Monday, March 30, 2009

Threads: Guns! Guns! Guns!

John Cale, Gun.
Nas, I Gave You Power.
Gene Autry, Guns and Guitars.
Cat Stevens, I'm Gonna Get Me a Gun.
Julie Brown, The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun.
Ray Ellington Quartet, I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded.
The Bobbettes, I Shot Mr. Lee.
Jimmie Rodgers, Pistol Packin' Papa.
Al Dexter, Pistol Packin' Mama.
Lulu, The Man With the Golden Gun.
Blondie, Rifle Range.
Bradley Kinkcaid, Dog and Gun (an Old English Ballad).
Roosevelt Sykes, 32-20 Blues.
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Give Me a 32-20.
Jack Newman, 38 Special.
Mose Vinson, 44 Blues.
Sunnyland Slim, Johnson Machine Gun.
Gang of Four, Armalite Rifle.
Heart Attack, Shotgun.
Cab Calloway, Shotgun Boogie.
Lightnin' Hopkins, Shotgun Blues.
Da Lench Mob, Who Ya Gonna Shoot Wit That?
Gene Pitney, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
The Beatnuts, Reign of the Tec.
Neil Young, Powderfinger (early version).
The Mutton Birds, A Thing Well Made.

A clip commonly holds 15 rounds.

Round 1:

Lev Kuleshov's By the Law, a silent Russian film from the '20s, is about a team of five gold prospectors in the Yukon. One of the group, an Irishman named Dennin, is the goat, the one the rest ridicule, the one who has to do all of the grunt work. At last one night, returning from a hunt, he snaps.

The sequence begins with the rest of the party eating dinner in their small shared cabin--an image of murky peace and camaraderie. The door jerks open and Dennin stands in the center of the frame. Closeups of the smiling, smug faces, welcoming him back. Dennin is still holding his hunting rifle. Kuleshov starts cutting rapidly, about once a second--Dennin firing his rifle; a woman's face screaming; a shot man falling, knocking plates off the table; Dennin, at an angle, firing again; a stunned man sitting with his mouth gaping open; a corpse whose head is in a bowl of soup; the woman leaping on the table like a cat; Dennin reloading; the screaming woman's face rushing to fill the frame.

The rest of the film is concerned with the survivors meting out Dennin's punishment: what is to be done with him in the absence of the law? It doesn't matter. In a minute, Dennin has upturned the order of things, forever; he has stamped himself upon the rest, upon the living and the dead.

(Here is the scene, though be warned this clip is chopped up, sped up & given incredibly horrendous musical accompaniment.)

By the Law: the aftermath

One Sunday night in New York in the early '90s, Leonard Cohen was interviewed on the radio. This was around the time of the first Trade Center bombing, and Cohen, in a rambling conversation, talked about the rise of what he called the "terrorist position," and the growing appeal of this point of view, not just among actual terrorists, but in the society at large.1

Cohen's terrorist position is one that no longer brooks any negotiation or compromise, it is the alternative that denies all others--it is a concise reply to a withered democratic society in which many feel they no longer have stakes. All that remains is power, and one's decision to use it, to inflict it, without remorse, to impose one's own point of view, to gratify one's needs or inflict one's grievances upon the weak material of the world. It is choosing to be an actor, and a gun is most often the prop at hand.

"I gave you power--I made you buck-wild," says the rapper Nas, in a set of verses in which he imagines himself as a gun, passing from street soldier to street soldier, used in drive-bys and stick-ups, leaving behind the dead, the maimed, the grieving. Like a cold little djinn, the gun simply does whatever is ordered. "When I'm empty I'm quiet."

John Cale got there two decades earlier: When you've begun to think like a gun, the days of the year have already gone.

Round 2:

Papo, Serial No. 381731 (series on Israeli girl soldiers)

"Look here!" he replied, pulling from his waistcoat a curiously constructed pistol, having a double-edged spring knife attached to the barrel. "That's a great tempter to a desperate man, is it not? I cannot resist going up with this every night,and trying his door. If once I find it open he's done for; I do it invariably, even though the minute before I have been recalling a hundred reasons that should make me refrain: it is some devil that urges me to thwart my own schemes by killing him. You fight against that devil for love as long as you may; when the time comes, not all the angels in heaven shall save him!"

