Cake – A True Story. Part Three.

Dee was a complex character, as mentioned before he had a history of alcohol & drug abuse, & had addictions to other things in his life. These issues plagued the rest of the band. Looking for an AA meeting in the middle Germany or Sweden at 07:00 was just some of the torments we had to endure with life on the road. He made our life hell sometimes, he would also fall in & out of love as quick as it would rain on a scottish hillside, this would drive us insane. He also had a good side to him too, but he had a manipulative side, & this was hard to bare. Does this excuse our behaviour? No, but life on the road is tough, & wind-ups will happen.

Craziness… After Copenhagen, we travelled to other cities in Scandinavia, & soon after we ended up in Uppsala, a rather beautiful swedish university city. The owner of the venue was Irish, & had a reputation for being a gobshite, so we weren’t sure about his part in the wind-up. As it happened our agent had already told him about it, so a plan was set.

Gav our fiddle player was enjoying his birthday on this day, & he had a friend studying chemistry at the university. She came to our soundcheck to say hi & had also been filled in with the ongoing events between Switzerland & Copenhagen. It seemed she had an idea.

Before the start of the gig, she arrived back at the venue, & gave Gav a small gift. ‘Happy birthday’ she said to him give him a hug. ‘Whats this’ said Gav, & as he opened it she said ‘it’s something new, we’ve been playing around with it, but keep it quiet please. Oh, there’s one each for you all. Yes, it was cake. Four little small white pills in a metal box. But what the hell were they? I asked, ‘salt tablets’ she whispered, just plain salt tablets.

She gave us instructions, ‘take it 15mins before going onstage, it’ll take 20mins to kick in’ & it should last for 30mins only, but you may feel a little down afterwords.
We did as instructed (pissing ourselves) & went onstage. Gordy was a great drummer, tight & always in time, he never needed a click-track except when we were recording. 25mins into the gig Gordy start speeding up, Dee turns round & looks at him with a stern face, Gav was a very unemotional fiddler, wonderful player, but never moved his body, ridged. He began moving, swaying as he bowed, Dee was amazed. I just started jumping to the speed that Gordy was playing as I played my bass & forgot about singing any backing vocals. Dee turned to Gordy & shouted, ‘I’m really high’. Cotcha!!!

The venues owner dragged us into his office after the gig, he told us that he knew were on something, closed the door quietly & asked if we were using Cake, & if so, could we get him some?
Dee stepped in & gave a lecture about the good feeling that Cake gives, how it’s made, & how difficult it was to get a hold of, but he would talk to Gav’s friend. How we kept a straight face, I will never know but this what we were used to. We waited to see what he was doing after the gig, so we could do the opposite, which was find a club & laugh until it hurt.

To be continued… Helsinki & home-of-the-opathy

Cake – A True Story. Part One.

The following what your about to read is a true story. The events that took place happened over a period of 4 years, & of which I’m not hugely proud of, but as a result has ended up being a one hell of a laugh.

Many years ago I was a musician, a hard working one at that. There wasn’t much time at home, studios & gigs (with many bands at one time) was my job. I founds self playing Scottish & Irish folk music around the mid 90’s, & there was a lot of work around the world for us. At a time when I was juggling between The Journeymen, Hair of the Dog & Shinaig, I chose to play full-time with Shinaig,& with a full Calendar of gigs across Europe with some fine musicians, I made the right choice.

Our singer (Dee) was an colourful character, energetic, stupid & gullible. He had a history of alcohol & drug abuse, of which he was many years sober. He was difficult to be around due to his mental state, but we got by, & onstage we were incredible, so it evened up.

One night (December 1997) we were travelling from Switzerland to Denmark through the night to the next gig, Dee had an opinion about everything, even if he knew nothing about a subject, this was a constant source of amusement to the rest of the band, we would quite often take the piss for our own amusement, it helped the long journeys pass quicker. However, on this trip we started talking rubbish (as you do) discussing a new drug that had the same effect as cocaine & ecstasy, but without the side affects. We called it ’Cake’! Yes, we had just watched Brass Eye, but we knew Dee hadn’t.
He started asking us about Cake, & the other band members gave each other a sign to keep this going. ‘it’s mentioned in that copy of the New Scientist’ is said, somewhere in the back of the van probably, ’yeah’ said Dee, ‘I seen that back there’. We had laid the foundation.

To be continued…

Prometheus: Hollywood Evolves.

This is my second blog about Prometheus, my first: Prometheus: Film Studios do not Make Movies on Straight Lines was written 72 hours after I seeing the movie, I was confused, yet intrigued why this movie had a 50/50 response, after all, the movie tells us nothing. Well, after two weeks of thinking about the movie, I went to see it again & I have set my mind at ease with the symbolic messages that is (now) so obvious to me as to what it’s all about.

Please bare with me…

**** Major Spoilers Ahead****

Lets start near the beginning, Its easier this way. Elizabeth Shaw finds a drawing in Scotland dated back 35000 years ago, this drawing depicts humans bowing down before a much larger human figure who is pointing to a group of (six) stars, we know this larger figure to be an Engineer. Elizabeth Shaw tells us that this is an invitation to this group of stars & this is where they have now arrived. Is this an invitation?

