This is the time of year when the old year "dies" (at sunset on the shortest day, the day of the winter solstice) and the new year is "born" (at sunrise on the day after the solstice) and the Celts, Saxons and Norse celebrate their variants of "yuletide" with a lengthy binge of "wassailing" (eating, drinking, dancing, fucking, etc.).

None of it has the slightest bit to do with anything that happened in the Levant between Jewish freedom fighters and Romans or with any Abrahamic monotheistic death cult. I shall leave religion to the craven and the feeble-minded and to those who wish to prey upon them.

The only thing I believe in is the precious bounty that is any and all life and the potential for good that exists within all people, even if it is all too rarely fulfilled.

So listen to some proper pagan morherfuckery and merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a quality Quanza, super Solstice and awesome anything else you choose to observe.

Proceed the Weedian - Pyres of the Oregonian - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #228

For a blogger who just completed a thousand words on Black Sabbath that very morning, the serendipitous penetration of the bunker by a postal delivery -from no less than the Seth Man himself, of no less than Ryan Kittrell-as-Pyres of the Oregonian’s full length debut, a CD fulla the same things I was still grooving on from last week’s emanation- could seem to hold greater weight. After heavy mediation on the heaviest ur-text of my entire music writing career, how restorative to be given a behind-the-curtain look at what the next generation are doing with the Sabbath text, filtered through another generation of hyper-politicised speech, sketchy wars, lying governance. If the oil fires of the Gulf war and the Clinton years coupled with silicon valley and the first four Sabbath albums (American versions, natch, with more groove and fewer covers of groove) created Dopesmoker, and the continued output of Sunn O))) was nothing but the emotion of the post September 11th Bush years distilled into sound like a jet turbine eating a planet made of tar; what would eight years of Obama and the slow legalisation of hyperapparent Sweet Leaf produce in the latest green-fingered first-bearded generation of Melvinites; along with the consumption of all those great works in addition to Sabbath’s own?

Behind the Wall of Sleep - The first four Sabbath albums and monolithic legacies - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #227

When I first met you, didn't realize
I can't forget you, for your surprise
you introduced me, to my mind
And left me wanting, you and your kind

I love you, Oh you know it

It occurs to me in all my occult murmurings and outrageous stumbling oversimplification of rock and roll idolatry I’ve never directly tackled Black Sabbath. It’s never felt entirely necessary, as some poor sheltered soul might be unaware of Blue Cheer or Pentagram, or, perish the thought, the MC5, but Black Sabbath are to heavy rock what north is to navigation; a point which so utterly dominates any conversation about heavy rock and roll; even so-called escapes are completed with reference to Iommi, Osbourne, Ward and Butler; and yet the rest of the modern rock press has been comparatively light on the works of Sabbath, and I don’t feel like they’re played as often in bars and in covers as perhaps they should be. Maybe there’s a feeling that we’re all marinating in the bath of Sabbath, but I don’t think there can ever be enough remembrance of the first four records.

Master Heartache: Bidding farewell to John Garner

I shan’t keep you long for he never did, but singer, stoner, literal rock god and Lewis-and-Clarke level pioneer John Garner has lost his battle with cancer. To this day Sir Lord Baltimore’s 1971 Kingdom Come is one of the greatest records of all time, and the needle-scratch guitars and cock-thrusting vocals are at the heart of that well-deserved fame. You were the first heavy metal vocalist and today still so few match up. Send word, you motherfucker, you were really the best of us.

After the Apocalypse: Farewell to the last of Britain’s nuclear bombers.

This October saw the final flight of XH558, the final airworthy Avro Vulcan nuclear bomber, but what does it mean that another Cold War colossus has been resigned to mothballs? An abandonment of our heritage or an acceptance of it?

Smile on your brother, everybody get together - IN SEARCH OF PEACE

Because military force is inexplicably legal, and governments pay lip-service to representing the people, there is a sense running through western society that war is somehow legal and just. Individual wars may be unjust and unacceptable (in fact, every war thusfar), but the institution of military conflict is somehow a legitimate function of government. This is utterly wrong. The attacks by Daesh[i] on Paris and Tunisia, on Russian tourists on an airliner over Sharm el Sheikh and the constant (and forgotten) assault on the young and (relatively) liberal Syria and new Iraq are an attack on humanity and on all of us, but more than that they are attacks on leisure. They do not target our means of production, nor even our financial or government institutions, but the thing that most distinguishes our world from the one they wish to create with their weak and pathetic caliphate; a world of music, leisure and fun. Holidays, drinking, a concert at Paris’ legendary Bataclan. In both their propaganda and their recruitment, as well as their ineffective and cowardly attacks, Daesh are at war with the youth and the decadence of the west. It’s a war they’re certain to lose as certain as the sun is to rise.
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