Cards on the table, the whole 50/50 project and the Glove Of Bones that’s emerged from its sodden soil, zombie claw & pointing at the past – is a slightly factually dubious biographical project. Last December it was my 50th birthday and as with all the previous ones, but to a more profound extent it took me to one side and kicked the wind out of me. I’m not good with parties, and I’m really not good with mortality.
However, revising a ritual from my past I thought I’d throw out a self-portrait. It took on a life of its own.
The musical pieces that have arisen broadly produce a chronology of references. In some cases its implicit, in other cases it’s a veiled reference either in the piece itself or the title.
Starting at the beginning, I emerged screaming no doubt as most infants in December 1964. Unbeknownst to me at the time contemporary beat combo the Rolling Stones where No1 with their song ‘Little Red Rooster‘. This WIllie Dixon written blues standard was a main front attack on the American R&B scene by the young Londoners. The allusion of waking up and its sexualised subtext have resonated with me since I discovered this mark in time.
Here is an early performance.
Taking this as a starting point this is the introduction to 50/50.
Other early memories of infant and toddlerhood are sketchy and rare. I do however remember my father waking me up and plonking me in front of our black & white television in July 1969 at age 5 to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I’m sure it took some explaining (Moon = big, looks small = far away) but its was done well enough to embed the memory. I’m also sure the experience consolidated in me a love of science fiction, super heroes, astronomy and huge flights of imagination as a young boy, and eventually space rock. Note that during this period in time Hendrix was doing ‘Third Rock from the Sun’ and Floyd were jamming ‘Astronomy Domaine’ and ‘Interstellar Overdrive’. Both of these tenuous reference points.
Here is a short version of the television coverage.
Whilst I don’t have access to the strange movements in my own mind at age five, I have been able to filter some similar emergent notions from my five year old son. He took a flight of imagination a little while ago and the version used in the song “Little Armstrong & The King Of Nightmares Battle On The Final Frontier” is in fairness to him a revisited performance. He did stick to his narrative though and it fits perfectly. Somewhere in background of song is the ‘Wow’ signal. If you are not familiar with this, more wiki info here. Whilst historically it occurred outside of the period covered by the song, its usage seems apt.
Here is the first main piece of 50/50 that soundtracks the period 1964 to 1973.