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The blog of author Dennis Cooper

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Sypha presents … The Ultimate Whitehouse Day *

* (restored)

“The listeners of these records will always enjoy the most intense reactions of all.”
(-old Come Organisation slogan).

 

Introduction

“this album marks the beginning of a second coming- the nascent dawn of electronic music as fathered by throbbing gristle and cabaret voltaire in 1976 until now electronic music has lacked two things- firstly aggression and force- it has always been laid back, unashamedly muzak- secondly it has lacked feeling intensity and relevancy whitehouse is a three piece group who are violently uncompromising both musically and lyrically while possessing a new sense of direction in the spectrum they have very little in common with the common crop of electronic pop bands and this album should not be confused with such”
(original sleeve notes from Birthdeath Experience, Whitehouse’s debut album, 1980)

Whitehouse is an experimental, avant-garde musical project pioneered by William Bennett, that specialize in extreme electronic music. They are often lumped into the noise, industrial, or power electronics genre (in fact, it was them who first coined the phrase “power electronics”). Founded in 1980, they released nine albums during the years 1980-1985, all released through Bennett’s very own Come Organisation record label (which also released albums by other influential artists such as Nurse With Wound, Maurizio Bianchi, and Sutcliffe Jugend). During this time period they also played many infamous and legendary concerts (or “live actions” to use their phrase for it). However, they were shunned by the music press at large and their albums were reviled by many. Come Organisation closed down in the mid-80’s and many of Whitehouse’s albums went out of print, where they soon became very expensive collector’s items. At the end of the 80’s Bennett formed a new record label, Susan Lawly, which he runs to this day, and Whitehouse began releasing albums again. In addition, Susan Lawly also began re-releasing a lot of the old Whitehouse albums and other Come Organisation releases in digitally enhanced CD format. Since 1990 Whitehouse have gone on to release a further ten albums, most recently Racket which came out earlier this year. In contrast to their heyday, they are now a well-respected band in many intellectual circles, and if anything are more popular now than they were back then. Whitehouse have inspired whole generations of other noise artists, not to mention the whole Japanoise scene in Japan (such as Merzbow). In the old days Whitehouse’s music consisted of harsh white/pink noise, water sound effects, double feedback, piercing synth tones, subsonic bass, and heavily distorted, screechy vocals. In the 90’s the band began moving away from analog noise towards more of a digital sound. More recently, they’ve begun experimenting with “unconventional acoustic rhythmic elements” (they call this style “Afro-Noise”). In any event, they’re one of those bands that just get better as they age, and they’ve always stayed true to the idea of experimentation, always trying new things, refusing to fall back on old ideas. Even the topic of their lyrics have changed, from the earlier themes of serial killers, Nazi genocide and sexual violence to more recent explorations of Scientology, fast seduction “forbidden” patterns, Dark NLP, metalanguage, and so forth. With this Day I introduce you to the key players of Whitehouse, a detailed timeline of the band, their discography, ten essential albums, a sampling of the band’s lyrics, some live clips, links, and so forth. Whitehouse fans are some of the most fanatical fans I can think of (there was even a fan club in Japan called the Fanatics who put out a few Whitehouse singles in the early 90’s) and with this Day I hope you will see why this is so.

In 1979, William Bennett, then at the age of 19, formed his own record label, Come Organisation, inspired by other small labels such as Industrial Records and The Residents’ Ralph Records. He began releasing music under the name Come, with himself on guitar and vocals, Mute Records founder Daniel Miller on synth bass, and one or two other studio musicians. Come released a single (Come Sunday) in 1979 and an album (Rampton) in early 1980. In 1980 Bennett formed Whitehouse and made that his primary project, though Come did release a second album, I’m Jack, in 1981. Annoyed with the commercial direction that many of the pioneering avant-garde electronic groups were heading in at the time (such as TG and Cabaret Voltaire), he decided that Whitehouse would fill the void left by those bands. Steve Stapleton of Nurse With Wound exposed Bennett to many experimental musicians that would go on to have an influence on the early Whitehouse sound, such as Robert Ashley, Alvin Lucier, Throbbing Gristle, early Tangerine Dream, Yoko Ono, Cromagnon, John Cage, and more. As William Bennett recalls in an interview in issue 282 of The Wire (August 2007):

“In the early 80s, the things that were happening in the experimental and underground scene were really diverse, people doing all sorts of things. We saw ourselves as coming out of a classical avant garde tradition. Through Steve Stapleton of Nurse With Wound I was exposed to things like Karlheinz Stockhausen and Robert Ashley. His record collection was the major collection of the age and he had a huge influence on me. He really opened my ears to so much music that I had never previously heard of. Yoko Ono’s Fluxus period was another massive influence, the way she used her voice as an instrument. I would be inspired by things like the weird vocal delivery of stage hypnotists. We were all experimenting in all sorts of different ways and directions, both in content and form.”

Regarding the Throbbing Gristle influence:

“Throbbing Gristle were certainly the main inspiration for me at first. But it was more to do with what they didn’t do, what they didn’t achieve, than what they actually did. It was like, why are they trying to move into the mainstream? Why are they trying to make music? It was because they finally learned how to play their instruments that they got to that stage. But I was moving in the opposite direction. I could already play. I was a classically trained guitarist but I was deliberately moving away from that.”

More recently, on Bennett’s blog, he went into more details on his thoughts on P-Orridge:

“Simon Reynolds’ much-feted Rip It Up And Start Again is an entertaining but ultimately shoddily researched book about what he describes as ‘post-punk’; he has far less grasp on the literary and artistic cultural references he bandies about than he and his band of nostalgic mostly fortysomething readers might like to think. But that’s rock writers for you. Anyway, enough of that.
——–On a personal note, it’s irritating how Reynolds’ included unverified quotes from Neil Megson get lazily regurgitated in various quarters, and once again, in this month’s Wire magazine, Megson eagerly jumps at the opportunity tossed in his direction. And before I continue, I should state for the record that I admire both Chris and Cosey, nor do I have a problem with Sleazy (despite not being especially familiar with his latter-day work).
——–Hippie Megson has been playing the numbers game since the early 70s, trying his luck at almost any thing in the hope of hitting the big celebrity jackpot that, like the grapes to Tantalus, so sadly seems to keep eluding him. And despite the bold bulimic rhetoric he utilises in conversation, Megson in all that time – with the assistance of his trusty sidekick, the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary – has not managed (in my opinion) to write one single half-decent set of lyrics. His continual griping and posturing and bitching and rationalising and whingeing and namechecking and boasting says a lot more about him than it does about anyone else: a subtext of why he doesn’t get the recognition and public love for everything that, at least in his own addled moral worldview, he feels he’s invented or achieved, and donated to the world.
——–The ironic and disappointing truth is that he’s not a man in drag at all, I really wish he was. He’s Nicholas Fairbairn with piercings.”

(In the afore-mentioned Reynolds book the writer claims how Bennett would often go to Amsterdam where he would buy specialist porn magazines with titles like Tit Pulp and Shit Fun. This information came from a Nurse With Wound interview, but Reynolds was obviously unaware that it was just Steve Stapleton joking around. Though Reynolds’ book is very good it was obvious that he was very lazy in terms of researching Whitehouse).

In particular Bennett didn’t like the 20 Jazz Funk Greats album that Throbbing Gristle
put out in 1979, which he saw as a sell-out record. With Whitehouse, Bennett wanted to take the extreme elements of Gristle’s earlier sound (as seen in songs such as “Slug Bait”) and push it towards even greater extremes, to take it to its logical conclusion. In short, to create the sort of albums that the Marquis de Sade would have probably made, to create “the most repellent albums ever recorded.” The Sound of Sadism. At the very least, this was Whitehouse’s primary motivation back in the early 80’s. For his part, P-Orridge doesn’t mention Whitehouse much at all, but he did have this to say at the end of Wreckers of Civilization: The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle:

“We’d left a rather unhealthy residue of people and ideas, albeit because people had chosen to misunderstand what we were saying. It got into this thing of who could shock each other the most, SPK doing videos of dead bodies and Whitehouse for example, who I instantly and totally despised. Making a hole for those kind of people to crawl through was quite scary.”

It should be noted here that perhaps a big reason why Genesis hated the Come Organisation was because he was credited as the writer of the sleeve notes for the Come Org release The New Order, which in fact he didn’t write at all.

On the origin of the band name Whitehouse:

“The name is a play on words: Whitehouse is both the name of a British sex magazine and the surname of Mary, an English activist, now deceased, on a constant crusade against the alleged proliferation of ‘filth’ on TV and other media.” -William Bennett

 

Whitehouse: The Principal Players

William Bennett


(William Bennett today)

Age: 47
Gender: Male
Astrological Sign: Pisces
Zodiac Year: Rat
• Industry: Arts
Occupation: Animal Response Technician
Location: Edinburgh : Scotland : United Kingdom
• Founder of Whitehouse, Come Organisation, Susan Lawly

Interests
• arthouse film, burlesque, method acting, Spanish, hypnosis, clothes fetish girls, Girls in uniform, 50’s fashion, contemporary art, Japan, noise, chimpanzees, wolves, philosophy, cats, white sharks, Africa, the bizarre, The uncanny, linguistics, magic, Italy, handwriting, mango, djembe, Israel, writing, erotic photography, mythology, Haiti, NLP, EST, chocolate, sacrilege, massage, French, poetry
Favorite Movies
• Process, A Woman Under The Influence, The Baby, Saw III, La Peau Douce Nostalghia, The Birds, Festen, The Five Obstructions, Sympathy For Lady Vengeance, Manhattan, Dogville, Project X, La Dentellière, Being There, Fire Walk With Me, Memento, Tokyo Story, Los Olvidados, Babe 2, Adaptation, Dead Ringers, Blue Water White Death, The Incredible Journey, Audition, La Cérémonie, The Notebook, Glengarry Glen Ross, L’Amour L’Après-midi, The Bridge To Terabithia
Favorite Music
• Kronos Quartet, John Dowland, Incapacitants, Fela Kuti, Yoko Ono, Leonard Cohen, John Coltrane, Tujiko Noriko, Survivor, Stella Vander, Scott Walker, Albert Ayler, Patrick Cowley, Shannon, JS Bach, Bob Dylan, Italo Disco, J-Pop, Stockhausen, Talk Talk, Angelo Badalamenti, Alvin Lucier, Colt, Stevie Nicks, Donna Parker, Bohren, Britney Spears
Favorite Books
• Straw Dogs, The Incredible Shrinking Son Of Man, Impro, Juliette, Catwatching, Women Who Run With The Wolves, Elvis: The Last 24 Hours, American Psycho, Casino Game Protection, Lolita, Dangerous Men And Adventurous Women, Jane Eyre, The Hanged Man, My Voice Will Go With You, Next Of Kin


(William Bennett in 1984)

 

Philip Best

Dirty Word Specialist
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Astrological Sign: Gemini
Zodiac Year: Horse
• Industry: Arts
Location: Bristol : United Kingdom
• Did his doctoral thesis on: “Apocalypticism in the Fiction of William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard & Thomas Pynchon”. University of Durham, 1998.

Interests
• national geographic, the uncanny, victorian photography, shamelessness, wartime diaries, joseph conrad, indonesia, daimohk, Seahorses, rope
Favorite Movies
• the serpent’s egg, sauve qui peut (la vie), lipstick, andrei rublev, onibaba, il deserto rosso, juvenile court, melody, l’enfant sauvage, no direction home, le chagrin et la pitié, vivre sa vie, opening night, vertigo, shoah, hitler: ein film aus deutschland, prova d’orchestra, the innocents, stevie, pickpocket, possession, echos aus einem düstern reich, le locataire, tenderness of the wolves
Favorite Music
• robert ashley, scriabin, parmegiani, bootlegs, albert ayler, sun ra, roland kayn, fela kuti, magma, hijokaidan, scelsi, ensemble unicorn, benjamin britten, cecil taylor, 80s tangerine dream, bayle, bob dylan, alice coltrane, ocora label, charlemagne palestine, Conrad Schnizler, Crass, Deathprod, Stella Vander, Corrupted, Band of Gypsys, La Monte Young
Favorite Books
• sanctuary, the driver’s seat, lolita – annotated edition, faerie queene, besy, victory, lexicon devil, one more minute for courtney please, blood meridian, intercourse, the unconsoled, the lost ones, sin suffering hope and the true way, the notebook, raised by wolves, genie: a scientific tragedy, gravity’s rainbow, the brutality of fact

 

Peter Sotos

Pornographic writer, perhaps best known for his arrest on obscenity and child pornography possession charges in the mid-80s. Writer of the Pure fanzine which is much beloved by many members of the power electronics community. Was an important member of Whitehouse’s live shows for many years up until 2002. Some of his text was incorporated into many of the band’s lyrics, and at one point his audio collages were also worked into the band’s albums.

Kevin Tomkins
Founder of the noise band Sutcliffe Jugend, later on joined up with Whitehouse around 1982. Was a member of many of the live shows during the 1980’s. Later on quit the band in 1985 and supposedly got married, sold all his albums and music equipment, and had a religious conversion (Tompkins denies this last rumor, claiming in a recent interview to having always been an atheist). Reformed Sutcliffe Jugend in the 1990’s and put out a few more albums. Recently released another album under the Sutcliffe Jugend name in 2007. Still going strong.

Steve Stapleton
Founder of Nurse With Wound, and a good friend of Bennett in the 1980’s, before they had a falling out in the early 90’s. His record collection introduced Bennett to many obscure, experimental artists who went on to inspire the Whitehouse sound. Stapleton also did the cover art for a few of the Come Organisation’s album releases (most notably The 150 Murderous Passions, a collaboration between Nurse With Wound and Whitehouse and an album picked by Jim O’Rourke as one of the ten best noise albums of all time), and played with Whitehouse at their very first live action.

Steve Albini
Noted Chicago producer/musician who produced many of Whitehouse’s albums during the 1990’s.

Stefan Jaworzyn
Member of the bands Skullflower and Ascension. Played one live action with Whitehouse in the 80’s, plus three more gigs in 1990 when the band started doing shows again. Also contributed to the Twice is Not Enough album.

Jim Goodall
Played seven live shows with Whitehouse alongside Bennett and Sotos during the band’s 1993 American tour. Also appeared on the Halogen album. Don’t know much else about him, other than he was also a drummer for the band Medicine at one point.

Glen Michael Wallis
Founder of experimental 80’s band Konstruktivists, he played in some of the very earliest Whitehouse live actions, and also three more gigs when the band began doing live shows again in 1990.

David Tibet
Co-wrote the song “Thank Your Lucky Stars” while vacationing with Bennett in Madrid in 1987. Other than that, hasn’t done much else with the band at all, though he did hang out with Bennett and Stapleton quite a bit in the 80’s.

John Murphy
Played in a few of the very earliest Whitehouse live actions. Appears on the Psychopathia Sexualis album on that record’s live extract.

Peter McKay
Engineer at IPS, contributed to many of Whitehouse’s Come Org albums. Whereabouts unknown.

Paul Reuter
Contributed as a musician to the first three Whitehouse albums. Never played with the band live.

Andrew MacKenzie
Don’t know much about this guy at all, other than that he played one and only one Whitehouse live action, the band’s very first one, and that was it. I think he also might have been editor of Kata, which was the Come Organisation newsletter.

Trevor Brown
Noted artist who contributed many album covers for Whitehouse during the 90’s, such as Twice is not Enough, Halogen, Quality Time, and Mummy & Daddy, along with the cover for the Just Like a Cunt and Dictator singles and the Another Crack of the White Whip compilation.

