Archive for June, 2009

Public Image Ltd

June 30, 2009

Public Image Ltd. (PiL) is an English musical group that was formed in 1978 by vocalist John Lydon, guitarist Keith Levene, and bassist Jah Wobble.

Public Image Ltd

Rising from the ashes of the Sex Pistols, PiL’s early work is often regarded as some of the most challenging and innovative music of the post-punk era: the NME described PiL as ‘arguably the first post-rock group’. Their later music would be somewhat more conventional, and PiL has been inactive since 1992.

First Issue (1978)


PiL’s debut album, First Issue, comprised eight tracks of varying sound quality, half of which were written and recorded in a rush. The album was considered groundbreaking on its release in December 1978. Tracks are: THEME / RELIGION I / RELIGION II / ANNALISA / PUBLIC IMAGE / LOW LIFE / ATTACK / FODDERSTOMPF. Grounded in heavy dub reggae, Wobble’s bass tone was called ‘impossibly deep’ by contemporary reviews. Levene’s sharp guitar sound, played on an aluminium Veleno guitar, was widely imitated, most notably by The Edge of U2. Despite being widely criticised in the UK press for being ‘self indulgent’ and ‘not rock n’ roll’, First Issue sold well in the UK and Europe, reaching number 22 on the UK charts, mainly due to the inclusion of the popular single ‘Public Image’.

The closing track ‘Fodderstompf’, heavily influenced by dub, comprises nearly eight minutes of a circular bass riff, played over a Lydon/Levene double act lampooning public outrage, love songs and teenage apathy.

Metal Box (1979)


he next album Metal Box (1979) was a more focused effort. Tracks are: ALBATROSS / MEMORIES / SWAN LAKE (Death Disco) / POPTONES / CAREERING / SOCIALIST/ GRAVEYARD / THE SUIT / BAD BABY /NO BIRDS/ CHANT / RADIO 4. ‘Death Disco’ (‘Swan Lake’) was released as a single in 1979 and reached #20 in the charts.

Metal Box was originally released as three high-quality untitled 45 rpm 12-inch (30 cm) records packaged in a metal film canister (it was later reissued as Second Edition), and features the band’s trademark hypnotic dub reggae bass lines, glassy, arpeggiated guitar, and bleak, paranoid, stream of consciousness vocals. Metal Box is starker than First Issue, more spread out and uncompromising, and scattered with bits of ambient synthesizer.

paris au printemps

Paris Au Printemps was recorded live at The Palace, Paris, France on 17 & 18th of January 1980. The tracks are: Theme / Chant / Careering / Bad Baby / Low Life / Attack / Poptones.

flowers of romance

Flowers of Romance is an album considered much stranger and more difficult than the already strange Metal Box. Wobble had left the band; Levene had largely abandoned guitar in favour of synthesizer. New boy Martin Atkins’ propulsive marching band-style drumming, the lack of bass and guitar, and Lydon’s increasing lyrical abstraction make this album a difficult listen for rock fans, and contemporary reviews expressed great confusion.

The record consists mostly of drums, vocals, musique concrète, and tape loops, with only gestures toward bass (played by Levene) and keyboards. Its drum sound was widely copied, notably by Phil Collins. Tracks are: FOUR ENCLOSED WALLS / TRACK 8 / PHENAGEN / FLOWERS OF ROMANCE / UNDER THE HOUSE / HYMIES HIM / BANGING THE DOOR / GO BACK / FRANCIS MASSACRE plus bonus tracks: FLOWERS OF ROMANCE (INSTRUMENTAL) / HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS / ANOTHER.

Live in Tokyo (1983)

Live in Tokyo is a 1983 live album released by Public Image Ltd. It was released by EMI records and reached #28 on the British charts.

Tracks are: Annalisa/ Religion/ Low Life/ Solitaire/ Flowers of Romance/ This Is Not a) Love Song/ Death Disco/ Bad Life/ Banging the Door/ Under the House.

