Sunday, February 28, 2010


Nick Kent

Having trailered this book a few weeks ago, having respected the publisher's embargo - there's a major serialisation in one of today's papers -  here is the skinny on NK's 1970s memoir.

First off, a few caveats. Nick and I have known each other since 'the get-go' as Nick put it in my interview with him [See The Audio-Generalist] in April 2007, at the Academy Hotel in London, when he came over to promote the revised edition of 'The Dark Stuff' - the best of his collected journalism. Its a stand-out work. At the time he had begun writing this new memoir of the 1970s, a decade which he said he had 'in his back pocket.'

Copy of john2 206

Brian James and Nick Kent. Brighton. 12th May 2007.

This review is a long way from objective. My story is intertwined with his at several points. I gave Nick his first commission, for some record reviews, when were at the underground newspaper Frendz in Portobello Road. I liked the cut of his jib, his energy, his passion for music and his writing style. We hung out a lot in the early days when Hawkwind were always round the office. Nick's  rise was meteoric. Within a few weeks he was interviewing the Grateful Dead at the Royal Garden Hotel and carving a name for himself. He and photographer Pennie Smith met at Frendz. [Pennie designed several issues and took photographs for the paper]. Both got fed up with the hand-to-mouth hassle of the underground press and headed for the NME. 

Nick took to me to meet the Flaming Groovies in the rented house in Wembley (we had 'hot knives') and got me on the coach trip to Brighton with Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, described in the book. We saw the MC5 live at the LSE - Nick at the side of the stage doing his unique dance move, standing hands in pockets and rocking fairly violently backwards and forwards like a rock pendulum. Later we were both at Iggy Pop's legendary gig in 1972 at the Scala in London's King's Cross. We were always bumping into each other at the NME [See Previous Post: Adventures in the Music Press]

The heart of this memoir documents Nick's accelerated ride into the dark beating heart of the rock 'n' roll business - where he got to hang with the Stones and Led Zeppelin, with Iggy Pop and Bowie, with the Pistols - followed by his descent into a drug habit that led him into scum city. The first part is enjoyably visceral with unavoidable comic episodes; the second, a bleak picture and a raw read. Nick doesn't spare himself or anyone else. That he emerged into the light - that he survived at all - is a testament to his strong spirit.

As Nick strides then stumbles through the decade, his narrative reeks of all the elation and confusion of the times, the desperation, the mad speed-driven energy. Offstage, the country was in a state. Britain was broke, there was an energy crisis, IRA bombs, demonstrations, heavy policing. The music was explosive, visceral, expansive, powerful; the music business run by psychopaths and gangsters. It was unhinged, unregulated. Perfect territory for great journalism.

Nick was there. He was in the room. This book captures his real voice, that's for sure. Telling his story in his own way. I respect him for that and I learnt a lot that I didn't know. You'll enjoy the ride.

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Nick Kent on YouTube

Ben Thompson review in The Independent

Tim Horan review in The Telegraph

Robert Sandall review in The Times

 Strange Wikipedia entry on Nick Kent

A whole stack of Nick Kent's journalism on Rock's Back Pages (you have to subscribe but well worth it)

Enthusiastic posting on Head Heritage

'not so much a scoop as a sunday afternoon dip'


Copy of Lieutenats Mistress 093Before I could get a chance to read this book, my son Louis (of The Lieutenant's Mistress) grabbed it, devoured it and has now delivered his own review of the book. The view of a different generation.

Let us put this in context. Picture if you will a young lad of 16 years of age in a quiet town in South East England. This was the age I had started my rock & roll journey with earnest.

I was learning guitar, starting at Art College (as that’s what guitarists do) and immersing myself in the world of music like never before. I was hoovering up  information, records, guitar tips, documentaries at an immense speed, all the while planning my own rock & roll manifesto. A few years into this new world, my heroes  -  those that set the ground work of my musical education -  were the Who, Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Clash, Bowie and Iggy Pop.

Also at the time it was Britpop a-go-go and  the then current crop of bands  - Blur, Oasis and Pulp  - were ruling the pop culture of the day. I was a diehard Oasis fan and I remember round about the release of their third album, there was a huge feature in Mojo magazine of the Gallaghers  being interviewed by the legendary Nick Kent. The interview was a great read, the Gallagher’s always gave great copy but there was something about the article itself that was unlike any piece I’d read on them.

I remember my dad had mentioned Nick at various times as they had worked at the NME together back in the 70’s and had been firm friends. Shortly after this,  I had been given a copy of Nick Kent’s collected writings called 'The Dark Stuff'. It lay untouched for a short while before I picked out a chapter on The Smiths and found myself drawn in.

