WEIRDLAND

Friday, June 22, 2018

"Nico 1998", Idyll with Jim Morrison

Nico 1988 sticks close to the scattered psychodrama of Nico’s last two years but takes a casual and even jaunty attitude toward its heroine’s proudly functional middle-aged depravity. Nico was born Christa Päffgen, and in the film just about everyone calls her Christa, making you realize that Nico is a character she’s still playing but no longer believes in. Christa shoots heroin into her bruised ankle as if she were having a snack. She gives interviews in which she repeats how bored she is of being asked about her days as the chanteuse of the Velvet Underground—a legitimate gripe, perhaps, except that she seems cut off from any awareness that if she hadn’t been a member of the Velvet Underground, she’d have no legend to fall from. “Nico, 1988” is too thinly focused to be a major underground-music-star drama, but its Italian writer-director, Susanna Nicchiarelli, knows just what she’s doing. There’s a refreshing lack of judgment and she takes us close to Nico’s tattered charisma, and to the haphazard rituals of her life, all to figure out what made her tick. Christa is running from her myth, yet she polishes it every time she drops a pensée like “I’ve been at the top, I’ve been at the bottom: Both places are empty.”

In her late 40s, Christa seems to revel in her ravaged looks, which comes off as a feminist statement. She won’t be defined as a mask of beauty—she loves food and drugs too much. Dyrholm’s performance is a powerhouse of authenticity. Her moroseness is mesmerizing, but she also gives Nico a tense intelligence, and her singing is uncanny. She gets the way that Nico would stretch out notes with robotic flatness only to humanize them with a flicker of her German accent. Her lugubrious chant-singing was drained of emotion, except for the moments when it was saturated with it. The movie ends with the trip that she and son Ari made to Ibiza in July 1988. She seems healthy and happy, but as the end title informs us, on that trip she crashed her bike and died of a cerebral hemorrhage. It’s a sad ending indeed, since “Nico, 1998” more or less convinces you that Christa Päffgen, despite the legend she created, had at that point rejected the decadence and was closer to life than death. Source: variety.com

In May 1966, Jim Morrison had seen the Velvet Underground at their first California show at the Trip in Los Angeles. Jim Morrison and The VU's singer Nico began a passionate affair around the summer of 1967. The Doors were riding high, selling more records per week than The Velvet Underground would manage in their entire career. Danny Fields thought Nico and Jim Morrison ‘would make a cute couple.’ Eye magazine took Fields's suggestion for setting up a photoshoot with Nico and Morrison for a series on beautiful couples, but Morrison refused to do it, wary of his volatile girlfriend Pamela. Lou Reed had composed for Nico her trademark songs and allegedly wrote Berlin as a sort of farewell letter. Nico had described Lou as 'soft and lovely, not aggressive at all.' Jim Morrison seemed to have become her obsession, though. Morrison was 'affectionate to my looks and my mind... and the best sex inside me ever,' Nico confessed. Ray Manzarek saw the statuesque Nico as "the Valkyrian angel of death who would push Jim Morrison's buttons." Manzarek was witness to their erotic escapades at The Factory: "The pills and booze were melting together in his brain, obliterating his will to power and replacing it with a will to pleasure." Lou Reed had liked Jim Morrison enough to note, in an interview with Jim Martin for Open City magazine #78: "he's going through all this whole number for the kids, with very nice, religious rock & roll," but Morrison's affair with Nico had seemingly left Reed sour.  

The scene was a crowded locker room at California State University at Long Beach, 1967. Jim had just been told that he was to go on stage in a few minutes and that Nico, the Warhol superstar, in a predatory mood, had just flown in from New York to confront his long-standing girlfriend, Pamela. Jim became visibly edgy at the news. As part of her offensive, Nico had dyed her trademark blonde hair a flaming red to match Pam's. Nico and Morrison's idyll lasted a few weeks and suddenly it was over. Not when Jim or Nico decided, but when Pam decided to put an end. Once Pam had found out Jim was with Nico, she began dating Jean de Breteuil — who apparently had access to high-quality heroin which Pam also began to use. She knew what Jim’s reaction would be when he found out and began thinking about it, in those frozen hours he was always most terrified of right before dawn, during the coldest, darkest moments of the night-day. 

At first, Jim pretended not to care. Then early one morning, while Nico was still passed out, Jim got in his car and drove back to L.A. and Pamela – as he always did eventually, as he always would. Not even leaving a note behind. Morrison told his former UCLA colleague Dennis C. Jakob that Nico wasn't really his type and he had found her pretentious. In 1969 Jim Morrison had grown to hate his self-conscious image – it was only studied perversity, after all. ‘The Jim Morrison thing started out as an act, but so many people believed it, that he became that,’ opined Danny Fields: ‘They returned to him what they saw, and he started acting out their fantasy. It was all a pose, and he became his own invention. He had a kind of dangerous sexuality that women went berserk over – and he used that to cover himself up.’ But Morrison knew he was only a puppet of the crowd; the audiences weren’t interested in his literary allegories, they wanted him to make a spectacle of himself. Nico just once offered an example of the peyote visions she endured with Jim Morrison: "The light of the dawn was a very deep green and I believed I was upside down and the sky was the desert which had become a garden and then the ocean. I do not swim and I was frightened when it was water and more resolved when it was land. I felt embraced by the sky-garden." —"Nico: Life and Lies of an Icon" (2017) by Richard Witts

Lester Bangs acknowledged The Doors' significance, but never without criticizing their flaws. His writings on Jim Morrison give some great insight into the praise the Doors receive, and probably explain the Kurt Cobain cult as well. Bangs found something worth admiring in the way Morrison was willing to turn away from commercial success and how he would take the serious issues of his generation and turn it all into a joke. Bangs wrote: "You can deny it all you want, but almost none of the groups that have been offered to the public in the past few years begin to compare with the best from the Sixties. And this is not just Sixties nostalgia--it's a simple matter of listening to them side by side and noting the relative lack of passion, expansiveness, and commitment in even the best of today's groups... today's bands are so eager to get bought up and groomed and sold it often seems as if they barely stand for anything... I always kind of wanted all Morrison's songs could have had the understated power of 'People Are Strange' and it was only after being disappointed that I could learn to take the true poetry and terror whenever it could be found and develop an ever increasing appreciation for the most of the rest of Morrison's work. 