This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get (1984)

On This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get, the band (now without Levene) was clearly moving towards a more commercial pop music and dance music direction, and while many new fans found PiL, little of their original audience (or sound) remained. Tracks are: BAD LIFE / THIS IS NOT A LOVE SONG (re-recorded version) / SOLITAIRE / TIE ME TO THE LENGTH OF THAT / THE PARDON / WHERE ARE YOU / 1981 / THE ORDER OF DEATH. The band released the single ‘This Is Not A Love Song’ in 1983, the song’s lyric lampooning the ire of some fans and the music press over the band’s movement towards a more commercial style.

Ironically, This Is Not a Love Song gave the band their biggest international hit single, reaching No.5 in the UK singles charts and No.12 in the Netherlands.

Album/Compact Disc/Cassette (1986)

PiL’s 1986 release was simply entitled Album, Compact Disc, or Cassette, depending on the format. The cover’s blue typeface and spartan design parodied generic brands. Produced by Bill Laswell, Album featured guitar solos by Steve Vai, considered by Vai himself to be some of his best work. Legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker also played on the album. Tracks are: FFF / RISE / FISHING / ROUND / BAGS / HOME / EASE. Rise was a catchy, popular hit single.

Neil Perry gave Album a positive review in the NME: ‘This is a wonderful, stunning and equally confusing record, and working on the theory that you’d never expect to hear the Lydon sneer backed by prime metal riffing, that’s exactly what you get. Not everywhere, of course, as proved by the haunting ‘Rise’. And ‘Ease’, by the way, with its shock-horror two minutes plus guitar solo, is quite beautiful… In short, Lydon and PiL are still breaking barriers. The man has extracted the false phallus from rock’s trouser front and is smashing it over our heads.’

Happy? (1987)

PiL released Happy? in 1987, and during the spring of 1988 toured throughout the United States promoting the album. Tracks are: SEATTLE / RULES AND REGULATIONS / THE BODY / SAVE ME / HARD TIMES / OPEN AND REVOLVING / ANGRY / FAT CHANCE HOTEL / SAVE ME (instrumental). Happy? was less well received by critics than its immediate predecessor, but still produced the classic single ‘Seattle’.

9 (1989)

In 1989, PiL’s new album, 9, appeared. Tracks are: Happy / Disappointed / Warrior / U.S.L.S. 1 / Sand Castles in the Snow / Worry / Brave New World / Like That / Same Old Story / Armada.

The Greatest Hits… So Far (1990)

On the release of The Greatest Hits… So Far, the album entered the charts at 20 and promptly sold-out. PiL found themselves with a surprise success, but no new album to sell.

Tracks are; Public Image / Death Disco (7″ Mix) / Memories / Careering / Flowers of Romance / This is Not a Love Song (LP Version) / Rise (Bob Clearmountain Remix) / Home / Seattle / The Body (UK 12″ Remix) / Rules and Regulations / Disappointed (12″ Mix) / Warrior (Dave Dorrell Remix) / Don’t Ask Me.

That What Is Not (1992)

The band’s next album was 1992’s That What Is Not. It includes a sample from the Sex Pistols’ song ’God Save the Queen’ in which the young Lydon’s voice is heard chanting the words, ‘No future, no future…’ Tracks are: ACID DROPS / LUCKS UP / CRUEL / GOD / COVERED / LOVE HOPE / UNFAIRGROUND / THINK TANK / EMPEROR / GOOD THINGS.


Lydon disbanded Public Image Ltd a year later. This particular line-up’s last concert was performed on September 18, 1992 with John Lydon, John McGeoch, Ted Chau (guitar, keyboards), Mike Joyce of The Smiths (drums), and Russell Webb (bass).

