From the Rockmine Almanac for today (Thursday 10th April):
1947. Bunny Wailer born Neville O’Reilly Livingstone, Kingston Jamaica.
1970. Jim Morrison gets dragged off the stage by Ray Manzarek during The Doors gig at the Boston Arena. Jim has just screamed to the audience, “Would you like to see my genitals?”
1998. A federal appeals court rules in favour of The Kingsmen after a five year battle for royalty payments from Gusto Records and GML. The judge recinded the group’s original contract and granted all rights to the track from the date they launched their lawsuit in 1993 as well as holding the two companies in contempt for refusing to release the master recording.
In The Press
1970. The Daily Mirror carries the front page headline, “Paul is quitting The Beatles”. Paul confirms the fact. A friend announces “George doesn’t want to talk about it”. Ringo says, “This is all news to me” and John, still at Arthur Janov’s hospital undergoing primal scream therapy, says, ” …. he didn’t quit, he was fired”. Apple’s press officer, Derek Taylor describes the group’s split as “part of their growing up” and says, “They could be dormant for years”.
1976. Elkie Brooks is forced to cancel tonight’s show at London’s New Victoria Theatre as she’s recovering from an emergency operation for peritonitis.
2002. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC, U.S.A.) Show #2242. Drowning Pool.
1994. A day after attending Kurt Cobain’s memorial, Daniel Kasper becomes the first copy-cat to follow his hero and kills himself with a shotgun.
Music Paper From Today
Sounds from 10th April 1976. A copy taken from Rockmine’s almost complete run of U.K. music papers from the last 45 years.
Yesterday was weird. I took a trip down to Edinburgh to see an exhibition entitled, “Tour ’67” at The Dome in the city’s George Street. In theory it should’ve been exciting and at the very least interesting but I left with a real sense of let-down. There were prints of works by John Lennon, Miles Davis, Janis Joplin and Grace Slick as well as original illustrations by Klaus Voormann and photographs by Robert Knight but it was flat and dull.
Maybe I’m just a grumpy old git who refuses to get excited but the anticipation and the desire to see it were there but somehow the works on show failed to connect with me, or I failed to connect with them.
I realised that what has always excited me about memorabilia is its connection to an event, a time or a place and, of course, the artist themselves. Everything from a Bay City Rollers bubblegum wrapper to Elton John’s monogrammed shoes fixes a memory in time or place and yet what I saw yesterday had none of that.
In the main, the works were post mortem. Almost echoes of what they might have been. Janis Joplin’s work carried a pencil signature of “Joplin” although one appeared to say “Jopelin” but it surely wasn’t her hand that weilded the pencil. I knew she was an accomplished artist but I wanted more – a connection with her hand – a photograph of her painting or drawing; some proof that before her death she’d turned her work into prints. that these works were in her head.
The idea that someone can buy the rights to a set of images and sell them in this manner unsettles me. I’ve sold memorabila for two decades but I can’t relate to this. What I find even more difficult to comprehend is the fact that there were several works by Ringo Starr, which appeared to be signed by everyone’s favourite mop-top. they were the cheapest items on display. Maybe Ringo will sign anything but it doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s the work of an ex-Beatle and we’ve only got two of them left. Part of me thinks I should go back and buy one.
The other part thinks I should do smething similar myself. Back around 1984, I contacted Bob Dylan’s management with a proposal to bring him to Scotland. Some of the staff at Stirling University were wanting to increase their public profile and were looking for a big rock star to offer an honorary doctorate to. Over a series of crazy informal meetings at a music shop in Bridge Of Allan, we formulated a plan to bring Dylan across for an event that we decided to call, “Bob Dylan: The Last Renaissance Man”.
It was simple enough, Invite Dylan over for the doctorate, get him to give a reading of his poetry/lyrics and stage an exhibition of his paintings, drawings and maybe even some of his original lyrics. Stirling University has its own arts centre so we had a venue. Then the blue-sky thinking got out of hand. Should we stop at Stirling? I contacted Edinburgh University to see if we could tie in an exhibition at their Talbot Rice Arts Centre. Obviously we would look to tie it in with The Edinburgh Festival but whoever was running the gallery at that time thought we’d need serious publicity and wanted Dylan in Scotland a month before for a press conference. He didn’t seem to appreciate my comment that he’d have a month of Bob Cats camping on the lawn of Old College’s quadrangle.
A few days later, having discounted Edinburgh University, I contact Richard Demarco to ask if we could get his gallery. Richard was kind enough to say he’d consider it – but he would have to see Dylan’s work first! Before I could get back to Dylan’s management to ask for samples, Stirling University came back with a very clear “No!” to the idea of an honorary doctorate. I was told they’d offered honorary doctorates to very few people from overseas due to the fact that Claude Levi-Strauss, the anthropologist, had not appeared to accept his.
It’s one of these bizarre stories that I’d largely forgotten about until yesterday. If Dylan had been given a doctorate when he was in the middle of a creative revival would he have fallen asleep during the presentation? Who can say?
Back to the subject of memorabilia briefly: In the 1990s I staged three exhibitions of memorabilia. The best of which was the main exhibition of the Aberdeen Alternative Festival, staged at The Lemon Tree gallery. I’m sorely tempted to go back to doing that. In the meantime I think I’ll concentrate on getting my Garage Sale listings together and a gallery of real collectables on-line again.
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