I never took Morrison seriously as the Lizard King, but I'm as much a Doors fan today as I was in 1967. One thing that can never be denied is that at his best (as well as perhaps his worst at any rate) Morrison had style, and he was at his best as a poet of dread, desire, and psychic dislocation. He was also at his best as a bozo clown. So it's no wonder our responses remain a little confused about him." Lester Bangs' longtime musical hero was Lou Reed, though. He was not a great fan of David Bowie, whom Bangs saw as overrated, "a vampire, pure Lugosi, lurking behind a wide-eyed Reed in a Quaalude haze" and even accused Bowie of ripping off some of Reed's guitar riffs.  –"Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung" (2013) by Lester Bangs

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Romantic Bonds & Separate Worlds: Jim Morrison, Iggy Pop, Gene Vincent

The biological mechanisms underlying long-term partner bonds — The evolutionarily neuropeptide oxytocin (OXT) is associated with the formation of partner bonds in some species via interactions with brain dopamine reward systems. Intranasal OXT treatment made subjects perceive their female partner’s face as more attractive compared with unfamiliar women but had no effect on the attractiveness of other familiar women. This enhanced positive partner bias was paralleled by an increased response to partner stimuli compared with unfamiliar women in brain reward regions including the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. OXT even augmented the neural response to the partner compared with a familiar woman, indicating that this finding is partner-bond specific rather than due to familiarity. Taken together, our results suggest that OXT could contribute to romantic bonds in men by enhancing their partner’s attractiveness and reward value compared with other women. For men in a relationship, increased endogenous OXT signaling in the brain following experience of proximity, social support, intimate contact, or sex with their romantic partner might make these behaviors even more rewarding via an engagement of related neurocircuitry. In this way, a feed-forward loop would be initialized, resulting in a progressive increase in desire for the partner, similar to a drug addict’s increased craving for drug consumption. Facial attractiveness is known to elicit striatal activation, and this notion suggests the intriguing possibility that OXT may serve as a potential treatment for love-related withdrawal syndromes, including lovesickness and pathological grief from loss of a loved one. Source: www.pnas.org

For someone who had such a complex inner life as Jim Morrison, for someone who liked to escape his reality and who by nature had trouble connecting with people, finding Pamela Courson made him feel a lot less alone. Pamela was difficult too, with an alleged duality of sweet girl/sullen junkie. With Pamela, Morrison had rhapsodised, "it was the first time he ever really made love." With Pamela, it wasn't really just about sex. A true love story, Pamela always gave Jim a lot of attention and admiration, and he showed a great deal of kindness and loving behavior toward her. Both could be very jealous of each other's dalliances, though. But Pamela never had motives to be jealous of Ginny Ganalh, the Doors Office's secretary from 1968-1969. Once, Morrison phoned her: “Ginny, when I die and when you die, and when we’re up there sitting on clouds, we’ll be playing lutes together?” Ginny had a very low opinion of Patricia Kennealy (Pam's rival): "She does claim they were married in this witches ceremony. When I read her story, I didn’t know how she could live with herself. I thought she was just so shameless, she just tried so desperately to manipulate herself into Jim's life. Patricia worked as an editor at Jazz & Pop magazine. One of her reviews of Jim was scathing. That’s why Jim took up with her. And then he’d completely push her buttons. So funny!"

Ginny was attracted to Morrison but they only had a friendly professional relationship: "Morrison was so relaxed. I just was really impressed with his gentleness and his lack of pretense. After Miami, he kind of got this mock horror in his voice: “Ginny, you know I would never do anything like that.” He explained to me that his job as the entertainer was to hold up a mirror to his audience. And he kind of chuckled and said, “Man, that was one ugly audience.” I said to Eve Babitz I never saw Jim in the role of the pursuer, except with Pam. Every other time I saw him meeting a chick, it was always the woman coming on so strong to him. Jim was many different people. None of them were phony. Jerry Hopkins never understood him, never got it. Morrison had a way of bringing out the best in people." –"Jim Morrison: Friends Gathered Together" (2014) by Frank Lisciandro

Pamela wasn't surprised that Jim invited her to a vintage bookstore. It was odd, but when he took her to the Bargain Book Shop on 9th street, she'd been expecting it. "I found something." Suddenly, Jim appeared in front of her, a copy of "On The Genealogy of Morality" clutched in his hands. "This was the only one they had, but it's actually one of my favorites." She smiled, and reached into her pocket for loose change. "I'll pay for it," said Jim. "Huh?" she asked. "Why?" "Think of it as a welcome present." He smiled. "Okay." Pam shrugged, too flustered and bewildered to argue. Then they went to an abandoned factory. The building itself didn't seem too remarkable. It was rundown, and looked empty. But for some reason, Pam believed Jim when he said it was a place worth seeing. He hadn't taken her inside the old factory itself, but to the roof overlooking the docks by the Potomac River. The wind was refreshing against her skin, which was warm from the blush that had spread to her cheeks in Jim's presence. She felt really alive, not simply existing. And the thrill of being up on the roof of the abandoned building was breathtaking. "This seems like the perfect place to be alone with your thoughts," Pam thought out loud. "That's why I like to come here," said Jim. "It's kind of like being in your own separate world." Pam nodded. She used to go up on roofs all the time in New York, but the stars were actually visible here. It was amazing. She'd never seen anything quite like the clear night sky, untainted by bright lights and tall monstrous buildings. "It's incredible." She smiled. She turned to face Jim, and found that he was already looking at her. "Hey," he said, taking her by surprise. "What would you do if I jumped?" "Off the roof?" Pam asked. "Yeah." Jim grinned. She laughed. "I'd think you were crazy, but I guess I'd jump too." Source: www.wattpad.com