Plastic Box (1999)


Plastic Box is a limited edition 4 CD box set compilation. It contains a 36 page booklet featuring pictures; plus sleeve notes by John Lydon and is housed in an old style double CD case; enclosed in a PVC slip case. Tracks are: Disc 1: Public Image / The Cowboy Song / Theme / Religion I / Religion II / Annalisa / Low Life / Attack / Poptones, Careering & Chant (Radio 1, John Peel Session 17.12.79) / Death Disco (12” Remix) / Half Mix – Meggamix / No Birds Do Sing / Memories. Disc 2: Another / Albatross / Socialist / The Suit / Bad Baby / Radio 4 / Pied Piper / Flowers of Romance (12″) / Four Enclosed Walls / Phenagen / Track 8 / Hymies Him / Under The House / Banging The Door / Go Back / Francis Massacre / Home is Where the Heart is. Disc 3: This is Not a Love Song (Unreleased LP Remix) / Blue Water / Bad Life (7″ edit) / Question Mark / Solitaire / Tie Me to the Length of That / Where Are You? / The Pardon / 1981 / The Order of Death / FFF / Rise / Fishing / Round / Home / Ease. Disc 4: Seattle / Angry / The Body (US 12” Mix) / Selfish Rubbish / Disappointed / Happy / Warrior (UK 12” Remix) / USLS 1 / Don’t Ask Me / Criminal / Lucks Up / God / Cruel, Acid Drops, Love Hope & Think Tank (Radio 1, Mark Goodier Live Session 25.2.92).

The album that got away, of course, is Commercial Zone.

Commercial Zone (1983)

Tracks are Mad Max/Love Song/Bad Night/Solitaire/The Slab/Lou Reed Part 1/Lou Reed Part 2/Blue Water/Miller Hi-Life.

Here’s one track from that hard-to-get-hold-of disc:

PiL logo

Public Image Ltd reformed in 2009 and is still one of the most innovative and interesting bands ever.

Here’s a video of PiL performing in December – it’s powerful stuff:



This is PiL is the ninth studio album by Public Image Ltd. Their first studio album in 20 years, it was released on 28 May 2012 on band’s own label, PiL Official.

The line-up consists of John Lydon, Bruce Smith and Lu Edmonds, plus multi-instrumentalist Scott Firth. PiL began touring in December 2009. On 1 July 2011, PiL entered Steve Winwood’s studio in the Cotswolds and began recording new material. PiL left the studio in August and in September it was revealed that they had recently completed their new album.

 In February 2012, it was officially announced that a 4 track EP entitled One Drop would be released for Record Store Day on 21 April and This Is PiL would be released on 28 May.

Track listing: This is PiL – 3:39, One Drop – 4:51, Deeper Water – 6:07, Terra Gate – 3:47, Human – 6:02, I Must be Dreaming – 4:13, It Said That – 4:08, The Room I am In – 3:07, Lollipop Opera – 6:54, Fool – 5:52, Reggie Song – 5:48, Out of the Woods – 9:41



What the World Needs Now… is the tenth studio album by British rock band Public Image Ltd. It was released on September 4, 2015. It was preceded by lead single “Double Trouble,” backed with “Bettie Page”.



Track listing: “Double Trouble” – 3:52 / “Know Now” – 2:45 / “Bettie Page” – 3:21 / “C’est la Vie” – 6:08 / “Spice of Choice” – 5:43 / “The One” – 3:42 / “Big Blue Sky” – 8:14 / “Whole Life Time” – 3:46 / “I’m Not Satisfied” – 5:43 / “Corporate” – 5:23 / “Shoom” – 6:30


PiL 1978

PiL 1978


PiL 2015

PiL 2015

PiL’s music is strange, ethereal, disconcerting, complex, challenging, multi-layered, melodic and harshly beautiful. It is music that is worth listening to…

PiL logo

PiL’s music is available from here:


Public Image Ltd

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

R J Dent is an award-winning poet, novelist, translator, essayist, short story writer, blogger, lyricist, creative writing tutor and researcher.

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Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999)

June 26, 2009

I’ve always been a great admirer of the films of Stanley Kubrick.