Daniel Miller
Founder of Mute Records, friend of William Bennett. Played synth bass on the Come single and album under the alias “Doctor Death.” He’s the guy who introduced Bennett to IPS studio.

Alan Gifford
Does the graphic design for many of the Susan Lawly products.

Denis Blackham
Masters pretty much all of the current Whitehouse albums, also handled the digital remastering of many of the old Come Organisation releases.

George Peckham
Did the original LP mastering for pretty much all the old Whitehouse/Come Organisation albums, at Porky Prime Cuts.

Judith Howard
An associate for Susan Lawly who wrote the texts for the Extreme Music From Women and Extreme Music From Russia CD booklets. Has also done quite a few interviews with William Bennett, all of which are posted on the Susan Lawly website.

Stefan Danielsson
Swedish artist who did the cover art for recent Whitehouse release Racket. Very influenced by the art of Africa and Haiti.

Miguel Angel Martin
Cult Spanish comic book artist who illustrated comics for some of the Whitehouse Katas in the 1980’s. Also contributed the cover art for the band’s Tokyo Halogen live album.

Jordi Valls
Whitehouse’s manager in the Come Org days. Also linked to the Genesis P-Orridge/Psychic TV scene.

 

Dark NLP: Forbidden Seduction Patterns (from Wikipedia)

——–In the Seduction community, there are certain Neuro-Linguistic Programming Patterns which are said to be “Forbidden”. These patterns have been developed by the major students and teachers of the Speed Seduction school, and are vehemently protected from the public eye by those who know them. This is because the inherent manipulative and insidious nature of these patterns make them, according to these ‘Gurus’, morally unacceptable as public knowledge.
——–The ‘October Man Sequence’ is one of the most sought after of these patterns.
Originally developed by seductionists In10se and Swinggcat, the October Man Sequence is so sought after because it is said to be the single most powerful NLP routine made for use in seduction, and, one could argue, because of the fact that it is touted as a big, bad ‘forbidden’ secret, known only to the best of the best. The usefulness and functionality of the sequence sparks heated debate within the community, and this could be for a few reasons.
——–Firstly, many are skeptical as to whether any NLP ‘pattern’ could create the results proponents of this particular sequence claim to. It has been touted as achieving “15 minute lays”, insinuating that users of this pattern have gone from meet to intercourse within 15 minutes. Whether one pattern could achieve this sort of result is debatable.
——–Secondly, many of the current generation Pick Up Artist’s were introduced to the community through Neil Strauss’s book The Game, which presents an unfavorable view of NLP and Speed Seduction. This results in many of the current day seductionists being wary of NLP patterns, and automatically dismissive of Speed Seduction teachings.
——–There is much debate from among who don’t possess this pattern as to what the pattern actually accomplishes. Some suggest that it installs in the target an unconscious compulsion which anchors every thought outside of the PUA with pain, and every thought involving the PUA to pleasure.
——–Others stipulate that it simply installs an anchor for good feelings when the PUA pulls the target in, and bad feelings when the PUA pushes the target away.
——–However most PUA’s will not learn this particular technique, but more techniques with even greater claimed power could easily be created by someone with the will and time to absorb NLP information from other sources, to equip them with the information needed to make their own patterns.
——–These sorts of “instant control” techniques, though, usually appeal to those wanting a quick fix to their perceived shortcomings, and those who desire an unhealthy appetite for control of others.
——–While not verified by either in10se or Swinggcat, the October Man Sequence is said to consist of the following three patterns:
——–‘The Hospital Pattern’. This pattern serves to fractionate the subject from intense feelings of pain to pleasure, and swing the subjects emotions like a pendulum. The pain is anchored to something away from the PUA, while pleasure is anchored directly to the PUA. This technique not only emotionally distorts the subject into a state of feeling disoriented with the outside world, but also creates a feeling of safety within the PUA’s presence, building a disorienting semi-dependency.
——–‘The Gemini Pattern’. This pattern is designed to create two subconscious identities in the subject. One being the socially adhering, conservative identity, the other being the sexually free, socially uninhibited identity. Once these two identities are built, the desired identity is brought out of the subject, replacing the identity not desired (by the PUA) as the major source of personal direction for the subject.
——–‘The Rising Sun Pattern’. This pattern installs the idea of a ‘shadow’ within the subject, which harbors all of the subjects natural (read – sexual) desires and fantasies. Once the concept of the shadow has been installed, the concept is enlarged, until the idea becomes tangible and real to the subject. The PUA will then guide the subject into stepping ‘into’ the shadow, and assume its dominance.
——–These three patterns serve to not only anchor a multitude of desirable feelings to the PUA, but fractionates these with the painful and undesirable feelings anchored outside of the PUA. It then builds a new sexual identity within the subject, and allows this identity to gain dominance. The effect is then reinforced with a post-hypnotic guiding of the subject into the concept of a ‘shadow’ which holds all the subjects repressed desires and fantasies, inducing the subject to act with greater sexual recklessness.
——–The patterns themselves should generally not be posted verbatim for mass consumption. Those with a found understanding of Neuro Linguistic Programming would be able to create patterns using the guide above, but those without a thorough understanding of NLP may misuse the patterns if they were posted word-for-word.
Although, the counter-argument to this being, those without a thorough knowledge of NLP would likely not be able to perform these sorts of patterns as proficiently as needed to induce the sorts of changes aimed for within the subject.
Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Mathmo/October_man_sequence”

 

Whitehouse: A Timeline

This timeline is divided into two segments. Part one deals with the band during the Come Organisation days, while part two deals with the more recent Susan Lawly era.

(Come Organisation Logo)

(Note: Nearly all Whitehouse/Come Organisations released during this period were recorded at IPS studios in London, where many Nurse With Wound albums were recorded also. All Whitehouse albums were put out by the Come Organisation).

1977: William Bennett, age 17, discovers the writings of the Marquis de Sade while as a university student in Glasgow, Scotland.
1978: William Bennett acquires the Grove Press editions of de Sade’s books. He also begins collecting books on serial murders (which were scarce at the time) and on the second world war. Essential Logic, a UK post-punk band, forms. For a short period of time, William Bennett would play guitar for Essential Logic (he was a classically trained guitarist). It was during this period that Bennett began to conceive the Whitehouse sound. From the Whitehouse website: “While I was playing guitar up onstage with Essential Logic as an 18-year-old back in 1978, I often fantasised about creating a sound that could bludgeon an audience into submission. At that time Essential Logic toured with The Normal (Daniel Miller) and Robert Rental with whom I became friends. Daniel inspired me and helped me to do it while Robert sold me an uncontrollably vicious beast of a synthesiser which subsequently became the heart of the Whitehouse sound.”
1979: Essential Logic release the EP “Wake Up” which features Bennett as a guest guitarist. William Bennett forms his own record label, the Come Organisation. Their first release, the “Come Sunday” single, is released in September. It receives airplay on John Peel’s show.
1980: William Bennett forms Whitehouse in February of this year. In March Come Org releases the Come album Rampton. In April, Whitehouse records their first album Birthdeath Experience. In August, they record their second album, Total Sex (before the first album has even been released!) Birthdeath Experience is released in September. In October, the band record their third album, Erector. Total Sex is released in November. Original copies of the album featured handmade sleeves that contained extracts from de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom, but due to censorship these sleeves are withdrawn and new ones are made.
1981: Erector is released in February. The following month, Whitehouse record their fourth album, Dedicated to Peter Kurten, Sadist and Mass Slayer. The album is released in May. In July, Whitehouse record their fifth album, Buchenwald, which is released in September.
1982: Philip Best, age 14, joins Whitehouse after running away from home. This same year Philip Best starts his own record label, Iphar, and his own magazine, Intolerance (of which there are five issues). He also starts his own band, Consumer Electronics. William Bennett begins corresponding with Peter Sotos. In January Whitehouse record their sixth studio album, New Britain. In February of this year Whitehouse plays their first few live actions (for the first show, the line-up was William Bennett, Steve Stapleton, and Andrew MacKenzie). New Britain is released in March. In May, Whitehouse record their seventh album, Psychopathia Sexualis. The album is released two months later, in July.
1983: Whitehouse embarks on their first USA tour in April. Sutcliffe Jugend and Consumer Electronics fold as Tomkins and Best join Whitehouse. Peter Sotos completes the first issue of Pure shortly after the USA Whitehouse tour. That same April Whitehouse record their eight studio album, Right to Kill, which is released in very small quantities in June.
1984: Philip Best disbands Iphar. Whitehouse record their ninth studio album, Great White Death, in November. Whitehouse embarks on a second US tour this year.
1985: IPS studios sadly closes down. Around the same time, Whitehouse releases Great White Death in February. It is to be the last Whitehouse album for a few years. William Bennett, following Whitehouse’s final live shows in Madrid, returns to the UK only to find his flat robbed of all possessions. So he decides to move to Madrid and start a new life there.
1986: Nothing much happened this year. Come Organisation gradually fizzles out.

 

SLOGAN: Susan Lawly – exclusive label for Whitehouse and Extreme Music series:  we produce exquisite and extraordinary works of music and art whose comprehension will violently challenge to the fragile core of a naked soul

(Note: All Whitehouse’s albums during this phase were released on Bennett’s new label, Susan Lawly).

1987: In September of this year, Whitehouse reactivates. They record a new album during this month at Steve Albini’s studio in Chicago (at this point Albini and Sotos had become good friends). The album is called Thank Your Lucky Stars.
1990: In April of this year Whitehouse do their first live action since early ‘85. They also finally release Thank Your Lucky Stars in July. Throughout this year in 1991 they also work on a new studio album, Twice is not Enough.
1991: Whitehouse continue work on Twice is not Enough.
1992: In January of this year Whitehouse release their 11th studio album, Twice is not Enough. In April Whitehouse records a new album, Never Forget Death, at Von’s Studio in London. In September Whitehouse release Never Forget Death.
1993: Whitehouse returns to Albini’s studio in Chicago in December to record a new album, Halogen. Sotos starts a new magazine, Parasite. Best starts playing live with Whitehouse again.
1994: Whitehouse’s 13th album, Halogen, is released in April of this year.
1995: Peter Sotos discontinues his Parasite magazine due to his mail being watched. Whitehouse begin recording a new album, Quality Time, in September of this year, at Albini’s studio in Chicago. The album is released in November.
1996: Whitehouse release the “Just Like a Cunt” single.
1998: In February and March of this year Whitehouse record their 15th studio album, Mummy & Daddy. It is released in April.
2000: Whitehouse begin work on a new record, Cruise.
2001: Whitehouse complete the recording of Cruise and release it in March.
2002: Whitehouse record Bird Seed at various recording studios in Edinburgh and Bristol. In October it is announced that Peter Sotos is no longer a part of the band.
2003: Whitehouse release their 17th studio album, Bird Seed, in February of this year.
2005: Whitehouse record Asceticists 2006 in various Edinburgh recording studios.
2006: Whitehouse release their 18th studio album, Asceticists 2006, in February.
2007: Release of Whitehouse’s 19th studio album, Racket. During a live action in Belfast in September William Bennett falls off the stage and has to be ambulanced to a hospital, where his injuries (mostly broken ribs) force the band to cancel all further 2007 live actions and appearances. He also announces that he will no longer perform vocals on albums, preferring to focus on writing lyrics, doing production, and the music itself.

Negative Review #1: Great White Death (by John Gill, Time Out 1985)

“Most concerned liberal writers have given Whitehouse a wide berth, but I think it’s just about time we organized a lynch mob for these sickos. They emerged in the middle of the avant/industrial electronics era taking the ironic influence of Throbbing Gristle to extremes that were stupidly schoolboyish but nonetheless repulsive, hymning mass murderers, rapists, sexual violence and vicious misogyny. They produce albums, dozens of them, like this- 40 minutes of a baboon playing with an amplified generator accompanied by some twisted middle-class kiddie ranting on about slicing up women. Intellectuals from de Sade through to Genesis P-Orridge might justify such confrontationist but Whitehouse transform such dubious theory into sickening, undereducated fact. Why do I write about them? Their output puts the lie to the ignore them and they’ll go away theory, and I want to stop them. One individual tainted by their ideas Is one far too many.”
(-reprinted from the Great White Death Liner notes).

 

Whitehouse Discography

(Studio Albums)
1. Birthdeath Experience (1980)
2. Total Sex (1980)
3. Erector (1981)
4.Dedicated To Peter Kurten (1981)
5.Buchenwald (1981)
6. New Britain (1982)
7. Psychopathia Sexualis (1982)
8. Right To Kill (1983)
9. Great White Death (1984)
10. Thank Your Lucky Stars (1990)
11. Twice Is Not Enough (1991)
12. Never Forget Death (1992)
13. Halogen (1994)
14. Quality Time. (1995)
15. Mummy And Daddy (1998)
16. Cruise (2001)
17. Bird Seed (2003)
18. Asceticists 2006 (2006)
19. Racket (2007)

(Live albums)
Tokyo Halogen (1995)

(Singles/12”)
Thank Your Lucky Stars/Sadist (1989)
Still Going Strong/Ankles & Wrists (1991)
Dictator 2 (1994)
Just Like a Cunt: William Bennett vocal mix (1996)
Cruise (2001)
Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel (2002)

 

Scientology L Rundown
L10 2D LIST 1
(After each valid answer ask “Who would make you guilty for that”)

Name: ______________________________
Date: ______________________________
01. Has somebody embarrassed you sexually? _____
02. Has sex with someone been boring to you? _____
03. Has someone persuaded you to engage in a sexual activity when you didn’t want to? _____
04. Have you ever felt degraded about a sexual experience? _____
05. Has somebody seduced you? _____
06. Has somebody used sex with you to obtain favors? _____
07. Has somebody led you on sexually? _____
08. Has somebody withheld sex from you? _____
09. Has somebody invalidated you sexually? _____
10. Have you ever been heartbroken? _____
11. Have you ever bragged about sexual experiences? _____
12. Has somebody lied to you about their sexual past? _____
13. Has somebody used you sexually? _____
14. Have you ever been raped? _____
15. Has somebody degraded you sexually? _____
16. Has somebody drugged you for sexual purposes? _____
17. Has somebody flirted with you when you didn’t want them to? _____
18. Has somebody been unfaithful to you? _____
19. Have you ever daydreamed about anyone sexually? _____
20. Has somebody told you that sex was bad? _____
21. Has somebody pretended to enjoy sex with you? _____
22. Was somebody mean to you as a child? _____
23. Did anyone perform sexual actions with you as a child? _____
24. Were your parents mean to you? _____
25. Did you have any sexual withholds from your parents? _____
26. Were your brothers and sisters mean to you? _____
27. Has somebody rejected you sexually? _____
28. Have children ever bothered or disturbed you? _____
29. Did someone try to abort you? _____
30. Did someone want an abortion when you didn’t? _____
31. Were you ever neglected as a child? _____
32. Were you ever abused as a child? _____
33. Did you ever hate your parents? _____
34. Has a sexual partner been cruel to you? _____
35. Was anyone cruel to you as a child? _____
36. Was another child favored over you? _____
37. Were you spoiled as a child? _____
38. Did you feel that a brother or sister was spoiled? _____
39. Were you mishandled as a child? _____
40. As a child did you ever destroy your toys to get even? _____
41. As a child did you ever destroy another’s possessions out of revenge? _____
42. Have you been forced sexually? _____
43. Have you been implanted with sexual compulsions? _____
44. Have you been implanted with sexual inhibitions? _____
45. Have you been implanted that sex was evil? _____
46. Have you been implanted with sexual pictures? _____
47. Have you been given any false data about sex? _____
48. Do you feel the effect of anything about sex? _____
49. Do you have any opinions about sex that you find hard to express? _____
50. Is there anything concerning sex that you have a withhold about? _____

 

Whitehouse: Ten essential albums

Birthdeath Experience

The album where it all began. When I first started getting into Whitehouse, I initially ordered five of their CDs. This was one of the five. It was the first Whitehouse album I ever listened to, and to this day it’s one of my all-time favorites. Like most Whitehouse albums, there are only 6 tracks, and the album itself is under 30 minutes, like many other Whitehouse albums. It contains some classic tracks such as “Rock and Roll” (which is one of the few old songs the band still plays live today) and “The Second Coming.” The last track on the album, “Birthdeath Experience,” is nothing but silence for over five minutes. On this album, the personal included William Bennett (on vocals and synthesizers), Paul Reuter (on synthesizer) and Peter McKay (effects and engineer). Equipment used included 2 EDP Wasp synthesizers (one of which was modified by TG’s Chris Carter, ironically enough), ElectroHarmonix Memory Man, and a Tone Generator. The album doesn’t sound nearly as harsh as the ones that follow, but is still an enjoyable listen. Kind of hard to describe the sound: lots of flanged vocals, bursts of static noise, high-pitched tones, gurgling synths, etc.

