Astral Weeks – Van Morrison (1968)

1960s: Days of Rage

“Astral Weeks is the second studio album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was recorded at Century Sound Studios in New York City during three sessions in September and October 1968, although most participants and biographers agree that the eight songs were culled from the first and last early evening sessions. Except for John Payne, Morrison and the assembled jazz musicians had not played together before and the recordings commenced without rehearsals or lead sheets handed out. The cover art, music and lyrics of the album portray the symbolism equating earthly love and heaven that would often feature in Morrison’s work. When Astral Weeks was released by Warner Bros. Records in November 1968, it did not receive promotion from the label and was not an immediate success with consumers or critics. Blending folk, blues, jazz, and classical music, the album’s songs signaled a…

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On the fiftieth anniversary of the My Lai massacre

This is an incident I remember well. It was not the only massacre that happened during that period but it was the best known and reported throughout the World. It really brought home how horrific the Viet Nam war had become, and how barbaric. Like the Japanese in World War 2 the Vietnamese had become dehumanised in the minds of the American military.

1960s: Days of Rage

Mosaic at the memorial at My Lai

“Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the My Lai massacre. On the morning of March 16, 1968, American forces entered the village and gathered up all living things: elderly men and women, infants in mothers’ arms, pigs, chickens, and water buffalo. Then, the Americans proceeded to kill them all, slowly, carefully, methodically. It took four hours (this was no sudden outburst of passion), until all 504 people and all the animals were massacred. Fifty-six of the people killed were under seven years old; some of the infants were bayoneted to death. Women were raped before being shot. After the killing orgy, two of the American soldiers (one a religious Mormon) sat down to lunch nearby. Unfortunately, their meal was interrupted by the moans of a few villagers shot and left for dead, but not yet fully dead. The two soldiers, disturbed by…

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Enter Digital Archives of the 1960s Fluxus Movement and Explore the Avant-Garde Art of John Cage, Yoko Ono, John Cale, Nam June Paik & More

1960s: Days of Rage

“When it comes to the influence of the arts on everyday life, it can seem like our reality derives far more from Jeff Koons’ ‘augmented banality‘ than from the Fluxus movement’s playful experiments with chance operations, conceptual rigor, and improvisatory performance. But perhaps in a Jeff Koons world, these are precisely the qualities we need. Mainly based in New York, and ‘taking shape around 1959,’ notes the University of Iowa’s Fluxus: A Field Guide, ‘the international cohort of artists known as Fluxus experimented with—or better yet between—poetry, theater, music, and the visual arts.’ Big names like John Cage and Yoko Ono might give the uninitiated a sense of what the 60s art movement was all about. An ‘interdisciplinary aesthetic,’ writes Ubuweb, that ‘brings together influences as diverse as Zen, science, and daily life and puts them to poetic use.’ Of course, there’s more to it…

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1960s: Days of Rage

“The Helix was an American biweekly newspaper founded in 1967 after a series of organizational meetings held at the Free University of Seattle involving a large and eclectic group including Paul Dorpat, Tom Robbins, Lorenzo Milam and others from KRAB-FM, John Ullman of the Seattle Folklore Society, Unitarian minister Paul Sawyer, and many others. A member of both the Underground Press Syndicate and the Liberation News Service, it published a total of 125 issues (sometimes as a weekly, sometimes as a biweekly) before folding on June 11, 1970. The first issue was produced by Paul Dorpat with $200 in borrowed capital, out of a rented storefront on Roosevelt Way NE. After being turned down by the first printers they approached, they found a printer in Ken Monson, communications director of the International Association of Machinists local, who had recently acquired a printing press. 1500 copies were…

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