Friday, April 23, 2004


The US in Iraq looms large in my fevered dreams, like some chickenshit Roman Empire without the courage of its own brutality. At least Caligula was quite open about believing he was a god and therefore above the dictates of morality. Wes Clarke was just on TV, crucially pointing out how to retake Falluja with 2000 marines means big fire power, Blackhawks, air support, and beaucoup collateral wasted. The math of death is kicking in as we watch. Civilian dead create insurgent support, and the curve rapidly grows exponential. Without massive colonial-style suppression, and maybe a couple of nukes where they won’t fuck up the oil, this war can be conceded lost right now. Post McLuhan, brothers and sisters. The speed-up makes what took a year to happen in Vietnam flash past in a couple of months in Baghdad. It all starts to look like a high-tech rerun of Lawrence of Arabia – except we’re the Turks.

At least in ‘nam, Hanoi was a visible enemy with whom to negotiate. The Iraqi’s have nothing. About the only thing they agree on is that they don’t want a US puppet government of neo-con backed old crooks-back-from-exile, and the default scenario is one of endless theocratic civil war. Maybe Saddam’s defense at his upcoming trial should be that he was required to be a murdering shithead, because that’s what it took to keep so many lunatics under the slightest semblance of control, and that’s why the CIA gave him so much fucking support.

But don’t worry about the draft. It’ll take a year for all the exemptions for the children of the rich to be figured out, and in way that won’t reflect on future desires to run for office.


People seemed very concerned with Doc40's design and function. These just in. (And I figure some girl will take a hit out on wrenchski.)

davinian writes...
Hi Mick, I agree with 'Some Girl'... comments on the individual post are a more logical way of doing things (or rather that is how the community known as bloggers are doing it). The comments at present can take a while to load and can be a bit confusing - especially if you want to leave a comment - where/how do I do it? oh, it's right down here at the bottom. Saying that I do enjoy sieving through them. Another off comment comment (Not influenced by your books at all :-) Do you think there is an alterative motive to all this doom and gloom terrorist/evil shit thats being brooded up around the world? I mean, by trying to stamp out terror - the likes of Bush and Blair have actually increased its profile to such an amount that it's having an effect on the whole world. Do they want to bring an ancient, evil god through from another dimension? But to do this they need such an evil/terror-state-of-mind that their willing to risk a full-blown 3rd world war (could potentially be WW4). Maybe its me, but I think there is a reason for all the nonsense in the world at the moment - and to tell you the truth it's starting to scare the crap out of me. Anyway, I suppose I had better get on with my work.

Doc replies...
Of course, according the Emanuel Goldstein, Joseph Goebbels, and probably Henry Kissinger too, a condition of continuous war is the perfect medium for the implementation of psycho-civilized mind control of the domestic population. War is really the gift that keeps on giving.

wrenchski writes...
So, some tit wrote you with "improvements" on your weblog...and the next thing you know, she'll be moving in and downsizing your stereo tearing the pictures of mao's bloody knutsack and other sports heros off the walls replacing them with flowerpots candles and collages of shampoo adverts... Fuck that, leve the damn thing alone and just write more...yer about the only limey writer who doesn't make me wanna change the channel three sentences in... Repeat after me... There is nothing wrong with my website...there is nothing wrong with my website...there is NOTHING WRONG WITH MY WEBSITE...

Doc replies...
Well, actually there’s plenty wrong with this site. The Animal House ambiance was not the intended effect, but, like so many things, it evolved by a cowboy momentum that, once in motion is very time consuming to divert. I have seen some fine Darth Vader weblogs out there, and found myself muttering “please can I have one of those for my birthday”. On the other hand, I do notice that many of the super sites often don’t have too much content because the game is all in the housekeeping. The choice is not easy. I can spend time improving the site. Or (as wrenchski notes) I can write. Which is why I came here in the first place. As it is, I spend too much time simply pulling hidden codes out of the email. As always, the enemy is inertia. When in doubt all things remain the same. Why the fuck do you think I still screw around with AOL?

In the best of all possible worlds, someone who likes doing that kind of thing could design a dream blog for us, with topics comments, and a running all-access sublog, multiple links, with the skin-finish of a high class Tombstone saloon, plus really easy for me to load and post. Then we can all move in an be happy ever after.

