RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 2-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

ARTIST NEWS

Death of a Poet Monk

Losing Leonard

By RAR

I've always listened to Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) when I want to deny life the sort of pleasure it sometimes seems to take in making me miserable. He never made me feel better so much as he encouraged me to summon up that sense of defiance that I perceived in him and his work. He came from that place that gave us Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, Henry Miller, and other tragic romantics who documented their lives on coarse sandpaper, leaving their blood all over their pages.

Cohen always seemed wistful, yearning for beauty he recognized all along the way, but that got lost, existing for only fleeting moments before slipping into ghostly memory. He made me feel privileged to have felt hurt and sadness, and bitter toward the creeping darkness of cynicism and spiritual loss. And he gave me a role model for the eccentric self, a soldier in the war against banal mortality. Leonard always seemed to be preparing himself for death.

Maybe it was because he lost his father when he was only nine years old, and maybe that was the catalyst for the itinerant nature of his personal sojourn. A Canadian Jew, he grew up in an Orthodox household where he was encouraged to believe that he was born to be a high priest. He was enthusiastic about music, but after he went to college at McGill University he veered toward letters. Living off a small trust fund and the income from odd jobs, he published poems and won a literary award, as well as the respect of luminaries in Canadian publishing. And then he moved to the Greek island of Hydra, where he lived a reclusive life while writing books of poems and novels. Some of his work was sexually explicit and made him a scandal. None of it sold very well.

Just before he turned thirty, Cohen turned his back on fiction and began to revision himself as a songwriter. He relocated to Greenwich Village in New York City and immersed himself in the folk scene there, arriving in 1966 and just a little too late. He was enamored with Nico, who influenced his songwriting, and he had a passing association with Andy Warhol's Factory collective. And then he wrote "Suzanne", which was a hit for Judy Collins, and over time his song craft eclipsed his fiction. Robert Altman framed McCabe and Mrs. Miller around Cohen's devastating, unadorned musical honesty, and over the years his legend just kept growing as he dropped quiet bombs upon our cultural consciousness. "Hallelujah". "Everybody Knows". "First We Take Manhattan". "Democracy", and more.

Though committed to Judaism, Cohen lived in seclusion for five years at the Mount Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, where in 1996 he was ordained as a Buddhist Monk. Financial embezzlement, on the part of his business manager, forced him back to the public stage, and so new generations became aware of his significant contributions to our culture. At the end of his life - on stage, with his Greek instruments and his fedora - he was a colossus of straight talk and truth, a reminder that we are going through our time together, and often it is crushingly poignant, so beautiful that it hurts.


Streaming Red

Jay-Z's Tidal Bleed

In a year when services streamed 317 billion music files, Tidal and its holding company lost $28 million.

Remember that somewhat strange scene, from back in February of 2015, when Jay-Z, flanked by Beyonce, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Chris Martin, Nicki Minaj and Daft Punk, announced that his Carter Enterprises had bid $56 million for Swedish company Aspiro? No, of course you don't, because no one was listening!

This was lost to the Carter cast of Empire, who were led to believe that they were buying a baked-in audience of at least 540,000 people, who could stream a lot of Kanye and Jay-Z if their subscription service would offer that kind of thing.

When you think about it, 540,000 subscribers is not really a lot of subscribers - it's like the audience that Chris Matthews might get each night on MSNBC, which nobody watches. And those folks were said to live in 31 countries, but as it turns out the Aspiro roster of paid customers was nowhere near that large, or so Jay-Z's lawyers argued in a suit against Aspiro that raked back $15 million of the Carter Enterprise investment.

Tidal continues to exist (check out https://listen.tidal.com/ ) but looking at their offerings it makes you wonder how that service could ever be successful. Of course, I say that about all of them. - RAR

BREAKING: The Star Tribune is reporting that Prince’s estate has sued Jay Z’s Roc Nation for copyright infringement over Tidal’s claim of having exclusive streaming rights for Prince’s music. The complaint asserts that Tidal was only granted a 90-day period of streaming exclusivity for Prince’s 2015 album HITNRUN Phase One. NPG Records claims that no other agreements were made and that Tidal “is exploiting many copyrighted Prince works.” Tidal has long been the sole streaming service to offer Prince’s music. In July 2015, Prince’s music vanished from all streaming services except Tidal. In May of last year, Prince streamed his “Rally 4 Peace” Baltimore concert exclusively on Tidal. When HITNRUN Phase Two was released last December, it was initially only available on Tidal. At press time, Prince’s catalog is still available to stream on Tidal.