 

Erector

Aah, one of my all-time favorite Whitehouse albums. Released in 1981, this was Whitehouse’s third album, and according to William Bennett, one of the first Whitehouse albums to have a sense of direction. This album is perhaps best known for its infamous cover art, which is that of a spotlit prick designed by Steve Stapleton off Bennett’s concept. Many presses refused to do the cover art so the band resorted to photocopying the cover art themselves and attaching it to the sleeves manually. This was the last Whitehouse album to feature Paul Reuter. From this point on, it was mostly William Bennett and Peter McKay for the rest of Whitehouse’s Come Organisation releases, with the exception of Right to Kill and Great White Death. The album consists of four tracks: “Erector,” “Shitfun,” “Socratisation Day” and “Avisodomy.” Sonically, these songs were much more brutal than the ones that had been on the previous two albums, with lots of feedback, high-pitched synth tones, explosions of noise, and deranged vocals. A masterpiece, and an album that influenced many future noise bands, especially in Japan.

 

Dedicated to Peter Kurten

In terms of sheer brutal noise, the obvious candidates would be either this one or New Britain. And while I love New Britain, I still prefer Dedicated to Peter Kurten. With this, their fourth album, Whitehouse took the extreme power electronics sound they discovered on Erector to even greater heights. Another classic 1981 Whitehouse album that was just as influential as the one that preceeded it, this one is something of a departure for Whitehouse as it had ten tracks as opposed to the usual 4-6, and none of the tracks are all that long, many only being barely over two minutes, giving the album a sort of punk intensity. It also introduced some new sounds to Whitehouse’s sonic palette, such as the trickling water sounds heard on “Pissfun” and “Dom.” It also features new versions of older Whitehouse songs such as “On Top,” “The Second Coming” and “Her Entry,” just done in the new style. Highlights include “Prosexist” and the title track, “Dedicated to Peter Kurten” which is one of the most abrasive songs I’ve ever heard in my life, I love it…

 

Right to Kill

To be honest, I think that, among the Come Organisation era, that albums such as Total Sex and New Britain were superior to this one. But because this is perhaps the most infamous Whitehouse album, I think it deserves a mention. Recorded and released in 1983, only limited quantities of the album were pressed (only around 300, according to Bennett). So even back in the day it was rare and hard to come by. It also has the honor of being one of two Whitehouse albums never released on CD (the other one is Psychopathia Sexualis). The latter hasn’t been released on CD because the master tapes are lost, while Right to Kill hasn’t been released on CD because: “Right To Kill was originally released in a very limited number (approx. 300 copies) as it was of a particularly clandestine nature. The label feels that to preserve its original intent is of great importance, despite an obvious desire to be able to widen its availability in the new digital format.” (off the Susan Lawly FAQ). Needless to say, there is a great demand to hear this album. It has been bootlegged, and it’s easy enough to come by using such programs as Soulseek, though because these are bootlegs the sound quality isn’t that great. As it is, the album is almost kind of a sequel to the Peter Kurten album, in that it’s also dedicated to a serial killer (in this case, Dennis Nilsen), has a lot of short tracks, and deals with very violent subject matter. Indeed, the songs on Right to Kill are among the most violent the band ever recorded, the track titles saying it all: “Cock Dominant,” “Prorapist,” “Bloodfucking,” and more. It Is also the only Whitehouse album to feature Bennett, Kevin Tomkins, and Philip Best on the same record. In fact, many of the songs on this album were originally Sutcliffe Jugend songs, such as “Queen Myra” and “New Sadist.” The most famous song on this album is probably “Tit Pulp,” a Philip Best track that the band still plays live every now and then to this day. Before I started collecting Whitehouse albums I first heard some of their songs on MP3.com years ago, and the first Whitehouse song I ever heard was “Tit Pulp” so that song will always have a special place in my heart.

 

Great White Death

Another of the original five Whitehouse CDs I ordered, this is another classic album. Perhaps the most professional sounding of the Come Org Whitehouse releases, it contains some of the band’s best known songs, such as “You Don’t Have to say Please” and “I’m Comin’ Up Your Ass.” At the time it was promoted as both the first and last Whitehouse album, and for awhile that was true. So popular that it was the first Whitehouse album reissued on CD. It’s also the only Whitehouse album to include both Tomkins and Sotos in the credits. Sonically not as harsh as, say, New Britain but still a very unique sounding album. Most of the lyrics on it were inspired by Linda Lovelace’s book Ordeal.

 

Mummy & Daddy

This is the album where Whitehouse began leaving behind their analog roots and began embracing a more digital sound. Has the classic track “A Cunt Like You” which could be one of their most intense songs ever. Also, the epic “Daddo” which sounds gloriously fucked up. After four songs, ends with a long 20+ minute Sotos audio collage. Oh yes, the Trevor Brown cover art is simply to die for.

 

Cruise

Another stunning album, released a few years after Mummy & Daddy. Opens up with “Cruise (Force the Truth)” possibly one of the band’s best songs, pure digital aggression. Plus the frenetic rapid-fire “Princess Disease”, the lovely noise blast that is “Movement 2000,” another Sotos audio collage, and so on.

 

Bird Seed

Another great post 2000 album, and also the last one to feature Sotos (in the form of yet another audio collage/ “drum solo”, his third and last one on a Whitehouse album… Bird Seed was released a few months after he was kicked out of the band). Features two of Whitehouse’s all-time greatest songs, “Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel” (a personal favorite) and “Cut Hands has the Solution.” Also one of the first Whitehouse albums to feature rhythms and acoustic instruments. A departure from the digital sound that had been showcased on their last two albums, pointing to an exciting new future.

 

Asceticists 2006

This is their 18th major studio album. And man, oh man, does it pack a wallop. I’ve been listening to it non-stop recently and it gets better and better each time. While not as sonically harsh as their earliest work, it displays a much more ambitious sound then their older albums, and lyrically, it takes the band to new heights. Whitehouse, now a duo of band founder William Bennett and the slightly younger Philip Best, have taken their game to a whole new level. This could very well be my favorite Whitehouse album.

Asceticists 2006 began as a William Bennett solo album called “The Asceticist” that originally was supposed to be released in 2005. Eventually, it was decided to combine material from that album, a solo album Philip Best was working on, and combine what they had into a new Whitehouse album. And by jove, it works! Tracks 1-2 and 6 were from Best’s project, while 3, 4, 5, and 7 are Bennett’s, and the two styles create a very diverse listening experience. Having said that, Best does most of the lyrics on the album, while Bennett doesn’t contribute as much vocals as he usually does… which is too bad, as I love Bennett’s high-pitched shriek. Still, Best is a very good vocalist, and can yell like a motherfucker. Asceticists 2006 continues the African vibe that the band began to explore on their last album (2003’s classic Bird Seed). For example, the cover features words with three colors: Red, Yellow, and Green, while the CD label itself is decorated with what looks like a voodoo veve that could have come right out of the Voudon Gnostic Workbook! In keeping with this African style, most of the tracks feature a sort of random tribal percussion style. This style was somewhat explored on their last album, but here it comes front and center. So much for Bennett’s claim back in the 80’s that no one would ever hear a beat on a Whitehouse album!
——–The first track, “Dans”, kicks off with a noisy barrage that sounds like an army of birds having a psychotic fit inside of an amplifier before changing to a synth-bass heavy sonic attack over hectic drumming, with Philip Best’s rabid vocals distorted to a deranged degree as he spits out the usual vitriolic words, these ones being about child dancers, terrorist bombings, and what not. Intense, his delivery on this track almost reminds many of that of Hitler. Even better is track 2, “Language Recovery”, which starts with a blast of static before abruptly changing into another hectic djembe beat that sounds almost like a galloping horse. Best does vocals on this one too, and the lyrics appear to be an attack on former band member Peter Sotos, who split with the band a few years ago (and who has been trashing them in books and interviews as of late). What we have here, then, is the power electronics equivalent of some sort of hip-hop feud. Some of the lyrics might not make much sense to newbies of both artist’s work, though “ignorant goatish greybeard cunt” is kind of an obvious reference. William Bennett does the lyrics to track 3, “Guru”, which alternates between what sounds like a stentorian insect hum and a malfunctioning machine being operated by lunatics from an insane asylum. Bennett begins whispering his lyrics before raising his voice and going off into a usual tirade. Hypnotic.
——–Smack in the middle of the album is a short instrumental called “Nzambi Ia Lufua”… “beautiful” isn’t often a word I use to describe Whitehouse songs, but it’s a word that fits here… A mournful sounding song (it almost sounds like machines singing an unearthly harmony) laced with what sounds like manipulated air horns imitating the dying moans of pierced souls. So beautiful, yet so loud… and harsh! Just the way I like it. It’s followed by “Killing Hurts Give You The Secrets”. Bennett muttering what could almost be described as motivational lyrics over a low, thumping beat. Then the beat stops, and rising out of the silence like a spirit from Hell is a pulsating, accelerating noise that gradually gets louder and louder. Then the thumping beat comes back like a heartbeat, Philip Best starts ranting, then Bennett takes over the lead vocals again, and the song slowly and slowly becomes more and more intense until finally it grinds to a halt. Breathtaking.
——–Concluding the album are two shorter tracks, both heavily beat-orientated like the first two tracks on the album. “Ruthless Babysitting”, another track featuring Best on vocals, over cool tribal sounding drums. The last track, “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish”, is one of the album’s best. Beginning with a metallic beat that sounds like it could have come off SPK’s Leichenschrei, it also features a long bass synth drone that sounds like the dying gasp of an ancient synthesizer. Over this Best spits out more vitriol, before Bennett takes over the mike and sings the album’s last few lyrics.

Further thoughts on the album (taken from a 2006 entry on my MySpace blog:


So much of life is compromise. We live in a society that is constantly trying to beat us down with the mechanical, routine banality of everyday life. And all too often, we’re eager to play by their rules, rather than to follow our own dreams. And I really do think that achieving your dreams is perhaps one of the greatest acts of rebellion you can enact. So many people are afraid to follow their dreams, however. And I’m not really sure why.
——–I really love the lyrics in the album Asceticists 2006 released by the noise band Whitehouse earlier this year, on Valentine’s day actually. The final song on the album is called “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish,” and I find deep meaning in the ending verse: “Rise up, rise up now, kill this fucking nightmare, living inside you.” I love the idea of a philosophy that involves “dumping the rubbish”, that is, getting rid of anything that’s ever been holding you back, that’s been keeping you from both realizing and actualizing your dreams… be it the religion you grew up with, the political viewpoints that have been enforced on you, conditioning that your parents provided you with when they raised you. Sometimes you need to THROW that all away.
——–On the aforementioned album there is another track, called “Killing Hurts Give You The Secrets”. Again, some great lyrics:
“Do some fucking introspection/ Look down inside/ Explore the very essence of who-the-fuck you are/ and I don’t know if you’ll notice/ Just how fucking kept down and empty you are/ So alone/ So void/ So fucking lonely/ Explore that place/ You only find clouded memories of pathetic failures/ Pathetic limp needy frustrations/ and ridiculous missed dreams/ Ask yourself/ So this is it?/ This is what I’ve been grinding out?/ What an empty life/ Your miserable fucking life in general/ That miserably fails to address/ That deep longingness inside you/ That deep painful void.”
——–And also:
“Like many go on living from one day to the next/ Pits of despair, hells of loneliness/ Squalid 2 Thousand fucking mile stares/ Fucking headbanging scum/ with some foul remnant taste of passers-by/ With feeling some lame passing taste of non-achievement/ Yet deep down inside/ There’s this hole inside of them/ Empty, hollow, vacated”
——–I spoke earlier of compromise. It sickens me that I live in a world where people put a higher premium on money then they do anything else, that I’m forced to live in a world of bills and taxes, a world that pretty much forces you to have a job just to survive. Everyday at work I see people who are empty, hollow and vacated (not my co-workers, mainly the doltish customers we have to serve). People that Whitehouse lead singer William Bennett sees ss atrophied children: “Bitter, uncreative, closed-minded, frightened, unimaginative and often hostile individuals permanently scarred and internally damaged by their education and upbringing.” I made the choice long ago to never end up like them: Boorish, rude people who, unable to follow their own dreams, do their best to bring down those of us who aspire to greater things in life, rather then to just lead some kind of banal, middle-of-the-road, routine existence. Which is why this year I made the choice to finally publish a book, and I hope that it is the first step to bigger and better things, a way to escape from the situation I find myself in. I think it’s better to fail doing something ambitious than to succeed at mediocrity.
——–Final words of wisdom from Whitehouse, again from “Killing Hurts”: “People looking for that elusive it/ To fill deep void and emptiness inside/ Whatever this is that one thing/ That will make you feel a sense/ of wholeness, of completeness, of peace?/ Of happiness/ And when you have it/ When it’s right in front of you/ Only then can you begin to: Feel that/ Or perhaps that feeling filling you up completely/ That’s when you know that you’ve found/ That piece of you that was missing all along/ Though whatever that happiness truly is/ It’s elusive/ You have to strike/ Once you find the slightest chance/ The slightest window of opportunity/ You’ll have to grab it/ And you might just find it slipped away/ And you’ll be left only holding thoughts/ Of what could have might have should have been/ The construct of regrets/ So when you do find it right in front of you/ Now do fucking take it.”

 

Album title: Racket
Catalog #: SLCD029
Studio album #: 19
Release Date: May 31, 2007
Day I got it: June 9, 2007

Cover art: created by Stefan Danilsson. Very impressive. Looks almost like the kind of cover you’d see if you’d take some old CRASS albums and remixed them with some African/Voodoo imagery. In the past, Whitehouse has usually been known for their very minimalist, deliberately unarty covers, usually just text over a plain one-color background, and the only exceptions from this rule were the couple of albums that Trevor Brown did for them back in the 1990’s. So it’s kind of nice to see them branching out in this direction. In fact, of their CD releases, this is easily the best cover they’ve had, along with the one that Brown did for “Mummy & Daddy” (back in 1998). The dominant colors this time are brown and black, giving the booklet/back cover an almost cardboard appearance (though in fact the actual pages are glossy paper).

