Monday, 27 January 2014

Kate Bush: Moving (1978)

The wyrding witch, the mountain way. The fog clears fleetingly on the waters. She wraps her writhing animal physique and snaking voice around your soul’s breath, like the first narcotic inhalation of twilight’s reverie, soothing, entrancing, sweet as summer’s honeysuckle. It’s like diving into a wild warm primordial sea, infinite yet seething with vivid possibility. Such is the creative feminine which Kate Bush embodies.

This is the first track from her 1978 debut album. Swollen with emotion, leading you to fall into the labyrinth of The Kick Inside. This album of course spawned her Number 1 Hit Wuthering Heights which has taken all of my wilting self control to desist from uploading. Amazingly, her label EMI didn’t want it on the album, preferring instead more rock- type music. More fool them. And even then, Bush had the sense to stand up to those talentless sharks, and proselytise  her art. Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour was involved in the production. He knew which side his toast was buttered. 


This clip, faded and worn through time, is from the Kate Bush Efteling TV special from the Netherlands in 1978. There are other versions of it around, but they don’t capture her aliveness and energy in quite the same way I think. And we like our retro & rosewater at The  Bohemian Budgie.


by South Utsire

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Under Milk Wood

By a complete fluke I have been finishing up The Dylan Thomas Omnibus without knowing it was the 60th anniversary year of the inspired radio play for voices, Under Milk Wood. I expect there’ll be some sleepy ass documentary on BBC2 tucked away on a Thursday night, only I haven’t got a TV. The Omnibus concludes with the play, so I decided to detour and watch the 1972 Richard Burton film version for a bit of variety. I’m pretty sure Dylan Thomas would have approved of the creative and whacky overlay of the screenplay, whilst remaining faithful enough to the written word. Apparently Andrew Sinclair, the director of the1972 film, has gifted its rights to the people of Wales. He has handed control of the film, also starring Peter O'Tool  and Elizabeth Taylor, to a new Trust. Maybe that’s why it costs silly money on Amazon for it’s age and I can’t find any Youtube clips for pixel dust. Except this cheesy trailer:


"Come now, drift up the dark, come up the drifting sea-dark street now in the dark night seesawing like the sea, to the bible-black airless attic over Jack Black the cobbler's shop where alone and savagely Jack Black sleeps in a nightshirt tied to his ankles with elastic and dreams of chasing the naughty couples down the grassgreen gooseberried double bed of the wood, flogging the tosspots in the spit-and-sawdust, driving out the bare, bold girls from the sixpenny hops of his nightmares."


I don’t know what it is exactly about the play which has generated such a rich seam for artists of all descriptions to mine over the years. Perhaps it is the freakish cerebral rush of hearing so many unlikely words mish mashed over a mangle of sentiment and flummery. Maybe it’s the themes of taboo and eccentricity in closeted village life – its naughtiness,  that gives it an edge. Whatever it is, I am glad they do. Below are two such enterprises inspired by Under Milk Wood: Artwork from Peter Blake (2013), and music from the recently deceased legend Stan Tracey Jazz Suite inspired by Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" (1965).


 

 By South Utsire

William Morris: We Sit Starving Amidst Our Gold


“Apart from my desire to produce beautiful things, the leading passion of my life has been and is hatred of modern civilisation.” (William Morris, from “How I Became a Socialist”, 1894)

Much of what I have learned about William Morris has come from E. P Thompson’s volume William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. The book was part of an effort by the Communist Party Historians' Group to emphasise the domestic roots of Marxism in Britain at a time (1955) when the Communist Party was under attack for always following the Moscow line. Morris has often been portrayed as “The English Marx”. E. P Thompson is also author of the classic The Making of the English Working Class. Both are door stop tomes, but if you can get over that, Thompson is a rewarding read which fills in a great many blanks about the early labour movement, in which Morris was pivotal. 


I was interested to see that the artist Jeremy Deller has recently opened an exhibition in the William Morris museum at Walthamstow. The mural of a giant Morris striding the ocean like a moral Poseidon whilst throwing Roman Abramovich’s yacht away in disgust particularly demanded attention. It is refreshing that William Morris is not just seen as a “textile maker” these days, but increasingly as a “socialist”. For a while there I had thought there was a conspiracy of silence in airbrushing out Morris’s keenly held beliefs. Although “socialist” is a more willingly applied label, it is not very well known Morris was no glib Blairite grand daddy, bestowing philanthropic benevolence on needy folk for good causes (his co- workers were paid as artisans with good conditions and not as ‘minimum wage lackeys’). Morris was a radical  anarcho- communist who wanted to see the overthrow of capitalism altogether. Many “democratic” socialists who claim him as theirs should remember he was in favour of Irish home rule, and against the notion of Parliamentary representational democracy, and sided with the anti- Parliamentarians during the great split within the Socialist League.