Any offers? (

CRYPTIQUENo prisoners!

Thursday, April 22, 2004


I was going to get down with Iraq and this new evangelical bullshit that it’s Armageddon warming its jets just like in the Left Behind doomsday saga, and the eyes of the unbelievers will agonizingly melt at the onslaught of Jesus, etc, etc,. But it’s been a long day and I’m going to lay down my weary tune for tonight. I will leave you, though, with this note from some girl that takes a new look at the Doc40 comments board.


Some girl writes...
as i was looking at the comments on your blog, where the number creeps ever higher, and wondering where the insanity will stop, a thought occurred to me. i think i have made this individual-comments-vs.-continuing-comments argument in the wrong manner (ie, some vague bullshit about web/blog aesthetics). but i noticed as i looked at the unwieldy comment board that, even before the crash and burn, there really weren't any new commenters. it's all the same people, give or take a random lunatic, and i think you should consider the possibility that the comments in their current form could prove daunting to any newcomer. it looks like a closed little cyber-community -- as opposed to an open one. i recommend giving doc40 visitors the ability to comment after every new post. and maybe you could explore the possibility of turning the existing comments board into an actual forum (a la the buffyguide boards and millions of other examples), so your in-crowd can still continue to play the way they want to.

So what does anyone else think? Chaos generates fear and elitism? Maoist rough & tumble or silliness? Comment by scrolling to the bottom of the chaos above, or write

The problem so far has been the technology of which I have had a basinful of late. This is a pop and nothing store, my friends. Rich tried installing a second version of enetation but it simply duplicated itself. I think what I would need to implement some girl’s suggestion might well be a second comments system provider, and very simply spelled out instructions on how to install it. I can only quote Groucho Marx. “A child of five could understand this. Fetch me a child of five.”


Munz is first with the news that The Deviants “Let's Loot the Supermarket...” is #87 in the May Mojo's 100 Greatest Protest Songs. Fame at last, fame at last.


I still have a mess of unanswered email, but I’m getting to it. I swear. Also the next Slide On The Run episode is on the stove.

CRYPTIQUECivilization ends.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004


The feeling grows, watching the news out of Iraq, that we are entering the desperate stage of disinformation where even reading between the lines is hardly enough. Over the last few days, since last week’s computer malfunction, I’ve been pushing to catch up on my own life, and have not been reading and watching the news in the way that I normally do. Even so, the bits and pieces that I have gleaned seem to indicate a far more fucked up and dangerous situation than the optimistic, oh-this-uprising-is-just-a-glitch picture than the White House and Rumsfeld are trying to paint. As far as I can tell, the three main supply routes from Baghdad, north to Turkey, South to the sea, and west to Jordan are all cut and trucks are simply not getting through to the capital with essential supplies. Another disturbing piece of info comes from a Doc40 friend in the UK, who may or may not want to remain anonymous, giving a clear, grassroots indication that now mercs are being hired on to augment the US, and Brit regulars, and the troops of the other “allies”. And this does strike me as a little weird. Obviously most will be running convoys and logistical support, but the obvious other field has to be counter-insurgency dirty work. Face it neighbors, this is a mess. When the Pentagon is shopping for hired guns, it can only mean trouble.

Word from ex-squaddie chums: now, for at least the last 2 months, ANYONE who's ever spent even a month in the army is being offered "freelance" work in Iraq. Starting at £60k per annum tax-free. Poss. guarding static posts -- poss. working convoys. About 2 or 3 weeks before the News started telling us that the situation was running away, I heard from a pal (who now feels he's just too old & too married to accept such a gig ... half regretful/half grateful) that Baghdad airport was being mortared twice daily and 1 in 3 convoys was taking small arms fire.

CRYPTIQUENapalm in the morning?

