SPIROS – ETERNAL.

 

Finally, I had arrived at the site of the ruin. I stood before the entrance to Passions, once the most sacred and revered discoteca in all Southern Italy. Tonight the air was oppressive – thick with the emptiness gathered across decades in abandonment. I took one last lungful of the briny air from the nearby Aegean Sea, and pushed aside the heavy, creaking doors. I was in the foyer. My footsteps echoed across marble floors as the doors slammed shut behind me. A frosty, silvery light filtered in through shingleless gaps in the roof that had long ago collapsed, illuminating the staircase before me. On either end of the stairs, yellowed marble carvings of the gods stood sentry, watching over me as I climbed, and stirred up clouds of dust. Once I neared the top of the stairs I heard an indistinct sound coming from behind the door. It was a rumbling bass, but muted, like a radio at the bottom of a pool. But, it couldn’t be. Not in this place. I was likely the first patron these statues have seen since the last neon lights fizzled out. Was someone else here, waiting for me? I placed my hand on the rusty door handle, pushed down, leaned my shoulder into the door, and it flew open – into a world beyond.

The club was full. Thousands of people, and not just any people – thousands of screaming, adoring fans filled the venue from wall to balcony, and from mezzanine to stage. Just as the crowd reached a fever pitch of anticipation, the silhouette of a man appeared amidst the blue, fog-drenched stage and the crowd erupted in a roar. The fog dissipated as he stepped through his shadow and spoke.

“My friends, good evening. I am SPIROS. And I Am Mix King! It has been long time, yes? Tonight I bring to you mix journey full of passion. The passion of lover who bathe in the fountains of SPIROS, of delicate flower of lover whose navel I graze like fruit of nectarine, the beauty of pain and loss, the Mediterranean Sea and grand villa of SPIROS, waves on sea shores of mist, of angels that sing through me. For I am SPIROS, and this is Eternal.”

Later that night after I had journeyed through the aether with the Mediterranean Phantom, everything – the thousands of adoring fans, the lasers, the smoke, the posters, the music, and SPIROS himself all faded into the inky black of the deep night, and all was once again dust and ruin.

††† SPIROS – ETERNAL †††

Who is SPIROS? SPIROS is a Mediterranean phantom who creates a musical style as legend refers to as “way-slo”. This music is deeply enriched in passion and mystery. He’s been providing TNUC with music for the last 10 years. After listening to the new album ‘ETERNAL’, further your journey at this location.

BARBARIAN IN HEAVEN.

This week came to an insanely rough close after finding out that David Paul, one-half of the iconic duo The Barbarian Brothers had passed away in his sleep at 62 years old. Anyone who follows this website would understand the level of importance these twin meatballs were to TNUC.

From breaking records in bodybuilding during the early eighties to a bizarro movie career which spawned classics like The Barbarians, Double Trouble and Twin Sitters, these guys have always been towering figures of fascination and inspiration to us. Make no mistake, these are badly directed movies paired with bad acting, but they possess a certain charm that is undeniable. Taking a look back at the career of David and Peter, it’s remarkable what they were able to do.

I’ve met both brothers at two separate occasions, which are wild tales that need to be told at some point. As for right now during this tough time, TNUC put together a little picture montage in tribute to the legendary, modern day neanderthal and my hero, DAVID PAUL. 

♥♥

Rest In Power, David Paul and Cowboy (the dog)

AMERICAN ANTHEM.

Very rarely does a movie come down the pipeline that is so TNUC and so defining of everything our movement is about. Many come close but fall short in capturing 100% of the power and adrenaline found in the Land of TNUC. It’s not an easy thing to do.

Well my friends, I’m proud to report that 1986’s AMERICAN ANTHEM is that movie.

Mitch Gaylord the ultimate American hardbody. Janet Jones the perfect woman.

Watch the trailer and feel your pulse beating faster. The sweat is trickling down your forehead. If this didn’t happen, go see a doctor. There are scenes in this movie that I watch and literally whisper out loud “this is too good to be true”. It rocks on a level that is nearly impossible to summarize in words. Here’s a plot description that I saw somewhere on the internet:

Steve Tevere was once a rising star in both football and gymnastics but gives up on his dreams because his father gave up on supporting him emotionally. He now lives in regret over lost opportunities working as a motorcycle builder. He keeps an eye on his old gymnastics team and one day spies this new girl from New York City that joins the team. After meeting each other they fast enter into a relationship where she guides him and inspires him to rejoin the team. He joins only to find a tough road to the gold and still must face his inner demons and navigate his difficult relationship with his father.

