Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Covenant and the Cargo Cult: Rune Soup interview

On the latest Rune Soup podcast, Gordon and I discuss the disappointment that is Alien: Covenant. Then we speculate about its place in the cargo cult worldview and the conditioning agenda prescribed in 1960 by the Brookings Institution. I've been working on a companion post for this discussion, which I hope to have up by tomorrow night at the latest.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Twin Peaks and the Metaphysics of Evil

Well, after 27 years of waiting and a good 18 months of hype it's finally here. Showtime aired the two-hour Twin Peaks reboot premiere and posted the first four episodes (the premiere was broken in two) online. I binged the first three as soon as they went up and the last episode the following morning.

My first impression? Ye gods, it's weird.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Chris Cornell: The Muses Choose Broken Vessels

Jesus Christ Pose

The Alternative Rock explosion of the early 90s was fueled by a wave of great singers. After a lost decade of metallic shriekers and New Wave gurglers-- which some call the 80s-- there was suddenly an embarrassment of strong voices revitalizing rock music, especially hard rock music. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Covenant and the Cargo Cult, Part 2: Hollywood Babylon

Several years ago I blogged on the Oscars and the enigma of the Hollywood and Highland complex they're held in, specifically the very odd presence of the Babylon Gate, recreated from DW Griffith's epic flop, Intolerance

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Covenant and the Cargo Cult, Part 1

Sir Ridley Scott's long-awaited prequel to Prometheus opened this week in certain countries and is set to open in America next week. For those waiting for a continuation of the storyline from the last movie- when crew member Elizabeth Shaw and the head of android David taking off to invade the Engineer homeworld- well, I hate to say it but you're out of luck.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Reel Paganism::The "Folk Horror" Revival

Ah, those Years of Seven. We looked at the significant anniversaries in the World of Weird this Year of Seven is marking, from Heaven's Gate and the Phoenix Lights to the Harmonic Convergence to the releases of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the First Kind. 

Monday, May 01, 2017

From Eleusis to Edinburgh

Not safe for workish

Well, in honor of the holiday there's a gallery of photos from the Beltane Fire Festival up on the Daily Mail's site to eye-gobble. The Festival is celebrating its 30th year anniversary, yet another landmark correlating to the Years of Seven we looked at a short while back. I'm no numerologist so I can't exactly say why seven seems to be so significant in the World of Weird, I can only catalog the correspondences. 

The Festival is an ancient Mystery play to its innermost core, a spectacle that would have done Eleusis proud (flaming headdresses were a big item there as well). It's astonishing how primal and powerful it all looks in a world in which spectacle has become wallpaper. It's proof of what I was bloviating about recently, how the raw and the human still have meaning and value in a world slouching towards Skynet.

Now some of you may argue that this is all theater, performance art, that the majority of the participants (and observers) don't really believe in any of this any pagan crap, but do you really think it was any different in Classical Greece, who gave us the very words skepticism and agnosticism? Hell,  it probably wasn't all that much different in Pre-Roman Britain.

The deities here are in the details. Like that revanchist pagan holiday Carnival, the gods of these kinds of revelries are verbs. The old gods were about action not idle contemplation. I doubt they much care if anyone believes in them or not, so long as they put on eye-raping spectacles the way Edinburgh does.

I'm currently working on a post about the morphogenesis of British paganism in the context of the current folk horror revival that will revisit some of these themes.

Enjoying another 30 year anniversary is the maiden release from the nascent KLF, then dubbed The Justified Ancients of Mu-Mu.  Back in their heyday, you really couldn't tell if The KLF were high art or an elaborate hoax, geniuses or drugged-out numbskulls on a MIDI bender. Which, of course, means the project was a roaring success.

Since they're tuned into these kinds of things, The KLF appropriately chose another Year of Seven to emerge from a Rip Van Winkle sabbatical. From a helpful recap of their long and strange career in The Guardian:

Now as we reach the symbolic 23rd anniversary of the cash-sacrifice on Jura – 23 being a totemic figure in Illuminatus! numerology and thus in JAMMs lore – the KLF are back. Gnomic flyposters promise a KLF book and an event in August “unearthing aspects of the 2023 trilogy across Liverpool”, where Drummond’s career began. The Illuminati, once a private fixation for Drummond, Cauty and the 1970s counterculture, have become a pop-culture obsession (see BeyoncĂ© and her pyramid hand gestures). The KLF, AKA The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu, were always agents of chaos. 
Now the world they anticipated is here.
Interesting that the post-hippie weird wave had such a huge impact on the British underground, ultimately flowering into a battalion of bands who remain interesting to this day. The KLF, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and Killing Joke are just a few of the unimaginably influential acts that fed at this trough and in turn fed an even larger legion of copyists. 

There was considerable overlap and incestuous intermingling among this set (the KLF's Jimmy Cauty played with Killing Joke's Youth in Brilliant, who managed at least one great track before falling in the 80s pop arcade and Killing Joke drummer Paul Ferguson played with The Orb).

More proof that the most resonant pop culture has a firm grounding in the esoteric. A good argument could be made that esotericism's only real, objective value is in feeding into the culture through some form of art, whether you're talking music, comics, movies and so on.  That's certainly how the overwhelming majority of people experience it.

Of course, it's also a process that can be used for constructive or destructive ends.

Finally, I wanted to plug this amazing talk with Leslie Kean, whose new book deals with NDEs, reincarnation and other phenomena, on Rune Soup. Gordon is unique as a podcaster in that he always seems to be as knowledgable as his guests on their subjects (kind of terrifying when you consider the wide range of topics he covers) so like a great drummer he can keep the beat steady and propulsive. The first quarter of the show deals with Kean's UFO work so there's an added bonus.