Booklet: 16 glossy brown pages with black text. Lyrics and credits are given for all of the songs. In addition to this, there are also two stunning full-color photographs of the band’s primary members, William Bennett and Philip Best. These photographs are taken from a Whitehouse live action and are the work of a friend of mine from the DC blog, Melissa Musser (she also had a short story in “Userlands”, so in that regard we’re allies). Bennett is identified as an “Animal Response Technician” while Best is dubbed the “Dirty Word Specialist.” As he’s done for the last few Whitehouse releases, Bennett is listed as the album’s producer. The booklet also lists the instruments used in the creation of the album. Now, in the past, Whitehouse has often been very vague about the instrumentation used, often just listing “instruments, Sony, Roland, Yamaha”, and so forth. Here, however, they provide a more detailed list: Djembes, Doundouns, Ksings, Microphones, and Computers. This list gives the listener one of the first clues that this new album is more acoustic than electronic (another clue is the warning on the back cover, which states “Extreme Acoustic and Electronic Music”… the word “Acoustic” coming before “Electronic”). Many of the instruments listed are African in origin, which ties in with the album’s cover and the group’s new sound in general (indeed, Bennett is a Djembe player and has used the drum on the last two Whitehouse albums).

Tracks: Seven in all, just like their last album (Asceticists 2006). Seven tracks might not sound like a whole lot, but given that most Whitehouse albums usually have no more than six (indeed, many of the early albums they did back in the 1980’s often had around 4 songs), this is more than usual.

Running time: Slightly under half an hour, again like Asceticists 2006. Kind of short, but I don’t mind… it takes me about half an hour to drive to work anyway, so that allows me to listen to the entire album on the way up.

Track analysis:

1. Fairground Muscle Twitcher

The album kicks off with an instrumental track which serves as a sort of introduction. Bennett is listed as the creator of this track. At a little over two minutes, it provides a good opening. What sounds like a looping harmonica/air raid siren, sounding kind of like the backing noise on the song “Philosophy” (from their album “Bird Seed” back in 2003).

2. Mouthy Battery Beast

The second track is also the album’s first vocal track, and is credited to both Best and Bennett, though Best handles all the vocal chores (a task he’s been doing to a greater and greater frequency with each Whitehouse release). Of all the tracks on the album, this one seems most like one off A2006. In fact, the background beat sounds very much the same as the one used on “Language Recovery”, only this time it seems a little less electronic, sounds much more acoustic. You can almost actually hear Bennett’s hands striking the surface of the djembe! Over this racket Best shouts out his lyrics in his “Dans” style, only less distorted this time. Most of the lyrics seem to be extracted from “poems” that he sometimes posts on his blog (http://philipbest.blogspot.com/). And, as always, his delivery is priceless, especially when he sings “Of… Of… Of? Of Cat’s Urine, Of Canine Stink, Of Rotten Animal Inheritance?” Also as usual, I don’t have much of a clue as to what the fuck he’s going on about, but I like a bit of mystery… At the moment, however, on first listen, this may be the weakest track on the album, but maybe my mind will change. I do like how in the second half of the song there are no vocals at all, just accelerating shards of noise over the hypnotic beats…

3. Dumping More Fucking Rubbish

Another vocal track, again credited to both Best and Bennett, with both of them sharing vocal duties. The track is an extended version of “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish”, which was the final (and very brief) track off A2006. If anything, this version is even sparser and more stripped back than the original, mainly just a very erratic, stataco, hollow-sounding drum beat, with some weird noises going on in the background now and then. Best’s vocals sound even more rabid than usual here, as he shouts out lyrics that are actually modified questions taken from Scientology security checks (such as “Is sex degrading to your body?” and “Been implanted with sexual compulsions?”) In the song’s second half Bennett takes over on vocals, and his screaming takes on the deranged aspect seen in older Whitehouse tracks such as “Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel” as he shouts “Rise up/ Rise up now/ Pull Yourself together/ And Kill This Fucking Nightmare/ That is Inside You/Now”. When he chants “Dump the Fucking Rubbish” you just wish it would never end but, sadly, it does. These lyrics are better than any self-help book out there on the market IMO. The song end on a quiet note, much like it’s predecessor, with just a simple cymbal-sounding click, obviously some sort of African instrument whose name eludes me.

4. The Avalanche

The album’s midway point is a second instrumental, again credited to Bennett. This song has been played at many of their live shows, and was to have been on the tracklisting of last year’s A2006 before it was replaced for “Dans.” But Bennett promised back then that it would be on a future release and now here it is. An icy, arctic-sounding song, like Pan Sonic with teeth, lots of stuff going on in the background, very alien sounding. In the track’s distance one can hear what sounds like a sort of rumbling, like an avalanche perhaps? H’mm. Anyway, cool song.

5. Bahnhof

Another track credited to both Best and Bennett, with Best doing all of the vocals again. This is the shortest track on the album, being under two minutes long. Again, the lyrics seemed to be cribbed off of Best’s blog. This is one of the most acoustic-sounding tracks on the album, with a kick-ass rattling beat, as if they’re drumming on skeleton bones or something. Short and sweet.

6. Dyad

The album’s last vocal track, written by Bennett, with vocals provided by himself and Best. In this song, like “Rubbish”, Best again sings on the first half while Bennett sings on the second half. And as always, the vocals are great. This track has some of the best instrumentation on the album, with what sounds like a stuttering beat and other weird sounds, what sounds like someone flipping through radio stations rapidly. Very interesting lyrics, with more Scientology references again (much like their last two albums). The final lyrics of the album are “I’ll give you this/ I’ll give you this one last time/ I’ll give you this one final chance/ To see who the fuck you really are/ One final chance now to fucking get it.” I wonder if this could be the final Whitehouse album? Bennett has mentioned starting a new music project this year, “Afro Noise”. Could “Racket” then be seen as the transition from one project to another? The end of Whitehouse and the birth of Afro Noise? I guess only time will tell.

7. Bia Mintatu

The album ends as it began, with another Bennett instrumental, this one nearly seven minutes long, the longest track on the CD. Words cannot describe how cool this song is. An ominous plodding beat, weird noises, beeps, drones, high tones, what sounds like horns, gongs, and so forth. One of the most diverse Whitehouse songs I’ve heard in years, someone on the Susan Lawly message board said it would make great battle music should anyone ever decide to make a movie of World War Z. A stunning climax.

Conclusions:

Well, another Whitehouse album come and gone. To be honest, I’m surprised how quickly this one came out after A2006, as in the past there would often be long gaps in between each album. In any event, this is perhaps the most experimental, wildly diverse Whitehouse album yet, expanding their sonic palette and pointing towards a brave new future. More than any album they’ve done yet, this one really does bear the influence on the “Congotronics” project, a group that Bennett has actually admitted he likes, and it is certainly Whitehouse’s most “African” album to date, from the cover art to the instruments used to the music itself. I guess when a band’s been around for about 27 years one shouldn’t be too surprised that after awhile they’re going to try out new sounds, but it’s funny how a band which shunned any sort of acoustic/rhythmic instrumentation whatsoever has embraced it this late in the game. All in all, a remarkable achievement (though I wish that Bennett had provided more vocals as I really love his singing style… I had this same complaint with A2006). Who knows what the future will hold for Whitehouse? I can’t wait to hear what they’ll do next!

 

The Void Pattern

By Kevin Kupal. Mindlist: off the Fast Seduction website:

——–“Doesn’t it sometimes make you stop and think how some people, despite having everything, just feel lonely and empty and severely lacking? Well, I was reading about the life and times of John Belushi… he had it all… the fame, the fortune, the houses… the women… but it appears that he was just so lonely. So was Marilyn Monroe… on top of the world, with millions of men swooning over her…she just felt so alone and left out.
——–I think it’s really a common thing. Like, lots of people (point to her) just go on living from one day to the next like a robot… perhaps getting amused, perhaps feeling some sort of achievement, but deep inside, there’s this hole inside them (point to her chest)… empty… hollow. It’s like, you ask yourself, “Is this it? Is this what I’ve been living for? This is it?”
I think that people, Jenny, are looking for that elusive “IT”… to fill the deep void and emptiness inside them… whatever that is, it’s the one thing that will just make you feel a sense of wholeness, of completeness… of peace… ha-penis…
——–And when you have it, when it’s right in front of you (you’re in front of course), only then can you begin to feel that wholeness and peace… or perhaps… that ecstatic, filling delight… filling you up completely… making every pore of your body ooze with delicious, ecstatic pleasure… that’s when you know that you’ve found that part of you that was missing all along (point to self). You are happy and complete.
——–But whatever that ha-penis (point to self) is, it’s elusive… you’ll have to GO FOR IT (point to self) once you find the slightest chance… the slightest window of opportunity… you’ll have to GRAB IT. Or… it could slip away and you might just find it gone… and you’ll be left only with the thoughts of what could have been… the stuff that regrets are made of.
So…when you find your ha-penis right in front of you… Grab it! Right away!”

 

anna k’s letters from anorexic-rec

“So, I’m 23, I’m living by myself, and I’ve been dealing with my weight for the last 15 years. And I feel like sharing my thoughts, I write them out every day anyway, and this web site seems like a good place to put them. I don’t want a “sympathetic” ear, that’s ONLY what I get in food-related forums and newsgroups, and from “friends” and family. I don’t have a “problem,” it’s a life-style, it’s a method. And somehow, it’s just too exotic or distasteful or SOMETHING to just talk about. So here, kind of anonymous, I am.

Yesterday, I went 43 hours without food. Only coffee, cigarettes, and Tropicana Grovestand Orange Juice. I wasn’t hungry at all…see, food calls to food. When you don’t eat for 20 plus hours, you don’t NEED food. It’s when you start swallowing solids that you need more.

Yes, I AM proud of my lack of need. Because, I can SEE it now, I can see how what’s considered “typical” is EXCESSIVE. I see people continually opening their refrigerators, again and again, looking with a hunger that has nothing to do with food. They are forever rooted in this pattern, this ridiculous circuit, up from the chair to the refrigerator to the table, then again, chair and refrigerator and table, etc.

43 hours, then this morning, at my mother’s house, a bagel and cream cheese, she kind of forced me, and I just fell into the table routine, I still wasn’t hungry, and I just ate it. And later, on my bed, I felt the stone of it in my stomach, it weakened me, I had this momentum, this living off the burn of my own body, and then this nuts inside me. But, my digestion is fast – after 2 cups of coffee, I’m a tube of toothpaste, I squeezed it out in one spurt. I looked in the bowl, I always check to see that it’s ALL out, and…it was clear, like a squirt of hair gel. I kind of splashed around the water, frantic, a terror in me, and then, the reassuring brown again. Long tubes are nice, it’s my digestion re-carving me hollow.

And that’s this afternoon. There’s more, and later, I’ll send it.
Like, lately, I’ve been “feeding” pot to my bong with a plastic spoon.

Deke is always asking me for pictures, so I’ll take some more, soon. My body’s look is my work, I don’t mind sharing it.

I like to lose weight, but I know there is a threshold, like anything, like doing cocaine, you have to KNOW where the peak is, and STAY there. You don’t try to keep getting higher, because you simply can’t; PAST that peak is only downhill. If you know yourself, then nothing is dangerous.”
—-

—-
Whitehouse Live

“The way the sets are structured, that song (cut Hands has the Solution) has to be in the middle of the set because if it was at the end it wouldn’t be so effective. That’s where you have to dismantle the personality, access their vulnerability, tap into this vast ocean of possibility this person has, where anything is possible, where anything can be thought of. Like when you dream, there are no rules when you dream at night. Nobody is controlling you, anything goes. Really you want to take the person to that deep level of their own unconscious. That’s why for people who start to appreciate it on this level, it’s actually very hard to go back to other kinds of music. Because it doesn’t touch you in that way and there is a need to be touched in that way. Where you most want to be touched. People have these ideas of what they like and what they find fulfilling, but there’s a difference between what a person thinks they find fulfilling and what they really do find fulfilling. We carry these illusions around with us all the time, rationalizations and superstitions. But beyond that there’s a vast ocean of possibilities. Anything can happen, anything goes, there are no rules and regulations. And this is what we’re trying to explore, this is the level we try to work on. And if you’ve been to any of our shows you can witness these amazing transformations, because yes, there is this hectoring approach and a loud, abrasive sound, and it goes on, it’s continuous, it doesn’t stop. But in the last ten minutes or so, people have been through all of this and guess what? At the end of it they have got these incredible smiles on their faces.”
(William Bennett, from The Wire interview #282).

Early live actions were very experimental affairs, with much improvisation and, in the very early shows, the showing of films, such as the showing of Un Chien Andalou (set to Wagner music), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Paul Hurst’s Comedome film. This was eventually abandoned in favor of playing sets with actual songs. Most of their early sets were very short, due to the fact the power was often cut by the management of various clubs who didn’t agree with the group’s actions, so as a result the band often had to refer to themselves as a Human League style electro-pop group to get gigs. During the eighties, Whitehouse live was most often Bennett and Kevin Tomkins, with Sotos as the third member during the USA tours and Best as the third member for the European shows. During much of the 1990’s, the live shows were done by Bennett, Sotos, and Best. This changed in 2002 when Sotos was kicked out of the band. Since that time, Whitehouse live has just been the duo of Bennett and Best.

Notable live actions (descriptions taken from the Susan Lawly website):

live action 22
01jul83
roebuck – london, uk
william bennett, kevin tomkins, philip best

right to kill, bloodfucking, anal american
notes: audience 80 / support groups are ramleh and bushido (featuring glenn michael wallis and gary levermore) at low volume / steve stapleton gets arm cut after flying glass during whitehouse performance / police raid in large numbers midway through anal american / many arrested in chaos / whitehouse manager jordi valls spends night at police station for barring access to police

live action 26
12oct83
morden tower – newcastle, uk
william bennett, kevin tomkins, philip bes
t
rapemaster, penis supreme, anal american, i’m comin’ up your ass, queen myra, bloodfucking, right to kill, new sadist
notes: audience 30 / support groups are ramleh and new blockaders / venue is small chamber in 14th century castle / halfway through the set william bennett insults (nb: not in an in any way racist manner despite what nigel ayers has attempted to allege, ayers was not in fact present at the concert), then lightly slaps a girl in the face in ritualistic fashion / the girl becomes extremely hysterical and attacks william bennett, hitting him in the eye / dave tibet and whitehouse roadie hold her back and drag the girl kicking and screaming from the venue / the rest of the entire audience decide to leave in solidarity with the girl and also in disgust at the group’s provocative performance / whitehouse continue playing to only one person left in audience by the end / whitehouse subsequently banned in newcastle record shops for many years after incident / LA 26 tape contains 2 versions – one stereo in audience, the other mono from on stage

live action 29
06apr84
helmholtz – bonn, germany
william bennett, kevin tomkins, philip best

great white death, rapemaster, cna, i’m comin’ up your ass, shitfun
notes: audience 125 / played at local high school in front of students/ support is pop group facon facon / amid chaos sound is turned off by school headmaster expecting ‘human league’-style group / eventually, whitehouse and fanatics forced to flee school / live action videoed

live action 41
29jun84
tropicana – olympia, usa
william bennett, kevin tomkins, peter sotos

rapemaster, you don’t have to say please, ass-destroyer, shitfun, queen myra, bloodfucking, cock dominant
notes: show interrupted by christian fundamentalists outside venue who invade the club / club management ignore their complaints / william bennett provokes some of them even further / christians subsequently call olympia police / police arrive in numbers and break up performance

live action 65
04nov94
shelter – tokyo, japan
william bennett, peter sotos, philip best

dictator, my cock’s on fire, i’m comin’ up your ass, movement 1994, the second coming, death penalty, shitfun, tit pulp, halogen
notes: audience 100 / entrance fee on the night is about £40 (¥6,500) / philip best uses new yamaha synthesiser for first time replacing the toy yamaha keyboard used since LA47 / philip best sings tit pulp for first time since early eighties to great effect / audience reaction varied during the set and swings from politeness and passivity to utter pandemonium / peter sotos finds keyboard table removed by members of audience during chaos of shitfun / sound engineers are dismayed as the inevitable beer flies all over the front monitors – they spend hours after the show dismantling them and drying them with hairdryers / support group swamp terrorists

live action 95
28sep02
batofar – paris, france
william bennett, peter sotos, philip bes
t
tit pulp, wriggle like a fucking eel, thank your lucky stars, rock and roll, dedicated to peter kurten, movement 2000, bird seed, cruise (force the truth), a cunt like you, princess disease
notes: audience 200 / support fred nipi / Sotos’ final live show with Whitehouse

live action 135
02jun05
se1 club – l
ondon, uk
william bennett, philip best

ruthless babysitting, grozny, cruise (force the truth)
review and pictures: FAIL
notes: ATP Festival curated by Russell Haswell / other artists aphex twin, mark stewart, yasunao tone + hecker et al / concert was curtailed after about 13 minutes by bottles and cans thrown on stage / audience 2,000 / live action videoed