Monday, April 19, 2004


The fine guitarist and author John Perry has a book out titled Electric Ladyland, which is exactly what it is about; the Jimi Hendrix album of the same title. It’s part of a series of small format books from Continuum called 33 1/3, each dedicated to a single classic rock album, and, damn, but is it fine to read a really ace guitar player who also writes really well talking about music. He not only explains the true nature of feedback, but also provides some quite astonishing historical notes on US rock crits initial reaction to Jimi, especially that of Bob Christgau, with whom I worked with for years at the Village Voice etc., and whose word has become treated like holy writ. Today, Hendrix is totally canonized, but seemingly it was not always so...

When Jimi burst on them at Monterey, six months later, he was as unknown to most Americans as he’d been to English audiences. Yet it was as though they were reviewing a different performer. Critics wrote of an “undignified” “psychedelic Uncle Tom” whose “gimmick-laden” act was a “second-rate copy of The Who’s destruction”. Even his speech annoyed them with it’s “superspade jive”. The shrewd reader may feel a common theme underlies all those responses...

The liberal American press from Esquire to the Village Voice were perplexed by Hendrix in a way that the English never were. It seems extraordinary that the hippest American papers lined up with views found only in the English tabloids (“Wildman of Borneo” etc.). Nobody expected English papers like the Mirror to get anything right, least of all music, but one hoped for more from the American underground press. Filtering their reviews through a whole complex of self-consciously ‘radical’ Vietnam-era attitudes to race relations, they managed to miss the music almost entirely.

My purpose is not to flay the American press - they were quite busy enough flaying themselves. Behind a whole raft of complaints about Hendrix’s undignified performance and his irritating failure to fit existing critical categories for black performers, lay the essential point that his songs mysteriously failed to punish the audience for being white. Hendrix didn't play the wounded, angry black man, or the dignified bearer of oppression; he didn't provide white critics with a handy receptacle for their guilt. They didn't know quite what role he fulfilled. But they knew they didn’t like it.

Reviewing Monterey for Esquire, the 'Dean of American Rock Critics', R. Christgau, first distinguished himself by calling the Grateful Dead “the standout improvisers of the Festival” (actually the performance was so awful the Dead refused to allow even ten seconds to be used in the film or the soundtrack album). Garcia was very funny when he spoke about this, years later in London. He told me: “we blew Monterey and Woodstock. I dunno that big festivals ever really suited us. At Monterey we were sandwiched between The Who and Hendrix … first The Who - bang crash roar - smashed everything … then Hendrix - huge sound, set fire to everything … whooooosh … then we came out and played our little music…”

But as Christgau saw it:

"But [the Dead’s] performance was quickly obscured by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Hendrix is a Negro from Seattle who was brought from Greenwich Village to England by ex-Animal Chas Chandler in January. It was a smart move. England, like all of Europe, thirsts for the Real Thing, as performers from Howlin' Wolf to Muhammad Ali have discovered. Hendrix picked up two good English sidemen and crashed the scene. He came to Monterey recommended by the likes of Paul McCartney. He was terrible. Hendrix is a psychedelic Uncle Tom. Don't believe me, believe Sam Silver of The East Village Other: "Jimi did a beautiful Spade routine." ... He also played what everybody seems to call "heavy" guitar; in this case, that means he was loud. ... The destructiveness of The Who is consistent theater, deriving directly from the group's defiant, lower-class stance. I suppose Hendrix's act can be seen as a consistently vulgar parody of rock theatrics, but I don't feel I have to like it. Anyhow, he can't sing.”

It’s not my intention to single out Christgau. Clearly he represented one definite strain of US opinion (not necessarily restricted to white reviewers) and to his credit, he continues to stand by his original impression; a good polemicist should oppose the prevailing orthodoxy. But the disparity between UK and US opinion remains deeply puzzling. Hendrix's offences (apart from being, in Charlie Murray’s wonderful phrase, ‘unnecessarily black in an American context’) appear to be:

Coming on after the Grateful Dead. (A dirty job but someone’s got to do it)

Going to England. (Thereby reinforcing the deplorable European taste for Real Things).
Crashing the scene (!)
Being terrible (!!)
Seeming to be "heavy" (?)
Consistent vulgarity.
Inability to sing.

Phew. Add tone-deafness and poor microphone technique and you’ve got a pretty damning case.


And some girl sends us a real sicko-bizarre bit of corporate promo from – of all places – Burger King.

CRYPTIQUECluck, oh Mistress.