotion perfectly.

Dimensions: 4608 x 2592
Photographer: Mateusz Dach

Recollections of the murders are present in The Last Jedi, but that movie would have been better if it were more clear what Luke searched for in his years of travel before the events of The Force Awakens. Luke is a Jedi Master who can deter the First Order if only he can teach Ben Solo the treachery of the Dark Side of The Force. That can`t be done, not even by Luke Skywalker.

How is it that Luke, with everything he understands about The Force, can make such a dangerous error? Luke has decided, I think, in The Last Jedi, that to wield The Force, with as much ferocity as he has, is an act of hubris. If Luke had reached Ben Solo on any other level than training the young man to be a Jedi, the sway of the Dark Side on Ben might have been dispelled, with Ben never joining the First Order.

Although the conflict in Ben has made unrest in the galaxy that Luke, Leia, Poe, Fin, C-3P0, R2-D2, and Rose together begin to combat in The Force Awakens, Ben`s path could have taken him elsewhere instead of to the very center of the battle against the tyranny of the First Order in the galaxy.

Reasonable fear is usually an emotion evoked by the Dark Side of the Force on one full of vulnerability. That same emotion could have prevented the tragedy and kept both Han Solo and Luke Skywalker alive. Remember that Luke`s powers mostly fail him in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader pursues him on Cloud City on Bespin after Jedi Master Yoda has told Luke that he isn`t ready for the encounter.

In The Last Jedi, Leia has told Luke that she desires him to teach The Force. If Luke could have drawn insight from what Yoda at the last had to say about teaching, with the wisdom, The Force, a generation before Ben committed the murders of Luke’s apprentices, the drawback of overconfidence in Luke Skywalker could have meant a saner outcome.

You`re welcome to like this post, follow the blog, and/or comment.

The Skywalker Saga draws to a close this winter beginning December 20.

SciFi Fandom Pride: Where’d You Go? “He tends to say whatever comes into his circuits.” – Cassian Andor, Rogue One

The Force Awakens

To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.

The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977.  George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie.  The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.


Photographer:
One Idea LLC

The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring.  In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch.  For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.

The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication.  Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.

Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.

There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens.  Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility.  There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.

The rest of Star Wars will be history.

There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer.  Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way.  Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q

In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.

If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky.  I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.

You are welcome to click “like,” to follow the blog, and/or to comment.