I surveyed the weapon inquisitively. A hideous notion struck me: how powerful I should be possessing such an instrument! I took it from his hand, and touched the blade. He looked astonished at the expression my face assumed during a brief second: it was not horror, it was covetousness. He snatched the pistol back, jealously; shut the knife, and returned it to its concealment.

Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

We got guns
They got guns
All god's chillun got guns

The Marx Brothers, Duck Soup.

Ted Kennedy has killed more people with his car than I have with my banned assault weapon.

Bumper sticker on van in Northampton, Mass. parking lot.

Kill'd by five bullets from an old gun-barrel.
I gazed upon him, for I knew him well;
And though I have seen many corpses, never
Saw one, whom such an accident befell,
So calm; though pierced through stomach, heart, and liver,
He seem'd to sleep,- for you could scarcely tell
(As he bled inwardly, no hideous river
Of gore divulged the cause) that he was dead...

George Gordon, Lord Byron, "Don Juan."

Sixteen in the clip and one in the hole,
Nate Dogg is about to make some bodies turn cold

Warren G. and Nate Dogg, "Regulate."

Round 3:

Peto: Pistol, Gate Latch and Powder Horn.

Spanish woman: You can't say Americans are not more violent than other people.

Fred: No.

Woman: All those people killed in shootings in America?

Fred: Oh, shootings, yes. But that doesn't mean Americans are more violent than other people. We're just better shots.

Whit Stillman, Barcelona.

The guns used to kill or to attempt to kill U.S. presidents:

Andrew Jackson, 1835. Two pistols, at least one a pocket pistol. Both misfired--the caps went off but the powder didn't ignite. Between shots, Jackson charged at his would-be assassin, Richard Lawrence, while raising his cane.

Abraham Lincoln, 1865. A .44 single-shot derringer. "It was manufactured by Henry Deringer of Philadelphia and so marked. It is about 6 inches long with a 2 1/2 inch barrel. Its weight is only eight ounces." John Wilkes Booth dropped the gun on the floor of the state box of Ford's Theatre; it is now kept in a showcase on the lower level.

James Garfield, 1881. A .442 Webley British Bulldog revolver, with a wooden handle. (Charles Guiteau, the assassin, had wanted an ivory handle, as he thought the gun would look nicer in a museum display case, but didn't want to spend the extra dollar to upgrade.)

William McKinley, 1901. A .32 caliber nickel-plated Iver-Johnson "Safety Automatic" revolver. Generally considered to be a bit of a cheap, if reliable, gun. Sirhan Sirhan used a .22 Iver-Johnson to shoot Robert Kennedy seventy years later.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1912. A .38 caliber Colt "with a 44 frame." TR took a shot to the chest and kept on giving his speech. "Col. Cecil Lyon held the gun up to us to look at, and it was an ugly-looking weapon," wrote the authors of the awkwardly-titled The Attempted Assassination of Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933
. A .32 caliber pistol, bought from a pawn shop. The would-be killer missed FDR but did kill Chicago Mayor Anton Cernak.

Harry S. Truman, 1950. A Walther P38 and a 9mm Luger. They really never got near him.

Okay, he fired early the first time, hitting the President below the head, near the neck area somewhere. It was a foolishness he could dismiss on a certain level. Okay, he missed the President with the second shot and hit Connally. But the car was still sitting there, barely moving. He saw the First Lady lean toward the President, who was slumped down now. A man stood applauding at the edge of the telescopic frame.

Lee jerked the handle down and aimed. He heard the second spent shell roll across the floor.

Don DeLillo, Libra.

John F. Kennedy, 1963. A 6.5 mm Carcano rifle, Italian made. Bought by Lee Harvey Oswald via mail order. Cue conspiracy theorists.

Gerald Ford, 1975. A Colt .45 (Squeaky Fromme); a .38 caliber revolver (Sara Jane Moore).

Ronald Reagan, 1981. A .22 Short Röhm RG-14 revolver. Generally believed to be a cheap, inaccurate gun; critics point to the fact that John Hinckley fired six shots at Reagan, and the only one that hit the president was one that ricocheted off the pavement.

Bill Clinton, 1994. An SKS semi-automatic rifle, Chinese made.

Round 4:

I was sick, but more than that, I was mad
At the crooked police, and the crooked game of life.
So I wrote to the Chief of Police at Peoria:
“I am here in my girlhood home in Spoon River,
Gradually wasting away.
But come and take me, I killed the son
Of the merchant prince, in Madam Lou’s,
And the papers that said he killed himself
In his home while cleaning a hunting gun—
Lied like the devil to hush up scandal,
For the bribe of advertising.
In my room I shot him, at Madam Lou’s,
Because he knocked me down when I said
That, in spite of all the money he had,
I’d see my lover that night.”