Are You Going to the Lucky Cloud - or Spiritland?

According to the Nielson Ratings folks, there were 317 billion music files streamed by listeners in 2015, which is double the number streamed in 2014. 91 percent of Americans listen to music in one way or another, 75 percent on their computers, in a typical week, while 44 percent listen on a smart phone.

That's a lot of music consumption, but there is a hidden story there, that being that people have become very accustomed to listening to music in headphones and/or less than audiophile-types of players.

This would have been unheard of in the 1960s and '70s, when enjoyment of music was largely tied to the quality of the audio equipment that we were using. I once took a college class in hi-fi electronics and remember distinctly how remarkably more profound the sound coming out of the stereo used in that class was than anything I have ever heard before or since. It planted within me this dream of one day having a system comparable to that because the experience of hearing music of that fidelity, clarity and presence is like a fabulous drug I only took once. I was never able to recreate that experience, and then time moved on and we all started listening to MP3 files played on Apple products. The music was still there, but sound was mostly gone.

Enter the "Lucky Cloud" sound system.

Touring around London for the past decade - setting up in community centers and other un-night clubby places - is a traveling music party that is all about featuring high quality audio. The Lucky Cloud group, around since 2003, was inspired by DJ David Mancuso, who ran a party operation in New York in the 1970s and gained a cult following. Same product: quality sound.

Fast forward 30-40 years, and quality has become a special product. Now The Lucky Cloud tour has competition in their special realm from "listening clubs" that are springing up around London. One of the most high profile is Spiritland, which boasts a half-million dollar sound system designed by a British company called Living Voice.

The Goldmund Epilogue Signature Audio System, shown right, is considered the most expensive and coveted home stereo system in the world. The Swiss sound system costs a $1 million, and obviously for that kind of money you don't get fancy casing. - RAR

 


Number One Music (N1M)

Feeding the Beast

It starts with the type of nice note that attention-starved songwriters yearn to receive. Someone you've never heard of, but who might live in your area, can't stop listening to your song! They found it on some streaming service and they really think you could do well by getting additional promotion through a website called Number One Music (N1M). Your devoted fan apparently has a brother who writes songs, and the site did wonders for him.

It's easy to get started with a Number One Music account, because you can sign up for free. And they give you 25 bitcoins that you can use to buy a place on the site's music chart. You can buy seven days of promotion for your song and before you know it some other musician type you have never heard of thanks you for endorsing their work, even though you never did any such thing. But the thing is, you can earn more bitcoins by endorsing other bands on the website, and that will get you more time for the campaign you've launched to promote that song of yours that that girl liked so much - the one who led you to the Number One Music site.

Before you know it, you are showing up on the N1M charts! In fact, you start to feel like you want to endorse more bands you've never heard of so that you can get more N1M subscribers and climb even higher on those music charts. It's hard, though, because your campaign is expiring and the only way to really climb into the big time with all of this is to shell out some real cash to reactivate your account.

You probably couldn't imagine that all those enthusiastic fans subscribing to your N1M page aren't real people at all, but rather are just this wave of followers you suddenly get during your free trial period before you have to start paying money so that your account doesn't get deleted. Unfortunately, that is precisely the case. N1M is like a bunch of bandits waiting at the bus station where they drop off the new arrivals, fresh to the city and carrying cash, begging to be accepted and willing to pay for the feeling. N1M isn't really even a part of the music industry, and yet it typifies something of what the industry is about: exploiting the naive dreamers who somehow imagine that the Internet will be their ticket to the big time. There are a lot of crooks on the fringes of the vanity business.

