Syd Barrett’s Faerie-Tales

deadbutdreaming

Syd Barrett has always been a major influence for me; a lost genius amidst the tumultuous cultural times of the late 1960s. I even managed to slip him into my novel Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun, as an oracle of wisdom to my deranged protagonist. It’s no secret that he was an enthusiastic user of LSD, but probably less well-known (apart from amongst his fan-base) that his very irregular head often interacted with the world of the faeries.

Probably the best biography of Syd is Rob Chapman’s Syd Barrett – A Very Irregular Head,sydbarrettaveryirregularheadukpublished in 2010. Chapman goes to some length in analysing Syd’s early influences, and how they translated into the first Pink Floyd album Piper at the Gates of Dawn in 1967. The very name of the album is taken from a chapter in Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows, where Rat and…

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Nico: the last journey

thebluemoment.com

nico-2Nico died in Ibiza, a place she had loved for many years, one hot July day in 1988. Leaving the rented farmhouse where she was staying with her son, Ari, she headed into town, apparently intending to buy some hashish. At some point in the journey she fell from her bicycle and suffered a head injury. It was not until the following day that Ari called the police, gave them a description, and received the news that she had died in hospital.

Stephan Crasneanscki of Soundwalk Collective is not the only one to have found himself trying to visualise that last journey. With a new album called Killer Road, he and his partners in the band, Simone Merli and Kamran Sadegh, together with the composer Jesse Paris Smith, present a cycle of pieces based on Nico’s songs and poetry in which they attempt to evoke the thoughts and sounds that might have been going through her mind as she pedalled through the…

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Above the Dutch Chocolate Shop, A Mysterious Los Angeles Time Capsule

Esotouric

History-loving Los Angeles, sit down: we’re about to blow your collective mind.

You know, of course, that behind a rolled down grate in the heart of Downtown’s Broadway Theater District is a magical 1914 space called the Dutch Chocolate Shop, containing the largest collection of unique Ernest Batchelder tile murals in the world. If you’ve taken our Lowdown on Downtown tour (it rolls this Saturday), you might have even been inside.

Dutch Chocolate Shop

But have you ever wondered if there is anything else of historical interest preserved within the walls of 217-219 West Sixth Street? More marvelous art tile perhaps, or remnants of the building’s long history as a health food restaurant and cafeteria?

Recently, we had the opportunity to explore the entire building, hoping to answer this nagging question. We took the marbled linoleum stairs, heading into the silent, dusty spaces above and below the Chocolate Shop.

stairsstep risers

The basement and…

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PIANIST GLENN GOULD | REJECTING THE ‘BLOODSPORT’ CULT OF SHOWMANSHIP

The Selvedge Yard

“A record is a concert without halls, and a museum whose curator is the owner.”

Glenn Gould was blessed with a musical talent that few have managed to match in our lifetime. A ‘child prodigy’ pianist, he was thrust into fame’s spotlight in 1955 at the age of 22 when Columbia released his groundbreaking Bach ‘Golberg Variations.’ (Gold was his birthname, which his parents had changed to “Gould” over fear of anti-semitism during WWII– the family was not Jewish. When he was often asked his religious ancestry he’d remark, “I was Jewish during the war.”) His rebellious style, anti-establishment vibe, and longish locks also made him a sort of counter-culture icon of Classical music.

Gould’s incredible playing– inventive, unorthodox, and originally shunned by classical purists like Leonard Bernstein, was often noted by a manipulated tempo, sometimes very fast, yet each note amazingly clear. He was also known for…

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The Wonderful O, by James Thurber

Vulpes Libris

And so the locksmith became a lcksmith, and the bootmaker a btmaker, and people whispered like conspirators when they said the names.  Love’s Labours Lost and Mother Goose flattened out like a pricked balloon.  Books were bks and Robin Hood was Rbinhd.  Little Goody Two Shoes lost her Os and so did Goldilocks, and the former became a whisper, and the latter sounded like a key jiggled in a lck.  It was impossible to read “cockadoodledoo” aloud, and parents gave up reading to their children, and some gave up reading altogether…

The Wonderful O is the story of the people of Ooroo, who, colonised by the worst sort of moral monster (the pirates Black and Littlejack), are robbed of their Os.  Desolate and confused, they can no longer love, worship or adore; commerce, religion and public order are affected for the worse; and our heroine Andrea can be “a lass…

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