Bands/artists who have either opened for or been on the same bill as Whitehouse over the years:

Neo-Naturist Cabaret, Consumer Electronics, Flux of Pink Indians, Will to Power, Function Disorder, William S. Burroughs, Drunk Alcholics, Debt of Nature, Modern Torture, Malfunktion, Ramleh, Bushido, Family Patrol Group, The New Blockaders, Pure, Facon Facon, Dark Carnival, A Feast of Friends, God, Intrinsic Action, Deadworld, Candin, Seemen, Fuckface, Killdozer, Outhouse, Swamp Terrorists, Bum Gravy, Swob, Sinister Cloaks, Guapo, Xum, Anenzephalia, Suicide Commando, PAL, Josep Manuel Berenger, Dachise, Kraang+Wertham, Rectal Surgery, MMVP, V.O.I.D., Genetic Transmission, Con-Dom, Fred Nipi, Russell Haswell, Surgeon+Regis, Nad Spiro, Cat Hope, Sonar, Merzbow+Russell Haswell (as Satanstornade), Aphex Twin, Bruce Gilbert (as The Beekeeper), Devotion, Brighter Death Now, Pita/ Hecker/ Russell, Wok, Dol, MAZK, Cat on Form, DJ Franz Ferdinand, Earth, Bear Faced Boy, Motorboy, Andy Fogary, AMM, Boredoms, Ikeda, Paragon Ensemble, Cosmos, Damo Suzukis Network, Incapacitants, Doog, Aube, Odioterz, Coil, Chris & Cosey, Slayer, Costes, Dolores Dewbery, Noriko Tujiko, Living With Eating Disorders, Sunn0))), Das Fleisch, Mark Stewart, Yasunao Tone, Broken Bone, DJ Andrea Parker, Savier, That Fucking Tank, Chris Cutler, Fire in the Head, Golden Serenades, Jessica Rylan, Teatro Satanico, D.B.P.I.T., Malato, Thurston Moore, Duck, Psychic Paramount, Josephine Foster, Andrew Ortmann, Haptic, Chris Connelly, Secret Diary, Karlheinz, AIDSwolf, Wolf Eyes, Pig Destroyer, Bloarzeyd, Pengo, All Have Numbers None Have Names, The Family, Holiday Stabbings, Fckin Bstrds, Praying for Oblivion, Odal, Lustrere.

 

Whitehouse Live Clips


Old clip of what was then one of Whitehouse’s very final live actions before it went on temporary hiatus. Live at 666 Club in Barcelona in 1985. They wouldn’t play live again until 1990.


Another extract from the same show. William Bennett is singing the classic song “You Don’t Have to say Please.”


Live at What Is Music? 2004 Festival in Brisbane, Australia. Clip begins with William Bennett singing “Cruise” while Philip Best provides the noise.


End of the afore-mentioned show. Many of Whitehouse’s live actions end like this, with Bennett and Best losing their shirts and striking poses while “Movement 2000” blares in the background.


Some footage from the Whitehouse performance at Oslo Marathon (BLÅ) in Oslo, Norway Nov. 10 – 2006. Filmed by www.nymusikk.no. The drum beat during “Cut Hands Has the Solution” is simply stunning.


Clip from a very recent Whitehouse live action. Begins with the end of “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish” before they launch into “Cruise.” I love when William Bennett screams “Rise up!” at the end of “Rubbish.”


Interesting Youtube movie someone made that juxtaposes live images of Whitehouse (past and present) to the song “Dans.”

 

This is a link to one of THE best Whitehouse live clips I’ve seen on the internet. Live at 2/6/2006 at Point FMR, Paris. Choice excerpts from that show. An overview of the 16 minutes:
0:00-1:06: Philip Best performs “Dans”
1:07-2:40: Best performs “Ruthless Babysitting”
2:40-5:20: Bennett leaves his laptop and joins in, doing his vocals for “Cruise.” Best does his own vocals for “Cruise” afterwards
5:20-6:28: “Philosophy” improv
6:29-7:08: Philip doing his vocals for “Cut Hands has the Solution”
7:09-8:10: Bennett doing his vocals for “Cut Hands”
8:10-10:29: More improv
10:30-13:14: Band performs “A Cunt Like You.” Bennett does the world’s coolest dance moves at around the 10:50 mark.
13:15-14:17: Bennett performs “Princess Disease”
14:18-14:32: Bennett and best perform “Why You Never Became a Dancer”
14:33-end of clip: “Movement 2000” instrumental ends the concert.

 

The Door Pattern: off the Fast Seduction website

——–This one is the “bad boy” of all patterns. Anyone who has studied SS and NLP and has come into contact with the Door pattern, has found it to be evil and cruel, playing on the fears and deep insecurities of women. To give you an idea of how bad this pattern actually is – even Ross Jeffries himself has denounced this pattern and says that he does NOT encourage anyone to use it.
——–So… as always with stuff like that… “for educational purpose only”:)
——–The Door pattern originated by Alex Domnikov. Mindlist:
——–“Whereas most patterns are about getting a woman into bed, The Door is aimed at controlling her after you’ve started sleeping with her. Other patterns that you’ve used on her have anchored immense pleasure to you. The Door creates an anchor for the loss of that pleasure.
——–You’ve already had intercourse with the girl. The ideal setting for the power of the door, which is a power and control pattern, is right after you’ve had intercourse and you’re in bed with the girl, and at this time hopefully you’ve set up the fact that you’re also the man of her dreams and fulfill her emotional needs. You’re fooling around in bed, you’ve already had a great time, and you go, “sweetheart, what’s that over there?” and you point towards the door. And she’ll say, “well you know, that’s a door, silly.” And you say, “yeah, you know.. I’m a real positive person, but.. I mean, can you imagine.. I mean, you don’t know what can happen from day to day, when you think about it in your mind. I mean, what would happen if I walked out that door and the door closed and as the door closed, it slammed shut, and no matter what you did, you could not open the door and you knew that you would never be able to look into my eyes again and you’d never be able to hear my voice again and you’d never be able to feel my touch again.” Ok, right here is where she starts going, “I don’t like this door business at all.” And at this time you just reassure her.. “ok, alright sweetheart, you’re right. You really shouldn’t think about the door and you really don’t have to think about the door.” So you go back to playing around with her some more. Have some more fun with her, bring her to another orgasm or whatever and say, “you know, a terrible thing happened the other day. My friend was hit by a truck. I mean, it was awful, by the time they got him to hospital he was dead. I can’t believe it, you know? It’s almost as if, it would be a horrible thing you know when you think about..” (point towards the door) “..that no matter even if you were to get that door opened and you were to search, that you could never find me again..” Then she starts freaking out. You calibrate more on that part of, “you will never be able to see me again, you’ll never be able to hear my voice again.”
——–“You’ll never be able.. all that fun we had together, all those great times we had together, walking along the beach, hand in hand in the moonlight, we would never be able to do those things again and even if you were to open that door, you would search and you could never find.” And she’s at the point where she’s saying, “no no I hate this door. Let’s stop this door now, are you trying to upset me?” And you say, “oh, I’m sorry sweetheart, I’m just saying these are just things that are popping into my mind, ok?” So play around some more. Get her good and nice and hot again, fool around, have a good time with her, joke, and then then get back into the door and say, “you know, God, still you know, about life’s tragedies.. I mean, I just keep on thinking how..” At this point you can already see that this is starting to make her feel uncomfortable. You want to create that sense in her that you can walk out and she’ll feel terrible for the rest of here life. You want to anchor that response. I’ll get up and she’ll say, “well what are you doing?” And I’ll say, “I’m going to the bathroom.” I go up to the bedroom door and slam it. That right there will freak her out. Then I’ll open the door and say, “oh, I’m sorry. You know, I’m sorry, I’m just playing with this door again. You know, you really shouldn’t think about this door now and you really don’t want to think about this door now.”
——–Having anchored that sense of loss and pain to the door, you can trigger it whenever needed. Whatever negative behavior may come up that you want to stop, the first time you just get up and slam the door. Whether you walk out the door depends on the level of bullshit. On later occasions you can just indicate the door in some manner. The example Alex gives: If he’s talking on the phone and getting any crap from her, and he knows the relation of where the door is to her desk, he says, “sweetheart, could you please turn right and take a look at what’s over there..” and that was the end of the bullshit.”

 

The Nazi issue

For a long period of time Whitehouse was often plagued by accusations that they were Nazis. This was due to a number of reasons. First of all, the Come Org logo looked quite a bit like a modified swastika. Second, the fact they gave their albums names such as Buchenwald and New Britain (not to mention the fact they named one of the Come Org compilations For Isle Koch). Also, there was an article that William Bennett wrote for Data magazine (which actually ended up appearing in the September/October 1982 issue of Force Mental magazine) called “The Struggle For a New Musical Culture”.

Bennett claimed to have submitted three articles to the magazine, one dealing with fascism (as seen above) and the other two in the style of communism and anarchism, and that all three were nothing more than satire and misinformation (though Force Mental claimed only to have gotten the fascist one). Misinformation was quite common in the early Come Org days as in the first Kata the symbol of the sickle and hammer appeared, causing many to wonder if the band were communists. In 1984 Bennett claimed that the band were libertarians, not fascists, and that he only found Nazi subject matter to be fascinating. He also claimed that in Hitler’s Nazi Germany, Whitehouse would most likely be one of the first people lined up to be shot, because he couldn’t imagine Hitler at home listening to a song such as “My Cock’s on Fire.”

Addressing the issue again in The Wire issue 282:

“Yes, the album Buchenwald is titled after a Nazi concentration camp, but when you scratch the surface of that record, there’s no content there at all. It’s almost an indication that what you’re doing is working effectively because people are saying all sorts of things about you, about your beliefs, but actually if you look at that album you’ve got four songs on there that are mostly instrumentals. There are almost no lyrics whatsoever and the lyrics that are there are incredibly innocuous. So ask yourself the question, how is it that that album is so controversial? When you really look at it closely, there’s nothing there that’s controversial other than the name. The reason people find it controversial isn’t because there’s an unpalatable content, it’s because it’s not rationalized. We’re not saying we’re doing this for any particular reason. We don’t give a specific reason one way or another. We’re simply not talking about it, why we’re making this record. Another reason is that there is no musical content for people to identify with on our records, no beats, no rhythms, nothing… In the early 80s, all sorts of bands were playing with this kind of stuff. Even in 2007 Throbbing Gristle are still using the picture of the Auschwitz gas chamber as their Industrial Records logo. You’ve got revered bands like Joy Division, New Order and The Skids, who all used Nazi imagery but because they’re operating within mainstream channels and fulfilling people’s expectations of rhythms, rock concerts, guitars, or because they’re attempting, even in their inarticulate ways, to rationalize it somehow, saying ‘It’s OK because this is our way of protesting against it’, even though that doesn’t add up in my opinion… Rationalisation is a sort of easy way of getting out of an embarrassing situation.”

Negative Review #2: Racket (by Nick Cain, from The Wire issue 282)

——–Right from their inception in the early 80s, in the days when they named albums after concentration camps or dedicated them to serial killers, and gave their songs titles like “Pro-Rapist”, “Bloodfucking” and “I’m Coming Up Your Ass”, Whitehouse have claimed to have no motivation other than to present listeners with extreme material to force them to confront their prejudices and value systems. They’ve been nothing if not consistent with this stance: the Susan Lawly Website stipulates that the group “have never had any agenda”, and in the liner notes for Racket, their 19th album, William Bennett is simply credited as “Animal Response Technician.”
——–It’s always been a dubious strategy. By stripping their endeavor of any conceptual underpinning other than the intent to offend, presuming that their music will continue to retain the same power to shock and assuming their listeners are unable to confront such prejudices of their own volition, Whitehouse willingly limit their music to the status of empty provocation, happy to deny it any enduring weight of meaning. Conversely, their refusal to provide any kind of context for their music had and has the effect of creating an excess of contextual discussion, endowing their albums with more layers of interpretation and resonance than they have ever deserved.
——–These issues plague Racket, a patchy, inconsistent album, inferior to last year’s Asceticists 2006, but one which suggests new developments in the group’s sound- developments which seem more drastic than they really are due to the narrowness of Whitehouse’s oeuvre and their tendency towards periods of extended stylistic stasis. The striking percussive polyrhythms that dominate “Mouthy Battery Beast” and “Dyad” (ludicrously dubbed “Afro-noise” by the label) apparently result from Bennett’s ongoing interest in African and Haitian music. Equally noticeable is the comparatively low noise quotient, with the scything frequencies and jackhammer beats and loops characteristic of recent albums distinctly absent.
——–The album’s best moments are all contained in three atypical, carefully sculpted instrumentals, comprising a scant 13 of Racket’s 29 minutes. But most of it is reserved for Bennett and Philip Best’s trademark misanthropic invective. It’s worth noting that the lyrics have improved since the tedious prurience of albums like Mummy and Daddy, Cruise and Bird Seed, shifting its focus from the sexualisation to the psychology of power relationships, abuse and violence. But because they’ve also become more verbose, in the process exhausting such subject matter, Racket’s prolix screeds sound comical and tawdry rather than confrontational and intense, regularly deteriorating into barrages of schlock hysteria. Denuded of noise backing and incongruously juxtaposed with acoustic rhythms, the pair’s vocals are even more bombastic than before. The delivery- gratingly shrill yelling and sneering- is by now so familiar that it borders on self-parody.
——–It’s difficult to see how anyone with any real experience of the group could find it remotely provocative. Whitehouse’s desire to develop their music instrumentally is commendable, but it’s sound can’t be considered in isolation from the context the group have generated, however much they believe otherwise. Feted by a new generation of noise groups, their back catalogue being reissued in deluxe vinyl editions, Whitehouse are enjoying an improbable vogue. But their modus operandi, unchanged after almost 30 years of activity, in 2007 adds up to little more than willful obtuseness and dead attitudes. Persistent shock tactics, a relentless pursuit of extremism for its own sake and a refusal to take any kind of responsibility for their music all combine to guarantee that their mode of expression remains as outdated as it ever was, while rendering their lyrical rhetoric close to obsolete.

 

The Sotos link

To many people, the name Peter Sotos and Whitehouse are invariably linked, despite the fact that Sotos has always insisted in interviews that Whitehouse was always Bennett’s project, and that he himself was just along for the ride. In fact, he didn’t really so much write lyrics for the band as Bennett would often pick out words and phrases he liked from Sotos’ books and incorporate them into Whitehouse lyrics (for example, the song “Told” contains extracts from Sotos’ book Special, while “Daddo” contains some lines from Playground Sex and “Cruise” uses some of Sotos’ writings from both Tick and Comfort and Critique). On the last three of their albums that he appeared on, all he contributed were his long audio collages, which he had made for his own personal purposes. It wasn’t his idea to put them on the albums, and he didn’t really even like the fact they were included on them in the first place. For the most part, Sotos’ most important contribution to Whitehouse was his presence at their Live Actions, where he would often rile the crowd up and, in some cases, protect the rest of the band from the more rowdy audience members.

