At Il Violino e la Selce
26th July 2002 – Il Violino e la Selce, Corte Malatestiana, Fano, IT
- The Last Rites of Spring
- Amethyst Deceivers (Version 2)
- Are You Shivering?
- An Unearthly Red
Transitional gig. This gig was first announced on June 14th 2002.
Some sources mislabel this gig as taking place on July 28th, but according to posters and Massimo himself, the correct date is July 26th 2002.
Debut performances of “The Last Rites of Spring,” “Are You Shivering?” and “Ostia,” final live performances of “Amethyst Deceivers (Version 2),” “A.Y.O.R.,” and “Backwards”.
Francesco Battisti organized the event in conjunction with Il Violino e La Selce, a festival dedicated to contemporary music.
Until the AMT surfaced, I just assumed Thighpaulsandra played at this gig, but as it turns out, he didn’t; I don’t know why. John, Peter, and Ossian all stepped up their game in their performances as a result, since their sound had never been so stripped down before. Peter played the piano parts on “Amethyst Deceivers” and John handled his own vocal loops (this is of note, because once Thighpaulsandra returned to the band at the next gig, he would handle mixing John’s loops).
Before “The Last Rites of Spring,” two audience members shout “Hi, Peter!” and “Go, Sleazy!” respectively. This version of the song is quite nascent, lacking the “We’re feral” and “William Burroughs is hallucinating in space” lyrics. The backing video does not contain the lemur chewing centipedes either, but the original Coil black sun flashes onscreen at the very end. Midway through the song, John says, “Tonight we get the chance to worship at an original pagan temple, which is the star-studded sky. Because we’re children of the black sun. We’re born under a black sun, we’re children of the black sun. Children of the black sun.” Towards the end, John struggles to get a vocal loop going, but after an attempt or two, he succeeds. After the song, he says, “There’s a strange wind blowing, tonight. I think it’s the precursor wind to this meteorite that some of you have read about that’s gonna hit the earth in the year 2017, I think it’s the first of February. It’s as large as a continent and I think that’s the end of us all. So, if you’re thinking of asking someone to do something nice to you, I advise you start now.” As “Amethyst Deceivers” begins, John says, “Well, you have got about 20, 30 years, still, but you may as well start now.” Over the years, there have been numerous such warning reports on meteorites like the one John mentions here. I’m not sure which particularly case he is referring to, though.
Before “Are You Shivering?” John says, “Please excuse me reading the lyrics for this one. It’s, uh, the first time we’ve played it live at all. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve done it all since we recorded it, uh, live practically in the studio, so please excuse it. Thank you. It’s ‘Are You Shivering?’” This is the one reasonably different version I have ever heard of the song; every other performance just seemed to rely a little too much on the backing audio track.
“Ostia (The Death of Pasolini),” the fourth track off of Horse Rotorvator, remains one of the most beloved and enduring classic Coil songs they ever recorded. It’s no wonder they wanted to play it live at some point, especially for this particular occasion, as the track honors Pier Palo Pasolini, a homosexual Italian poet, intellectual, social activist, and film director, who adapted Marquis de Sade’s 1785 novel, 120 Days of Sodom, into a 1975 art film titled Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, an adaptation which set the events of the novel within the context of 1940s Italian fascism, and was allegedly murdered by Giuseppe Pelosi, a 17-year-old hustler whom he tried to seduce the day of his death, on November 2nd, 1975. When it came time for Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom to be rereleased on Blu-Ray in 2008, Peter was asked if the Coil song “Ostia” had a music video which they could include in the bonus features of the movie. The following is his review, which you could originally find here:
Without doubt, the two film-makers who influenced me the most as a teenager were Fellini and Pasolini. I saw Fellini-Satyricon at the age of about 15 in a cinema we used to call the “flea-pit” in Newcastle in the North of England, even though I was not technically old enough to get in. The combination of a kind of almost Buddhist Existentialism, with Decadence, Gay Desire and Sexuality, provided an irresistable romantic counterpoint to William Burrough’s rather gitty and “hard-boiled” vision of the world, that had recently set me free of any inherited middle class assumptions about my own sexuality and about the the world and reality itself.
