Monday, March 31, 2008

Justified and Ancient

Two guys, British techno-pop rockers, named Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, formed a group called the KLF. The name KLF was the last in a long line of group alias. They were part of the British acid house movement in music in the 1980's and early 90's, and they based their group’s mythos and media on a book.

From the outset, they adopted the philosophy espoused by esoteric novels The Illuminatus! Trilogy, gaining notoriety for various anarchic situationist manifestations, including the defacement of billboard adverts, the posting of prominent cryptic advertisements in NME magazine and the mainstream press, and highly distinctive and unusual performances on Top of the Pops. Their most notorious performance was at the February 1992 BRIT Awards, where they fired machine gun blanks into the audience and dumped a dead sheep at the aftershow party. This performance announced The KLF's departure from the music business, and in May 1992 the duo deleted their entire back catalogue. (from wiki)

In their 1991 album “The White Room”, but with origins dating back to their debut album, they published this song, called “Justified and Ancient” or “Stand by the Jams”. The imagery in this video is telling. It depicts the Goddess of Chaos, Mu, and her hand maidens, and makes numerous references to Mu or Lemuria. It also makes visual references to the burning wicker man, which is a pagan ritual. What’s more, they put Tammy Wynette, who is the undisputed queen of country, as the Goddess Mu, which I believe is a stroke of pop culture genius. This was filmed before her death in April of 1998.

The title "Justified and Ancient" refers to The KLF's pseudonym and earlier incarnation, "The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu" (The JAMs). The JAMs took their name from - and mirrored - a fictional subversive cult from the 1960s intellectual conspiratorial novels The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Just as the fictional JAMs made it their remit to propagate chaos and confusion, so too did the real JAMs and The KLF. Their attempts to subvert the music industry and other establishments were frequent, unconcealed and controversial. The song "Justified and Ancient" is a statement of identity and rebellious intent. Moreover, it deliberately understates this intent. (from wiki)

I stumbled upon this song about 10 years ago and it struck a chord in me that I’ve never been able to shake. I didn’t understand the subtle undertones and the imagery then. Now, as I find myself navigating a changing and emerging new world at this unique time in Earth’s spiritual history, and evolving right along with it, I can say that I finally get it. If there was ever a time that the Goddess of Chaos was having her way with the world, be it Kali Ma, Sekmet, or Mu, now is that time. As She ruthlessly paves the way for transformation on this tiny planet, can we only hope but to stare in awe at her power and hold on as tight as we can?

Or do we release comfortable (but futile) illusions of control to ride the ebb and flow of change as best as we are able?

Do we simply let go?

Here, for your consideration, is one of my favorite songs and videos, an instance where mankind's spiritual transformation manifests in popular culture.

1 comment:

Monsieur Nasty said...

Oh, good grief! I'm having drag queen flashbacks. There's a queen at one of the bars here (I haven't been for years, admittedly) who's been doing this song for more than 10 years!

It's only clever seeing a man dressed as a Vegas showgirl with his penis tucked between his legs for the first dozen times. At least, that's what my boyfriend tells me every weekend after pizza night (when I get real frisky...tomato sauce does that to me).

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