Unforgivable’s Crossing

it is or was a now it
was or is this

             last

             winter as a Christmas

constructed its glistering
selves on house-shapes

and the votes of
ivy stayed stuck

             to their vines

I walk out from the
fields and in

to the

city and just
as I cross that

             city’s just-

here-but-not-there my
shame follows

me closely like a faint wri
ggling dark puddle

             it is twice

-light the light
twice dim but I’m

certain people in these
streets will see

             the stain on my sleeve and down

             my trouser leg

             I was

             walking across not

that-long-ago-cultivated
ground the mud hungry

for my treading and there
he was the

baby the big
baby of a man mad here

             in an

English Midlands mud
land Donald Trump a

             lone and palely loitering with

             me his

             predator approaching

             something

went from
me like a

             star    tled partridge a

clatter of directions and the cold
cob    ble I’d palmed as I

             saw the problem was

             suddenly cracking a

             sk

                          ull

             Donald lay dead at my
             fee    t in the mud the

             grin strapped to his

             head said

             I

                          win you

                                                                 f

                                                                 uck

 

 

Mark Goodwin
Picture: Rupert Loydell

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

O FORTUNA

 

Some poets take offence
Then hurl their wine in Fortune’s face   –
They claim ‘a disability’ being poor

Born this way
I never noticed my ‘deformity’
Until I came into your city

For ‘Getting On’ I soon observed
Hi-jacked every social code
Humanity became cool disregard

Attend your Garden Party?
Surely   –   if you pardon my cheap plonk
While you deploy with pride
Cobwebbed flasks
Of Grandad’s Own chateau
Your pals and patsies traipsing cloth of gold

Yet seeming to despise themselves
Even as they fawn and flatter   –
Making to play leapfrog
They grovel each to each
And their works  (their works?) 
Mere meretricious gestures

It is a lowly fate to have much money!

 

 

Bernard Saint
Illustration: ClairePalmer

 

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Visitation

A fatality on the line had seriously delayed my morning commute to work. When I finally got to the office the receptionist told me a visitor had arrived and was waiting in the meeting room. I hadn’t been expecting anyone and was surprised on entering the room to find my mother sitting across the oval table. She looked exactly as I remembered her that final time we were together, except that her hair was disheveled as though she’d been in a high wind. Her lips were compressed, her mouth narrow and pinched, an expression I recognized only too well. ‘I’m so sorry,’ I said. ‘My train was delayed.’ She hardly moved. ‘Owing to a death,’ I thought, though I didn’t say it. My mother’s blue-grey eyes were focused inwards. Her look of unspoken disappointment remained unaltered.

 

 

Simon Collings

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Lizzie’s Trip Down Portobello

Bodies eddy her along the street.
Through punters’ chat. Costermongers
batting shouts like Epsom bookies. 

By the Sally Army hall she halts. Wishes Ernie
would glance up from tipping a bucket
down the drain. Shout Wotcha, gel.
Sidle her a wink. An excuse to dawdle.
Relish sugar-scent of hyacinth.
Chance a haggle over a fist of freesias.
 
Ernie grunts, turning, greets the street.
Luverly daffs, ladies. Tanner a toss.
 
Corner of All Saints and
Portobello, women huddle. Hens
flocking. Pecking gossip.
Princess Margaret scarves
knotted tight as knuckles
beneath their chins.

If only Eulalia from the deli would glance her way. Nod.
Elbow a chink into their cackling congregation.
Women’s chat. Absolution for a sin of solitude.
At murmurs of a poorly child, Eulalia might dab an eye,
squeeze Lizzie’s hand. 
 
A woman in a red coat, rust hair
straggling through spider net, steel curlers,
billows smoke. Bandies her a glare
as if channelling Lizzie’s thoughts.

Lizzie sighs. Ekes out cheer
of imaginary friendship. Drags her feet
like the terrier at the lamp-post
resisting its owner’s tug.

At a bicycle chained to iron railings
beside a purple painted house,
she turns down worn steps
leading to the basement. A poppy
pushing through a crack, flutters.
Petal welcome.

The basement door creaks
open to a skank of damp.
She kicks it shut. The lock clicks.
Bolts out the dusk. 

 

 

 

Pratibha Castle

 

Pratibha Castle lives in West Sussex. Widely publicised in journals and anthologies including Agenda, International Times, IS&T, Spelt, Tears In The Fence, London Grip, High Window and forthcoming in Stand, she has been longlisted and given special mention in numerous competitions including Bridport Prize, Indigo Press and Welsh Poetry Competitions. Her award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Press 2022) will be joined by Miniskirts in The Waste Land (Hedgehog Poetry Press 2023), set in Notting Hill and India in the swinging sixties.

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Five Poems

 

 

SOCIAL

 

I went out

yesterday evening

 

I had to go

to the shop

 

I’d run out of milk

 

 

 

POEMS

 

I’ve noticed

how poems

give birth

to other poems

 

I don’t like that

 

 

 

ZOO

 

Imagine

a list

of animals

 

That will save me

the trouble of writing

a poem called

ZOO

 

 

 

SPRING

 

Just lately

things

have been                   

a bit                

up and down

 

 

 

STARCH

 

Sometimes

I need

a good stiff

 

talking to

 

 

 

Eric Eric
Picture by JOAN BYRNE

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

from Jim Henderson’s A SUFFOLK DIARY

Friday, August 4th

 

I’ve decided a daily diary takes up too much time to write every night and, as my wife has more than once pointed out, it can impede marital intimacy. She was joking, of course. But she is out every Friday evening having supper with her friend Jan in Stowmarket, or so she says, and when she’s not here it’s a good time for me to round up the week, although this week will be largely hearsay: we have had a few days away visiting our friends Toby and Cassandra in sunny Basingstoke.

Anyhoo, back safely at home, the saga of the wandering foreigners our so-called masters (and mistresses!) in Whitehall intend to dump in the Village Hall has moved on apace in our absence. Last Thursday’s meeting was a lively affair, with a very good turn-out. An obvious question was asked about involving our Member of Parliament but, as a number of people pointed out, he is very hard to track down, and is fast becoming our very own version of Nadine Dorries. A “Search Squad” was formed to find and contact him, led by the redoubtable Major Edward (Teddy) Thomas, who has jungle and guerilla experience, or claims to have. Bob Merchant, of Merchant & Sons Builders (“No Job Too Big, No Job Too Small: Give Bob a Call”) offered to put up security fencing around the hall to keep outsiders out, and this has apparently been provisionally agreed upon as long as the fencing is tasteful and not an eyesore. Mrs. Tregonning suggested some trellis, with sweet peas, but she is 91. Michael Whittingham suggested putting the fencing up all around the entire village, but after a show of hands it was decided this would be going too far – at least for the time being. As a result of several telephone calls, on Monday a very tired and, by all accounts, an obviously not very interested reporter from the East Anglian Daily Times stopped off in the village to speak to a few people. It seems he was making a detour on his way back from covering Ipswich Town’s pre-season soccer matches in Innsbruck, wherever that might be. (I think it’s in France.) But nothing has appeared in the newspaper yet. It is the East Anglian Daily Times, after all, and one learns to be patient. Importantly, a “Nerve Centre” of the newly-formed GASSE campaign has been established in the Shepherdson’s summer house, and I plan to pop round one day soon to show willing. GASSE, by the way, stands for “Go Away! Stay Somewhere Else!”. The de Freitas’s 7-year-old thought it up.

This weekend it looks like I’ll be busy digging up onions and carrots, and probably some potatoes. I can feel the old back ache just thinking about it! The vegetable plot seems to have gone mad in the few days we were away, what with all the rain, and there are several courgettes and cucumbers screaming at me to pick them, so I think the wife will be happy for the next few days. She likes a courgette, although she always says she prefers cucumber. Unfortunately some of the lettuces have made a run for it, and I shall have to salvage what I can. (When  I said “made a run for it” I meant “bolted”. It was a joke.)

 

 

James Henderson

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Running out of Road (Angola)

At twenty / in a foreign country (alone). Held at gunpoint / in a mirrored room. Surveilled, you might say, in a hall of mirrors, and left to languish. The terrors. One phone call… Of Parchman Farm / gays and rednecks in Nashville. (Respect). And the blues there / and elsewhere. (Kokomo Arnold‘s ‘Sissy Man Blues’). But no-one wants to hear these stories. Gauche / inappropriate. They stop me, frowning… again. He told, like Silas Hogan, of rats and roaches in his kitchen. I can hear their speech clearly, the old singers, can distinguish area and accent, in Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas (Robert Belfour, Lightnin’ Hopkins, even Charlie Patton. This skill deserts me in Louisiana. Silas singing is genius. Silas speaking, beyond me. In Angola (how many more times do I have to tell you?) the prisoners were made to change labels on canned food, so that rotten produce, US detritus, extended its sell by date, and could be sold to Latin America by callous companies. (Deprivation privatized at Louisiana’s state penitentiary. Despoiled / the oil in the Gulf. Different toxicities.) So many levels. Robert Pete, Big Joe… hoboes are contested. Robert Pete, modal, says no. Booker White had been one himself, and so all welcome. Big Joe …like many things about the maverick, cantankerous master and talent scout, most facts are in dispute, but, at his best, as good as it gets. And how far does it get? We are, it seems, running out of road. (See, perhaps, Beasts of the Southern Wild – that mesmeric child). On my map the road stops at Angola.

 

 

 Stephen C. Middleton

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Trump Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

A report comes in from Harris

 

No surprise then to notice how the puffins’ eyes look sadder these days, if that’s even possible. Don’t let their clown mock unhappiness fool you; they are deadly serious, grieving for the gannets that are dying mid-plunge. It won’t stop the puffins enchanting themselves in their own collective noun: their improbability. They bring joy to cliff tops and we need joy more than ever. Even the gannets know this. But news comes in from a friend on Harris. The gannets are thriving there, in their plunging, their gannetry, their own cartoon reels.

 

 

Mark Connors

 

 

.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Jamie Reid

Jamie Reid, the legendary British artist behind some of the Sex Pistols’ most iconic record covers and artwork, has passed away at the age of 76.

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

An Iridescent Pearl: The Narrow Road to The Deep North and Other Travel Sketches

Several weeks ago, when I last visited my friend and fellow poetry enthusiast Kevin Omosele, he gave me a bag from The London Review of Books containing various gems of poetry and prose. Among them was a small, thin book with a worn-out cover. It was the Penguin Classics edition of The Narrow Road to The Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 1694), translated and introduced by Nobuyuki Yuasa. I had only ever read one poem by Bashō, probably the most famous haiku in Japanese literature: 

an old pond…
frog jumps in
water’s sound

 

It is a marvel of beauty and simplicity. The mood evoked by the old pond is one of peace and tranquillity, a stillness that is momentarily disturbed by the leaping frog and returns with the final auditory image of the water’s sound. The haiku can be interpreted in a few ways. The pond could be a metaphor for a certain state of the mind, with the frog being an external stimulus that intrudes upon it but is then subsumed within it, producing a deeper resonance from the soul. It also speaks to the harmony of nature: the frog jumps into the old pond, perhaps not for any specific reason but merely due to a spontaneous impulse, and the water responds with its own language. By recreating this scene in our mind, the poem guides us towards a state of peace and tranquillity within ourselves.

As a Buddhist monk, Bashō believed that poetry had the power to guide its readers towards certain states of mind where the beauty and simplicity of nature can be better appreciated. It is not so different from Keats’ belief in the healing potential of poetry. Whereas Bashō wanted to guide his readers towards a state of inner calm and an appreciation of the beauty that surrounds us, Keats believed that poetry could heal the heart from the suffering and inner sadness that we face as a consequence of our lives. In both cases, beauty is the ideal. They differed, however, in their means of achieving this ideal. Keats reaches it through the musical adornment of language, whereas Bashō strips language down to its purest essence. There is little complexity in Bashō’s poetry, to the extent that if one is not in a peaceful enough state of mind his poems can seem quite meaningless and trivial. But that seems to me the value of his work, in that it guides the reader through its very own simplicity towards a state of mind in which simplicity can be better appreciated.

Bashō wrote The Narrow Road to The Deep North later in his life. It was one of several travel sketches that he wrote following a series of long walks through Japan. The first of these walks was undertaken in 1684 and lasted nine months. He was accompanied by a young man named Chiri, one of his poetic disciples. It was dangerous to travel on the road in Japan during this period, but the two of them managed to make it safely back home. Bashō recorded the journey in the first of his travel sketches, The Records of a Weather-Exposed Skeleton. One of the things that struck me about this journey is his desire to let go of worldly attachments. “I am indeed dressed like a priest,” he writes, “but priest I am not, for the dust of the world still clings to me.” On his return, however, it is the journey that clings to him:

shed of everything else
I still have some lice
I picked up on the road –
crawling on my summer robes.

These two observations remind us to be more self-aware of our mental states when undertaking or returning from a journey. Ultimately, the goal is to reach a harmonious state of unity between the body and spirit. The idea resonates with a remark made by the American transcendentalist philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, in his lecture on walking: “I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.”

The Narrow Road was the last of Bashō’s travel sketches. It takes the reader on a journey around Japan, stopping at various landmarks and temples, but it is much more than a travel diary. It contains, as the postscript notes (written by Soryū, a Japanese priest and scholar from the same time period), “not only that which is hoary and dry but also that which is young and colourful, not only that which is strong and imposing but also that which is feeble and ephemeral.” It is true, as he says, that while reading The Narrow Road, there are times when “we feel like taking to the road ourselves, seizing the rain-coat lying near by, or times when we feel like sitting down till our legs take root, enjoying the scene we picture before our eyes.” He goes on to compare the book to “the pearls which are said to be made by the weeping mermaids in the far-off sea”. While this is, indeed, a beautiful comparison, even a regular mollusc-made pearl would be apt – and perhaps, if I dare to say, even more so, since Bashō’s writing serves as an enduring reminder that our reality is more than enough as it already is.

 

Gilles Madan

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A HOME FOR THE HEART


On The Mother of Kamal by Dina Ibrahim (Hen and Chickens Theatre, August 11-13, 2023)

 

Cared for by the Camden Fringe The Mother of Kamal finds safe haven
In The Hen and Chickens; curator and coop for new plays
That push past the fringe to present the forehead of thought

And the forefront of vital words in small spaces; such intimacy
Forms a way to contain both chaos and care as Dina Ibrahim’s
Play hour commences. Based on her grandparents’ story,

As a working class Jewish family in Iraq
Who faced an unholy choice between survival and state punishment
In 1948 and the 50s, when Ibrahim’s Grandmother Reina,

(the eponymous Um-Kamal) is attacked
In both the hearth and heart as her two teenage sons
Are arrested. The feared Secret Police’s suspicions

Of Communist allegiance abound. Reina visits and implores
Masud Aslani (the Chief of Police), played by a strident
Tiran Aakel and is afforded a Sophie’s choice, a la Styron,

Where she must choose from her children, sacrificing Sasson,
The younger, so that Kamal may train as a Doctor
And for some hold on hope to be found.

From this emotive evisceration faith thrives
In both memory and invective. The play’s form is filmic
As Ibrahim cuts between scenes, moving from each baby’s

Birth to Sasson’s later struggle; and thus, the split spirit
Flickers, as Poor Theatre techniques attain sheen.
The stage is primed by suitcases and stools.

A typewriter transforms into soundtrack.
Exposition as luggage is lightened through this into song.
The Arabic cast multiply as roles are exchanged

Behind curtains; Nalan Burgess in particular impresses
As she moves from child to old woman, and barber, her vivacity
Granting music to the aspirations in art; The stage throngs

With a crowd made from five as Selwa Jghaelf’s heartfelt
Um-Kamal soothes survival. Her quietness is a challenge
As the roar of fate turns fear on. While Nicolas Gauci’s Kamal

Is wrent from the wretchedness of his brother, in time
Offering his assistance for Allah as he strives to redeem
Such deep wrongs. The Mother of Kamal in its plight

Is a pilgrim’s progress of sorts, in which religion itself
Provides context. The true motivation is love’s blood
And oil in the heart. As the writer director

Beautifully honours the age of her antecedents,
Adapting her father’s private memoir into the format
Of what should be public art. Theatre of confession

And care. A theatre of the soul to sustain us.
A theatre so simple it strips each lesson in life
To the bone. For this is a compact piece. A symphony

Of survival so that even those locked in prisons
Need not feel so alone. The cast commune and create
Character in an instant. Manav Chaudhuri moves

From officious policeman to cockney and as a typing drummer
His presence provides dignity, As does Joe Haddad’s Sasson,
knowing his fate, gnawing horror while Jghaelf’s eyes

Dare the darkness as they shine and show what will be.
The Mother of Kamal is no play. It is instead the heart’s music.
It beats to the rhythms of what it is that ghosts gain;

Some deeper impression. A print first on the skin,
Then within us. It is an oratorio of origins and reveals
In its hour the profundity within pain. Its cast is committed.

Its crew, from Ibrahim as Writer Director producer,
To Movement Director and Set Designers Stephen Freeman,
And Katie Coyne, to Jennifer Lewis’s costumes,

And Eddie McGuire’s original music too chorus
The ways in which victims in hurt and health duly join.
The play arrives in time with the anniversary of the invasion

Of Iraq and so touches the darker forces around us
And within us too. We are cast not just by fate
But by the fools who have governed

And who have done so unwisely on both sides
Of the past. May they feel Time’s full shame, as well as blame
For the struggles for which Dina Ibrahim’s heart song

Is singing; Truth shining for us, within a pub theatre’s
Pretence. The Mother of Kamal plays tonight. And also tomorrow.
It is love in light. Dare the darkness and you will see

How man’s darkness will in exposure
                                        Finally have

                                        No defence.

 

                                                         David Erdos 11/8/23

 

THE CAST (alphabetical order)
Tiran Aakel: Actor 2, as Masud Aslani (Chief of Police) | Heskel | Abu-Kamal | El-Hadidy | Magistrate | Wahid
Nalân Burgess: Actor 1, as Leyla | Rosette | Barber | Halima | Old Woman | Simran
Manav Chaudhuri: Actor 2, as Police Officer | Mahmood | Scribe | Mohammad | Marcus Dronsfield
Nicholas Gauci: Kamal
Joe Haddad: Sasson
Selwa Jghaelf: Um-Kamal
 
TECHNICAL AND PRODUCTION
Writer & director: Dina Ibrahim
Movement director | Stage manager | Set design:Stephen Freeman 
Technical | Costume | Set design: Katie Coyne
Costume: Jennifer Lewis
Casting and VO recordings: Marianne Sheehan
Production assistant: Croia McDermott
 
PRESS RELEASE: Middle eastern politics, exile, & family history explored in new Camden Fringe play The Mother of Kamal
 
Dina Ibrahim is a North London drama teacher and writer. She is descended from the ancient Jewish communities of Iraq. Her new one-hour play The Mother of Kamal is based on her father’s family memoir novel Um-Kamal (‘mother of Kamal’ in Arabic). It takes us to the heart of her family history from a working-class Jewish community in Baghdad in the turmoil of 1950s pre-revolutionary Iraq up to the present day diaspora through the eyes of her grandmother ‘Reina’ (the eponymous Um-Kamal). Writing on the recently re-explored history of the Jews of Iraq and Baghdad seems to focus on the wealthier, upper echelons of Jewish society, but this play untypically locates itself firmly within a working-class Jewish community, living and struggling side by side with their poor Muslim neighbours and with a strong focus on the role of women in making this punishing, increasingly totalitarian environment survivable.
 
In the play, it is 1948 in the slums of Baghdad. Amid a spate of arrests and arbitrary public executions, a working-class Jewish mother, Um-Kamal, finds her two sons arrested by the feared and loathed Secret Police. Inexplicably, the younger brother, Sasson, gets imprisoned, while Kamal, the older, is set free. Rumour and intrigue ensue, and Um-Kamal is reluctantly drawn into the orbit and underground activity of the Communist Party, risking all to save her teenage sons, hold her fragmenting family together and, 50 years later, discover the truth of what really happened that night in the cells in Baghdad amid conflicting family narratives and histories.
 
Writer and director Dina Ibrahim says: “The impact of my dad’s novel on him and his wider family has been remarkable. It was incredibly important to me that my play would do justice to his vision and to the immense strength, courage and creativity of the working class Jewish women of the Middle East in guiding their families through the most tumultuous and dangerous times.”
 
With music specially composed by renowned award-winning composer Eddie McGuire, the play blends traditional narrative drama with elements drawn from classical, physical and ensemble theatre, withbeautiful lyrical passages of staging that merge with acutely observed vignettes of social satire and human relations.
 
Timely in coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the invasion Iraq, The Mother of Kamal is a powerful, poignant, yet warmly humorous and subtly satirical play about a historical family struggle for justice and truth in the face of exile and a cynical, politicised intolerance – themes which sadly resonate as loudly today, both personally and globally. It is part of the Camden Fringe 2023.
 
“Fascinating and insightful” Emile Cohen, Chronicler of the history of Jews in 20th Century Iraq
 

The Mother of Kamal 10-13 August, Hen and Chickens Theatre, Highbury Corner, London N1 2NA7:30pm,  £13.50/£10.50
Tickets: https://camdenfringe.com/events/the-mother-of-kamal/
Twitter: mother_of_kamal
Instagram: themotherofkamal
Camden Fringe: The Mother of Kamal | Unrestricted View : The Hen & Chickens Theatre

 

Complimentary tickets available on request. Please reply to this email stating desired date of attendance and number of tickets.

 
Sample poster, graphics and images of the author – hi res images and more images available on request. 
 
 
Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

THE MAGIC MOUTHFUL


On Desert Ships; new album HEAVY SOUP (Desert Ships, 2023)

Stirred by song-spells in a cosmic studio kitchen
The new pysch-rock infusion from the flavoursome
Desert Ships sounds as if song had taste as well as texture
As Mikey Buckley’s guitar and voice season
His musical menu into a potion of poetic sound:

Taste the trip. For there is steam and stars to this mix
Much like the rising cloud from care’s space-craft
As the Sci-Fi blues they engender from Garage Rock,
Dream pop, and the psychedelic strand binds us all,
As Daniel McLean John Paul Jones on bass and synth,

Steering wisely as Claude Trejonis Drums and BVs
Song-broth smells so sweetly as through a Gourmet’s ear
You’re enthralled. WATCHING THE WORLD STOP stridently thrills
As Buckley’s youthful slur slaps stark visions. His chiming guitar
Melts the Buzzcocks into a sublime LA sheen, as this jilted John

Slams world not girl for forsaking all that was precious
This perfect precis grants the fatal red its own green. 
FIRE ON THE MOON shimmers in, accelerating Mazzy Star
And dark summers. Those nights when the weather
Forms its own kind of war with the earth. A sense of

Propulsion is felt as Buckley’s rocketing force takes us higher
Powered by McLean and Trejonis, as 2m 13 arcs an orbit
Around what fate has in store for us and our worth.
There is so much craft on display it needs no UFO designer;
This song-ship rises because of its clear understanding

Of form through each string. The three musicians meld
On into the other, courtesy of Buckley’s production and mix,
And Tim Turan’s mastering. Ingredients fuse as in cuisine
From all countries, and so it is with HEAVY SOUP’s four-to-flooring
That somehow summons the 60s through to the 90s from Love

To Ride, and the players who make from song spaces in which
To think and dance faster in. The Buckley slur is heard here
As his strings shine through his singing; sleeper, star-sweeper,
He is licking the sky as he drinks from the stuff of such stars
And from the sounds he has conjured. Music is magic.

It is mixture and myth. Guitars think. MOSQUITO BLUES
Is a summery strum from the 80s, as if The Lotus Eaters
Had swallowed Sweet Jane by the Velvets, or even
The sprightly Housemartins for lunch.  And this is the mark
Of great songs; we believe that we’ve already heard them.

Just so, this familiar swing is pop perfect. Its sweet immediacy
Makes soup brunch. As well as nourishment while NEON
Is more musically manly. It is Robin Hitchcock’s Egyptians
Meets Iggy Pop. Buckley’s sung sneer is like Beck,
Or the Lemonheads’ Evan Dando. He sounds like a torn

T-Shirt tyrant commandeering your local record shop.
The trio combine as salt and soup do with croutons,
Each one a part of the other as this immaculate song-suite
Is sipped. MOON LANDING sounds like HP Lovecraft.
The old psychedelic band, not the author, as into the mix

The ear’s dipped. And yet totally original as I say,
As craft and care sets sounds soaring into the aether
And to the ever of course music shapes. PICK UP YOUR PHONE
Captures this as its swoop of synth and guitar line entrances
As this call for connection echoes the exits that too often occur

As time scrapes. Inside here are yearning and years
Contained and kept inside moments for which
We are searching despite every being’s  particular need
To escape. Song as philosophy then told in the simplest
Of language. Pop as poetry carving from direct expression

The wildness within us and the wilderness still surrounding,
As if in an instant we would all return to the ape.
LOSING TRACK OF TIME seals the deal which music makes
For us. In a handful of signals from cymbals to strings,
Fruth is sourced. And also sauced as the heavy soup

Finds full flavour and these eight songs summon
The sound of survival powered by pop with fine force.
This is 27minutes and 41 seconds. Nearly half an hour’s
Endeavour that through your listening will now last
Throughout your coming days and as for as long as for you,

Music matters. The future’s still forming, and here are songs
Scented not just by its promise but by the present
And the riches within the sweet past. Look beyond
Your device and feel that future. Inhale. Such soup
Saves you. The  die is a crouton to be put to the test.

                                Crunch, then cast.

 

 

                                           David Erdos 11/8/23 

 
 
 

 

DESERT SHIPS new album

HEAVY SOUP

Out Friday 28th April

Listen HERE

 

 

                              Photo: Carl Fox

                                               

“A hot, thick melting pot of effervescent tunes”
Elvis Thirlwell, Shindig! Magazine

“Simply breathtaking” – Drowned in Sound

“Great fucking songs!” – Alan McGee (Creation Records)

 

Desert Ships, purveyors of a premier brand of psych-rock with an infections pop quality, return with new album ‘Heavy Soup’ on 28th April. With support from the likes of Cerys Matthews (6 Music) and John Kennedy’s X-Posure Show (Radio X) for the singles building to the release, it is set to light up the summer in rock ‘n’ roll haze.

The album was produced by vocalist/guitarist Mikey Buckley and recorded & mixed at his home studio, combining his experience as the chief live engineer at London’s Paper Dress Vintage and his production work with other bands, including the Steve Lamacq-championed Modern Guilt.

Desert Ships – completed by Daniel McLean (bass/synth) and Claude Trejonis (drums/vocals) – demonstrate once again the quality of their craft and an astute ear for entrancing arrangement. Mikey and Dan initially met at university, and spent a year in France together not attending class but cutting their teeth ‘Hamburg style’ playing concerts five nights a week as ‘The Dripping Baguettes’.

These lifelong friends blend garage rock, dream pop and neo-psychedelia to create their own sci-fi blues. In a career stretching over a decade, they have picked up a number of canny psych collaborators, including Ride’s Mark Gardener – who produced the band’s first two collections – as well as Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3) , Haydn Bendall (Kate Bush) and Alex Scannell (The Bees). Another key contributor to their work has been Jules Buckley, brother of frontman Mikey, who arranged ‘Melody Nelson era’ strings for the band’s album Eastern Flow between work with Quincy Jones, John Cale and Arctic Monkeys.

A recent and scintillating live session for Act Cool Records confirmed that “Desert Ships are a fantastic band that deliver groovy, hypnotic tunes” (Music Is To Blame). Director Gil De Ray, known for his work with Little Barrie, imaginatively illustrated this with his accompanying video for the track ‘Heavy Soup’.

Mastered by Tim Turan (Supergrass, Killing Joke), ‘Heavy Soup’ is available to stream/download across all digital platforms Friday 28th April 2023.

http://www.desertships.com

https://desertships.bandcamp.com

https://soundcloud.com/desertships/sets/heavy-soup

https://open.spotify.com/album/0RjZZZ0I2QjunSfSgxzlDb?si=noGG9VRRQiKrups0s1e9_Q

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Message

 

Many, many, many years ago, not quite before time began, we had a private telephone line expensively installed in the hallway of our flat.

The party line was cheaper (several residences connected to one line…you’d pick up the receiver and check if others were talking).  

Friends & unfortunate acquaintances often did not have a telephone.

If they lived close by, we’d take a chance and knock on their door.

Red telephone boxes, designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, hit the streets in 1926, and were essential for over 50 years for most of the population, who could not afford a telephone line.  60,000 Scott boxes eventually covered the country, with 8,000 still remaining. 

To ensure meeting up at a time and place suitable to everyone, we no longer had to send a letter to friends and relations and wait for a reply. 

The postman used to deliver our letters three times a day, later, only twice. 

The telephone at home, this new device, adopted much earlier by businesses, meant we’d pick up the receiver and dial the number to make contacts with friends, relations or companies.  

I still remember ours, GLAdstone 4966, three letters & four numbers. 

What a boon.  Instant communication. 

Wind forward.  Email.  

Now, at last, instant communication across the world.

Send a message and you would get a reply moments, or occasionally hours afterwards.  

Eventually this was too much for each of us as we spent hours every day curating messages, deleting messages and soon deleting the messengers. 

This was too much for businesses who then allowed only proprietary messages through their own portals, such as apps. 

It made the telephone almost redundant, a place to leave a voice message on an answering machine in an echoing hall inhabited by thousands of other messages. 

Then telephones left the hallways and the walls of the nations, and became smartphones, allowing instant contact and allowing everyone, friend or foe, to be in our pockets. 

This was somewhat unwise, as every business, every uncle, every family member and even close friends could make contact.

Voices, and unprompted assignations made lots of people nervous. 

Aha!  Text messages.  

Now this fly in the ointment ensured that both telephone and email would make communication even less likely. 

After all, perhaps the message did not get through. 

Abject apologies.  Abject appointments and disappointments. 

Never mind.  Now we could all have one-way communications with no way of knowing if we were talking to someone or just ourselves.  

Did the message get through?   

A solution!  Facebook, Video messaging. Posting on YouTube.  

Now, at last, we could communicate across the world to everyone; brothers and sisters, and my uncle. 

And we’d have proof we’d been seen and heard by ticking a box that said like or dislike.  

Gosh!  A thousand people have seen what I’ve said and done.  

Oh no!  More ticked the wrong box.  A solution was found. 

The one’s that dissed you were removed from the score sheet. 

Only likes were left on display. 

What did they see?  

The Twitterati could tell you, but you never knew who they were, or in fact, if they existed or knew anything at all. 

Then things became interesting.   

Chatbot robots, AI, and their friends, multiplied in our computerised nirvana, billions of pixels inhabiting the airways, rather like microbiota in our bodies, bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, & viruses. 

Nobody now knew if anything they said or did was working or communicated to anyone else or whether we now inhabited a great hall of mirrors.  Still, there was one way to be sure.  

I left my computer and smartphone at home and walked out into the street.  I knocked on the door of a friend, who, much to his astonishment, saw me standing there.

He said, “What a surprise!  So lovely to see you.  Come in.” 

 

© Christopher 2023  [email protected] 

 

An aside:
Giles Gilbert Scott is claimed to have taken the design of the telephone box from the mausoleum of Eliza Soane, the wife of Sir John Soane. 
His son, George Soane, had published articles denigrating the architecture of his father.  She died ‘of a broken heart’ just two years later and Sir John never spoke with the son again.

