Peter Sellers Presents The Complete Guide To Accents of The British Isles

“There was no Peter Sell­ers,” author Bruce Jay Fried­man once wrote. “He was close to pan­ic as him­self and came alive only when he was imper­son­at­ing some­one else.”

While Sell­ers might have been a curi­ous­ly detached and deeply inse­cure per­son in real life, he was a strik­ing, mem­o­rable fig­ure on the sil­ver screen. His com­ic imag­i­na­tion and stun­ning ver­sa­til­i­ty made him the stand out in just about every movie he was in. In Stan­ley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, Sell­ers played three dif­fer­ent roles using three very dif­fer­ent accents – the upper crust plum­mi­ness of Capt. Man­drake, the Mid­west­ern flat­ness of the hap­less Pres­i­dent Muf­fley and the shriek­ing Teu­ton­ic lilt of Dr. Strangelove whose voice is a bit like how one might imag­ine Hen­ry Kissinger’s after fif­teen Red Bulls.

Sell­ers, of course, got his start in the radio and through­out his career, he con­tin­ued to make audio record­ings of his com­e­dy rou­tines. In his 1979 bit, The Com­plete Guide To Accents of The British Isles, Sell­ers shows just how good a mim­ic he real­ly is.

The piece is nar­rat­ed by Don Shul­man, an Amer­i­can pro­fes­sor of “accents and lan­guages” who likes lit­tle more than to go to Europe to “hear the music of the oth­er languages…Hearing French spoke, for exam­ple, is a sen­su­al expe­ri­ence.” And then what fol­lows is a minute or so of pitch-per­fect gib­ber­ish that does in fact sound a lot like French. He then moves on to the sound of oth­er lan­guages. “The music of the Ger­man lan­guage, on the oth­er hand, is excit­ing and slight­ly, well, slight­ly fright­en­ing. Like a show­er of cold beer.”

As you might guess from the title, Sell­ers then moves on to the British Isles. We’re treat­ed to a song about Argenti­na sung in a near­ly incom­pre­hen­si­ble Cock­ney, a mean­der­ing mono­logue by a hotel own­er in a sim­i­lar­ly dense Sus­sex acci­dent. Shul­man then talks to peo­ple in Birm­ing­ham, York­shire, Glas­gow and Liv­er­pool among oth­ers. And the whole thing is all done by one spec­tac­u­lar­ly tal­ent­ed per­son. It’s like the audio equiv­a­lent of a per­fect­ly exe­cut­ed mag­ic trick or dance rou­tine. And, unlike Criss Angel, Sell­ers is (inten­tion­al­ly) fun­ny. Check out part one up top and part two below that.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Brief Tour of British Accents: 14 Ways to Speak Eng­lish in 84 Sec­onds

Peter Sell­ers Gives a Quick Demon­stra­tion of British Accents

Peter Sell­ers Reads The Bea­t­les’ ‘She Loves You’ in Four Voic­es

Sir Patrick Stew­art Demon­strates How Cows Moo in Dif­fer­ent Eng­lish Accents

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

Play “Space War!,” One of the Earliest Video Games, on Your Computer (1962)

spacewar con­tin­ues adding to its His­tor­i­cal Soft­ware col­lec­tion. Last year, they made avail­able Don­key Kong, Pac Man, Frog­ger & oth­er video games from the Gold­en Age, not to men­tion some clas­sic soft­ware pro­grams like Word­Star and Visi-Calc. Now, they present “Space War!”, a game that came out of MIT back in 1962.

This two-play­er space-bat­tle game — orig­i­nal­ly played off the cath­ode-ray tube of a Dig­i­tal Equip­ment PDP‑1 — was con­sid­ered a major advance­ment in com­put­er gam­ing. Today, only one work­ing PDP‑1 is known to exist, in the Com­put­er His­to­ry Muse­um in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia. But through the mir­a­cle of a JSMESS emu­la­tor, you can play “Space War!” right in your web brows­er. (A fair­ly pow­er­ful com­put­er and recent browser–ideally Firefox–is rec­om­mend­ed.) If you end up play­ing this grandad­dy of com­put­er games, let us know how it goes. You can get more info on Space War! here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Down­load a Pro­to­type of Ever, Jane, a Video Game That Takes You Inside the Vir­tu­al World of Jane Austen