Iggy Pop (One of the wildest Jim Morrison's heirs) has been with his partner Nina Alu for 10 years, they got married in 2008 and they are happy, he says. Previously, he had married Wendy Weissberg in 1968, and Suchi Asano (1984-1999). Trollin', a song from The Stooges album 'The Weirdness' (2007) is, as he puts it, about picking up a girl, based loosely on their meeting. So we are talking of the romantic side of Iggy? He nods. Who would have thought it? "We're lucky enough to have maybe twice as much sex than is good for us but not so much that it's silly," he says. In an interview with Rob Tannenbaum for Blender magazine (September 2003), when asked about the "extent of his gay experiences", Iggy replied, "I'm to the left of tolerant, but I've never had a gay experience. Two or three times, excited gay friends wanted to try, generally when I was passed out or distracted. And then I'd wake up and go, 'Hey! Bruce! Cut it out!' And that would be the end of that." Source: www.theaustralian.com.au

As the poet E. E. Cummings wrote, “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.” Rock fans, more than anyone, seem to value underground music to be respected. Today that way of thinking doesn't help Rock be culturally relevant. The issue is that "Rock" as we define it, is no longer the driving force of culture that it used to be. It's not cool anymore or even feasible to be an outsider. Rock always thrived on individuality. Instead, Rap and EDM are more tribal. Popular music took a very drastic turn for the worse after the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed. The effects started being felt big time in 1998. The easement by the FCC has allowed the creation of radio monopolies. This is what has returned us back to pre-FM Radio days. Rock didn't stand a chance from that point on. Much easier to market and control pop and rap than rock. Rock bands/artists are much more a risky investment. There's still some quality rock music being made (electric rock guitar will never die off entirely) but unlike from the 50's-90's you have to actively search for it - you're not going to hear it otherwise. Source: forums.stevehoffman.tv


"Bring It On Home To Me" (1971) by Gene Vincent: "I know I laughed when you left/But now I know I only hurt myself/Baby, Bring your sweet loving/Bring it home to me/If you should ever, change your mind, about leavin' me behind/I'll give you jewelry and money too/That ain't all, all I do for you/You know I'll always be your slave/'til I'm buried, buried in my grave/Bring it on home to me." Interview with Gene Vincent by Mick Farren for International Times (March, 1971): "We all used to sit around, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, and we’d talk about things. If one of us had a hit, we’d say: 'That’s fabulous. It’s a damn good song.' We never considered ourselves stars. But now, the people that I meet are so damn big headed… it’s not music anymore, it’s business. But I’ve met Jim Morrison of the Doors, a fantastic person. Really a nice guy, and he takes me back to the people I knew in the old days. I’m always pushing to get something better. And that’s the same with Jim." Gene Vincent used to hang out at the Shamrock den on Santa Monica Boulevard, where Jim Morrison encountered him, and they became drinking buddies. Morrison idolised Vincent and partially modelled his stage persona on him, from his leather suits to his posture of clinging to the mike stand. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

'If Only I' by Jim Morrison, Rock's Revisionism

"If only I could feel, The sound of the sparrows & feel child hood pulling me back again, If only I could feel me pulling back again & feel embraced by reality again I would die, gladly die." —If Only I poem by Jim Morrison (1967)

The more "beloved" and "respected" figures in rock music have a nice, revisionist-style in the re-telling of their life story. Keith Moon terrorized, controlled, psychologically abused and stalked his wife, and his only child was terrified of him. There are many stories of him abusing people outside of his family as well. But that get's "glossed over", and Moon is remembered as an adorable and "funny" drummer! Read excerpts from Mike Nesmith's Infinite Tuesday autobiography. The "smart" Monkee? The great visionary? The respected businessman? Nothing more than an arrogant idiot, a nitwit who got very lucky. And from what I can gather little Davy Jones made Jim Morrison look like a prince. Oh, those adorable Monkees...

The problem with Jim Morrison was that he was thrown under the bus in the worst possible way by his own camp. Little Danny Sugerman went to work for Ray Manzarek. Manzarek oversaw and contributed to Sugerman's "No One Here Gets Out Alive" project, which made for salacious reading but set the Jim Morrison scumbag image in stone. If you trash Jim Morrison, a deafening silence is the only response. Could Jim Morrison be a scumbag? Sure. But let's put every single rock figure from the 1960s on the witness stand and let's see how well they come across. David Bowie liked young flesh, as young as 13, and he was one the biggest sell-outs in rock, magically became no longer bisexual at the height of the AIDS crisis. A lot of them have sins in multitudes that far exceed Morrison's. All of them could be scumbags. I'm partial to Lou Reed, because though a well-known prick, he was hugely talented. How could I have left out Prick Jagger, sorry, Mick Jagger? Does Axl Rose still enjoy covering songs written by Charles Manson?

By all accounts Jim Morrison could also be a very sweet, loving, generous guy too. Despite Stephen Davis' malicious speculation, Morrison was the definition of an oversexed hetero male. Also, a sensitive, deeply unhappy, lonely, individual who obviously suffered from clinical depression and possible identity disorder, dealing with a broken heart after Mary Werbelow left him. Robby Krieger summed it up saying "Jim was an unhappy and troubled soul." There is the Asshole/'mystical shaman' image that Jim Morrison always gets painted with. Mostly by the late Ray Manzarek who pressured constantly Morrison to stay in the band. What would Syd Barrett's fate have been if Roger Waters said, "This is guy is nuts! I'm gonna make him the centerpiece of the band! Think of the publicity!", instead of realizing there was a serious problem going on and then opting to cut ties with him, for Barrett's own good and for his own well-being?

