Thursday, 13 December 2007

Musical Perambulations II


There was more rock and roll weirdness in the air this week. The big story, of course, was the relaunched Led Zeppelin- dubbed, with appropriate resonance, 'the mothership of all reunions' by Pete Pahides of The Times- who played their first concert in fifteen years at where else but the former Millenium Dome in Greenwich. (Now renamed the O2.) Regular readers of this blog will know that I have long sensed something powerful in the air around Greenwich; and not just because of its geographical status as 'the place where days begin and end.'

My intuition, this year alone, has been confirmed several times over: 'twas from Greenwich Royal Observatory that the Spice Girls announced their reunion tour back in June; in July, the National Maritime Museum (and thus, I believe, the Prime Meridian) was used as the starting line of the first official stage of the Tour de France. The borough, and the Dome, hosted Tutankhamen, in the first major exhibition of Pharaonic artefacts- outside Egypt- since the Boy King was unmasked in a televised occult ritual in November. (An exhibition which also spawned a pyramid in Hyde Park; and a 25ft-high statue of Anubis that sailed up the Thames- even, I believe, as far as Westminster- on October 1.) And in August I reported on the use of the Maritime Museum (MM) as a location in the movie, The Golden Compass- reviewed by Ellis Taylor here.

The Zeppelin reunion is as significant as all of these; not least for the fact that the anticipated world tour will forment a powerful new wave of interest in the band's guiding genius: Aleister Crowley. Indeed, several fans were filmed sporting the famous Crowley-inspired sigils, adopted by the individual band-members as personal emblems, which first appeared on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV. Peter Paphides, covering the event for The Times, seemed to discern some of this magic, when he described Jimmy Page- whose personal interest in occultism was the strongest- as 'dispensing power chords like an aged Thor lobbing down thunderbolts for kicks.' An interesting analogy, considering how recently we noted the prevalence of the Thor-inspired 'Sig Rune' in modern rock lore: in the iconography of KISS, most famously, but even (in modified form) on an album cover of one S P Morri-SS-ey.

About fifteen minutes in to the set, Paphides said, 'something of the devil seemed to get hold of them'; and that the 'volcanic fills' provided by drummer Jason Bonham confirmed 'there are some things that can be transmitted only through DNA.' A reference, of course, to Bonham's deceased father, the band's original drummer... but echoing themes we have alluded to here, particularly in this article from last month. And when the rhythm section was described as 'advancing like Martian tripods'- reinforcing the connection drawn here several times: between popular music and ET- I started wondering whether the journalist was channelling his copy from the same sphere as I do.

Marilyn Manson, he of the talismanic initials, was in London on December 6th, performing tracks from his Lewis Carroll-inspired new album 'EAT ME DRINK ME.' Allusions to the Wonderland mythos peppered the set, which included the anthem, Are You the Rabbit?'- written, presumably, for his (postponed) film project: Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll. About three days later, another MM, Matthew Murray, killed four people in two separate shootings in Denver, Colorado (home of the New World airport.) The principal target of Murray's rage- the Christian organisation, Youth With A Mission- had fallen out with him five years ago, following a fundraising concert in which Murray had elected to perform songs by Linkin Park... and Marilyn Manson. He was asked to leave the missionary training programme shortly afterwards.

Shades, perhaps, of the Lennon assassination? Mark David Chapman had ties to the YMCA, which CIA defector Philip Agee exposed as an agency front in his book, Inside the Company. And Lennon, and his assassination in particular, is back in the news again this week: following the British release of a film about his killer. (These links, predictably, are not explored.) Rather spookily, considering the recent events in Denver, Omaha, and Las Vegas, 'The Killing of John Lennon' is but one of three new films in which 'geeks with guns' play a significant part. (He Was A Quiet Man, starring Christian Slater; and You Kill Me, with Ben Kingsley as an alcoholic hitman, are the others.) This was in the same week that a lock of Lennon's hair was sold at auction in West Sussex for £24,000: a further indication of the religiosity that these and similar relics now attract.

And Killers of a different kind featured in a highly revealing interview given to Adrian Thrills of the Daily Mail: demonstrating that VALIS is just as likely to drop in to a rock star as a writer of science fiction or a Leicester-based cardiologist on vacation in Praia de Luz. Describing the lukewarm reaction to his second album, Sam's Town, the band's frontman Brandon Flowers says: 'Some people thought [the record] was self-indulgent... I don't know whether I regret it or not. I don't know if my lyrics were strong enough, but I felt a force guiding me. When I was writing When You Were Young, I felt a spirit over me. It was an album we needed to make.'

Very interesting indeed is the fact that Mr Flowers was born in the notorious programming centre of Las Vegas, Nevada... before moving to 'the tiny Mormon community of Nephi, Utah, when he was eight.' (Nephi is a popular name in Mormonism: deriving its status from the hero of the Book of Mormon, a scion of the House of David, who washes up on the shores of the New World around 600BC.) Interesting too is the name Flowers and Tana, his schoolteacher wife, have given their newly-born son, their first. Confirming once again the strange links between popular music, and the returning gods of the ancient world: Ammon.



1 comment:

FilmNoir23 said...

Really top-notch stuff here Ben. Bravo.

Mormons are much in the news here these days.