DELUXE AND THE ANGRY VILLAGERS – taking tea with my grandmother

I’m a sucker for a good story … and I’m a sucker for a poem that rhymes

Combine the two with wit, erudition, swirling images and slithering words,

and I’m hooked.

This ticks all those boxes … and more

Mr Johnny Deluxe … a rather fine bit of work!!!

Why is this not more widely known …. !!!!

CHOU PAHROT LIVE

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As I related in an earlier post,…  https://stuwho.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/chou-pahrot/ … the mighty Chou Pahrot were a weird 70’s Glasgow phenomenon that only the truly stoned & deranged could and would appreciate

A cacophony of deranged syncopation and discordant mayhem which would take you to the point of teeth-gritting surrender, and would then suddenly drop off a cliff of feedback and bass to emerge as a beautiful violin melody of exquisite toe-tapping sensibility … and all done with a huge tongue wedged in a Clydesdale horse’s cheek

Their studio recordings were enjoyable diversions but could never even come close to the sonic assault of musical claustrophobia and joyous dementia that their live performances could induce

Here is a hissy, old recording of that experience that is worth the effort … if you dare

Not for the faint-hearted

Chou Pahrot – Live at the STUC Birthday Party, in 197?ish

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http://soundcloud.com/chou-pahrot

FLAT OUT


In the mid 70’s, I played acoustic guitar (badly) and sang (enthusiastically) in a wee four-piece combo called Flat Out, alongside Eddy Cavin, Alan MacMaster, and Keith Shirlaw; and the occasional addition of Jim(my) Jazz (Alexander)
We had a good laugh doing sorta folk/blues/rock, with just a wee touch of The Bonzos too, and even released an EP – FLAT UOT – An Accident Looking For Somewhere To Happen.
Keith did the cover artwork, and although I can’t seem to locate the original B&W cover, I did find this version that Keith and one of my kids coloured in – the cover was intended for that very purpose, at my suggestion, as was the deliberate typo.

I was doing posters for the band and organising gigs too, and produced a poster for a night down at Cumbernauld Theatre, still called The Cottage at this point, and decided on a whim to call the event “An Evening Without Bing Crosby”.  I’d completed the pen and ink drawing that was the poster, given the artwork to someone to print them off, and received the finished posters, which were then distributed around Cumbernauld.
A copy of the poster was sitting on my drawing-board when a mate arrived, looked at it, and giggled furiously: “Wow, that was fast” he exclaimed.
”What was fast?” I asked.
”Being that topical, that quick”
Turned out that the famous crooner and child-beater, Bing Crosby, had died that very day, just as the posters were being put up in shop windows and bus-shelters
In a simpler, less shock-weary time this was considered to be in rather bad taste
I was so chuffed, and well-pleasedwith the synchronicity … and began a long tradition of introducing a wee shock element into the band posters I produced from there onwards

Shortly afterwards I produced a poster for the band using the  monkey graphic featured below, with the very fine slogan

FLAT OUT
BETTER BAD THAN BORED

CHOU PAHROT

Back in the mid 70’s, when the progressive rock scene was slowly disappearing up it’s own drug-addled arse, and the fledgling punk scene had still to fully take flight, a truly strange hybrid of prog & punk appeared on the Glasgow music scene in the form of the mighty Chou Pahrot ( pronounced Chow Parrot), a four-piece hailing from the small town of Paisley, just outside Glasgow.

At that time, Chou Pahrot were nothing less than an amazing burst of vitality, musicality, and deafening vibrancy. Their humour, originality and bizarre antics were a welcome change from the po-faced seriousness of their hip contemporaries


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MONICA ZARB – (Bob Donaldson)

Everything about them was unique

The band, Monica Zarb (bass & vocals), Fish Feathers McTeeth ( drums & hitting things), Mama Voot ( guitar, vocals and saxophone), and Eggy Beard (violin), and,  eventually, The Amphibian,  were a Zappaesque conglomerate of Beefhartian elements &  influenced by the US band The Residents, whose stage-presence was truly shocking to the uninitiated at that time. Uncompromising, deafeningly loud, agressive, and whimsical in equal measures, with Mama Voots trademark appearance in wedding dress and aged crone face-mask leering through the smoke and flashing lights.

I was a FAN … big style

I helped promote their gigs, here in Cumbernauld, and the band I played with, Flat Out, filled various support slots with them

I also designed posters, badges, their record sleeve … and even made the odd apearance with the band, playing the doppelganger clone of Mama Voot, in dress & mask, at a couple of their more memorable gigs … even resulting in me being hit with a bottle at their final Kelvingrove Bandstand appearance!

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FISH FEATHERS McTEETH (Dave Lewis) / EGGY BEARD (Martin McKenna) / MAMA VOOT (Tony O’Neill )

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Their impact at that time is indescribable, as they truly were a LIVE phenomenon, and that experience was never even remotely captured on tape.