Soane was subsequently buried there.  
Thus the red telephone box was born to allow us all commiserations and declarations, without having to do this in person.
Was the red telephone box an opportunity to talk with the spirits or to each other?
And so to the present …and our descent into our halls of reflections.

George Basevi: Sir John Soane Tomb in St. Pancras Old Churchyard (imaginary landscape) 

 

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | 2 Comments

DEATH IS A STRING DRIVEN THING

Orpheus strums and unwittingly ears are opened;
The musicians’ call is soon answered by whichever stars
Shine that day. On the turn of August 8th two men caught
In their eightieth year composed a chorus
From the Greek God’s air, both souls singing
Death’s sad refrain on that day.

Robbie Robertson of The Band and the equally mythic
Sixto Rodriquez, one who swam while stirring
The mainstream and one banked survivor, plucked
From the silt to shine on. Each at either ends of the scale,
The stave forming a ladder on which their achievements
Mastered lost moments within the magic encampment

Of song. Robertson, one part Mohawk, one part
American jewish, was a Canadian carny player,
As he later played in his film. Raised for the wild,
From the relative calm of his country; at 14 was playing
Early Rock n’ roll while drinks spilled from bar-room
With the Hawks to Madison Square Garden with Dylan,

To the Last Waltz and Scorsese, and the singers
Who shaped their own age. Robertson wrote most
Of The Band’s famous songs but was never heard to sing
Til the 80s with his eponymous solo debut had a voice
Like oil poured at night. Somewhere Down the Crazy River
Struck me in 1987, straight through to Storyville

And Sinematic, while Killers of the Flower Moon
His last soundtrack will once projected echo his breath
And lost light. People die all the time but for one such as I
This feels seismic. On the same day as Robbie and Sixto
We have lost Jamie Reid also, Punk and The Sex Pistols Portraitist.
The man who provided the prints which have preserved

The aesthetics of revolt and resistance. At least in Art
Truth is granted, for as these records spin ages twist.
So many things are now lost. For death is theft and voracious.
It is as if the orpheic song was now moving from plaintive
Strumming to fervent three chord thrash as it gathers up
Ghosts who can be summoned still from their objects,

Be they 7 inch covers or album, on vinyl each verse
Becomes lash on the fragile surface and skin of what we consider
As culture, and yet the ones who first founded are returning now
To the mix from which myth is made. We have lost Bowie,
Cohen and Lennon, Berry and Elvis before him,
Marvin Gaye, Little Richard, each one of them starring 

And directed in Death’s dimming flick. Those we have left
Must be prized, as once they’re gone we’ll have nothing,
But a fading age and a genre and a medium too, time can mar.
As the trend for vinyl slips likes Cds and song is squeezed
Into smartphones, or caught in the cloud where art’s angels
Are above and around, yet seem far.  As was Sixto Rodriguez

For years, with the cold fact of his worth chilled by distance,
Thought dead for decades, a suicide for success,
It took South African fans to save the Sugarman from the sour
As obscurity and an initial lack of sales staled and seasoned
All that was tasty, until the ketchup coated replacements
Made in each mouth its own mess. That mixture remains

To this day, but thankfully Sixto was savoured. His two albums
Lasting for more than fifty years still sound fresh. As if his turn
Of phrase, particularly in Cause, aids ascension,
For just as his ‘heart’s become a crooked hotel, full of rumours,’
The ‘rain drinks champagne’ and ‘the queen of hearts
Who is half a stone and likes to laugh alone’ in her leaving

Is allowing us all to confess. Rodriquez ran for District Mayor
And worked on building sites in his sixties. He had no television,
No luxuries and no phone. He evolved his own age in 22 songs
As he hid while raising a Lear’s worth of daughters.
He lived a real legend, from something forgotten
To something unearthed through time’s throne.

He was all we could ask, those who need to contribute
And make statements. He made another nation revere him.
And this he never knew, left alone. These are the lives
We have lost on the 8th and 9th of August. And so, I must ask
At what cost, separation. And shouldn’t we all now attone?
Not just for these and the other major figures we’ve lost,

For at the end of the day it’s just music.
And yet music is our myth and our shadow. 
It is mankind’s air inside air. 
As each strum sings out, silence pronounces. 
Which sound then shapes your soundtrack.
And which song sung shows your care.

A one day swathe sweeps the sweetness of a soulful croon
With the sour. The glare and the glory and the filth
And the fury now slide into the space between
What we once thought we knew and what we can now
Only imagine. For these servants of song the gong’s sounded.
But is chiming still. Hasten. Hide.

 

 

 

                                                                                      David Erdos 11/8/23

 

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Delicate Artist

How mild was the wind?
That stirred his soul.

The color of his clay,
His childhood memories

All so thin like a thread,
When you gave him your heart.

He loved words and paint.
You were colorful
He wanted you to be colorless
So that he could refill you.

Adding more layers of color
Could be a lifetime of nearness.

Delicate art is a
Thread like life
Lived in peace,
In a silent awakening.

To bond and be you,
He became himself first.

Pain in aesthetics,
Does not kill an artist
If optimistic heartbeat
Does not betray.

The beauty of survival
Is in trying to be beautiful
To life and to work,

Above all time should
Be made beautiful.

 

 

 

Copyright Sushant Thapa
Biratnagar, Nepal
Picture Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kong Fuzi:

 

Plenty / drought –

a palace /

a slave’s hut –

balanced.

 

 

Buddha:

 

Gives and haves

we accrue

cycle through

many selves.

 

 

Francesco d’Assisi:

 

Salvation:

loss of self –

Pride forsake,

forego wealth.

 

 

Thomas Paine:

 

Religion,

monarchy

imprison

mankind’s heart

 

 

Friedrich Nietzsche:

 

Tradition

impedes self,

unhidden

will triumphs.

 

 

Sigmund Freud:

 

Social / I / animal

share one mind

within self.

 

 

Ayn Rand:

Nation, Earth,

universe –

all smaller

than oneself.

 

 

John Locke:

 

Ruler’s role:

to defend

god-bestowed

rights of man.

 

 

Jean-Paul Sartre:

 

Live by truth

to exist.

Is is do,

do is is.

 

 

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

 

Position,

life, world: all

illusion,

even self.

 

 

René Descartes:

 

Perception,

the senses –

uncertain

except for self.

 

 

Karl Marx:

 

Production

decides class

and corrupts

the masses.

 

 

 

 

Duane Vorhees
Picture Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

America (You’re Freaking Me Out)/The Menzingers

On the lonely end of history / swingin’ and swayin’ to the murder mystery / rhyme and reason fled the crime scene / of new penthouses next to tents in the streets / oh, how do I steer my early 30’s / before I shipwreck before im 40 / oh, ain’t it a shame what we choose to ignore / what kind of monsters did our parents vote for / lately I feel like i’m in puppet vichy, france tryin’ to teach the devil how to dance / to these sing-alongs of siren songs / to ooh’s to ahh’s to big applause / with all of my anger I scream and shout / america, I love you but you’re freaking me out / driving through the bible belt / billboards claiming how jesus felt / oh, how’d his words confuse themselves? / With cranks for christians in powerful positions / i’ve always felt like all their pomp and circumstance is just cover for the devil to dance / america, you’re freaking me out / with all my anger I shout / can’t you recognize truth from clever lies?

 

 

http://themenzingers.com

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

SAUSAGE LIFE 277

Bird Guano’s
SAUSAGE LIFE
The column which believes that JR Oppenheimer and Mattel Inc should be equally ashamed of themselves

MYSELF: Whilst Rishi Sunak is on holiday at his California dacha, everyone in the Tory Party is wondering who the front-runners are as they plot to replace him before next May’s general election.
READER: I know you’ve got inside information so don’t beat about the bush.
MYSELF: I’ll give you a clue, one of them said this: Illegal migrants who object to being banged up in a floating prison ship can fuck off back to France.” – who was it?
READER: A quiz! Brilliant! Let me see….. Cruella Braverman is heartless enough, but is thicker than a metric tonne of condemned mince and doesn’t swear.
MYSELF: Not her.
READER: I suppose it could be Victorian religious zealot Jacob Grease-Smogg who is certainly cruel enough but alas, also doesn’t swear, plus I think the Tories have been advised to steer clear of top hats. This is a very difficult question. It could be monstrous gang-moll Priti Patel who’s been very quiet since she went on the lam… MYSELF: Neither of them.
READER: Surely it can’t be Nadene Doris who is obviously off the A-list after she got turned down for the Lords despite all that sucking and blowing…
MYSELF: Now steady on! Nadene Doris is the bee’s knees as well as the cat’s pajamas. She is a fragrant rock, a possible future dictator and I won’t hear a word said against her. Only Ann Widdecombe has more stature, grace and eloquence.
READER: Good grief you’re not suggesting it’s the gurning groupie? Although Doris does rhyme with Boris.
MYSELF: It’s definitely not Dorisshe’s far too busy getting AI to write her next novel. Here’s a clue: It was Conservative deputy chairman and chisel-faced shit, Lee Anderson.
READER: I’m going to have a guess. Was it Cuthbert Trubblet-Mill MP, the right wing ex-Yorkshire cricketer?
MYSELF: If you say so.

DIM AND DIMMER
Boxing promoter Harry Hernia has signed the contract for the long anticipated return to the ring of fresh-out-of-rehab heavyweight face-puncher Typhoon Anger. His opponent will be Mexican veteran Mickey “Chihuahua” Gonzales (53), 11 stone lighter and 9 inches shorter than Anger and, his critics claim, ‘a pushover’. Gonzales’ manager, José ‘no way’ Huevos said, “ Looks can be deceiving. It would be a big mistake to underestimate The Chihuahua. My boy’s like a miniature combine harvester on steroids. He will reap The Typhoon like wheat, bag him up and leave him all over the ring in black plastic bundles. His footwork is a blur. One round will be enough. The difference in height means nothing. He can jump like a grasshopper. His flying uppercut will be the angry bull in Typhoon’s china-shop jaw.”
Anger’s manager Ron Maserati countered: “The Chihuahua doesn’t stand a chance. Typhoon’s in tip-top shape since his withdrawal symptoms wore off. He’s down to two bottles of gluten-free vodka a day. His arms are like legs. His right hook is even more devastating than his left. It’s like a jet-powered piranha fish wrapped in cement. Don’t even mention the footwork. One of the judges on Strictly described Typhoon’s feet as “like two tiny hovercrafts”. I’ll give Chihuahua two rounds at the most.”
Dubbed “Brawl of the Century”, the bout will take place on 4th September at Upper Dicker’s Travelodge Casino Stadium where the two brain-damaged ex-alcoholic sociopaths will battle it out for a purse thought to be in excess of £500.

POLICEFUL DEMONSTRATION
Hastings’ latest dressing up and getting drunk event took place last week. Like Pirate Day, Constable Day now in its third year, has captured Hastings’ imagination. This year’s event was a resounding success as Hastings shattered the record for the total number of people assembled in one place dressed as policemen or WPCs.
On a blistering June morning, the town quickly filled up with ‘officers of the law’, and by noon, the previous record-holders’ total of 8,710 (Taunton, 2017), was easily overtaken. Even after the judges disqualified 54 ineligible plain-clothes detectives and a confused couple from Suffolk who arrived wearing artists smocks and carrying palettes and paint brushes, Hastings’ 9,457 turnout easily outstripped that of their west country rivals.
Hastings’ lord mayor Derek Windfarm praised the effort, saying: “The townspeople, as always, got into the spirit of things 110 %, which is, coincidentally, also the figure Hastings chief of police Hydra Gorgon has given me for the regrettable spike in petty crime which occurred that day as hundreds of intoxicated ‘policemen’ emptied the shelves of clothing stores and off-licences, leaving a trail of confused shopkeepers across the town.”

WARRIORS’ WOES CONTINUE
As the 23/24 football season prepares to kick off, Podraig Bin-Paddiwagon, new owner of Hastings & St. Leonards Warriors FC has sparked controversy. The man who claimed to be a well-connected oil-rich billionaire member of the Saudi Royal family, has now been revealed as a fraud by investigators at the Beyondenden Daily Bugle. Their report has revealed that he is not an Arab sheik, but an Irish chef, whose previous job was flipping burgers at the Upper Dicker branch of Calories R Us.
Warrior’s captain Nobby Balaclava told us, “This is a bitter disappointment right at the beginning of the season, especially after last year’s shock relegation to the Nuclear Waste Disposal Solutions League (South). The lads are inconsolable, particularly as we had all ordered 4-wheel drive cars and got measured up for Armani suits in anticipation of £250,000 a week salaries and deodorant sponsorships. It now looks as though the promised Olympic-sized stadium with its own money laundry facilities and jumbo jet runway is not going to materialise, along with the luxury yacht marina and an exciting new away strip.”

As we went to press, Mr. Bin-Paddiwagon’s telephone number appeared to be unavailable. His luxury caravan, parked in a dogging layby just outside of Herstmonceaux, was deserted when we called. The FA have cancelled the purchase and given the club 30 days to find a new owner.

Sausage Life!




Click image to connect. Alice’s Crazy Moon is an offbeat monthly podcast hosted by Alice Platt (BBC, Soho Radio) with the help of roaming reporter Bird Guano a.k.a Colin Gibson (Comic Strip Presents, Sausage Life). Each episode will centre around a different topic chosen by YOU the listener! The show is eclectic mix of music, facts about the artists and songs and a number of surrealistic and bizarre phone-ins and commercials from Bird Guano. Not forgetting everyones favourite poet, Big Pillow!

NB: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PAID SUBSCRIPTION TO SPOTIFY, THE SONGS WILL BE OF RESTRICTED LENGTH

JACK POUND: JESUS WANTS ME FOR A SUN READER aka PASS THE INSTANT YOGA

 

 



SAY GOODBYE TO IRONING MISERY!
When added to your weekly wash, new formula Botoxydol, with Botulinim Toxin A, will guarantee youthful, wrinkle-free clothes.
Take years off your smalls with Botoxydol!
CAUTION
MAY CAUSE SMILEY FACE T-SHIRTS TO LOOK
INSINCERE

 

SPONSORED ADVERTISEMENT
“Sometimes you just need a tool that doesn’t do anything”

https://guanopoundhammer.bandcamp.com/album/people-who-are-dead-dont-know-that-they-are

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sitar, psychedelia and live, live music!

 

‘After-thoughts’ on another sold out night at the remarkable Golden Lion venue:

with Alan Dearling

Upstairs in a venue perched above the Rochdale Canal in Todmorden, West Yorkshire – jam-packed with music lovers. First up, ‘Sister Wives’, then ‘Helicon’, and then more live music in the weekly Open Mic downstairs at the Golden Lion. So much music. Great to have such a special pub that provides djs/live music/talks/community events and much more – even visiting UFOs!

I have to say that on occasions like today, in the morning after, as I start to check and edit pics from the night before – I’m perhaps more in an ‘after-shock’, rather than having ‘after-thoughts’. Upstairs at the paid gig, it was loud and absolutely wedged… But, a special psych-vibe.

Helicon

The name of the band has many meanings in many cultures. Amongst them, ‘Helicon’ was the abode in central Greece of Apollo and the Muses. That sounds super-cool! Their sounds and sources are extremely diverse. A helicon is also a tuba-like instrument with a coil to fit over the head. Absolutely nothing to do with sitars, keyboards and guitars! Here’s a link to Helicon:

https://www.heliconglasgow.com/bio

There’s quite a lot about them on the web including lots of video and music links. I agree whole-heartedly with Shindig magazine which wrote, “Helicon have become a mythical force in the UK underground over the last 10 years.”

Gideon Coe and Deb Grant on BBC Radio 6 Music have been lauding their ambitions and talents and in particular their rather cosmic third studio album which was released earlier this year. It’s entitled ‘God Intentions’, and released on Fuzz Club. It’s been mastered by Mark Gardener (Ride), and their collaborators include Lavinia Blackwall (Trembling Bells), Anna McCracken, a string quartet, French avant-garde violinist Sotho Houle and more. 

Helicon was formed in 2011 by brothers John-Paul and Gary Hughes in East Kilbride, Glasgow. They are quoted as saying that they wanted to be musically creative, “Channeling the cosmic noise of their Scottish homeland and sitar-led, opium-tainted sounds of India with the neo-psychedelic swoons of 90s San Francisco”. To date, they have released 3 singles, 9 EPs, 3 studio albums and 1 Fuzz Club live session album.

Graham Gordon – a master of strange facial expressions!

Helicon are increasingly involved in musical collaborations. This includes their recent single with Will Carruthers (ex-Spacemen 3 , The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spiritualized, Dead Skeletons) in what they call, “…a hilariously profound, mind-melting single”, ‘I’m More English Than You, You C*nt!’.

HELICON is: John-Paul Hughes, Gary Hughes Graham Gordon, Mike Hastings, Mark McLure, Billy Docherty and Seb Jonsen.

Live, they were doomy, visually creative – lots of intricate inter-play of sounds, with layers of electronica and drones. And, it was pretty loud, fuzzy walls-of-sound, at times reminiscent of early Hawkwind gigs in the days of Lemmy. A number of my mates at the gig commented afterwards, and Helicon told me: “Yeah, it was a bit too loud on stage for us too!”

But the band went down a storm, garnering dozens of favourable comments. If you enjoy Spacemen 3, Can, Ozric Tentacles, Dream Machine and Wooden Shjips, you’ll be interested in the music of Helicon. One of my friends said she had mates who travelled to Yorkshire from Swanage in Dorset for the gig and she said, “It is the best band I’ve seen so far this year.”

Here’s a brief excerpt from an interview in ‘Stereo Embers’ by Paul Gleason with the two founding brothers in Helicon:

“JPH: I’d written the melody for ‘In a Sad Red Dusk’ (from their EP, ‘Gehenna’) using a sitar pedal, and whilst it sounded OK, I knew it would find a whole new dimension if we used a real sitar. Fortunately, we knew Graham, the sitar player, from gigging together over the last few years and asked him to join us for the recording. We were so pleased with how it turned out that we’ve brought him out on the road with us to play live. As luck would have it, he too is a degenerate, drunken nincompoop, so he fits right in.

GH: We have known Graham for a good few years now, and we thought sitar would sit nicely in our latest recordings. He has become a big part of our sound.”

Link to interview and the video of ‘In a Sad Red Dusk’: http://stereoembersmagazine.com/always-moving-forward-an-interview-with-helicon/

Here’s an Ab-Fab video clip of ‘The Sun also Rises’ from The Fuzz Box Sessions: https://youtu.be/rhPzIsVFX8c

Sister Wives

Bilingual Welsh/English dreamweavers // Breuddwydwyr Dwyieithog – possibly ‘bizarrely’ from Sheffield.

Pounding rhythms, swirling spectral keys, chants – four psychedelic ladies… reminding me a bit, especially on the more folksy numbers, of Sally Oldfield/the Sallyangie (with brother, Michael). Brim-full of Celtic folk tales…but at the edgier, darker end of the Celtic fringes. There’s even hints of Velvet Underground. The four members of Sister Wives take turns in singing, but Donna on keyboards is frequently centre-stage. Sister Wives are:

Donna Lee, Lisa O’Hara, Liv Willars and Rose Love.

Video of a live Sister Wives’ set from Shacklewell Arms, London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVXXLq3VLBw

Personally, I’m more attracted to their folkier tracks, and was impressed with the singing from drummer, Lisa. She is in haunting-form on ‘Hares on the Hill’ from their latest album, ‘Y Gawres’, but ‘Baron Hill’ and ‘Streets at Night’ also left musical imprints on my ever-depleting brain-cells!

Check out their album on Bandcamp: https://sisterwivesmusic.bandcamp.com/track/hares-on-the-mountain

Then downstairs at the Golden Lion’s Open Mic Night, I was able to enjoy some fun and musical frolics from three of The Free Sandwiches and some fine trumpet finessing from Manchester’s Rick Burrows… Another singular night of LIVE music.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

disORDER


 
One. Stand in a glass dolls house. Turn
the key and a musical box opens.
Puppets in spiral – long days of grass.
 
Two. Walk to the top of a hill, watch over
those awoken by star lights. When we sing,
we do not use words.
 
Three. Hold tight on to the back of
a minotaur; in the labyrinth we guard
the source of our rivers.
 
Four. Swimming lessons. Breathing
practice for later life. Check
the sea level at regular intervals.
 
Five. Decide that the earliest memory is
a feeling. Someone passed it onto us
by accident. It still matters.
 
Six. Find a safe place, give it a nickname
or at least get a colour to fit with
the things we tell ourselves.
 
Seven. Pull a curtain over the ruins of
here. Convince ourselves: all we need
is just round the corner.
 
Eight. Travel by car, boat, bus;
the motion sickness for changing
our minds always at the last minute.
 
Nine. Count empty chairs at departure
gates. Fold the rest of the day
in half then gift it to strangers.
 
Ten. Arrivals happen when there is
no luggage left to pick up. All forgiven
out of necessity.
 
Eleven. The railway platform keeps
changing numbers. Watch closely
notice boards in an antechamber.
 
Twelve. Rush out in yesterday’s clothes,
fill up the rooms in our heart
with what is to come.

 

 

 

© Maria Stadnicka and Andrew Morrison 
Picture Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Sideshow

The puppet in the canvas booth is concerned about the flimsy dinghies and the frightened families therein. She’s troubled by the waves and the weather, but she’s more concerned about the appropriate soundtrack. Yes, it needs drama, but too much threat and questions will be raised. There needs to be hope but, again, too much and the jig is up, and fickle viewers will surf the channels until they find something less foregone, like a nature documentary or a snooker match that hinges on the last black. Give us swelling strings and restrained percussion. Hell, give us an ecstasy of woodwinds and the promise of redemption just as soon as the Sun’s first rays ruffle the morning foam. But what about the generations smothered in cold? What about the inconvenient bodies? A flutter of flutes. Maybe a bassoon.

 

 

 

Oz Hardwick
Photo Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A LIFE

 

from The Selected Letters of John Cage



 

Cage’s thinking was expressing increasingly clear ideas

Cage’s circle of intellectual interests widened

Cage proudly reports Cage’s first literary engagement

Cage’s politically prescient work, Cage’s only known letter, created a second

Cage succeeded on behalf of others, didn’t like telling others what to do

Cage’s mature works did not originate in psychology

Cage’s various musical pursuits came together, Cage performed

Cage suffered two personal losses, created visual art work

Cage at his most cheerful is at his most playful

Cage wrote to people at length, almost always replied

Cage enthusiastically admits to his own inconsistencies

Cage’s work was also changing, Cage was cleaning house

Cage’s intellectual life entered a new phase in academic residence

Cage developed complex rules for world improvement

Cage shared his experiences, provided a few stories for translation

Cage conceived Cage’s interest in mushrooms, also wrote and published

Cage earnestly loved Cage, continued to seek financial assistance

Cage made clear his enormous enthusiasm, was emboldened

Cage performed elsewhere, gave an explosive percussion concert

Cage managed to conduct an exhaustive search, visited Giacometti and Brancusi

Cage enjoyed quiet, was dreading time away from home

Cage’s pursuit of a musical career is mostly mute

Cage set a steady if meandering course over some six decades

Cage’s Diary is a mosaic of escalating unrest and a lot of chess

Cage was beginning to understand Cage had begun to deteriorate

Cage made clear his enormous enthusiasm for turning away

 

 

 

 

   © Rupert M Loydell

 

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

BEYOND WRITING or THE LUCID CHIMAERA

Puttin’ on the agony

Puttin’ on the style

Lonnie Donegan

So you like writing poetry? Fine!

Poetry is just so easy these days – blank verse for the blank generation, it’s a freestyle free-for-all – yes it’s the only way.

All formats, from the fractured remnants of archaic stanza form, to the modish Modernism of open field, process or whatever, are available to the auteur.

Pick-and-mix as you like! But reject ever more sharply the vainglorious folie de grandeur of epic high seriousness. Instead, embrace the cardinal virtues – and what are they? Convulsive beauty, automatism, objective chance (phrases taken at random from a top hat, or the mass media), black humour (nothing is sacred), Existential angst, The Absurd, mad love (the amatory mode always appeals), Subtopian Materialism, and – no offence! – That lucid chimaera, absolute, freedom of expression.

Oppose the literary thinking of the last four decades, put yourself on a collision course with every ideology, pour scorn on the fashionable nonsense of radical chic linguistic obsessions – it is hardly surprising, you might say, that in our post-cultural world, the chattering classes of scholasticism are fixated on language.

We all know that the best work is always off the radar if not beyond the fringe (ha!).

So, what’s it all about?

As always, the answer is Style.

Poetry is like couture; Yes! Style is everything!

 

 

 

 

A.C. Evans

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tristan Honsinger (1949-2023)

Tristan Honsinger , who has died aged 73, was born in Burlington, Vermont and started playing the cello at the age of nine. He went on to study at the New England Conservatory and, later, the Peabody. In the late sixties, he moved to Canada to avoid the draft, where he developed an interest in free improvised music. He travelled to the Netherlands in 1974 and became involved in the European free improvised music scene, working with the Instant Composers’ Pool and Derek Bailey’s Company. Towards the end of the 1970s, he also collaborated with The Pop Group and can be heard playing on the B-side of their single, We Are All Prostitutes.

In the 1980s, he moved to Florence, where he worked with the sax player Gianluigi Trovesi and the trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini. He then went on to form his own group, This, That and the Other, with Toshinori Kondo, Sean Bergin and Tiziana Simona. They released two albums, for both of which he composed the music, What Are You Talking About (1983) and This, That and the Other (1987). The unpretentious titles are a clue to Honsinger’s approach to improvisation and composition. As a composer, he was, according to Dutch journalist Erik van de Berg, ‘someone who hasn’t lost his childhood fantasy entirely. His compositions are like a child’s drawing, or even more like a story from Winnie The Pooh: awkward and touchingly simple, yet full of deeper meanings for those who want to see them.’

In the late 1980s, Honsinger began playing regularly with Cecil Taylor. Together with Evan Parker, they recorded a live album, Hearth (1989). He did various gigs with Taylor with various line-ups, as well as being a member of the Cecil Taylor Quintet.

In the 21st century, Honsinger was involved with a number of groups, including maintaining his long-standing association with the ICP Orchestra. He formed a quartet, House of Wasps, with the pianist Suichi Chino, the bass player, Takashi Seo and the violinist, Yuriko Mukoujima. He also collaborated a great deal with the Swedish bass player, Joel Grip. Perhaps his most ambitious project from this time was his large, free jazz-cum-music theatre ensemble, Hopscotch.

As a performer, Honsinger was a charismatic presence. He cited a wide range of influences, from Buster Keaton to Piet Mondrian. He was more than a musician: his performances incorporated music, language and theatre in such a way that each flowed into the other. He put great store by the idea of free association. It’s an idea we usually think of in relation to words, but in Honsinger’s work, it embraced sounds and gestures, too. As well as a performer, he was a mentor to many and described the essence of his work in that area (in a recent interview with Adam Reese) as ‘to find people that can understand associative thinking, because it is a mystery.’

This approach is central to the book Honsinger brought out in 2021, Wander and Wonder, illustrated by Joel Grip. Songs are set out on clefless staves and whimsical verbal improvisations set off in unexpected directions across its hand-written pages:

Stop twisting the gum tree
I can imitate a dragonfly
I spit chewing tobacco on your rudders
I am oblivious to chance



Honsinger had been ill for some time. Earlier this year, he ran out of money to pay for his treatment. He also found himself threatened with homelessness. The free jazz community raised funds to help him and, by a happy coincidence, he was also awarded the $50,000 ‘Instant Award In Improvised Music’ prize. As a result, he was able to move into an apartment in Trieste. The award was well deserved, if late coming: with his unique combination of playfulness, seriousness and originality, Honsinger made a hugely significant contribution to music which extended well beyond the genres within which he worked. Last summer, in his interview with Adam Reese, he said ‘I’m at a point where death has revealed itself to me already. In the last two-and-a-half years I’ve exploded with creative things… Life and death. It’s the divine comedy.’

Tristan Honsinger, October 23, 1949 – August 5, 2023.

 

 

Dominic Rivron

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Weaving some magic moments at the Queen Street Mill

 

Some images and thoughts from Alan Dearling

Living these days in Todmorden, this old market and mill town lies in the heart of the old weaving counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire. About a dozen miles away, three miles outside of Burnley, is the Queen Street Mill – now a textile museum which includes a massive weaving shed built on an epic scale. This awesome weaving shed has been often used in film and TV sets including the recent Mike Leigh film, ‘Peterloo’, and the 2010 film, ‘The King’s Speech’. Queen Street Mill was also used to represent the Milton Steam Mill in the BBC series, ‘North & South’, and featured in ‘Life on Mars’, also appearing in the 2015 BBC adaption of ‘An Inspector Calls’. The museum was formally opened by the then Prince of Wales, Charles, in 1986 seen here in a silent film:

https://vimeo.com/showcase/3066241/video/107803351

Trailer for ‘Peterloo’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj5h1kKjVYc

Back in the late 1800s, a weaver would be operating and supervising at least four looms and the most experienced operators would be in charge of six looms in an incredibly noisy, vast humid shed. Flying shuttles had to be dodged and they flew at up to 30 miles an hour. Injuries were frequent and sometimes life threatening. Thousands of bobbins had to be hand-threaded and the cotton threads were frequently swallowed with nasty consequences. Six days a week workers toiled long hours in industrial sweat shops powered in those days by steam. Queen Street still has its steam beam-engine, but for more normal demonstrations the looms are run by electricity, utilising leather drive belts. Fascinating glimpses of the old days of the Northern Powerhouse!

It is unique in being the world’s only surviving operational steam-driven weaving shed, and it received an Engineering Heritage Award in November 2010. At its peak it was equipped with 900 single-shuttle Lancashire looms made by two local Burnley companies, Pemberton & Co. and Harling & Todd Ltd. Many are still in the textile museum and many are fully functional.

There are two huge coal-fired boilers housed in a shed and these are still occasionally fired up to provide power for the mighty stream engine which runs the impressive 4.3 metre flywheel.

Tours and demonstrations take place most weekends and include an experienced weaver running two impressive and noisy looms, which look really rather dangerous! The safety fencing didn’t feel all that ‘safe’, if a shuttle was to take flight…

Hope you enjoy some of my images! Here are a few more:

Queen Street Mill: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/museums/queen-street-mill-textile-museum/

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An Interview with Eugene Chadbourne

How to describe the output of maverick musician Eugene Chadbourne? In the words of a Minutemen song he covered on one of his many collaborative projects, ‘a peek at the wholeness / it’s way too big!’ Chadbourne has appeared on over 380 albums, collaborating with a host of musicians as diverse as Camper van Beethoven, Hifiklub and Derek Bailey. He once described what is still one of his best-known albums, There’ll be No Tears Tonight as ‘free improvised country and western be-bop’. His interest in country and western attracted ridicule from his free improv collaborators, but, in fact, his compelling, genre-fluid style has earned him a substantial following over the last forty years. He is perhaps best-known to the general public for fronting the band Shockabilly in the 1980s but – brilliant though that was – there’s a lot more to Doc Chad than that.

I messaged him to ask if he was prepared to take part in an interview. He was.

DR: Any idea when you might tour Europe again?

EC: I don’t have another European tour planned right now, I think the next one I will work on will be in the UK. I will have a date at Cafe Oto in London sometime April-May 2024 and will put a whole UK tour together around that!


DR: How did it all start?