Most of The Doors' fans are not aware that after the third album Jim Morrison was pretty much ready to walk away and that he had to be dragged in to record "The Soft Parade". I would love to have been a fly on the wall to see the sheer amount of badgering it took to get Morrison back into the studio. Oh, and don't think that Jim Morrison's status as a sex symbol, even though the poor kid has been dead for almost 50 years, and the fact that women still drool over pictures of him doesn't play into the way he is perceived. A certain amount of male jealousy and resentment is at work here too. At one point, a sorrowful Jim Morrison told Ray Manzarek, "I think I'm having a nervous breakdown." Manzarek asked him to "give it six more months". It was as if Morrison was looking for Manzarek's permission to leave the group. I wish Morrison had followed his instincts and left when he felt it was the right time to leave. —by RiderOntheStorm1969

Jim Morrison's girlfriend and "life partner" Pamela Courson, who famously described Jim as a poet who “shouldn’t be wasting his time in a rock’n’roll band,” had gone to Paris to scout out places where she and Jim might live. One month later Morrison left Los Angeles on March 10, 1971. Poem found in Jim & Pam's apartment the night that Jim died: "I have a vision of America 28,000 feet and going fast/I have drunk the drug of forgetfulness/Leave the informed sense in our wake/You'll be Christ on this package tour/ Money beats soul/Last words, last words, out" -- Jim Morrison, Paris, 1971 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Too High Price: Jim Morrison, Edie Sedgwick

“Against the exceptional individual are the great numbers of men, trained in a vice that ensnares them.” —Jim Morrison

It was with slight curiosity that I received from Jim Morrison's own hand a film magazine edited in New York by Jonas Mekas which contained an article: Notes on the Auteur Theory. I read every line of it and handed it back to him with a great deal of amusement. “Listen, Jimbo, what Andrew Sarris doesn't understand is that he's not the only one who watched films on television between 1950 and 1959. I saw them, too, in that period when I was in Pasadena, California. And I have a very different reaction to them.” “A lot of those directors had been short changed by Establishment Film Critics,” said Jim. But what I'm getting at is that Sarris didn't write about these obscure directors back in the early Fifties because he didn't have a theory for them. It's the French that provided him with one called the auteur theory. And when he got it, he very conveniently discarded what didn't fit it. Once he thought that Odd Man Out (1947) was the greatest film ever made. Then he dumped on it because the French didn't like it. “Odd Man Out actually is one of the greatest pictures ever made,” Morrison asserted. “But what's this theory all about, Jimbo?” I ticked it off on my fingers, “the myth of individualism. At bottom, all this French stuff is actually Cartesianism, formal non-contradictory logic.”
 
At the start of modern feminism, 1968 or ’69, Morrison may have read Germaine Greer’s or Kate Millet’s books. “You gotta understand,” he said, “the women around here seem cheerleaders and the men voyeurs.” “Venice West?” I asked. “No. I mean the West in general. What we got in California is the remains of a frontier experience.” Jim continued: “In America, women like to preen, like in the film Duel In The Sun. Consequently the Jennifer Jones character is a kind of exhibitionist. Men, on the other hand, recede into the darkness. The relationship between the sexes in this Golden State is that of a peep show. Think about it. It’s the beginning of a Matriarchy.” Jim grew silent and moody again. At that point he wanted to find his Ariadne. 

“Phosphenes!” said Jim in wonder. “Miniaturize a cathode ray camera into the 'magical spectacles' of Tales of Hoffman and with the simple expedient of inserting fiber optic wires into the man's brain these phosphenes could illuminate the three dimensional coordinates of objects and energies in the so-called 'real' world.” Jim then added: “Ever read Lewis Thomas? There's a book called The Lives Of A Cell; it says, in effect, that we live by light; snatching electrons at the precise moment of excitation by the attraction/repulsion of solar photons, snatching off the energy released at each leap and storing it up like a living battery. Quite a job to sustain this work for, say, a couple of billion years without being prone to chaotic drift and randomness. He claims it is nearly a mathematical impossibility. They say God is dead, so how did this happen?” I was silent at this barrage of facts. His face was deep in thought. “Do you know when education ended in this Country? Some say it was in 1912. That's when the American Educational Association formally renounced the teaching of the Classics as the mainspring in Secondary Schools. I guess John Dewey took over. And then behaviorism. John Watson, the first behaviorist, went into Advertising,” Jim explained, nodding in the direction of the Film School beyond Westwood Village. “Somebody said, 'This isn't a film school, it’s a division of neuropsychiatric.' Trouble with that place is nobody was crazy enough. You go through a realm of despondency, darkness and madness, and it builds to an unendurable climax.” “Most of people gets bought and paid-for in the end,” I finally admitted. “Think so?,” countered Jim after a while: “If that is true, my price is way too high.” —"Summer with Morrison: The Early Life and Times of James Douglas Morrison, A Memoir" (2011) by Dennis C. Jakob

Danny Fields had connections to Andy Warhol’s crowd (Edie Sedgwick crashed with him for a while), which helped him get into the back room of the Max’s Kansas City. Fields brought Jim Morrison there, in 1968, an occasion that did not go well. Sedgwick intuited that Warhol’s gayness was incidental. More fundamental was Warhol’s frustrated narcissism, in a permanent state of unfulfilled desire. Warhol invited Jim Morrison a few times to the Factory, but Morrison was not too interested in joining his insane coterie. Warhol looked at Edie Sedgwick and saw Marilyn Monroe. The physical resemblance between Marilyn and Edie was striking, can’t-miss: the eyes that went wide, wider, widest; the smiles that gushed; the skin that glowed palely, pearly. Marilyn and Edie shared, too, an ability to elicit a response from practically anything with a Y chromosome. Marilyn, in words of Pauline Kael “turned on even homosexual men.” Danny Fields, a close friend of Edie’s, testifies, “Being gay was never an impediment to being in love with Edie Sedgwick. She made everybody feel hairy-chested. It was clear that she was the female and you were the male.”

“Edie was incredible on camera—just the way she moved. The great stars are the ones who are doing something you can watch every second, even if it’s just a movement inside their eye.” Andy was a cold man, a man whose fondest dream was automaton-dom (“I’d like to be a machine, wouldn’t you?”), yet, you can hear how infatuated he was, how far gone. The deadpan mask had slipped, exposing the human face—warm, eager, heartbreakingly boyish—underneath. Andy loved to watch, and he loved watching Edie best of all. You can feel the pleasure he takes in her most casual gestures and expressions. He adored her.