REVOLVER

Transcending Pop

By RAR

A half-century has passed since The Beatles broke through on the British pop music scene, and then internationally. Twenty years after their breakup in 1970, biographers were looking back on their era, the 1960s, and referring to them as "the Pied Pipers of a generation". Even in their worship of the world's greatest Rock'n Roll band, they were too limited in their assessment, because The Beatles have continued to remain vital, and to become as much a part of the identity of one generation as they have the next. As a songwriting collective, there has never been anything remotely near to being like them, for though there have been other songwriters and songwriting teams with multiple hit records and huge songbooks, none carry the weight of The Beatles' catalog.

Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr - and they did all contribute original material - were of two parts. In their early years, up to 1966, they were interweaving wonderfully constructed pop songs with covers of American R&B, Rockabilly, and Rock'n Roll. Everyone knows the charm displayed by The Beatles in those early years, which was evident in the fresh nature of their original tunes. They were happy listening even when they were singing teenage love themes, and everyone knows their early songs by heart. "I Saw Her Standing There". "She Loves You". "Hold Me Tight". "A Hard Day's Night." You could go on for paragraphs of immediately recognizable titles. The energy with which The Beatles performed these songs was nearly impossible to match, though the songs themselves were still within the range of the great songwriters of the times. Burt Bacharach, for instance, had built a remarkable catalog of highly musical tunes, as had Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Roy Orbison, Smokey Robinson, and others. But The Beatles were just getting started and on the verge of going places no one has gone before or since.

The Rubber Soul album, in 1965, had begun to reveal a new level of songwriting, influenced by Bob Dylan and the American folk scene. It is sort of deep and thoughtful, just a little dark. Just talking about their music in that way differentiates it from their earlier pop. They had always been lyrically musical, but now Lennon, in particular, was getting musically poetic, honest where before he had been sincere. There was an edge there and by 1966 it was cutting a slit in our musical reality.

It was a doors of perception thing. Lennon, Harrison, Starr, and later McCartney, were introduced to pot and LSD, and while this has been the beginning of the end for many a poor soul it was the beginning of the beginning for them. They took four months off from touring and worked hard in the studio for a prolonged period as they had never done before. A professional road band, The Beatles were in the habit of recording 14-song albums in a couple days. They would record the instrumental tracks in a live take, and then record the vocals, and bang, they were done. With Revolver, they took the time to let their imaginations go and they came up with tape loops and effects unlike anyone had heard before. And under the direction of George Martin, their explorations were not self-indulgent, but rather were part of a perfectly calibrated artistic vision. Everything changed. Ringo Starr played drum parts that to this day are studied by drummers who somehow can not exactly reproduce his feel. And after "Tomorrow Never Knows", no one ever again played an outside-of-the-normal type of song without coming off like a cheesy impersonation of the greatest Rock'n Roll band in history. And after Revolver, The Beatles did music that transcended pop and has not been equaled to this day.

Ringo Starr - Photographer

Tavis Smiley Interview

Back in 1963-64, as The Beatles were breaking big in England and then showing up in the United States, all four of "the boys", as they were fondly known, were capturing the experience through their own snapshots of all that was happening around them. They contributed to a treasure trove of photographs of the band, adding to those taken by the press corps and their own publicists, so that fans have pictorial documentation of their success that is virtually unequalled relative to the collections we have of other big name acts. Some of the best were taken by Ringo Starr, who this year published a book of his photographs from the era. Ringo, often called "the soul" of the band, took a lot of pictures of the things that he and his mates were seeing of the world around them, and earlier this year he spoke with radio host Tavis Smiley about his photo book. Watching the interview reminds us of what a pure soul Ringo really is, more real in so many ways than either John, Paul or George. Now in his 70s, Ringo remains a breath of fresh air and a pleasure to listen to, whether he is playing in his own unique drumming style or just talking like a regular guy.

 

The Letterman Inquiry

So Paul, Are You Dead?

In 2009, Paul McCartney appeared on Late Night with David Letterman and the host took the opportunity to ask Paul about those 1966 rumors of his demise. Some inquiring Internet enthusiasts listened to his response as further proof that the Paul McCartney we know today is a stand-in. What do you think?

