Bits and pieces: Culture (including the true meaning of Science Fiction according to the FBI) September 8, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Sport, The Left.
I know I’m going on and on about this in comments elsewhere, but The Damned United is a film that has stuck with me subsequently. It’s not simply Sheen and Meaney’s central performances where they seem to effectively channel Clough and Revie, but the underlying story itself is fascinating, As is this piece of footage of their famous television appearance (with an incredibly youthful Austin Mitchell of all people as the interviewer) subsequent to Clough’s disastrous forty odd day tenure at Leeds.
Here’s the first part of that interview.
I’d not realised how left wing Clough was as well. Interesting person.
One small thing about the film. The Deep Purple song “Flight of the Rat” was used for the first meeting (or non-meeting) of Clough and Revie at a match between Derby and Leeds. But that took place in 67 or 68 and the song wasn’t released until 1970 and with Ian Gillan on vocals whereas previously it had been… who fronted the group. It’s not a mistake exactly, after all it could have been used purely for the lyrical conceit but it was slightly anachronistic – though not at all so when used briefly later in the film.
Actually, while talking about Deep Purple it’s interesting how they, unlike Black Sabbath (and of course Led Zeppelin) have never quite managed to be critically rehabilitated after the years of Zonk. Lars Von Trier used Child in Time for Breaking the Waves in the late 1990s and … is such a fan that they played for him some years back at his birthday. I wonder what it is about Purple – a band who I still rate. The lyrics? The music itself? Too heavy?
Talking about music, check this out, Adweeks overview of the 10 ads that killed Dubstep. Dubstep has its moments but as Adweek notes for a genre the better part of a decade old it’s interesting to see how long it took for the advertising agencies to get in on the act (and it also notes the sheer weirdness of some of the juxtapositions on view here, not least as it says with no small irony “Nothing says “two great-tasting Louisiana classic [whiskey]” quite like the musical stylings of south London”). But the problem is, as with all other genres, advertising agencies do sooner or later get in on the act.
Best one? The parody which is number 5 or 6.
Still the piece raises an interesting question as to how much advertising destroys popular music. The excerpts from genuine classics, and soon to be classics, seem to somehow excise the good out of songs and instrumentals.
Meanwhile, the Guardian politics podcast which seems to appear every week or so is well worth a listen, not least for Michael White’s interventions. White strikes me as being slightly at odds with the overall leftish tone of the Guardian.
Talking of podcasts, the NPR Science Podcast had an excellent short piece on how the Voyager probes, launched 35 years ago, are now a substantial part of a light day away from Earth and are drawing close to the boundaries of the Solar System. The instrumentation and electronics on board is also 35 years old, and includes an 8 track tape. Here is a remarkable photograph taken by Voyager of the ‘pale blue dot’ which is Earth as seen from it in the 1990s when it took a shot of what was behind it.
And moving from science to science fiction while author Ray Bradbury was no man of the left… one has to applaud some of his positions when one reads the information unearthed from his FBI file. It appears that:
A named source in the file, Martin A Berkeley, told the agents investigating Bradbury that the author “was probably sympathetic with certain pro-communist elements”, and that during a discussion about whether Communist party members should be allowed to join the Screen Writers Guild, Bradbury “rose to his feet and shouted ‘Cowards and McCarthyites’ when the resolution was discussed”.
Another informant agreed about the dangerous effects of science fiction, advising “that individuals such as Ray Bradbury are in a position to spread poison concerning political institutions in general and American institutions in particular”, and that “Communists have found fertile opportunities for development; for spreading distrust and lack of confidence in America [sic] institutions in the area of science fiction writing”. Even worse, “the general aim of these science fiction writers is to frighten the people into a state of paralysis or psychological incompetence bordering on hysteria which would make it very possible to conduct a Third World War which the American people would seriously believe could not be won since their morals had been seriously destroyed”.
Wow! So that’s what SF is about. Good to know…