Run Vin­tage Video Games (From Pac-Man to E.T.) and Soft­ware in Your Web Brows­er, Thanks to

Free Fun: Play Don­key Kong, Pac Man, Frog­ger & Oth­er Gold­en Age Video Games In Your Web Brows­er

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Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” Performed by John Cale (and Produced by Brian Eno)

I’ve only known a few peo­ple of Welsh her­itage, and most of them have, at one time or anoth­er, looked for a way to pay trib­ute to their com­par­a­tive­ly exot­ic ances­tral home­land. Some start going by their unusu­al vow­el-inten­sive mid­dle name; oth­ers sim­ply start read­ing a lot of Dylan Thomas. The Gar­nant-born Vel­vet Under­ground co-founder John Cale, who spoke no lan­guage but Welsh up until mid-child­hood, took it a step fur­ther when he record­ed 1989’s Words for the Dying, his eleventh stu­dio album. Though it con­tains a few short orches­tral and piano pieces, it has more to do with words than music — words writ­ten by Cale sev­en years ear­li­er, dur­ing and in response to the Falk­lands war, that use and re-inter­pret Thomas’ poet­ry, most notably his well-known vil­lanelle “Do not go gen­tle into that good night.”

At the top of the post, you can watch one of Cale’s live ren­di­tions of this piece, per­formed two years before Words for the Dying’s release with the Nether­lands’ Metro­pole Ork­est.

Just above, we have anoth­er, per­formed in 1992 at Brus­sels’ Palais des Beaux Arts. The album enjoyed a re-release that year, and again in 2005, mak­ing for anoth­er musi­cal vic­to­ry not just in the illus­tri­ous and adven­tur­ous career of John Cale, but in the equal­ly illus­tri­ous and adven­tur­ous career of its pro­duc­er, Roxy Music found­ing mem­ber, artist of sound and image, and rock musi­cian-inspir­er Bri­an Eno. Though col­lab­o­ra­tion has famous­ly put Cale and Eno at log­ger­heads, it has also led to this and oth­er cre­ative­ly rich results; their 1990 album Wrong Way Up, whose cov­er depicts the two lit­er­al­ly look­ing dag­gers at one anoth­er, gar­nered strong crit­i­cal respect and spawned Eno’s only Amer­i­can hit, “Been There, Done That.” And as for their team effort on Words for the Dying, need we say more than that it made the year-end top-ten list of no less a lumi­nary of alter­na­tive artis­tic-rock cul­ture than Cale’s one­time Vel­vet Under­ground band­mate Lou Reed?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dylan Thomas Recites ‘Do Not Go Gen­tle into That Good Night’ and Oth­er Poems

Antho­ny Hop­kins Reads ‘Do Not Go Gen­tle into That Good Night’

Dylan Thomas Sketch­es a Car­i­ca­ture of a Drunk­en Dylan Thomas

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Watch Hand-Drawn Animations of 7 Stories & Essays by C.S. Lewis

I can vivid­ly recall the first time I read C.S. Lewis’s The Screw­tape Let­ters. I was four­teen, and I was pre­pared to be ter­ri­fied by the book, know­ing of its demon­ic sub­ject mat­ter and believ­ing at the time in invis­i­ble malev­o­lence. The nov­el is writ­ten as a series of let­ters between Screw­tape and his nephew Worm­wood, two dev­ils tasked with cor­rupt­ing their human charges, or “patients,” through all sorts of sub­tle and insid­i­ous tricks. The book has a rep­u­ta­tion as a lit­er­ary aid to Chris­t­ian living—like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress—but it’s so much more than that. Instead of fire and brim­stone, I found rib­ald wit, sharp satire, a cut­ting psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­sec­tion of the mod­ern West­ern mind, with its eva­sions, pre­ten­sions, and cagey delu­sions. Stripped of its the­ol­o­gy, it might have been writ­ten by Orwell or Sartre, though Lewis clear­ly owes a debt to Kierkegaard, as well as the long tra­di­tion of medieval moral­i­ty plays, with their cavort­ing dev­ils and didac­tic human types. Yes, the book is bald­ly moral­is­tic, but it’s also a bril­liant exam­i­na­tion of all the twist­ed ways we fool our­selves and dis­sem­ble,  or if you like, get led astray by evil forces.