THE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION PHENOMENON

The article to the right mentions The Tavistock Institute and conspiracy theories that drugs are being used as tools for control of our young people. For sure, the marijuana of the 21st Century is a hybrid pot that is a far different thing from that known to my generation in the 1960s. It is more of a hallucinogenic than it once was, and as the U.S. liberalizes its use it does make one wonder if we are creating a monster for ourselves. This article is reprinted from my Facebook site. Follow RARWRITER on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rick.a.rice.9.

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I have made watching the film Zeitgeist: The Movie an annual holiday tradition and, watching it this Thanksgiving morning, while preparing the turkey, I noticed something I hadn’t really thought about before. It has to do with the national trend toward the legalization of recreational marijuana. My home state of California legalized its use in this last election cycle, so recreational users now have the same rights here that medical marijuana users have enjoyed for several years. Now, if I believed in God – George Carlin’s invisible man in the sky who watches our every move, loves us while having a desperate need for our money, and will sentence us to eternal suffering if we don’t follow his 10 commandments (which are actually pretty sensible) – I might believe that marijuana is a gift from above. For a small percentage of its users, marijuana is a marvelous, mind-expanding resource that promotes peaceful relations and opens the doors to creativity. Many of our most powerful corporate leaders go off on retreats where they smoke pot and dream up such concepts as agile software development and "the Cloud". But most of us aren’t very smart at all, and all marijuana smoking does for the average idiot is to allow them to ignore the truths of their lives. It is vastly superior, in that regard, to alcohol, which is a destructive influence that promotes depression, encourages violence, and ruins lives. Marijuana tends to mellow people out, to make them more loving and happy. That said, we are about to witness a coast-to-coast embrace of recreational marijuana, because state governments have come to recognize it as an extraordinary source of tax revenue. That puts a whole new spin on its use, because as was so brilliantly pointed out by the 1976 film Network, we as citizens are manipulated through control devices. The media brainwashes us to think things that no one in their right mind would otherwise accept, like airliners knocking down the World Trade Center towers plus Building 7, which wasn’t even struck. I now suspect that what is really happening is that legalizing marijuana is being promoted as an insidious means of further blinding the population to the horrors of governmental and corporate control. The zeitgeist of the 60s has been turned on its head. Where once pot was this magical substance that allowed us to see “the truth”, in the 21st Century it is probably becoming a weapon to be used against the application of rational thought. Corporations are rushing in to take over its production, distribution and sale. Now why would they do that? People probably need to see this for what it is and recognize that they have taken something beautiful and turned it into a tool of oppression. It is horrible and sad on so many levels. We have wizened up to the fact that as a controlled substance it has been used as the means to fill our privately operated prison systems with three-strike offenders, who are largely Black and Latino. It has been used to further marginalize the economic under class. Maybe we will finally defeat that demon force, but in its demise we are likely just seeing a shift in strategy. As the world turns ever closer to destruction, we probably need to stay alert to what is really going on now. When pot becomes a tool for “the man”, as we used to call institutions of authority in the ‘60s, we probably need to see it for what it has become. Decriminalize pot for sure, but don’t let yourself be used by it. - RAR

Oh, and those Electronic Devices

While we are on the subject of phony Internet stories and corporate shenanigans associated with electronic cigarettes, what is happening to our society through the influence of electronic devices, notably the "smart phone"? Have you ever tried to take one away from a kid? They react like drug addicts react when you try to deny them their narcotics. And why? Because addiction is addiction, in whatever form it comes, affecting all of the same brain receptors. The evil geniuses of Research Triangle Park, Silicon Valley, the National Security Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency have actually convinced us all to glue ourselves to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the rest of the "fake news" sites we have today, and to put all of our personal data in the Cloud. And the world has fallen for this hook, line and sinker. More than just a crying shame, it is a disaster heralding the end of our basic human right to exist free of oppression and societal control. And like addicts of all stripes, we have done it to ourselves through out own vanity and ego, and our manic need to follow the surrounding herd. We have allowed our own ignorant inclinations to be leveraged for use against us, writing our own epitaphs in 140 characters or less. - RAR

Paul is Dead

The Tavistock Institute, British Intelligence, and Billy Shears 

It might sound crazy, but I remember exactly where I was when the news broke in 1966 that Paul McCartney was dead. In that sense, it is like a few other significant events in our cultural history, that includes the Kennedy assassinations and 9-11.