William Morris was a wealthy man, having inherited a fortune, and being a successful interior designer for the homes of the effete middle classes. Could he be trusted to lead up an anarcho- socialist revolutionary party? Morris faithfully bankrolled the Socialist League and it’s publication, Commonweal, as well as maintaining a punishing marathon of lectures, campaigns and protests all across Britain and Europe for nearly 10 years. He frequently bailed out his fellow comrades from the inevitable legal scrapes, but kept his own nose clean with the authorities. He was arrested on September 21, 1885, in a melée at the Thames Police Court, but made no public comment on the incident. The arrest was for disorderly conduct at the trial of Lewis Lyons, a tailor, and others who had been charged with resisting arrest at a mass meeting of Socialists the previous day. Lyons was sentenced by the magistrate to two months hard labour. Among the crowd that protested the harshness of his sentence were Eleanor Aveling, the daughter of Karl Marx, and her husband, Edward. In the end, after identifying himself : "I am an artist, and a literary man, pretty well known, I think, throughout Europe", Morris was discharged without penalty.

So we see the "class pass" in operation. One rule for “them”, another for “us”. No Gandhian style solidarity protest in sympathy with the oppressed working classes there. Even as a renegade “gentleman”, it’s galling to see how softly the establishment treats one of their own. And Morris comes up smelling of embroidered roses, in a tapestry of self importance. Still, notwithstanding this incident, the overall contribution of William Morris to the development of libertarian socialism cannot be criticized. He was an endlessly positive influence on the movement.

Morris was also a rural preservationist (founding Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings), and saw the decimation of folk arts and crafts as an insidious and withering artifact of capitalism, which destroyed the spirit of human beings. What’s changed? Mass production has only led to the amelioration of life quality for millions, a fact that Morris foresaw with plaguing lucidity.  He is without much doubt the founder of contemporary green socialism as a political movement. In fact it was the eco- socialist writer Derek Wall who pointed me in the direction of Morris, in his book The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement.

The conflicting ingredients of Morris's life makes him a complex and juxtaposed man, a nature lover pitched as he was against the industrial revolution, with the burgeoning needs of his art to express itself within commercial constraints, with the shadows of history, his legacy and his status all about him, by nature an uneasy leader enmired in petty squabbles and the slings and arrows of other people’s politicking. To overcome these he was, in short, a visionary human being who extended himself beyond the envelope of what was expected or required of him to make the world a better place. Ultimately the visionary fires which burned so brightly, would consume him.
 

Above: Kelmscott Manor, home of The Kelmscott Press and the idyll where Morris wrote News from Nowhere, probably the finest example of utopian socialism in literature, which went on to inspire many other writers including Tolkein, C.S. Lewis, and James Joyce.

To me, Morris can indeed be seen as the English Marx. Whereas Marx concerned himself with burdensome economic proofs and overly intellectualised historical “scientific” formulas, Morris appeals to the heart, the poet within, the wild man of the woods, the urgency of fighting against all the alienation and narrow dehumanising technological bankruptcy of capitalism which acts against the free artistic spirit. Marx undoubtedly shaped the 20th century, but Morris may yet speak to future generations.

“Thus, in this matter also does the artificial famine of inequality, felt in so many other ways, impoverish us despite of our riches; and we sit starving amidst our gold.”  
 (William Morris, from “The Socialist Ideal: Art”, 1891)

by South Utsire

Friday, 24 January 2014

Roy Harper: How Does It Feel? (1970)

From England's "Biggest and Bawdiest Raver/ Poet- Singer" from the 1970 album Flat Baroque, and Berserk.



By South Utsire

Out of Town

Pure lavender scented nostalgia this one.


If you were a kid in the 70’s you might remember a program called Out of Town with Jack Hargreaves, the same guy who hosted How, with the music that sent me running for cover behind the settee (we didn’t have a sofa back in those days). Out of Town was broadcast between 1963 and 1981 in those parts of England covered by Southern Television. Up in the ragged North, miraculously, that included me. After the demise of Southern Television in 1981, Hargreaves chalked up another 60 episodes for Channel 4, renamed Old Country, this time broadcast nationally.