In Beauty #2 his inquisition is an attempt to strip her bare emotionally, get inside her, penetrate her secret, private place. In other words, it’s a violation, but it’s also an attempt at intimacy, and thus an expression of love. Just as her submission to the violation is an expression of her return of that love. Edie's romance hit its peak during a madcap trip to Paris in April of ‘65. She  lost faith in what she and Andy were doing (“These movies are making a complete fool out of me!”) and she’d had her head turned by another guy, Bob Dylan. Andy was actually heartbroken. He was the odd man out in a love triangle, a bad situation for a normal person, hell for one so terrified of feeling. It’s unclear if Edie and Dylan’s relationship developed into a romance. Allegedly, Edie Sedgwick and Jim Morrison shared hugs and kisses at the Castle in July 1967. Edie would end where she began: Santa Barbara, California. On November 16, 1971, Edie Sedgwick overdosed on barbiturates, same as Marilyn Monroe. Source: www.vanityfair.com

Thursday, June 14, 2018

LSD Doses, Jim, Pam, and The Abyss

Psychedelic drugs like LSD and ecstasy ingredient MDMA have been shown to stimulate the growth of new branches and connections between brain cells which could help address conditions like depression and addiction. Researchers in California have demonstrated a single dose of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) increases the number of branch-like dendrites sprouting from nerve cells. These dendrites end at synapses where their electrical impulses are passed on to other nerve cells and underpin all brain activity. But they can atrophy and draw back in people with mental health conditions. “One of the hallmarks of depression is that the neurites in the prefrontal cortex – a key brain region that regulates emotion, mood, and anxiety – those neurites tend to shrivel up,” says Dr David Olson, who lead the research team. The research, published in the journal Cell Reports today, looked at drugs in several classes including tryptamines, DMT and magic mushrooms; amphetamines, including MDMA; and ergolines, like LSD. Source: www.independent.co.uk

Penny Courson: “Corky and I went up to LA, and there was this restaurant called the Matador that Jim had arranged for dinner, and the captain at the restaurant was like, ‘How are you, Mr Morrison!’ Then after the dinner, the four of us went to see 2001, A Space Odyssey.” Jim and Pam would also come over to the Coursons’ for dinner. “Beautiful, Jim’s manners were just phenomenal”, Penny (Pam's mom) says. “He would take whatever food was being passed around, and he would serve her first,  then put some on his plate. I was very impressed.” Pamela Courson was also impressed about Jim's transformation in the summer of 1971: “I woke up one morning and saw this handsome man by the pool, talking to two young American girls. I fell instantly in love with him. Then I realized it was Jim. I hadn't recognized him. He had got up early and shaved his beard, and he was so lean from losing so much weight, he seemed a new man. It was so nice to fall in love again with the man I was already in love with.” —"Angels Dance and Angels Die: The Tragic Romance of Pamela and Jim Morrison" (2010) by Patricia Butler

“Acid can cause long-lasting or even permanent changes in a user’s psychology, and personality. Jim Morrison was one of the people that took a lot of doses. He would take four or five hits at a time. He indeed changed.” Back in New York for more shows in July 1967, Jim Morrison, the self-anointed prophet of the Summer Of Love and LSD-induced Rock, began an impossible affair with his psychic and spiritual opposite – Nico, Teutonic blonde ice-queen and co-vocalist of New York’s most celebrated yet least famous band, The Velvet Underground. According to Rock orthodoxy, The Velvet Underground and in particular Lou Reed (previous lover of Nico) seemed to despise everything The Doors stood for. When just four years later Lou Reed heard of Morrison’s death, he sneered (maybe not joking): “He died in a bathtub? How fabulous…” —Classic Rock Magazine #132 (July 2009)

On the the orbit of Jim Morrison's camp, what worthy angle is really left, at least book wise? I can think of about three: 1. Robby Krieger autobio on the saga. He doesnt have an axe to grind like John Densmore or Manzarek's psychobabble. He's the most neutral of all three Doors. 2. Babe Hill's take. Post '68, Jim more and more distanced himself day to day from The doors, yet, got much closer to Babe. His book could fill in some holes. 3. Mary Werbelow. Absolutely no one knew Jim closer from '62-'66 than Mary. It would probably be the most important book written on Jim if she decided to really go deep with it. One could argue, much of his dark side came from their break up. Interestingly enough, they were in communication even post '68. Her interview about 10 years ago may have been one of the most important sources. Pamela Courson: she has always been a mysterious figure. Central to the Morrison myth but very little real biographical information on her. I'm sure Pam had many adventures that we will probably never hear about. Pam was LA's Edie Sedgwick in some sense. She was in Mick Jagger's lap at the Hollywood Bowl show. Her friends all talk about how crazy and unpredictable she was. Jim was very chivalrous with her. In down times those demons of what was lost with Mary seemed to be a hard ghost to shake and this possibly points to why his relationship with Pam was so stormy. Even some of the peripheral characters could give some great insights into the inner workings of the group, but probably not enough for a full book unless the stories were gathered into one volume, like in Frank Lisciandro's Friends Gathered Together book. People like Lynn Krieger, who dated Morrison before she married Robby. She must have a few good Morrison stories. I'd like to read a bio on Jim done by someone who rejects all the previous forms and templates for The Doors coverage. NOHGOA (with help from an uncredited Ray Manzarek) is not good, it set up the image of Morrison as a madman (which was further "explored" in the movie). Then we have Densmore's whining about Morrison (which he conveniently revises in Unhinged), and Patricia Kennealy's farcical book (blech), and then Stephen Davis thinking if Jim was bisexual? Come on. —Kelvin Kloud from The Doors Forum