The 1966 "Paul is dead" rumor happened long before the Internet was around, and news of the tragedy was communicated by radio through ongoing reports and news updates. It landed on the public imagination as a psychic trauma that played out as a series of clues, most notably presented through the cover art and the music presented on the Sargent Peppers LP and subsequent albums. "He blew his mind out in a car. He didn't notice that the light had changed." Playing Beatles songs backward - and who would do that? - yielded frank admissions, such as "Paul is dead" and "I buried Paul". Paul was presented barefoot, coffin ready, on the Abbey Road cover, and he wore the Walrus outfit, which we learned was a death symbol, on the Magical Mystery Tour album and film.

In retrospect, it is amazing to my mind that the narrative played out as long as it did, for over time there developed in the public mind this acceptance that the whole thing was somehow the work of a pesky John Lennon. What other mind could possibly conceive of such a publicity stunt and have so much fun with it? This notion that Lennon had such a perverse sense of humor had been seeded in the public mind by the wicked wit contained in his illustrated books A Spaniard in the Works and In His Own Write. Through all of the intrigue, The Beatles continued to produce music and even music videos, with Paul very much present, and so eventually came acceptance that the whole thing had been a lark.

Flash forward to the Internet age and somehow the entire narrative changed from an absurd publicity stunt to become a conspiracy story. Paul had, in "fact", died in 1966 and been replaced by a guy - first and middle name Billy Shears - who had won a Paul McCartney look-alike contest in 1965. Somehow, the story goes, that Billy Shears Campbell had a similar personality and all the musical chops of the cute Beatle, and so with Paul's death Beatles manager Brian Epstein decided to cultivate him as a replacement. He was only supposed to be passed off as the real Paul temporarily, until the Beatles organization could figure out how to handle the tragedy of McCartney's untimely death, but the ruse continued. There was plastic surgery, musical coaching. All records of William Shears Campbell disappear after 1966.

Billy Shears, it turned out, was at least as musically talented as Paul McCartney, and maybe even moreso. John, George and Ringo settled into conspiracy, though behind the scenes there was trouble. Billy couldn't get along with Lennon and after McCartney's death The Beatles stopped doing live performances. The music of The Beatles changed dramatically, veering away from Pop Music into a mind altering psychedelia. And then people around the band began to die. Brian Epstein committed suicide in 1967. John Lennon was murdered in 1980 by Mark David Chapman, who conspiracy buffs determined was a "Manchurian Candidate". Paul's wife Linda Eastman, whose family had become deeply involved in the business of The Beatles, succumbed to cancer in 1998. In 2001, George Harrison died young, at 58, of a blend of cancers, until finally all that was left was "Faul" - fake Paul - and Ringo Starr. It was even determined that Billy Shears, the "first phony Paul" died in 1977, only to be replaced by yet another "Faul", who is the person we know today as Paul McCartney.

Internet sleuths began cataloging irregularities in the McCartney profile. He is two inches taller now, than he used to be. His eyes are hazel, where the real Paul's were brown. His nose and ears are different. His feet are different. He sometimes uses his right hand, where the real Paul was a southpaw in every way.

Some conspiracy theorists lay all the deception on the doorstep of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, a research group furthering the work of Sigmund Freud to further the development of behavioral psychology. Their clients are the British government, and they have ties to the behavioral research conducted at Stanford University. (You will recall the "Stanford prison experiment".) Their purpose, in the minds of these conspiracy theorists, is to use popular music and drugs to destroy the educational system in the United States and control the masses. The Beatles, in their narrative, were an evil plot from the first. Some even say that the Tavistock geniuses provided the band with its original compositions, reasoning that a quartet of uneducated twits from Liverpool could not possibly have come up with The Beatles music on their own. They could not possibly have cast the spell they did over the youth of the world on the strength of their own talents.