Edgar Lee Masters, "Rosie Roberts."

"I ain't takin' you for no kid," answered Potter. His heels had not moved an inch backward. "I'm takin' you for a damn fool. I tell you I ain't got a gun, and I ain't. If you're goin' to shoot me up, you better begin now. You'll never get a chance like this again."

So much enforced reasoning had told on Wilson's rage. He was calmer. "If you ain't got a gun, why ain't you got a gun?" he sneered. "Been to Sunday-school?"

"I ain't got a gun because I've just come from San Anton' with my wife. I'm married," said Potter. "And if I'd thought there was going to be any galoots like you prowling around when I brought my wife home, I'd had a gun, and don't you forget it."

Stephen Crane, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky."

His eyes slid to the gun and holster on the desk. He thought of his fifteen years' marriage to the ugly bit of metal. He remembered the times its single word had saved his life--and the times when its threat alone had been enough. He thought of the days when he had dismantled the gun and oiled it and packed the bullets carefully into the springloaded magazine and tried the action once or twice, pumping the cartridges out on to the bedspread in some hotel bedroom somewhere around the world. Then the last wipe of a dry rag and the gun into the little holster and a pause in front of the mirror to see that nothing showed. How many times had it saved his life? How many death sentences had it signed?

M swivelled back to face him. "Sorry, James," and there was no sympathy in his voice. "I know how you like that bit of iron. But I'm afraid it's got to go. Never give a weapon a second chance--any more than a man."

Ian Fleming, Doctor No.

Now life is funny. You can only know so much about it. What you know at any given moment is what you need to know. If everything go like it's supposed to go, you gonna find out something else. If you willing and you need to know. When Leroy pulled that gun on me it gave me a headache. It wouldn't go away...Leroy started to get out of the chair. He was coming straight at me when I fired the gun. Gator said, "Damn, Elmore, Damn." The bullet hit him right smack in the middle of the forehead. That was the first bullet.

August Wilson, King Hedley II.

Round 5:

We were transplanted New Englanders in Virginia and so were helpless: someone finally decided that we needed a gun. I'm not sure who gave us the .22 rifle--a friend, a neighbor--but we kept it on a shelf in the basement, along with a box of bullets, which, packed neatly in rows in the square plastic case, looked like a set of pushpins.

Sometimes after school I'd go down to the basement. I wouldn't load the rifle, being a very cautious child by nature, but I would stand in the back yard and hoist and aim it, wedging the butt against my left shoulder. I would squint through the scope and pull the voiceless trigger, aiming at the frogs in the creek, the packs of starlings, the occasional possum or skunk slinking off in the distance, the nasty stray dog who no one in the neighborhood liked, and who eventually was shot during deer hunting season, as were several of my own dogs.

I showed the rifle to my friend Gavin. "You can't kill nothing with that thing," he said.

There was a kid nearby named Armentrot who we nicknamed Ramentrot because he loved the Rambo movies. He wore camouflage parachute pants and camouflage t-shirts and had a collection of five or six guns. He spoke about war with a vigorous, exacting sense of detail and even a feigned weariness, as though he already had cycled through a tour of duty. Ramentrot was convinced that we could've won in Vietnam if we'd only had soldiers willing to do what it takes, and if the politicians hadn't gotten in the way. We could still win in Vietnam if we wanted, he said. This was in 1984 or so.

Sometimes he would act out battles from this reconquista. He would extend his forearms straight out, playing the part of his M-16s, and strafe everyone on the school bus. Occasionally he'd suffer a casualty, out of a sense of fairness or a commitment to realism. "My BUDDY!" he would howl towards the empty seat that signified a fallen comrade.

One time on the bus I heard Ramentrot talking about nuclear war. When the missiles fell, he'd put his gun in his mouth, he said.

Round 6:

Dick Cheney in the field

Since November, sales of handguns and tactical or semiautomatic rifles have increased by 50 percent in 15 states as gun shops and sporting-goods stores like the Kittery Trading Post and Dick's Sporting Goods have benefited from concerns, real or not, that the Obama administration will enact strict gun-control laws such as a revival of the 1994 assault weapons ban — or even, as some pro-gun Web sites have suggested, take guns away from lawful owners.

