The Flogging of Punchinello

Month: October, 2014

Before the parachute opens

Tullio Crali, “Before the Parachute Opens (Prima che si apra il paracadute)” (1939). Oil on panel, 141 x 151 cm. Casa Cavazzini, Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Udine

All of this, not to beat around the bush, refers to the fallen state in which our species finds itself. A profusion of made up events is supposed to divert us from it, or to compensate us. The profusion, often passing for “information”, is really a disguise for kitsch entertainment. Death, also while you enjoy an immunity from it, is entertaining as it was in Imperial Rome, or in 1973. As, today, Sadat is murdered, Indira Gandhi is assassinated, the pope himself is gunned down in St. Peter’s Square, while, personally unharmed, you live to see more and more and more, until after many deferrals death gets personal even with you. The jumpmaster says, “You bail out next.” Saul Bellow, More Die of Heartbreak.


Tiepolo’s Elephants

Two Rampaging Elephants, 1790s

pen and brown ink with brown wash over black chalk and charcoal
11 7/16 × 16 9/16 in
29.1 × 42.1 cm

Click to enlarge


P.E. Hewitt’s was but 16 years old when he recorded and released – in a press of 50 copies – his debut album Jawbones. By the time he sold through the 100 copies of this third, Winter Winds, he was approaching the ripe-age of 20. The three albums he and his young compatriots wrote, recorded, pressed and – if you can call it that – distributed, are three of the rarest damn-good 70s jazz albums you could ever hope to come across. That’s a subtle, but important distinction. There are many rare jazz albums in every imaginable subgenre – funk, free, fusion… But Hewitt’s three albums were so damn-good that neither micro presses nor forty years of silence could suppress their reemergence. Stones Throw

After the third album, he dropped off the face of the earth and became a pilot. The 3LP box set contains a lengthy interview booklet that is fascinating. Enjoy.