I had never read anything like this before. Sure I’d read countless articles about the Stones and punk but not like this. Kent was not just passing critical judgements,  he was part of the action. To me he exposed the rock super beings as flawed mortals, all be it very talented ones. He championed the cause of the cult and unknown  - Nick Drake, Syd Barrett. Like a war correspondent, he put his own life on the line in search of the story. Nothing seemed quite the same in my little rock & roll world after this.

Fast forward to now and I found myself face to face with his long-awaited second book, which I demolished in 36 hours and was once again affected by his writing,  this time in quite a different way.

I lay awake trying to think why this book had moved me so much. I stuck on Brian Eno’s ‘Music for Airports’ to give some background clarity to the situation. The main reason I realised was that, in between reading this and 'The Dark Stuff', I  had met and spent the  day with Nick. To see him and my dad reconnect their genuine friendship after all these years was a delight to be around. Though Nick is a tough cookie, I think we warmed to each other. But I had completely underestimated what he had been through.

The book is essentially an autobiography of Mr Kent’s life as a journalist in the 1970’s. Each chapter is dedicated to a year. It’s incredibly engaging to read and easy to get drawn into, as the young Kent moves to London to be a journalist. I found myself genuinely excited, as he was, at the unfolding turn of events, which led him eventually to go on tour with Zeppelin and the Stones, to head to America to learn from Lester Bangs and to fall in love with a young Chrissie Hynde. It all seemed exciting and totally rock and roll.

But then he started to descend into a dark place, the sinister side of the seventies. Nick was  not alone as  the stars of the time are going through a similar journey. However unlike his rock star chums,  he did not have the protective management unit around him and was dealing with a drug problem and a career going out of control. You can tell that he was probably a very nasty individual to know at certain points due to the lifestyle he was leading. Though one of the champions of punk, this new youth movement turned on him as he became  the token journo whipping boy for punk thugs.

Nick writes as if he is talking directly to you and there are great rock anecdotes. Along the way he settles a few scores but also praises various characters with genuine affection for their support. 

I think if the same story was composed by a different writer it would have been sensationalist and they would try to justify their actions and life choices. It is with all respect to Mr Kent that he lays the blame for his troubles and problems squarely on himself and never, at any point, looks for sympathy. He wants to tell the real story.

Music journalism is a dull place these days. Kent was someone who held Lester Bangs, Jack Kerouac and James Joyce in the same regard as Iggy Pop. He wasn’t trying to live the rock and roll lifestyle but he knew he had to be in the story to tell the real story -  no matter what the cost.


ij-suiteIndo-Jazz Suite (1966) is one of my favourite records of all time. I still have my original mono vinyl copy from my schooldays back in the 1960s and still play it on a regular basis. I think this was the first record in the UK that featured a sitar, certainly the first to mix east/west music in this way. Check it out.

So delighted to purchase this morning a re-issue of two further Indo-Jazz albums on one disc - 'Etudes' and 'Radha Krishna' which I'm grooving to as I write these words. Beautiful stuff

Its out on the very interesting First Hand Records  label. According to their blurb:  'John Mayer's success through the 1960's with Indo-Jazz Fusions saw the release of four LP's over a four year period. Indo-Jazz Suite (1966), Indo-Jazz Fusions (1967) ,Indo-Jazz Fusions II (1968), and Etudes (1969) which is the only LP not to have been re-released until now. Radha Krishna was originally released by EMI in 1971. Comprising of a large ensemble, including sitar, tabla, drums, sax, string trio, soprano, tenor etc... this ground breaking recording (along with Etudes) has been wonderfully re-mastered at Abbey Road Studios.

Read more about the history of Indo-Jazz Fusions here

A more detailed account of these musical adventures can be found in Chapter 10 of  the biography 'Joe Harriott: Fire In His Soul' by Alan Robertson [Northway Publications. 2003]

Read the Wikipedia entry on Joe Harriott, who  died in 1973

See Obituary of John Mayer here. He died on March 9, 2004, after being struck by an automobile. He was 73 years old.


smlpackshot Widely regarded as one of the great influences on the pioneers of  hip-hop and rap, the wonderful Gil Scott-Heron is back amongst us, after serving jail time, with 'I'm New Here' an album of depth and majesty. Check-out the amazing video for the stand-out track 'Me and the Devil'. His poetic voice is outstanding - deep, dark and mysterious, conjuring up whole landscapes with one poetic turn of phrase. Its a triumphant return, backed up by live shows including two at London's Royal Festival Hall this coming April.