Out of Town had a gentle purity to it. It was a welcome change of pace from the gawdy psychedelic colours of 1970’s kids TV, with their caffeine drenched spiky in-yer-face and abnormally high pitched voiceovers. The tremulating music itself (Recuerdos de la Alhambra written by Francisco Tárrega), sitting on top of the undulating, lumbering bass, was like breathing deeply the heady perfume of meadowsweet, and with that, an arresting breath, and plunged into a deeper plane of relaxation. The rolling cart and horses across the pastoral landscape set the lazy rhythm. Perhaps a signal to high octane kids to switch off, or go beat their sister over the head with a life sized baby dolly. And there in the middle of the screen was an old bearded man. Calm, thoughtful, with a rich voice and smoking a pipe. Seeping sepia somehow. I could almost smell the wisps of Condor pouring down through the screen like fragranced fingers of the Green Man himself. The things he said had a certain gravitas, or so it seemed to my playschool self. And they dripped of nature, of ways and days gone by. Of rustic refinement.

Actually, apart from the aesthetic of the program, Out of Town had more of an impact on me than I could ever dream – I did my degree in ecology, and vocational training in countryside management. I learned how to coppice, hedge- lay and manage woodland, just like in the video. It made me a lifelong lover of the countryside. And pipe smoking!

Another narrative is that Jack Hargreaves was quietly documenting the demise of a way of life; the disintegration of centuries of rural crafts and agricultural practice. And this is of course lamentably true. But none of that occurred to me as an awestruck child in front of the TV. That came later.

Recently I checked to see if there were any DVD resources of this intriguing series. It seems the master tapes were lost for years, but have now been refound. I was doubly disappointed though to find out that the price for the Box Set costs £50, and the Lost Episodes costs a staggering £114 ! Serves me right for being a retro nature geek. I mean, come on guys, I know you’ve got to make a margin out of this minority interest stuff, but couldn’t you leave just a little bit for the low end consumer? The single episode DVD’s just aren’t complete enough. Thankfully, my low end yearnings were satisfied in the availability of two cheaper books written off the back of each series by Hargreaves which I recently bought. Having just skimmed them for now, he is a great writer to rival Henry Williamson, Richard Jefferies, or the new kid on the block Richard Mabey. Jack Hargreaves was the grandfather of nature broadcasting who should be celebrated more.  



By South Utsire

Led Zep III Turntable Cover



Led Zeppelin III is a fantastic album. Even the dreaded Daily Mail's Live Magazine said it was "the greatest rock album of all time". So it must be true. OK it was in 2007, a full 37 years after it was produced. But you hardly expect the Daily Mail to be in the vanguard of popular music news. Not sure what they made of “Immigrant Song” though.  

The original vinyl edition was designed by Zacron, a multi-media artist whom Page had met in 1963 whilst Zacron was a student at Kingston College of Art. He had recently dropped out from a lectureship at Leeds Polytechnic to found Zacron Studios.

Behind the front cover was a rotatable laminated card disc, or volvelles, which shows through holes in the cover. Moving an image into place behind one hole would usually bring one or two others into place behind other holes. This could not be replicated on a conventional cassette or CD cover, but apparently there have been Japanese and British CDs packaged in miniature versions of the original sleeve.

Jimmy Page once famously criticized the artwork in a guitar magazine saying he thought it was “Tenny Bopperish”. Personally I think the word “unique” might be better employed. I suppose it depends what frame of mind you’re in. Enhanced or otherwise.

I originally saw the vinyl back in my student days. A friend of mine, who was a brilliant guitarist, brought it round to my rabbit hutch and flung it on the turntable. And out popped the inner sleeve, and my eyes lit up and scanned the rich phantasmagoria before me.

“Wowwwww… Vinny, that’s ACE.” (for that was his name).
“Oh yer can have it lar”
“Get away- it’ll ruin the LP. It won’t be in one piece”
“Ah never mind- take it!”

So I did, in thanks. It sat in various boxes and folders for several years, as a project in waiting. And finally I managed to mount it in a wooden glass picture frame with purple velvet on the background. Now that little piece of phantasmagoria takes pride of place in my living room like a permanent portal to an LSD trip, just hanging on the wall.