A Warning, not an Invitation.

After seeing the movie for a second time, I see this & the other drawings as a warning, a threat from this star map. Keep the threat of this warning in your head for now… The Engineers are telling us, if we screw it up, they will come back, & it will not end well.

They land on the planet LV-223 hoping to meet the Engineers or as they state; their makers. LV-223 is referring to standard Biblical notation for Leviticus-223, quite symbolic? Once on the planet they find the decapitated body of an Engineer, the body is carbon dated to 2000 years (there or about) before 2089. What major event happened 2000 years (there or about) ago on Earth? The death of Jesus Christ. Now the movie is not telling us this, the movie tells us nothing, but there are clues throughout hinting that this maybe the case, & leading to more… Before Elizabeth Shaw tells the crew about the star map, Captain Janek is seen erecting a Christmas tree on a pool table, its not significant, but its a tease, & when you miss it, you kick your self…

So, we have a drawing of an alien telling us to be good, a planet that refers to passage in the bible, a body of a dead alien dating back to the death of Jesus Christ & someone telling us that its Christmas… & there’s more….

Calvary

Calvary, Symbolic in Many Ways. e.g. Captain Janek & his Two Co-pilots

The black goo. What is it? They find it in room with a mural of what looks (to me) like an Engineer, arms spread in a crucified position, this room is filled with vases filled with a black substance that seems to change when door is opened, or the humans enter. This is the same goo the the sacrificial engineer drinks at the very beginning of the movie. It destroys to create new life. Now there is a lot of this goo, we learn that there is a cargo hold filled with thousands of vases of the stuff, & that there was a plotted route to Earth which never happened due to the deaths of many Engineers. Why? The movie tells us nothing, but we need to piece each (DNA) strand together.

2000 years before (there or about) Jesus Christ walked the Earth, he was born of a virgin, Mary, & was indeed a very special man. performing miracles & being the son of god. Is the son of god being misinterpreted as the Engineers who created us? Anyway, we killed him, crucified him, with two others on Calvary. Keep this image in you head until the end, it is significant.

Now, for me the movie is telling us that Jesus Christ was an Engineer, sent down to see how we were doing, he was a majestic figure, large, strong & had the power to do things now one could do. Alien powers, or just illusions? Anyway, we killed him, we killed him & the other Engineers were really pissed off, so pissed off that they wanted to wipe us out, so their plan was to send a ship loaded with the black goo to Earth & this goo would cleanse us, now this could be seen as medication, the snake/serpent like creature seen in the room of black goo when wrapped around the mans arm looks to me like the rod of Asclepius, (,which actually has six sides,remember the six planets on the star map above) The serpent/alien creature wraps is itself around its victims arm (just like the picture below)

The star of Life

To me, this is signifying that they intended to cleanse the earth & start again, our medicine? After all, we killed one of their ambassadors, & they were in no mood for forgiveness. The black goo had turned on them, killing most of them, we can see from the pile of bodies that there are stomachs that have exploded open, Xenomorph’s have already made an appearance & wiped most of them all out? Is the Xenomorph their devil? We do see a mural in the chamber with the black goo of a Xenomorph, I dont think they were worshiping it, I think they feared it.

The character Holloway impregnates Elizabeth with his poisoned seamen, thanks to David, but Elizabeth cannot get pregnant she so firmly explains before being impregnated with the black goo. Is this symbolic? Luke 1:36, oh & remember, its Christmas! Its not a virgin birth, but she has help from her creator.

This is all starting to get a bit heavy now, but I’m not done.

Once Elizabeth has her alien baby removed by cesarean, not abortion (pro-life anyone?) she stumbles into Peter Wayland’s room, if you look carefully you’ll see David cleaning his creator’s feet, does David see himself as Jesus? & did he tell this to the Engineer when he woke him up? Well the Engineer wasn’t happy, & ripped off David’s head, battered Peter Wayland with it, killing him. The Engineer is telling Peter Wayland; you killed us with our creation, so I will kill you with yours. Obvious, & ironic maybe.

The finale. The Engineer is really pissed off & sets a course for Earth, Elizabeth manages to escape telling Captain Janek he must stop the ship at all cost, which he does along with his 2 co-pilots. Nothing symbolic there eh? I never understood why he shouted ‘Heads up’ right before he smashes the Prometheus into the Alien ship, but I noticed when reading the subtitles (I watched this in Finland) he shouts ‘hands up’, not ‘heads up’. They are sacrificing themselves for the sake of mankind, & if you look more closely at how they are positioned its the exact same formation from Calgary (picture above) Captain Janek in the middle & his two co-pilots lower at each side. Nice!! Oh, did Holloway also sacrifice himself for mankind before being burned by Vickers? (Very symbolic, Prometheus, the giver of fire, clever) His hands spread out accepting his fate from the power of the gods. Wow.

That’s it, Jesus was an Alien, & we murdered him. I’m sure there is lots more I’ve missed, so please feel free to leave any comments. Thanks for reading.