If you haven’t read the book, you can see a con­cise ani­ma­tion of a crit­i­cal scene above, one of sev­en made by “C.S. Lewis Doo­dle” that illus­trate the key points of some of Lewis’s books and essays. Lewis believed in evil forces, but his method of pre­sent­ing them is pri­mar­i­ly lit­er­ary, and there­fore ambigu­ous and open to many dif­fer­ent read­ings (some­what like the dev­il Woland in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Mas­ter and Mar­gari­ta). The author imag­ined hell as “some­thing like the bureau­cra­cy of a police state or a thor­ough­ly nasty busi­ness office,” a descrip­tion as chill­ing as it is inher­ent­ly com­ic. As you can see above in the ani­mat­ed scene from Screw­tape by C.S. Lewis Doo­dle, the devils—though drawn in this case as old-fash­ioned winged fiends—behave like pet­ty func­tionar­ies as they lead Wormwood’s solid­ly mid­dle-class “patient” into the sin­is­ter clutch­es of mate­ri­al­ist doc­trine by appeal­ing to his intel­lec­tu­al van­i­ty. As much as it’s a con­dem­na­tion of said doc­trine, the scene also works as a cri­tique of a pop­u­lar dis­course that thrives on fash­ion­able jar­gon and the desire to be seen as rel­e­vant and well-read, no mat­ter the truth or coher­ence of one’s beliefs.

Screw­tape was by no means my first intro­duc­tion to Lewis’s works. Like many, many peo­ple, I cut my lit­er­ary teeth on The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia (avail­able on audio here) and his bril­liant sci-fi Space Tril­o­gy. But it was the first book of his I’d read that was clear­ly apolo­getic in its intent, rather than alle­gor­i­cal. I’m sure I’m not unique among Lewis’s read­ers in grad­u­at­ing from Screw­tape to his more philo­soph­i­cal books and many essays. One such piece, “We Have No (Unlim­it­ed) Right to Hap­pi­ness,” takes on the mod­ern con­cep­tion of rights as nat­ur­al guar­an­tees, rather than soci­etal con­ven­tions. As he cri­tiques this rel­a­tive­ly recent notion, Lewis devel­ops a the­o­ry of sex­u­al moral­i­ty in which “when two peo­ple achieve last­ing hap­pi­ness, this is not sole­ly because they are great lovers but because they are also—I must put it crudely—good peo­ple; con­trolled, loy­al, fair-mind­ed, mutu­al­ly adapt­able peo­ple.” The C.S. Lewis Doo­dle above illus­trates the many exam­ples of fick­le­ness and incon­stan­cy that Lewis presents in his essay as foils for the virtues he espous­es.

The Lewis Doo­dle seen here illus­trates his 1948 essay “On Liv­ing in an Atom­ic Age,” in which Lewis chides read­ers for the pan­ic and para­noia over the impend­ing threat of nuclear war in the wake of Hiroshi­ma and Nagasa­ki. Such an occur­rence, he writes, would only result in the already inevitable—death—just as the plagues of the six­teenth cen­tu­ry or Viking raids:

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be tak­en is to pull our­selves togeth­er. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atom­ic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sen­si­ble and human things — pray­ing, work­ing, teach­ing, read­ing, lis­ten­ing to music, bathing the chil­dren, play­ing ten­nis, chat­ting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not hud­dled togeth­er like fright­ened sheep and think­ing about bombs. They may break our bod­ies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dom­i­nate our minds.

