Arguably, the Holy Roman Empire has two lasting legacies. First, it gave us Voltaire’s famous quote about how the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
Secondly, it gave us the Maria Theresa Thaler – one of the first truly international forms of currency.(more…)
When we think of the most accomplished and popular rock bands, they tend to have one or two people in charge – usually the songwriters. Glenn Frey called it “song power” and used it to explain the power dynamics in The Eagles:
“A rock band is not a perfect democracy. It’s more like a sports team. No one can do anything without the other guys, but everybody doesn’t get to touch the ball all the time.”Glenn Frey, History of the Eagles.
History tells us that, at some point, the other guys in the band will often get fed up with being in the background and either leave the band or raise such a stink that they get some concessions. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford forced John Fogerty to let them write songs for a Creedence Clearwater Revival album with disastrous results. Jason Newsted quit Metallica. Alan Wilder left Depeche Mode while Dave Gahan threatened to unless he was allowed to write songs for the band’s albums. As for the Eagles, Frey and Don Henley may have been happy in their roles as was benevolent dictators, but others in the band, particularly Don Felder and Joe Walsh, resented being underlings and this underlying tension was one of the main reasons why the band broke up.
Pink Floyd was no different, and when things finally came to a head in the early 1980s, it touched off years of litigation, decades of inconsistent artistic output from all parties involved, and sustained personal enmity and hatred that not even the promise of a triumphant one-off reunion at the biggest charity concert of the 2000s could fully fix.
This is the album that started all of that.(more…)
Click here for Part I.
As mentioned in the previous post, Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t shy about putting his bust on coins that would circulate throughout his empire. Of course those weren’t the only coins he found himself on. Like Andrew Jackson later in the decade, Napoleon’s image was used on a variety of unofficial tokens and coins. Some were positive and served to glorify and underscore his dominance. In other cases, they were negative and even celebrated his downfall.
Here are three tokens I recently added to my collection:(more…)
Napoleon Bonaparte sure is on a lot of coins and tokens.
That might seem like an obvious statement. After all, if you conquer or subjugate most of Europe, then it’s likely that your face will be on all sorts of things – both in favor and opposition to you. For a figure as dominating and polarizing as Napoleon, collecting coins, tokens and currency with his likeness on them can be a full-time hobby.
Recently, I acquired a few Napoleonic coins and tokens. I’ll talk about the coins in this post and then the tokens in a future post.
How did they teach you to be just a happy puppet dancing on a string?
How did you learn everything that comes along with slavish funnery?
Tell me something, if the world is so insane
Is it making you sane again to let another man tug at the thread that pulls up your nodding head?“You Happy Puppet,” 10,000 Maniacs
I recently purchased some coins that had been issued by World War II-era puppet governments. I find these coins to be fascinating in a number of respects. For one thing, it’s always interesting to possess a coin that has outlived the government that issued it. Additionally, these coins illustrate many important themes, and are an indelible part of the overall history of World War II.(more…)
Guido Contini is a legendary and groundbreaking Italian director who has grand plans for an epic film about his beloved homeland. The only problem is he doesn’t have a script. So, he does what any good director would do. He builds grand sets, commissions fancy costumes, runs up a huge budget, and casts big-name stars. Script? Who needs a script? The movie will write itself.
Unfortunately, in the case of Nine, the latest film from director Rob Marshall, life imitated art a little too well.(more…)
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- Author of "Nixon in New York: How Wall Street Helped Richard Nixon Win the White House," published in 2018.
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