* Update * An official translator for the film has commented on what David said to the Engineer.
“This man is here because he does not want to die. He believes you can give him more life.”
So nothing major then.

Inspired by Music: Week 2. Abba: Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!

One of my first memories of music was Abba winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo. No one can deny the impact they had on the music world, catchy songs with talent to match, & their influence still shows on modern music even today.

Nils Landgren

Im choosing Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! just to be a little versatile, & showing the influence of musical freedom with Nils Landgren’s version of the song. Nils Landgren is a Swedish Trombone player who has been on the jazz/funk scene for a number of years with his band The Funk Unit. In 2000 he approached Benny Andersson & asked him if he could do an album of Abba songs in his own unique style, Benny Andersson replied with ‘Is that possible?’

This is pretty much a musicians album, paying homage to pop in all its glory. Its different, & looking at classic songs from another angle which I support greatly in the understanding of music.

spotify:track:01CIk9RsbeTBVJIEmJiQEX

Inspired by Music: Week 1. Pat Metheny Group – So May It Secretly Begin

My last blog entry received a lot of traffic & gave me a real buzz, so this made me want to write more. I needed an idea, & here it is.  A regular weekly post that would give a little insight into myself & maybe inspire others with new music. I cant get enough of new music, I’m always looking out for the newest sounds, greatest musician’s & amazing ideas.

Ive always seen musical notes as a jumbled up puzzle, get everything in the correct order (that hasn’t been done before) & you have a piece of unique music that nobody has ever created. So with that in mind I’m posting a track that has inspired/changed my outlook on the world every week. I’ll also write a short summery why, its nice to have a bit of background, but I wont bore you 🙂

Pat Metheny Group

Pat Metheny

At the age of 16/17 when I was studying music, I had an amazing group of people around me which opened my eyes & helped make me into the musician that I had become later in life. Swapping musical ideas was always a key to writing or playing better, & I was given a copy of the album Still Life (Talking) by Pat Metheny Group. Jazz had been alien to me, I didn’t understand it yet this album turned my head. I learned a new musical phrase from Pat Metheny, texture. I could feel the emotions from the musicians as they played, particularly Lyle Mays on keyboards.

The track “So May It Secretly Begin” is not the obvious stand out track on this album, but its an example of how everything just clicks together, & most bizarrely there is a Güiro playing constantly through each verse & solo adding to the basis of the groove. This is a beautiful track, & I never tire of listening to it.

Enjoy.

Track listing

All music composed by Pat Metheny, except where noted.

No. Title Length
1. “Minuano (Six Eight)” (Metheny, Lyle Mays) 9:28
2. So May It Secretly Begin 6:25
3. “Last Train Home” 5:41
4. “(It’s Just) Talk” 6:17
5. “Third Wind” (Metheny, Mays) 8:37
6. “Distance” (Mays) 2:45
7. “In Her Family” 3:17

Personnel

Prometheus: Film Studios do not Make Movies on Straight Lines.

I’m not intending this blog to be a review of Prometheus, I liked the movie, I’ve been a fan of the original Alien movie since 1979, & only later I began to appreciate what the movie more deeply.

So now, over 30 years later, Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define (sorry for the cliche) with Prometheus, a sci-fi horror with art direction inspired by HR Giger & a whole new audience to scare the bejesus out of.

Having seen the movie, I did book the first 3D showing in Helsinki for the biggest screen available I was not too disappointed, in fact after 4 days I had this nagging thought in my head, reviews were split, 50/50. People either loved it or hated it, simple. Why? Some complained about the script, story & flaws, flaws? What flaws? I came out asking questions, thinking about the story & what wasn’t said. The movie was busy, but in a good way yet a lot of people didn’t like it, & I have a theory as to why.

Summer is a time for blockbuster movies, personally I don’t go to see these type of movies as they are not to my taste, although I did enjoy The Avengers, as did 99% of the people who went to see it. Prometheus is different, it makes us think about what really happened & what might happen, and even more it’s telling the viewers there is no god!! Now this is fine for me, I’m an atheist, Ridley Scott is telling me nothing I already know, but do cinema audiences really want to be told this? I don’t think so.

Xenomorph

I turned this question around to make it a little easier on myself, what if they discovered that god was on LV-223 & had created life on earth, a spiritual being that was responsible for all religions, thus controlling the paths of billions of people, would I have enjoyed the movie? No. I would have been insulted & felt cheated after 30 years of still seeing a Xenomorph in my dreams & waking up in a cold sweat.

20th Century Fox got the release date wrong, & with a little less hype I think this could have been the movie we all wanted. Incidentally, the viral promotion is without a doubt one of the best marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen for any movie, inspiring ideas.

*On a slightly geekier note, all androids in the Alien movies make up the beginning of the alphabet. A, B, C, D. Ash, Bishop, Call & David.

So to sum up, a great film, stunning visuals as you would expect from Ridley Scott, & a typical stoned hippy late night event for those wishing to expand their minds on the fundamental design on life. It was a hard act to follow, but I feel they managed it, with some room to spare. Just remember, it is just a movie, but I’m still thinking about little bits of details….