So yeah, American Anthem is a classic “go for the gold” sports story about a kid who works under a rain of sparks in a motorcycle chop shop all day while dreaming of WINNING IT ALL. From the onslaught of musical montages to Steve’s unsupportive “old man” who wears a wife-beater shirt around the house all day and only appears in blue or yellow lighting, trust me when I say this is the movie you’ve been dreaming of all your life.

In one scene, Steve is training on a horizontal “high bar” that he suspends between two trees on a rainy night in the middle of the woods. As rain pours down and mysterious fog pumps to unforeseen levels, it won’t be long before the hairs on your neck are standing up.

Let’s take a moment to give maximum respect to heart-of-gold Steve for being a mechanic by day and gymnast by night. These days you never see blue collar, working men or women jobs portrayed in sports movies. At least they aren’t half as cool as working on motorcycles with a bunch of bikers who drink beer on the job. Again, this movie HAS IT ALL.

There’s a character in the movie named Arthur who would normally be positioned in the story as some insufferable dweeb that we’re supposed to feel bad for. However the genius writers of American Anthem created a handicapped synthesizer lord out of this character. Watch how Arthur handles his KORG synth as he records a gymnastics number for Julie.

If Uncle T hadn’t blown his savings this month on a lifetime subscription to Jugg’s Magazine, I’d buy every TNUC disciple a copy of this movie. In the meantime, above is a ripping cut from Julie’s gymnastic routine.

Below, John Parr’s hit “Two Hearts” from the big budget soundtrack which also features songs from Andy Taylor, Stevie Nicks, INXS and Mr. Mister. Don’t pass up watching this music video. It’s a beaut.

The movie never got a fair shot in 1986 as reception from moviegoers and critics alike was pretty poor. It’s a shame because these days I feel like people love a simple sports flick with simple (but potent) ingredients. Small town kid, brooding attitude, going for the gold, broken home, 4×4 riding, cigarette puffing, BIG soundtrack, minimal dialogue, over-enthusiastic crowd, inspirational montages, training routines, hardbodies galore and moonlit sexual evenings. All I know is that American Anthem checks all my boxes . The acting might not be winning any trophies, but it’s almost like no one respects the fact that instead of using actors, they cast real Olympic gymnasts Mitch Gaylord, Janet Jones, Maria Anz and Stacy Maloney to play these characters. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

“THE NEW VISION OF LOVE AND TRIUMPH”

OMNI ISLAND.

While cleaning out an old computer this weekend, I dusted off an old TNUC video edit that I barely remember even making. It’s from the summer of 2012, when Uncle T was on a downward spiral of decades-old quaaludes and Löwenbräu.

The video is made up entirely of scenes from the 1987 classic, Hard Ticket To Hawaii. Enjoy it. Hopefully you’ll be windswept to warmer days and balmy nights.

MAXIMUM RESPECT, ELLIO’S PIZZA.

I know Uncle T goes on and on about the bigger pizza conglomerates like Pizza Hut all the time, but the true key to the heart of TNUC’s youth was good old frozen microwavable pizza from Ellio’s.

I love Ellio’s so much that when I hear people talk bad about it, I get angry.

How could anyone have anything bad to say about Ellio’s? I’m not really sure and frankly now I don’t give a fuck. These little frozen pizzas have ROCKED my existence for the last 30 years and this feeling hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

To honor this legacy at the Land of TNUC, below is a list of the things I cherish about Ellio’s Pizza!

THE ACTUAL PIZZA.

This sounds obvious, but I have to clarify that my love for this delicious cuisine isn’t only burning deep in my nostalgic psyche. Still to this day, it’s seriously DAMN GOOD. While companies like DiGiorno get all the front page news for trying hard to be as good as takeout pizza restaurants, Ellio’s isn’t trying to be anyone but Ellio’s. Those 3 squared little slices are unique in that it can be a snack, meal or an appetizer for distinguished guests. It flat out just works. Uncle T’s personal taste preference is to slightly overcook the pizza in a toaster oven, add a little hot sauce, then burn the roof off my mouth instead of waiting for it to cool.

REFUSING TO CHANGE.

Aside from McCain selling Ellio’s in 2015 to Dr. Oetker and expanding it’s variety into 8 different crust and topping configurations, Ellio’s hasn’t changed what makes them great. All the pizza companies have altered their flavors and tastes over the years in attempts to keep up with trends. Ellio’s tastes exactly the same as it did when I was 6 years old. There’s something to be said about that. MAXIMUM RESPECT!

