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Sunday Soul – LHOVERCRAFT
Year 11 – Playlist 21/52 – For the week of September 7th 2014
As Queen Elizabeth II began her third year as Head of the Commonwealth and Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Mr. Christopher Cockerell of Ripplecraft Ltd., a small Norfolk boat and caravan hire company, endeavored to build a vehicle that would move over the water’s surface, floating on a layer of air by shoving a KiteKat cat food tin into a coffee can and connecting an industrial hairdryer to it. He called this endeavor the SRN1. What’s exciting here is that the experimental vehicle actually worked. It zipped across an enormous puddle with ease and Cockerell had invented the hovercraft. This would prove wildly useful in crossing the English Channel and make a Knight of the Realm out of Christopher. In 1969 (some 14 years later) Sir Christopher Sydney Cockerell CBE RDI FRS was presented to the United Kingdom at last.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “But the hovercraft hasn’t been invented yet!” Exactly what I was thinking too. Sure, I’ve crossed the 112 Miles between Dover and Calais more than once on a big-ass disco ferry. I’ve ridden on top, and I’ve tried to sleep below. I’ve even hit on French girls in the disco (two slaps and a kiss,) but I swear I’ve never even seen a hovercraft. I am still waiting for a huge sphere of light to make a curious whirring sound and land delicately on the ground in front of me and beam me aboard and then gently lift off and hover away and I don’t suppose I’m going to believe in hovercrafts until this happens to me.
If we weren’t thinking the same thing there I’ve got another one for you.
In 1890 (some 36 years before the passportless, truck driving, Elizabeth Windsor was even born) linguistics enthusiast Howard Phillips Lovecraft appeared suddenly in Providence, Rhode Island. He played make believe with the other children in his neighborhood and then as suddenly as he had appeared he up and moved to New York City where he started and completely failed at writing and editing Weird Tales Magazine.
Dude, wouldn’t that be cool? Imagine just going to the city and starting a magazine for yourself and there even being enough people to read it to consider yourself a failure at it? The idea of the city has certainly changed hasn’t it? Anyway, by 1926 Lovecraft cashed out and sloped right back to Providence and holed up in his mother’s house and wrote his most celebrated tales including “The Call of Cthulhu”, canonical to the Cthulhu Mythos. Never able to support himself from earnings as author and editor, Lovecraft saw commercial success increasingly elude him in this latter period, partly because he lacked the confidence and drive to promote himself. He subsisted in progressively straitened circumstances in his last years; an inheritance was completely spent by the time he died at the age of 46, and that was that.
Until 1967, just two years before Cockerell was transformed from a Mr. to a Sir for his invention of the hovercraft, a professional
folk singer and a classically trained organist from Chicago, Illinois formed a psychedelic rock band and called themselves “H.P. Lovecraft.”
The band named themselves after H. P. and their endlessly droning organ solos were claimed to be possessed of a haunting, eerie ambience, and consisted of material that was inspired by his macabre writings. The thing about “psychadelic” music is that it must have suffered from the same thing that house music has suffered from – when you’re there and it’s on it completely changes your life and informs a new way of seeing the world. Maybe it’s all the dancing, or perhaps it’s the length of the songs, or simply the festive atmosphere of nude people painted with tempera colors and gyrating with abandon for hours and hours and hours that also helps, but in the end there’s kind of no “there” there when it comes to trying to explain it, or sell it, or play it on the radio. So very much like more emotionally mature electronic music a shorter version of the hour and half long drug anthems are produced and the concepts are masterfully distilled into catchy hits for the kids. H. P. Lovecraft (the band) did just this in 1968 with their immortal 45 teen hit “Anyway You Want Me” which clocked in at 2 minutes and 44 seconds. Hardly enough time for a mind expanding psychedelic freak out if you ask me.
Not to be unfairly cruel here, H. P. Lovecraft didn’t take their success seriously. They moved to San Francisco at the height of the summer of love and tried to make another album while they were sleeping in Golden Gate Park and smoking meth with the Bikers and quixotic pixies of the day and it just didn’t work out. By 1969 – the year of Cockerell’s triumphant knighthood – H. P. Lovecraft were no more. But like their fellow travelers The Jefferson Airplane, they reformed a couple years later and cut the whole H. P. thing out and were known on the street simply as “Lovecraft.” The airplane became a starship, and forgot all about Jefferson High School (where my Mother went to High School) and arrogantly claimed to have built San Francisco on “rock and roll” which is absurd. San Francisco was hastily built in the most unlikely place and time to make a safe haven for hookers, gamblers, and profiteers who re branded their enterprises as “the barbary coast.” So the city was clearly built on the backs of low wage labor for the profit and pleasure of the wealthy, and had nothing to do whatsoever with “rock and roll.” Unless they mean sex – an idiom for which was “rock and roll” in 1955 when Cockerell first experimented with cat food tins and coffee cans. You couldn’t say “I wanna hump you” in a song back then, so people said “rock and roll” as a euphemism. Everyone knew what you meant, but there wasn’t a law against sort of saying something that could later be denied. It was only against the law if you actually said it. Pretty clever.
