Sunday, May 29, 2016

Quote for the Day

Manson and Helter Skelter, Part 1

Caution: descriptions and photographs of violence

Yesterday I posted the notes on the Beatles' song Helter Skelter and said that I would post the Manson association with that song and album separately.  Here is part 1 . . .


Born in 1934, Manson was born of a single mother who was sentenced to jail when he was aged 5 for robbery. Manson was placed with relatives and later at age 13 in a home, from which he fled. His mother then also rejected him. A succession of crimes (including armed robberies), arrests, committal to juvenile institutions, escapes and more crimes followed. By 1967, the 32 year old Manson had spent more than half his life in prisons and institutions.

Manson had a charismatic personality, was skilled in manipulating the minds of people, and had hypnotic eyes. In a 2014 interview, Vince Bugliosi, who prosecuted Manson for the Tate –La Bianca murders, stated:
“He had a quality about him that one thousandth of 1% of people have. An aura. ‘Vibes,’ the kids called it in the 60s. Wherever he went, kids gravitated toward him”
Living in San Francisco in 1967 during the “Summer of Love”, Manson became a guru in the Haight-Ashbury hippie district. His philosophies were a mixture of bits and pieces of religions, cults and sci-fi, including scientology, that he had come into contact with in prison or which he devised himself.


The Family:

Manson’s followers were known as the Family and they saw Manson as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Manson himself fostered this belief by referring to himself as Charles Willis Manson, spoken slowly, so that it sounded like "Charles' Will Is Man's Son", implying that his will was the same as that of the Son of Man.

In the summer of 1967, Manson and his followers travelled from place to place in a school bus decorated in hippie fashion with the seats taken out and replaced by rugs.


Dennis Wilson:

In spring 1968 Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys picked up a couple of hitchhiking women members of the Family and took them back to his house in Pacific Palisades. The next day he returned home to find Manson and 12 members making themselves comfortable in the house. Manson and friends, mostly women, double the original number, stayed for months. Wilson paid for everything including $21,000 to treat the gonorrhea of the group members. Wilson provided Manson, who had picked up some guitar and song-writing skills in prison, with recording and studio facilities. He also introduced Manson to various entertainment industry execs, including Rudi Altobelli who would soon rent a house to Roman Polanski and his actress wife Sharon Tate. It had been let to exec Terry Melcher.

Dennis Wilson

In August 1968 Wilson’s manager evicted Manson and the Family from Wilson’s premises. They relocated to the Spahn Movie Ranch, a former set for TV and film westerns. By the time that Manson took up occupancy, the buildings and deteriorated and the main source of income was horseback ride hire. Spahn allowed them to live at the ranch for free for doing work around the place. In addition, under orders from Manson, some of the women, including Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, had occasional sex with the 80 year old Spahn, who was nearly blind.

George Spahn

Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme

From November 1968 Manson established a second headquarters in some unused ranches in Death Valley. Manson described himself and another male member of the Family to one of the ranch owners as musicians in need of a place to work. He gave the elderly owner a gold Beach Boys record, having been gifted several by Dennis Wilson.

Helter Skelter and the Beatles:

In December 1968 Manson heard the Beatles’ White Album for the first time and came to believe that the Beatles were talking to him through coded messages on that album. His views as to what was to come down was a mix of perceived messages from the album and from Revelations. By mid February 1969 Manson was preaching to the Family that:

o The four Beatles were the four angels referred to in Revelations 9.

o The locusts referred to in Revelations was a reference to the Beatles coming out upon the earth.

o The Biblical reference to prophets having "faces as the faces of men" but with "the hair of women" was also an identification of the Beatles.

o In Revelations 9, the four angels with "breastplates of fire" was a reference to the Beatles with electric guitars, the “fire and brimstone" being their song lyrics.

o The Beatles' song "Rocky Raccoon" meant black people

o "Happiness is a Warm Gun" was a song about getting firearms to carry on the revolution.

o “Piggies" meant members of the Establishment, who needed "a damn good whacking." 

o “Helter Skelter” was the coming race war between the blacks and the whites, hence the line from the song “Look out helter skelter, she's coming down fast.” He believed that the blacks would rebel against the whites but that he and his followers would sit out the race war in a city below Death Valley that they would access via a hole in the ground. When the war was over, they would emerge and rule, setting up a new order. The Beatles were sending them, specifically them, a message to enable the worthy to be preserved from the coming apocalpyse.

o “Revolution 9” was really a reference to Revelations 9.

o “I Will” was interpreted as being a call to Manson to make an album to send out his own coded messages to attract like minded people. He did in fact write songs for the intended album.

o “Honey Pie” lyrics recognised Manson as the new Jesus Christ. He and his followers sent several telegrams, wrote numerous letters, and attempted at least three phone calls to the Beatles in England to get them to join Manson but the Beatles did not do so.