This powerful example of musical resurrection sent me scurrying CURTIS MAYFIELD479 through my shoe-boxes of CDs searching for an extraordinary album  - 'New World Order'  - by the late great Curtis Mayfield, which is one of my all-time favourites that I hadn't listened to for a while. It sounds a sweet and powerful as ever and its my pleasure to highly recommend it to you. In case you don't know the circumstances that lay behind this recording, here are some notes from his offficial website.

'August 13, 1990. The day Mayfield was doing something he’d done a thousand times, the soundcheck for an outdoor concert, onstage at Wingate Field, Flatbush, Brooklyn. But high winds toppled the stage lighting rig and Mayfield was underneath. He survived but paralysed from the neck down, his spine crushed in three places. Amazingly, Mayfield found his way back. Unable to play guitar (or any other instrument), he could still sing even through it meant overcoming some daunting obstacles...In the studio he was suspended by harness to give gravitational power to his voice, just to find breath to complete a musical phrase or two.'


ARTHUR BROWN478 Its always good news when Arthur Brown - The God of Hellfire - is back in town, this time fresh from Austin, Texas - where he once had a legendary decorating firm with the late Mother of Invention Jimmy Carl Black - and on his way to Poland. We hung out together for a few days, discussed the details of our lives over spaghetti bolognese and red wine, Arthur regaling us with tales of being on the Tom Jones show back in the day.

[See Previous Post The God of Hellfire in Residence for more on the legend of Arthur]

He has left with me his latest recording - 'Two Strange' - with Zhenya, a Russian multi-instrumentalist, which is fuelled by some wild accordion and fine guitar playing. Arthur has many voices and styles, a fine line in story-telling and songwriting. He is a man who never ceases to impress and the musical settings on this excellent  album perfectly complement his outpourings, which range from the anarchistic to the zany, taking in the romantic and spiritual. The duo are currently planning an US tour of intimate venues so keep your eyes and ears peeled. Album will be available from his website in due course - check out also the Mash-up 'Fire' video on same.



'Satellite Sweetheart' is an extremely satisfying and well-crafted, stylish and groove-filled album from keyboard maestro Dave Formula. It features collaborations with Howard Devoto, Barry Adamson, John Doyle and John McGeoch and performances by guest vocalists and musicians David McAlmont, Robert Wyatt, Corinne Drewery, Joel Purnell and Dennis Rollins.

Dave was a member of the seminal Manchester beat mod group St Louis Union, headquartered at the 60s club of that city, The Twisted Wheel - the birthplace of what became northern soul. He was a founder member of the band Magazine and the part of the futurist Visage studio band

YuriGagarin There's a striking childhood memory behind Track 1: Elvis in Space. The young Formula was taken by his mum to see the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space in 1961, when made an appearance at the Amalgamated Union of Foundry Workers in Brook’s Bar in Manchester. He even got to shake him by the hand. In the cover photo he is reading the newspaper describing the event.

The track 'Bison Heard' a collaboration with Barry Adamson, recalls Paul Marsh’s on Alexandra Road, Moss Side record shop, which sold imported mento, calypso and early blue beat and which Dave considered "the coolest place on earth."

Via Sacra, the collaboration with Howard Devoto, was the spark that led to the recent Magazine reformation and a successful string of concerts.

See: Via Sacra video on YouTube

Monday, February 15, 2010



'Everything in life is memory, save for the thin edge of the present.'     - Michael Gazzaniga, eminent cognitive neuroscientist.

'Memory is not a passive receptacle, nor is it necessarily a truthful recording of events in our lives. It is an active and selective process  with both strengths and weaknesses.' - Jonathan K. Foster

Memory is a kind of Ur-subject when it comes to journalism - one I've been circling round for years without coming to grips with its mysteries. The very first post on this blog was called Memory Exercise, the title I gave to the long process I have been undertaking to reconstruct the history of my working (and personal life). This raised a number of interesting questions. Why, for instance, did it seem that my memories appeared to me in still images (frozen moments) or moving sequences. Why couldn't I remember meeting Iggy Pop at Bumpers in London's West End? (There it was, clearly written in biro in my diary for 1972). Why is it that two people's remembrances of the same event can differ so sharply ? How accurate are my own memories ? These and many other matters had been worrying at me of years.