It was to the surprise of many when the following announcement was made on the Susan
Lawly website on October 30, 2002:

 

WHITEHOUSE LIVE: NEW ERA

Some significant and important changes to Whitehouse live performance from now on:
Peter Sotos will no longer be performing with the band live, and no replacement will be sought. More details at a later date regarding this.
– Future set lists will now almost exclusively be comprised of songs from Cruise and Bird Seed.
– New equipment is being used programmed with new sounds.

The band elaborated on the Sotos situation the following year, in a Judith Howard interview:

“Judith Howard: I know there’ve been an incredible amount of rumors and half-truths, but could you both in your own words finally tell us a bit about the departure of Peter Sotos?

Philip Best: Well, a particularly tumultuous show in Paris brought things to a head, but, for a number of reasons, things had been tense for a long time. Come to think of it, Leeds was pretty traumatic as well! Pete’s a genius, end of story. And a genuinely funny and caring guy as well, as anyone who has ever met him can confirm. I owe him everything and still miss him terribly. But the bottom line, as I understood it, was that it was either Whitehouse without Pete or No Whitehouse full stop. So the choice was made. Sorry to disappoint all the assholes who hoped he had AIDS.

William Bennett: Yes, it’s been very difficult. Paris was rough. Our friendship is a very very long one and then there’re all those amazing shared experiences. Unfortunately, latterly, there was a lot of tension and a breakdown in communication – principally between the two of us – with regards to the live shows, and added to this I believe there’s been a notable difference in lifestyle attitudes. Funnily enough, in a way, this made many of the later performances even more electric and intense – but sadly the tension before and after the concerts was not as enjoyable as it should be.”

For awhile, Sotos himself was quiet on the subject. Until the publication of his book Selfish, Little in 2004, in which he wrote the following:

From page 71:
——–“I made the mistake of telling a friend about my lustful situation and he slowly started to mine a similar vein with a remarkably uninteresting woman. She had been a gymnast and my boorish friend liked to pretend that it was somehow relevant. I assure you, it isn’t.”

——–On page 76 of Selfish Little Sotos also possibly might have Whitehouse in mind when he writes “There are musicians who dilute and misunderstand my hard work. I’ve seen them turn these ideas into lowest common denominator pop sales.”

From Comfort and Critique (released in 2005):
——–“The motherfuckers who were tossing their beer from the front of the stage were the easiest to convince: I’d wipe the sweat and beer out of my bloated face, back up into my hair, and lean into the stare of one stupid dolt after another. Almost all of them would open their mouths and pretend to want the beer I could vomit down into them. Almost all of them backed away and let the disgusting bucket streams hit anywhere but their face. Except for the faggots.
——–I knew what it looked like. The idiot singer told me later that it was the worst thing on the video he watched. I stopped watching the videos over ten fucking years ago.”

——–The idiot singer referred to in this paragraph is most likely Bennett. On the next page, Sotos gets another dig at Whitehouse by referring to them as the Ronettes.

——–However, Sotos saved his most detailed comments on the Whitehouse situation for his book Waitress (a limited edition collection of interviews and writings that you could get by preordering Predicate). From his interview conducted by Jean-Francois Micard:

Micard: You work for several years with Whitehouse, then left the band, and we never have proper explanation for your departure, William Bennett just told in interview that it’s a reason different “lifestyles.” Could you elaborate on this?

Sotos: I agree with William on the changing lifestyles quote but I never would have been so tacky as to say it. But, since he did, yes, I agree, we don’t care much for each other’s lifestyle choices or art these days.

Micard: What role did Whitehouse have in your work, compared to your books?

Sotos: William Bennett was a tremendous influence on my life, as was Philip Best and Kevin Tomkins, but you won’t find much of them in my books. Philip, actually, had a lot to do with what I ended up writing about and inculcating in Index. I think I played a bigger role in their situation than they did in mine- I don’t consider what I did with them of much consequence, however.

In another interview that appears in Waitress, this one conducted by “James” from “Paedophile Gazette”:

Sotos: Can’t help but pick apart what I was doing in Whitehouse all those fucking years, then. The singer would tell some heavy metal magazine after I was out of the band that I was pandering to their audience. Trying to equal their base expectations or some-such.”

And:

“I just figured it was understood that most of the audience wanted this. My arguments from the stage almost always were with the cunts who decided we were wrong. Can’t tell you how many times the fucking singer asked me to go sort out some cunt who was causing him trouble. My head is always full of holocaust imagery, anyways. All the fucking time. Whitehouse was all Pure to me. And you have no idea how embarrassed I was at certain points, just like Pure.”

And:

“But, the thing is, I don’t really see that dealing with the subjects that both Whitehouse and Alice Cooper were playing with, now that is, still, could have been handled in any way except as providing a big fucking drunken good time for the audience. In the old-fashioned entertainer sense. It was no surprise that after my presence wasn’t needed, the advertising vocabulary they used included “improvisation,” “spirituality” and “soul.” What else could they do? Every rock band wants to hope they’re not doing pop songs. And that’s the truth of the matter, the unequivocal facts. My problems weren’t with the two old friends, no matter how sick they were of my bitching and complaining about their lifestyles or the way they sought to pretend that I was showing-off. It was the art. The situation had become pathetic. For the record, important to me only I suspect, I had wanted out of that situation for years. Well before things came to a boil with a label head in Paris. Last I remember is that the night of the show, I stopped one from attacking the other in a bar and the next morning, boss being inconsiderately cheap, dead wrong and lonely at a breakfast table in the hotel he and the other one stayed at. I stayed at a different joint that wasn’t paid for by the promoter or the band. I had been in Paris a week before they got there, had great drunken intelligent friends and was tossed out of Le Depot just the night before at around 5:00 AM. So my mood was far less than fucking great either. What finally broke the blister that was my relationship with the band had nothing at all to do with how our boys want to sell themselves now, or then, but basically that the singer and I couldn’t stand to be in a bar alone together. I knew a better time was elsewhere and so did he.”

And:

“As far as the band goes, I honestly can’t look at that stuff and find anything of me in there. I despise the assumption that I had anything to do with that work. It is very definitely not part of my oeuvre- which, by no means, is pristine to begin with. But all of that band’s output has to be seen in the context of what the guy who started it wanted. Including where he placed the Buyer’s Market collages that I made. I did those on my own, for myself, paid for by myself, because I wanted to hear them. It’s amazing to see them treated as drum solos now. As If I wasn’t saying anything more than that I was only the drummer to begin with… It’s just that it wasn’t my decision to put the drum solo in the place it currently sits. You shouldn’t complain about how boring the drum solo is but rather why it was placed there in the first place by those that needed it there. To fill up space or whatever. Maybe to make everything a bit more real or whatever- to take it away from just songs and lyrics and pose, perhaps? Whatever. I know why I did them and it doesn’t sit well with me either. My mistake, certainly. I’m not saying that I had any influence on that band either. The vocalist cherry-picked lyrics from stuff I wrote for reasons that had nothing to do with cut-ups or lyric ideas when I wrote them. I don’t won the words and don’t seek to control where they go. It’s often times depressing to have people think I wrote something like, “Don’t you know your god doesn’t exist?” So honestly, if you’re looking for me, look at the books. That other stuff is pulled from larger ideas. That’s all. Whitehouse has always been the singer’s band- he has an amazing voice, one that is completely without equal- and I really don’t want to sound like I think my position in that band has ever been significant. I’m not worried about the few gossipy minds that care about how I see the band, but I care very much that people will think my work is identifiable through the relationship I had as a friend, only. I wasn’t doing any music before I toured with the band in the very early eighties. And I feel like I have to explain this stuff because of the large amounts of text they used for lyrics- especially from Playground Sex and the rejected introduction I wrote for a Romain Slocombe book I didn’t like.”

Around the same time as all of this, on January 17, 2006, someone asked Bennett on the Lawly message board about why Sotos was no longer in the band. Bennett responded by simply reposting the answer he had given Howard a few years before. But after a few people (myself included) began posting some of the stuff Sotos had said about the band, Bennett gave a more detailed explanation:

William Bennett: “Sotos? What an unbelievable fantasist – his fiction is always full of it.

It’s not a question of not mentioning the most real truth of desperately buying time, like Dworkin and the cakes she didn’t talk about; and it’s not even that of being a geeky heterosexual conservative in denial – it’s not even understanding the difference between hangdog vanity and being a fucking liar. It’s prurience dressed up as empathy; it’s not being able to help yourself: it’s numbered books and loose change.”

 

The Influenced

Of course, Whitehouse have influenced many artists over the years, originally noise acts such as Dominator, Deathpile, Taint, Ramleh, and the Japanoise genre, but also many rock bands such as Big Black and Sonic Youth refer to Whitehouse as an influence.

Whitehouse has also had a huge influence on my own art. A few of the songs I’ve released under the Sypha Nadon name have certainly been inspired by Whitehouse (for example, “Enter Horus,” “Scapegoat” and “Intonarumoni”). Also, a few songs I’ve done under the Boy Destroyer name have Whitehouse influences (such as the title track to the Rise Horus Rise album which utilizes a vintage 1981 era Whitehouse sound).

Whitehouse also influenced certain aspects of my book Confusion. In fact there are many references to Whitehouse in the book that probably went right over the casual reader’s head but I’ll mention a few of them here for those few who have read the book:

Pg. 52: Sypha mentions how one of his favorite bands is Whitehouse. He also says how one of his interests is “deviant risk taking” which is a reference to a lyric in the song “Language Recovery” off Asceticists 2006.

Pg. 66: The Whitehouse song “Rapemaster” plays in the background of this scene.

Pg. 80: Sypha and Veronica discuss their favorite tracks off Great White Death (which, in the book’s chronology, had just been released a few months before).

Pg. 123: Vinnie, in regards to the Miami Herald, complains about how negative the news is, making a reference to “ruthless babysitting” which is the title of a song off Asceticists 2006.

Pg. 147: Veronica plays the Erector album for James, in particular the song “Avisodomy.”

Pg. 151: During this long monologue Sypha recalls an incident in which he met William Bennett at a sex shop in Amsterdam where Bennett was buying magazines with titles like Tit Pulp and Shit Fun. Needless to say this is an in-joke to Simon Reynolds’ goof.

Pg. 169: In Veronica’s office there’s a poster of the album cover for Dedicated to Peter Kurten.

Pg. 170: There are a few scenes in the book where characters read off lists of people who will be attending a certain event. Bennett, Tomkins and Best are mentioned in a few of these, but on this particular page one of the people mentioned is Susan Lawly, which of course is a reference to the record label.

Pg. 181: Alan Fawkes’ ponderance of the “The Door” in this scene is a nod towards a lyric off the Whitehouse song “Philosophy” (off Bird Seed), not to mention “The Door” NLP pattern.

Pg. 226: Sypha’s vision of humanity “rising up” is a reference to the lyric “Rise Up” off the song “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish” from Asceticists 2006.

Pg. 279: The title of chapter 15 is “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish” which of course is named after a song title off Asceticists 2006.

In addition, back when this blog hosted Confusion day last year I mentioned how I pictured the character of Vinnie Hamilton to look like a cross between Tom Cruise and William Bennett. Also, Vinnie had a big interest in neuro-linguistic programming, which of course is a topic that greatly interests Bennett himself.

 

THE GEMINI / DARK SUN

Once in rapport.

Possible theme – ‘Different places in the mind’

“You know, we’ve been talking for a while now and I feel that you’re somebody who understands herself and somebody I can get an honest answer from” – Set up and Challenge

“Do you think that most men understand what women really want/need?”

Likely answer – “No”

“I agree, you see I’ve come to an understanding about women that a lot of my friends/a lot of men will never get, It’s an understanding I’ve come to be really opening my mind….”

“…my understanding is, I actually think that inside every woman there are in fact 2 women”

“On one hand there is the culturally programmed woman, the one with all of the social rules and roles (give a couple of examples here – make it sound really oppressive and miserable – lol).”

“but then on the other hand there’s the natural woman…that’s the place where you keep you most exciting memories, where you ponder fantasies, daydreams, amazing possibilities…the kind of things you do if no-one were watching and the things you wouldn’t even want your best friends to know that you dream about and long for…”

“…and oftentimes what happens is, because of the roles that society forces you to play, or maybe a relationship that you’re already in that restricts you, a person has to lock those parts of them away and keep them safe…and yet they are still there…deep inside…just waiting to emerge”

***notice response here and anchor – if you wish*****

“So…2 questions that I like to ask myself are…

…what is it about the way certain people affect us that causes us to think of this person in that special place…to hear this voice…to see this face…to feel this presence in that special place…in such a way that no matter how much we try to deny that desire to act…it just takes on a life of it’s own…compelling…vivid….REAL!….

…where that voice inside says YES, I want to step into this special place, with this special person and explore anything that we can make real together”

“and the other question…. (as if that wasn’t enough – lol)

…what would it be like for a person, to just right now, feel all of those hidden parts and desires wake up…. ready…. willing…alive… right now, realizing that this is the main chance , the moment, a chance to move in a nude erection, and the thing about nude erections is that it’s not enough to just ponder it, you’ve got to reach out and grab it and act on it right now……………………..

 

Worth Seeking Out

Although Whitehouse has primarily released albums over the years, they have of course released other merchandise such as t-shirts, posters, and videos (in fact, many of their live actions can be ordered on DVD). One book they didn’t put out but is worth seeking out is The Whitehouse/ Come Organisation File (Aes-Nihil Books). It’s a huge book full of material from the Come Org days, and though it’s assembled in a fairly slipshod fashion it’s full of invaluable documents, such as most of the band’s early interviews, press releases, flyers from their live actions, lyrics, rare photographs, and, best of all, most of the Katas (Kata was the name of Come Organisation’s official newsletter, and it often contained news, lyrics, photographs, album reviews, and interesting articles on topics such as serial killers, avant-garde musicians/artists, and other esoterica. There were 20 issues in all). This book is very hard to find but worth it. Another good book is Whitehouse: Still Going Strong (Impulse Publications, 1993, edited by Mark Crumby). Not quite as comprehensive as the Aes-Nihil book, it does nonetheless have a lot of information on both Come Org and Susan Lawly, and it’s done in a slightly more professional manner than the Nihil book (though it’s much shorter, only about 94 pages compared to the Nihil books 300+ pages).

Power Electronics fans should also consider seeking out Miguel Angel Martin’s comic Psychopathia Sexualis. Martin is a huge Whitehouse fan, and some of his early comics, inspired by the band’s songs, appeared in a few of their later Katas back in the 1980’s (he also did the cover of their Tokyo Halogen live album). Psychopathia Sexualis is a collection of 19 very violent comics set in some sort of dystopian future, and many of the comics are named after old power electronics songs/albums (table of contents: Whore Cull, Foreplay, Right to Kill, Ultra Sadism, Desekration, Punishment, Mother Fucker, Screw Driver, Sexual Asphyxia, Kopro Lagina, New Sadist, P.I.E. (Pedophile Information Exchange), Neuro Habitat, Socratization Day, Cock Dominant, Shit Fun, Fist of Love, Death Room, Cunt Hunter). At first it was only available in Spanish, but in the 90’s an English version was released (translated by William Bennett) with an introduction by Peter Sotos. Needless to say this is a must have items for Whitehouse/Sotos fans.