Nationwide, according to data from the FBI and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, November gun background checks increased 42 percent from the year before. In December, background checks were up 24 percent, 29 percent in January, and 23 percent in February. Background checks are considered an indication of retail sale activity.

"We've had a double-digit increase in sales of handguns and tactical rifles beginning about a week before the election...," said Fox Keim, vice president of the Kittery Trading Post. "Manufacturers can't keep up with demand and we are seeing a backlog of orders ranging from six months to two years for certain products."

Golub, White Squad V.

"People are afraid and rightly so," said Penny Dean, attorney for Gun Owners of New Hampshire. Dean believes the spike in gun sales is due to a combination of factors for lawful gun owners — the country's fiscal crisis, rising unemployment, and fears the Obama administration will tax guns and ammunition so heavily that it will make them unaffordable.

"They are trying to price the average person out of the market," Dean said about a piece of legislation in Congress. "If you look at Obama's record, you know he's not a pro-gun person. This is like normal consumer behavior. If you like spring water and hear someone is going to ban it, you're going to bring a pickup (truck) and stock up."

Michael McCord,"Going Great Guns: Handheld, semiautomatic sales increase," 15 March 2009.

Round 7:

Jean-Luc Godard intended to give the public what it wanted. His next film was going to be about a girl and a gun--"A sure-fire story which will sell a lot of tickets."

Pauline Kael, review of Godard's Band of Outsiders, The New Republic, 10 September 1966.2

Guns are inescapable in popular music, as common as raindrops, fast cars, airplanes, long-distance operators, Sweet 16 celebrations and roses. Choose ten songs at random: a gun will likely turn up in one of them, in the way if you deal ten straight cards you're likely to get a diamond. Frankie shoots Johnny. Stagger Lee shoots Billy. I shot the sheriff. I don't like Mondays. Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger now he's dead. Janie's got a gun. Sex shooter. Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun. Shooting down the walls of heartache, bang bang. Robbing people with a six gun. Joe goes off with a gun in his hand to shoot his woman down. Bang bang, my baby shot me down. Down by the river. Shoot me, John Lennon murmurs in "Come Together," a decade before someone does. Kurt Cobain moans that he doesn't have a gun, but he will. Who's the man with the master plan?

Part of the reason, of course, is that guns work as crude phallic metaphors, from Jimmie Rodgers' "Pistol Packin' Papa" (still lurid eighty years after its recording) to Lulu's absurd "Man With the Golden Gun," whose title character "comes just before the kill." And KISS, a band one can rely on to spell things out, simply offered Love Gun.

Still, beyond that, the gun can be a figure of romance--because its promise of power, its conflation of sex and death? Who knows. But it works, from Debbie Harry losing her heart at the rifle range to the aristocratic lady in the old English ballad "Dog and Gun," who goes out hunting to poach herself a husband.

Even the sound of a gun, whether the click rhythms of its loading or the percussion of its firing, can be musical--from the blast that opens Junior Walker's "Shotgun" to the four-shot chorus of MIA's "Paper Planes."

Round 8:

Depiction of the 1880s masked vigilante gang The Bald Knobbers in the 1919 film The Shepherd of the Hills.

A cardinal rule of the superhero genre is that superheroes don't carry guns. Most don't need them, of course, but even those who don't have superpowers tend to shun firearms. This is a crumb of chivalry that has survived the centuries--it's the mounted knight's disgust at the plebian soldier who, without much training and little bravado, can pick off his betters with a rifle. (The Confederate Army cavalryman John Mosby spoke of how "the remorseless revolver" had made his traditional sabre "as harmless as the wooden sword of harlequin.")

The exceptions tend to be borderline psychotics or proto-fascists like the Punisher or the Comedian, of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. The Comedian always carries a gun, which he uses to disperse rioters, shoot Vietnamese women and even kill JFK (something cleverly hinted at in the book and bluntly depicted in the film).

(Spoilers ahead about Watchmen, for those who give a toss about such things).

One of the story's revelations is that a second-generation heroine named Laurie Juspeczyk (Silk Spectre) is the Comedian's illegitimate daughter. Laurie is a fascinating mess of a character, one whose nuances are entirely lost in Malin Akerman's rather mannequin-like portrayal of her in the film.