Vinny went on to play guitar for the Pete Best Band, the former drummer for the Beatles (before Ringo). They went to the USA and God knows where else touring the world doing Beatles covers. He had a whale of a time. I like to think it was good Karma for his act of generosity. I have lost touch with him to show him the fruits of his kindness hanging on my wall.

One very endearing feature of this album (and there are many I can think of), is that Led Zep retreated to Bron Y Aur cottage in Gwynedd, North Wales to experiment and develop the pastoral side of the music of the band. This has generated some sublime contrasts in the album. 

 

 by South Utsire

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Doors Live

Ahhhh the celestial movie showman, the adoring fans, the Texas backbeat narrow and hard to master. Sorry Justin Beavers and Timberslake, this is the real thing - Kingsnake limbs furiously pumping before the dawn. These live performances have etched themselves in my fractured eggshell mind, singing the Blues long before the world began ...

It was the greatest night of my life.
Although I still had not found a wife
I had my friends
Right there beside me.
We were close together.
We tripped the wall, we scaled the graveyard
Ancient shapes were all around us.
The wet dew felt fresh beside the fog.
Two made love in an ancient spot
One chased a rabbit into the dark
A girl got drunk and balled the dead
And I gave empty sermons to my head.
Cemetary, cool and quiet
Hate to leave your sacred lay
Dread the milky coming of the day.




By South Utsire

Witching Herbs



Witching Herbs starting top left then clockwise: Opium Poppy, Henbane, Monkshood (Aconite), Belladonna. According to one tradition, opium poppies sprung from the tears
of Aphrodite when she mourned for her beloved Adonis.

"O poppy-buds, that in the golden air,
Wave heavy hanging censers of delight,
Give me an anodyne for my despair;
O crimson poppy-blooms, O golden blight,
O careless drunken heavy poppy-flowers,
Make that the day for me be as the night.
Give me to lie down in your drowsy bowers,
That having breathed of your rich perfume,
My soul may have all-rest through all the hours;
So shall I lie within my little room.
While the poor tyrants of the world go by,
Restfully shrouded in your velvet gloom,
Beneath the wide face of the cloudless sky."

Paul Barnitz, The Book of Jade
by South Utsire

Susan Christie: Rainy Day (1970)

Hmm... and talking of being cheered up during the winter months...


by South Utsire

Arthur Rackham #1

I love Arthur Rackham, so be prepared for lots of hauntingly rendered  pixies, elves and maidens being pursued by trolls, dragons and menacing trees. I think I have to thank Arthur Rackham for single- handedly curing me of SAD. For years, like many people, I used to feel a bit bleached out & lost at this time of year, especially when the skies “go tupperware” and the sleet and misery won’t budge for days on end. But in Rackham’s faded aesthetic, I discovered a pastel world of greys and browns of all shades that is educative and delightful. It is understated in a way, and draws you in to his fantasy. It is one thing knowing the Sun God will return, but quite another to revel in the sleep of the Earth and Snow Goddess. Now I take as much pleasure in these dull days as the heady heights of summer.





By South Utsire

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Song of Summer


More vintage Ken Russell. 1968 this time. In addition to the above film Song of Summer (about Frederick Delius and Eric Fenby), between 1959 - 1970 Russell directed many other art documentaries for Monitor and Omnibus. Some of his other works during this period include: Elgar (1962), The Debussy Film (1965), Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967), and Dance of the Seven Veils (1970), a film about Richard Strauss.

Based on Eric Fenby's 1936 memoir 'Delius as I knew him', Song of Summer traces the last years of Frederick Delius, and Fenby's dedication in giving up five years of his life to helping the blind, paralysed composer set down the unfinished scores he could hear in his head. It is an immensely moving story of sacrifice, idealism and musical genius. Ken Russell once said that the best film he ever made was Song of Summer, and that he would not edit a single shot. I am inclined to agree, although I have not yet seen all his films.

Anyway, all this talk of Delius and with the January days lengthening slowly, is an opportunity to post his masterpiece On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. I thought I saw a cuckoo in a tree out on the fens yesterday, but with it's peachy coloured chest, it was probably a sparrowhawk. I parked under the tree and prepared my camera. By the time I looked up, it had given a laughing "kek kek kek" like Popeye and flown away. I guess it's not spring quite yet.


