Sexy Intellectual's back with another video that explores the outer reaches of rock journalism, here posing the enigma: How was it that a one-hit wonder (David Bowie, with Space Oddity and its now famous Major Tom), a crazed self-destructive rock and roll animal (Iggy Stooge), and a rapidly fading ex-star junkie who had released a flop solo (Lou Reed) ignited so fabulously in such a short time, securing their places in the rock Valhalla? Well, the answer's pretty much Andy Warhol, and the way in which that retort figures is what's so interesting about this document. Sacred Triangle requires a bit of close listening to discern subtler features, not to mention a bucketful of the obvious, but the nexus point of all this strange activity turned out to be far more profound than it had any right to be.
Warhol, prime idiot in the American art world, was the realization of the banker's dream, a simplistic, scattered, controllable oddfellow who could be exploited to produce both prestige and profit for the business crowd: prestige via faux integration into the art world and of course the profit arising from that. Artists have always been a mysterious pain in the ass to businessmen, and Warhol opened a door they hadn't known existed until he arrived. Andy, however, was indeed an artist, if, rightfully and in a saner world, minor, not to mention a climber who possessed an fairly canny grasp of what could be accomplished once one had one's foot in the executive suite. Already a made man, he struck out for newer pastures at every given opportunity. The Velvet Underground came astern.
Lou Reed is also, by any artistic and rational accounting, a minor figure as well, the gross percentage of his releases mediocre and eminently avoidable. I've long contended that John Cale especially but also the rest of the constantly shifting others were far superior as musicians (lay an ear on that fabulous Final V.U.: 1971 - 1973 Japanese box set and learn the truth), but, face it, VU's real genius lay primarily in Cale. This, of course is heresy, what with the idolatry curiously heaped on Reed, but demonstrably the case. Dave Thompson, a middling crit-journalist but fairly lucid nathless here, happens to agree, briefly and circuitously (which figures). Bowie was a lot like Reed, having put out a number of singles and a cutesy, novelty, pop debut LP that was kinda, as Thompson says further, "sad".
Then there was the Igster.
Like Bowie, James Osterberg (Iggy Stooge) was floored by the Velvets and, after seeing them in concert, attached himself to Nico...and in exactly the way one would expect should one be familiar with the wild man, not something ex-boyfriend Reed was fond of. Nonetheless, this was the critical juncture for a guy who would have a gigantic impact on rock and punk, so John Cale, also struck by Osterberg's ferocious personna, produced the first Stooges LP. Already, borders were bleeding into one another. Then Bowie, working with buddy Tony Visconti, started to coalesce his vision with The Man Who Sold the World. This was where things began to take off. Now, how that slid into glam rock alongside Marc Bolan and T.Rex is actually more a matter of accident than purposive manipulation, but happen it did, and the fertile grounds needed for a focal point manifested.
That puts us at the doorway of the film's true threshold, ready to jump into the deep end of the pool because Warhol had just released his Pork film, which would prove to have a huge effect on the alienated sector of the artistic youth world. From here, things pick up and sprint in the documentary, and the cavalcade of critics and figures who were there give a great oral recitation of the wheres and whens: Wayne/Jayne County, Leee Childers, Billy Name, and so on. Thus, rather than spoil the surprises the story entails, I'll leave the reader at the stage precipice and invite all and sundry to dare the chaos behind the curtain. It's a fascinating tale containing surprising tidbits and factoids along with a roller coaster ride into the 70s and its hairier reaches.
But here's a little teaser: Ziggy Stardust? Despite many clues that it could've been Jimi Hendrix, it wasn't. Ziggy was Iggy. Watch this exploration and judge for yourself.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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