The recordings of Chou Pahrot, good as they might be, come nowhere even close to the monsterous tsunami of cacophonic noise and the sheer tornado of sound they could create … a sound which could change, in a heartbeat, to the most melodic of riffs … the contrast and relief creating a dynamic tension of beauty that few musicians have ever achieved, in my experience

Chou Pahrot were a child of their time, and a bratty, self-indulgent, nursery-rhyme screaming wee demon he was … but oh how I loved him, and remember fondly those blisteringly sublime moments his tantrums could create!!

Here’s some of the stuff I helped produce, including unseen artwork from the time

This poster was for a gig at the Glasgow Film Theatre – an unlikely double-bill – The Pahrots & The Beatles film, “Yellow Submarine” …. Oh there were a lotta stoners present THAT night, as I remember!! … and as Monica’s demonic form loomed through the dark, and  jumped from the stage in his manic splendour, I sprang from behind him, identically dressed & scared the crap outta the stoned front row!
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Here’s a design for a Chou Pahrot badge that never actually materialised … badges were very popular at this time, as badge-making machines were on the go, and soon became standard memorabilia for every fan of every band

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BRIAN MILLER RIP

Brian Miller 1935-2011

Brian Miller, was an artist, writer, lover of culture and enthusiast of life
Brian was Cumbernauld’s town artist for most of its early years, and his impact on the town’s civic art, and its colourful uniqueness, was dramatic and powerful.
His contributions to the culture and arts in Cumbernauld was similarly dramatic (pun intended), as he was one of the small band of enthusiastic fanatics who established The Cottage, now Cumbernauld Theatre, as a venue for drama, music, comedy, and a wealth of community productions.
No matter what your interest, Brian would be there to lend advice, lend a hand, or even just offer transport or a sympathetic ear – his enthusiasm and support for every single facet of the arts knew no bounds.
Brian also established himself as an unofficial writer-in-residence for Cumbernauld itself, and his productions, musicals, and plays became the launching pad for the artistic aspirations of a wide-range of local wannabes, over the years …. And that included me
Brian had supported my work as an artist at The Muirfield Project, and gave us valuable assistance in establishing a screen-printing department there … assistance, without which, we’d have struggled to survive
He also, surprisingly, offered me a leading role in a play he’d written … all the more surprising as I had no acting experience, and was a mohawk-sporting nutter who fronted a very anarchistic, local band, not exactly renowned for our gentility or love of the establishment
It was a helluva chance for Brian to take, and one that turned out to be my first step on the ladder of performance arts, and the start of a brand new career.
Brian kick-started the aspirations of lots of Cumbernauld’s arts and drama community, and was a genuinely, lovely man and a true gentleman in every respect
On Saturday night, the original Cottage Theatre, and then Studio Theatre of Cumbernauld Theatre, has now been dedicated and renamed The Brian Miller Studio Theatre in Brian’s honour
And that is just as it should be
I wrote and performed a tribute for Brian, earlier in the week, at the  Cottage … and this wee poem was part of it.
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MILLER LIGHT

In every village, every job was valued for it’s worth
And people took their occupation’s name as being their own
So, Bakers, Smiths and Cooks soon became a family name
Whilst the Cobblers thought they’d leave that trend alone

But the man who ground the flour and wheat, in windmills, or by rivers
He’d take the coarsest grain the farmer grew
And turn it into something more refined, and by his efforts
Would produce the finest flour-power too

Brian was a Miller, of people and ideas
An auld hippy of that fine, old school persuasion
With a love of words and images, toy robots, and dramatics
Be they Western, Eastern, African, or Asian

It was the source of all that passion
Which he shared with oh so many
In the years he sweetly tended Cumbernauld
Like a gardener, with love and care, and total dedication
Gamely answering that question
”What’s It Called?”

Brian helped define this town, by word and deed, and vision
His enthusiasm shaped a generation
Of artists, playwrights, actors and wee chancers, just like me
His encouragement and help was inspiration

In a world portrayed as selfish, Brian was a giver
Who unselfishly encouraged all he met
I thank him for the arse-kicks that he aimed in my direction
It got me moving, and I’m eternally in his debt

Brian was a Miller, of people and ideas
His legacy in, what some still call, The Cottage
Will shine on in our memory, for many years to come
Like a spotlight of a hundred thousand wattage!!

(Piss-off … let me see you find a better rhyme for Cottage!!)

Brian gave us laughter, in a world of short supply
He gave us colour in a world of black and white
In this town of dark grey concrete, he brightened up our landscape
Illuminated by that Miller Light.

Stu Who – 2012

BEAT YOURSELF UP – SAVE THE POLICE TIME

Beat Yourself Up – Save The Police Time

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.
Right?
Wrong.
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