EC: There was a group of neighbourhood kids wanting to form garage bands, this was already in the sixth grade of elementary school so we were 12 years old, not quite teenagers. The next year we were in the junior high school or what they call middle school now and that was a larger school with an influx of other possible musicians from other neighbourhoods. But hardly anyone knew how to play anything! I first learned the song Steppin’ Stone which has like three notes in the lead guitar part, then my friends thought we were ready to form a band.

DR: Back then, were there any signs then of the maverick direction you’d take later?

EC: There was a maverick direction on the top 40 radio at that time, so going in such a direction was actually kind of conformist….at least, it was typical.

Growing up in Boulder Colorado I had a lot of musical heroes that were in the neighbourhood, the older musicians and the local bands….this was a flesh and blood contact, otherwise you’re staring at album covers.

Once I learned a few things on guitar, I wrote my own songs, figured how to play the blues bottleneck or slide style well ahead of the local crowd; then I became a little hero in my own group of friends, they championed me. I dreamed of being able to make an impression on local musicians such as Tommy Bolin, he was one of the most famous guitarists from Boulder. This led me to try out all kinds of things, just the process of imitating people accomplished that.

By the time we get to There’ll be Bo Tears Tonight I was not looking for inspiration from rock anymore. I thought about prepared guitar because of John Cage primarily and I worked on solo guitar pieces thinking about Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell.

DR: One reason I was interested in how you started out was that you’ve talked about playing classical music and are obviously interested in Bach, having adapted one of his Partitas for the banjo. I get the feeling that what we get to hear is the tip of the Chadbourne musical iceberg. How did you get interested in these composers and what other music do you listen to or practise, just for your own pleasure, or to develop technique for other things? And how do you practise for free improv?

EC: I picked up from the older jazz guys that sight reading – anything – was good. Well, you can’t practice for free improvisation, in fact I would question the concept of practising FOR anything. I put it the other way around, practising I love so much more than performances, I don’t practice for the performances, I organize the performances so my lifestyle will include practising as a discipline. I accumulate a lot of sheet music – Bach, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern – lots of Messiaen, I always practice Messiaen no matter what else is in the pile. Charles Ives piano pieces. Piano pieces are a great challenge for the guitar.

In my religion of music the more of this you do the better, the more you can make use of it in some positive way to enhance playing. The danger might be over-doing it: then it is like the way the banjoist Pat Cloud described his distaste with an overly show-offy banjo solo someone was playing at an event: “Too hip.”

One of my musical associates from the area, Carrie Shull, is a classical oboist. A few years ago I put together an Erik Satie birthday concert and one of the things I did was put together a cut up arrangement of a bunch of lesser known passages from piano pieces….with her and a vibraphonist, no rehearsal, just sight reading, I remember as it was going well she looked at me and whispered “I love sight reading!”

DR: If you had to choose a handful of CDs to represent what you do – say seven – what would they be?

EC: I can tell you what journalists and/or fans usually pick and augment with what I would do which would always be whatever has been created most recently:

1. Volume Two Solo Acoustic Guitar 2. English Channel (but cd version, not LP) 3. There’ll be No Tears Tonight 4. Vermin of the Blues 5. Country Music in the World of Islam. 6. Three Characters 7. Rockin’ in the Freiburg.

I also really like the outcome of Horror Part 15: The Odyssey.

DR: And then there’s your collaboration with Anthony Braxton from a few years back, Duo (Improv) 2017. Eight one-hour improv sessions (plus bonus track!). Your relationship with Braxton goes back a long way. Could you tell us a bit about that and, especially, these quite special recent recordings?

I met Braxton the first time when I organized a concert for him at the student union in Calgary, solo saxophone. I have to say this solo saxophone music of his was a huge influence on my early solo guitar works. Later I guess I influenced him or he would never have ended up doing a CD including Simon and Garfunkel songs.

When he arrived in Calgary, his host in Toronto, Bill Smith of Coda magazine, had apparently played him a tape of my recent (at that time) solo concert in Toronto, which was one of the first ones I ever performed, maybe the first. This would have been in 1975. He was really impressed and convinced me quickly I had to put out my own record and move back to the east coast to become part of the music scene, otherwise nothing would ever happen for me. He talked a lot about how he wanted to play with me including putting me in his quartet.

When I did move to NYC I realized he talked to many people in this way, he is a very encouraging gent and probably would follow through on all these desires if the time and opportunities actually existed. Over the years I would run into him at festivals and so forth, it was always the same: he wanted to play with me and record.


One afternoon hanging out with Derek Bailey in London we got to talking and Derek expressed incredible frustration with this: duo offers would come in and he would be unable to even communicate with Anthony. He told me in typical cynical Derek fashion that his solution, expressed in a postcard he mailed to Anthony, was that at a certain indicated time and date he would play a solo and if Anthony also wanted to do that it would be their duo playing together again!

My wife and I went to see Braxton do an incredible sextet performance at SECCA, the South East Center for Contemporary Art in Winston Salem, North Carolina. He invited us backstage and again expressed his desire to record, this time indicating the trumpeter/band manager associate Taylor Ho Bynum would contact me. Despite Taylor’s announcement of his limited interest in using the internet – posted, of course, as a diatribe on the internet itself – I was contacted and actual dates set up to come record in New Haven for a week. When I asked what Anthony wanted to do I was surprised and somewhat intimidated that his interest was “kicking it out, two one hour sessions each day, old school free improvisation!”

Wow, well we packed lots of instruments in the car and drove up there and after initial nervousness was surmounted I realized we would have a very easy time playing together, which you can hear. He used an hourglass to time the sessions.

One session after lunch one day seemed to be winding on forever though. Finally my wife burst into the recording room and said “You have been playing for 80 minutes, I told them you would have to stop or you would both collapse.” That is the source of that extra track. The sand had apparently gotten gummed up in the hourglass. I said “I bet Dorothy wished that had happened in the Wizard of Oz.”

I haven’t seen Anthony since then but am looking forward to the next encounter. My friend Jessica Pavone sometimes tells me what he is up to: she has been involved in his recent opera performances for instance.

DR: You mentioned Cage and Ives earlier. I’ve often wondered why America has been such a real breeding-ground for maverick musicians. What are your thoughts on that?

I think it is the same for everywhere you go on the planet. I remember being taken way out in the desert in Arizona and there was some weirdo with percussion all over his house….but it reminded me of a story an Israeli musician told me: there was one interesting old man who lived in the desert out toward Jordan and he had all the FMP and Incus sides, this was where all the young freaks went to hear far out music. For sure there are certain parts of the world where this sort of endeavor has business implications: I can go out for a few months and play weird guitar solos and have money for the whole year’s mortgage. But when people ask me about where I have traveled, it is always places where it is possible in some way to make a buck off my music, where there is a bar or somewhere where people will pay and treat it like a concert event. Once that is not part of the culture I can only travel as a tourist and I hardly ever do that. We went for a few years to a remote Mexican island in the winter with the idea of doing “sweet fuck all” as my brother in law calls it but it made me a little nuts; of course, I wound up getting up super early and sight reading Stravinsky on the balcony.

DR: When you were working on There’ll be no Tears Tonight you had to endure teasing from some quarters over your interest in country music. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like making it?

EC: It reminded me of high school with people talking behind your back about how stupid what you are doing is, but that mood had already been established by the conflict with the older jazz musicians about heroin: that reminded me of the older boys pushing us to drink alcohol before football games. Looking back on what happened with that album, it is pretty amazing. It is sheer proof one should do whatever one wants and “to hell with the neighbours” as my father liked to say. I have lost track of how many times it has been re-pressed…it is presently on its third license, now to Corbett & Dempsey. It is in the permanent library of the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. It led to the idea of a combo on the road and everything that came after that, The Chadbournes, Shockabilly, all the collaborative albums with different bands. Within six months of its release despite most of our gigs being ridiculously unsuccessful, I picked up that there was a crowd of people out there that now acknowledged me as an innovator in my own right, not just another Derek Bailey wannabe but someone for the first time combining that kind of music and hard core country and western with all its sentimentality, humour….one music that seems to always be about absolutely nothing and another that always is about something that has happened, usually not pleasant.

I could not make the album all at once, it was a matter of perfecting each aspect of the material, I went in and did the solo Paycheck medley in one take because I had practised it like mad. With the combo we worked on Honey Don’t, Dang Me and Swingin’ Doors in a kind of detail that would not be possible once we were playing full shows – sometimes even three sets! – on the road and needed dozens of titles under our belt. But it was very carefully organized where the improv parts would be and how it would work. The Last Word in Lonesome Is Me was a spontaneous decision: we sight-read it out of the Roger Miller book and on the record you can hear the engineer stop me because I played a bass note directly on the fret and made it buzz…intentionally….Zorn yells “He did that on purpose! Don’t stop the tape!”

I went in after that with an ensemble including two violins, Polly Bradfield and Jim Katzin and Andrea Centazzo on a huge drum set. I had an arrangement of Stand By Your Man involving the vocal going through a ham radio mike….well it broke when we got to the studio so I had to try and replicate the effect with a normal mike, at that point I was not so comfortable singing that song, but it had been an anthem….Toshinori Kondo and I closed out each of our sets at the Free Music Festival in Berlin with the tune, because the Feminist Improvising Group always came after us. Anyway this session with the violins and Centazzo was a disaster, bombastic and none of the charm of the original song, nothing to recommend it. We were there in the studio trying to cut out the worst parts and make something from it and it was like one of those situations where there was nothing left. Recently I got a cassette from David Licht in which I had included some parts of that session and I still thought it was horrid.

So still with a not quite long enough LP, I ended up doing the sessions in Greensboro with Licht, Scott Manring, another Licht brother (Dennis) on conga, Robbie Link on upright bass. That was a much straighter approach: they were all guys that had played country and western in local bars in North Carolina. But they were all happy to get some freaky stuff happening too. We did Window Shopping, Jealous Loving Heart. My Heart Would Know I removed from one of the reissues because the vocal was shitty, this is something one gets to do when one owns the means of production. I am not sure if it was ever reinstated. As far as my vocals go, this album would be described as “early days” if it was a British police investigation on the telly.

Later on the LP appeared in extended versions. For the CD I added a long, extremely wild dobro solo I recorded on the way home from the Greensboro sessions at the Richmond Artists Workshop. This was a super vivid reel-to-reel recording. The dobro actually imploded during the performance: the resonator collapsed so the bridge was underwater….So it turned into a noise fest but it was held together by a Freddy Cannon cover, Palisades Park, and Conway Twitty’s Hello Darlin’.

It has also made sense to add at least one track, maybe more, from a live set done with the same musicians at the old Jot Em Down bar on Market Street. I have a beautiful memory of taking the bus down from Greensboro, that took about 8-10 hours. It arrived at the depot on Eugene Street and it was only a few blocks to the Jot Em Down: I got off the bus with the guitar and walked over there and before long was playing these extended country pieces…Set Up Two Glasses Joe had a really great feel and got mastered with the hokey echo from a sound-on-sound machine.

DR: I particularly like 3 Characters, the collaboration you did with the Sunwatchers (Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing is one of my favourites). Could you tell us a bit about how that came about and about the three characters of the title? You’re obviously a great admirer of the Minutemen. Could you say a bit about that, and working with Mike Watt, the Minutemen bassist?

EC: This was all Jim McHugh and the Sunwatchers, they suggested it and made it happen. ‘Three Characters’ was a concept about opera I happened to read about while we were up there, as the program developed from Minutemen plus one Henry Flynt song to also including Doug Sahm and his irresistible catalogue….so three characters…D Boon, Doug Sahm, Henry Flynt.

Jim got Watt to do the narrations. Watt is a guy I frequently email with and have had some super fine conversations with on the road but I still have not worked on anything with him. We had some plans in early April 2020 after I inaugurated a new venue in San Pedro but that very week the covid really exploded: it was the beginning with all the misinformation about touching surfaces and washing grocery bags and basically all plans got put on hold and I limped home.

DR: Listening to your version of the Minutemen’s The Price of Paradise (on 3 Characters) it strikes me how English musicians have had it easy. When they sing about war they’re just singing about ideas – their government never tried to force them to fight. Songs like the The Price of Paradise are so much more poignant than, say, The Clash’s The Call Up.

EC: I suppose involvement with Iraq [in the UK] was more on the volunteer side? But in the first and second world wars there was this whole push in the society to send your son off to war and then watch them get sacrificed. The newspapers were really into it, second only to scandals involving showgirls. Apparently there was a ban on my Corpses of Foreign War album on the BBC because they thought the title was offensive.

I am not as familiar with the Clash material as I guess I ought to be. Even amongst the most famous protest songwriters – Ochs, Dylan – it would be hard to find a song as poignant as Price of Paradise. D Boon [of the Minutemen] was a particularly sensitive individual and was singing about his brother’s involvement in the war he detested [Vietnam], but without putting his brother down:”a hero who survived” …it is really a deep song.

During the interview, Chadbourne has to fly to Germany, where he’s performing with Schroeder in the annual Zappanale festival. We continue once he arrives there.

DR: Now you’re in Germany, could you tell us what it’s like being Doc Chad on tour?

EC: A drummer friend of mine was telling me why it was so hard for him to tour, he said he can’t figure out how to “do it” meaning specifically how not to stay out all night drinking and then have it together for the next morning, whatever is required.

Aki Takase said to me once she was proud of “her boys” (the band) as after three days in a row of really early morning departures, “not a boy complained”; so I said to her when I have a 5am alarm after working the night before, that is when I can tell myself I am a professional musician. I feel good about that and so don’t complain.

As for what it is like, Jon Rose once described being on tour with me like being on tour with a shoe salesman. He meant during the day I would be scouting out indie shops in all the towns and selling them stuff. Well most of that business is gone now so I have to occupy myself some other way.

I am able to “do it” for so many years because I don’t drink alcohol beyond perhaps one celebratory drink and I hate socializing. Normally after a tour is over I don’t want to leave my house or talk to anyone other than my wife and kids for weeks. This thing particularly European musicians do where they sit in cafes or bars or restaurants until the waiters start scowling and hanging the chairs up on other tables drives me crazy. Sometimes it is such a relief not to understand what the fuck they are talking about, other times it just adds to the boredom. So I save most of the energy for the performance, then I really pour it on, otherwise an exciting event on tour is getting to buy a toothbrush.

DR: Going back to the albums you mentioned earlier, I look forward to listening to Horror Part 15. An album based on Homer took me by surprise. Where did the idea come from? You say you liked the outcome. Does that mean the getting there – as with The Odyssey itself – was a bit of an ordeal?

EC: Hah hah, well the Horror series is an ongoing thing with tributes to specific monsters, film-makers….anything appropriate.

The Italian percussionist/winemaker/fisherman Marcello Delbosco began collaborating on this series and the Odyssey came up in discussions about various filmed versions of the epic…Kirk Douglas vs. the Cyclops…Marcello was particularly enamoured with the Italian TV version he saw as a child. It is available on YouTube but I haven’t watched it all.

The process involved getting a bunch of material from players I really like – John Zorn, Dan Clucas, Jamison Williams – and then utilizing the multitracking ability of the computer utilizing the Audacity software. But absolutely no ordeal, all of this is fun for me and I am always sad when it is finished and I don’t get to fuck around with it anymore.

DR: Can you tell us a bit about the other recent album you mentioned, Rockin’ in the Freiburg?

EC: This is part of a longstanding relationship with drummer Schroeder and the bassist Jan Fitsjen and so far this trio has worked only in Freiburg or close-by such as Basel, Lucerne, Bern, but we really enjoy playing together and Jan always arranges excellent live recordings as well. In this case Schroeder and I returned to Freiburg last March after a long run of gigs: we were more than warmed up! We devised a nice instrumentation of drums, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass/baritone guitar for the trio which is the kind of thing one can only pull off with a good sound-system/recording set up. Came up with a really good live recording….and that is Rockin’ in the Freiburg, and with the system I use to quickly (with Jan’s help) mix and master, the CD was available only a few days after the show.

DR: Do you read much? Who are your favourite authors?

EC: I used to read voraciously and when last doing that was reading everything I could find by these Arab writers, the Egyptian Mahfouz and the lesser known Munif who wrote an incredible trilogy about a country based on Saudi Arabia. I started writing my own book Dreamory and that kind of took over from reading anything else.

DR: Looking at your paintings of birds and given your interest in Messiaen – not to mention your album covers – it looks like the art and the music flow into each other.

EC: I suppose, but another way to look at it is the absolute shit I am presented with sometimes when other people design covers, I might as well do it myself. One of my daughters bought a bunch of my LPs second-hand in Baltimore and the guy says “Oh you must like Eugene Chadbourne!” and she said “That’s my dad!” and they said “Oh tell him we hate his music but we love his album covers.”

DR: You were talking about ‘the means of production’. You’ve produced so much of your music yourself: playing, recording, packaging, marketing, Could you say a bit more about that process?

EC: It is really very simple, if you want to perform, record and release music you have to be willing (first) and hopefully inspired to control as much of the process as possible… Everyone else that gets involved will not be as committed and/or will just want to take money out of your pocket.

DR: Your music has often been overtly political. Can you say something about any experiences that shaped your politics? Do you think music can change minds?

EC: I tended to think it was overblown to think music changed minds until I went to Israel and a young musician told me about how the music of the 60s convinced him to fuck off rather than join the army. For me it was seeing Phil Ochs perform. The combination of sentiment and humor really moved the audience…in the tensest of times…I remember thinking “I want to be able to do that.”

DR: I’m ashamed to say I’ve not signed up to Head of Books yet! Could I please? And could you say a bit about it?

EC: You are now on the list and have been receiving hopefully. This began during covid, I had no idea how long it would go on and was used to having much of my musical creative output tied into touring and associated recording projects. The Small Business Administration helped me stay afloat and gave me money to invest in my business. The challenge was how to continue to create prolifically and what to do with it? There was an initial burst of buying sprees as people stuck in their houses began listening to the box sets they bought years ago and thought about what other material they might want. But obviously that could not continue any longer. I wondered about what it would be like to have a subscription series but [went for] something that would be done every day: I was interested in building up an inventory of solos that would also be used as individual parts of a guitar orchestra.

The first results of that process, by the way, will be released very shortly on the Weird Cry label, a three CD set of guitar orchestrations entitled I Looked Like a Hippie.

It was important that the series not cost money to produce as I was unsure how much would come in as contributions from subscribers. So basically the expense is $12 a monthly for a We Transfer pro account which also gets used for all kinds of things. One very regular Italian subscriber more than pays for this and in the beginning I got some very large contributions, not so much these days but I never know when someone just decides to put money in my mailbox, that is nice. It is also limited to instrumentals to avoid the whole syndrome of people requesting songs or dealing with copyright material. It is “free use” as I was interested to see how other players might utilize the solos, this part is more difficult as this is not ABC follow the dots type easy going but pretty challenging stuff. There have been some tracks created by Frank Pahl, Quentin Roellet, Larry Boothroyd of Victims Family and a particularly cool Guinevere from Schroeder.

DR: Could you tell us about what you’re going to be working on next?

EC: For the future I am working on another collection of guitar orchestrations, this one for the Horror Series, volume 19 the Curse of DeSantis in order to insult the horrid governor of Florida and “anti-woke” presidential candidate. He really is a scumbag.

ESSENTIAL CHADBOURNE LINKS

Eugene Chadbourne’s homepage, where you can access the shop, a decade-by-decade discography (complete with album covers and some sound files), the latest news and more:

https://eugenechadbourne.com/

Horror Part 15: The Odyssey and Rockin’ in the Freiburg:
https://eugenechadbourne.com/new-recordings-from-2023-european-tour

Anthony Braxton and Eugene Chadbourne: Duo Improv (2017):
https://newbraxtonhouse.bandcamp.com/album/duo-improv-2017

Eugene Chadbourne’s book, Dreamory:
https://eugenechadbourne-documentation.squarespace.com/shop/dreamory?category=books

Eugene Chadbourne’s Head of Books, where you can sign up for a daily guitar solo to be emailed to you:
https://eugenechadbourne-documentation.squarespace.com/shop/the-head-of-books?category=digital+downloads

A brief biography of Eugene Chadbourne:
https://musicianguide.com/biographies/1608002702/Eugene-Chadbourne.html

Eugene Chadbourne’s Bandcamp page:
https://eugene-chadbourne.bandcamp.com/

Dominic Rivron

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Something Special

Fifth Quarter: Derek Jarman, Keith Collins & Dungeness, ed. Alexander Tucker
(110pp, Subtext/Multiverse)

Editor Alexander Tucker writes of this exquisite hardback anthology as carrying on ‘in the spirit of collaboration’, since that was what Derek Jarman did best: work with other artists, writers, actors, photographers was central to the creation of his films, exhibitions and personal life. Tucker also talks of how ‘Jarman planted many seeds throughout his life, which continue to live through the works he left behind’. This would obviously include the ongoing availability and viewing of his films, art exhibitions, and music. As I write, Blue, his final film about AIDS, death, colour, love and life, has been reinvented as a stage show, and books – including this one – continue to appear from alternative small presses.

Fifth Quarter takes as its starting point Jarman’s relationship with Keith Collins and Prospect Cottage, Jarman’s black and yellow house at Dungeness. Some of the contributions here are elegies or tributes, many are recollections or reminiscences of friendship, or film and music making, some are psychogeographical responses to the area. The book is punctuated with beautiful full colour images: Jarman’s paintings, film stills, on-set documentation (‘production polaroids’), portraits and landscapes.

Here is Collins, arms full of poppies, saluting the sky; here he is repainting John Donne’s poem on the side of Prospect Cottage. A Japanese poster for The Last of England is on page 39,  Simon Fisher-Turner plucks a lute or mandolin a few pages later, and here he is – on page 47 – with Tilda Swinton. There is a reproduction of Paul Nash’s ‘Winter Sea’, a photograph of the concrete sound mirrors at Denge, and several of Jarman’s black tar and cracked glass paintings. And finally, here are the shadows of Derek Jarman against blue.

What is clear from the texts is how much Jarman meant to all of the authors here. Even when discussing sound, film soundtracks, the landscape, or Jarman’s place in the grand scheme of things, the poems and prose here are rooted in relationship, how Jarman facilitated what Cosey Fanni Tuti calls ‘an unusual ambience to work in, a disembodied place where life and death coexisted, that might put is in a mood conducive to channelling and creating something special and otherwordly.’ Fisher-Turner is more succinct: ‘God, I miss him. What a time that was.’

Few artists have combined a middle-class English sensibility with radical queerness underpinned by punk aesthetics, but Jarman did. He salvaged his parents’ nostalgic Super 8 family films and wove them into low budget feature films, reimagined Shakespeare, documented alternative histories, angrily abused his political and social oppressors, and called them out not only for their sexism and homophobia, but also for ignoring the disease that killed his friends, comrades and lovers. All that whilst reinventing film-making, and finally documenting himself dying.

Fifth Quarter is a beautiful tribute and memorial to both Jarman and his partner (and carer) Collins, and the Dungeness landscape which Paul Purgas suggests ‘speaks beyond its physical territory, towards transcendent domains’.

Rupert Loydell

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Blue Dome

Wrapped in the mirror weather
down under
you wear your winter smile that
people sports in their travel-photos.

A sea kite sews a few dry clouds
before it disappears beneath
the shroud it patches out.

I lift my head and search my summer sky.
A lone kite circles the possibility of rain.
Here the world’s boundaries thin.
The rootless mind disregards gravity’s chain.

 

 

 

Kushal Poddar
Photo Nick Victor

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Rest in Peace


 

Bullies are the weakest kind of leaders.
You should see them staring uncertainly
into their morning mirrors, praying to gods
who only want to swallow the world.
Even if you knew how they were beaten
and ridiculed as children, it’s impossible
to feel sorry for men who put kids in cages,
who declare war on all forms of loving
unlike their own. Their love is for a world
already gone. A world in which the hand of man
snatched raw power from the ancient dead—
trees and beasts to fuel his noisy polluting jalopies.
 
Don’t you see, bully-man?
The world you made in your image
has failed. To Ghia, you are a worthless rag
blown in a tornado. Yesterday’s news
burning in the bright heat of wildfire Love.
The seas and stars have turned against you.
Nature’s infinite creative force has moved on.
The children are rising, called as they are
into brilliant dawn to make something new,
tugging mothers and fathers behind them.
 
It’s almost sad to think of what you’ll miss,
watching you slip like a fuel tanker beneath
our bright tsunami: the cities washed clean
of injustice, all of us waking in a world
where the remaining doves and sparrows
build nests from the matchstick remnants
of your impotent, forgotten anger.

 

Alfred Fournier

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

In the Attic

Tucked in the pocket
of an Afghan coat,
an anarchy of hankies,

Fox’s glacier mint, ticket 
to Regent’s Park
for a long-ago rendezvous                                             

with a man who failed to show
you glimpsed last month
in Holland Park

leaning on a silver capped cane,
neck brace, his eyes no duller
than the morning

fifty years ago
down Portobello Road he
flourished a puce silk cravat 

out from under spotted sheets
on a bric-à-brac stall beside 
The Sun in Splendour. You 

jealous of a girl he smiled at,
sitting on the kerb – bare feet
in the gutter, blue mould

orange, crumpled Rizla pack –
sipping on a reefer.
A henna-haired flower

in a cheesecloth frock
you itched to pluck, to crush.
The air a ferment

of patchouli, rotten apples.  
Love the One You’re With
coasting out an open window.

His maestro’s hands that night,
white and fluent, charmed
you, all aquiver, from your lair 

of convent niceties, and doubts.
Hexed with murmured phrases,
coaxing, till you pledged

to banish Quelque Fleurs and
Apple Blossom, douse yourself 
in Eau Sauvage, suck mints.

 

 

 

 

Pratibha Castle

 

Pratibha Castle lives in West Sussex. Widely publicised in journals and anthologies including Agenda, International Times, IS&T, Spelt, Tears In The Fence, London Grip, High Window and forthcoming in Stand, she has been longlisted and given special mention in numerous competitions including Bridport Prize, Indigo Press and Welsh Poetry Competitions. Her award-winning debut pamphlet A Triptych of Birds & A Few Loose Feathers (Hedgehog Press 2022) will be joined by Miniskirts in The Waste Land (Hedgehog Poetry Press 2023), set in Notting Hill and India in the swinging sixties.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Make Yourself a Seer: The Teenage Arthur Rimbaud

Make Yourself a Seer: The Teenage Arthur Rimbaud on How to Be a Poet and a Prophet of Possibility

“The poets (by which I mean all artists) are finally the only people who know the truth about us,” James Baldwin wrote a generation before Leonard Cohen declared poetry “the Constitution of the inner country.” Poets have always been the ones to see most deeply into the human soul, because they are the ones most unafraid of knowing their own depths.

A century before Baldwin and Cohen, a fifteen-year-old poet articulated this equivalence with astonishing precocity and passion in a meteoric letter to a friend.

On May 15, 1871, the teenage Arthur Rimbaud (October 20, 1854–November 10, 1891) wrote to the poet and publisher Paul Demeny what would become a sort of personal manifesto and creative credo for the remainder of his short, poetically catalytic life.

The teenage Rimbaud

Rimbaud begins by locating the fount of self-knowledge from which all creative work springs:

The first task of any man* who would be a poet is to know himself completely; he seeks his soul, inspects it, tests it, learns it. And he must develop it as soon as he’s come to know it; this seems straightforward: a natural evolution of the mind.

Unafraid to acknowledge how much of our constitution and contribution is an endowment of chance for which we cannot take credit, Rimbaud scoffs with the full ferocity of teenage scorn at the “many egoists” who consider their talent self-earned and their success self-made. Instead, he considers the crux of creativity. A generation before the artist Egon Schiele exhorted to “envy those who see beauty in everything in the world,” Rimbaud writes:

I say one must be a seer, make oneself a seer.

Art from Blake’s First Book of Urizen, 1796. (Available as a print.)

In a sentiment Georgia O’Keeffe would echo in insisting that in creative work “making your unknown known is the important thing — and keeping the unknown always beyond you,” he adds:

The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, gigantic and rational derangement of all the senses. All forms of love, suffering, and madness. He searches himself. He exhausts all poisons in himself and keeps only their quintessences. Unspeakable torture where he needs all his faith, all his super-human strength, where he becomes among all men the great patient, the great criminal, the one accursed — and the supreme Scholar! — Because he reaches the unknown! Since he cultivated his soul, rich already, more than any man! He reaches the unknown, and when, bewildered, he ends by losing the intelligence of his visions, he has seen them. Let him die as he leaps through unheard of and unnamable things: other horrible workers will come; they will begin from the horizons where the other collapsed!

Recognizing that the poet’s task is to “find the words,” he exults:

The day of a single universal language will dawn!… This language will be of the soul, for the soul, encompassing everything, scents, sounds, colors, one thought mounting another. The poet will define the unknown quantity awaking in his era’s universal soul: he would offer more than merely formalized thought or evidence of his march on Progress! He will become a propagator of progress who renders enormity a norm to be absorbed by everyone!

Art by Carson Ellis from What Is Love?

Half a century before Nikola Tesla presaged women’s intellectual and creative empowerment, the young Rimbaud issues a prophecy far ahead of his time — a time when women had no access to formal education and Emily Dickinson was quietly writing her volcanic poems without hope of publication:

Poets like this will arrive! When woman will be freed from unending servitude, when she too will live for and by her self, man — so abominable up until now — having given her freedom, will see her become a poet as well! Women will discover the unknown! Will her world of ideas differ from ours? She will find strange, unfathomable, repugnant, delicious things; we will take them in, we will understand.

Complement with Wendell Berry on how to be a poet and a complete human being and Rilke’s impassioned letter to a young poet about what it takes to be an artist, then revisit the teenage Susan Sontag, writing at the same age as Rimbaud, on the plasticity of the self.

via Patti Smith

Make Yourself a Seer: The Teenage Arthur Rimbaud on How to Be a Poet and a Prophet of Possibility

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Mandelstam in the Desert


 
                An unreliable year – and the centuries
                Surround me with fire.
                                                O. M.
 
You may speak freely when the cholla
are not listening.
                             The wildflower slopes are smiling
and the canyons keep all secrets
to themselves. There is an order here
more ancient than the law:
                                                   a brief frost,
winds that tear themselves apart
and bees who find a place to shelter.
Who will betray honey?
                                          Grant admission
to anyone escaping time,
give them a shadow to lie beneath
and make of exile
                                something grand.
Spare any compassion not needed
for yourself to dispense
                                              among the bobcats,
rattlesnakes and scorpions. When a sting
is one’s own it is beautiful.
                                                 A careless word
has space to fly and be forgotten here.
Come,
           let us bury the sun in the desert
 

 

 

David Chorlton

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bushfires


 
torn down from the sky saviour the time
melts into sands those 21 century disconents
the maps of man-made heaven tears fill
cups on the cusp of human disillusion from
teachings these moral crusades which flash
on the inner & outer glimpses the world’s pain
spins on an axis commandeered in the hands
where one is worth two in the bush those years
those historical landscape sweepstakes bled in
misfortunes happier times crawled into the light
flashing now blue & white the ligature your despair
fills such a bottomless well of your discredited heart
which beats again & again on the borders your sanity
fired & burning in the burnished privileges alleged
by weeping mournful politicians sweeping for the kill
the most unnatural of planet deaths.