A Cosmic Mating: As his cue came up, Jim Morrison caught her eye. Pamela raised her sight from her Vanilla Coke, sipping it intertmitently. As Jim walked off the stage at the end of the set, she was waiting for him with a beer at the club stairs. "I think I love you," Morrison said. She asked "what happened here?" touching the side of his face where he still had some cuts from the debacle of the biker bar. "Critics," he joked: "What's your name?" "Pam," she replied. She was aching for a way out and shared with Jim a baggie of mushrooms. They woke up the next morning feeling raw and vulnerable. "Do you think I like being promiscuous? I love you!" Pam blurted out. Jim knew she meant it and realized she wasn't interested in looking back to her Orange County adventures. Jim caressed her hair with his trembling hands while she laid enthralled with closed eyes. Pamela laughed, amused at Jim's declaration 'I'll give you a fancy place, silk clothes and diamonds!' and kissed his half-open mouth. Jim knew he had found his cosmic mate, and didn't want to lose her. 'You are not my groupie,' said Jim in a sudden serious tone, 'you are my girl. I'd lose myself completely in your mouth, baby, your mouth is so pure.' Her body shook up at hearing all his poetic words. Her fingers, so softly tactile, explored his body, making his brain explode with an unknown, inviolable pleasure. He kissed her possesively. She tasted like Vanilla Coke and candy. 'I wanted to hold you in my arms since you laid your eyes on me at the London Fog,' she confessed, transfixed at the memory. 'Some idiots told me you were a floozy... I didn't believe them, they could never see through you,' he gently revealed. She sighed: 'Did you ask for my dating historial, Jim?' He tilted his head galllantly: 'I didn't ask anyone, you know how those guys are, braggarts or losers... you are an angel, you smell like Paradise and your eyes are lavender flowers.' She smiled, submerged in a new placidity, marveled at his poetic declamations. Her eyes were glazing over and he made love to her like an eternal promise. Her frantic strawberry tongue provoked his flowing of sweat, thick drops burning her hair and dampening her petal-rose breasts. Jim became Pamela's protector, drowning in a sea of interminable desire. As all the true love stories, Jim Morrison's unique relationship with Pam Courson was utterly misunderstood. Some insiders thought Morrison was lost, at the mercy of the mentally depressed Pam, but they were dead wrong. Jim chose Love and married Pam. Jim Morrison said that Love was the answer. —Jim, Pam and The Abyss by Sue Angeles Source: www.wattpad.com

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jim Morrison's mythology, The Flynn effect

Jim Morrison’s voice on the early Doors’ records is haunting. It conjures an earlier self and the need to achieve a spiritual autonomy above all else. This evolution was also reflected in Morrison’s writing, which became more concrete, and in his singing voice, which slowly degraded as the toll of his suicidal lifestyle began to show. “Blood in the streets it’s up to my ankles/Blood in the streets it’s up to my knee,” he sings on the 1970 “Peace Frog,” one of their best late songs. “Blood on the rise it’s following me.” The song, which shows off all the band members’ muscles, is tough to beat as a testament to late sixties dread. On the group’s last album, L.A. Woman, the blues orientation becomes most explicit, as does Morrison’s sense of isolation. Rock’s best long song, “L.A. Woman” has served as accompaniment for countless ecstatic road trips, but it’s more desolate than it sounds, while “Riders on the Storm,” though ostensibly about a serial killer, sounds almost hopeful by the end. The emotional core of “L.A. Woman” comes from its famous bridge, in which the last remnants of the Lizard King dissolve into Morrison’s final incarnation, Mr. Mojo Risin’.

In the Morrison mythology, his admiral father plays the part of the standard 1950s dad, too invested in his career and too repressed to understand his artistic son, whose middle name, Douglas, was for Douglas MacArthur. George S. Morrison’s life was every bit as eventful as his son’s. At 22, he was serving aboard the minelayer Pruitt in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked. He became the youngest admiral in the navy in 1966, just as the Doors were astounding audiences at the Whiskey a-Go Go on the Sunset Strip and preparing to record their first album. By then, the admiral and Jim had fallen out, polarized by years of mutual incomprehension and by the father’s harsh dismissal of the son’s career plans. When the Doors made it, Jim told reporters that his parents were dead. Though he had seemed on a career fast track, George S. Morrison never became a 4-star Admiral, and Doors drummer John Densmore believes that Jim’s notorious reputation was a key reason why. The navy, Densmore suggests, was reluctant to give the father of the Doors’ lead singer a higher profile. During Jim’s Miami obscenity trial, his defense team admitted a supportive letter from the admiral in which he vouched for his son’s good character while acknowledging that he had barely spoken with him for years. He had followed Jim’s career, he wrote, “with a mixture of amazement and in the case of Miami, great concern and sorrow.”  Source: www.theamericanconservative.com

Earrings owned by Pamela Courson. "Personally given to my aunt by Pamela Morrison during the last year of Pam's life. Pamela was lonely, troubled and severely addicted to heroin. Unfortunately, my aunt was also addicted to heroin, which is how they became friends. Fortunately, she survived to a much older age than Pam. I met Pam only one time during a vacation to visit my aunt. She was pretty, although she looked older than her true age. I only got to spend not much longer than an hour with her, but I cherish the memory. Pamela was a sweet and engaging person, even with the cursing. As curious as I was, I didn't ask any questions about Jim. My aunt warned me not to. Pamela confided to her that she and Jim had been using heroin the night he died and he probably overdosed. I have never worn the earrings since inheriting them, they are an irreplaceable piece of history and were kept in a safety deposit box." Source: www.ebay.com

According to Tone McGuire (from Toné McGuire Media Productions), it was really a testament to Pamela Courson that, despite the difficulty of her relationship with Jim being a musician, she was always going to be the centerpiece in his heart. I think that Jim at the end (in Paris) had done the wild thing and that he was ready to just wind down with Pamela.  Jim allowed Pamela to use his last name as she saw fit. She used both names, Courson and Morrison, and sometimes wore a ring on the ring finger, one that she chose for herself as a symbol of her taken status. Jim gave her whatever she wanted, and happily, because if Pamela was happy, it meant that he could relax too. 

Pamela lived how she wanted to live (she traveled and stayed in nice hotels and flew first class impulsively), and it was because Jim wanted her to. Tone McGuire had a lot of candid conversations with Jim about Pamela, and Jim really expressed to him that Pamela was his one true half, they just struggled a lot with the scene's lifestyle they experimented. Pam had two brief relationships after Jim's death, with Randy Ralston, whom she met at a restaurant in 1972, and Phil Barnett, a friend of hers and Jim's who she lived with for about six months. Phil Barnett took the last known photo of Pamela before she died.  —Pamela Courson-She Dances In a Ring of Fire 

The surviving Doors must have felt resentment toward Jim Morrison (and probably a fair amount of jealousy) to stand idly by and allow for this "image" to get so out of control, or maybe this was their stupid way of staying on the radar. But "No One Here Gets Out Alive" backfired. Since Jim's camp was more than willing to throw him under the bus it has been open season on him ever since. I truly feel that the problem stems from  "No One Here Gets Out Alive". People who were interviewed for the book, from Jim's family members to Doors producer Paul Rothchild, were very angry about how Jim Morrison came across in what, to me, is Rock's answer to "Mommie Dearest". As Paul Rothchild put it, "The best parts of Jim Morrison are not in there." The book was clearly marketed to appeal to a young audience and it took the story of an unhealthy, deeply unhappy, self-destructive young man and tried to coat it with a gloss of "mystique," and people resent that. Morrison did not have a lot of friends in the industry and was probably the object of a lot of jealousy and resentment. 