In 2009, David Letterman had Paul (or Faul) on his show and asked him about the rumors. Conspiracy theorists took Paul's tepid response and facial expressions as "tells", revelations that Letterman had entered into territory that made his guest, whoever he was, a little uncomfortable.

In 2015, there was a report that Ringo Starr came clean to the Hollywood Inquirer, clearing his conscience by admitting that Paul McCartney had, in fact, died in 1966 and that he was replaced by a look-alike. That report is repeated all over the Internet, but finding any actual recorded interview in which Ringo is saying that is futile.

Perhaps the protectors of the truth are just preventing such evidence from being found, so all we have are YouTube presenters repeating the story as reported by other alternative media sources. Some of those outlets are reporting that MI5, the British intelligence agency, is looking into the possibility that Paul McCartney died in 1966, was replaced by a succession of imposters, and that the ruse has continued successfully for 50 years. If MI5 has issued a statement on this inquiry, it has apparently been made only to those YouTube investigators who have breathed life back into this extraordinary story after all these years.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney continues an active performance schedule. Various sources, including Forbes and CNN, place his net worth at somewhere between $600 million and $1.2 billion dollars, making him the wealthiest musician in the world, and he is about to get a whole lot richer. The royalties of The Beatles' pre-1978 catalog will revert to their heirs beginning in 2018. The band's peak earning years are still ahead of them. - RAR

The New Pollution

How Tobacco Companies are Using Vaping to Control Our Young People

If there is any doubt in your mind that major corporations are using drugs to control the population, I bring your attention to the current fad of "vaping".

Vaping, of course, refers to the use of electronic cigarettes. Their marketing groups came up with the term to create a sense of cache around using their insidious little devices, which are promoted as healthy alternatives to regular cigarette smoking. It is a lie that should be prosecuted, if we were in the business of protecting the public, but as the business of America is business we are not only not prosecuting the guilty, but rather are sponsoring the ignorant young to promote their use of this disastrous new deceit.

In truth, it is not just the young. The first people I knew to use electronic cigarettes were adults who looked at the devices as aids to help them wean themselves off of tobacco and nicotine. Surprise! Electronic cigarettes deliver most of what makes cigarettes lethal, plus some other stuff. The key ingredients are propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, which allow manufacturers to create special flavors for their electronic cigarettes, while still delivering the addictive nicotine that smokers crave. The benefits sold to the public are that, with vaping, there is no bad smell and bad breath, no cigarette burns, and no dirty ashtrays. There is supposedly a reduced likelihood of getting cancer, or so goes the marketing literature.

Vaping was invented by a Chinese pharmacist and it created an immediate fad in the Far East that was easily transferable to the vulnerable West. Companies now sponsor kids to compete with the kinds of tricks they can create through the huge volumes of smoke created by these insidious devices.

And, like cigarette smokers and drug addicts of all kinds, no one is more defensive about this despicable habit than vapers, who have fallen for this load of crap that has been delivered unto our society from a society (China) that is notorious for its lax product safety standards. They will coat your kids' toys with lead paint, and they will coat your kids' lungs with electronic cigarette smoke. If this doesn't make you sick to your stomach, it will almost certainly make you sick in mind and body. Plus, you are sheep for being suckered into a harmful and dangerous fad, and you are a victim of corporate manipulation and profiteering. You should spank yourself for being stupid, and then put it on YouTube, like the ice bucket challenge, so all the other idiots you know will do the same thing. - RAR

The Ugly Truth

A Lot of You People are Going to Have to Get a Lot Better Looking

By RAR

One of my fond recollections of the TV series Friends was an episode in which the character Joey (Matt LeBlanc) was teaching an acting class. Included in the advice that he gave to his young student-actors, who were trying to break into television, was - "A lot of you people are going to have to get a lot better looking."