 

Clive Gresswell
Pic: Rupert Loydell

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

a hymn of hate for Amerika



I dream that I’ll awake one day

and find Amerika sunk
some bubbles where
two oceans meet
floating Coke cans ticker tape
all that’s left of Uncle Sam

I’d have no pity
no glycerine tears
like The Titanic the good
would go down with the bad
some might be saved
I alone would decide

I hate Amerika
all that Freeworld stuff
and Liberty
all that moonshine democracy
I weep for the Scottsboro Boys
I mourn old Sacco and Vanzetti

I wouldn’t fling a line to LBJ
or launch a raft
for any White House gang
given a chance I might
shove the wretches under
screaming and raging
that’s for Korea
that’s for Vietnam
and that’s….
for bubblegum you bums

I hate Amerika
all that pious apple pie
all that poisonous ice cream
all those shoot-outs
all those cops
all those company strikebreakers
in cosy Florida retirement homes

some Americans I’ve loved
some Americans I’d snatch
from the sea
Clint Eastwood Doris Day
Aretha Franklin Marvin Gaye
a few musicians
the odd poet – Chuck Berry say
but the rest
can go down singing
my country tis of thee


Jeff Cloves

(circa 1970?)


NOTE: The Vietnam War (1955-75)

came to an end with the fall of Saigon
The Rolling Thunder Operation (1965-68)
a policy of saturation bombing in North Vietnam
was a strategic failure and led to
A US government enquiry August-September ’68
The Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara
resigned early in ’69 and is generally held to be a scapegoat
Bob Dylan and friends toured (1975-76)
with a show titled (perhaps ironically?)
The Rolling Thunder Review
As I write the US is involved in wars in
Iraq Afghanistan Pakistan Somalia Yemen and Syria

 

.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Technocensorship: The Government’s War on So-Called Dangerous Ideas

“There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is
full of people running about with lit matches.”—Ray Bradbury

What we are witnessing is the modern-day equivalent of book burning which involves doing away with dangerous ideas—legitimate or not—and the people who espouse them.Seventy years after Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 depicted a fictional world in which books are burned in order to suppress dissenting ideas, while televised entertainment is used to anesthetize the populace and render them easily pacified, distracted and controlled, we find ourselves navigating an eerily similar reality.

Welcome to the age of technocensorship.

On paper—under the First Amendment, at least—we are technically free to speak.

In reality, however, we are now only as free to speak as a government official—or corporate entities such as Facebook, Google or YouTube—may allow.

Case in point: internal documents released by the House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on Weaponization of the Federal Government confirmed what we have long suspected: that the government has been working in tandem with social media companies to censor speech.

By “censor,” we’re referring to concerted efforts by the government to muzzle, silence and altogether eradicate any speech that runs afoul of the government’s own approved narrative.

This is political correctness taken to its most chilling and oppressive extreme.

The revelations that Facebook worked in concert with the Biden administration to censor content related to COVID-19, including humorous jokes, credible information and so-called disinformation, followed on the heels of a ruling by a federal court in Louisiana that prohibits executive branch officials from communicating with social media companies about controversial content in their online forums.

Likening the government’s heavy-handed attempts to pressure social media companies to suppress content critical of COVID vaccines or the election to “an almost dystopian scenario,” Judge Terry Doughty warned that “the United States Government seems to have assumed a role similar to an Orwellian ‘Ministry of Truth.’

This is the very definition of technofascism.

Clothed in tyrannical self-righteousness, technofascism is powered by technological behemoths (both corporate and governmental) working in tandem to achieve a common goal.

The government is not protecting us from “dangerous” disinformation campaigns. It is laying the groundwork to insulate us from “dangerous” ideas that might cause us to think for ourselves and, in so doing, challenge the power elite’s stranglehold over our lives.

Thus far, the tech giants have been able to sidestep the First Amendment by virtue of their non-governmental status, but it’s a dubious distinction at best when they are marching in lockstep with the government’s dictates.

As Philip Hamburger and Jenin Younes write for The Wall Street Journal: “The First Amendment prohibits the government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech.’ Supreme Court doctrine makes clear that government can’t constitutionally evade the amendment by working through private companies.”

Nothing good can come from allowing the government to sidestep the Constitution.

The steady, pervasive censorship creep that is being inflicted on us by corporate tech giants with the blessing of the powers-that-be threatens to bring about a restructuring of reality straight out of Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Truth polices speech and ensures that facts conform to whatever version of reality the government propagandists embrace.

Orwell intended 1984 as a warning. Instead, it is being used as a dystopian instruction manual for socially engineering a populace that is compliant, conformist and obedient to Big Brother.

This is the slippery slope that leads to the end of free speech as we once knew it.

In a world increasingly automated and filtered through the lens of artificial intelligence, we are finding ourselves at the mercy of inflexible algorithms that dictate the boundaries of our liberties.

Once artificial intelligence becomes a fully integrated part of the government bureaucracy, there will be little recourse: we will all be subject to the intransigent judgments of techno-rulers.

This is how it starts.

First, the censors went after so-called extremists spouting so-called “hate speech.”

Then they went after so-called extremists spouting so-called “disinformation” about stolen elections, the Holocaust, and Hunter Biden.

By the time so-called extremists found themselves in the crosshairs for spouting so-called “misinformation” about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, the censors had developed a system and strategy for silencing the nonconformists.

Eventually, depending on how the government and its corporate allies define what constitutes “extremism, “we the people” might all be considered guilty of some thought crime or other.

Whatever we tolerate now—whatever we turn a blind eye to—whatever we rationalize when it is inflicted on others, whether in the name of securing racial justice or defending democracy or combatting fascism, will eventually come back to imprison us, one and all.

Watch and learn.

We should all be alarmed when any individual or group—prominent or not—is censored, silenced and made to disappear from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for voicing ideas that are deemed politically incorrect, hateful, dangerous or conspiratorial.

Given what we know about the government’s tendency to define its own reality and attach its own labels to behavior and speech that challenges its authority, this should be cause for alarm across the entire political spectrum.

Here’s the point: you don’t have to like or agree with anyone who has been muzzled or made to disappear online because of their views, but to ignore the long-term ramifications of such censorship is dangerously naïve, because whatever powers you allow the government and its corporate operatives to claim now willeventually be used against you by tyrants of your own making.

As Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

The glaring fallacy that always lies at the heart of pro-censorship sentiments is the gullible, delusional belief that censorship powers will be deployed only to suppress views one dislikes, but never one’s own views… Facebook is not some benevolent, kind, compassionate parent or a subversive, radical actor who is going to police our discourse in order to protect the weak and marginalized or serve as a noble check on mischief by the powerful. They are almost always going to do exactly the opposite: protect the powerful from those who seek to undermine elite institutions and reject their orthodoxies. Tech giants, like all corporations, are required by law to have one overriding objective: maximizing shareholder value. They are always going to use their power to appease those they perceive wield the greatest political and economic power.

Be warned: it’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth.

Eventually, as George Orwell predicted, telling the truth will become a revolutionary act.

If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry.

It’s happening already.

With every passing day, we’re being moved further down the road towards a totalitarian society characterized by government censorship, violence, corruption, hypocrisy and intolerance, all packaged for our supposed benefit in the Orwellian doublespeak of national security, tolerance and so-called “government speech.”

Little by little, Americans are being conditioned to accept routine incursions on their freedoms.

This is how oppression becomes systemic, what is referred to as creeping normality, or a death by a thousand cuts.

It’s a concept invoked by Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist Jared Diamond to describe how major changes, if implemented slowly in small stages over time, can be accepted as normal without the shock and resistance that might greet a sudden upheaval.

Diamond’s concerns related to Easter Island’s now-vanished civilization and the societal decline and environmental degradation that contributed to it, but it’s a powerful analogy for the steady erosion of our freedoms and decline of our country right under our noses.

As Diamond explains, “In just a few centuries, the people of Easter Island wiped out their forest, drove their plants and animals to extinction, and saw their complex society spiral into chaos and cannibalism… Why didn’t they look around, realize what they were doing, and stop before it was too late? What were they thinking when they cut down the last palm tree?”

His answer: “I suspect that the disaster happened not with a bang but with a whimper.”

Much like America’s own colonists, Easter Island’s early colonists discovered a new world—“a pristine paradise”—teeming with life. Yet almost 2000 years after its first settlers arrived, Easter Island was reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they failed to preserve paradise for future generations.

The same could be said of the America today: it, too, is being reduced to a barren graveyard by a populace so focused on their immediate needs that they are failing to preserve freedom for future generations.

In Easter Island’s case, as Diamond speculates:

The forest…vanished slowly, over decades. Perhaps war interrupted the moving teams; perhaps by the time the carvers had finished their work, the last rope snapped. In the meantime, any islander who tried to warn about the dangers of progressive deforestation would have been overridden by vested interests of carvers, bureaucrats, and chiefs, whose jobs depended on continued deforestation… The changes in forest cover from year to year would have been hard to detect… Only older people, recollecting their childhoods decades earlier, could have recognized a difference.Gradually trees became fewer, smaller, and less important. By the time the last fruit-bearing adult palm tree was cut, palms had long since ceased to be of economic significance. That left only smaller and smaller palm saplings to clear each year, along with other bushes and treelets. No one would have noticed the felling of the last small palm.

Sound painfully familiar yet?

We’ve already torn down the rich forest of liberties established by our founders. It has vanished slowly, over the decades. The erosion of our freedoms has happened so incrementally, no one seems to have noticed. Only the older generations, remembering what true freedom was like, recognize the difference. Gradually, the freedoms enjoyed by the citizenry have become fewer, smaller and less important. By the time the last freedom falls, no one will know the difference.

This is how tyranny rises and freedom falls: with a thousand cuts, each one justified or ignored or shrugged over as inconsequential enough by itself to bother, but they add up.

Each cut, each attempt to undermine our freedoms, each loss of some critical right—to think freely, to assemble, to speak without fear of being shamed or censored, to raise our children as we see fit, to worship or not worship as our conscience dictates, to eat what we want and love who we want, to live as we want—they add up to an immeasurable failure on the part of each and every one of us to stop the descent down that slippery slope.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, we are on that downward slope now.

 

John Whitehead

 
ABOUT JOHN W. WHITEHEAD

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His most recent books are the best-selling Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the award-winning A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, and a debut dystopian fiction novel, The Erik Blair Diaries. Whitehead can be contacted at [email protected]. Nisha Whitehead is the Executive Director of The Rutherford Institute. Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at www.rutherford.org.

 

Technocensorship: The Government’s War on So-Called Dangerous Ideas

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

From Jim Henderson’s A SUFFOLK DIARY

 

Thursday, July 27th

 

There has been a good deal of consternation this week among my fellow villagers as word has leaked from a recent meeting of the Parish Council that we have been asked to house some wandering foreigners in the Village Hall, albeit temporarily (so it is claimed). It also seems that “asked” is a euphemism for “instructed”. The exact length of time we are expected to host the aliens is worryingly unspecified. Not only have these plans been kept out of the national and local press, and residents not consulted, but the village’s Summer schedule of community events is underway, to be followed hot on the heels by the Autumn and Winter events. There is the Scout’s Jumble Sale, the Women’s Institute Bring & Buy Sale, the Under 5s Toy Fair, Reg and Irene Farmer’s daughter’s wedding reception, the Girl Guide’s Jumble Sale, the annual Beauty Pageant, and the Fete, Flower and Vegetable Show with Carnival Floral Parade across the Bank Holiday weekend. And that’s just August! In September the Hall is used by the Under 4s Playgroup every Monday to Friday morning, the Christian Youth Club starts up again after its summer break, every evening from 7 until 9, and the whole of the third week of the month has been bagged for a special event staged by the county’s model railway enthusiasts. I forget what their group is called – perhaps The Suffolk Model Railway Society –  but they are paying good money. It’s enough, apparently, to finance refurbishing the Hall toilets. This is not to mention the all-year-round meetings of the Young Mother’s Knitting Society, Scrabble Lunch, Book Group, Watercolour Art for All Afternoons, and the class my wife runs, Oh Yeah! Yoga! Needless to say, the village is somewhat up in arms. Not only can we not have all of our important community events and social life disrupted, but we pride ourselves on there not having been a foreigner as much as visit the village within living memory and probably for even longer than that. There is a meeting tonight in the Hall where battle plans will be drawn up and, probably, a very stiff letter composed that will be sent to whoever dreamed up this dreadful scheme.

 

One other event of note has come to my attention: Dmytro and Olena Zabolotnyi have put “The Laurels” up for sale.

 

 

 

James Henderson

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

PREVIOUS

she leaves no bloodstains on the page
none of the lettering blurred by tears
words long burned into her as
old humiliations screaming fights
have since been buried far too deep
all her best memories she writes
lie frozen in the garden pool

the landscape idles at its functional
default stripped trees and sodden fields
with little ventured at the surface
grey mists erasing all perspective
that tea-time train was full of kids
as loud and foolish as we used to be

 

 

Tony Lucas
Pic: Rupert Loydell

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Money in the bank and other football metaphors

A few days after Nigel Farage got his account closed down by Couttes, I imagine England’s women football team in the queue, the whole squad carrying on like they did in the press conference when they won the Euros, their sheer diversity a shoo in for the bank. They simmer down, start to chat about The World Cup: the USA, how not to underestimate Haiti, the sheer physicality of the Australians, the bloody Germans, and of course, Brazil and the firms on home turf. They deposit their small fortunes one-by-one. All those fresh endorsements. Nigel looks through the glass, his face grimaced up in silent rage. On screen, a commentator rejoices: the Lionesses have opened their account.

 

 

Mark Connors

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seed of Memory

Learning to wait,
Reading brings my restlessness
To pin drop silence

Piano keys pause
Between musical rhyme.

The falling moon
Leaves its shadow
In my stars-studded pond.

The silence of the awakening bell,
My colors at rest

I play in rejoice,
Trying to arrange the cotton clouds
From my earthly spinning of the wheel.

I keep weaving the loom,
On and on.

The winter air,
Kisses the glass window

I wake up and erase the dew
Like my colorless train-wreck dream.

The seats of cuddle
Leave a memory seed
That grows like this poem.

I remember that
Sentences also have memories
When they grow like verses

I am told to kiss the pain
And come out from its aesthetics,

The only luck is that
I keep finding the aesthetics in pain,
When I emerge out of it.

My seed of pain
Grows without aesthetics, without me.
I want to pluck its fruit and taste it.

 

 

Sushant Thapa
Nepal

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Smartphone Watch

 

My smart phone gave me away
My placard on a stick had no words
We walked slowly along the road
People stopped, stared, took photographs
Cameras on the walls & lampposts took more 

No words left to find was not enough
The men in the control room saw me
Then police took my smartphone,
The placard with the words I could not say
They took me to the court; ‘causing an affray’ 

Locked up for a year and a day. Nothing was said
Nobody noticed. Out of sight. Out of mind.

 

© Christopher 2023  [email protected]

 
The first watches of the population were much more labour-intensive.
Instituted from about 1829 in some metropolitan areas.  
Now computer servers, using great quantities of energy, and with considerable personal oversight,
are claimed to achieve the same ends, as we carry our smartphones everywhere.
 

 

 

Prisoners were kept in the salubrious house shown above.
Years before the watch began, a rather gruesome cell was available for 100 years from 1730,
built into the garden wall of Cannon Hall, below
 
 
Parish Lock-up
 
 
 
An aside:
In the early 20th century, Cannon Hall was the home of the actor Gerald du Maurier, his wife Muriel Beaumont, and their three children, the writers Angela du Maurier and Daphne du Maurier and the painter Jeanne du Maurier. From Wiki.
 
 
 
 
.
.
Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Concrete

 

home

comb

honeycomb

comb

home

honeycomb

honey

home

honeycomb

comb

home

honey

home

 

 

 

David Miller

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hull Radical Bookfair

 

1st Annual Hull Radical Bookfair
August 12th
11am-4pm
at The Danish Seamen’s Church, 104 Osborne St

Stalls:
AnarCom Network – Food Not Bombs
Pirate Press
Communist Workers Organisation
Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
CP/YCL
This Place/Ground Press
Anarchist Communist Group [ACG]
Free the MBR beagles/camp beagle/For the love of dogs Romanian rescue
Sheffield Palestine Action
Prisoner Abolition Group – Commune
Hull Wildlife Protectors
Humber Palestine Solidarity Campaign – Humber Unite community Union
WellRed Publishers/Socialist Appeal

We will also be featuring the Hull Zine Library Display!

Events:
11.30am to 12.30pm
Sheffield Palestine Action Workshop:
Operating with the full complicity of the UK and other Western powers, the Israeli arms trade is near the centre of an expansive system in which technologies are developed to repress populations.
The drones that are used to drop bombs and white phosphorous on Palestinians are then exported for use elsewhere.
These manufacturers particularly Elbit Systems, despite frequently violating international law, continue to operate with the full support of our governments.
Palestine Action activists as they explain how the Israeli arms trade operates, how we are engaging in direct action – and how you can involve yourself in our struggle to uproot this system of repression.

12.45pm to 2.45pm
Prison Abolition Group workshop plus Commune workshop

2.55pm to 3.40pm:
Jack Horner aka Leon the Pig Farmer is a Manchester based Yorkshire beat
Poet will be performing his “don’t believe the hype” set.
An ex-serviceman who began writing verse to help him deal with a PTSD diagnosis in 2019.

We ask that all participants and bookfair goers abide by these basic principles:
• We want everyone attending this event to feel safe, comfortable and included. We reject hierarchy and coercion, we do not use or tolerate oppressive language: ableism, homophobia, racism, transphobia, sexism, snobbery or otherwise. We do not make excuses for sexual abuse or authoritarian regimes. We respect each other’s boundaries.
• We may ask people to modify their behaviour or take it elsewhere.
• We also ask you to look after the facilities, and treat the all the facilities with respect.
• Please do not film or photograph anyone without their express permission, preferably, take it outside.

‘Anarchists prepare for social revolution and use every means – speech, writing, or deed, whichever is more to the point; to accelerate revolutionary development.’
     – Johann Most

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

Steam’s Jukebox Shuffle Revisited part 5 – Jungle Juice

Steam Stock

Tracklist:
The Nite Cats – Jungle
The Jaguars – The Gorilla
Pony Sherrell – Jungle, Ungle, Um, Bai
Louis Prima – I Wanna be Like You
John Sargent and the Buddies – Voodoo Kiss
The Tokens – Big Boat
Ray Johnson – Blue Congo
Joe Boots and His Band – Rock ‘n Rolll Jungle Girl
Saxie Russell – El Monkey
Yusef Lateef – Jungle Fantasy
Kip Tyler – Jungle Hop
Dick Dale – Jungle Fever
Neil Sedaka – I Go Ape

 
Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

Last Exit

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

Old Paint [2003​-​2011]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Streaming + Download
Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.

 

 

 
1.
 
2.
 
3.
 
4.
 
5.

about

Revised and rearranged

cassette-tape-recordings 2003 – 2011

Northern hemisphere

credits

released July 31, 2023

H.O.F.S.

license

 
 
 
 

about

C.Strøm Norway

“Music is the universal law promulgated…” Henry David Thoreau (1849)

 
 
 

contact / help

Contact C.Strøm

Streaming and
Download help

 

C.Strøm recommends:

If you like C.Strøm, you may also like:

Bandcamp Daily  your guide to the world of Bandcamp

  • The Half-Century Road to Michael Chapman’s “50”

  • Daniel Bachman Is Looking To Settle Down As He Gets Older

  • New Directions in Acoustic Guitar: Dylan Golden Aycock, Ignatz, & Norberto Lobo

On Bandcamp Radio

Jehst joins the Hip Hop show to discuss his latest album, “Mork Calling Orson”.

 
 
 
Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Blueprint for Effective Healthcare

Shiny healthbots issue tissues to sniffing kids, jab fat dads with statins, and hum numb mums to slumber. All life is allotted to Big Tech, and family franchises, while limited in scope, are lucrative. Dying of a broken heart? There’s an app for that? A plaguey ache in the depth of your soul? Call our automated helpline. Need to speak to one of our elite Human Wellbeing Operatives? Why not key in 5318008, invert your phone, and giggle like a 70s schoolboy with his first pocket calculator, because no one will answer before you die. In the meantime, listen to a loop of a once popular classic hacked out on retro electro keys, because you matter; and if you don’t believe it, there’s an app for that which can be implanted subcutaneously for slow release. Just listen for the battering ram on your door. Press 1 to relinquish your personal autonomy. Our healthbots will see you now.

 

 

 

Oz Hardwick

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Scarfolk Council

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

The Who, Eden Sessions, Eden Project, 25 July 2023

We were three or four songs into The Who’s set before I recognised a tune. It was ‘The Acid Queen’ from Tommy, which to be honest I remember more from Tina Turner’s bellowed version in the film than any album. However, that swiftly led to ‘Pinball Wizard’ and the uplifting ‘See Me, Feel Me/Listening to You’. All of this was accompanied by an orchestra: brass helping the power of each tune, strings sawing away with rhythmic energy – all, however, really not needed. I’ve never seen The Who live before, but I can report that Pete Townsend’s reputation for guitar playing is well-founded. When he turns it up and lets rip with overdriven chords, the whole area shakes.

Of course, it’s not always clear who is doing what. The Who are no longer a quartet, and although Roger Daltrey seems in fine voice, there’s a backing singer skulking near the bass player, Townsend’s son on various guitars and two keyboardists as well as their bass player. And a drummer who plays the whole night with his sweatshirt hood up but – and I say this as an avid hater of most rock drumming – his kit is superbly miked up and he is consistently brilliant. The orchestra are spread out across the stage, behind the band, with a conductor’s podium on the right of the stage. The crowd enjoy singing along to ‘Who Are You’ (‘ooo oo ooo oo’) which comes after the Tommy selection finishes, but to be honest, it’s a relief when the orchestra leave the stage and the band perform a bunch of their songs from what Townsend calls their first period, that is before they split up in 1982.

The band’s set on their own is 1960s and 70s rock at its best: catchy tunes, huge propulsive rhythms and monster guitar punctuating the song and occasionally breaking out into ecstatic solos. if Townsend’s windmilling arm and Daltrey’s microphone swinging antics seem merely affectations these days, it would be churlish of me to complain too loudly. They seem to be enjoying themselves, and it’s probably what the audience want.

The band motor through ‘The Kids Are Alright’, ‘You Better You Bet’, ‘Substitute’, ‘My Generation’ and more, with joshing and abuse between Townsend and Daltrey, before a rousing ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ acts as the storm before the calm. Townsend welcomes back a cello and violin for a beautiful, fragile version of ‘Behind Blue Eyes’, and then the whole orchestra troop back on for a selection of tracks from Quadrophenia. To be honest, after an amazing ‘5.15’, ‘The Rock’ just went on and on, and ‘Love Reign Over Me’ took an age to get going, with an extended and seemingly never ending piano introduction. After some band introductions we get a monster ‘Baba O’Riley’, that slowly builds and builds over its addictively repetitive keyboard patterns before sprawling into a big finale.

‘Baba O’Riley’ is sometimes wrongly known as ‘Teenage Wasteland’, but Eden was not a wasteland and teenagers were somewhat thin on the ground. This was a nostalgic evening out for grandparents and parents, all busy swigging cider and risking a bit of dancing. They clapped and cheered and sang along, then had a little rest, had another little dance, and then made their orderly way towards the exits, up the long zigzagging slope, taking one last quick lingering look at the glowing biomes. As the final event in this year’s Eden Sessions, getting The Who was quite a coup, so well done all. Here’s to more exciting music and sunshine evenings at the Eden Project next year.

Rupert Loydell

 

.

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Unbruised

Kernel of a wallflower
My moonstone dream
Opulence of bright yellow
Sometimes a shady blue
The trinkets of merry go round
Probably higher altitudes
Waves after waves
They crash down
My overbearing
Soul of a shining sitar
Day and night
Twinning of my forever spring
Sometimes London walks
Show you how far you can go
Still my home is Unbruised
Always
A daisy flower.

 

 

Sayani Mukherjee

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Alert! New ‘Redesigned GMO’s’ Being Forced on Farmers and Consumers


Within the fortified corridors of politico-industrial power in Washington and in the hallowed bastion of the European Commission in Brussels, the same dark plans are being pushed forward: to alter the genetic code of life so as to make both man and nature patentable, controllable and servile to the cause of the techno-industrial god of insentient progress.

The latest manifestation of this process has now emerged within the food and farming sector and strongly threatens the future of all ‘GMO Free’ produce and terrains. It goes under the deliberately innocuous heading ‘New Genomic Techniques’ (NGT).

The US agribusiness industry set the agricultural genetic engineering agenda more than two decades ago, when a judge in a New York court room pronounced GMO and conventionally grown food ‘indistinguishable’. A judgement that went against the essential scientific evidence and played into the gleeful hands of the biotech industry. The precise term used was ‘substantial equivalence’.

This allowed the marketing of US GMO foods to go ahead with no labelling to warn consumers of its composition or provenance, thus denying them the right to choose.

US farmers have been likewise left to fight for the right to sell their seeds and grains as ‘GMO Free’, as the Monsanto corporation gave itself the authority to fine any farmer suffering the misfortune of having their crop contaminated by rogue GM varieties whose pollen was carried by wind or insects onto their farmland. Yes, prosecuted for being found to have a Monsanto patented GM plant growing on their field!

From the outset, European farmers and consumers strongly resisted attempts to get GMO’s into the food chain and onto the fields. Battles to uphold the sovereignty of ‘real foods’ and the right for organic and traditional produce to be legally protected against GM cross contamination, raged throughout the 1990’s and beyond – right the way up to the present day*.

Consequently, in spite of intense GM industry lobbying of the EU Commission in Brussels, less than 2% of European farmland grows GM crops.

Stung by their failure to make progress – and the subsequent collapse of the Monsanto corporation – the wounded GM battleship came up with a guileful sleight of hand to try and beat the regulatory protection of a largely GMO Free Europe.

They invented something called ‘Gene Edited’ crops going under the synonym ‘CRISPR’ (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats). Gene editing, they claim, is not the same as introducing foreign bacteria into the seed genome to make it resistant to an intensive chemical spraying regime.

Gene editing, they posit, simply removes/alters genes to make the plant perform according to the requirements of the biotech control program. A program that exerts sufficient ‘alteration’ to the natural composition of the plant to make it patentable as a ‘novel food’, thus enabling all profits to flow back into the pockets of the ‘designer’ corporations.

Recognising that a particularly cunning Trojan Horse was being designed to get ‘GMO by another name’ into the food chain, activists clubbed together and took the case to the European Court of Justice.

On 25 July 2018, the court rejected the bio-tech industry’s claim that CRISPR was no longer a GMO, clarifying that organisms created by new mutagenesis techniques are subject to existing EU GMO laws. A great victory for the defence of food sovereignty and the preservation of the natural biodiversity of farm crops.

But the GMO and chemical agribusiness behemoth knows no end to its determination to exert its sterile stamp on nature. Just four corporations now own more than 50% of the total world seed market. Their bio-piracy of original seed genomes and subsequent attempt to patent (privatise) ‘living organisms of nature’ has re-emerged in a new attempt to overthrow resistance to gene engineering.

The new deception is called New Genomic Techniques (NGT) and its right to operate is now starting its passage through the legislative assessment process at the European Commission.

WARNING: there is nothing about NGT’s that carries any benefit for the environment or food quality. Quite the opposite, it is a further tinkering with the genetics of life, whose purpose is solely to move living organisms out of traditional cross-breeding practices and into patented laboratory created industrial designer-foods. Foods able to be manipulated to ultimately replace the need for existing soil/field based agricultural traditions practised by millions of farmers throughout the world.

This agenda is a central component of the World Economic Forum programme known as ‘The Great Reset’ and particularly its ‘Green New Deal’ and ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. Shockingly it is supported by the once ‘green’ King Charles III of England, who operates alongside WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab and recently gave Royal Assent to new biotech innovations which stand at the opposite end of the spectrum from organic and agro-ecological farming practices.

Consumers in Europe have demanded the ‘right to know’ the provenance and composition of their foods, but the ability to hold onto this right is being undermined even as I write. The new GM legislation has recently been under debate in the European parliament and will later come under the scrutiny of the EU Board of Ministers. Italy, Austria and Holland are strongly opposed, but other countries are yet to show their colours.

GMO ingredients have to be labelled as such within the EU. But NGT’s won’t carry this requirement, if they come into law. A whole range of existing risk assessment precautions will go, as the parameters of what is GMO and what is not, get deliberately blurred and diffused.

There will be no mechanisms for enabling conventional non organic foods staying ‘GMO Free’; farmers and consumers alike will be disenfranchised from their commitment to food sovereignty.
If this agenda is adopted, there will be no detection rules and no methods of monitoring the status of crops.

Now is the moment to DEMAND that the Minister of Agriculture and Minister of the Environment in your country, never allow NGT’s to get onto the statute books during their term of office. Demand that they completely reject the New Genomic Techniques bill which they will be called to vote on in the European Commission.

If you want to retain an element of control over your and your children’s health and over the food you eat, as well as help preserve the vital biodiversity of nature within this planet’s irreplaceable natural environment, then make sure to take this vital step today!

Play your part in overcoming the sick wishes of the cabal that is attempting to subvert the very life support systems which have kept this beautiful living planet in vibrant existence for billions of years.

Let us join together in never allowing the insentient perpetrators of ecocide to play their cold roulette with the fundamental building blocks of life itself.

 

Julian Rose

 

*Julian Rose and Jadwiga Lopata successfully campaigned to block a big corporate push to get GM seeds and plants into Poland. They succeeded in persuading the Polish government to introduce a national GMO ban in 2006 which still remains in place today.

Julian is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, writer and international activist. See his website www.julianrose.info

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The Narrowboat Sessions

A few words and links put together by Alan Dearling

I heard about these apparently annual events from musician, Angel Nash. She took part in the 2023 Narrowboat Sessions recently along with many others musicians. Angel lives on her own narrowboat. About her song, ‘Fight for Wot’s Right’, Angel says: “This was the first song I ever wrote, while travelling with Horsedrawn in Ireland back in 1993.”

You can find Angel on Facebook. This link to her recording may work for some folk. Give it a try: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid0TrdgJmKZREMABRKxc7LZ4X4TrDnrNksqkrFsQgYzt5Nt4MSuYxBETwo7wHqdKEDbl&id=591491513&sfnsn=scwspmo

The Narrowboat Sessions provide an amazing creative space which leads to the creation of many videos and recordings. Eclectic – in fact, a wonderful diversity of musical styles and musicians.

It was a delight to discover it!

This is how they describe themselves on their website:

“Welcome to The Narrowboat Sessions, The No1 site for Acoustic Music Videos.

A non-profit making project helping to raise money for Cancer Research.”

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCllSH2nzwspSEVqJVSORv3A

Here is my ‘chat’ with Mark Holdsworth. He adds: “I suppose that would be the better name to use, although you could say, now known as Marcus Van Juggler after my 3-ton van fell on me!”

**********************************************************************************

Alan: Tell me a bit about yourselves and your narrowboat. I’ve watched quite a few of the music videos – fabulous quality – good, indeed, great  fun… So, who are you, and what do you get up to?