Maybe if they had put him in a more accurate context - that he was also a painfully shy, self-conscious, lonely, sensitive, perceptive, intelligent young man who battled depression and other emotional problems on top of alcoholism. They also left out the side of Jim Morrison that has been described as sweet, funny, generous, kind and loving. The part about him standing outside his girlfriend Tandy Martin's window before his family moved. "The dark figure got in the car and disappeared" or something to that effect. They angled everything to make him sound creepy. Jim Morrison was sad about leaving his friends again and was taking one last look at Tandy Martin's window.

The Doors producer Paul Rothchild had this to say about "No One Here Gets Out Alive" and Danny Sugerman: "Danny Sugerman took Jerry Hopkins' original manuscript and destroyed it. Danny didn't interview me, Jerry did. Danny then changed a lot of my interview to HEARSAY that other people did. I am furious about the book, and so is everyone else I've talked to who is quoted in it. It's a great piece of sensationalism, very little of which holds to historical fact. Jim is sensationalized rather spectacularly, and the best parts of Morrison are not there. The only people who come off well in my opinion are the groupies and sycophants who were hanging around the band and close to Danny Sugerman - who was a groupie himself." Also, Sugerman insisted on giving credibility to some nasty, self-professed Pagan witch who basically stalked Jim Morrison and claimed to have had a long term relationship with him and that claim has been proven false many times over. Its hard to find a book that is fair and truthful when it comes to Jim Morrison. —Am I the only one who feels like the Doors have been forgotten by most people? by RiderOntheStorm1969


Researchers find IQ scores dropping since the 1970s: Population intelligence quotients increased throughout the 20th century—a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect—although recent years have seen a slowdown or reversal of this trend in several countries. A pair of researchers with the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway has found that IQ test scores have been slowly dropping over the past several decades. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg describe their study and the results they found. They also offer some possible explanations for their findings. Prior studies have shown that people grew smarter over the first part of last century, as measured by the intelligence quotient—a trend that was dubbed the Flynn effect. But, now, according to the researchers in Norway, that trend has ended. Instead of getting smarter, humans have started getting dumber. The increase of scores of general intelligence stopped after the mid-1990s and it's difficult to interpret since these countries have had significant recent immigration from countries with lower average national IQs. During the last century, there is a negative correlation between fertility and intelligence. Sadly, other researchers have found similar results. A British team recently found IQ score results falling by 2.5 to 4.3 points every decade since approximately the end of the second world war. And this past December, another group from the U.S. found that children who grew up eating a lot of fish tended to have higher IQs—and they slept better, too, which is another factor involved in adult intelligence levels. Source: medicalxpress.com

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Hollywood's Eve, A Rock-and-Roll Memoir

Hollywood, California, in the 60s and 70s was the cultural capital of America and the world—a movie factory, a music factory, a dream factory. Eve Babitz, the subject of Lili Anolik’s remarkable new book, is Hollywood’s native daughter. "What truly sets Babitz apart from L.A. writers like Joan Didion or Nathanael West is that no matter what cruel realities she might face, a part of her still buys the Hollywood fantasy, feels its magnetic pull as much as that Midwestern hopeful who heads to the coast in pursuit of 'movie dreams.'" Babitz turned herself into the West Coast’s answer to Edie Sedgwick: a groupie with an artistic streak. She designed album covers for Buffalo Springfield and Linda Ronstadt, and seduced Jim Morrison. Throughout Babitz’s stories, there’s an awareness of the dichotomy between the often vapid realities of Los Angeles and the ideals of an authentic Bohemia. Anolik’s dazzling Hollywood’s Eve is many things: a philosophical investigation, a critical appreciation, a sociological study, a cultural commentary, and a noir-style mystery. Hollywood's Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. will be released on January 8, 2019.

Eve Babitz in L.A. Woman (2015): "Greatness is a disease. That must have been what was wrong with Jim Morrison. His silences were deadly and the fury within him to capture the world's imagination was so dignified and ironical that, like pain, you only remembered what it was like when it was too late." Eve may be LA Woman, inspiration for The Doors song. “Never saw a woman/ So alone”– that’s her. Source: www.amazon.com

“Grace Slick always thought she was ugly,” said Eve Babitz. “But she was certainly gorgeous.” Grace Slick, the Acid Queen of Haight Ashbury, had just as much fun as the guys on the road. “I pretty much nailed anybody that was handy,” she claims. “My only regret is that I didn’t get Jimi Hendrix or Peter O’Toole.” During the legendary Doors/Airplane European tour of 1968, she ended up in Jim Morrison’s bedroom at the Belgravia Hotel, where they romped around and covered each other with strawberries. “Jim Morrison inhabited two places at once, and although there was some pattern of events going on in his head that connected what I’d just said, it never made sense. I’m sure that the people who knew him well must have heard normal dialogue out of him like, “What time does the plane arrive?” But I never heard anything intelligible I could respond to until I was able to see what he was like alone, away from the frantic energy of the music halls. I also wish I could tell you that he came to my room to hustle me. But I was the perpetrator. “Okay if I put this plate on the radiator?” I asked. This was Europe, 1968. No central heating. After I set the plate of  frozen strawberries on the cold radiator, he crawled over the top of the bed. I can play this, I thought, and I relaxed. It wasn’t 9 ½ Weeks with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke using food as erotic lubricant; it was more like kindergarten play. I was afraid I’d be stepping on that Fantasia tape that seemed to be running in his cranium. This was like making love to a floating art form. I’d never had anyone “study” me like that. He seemed to be appraising the distance between us as if it was an invisible garment that needed to be continually breached with each motion. With our hips joined together and his body moving up and down, if felt like he was taking a moment each time to circle the area between our bodies and consider the space that separated us. At the same time, he was surprisingly gentle. Somehow, I’d expected a sort of frantic horizontal ritual. It’s interesting; the most maniacal guys on stage can be such sublime lovers. He was a well built boy, his cock was slightly larger than average. Jim mystified me with that otherworldly expression, and at the same time, his hips never lost the insistent rolling motion that was driving the dance. 

