Story Sunday: The War On Computers
The International Society for the Abolition of Data-Processing Machines […] was founded by Harvey Matusow in the late 1960s. Its aim was “to conduct guerrilla warfare against the computer by such means as sending a penny too much or too little when paying a utility bill.”
Matusow also authored The Beast of Business, which was supposed to serve as a manual for the guerrilla warfare against the computer. I wonder if any of the techniques he detailed would still work today?
However, Matusow is best known for giving evidence in court against individuals during the McCarthy era. Later, he claimed that the FBI had paid him to give false testimony and he detailed these allegations in his book False Witness.
He seems to have had a rather eccentric life and career. Some other highlights of it, from the University of Sussex’s page about him:
♦ Founded a band called the Harvey Matusow’s Jew’s Harp Band
♦ Married approximately twelve times
♦ Is possibly part of the reason The Beatles broke up – he held the party where John Lennon met Yoko Ono
♦ Worked as a children’s TV clown called Cockyboo in Tucson, Arizona
♦ Converted to Mormonism and spent his last years known as Job Matusow
May 29, 2021
Frustrations: Guerrilla War Against Computers (Time Magazine/09-12-1969)
TV Tuesday: A Boy Called Donovan 1966
Fifty-five years ago, today, the documentary A Boy Called Donovan aired on ITV in the UK.
A rare documentary by Scottish folk singer Donovan P. Leitch. Insights into his life with rare recordings from the beginning of his career as a folk singer. Portions of the film was [sic] filmed on St. Ives, Cornwall on Porthminster [B]each in 1966.
It shows Donovan’s life before becoming famous, when he was busking and living in Saint Ives with his friend Gypsy Dave. And, then, when the fame came in with Ready Steady Go! Donovan and his friends are seen smoking marihuana [sic], very shocking for its time. This warned the police to keep him under surveillance and ended up arresting him for drugs [sic] possession in mid-1966.
Born Donovan Philips Leitch in Glasgow, Scotland on May 10, 1946, Donovan was part of the British folk scene and the British music invasion in America. His style was distinctive and incredibly eclectic. As a child, Donovan was vaccinated with the polio vaccine and contracted polio. Though the vaccine was later made safer with the Sabin oral vaccine, the disease and treatment left Donovan with a limp. The public never knew this.
He established close relationships with leading musicians of the time including Joan Baez, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and, the Beatles. He taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney […] his finger-picking guitar technique. On his first trip to the USA, he performed in New York with Pete Seeger, […] appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, Hullabaloo, and Shindig! He gained critical acclaim and acceptance when he performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
[E]arly on, he was compared with Bob Dylan […]. By 1966, [he] had become one of the first British pop musicians to adopt the flower power image. His music contained many drug references during this time. His recordings were also the first pop music to contain the sound of the sitar, later copied by other famed music groups. [He] was the first high-profile British pop star to be arrested for possession of marijuana. Though Donovan’s drug use appeared to have been moderate, and his drug use was not on the scale of others such as Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones who later died from overdoses, his use of LSD is referred to in many of his lyrics. Public attention was drawn to his drug use by [the] TV documentary, A Boy Called Donovan, which was broadcast during that year and newspaper coverage of the drug scene in England.
The Hurdy Gurdy Man of the Psychedelic Sixties: Donovan Leitch
Tune Tuesday: I Want To Hold Your Hand 1964
Fifty-five years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was I Want to Hold Your Hand. Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, it was recorded October 17, 1963, at EMI Studios in London.
From The Beatles Dot Com:
[…] it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment. It was also the group’s first American number one, entering the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 18 January 1964 at number forty-five and starting the British Invasion of the American music industry.
From The Beatles Bible:
“A telegram came through to Brian from Capitol Records of America. He came running in to the room saying, ‘Hey, look. You are number one in America!’ I Want To Hold Your Hand had gone to number one. Well, I can’t describe our response. We all tried to climb onto Big Mal’s back to go round the hotel suite: ‘Wey-hey!’ And that was it, we didn’t come down for a week.”
“It was such a buzz to find that it had gone to number one. We went out to dinner that evening with Brian and George Martin. George took us to a place which was a vault, with huge barrels of wine around. It was a restaurant and its theme was… well, the bread rolls were shaped like penises, the soup was served out of chamber pots and the chocolate ice cream was like a big turd. And, the waiter came ’round and tied garters on all the girls’ legs. I’ve seen some pictures of us. There is a photograph around of Brian with the pot on his head. It was a great feeling because we were booked to go to America directly after the Paris trip, so it was handy to have a number one. We’d already been hired by Ed Sullivan so, if it had been a number two or number ten we’d have gone anyway but, it was nice to have a number one. We did have three records out in America before this one. The others were on two different labels. It was only after all the publicity and the Beatlemania in Europe that Capitol Records decided, ‘Oh, we will have them.’ They put out I Want To Hold Your Hand as our first single but, in fact, it was our fourth.”
From the Ottawa Journal:
Will We All Become Beatle Nuts?
Here’s What the Reviewers Say…
“Anyone who is not a teenage girl obviously is unqualified to comment on the sight of The Beatles in action. Heaven knows we’ve heard them enough. It has been impossible to get a radio weather bulletin or time signal without running into “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” And now, having seen the four performers on Ed Sullivan’s show Sunday night, Beatlemania is even more of a mystery to an elderly viewer.”
~Cynthia Lowry (Associated Press)
“It is now clear why President de Gaulle has been giving England such a hard time about the Common Market. He undoubtedly saw The Beatles and decided nothing doing. As you certainly know, America saw the four-member rock’n’roll British group live on television last night. Pandemonium reigned. Vive La France.”
~Rick DuBrow (United Press International)
“”You can tell right away its The Beatles and not anyone else,” is the opinion of a 15-year-old specialist on the topic who saw them on the Ed Sullivan show. The age of 15 (or 16, or 14 or 13) is essential in Beatle experts. And, so, taking the above axiom as gospel, an attempt was made to find out just what is musically unique about the English group that is now visiting our shores.”
~Theodore Strongin (The New York Times)
“It seems The Beatles came, sang and conquered…all that is but, the TV reviewers. Most of the time, these reviewers have real troubles finding something to write about. Ask them… When Elvis Presley first appeared on the popular musical scene and made his TV début, did they praise him? No. In fact, most beat singers who come under the TV reviewer’s eagle eye rarely receive a word of praise. It seems obvious the reviewers came to bury the teenage favorites and not to praise them. Again, the teenage taste has been mocked. As long as this superior feeling is put across, the younger generation will continue to make their idols…and won’t give a darn who likes them.”
~Sandy Gardiner (Ottawa Journal)
Though this song didn’t win any awards, The Beatles did receive The Best New Artist award at the 7th Annual Grammy Awards.
Tune Tuesday: Hey Jude 1968
Fifty years ago, today, the #1 Billboard Hot 100 song was Hey Jude. Written by Paul McCartney but, credited to Lennon-McCartney, Paul was on the way to see John’s soon-to-be ex-wife Cynthia and their son Julian. Starting out with “Hey Jules”, it evolved to “Hey Jude” as Paul attempted to try and help Julian through his parents’ separation.