I think mostly because of his eye for the kind of boys I like best – small dark-eyed ruffians – I soon started to pay attention to Pasolini’s films also. At first he seemed kind of hung up in a Catholic way, and obsessed with Catholic imagery, but with the Arabian Nights, he suddenly revealed himself and his interests more nakedly, more honestly, it felt to me. This craving for honesty in any creative endevor remains at the centre of my work to this day. Certainly it was part of what TG, Coil and all my more recent work has been all about.
I already was quite familiar with the book of 120 Says of Sodom, when I heard it was to be Pasolini’s next (and final, as it turned out) film project. The paperback copy I owned was not very well bound and so already fell open at the pages featuring particularly gay (or “exclusively masculine” as de Sade called them) murders or tortures, as a consequence of my frequent re-readings – The pages didn’t actually stick together – I had too much respect for books in general to “spill my seed” onto the volume itself…
I feel weird to have the name of a genre of music named after my first label – Industrial – How weird must it be to have a whole category of Sexual Deviance from the “bell curve” , named after one, as de Sade did?
Obviously when I heard of Pasolini’s murder at the hands of a rent boy, just before the film came out, it became a poignant and confusing event, that made a big impression on my adolescent self.
When Salo finally did come out I saw it several times, with varying levels of cuts imposed. At first I was shocked to find the film so flagrantly un-pornographic, and emotionally involving in a genuinely GOOD way (unlike the Saw’s and Hostel’s of these days, despite the almost complete absence of close-up shots.
It was clearly a work of brilliance, unlike anything made before or since.
When Balance and I finally had free reign to explore all our obsessions as public works in Coil, it seemed natural to make the song “Ostia – The Death of Pasolini” about the murder…
This year when the British Film Institute asked me if there was a video for Osia they could include with the new Blu-Ray, Hi-def, fully uncensored edition of Salo, I was thrilled and said there wasn’t, “but I’ll make you one…”
– To be on the same disc as Pasolini’s last & greatest work is a great honour for me.
According to Massimo, “Peter and Geff asked me to choose a Pasolini poem to open the live version of Ostia for a Coil performance in Italy. The audience loved it and since that first time we called it Massimo’s Version. I suggested slowing down the song, as to suggest a funeral march.” The song was thus forever altered to fit this mold. Before Massimo reads the poem at this performance, John says, “We’re going to do, in a minute, a song about a, an Italian film director who’s a favorite of ours.” Someone in the audience shouts “The white cliffs of Dover!” John responds, “Yes, yes, maybe. Heh. It could be that one. It could be about Argento, but it’s not. Heh.” I assume John meant Dario Argento, as his is a big name in the Italian horror genre, but then, Dario Argento didn’t direct 1944’s The White Cliffs of Dover. That honor belongs to Clarence Brown and Sidney Franklin. Perhaps Dario Argento just has a popular film which depicts the actual white cliffs of Dover, a location on the English coastline which John referred to as “the number one suicide spot in the world” in his Radio Inferno interview on June 20, 2001 and which he referenced in the original version of the song.
The Pasolini poem is as follows:
Quanto al futuro, ascolti: i suoi figli fascisti veleggeranno verso i mondi della Nuova Preistoria. Io me ne staro la, come colui che sta sulle rive del mare in cui ricomincia la vita. Solo, o quasi, sul vecchio litorale fra ruderi di antiche civilta, Ravenna Ostia o Bombay — e uguale — con Dei che si scrostano, problemi vecchi — quale la lotta di classe — che si dissolvono… Come un partigiano morto prima del maggio del ’45, comincero piano piano a decompormi, nella luce straziante di quel mare, poeta e cittadino dimenticato.
Roughly translated (thanks to Brainwashed), it means something like:
As to the future, listen: your fascist sons will sail to the worlds of New Prehistory. I will stay there, one who stays on the seashore where life begins again; alone, or almost, on the old coast among the ruins of ancient civilization: Ravenna, Ostia, or Bombay, it makes no difference; with gods that lose its crust [?], old problems — like the class struggle — that dissolve away. Like a partisan killed before May ’45, I shall begin to decompose, slowly, slowly, in the agonizing light of that sea, a poet and a forgotten citizen.