These are both personal and professional concerns. Much of my journalism has been to do with collecting other people's memories and recalling incidents from my working life. In the same way that one samples and tastes information to assess its validity and worth before incorporating into a finished text, so memory it appears must be treated in a guarded fashion. It is notoriously partial. Why should that be?

Now I have decided to try and get to grips with the subject and, as luck would have it, have found a perfect pocket book introduction 'A Very Short Introduction to Memory' by Jonathan K. Foster [Oxford University Press 2009] which I have been digesting and notating for the last couple of months. It is a valuable summary of many of the basics of the subject, not all of which I found easily understandable. But there's wonderful stuff in there which has just whetted my appetite to learn more. Expect further posts on this subject to come.


Monday, February 08, 2010



'Design Like You Give A Damn: Architectural Responses to Humanitarian Crises'

This is one extraordinary and exciting book about a vitally important and interesting organisation that I am ashamed to admit I have only just become aware of - Architects for Humanity. They are currently involved in plans for the reconstruction of Haiti. They are involved in visionary + practical schemes around the globe that you will find genuinely inspiring. The best in humanitarian design.

Anyone who has an idea for changing the world should read the introduction to this book. How from a small but significant flash of inspiration, a few individuals have created a powerful global network that is working hard to address one of the major human problems of the world  - shelter - by motivating and providing a focus for  the creativity and ingenuity of students and professionals in institutions and companies worldwide.

The stories in this book are astounding. Having identified mobile health care as one of the key ways of addressing the AIDS epidemic in the townships of South Africa, what form should it take and how will you deliver it. The solutions proposed are brilliant but then how do you implement them on the ground. This is the real stuff.

AFH were involved with the Tsunami, the Kashmiri earthquake, Hurricane Katrina - and now Haiti.

Find out more on their website. Support these people. They are doing good in the world.

Architecture For Humanity

Friday, February 05, 2010


The universe keeps getting stranger! New Space stuff from SEED and other linked sources.



New mega ring around Saturn discovered using Spitzer on  Dave Strickland's Superwinds blog. [October 18, 2009]

'Infrared observations using the Spitzer Space Telescope, published by Verbiscer et al (2009, Nature), have revealed the largest known ring around Saturn, an annulus of very tenuous material extending between 6 million and 18 million kilometers from Saturn, and tilted by 27 degree from the plane of the traditional rings (which only extend out to ~240,000 km). The material in the new ring comes from the battered and cratered moon Phoebe.'

Saturn’s Strange Children Research Blogging / by Dave Munger / October 21, 2009

Spacecraft observations of giant tenuous rings, two-toned moons, and methane fogs are showing Saturn’s moons to be even more alien than previously believed.

The Cassini Mission has revolutionised our knowledge of Saturn. Visit the fantastic NASA Cassini mission site to learn all about it and view fantastic images, animations and videos.


Saturn's Rings in Ultraviolet Light [Hubble Space Telescope]


Astronomers find gaping hole in the Universe 

University of Minnesota astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, [known as the WMAP Cold Spot] nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as stars, galaxies and gas, as well as the mysterious, unseen “dark matter.” While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.

“Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size,” said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota astronomy professor. ( Source: University of Minnesota/August 23, 2007)

WMAP CMB_Timeline

Source: Quasar 9


'The acceleration of the Universe's expansion, and thus dark energy, were discovered less than a decade ago. The physical properties of dark energy are unknown, though it is by far the most abundant form of energy in the Universe today. Learning its nature is one of the most fundamental current problems in astrophysics.' (Source: University of Minnesota)

Intergalactic Controversy by Dave Munger / December 2, 2009

New observations of galactic clusters have revealed a controversial phenomenon called “dark flow,” which could be a sign of parallel universes.




hey, where are those galaxy clusters going? by gfish on the worldofwierdthings blog.

'One of my first posts on this blog was about something referred to as a dark flow, a strange current carrying galaxy clusters to the edge of the visible universe. But last year it was just a speculation based on preliminary data. Today, the results have been double-checked, and it looks like about 1,400 galaxy clusters are drifting some 3 billion light years at an impressive 1,000 km per second according to a detailed survey of WMAP data which offers a map of the microwave background radiation left after the Big Bang, and measuring the redshift of those galaxy clusters. It seems that an event right after the Big Bang itself set the galaxy clusters in motion. The big question is what this event was and current explanations range from the mundane to the bizarre…'

the tricky business of universe counting by gfish on the worldofwierdthings blog. 2009 October 20

'You can never accuse cosmologists of thinking small. To them even galaxies are like tiny little molecules and complex formulas govern the behavior of manifolds measuring hundreds of millions of light years. And if you thought that one universe was complicated and difficult enough, some cosmologists are actually tackling the idea of multiple universes branching off into infinity, or the multiverse. According to this theory, our universe is just one of countless others. Or, as two Stanford physicists are proposing, one of a very large, but ultimately finite set of recognizable classical regions of the cosmos we would define as their unique universes. The big question of course, is how exactly they came up with their numbers and what definitions they were using.' 