Mark: I first created our Narrowboat Sessions about 10 years ago. It was lots of little evolutions that all came together. Some friends of mine and I realised that the large area under canvas at the front of my boat (the cratch) had an unusual ‘Dead sound’, that is ideal for recording. Many people have tried to record in narrowboats, but due to their slab-sided nature, the recordings are rarely any good. I am an ex-Royal Navy, electrical engineer, and because of that background I took an old zoom desk, and modified it to get a better sound. The other advantage of using a 40 year-old desk is that it is 12 volts, the same as the narrowboat, and is usually powered via the solar panels on the roof. Musically, I was a classically trained pianist, and was taken to the dark side in the mid-70s by a well-known Keyboard player who is sadly no longer with us! I’ve had a canal boat of one shape size or another since I was a kid and was brought up on them by my parents who also had boats.

Alan: Do your musicians choose to play or do you invite them?

Mark: When we first started out, we were helped by the fabulous Steve Tilston and his lovely ex-wife, Maggie Boyle, who also, sadly, is no longer with us. This gave us the kudos for people to come and want to play with us.

Video of Steve and Maggie ‘Silver Dagger’ from the 2014 Narrowboat Sessions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6F8aqA_dH7g

In the first year we did 69 sessions second year 96 sessions and ever since then we have had to cap the amount of sessions at 120. But we do get between 5 to 600 applications every year.

Alan: What is the range of genres and styles – is it only, or, mostly acoustic?

Mark: Any genre is welcome, but we do try and keep it mainly acoustic due to the problems of trying to record in a floating, unearthed, faraday cage. We’ve had everything aboard from punk rock to 1,000 year old Japanese Koto being played.

Alan: The videos seem to be great quality both in terms of sound and images. Do you have your own pro-equipment?

Mark: Thank you, the camera is just an ordinary Canon D100. But I fitted an impedance-matching transformer to the desk so that the sound the camera records is a direct output from it. It saves me thousands of hours of editing.

Alan: You are raising funds for Cancer Research, but it must also cost you quite a lot to run the ‘sessions’…How does the funding work?

Mark: We produce a double album every year (although we are running a few years behind at the moment due to Covid). The profits from these go to Cancer Research. Unfortunately, it does take two or three years before the albums make a profit as very few people currently buy physical CDs. We are hoping to get them onto Bandcamp once we have sorted out the legalities of reproducing a downloadable compilation album.

As for the funding to run the sessions. We do run at quite a big loss each year, but we do ask for a minimum donation of £30 towards our costs per session. We are currently looking into allowing advertising on our channel provided that it doesn’t impact the music at all. Although it would be nice if we could find a rich benefactor!

Alan: Tell me a bit about your musical travels…

Mark: Every year we try to travel to a different part of the country. This year, we are hoping to get up as far as Lancaster. Next year we will only be going around the central Midlands. But in 2025 we’re going to try and get down to Bristol via the Kennett and Avon Canal. I have various crew that help me on my travels, ranging from my wife and young, upcoming musicians through to retired Pop Stars from my past. It’s always a good laugh!

Alan: Can you share some links for the article from some musical highlights – some of your favourite sessions…

Mark:

https://youtu.be/ae96VdhuelY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a5SPA0KYB8

One of my favourites so far this year:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93re15DmbNo

And this is one of my favourites from last year!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPH6Fd9EmLg

 

And here are photos of Cerys and Eli from Bodywater


Alan: What is the best way or ways for folk to buy some of the music from the Narrowboat Sessions?

Mark: The best way to buy the music is just to go to our website and follow the links.

https://thenarrowboatsessions.com/

https://thenarrowboatsessions.com/albums

Alan: And, what plans for the rest of this year and into the future?

Mark: We are heading out on Saturday, going up north, returning to Maesbury Marsh by the middle of September where we will finish off recording for this year.

Alan: Great chatting with you, and good luck into the Musical Futures! And, of course, many thanks for sharing a bit about your adventures, links and pics.

Mark: Photos of me and Stan Cullimore (Housemartins) and me and my wife, Sue.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Poem to Keir Starmer

 

a yougov poll for the times places starmer
labour party understandably abstains 
on welfare reform cannabis users in Durham stick it up the
police take a soft approach in a unique act charity
and kindness cherishing yougov poll for the times
the findings of a long-awaited watchdog barking
is only a small walk away for labour peers whose
strange tickets are punched at westminster station
haunted union leaders exchange keir starrmer
for russian oligarchs the champagne henrys in chelsea
run parched and dry in the cool of Starmer’s ire.

 

Clive Gresswell
Cartoon: Bob Moran

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Menopausal Barbie and Friends

 

 

I’m designing a new set of Barbie dolls
that makes the latest range look dated—
Gay Barbie, Trans Barbie, Noetisexual Barbie—
so, so passé. 

Here’s Menopausal Barbie,
sweaty, tired, her bones well hidden
underneath the fat she just can’t shift
despite all the diets, struggling on
with adolescent children,
aging parents
and Ken who Doesn’t Understand
and still can’t load the washing machine.

Menopause Barbie’s mum, OAP Barbie,
is larger than life inside her home
but unseeable when she ventures out,
her gray hair a Harry-Potter-esque
cloak of invisibility. Sometimes
there is an OAP Ken lurking in the corners
but sometimes he’s dead.
If he’s still around
she often casts a wistful glance
at the dustbin.

But here is Phoenix Barbie,
all bright feathers leaping from the ashes
of the bonfire of what went before;
discarding all the trash of yesterday,
creating a new life of endless possibilities.
Phoenix Barbie smiles, picks up her pen,
writes a poem or two.

 

 

Tonnie Richmond

 

Tonnie Richmond lives in Leeds and has spent many summers as a volunteer archaeologist in Orkney. She has had poems  published by Yaffle, Dragon/Yaffle, Driech, Leeds Trinity University and others. Her first pamphlet will be published later this year.

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

FRESH HELL

 

 

Time flies when you’re in Hell

 

HELL PETROL STATION @ GLASTONBURY

It’s been a hectic couple of months and it’s hard to tell which part I’m still recovering from, but here’s the installation of the Hell Bus crashing into a Hell petrol station at Glastonbury, Shangri-La this year. It was weeks and weeks of work and all over in 5 days.

I barely had a chance to pick through the photos and videos in the aftermath as I was dealing with Hell Bus admin (my favourite!) after I played chicken with the insurance company and lost leaving the bus stranded in the field for a couple of weeks. The bus insurance costs £4000 a year :/ something I hadn’t accounted for when starting all this, but I’d hoped to get a better deal this year but ran out of time and road.

Apparently negotiating insurance premiums with half a brain the day after Glastonbury when you actually need the insurance to drive the bus that same day is not a great strategy. But who could have known?!

But it did eventually get sorted and the bus is currently back at my studio where I plan to fix it up and make some repairs and new additions before it goes on a UK tour of universities in October. More on that below.

This installation was only possible with the time and skills of multiple people and I thank them here on my website, rather than going over it all again here. (I started this email complaining about bus insurance so need to keep the tempo up.)

But special thanks to the Hell Bus crew of Danny, Chris, Em, and pictured here, Kes and Kieran Thomson. Kieran’s been doing his summer student placement at my studio the last few weeks and put a ton of time and skill into the flaming petrol pump. It’s been great having him on board.

The response to the bus and petrol station was fantastic. People loved the petrol pump churning out fake fire and there were some of the biggest queues the Hell Bus has ever seen. That did lead to some breakages however, the perspex to the Lego diorama broke, as did the water vaporiser steaming out of the Shell oil barrel. So it’s going to need some repairs before the tour in October.

 

To see a video of the petrol pump in action see the video
at the end of this page!

 

HELL BUS CROWDFUNDER

In order to pay for some Hell Bus repairs and renovations, as well as adding some new exhibits to the Hell Bus before it goes on tour I’m running a small crowdfunder on my website.

You can donate directly or order some Hell merch, all proceeds go towards making the Hell Bus even better/worse and keeping it on the road for another year.

Massive thanks for any and all support!

 

 

 

HELL IN THE NIGER DELTA

I returned from a trip to the Nigeria last week after being invited by Ogoni climate activists from LEDEF to speak at the first climate change conference in the Niger Delta.

While there we went to visit two Shell oil spill sites in the Niger Delta with Ogoni activists, local community leaders, and West African climate experts. It might be the saddest and most enraging thing I have ever seen.

While there I filmed Ogoni community leaders, activists, students and doctors, explaining the situation and the suffering of these communities, and captured footage of the ecological devastation Shell and other oil companies have brought to their homes. See below for one of these videos, the rest I need time to edit and upload, and I’ve edited a short film which I’ll post next week.

Shell has been attacking the people of the Niger Delta from both ends. People here are having their lives ruined and dramatically shortened by the spills and leaks and toxic fumes of oil production in their communities but they’re also some of the most heavily affected by climate change. Already floods in this part of the world are far deadlier and more severe than they were ten years ago. Life expectancy in the Niger Delta is now just 41 years old.

I have to admit I was a little bit sceptical of how useful me coming out here would be, like all the information about these spills is available online, photos, videos and data are all out there. But something happened as I filmed Bariara Kpalap speak, an Ogoni community leader (video below), and he was describing how their water wells had now become oil wells they were so contaminated, but the people had no choice but to drink that water anyway, and as he was speaking I looked down and there was oil literally running between my feet and I don’t know what it was but in that moment something snapped inside me.

I didn’t think it was possible for me to hate Shell more than I already did. This trip has radicalised me. I don’t want to shut down Shell anymore I want to wipe them off the face of the planet. They have to pay for what they have done here. Not just financially, in every sense of the word. They have to pay.


The video above is part of a short > 8 min documentary I made about Shell’s oil spills in the Niger Delta, which I’ll be posting on my YouTube channel next week.

Subscribe to get a notification when it’s up!

 

ART THE ARMS FAIR

I designed a poster for the @ArtTheArmsFair & @dED_ucation art exhibition and auction raising funds to stop the arms fair – when a parade of global arms dealers, aka DSEI, returns to London in September. More info at: www.artthearmsfair.com


IT’S FANTASTIC

Probably a bit late for this but I’ve had some stickers made up with the above design and I’m doing a preorder only run of t-shirts with it on too (before the bots steal it) available in pink, white and black in unisex and women’s cut t-shirts. (There’s a free sticker with each shirt)

The preorder ends on the 2nd August and I’m expecting to post them by the 15th latest so if you want one stick an order in here soon!


I’m also doing an eBay auction of the original
painting of this to try and raise funds to repair the Hell Bus. Bidding ends on the 6th August, you can bid here.

 

 

 

 
 
 
FINANCIAL TIMES
 
 

 

I made some some newspapers for the Hell Bus Petrol Station installation at Glastonbury including this Financial Times.

 

BIT MORE HELL BUS


The morning I arrived back from Nigeria I had to go directly to Islington to open the Hell Bus for Whitecross Street Party. Video above of the petrol pump in action, the ‘smoke’ is water vapour. Massive thanks to Gary Seabrook for driving the bus!

Next month’s mailing list will have some dates for the upcoming Hell Bus tour so keep an eye out! I’ll also be posting dates as they’re confirmed at RoyalDutchHell.com

 

This update is public and shareable so please feel free to pass it on. If you’re not on my mailing list but would like to be you can sign up here.

Eternal thanks to anyone who’s ever backed my work on Patreon or through the shop!

And thanks for reading!

 

Share on social

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
.
Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

BARBIERE

 

Vincenzo   though your secret’s safe with me
I believe you are a man of many wigs   –
How is this so?

“To have one’s ‘hair’ appear
Entirely natural

Requires artistic rotation   –   so you see
‘Freshly barbered’   –   ‘growth’   –   ‘hirsute’   –   ‘abandon’
When‘re-styled’ the cycle starts again

You only must remember this   –
To make the game substantial

Be observed to carry a black comb
Containing a slight smattering of dandruff

Such is easily acquired   –
Though I still enjoy our conversation   –
It is the only reason now

I patronise this barber

 

 

Bernard Saint
Illiustration: Claire Palmer

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A CELLARFUL OF BOYS

 

Book Review of:

‘CAVERN CLUB: THE INSIDE STORY’

by DEBBIE GREENBERG

(2016, Jorvik Press) ISBN 978-0-9863770-4-4

Softback. 176 pages

https://www.beatlesbookstore.com/product/cavern-club-the-inside-story/

 

Like Graceland or the Abbey Road crossing, the Cavern Club in Liverpool’s Mathew Street is a shrine for Rock-music devotees. There’s been a lot written about what Brian Epstein termed the ‘Cellarful Of Noise’, with books by Phil Thompson (1994) and Spencer Leigh (1984 and 2008) diligently chronicling the beat-by-beat history of the venue, and its role in Pop mythology. But from her first visit – in December 1960, ‘greedy for our fix of non-stop beat music,’ mini-skirted Debbie was a regular there, so her’s is a more personal account, investing her first-hand fan’s-eye gossipy chit-chat and fashion-notes with a tactile authenticity. From resident DJ Bob Wooler’s ‘hi there, all you cave-dwellers,’ to bassist Stuart Sutcliffe standing with his back to the audience ‘so no-one could see how he was playing,’ and Pete Best ‘sultry, fiercely good-looking and oozed sex appeal.’ The cellar-club showcased more groups than Merseyside had dock strikes, according to Wooler. With Debbie and Sue running down to the Pier Head afterwards to catch the last bus home.

The added dimension is that – following Ray McFall’s bankruptcy (no.1 in the writ parade) and the original closure of the club on 28 February 1966 – while she was still aged just twenty, Debbie became very actively part of the family concern that took over the lease. There’s a lot about those ‘magical and breathtaking’ moments, rich with photos and rare memorabilia. An opportunistic PM Harold Wilson appeared there for the re-opening, Solomon Burke, Long John Baldry, Edwin Starr and Chuck Berry (‘a wonderful musician but not a particularly nice man’) all play. They book Ike & Tina but only get the Ikettes. Paul and Linda call around. The Chants play, who later become chart-toppers as the Real Thing. The Iveys play, who become Badfinger after Dad Alf Geoghegan adds the ‘bad’ to Paul McCartney’s original name for them – Finger. Enjoying ‘Good Times Again’ until the club’s 1970 sale, and the dubious events surrounding the compulsory purchase order and demolition of the original site in 1972. Of course, the reconstructed Cavern is still a Mecca for Macca-fans, Beatles-aficionados, and tourists in general. I’ve been…

BY ANDREW DARLINGTON

 

 

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hendrix in Nice

Escaping school one afternoon I’d seen you play
Hey Joe and Purple Haze
at Blackpool Winter Gardens.

Now, in this Nice café,
you look out from behind glass
as I sip an Americano.

It seems we lived our lives at different speeds,
as though needing more or less time to find the way
to our surprising deaths.

 

.
Chris Winterflood

 

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

‘Consciousology’ by Dot Allison

 

It can be difficult to believe that it is more than thirty years since we first heard Dot Allison. In the early 1990’s hers was the voice that infused One Dove’s infectious electronic dance music with a cool yet welcoming humanity, making their 1993 LP ‘Morning Dove White’ both an impeccable classic of its time and classically timeless. Yearning for a past that is impossible to reclaim is a wasted energy, however, and besides, Dot Allison has an exemplary catalogue of records under her own name that spans those three decades between then and now. There may have been a twelve-year gap between ‘Year 7 1/2’ and 2021’s ‘Heart-Shaped Scars’ but those intervening years hardly blunted Allison’s ability to beguile with a voice delicately poised in the space between cool detachment and mellow earthiness.

New release ‘Consciousology’ continues Allison’s journey into the mystical space where music meets the natural realm in a symbiotic relationship. This is not accidental, for in dedicating the record to her musician mother and botanist father, Allison strives to produce something which might be “an imagined voice of a conscious universe expressed through music”. She also suggests that the record “takes a less mechanistic, inanimate but more infinitely complex view of the nature of reality and how feelings of love and loss – and consciousness itself – are potentially less ‘molecular’ in nature and more electromagnetic.” Now this might sound pretentious and over-reaching, but it ought not to, for there is surely a place for higher-brow conceptual thought within the realm of ‘popular music’ just as there is in the gallery or the pages of philosophical and/or scientific treatises?

As intriguing as these concepts and ideas are, however, it would be wrong to think that they might make ‘Consciousology’ heavy going. Instead, they are ideas and themes that underpin proceedings yet never overwhelm. It could be fairly easy, indeed, to let the album float by in a thoroughly enjoyable stream of, ahem, sub-consciousness and never trouble to peer into those deeper, darker waters beneath. Still, it is good to know that depth exists. That what could at first glance appear pretty and charming is in fact supported by something bristling with intelligence and experimental impulse.

Dot Allison might provide that experimental impulse, then, but ‘Consciousology’ is far from a completely solo effort, as collaborators on the record include the London Contemporary Orchestra and assorted Scottish string players, many of whose arrangements are by the peerless Hannah Peel. Allison’s label mate and Ride guitarist Andy Bell contributes to a couple of tracks, whilst P J Harvey collaborator Maria Mochnacz provides intriguing artwork comprised of text and colour fed through a shredder and assembled in spiralling explosions, like Cornelia Parker disassembling handbills. At first glance it may not look entirely fitting to the record it enfolds, yet this may be illusory. There is modernity here, but modernity that is pulled apart and rearranged into patterns dictated by the complex chaos of nature. The message might be that whilst Humankind might like to assume command of its environment, the reality is always only ever a thread away from collapse.

The players on ‘Consciousology’ then might be from the top shelf but there is nothing particularly showy or self-indulgent in anything here. Instead, almost everything is dialled back and often subtle to the point of evaporation. Opening track ‘Shyness of Crowns’ has the shimmer of Cocteau Twins heard through a pebblebed heat haze, is a Spring afternoon lying in the bluebells of Blackbury Camp gazing skyward and marvelling at the space given by the trees’ upper reaches to each of their partners’ (a phenomenon that gives the track it’s title). ’Unchanged’ ups the pace and in hindsight might be the odd one out on the record as it drives along with an electricity that prickles the skin. Not to say it’s upbeat exactly. Rather it throbs, pulsates with earthy magic and a peculiarly soft strength. ‘Bleached by The Sun’ and ‘Moon Flowers’ work beautifully as a pair. The songs are brittle, tender, like Bridget St John in a Francesca Woodman photograph or Anne Briggs and Vashti Bunyan clutching the midsummer moonrise under a cloak of violets. Strings throw morning mists across landscapes of gently plucked guitar. This is folk music glancing backwards over its shoulder whilst remembering tomorrow’s aches and aimless regrets that are no regrets at all.

‘220Hz’ is a bubbling punctuation mark in the record. To get back to those notions of conceptuality that thread through the album, 220Hz is apparently the frequency at which tree roots communicate through the earth. To me it sounds like Siren song echoing through the har. ‘Double Rainbow’ meanwhile is obfuscated psychedelia featuring “the electrical activity in a plant… translated into pitch variations”. It results in tremulous whispers in foreign languages heard through keyhole cracks and carried away on thermals. These are threads that weave through themselves on a loom of ancient oak, each picking up the ghosts impregnated in the grain. ‘Milk and Honey’, meanwhile sounds like Avalon glimpsed through a vaguely sceptical Scottish eye; deliciously appealing yet peculiarly alien and Other.

The album closes with the intimate ‘Weeping Roses’, a song inspired by a tape given to Allison by Andrew Weatherall in the ‘90s that included two songs by Tim Hardin. At that point Hardin was, if I recall correctly, one of the great unknowns. Certainly, someone forgotten and not yet brought back to the public’s attention. ‘Weeping Roses’ then is perhaps a hymn to the beauty of both Hardin’s songwriting and to the magical spirit of Weatherall, who inspired so many with his eternal enthusiasm both for music and art and, perhaps more critically, for sharing his passion without fear or favour. It is a song that one fears might disappear when one opens one’s eyes; that might yet dissolve into the star-speckled oblivion of the heavens.

Indeed, the whole of ‘Consciousology’ often sounds like it might barely be there; space more vital than the music that punctuates it. Space that breathes into sound, that gifts it with the opportunity to weave around us like the scents and the energies of the nature than envelops and invisibly penetrates us. It is a record that rewards multiple listenings with its delicate layers of meaning and depth of thought. Thirty years, it might suggest, is no time at all and yet all the time imaginable.

Alistair Fitchett. 2023.

‘Consciousology’ by Dot Allison is out now on the Sonic Cathedral label: https://dotallison.bandcamp.com/album/consciousology

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vly Mountain

An exploration into zones left unmarked, following Batavia Kill or East Kill or Schoharie Creek, stumbling against the upper reaches of the Delaware, the thin, sinuous twistings of the mind to capture water, to release light as rain releases energy, sun flooding the days with an intense luminosity the mind cannot harbor but seeks again eagerly under the shadow of the next rain, the next storming wildness above Johnson Hollow Brook, above West Kill Mountain, Diamond Notch, Notre Dame, Balsam Mountain, the names string across the afternoon as a wavering thread of stone and fir, a wavering line of light under the vast preserve of rock around where the body seeks a more gentle rest, a place of clover and sudden showers, a place where weariness can be eased and the blunt heat of stone tempered by flower and fern, wandering across the uppermost reaches of the Catskills, where the Spruceton Trail rises above and Stony Clove Notch casts a brilliant shadow on the creek below,

an exploration into ancient zones whose stones are rounded and full, where deer and bear have found shelter despite the vast maze to the southeast, despite repeated pillaging and plundering, the loss of green and grey, black and brown, the forcing of paths, the insertion of structures, an exploration into ancient zones whose names do not form a common myth, whose names are distinct and linked gently, Little Delaware, East Branch and West Branch, crisscrossing the hills as Vly Creek moves above the stars, as the folds of Vly Mountain twist around the sun, moving in a pattern the eye cannot discern, a pattern of folds and fault, shiftings and hammering rains, the sight of snow on the heart as a dream we cannot hold, as a dream on Vly Mountain in the August rains, in the sleek heat of a September morning when the mind is weary and the body longs for October, for the wild high clouds before snow, for the depth of sun unmatched in August, for the heat locked in a leaf, repeated in a branch, moving and folded over the earth, a pattern of wings and light, matching the uppermost branches of apple, fruit still high and gold while the winds accumulate force, turning to the east with fury, October in the high peaks of the mind, as the light shifts and the body learns how to follow the dead, how to wander in the tall grasses, the dwarf birch, the scented pine, how to see Pacific waters without falling to the siren, how to map the meadows under the heart, the forest lying to the north, the patterns of snow and ice, sun and leaf on the mind, the body still resisting the light, learning how to follow the dead, to accompany them across Catskill and Hudson, Taconic and Berkshire, how to accompany then as they leave this earth and wander more fully, into the night as the day is stunned, into the day with a gold and greening dream of light,

an exploration of zones the body has witnessed, the mind retained as a trail leading across sleep and consciousness, across memory and oblivion, across the routine gestures that bring food and shelter, comfort and solace, an exploration of trails the heart has conceived, trails that bring no fruit without sight, no sight without this constant crossing and recrossing, wandering and forgetting, trails up onto Vly Mountain, in a lost zone between Schoharie Creek and the East Branch of the Delaware River, in a zone the heart has not before imagined, a zone of fir and birch, lightning and flowers, the rod of sleep tuned to another wind, falling gently as eyes remain closed and drifting brings us back to sleep, to the gentleness before dream, to the starting point of exploration, somewhere in the land to the west of the Hudson, somewhere in the bright hills above memory while the mind is resting and the body cannot fail to send forth the light, turn over the last stone left on the field, move again in the wind without fear, a turning of snow to light and rain to dust, a turning of the blood to fire, of fire to waters unknown, in a land unmarked but fragrance yet in apple lies beneath the moon.

 

Andrea Moorhead

 

 

.

 

 

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | 1 Comment

All the Beauty


                             
 In memory of Victoria Amelina (1986-2023),
                              Ukrainian writer and documenter
                              of Russian war crimes.

A real beauty. That’s how Russian Colonel General
Andrey Kartapolov describes the missile that uncoils
in a restaurant in Kramatorsk.  Filled with civilians.

This is real beauty: A steel beam piercing warm
flesh.  Unspun blood.  A limb tossed to the roof
of a nearby car.  This is not a blow, but a song,     

rhapsodizes the colonel general, so overcome
by all the dread beauty that he never notices
he is the one who is dead. He, Andrey Kartapolov,

dead in heart, tongue, brain. Dead in bowel
and wrist, ankle and anus. Dead in knuckle,
wart, vein. Dead in each thick nostril hair.

Each thick, vomitous word. Even as he swoons,
slightly woozy from all the sumptuous beauty
bestowed on him by the blown up and the burnt.*

John Bradley

*13 civilians were killed and 60 wounded by this Russian missile

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | 2 Comments

Economy


 
A peace talk is taking place
between these wounds. The treaty,
signed on scraps of paper.
 
In my town with no streetlights
I reduce the water supply.
Everything grows at slow speed.
 
I get used to an economy of words,
collect thoughts and colours, spend
my days memorising chapters.
 
For those trapped outside it is
a morning of doubt, traffic and
building cranes. For everyone else,
 
tomorrow takes its time. I’ve been
force-fed the fundamentals of spring.
Learn to keep walking. Starve better.
 

 

Maria Stadnicka

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Regret Comes Later

His charm,
his overwhelming self-assurance
sucks me in. Seduction
is an easy slope to slither down

for a simple northern lass.
The schools
these well-heeled boys attend
teach subtle lessons
not just the classics
and advanced debating skills

but an understanding of the finer things
of life; I lap him up,
slip between his sheets
of 600 thread count Egyptian cotton.

 

 

Tonnie Richmond lives in Leeds and has spent many summers as a volunteer archaeologist in Orkney. She has had poems published by Yaffle, Dragon/Yaffle, Dreamcatcher, The High Window, Driech, Leeds Trinity University and others. Her first pamphlet will be published later this year.

Painting Diego Rivera
Portrait of Linda Christian

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Birthday Boy (92)*

 

Let me reach for your collected treasures
More than leftovers from the daily grind
Negotiations, tribulations, foxy measures
In the waiting room where I unwind 

Here is a chronicle of my journey too
Pictures, beginning, tending, and ending
‘vodka in the verse’; the fond Alan’s view
Who knows my heart needs mending

 

*Letter from the Palace to follow in eight years

 

Christopher 2023  

 
 
Collected Poems   Alan Brownjohn   

**The vodka in the verse:  Anthony Thwaite
www.theguardian.com/books/2006/oct/07/featuresreviews.guardianreview21

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Questions and answers about Anarchism

This booklet has been put together by Rebel City, a London-based anarchist group. We visit schools and colleges to talk to young people about our ideas. During discussions with students, many questions arise, so we decided to compile a booklet answering some of these questions.

The physical book is available now in a wide range of independent and radical book shops across the UK. Please check in your local book shop and if they don’t have it, ask them to order it for you from AK or PM distribution in the UK. Wider distribution will be coming soon. Please make sure they get into the hands of non-anarchists! Buy one from

https://akuk.com/for-a-future-made-by-us-all-questions-and-answers-about-anarchism.html

Download full PDF of New Rebel City intro to anarchism book ‘For a future made by us all, Questions and answers about Anarchism’:

rebel-city-intro-to-anarchism-booklet-fafmbuaqaaaa-online-version

 

.

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

Three Epic, World Changing Sinead O’Connor Moments

 

The single that launched the punk powerhouse singer onto the music scene

Mandinka – Live 1988

 

Tearing up a picture of the Pope, as a statement against dark elements of paedophilia in the Catholic Church

 

Singing out against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan – featuring on Illegal Attacks, one of the most powerful anti-war musical statements of our times, with legendary musician Ian Brown.


What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
Isaiah 3:15-26

 

Sinéad O’Connor, acclaimed Dublin singer, dies aged 56

Michael D Higgins leads tributes to Irish musician, saying the country has lost an ‘extraordinarily beautiful, unique voice’

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/2023/07/26/sinead-oconnor-acclaimed-dublin-singer-dies-aged-56/

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Community Skratch North and Lounge Society in noisome action!

 

 

A short report from the musical front-line from Alan Dearling

 This was not my normal ‘sort of gig’, But hey, we need diversity. And this was something very different for me. WORKINONIT had arrived in Todmorden at the Golden Lion for the Community Skratch Jam North. Their musical team were providing beats for some of the UK’s (and apparently some the world’s) best scratch Dj’s to cut over.

WORKINONIT have been going nearly two years. And they say: “…it’s been crazy how big the event has grown in such a short space of time. From opening up for Large Professor back in Feb to the incredible turn out for their MF DOOM special back in October where OMA played full live band versions of MF DOOM instrumentals. This producer meet-up is growing from strength to strength and always bringing in the crowds.”

That was certainly the case at this event. Indeed, a veritable frenzy of scratching…

I took a few pics at this fair-sized Dj event yesterday. Friend, John Armstrong was in attendance with his Moog synth. I gather it grew throughout the day having started at 2pm. Definitely not really my thing, but these guys are mega-skillful on the turntables doing their ‘skratching’ as they call it. It was billed to finish at about 6pm, but I heard that it was still going strong after 10pm.

Video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KMidf3pV58

And: https://vimeo.com/841799108

A short vid clip of the Community Skratch North jam…

You can find them @workinonit.mcr on Instagram.

My friend, photographer, Scott Gouldsbrough said: “Only in the legendary Golden Lion, Todmorden, can you go from cheese club to a world class community scratch jam in less than 30 seconds. I am very grateful to have this place as my local community hub.”

The Lounge Society stretch their still youthful wings!

In the aftermath of what was billed on the monthly poster for July, as the “…potential Secret gig!” My ears are still ringing almost 24 hours later!

NME has described them as developing their brand of: “…snarling social and political (takes)”…created by “Yorkshire teens making political punk for the dancefloor.”

The Lounge Society have moved up the musical ranks fast indeed, and they started out ‘young but confident’ having met at secondary school. They’ve already supported Interpol, Wet Leg, the Strokes and their ‘Tired of liberty’ album was in Rough Trades’ Top Ten Albums 2022.

Richard Walker (Waka), co-owner of the Golden Lion venue said in advance of The Lounge Society gig: “New songs – I’ve heard them – they are sounding amazing.”

Soon The Lounge Society are off to Tokyo to support Blur in August. But, their regular returns to the Golden Lion in Todmorden and Trades Club in Hebden Bridge are absolutely great for their local mates, fans and interested ‘others’. This gig was loud, majestic, and rammed to the gunwales. Sweaty, noisome and mega-wedged…they are indeed local musical royalty…

Here’s an interview video with the band: http://www.itb.co.uk/artist/theloungesociety

‘Blood Money’ from their first album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mV2Zfi6sW4

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mayor By Day

 

https://scarfolk.blogspot.com/

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

For Politicians Everywhere

The Sex Pistols – Liar Recorded Live: 1/14/1978 – Winterland – San Francisco, CA

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Power of Memory and Place

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, The Moon of Gomrath, Elidor, The Owl Service, Red Shift, Collected Folk Tales, Alan Garner (HarperCollins)
A Year in the Country: Lost Transmissions, Stephen Price (A Year in the Country)
Time Lords and Star Cops: British Science Fiction in the 1970s-80s, Philip Braithwaite (Manchester University Press)

Alan Garner finally got some kind of belated recognition in 2022 by being shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It seemed unlikely that he would win on the back of the strange novella Treacle Walker (and he didn’t), but it did act as a reminder to readers that he was still out there, actively engaging with myth, place and time through writing fiction.

HarperCollins have just reissued six of Garner’s books, in beautiful moody new covers: his first five novels and a more recent anthology of retold folk tales. Garner tends to be dismissive of both The Weirdstone and The Moon of Gomrath, his first two books, perhaps rightly so as their sometimes rather Tolkienesque adventures and encounters are not his best. Fairly soon after their initial success the author allowed himself the luxury of deleting adjectives, which certainly helped, but their narrative arcs are somewhat straightforward and most problems seem to produce fairly immediate answers.

