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Saturday 10 December 2011

California Dreamin’ (“Allahu Akbar!” Remix)

Perhaps, on this particular December day, we can be forgiven for not sharing the sentiments expressed in the following wistful opening lyrics to California Dreamin’:

All the leaves are brown
And the sky is grey
I've been for a walk
On a winter's day

I'd be safe and warm
If I was in L.A
California Dreamin'
On such a winter's day

You’d not be so much ‘safe and warm’ in L.A. as ‘dead and cold’ had you encountered the gunman shown in the videos below, standing with a pistol at the Sunset and Vine intersection in L.A. shooting at anyone who drove by. Although the second of the videos is only a few seconds in length, it demonstrates the cool, calculated and deliberate nature of the violence. What motivated this man to seek to kill ordinary people completely unknown to him? This is something that appears to baffle the news reporters in the first video, but the clue is provided at 2 minutes 42 seconds in, where a witness states that the killer was yelling “Allahu Akbar!” as he went about his nefarious work. Might there not be a hint in these two increasingly tiresomely familiar words? What kind of god takes a delight in killing? Evidently the one that this man chose to follow.

Strangely, the hippies of the Mamas and Papas omitted to display the 'enrichment' and 'diversity' of contemporary L.A. in the promotional video to their 1965 hit California Dreamin' (although there was a nod to this by including an obese group member alongside the attractive one in the stripy top). It may have been somewhere worth visiting in the 1960s, but these days I'm quite happy for Los Angeles to be many thousands of miles away. Just a quick question: are the people of California still dreaming, or have they woken up to the reality of the bad acid trip that is L.A. today?



  1. Like many dreams that turn to nightmares, Mama Cass, the fat one died of an overdose and one of the guys recently got done for paedophilia!!

  2. I'd heard about the overdose, but as of the latter - Jesus! That's news to me, and is really vile.

  3. Durotrigan, are you suggesting Mama Cass was only allowed in the band to fit some kind of liberal hippy quota? Being big isn't an indication of lack of talent, or a reason to exclude or include anyone. As far as I am aware your size has no bearing on your ability as a singer. Cass Eliot (the obese one you refer to) actually had a decent career outside the band and is widely regarded as a talented singer. For the record she didn't die of a drug overdose but of a heart attack in her sleep.

  4. No, of course not Cygnus. My tongue was held firmly in cheek. Mama Cass did have an excellent voice and it's a tragedy that she died so young. I didn't realise that she suffered a heart attack though, so thanks for putting me straight on that.

  5. There were rumours at the time of drugs being involved, or that she choked on a sandwich but neither were true. An interesting fact is that she actually died in the same London flat (owned by Harry Nilsson) that Keith Moon died in 4 years later.

  6. Maybe Harry Nilsson was a bit of a slack landlord and failed to have the gas fire checked? Emile Zola died from carbon monoxide poisoning owing to a blocked chimney, but of course, the house he was living in wasn't owned by Harry Nilsson. Come to think of it, Zola wasn't renowned for his singing or drumming either.

  7. By the way, I assume Juniper is referring to the allegations made by Mackenzie Phillips against her father. These were never proven as they came to light after her father had died, but if true constitute incest rather than paedophilia as she was 19 when it took place, and it was apparently semi consentual after a cocktail of drink and drugs. If true its repellent but its worth noting the girls mother and siblings doubt the authenticity of her accusations.

  8. Cygnus, this is all news to me, and pretty lurid and unpleasant stuff whether or not the allegations were true or a fabrication. Whichever is true, it's deeply sad and disturbing.

  9. Very true, and either way serves to tarnish a decent legacy.

  10. Agreed. However, I'm not looking forward to 'Monday, Monday' tomorrow.


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