Thursday, February 04, 2010



SEED is an extremely rich site and publication, absolutely stuffed with front-end provocative thinking on a whole range of topics to do with science and culture. The editorial and design thinking behind it is impressive. The whole site combines style and authority and offers a treasure trove of new ideas and concepts, new thinking on old concepts, insightful interviews and discussions, stunning graphics and mind-blowing information. This is the material I have sampled and found interesting - a fraction of a very large whole.

Before getting into the print section I would recommend clicking on the yellow Studio button on the top bar at the far left of the screen. This gives you access to photographic portfolios and video material.


Electra Water Lilly, 2006, by Jim Wehtje. From 'Images from Science 2: An Exhibition of Scientific Photography' Organized by RIT School of Photographic Arts and Sciences

There's an amazing Portfolio of scientific photography, an excellent set of video interviews on the 5oth anniversary of C.P. Snow's  Two Cultures, and an even more extensive set of one-to-one conversations in The Seed Salon -  with the like of Tom Wolfe, Will Self and David Byrne alongside Michel Gondry, Noam Chomsky, Benoit Mandelbrot and Thomas E. Lovejoy. Great stuff.

A linked site from the same stable is Research Blogging - and equally wonderful digest of latest material from scientific research papers. Good intro piece to the thinking behind the site is A Year of Research Blogging  by Dave Munger (January 6, 2010):’s content editors on how they select the best blog posts, the value of research blogging, and their predictions for the coming year.

These are some of the interesting things I read:

Pay to Play by Evan Lerner / January 22, 2010

With the New York Times announcing that it will start charging for its website, an examination of why scientific and journalistic publishing seem to be headed in opposite directions.

Loggerheads at Bloggingheads by Evan Lerner / September 4, 2009

A falling out over creationism at a popular videoblogging site and muddled reactions to a report on geoengineering illustrate what’s at stake in the “framing wars"

Trust in the Twitterverse by Evan Lerner / January 15, 2010

With the world scrambling to cover the recent devastating Haitian earthquake, journalists, neuroscientists, and everyone in between are testing the frontiers of social media

A Writing Revolution Analysis / by Denis G. Pelli & Charles Bigelow / October 20, 2009

Nearly universal literacy is a defining characteristic of today’s modern civilization; nearly universal authorship will shape tomorrow's.

Lo and Behold: the Internet Benchmarks / by Michael Belfiore / October 29, 2009

On the 40th anniversary of the first internet connection, a look back on how a flash of insight and a 20-minute meeting got it all started.


Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car [Source: Bohemian Hellhole]

The Dymaxion Tomorrow Events / by Elizabeth Cline / May 7, 2009

A city-wide vehicle sharing program, a latrine block that treats sewage on-site, and bicycles that double as ambulances take top honors in the Buckminster Fuller Design Challenge

Books to Read Now Seed Picks January 5, 2010

January releases paint a portrait of an early fossil hunter; probe the nature of time; and reveal that the vast majority of your brain cells are not neurons

Under the Green Canopy Bibliologue / by Cristina Luiggi / December 17, 2009

In The Life & Love of Trees, vivid photography from around the world coupled with author Lewis Blackwell’s lucid prose explores the virtues of our leafy cousins.


TT1472 Many of you in the US will already know 'Let The Great World Spin' as it won the National Book Award in 2009 and is now up for a Pulitzer. There is to be a big push on the title this year in Europe. So what's the story?

The book is a set of interweaving narratives that dance around the central and powerful image and story of Philippe Petit, the man who walked on a wire between the Twin Towers back in 1974.

Colum McCann has a marvelous storytelling style, seductive and poetic, with no false notes. His characters are vivid and  the tone of each voice is perfectly captured. The city comes alive in his hands as does this period in US history. The cornucopia of incidents, scenes and emotions are beautifully held in balance, like a well-constructed musical score. The overpowering image and symbolism of the man on the wire gives the book a curious and unbelievable tension.