Crowe shooting:

On 1 July 1969, Manson shot a black dealer named Bernard Crowe, who had threatened to wipe out the Family in retaliation for having been defrauded by Tex Watson, a Family member. Manson believed that he had killed Crowe and believed that he was a member of the Black Panthers, a violent pro-black activist group. Expecting them to take revenge and that this was part of Helter Skelter, he turned the Spahn ranch into an armed fortress.

Hinman murder:

On 25 July 1969, Manson sent Family members Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner and Susan Atkins to the house of acquaintance Gary Hinman, to persuade him to turn over money Manson thought Hinman had inherited.

Bobby Beausoleil,

Mary Brunner

Susan Atkins 

Hinman was held hostage for 2 days, during which time Manson also attended and slashed Hinman’s ear with a sword. On Manson’s instructions, Beausoleil stabbed Hinman to death, the words “Political piggy” being written on the wall in Hinman’s blood. His blood was also used to leave an image of a panther paw, a Black Panther symbol.

Beausoleil was arrested on August 6, 1969, after he had been caught driving Hinman's car. Police found the murder weapon in the tyre well. 

Two days later, Manson told Family members at the Spahn Ranch, "Now is the time for Helter Skelter.”

Tate murders:

On August 8, 1969, Manson directed Watson to take Atkins, Linda Kasabian and Patricia Krenwinkel to Terry Melcher's former home and kill everyone there. 

Tex Watson

Linda Kasabian 

Patricia Krenwinkel

Manson had met Melcher previously, was aware that Melcher owned the house and he had briefly attended at the house a couple of times previously. When Manson sent the murder team there, the house was being rented by Roman Polanski and his wife Sharon Tate, who was eight and a half months pregnant. Polanksi was in London, working on a film project.

Sharon Tate on her wedding day to director Roman Polanski on January 20, 1968.

Sharon Tate

Also present at the Tate house that night were her friend and former lover Jay Sebring, a noted hairstylist; Polanski's friend and aspiring screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski; and Frykowski's lover Abigail Folger, heiress to the Folger coffee fortune.

Jay Sebring

Wojciech Frykowski

Abigail Folger

Shortly after the group arrived at the property, 18 year old Steven Parent drove up, intending to visit the property caretaker. Despite pleading for his life, he was slashed with a knife, then shot dead.

Steven Parent

Gaining entry to the main house via a window, Watson then let in Atkins and Krenwinkel, telling Kasabian to keep watch at the gate.

When a sleeping Frykowski awoke on the living room couch and asked Atkins who he was, Atkins kicked him in the head said "I'm the devil, and I'm here to do the devil's business."

The other occupants of the house were forced into the living room, where they were tied up. Watson tied Sebring and Tate together by their necks with a rope over one of the ceiling beams. When Sebring protested at the rough treatment of Tate, Watson shot him. He was then stabbed multiple times by Watson.

Despite attempted escapes, both Frykowski and Folger were caught and killed, Frykowski was stabbed in the legs by Atkins as he struggled to get away, then was bashed with a gun multiple times by Watson, shot twice and stabbed. He was stabbed a total of 51 times. Folger was stabbed 28 times by Watson and Krenwinkel.

Tate pleaded for the life of her unborn child and offered to be a hostage but this was ignored, Either or both Atkins and Watson stabbed Tate 16 times. Watson later wrote that Tate cried, "Mother ... mother ..." as she was being killed.

When they had been sent by Manson, he had told them to "leave a sign ... something witchy". Using a towel, Atkins wrote "pig" on the house's front door, in Tate's blood before they left.

Polanksi at the premises upon his return.
There are photographs on the internet of the crime scene, including of the bodies of Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring, which I have chosen not to post.
Eerily, there are also photographs of Roman Polanski posing in front of the large bloodstain from his wife's slaying, plus posing in other parts of the house including on his wife's bed.

LaBianca murders:

The next night Manson sent out another killing team, the four from the previous night, plus Leslie Van Houten and Steve “Clem” Grogan.

Leslie Van Houten

Steve “Clem” Grogan

Manson had expressed displeasure at the messiness and panic at the Tate house and went with them. Deciding on the LaBianca household, Manson and Watson woke and tied Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary. Manson then left and sent Krenwinkel and Van Houten to join Watson to kill the LaBiancas. Police found Leno LaBianca with a knife lodged in his throat, twelve stab wounds, and seven pairs of fork wounds. The word "WAR" had been carved on his stomach. Rosemary LaBianca was found with multiple stab wounds in her chest and neck. On the LaBianca's living room wall, written in blood, were the words "DEATH TO PIGS" and "RISE." On the refrigerator door was written, "HEALTER SKELTER."

