Many decades ago, when I was a graphic artist, we were told a cautionary tale with regards to checking your sources when combining foreign elements in a design
Seemingly, or so the story goes, when Japan was becoming Americanised in it’s commercial culture, some time during the late 60’s, the concept of Christmas as a shopping extravaganza was slowly and gradually foisted on the non-Christian, Japanese consumer.
To this end, a major department store in Tokyo commissioned two trendy, young, inexperienced but hip, Japanese designers to produce a huge & costly window display for their flagship store.
Being in an era before Google and the Internet, artists would leaf through books and magazines to obtain source material and artistic references and inspirations when designing such a major undertaking
If I, for example, were designing a Japanese-themed display at that time, I would probably have referenced images of snow-topped Mount Fuji, lotus blossom, the Rising Sun emblem, samurai, Japanese calligraphy, etc
The young Japanese designers obviously did the same, and produced a snow-covered landscape, with reindeer, snowmen, penguins, in pride of place, at the centre of it all, a large, and beautifully fashioned, Santa Claus figure nailed to a seven-foot high wooden cross.
A beautiful cross-fertilisation of Christian symbolism, in a manner that any non-Japanese artist might’ve easily misinterpreted Shinto symbols … maybe!!!
Whether true or not, I’ve always loved the idea of a crucified Santa … and being a heathen, non-believer who is aghast at Xmas tacky decorations, imagery, and symbolism, I’m amazed it took me so long to realize that vision.
For most of my adult life, maybe the past 45 years or more, I’ve been hearing the same phrases repeated endlessly
Things have never been as bad as they are now
Things are getting worse … there’s no hope for the future
This is the worst government we’ve ever had to deal with
The last government created the problems
The next government will solve the problems
We’re heading for economic collapse
We’re heading for a nuclear war
The apocalypse is predicted to be imminent
The majority of people in this country are selfish, greedy, and stupid.
The majority of people in other countries are selfish, greedy, and stupid.
The majority of people in the World we live in are selfish, greedy, and stupid.
YOU have never met and have no real knowledge of the majority of people in this country.
YOU have never met and have no real knowledge of the entire population of seven billion people who comprise the Earth’s population, so you must be basing this negative deduction on your knowledge of yourself, and on your knowledge of your immediate friends and associates … therefore, YOU and everyone you know must be selfish, greedy, and stupid.
Armageddon, in one form or another, has been predicted, on a yearly basis, for almost every single one of the sixty-two years of my life.
Like the boy who cried wolf, or the chicken who predicted that the sky was falling, eventually anyone with sense eventually stops listening to such fear-ridden blather. I stopped worrying that the sky was falling many years back, and have noticed that the downfall of civilisation, the rise of fascism, the erosion of all our civil liberties, the creation of new concentration-camps, the round-up of liberals hasn’t happened as expected and foretold … and the runaway train that is civilisation hasn’t crashed yet either.
On the other hand, over the past 40 years I’ve witnessed an astonishing change in the levels of social responsibility and political awareness around me, the rise of a highly effective and powerful environmental movement, the liberation of women both in politics and everyday life, the decriminalisation of homosexuality and a level of social acceptance of gay lifestyle that I never expected to see in my lifetime, the denunciation of everyday racism, sexism and homophobia in the media, in government, the workplace, and on the street, a level of social interaction and communication on a global level that wasn’t predicted in even the most prescient of science fiction, and a potential for positive change within the Global Village that I never even dreamed possible when I went on my first ever street-demos back in the 60’s & 70’s.
In many ways, as far as I can see, things have never been better, as the potential for change has never more eminently possible, and the tools of change ie. Mass communication, and education as a product thereof, have never been more readily available and accessible.
So stop succumbing to the fear, the hype, the bullshit, the propaganda, the fairy-tales and horror stories designed to make you fear the worst, expect the worst, and give up trying because there ain’t no point … because resistance is futile.
In my early days as a political activist, our mass communications were limited to Roneo and Xerox leaflets, screen-printed posters, underground magazines and newspapers, and cheaply produced button badges … simple, but effective forms of spreading our doctrines, and a far-cry from the easy access of emails, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter.
One very popular button badge wryly proclaimed the slogan:
BEAT YOURSELF UP – SAVE THE POLICE TIME
That, my friends, is what you and your negativity are doing. You’re doing The Power’s job for them. That is the tactic that seems to be working highly successfully at present with the wave of rampant negativity I see on so many articles, and blogs, and vids and Facebook postings: …..
“The Future is Hopeless”
No, my friends … Your attitude is what is Hopeless … The Future is just fine.
Fight The Power … Free The Future
Thanx to my Facebook buddy Brian Spencer for the motivation to write this … one of the many Good Americans I know
The Bond was a limited edition and rather unusual guitar in that it features a rather unique “step-neck” (ie. no frets, just a sort of saw-tooth effect) and built in carbon fibre construction with lotsa onboard electronics.
They were built by Andrew Bond (d. 1999) in Muir of Ord, Scotland, in 1984. The company went bankrupt & ceased trading in 1986.
British guitarist Mick Jones ( of The Clash & Big Audio Dynamite) used a Bond Electraglide. U2’s The Edge used his extensively on The Joshua Tree, and Will Sergeant of Echo & The Bunnymen, and Dave Stewart of The Eurhythmics were also Electraglide users.
Another FB mate, Alex Frackleton, then remarked:
“I really do not understand this homo-erotic guitar worship you lot do … I mean basically it’s a hammer.”
I had to counter that with:
“In the hands of a fool, a hammer is a tool of brute force and even violence
In the hands of a man of passion, a hammer creates homes and knocks down prison walls, carves sculptures of the greatest beauty, has the delicacy to crack a walnut… without damaging the sweet fruit, and combined with the cutting edge of a sickle has the power to change the world for the better, for ever
And if Thor had had a guitar, instead of a hammer, he’d have been a lot more fun”
Then Kenny Caird added this wee gem of a poem, by – Clive James :
A guitar is a thief in the night That robs you of sleep through the wall A guitar is a thin box of light Throwing reflections that rise and fall It reminds you of Memphis or maybe Majorca … Big Bill Broonzy or Garcia Lorca A truck going north or a cab to the Festival Hall
And the man who plays the guitar for life Tests his thumbs on a slender knife Forever caresses a frigid wife His fingers travel on strings and frets Like a gambler’s moving to cover bets Remembering what his brain forgets While his brain remembers the fears and debts
Long fingernails that tap a brittle rhythm on a glass Around his neck a ribbon with a little silver hook Like some military order second class You can read him like an open book From the hands that spend their lives creating tension From the wrists that have a lean and hungry Eyes that have a mean and angry look
A guitar is a thief in the night That robs you of sleep through the wall A guitar is a thin box of light Throwing reflections that rise and fall A guitar reminds you of death and taxes Charlie Christian outplaying the saxes The beginners’ call and the very last call of all
And all of that is why I do like Facebook … for all its faults and annoyances, it’s a constant source of new information, entertainment, and the delight of meeting people who share my love of new music, new information, and the sharing of it all