Un(der)seen Cinema: The Decline of Western Civilization

Penelope Spheeris’s 1980 film about the LA punk scene features bands like X, the Germs, Black Flag and Fear. You get the feeling that the scene is peaking when Nicole, the Germ’s manager explains why they don’t get gigs anymore. With the new bands, she says “there’s no threat of an imminent riot”. The Germ’s Darby Crash, famous for smearing himself with peanut butter and rolling in broken glass, died of a suicidal heroin overdose shortly before the film came out. Some of the performances are eardrumbursting spectacular, including some of the best by X, who perform “I’m Desperate”:

i play too hard when i ought to go to sleep / they pick on me because i really got the beat / some people give me the creeps / every other week i need a new address / landlord landlord landlord cleaning up the mess / our whole fucking life is a wreck / we’re desperate / get used to it it’s kiss or kill / coca-cola and a motorola kitchen / nauga-hyde and a tie-dye t-shirt / last night everything broke

Un(der)known Writers: Penelope Mortimer

There is much to know about Penelope Mortimer. She was married to one man, but gave birth to two children from extramarital affairs with two other, separate men. While pregnant, she would leave her first husband for her second, John Mortimer. Their relationship was anything but sunny, and the details became excellent source material for her scathingly brilliant novels, of which The Pumpkin Eater stands out.