Tag Archives: 1940

RIP Tony ‘afrobeat’ Allen (1940 – 2020)

Tony Allen (1940 – 2020) was a Nigerian musician and drummer.

The importance of Allen? You simply cannot imagine Fela Kuti nor afrobeat without the drumming of Tony Allen during the period 1968 to 1979.

After parting with Fela Kuti it would take time for Allen to find his own sound.

This happened with the sublime EP Never Expect Power Always (1984), one of my favorite afrobeat compositions.

Other solo work of note includes Black Voices (1999), Tomorrow Comes The Harvest (2018, with Jeff Mills) and Sounding Lines (2018, with Moritz von Oswald).

To the international hipster crowd, Allen is probably best-known for playing drums on “La Ritournelle” (2003) by Sébastien Tellier, an iconic track for the contemporary cosmopolitan class.

The drumming on that track sounds like a “Funky Drummer” sample but it is in reality the live drumming of Tony Allen.

I’d say, if you are new to all this, start by listening to “Shakara (Oloje)” (1972) by Fela Kuti, then switch to Never Expect Power Always (1984) and end with Sounding Lines (2018).

RIP Germano Celant (1940 – 2020)

Germano Celant was an Italian art historian known for coining the term “arte povera” (poor art) in 1967.

The ‘poor’ of that epithet refers to the materials.

I’ve always thought of ‘arte povera’ as a bit of a non-concept.

It is exemplary of that 20th century mania of coining names for invented new art movements.

Think surrealism, dada, popart, post-popart, avant garde, post-avantgarde, nouveau réalisme, neomodern, remodern, metamodern, postminimal, stuckism, neoism, op art, fluxus.

Oh please stop already.

Art Povera: Conceptual, Actual or Impossible Art? (1969)

But then again, I like the cover of the 1969 book that made the term arte povera known around the world.

I wanted to check the book out, since my university has it in its library.

However, this being corona-time, the library is closed.

RIP Claire Bretécher (1940 – 2020)

Claire Bretécher was a French cartoonist, co-founder of L’Écho des savanes.

I used to buy issues of L’Écho des savanes in the late 1980s, a particularly fruitful time for comics, with highlights such as Tanino Liberatore, Enki Bilal, Wim T. Schippers, Jacques Tardi, Guido Crepax, Jean Giraud, Milo Manara, Georges Pichard and François Schuiten.

There was something subversive about the whole comics scene in those days, what you may now call the pre-internet days. Shops all of over Europe catered to the tastes of underground comic lovers, or so it seemed.

Only now that Claire Bretécher is dead, I discover her Agrippine character who was the heroin of nine albums. On the first self-titled album of 1988 Agrippine is shown reading the fictional Heidegger in the Congo (1988), a reference to Tintin in the Congo (1931).

I have not had the time to fully investigate  Heidegger in the Congo but I suppose the link is that Heidegger was a Nazi and that Hergé’s album in the Congo is now considered racist.

Above, you will find an episode of the televised  Agrippine.

Alas. No subtitles.

RIP Pierre ‘eden, eden, eden’ Guyotat (1940 – 2020)

Pierre Guyotat was a French writer. He is one of the last writers in the history of Western literature to have his book banned. The book was Eden, Eden, Eden and is a actually an enumeration of obscenities and atrocities in the tradition of Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom (1785, 1904).

The backdrop is the Algerian war, which was not really an Algerian war but a French war. Or at least a French-Algerian war. Pierre Guyotat fought in that war as a teenager and was arrested on charges of inciting to desert and put in a hole in the ground for three months.

RIP Panamarenko (1940 – 2019)

Panamarenko was a Belgian artist famous for his cars that did not drive, his flying machines that did not fly and his submarines that did not submerge.

He was the archetypical artist, living with his mother in the Seefhoek until she died; a strange man who seemed out of place in the real world.

RIP Anna Karina (1940 – 2019)

Anna Karina was a Danish actress best-known for her work with the French New Wave and Jean-Luc Godard.

‘Monsavon’ commercial

She appeared four times in the film On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time (1959) by Marxist/situationist Guy Debord, a much more interesting figure than Godard.

On the Passage of a Few Persons Through a Rather Brief Unity of Time (1959)

These four appearances were from television commercials. Three fragments are from a Monsavon commercial, a fourth I have been unable to identify.

In the first clip (13:53) Anna stands in front of a mirror in the same bathroom as in which she takes a bath in the third clip.

The voice-over: “What was directly lived reappears frozen in the distance, engraved in the tastes and illustions of an era and carried off with it.”

In the second clip (14:41) she is in the bath and rubs herself with soap.

The voice-over: “There is no more should-be; being has been consumed to the point of ceasing to exist. The details are already lost in the dust of time. “Who was afraid of life, afraid of the night, afraid of being taken, afraid of being kept?”

In the third clip (17:30) she is seen at the wheel of a convertible car, a bird’s eye view, three young people get out of the car.

The voice-over: “In the final analysis, stars are not created by their talent or lack of talent, or even by the film industry or advertising. They are created by the need we have for them.”