THAT AROMA.

I’m specifically referring to the smell of the box. It sounds crazy, but one of the things I’d love to bottle up and spray myself with like cologne before I leave the house is the scent of an Ellio’s box. Something about the way the frozen mozzarella cheese mixes with that cheap cardboard makes my nostrils go to heaven. **Bonus points if your mom packed Ellio’s for school lunch so your entire lunch bag was an Ellio’s explosion. ***Extra bonus points if the pizza slices were soggy and wrinkly by lunchtime. It somehow made it taste better!

THE TURTLES.

When it comes to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, it’s only natural to start thinking of pizza. From there it’s normal to have cravings for Pizza Hut and Domino’s because of their giant promotional ties to the TMNT franchise. Well I have news for people who’s memories are foggy…ELLIO’S was another sponsor that’s much less talked about.

The company started a TMNT: The Movie collector cards series in 1990 that featured little cut-outs on the back of the pizza boxes. They also introduced special edition Turtles pizza boxes with a few wacky toppings. A ritual of mine became lining up the cards on the carpet while I watched the live action movie over…and over…and over again.

Uncle T realizes that Ellio’s is a regional thing, so this article may not have resonated with the entire world. So thank you for reading!

I grew up with Ellio’s and I’m proud to say that now I’m getting old with Ellio’s. 

www.ellios.com

TRICK TURNING ANTHEM.

The following article goes out to anyone who’s ever had to turn a trick to make a living. You’re not alone.

Face the facts. At some point in your life, you’ve had to encounter the treacherous underworld of pimps, hookers and johns while doing your best to maintain hope and dignity.

It all started when Uncle T came across a movie while channel surfing the other night from called “Daughter of the Streets” from 1990. The film stars John Stamos, playing a sadistic pimp who seduces an activist single mom’s neglected daughter into becoming a hooker. As you could imagine based on that plot outline, it was FANTASTIC. Since this discovery, I’ve been fascinated by films about prostitutes. Specifically the grainy, older material that captures a style that is long gone from today’s culture.

Beyond the serious issues of broken families, neglect, drug use and sex slavery, these movies share a stylistic approach that is just plain fun to watch. The portrayal of gritty night life and the depraved atmosphere in which these girls occupy is a feast for the eyes. The best films are the ones that start with a teenage runaway who flees to the big city. From there it’s a nonstop assault of neon-soaked sidewalks, XXX theater marquees, silk stalkings, fishnet, teased hair, off-the-shoulder tube tops, shadowy men, steamy alleys, muffler exhaust, cigarettes, trench coats, vice squads, broken street lights, switchblades, lace gloves, empty parks, random burning barrels and lonely wanderers. I can’t get enough!

On the music side of things, plenty of songs have been written about streetwalkin’ and turning tricks. Sharon O’Neil’s “Maxine” immediately comes to mind. Or even in more recent years, Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats with “Melody Lane” from their 2015 night stalker-vibed album The Night Creeper. As far as older rock songs go, the theme did surface from time to time but very seldom was it thrust into the spotlight. There isn’t exactly a history of rock n’ roll songs about hookers tearing up the charts.

Ah, but in 1992 however, just before a bunch of shitty whiners in flannel shirts would migrate from Seattle and wipe off so many of our beloved bands, a killer group called WILDSIDE released the incredible debut album, Under the Influence. Unfortunately for them, the album was hardly noticed due to the downfall of party rock and the emerging, melodramatic grunge scene. The ironic part was that the band’s first single and music video was for a song about the rough life of a girl on the streets called “Hang On Lucy”!

Standin on the corner, looking like some Hollywood queen
Sellin’ her soul to the world, since she was just sixteen
Ohh, friday night and the stakes are high
She’s got a lot of money to earn
Workin’ the streets ’til the crack of dawn

For such serious subject matter, the song is insanely catchy and it’s hard not to enter party-mode when hearing it. That’s why we undoubtedly declare “Hang On Lucy” our #1 TRICK TURNING ANTHEM. Turn it up!

These aren’t prostitutes. It’s Wildside in ’92.

Wildside’s lead singer Drew Hannah commented in an interview from 2015 that the song was written about a real hooker in Hollywood who hung out by a liquor store where the band would go for booze runs during the recording of the album.

I love knowing when stuff like that happens.

So the next time you pass by a working girl on the corner who’s fighting to survive, think twice before you ignore her or make a disgusted face. You just might be inspired to write a song, help her out or take her to a concert. 

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