 

Whitehouse Links

Official website of Susan Lawly, the indie record label founded by William Bennett in the late 80’s. Mostly they just release Whitehouse albums, though they also have an “Extreme Music” series (which has included extreme music from Japan, Africa, Russia, and Women). The best place to not only get up-to-date information on new Susan Lawly products, but also a great place to order Whitehouse albums in general.

Official Susan Lawly message board.

Official Whitehouse MySpace page, where you can hear the songs “Movement 2000” (off Cruise), “Wriggle Like a Fucking Eel” (off Bird Seed), “Dumping the Fucking Rubbish” and “Nzambi Ia Lufua” (off Asceticists 2006) and “Fairground Muscle Twitcher” (off Racket).

William Bennett’s official blog.

Philip Best’s official blog.

This was the first Whitehouse website I ever came across. It used to have a lot of good information on it, but sadly, it’s reduced in size now and barely ever updated.

Website that gives a lot of fascinating information on IPS studio.

Website with some old articles/discography concerning the Come Organisation.

Essay about the shock tactics used by some of the early Industrial bands. It was in this essay that I came across Whitehouse’s name for the first time.

Entertaining blog which contains a power electronics related story that was written by a friend of mine. Blog begins with a short history of the power electronics movement and small bios on some of it’s key players.

Interesting article about “Noise Music as Queer Expression.”

Really fascinating thread on the Susan Lawly message board that analyzes some of the outside influences on Whitehouse’s lyrics (for example, see the Void and Door patterns on the Fast Seduction 101 website, which inspired the lyrics to “Philosophy” and “Killing Hurts Give You The Secret.”)

 

October Man

Ok here goes..Are you familiar with Tension Loops? If you have Swinggcats book its about that story of the cat named girl-george…Pain/Pleasure/Pain Push/Pull kinda thing. That’s the General Patronage version, in the context of October Man, you have to amp up the pain and the pleasure. Everytime you talk about anything pleasurable you anchor it to you physically or just by special gestures, I do it by a unique stare…Everytime you go to Pain you anchor it away by gesturing, or just look away. Remember to really bring out her Pleasurable states by patterning or just Trance Hi-Jack or create that into filters, SRT just as used in the new SS model. Really work on the positive states, stack them up multi-modal anchoring, then immediately contrast it with something really Painful and terrible…Imagine a flaming ball of fire, then freezing it till it becomes ball of ice, then heating it up till it ignites, the contrast has to be that intense and RAPID FIRE, no fluff talk if possible… If your familiar with Fractionation, you’d have already noticed that at each pass YOU ARE BUILDING RESPONSE POTENTIAL on both polarities. Each pass you fractionate the pain so its intensifying, while also intensifying the pleasure back to you…Do multi Anchoring for pleasure states to be more effective i.e. simultaneous touch, tonality, stare etc….

Heres the part why they banned it. Their analogy is bringing nukes in a gunfight, its that powerful…Are you familiar with TimeLines, Change History Pattern or the “February Man” by Erickson? Same principle you visit her in her timeline, in the future or in the past and evoke the things that were painful then. Work it, then be like The Knight In Shining Armor, protector and how things could have been better if you were there to shield her, bring her safety etc. THOSE periods in her life she needed someone, and nobody was there… In the pleasurable moments, you can “steal” them and make them stronger or many times better had you been there..

If you’re gonna use this, please avoid the TimeLine part. The Tension Loop from hell is enough to get you fast connections. It time distorts them automatically and she feels safe with you… Don’t do this in situations with a lot of stimuli or distractions like clubs etc…

The hospital pattern below is an example how pain/Pleasure works. Try also the “Door Pattern” in the SS quick reference book i’ve attached….

The Hospital pattern:

a) did you ever know someone that went into a hospital and never came back?

b) its amazing how often people just go and never come back

c) If you like what we have, remember that I could leave you and never come back.

Now you just capture the pieces into a nice little story. If you can use touch or smell, the anchors are that much more powerful.

To lover:
Did you hear about (insert famous person or acquaintance) who went to the hospital for something (anchor here) and never came out?

By the way, I had a doggie that I loved and one day it just disappeared (use same anchor here with more intensity), {keep building value of doggie} she was so good to me, she would wait for me after school and she would just kiss me and knock me down ever so gently. We would roll on the floor and play all kinds of games.

We would chase each other, she would fetch for me, she even slept in my room (what could you do with this?) but then one day, I came looking for her and she wasn’t there. You have no idea what it feels like to loose someone like that (anchor). For days you look for her, you post posters, you post rewards. No matter what you do, its over, gone out of your life. (anchor).
____

Clearly, tonality, certainty and body language will have much to do with your results.
________

The last thing I remember was when I left and she kissed me, (anchor) and I never saw her again. I wouldn’t wish that (anchor) on anyone.
______

I sure enjoy you (fire anchor) and I am having a blast getting to know you. I know you’ll miss me (fire anchor).
_____

The anchor will be set and you can use it anytime. The power of the pattern is in creating a solid story, use voice, touch and any other compound anchors that you can.

By the same token you can create:

The broken window pattern

The stolen art pattern

The solar eclipse pattern

The lost shoe pattern

The lost ring pattern

The final goodbye pattern

All of these are only limited by your imaginations.

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** JM, Hi, Josiah. Thanks! Freaked you out: I like that. I am among the no doubt many who also can’t read to read said piece by you in the new SCAB. And I’ll think ‘skeleton key’. Such a nice term. Being imagined dead could be taken as the highest compliment if you really think about it. To be the recipient of an unachievable, absolute form of personal power. Or else I’ve been spending too much time in the master/slave posts. Likely. Speaking of which, while scrolling through one of the sites the other day I came across a profile by a very well known underground filmmaker who shall remain nameless. He’s a bottom slave, “90% passive”. Funny that people write in books. Tag them. I never do that. Do you? I’m good, quite, and I hope you are and remain extremely good between now and when next I get to see you. ** David Ehrenstein, His photographs are really something. The films seem pretty uneven, but the two I’ve seen, ‘Shaft’ and ‘Leadbelly’ are very good. Happy Proust’s birthday to you and all the other Proustians out there. ** Sypha, Yes, use your vacation in the most vacation-y way possible. Anyway, as you can see today, you are being well represented here in your semi-absence. Cool that you’re reading WRONG. And cool that you’re reading it in your classic Champagne-ish (aka the ultimate) manner. Have a charmed weekend. ** _Black_Acrylic, ‘Leadbelly’ is both very good and very difficult to see for probably stupid rights ownership reasons or some such. ** Bill, Hi, Bill! Glad the nudes took lodging in your wondrous head. Best of luck getting the demo in shape. Not much planned here either. See some art probably. Crack the reopened movie theatres maybe. Enjoy the totality. ** cal, Hi, Cal. Two straight weeks of ragging on ‘On the Road’ sounds blissful. I do remember thinking the first three or four pages were sort of jazzy. You good? Hoping so. ** Steve Erickson, I never got to your deleted song, drat. Maybe on the Extras CD/vinyl disc of the eventual box set. I like ‘Relic’. I remember it being quite fun and stylish and so on. Don’t have Netflix, which isn’t even the same Netflix here as there, so I’ll take your words. Hours of pouring rain always makes everything that doesn’t flood thereby a million times better, I say. ** Okay. This weekend I have restored one of James ‘Sypha’ Champagne’s legendarily massive, thorough, definitive-chasing and yet wonderful subjective mega-posts, this time about Whitehouse, the key and earthshaking pioneers of what came to be known as ‘noise’ and/or ‘power electronics’, and you are definitely set until Monday. Lots to read, learn, agree or disagree with, and on and on. Give it the local portion of your all please. See you on Monday.

Gordon Parks Day

 

‘John Singleton was only 3 years old when he went to see Shaft with his father in 1971. “My father used to always say, and he looked a lot like Richard Roundtree too, that someone saw him walking down the street and made that movie,” laughs Singleton. Singleton’s father wasn’t unique. The movie attracted large crowds across the country. Black men saw themselves in Shaft, they wanted to be him or be like him. Women of all races thought he was sexy. Even white men dug him; Shaft was the kind of brother they knew they could be friends with. The result was a crossover hit still popular today, and for director Gordon Parks, a legacy as the creator of one of the most culturally important films of the last thirty-five years.

‘When Parks died last March at 93 and his accomplishments were laid out in scores of biographies, it was clear that he had enduring influence as a filmmaker, a remarkable achievement since he made only five films, and none were nominated for a major award. He also started his movie career after being a successful photographer, writer and composer, at 55, an age when many people are thinking of retirement. But when Parks signed a contract to make a Hollywood film in the spring of 1968, he became the first black man to do so. To the people he inspired most, the young black filmmakers who came to Hollywood following in his footsteps–directors like Michael Schultz and Parks’ own son Gordon Jr. in the ’70s; Spike Lee, Robert Townsend and the Wayans brothers in the late ’80s; and John Singleton, Carl Franklin and Tim Story today–Parks’ movies are almost irrelevant to his legacy. What matters is that he did it. The minute he signed that contract, they finally had a role model within the studio system. “I didn’t know any other African Americans I could point to when I was at a very young age, saying I wanted to be a filmmaker,” Singleton says. And Spike Lee, who lists Shaft and Leadbelly as his favorite Parks films, argues it didn’t even matter whether he had seen those films. “Just the fact of who he was, what he did, that was the inspiration I needed,” says Lee. “You get inspiration where it comes from. It doesn’t have to be because I’m looking at his films. The odds that he got these films made under, when there were no black directors, is enough.”

‘Parks’ obituaries also attest to the fact that he was first and foremost a photographer. His contribution to that field is wide in scope and deep in meaning. The youngest of 16 children, his mother told him “what a white boy can do, you can too–and no excuses.” Shortly after his mother’s death, when he was 15, Parks found himself homeless and on his own. What drove him in those early days, he later wrote, “more than talent or anything else, was my need to be somebody; to save myself from early defeat.” Inspired by the work of Dorothea Lange and the other photographers of the Farm Security Administration who documented the plight of the poor during the Depression, Parks bought a camera in a pawnshop for $7.50 and taught himself the craft. “It was to become my weapon against poverty and racism,” he said in his autobiography. He got his first big break working at the FSA on a fellowship from Sears Roebuck. He took “American Gothic,” his famous portrait of Ella Watson, the charwoman he posed in front of an American flag, mop and broom in hand, on his first day at the agency. It was his response to the rampant racism he found in Washington D.C.

‘Black parents used Parks, and his work, as examples for their children. “My parents would show me the articles and photo essays that were shot by Gordon Parks, so I knew about him much before The Learning Tree and Shaft,” says Lee. Director Tim Story’s (Fantastic Four) parents kept a stack of magazines that featured Parks’ photography. Story says he related to the photography and to Shaft before he knew who Parks was, so for him, as for many, the art came before the biography. “The only thing I can really pull from [Parks], throw into my work, is the art, the photographs, the films. If I were doing a project that dealt with the history of what he was going through, then I could put that in my work, but the only thing I can get something from is the art. Everything else is more about history.”

Parks started out in the days before the Civil Rights Act, during the struggle for equality, when there were few black professionals of any occupation, when role models were people who were simply able to build lives on their own terms. By those standards, Parks’ success seems miraculous.

‘Parks came to Hollywood for two reasons, the first was that he wanted to challenge himself, and making a film had been a goal of his for some time. He had already made a short documentary about Flavio da Silva, the subject of his earlier photo essay. After he published his autobiographical novel The Learning Tree in 1965, about a 15-year-old boy who lived in a Kansas town with fragile race relations, he spent two luckless years trying to attract backing to turn the book into a film with himself as director. One producer suggested making all the characters white. Another thought the solution was getting Gloria Swanson to play Parks’ mother.

‘Parks’ second reason for coming west was to break through the color barrier that still existed in Hollywood. Melvin Van Peebles recalls walking down the Champs-Elysées in Paris in 1967, shortly before his first independent feature, Story of a Three Day Pass, stunned the San Francisco Film Festival, when he ran into Parks, “my first black living legend,” says Van Peebles. “He talked about the film, the one that he wanted to do. And said he had not been able to crack the white barrier in Hollywood as a director. And I told him not to worry that I was going to let him in.”

‘Then in 1968, actor-director John Cassavetes read The Learning Tree and became determined to help. “There are two things that compelled Cassavetes,” wrote Parks in his memoir To Smile in Autumn. “He loved The Learning Tree and he wanted to see that barrier against blacks in Hollywood come down.” Cassavetes got Parks an interview at Warner Bros.

‘”Having been around the media for a number of years, he knew that motion pictures would give him some attention,” says filmmaker and historian Melvin Donalson, author of Black Directors in Hollywood. “He used his notoriety, in the best sense of the word, and his fame to make that transition.” Blacks had made and distributed independent movies in the early days of filmmaking, led by the prolific Oscar Micheaux, the first black man to write, produce and direct a silent film (The Homesteader, 1918) and a talkie (The Exile, 1931). But no black man had ever directed a studio movie. In the late 1940s, studios began to insert small scenes with black actors into big releases, a ploy that attracted black audiences to those movies, undermining Micheaux and his peers.

‘In the years immediately before Parks, the only blacks in Hollywood with any influence were the few actors who had attained leading-man status, like Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte (black actresses were not in the picture at all). There were no black studio executives, or even black crew. Hiring blacks, “just wasn’t done in those days,” says Kenneth Hyman, the head of Warner Bros. Seven Arts, whom Cassavetes had encouraged to back The Learning Tree. Hyman, of course, knew of Parks when the photographer walked into his office, and says he was “impressed by him.” Parks’ celebrity, and the fact that the movie he was going to make was inspired by his extraordinary life, appealed to Hyman who had more or less decided he wanted to work with Parks before the meeting. “He was a distinguished photographer, a distinguished man. There was no denying he knew about lenses and lighting and photographing people,” says Hyman.

‘Parks also had a story that could appeal to both black and white audiences. “It wasn’t a story that had a political edge. It showed racism but it did so in a way that it pointed the finger not only at the white characters but there were black characters that had some flaws,” says Donalson. At Hyman’s suggestion, Parks didn’t only direct The Learning Tree, he also agreed to write, produce and score the film. At Parks’ urging, Hyman hired nine black crewmembers. Once he had gotten inside, Parks immediately brought others with him. “Gordon was a master of the system,” says Warrington Hudlin, producer and host of the documentary Unstoppable: A Conversation with Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks & Ossie Davis. “He figured out how to be right inside and make it work.”

‘Gordon Parks was adept at filmmaking, but the people who admire his movies don’t marvel at his technique. Parks visual style was evident in the way he composed frames like photographs, giving his films a gritty, journalistic feel. “At the time in my life when he influenced me the most it wasn’t about studying how he did this shot, it was about the emotion of the moment,” says Story. “It’s more about what made him so cool or what makes me smile when I see that scene.” Parks’ films were technically at least as accomplished as many then being shown. “In terms of moving black film forward, they looked as great as the other stuff that was in the theaters at that time, that’s almost as important as the stories that were being told,” says director Gina Prince-Blythewood (Love and Basketball), “because we had to prove we had the talent to make the same kinds of films that the white filmmakers were making, that they didn’t have to be second-class films.” The Learning Tree opened to mixed reviews, but it did well enough to launch Parks’ second career as a director. For black artists that meant Hollywood was open for business. Within a year, Van Peebles would make Watermelon Man for Columbia and Ossie Davis would direct Cotton Comes to Harlem for United Artists.