It seems a very mature, and noble, per­spec­tive, but if you think that Lewis glibly gloss­es over the sub­stan­tive­ly dif­fer­ent effects of a nuclear age from any other—fallout, radi­a­tion poi­son­ing, the end of civ­i­liza­tion itself—you are mis­tak­en. His answer, how­ev­er, you may find as I do deeply fatal­is­tic. Lewis ques­tions the val­ue of civ­i­liza­tion alto­geth­er as a hope­less endeav­or bound to end in any case in “noth­ing.” “Nature is a sink­ing ship,” he writes, and dooms us all to anni­hi­la­tion whether we has­ten the end with tech­nol­o­gy or man­age to avoid that fate. Here is Lewis the apol­o­gist, pre­sent­ing us with the stark­est of options—either all of our endeav­ors are utter­ly mean­ing­less and with­out pur­pose or val­ue, since we can­not make them last for­ev­er, or all mean­ing and val­ue reside in the the­is­tic vision of exis­tence. I’ve not myself seen things Lewis’s way on this point, but the C.S. Lewis Doo­dler does, and urges his view­ers who agree to “send to your enquir­ing athe­is­tic mates” his love­ly lit­tle adap­ta­tions. Or you can sim­ply enjoy these as many non-reli­gious read­ers of Lewis enjoy his work—take what seems beau­ti­ful, humane, true, and skill­ful­ly, lucid­ly writ­ten (or drawn), and leave the rest for your enquir­ing Chris­t­ian mates.

You can watch all sev­en ani­ma­tions of C.S. Lewis’s writ­ings here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

C.S. Lewis’ Pre­scient 1937 Review of The Hob­bit by J.R.R. Tolkien: It “May Well Prove a Clas­sic”

Free Audio: Down­load the Com­plete Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia by C.S. Lewis

18 Ani­ma­tions of Clas­sic Lit­er­ary Works: From Pla­to and Shake­speare, to Kaf­ka, Hem­ing­way and Gaiman

Watch Ani­ma­tions of Oscar Wilde’s Children’s Sto­ries “The Hap­py Prince” and “The Self­ish Giant”

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

Carl Sagan Writes a Letter to 17-Year-Old Neil deGrasse Tyson (1975)

sagan letter to tyson

Carl Sagan, the turtle­neck-sport­ing astro­physi­cist from Cor­nell, was the great­est com­mu­ni­ca­tor of sci­ence of his gen­er­a­tion. Not only did he pub­lish hun­dreds of sci­en­tif­ic papers and was instru­men­tal in putting togeth­er that gold­en record on the Voy­ager space­crafts but he also wrote twen­ty crit­i­cal­ly praised best sell­ers on sci­ence, appeared reg­u­lar­ly on the Tonight Show, and even had a catch phrase — “bil­lions and bil­lions.” But Sagan is per­haps best known for his land­mark 1980 series Cos­mos: A Per­son­al Voy­age (watch it here). He took view­ers through a tour of the uni­verse, show­ing them things from the mind-bog­gling big to the infin­i­tes­i­mal­ly small and every­thing in between. The show proved to be a huge hit; close to a half-bil­lion peo­ple tuned in world­wide.

Even before the reboot of Cos­mos pre­miered on FOX in March, Neil deGrasse Tyson — who hosts the show — was already seen as Sagan’s suc­ces­sor. Not only does he serve as the direc­tor of the Hay­den Plan­e­tar­i­um in New York City and was instru­men­tal in kick­ing Plu­to out of the broth­er­hood of plan­ets, but he also authored numer­ous books, appears reg­u­lar­ly on The Dai­ly Show, and fre­quent­ly hosts AMAs on Red­dit. He’s also one of Amer­i­ca’s most vocal defend­ers of sci­ence at a time, unlike Sagan’s hey­day, when Cre­ation­ism, cli­mate change denial, and anti-vac­ci­na­tion hys­te­ria seem to be mak­ing inroads in our cul­ture.

Any­one who saw Tyson’s heart felt trib­ute to Sagan at the begin­ning of the first episode of Cos­mos knows that Sagan’s influ­ence on his younger coun­ter­part extend­ed much fur­ther than his media appear­ances. It was per­son­al. In 1975, Sagan, who was already famous at that time, was so impressed by Tyson’s col­lege appli­ca­tion that he per­son­al­ly reached out to him, hop­ing to con­vince the high school stu­dent to attend Cor­nell. He even offered to per­son­al­ly show Tyson around his lab.

You can read Sagan’s let­ter, dat­ed Novem­ber 12, 1975, below.

Dear Neil:

Thanks for your let­ter and most inter­est­ing resume. I was espe­cial­ly glad to see that, for a career in astron­o­my, you intend to do your under­grad­u­ate work in physics. In this way, you will acquire the essen­tial tools for a wide range of sub­se­quent astro­nom­i­cal endeav­ors.