Leon and Rosemary LaBianca

Continued next week.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Quote for the Day

Continuing The Beatles' White Album tracks: Helter Skelter / Long, Long, Long


The track Helter Skelter, the second last on Side 3 (the White Album being a double album) will be forever associated with Charles Manson.  The item below looks at the song, the Manson aspect will be looked at tomorrow, being too lengthy to do in this post.

Helter Skelter




When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah yeah yeah hey

Do you, don't you want me to love you
I'm coming down fast but I'm miles above you
Tell me tell me tell me come on tell me the answer
Well you may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Now helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter yeah

Will you, won't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast but don't let me break you
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Look out helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter ooh
Look out, cos here she comes

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah yeah yeah

Well do you, don't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast but don't let me break you
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Look out helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter

Look out helter skelter
She's coming down fast
Yes she is
Yes she is coming down fast

(My head is spinning, ooh...

Ha ha ha, ha ha ha, alright!

I got blisters on my fingers!)

  • Written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon and McCartney.
  • When The Who released I Can See for Miles, Pete Townshend was quoted in an interview as saying that the song was the group’s most extreme sound to date. It inspired McCartney to not only want to do likewise but to top it. He stated in a 2008 interview:
I was in Scotland and I read in Melody Maker that Pete Townshend had said: 'We've just made the raunchiest, loudest, most ridiculous rock 'n' roll record you've ever heard.' I never actually found out what track it was that The Who had made, but that got me going; just hearing him talk about it. So I said to the guys, 'I think we should do a song like that; something really wild.' And I wrote Helter Skelter.
You can hear the voices cracking, and we played it so long and so often that by the end of it you can hear Ringo saying 'I've got blisters on my fingers'. We just tried to get it louder: 'Can't we make the drums sound louder?' That was really all I wanted to do - to make a very loud, raunchy rock 'n' roll record with The Beatles. And I think it's a pretty good one.
  • A helter skelter is a fairground ride mainly popular in Britain, in which people could climb the inside of a wooden tower and slide down a spiral ride on the outside.
A touring helter skelter, travelling to shows, fairs and events, often used with burlap sacks for sliding.

A modern form of helter skelter, permanently fixed in a playground

  • According to McCartney:
I was using the symbol of a helter skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom - the rise and fall of the Roman Empire - and this was the fall, the demise, the going down. You could have thought of it as a rather cute title but it's since taken on all sorts of ominous overtones because Manson picked it up as an anthem, and since then quite a few punk bands have done it because it is a raunchy rocker.
  • According to Ringo Starr:
Helter Skelter was a track we did in total madness and hysterics in the studio. Sometimes you just had to shake out the jams, and with that song - Paul's bass line and my drums - Paul started screaming and shouting and made it up on the spot.
  • According to John Lennon:
"That's Paul completely ... It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me.”
  • The first version was a 27 minute jam session. 21 takes were recorded, the last take being the one used on the album.
  • The fadeout line “I’ve got blisters on my fingers” was from Ringo, whose fingers were literally bleeding and blistered from the constant forceful playing. He shouted it on the 18th take in response to John’s call “How’s that?”
  • Don McLean references the song and the Manson murders in American Pie with the line “Helter Skelter with a summer swelter”.
  • The song has been hailed by many as an introduction to (and by some as the birth of) heavy metal.
  • Over the years there have been suggestions that the remaining members of The Who and the Beatles should form a combined band and tour as The Whotles.

Long, Long, Long




It's been a long long long time
How could I ever have lost you
When I loved you

It took a long long long time
Now I'm so happy I found you
How I love you

So many tears I was searching
So many tears I was wasting, oh oh

Now I can see you, be you
How can I ever misplace you
How I want you
Oh I love you
Your know that I need you
Ooh I love you



• This track concludes Side 3 and is a complete contrast to the heavy Helter Skelter which precedes it.

• Written by George Harrison, who also provides the vocals.

• The "you" in the song refers to God.

• The Beatles recorded 67 takes.

• The rattling sound at the end is a bottle of Blue Nun wine that was left on a speaker.

• The last 30 seconds of this song has been called an audio simulation of Paul's supposed death in 1966. 

• The song marked Harrison’s return to the guitar after 2 years studying the sitar.

• From Wikipedia:
The idea for the end of the song was inspired by the sound created by a wine bottle sitting on a Leslie speaker, through which the organ was connected. Whenever McCartney played a certain note on the keyboard, the bottle began to vibrate, producing an eerie clattering sound that the Beatles decided to incorporate in their subsequent performances of the track. To compound the effect on the selected take, Starr played a fast snare drum roll and Harrison vocalised a prolonged, high-pitched wail. While noting the "palpable spiritual longing" conveyed in the song, Chris Gerard of PopMatters describes this coda as a "weird spectral ending, with Harrison wailing like a wounded ghost while the band members rattle their instruments ominously".

Friday, May 27, 2016

Quote for the Day

Good morning Byters.