That line is hilarious, to my mind, not in the least because the naturally telegenic Joey was hitting upon something central to the entertainment business: it is "a show" in which the quality of your looks will trump whatever talent you may bring to the proceedings. For validation of that statement, just sit for awhile watching the commercials that you see on television. Every person that you see in those commercials is attractive, in one way or another, often beyond the norm that you see in regular people. The women are all beautiful, the men are all handsome. Or, if not exactly handsome or beautiful, they at least have something special about their look that sets them apart from the average person. That is critical to the effectiveness of commercials, because beautiful actors convey a sense of exceptional quality on the products they represent. Viewers equate the commercial image with what's inside the product box. You can test that statement by comparing the national TV spots to the types of low overhead commercials you see in local markets, where often entrepreneurs act as their own on-screen talent. It usually comes across like the difference between spots for your local Dollar Store (as if such exists) and Nordstroms. However wrong it may seem, there are class differences. Those commercial spots are also designed to capture and hold our attention, so that the messages they convey become concrete in our sub-conscious minds.  They achieve that by giving license to something viewers don't typically have, which is the audacity to ogle.

Images don't just make commercials. Television and movies sell fantasy, among other things. They portray worlds as we would like for them to be, if everything was "perfect". However complicated the lives of the characters inhabiting those images may be, the beautiful people always seem to endure with greater hope than do the less attractive. There is a subtext of "survival of the fittest" in every form of expression, and being the most attractive or appealing animal in the herd ensures your survival. It is individuals from the "box of deplorables" that suffer to be sacrificed.

Movies are still far more likely than television to feature "character actors", though you have seen changes there, too, over the years. I love, for instance, to watch the old Hollywood movies featured on the American Movie Classics (AMC) and similar channels that show films from what is often called "the Golden Age of Hollywood". Many of the films of the 30s and 40s featured May-December relationships, which seem very weird today. You got a lot of movies with older leading men like Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, and later Jimmy Stewart involved in relationships with women in their 20s, as if all these young lovelies yearned to "hook-up" with a father figure. That would never fly today, and you wonder why it worked then. Imagine being a young lovely and having one of these old farts ramming their tongues down your throat. It would seem like an intimacy with Freddie Krueger, which in modern times would come across as horror. Our aesthetic has changed over time, and rather dramatically.

This also applies to the world of music entertainment, and explains a lot about why popular music belongs almost exclusively to the very young. It also explains some of why local music venues struggle to survive. Personally, I never attend live music events because I find them depressing. Most of them exist to sell alcohol, which puts me in the presence of a bunch of drinking types with whom I would not otherwise choose to be around. And, most routinely feature players who are more Dollar Store than Nordstrom in their presentation. You get a lot of older people who play for the love of music, or perhaps for the love of attention, and I, in my garden-variety superficiality, don't find much appeal in any of that.

You really cannot perform well enough to overcome the shortcomings of your appearance, and we just don't look as good as older people as we did when we were young. Also, our popular music tends to be all about the themes of interest to really young people. Having David Crosby, for instance, sing a love song more appropriate for someone in their dating years is just creepy. I don't actually know if David Crosby does that, but it would be weird if he did.

Unfortunately, modern music has never evolved into something focused on themes of greater interest to people in the latter stages of their lives, so your local bar band guys are very likely playing songs completely out of sync with what they are able to convincingly present.

We want the beauty, dreams, and ambitions of fresh and vital youth. It is next to impossible, as we age, to overcome what we have become as an evolved species that lives for a very long time.

     
 
 

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Phillip Rauls is a former A&R guy with Atlantic Records who I became aware of through our mutual friend, the late tour manager Buddy Zoloth. Phillip is a great guy and a fine writer who has known and worked with many of the biggest names from the "Golden Era" of Rock. For years we at the CCJ at RARWRITER have enjoyed his website, where he has published articles on many of the artists he has represented. Earlier this year, Phillip published a book, The Rock Trenches, that is filled with interesting stories and great photographs that will be phenomenally entertaining to anyone who loves the music of the 1960s and '70s. You can visit Phillip's website by using this link, and you can buy his book through Amazon by following this link.

 

 

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