I would guess from your resume that your inter­ests in astron­o­my are suf­fi­cient­ly deep and your math­e­mat­i­cal and phys­i­cal back­ground suf­fi­cient­ly strong that we could prob­a­bly engage you in real astro­nom­i­cal research dur­ing your under­grad­u­ate career here, if the pos­si­bil­i­ty inter­ests you. For exam­ple, we hope to be bring­ing back to Itha­ca in late cal­en­dar year 1976 an enor­mous array of Viking data on Mars both from the orbiters and from the lan­ders.

I would be delight­ed to meet with you when you vis­it Itha­ca. Please try and give as much advance notice of the date as you can because my trav­el sched­ule is quite hec­tic right now and I real­ly would like to be in Itha­ca when you drop by.

With all good wish­es,

Carl Sagan

Tyson was deeply moved by Sagan’s kind­ness and sin­cer­i­ty. He did ven­ture out to Itha­ca from the Bronx on a snowy after­noon. As Tyson recalled years lat­er, “I thought to myself, who am I? I’m just some high school kid.” In the end, Sagan’s per­son­al plea wasn’t quite enough to con­vince young Tyson to attend his school. As you can read in his response below, dat­ed April 30, 1976, Tyson decid­ed to go to Har­vard.

Dear Prof. Sagan

Thank you for your offer con­cern­ing the Viking Mis­sions. After long thought and deci­sion mak­ing I have cho­sen to attend Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty this Sep­tem­ber. I chose it not sim­ply because of its “valu­able” name but because they have a larg­er astron­o­my depart­ment in addi­tion to the Smith­son­ian Astro­phys­i­cal Obser­va­to­ry, so while I am major­ing in physics I will have more sur­round­ing me in the way of on-going research in astron­o­my.

I want to say that I did enjoy meet­ing you and I am very grate­ful for your hos­pi­tal­i­ty and the time you spent with me while at Cor­nell. I will through­out my under­grad­u­ate years keep you informed on any note­wor­thy news con­cern­ing astron­o­my-relat­ed work that I’m involved in. I do plan to apply again for the Viking Intern­ship next sum­mer.

Thanks again

Neil D. Tyson

You can see Tyson talk about his after­noon with Sagan. 40 years lat­er, he still seems incred­u­lous that it hap­pened.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Carl Sagan Presents Six Lec­tures on Earth, Mars & Our Solar Sys­tem … For Kids (1977)

Carl Sagan Explains Evo­lu­tion in an Eight-Minute Ani­ma­tion

Carl Sagan’s Under­grad Read­ing List: 40 Essen­tial Texts for a Well-Round­ed Thinker

Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawk­ing & Arthur C. Clarke Dis­cuss God, the Uni­verse, and Every­thing Else

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow.

Watch “Bottle,” an Award-Winning Stop Motion Animated Tale of Transoceanic Correspondence

When I was in high school, my boyfriend showed me a film he had shot with his dad’s Super 8. It fea­tured a pair of golf clubs escap­ing from the garage and hus­tling down the dri­ve­way. I was bedaz­zled by his tech­nique, and amazed that that’s how he spent his week­ends before he met me.

I thought of those films the oth­er day on a tour of Cal Arts with a prospec­tive stu­dent. As part of ori­en­ta­tion, our group was shown “Bot­tle,” an award-win­ning stop motion short cre­at­ed when writer-direc­tor Kirsten Lep­ore was a grad stu­dent in the exper­i­men­tal ani­ma­tion pro­gram. 

In the minute or so it took our guide to remem­ber how to turn the sound on, I was actu­al­ly dread­ing it. I like nar­ra­tive. Fun­ny. Made­line Sharafi­an’s flat ani­ma­tion “Omelette,” which we were shown before “Bot­tle” as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the sort of work going on in the famed Char­ac­ter Ani­ma­tion depart­ment, deliv­ered on both counts.

Exper­i­men­tal, though? I pic­tured a Dali-esque com­put­er gen­er­at­ed land­scaped star­ring an anony­mous ball, and longed for Scot­t’s dad’s golf clubs. They had so much per­son­al­i­ty.