Friday again, the end of the working week for most of us and the prelude to the weekend. And also time for some Friday Funnies. Enjoy.

A pharmacist walked into his shop to find a man leaning against the wall. 

“What’s wrong with him?” he asked his assistant. 

“He came in for cough syrup, but I couldn’t find any so I gave him an entire box of laxatives”. 

“You idiot” said the chemist. “You can’t treat a cough with laxatives”. 

“Of course you can,” the assistant replied. “Look at him . . . he daren’t cough now!!”

A BMW was driving very erratically through the streets of Melbourne when it attracted the attention of a cop car. They flashed the lights and hit the siren and got the car to stop. 

“Would you mind blowing into this bag?” the policeman said. 

“I can’t” said the driver. “I’m a chronic asthmatic”. 

“Well sir, accompanying us to the station for a blood test.” 

“Sorry officer, I’m a haemophiliac”. 

“Well sir, would you step out of your vehicle and walk along a straight line?” 

“No way. I’m too bloody pissed”.

Three lads were roaring around the backblocks of Queensland in a panel van. They were doing wheelies outside the Town Hall when the cops pulled them over. “Don’t give your real names”, hissed the driver.

A cop asked the bloke sitting in the middle his name. He saw a neon sign over the cop’s shoulder. “David Jones,” he replied.

Now the cop turned to the other passenger. “And what’s your name?”

“Aah, G J Coles.”

Now the cop circled the ute to the driver.

“Okay, name?”

“Aah, Ken.”

“Ken? Ken what? I suppose you’re Ken bloody Myer. What’s your last name?”

“Tucky Fried Chicken.”


A bloke crashes his single seater plane in the outback. Close to death from thirst and hunger after several days in the wilderness he comes across a stream and jumps in to take a drink. As he does this he steps on a platypus, killing it. After he drinks as much as he can he picks up the dead platypus, makes a fire and begins to cook it. 

While he is eating the platypus, a ranger rocks up and arrests him for killing an endangered species. 

In court he explains to the judge his harrowing tale of survival, going to great pains to describe his near death experience. He tells the judge that he was too weak to forage or hunt for food, seeing as though he was starving and that he had no faith that he would be rescued soon, decided to eat it to survive.

The judge is sympathetic, ruling the man was within his rights to survive by any means necessary, in this case, eating the endangered species through convenience. 

As the man was leaving, the judge asked, "Just out of curiousity, what does platypus taste like?"

“Well, Your Honour,” said the man, “it sort of tastes like a cross between a koala and a dolphin.”

Wycheproof has a train line going right through the middle of town. And right in the middle of the town there is a Town Hall where a council meeting is going hammer and tong. Suddenly the door opened and a man rushed in. “My mini-bus is stalled on the railroad tracks. I want to ask that it be moved.”

“I say move,” cried a voice from the back of the hall.

“I second it,” said another.

The Mayor banged his gavel and said, “You’ve heard the motion. All in favour say ‘aye’ “.

“Aye” came the chorus.

“So ordered. Now let’s get on with the other business that we were talking about.”

Corn Corner:
* * * * * * * * * *
There was a prison break and I saw a midget climb up the fence. As he jumped down her sneered at me and I thought, well that’s a little condescending.

* * * * * * * * * *
My friend recently got crushed by a pile of books, but he’s only got his shelf to blame.

* * * * * * * * * *
What’s the best part about living in Switzerland? Not sure, but the flag is a big plus.

* * * * * * * * * *
I started a band called 999 Megabytes — we haven’t gotten a gig yet.

* * * * * * * * * *
What is the difference between ignorance and apathy? I don’t know, and I don’t care.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Quote for the Day

“And he gave it for his opinion that whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”

- Jonathon Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Locals will have seen the disgraceful conduct of protestors at the first meeting of The Council of the Inner West, being the merged Councils of Ashfield (where my office is located), Marrickville (where my home is located) and Leichhardt. The NSW Government has dissolved 40 local Councils and merged them into a smaller number with elections postponed to 9 September 2017. In the interim, the merged Councils will be managed by an Administrator. This does not sit well with people hostile to the sackings of the Councils, the local government pollies who lost their Council seats and the objectors to the WestConnex motorway extensions. See film of the meeting at:

I happened to quote the above words to our trivia team members last night during discussions about the Council meeting. As you can gather, I am not a great fan of politicians.

The words were spoken to Gulliver by the King of Brobdingnag, which is the land Gulliver visits after being Lilliput. Whereas in Lilliput he had been the giant, in Brobdingnag the locals are of enormous size, making Gulliver the tiny one. It was the King’s view that government is a matter of commonsense and justice, that useful government is dedicated to productivity for the benefit of the people, not power politics and all its associated negative aspects.

Bonus quote from the King of Brobdingnag:

“…I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.”