Monthly Archives: August 2021

RIP Lee “Scratch” Perry (1936 – 2021)

Bucky Skank (1973)

Lee “Scratch” Perry was a Jamaican composer and producer known for such songs as “Bucky Skank” (1973).

He died and the last member of the holy trinity (Lee Perry, Sun Ra and Fela Kuti) of 20th century black musical “auteurs” is no more.

Perry was an Afro-futurist, Afro-humorist, Afro-dadaist and Afro-surrealist. He taught the world that a mixing desk could be used as a musical instrument.

There was a period in my life he was all I listened to. Album such as Blackboard Jungle Dub (1973), Super Ape (1976) and Return of the Super Ape (1978) were a on repeat and albums such as Cloak and Dagger (1973), Black Board Jungle Dub (1973), and Revolution Dub (1975), were, along with the work of King Tubby, the foundation of dub music.

My brother at one time owned nearly all of his albums.

An issue of Grand Royal by the Beastie Boys was dedicated to Lee.

His flying cymbal sound is as notorious as that of Bunny Lee.

He claims to have part in the authorship of many of the early Bob Marley and the Wailers songs.

What a loss. Not only for the reggae world but for the musical world at large. He was a visionary, the Sun Ra of reggae, saying stuff like:

“I see the studio must be like a living thing, a life itself. The machine must be live and intelligent. Then I put my mind into the machine and the machine perform reality. Invisible thought waves – you put them into the machine by sending them through the controls and the knobs or you jack it into the jack panel. The jack panel is the brain itself, so you got to patch up the brain and make the brain a living man, that the brain can take what you sending into it and live.”

He was a mad genius who wrote, how many songs? Many of them recorded on a four track system, but an incredibly spacious sound.

RIP mister Perry, this feels like a personal loss.

I wanted to do a more thorough write-up, but I only came up with this mixtape: Judge Dread (1967), People Funny Boy (1968), Pop Corn (1970), A Place Called Africa (1970), 400 Years (1970), African Herbman (1971), Mr. Brown (1971), Sun Is Shining (1971), Bucky Skank (1973), Justice to the People (1973), Kentucky Skank (1974), “Curly Locks” (1974), Doctor on the Go (1975), Woman’s Gotta Have It (1975), Chase the Devil (1976), Croaking Lizard (1976), Hurt So Good (1976), Super Ape (1976), White Belly Rat (1976), Zion’s Blood (1976), Big Muff (1977), City Too Hot (1977), Groovy Situation (1977), To Be a Lover (1977), Bafflin’ Smoke Signal (1978), Soul Fire (1978), Throw Some Water In (1978), Huzza a Hana (1978), I Am a Madman (1986).

RIP Jean-Luc Nancy (1940 – 2021)

Jean-Luc Nancy, le corps du philosophe (2003) by Marc Grün

Jean-Luc Nancy (1940 – 2021) was a French philosopher known for such works as The Inoperative Community (1982) which starts like this:

“The gravest and most painful testimony of the modern world, the one that possibly involves all other testimonies to which this epoch must answer (by virtue of some unknown decree or necessity, for we bear witness also to the exhaustion of thinking through History), is the testimony of the dissolution, the dislocation, or the conflagration of community.


RIP Sonny Chiba (1939 – 2021)

Sonny featured in Japanorama 

Sonny Chiba was a Japanese actor and martial artist, a contemporary to Bruce Lee in Hong Kong.

opening title scene of Karate Kiba (1973)

I give you the opening title scene of Karate Kiba (1973) and the episode from Japanorama from 2007.

The Karate Kiba sequence has been copied nearly verbatim in Pulp Fiction (1994).

RIP K. Schippers (1936 – 2021)

K. Schippers was a Dutch poet (“Ja”), prose writer and art critic (Eb, 1992).

There are so many reasons to praise Schippers but I shall give only one. The magazine Barbarber (1958–71) which he co-founded and edited, introduced the nobrow sensibility to The Netherlands.

An issue of Barbarber

Nobrow means the appreciation and mixing of high and low culture, exemplified in the case of Barbarber on the high culture side by Duchamp, Satie, Schwitters and Carroll and at the low culture side by Krazy Kat, Laurel and Hardy, The KillingKiss Me Deadly at the low end.

The word barbarber is a portmanteau of barbaar (barbarian) and rabarber (rhubarb).

RIP Nanci Griffith (1953 – 2021)

It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go” (1989)

Nanci Griffith was an American singer-songwriter working in country, folk, and what she termed “folkabilly.”

She is known for such songs as the anti-war song “From a Distance” (1982) and the anti-racism anthem “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go” (1989). That is her socially engaged side, which, as a matter of principle almost, does not interest me very much.

There is another side, the slice-of-life side, represented by her song “Love at the Five and Dime” (1986). This side interests me more, also because the “five and dime” of the title reminds me of Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) by Robert Altman.

RIP Gianfranco D’Angelo (1936 – 2021)

Gianfranco D’Angelo was an Italian actor and comedian. In Italy known for television variety and comedy shows; outside of Italy for commedia sexy all’italiana such as Biancaneve & Co. (1982) and B-movies such as Mondo candido (1975) in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Mondo candido (1975)

Mondo candido (1975) is an interesting product.

It is an Italian film in the acclaimed mondo genre directed by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi. The film is a liberal adaptation of Voltaire’s 1759 novel Candide.

It was partly shot on location at Château de Pierrefonds.

Researching Mondo candido, I find out that there is actually a book on shockumentaries: Sweet & Savage (2006) by Mark Goodall.

From that book on Mondo candido:

“He skips off back to the castle and we are back where we started on his metaphysical journey, older if not wiser. Although considered a failure, artistically and conceptually, Mondo Candido still enjoys a strange allure. There are still glimpses of the Jacopetti and Prosperi spirit in this unforgettable overblown, Technicolor indulgence.”

Check out the bibliography of Sweet & Savage. I’ve taken the liberty to put on my pages.