"The Lower East Side is divided largely between those who don't remember the 1970s and those who wish they didn't."
These 46 photos represent just a small part of the awfulness that was 1970s America.
I knew it. Turns out Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is about me after all. There it is, clear as day, recorded backwards at the end of the new version of the song included on her album Never Been Gone that comes out next week, a not very subtle answer to one of the oldest, most-gossiped-about mysteries in the history of rock: "David."
There is a certain type of musician who is mostly famous for being unknown. You’re probably familiar: an independent documentary filmmaker pulls a beloved musician from the ash pile of rock and roll history and—with the help of some talking heads and archival concert flyers—brings them in to the spotlight for their encore. It is a genre pioneered by The Nomi Song and Anvil! The Story of Anvil and rounded out recently by A Band Called Death and the Oscar winning Searching For Sugarman and it’s always a captivating story, a kind of final balancing of the Scales of Rock Justice.
We talk about movies [...]
The 1970s began in late 1973 and ended in early 1982. A decade-long hangover. The childish joie de vivre of flower power had faded by 1973, five or six years after the Summer of Love, three years after the breakup of The Beatles. The bloom was off the rose and a kind of cynical sense of entitlement had set in. To be cool in 1973 you needed to live in a squat (preferably in The Smoke, as we called London in those days), go on the dole and wear an Afghan coat. Brightly colored underwear was still OK, but the important thing was to be weary and [...]
So the new Peter Gabriel album, Scratch My Back, is sounding more and more intriguing. It's all cover songs, all orchestral arrangements, and two leaks, versions of Arcade Fire's "My Body is a Cage" and Bon Iver's "Flume," are both excellent.
My recent reading material (Francis Wheen's Strange Days Indeed, Alice Echols' Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture, etc.) has all focused on the '70s, which I guess makes sense since I recall very little about the decade of my birth. I recall it as a period of terrible browns and greens. Television was somehow simultaneously garish and muted. Something something Jimmy Carter energy hostages. And the soundtrack? Pure despair.
Today's wacky A1 story in the Wall Street Journal is about how, in these trying economic times, people are cutting their own hair, often with comical results! I'm not sure if this is a bona fide trend or just the peg for a funny frontpiece, but it puts me in mind of something I was thinking about this weekend: If we really are entering a new Era of Frugality, where we're not spending everything we make and then some on gadgets and personal grooming supplies, are we headed into an environment where we start to resemble the denizens of that last historical era of malaise, the 70s? I [...]