I am delight­ed to report that those clubs could­n’t hold a can­dle to the cast you will meet above. I don’t want to spoil any sur­pris­es. Suf­fice it to say that the fin­ished prod­uct involves sand, snow, the ocean, flot­sam, jet­sam, a bot­tle, many miles, and many, many hours of labor. If that, com­bined with an utter­ly charm­ing sto­ry­line, adds up to exper­i­men­tal, then I am all for exper­i­men­ta­tion. My kid was ready to change her major after see­ing it, but maybe I am the one who needs to attend.

Watch the mak­ing of video below to get a feel for the sort of wringer Lep­ore put her­self and her crew through. Obvi­ous­ly not a week­end project.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Hard­er Than It Looks: How to Make a Great Stop Motion Ani­ma­tion

Big Bang Big Boom: Graf­fi­ti Stop-Motion Ani­ma­tion Cre­ative­ly Depicts the Evo­lu­tion of Life

Watch The New Amer­i­ca, a Stop Motion Ani­ma­tion Star­ring 800+ Laser Engraved Wood Blocks

Ayun Hal­l­i­day’s golf clubs nev­er stopped run­ning. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

Listen to “Brian Eno Day,” a 12-Hour Radio Show Spent With Eno & His Music (Recorded in 1988)


In ear­ly 1988, visu­al artist, rock pro­duc­er, and “non-musi­cian” musi­cian Bri­an Eno came to San Fran­cis­co. He’d made the trip to put togeth­er “Lat­est Flames,” a “sound and light instal­la­tion” using his own music and “tele­vi­sion as a radi­ant light source” to “cre­ate a con­tem­pla­tive envi­ron­ment.”  He cre­at­ed this con­tem­pla­tive envi­ron­ment at the Explorato­ri­um, a one-of‑a kind muse­um of “sci­ence, art, and human per­cep­tion” I remem­ber fond­ly from my own child­hood in the Bay Area (though alas, I did­n’t start going until just after “Lat­est Flames” closed). Dur­ing that vis­it, he spoke on Berke­ley’s KPFA-FM about his great admi­ra­tion for the very exis­tence of the Explorato­ri­um, which he thinks could nev­er have hap­pened in his native Eng­land, “too fussy” a coun­try to accept such an exper­i­men­tal insti­tu­tion. He also empha­sizes how much grat­i­tude he thinks Amer­i­cans should show for their pub­lic radio sta­tions like KPFA, which, in con­trast to the admit­ted­ly “great radio”-producing broad­cast­ers of the U.K., work more loose­ly, with greater cre­ative free­dom not sched­uled on “five-year plans.” It sure­ly did­n’t damp­en Eno’s appre­ci­a­tion for KPFA that he appeared dur­ing the sta­tion’s “Bri­an Eno Day,” a twelve-hour marathon of mate­r­i­al relat­ed to his work: music, music analy­sis, inter­views new and old, and even lis­ten­er calls.

This hap­pened dur­ing KPFA’s reg­u­lar pledge dri­ve, and as every Amer­i­can pub­lic radio lis­ten­er knows, pledge dri­ves hold out the promise of desir­able thank-you gifts to donat­ing callers. In this case, these entice­ments includ­ed items signed right there in the stu­dio, between turns at the micro­phone answer­ing ques­tions and chat­ting with com­pos­er-host Charles Amirkhan­ian, by Eno him­self. The auto­graphed Oblique Strate­gies decks run out first, and even after that peo­ple still call in with ques­tions about their ori­gin, their best use, and their future avail­abil­i­ty. They also (and Amirkhan­ian, and ambi­ent music expert Stephen Hill) have much else to ask besides, fill­ing the hours — those not occu­pied by pledge pitch­es, records Eno pro­duced, or the full length of his own Thurs­day After­noon album — with talk of the mean­ing of his inscrutable lyrics, the record­ing stu­dio as musi­cal instru­ment, the mak­ing of “Lat­est Flames,” his impa­tience with com­put­ers and syn­the­siz­ers, his rec­om­mend­ed Eng­lish art schools, and how ambi­ent music dif­fers from new age “muzak.” A fan could ask for no rich­er a lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ence, even 26 years after it first aired — and few more enter­tain­ing lis­ten­ing expe­ri­ences than, toward the end of this long Bri­an Eno day, the man of the hour’s (or rather, of the twelve hours’) deci­sion to delib­er­ate­ly answer each and every remain­ing lis­ten­er ques­tion with a lie. You can stream all of KPFA’s 1988 Bri­an Eno Day above. It’s also bro­ken into nine the­mat­ic seg­ments at the Inter­net Archive.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Genius of Bri­an Eno On Dis­play in 80 Minute Q&A: Talks Art, iPad Apps, ABBA, & More

