Human Flower Project

The Flower of Prog Rock


Musician Ted Thomas turns us on to a human flower project of the 1970s. When you decode it, send word (250 or less, please).


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Peter Gabriel performs “Willow Farm” with Genesis

Photo: Peter Gabriel Scrapbook

Back about 1972, the pop music scene started diversifying way too wildly and broadly for us to keep up on all fronts (having one’s head in a Gratefully Dead cloud didn’t help things). So except for “Tommy” by the Who, we completely missed, among other genres, the Progressive Rock scene. Our friend Ted Thomas, a founder of prog rock band Thirteen of Everything,  is gently trying to educate us some 35 years later.

Recently, he treated us to a segment of concert footage—the band Genesis playing its opus “Supper’s Ready.”

 


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Beautiful but not too beautiful: Gabriel at a later concert

Photo: Peter Gabriel Scrapbook

“How dare I be so beautiful?” sang Peter Gabriel, and circa 1973 that was a legitimate question. He continued:

Wandering through the chaos the battle has left,

We climb up a mountain of human flesh,

To a plateau of green grass, and green trees full of life.

A young figure sits still by a pool,

He’s been stamped “human bacon” by some butchery tool.

(he is you)

Social security took care of this lad.

We watch in reverence, as narcissus is turned to a flower.

A flower?

At this point, Gabriel dons a satiny corolla and launches into “Willow Farm,” its lyrics also cryptic enough to keep any stoner (or graduate student) up half the night. (Some Genesis-ologists claim to have unearthed Gabriel’s source for this costume: a kiddie show called Flower Pot Men that used to air over the BBC. Maybe we can convince John Levett to deconstruct Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men for us at a later date.)

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Genesis currency

Photo: Peter Gabriel Scrapbook

We also came across this piece of Genesis scrip, quite nice, with Gabriel in his corolla mask, a sunflower, and the motto “Selling England by the Pound” (an anarchical English take, perhaps, on another rocker satire—the Mothers of Invention and their very American LP “We’re Only in It for the Money.”)

Amazing how sticky rock intrigue is, still enticing after all these years! For now, we’ll enjoy this handsome young fellow prancing about in a black leotard. We’ll assume this is a human flower project in androgyny—and get the next tutorial from Ted on down the line. (He sends along this link to the Genesis Museum for those eager to begin.)

By the way, Ted co-hosts Virtual Noise, a prog rock radio show every Sunday evening on Austin’s KOOP 91.7 FM. Thank you Ted, for continually daring to be beautiful, patient, and much else.



Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/31 at 01:31 PM

Comments

Re: your comment on the photo of the Genesis pound note:
“the motto “Selling England by the Pound” (an anarchical English take, perhaps, on another rocker satire-the Mothers of Invention and their very American LP “We’re Only in It for the Money.”)”  ....

Actually,Selling England by the Pound is the title of the Genesis album that followed Foxtrot (Foxtrot being the one with Supper’s Ready).  I believe this fake money was a promotional item for the album. I believe that the phrase Selling England by the Pound was meant to bemoan the passing of “olde England” and the like.

The phrase is featured in the lead track from the Selling album, “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight”.. note
the following links to some thoughts on this if you’re interested.

http://www.donaghue.karoo.net/music/reviews/selling_england.html

http://starling.rinet.ru/music/song1.htm

“Paperlate - cried a voice in the crowd
Old man dies - the note he left was signed
‘Old Father Thames’ - it seems he’s drowned
Selling England by the pound”

THANKS!
- Ted

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/31 at 02:40 PM

My freshman-year roommate was a serious Genesis fan.  I think by the end of the year, I actually could have explained Lamb Lies Down on Broadway to you—not just the song, but the whole damn thing.

Metal motion comes in bursts,
But the gas station can quench that thirst.
Suspension cracked on unmade road
The truckers eyes read Overload

Posted by Craig @ Ellis Hollow on 03/31 at 07:27 PM
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