However, both books contain wonderful evocations of Alderley Edge and other Cheshire locations, and Chapter 14 of The Weirdstone, ‘The Earldelving’, contains the most horrific and frightening journey through a small tunnel I know of. Claustrophobic, dark and dangerous, the weight of the earth above the waterlogged escape route presses down on the reader, their imagination and dreams for years after. It is the stuff of nightmares.

Elidor is partly set in the demolition sites of Manchester, as traditional housing is levelled, the other part in the land of Elidor. Four children find what is junk in the 20th century and treasure in Elidor, and fight to return it. Some critics regard it as a nihilistic text, others a downbeat epiphany; either way, it is evocative and well written, although this edition contains an unnecessary and condescending foreword which tells the reader ‘Why You’ll Love This Book’, and a mostly unnecessary set of additional material at the back which apart from a ‘Note from the author’ is the usual irrelevant mix of obvious notes and advertising publishers feel they need to put in children’s books.

Garner’s next book, The Owl Service, is – again – unnecessarily bigged up by Philip Pullman, and is a very different kind of work. Channelling a story from The Mabinigion, a collection of 12th and 13th century Welsh folk tales, the novel (as well as the brilliant accompanying TV series) explores how past events can reoccur, because of the power of memory and place, the tensions and destructive energies of class, sexuality and colonization. (In this instance, Wales by the English.) There is misunderstanding and magic too, but this is a very different magic from the wizardry of The Weirdstone, this is myth reincarnate, possession and re-enaction. Garner says it is ‘a kind of ghost story’; the closing paragraph, one of healing and release, is one of Garner’s finest pieces of writing.

The Owl Service was praised at the time, although some critics felt the story lacked clarity and would confuse young readers. In response, Garner noted that he had never said his writing was for children, and his next book proved it. Although I read Red Shift when it came out in the early 1970s, so that its (then) contemporary love story resonated with and moved the teenage me, it’s entwining of three different stories continues to confuse many readers, especially those who cling to traditional narrative techniques and expectations.

Each of the stories are linked in various ways: by a stone axe which passes through all the time zones of the book, by astronomy and cosmology, by desire, violence, and madness. In the Roman period the axe is a sacred object which causes Macey to go berserk (although he regrets blooding it) and it is he who takes care of the corn goddess his fellow soldiers have raped and mutilated in their encampment, having gone missing from the Ninth Legion before ‘going tribal’. In the Civil War the rediscovered axe is a lucky charm, a thunderstone, and Thomas has fits and sees visions rather than going berserk; both he and his counterpart, another Thomas, on the opposing side, are or have been in love with Margery. In 1970s England, Tom and Jan try to maintain a relationship that has to deal with separation, class boundaries, and Tom’s inability to express himself (we might regard him as autistic or having ADHD now) and also see that the re-found axe is more than just a museum specimen for Jan. Themes including sanctuary, love, possession, violence, home and relationships are played out mostly against re-occurring landscapes and places in Cheshire: Barthomley, Mow Cop, Crewe and Rudheath.

Areas of Cheshire are what have fuelled most of Garner’s fiction since. They are all actual places, all have ‘true’ stories or folk tales attached to them. You can see civil war bullet holes at Barthomley church, you can visit the folly on Mow Cop and see where mill stones used to be cut, Rudheath is historically documented as a ‘secular sanctuary’. Garner’s house in Cheshire is opposite Jodrell Bank’s radio telescopes, built from two ancient buildings combined and now partly houses The Blackden Trust. His family history is intricately bound up with the surrounding area, and he wrote about them in The Stone Quartet, a beautiful quiet collection about craftmanship, place and belonging.

Collected Folk Tales gathers up previously published work from The Hamish Hamilton Book of Goblins and more recent writing. It is a collection of archetypal stories, that is examples of re-occurring types, the same elements re-arranged and retold to suit the location or teller. It is clear these and other stories inform and underpin Garner’s fictions. (He has spoken, for instance, about how The Guizer, a collection of trickster tales, informed Red Shift.) But they are not any kind of key or explanation to his writing, for Garner himself cannot explain the triggers and obsessions which occur when a novel is precipitated and he goes into research mode, sometimes for months or years on end, in an attempt to put off the actual writing.

Although this sometimes feels like an author not willing to accept responsibility for what they have written, or a romanticised explanation of ‘inspiration’, it may also explain why Garner’s books remain so intriguing, however many times they are re-read. I am still finding out things about Red Shift, having been reading it for 40 years and teaching it as a set text at university for 15 years. How does one write about cosmological time (the term red shift is to do with colour shifts in relation to objects moving away in time & space) or evoke the way that places seem haunted by the past? How are we affected by where we live or visit, or from what we remember of our past, be that individual, familial or communal?

These are the kind of questions which Stephen Prince continues to try and answer in his ongoing project A Year in the Country, which is a blog, a music label and a series of books. Lost Transmissions, the most recent, is subtitled and blurbed as ‘Dystopic Visions, Alternate Realities, Paranormal Quests and Exploratory Electronica’, a delicious, heady mix. It also happens to consider Alan Garner’s work.

It has to be said that Prince seems to think that ‘Hauntology’ can be defined by what evidences and examples it, rather than in a more theoretical terminology or useful way. His Introduction does not define the term, despite claiming to, but it does usefully flag up the way he works, seeing his job ‘to highlight and connect often quite disparate seeming areas of culture.’ When he writes and considers his subjects at length these connections are fascinating, but the briefer chapters are often somewhat simplistic and regurgitate somewhat obvious ideas or summaries. This is annoying, as is his inability to differentiate half-em dashes from hyphens.

But never mind. We get often illuminating and original insights into clusters of sometimes disparate material, which Prince quite rightly feels able to digress and tangent from when he wants to. So the opening chapter, one of the longer and best, uses a discussion of individual TV programmes from the several series of Leap in the Dark, to discuss ‘The Rise of the Paranormal’. Since the writers of the remaining online programmes are by Alan Garner, Russell Hoban, Davis Rudkin and Fay Weldon, the discussion is able to include The Owl Service, Hoban’s Riddley Walker and Rudkin’s Panda’s Fen as well as the texts under discussion. We also get a much wider consideration of the context for such subject matter: encyclopedias of the occult and Colin Wilson’s books, along with the fact that the online versions are themselves degraded, something that hauntologists love.

However, it’s hard to see why the likes of The Ghost Box label, whose music releases relish the use of crackle and old samples, or Polish film posters of a certain era, are valued alongside far more seminal work by the likes of Nigel Kneale. Sometimes the patina of something – the (often added) hiss and analogue decay of a recording – seems to be confused with the product or content. I like the music of both Burial and Boards of Canada, who are each the subject of brief chapters, but I find it hard to know why they are included here. Both are popular artists but neither have little do with, say, 1960s TV or the Cold War, two other re-occurring frames of reference.

More original is the grouping of the films Rollerball, The Anderson Tapes and Three Days of the Condor to discuss dystopias and paranoia, as well as ways of telling or constructing narratives. For me, Rollerball remains one of the most convincing depictions of the natural conclusion of what we now call neoliberal capitalism: governments replaced by businesses, the suppression of the individual, with women regarded as ‘furniture’, and the return of gladiatorial sport for emotional and violent release. I seem to remember it was used for Sociology lessons at one point. The contrast of this with the surveillance documentation that is used to tell The Anderson Tapes is inspired.

It is because Prince can be so original and interesting that I wish his books were more than gathering-ups of his blog material. Some more thinking and further research, along with a more established overview and argument, would make for even better publications.

This overview is something that Philip Braithwaite definitely has. Unfortunately, however, his idea of science fiction is incredibly traditional and narrow. I’m really not interested in Blakes 7 or Doctor Who, and I have always found Sapphire & Steel, a programme also written about by Stephen Prince, unwatchable. Fortunately for me, the first chapter spends some time discussing Gerry Anderson’s under-rated UFO and Space: 1999 series, as well as Quatermass; and the chapters on Blake’s 7 and Dr Who are at least discussed through political context: ‘and Thatcherism’ and ‘in the late Thatcher era’ respectively.

Whilst I longed for a wider definition of science fiction and the inclusion of more obscure TV films, series and experiments, the discussions of Americanisation, social and financial crisis, and the rise of neoliberalism, are carefully used here to underpin the discussion, albeit in a rather dry manner. What the book doesn’t do, which Prince’s does, is persuade me to watch and reconsider the programmes.

 

Rupert Loydell

 

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

THE WHEELS OF JUSTICE

The honorable judge,
a-robed like a hedgehog,
was squatted at the bench
like an endowed lodger.
And that machine of law
read out loud
the preprogrammed sentence
to the court’s turned-on crowd
and the robot condemned,
heads dependably bowed.
The automated guard
led him out.
Next trial was clockwork
as the line moved forward
till production halted.
Wind-up judge came unplugged,
hedgehog needed a nudge
when it slept.

 

Duane Vorhees

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

BLOCK AID  

seldom or never was a death trap  
intertwined with so much grief  
alongside crime bullets in the chest  
and the ashes of a dream inflicting   
never-ending nakba to the bone  
and on the land the godforsaken  
land that’s laid out flat so all may  
grieve in terror hate and death on  
a blood-stained shore where white  
supremacy is under new control  
and meantimes with all humanity  
removed hurls tiny fragments of  
corrupted blame performs its  
cruelties conjures up more  
suffocating fumes more leathery  
strands of tortured time earth  
mother’s womb has been removed  
soaring strangely solid air demands  
a sullen silence in the city of such  
dreadful sights and every line of  
ancient patriarchal myth must like  
the dirty water carry proof of their  
intent disease alongside all those  
fine ideals and lethal force from  
an end-times elite performed 
before immortal witnesses  
whose faces only devils like  
themselves can see  

 

Eddie Heaton

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Be More Alive: Hermann Hesse on Wonder & the Proper Aim of Education

“While wandering down the path of wonder, I briefly escape the world of separation and enter the world of unity.”

 

How to Be More Alive: Hermann Hesse on Wonder and the Proper Aim of Education

It bears repeating that what makes life livable is our ability — our willingness — to move through the world wonder-smitten by reality. The most wonderful thing about wonder is that it knows no scale, no class, no category — it can be found in a geranium or in a galaxy, in the burble of a brook or in the Goldberg Variations. “A leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars,” wrote Walt Whitman, eternal patron saint of wonder.

Wonder, after all, is what we look for when we are looking and the richest recompense of learning how to look. G.K. Chesterton knew this when, in his wonderful meditation on the dandelion and the meaning of life, he observed that the object of the creative life, of the full life, is to dig for the “submerged sunrise of wonder.” Dylan Thomas knew it in the recognition that “children in wonder watching the stars, is the aim and the end.” Rachel Carson knew it when she insisted that the greatest gift a parent can give a child is “a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.” Goethe knew it when he exclaimed: “I am here, that I may wonder!”

How to live into that knowledge with the full capacity of our creaturely potential is what Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877–August 9, 1962) explores in a soulful century-old reflection included in Butterflies: Reflections, Tales, and Verse (public library).

Hermann Hesse

With an eye to Goethe’s immortal line, Hesse writes:

Wonder is where it starts, and though wonder is also where it ends, this is no futile path. Whether admiring a patch of moss, a crystal, flower, or golden beetle, a sky full of clouds, a sea with the serene, vast sigh of its swells, or a butterfly wing with its arrangement of crystalline ribs, contours, and the vibrant bezel of its edges, the diverse scripts and ornamentations of its markings, and the infinite, sweet, delightfully inspired transitions and shadings of its colors — whenever I experience part of nature, whether with my eyes or another of the five senses, whenever I feel drawn in, enchanted, opening myself momentarily to its existence and epiphanies, that very moment allows me to forget the avaricious, blind world of human need, and rather than thinking or issuing orders, rather than acquiring or exploiting, fighting or organizing, all I do in that moment is “wonder,” like Goethe, and not only does this wonderment establish my brotherhood with him, other poets, and sages, it also makes me a brother to those wondrous things I behold and experience as the living world: butterflies and moths, beetles, clouds, rivers and mountains, because while wandering down the path of wonder, I briefly escape the world of separation and enter the world of unity.

Art by Sophie Blackall from If You Come to Earth

But while we are born wakeful to wonder, our cultural conditioning and indoctrination — what we call our education — often schools us out of it. A century before scientists came to study the vitalizing psychology and physiology of enchantment, a century before our so-called liberal arts education had become the factory farming of the mind, Hesse laments:

Our universities fail to guide us down the easiest paths to wisdom… Rather than teaching a sense of awe, they teach the very opposite: counting and measuring over delight, sobriety over enchantment, a rigid hold on scattered individual parts over an affinity for the unified and whole. These are not schools of wisdom, after all, but schools of knowledge, though they take for granted that which they cannot teach — the capacity for experience, the capacity for being moved, the Goethean sense of wonderment.

Complement with Nietzsche on the true value of education and the pioneering neuroscientist Charles Scott Sherrington on our spiritual responsibility to wonder, then revisit Hesse on the wisdom of the inner voice, solitude and the courage to be yourself, and the day he discovered the meaning of life in a tree.

 

 

How to Be More Alive: Hermann Hesse on Wonder and the Proper Aim of Education

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

4poems

 

NOTHING

 

Nothing

happened today

 

This can’t be true

 

Can it?

 

 

 

 

SKIRT

 

If I wake up

one day

and I’m a lady

I won’t wear

a skirt

 

I don’t really have

the legs

 

 

 

 

SLIPPERS

 

My slippers

are very furry

but

I wish they were

more furry

 

 

 

 

DOG

 

I call him Rex

 

But his real name

is A Secret

 

 

 

.

Eric Eric

 

 

.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Migratory

This rain must be seen
with one’s skin

This rain delivers a monologue
in its acquired tongue.

It says about the tree in my yard
“I am its both parents.”

I nod.

One strange feather stuck
in my window’s grills turns blue

birthing a bird I imagine.
It will endure a long migration.

 

 

 

Kushal Poddar

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mechanical Separated Meat (MSN)

 

Or white slime as it is known is
produced by forcing a paste like meat
product under high pressure through
a sieve or similar device to separate the
bone from the edible meat. The process 
entails pureeing or grinding the carcass by 
means of drill abrasive type metal rod.
The puree includes bone, bone marrow,
skin, nerves, blood vessels and scraps
of meat remaining on the bone. MSN 
is mostly used as raw material for the
production of hot dogs, luncheon meats
burgers and mortadella. Since mechanical
separated beef often contains small amounts
of spinal cord tissue which can carry BSE
consuming white or pink slime increases
the risk of transmitting BSE to humans.
Thankfully most countries have stopped
the production of MSN but no one
has any idea of how long BSE remains
active 

So if your old man looks a bit peaky…

 

 

James McLaughlin

 

 

.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

SCRAG MUFFINS

1

It’s very simple I can’t be late
if I want impermanence instead I have to
be cognisant of history choose to
repeat it you have to understand
it may not apply everywhere lunch
they call it branzino divided across
two plates between pretty good
and not flawless and hopeless at a
glance good opportunity
for contrarians no longer an
owner’s paradise you have to apply
political analysis as oxymoron
buy stock that will increase value
allow debt to those who will pay back

2

If you’re sentient
social support is good
solidarity induction
language with a protective
layer co-operative ordering
cities buildings interiors objects
suggest motivate support what
you do when you aren’t
running the numbers but feel
compose motifs and memes to
affect the environment or
a tragedy of harmonic vibrations
do well by doing good the aesthetic
choice of cutlery rattle in drawers

3

Instead of engineered bioweapons
rational analysis the key
phrase compared with
efficacy and moral return
a Clean Air Task Force
eating seitan skewers
in a survivalist bolt-hole
a new bulb with specific
wavelength to sterilise surfaces
a personal phone with Twitter
and email disabled sharing pad thai
boil acorns to clear the tannins
in sight of muon capture
the drone bombed hillside

 

Allen Fisher
Art: Joan Byrne

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

GO FOR IT

Hi good afternoon everyone
What’s the situation today?
Fresh talent – fun free and friendly
Spice up your trip. You gonna go for it?
Heck yeah! Yeah absolutely!
What are you hearing there?
More hoity-toity arty-farty nonsense
OK!  3, 2, 1… So here we go!

You saw me I saw you early bird angel face
Sweeping chalk plateau dream rotation
A powerful geyser – Oh how ridiculous!
An oscillating sprinkler –  
Shoots high into the night sky:
But appearances are deceptive
Turning out a lot more… you know…  
Bit like a no-go break-glass-to-open thing

Remind us how we got here, darling
Live show one-to-one co-ordinating lace trim
Fly off Fairground a Go-Go change narrative:
Narrow winding alleys colourful piazzas
Virtual museum piece radio-controlled
Real gone electronics whizz hat-check girl
Reveals all the stories hidden within us
As she moves slowly away no worries! See ya!

Here we go again! Facing tough decisions
Sandy beaches coco-de-mer palms
Wool rags subwoofers and strobes
C’mon! It’s a moment of celebration  
Of solutions without boundaries blank inside
Of dance-floor sunsets to banish memories
Of stylish bedrooms and oh yes sooo much more
C’mon! Never be shy to say ‘hi’ so yeah! c’mon!

Know what? Listen up everybody!
Seismic shuffle deranged and estranged
Something of a pincer movement or even
A dynamic take on what really matters:
Do something amazing today and hot damn
Tonight will be a defining moment
But I tell ya don’t mess with me! Ha!
Well that’s it for now bye!

 

A C Evans

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Everything is Shallow and Full of Remote Fortunes: a Year On

Amiss: a missile landed; it left a seven-metre crater. Apart from the war going on, not much has changed. It’s 14 degrees Celsius in the lab so some reagents freeze, and we need to adapt to power cuts. With the next shelling, the power cuts are less predictable. Is this a reflection of Britain not knowing what it is anymore? It was so much easier when I was born. We knew what our role in the world was and had huge pride in what we had achieved. That, coupled with Wales’ truly awful rugby record this year, makes me wonder whether a very prolonged cruise in my boat might be more pleasurable.

We hope to keep having a warm winter until March, because I don’t know what we’ll do if it was minus 20 degrees Celsius for a week or two. Men still can’t leave Ukraine. I sit under the stairs with my son at home. I work with high pressure reactors, jokingly called bombs. Jenny is still on the church Parish council, though she will step down next year. Flower Club is still important to her. I have had a good year with orchids, particularly with Cymbidiums as they require different conditions. One is grown in the greenhouse and the other in our conservatory. The Dendrochilliums produce beautiful chains of flower at least once a year and my Brassias never fail me.

Chirping: the frequency of a pulse changes as a function of time. Two images produced from one object seems like magic. How surreal a big city looks with close to zero streetlights on it. It’s worrying when the air raid siren starts during work. Jenny’s memory is poor, but we continue happy, and it has not stopped us sailing. Neither has my arthritis, which is a bit worse, so we both continue with full and happy lives. My arthritis did cause me to move to a SUV from my saloon car. It was getting too difficult to get in and out, particularly in car parks.

There are fewer blackouts on Saturdays, which is nice, like a window into a normal life. There are no spare parts, nobody listened when we asked the West for help with equipment. We need to use helium pipelines made of PVC tubes. When the temperature is low, the tubes shrink, and the helium just leaks. The boat gave us a problem this summer. It developed a series of electrical problems which completely disrupted our holiday. We corrected the electrical problems, but this winter I hope to improve the electrical system quite a bit. I’ve also started taking up the floor and revarnishing the floor panels. The removal of the varnish has to be done in my garden, so fine weather is needed.

I videoed a bolide fireball brighter than the full moon. It had a fusion crust, bluish-purple iridescence, and I know it was a fragment of meteorite, which only exists naturally in minute traces. We look forward to Christmas and the new year. We do the same thing every year but still enjoy it; we hope you have an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.

 

 

Mélisande Fitzsimons
Art: Rupert Loydell

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Request the Style

A wild ride through ragga, dancehall, jungle and a few other pits and beaces courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood Steam Stock

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Freedom Sounds

 
 
 
The film Sound of Freedom finally hit cinemas in the US on July 4th. The Day of Independence may turn out to be just that, for millions of enslaved children around the world. And the controversial new drama, eight years in the making, has become a surprise hit at the box office.

However, the film, starring The Passion of the Christ star Jim Caviezel, has had a long and torturous journey to its final release.

It comes from director and co-writer Alejandro Monteverde and was shot in 2018, with its release delayed due to Covid. Disney held the rights to the film, but after continued delays, the film finally took a more radical route, by-passing Hollywood, and came to fruition after distributor Angel Studios took the film’s reins. The film company had already scored another massive surprise success with its series The Chosen, an intimate and insightful portrayal of the disciples of Jesus, launched as a crowd-funder.
 
Sound of Freedom took a similar route, also crowd-funded. In just two weeks – endorsed by Caviezel’s Passion of the Christ director Mel Gibson – it succeeded in amassing the studios’ goal of $5m (£3.8m), which was donated by 7,000 people. Clearly, it’s attracted a lot of controversy, with the subject matter very much in the news, increasingly every day. But despite the controversy, Sound of Freedom is also attracting a large audience – and has grossed $41.7m (£32.3m) from a budget of just $14.5m (£11.2m).
 
The film is purported to be based on real events, with Caviezel’s character embarking on a mission to rescue children from sex traffickers in Colombia. The lead role is inspired by anti-human trafficking activist Tim Ballard. Ballard served as a Special Agent Undercover Operator for U.S. Department of Homeland Security for 11+ years, before being compelled to take up the precarious role of paedophile hunter. He is the founder and former CEO of Operation Underground Railroad, a US based anti-sex trafficking non-profit operation.
 
For me, the film surpassed all my expectation, having followed it’s progress since it’s inception. Reading reviews, I had qualms that the film would shift focus to the jungles of Columbia, a possibly racist slant indicating this was the domain of ruthless, gun-toting dark-skinned cartels, when the main repicients of the child sex market are the millionaires and billionaires in some of the most luxurious places on earth. But, to watch this film is to observe a work of art so skillful, so subtly created as to make the viewer read between the lines, suggestive of the whole horrific process and multi-billion dollar industry, whilst using stereotypical characters as the traffickers. It also somewhat grated that the main procurer of the children, as a casting coach at a modelling agency, is a black woman, when the most famous woman we know of in this role, Ghislaine Maxwell, is white, immensely rich, privileged, and Oxbridge.
 
However, perhaps that’s for another future film. The most powerful scene, for me, was when children were being bundled into a boat and taken to a luxury island, to satiate the lusts of the cruel and vile moneyed men awaiting them. Nobody could watch this scene without making a direct connection to Jeffrey Epstein’s island, and it is brilliantly done.
 
Another really powerful moment is when Cavaziel says, through smiling, gritted teeth: “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” An obvious biblical quote, but lost on the clueless trafficker he is about to steer into a sting. It may prove to be as menacing as any moment in film history.
 
The film also skilfully manages to convey the sordid horror of child sex abuse without actually showing anything graphic. The very shadowed, implied, subtle treatment is somehow far more disturbing. The 1970s film Get Carter, on the same subject, achieved a similarly shocking, revelatory effect. It may be the tip of the iceberg in uncovering the true scale of this world-wide epidemic, but it’s made a truly heroic start. Jim Cavaziel’s performance is so electrically focused and emotionally charged throughout, it would take a non-human heart not be extremely moved.
 
On the predictable, concerted attacks on the film by the mainstream media, concerning conspiracy theories, Tim Ballard told the New York Times “Some of these theories have allowed people to open their eyes, so now it’s our job to flood the space with real information so the facts can be shared.”
 
Exactly. This film is a game changer.  Everyone should watch this film, as part of their moral education as to how this world is currently being run, especially if you’ve somehow not been paying attention and are new to this. And, any controversies aside, or accusations as to the validity of the main story, this will be the real prescient success of the film. It chimes with the current scandals predictably besieging the BBC, with more in the pipeline, who have chosen to ignore the child sex scandals involving some of its biggest names over the last 60 years. Lessons, clearly, have not been learned, and arrogance still reigns. Using an excuse of mental illness and a caring approach to silence the latest exposure totally overlooks the huge damage and mental illness caused by this scourge on a world scale. If you genuinely care about mental health, watch this film.
 
It exposes the seedy underbelly of the international, multi-million dollar child trafficking operation, but its only the foundations of what is to be revealed. It has to stop. The future will be unthinkable if we don’t stop the sexualisation of children, stealing their childhoods, and increasingly turning them into corporate commodities.
 
Films seem to have lost their way in making people think critically, as empathetic, sentient beings, with the flood of re-makes and Marvel comics in Hollywood distracting us. This film drags us back into the zone of being human, caring and responsible, and the entire excellent cast and crew should take an almighty bow for the courage and persistance they’ve shown.  Whatever way you look at it,  this is a choice beween good and evil.
 
Jim Caviezel played Jesus to great effect in another film. And this message is even more powerful: he’s back.
 
 

Claire Palmer

For the children
 
 
 
watch the bootleg here
 
 
Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some day

Some day,
I know it,
we will meet again
and all the distance will dissappear
and time will make a worm hole,
to connect us,
it will be like
we have never being separated,
we will just look
a bit older and silver.

 

 

 

Dessy Tsvetkova
Picture Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Rose Upon Her Cheek

 
 

 

by C.Strøm

My love you know just how I feel
If you deny this heart to heal
Upon a bed as cold as clay
Upon this bed in anguish we lay

Now there’s a rose upon her cheek
A melody of forgotten dream
How sweet and sound those moments bound
Our hearts to meet in electrical beat

Now take my hand, my only love
Let’s travel on through hail and storms
Awake me then, to your smiling face
Awake me then, to your loving grace

Now there’s a rose that heaven sealed
A melody of forgotten dream
How sweet and sound those moments bound
Our hearts to meet in electrical beat

Now time has shown the broken heart
That life in deed has tarnished us apart
When all is done in anguish and grief
A rose appears that Heaven sealed

Now there’s a rose upon her cheek
A melody of forgotten dream
How sweet and sound those moments bound
Our hearts to meet in electrical beat

 

“Music is the universal law promulgated…” Henry David Thoreau (1849)

 
 
 
 
 

If you like C.Strøm, you may also like:

Bandcamp Daily  your guide to the world of Bandcamp

  • The Half-Century Road to Michael Chapman’s “50”

  • Daniel Bachman Is Looking To Settle Down As He Gets Older

  • New Directions in Acoustic Guitar: Dylan Golden Aycock, Ignatz, & Norberto Lobo

On Bandcamp Radio

Takiaya Reed discusses Divide and Dissolve’s thunderous instrumental doom.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

‘Humanity in Hypnotic Thrall to a Techno-Industrial God’

 

On the side of an apartment high-rise block dominantly visible between buildings surrounding Brussel’s Gare du Midi railway station, the finishing touches are being made to an extraordinary piece of art. One can just perceive the figure in the cage extended out on the hydraulic arm of the vehicle which provides the platform from which the artist can apply his paints to this vast canvas.

The work depicts, as I grasp it, a shining techno-industrial mobile phone tower pinnacling out of the summit of a vast concrete temple flanked by two grand curving stairways, at the bottom of which is a platform covered with a great crowd of people. Above the tower wispy chemtrails have formed an X in the sky, while the bottom quarter of the artwork is dominated by a voluminous sea of red dotted with flecks of black.

The symbolism is powerful. The work might be titled “So here we are”. For yes, this is where we are – if by ‘we’ one understands the current materialistically imprisoned post industrial world – driven on by the relentless force of globalisation.

Brussels, still a remarkably human city by today’s standards, has the misfortune of housing the European Union HQ, which is not a very human conglomerate. And what goes on in it is equally devoid of humanity. For it is about being ‘big, central and dominating’.

Big, central and dominating is the future of the planet if you subscribe to the techno-industrial mind’s two dimensional determinism. In the soothing words of Klaus Schwab and Yuval Noah Harari, it is to be an Information Technology/Artificial Intelligence future, in which Schwab tells us “we will have nothing and will be happy”.

The mobile phone tower and mast which tops the temple of techno-industrial prowess, is an ugly, spindly piece of steel which is an expression of dominance in its own right. The vast global infrastructure formed by these Saturnian steel structures carry with them a penetrating EMF amplified soup of toxicity.

It is this ‘network’ which acts as the gateway to the virtual reality world of those who depend on it for their ‘signals’. Signals that have an abstracted kind of dominance and pronounced tendency to thin the blood and blur the brain.

The majority of messages that come through this gateway concern how to get on in ‘the system’.
How to get from A to B faster; news faster; financial reports faster; connections with family and friends faster; everything faster.

Being permanently plugged-in to this hyper electromagnetic crossroads of life is said to be the only way to ‘stay in touch’, to be a participant in the mental matrix; to be part of ‘the programme’.

But already twenty years ago I decided to cut my ties with this programme. Dispensing with the mobile phone turned out to be an act of liberation, soon to be followed by the ousting of the TV.
Big Brother was consigned to the back seat and I saw that a life that belonged to myself still existed, all be it with the proviso that one prioritised one’s values with a solid dose of determination to be true to that which is ‘real’ in life.

Perhaps this is why I can see so clearly how those who continue to participate in the ‘programme’ are running blindly towards an uncompromisingly sheer cliff-face, and how their voracious demands on the natural environment are increasingly undermining her natural resilience.

I can see something particularly shocking – that this frenetic rush to the cliff face and the great consumption of finite resources it involves – has no other purpose than playing-out a quasi demonic fascination with ever more refined toys of distraction. Distraction from the real pulse of life.

Yet this techno-industrial suicide machine is staffed by humans who appear not to recognise that their joint mission is programmed to end in collapse.

On the contrary, they seem to think that by increasing the efficiency and speed of the means of travel, it will somehow consummate its own need to arrive at where it is headed for. Where or what that is – simply never gets asked.

However, the psychotic gods of insentient ‘progress’ who designed the programme have built into it a series of ‘events’ which reach a certain conclusion in something they call the Transhuman. A robotic state of computer connected and controlled brain power for those able to pay for it.

To pay for the right to be dehumanised and rendered devoid of the need – and indeed ability – to think. Freed from emotion and freed from a soul based link to one’s Creator.
Stations on the way to this dark point of human annulment are laid-out under the WEF creed known as ‘The Great Reset’. A ‘Reset’ from human to non human.

Here are some of stations along the Great Reset route to the Transhuman:

The cessation of food grown in soil and the manufacturing of synthetic food produced in laboratories (at least six of which are already in production).

The end of farming the land as we know it and the removal of redundant farmers and country dwellers into 5 and 6G controlled total surveillance ‘smart cities’.

Countryside and farm landscapes redesigned to accommodate ‘rewilding’ projects and gated access to designated ‘leisure sites’ for those who can afford access.

The end of bank notes and coinage, replaced by a centrally controlled digital currency whose availability will depend upon one’s ‘social credit’ a la China.

The confiscation of one’s assets and private property with the option to ‘rent’ aspects of them back from the corporate state that is to become the new owner.

‘Self-autonomous’ 5G guided transportation systems operating between major cities.

100% surveillance via satellite and ‘the internet of everything’ and the profligate use of algorithms to pick-up any signs of resistance in communications.

The repression of true spirituality in favour of a ‘one world religion’.

Deliberate blurring of sexual delineation ‘man/woman’ and the decline of normal sexual reproduction.