By South Utsire

Lair of the White Worm & Salome's Last Dance


Dir by Ken Russell, 1988. Amanda Donohoe provides nocturnal material for adolescent boys and feminists alike, with her suave poise, exuding all the charm of an aristocratic pantomime villain in leather suspenders. In looking for this clip, I noticed that Ken Russell had directed another film in 1988 called Salome's Last Dance, which is his unique take on the Oscar Wilde play. So quite by accident again, it develops a theme in earlier blogs. I must get a copy and watch it, but for now these clips (which make The Lair of the White Worm look "normal") will have to do.



By South Utsire

Monday, 20 January 2014

Dylan Thomas, from Old Garbo




by South Utsire

Sunset #2


Just playing around with my camera, still getting used to settings, filters, etc. Sometimes you make some good 'mistakes'.

By South Utsire

Meic Stevens: Yorric (1970)


I first heard this track whilst ploughing through all five volumes of Electronic Psychedelic Sitar Headswirlers. On the whole, EPSH is a dinful, disjointed compilation adventure, as though all the children in the local special needs school were locked in a small cupboard with a load of guitar strings and tin cans. It is a stolid lesson that the sitar is a mystical sonorous animal that needs love and years of soulful practice, and not another type of guitar for pop star wannabes. Now I hear there is another compilation, volumes 6- 10 !!!  Noooooo. Anyway, there are a few gems on the compilation, but this is the absolute standout piece which prompted me to get all of Meic Stevens work.

By South Utsire

The White Moderate

"... the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace, which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace, which is the presence of justice."
Martin Luther King

It is my view, at this particular moment in time, that 'moderates', whatever the issue in question, are forever mankind's stumbling block. Armies of moderates will infiltrate polling stations across the UK in 2015 to thwart all attempts by free-thinking individuals to affect change. Imagine letting these fuckers decide what music you listen to for the next four years.

By Mountain Forehead

The Sitar- The Instrument & It's Technique


My sitar arrived from India today! Unfortunately the strings were in a bit of a mess, and 2 broke immediately on trying to tune it. The quality of the workmanship leaves alot to be desired in places, but it's mostly surface stuff, inlay work, scuffs etc. Not enough to stump up £70 to return it. 

The Tar Gahan (which feeds the strings to the head) wasn't attached or glued properly and came clean off! So I have had to remove all the strings and glue it on. Still, I suppose it's a good way to get to know the instrument and how to tune it. It did come with a set of spare strings. Whilst the glue is drying, I can't play with it grrrr. Interestingly the terminal tuning knobs on the head are called KUNTI. I suppose I could twiddle them whilst I'm waiting. 

The book in the photo is a slender volume written by Manfred M Junius. It is regarded as an unofficial classic. Other tutoring books are out of print and too expensive, but the Junius remains in print at least. And something to work with. 


By South Utsire

Tony,Caro & John: All On The First Day (1972)


This psych-folk outfit are regularly compared to the Incredible String Band. That is true for only a couple of tracks on their 1972 album All On The First Day, but by no means all. Most of the tracks are much more melodic and well harmonised, although lyrically nowhere as bare- knuckle or poetic as the ISB. Even the freaky album- filler noddy songs (that seem to afflict every psych-folk album to some degree), are pretty good.

By South Utsire

Friday, 17 January 2014

Mindlock

Interesting how the media have portrayed the revelation by the newly branded “fugitive” Edward Snowdon (instead of “fugitive” perhaps read “persecuted civil rights campaigner”) that the NSA gathers and stores the data from 200 million text messages daily. This is in addition to the myriad revelations of civil rights infringements already at their hands, as this disturbing timeline from Al Jazeera shows. Obama has swooped down from the sky with new panic measures to reassure the masses that they don’t live in a globalised totalitarian milieu really, but that benevolent controls are underway to protect us all. The government will still hold onto telephone data, but agencies will be compelled to obtain permission from a secret court before tapping into it. I don’t know about you, but that leaves me somewhat short on faith. Today on Radio 4’s World At One, we were treated to the offhand admission from government that in the UK all the tools exist to effect a fascist system right now, but “of course nobody believes that is going to happen”. People instead just need reassuring. How utterly prescient were Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, and George Lucas in creating the film THX-1138. We must listen to their dystopian warnings.



