Tag Archives: Jimmy Page

Silver-haired rider

I haven’t paid close attention to much of Robert Plant’s post-Zeppelin work over the years, but his new disc Band of Joy is in heavy rotation at the bookstore and I’m not even close to getting tired of it. The sound is a lot closer to Raising Sand than Physical Graffiti, but there are a couple of incantatory rockers — like “Silver Rider” in this clip — that recall a bit of the old spook without sounding the least bit imitative. Zep scholars will recognize the disc’s title as the name of the band Plant shared with drummer John Bonham, just before Jimmy Page elevated them to godhood. I have no idea what the old Band of Joy sounded like, but the new incarnation is welcome around here.

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Objects of desire

Since I have a category on this site called “Guitar Porn,” it should come as no surprise to anybody that a glimpse of this new magazine Guitar Aficionado sent me lurching across the floor of Barnes and Noble like one of George Romero’s zombies. The cover image alone — Jimmy Page cradling a Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty, complete with Bigsby — is enough to have an otherwise rational human being thinking, “Sure, I can handle paying out five C-notes a month to own that baby.”

I suppose the purist attitude would be one of offense that something meant to be used and mastered — to be played — is being treated as a fashion and lifestyle accessory, but there’s no denying that a well-made guitar is a thing of beauty in its own right.

I’ve always thought that the tabulatures in guitar magazines serve the same purpose that quality fiction used to serve in Playboy and Penthouse — giving readers a way to pretend they’re interested in something more uplifting than just staring at beautiful pictures of curvy lust objects. So here at last is a magazine that dispenses with the tabs (or the John Updike stories) and amps up the photos of objects of desire.

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Friday finds

clockworkSome years ago, Stanley Kubrick ordered an assistant to gather up and incinerate all the outtakes and unused footage from his 1971 film A Clockwork Orange, thereby denying future cineastes any hope of seeing an alternate or extended cut of the movie. There are, however, stills from some of the deleted scenes, and you’ll find a bunch of them at this very thorough tribute site dedicated to the star, Malcolm McDowell. The stills, with corresponding passages from the Anthony Burgess novel, include shots from the gang’s attack on a man coming home from the library (above),  the “sammy act” with the old ladies at a bar, and scenes of the droogs preparing to steal a car.  

What Samuel Johnson can teach us about writing. Apropos of which, today’s word is devotionalist.

It’s the new taste sensation that’s going to harden the arteries of the nation! Really, your cholesterol is going to shoot through the roof just reading about this thing.

Back in 1972, Jerry Lewis embarked on the film he envisioned as his grand artistic statement. The result was The Day the Clown Cried, a legendarily le-jerry1awful Holocaust drama starring Lewis as a clown who plays Pied Piper to a group of children being led into the gas chamber at the Auschwitz death camp. The production was a nightmare of delays and financial problems, and the film could not even be released because the rights to the screenplay had lapsed. The handful of people who have seen the only existing rough cut of the film say it is a work of jaw-dropping bad taste — one witness said it is “so drastically wrong” that it achieves a kind of perfection. This remarkable site gathers stills and production photos, various drafts of the script and this lethally hilarious essay that was one of the high points of the days when Spy magazine could still bring the funny. (Bird-dogged by Scott McLemee.)        

This bookseller in Kabul doesn’t much like The Bookseller of Kabul.

We reached the northern town of Akureyri, and met up with Janus, the Greenlandic man who did not love Eeva-Liisa. That night we watched the northern lights in the clear sky above the fjörd. Janus — who bragged that he saw the aurora borealis “five or six times a week” at home — told us that if you whistled, the northern lights would move. I was amazed when he whistled, and the yellow streaks shimmered green and wiggled toward us.

Troy Paiva was photographing Vermillion Sands before he even knew about the place. Now that he does, he can understand why people kept making the comparison.

In the mid-1970s, Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page agreed to compose soundtrack music for Lucifer Rising, at that time the latest  film from Kenneth Anger, who shared Page’s interest in Aleister Crowley and matters of the occult. Anger ended up firing Page and hiring a former Charles Manson crony to compose the music, but now you can listen to Page’s work here. Should you download? As Crowley himself would say, do what thou wilt. And, if you live in the New York area, you can catch this retrospective of Anger’s films at P.S. 1.

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