Bits and Pieces September 22, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture.
I think I mentioned the Lightning interceptor I saw at Tangmere Aerodrome over the Summer. And here’s a short promotional film from the 1960s. An oddly passive aggressive narration over an overly jaunty jazzy score, but some great footage of a remarkable aircraft.
Speaking of aircraft, here’s an odd story about the Wilson years in British politics. While at Tangmere I noticed an oil painting of a Hawker Hunter flying beneath the span of Tower Bridge. The flight took place in 1968 and was an unauthorised protest by its pilot, Flight Lieutenant Alan Pollock, at cuts in the RAF – and a changing defensive/offensive profile away from human piloted aircraft. Apparently adding insult to injury for the pilot there were no air displays to mark the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the RAF.
He was arrested as soon as he touched down afterwards.
I’ve a fairly good knowledge of aviation incidents during that period, but I’d never heard of this one. I wonder was it downplayed massively due to the implications. Pollock was invalided out of the RAF – in part according to the wiki page to avoid a court martial. But it’s an interesting insight into just how fractious that period was.
In retrospect it all seems mad as a bag of cats. Wilson, while a better social democrat than most of those who succeeded him, was no revolutionary and the idea that his governments posed any sort of threat – as exhaustively demonstrated in The Wilson Plot and elsewhere – is bizarre. But that same year there was this… or so it is said.
Pollock’s motivations don’t appear to have been similar to those of the plotters – indeed, ironically, his actions seem to me to have something of a broader climate of changing societal dynamics.
I mentioned earlier in the week that I’d got the Old Grey Whistle Test on DVD. Four disks and it’s a revealing insight into a show that when it was good was great but when it was not so good was… well sometimes not even that okay. One of the curious aspects to it was the sense that far from being avant-garde – as one suspects some of those involved liked to flatter themselves, it was incredibly resistant to change. It’s not that I have a particular aversion to blues rock – if anything quite the opposite.
But one group after another of interminable and samey 1970s outfits becomes a bit wearing. And I swear to God, no more with the Edgar Winter or Focus. Though Rory Gallagher was great and Freddie King’s Boogie Funk is good stuff too.
The same too could be said of singer-songwriters (with the exception of the remarkable Judee Sill). Enough, no more. It’s sort of a perfect visual explanation of why punk and new wave were utterly necessary to blow away the cobwebs. By the time the Damned appear for an highly entertaining History of the World/Smash it Up it is a genuine relief from much (but in fairness by no means all) of the chin-stroking stuff that precedes it (though the same could be said of Supertramp). That they proceed to wreck their drums while a perennial act of musical rebellion somehow is reworked as an hilarious but oddly sincere moment is all to the good.
Telling too how cleverly The Old Grey Whistle Test was parodied by the Fast Show.
But that’s only half of it. I’d forgotten that it only lasted to 1987 and even, or particularly in it’s later incarnation it could be fairly ropey during that time. For every Tom Verlaine or Orange Juice and Jesus and Mary Chain (a gruelling performance which in a way reprises the Damned, though rather than smashing up their – erm – drum instead they effectively flop onto the stage around it and Jim Reid bangs away at it in a desultory way for thirty seconds or so) there’s a Sade or Howard Jones or whoever. In a way that’s a bit unfair, look through YouTube and the amount of good stuff not on the DVD that passed through the studio is fairly impressive.
And it’s a great document of a particular period in time. Which reminds me, many many years ago Network 2/RTE2 used to run on a Sunday afternoon a rock programme that I think was German from the 1970s. Similar sort of set up, studio performances, blues rock and heavy rock bands in the main. I think Sabbath appeared on it, but there were a fair few others who were pretty good too. Anyone remember it?
Meanwhile, it’s been a while since libertarianism was mentioned in this post, but there’s never a bad time to mention it. So, for all you Atlas Shrugged fans, great news. Atlas Shrugged II, the film has finally been completed. Yes! And, not only but also, it will be released in October in the US! Yes! But with a new cast.
Yep, most of the leads have gone onto better things – now perhaps this is a meta example of objectivism in action, though perhaps not given that they didn’t want to return to complete the task. So they had to recast.
Sadly no sign of a release on this side of the Atlantic. I tell you, were I able to purchase it I would. I am entirely serious.
Though let’s hope they’ll iron out any problems like the following, as related on wiki:
Atlas Shrugged: Part I was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on November 8, 2011 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. More than 100,000 DVD inserts were recalled within days due to the jacket’s philosophically incorrect description of “Ayn Rand’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice.”
Self-sacrifice? Ayn Rand ? Surely not! Which reminds me, the co-producer, John Aglialoro, makes the following point about Rand and her thoughts on ‘selfishness’…
” I wish she didn’t say ‘selfishness’ as she did. That she was for ‘selfishness.’ She was human, and probably meant that in a rhetorical way. But if she was on this earth again, maybe she’d put it another way.”
Something else than ‘selfishness’? Ayn Rand? Surely not!
Here’s the trailer for the second film:
And meanwhile, here’s a reworking of the original trailer which makes some very sensible points about the plot, and the concept and… well, just go on and view it.
And lastly for now…
Check this out…