Laurie, at 36, has spent her life trying to live up to the expectations of her overbearing stage mother, clinging to whatever male hero she fancies and generally being at the world's mercy. As the world falls apart, as the bodies pile up, Laurie takes a gun from the corpse of a murdered policeman in Times Square, and later uses it. It doesn't do her much good, though she gets a better chance of offering retribution than her male counterparts do.

At the end, in the ruined and reborn world, Laurie is considering ditching her flimsy costume for tougher leather gear, as well as wearing a mask. Whatever horrors have occurred, she's her own woman at last, and her father's heir. Her last line, as she walks off stage, is "Maybe I oughtta carry a gun."

Round 9:

Similar frames from Allen Baron's Blast of Silence and Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, as noted by Tom Sutpen.

Round 10:

Fidel Castro and several people who later took part in his attempts to overthrow Cuban ruler Fulgencio Batista unwittingly practised shooting with rifles belonging to US author Ernest Hemingway.

"There is something that no one knows. In 1953, at the CCC (the shooting range El Cerro in Havana) several young men practised shooting without knowing that they did so with rifles belonging to 'Papa'," Fernando Nuez, then custodian of the weapons, said using a nickname for the author of novels such as The Old Man and the Sea.

Nuez, 75, a former judge and former international sports shooting referee, was a teenager at the time.

"I lent them (the guns) but I did not know at the time that they were preparing the historic assaults on Santiago de Cuba and Bayamo," said Nuez, who also accompanied Hemingway in his shooting practices.

"Fidel would shoot any rifle, but I used to give him Hemingway's favourite, the one he called "the mare" - a .12 calibre with double barrel which was like thunder. But Fidel knew more about weapons than me and than many others who shot there," he said.

Luis Hernández Serrano, "Castro Trained Using Hemingway's Shotguns," 24 October 2007.

Round 11:

Mrs. Palin takes aim

A few years ago I looked up an old high-school friend on the Internet. We had lost touch a long time ago. He had an unusual name, so it was easy: it turned out he had run a tomato gardening website, apparently defunct for years, and he also was a regular contributor on a right-wing political message board.

I spent much of the evening going through his many posts, finding scraps of his life buried in his digressions on baseball and terrorism and taxes, and so was able to piece together something of a narrative--two stillborn marriages, a disappointing, boring job, family troubles.

As I read through the various threads he had posted in, one common belief appeared again and again, offered by many of the commenters, including my friend. The belief was that any catastrophe, barring an act of God, could have been avoided had someone been armed. Any robbery or workplace massacre could have been prevented by an armed citizen, any school shooting could have been stopped by an armed teacher or student.

So even if you are a college kid and it's eight in the morning on a Wednesday and you're sitting in a lecture hall in your pajama bottoms trying not to fall asleep, you still need to be ready, as soon as the shooter enters the room, to crouch behind your desk, take aim and dispatch him.

Mrs. Adolph Topperwain (with gun), ca. 1910-1915.

My friend was popular on the board. He had renounced his atheism, something that had defined him back in high school. There was a calm assurance to some of his posts, as there was for many of his fellow commenters'--one man wrote a poignant description of watching his children play in his backyard while he worked at his desk. "In the top drawer, as always, I keep a loaded firearm," he added.

If there was a general board philosophy, it was that one needs to live each day as though one were a soldier, operating against a vast, unknowable insurgency. To have a gun is simply to have full citizenship.

Warhol, Gun (in Tate Gallery).

The longest thread on the site, the one I spent the most time reading, was the communal tribute to my friend. About six months before, he had killed himself. His second ex-wife had broken the news to the board.

Round 12:

Picasso is a gunslinger

I had thought earlier in the night that you can't run when you are sodden from head to foot and weighted down with a rifle and cartridges; I learned now you can always run when you think you have fifty or one hundred armed men after you.

George Orwell, "Homage to Catalonia."

The guns spell money's ultimate reason
In letters of lead on the Spring hillside.
But the boy lying dead under the olive trees
Was too young and too silly
To have been notable to their important eye.
He was a better target for a kiss.

Stephen Spender, "Ultima Ratio Regum."

If you find an Afghan rebel that the Moscow bullets missed,
Ask him what he thinks of voting Communist.
Ask the Dalai Lama in the hills of Tibet
How many monks did the Chinese get?

Joe Strummer, "Washington Bullets."