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick

I missed out on Fear and Desire (1953) and Killer’s Kiss (1955), but from 1956 onwards, I’ve seen everything he ever made. I’ve watched and enjoyed:

The Killing (1956)


Paths of Glory (1957)


Spartacus (1960)


Lolita (1962)


Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)


2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


A Clockwork Orange (1971)


Barry Lyndon (1975)


The Shining (1980)


Full Metal Jacket (1987)


Apart from Eyes Wide Shut (1999), which is a disaster and a mess, the rest of Kubrick’s films are classics.

Paths of Glory is a great anti-war film starring Kirk Douglas. Here’s the trailer:

Spartacus is also a great anti-war film starring Kirk Douglas, but set in a different time and place to its predecessor. Here’s the trailer:

Lolita had the League of Decency hound Kubrick out of the US. Here’s the trailer:

Dr Strangelove is a great anti-war film starring Peter Sellers. Here’s the trailer:

2001: A Space Odyssey is an LSD inspired space trip. Here’s the trailer:

A Clockwork Orange is a black comedy/serious study of a juvenile delinquent. Here’s the trailer:

Barry Lyndon is a beautifully-filmed version of Thackeray’s novel. Here’s the trailer:

The Shining has entered film folklore – so no need for me to comment. Here’s the trailer:

Full Metal Jacket is a great anti-war film starring Matthew Modine. Here’s the trailer:

The attention to detail is fantastic, the cinematography is nearly perfect, certain scenes are classic film moments; moments that define what film is – and what it can do.

Try watching any or all of the nine Stanley Kubrick films listed above. You won’t regret it.

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June 25, 2009




The Pruitt-Igoe housing complex consisted of 33 buildings of 11 stories each on the Near North Side of St. Louis, Missouri. In 1950 the city commissioned the firm of Leinweber, Yamasaki & Hellmuth to design Pruitt-Igoe, a new complex named for St. Louisans Wendell O. Pruitt, an African-American fighter pilot in World War II, and William L. Igoe, a former U.S. Congressman. Originally, the city planned two partitions: Captain W. O. Pruitt Homes for the black residents, and William L. Igoe Apartments for whites. The site was bounded by Cass Avenue on the north, North Jefferson Avenue on the west, Carr Street on the south, and North 20th Street on the east. Prior to the project’s construction, the land was known as the De Soto-Carr neighbourhood, an extremely poor section of St. Louis, a black ghetto.

The project was authored by architect Minoru Yamasaki who would later design New York’s World Trade Center. It was Yamasaki’s first large independent job, performed under supervision and constraints imposed by the federal Public Housing Authority. Architectural Forum praised the layout as “vertical neighbourhoods for poor people”. Each row of buildings was supposed to be flanked by a “river of trees”, developing a Harland Bartholomew concept. However, parking and recreation facilities were inadequate; playgrounds were added only after tenants petitioned for their installation.




Seen here are the 33 rectangular buildings that made up Pruitt-Igoe. The four large branching structures in the foreground was the Vaughn Public Housing Complex (also demolished). Also pictured is the Pruitt School (the four-story building near the centre of the photo) and the St. Stanislaus Kostka Polish Catholic Church, both of which still stand.


As completed in 1955, Pruitt-Igoe consisted of 33 11-story apartment buildings on a 57 acre (23 hectare) site on St. Louis’s lower north side, The complex totaled 2,870 apartments, being one of the largest in the United States. The apartments were deliberately small, with undersized kitchen appliances. “Skip-stop” elevators stopped only at the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth floors, forcing residents to use stairs in an attempt to lessen congestion. The same “anchor floors” were equipped with large communal corridors, laundry rooms, communal rooms and garbage chutes. In real life the stairwells and corridors attracted muggers. Ventilation was poor, centralized air conditioning nonexistent.




Nevertheless, initially Pruitt-Igoe garnered net positive publicity as a breakthrough in urban renewal. Despite poor build quality, material suppliers referenced Pruitt-Igoe in their advertisements, capitalizing on the national exposure of the project.


A 1956 Missouri court decision desegregated public housing in the state, and the newly built complex became predominantly populated by black tenants. Whites evidently chose not to take up residence in the new integrated towers.