This particular reading earns an applause from the audience. As “Ostia” begins, John says, “The next time you go to a sacred place, whether that be a church, or a pagan site, or somewhere in your own home, or in your own heart, please say a prayer for Pier Paolo Pasolini.” After the song, he says, “Thank you. Where is Giuseppe Pelosi, now, really? Does anyone know? Is he out of prison? This is the guy who killed – apparently is supposed to have killed – Pasolini, and in England knows about these things, so if anyone can tell me afterwards, please say.” Someone in the audience says, “Nobody knows.” John responds, “Nobody knows! Okay. Well, let’s find him.” The audience laughs. This is the only live version I know of where John mentions Pelosi in the lyrics.
During “An Unearthly Red,” Pierce and Massimo stand before the video projection with their backs to the audience. After the song, John says, “I wonder who that song was about. I think I’m gonna become a Muslim anyway – join the other side.” Pause. “Then again, they’re just a religion based on goats and water holes as well, so I better not.” Pause. “You know one thing I read recently about what George Bush has just, uh, agreed again to completely ignore the opinions of any well-thinking, well-meaning, good-hearted person in the world again, as is his want, as is his father’s want, you know, they have a plan to bring about Armageddon. This is pretty obvious and it’s pretty close, uh, but the weird little thing that really has fucked me up, uh, is this thing they have called, uh, ‘Elf.’ It’s ‘extremely low frequencies’ which they use to, uh, navigate submarines, nuclear submarines through the world’s oceans, and it uses an extremely low pulse, and this pulse, what it does, one of the effects it has is it disrupts the normal, uh, navigational skills and the communication skills of the seatons [sic] – you know, the whales and the dolphins. Basically, they’re gonna be destroyed by this, uh, and against, you know, the wishes of those in the know, the Americans have completely just said “Fuck you” and gone ahead with this, so it’s a fucking tragic situation, actually.” The audience applauds. He continues, “I don’t, I don’t understand why animals haven’t worked out how stupid some human beings are and just attacked them en masse, you know? Like you might be out in the forest in America somewhere and be attacked and eaten by squirrels or gored to death by moose or reindeer, you know. I don’t get it. Why don’t, why don’t animals just do this? Tear them to fucking pieces.” Probably his most politically charged speech at any concert ever. Indeed, George Bush really did allow the U.S. Navy to use sonar and radar equipment that proved harmful to sea life (though there is some contention as to HOW harmful it was). This was officially the point where “An Unearthly Red” became a political statement against George W. Bush, which got all the more emphatic once Bush claimed that God told him to “end the tyranny” in Iraq. Really, I think it is common knowledge by this point that Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11, yet America invaded them anyway. Coil really did not take kindly to this claim of his.
Before “A.Y.O.R.” begins, John says, “This next song is uh, is uh, recommended to you at your own risk. ‘A.Y.O.R.’” After the song, he says, “I am very, very hot. I must drink more water.”
Before “Backwards,” John says, “There’s something coming. There is something coming. Something coming, something coming.” The taper of AMT #1 (?) interjects, “Here we go,” and John repeats him. Midway through the song, Pierce and Massimo retreat towards backstage; they return during the climax and approach John to spray an anal enema of fake blood onto his pant legs. After the song, he says, “Thank you very much, Fano. Thank you for coming to see us. We did feel love; thank you, goodnight.”
Backstage, the other members kiss each other and wish Massimo a happy birthday. Peter says, “A lot of things don’t work, but I didn’t think it was that bad.” John asks, “What didn’t work?” Ossian: “Some, I thought some things worked really well.” John: “God, I got bored of ‘A.Y.O.R.’ ‘A.Y.O.R.’” Peter: “Are you telling me it took too long?” Someone scoffs.
John Balance – vocal looper, cymbals on “The Last Rites of Spring”.
Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson.
Simon Norris (Ossian Brown) – bells on “The Last Rites of Spring”.
Massimo Villani – performer.
Pierce Wyss – performer.
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AMT #1 – draZen