How do you get where you’re going? Who do you blame your failure on? Is it your stupid kid sister? Is it you mean and lonely parents who never did enough for ya? Is it your own damned fault? Maybe it’s society, or capitalism, or maybe it’s just the whole male dominated military industrial complex that’s held you back? I think that it’s easy to find someone’s work after they are gone and make a mint from it. You can re package and sell it and it’s no skin off your nose. No one lingering about the office hoping to have a say in how their work was exploited then is there? Nope. It’s also easy to switch from folk to psychadelia to hippie to stadium rock when you don’t mean a word of what you’re saying, and you just want to be famous. It’s as easy as switching from Bluegrass to dub step and back again isn’t it? * snap * just like that.
Gene Simons of Kiss told esquire magazine this week that “rock is dead” and facebook’s trending feeds had field day with it. What he was really saying was that it really sucks to be a musician hoping to make money out of music today, and he’s not wrong. He’s been wrong about so many things, but he isn’t wrong about how sucky it is that the music business has dived into the dumpster at the hands of the man who started Facebook (remember how he killed music with Napster? Now he’s killing the inter-web with Facebook.) I feel so free, I can say anything I want here, because no one can even read anymore (and even if you can – sheesh, just look at the length of this paragraph – way too long to read. How has all this happened? What is stopping you?
There is nothing in your way. Projection, counter-projection, and fear have everyone so distracted and bored that there isn’t anything stopping the profiteers from fucking up this planet, your country, dismantling social welfare and bulling the banks while we sat around stoned staring at magically ever moving feed on friendster. I’m not mad at you, I love you. But I’m really furious about the shit bags who aren’t doing anything about much of anything these days. While you were at burning man we were trying to find a way to talk about Ferguson, and where the hell Obama was. We were trying to keep our eyes focused on how to actually and authentically be here and now in the real world of “I can’t pay my rent but I have a dream and I refuse to give up on it.” We were landing our hovercrafts just long enough to let just enough love in to keep us alive. Man, I tell you I have got to stop pointing fingers. I keep eating these hats of mine and I’m not going to have any room left for dessert. I’m trying to learn to call bullshit when I see it, and say “hurrah!” when I feel someone told the truth, stood up for the little guy, and helped someone who couldn’t help themselves. I’m looking from just about three feet up off the ground at this sad little puddle below me and baby I don’t want to go any higher. I want to set this hovercraft right down, flip on the lights and invite everyone in sight all the way up in here for some tea. I think we could all use a cup right about now, don’t you think? Now get out of the way, I’ll put the kettle on and let’s break out the cups…
Thank you for listening. See you next week.
Here is the track listing for Sunday Soul: LHOVERCRAFT
1. Love Gmes Pt. 2 – Space Coast vs. Quentin Quatro
2. Cut Chop Bounce Skate – Eddie C
3. One Way Express – Spirit Catcher
4. Pleasure Moon – DJ Version – Marcus Marr
5. Better Day – Salt City Orchestra’s Better Remix – Presence
6. I m Gonna Be Alright – Grusha Remix – Vengerov
7. In A Better World – Deephope
8. Harmony – Pal Joey & Dreamhouse
9. Resurrection Hex – Deep Dish Kick In The Eye Dub – Love And Rockets
10. Vanished – Crystal Castles
11. Too Deep For Tears – Soul Minority
12. New Day – Round Two – Ront Trent and Chez Damier
13. Siang – David Garcet
14. Seventh Sun – Adham Zahran & Hisham Zahran
15. Sunday Soul – Program ID
16. Just Be Good To Me – The S.O.S. Band
17. Sunday Soul – Program ID
Year 11 – Playlist 21|52
7 September 2014
Total Running Time: 01 Hour 44 Minutes
May the stars above you shimmer and shine, guiding your heart always, all of the time. May they guide you sweetly, all the way home. And may all your sundays have soul.