The buildings remained largely vacant for years. By the end of the 1960s Pruitt-Igoe was nearly abandoned and had deteriorated into a decaying, dangerous, crime-infested neighbourhood; its architect lamented: “I never thought people were that destructive”. In 1971, Pruitt-Igoe housed only six hundred people in seventeen buildings; the other sixteen were boarded up.


In 1968 the federal Department of Housing began encouraging remaining residents to leave Pruitt-Igoe.




In December 1971 state and federal authorities agreed to demolish two of Pruitt-Igoe buildings. After months of preparation, the first building was demolished with an implosion at 3 p.m., March 16, 1972. The second one went down April 22, 1972. After more implosions on July 15, the first stage of demolition was over. As the government scrapped rehabilitation plans, Pruitt-Igoe was agonized over for three more years; the site was finally cleared in 1976.


Planted with trees, here’s what Pruitt-Igoe looks like today:

pruitt igoe today


And here’s another view of it today:


pruitt-igoe today

There is a Pruitt-Igoe demolition sequence in the film Koyaanisqatsi, with music by Philip Glass. Here it is:



This text is a modified version of the information found on wikipedia:

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K P Kavafis: One of Their Gods

June 21, 2009

greek market place

just walked through Seleukeia market

just as dusk was starting to fall

a tall youth of perfect beauty

with unquenchable joy in his eyes

with black and perfumed hair

and passers-by stared at him

and each asked each if they knew him

if he were a Syrian Greek, or a stranger

but some who looked more carefully

understood and moved aside

and out of sight beneath the colonnade

among the shadows, out of the evening light

making his way to the quarter that lives

fully at night, offering orgies and pleasures

and all kinds of drunkenness and lust

they would wonder which of Them he was

and for what guilty pleasure

he walked through the streets of Seleukeia

far from those sacred, honoured mansions

One of Their Gods

K P Kavafis

Translation © R J Dent (2009)

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Hunter S. Thompson

June 19, 2009

Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson was truly unique – he was a writer with a totally inimitable style.

Thompson has written over eleven books and three of them are absolute classics.

First there is Hell’s Angels


This book is Thompson’s journalistic account of what it was really like spending more than a year in close association with the motorcycle outlaws – riding, loafing, plotting and eventually getting stomped. It’s an up-close – too close at times – and unflinching look at the truly savage world of the Oakland, California Hell’s Angels chapter. And it’s an utterly compelling read.

Then there’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Subtitled A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, this is probably Hunter S. Thompson’s most famous – or infamous – book. This one purports to be a journalistic account of HST’s cross-country road-trip to Las Vegas, but it’s really a novel – a very funny novel. This is the book that defined the HST ‘Gonzo’ writing style.

Then there’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

falotct 72 - hst

This is HST’s insider’s take on McGovern’s, Carter’s and Nixon’s 1972 across America election campaign. It’s serious, but scathing – and often hilarious.

The 4 volumes of The Gonzo Papers are very good. They include:

The Great Shark Hunt


The full title is Gonzo Papers, Vol. 1: The Great Shark Hunt: Strange Tales from a Strange Time, which says it all really. And this one’s got so much good material in it that it could be – and perhaps should be – re-titled The Best of Gonzo.

The other volumes of the Gonzo Papers are:

Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80s

generation of swine

Gonzo Papers, Vol. 3: Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream

songs of the doomed

Gonzo Papers, Vol. 4: Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie:

better than sex

There are other HST books, of course, in particular Rum Diary, an early novel:

the_rum_diary - hst

which has just been made into a movie by Bruce Robinson. Here’s the trailer:

Then there’s Screw-Jack & Other Stories, a collection of short stories:

screw jack

And there’s The Curse of Lono, a novella illustrated by Ralph Steadman:


Hunter S. Thompson is a writer worth reading. Everyone should read at least one of his books. He is a great writer.

Here’s a short film about the works of Hunter S Thompson:

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George Grie – Neo-Surrealist

June 18, 2009

George Grie

Here are a few fantastic paintings by George Grie.

fd - gg

George Grie (born May 14th, 1962) is a Russian-Canadian Neo-Surrealist artist.