‘In 1971, MGM hired Parks to direct Shaft, his most influential film. John Shaft, “the black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks,” as Isaac Hayes’ Oscar-winning theme song described him, solves a kidnapping by using connections within Harlem’s gangs and the NYPD, moving effortlessly between the two worlds. Parks didn’t think much of the script by J.D. Black when he got it, but after making The Learning Tree as a lyrical, picturesque morality tale, Parks wanted a movie that would prove he could be a commercial director. Also, Cotton Comes to Harlem and Van Peebles’ 1971 independent film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song had young blacks lining up at the cinemas and Parks wanted to be part of that. Parks also wanted to be an inside man, a real studio player, and he knew a moneymaker could get him there. In his autobiography Voices in the Mirror, Parks advised that black filmmakers who want success have to “broaden their horizons and prepare themselves for any worthy project that means survival.”

‘Shaft was not as much “a film by Gordon Parks” as The Learning Tree had been. Ernest Tidyman created the character, Black wrote the screenplay and Joel Freeman produced it. Hayes’ score is as famous as the movie itself. But Parks is in the details. The HBO documentary Half Past Autumn, which was produced in conjunction with a retrospective of Parks’ photography that toured the country between 1997 and 2001, includes a video clip of Parks working with Hayes on the music for Shaft. Parks is laying out the pace that the beats should keep as the music accompanies Shaft across Times Square in the movie’s opening sequence. Hayes, on the piano, and his guitarist start playing the familiar riff; as Parks’ vision comes alive, you can see how he made the scene work.

‘Parks also insisted that the movie be shot on location in New York, so that the street scenes would be authentic. A day before shooting was to begin, the studio tried to relocate the movie to a soundstage in Los Angeles, a decision Parks successfully resisted. It was Parks who decided that the first black man to bring all his pride, machismo and mastery to the screen would be Richard Roundtree, who was dark-skinned, ruggedly good-looking and, most controversial at the time, mustachioed–just like Parks. “I really pay attention to what people do and what happened before and after, and Shaft changed everything,” says Lee. “It was such a visionary thing to see this black detective kicking ass. An African American directed this film, that was huge. Would a white director thought of giving a chance to Isaac Hayes to do the score? Those are insights he brought as an African American director to the subject matter.” Shaft also capitalized on the political climate of the day. “If you look at the times and what was going on in terms of the early years of the black power movement, there was a sense of a new generation of younger blacks who were moving away from the Civil Rights era,” says film historian Donalson. “Sidney Poitier had been the dominant male figure from 1950 to 1967, so when Parks takes on Shaft he is really speaking to that newer black generation.”

‘Parks shot Shaft for $1.2 million; it took in more than $18 million at the box office, mostly from young blacks and their white friends. His use of contemporary music and authentic locations were copied ad nauseam in the blaxploitation films of the early ’70s which provided a windfall for cash-strapped studios but eventually degenerated into trashy fare, populated by bad actors playing stereotypes. But Parks’ vision wouldn’t be completely lost. Decades later, directors like Singleton, who remade Shaft in 2000, with Samuel L. Jackson in the lead role as John Shaft’s nephew, and Quentin Tarantino, who did his take on blaxploitation films with 1997’s Jackie Brown, would help keep the genre alive. In 2000, the Library of Congress gave Shaft its cultural seal of approval by selecting it for preservation based on its historical importance. (The Learning Tree was one of the first 25 films to receive the honor, in 1998).

‘Parks made three films after Shaft, including the sequel, Shaft’s Big Score! (1972), and The Super Cops (1974). His final feature film, in 1976, was Leadbelly, which Roger Ebert called “one of the best biographies of a musician I’ve ever seen.” By then, the industry was at a turning point. A year before, Jaws had become the world’s first blockbuster and a new form of moviemaking was born. The following year Star Wars would solidify the trend. “Those are the films that told the studios they didn’t have to make films for any niche because everybody in the world is going to go,” says Lee. “Black folks were going to Jaws, to Star Wars, black folks were definitely going to see The Exorcist.”

Leadbelly also got caught up in a power struggle at Paramount. Before the movie could be released, the studio fired Frank Yablans, the exec who had hired Parks for the film, replacing him with Barry Diller. “There was no way I could protect it,” says Yablans. The film was well-received by critics and took the top prize at the Dallas Film Festival, but lackluster marketing and limited release from Paramount meant few people saw it. Parks believed Diller didn’t want the movie Yablans describes as a “favorite property” to be a hit. Parks was furious with Diller. “The unpleasant situation that developed between Paramount and myself,” as he described it, so soured him on Hollywood that he left, returning to New York.

‘Spike Lee, who came on the scene in the mid-’80s with a new kind of black storytelling focused on the complexities of race in a changing, integrated America, sees himself as a successor to Parks. Lee describes their connection as “a continuation. From Oscar Micheaux, Melvin Van Peebles, Ossie Davis, Michael Schultz, to myself and Robert Townsend, who brought about the so-called new wave, then John Singleton came up behind that and now you have newer cats. So it’s a lineage.”

‘Schultz agrees: “Without Gordon I don’t think there would have been a Melvin and without Melvin there wouldn’t have been a Michael Schultz and without Michael Schultz there wouldn’t have been a Spike Lee.”

‘”I think you’d have to identify Parks as a pioneering filmmaker in the most important sense of the word pioneer,” says Donalson. “He was able to enter into Hollywood when you really did not have a black presence behind the camera. What he does is he becomes a complete filmmaker with his first film. He opened that door.” Moreover, Parks opened it wide enough so that others could come through. Parks came from the generation of African American professionals who were acutely aware that all their achievements (and failures) would be judged as milestones for the entire race. “There was an urgency to progress the black community,” adds Donalson. “They knew they were doing something that not only spoke for themselves but carried the African American communities along with them.” In his autobiography Voices in the Mirror, Parks writes about how the accomplishment was bigger than one movie: “Extremely important to me were the number of blacks used in the crew. The number had doubled since The Learning Tree. Slowly it seemed the doors to blacks working behind the camera were opening up.”

‘Directors like F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Be Cool), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, King Arthur) and Story (Fantastic Four) are living Parks’ dream of being able to direct any type of project, regardless of the genre or the color of the cast. “There are people I call ‘the immortals,’ and they are people who made such a difference and left so many tangible and intangible things behind that they never die,” says Hudlin. “Gordon Parks was the first black director to have a Hollywood contract, but his lasting legacy is that we cannot accept the limitations imposed by society. He worked at a time when it was repressive, yet he went to the very top. His illustration, by example, is his legacy.” — Desa Philadelphia

 

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Stills

































 

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Further

The Gordon Parks Foundation
A portrait of American crime by Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks @ IMDb
Gordon Parks, pioneering black film director
The Importance of Being Gordon Parks
Book: Gordon Parks, by Darlene Donloe
A ‘Black Director’ or Simply an Artist? : Gordon Parks Fueled the Dreams of Young Black Filmmakers
How Gordon Parks upended stereotypes of policing and crime in America
Dialogues & Film Retrospectives: Gordon Parks
‘The Learning Tree’ Still Resonates After 50 Years
“AMERICA IS ME”: The Life and Times of Gordon Parks
Gordon Parks’s Pictures Run Through the Subconscious of Black America
Tribute to Gordon Parks
How Gordon Parks broke new ground for Black American artists

 

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Extras


Gordon Parks, a 7 minute documentary


Gordon Parks – A Choice of Weapons (1970)


Kendrick Lamar recreated several of Gordon Parks’ works for his “Element” music video.

 

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Gallery

‘Gordon Parks’ earliest work as a professional photographer was shooting fashion for a department store in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was this professional experience that made it possible for him to photograph for local newspapers, prompting Parks to explore and document Chicago’s impoverished South Side. This series of photographs would win him a Rosenwald Fund fellowship in photography, allowing him to work with Roy Stryker’s renowned Farm Security Administration (FSA) team of photographers. When the FSA was absorbed into the Office of War Information (OWI), Parks had the opportunity to photograph the legendary Tuskegee Airmen Fighter Pilots. The combination of Parks’ experience shooting fashion as well as documentary photography informed his style and made him an asset at Life magazine when he joined their staff in 1948. He would continue to work as both fashion photographer and photo documentarian for the rest of his tenure there through the early 1970s.’ — The Gordon Parks Foundation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Malcolm X interviewed by Gordon Parks

 

“Is it really true that the Black Muslims are out to get you?” I asked.

“It’s as true as we are standing here. They’ve tried it twice in the last two weeks.”

“What about police protection?”

He laughed. “Brother, nobody can protect you from a [Black] Muslim but a [Black] Muslim — or someone trained in [Black] Muslim tactics. I know. I invented many of those tactics.”

“Don’t you have any protection at all?”

He laughed again. “Oh, there are hunters and there are those who hunt the hunters. But the odds are certainly with those who are most skilled at the game.”

He explained that he was now ready to provide a single, unifying platform for all our people, free of political, religious, and economic differences. “One big force under one banner,” he called it. He was convinced that whatever mistakes he had made after leaving Elijah Muhammad had been in the name of brotherhood. “Now it looks like this brotherhood I wanted so badly has got me in a jam,” he said.

Within the last year he had sent me postcards from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, and Tanganyika, and I thanked him for them.

“Everybody’s wondering why I’ve been going back and forth to Africa. Well, first I went to Mecca to get closer to the orthodox religion of Islam. I wanted firsthand views of the African leaders — their problems are inseparable from ours. The cords of bigotry and prejudice here can be cut with the same blade. We have to keep that blade sharp and share it with one another.” Now he was sounding like the old Malcolm: “Strangely enough, listening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn’t just a Black and white problem. It’s brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.”

He stopped and remained silent for a few moments. “Brother,” he said finally, ”remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant — the one who wanted to help the Muslims and the whites get together — and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping Black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then — like all [Black] Muslims — I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me twelve years.”

“That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days — I’m glad to be free of them. It’s a time for martyrs now. And if I’m to be one, it will be in the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country. I’ve learned it the hard way — but I’ve learned it. And that’s the significant thing.”

As we parted he laid his hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said, “As-salaam-alaikum, brother.”

“And may peace be with you, Malcolm,” I answered.

 

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8 of Gordon Parks’s 9 films

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The World of Piri Thomas (1968)
‘Of the almost 900,000 Puerto Ricans in United States more than 600,000 live in New York City in the ghetto called “el barrio.” Spanish Harlem. This film is an evocation of one man survival in and triumph over that ghetto. All the words, the thoughts, the experiences relived are his. The peaks and valleys that have made up the world of Piri Thomas.’ — GP


the entirety

 

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The Learning Tree (1969)
‘The 1969 drama is a coming-of-age story that illustrates growing up and facing racial discrimination in rural parts of Kansas in the late 1920s. “It’s one of the top films made in the twentieth century designated by the Library of Congress,” said David Parks, the son of the famed photographer. “The Learning Tree” was among the first 25 films placed on the national Film Registry of the Library of Congress.’ — kmuw


Trailer


the entirety

 

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Shaft (1971)
‘By directing The Learning Tree, Parks achieved great fame for being the first African American director that made a mainstream Hollywood movie. With his detective Shaft Parks introduced audience in cinemas to the world’s first black action hero: John Shaft. The film marked and inspired the beginning of series of movies that would come to be known as Blaxploitation; movies were initially specifically were made for a black audience, working with a black cast and urban storylines.’ — foam


Trailer


Opening Credits


Excerpt

 

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Shaft’s Big Score! (1972)
‘Richard Roundtree reunites with the director (Gordon Parks) and screenwriter (Ernest Tidyman) of 1971’s trendsetting Shaft for Shaft’s Big Score!, the second of Roundtree’s three movie portrayals of the street-smart, leather-jacketed private investigator. This time, the blown-to-kingdom-come murder of a client plunges Shaft into a case that bounces him like a pinball between the 133rd Precinct and competing mobs. But the players are about to be played in this “rousing and entertaining thriller”’ — Newsweek


Trailer


Title Sequence


Excerpt

 

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The Super Cops (1974)
‘The Seventies produced a lot of great cop flicks with “The French Connection” and “Serpico” being the best. What gives “The Super Cops” street cred is that it is helmed by an African-American, Gordon Parks, who injects perspective and authenticity to the film. The film concerns two rookie cops, Greenberg and Hantz (Ron Leibman and David Selby) whose beat is the mean streets of Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant where narcotics and guns are epidemic. When our heroes are not contending with the dealers, pimps, and pushers they have to concern themselves with the brass, Internal Affairs, and the then omnipresent Knapp Commission investigating corruption in the ranks of the NYPD. The film is fast, funny, and gritty. Leibman is the more colorful of the pair contrasting to the stoicism of Selby’s character. Doesn’t quite reach the heights of a typical Sidney Lumet police procedural but it’ll do.’ — David E Williams


Trailer


Behind the Scenes making of SUPER COPS

 

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Leadbelly (1976)
‘No need to be embarrassed if you’ve never heard of Gordon Parks’ film “Leadbelly”. Practically no one has; not even the person the film is based on, so you can be almost forgiven. “Leadbelly”was first released 40 years ago in 1976, and barely received any kind of national attention. On top of that, the film has never been on top of anyone’s “must see” list, and that would be a shame since it is perhaps Parks’ finest film. After considerable success as a filmmaker starting in 1969 with his film “The Learning Tree,” based on his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, and the first Hollywood studio backed (Warner Bros) film made by a black director, the famed renaissance man, after a few years, built enough clout to direct his long cherished dream project about the legendary blues/folk singer Huddie William Ledbetter, known as Leadbelly (though Ledbetter himself always separated the two words, calling himself Lead Belly – something that most people did not).’ — Shadow and Act


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Solomon Northup’s Odyssey (1984)
‘Based on the 1853 memoir of a Northern black man kidnapped into slavery, Gordon Parks’s Solomon Northup’s Odyssey predates Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave by almost three decades. Made for television, with a modest budget, it is less brutal than McQueen’s version, and, as critic Bilge Ebiri wrote, it contains “a somber lyricism that’s hard to shake. The outrage is still there, just more muted and given more historical context.’ — bamfa


Excerpt

 

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Moments Without Proper Names (1988)
‘In this beautiful, expressionistic essay film featuring his photographs, writing, and music, Gordon Parks reflects on how America shaped him, from his childhood on a Kansas farm to his years in New York City, and from the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War. It is preceded by two of his early short films—Flavio, set in a favela near Rio de Janeiro, and Diary of a Harlem Family—both of which stem from Parks’s work as a Life magazine photojournalist. Through black-and-white photographs, moving images, and diaristic accounts, Parks sensitively portrays the plight of two families living in abject poverty, with a core belief in the dignity and potential of every human being.’ — bamfa


Excerpt

 

 

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p.s. Hey. Diarmuid Hester talks about WRONG with Wake Island’s Paul Kwiatkowski on a podcast that you can listen to here if you’re interested. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Robert Graves: goodness gracious. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Oh, yes, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that Deller/Pop project. Intense. And yet not. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Everyone, Here’s a qualified hook up from Mr. Erickson: ‘I wrote a song today, but I made a mistake trying to do a fade-in effect on the volume at the start, and the entire song constantly fades up and down. When I couldn’t figure out how to undo this, I decided to embrace the disorienting quality and added digital delay and vinyl crackles, but I’m not sure if this is any good at all. I had Leyland Kirby in mind once I tried finishing it.’ I’m not on Instagram, but, yeah, I’ve heard. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. Cool, glad to hear that. Even about the nightmares. The muse designation can be very fruitful in those circumstances in my experience if you can honestly bracket the person off like that. Not easy always. No, I don’t do Instagram. Between the blog and Facebook, that’s as much socialising as my desire to work and be IRL can handle. It’s true I’ve thought about setting up some kind of dummy account so I can experience there, but I suspect I’d end up fleshing it out and swallowing time. Dilemma. ** Hm, so quiet in the commenting arena of late. Interesting. Well, maybe people will feel inspired to say something about or propelled by Gordon Parks? In any case, see you tomorrow.

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