Bri­an Eno Once Com­posed Music for Win­dows 95; Now He Lets You Cre­ate Music with an iPad App

Bri­an Eno on Cre­at­ing Music and Art As Imag­i­nary Land­scapes (1989)

Watch Bri­an Eno’s “Video Paint­ings,” Where 1980s TV Tech­nol­o­gy Meets Visu­al Art

Jump Start Your Cre­ative Process with Bri­an Eno’s “Oblique Strate­gies”

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Hear Led Zeppelin’s First Recorded Concert Ever (1968)

It’s Decem­ber, 1968. You’re a teenaged kid in Spokane, Wash­ing­ton, keen to see Vanil­la Fudge—or “The Vanil­la Fudge,” as the pro­mot­er calls them—at Gonza­ga University’s Kennedy Pavil­ion, and… what’s this? The open­ing act is “Len Zef­flin?” Who the hell is that?

Maybe you’re hip, like Bob Gal­lagher, who knew Jim­my Page from the Yard­birds and looked for­ward to catch­ing his new band. Maybe not. Maybe, like Ker­ry Whit­sitt, you’re hop­ing “the first band wouldn’t stay on stage too long.” You know how it is… open­ing bands….

But then Page, Plant, Bon­ham, and Jones take the stage, and like Jeff “Tor” Nadeau, you look around to find the house “uni­ver­sal­ly mind-blown” by “the most stun­ning and awe­some sound ever.” And like Ker­ry, you don’t “want them to leave the stage—ever!”


These then-teenage fans’ rem­i­nisces of this his­toric show, only the fifth of Led Zeppelin’s first U.S. tour, come cour­tesy of the Zep­pelin web­site’s descrip­tion of the mis­tak­en­ly billed “Len Zefflin”’s ear­li­est record­ed con­cert, which you can hear in its entire­ty above, thanks to an enter­pris­ing young stu­dent who brought his tape recorder.

The band’s first album—Led Zep­pelin—wouldn’t hit stores for anoth­er three weeks. The kids haven’t heard any­thing like this before: Bonham’s explo­sive fills, Plant’s high-pitched har­mo­niz­ing to “Page’s pipe-wrench riffs.” By the time Zep­pelin left the stage, Bob Gal­lagher and his bud­dies were “flab­ber­gast­ed.” And “when Vanil­la Fudge came on, they were so sleepy. It was like, after that, psy­che­delia was dead and heavy met­al was born, all in a three-hour show.” Poor Vanil­la Fudge.

The raw, two-track tape record­ing of that frigid win­ter show has cir­cu­lat­ed for thir­ty years in var­i­ous boot­leg forms, but it’s new to Youtube, new to me, and maybe new to you too. Lis­ten to it and see if you can’t con­jure some of those lucky audi­ence-mem­bers’ awe in that moment of dis­cov­ery, when heavy met­al was born from the blues. The full track­list of the show is below. For the full expe­ri­ence, see the Youtube page to read a tran­scrip­tion of Robert Plan­t’s between-song stage pat­ter.

01 — Train Kept A Rollin’ [0:00]
02 — I Can’t Quit You [2:32]
03 — As Long As I Have You (incl Fresh Garbage / Shake / Hush) [9:15]
04 — Dazed And Con­fused [17:52]
05 — White Sum­mer [27:43]
06 — How Many More Times (incl The Hunter) [34:31]
07 — Pat’s Delight [50:07]

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Led Zep­pelin Plays One of Its Ear­li­est Con­certs (Dan­ish TV, 1969)

Whole Lot­ta Led Zep­pelin: Live at the Roy­al Albert Hall and The Song Remains the Same–the Full Shows

Decon­struct­ing Led Zeppelin’s Clas­sic Song ‘Ram­ble On’ Track by Track: Gui­tars, Bass, Drums & Vocals

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness.

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