Sperm-counts further reduced due to de-vitaminised synthetic GMO foods, vaccinations and polluted air and water – population control.

Enforced ‘15 minute cities’ as centres of local authority control.

Designer gene-altered babies via laboratory cloning of DNA sequences and cell tissues.

The removal of certain words from the common language, particularly poetic and spiritual ones.

Real art reduced to pseudo art as an expression of the will of the state, including dark-side ritual.

‘Medical health’ seen as the sole domain of Big Pharma with natural medicine outlawed.

Further media/government control over the passing of public information.

There is more, much more. But this is enough to show the basic composition of the stations on the way to ‘Transhumanism’. The arrival point of which is said to be circa 2035.

Behind this in-your-face destruction of hard won human liberties is a vast global propaganda/indoctrination exercise already in existence for more than two decades and built around the now infamous ‘Zero carbon by 2045’ or ‘Net Zero’ in news-speak (Orwell).

When challenged by those still able to question the need for these deadly impositions, the answer is always the same “To save the world from Global Warming.”

This piece of acute brainwashing, initially devised at the Club of Rome in 1972, is key to the whole ‘programme’. As long as enough people buy into it for long enough, the slavery exercise will be irreversible. Based on the current rate of awakening, the discovery that anthropogenic Global Warming is a mega lie will likely be neutralised by the impositions already in place to prevent an uprising.

The techno-industrial god will then have served its purpose. Like the rocket booster that gets the capsule into orbit, it will have taken the majority of mankind over the brink into abject slavery to its hypnotic convenience culture, before imploding in on itself and taking much of humanity and nature’s life sustaining diversity with it.

BUT, all this can be avoided. It doesn’t have to happen. It won’t happen. Our lives do not depend upon adopting the smart technology of tomorrow, today. We won’t any longer be seduced by ‘convenience’ once we recognise it is leading to our self destruction, will we?

We will retain sufficient will-power to get shot of this addiction to the IT/AI life inhibiting distractions that make up the mind controlled road to Armageddon.

The only way to recognise just how diabolical is the trap that has been set for us – and that we have set for ourselves – is to get a grip on our sense of deeper purpose in this life. To make an unbreakable commitment to listen and respond to the call of our souls. The true self. And then pull this true self out of any association with the metaverse mincing machine.

Let no one in possession of a soul ever allow himself/herself to become processed into a sub human product of the techno-industrial behemoth. Stick with what’s solid, what’s real – and ditch the counterfeit virtual world that snares the unweary and turns once healthy minds into casualties of a blind rush to a dystopian digital nowhere land.

 

 

Julian Rose

Julian Rose is an early pioneer of UK organic farming, a writer and international activist.
He is President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside and author of four books, of which ‘Overcoming the Robotic Mind’ is the most recent. See www.julianrose.info

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Covid Censorship Proved Deadly: Gov & Social Media Colluded to Stifle Dissenters


Click on picture for video

 

 

This video was featured in the Wall Street Journal on July 7th, 2023, in an article titled: “Covid Censorship Proved to Be Deadly: Government and Social Media Colluded to Stifle Dissenters [Disinfo Dozen] Who Turned Out To Be Right“; this is one of the first mainstream media outlets to publish truthful information about the so-called “Disinformation Dozen,” revealing that they (including GreenMedInfo.com and Unite.live founder Sayer Ji) were accurate and unfairly and illegally censored for sharing their opinions, and factual information that countered the official narratives around Covid-19.

Learn more about the topic by reading our latest article on GreenMedInfo.com, published on July 13th, titled:

BREAKING: Huge Health Freedom WIN!

Have you heard about the latest injunction ruling making headlines? The one where a federal judge is finally putting a spanner in the works of the Biden administration’s illegal collusion with Big Tech companies to suppress the free and truthful speech of Americans?

“In his 155-page ruling, Judge Terry Doughty said there is “substantial evidence” the government violated the First Amendment by engaging in a large-scale censorship campaign targeting content that questioned or countered establishment narratives on COVID-19.”

This may be one of the most important rulings in the history of health freedom and free speech (they’ve become inseparably linked), especially given the past 3-years of non-stop, egregious censorship tactics that have left millions silenced for expressing their opinions or sharing factual information, and many more than that self-censoring out of the fear that they will be targeted next.

Perhaps even more noteworthy is that WE are at the center of this case, given our founder Sayer Ji (and his platform GreenMedInfo.com), was among 12 Americans named in the lawsuit, and who were specifically targeted for de-platforming and widespread defamation, for calling out the government, media, medical system, and Big Tech platforms for promulgating entirely false information about the supposedly universally “safe and effective” mRNA covid jabs which were hurriedly authorized and deployed to hundreds of millions around the world without informed consent.

In a typical Orwellian inversion, Sayer (and GreenMedInfo.com) was accused of ‘killing people with misinformation’ by President Biden, 14 State Attorneys General, US Congressmen, the White House Press Secretary, and the US Surgeon General, for doing the exact opposite: namely, warning the public about the serious dangers of both the mRNA jabs and non-pharmaceutical interventions such as universal masking of children long before these harms were acknowledged by the powers that be, as they have now been. 

What followed his whistleblowing efforts on the topic was an unimaginably vast, international campaign to destroy the financial status and reputation of both GreenMedInfo.com and its founder, as well as to suppress your unfettered access to the truth on health topics that have life and death importance in your life.

Indeed, after 15 years of painstaking research and indexing in order to support the public interest with the world’s largest, evidence-based, and entirely free natural health database, private and public bad actors accused us of crimes against humanity for simply advocating for informed consent, parental rights, and the right to choose what happens to your body, medically speaking.

But the world is finally waking up to what actually happened, and on top of the massive vindication which followed the TwitterFiles releases which showed a ‘Vast Censorship Enterprise’ consisting of massive collusion between government, academia, private foundations and think tanks, NGOs, philanthropies, Big Tech companies, all heinously conspired to COVER UP TRUE STORES OF VACCINE INJURIES AND DEATHS, it is now abundantly clear who the real ‘disinformation agents’ actually were. The very organizations and agencies who were once demonizing American citizens and organizations like ours for telling the truth, are finally being exposed for what they did to try to “kill the messenger.”

All that said, GreenMedInfo.com has been brought to its knees after relentless attacks: from denial of service attacks to our servers, to media and government agencies, to the medical industrial establishment, to the financial sector debanking us, such that it is TRULY MAKE IT OR BREAK IT TIME.

This is why we started our Rebuild GreenMedInfo.com campaign last month, and received a very encouraging initial boost of donations and memberships from those who valiantly ANSWERED THE CALL. We are SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL TO YOU (you know who you are). Thanks to you, alone, we are now about 25% into our fund-raising goal in order to save and rebuild our organization for the future.

While we are more than happy to receive this indispensable support, and you are literally ANGELS to us, you represent only ~3% of our existing 300,000+ subscribers to our free newsletter and free website who have pitched in.

We can only imagine what would happen if 10% or more of those who have received value from our service were to join in the campaign! Given that our annual friend membership only costs .20 cents a day, we don’t think it’s asking a lot for that kind of support, considering the immense time, energy, and resources it takes to provide the services we do to the world, for free, and without advertisement. Do you?

It took 15 painstaking years to put together the 100,000+ studies and articles in an easily accessible and carefully indexed and curated manner, for the convenience of the 250,000,000 health queries we’ve responded to from around the world, since our 2007 inception. Our goal is not simply to maintain this service, but to expand and develop it long into the future, so our children and grandchildren can fulfill the promise foresaw by our founder when he wrote, back in 2008, the following words:

“I see a future of medicine where the default approach is using natural substances to prevent and treat disease, and where the alleviation of suffering (and not profit and control) once again becomes the prime motivation for why we do medicine at all. In that timeline, using patented, petroleum derived drugs as the standard of care for chronic disease would be considered “alternative medicine,” and natural medicine would be considered a redundant phrase, all real safe and effective medicines being natural to begin with, given that Nature herself and not some chemist or pharmacologist made it.”

Does this vision resonate with you? If so, please help us carry on this vitally important project for humanity. We are one of the last remaining sites on the Internet (not owned or funded by pharmaceutical interests) supporting natural health, and providing the information without which informed medical choice would not be possible.

For the price of a fancy latte, once a month, you could be keeping our project alive and well, not just for our present time, but for all future generations, as well.

IF you have already supported us in some way, WE can not thank you enough, and ask only that you recognize how awesome you are, in keeping us alive and well. While we may not know you by name, you will forever be appreciated for your commitment to this cause, and should know that without you, we would have already ceased to exist. 

IF you haven’t yet supported us, or would like to do more, please know there are many ways to support us, including: 

Finally, if you have any questions or comments, please do send them our way.

And check in periodically to our Rebuild GreenMedInfo.com campaign page to see how well we are doing on our way to our goal. We know we can reach this goal, together.

Posted in homepage | 1 Comment

SCIPPATORI

Man-bags borne upon the tourist wrist?
Accessorised by Gucci?   –   Si?
(You get the gist?) 
We give the wrist a twist in fist meantime our Vespa running
To scoot with loot more fleet than foot   –
Scippatori!

Our city is a history of sewers
Forebears found their exit underground
In days when petty crime to public Circus
Consigned our trembling carcasses First-House   –
Now we rev dark webs of alleyways
Only you the tourist seem surprised by
Scippatori! 

Cut-purse   Bag-snatch   Dipper
While you ‘see the sights’ we see a glimmer 
And Rolex rates you a crack with a rock
For a rock of crack and a recommissioned ‘shooter’
‘Addio bambino’ then   –   ‘Polizia’! ‘Rapido!’ –
Scippatori!

 

 

Bernard Saint
Illustration: Claire Palmer

 

 

.

 

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Paradise Now (then)

Living Theatre @ The Roundhouse

It’s drama   man   69 style
Everyone at one level   no proscenium
Performers in g-strings
cavort with the audience 
on your lap   in your face Whispering
we are not free

I recall scant of the night but the vibe
The soul baring   witness bearing
freedom radicals here to shake us up
(Legend is one night stripped-off punters
wiggled a conga down Chalk Farm Road)
 
As estranged from my father
as you can be living in a
shoebox   I had punished us enough
That night   galvanized   I stood down
from the stand-off at the not-okay corral
Kissed Dad goodnight
This I recall

 

Joan Byrne

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Among the Questions Before Us


 

Who will we ask 
when the dark-eyed junco is gone?
When the last immeasurable glacier has vaporized? 
When Earth in its dry orbit finds nowhere to go?
 
What memory of sun and lake might move us?
What childhood vision from a time before,
in dreams will return
to remind us who we are?
 
What future beautiful and deserved
seen clearly 
from which indelible past
could urge our hands to action?
 
What love for something we didn’t need to lose,
something whispered from mother to infant inside us,
will glisten like a singular fruit on a branch so high
we will have no choice but to build a ladder together.

 

 
 Alfred Fournier

 

.

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | 1 Comment

Ballad of the Barricades

 “I never said… I see myself as Jupiter.” Emmanuel Macron

The oak is the French national symbol of enduring justice.

A curfew reigns from Jupiter,
   With bolts of powerful fear.
The twisted oaks from whence it came
   Lob branches with a sneer. 

A raven sky and leaden cloud
   Weigh down the streets of light.
Days hesitate to wend their way
   Through alleyways of spite.

A boy shoots up the Rue des Martyrs,
   Helt’ skelters down the Quai.
A boy who is like me and you,
   Her and him and them and they.

I shut my eyes so I can see
   A dream within a dream,
Where peace and harmony reside,
   Inside a whispered scream.

A haze diaphanous and blue
   That glows in every heart,
Its siren call is reaching out,
   To quell the upturned cart.

‘Paree’ intoxicates the mind,
   It flares like rare sapphires,
For those who can afford its charm,
   And might avoid the fires.

Shutters fling open, lovers ache,
    Bewitched they dare to yearn,
But vanity and senseless hate
   Fuel pyres that spread and burn.

The boy consumed with faceless rage,
   Scarf on his teenage face:
The boy perplexed by blah blah blah,
   Submerged in hard sub-bass.                                                                                                                     

A pot-au-feu, a lamb tagine –
   Two tribes are back-to-back.
Simmering souls and hearts akin
 On wrong sides of the track.

 And like a train clack-clacking on
   The crooked tree sprays rain
That knocks the boy right off his feet,
   A wedge against the grain.

 He lies upon the sodden ground,
   And cries “Dégage batards!”.
The batons and black heavy boots –
   Hoist by their own petards.

 Whilst back at home an olive spoon
   Stirs up a balmy stew.
As fragrant steam curls from the stove,
   On rues it’s baiser vous.

The storm blows hot, the storm blows cold,
   The storm it ebbs and flows.
 The combatants are wearying
    Of bloody head and nose.

 I shut my eyes so I can see
   A dream within a dream,
Where peace and harmony reside,
   Inside a whispered scream.

Our boy survives the raging seas,
   The waves of stick and stone,
And dries his soaking clothes upon
   The stove of love and home.

And when frustration detonates
   As those who care had feared,
When the old game is played out,
   When the smoke has cleared.

Who gains, who wins, who takes the prize?
   The garland and the cup?
The bloody spoils of “Told you so”,
   Well done the runners up!

I dreamed a dream within a dream,
   Eyes shut so I could see.
Bring him peace and bring him joy,
   Let him live and let him be.

 

 

 

 

chris wilson

BIO: Chris Wilson was brought up in Birmingham and was an Executive Producer at BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service for over 30 years.  He currently works at a vineyard in Ditchling, Sussex.

 

He’s an accredited mountain leader and a certified forklift truck driver.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | 1 Comment

Dancing Will Not Be Allowed

“Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs” – COVID-19 restrictions, Australia, 23 June 2021.

Dancing will not be allowed – do not even imagine a two-step; do not tap your feet.

Dancing will not be allowed – though, if you’re a billionaire, feel free to board your private jet.

Dancing will not be allowed – skipping on the footpath may be possible next week.

Dancing will not be allowed – and we’re also concerned about unwarranted happiness.

Dancing will not be allowed – the Australian character prefers a planted elbow and laconic beer.

Dancing will not be allowed – try a boutique ice cream from the fridge.

Dancing will not be allowed – but your grandparents may hum a wedding waltz on their anniversary.

Dancing will not be allowed – no jazz hands, please!

Dancing will not be allowed – we’ve already said we won’t fund the arts.

Dancing will not be allowed – but you’re permitted to stand near train tracks to feel the shudder in your bones.

Dancing will not be allowed – improvisations may even lead to imprisonment.

Dancing will not be allowed – there can be no salsa on your chips.

Dancing will not be allowed – please enjoy your cake (without the walk), at the appropriate distance.

Dancing will not be allowed – under no circumstances should you attempt to touch your spouse.

 

Cassandra Atherton and Paul Hetherington

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bippety and Boppety Chatter En Plein Air

– This is nice. I do like to be in the open air.
– The air is indeed at its best when it’s open.
– I can’t abide closed air.
– Closed air is the worst kind of air.
– If only we had our own garden.
– Indeed. Our own garden would be lovely. This yard has its shortcomings.
– But the open air, I do like to be in it.
– So you said.
– What can I smell, wafting in on the breath of the summer’s breeze? Laburnum? Lilac? Lily of the Valley?
– I think it’s the drains.

 

Martin Stannard

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

No Blacks No Irish No Dogs

In the ‘Good Old Days’ things were much clearer
a spade was a spade you knew where you stood – it
was Black and White, crystal clear – clear as the back of 
your white hand. No Blacks No Irish No Dogs! 
A bit harsh on dogs was the common retort.
I mean what have dogs ever done to us? Imagine
today writing on a piece of paper and sellotaping
it to a window or onto a public house door or onto a nightclub
boarding. We all knew the inference – the mention of dogs 
was unnecessary yet was always added nonetheless.
Ok for Blacks and Irish to wipe our arses and dig our roads
and drive our buses; and be the butt of inane jokes and innuendos.
These people were not really us – not really human – a sub grouping:
only nice white people were allowed in only nice white people
were included only nice white people were accepted!
Only nice white people without dogs need apply.
Today
this has all gone! We are all new men and new women
allegedly. We shrink from the past, try to move on, try
to make amends, try to reconcile a wrong. Yet something remains:
something inexplicable – a sort of collective transmitting psyche
a shard of spirit – a pneuma – a phantom that lingers in the air,
folds in the streets, cries in our voices and actions: a sound that
drags – like chains and clamps, that tarries – that won’t go away – 
that will not be silenced: an unforgettable acrid stench – as a dog
that is beaten will not come; as a man cannot be unhung
from a tree; as a whole diaspora cannot be unexcluded; as a race
subjugated unwanted unloved battered beaten hated.
This remains.

 

James McLaughlin

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Flower, A Devotional Art

The flower is an art.
Have you admired it?
The color, the flower spreads
Is happiness.
The consolation of art
Is the flower’s admiration.
My layers of abstraction
Are the petals of flowers
The fragrance makes a dead alive.
The wildflower tames you not,
Doesn’t make you a captive
Of beauty,
Let the flower bloom like life
To pluck it is to speak of cruelty,
It is only an excuse.
My devotion
Is my innovation
In life.
My innovation is a new form of beauty.
Flowers are there to admire life,
A bouquet of togetherness
Spreading happiness.

 

 

 

 

Copyright Sushant Thapa
Nepal
Picture Nick Victor

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Seductive Asides

The Artist’s Books, Francesca Woodman (Mack)

Francesca Woodman was a young artist who killed herself in 1981, at the age of 22, in New York City. She left behind a now critically acclaimed body of photographic work which mostly depicted herself or female models often placed as part of the room. Sometimes blurred, sometimes unclothed, often folded into awkward poses or around furniture or fittings, the images are mostly unglamourous and alluring, suggestive of untold stories or hidden secrets.

In addition to the careful management of her five years of work by her parents (which resulted in major exhibitions at the San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim in New York), word-of-mouth and feminist critique have built up a somewhat cult-like posthumous fame, with Woodman joining the ranks of struggling female artists who lost the fight with the patriarchal art establishment. Woodman is in the canon now, up there with Sylvia Plath and Ann Sexton, as abused, suicidal, ignored creatives.

Now, Mack have published an exquisitely produced hardback book which shows Woodman’s working in a different way: creating artist’s books. Found books, such as business ledgers or old journals, are used as a ground for photographs, negatives (or prints on acetate), as well as found images and writing, resulting in highly personal, evocative and sparse one-off folios.

These assembled and curated albums are fragile journals, which arrange evocative images of architecture, human bodies and interior space, into loose yet obsessive clusters and sequences. Much of each book (there are eight collected in this volume) remains either empty or left as found – beautiful inked scripts, folds and stains, fading lines – with occasional photographs glued or sellotaped in, and even scarcer annotations and notes.

If anything, this all adds to the strangeness of the photographs. Why are the photos of a blurred woman jumping or dancing in a loft space made even more otherwordly because of the aged sellotape which fixes it to the chosen page and the sellotape stains on the page opposite, which reflect the form? What does the handwritten text already in the book do to the way we see the work? Why are some pictures a different size to the others in the same series or sequence? Why is the top third of one image dark? And why does the umbrella leant against a wall draw the attention of the viewer much more than the abstracted breasts of the model who fills the foreground at the bottom of the photo?

The marked pages and occasional empty photo mounts, the creases and unchanged pages are not questions that can be answered, or puzzles that can be assembled or decoded. They are enigmatic and personal, and we do not know if the work gathered here were intended as ‘artist’s books’, or as workbooks, a way of thinking about order and sequencing work-in-progress. They are both impersonal and highly personal, the artist distant from yet also very present in her work at the same time. The often gnomic phrases and occasional lists add to the tentative feel of these assemblages.

For me, there are few points of artistic reference for Woodman’s work. Occasionally, her naked bodies remind me of Andre Kertesz’s ‘distortions’, and sometimes the soft-focus strangeness and sense of surrealism seems to give a nod to fashion photographer Deborah Turbeville, whose name is mentioned once in the pages of these artist’s books. The photos are small-scale, intimate, images which invite the viewer in; they do not shock or shout, hector or cajole, they veer towards polite mumbling and softly spoken seduction.

When I first received this book I thought how strange it was to have the whole of each of Woodman’s books reproduced even when there was ‘nothing to see’. Several weeks later, I can appreciate that they have been very deliberately left as found by the artist, adding a different sense of texture, speed and density to the work. This is a strange and enigmatic publication, that will only add to the allure and reputation of Francesca Woodman’s all too brief engagement with the visual.

 

 

Rupert Loydell
Photos by MACK

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sitting on a Barbed Wire Fence



Pledging my Time: Conversations with Bob Dylan Band Members, edited by Ray Padgett
(EWP Press, 2023, £20.99, 441pp.)

Nearly every possible angle on Bob Dylan has been covered in book form over the last fifty years (yes, I know, fifty years), except perhaps one of the most obvious. Interviews with the man himself being rarer than hen’s teeth, what about those who’ve played alongside him during the twists and turns of his lengthy, storied career?

Ray Padgett set out to talk to as many of these fellow-travellers as he could, recording their memories and, in some cases, exploring their hurt feelings as they recall standing onstage night after night, feet away from the main man. Curmudgeonly, sweet, incommunicative, frustrating, magical, unpredictable – all these sides of Bob Dylan are clearly on show here, set out in simple Q and A format. As a bonus, they’re illustrated with some genuinely rare photos, many of which have not been used in Dylan books before.

Many interviewees here are clearly still under Dylan’s spell, whatever their rancorous feelings, and would do it all again in a moment. Some, like former Heartbreakers drummer, Stan Lynch, remain gushing fans at heart. Others reveal surprising aspects to his character, not least many testifying to their genuine sense of how crushingly difficult it must be to be Dylan, with the weight of expectations never far away.

The interviews gathered run mostly chronologically, from Noel Paul Stookey (the ‘Paul’ of Peter, Paul and Mary folk trio), who first ran into Dylan in the Gaslight folk venue in 1960, right up to Benmont Tench (another Heartbreaker), who played on 2020’s Rough and Rowdy Ways, and most points in between. There are a few notable absentees – Robbie Robertson of The Band, for instance, or Al Kooper, or even Joan Baez, but I’m guessing these names operate at an altitude beyond Padgett’s range. Conversely, I’ve never read interviews with Scarlet Rivera (violinist on the Rolling Thunder tour, 1975) or Richard Thompson about playing with Dylan, so there is a pretty wide selection of voices represented here, many of them interesting in themselves.

While most of those interviewed look back on their time onstage with Dylan fondly, there are exceptions: Duke Robillard, for example, who played on Time Out of Mind and then toured with him, seems genuinely angry and bitter about Dylan’s changeability and lack of communication skills. There are plenty of comments about these character traits, but most of the musicians interviewed seem to accept that this goes with the territory of being Bob Dylan. Marshall Crenshaw stoically acknowledges this as one who auditioned, but eventually didn’t get the gig in Dylan’s band of the time, freely admitting that he didn’t fit in.

Purple patches in Dylan’s career get plenty of coverage: the ‘born-again’ years of Slow Train Coming, Saved and Shot of Love are described lovingly by session drummer ace Jim Keltner, backing singer Regina McCrary and guitarist Fred Tackett, the potency and power of those tours now fully available for all via the recent Trouble No More Bootleg Series release. Similarly, the Rolling Thunder travelling circus tour of 1975 is fondly recalled by some participants, although here the witness of someone like Joan Baez (or even Roger McGuinn) might have added more context or possibly been less fulsome. 

Some of the most interesting interviews are with those not actually onstage musicians at all. Richard Alderson, sound engineer on the 1966 ‘Judas’ electric tour, has only a few pages, but is fascinating. He also outs himself as the source of the 1962 Gaslight live tape, a widely distributed bootleg, now legitimised by a CBS release. Tour manager Richard Fernandez also fills in some of the day-to-day logistical issues behind an important tour: incidentally, here and elsewhere in the book, Tom Petty and his fellow Heartbreakers come across as the uncomplicated musos with hearts of gold that we always suspected they were.

Other peculiar detours in Dylan’s career also feature: his 1984 appearance on the David Letterman Show in the US, backed by The Plugz, a Latino punk group, his guest appearance in an episode of US sitcom Dharma & Greg in 1999, playing for the Pope during the Never-Ending Tour – the somewhat random nature of these incidents perhaps illustrates Dylan’s unpredictability, something which seems to have increased as he’s grown older. No one, for example, can explain why he might appear onstage sporting a long wig and false whiskers at the 2002 Newport Folk Festival; no one can explain why he strikes up some casual acquaintances yet refuses to speak a word to some of his own backing musicians for long weeks on tour. It’s just Dylan.

Ultimately, this is why books like this continue to be compiled, and why large numbers will read it: it’s just Dylan. What these interviews underline, again and again, is that there’s no one like him. There is literally no one who’s put up with the trials and perks of fame for so long and remained so dour, curmudgeonly and so…so Dylanesque, for want of a better term, for so long. Those of us who admire his music put up with it because every now and then an Infidels or a Time Out of Mind comes along to remind us of his gifts as an artist and songwriter. Of course, if your luck’s out, you might get a Down in the Groove or a Dylan and the Dead instead – you pays your money and you takes your chance.

Ultimately, this book goes a long way towards capturing the essential Bobness of working alongside Dylan very well. There are famous names in the world of Zimmerman – Spooner Oldham, Dickey Betts – who are just as puzzled and prone to mixed-up confusion as the rest of us who follow his career. This book takes you as close to that phenomenon as the man’s own Chronicles, and maybe more reliably. It won’t unravel the essential paradoxes of the man, but then we wouldn’t really want that, would we?

 

 

 

M.C.Caseley / July 2023

Posted in homepage | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

VOICES IN DENIAL

Regardless of the style or mode of a poem, regardless even of the stated intentions of the poet, who may vociferously deny his or her own voice, a ‘voiceless poem’ is an impossibility – the phrase “a voiceless poem” is simply a flat contradiction in terms. To be clear, there is no such thing as a voiceless poem.

 Notwithstanding the inherent difficulties of defining the ‘voice’, you cannot surgically remove the individual (‘voice’) from the creative process without destroying the mechanism of the creative process itself. Beyond all the textual analysis and critical theory that can be directed towards a specific poem, the ultimate defining characteristic of the work is the unique ‘signature’ (strong or weak) of the author; it is always the product of unique sensibility. The essential criterion of difference between a poem by one writer and another is ultimately a difference of personality; it is matter of psychology, irrespective of literary theory. This is self-evident. It is also true of poems written by poets who tell us they deny the voice – all you hear is their voice.

The existence of an authorial voice does not imply interpretative exclusivity. In principle, the potential for plural meanings in a text and the creative involvement of the reader remains unaffected by the presence of an authorial voice. The ideal poem will always resist, or subvert, clear-cut interpretations or didactic messages; it is unlikely to conform to expectations derived from the received wisdom of either traditional dogma, or fashionable orthodoxy. Of course any given poem may be less than ideal.

In the Sixties, British poetry was divided into two symbiotic warring camps: conservatives and radicals. The conservative anti-modernist counter-revolutionaries can be epitomised by publications such as Encounter magazine (1953-1967), and by poetic ‘schools’ such as The Movement and the Confessional Poets. The ‘radicals’ comprise what is now known as the BPR (British Poetry Revival), but was recognized in the Sixties as the Underground, or the Children of Albion. We can refer to the latter as the Albion Underground.

The abuse of the word ‘radical’ to mean ‘progressive’ is endemic when looking back at this era and its immediate aftermath. There is an assumption that experimentalism must be ‘radical’ by definition but that is not necessarily the case. Poetic movements of the Left tend to monopolise this terminology, conflating the meaning of ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’, terms sometimes used as a synonym for ‘militant’. Radicals like to think of themselves as working to a ‘progressive’ political agenda, often involving ideas such as social justice and even ‘revolution’ (not just any revolution but The Revolution), hence the somewhat spurious notion of The Underground (in The West no poetry movement was really Underground in the strict sense). Most ‘radical’ poets fall into this category along with, for example, ‘protest poets’ who often are neither innovative nor experimental in the avant-garde sense (‘avant-garde’ here being another vague synonym for ‘radical’).

Surely the term ‘progressive’ (if it means anything) must be related to freedom and – in a literary context – to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression depends upon the concept of ‘the authorial voice’; consequently, if you deny the voice, you deny the agent of expression. To deny the voice is, thus, a reactionary and not a ‘progressive’ position; essentially it as an anti-Romantic moralistic backlash, or often poses as such.

 

The cultural climate of the later half of the twentieth century was very different from that of the Second World War or the period of Late Modernism. The Beat Generation of 1945-1960, haunted by the ghost of Rimbaud was among the last of the ‘Romantic’ groupings defined by the image of the artist-poet as mystical prophet, seer, wandering visionary and popular shaman. Ann Charters has observed that the Beat Poets ‘relied on autobiography’ because their marginal identity leads them to insist ‘on the validity of their own experience instead of accepting conventional opinions and the country’s common myths’. Jack Kerouac defined himself as ‘actually not ‘beat’ but a strange, solitary, crazy Catholic mystic’.

From the 1970s onwards, in the UK, in Continental Europe and in North America, we see, with local variations in chronology, the continuing and ever-expanding influence of academia. ‘Literature’ became an almost exclusive domain of the universities, resulting in most ‘innovative’ poets becoming functionaries in the Academy while most ‘radical’ poets outside the academy still maintained an affinity with the Academic Left, regarding open-neck-shirt scholasticism as the guarantee of the credible. Consequently, the traditional metaphor of the poet as wandering troubadour, alienated ‘genius’, or tortured outsider was replaced by the ‘academic expert in loco parentis’ drawn from the post-Structuralist intelligentsia. A new fashionable orthodoxy was born – Postmodernism.

Postmodern Theory (a diffuse and ambiguous phenomenon full of internal self-contradictions) was a consequence of the French universities general strike of May 1968 (‘the May Events’) in which academics became disillusioned with the traditional Left after the Unions and the Communists sided with the Gaullist Establishment. Displeased by this turn of events they decided that all the Grand Narratives of the Modern or Proto-Modern past (the Enlightenment) were worn-out or invalid – the ‘condition’ was Post-Modern, the ‘situation’ was new. At the same time, Roland Barthes proclaimed The Death of the Author, a Marxist attack on bourgeois individualism, one of the first assaults on the idea of the integral authorial voice.

By the 1970s there were, roughly, two strands or varieties of ‘difficult’ poetry trying to maintain the status of the avant-garde in a post-avant-garde cultural landscape. There was the Euro-centric strand, inspired by Neo-Dada movements such as Fluxus, and there was the American academic (Black Mountain) variety inspired by Charles Olson’s Projective Verse and the Objectivism of Louis Zukofsky.

Fluxus was an early Sixties Action Art movement initiated in 1961 by George Maciunas. It was concerned with the integration of art with life and the negation of social hierarchies. Allen Fisher, a poet once associated with Cobbing’s Writers Forum, is the most noted exponent of Fluxus-inspired poetics in the UK, as can be seen in his publications Place (1974-1981) and Scram (1971-1982). Objectivism was an offshoot of Imagism promoted by Ezra Pound. British Objectivism imported by Basil Bunting, came to be identified with the Northumbrian School centred on Barry MacSweeney, and the Cambridge School whose most famous exponent is J. H. Prynne. Prynne is also an enthusiast for the philosophy of Martin Heidegger (as you might expect Heidegger’s philosophy is both notoriously ‘difficult’ and prone to ultra right-wing interpretations). One aspect of Black Mountain doctrine was the eradication of the ego. Ironically, and despite this, the Post-Albion Underground experimentalists were addicted to huge, grandiose, self-important projects emulating the Cantos, Patterson, Zukofsky’s A and Olson’s Maximus.