We also know what the characters don't. That seven years later, at 231292211_eff08d04eb_o a time when Petit is writing his own account of his most famous wirewalk, the Twin Towers will be destroyed in a cataclysmic event whose shock waves continue to resonate. Powerful and affecting, 'Let The Great World Spin' is a wonderful reading experience.

According to Risky Business: 'Producer J.J. Abrams is working out a rights deal to spin a feature from McCann’s sprawling period piece. Abrams would produce, with McCann adapting the screenplay himself, at Paramount, where Bad Robot resides. The Gotham Group, which reps McCann, will produce along with Bad Robot.'  [Abrams directed and produced the recent Star Trek movie, which was excellent; for my money, the best of the whole series].

bbourke1thumb1 Column McCann is a very interesting writer. Read his biography here. Have ordered two other novels Zoli (about Romany culture in Europe) and Dancer (loosely inspired by the life of Rudolph Nureyev). Will report back.

The Generalist has learnt of other interesting spin-offs from the novel but am currently sworn to silence whilst negotiations are completed. You will be the first to know.

Naturally, went straight from this book to watching the Oscar-winning documentary Man On Wire which is brilliant. It is based on Petit's autobiography To Reach The Clouds (Faber and Faber)


Read a great interview with Petit: 'On Top of The World' by Adam  Higginbotham [The Observer magazine/ 19 Jan 2003]

'In 1974, at the age of 25, Philippe Petit broke into the newly builtphilippe_petit1 World Trade Center, strung a 60m tightrope between the Twin Towers and, watched by incredulous security guards and a crowd of gawping spectators 110 storeys below, he danced for an hour across the skies of Manhattan. In the aftermath of the towers' destruction, he has written a book about his extraordinary feat. But, as he tells Adam Higginbotham, his next 'coup', the Grand Canyon Walk, will be his greatest.'


Original news story from the International Herald Tribune (8 August 1974])      [The Generalist Archive]

Latest News:

Same Man, New Wire and a Secret Midtown Venue

By COREY KILGANNON[New York Times/ April 13, 2009 ]

'Mr. Petit says he will perform a high-wire walk in the fall in Midtown Manhattan. It will be high, it will be long, and it will be outdoors in a very recognizable location that he does not want revealed quite yet — arrangements are not final...The walk in Manhattan is to be one in a series across the country, to raise awareness for literacy.'


* Three people successfully parachuted from the top of the towers. One was Owen Quinn. Jobless himself, Quinn did the jump to publicise the plight of the unemployed. According to 'The World Trade Center and Its Daredevils' by Elliott Feldman:

Best base jump EVER!!! 

Quinn about to jump off the unfinished South Tower. Photo: Mike Sergio         [Source: Bernie Sayers]

'A Vietnam veteran, Owen Quinn had parachuted out of airplanes 850 times. In 1975, Quinn and a friend, both dressed as construction workers, made their way to the top of the World Trade Center's North Tower. [This is incorrect. It was the South Tower] A parachute was hidden inside Quinn's duffel bag. When Quinn jumped, his friend recorded the event with a video camera. WTC office workers immediately called the police, reporting Quinn as a suicide victim. On the ground, the police apprehended him and he was taken to a psychiatric hospital. After 19 court appearances, Quinn's case was thrown out. Eleven years after his World Trade Center stunt, Owen Quinn parachuted into Shea Stadium during the World Series.'

- In 1981, parachutist John Carta landed on top of the South Tower

[See also: The 5 Most Mindblowing BASE Jumps In History]

* More than a dozen mountain climbers scaled the building, the most famous being George Willig. williglarge0509

'Phillippe Petit wasn't the only daredevil back in '70s that used the World Trade Center as a stage. Today marks the anniversary of George Willig's climb up 2 WTC, the south tower, in 1977. Also known as "the human fly" or "the willig0509 spiderman," it took the mountain-climber and Queens resident about 3.5 hours to scale the building. Sport Illustrated wrote a story about the climb shortly after it took place, which you can still read here. In it Willig's brother notes that the Port Authority cops asked him "'Is George sane? Is he doing this for any political purposes? Is he going to wave signs or something? Is he doing it for a commercial reason?' I told them he was doing it for his own satisfaction, no other reason, and that he was as sane as I was, which I think confused them." His punishment? New York City Mayor Abraham Beame fined him $1.10, one cent for each of the skyscraper's 110 stories. Allegedly he signed his name on a piece of metal on the observation deck which was still visible until its destruction in 2001. Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much footage, aside from this 12-second clip (larger image of his climb after the jump).'

Source: Jen Carlson in The Gothamist/May 26th 2009












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