When Jim did look directly in my face, he seemed to be constantly searching for the expression that might break the lock, as if I might be wearing a disguise. I’m not sure what I mean by that, but I can say that it was both intriguing and disconcerting, waiting for him to ask me if I was someone else – an impostor or a product of his imagination. I dressed as fast as I could, without looking like it was a race. Jim didn’t seem to notice; he appeared to be totally unconscious, just lying there motionless on the bed. But naked, with eyes closed and without moving a muscle from his completely immobile posture, he said, “Why wouldn’t you come back?” Since I hadn’t said anything about coming or going, I didn’t know what he expected to hear, so I went into proper Finch College mode and said, “Only if I’m asked.” He smiled, but never asked. Danny Sugerman said, “You know, Grace, I’m glad you're telling everybody you screwed Jim. You can’t believe the amount of ugly women who’ve claimed to have fucked him.” —Somebody to Love?: A Rock-and-Roll Memoir (1999) by Grace Slick

Judy Huddlestone on Jim Morrison: "Like everyone, he had moments of happiness or joy, but clearly he was not happy. On balance, he was more tortured than most--genetics, karma, childhood, alcoholism--whatever the reason. Was he bipolar, borderline psychotic? It was like a switch got flipped, far beyond a regular mood swing." A new peer-reviewed paper (published in the January 2018 issue of ScienceDirect) has shown that possessing a high intellect could be directly linked to several psychological disorders including Depression, Anxiety, ADHD and Autism. The highly intelligent individual has a remarkable capacity for seeing and internalizing vast uncertainties, possibilities, and problems. This gift can either be a catalyst for empowerment and self-actualization or it can be a predictor of dysregulation and debilitation. The study also found that high intelligence could also potentially be linked to almost double the risk associated with autoimmune disease. The study also suggests that an above average IQ could also have a large impact on physical health. *Mood Disorders - National average 9.5% High Intelligence 26.8% *Anxiety Disorders - National average 10.9% High Intelligence 20% *Depressive disorders - National average 6.7% High Intelligence 25.8% Source: www.sciencedirect.com

During 1999–2016, suicide rates increased in nearly every state in America, including >30% increases in 25 states. In 2016, a Harvard University study revealed that 51% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 “don’t support” capitalism—and only 42% support it. So if not capitalism, then what? The study found young people favor socialism, but that’s not the only alternative. There has been an uptick of interest in a 170-year old political system — that dirtiest of C-words. Communism. It’s no secret that the United States doesn’t have the best relationship with communism. Much of this is rooted in the The Red Scare of the 1940s and ’50s, which fueled the Cold War and the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and which had a lasting effect on how people in the U.S. view the political system. Since then, the U.S. government has interfered in multiple countries  in order to weed out communism anywhere it popped up. In any case, in recent months, communist ideology has seemed to catch on with more Americans. The Communist Party USA — a national organization founded in 1919, with 7,000 registered members — has reported a significant spike in interest and membership with 5,000 new members. CPUSA’s international secretary said, “There is growing interest in communist ideas.” The Seattle Communists, a chapter of the Pacific Northwest-based Communist Labor Party, has seen its numbers swell. Further, communists believe that fascism happens when capitalism is under threat. As the economic system becomes unstable, white working class people are directed to blame immigrants and people of color and are steered toward white nationalism. In this sense, simultaneous rises in both far right and far left ideas are inevitable under capitalism.  Source: theestablishment.co

Jim Morrison could be pretty funny at times. He smirked: “Well, in fifty-sixty years this whole set-up is going to collapse. Everybody's gonna lose their money to a bunch of crooked politicians and white-collar criminals. You'll see. And then these guys, let’s call them economists, they're all gonna say finally, ‘Well, Ezra Pound was right!’ And Social Credit will come in." “Well Jim, ya’know Pound was in the nuthouse at Saint Elizabeth's hospital for twelve years.” “So what?” “Well, there’s this charge of Treason.” He cocked his head and gave me a sharp glance. “Sure. His transcripts were censored. And what the fools don't realize is that Pound is a hero and should’ve been given the Congressional Medal of Honor! It's all in code, the broadcasts! It's in cypher! You just gotta know how to figure it out. Pound was a spy for the government and he oughta be decorated." He concluded, “Everybody else thinks you’re a communist or whatever. Actually, you're a patriot. So Pound was doomed – unless he played ball with the Government. Of course, he could have stayed right here in America, but that's what makes him such a hero.” “Well, why didn't all this come out at the trial?” “Because, by 1946, when the troops arrested Pound, Roosevelt was dead, and Truman didn't know anything about the code." And there he had me. “Well, why didn't Pound say anything after they put him in the nut house, Jim?” “Because the U.S. Military put him in that cage in Pisa and he went bonkers. This was a case of state security. It's as plain as day.” 

Jim Morrison could be oddly patriotic. “Dostoyevsky said, the Russian hates freedom. Those fuckers wouldn't know what to make of it. Like a primitive man under an open sky gone crazy from the light. The Politician, one of the two examples of the ‘secular Priest’, becomes the consummate actor of our day,” Jim said. “What's the other example?” “The Psychiatrist. According to Freud, the future of illusion needed secularization.” I said: “Your Mr. Pound said that Rome was destroyed by its Rhetoriticians.” “The Rhetoriticians took over when the Romans lost their Poets. Rhetoric is just another word for politics,” said Jim: “Politicians are too shrewd to be neurotic, by and large. Greed so wonderfully concentrates a man’s mind.”—"Summer with Morrison: The Early Life and Times of James Douglas Morrison, A Memoir" (2011) by Dennis C. Jakob