He carried a shotgun--I weapon I thought was outlawed in international war--and the shotgun itself was a measure of his professionalism, for to use it effectively requires an exact blend of courage and skill and self-confidence. The weapon is neither accurate nor lethal at much over seventy yards. So it shows the skill of the carrier, a man who must work his way close enough to the prey to make a shot, close enough to see the enemy's retina and the tone of his skin. The shotgun is not an automatic weapon. You must hit once, on the first shot, and the hit must kill.

Tim O'Brien, "If I Die in a Combat Zone."

Round 13:

Se rentan armas:

Round 14:

The Mutton Birds' "A Thing Well Made" opens with a bad morning at the narrator's house. His wife is angry at him, so he sulks off and leaves for work early. That's fine, as he likes to open his sporting goods shop before the morning commute anyhow, "so fellows can come in [and] daydream around the rods and reels...while their breakfast is still warm inside them."

He makes a sale, he shows a customer a gun, talking up its qualities, and perhaps the sourness of the morning leads the narrator to be captivated by his own pitch. He watches himself speaking. The gun is solid, well-crafted, it is the work of a professional--it is a precise thing, its function is known. He holds it in a tight grip and imagines the gunsmith somewhere looking down upon his work, knowing instinctively the moment when his work was done, that the thing was perfect--a grace denied to many of us.

At a time like that you wouldn't care about your job
or your mortgage
or the fight you had with your wife
'cause when a man holds a thing well made
when a man holds a thing well made
there's connection
there's completeness

The music has quietly circled around for much of the track--a basic syncopated beat, twining guitars, a sweet melody carried on Don McGlashan's euphonium that comes and goes like a wistful thought. Now it builds, goes to a higher key. Is it just our expectations, as listeners, that give the track a growing sense of menace? The dread that seeps in, the thought that someone will be on the floor at the end of the song.

But instead the gun shop owner sees his customer off, goes back to work. Later in the day he goes through the mail orders, readies an AK-47 to ship to a regular customer. The day ends as quietly as it began, with only a few encounters with sublimity--the things well made--to mark its progress.

Round 15:

An arsenal of gun songs:

Preambles: John Cale (Fear, 1974); Nas, (It Was Written, 1996); Gene Autry, 1936 (Last Round Up).

Harbingers: Cat Stevens (Matthew and Son, 1967); the brilliant Julie Brown (1984 single, collected on Trapped in the Body of a White Girl, 1987--out of print).

Outliers: The Ray Ellington Quartet, 1948 (The Three Bears); The Bobbettes, 1960 (Golden Age of American Rock N Roll Vol. 10).

Love guns: Jimmie Rodgers, 1930 (Essential); Al Dexter, 1942 (I'm Beginning To See The Light); Lulu's "Man With the Golden Gun," from the 1974 Bond movie (OST); Blondie (self-titled, 1976); Bradley Kincaid, 1933 (Anthology of American Folk Music Vol. 4).

Thoughts on various weapons and how they can be used to shoot your lover: Roosevelt Sykes, 1930 (Complete Recorded Works in Chron. Order Vol. 2); Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, 1945 (Vol. 1); Jack Newman, 1938 (Complete Recorded Works); Mose Vinson, 1953 (25 Rare Sun Blues).

Heavier gear: Sunnyland Slim, 1947 (Chess Blues); Cab Calloway, 1950 (For Jumpers Only); Lightnin' Hopkins, 1948 (Blues Masters); Heart Attack, a great lost punk band, 1981 (The Last War); Gang of Four, 1978 single (appended to the re-release of Entertainment!).

Gunslingers, ancient and modern, urban and rural: Gene Pitney, 1962 (25 Greatest Hits); Da Lench Mob, 1992 (Guerrillas in tha Mist); The Beatnuts, 1993 (Intoxicated Demons);Neil Young first recorded "Powderfinger" in 1975 for one of his many unreleased LPs, Chrome Dreams, and revived & electrified it on Rust Never Sleeps.

Epilogue: The Mutton Birds (self-titled, 1992--now out of print).

More firepower at Snuh.

1: Also during this interview Cohen said something (I'm paraphrasing from distant memory) like "the highlights of Western Civilization--Shakespeare, Mozart--are just nail polish on the claws. And the polish is chipping off." It was a strange night. This was on Vin Scelsa's great "Idiot's Delight" Sunday night radio show.

2: Godard later credited his notorious statement--"All you need to make a film is a girl and a gun"--to D.W. Griffith, though there is no record of Griffith saying this, and it seems a bit of a blunt thing for the Victorian sensationalist Griffith to have said.

Next: The Troglodyte World (back to the war)

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