His Neo-Surrealist artwork is a combination of classic surrealist symbolism, modern fantasy and visionary art experimentation.


Grie’s artistic style is heavily influenced by Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Zdzislaw Beksiński, Wojciech Siudmak and photo-manipulation artist Jerry Uelsmann.


Here’s a link to some of his art:


I hope you enjoy his work as much as I do.


Here’s another good one:


And here’s another:

George Grie _18

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George A. Romero’s ‘Dead’ films

June 13, 2009



George A. Romero

George A Romero has become known throughout the world as the creator, writer and director of the ground-breaking, seminal horror film, Night of the Living Dead. He is also the creator, writer and director of the four (to date) subsequent …of the Dead films. His …of the Dead films are, in chronological order:

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Day of the Dead (1985)

Land of the Dead (2005)

Diary of the Dead (2007)

Survival of the Dead (2010)

The first of the series, Night of the Living Dead is now recognised as a film classic.


Filmed in black and white in 1968, it has a documentary feel that makes the zombie horrors look very real and very horrifying. Here’s the trailer:

The sequel was Dawn of the Dead.


Dawn of the Dead was filmed in 1978 in a Pittsburg shopping mall and is now seen (quite rightly) as a satire on consumerism.  Here’s the trailer:

The next film (in what was becoming a series) was Day of the Dead, which was filmed in 1985.


In many ways, Day of the Dead is the goriest and most violent of the …of the Dead films. It was another critique, this time of the conflict between science and the military. Joseph Pilato’s portrayal of Captain Rhodes is an incredible acting performance. Here’s the trailer:

The next in the series was Land of the Dead.


Fans of the …of the Dead series had to wait until 2005 for its release. Because of its storyline involving class struggle, Land of the Dead is an interesting addition to the …of the Dead canon, although it’s probably the weakest film in the collection. Here’s the trailer:

The next ‘Dead…’ offering from Romero was the highly-charged, hyper-driven gore-fest, Diary of the Dead.


Diary of the Dead (2007) is billed as a reboot – or a retelling – of Night of the Living Dead. It’s more a side story, but it’s still a powerful and scary film with some very good ideas in it. Students making a horror film encounter the far more horrific zombies, and have to fend for themselves. It contains a number of very wonderful scenes. Here’s the trailer:

Survival of the Dead (also known as George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead) is a 2009 American horror film written and directed by George A. Romero and starring Alan van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh and Kathleen Munroe. It is the sixth entry in Romero’s ‘… of the Living Dead series. The story follows a group of AWOL National Guardsmen who briefly appeared in Diary of the Dead.

Survival of the Dead is the latest in the ...of the Dead series. Here’s the trailer:


There is also a very good remake of Night of the Living Dead, scripted by Romero and directed by Tom Savini.

night_of_the_living_dead- savini

Here’s the trailer:

A lot of people ignore George A Romero’s work because he makes zombie films. However, as with every other film in the world, the characters in the film represent something else; something universal. Romero’s zombies are metaphors – very powerful metaphors. Try watching Dawn of the Dead or Diary of the Dead and you’ll see what I mean.

© R J Dent (2016)

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How Soon

June 7, 2009




How soon before my lovely days are gone?

How soon before I see this place no more,

and have no more time beneath the sun;

nor time beside this ever-whispering sea;

nor hear the wind whisper amongst the reeds;

nor see the tall plane trees upon the hills,

where soft-eyed goats call as they freely roam;

nor see the crimson hibiscus flowers you pick

each day and place in a vase on my desk

so I think of you as I write my tales

of shepherds piping their lost sheep to fold.


The flame of life burns quickly in the lamp;

passion and love and longing and hot tears

consume and all too soon a cold wind blows

upon our hearts and takes us far away

and we are found no more in this old world,

although the moon turns – searching every night

and the stars patiently shine on and on.


How Soon

© R J Dent (2009)

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