The fourth clip (18:09) begins where the first clip left off.

The voice-over: “The advertisements during intermissions are the truest reflection of an intermission from life.”
Translations are from [1].

C’est quoi Anna Karina ? – Blow Up – ARTE

RIP Roger ‘outsider art’ Cardinal (1940 – 2019)

Roger Cardinal was a English art scholar famous for originating the term “outsider art” in his book Outsider Art (1972). Outsider art coincides with the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1970s.

In that book, new to me was the work of Pascal-Désir Maisonneuve (1863 – 1934) who made work with seashells such as Mask of Queen Victoria (above), reminiscent of rocaille .

In that tradition is also Festoon, Masks and Rosettes Made of Shells (1656) by Jan van Kessel senior and Arcimboldesque Head and Beethoven Portrayed by Arcimboldo by Jan Švankmajer.

RIP Noel ‘abolish whiteness’ Ignatiev (1940 – 2019)

Noel Ignatiev was an American author and historian known for his radical views on whiteness.

He belongs to a category of extreme left-wing American professors to which also belongs Ward Churchill (“On the Justice of Roosting Chickens“).

These radicals came to my attention when I wrote a review of Whiteshift (2018) by Eric Kaufmann.

Googling for Noel Ignatiev does not bring up pages of left-wing political propaganda but pages of right-wing political propaganda. Of right wing white supremacists upset by what Ignatiev is saying.

Below is a transcript of a video of which you’ll find several copies on YouTube. It is a spliced video and I do not know where it was recorded nor who interviewed Ignatiev.

“My concern is doing away whiteness. Whiteness is a form of racial oppression, sure. The suggestion is that it is somehow possible to separate whiteness from oppression and it is not. There can be no white race without the phenomenon of white supremacy. If you abolish slavery you abolish slave holders. In the same way, if you abolish racial oppression you do away with whiteness, treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” Interviewer: “Your views are fairly well received in academia” … “Yes the they are legitimate, not to say that everyone agrees but sure … I could not point to any examples where it has provoked political censorship … whiteness is an identity that arises entirely out of oppression … whiteness is not a culture … it’s not a religion, it’s not a language, it’s simply an oppressive social category …. Blackness is an identity that can be plausibly argued, black studies is a study of a people that has formed itself in resistance to its oppression. The task is to bring this minority together in such a way that it makes it impossible for the legacy of whiteness to continue to reproduce itself.”

I have not read books by Ignatiev but I do wonder how he would have gone about doing away with whiteness.

RIP Peter “Easy Rider” Fonda (1940 – 2019)

Peter Fonda was American actor.

The Hired Hand (1971)

Everyone knows Peter Fonda from the film Easy Rider (1969) a cult film which is so well-known that it is actually a mainstream film.

I saw the film somewhere in the 1990s but hardly remember anything about it. Given the choice — knowing what I know now — between watching Easy Rider and its predecessor The Wild Angels (1966) I’d watch the latter, being that it is as hilarious as it is historiographical (in the sense that Wild Angels tells us more about the sixties zeitgeist than Easy Rider, I refer specifically to the speech featuring “We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man!”)

But now Fonda is dead and despite the dictum “de mortuis nisi nihil bonum“, a few things need to be said before the praise can begin:

“[Peter Fonda] had nowhere near the talent of his father Henry Fonda or sister Jane Fonda, but he was popular with young audiences from the early sixties to early seventies because he was good-looking, knew how to ride a motorcycle, made “hip” pictures with drug-related themes, and, to hide his acting limitations, smartly played characters who were tight-lipped, unemotional, and often wore shades.” —Cult Movie Stars (1991) by Danny Peary

Now for the praise.

Upon the death of an actor or director, I check YouTube for films featuring the corpse in question. And so it happened that I stumbled upon The Hired Hand (1971). Never heard of it before. Started reading about it. Appeared to be a revisionist western. Interesting category. Started watching. Liked the music. The story is that of a man who is tired of drifting the Wild West and returns home to the wife and child he left seven years earlier. She accepts him, not as a husband, but as a hired hand.

That same Danny Peary who called Fonda not a good actor calls The Hired Hand a “feminist western”.

Why?

Because the film pays lots of attention to the abandoned woman and her sexual needs during the departure of her husband. A sort of Penelope vs. Odysseus.

On two occasions Hannah (the abandoned wife) ruminates about her lust for sex. These dialogues are extremely interesting and the second scene, in which Oates touches the ankle of Bloom, is actually quite sexy.

The first conversation of her sex life is with returned husband (Fonda) who has heard rumors in town of her sexual escapades [47:00]:

“You hired men to sleep with,” says he.

She responds:

“Sometimes I’d have him or he’d have me whatever suits you.”

And in a second scene she says to Arch Harris (Oates) [54:00]:

“You probably think I’m pretty hot … Well I am … don’t wannabe but I am … I don’t know how many nights I set on the porch … watching the shed … hoping whoever was in there would come out … hoping and terrified in case he did … wouldn’t really matter whether it was you or him tonight.”

Anyway, above is the complete film.

I loved it.