By South Utsire

David Bowie- Letter to Hermione


From the only album I really like by David Bowie - Space Oddity (1969). Well, actually it's more a case of clinging to it like a desperate limpet yearning with soulful nostalgia for my Uni days. For years I pronounced this song "Letter to Her-ME-Own" like a prat, until I realised my working class transgression. And, I am glad to say I realised long before Hermione Granger from Harry Potter appeared to redeem me.

By South Utsire

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sunset #1


By South Utsire

Krishnamurti Kundalini Blues


I was looking through some Krishnamurti videos on Youtube and came across this. It was recorded in Brockwood Park 1979 in answer to the question "Is it true that yoga will awaken deeper energy, which is called Kundalini?" Quite accidentally, this develops a theme in previous blogs. I like the way in which Krishnamurti answers this - he is one of those people you find yourself laughing along with going "Yes... me too!" Perhaps that's the nature of Truth - when you hear it, it feels like you have known it all along.

By South Utsire

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Can: Mother Sky (1970)

14:26 of Krautrock at it's very best. Originally commissioned for the film Deep End (1970, Dir. Jerzy Skolimowski, with the beautiful Jane Asher) I searched as many Can albums as I could for this track, only to find it was on "Can Soundtracks" released 1970. Duh! Talk about right in front of your nose...

If you click on the Deep End image in this post, you will be redirected to the under- watery ending of the film, so don't say I ruined it for you. 



Deep End - The End


** Edit Sept 2015: The 14:26 version of Can: Mother Sky vanished from the ether so I had to replace it with this truncated version they're calling the Pilooski Edit. Please accept my heartfelt & unmitigated apologies for depriving you of about 8 minutes of brain burpling psych + images **

By South Utsire

Mark Fry: The Witch (1972)

Eerie psych-folk epic 'The Witch' from Mark Fry's classic 1972 LP 'Dreaming With Alice', with images from Oliver Postgate & Peter Firmin's 1965 animated series 'The Pogles', banned from repeat showings because the BBC deemed the witch too frightening. Thanks to flashbackcaruso.



By South Utsire 


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Alan Watts: A Conversation With Myself


Alan Watts talks about the interconnectedness of the Universe and how delineations, discriminations, & compartmentalisations, are ephemeral constructs of the human mind. Apropos, he cannot really have a conversation with himself, as any dialogue he has must be between the Universe and every other aspect of it. He should have called it “A conversation between the Universe and Itself.” Still, anyone who can brew up using a camping stove during such an erudite outside broadcast must have some cosmic laws nailed down.


By South Utsire

Uncle Monty - The End Of An Age


From the film Withnail and I (1987). Produced by George Harrison's HandMade Films, written and directed by Bruce Robinson. RIP Richard Griffiths.

By South Utsire

Monday, 13 January 2014

Rachel Brice Tribal Fusion


Carrying on this idea about the connection between yoga & belly dance, the wonderfully bendy Rachel Brice uses yoga, alongside tribal fusion dance and choreography in her belly dancing classes for preparation, spinal flexibility, and warm down. This is what she says in her training video:

“The yoga sequences and mini classes were designed to prepare your body, primarily your spine, for the intense isolations and articulations that are used in tribal fusion belly dance.”

And with a Kundalini like that, who can disagree.

By South Utsire

The Stomach Dance from Salomé


Aubrey Beardsley's 1893 print for Oscar Wilde's play Salome, which premiered in Paris in 1896. This depicts the Dance of the seven Veils. I was interested to read the following on Wiki:

The Dance of the Seven Veils is also thought to have originated with the myth of the fertility goddess Ishtar (Astarte) of Assyrian and Babylonian religion. In this myth, Ishtar decides to visit her sister, Ereshkigal, in the underworld. When Ishtar approaches the gates of the underworld, the gatekeeper lets Ishtar pass through the seven gates, opening one gate at a time. At each gate, Ishtar has to shed an article of clothing. When she finally passes the seventh gate, she is naked. She is then imprisoned by Ereshkigal. When she is later rescued and passes back through the seven gates, Ishtar receives one article of clothing back at each gate, and is fully clothed as she exits the last gate.

It may depict an underlying esoteric/ yogic practice of opening the Seven Chakra before undertaking any energy work, thus the removal of each veil is an opening of the corresponding energy centre before entering the "Temple" of the underworld for renewal. The similarity between belly dancing and Yoga has always struck me as logical; the freeing of the lower back and abdominal floor/ Kundalini, maybe just by another name...



By South Utsire