Sunday, November 15, 2009

ROCK Sex: "THE PRISONER: I Am Not a Number!"

"I loved THE PRISONER, which was a very odd sort of hybrid of sci-fi, mystery and character, and certainly there are elements of THE PRISONER in both ALIAS and LOST. "
-J.J. Abrams

THE PRISONER is uniformly hailed as one of the greatest, smartest, and most innovative TV series ever made. Its relentless defence of the rights of the individual against a repressive state has made it a timeless classic. Everything comes around again and here's a charter course of the loop.

"THE PRISONER" Opening Credits; music by Ron Grainer (1967)


Patrick McGoohan plays a nameless secret agent who resigns. He is abducted to an unknown location called The Village, a mod and cosmopolitan 'rest home' for those who know too much. He is renamed Number 6, but rejects it vehemently and defends his identity against a parade of interrogators called Number 2. Will he get out, and who is Number 1?


THE PRISONER was 17 episodes that fought fiercely against the encroaching corporate/military state, and ended with one of the most surreal, challenging, and outrageous epilogues ever broadcast.

Marvel Comics attempted to do a comic of THE PRISONER in the mid-70's. Here's unreleased art by the legendary Jack Kirby interpreting our hero's resignation from the secret agency...

THE PRISONER is supposed to be the inspiration for this rare B-Side by The Clash...

THE CLASH -"The Prisoner" (1978)

It is definitely the inspiration for this hip homage by The Times, filmed in Portmeiron, the Welsh village where THE PRISONER was filmed...

THE TIMES -"I Helped Patrick McGoohan Escape" (1982)

(During this same period, there was a Mod/Garage band called The Prisoners who may have been named after the series.)

And here's another fun homage video by Altered Images...

ALTERED IMAGES -"See Those Eyes" (1982)

Iron Maiden paid tribute to THE PRISONER twice...

IRON MAIDEN -"The Prisoner" (1982)

IRON MAIDEN -"Back In the Village" (1984)

XTC filmed two videos in Portmeirion that tribute the series...

XTC -"The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" (1987)

XTC -"The Meeting Place" (1967)

In 1989, DC Comics published a superior illustrated sequel to the series called "THE PRISONER: Shattered Visage", by Mark Askwith and Dean Motter. It carefully homaged and extended all the best apsects of the story, and was universally acclaimed by fans with attention spans. If there had been a Money Suit with any sense, it would have made a brilliant film or TV mini-series.

Smart Art fans should also check out MIRACLEMAN #21, by Neil Gaiman, for another take. (This is currently out-of-print but may see reprinting by Marvel Comics in 2010.)

This SUPERGRASS video was also filmed in Portmeirion with subtle winks at THE PRISONER...
SUPERGRASS -"Alright" (1995)

THE PRISONER was a prime inspiration for the NOWHERE MAN TV series starring Bruce Greenwood...

"NOWHERE MAN" (1995)

THE SIMPSONS did a hilarious tribute/parody of THE PRISONER, in which Homer was exiled to The Village and met Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan himself). The clips aren't legally avialable so here's a photo...

The album/dvd "Hullabaloo" (2002) by Muse uses imagery that was inspired by THE PRISONER...

Top: a free man
Bottom: Muse

The final episode of THE PRISONER, "Fall Out", featured The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" in the score. The influence of mod clothing styles, mid-60's pop, and The Beatles still rings through the sounds, fashions, and videos of The Times, Altered Images, XTC, and Supergrass.

Fittingly, here is George's son, Dhani Harrison, cheekily taking the name of his band thenewno2 from the series and a lot of its rebel outlook in this video...

thenewno2 -"Choose What You're Watching" (2008)

And now the Arrival of thenewno6...


"Be seeing you!"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

ROCK Sex: "These are the Good Times!"

ROCK Sex is all about the throughline that runs through everything.

Chic conquered Disco with a tight propulsive rhythm section (Tony Thompson (d), Bernard Edwards (b), Nile Rogers (g)), and bright pop harmonies...

CHIC -"Good Times" (1979)

Sugar Hill Records used that as the backbeat for THE breakthrough Rap song emceed by The Sugarhill Gang. The music was played by Keith Leblanc (d), Skip McDonald (g), and Doug Wimbish (b), who went on to become the avant-funk group Tackhead.

SUGARHILL GANG -"Rapper's Delight" (1979)

Freddie Mercury loved that hard beat and the emerging hiphop so much that he corraled Queen into one of the biggest hits they ever had...

QUEEN -"Another One Bites the Dust" (1980)

Defunkt came out of the NYC post-punk scene, with an edgy mix of James Brown rhythms, Sonny Sharrock guitar, and Charles Bukowski-esque lyrics. This acerbic deconstruction of "Good Times" contrasts prostitution and addiction against the Reagan whitewash of the American Dream.

DEFUNKT -"In the Good Times" (1981)

And here's that rhythm again in this recent dance club hit by The Ting Tings from England. (The real video can't be embedded.)...

TING TINGS -"Shut Up and Let Me Go" (2008)

"I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
to the hip hip hop, ah you don't stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat!"

Friday, November 13, 2009

ROCK Sex: "And now I wanna be your dog!"

The original...

THE STOOGES -"I Wanna Be Your Dog" (1969)

The deluge...

SID VICIOUS -"I Wanna Be Your Dog" (1978)

I love this one by all- female band Las Vulpess from Spain. Instead of "come on" I think she's saying "cabron", which is even better...

LAS VULPESS -"Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra" (1983)

JOAN JETT -"I Wanna Be Your Dog" (1988)

SONIC YOUTH with IGGY POP -"I Wanna Be Your Dog" (late 80's)

EMILIE SIMON -"I Wanna Be Your Dog" (2003)

Go ahead, chant with me: "Now I wanna read your Blog/ now I wanna read your Blog...!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009


STARSTRUCK, the illustrated Sci-Fi masterpiece where Riot Grrls take over the galaxy, has new pages on FACEBOOK!

You can join the Group page...

...and also become a Fan...

Starstruck Galatia & Brucilla

We all know that the 80's renaissance of comix included WATCHMEN, DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, AMERICAN FLAGG, MIRACLEMAN, and LOVE & ROCKETS.

But easily as bold, much more ambitious, and far more funny was STARSTRUCK. Yet the acclaimed series by Elaine Lee and Michael Kaluta was criminally overlooked. And let's face it... it's because it starred kickass funny women instead of terse aggro men. Now it has returned in monthly issues with expanded art and stunning color.

Time to catch up to the better revolution and support STARSTRUCK today!