Academic poetry differs from the writing of the pre-Albion Underground era in that it substituted theory for personality in the creative process. This was, above all, a Poetics of Process. As a Poetics of Process it paved the way for the next style of American poetry to arrive: the Language Poets.

Like Olson (who, in Proprioception (1964), demanded ‘Wash the ego out.’) the Language Poets were explicit in their denial of the individual ‘voice’ and by their concern to exclude all ‘autobiography’ and ‘ego psychology’ from writing. This stance, (a continuation of the ascetic morality of renunciation, an obvious hallmark of the righteous) which coincided with contemporary debates in the academic sphere about the role of science, identity politics and knowledge epistemology, assumed the illusory nature of the ‘Lyric I’, and the non-existence of facts beyond language as unchallenged givens. These debates were in fact symptomatic of a wider crisis in higher education and the sphere of philosophy. It was Wittgenstein who said that ‘the sole remaining task for philosophy is the analysis of language’. Cynics have argued that this state of affairs had risen out of the widespread view that ‘philosophers’ were out of their depth when it came to confronting the scientific picture of the world (or even the universe). As Stephen Hawing said, science had become too technical and mathematical, so philosophers were impelled to reduce the scope of their enquiries. Language was the last bastion of knowledge, the final frontier for the professional thinker who was not a scientist.

 In many respects these ideas have now become entrenched as key doctrines of ‘radical’ experimentalist poetry in both the US and the UK. In reality it was another generational revolt: they used the denial of the ‘voice’ and the principle of linguistic determinism as tactics to challenge the established status quo and assert their own ‘radicalism’ – just as all ‘new’ movements seek to do. In their 1988 group manifesto the Language Poets said: ‘Our work denies the centrality of the individual artist’. This statement suggests an authoritarian tendency in operation. Nothing is more authoritarian than the denial of, or marginalization of, individual ‘expression’. As an aesthetic or poetic this is entirely retrograde and reveals a mistaken view of the creative process. Furthermore the negation of the individual (Olson’s ‘Wash the ego out’) is the very reverse of ‘radical’, if by its use one means to imply a form of anti-establishment non-conformism. The principle of the ‘unegoistic’ is the basis of the worldwide, culturally dominant morality; an ascetic morality which preaches the selfless ‘unegoistic’ virtues of self-loathing, self-denial and self-sacrifice. These are virtues which, for thousands of years, have been gilded, deified and transcendentalised; glorified as articles of faith whereas, in fact they are nothing but altruistic social conventions; conventions that have evolved by chance to enhance group survival among many animal species, including Homo sapiens.

These various innovations had a major influence on non-mainstream British poetry which, prior to this, had shared, to some extent, a Beat poetry aesthetic, founded on an authorial voice. In Britain the Academic Left consolidated a position based on Post-Structuralism and similar tendencies (e.g. Social Construction Epistemology, Reader Response Theory) influenced by the later writings of Wittgenstein, flawed interpretations of Nietzsche, and an enthusiasm for Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962). This latter in particular, together with a wilful misreading of Nietzschean Perspectivism, had a tremendous impact and precipitated what is known as the ‘science wars’. A key idea was the denial of objectivity and the view that the individual is a ‘cultural construction’. There can be no established facts, only incommensurable ‘paradigms’ afloat in a sea of relativistic viewpoints where no given viewpoint is any better or more useful than any other. However, significant transformative action in the real world requires the participation of an integrated unified, human individual/subject. By extension, the same is true of artistic creativity in all forms. Postmodern Theory usually denies this possibility; a convenient doctrine for those zealots of identity politics for whom all tradition and cultural baggage – however inimical – is sacrosanct.

 

The continuing rise of the mass media since 1945 has consolidated an already incipient post-cultural state. This is a state in which former cultural values have evaporated and ‘high culture’ has lost its historic dominance. It does not follow that the evaporation of ‘high culture’ vindicates the historical claims of Postmodernism – that would require an agreement on the nature of Modernism and a clear distinction (perhaps) between Modernism and ‘modernity’ in order to define ‘post-modernity’ as a viable chronological category. Postmodernism is a worldview or a doctrinal outlook: a limited (but diverse) quasi-philosophical tendency intrinsic to the late Cold War period. The era 1968-1989 saw the rise and fall of ‘Postmodernism’ in this narrow, doctrinal sense. The emergence of post-culture on the other hand can be dated back to the mid-to-late nineteenth century (for Barthes the historical turning point was 1848), a period that saw the publication of the Communist Manifesto, the rise of mass circulation newspapers, department stores, celebrity culture and popular mass entertainments such as Cabaret and Music Hall; the period that saw the first use of plate glass, the Singer sewing machine, the emergence of photography and the first moving pictures.

In the twenty-first century the state of post-culture continues to evolve at an ever-increasing rate of acceleration, rendering the old, nineteenth century ‘vanguard’ model of literary and artistic self-definition superfluous. A crisis of self-definition on this level has created an alienated intelligentsia still clinging to notions of high cultural value. These values have no viable place in a ‘new world order’ of globalised mass ‘infotainment’. We now inhabit a world where hitherto ‘profound’ masterpieces stand revealed as propaganda; a world where a tabloid headline or a refrain from a pop song may well possess more aesthetic value than a poem by J H Prynne or Basil Bunting.

It is ironic that the position we are describing has lead an alienated literary class to deny the value of the authorial voice, not only the voices of others – but their own as well.

 

 

 

A C Evans

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Timetable


 
I am seven, committed a crime
and I am going to prison.
My sisters won’t visit
for fear of being locked up as well.
 
At school, they say that
mister-Williams can
read my thoughts:
 
Open your Bible at ‘Exodus’
chapter ten, paragraph four.
 
              […and Moses answered:
              Oh, God, I am slow of speech…]
 
I jump over squares in conversation
when the real things are
the wrong way around.
Shortcuts lead to mistakes,
so loud that it is impossible
to miss them.
 
Press “space bar” to be born.
 
Press “escape” to swear in emojis.
 
I bear the full stop’s weight that
God’s tongue dropped on my back.
I trust to wake up for school
with a packed lunch. Breaktime.
 
Shhh. You get upset and your soul grows
claws that poke at your ribcage.
 
How do you plead? Guilty or not guilty?
 
I eat my past in small bites
and praise the Lord.
A thief deserves to keep hungry.

 

 

Maria Stadnicka
Picture Rupert Loydell

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Roses.

The roses of july
Are so pretty
A pretty good problem
To be
This beautiful
Insanely fragile
Yet beautiful
Helen’s face I can see
Roses in July
Just so pretty
Beautiful, a maiden robed
Our own reflections.

 

 

Sayani Mukherjee
Picture Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

PEACHPIT WONDERBREAD CARTOON

i

 

it’s just another day of exquisite clarity
playing in the lush aftereffects of the earth
in which the horseriding ring
fooled by the sun
shines like the sea

not all at once near the tumor plant
lowflying microzephyrs
make the recently washed buckthorn hedges
sough and see-saw and show
the meaning and the end
of these escaping homeland games
past barracks where memorizing
revolutionary shibboleths
like anything is possible forever
the reenactment police wash their bodycameras in rainscented soap

when the public arrives
the paradise play is going already
at the end of the beach
the players are listing what they love
all these boys
no police
they were us when we were kids
in the slipstream of the tumor plant
a dog called sunshine
the recently watched gravedigger’s violet
wanders us in unison through a coughed up sleep

i remember thinking it was about paradise
and at the end of the beach it was about to snow
and though it was too dark now i remember
i would be ready to hear it
anywhere whatever it does
whatever it takes
i would be ready almost to know it
by heart like them

 

 

.

Joshua Krugman
Picture Kushal Poddar

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Not my king? Not our police

How to resist the new Public Order Act that is stripping away our right to dissent

The Metropolitan police took ‘swift’ action on 6 May to shut down protests at the coronation of king Charles, in a series of arrests that showed how little the idea of ‘policing by consent’ now means in practice.

In a classic example of why negotiating with police is fraught with risk, weeks of ‘dialogue’ in advance of the coronation by the campaign group Republic failed to prevent the immediate arrests of several of its members who were accused of having equipment used to lock-on. [‘Locking-on’ happens when protesters attach themselves to other people, objects, or buildings as part of their protest – ed]

Another police sweep resulted in the arrest of volunteers with ‘Night Stars’, a Westminster council group who distribute free rape alarms and safety information to women. Over the coronation weekend, a total of 52 people were arrested on protest- related charges.

“In order to build a case for imposing banning orders, officers will gather intelligence on hundreds of people”

Sections of the new Public Order Act were rushed into force to give police additional powers to deal with anti-monarchist protesters, but police paranoia around royal events is nothing new. We saw similar paranoid repression during the royal wedding in 2011, when protesters dressed as zombies were arrested for breach of the peace.

Many fear that new police powers will mean protest is now illegal. This is not (yet) true….

Police repression will come as no surprise to those whose communities have faced decades of harassment. But the Tory party’s vitriol against ‘disruptive’ protest is adding new fuel to the fire – and we have to resist the narrative that ‘good’ (quiet) protest is still lawful while ‘bad’ (direct action) protests must be criminalised.

With a huge level of discretion granted to the police to use expansive powers, we can expect to see the prejudices of the police exposed once again, not least the Met’s institutional racism that led to such a violent police response to Black Lives Matter demonstrators in 2020. That’s why it’s vital that we support each other and are prepared to respond to police targeting with practical knowledge and solidarity.


‘Disruption’

The government has sought to restrict the right to so-called ‘disruptive’ protest in three ways. Firstly, ministers want to severely narrow the idea of what is ‘acceptable’ disruption that inevitably results from protests, to mean only the most minor inconveniences are considered legitimate.

Secondly, they are expanding police powers to offer senior officers what they might potentially find useful at some point, rather than on what is genuinely reasonable or proportionate (the standard for human rights compliance).

Thirdly, they are introducing new laws to criminalise the methods by which serious disruption might potentially take place, rather than focusing on the actual degree of disruption a protest could lead to.

In all cases, the importance of fundamental rights to freedom of assembly have been almost completely ignored.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 was the starting point: it enables the police to limit protests based on a vaguely-worded and highly- subjective decision about whether they were too noisy.

It is significant that over the last year, this power has not yet been used. Instead, the police have relied heavily on another part of the new legislation, the revised offence of ‘public nuisance’. This was hardly ever used against protesters in the past but is now more often the preferred charge, instead of ‘obstruction of the highway’, for blocking roads.

This is because it has proven the most convenient way to shut down protests. Usually, this involves little thought about the so-called ‘balance’ between demonstrators and the rights of others and it has enabled the detention in prison of a record number of campaigners, the largest number in decades.


New ‘crimes’

The new Public Order Act (POA), meanwhile, creates a number of new offences related to disruption, particularly when directed against business or corporate interests. These include ‘obstruction of major transport works’ like road building or ‘interference with key infrastructure’ such as oil or gas exploration – had the law been in place before, it would undoubtedly have applied to protests at fracking sites. The Act also creates a new criminal offence of ‘locking-on’ to another person or an object as part of direct action or civil disobedience tactics.

There was already wide- ranging public order legislation in place. Why create new offences?

Primarily this is because they carry much tougher sentences on conviction, including imprisonment. It is also easier to convince a court to remand detainees or impose restrictive bail conditions. However, it also helps to justify the introduction of new police powers to stop and search anyone suspected of going to commit an offence of obstructing the highway, or public nuisance, or any of the new offences in the POA.

The greater severity of new offences also provides a pretext for targeting a few key organisers with another alarming part of the POA – Serious Disruption Prevention Orders. These are essentially anti-protest banning orders that can prevent an individual from associating with named others, going to certain areas or attending protests. It may mean anyone who has an order imposed on them is required to wear an electronic ankle tag as part of its enforcement.

These are civil orders, so courts will be able to decide, on the balance of probabilities (the civil standard of proof, not ‘beyond reasonable doubt’), that an individual is likely to cause disruption – based solely on intelligence from the police.

In 2019, at a ‘protest round table’, the Home Office said police had identified ‘circa thirty environmental activists who travel the country orchestrating protests and taking direct action’ as the likely targets for new banning orders – a small number of largely pacifist protesters, although the number has most likely grown since then. We do not know exactly how many, because the police say it will cost too much money to provide Netpol with a figure.

In order to build a case for imposing banning orders, officers will seek to gather intelligence on hundreds of people in the movements their targets are part of, on the people they know and on the places they work, even if they personally have never committed any kind of unlawful activity.

So on top of new, more severe offences and even more new police powers, the Public Order Act represents a massive increase in police surveillance.


Defending dissent

None of this means that protest is now illegal, but it has become a lot more uncertain.

This is why Netpol’s priorities are much less on the passage of legislation through parliament or efforts to amend government bills and instead are focused on creating the conditions to challenge the spread of uncertainty once new laws are passed. As campaigners and as movements, we can all help to do this, in four ways.

Firstly, by making sure everyone knows their rights – because knowing what powers the police have gives people enormous confidence to challenge their misuse on the streets.

Secondly, by resisting police surveillance – which means better protection for the members of our movements most likely to face such targeting and a greater awareness of the basic security practices which can help us challenge police intelligence gathering.

Thirdly, by getting better at offering more practical solidarity – so trying to avoid seeing ourselves in isolation from other campaigns and understanding that the threat of oppressive policing falls on all of us, so we had better start offering solidarity to each other, even if we disagree on tactics.

Finally, it means monitoring what is happening around the country. Netpol needs your help to know when new powers are used and in what circumstances, so we can build a case for why we believe that they exist primarily to disrupt and further criminalise the right to dissent.

By Netpol, reprinted from Peace News.

Netpol is The Network for Police Monitoring, whose website is at https://netpol.org/

You can also get their free guide ‘How to monitor the police’ from the same site.

Posted in homepage | Leave a comment

The Steve Morrison Band

 

In conversation with Alan Dearling

Alan: Thanks for taking time out for a chat, guys. So, who are the Steve Morrison Band, and what’s the ‘history’?

Steve: The Band came together organically. I was a regular visitor to Berwick as my parents had retired here. The Music Gallery music store was in many ways the heart of the town for musicians living in Berwick. As well as the store, Brian, the owner, ran a live venue upstairs from the shop – Café Kazmiranda. A lovely intimate room that gave a lot of local musicians the chance to perform. I was drawn to this scene, making friends and taking the opportunity to play at the Café myself. I got to know Brian and Martin, who worked at the shop, and they were happy to build a band around my music. With Brian on bass guitar, Martin on guitar and the addition of Jock Leathen on drums, we had a 4-piece Blues unit.

Having made the decision to move permanently to Berwick I now had a ‘Band’. Keen to gig and great fun to to play with.

Alan: I’ve seen both you, Steve, and Martin Yves in various bands around the Berwick and Scottish-English borderlands. Do you often join with other musical friends?

Steve: In the main I work under my own name. Solo, duo, trio and with the 4-piece band. Each give me different opportunities to explore and develop my music in ways that are varied and offer different challenges. Performing solo demands unique arrangements. Can be demanding but allows me the freedom to be spontaneous. Free to move around and respond organically to the live situation. When I’m playing with others I look to keep the arrangements loose, and although we are working with familiar songs they are constantly changing, moving around and allow us the chance to create something new and fresh with each performance. We don’t rehearse and I believe creating the music anew each time is exciting for us and our audience.

Martin: Yes, I’m always up for playing music and have a good time!

Alan: I saw you at The Barrels pub in Berwick very recently. It’s good that the basement area has re-opened for live music. Nice and busy and you were extremely popular with the audience. You put in a scorching R&B set, lots of original material, plenty of high energy slide guitar, guitar duels and incendiary drumming from a flashing drum kit! Tell me a bit about what you enjoy playing most…

Steve: As I mentioned earlier I’m always looking for opportunities to create. When the band comes together and our instruments blend into that one creative experience it can be a wonderful feeling and powerful. That said we are taking a chance on the night. We’re listening to each other, responding to the sounds each of us is creating turning the piece of music into a rhythmic groove with sweet melodic harmonies – It’s lovely and to share that with people. Simply great fun. That night at Barrels was a good one.

Martin: I enjoy being on stage playing spontaneous music and connecting with the band and hopefully the audience too…

Alan: This is for Steve. I watched the Sky Arts program, ‘Guitar Star’ from 2016 that featured you playing and joining in with many other guitar legends. What were your favourite moments?

Steve: I have to confess that having a Mercedes waiting outside my home to take me to that day’s shoot had its appeal. I’m often asked this question and I always respond by saying it was getting to hang out with 7 other wonderful guitarists. TV and filming mainly involves a lot of hanging around waiting for our opportunity to perform for the camera. The producers made a good decision not to run the competition as merely a knockout situation. Those who made it into the selected group of 8 were all included in five of the shows saving the knockout for the final three shows and an ultimate winner. Hanging around backstage allowed me to see these guys relaxed and happy off-camera. We got on really well together with little competitive atmosphere between us. I got to hear these guitarists warming up and having fun with their guitars. Sam Rodwell’s classical guitar was sublime. Jake Heaton’s rock guitar was driven by youthful enthusiasm. It was after the session when I played with Wilko Johnson in Camden that I got to hear the real Haythem Mohamed, another of the contestants. We were waiting backstage to be told when we could leave when Haythem dragged his guitar from the case and asked me what he should play. I said, “…play what you fancy my friend.” Wow! Relaxed and off camera I got to hear what that young man could do with guitar. He was the best among us. Fluid, creative and musical. Unforgettable for me. He should have won but was voted off in the 6th episode.

For myself, my favourite moment was playing for Miloš Karadaglić, the acclaimed classical guitarist. I was as nervous as hell as I knew I couldn’t fake anything classical on the guitar. Knowing he was from Montenegro I chose an original piece of mine with a World Music and Gypsy flavour. It went really good and I made him cry. Truly. I was absolutely delighted and waited eagerly for that particular episode to see the session on film. All that was shown is Milos leaning over my shoulder showing me how to hold the guitar properly. Those damn editors! Made me think of the lyrics from Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’ – “Riding high in April, shot down in May”.

Alan: Has the ‘Guitar Star’ series led to any more exciting opportunities?

Steve: Getting your face on the Tele is never a bad thing and enjoying the accolades of the likes of George Benson, Milos and Tony Visconti did wonders for my reputation and confidence.

As for furthering my career, not much really.

Steve Morrison on ‘Guitar Star’ compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJWZlMErovI

Alan: What are your individual and collective plans for 2023 onwards?

Steve: Gigs and the opportunity to perform and create with my musician friends. In my experience there is no, “…finally I’m good moment.” Rather it’s the growing and moving forward as a player and musician that is the greater achievement. My intention is to continue enjoying my music, my fellow band members and sharing it with others.

Alan: Any recordings in the offing? What is already available – recordings/videos – and how can folk find them?

Steve: I have put together a bunch of CDs. None available at the moment although I plan to move those recordings to the online streaming sites. For now, YouTube offers access to some live events. Always happier playing live than in the studio. I’m told my website is a pretty good place to get know me and my music.

Martin: I’ve quite a few things on Youtube but nothing official, we enjoy the moment and never had the urge to do anything too regimented to be registered. Steve on his own has an incredibly rich catalogue of his own music.

Alan: So far in your careers, what gigs or festies have you most enjoyed playing?

Martin: Personally with the band, the beer festivals are my favourite… No need to explain any further.

Steve: Performing at festivals and theatres on the continent has been fun and the opportunity to visit new places brings its own excitement. My favourite gigs include two contrasting events. The first was a festival in Haapsalu, Estonia. A ruined castle with couple of thousand folk distributed among the ruins. Big stage. Always keen to get the best sound I can I visit the Soundman running the desk to try to ingratiate myself. “Do you like Blues?” I say. “I have to” is his response. Yikes! I was playing solo and had to follow a 4-piece band. Well, it went great. It just came together for me. I filled that stage and I had them queuing around the stage to buy my CDs while the 6-piece band that followed me were playing.

The second was the roughest of pubs in East London. The Salmon & Ball situated on the corner of the street next to Bethnal Green Underground Station. Maybe 30 or 40 people of all persuasions. The tough guys strutting their stuff. The drunken men and women had clearly been drinking all day. The young French family, mum, dad and two youngsters visiting London. The two older guys at the bar dressed in silver suits and wearing fedoras and sporting immaculately manicured moustaches. They looked sharp and dangerous like characters from a Micky Spillane story. Well, just the two us. I’m with my drummer Alan Hughes that night. We set to work and got that room jumping. By 10 o’clock they were all on their feet dancing and rocking the night away. I’m looking across the room watching this amazing mix of characters having a ball. Without doubt one of my proudest moments when my drummer and I brought all these folk together under the umbrella of our music.

Alan: Which artists and recordings do you enjoy and rate?

Steve: Over the years I have collected and curated a wonderful collection of music from all over the world. My teachers were the early Blues men and women from Lightning Hopkins, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie and Louis Jordan. I love Boogie-Woogie music and the Big Swing Bands of the fifties. But I’m keen to hear contemporary musicians…I went abroad in my search for current and modern music that didn’t fall into the western popular scene. I love World Music and have explored all the continents looking for great music to inspire and teach me. I have an avaricious appetite for new music and if I hear something that moves me have to own it. I will often record music from films and TV shows that have that something that I want. I found the music of Alexi Murdoch in the film ‘Away We Go’ and the soundtrack to the film ‘Hitman Redemption’ has some great music too. I have so much music around me it’s difficult for me to choose a favourite but I will happily recommend a band I discovered last year, ‘Poor Man’s Poison’. Great performances beautifully recorded.

Poor Man’s Poison website: https://poormanspoison.net/home

Martin: I could spend a whole week on that subject… I love good music in general but with a soft spot for instrumental and fusion.

Alan: What other plans for the future?

Martin: Carry on doing what we do, watching closely and learning all I can from Steve and having the best time!

Steve: Planning to just keep on keeping on…

Alan: Many thanks for sharing some time and your thoughts…appreciated.

Art of Blues website: https://www.artofblues.net/www.artofblues.net/Steve_Morrison-Welcome.html

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Time

The wristwatch I lost on the very first year of wearing one is now a vintage. I find an advertisement online selling it, albeit don’t buy.
Buying it for a sum of newfangled money seems absurd. Not possessing it feels right – the wound of loss will keep the memory alive.
I tell you, “Perhaps it is the one I had, my uncle’s gift, not expensive, but just enough to make my aunt sigh. Perhaps it has a few strands of my adolescent hairs caught in its bracelet.”
You laugh and say, “You are both absurd and vintage.” Some nights you wind up me. My heart ticks. Other nights I stay in a box cushioned with velvet.

 

 

 

Kushal Poddar  words and picture

 

 

Kushal Poddar lives in Kolkata, India

@amazon.com/author/kushalpoddar_thepoet
 Author Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/KushalTheWriter/ 
Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Flowers

Elena Caldera

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seven Sisters – new alternative album by Rodway / Kalamari

 

Following their first abstract-ambient-industrial jazz collaboration, capturing the rewilding of decayed industries on ‘Romney Marsh,’  the sequel in their triptych, inspired by landscapes of the Sussex coast – where Keith Rodway (Good Missionaries / Column 258 / Necessary Animals / Anthony Moore) and Eugene Kalamari (gloppaddagloppadda / solo artist) reside – is ‘Seven Sisters.’ 

The Seven Sisters white cliffs and winding Cuckmere River are one of the most unique and distinct landmarks in the world. A series of seven peaks terminating abruptly into sheer chalk cliffs, spanning East Sussex and the South Downs from the Cuckmere River to Eastbourne. It is said that sailors named it such for their resemblance to seven nuns beckoning them safely to land; their white robes cloaked by green habitat. From west to east – Haven Brow, Short Brow, Brass Point, Flagstaff Brow, Rough Brow, Bailey’s Hill and Went Hill Brow. 

The people who worked these lands altered little of it. It really shaped them and consequently took on legendary spiritual significance, influenced by successive invaders as the closest landmass of access from the European continent. As well as the land and sea providing sustenance; legal and illegal trade and being the bulwark of national security; all of such required heroic deeds of protection and maintenance by local inhabitants at the behest of successive rulers and landowners. Oral storytelling even speculates a tenuous link between a Sussex farmer and Utnapishtim in the eleventh tablet of the Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh; the legend of a global flood in which the farmer saves his livestock by building a great boat.

They have been linked with the Pleiades Constellation (seven doves) of Greek mythology – Sister Alcyone (queen who wards off evil / storms); Sister Taygeta (long-necked); Sister Elektra (amber, shining, bright, to flow or run like water);  Sister Celaeno (swarthy);  Sister Merope (eloquent, bee-eater, mortal);  Sister Sterope (lightning, twinkling, sun-face or stubborn face); and Sister Maia (mother, nurse, the great one). 

And even to seven demons: “On this very day, as evening approaches, the first is (like) a fox that drags/shuffles its tail, the second being sniffs like a domestic dog, the third, like a raven, (its) bite pecks larvae, the fourth overwhelms like a huge carrion devourer vulture, the fifth being, although not a wolf, falls upon black lambs, the sixth being hoots like an owl, which resides in …, the seventh being is (like) a shark (that) darts across the waves” (Hymn to Hendursag a 46-48, 77-84).

These are the influences encompassed in location recordings and random rhythms generated by natural forces of wind, sea, rock, water, wildlife and light – location recordings: the slapping of sail-mast lines; waves hitting a beach groyne; shale sucked back upon itself; sluicing of bowls in running water; the nettle of metal brushing metal, bouncing steel-plate and a rusting gate. Add to this the spirals of Keith Rodway’s sinuous synths riding thermals, the euphoric and misty horns of Sebastian Greschuk, and oblique rich tangents of Eugene Kalamari’s keys and final onerous choral requiem; we get a feel for the land’s mythical significance. The seven tracks of approximately seven-minute duration originate from a single seven-minute recording by Rodway, stretched and filtered by Kalamari to form the forty-nine minute gently rising ambient substrata, from which the Seven Sisters nuns / stars / peaks rise. ‘On Rocks’ – a poem from ‘Sublimation: a love affair with the sea’ by Kendal Eaton – (https://soundingoffuk.com/sublimation.html) – takes us deep within the mineral compaction and geological origins of this transcendent topography. Individual track information is allusory and derived from varied historical versions. But then the Greeks never let contradictions impede a good myth.

 

01 Went Hill Brow – Sister Alcyone: (queen who wards off evil / storms). Seduced by Poseidon and gave birth to Hyrieus, Orion’s father. The Pleiades ( Πλειάδες – “daughters of Pleione” probably derives from plein “to sail”) are the seven daughters of the Titan god Atlas and the ocean nymph Pleione. Alcyone is very protective, always on the vanguard, an anchor shoring up her sisters’ defences.

02 Bailey’s Hill – Sister Taygeta: (long necked). Seduced by Zeus and gave birth to Lacedæmon, founder of Sparta. In some versions of the story, she was unwilling to yield to Zeus, and was disguised by Artemis as a hind (female red deer). Somewhat winsome, light-hearted and care-free, we can imagine her preparing her vessel for sail against the boisterous waves – our first interlude of Greschuk’s airy trumpet, Kalamari’s slapping sail mast and Rodway’s bubbling synth reflecting the sun-kissed globules of perspiration on her slender bronzed neck.

03 Flagstaff Brow – Sister Elektra: (`amber’, `shining’, `bright,’ `to flow, run’, as a liquid). Wife of Corythus; seduced by Zeus and gave birth to Dardanus, founder of Troy. Electrum is an alloy of silver and gold, and means amber in Latin, as does the Greek electron. Thales of Miletus noted in 600 BC that a rubbed piece of amber will attract bits of straw, a manifestation of the effects of static electricity.

04 Brass Point – Sister Celeano: (swarthy). Celeano had two sons, Lycus (“wolf”) and Chimærus (“he-goat”) by Prometheus. More introspective than Alcyone; preoccupied by domestic and beauty rituals, cleanliness, adorning of precious metals and gems. Percussion here is the same mast as in the previous track recorded from its interior.

05 Rough Brow – Sister Merope: (eloquent, bee-eater, mortal). Married Sisyphus (se-sophos, `very wise’), son of Æolus, grandson of Deucalion (the Greek Noah), and great-grandson of Prometheus. Merope can always be seen closely observing nature with a playful curiosity, dancing barefoot in the grass.

06 Short brow – Sister Sterope: (`lightning’, `twinkling’, `sun-face’, `stubborn-face,’ Indo-European ster – `star’, `stellar’, `asterisk’). Possibly the daughter of Porthaön, and may have been the mother of the Sirens, who lured sailors to their deaths with their enchanting singing. A possible alternate name is Asterië (`of the starry sky’ or `of the sun’), which may also be a name for the creatrix of the universe. More reflective, graceful, intuitive and seductive. Keith Rodway’s transcendent synth lifts us from shore to stratosphere, whilst Kendal Eaton keeps our feet solidly on terra-firma with his poem ‘On Rocks’ paying reverence to the stratification of millennia.

07 Haven Brow – Sister Maia: (`grandmother’, `mother’, `nurse’; `the great one’). Eldest and most beautiful of the sisters; a mountain nymph in Arcadia. Seduced by Zeus and gave birth to Hermes. Her wisdom and experience peruses the bigger picture in every situation, sober and perceptive, always with her finger on the pulse. Maia has observed the consequences of hedonism with a somewhat jaded perspective. She circles the activities of her sisters with a supervisory eye, withdrawn to a place of security, on hand to give comfort and respite. A subtle choral requiem recalls the devastation she has seen wrought and the mourning of all mothers of tragedy. Cest-la-vie for a serene seasoned pragmatist.

08 (bonus) Short Brow – Sister Sterope (reprise). We revisit Sister Sterope, who is by now reclined on the beach, letting the sun’s rays, the waves, gliding seabirds and Sebastian’s French horn serenade her into a hypnagogic stupor.

 

Now: ‘Seven Sisters’ (Bandcamp release) – https://soundingoffuk.bandcamp.com/album/seven-sisters

Discounted pre-release available from the artist – (320kbs mp3 £5 / lossless wav £8 / lossless +mp3 £10) – https://kendal.gumroad.com/l/utjnt

Previously: ‘Romney Marsh’ – https://soundingoffuk.com/kalamari.html#sokalamaribookmark

Coming soon: ‘Devil’s Dyke’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3qDx91U3GA

 

 

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Legacy

 

For the longest time it felt wrong to be out without a mask. Everywhere, from shops to lecture halls, breath was too tangible, and all those mouths offered too much information. There was too much depth, and no one was on mute any more. Aeroplanes were the worst: tubes packed with faces, hanging where humans have no business to be. And then it was fine. The new normal became just normal, and everyone’s mouths just disappeared back into the empire of the unnoticed. I carried a mask for a while, just in case, but at some point – I can’t remember precisely when – I left it at home, and now when I come across one in a drawer, it’s like glimpsing a shipwreck through a glass-bottomed boat. Some days now when I go out, I don’t even take the lower part of my face. It’s not like anyone needs to see it, and it’s not like I’ve anything to say – just pleasantries which have largely fallen out of fashion, and inarticulate pleas for help which would only make others feel uncomfortable.

 

 

 

Oz Hardwick
Picture Nick Victor

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Jay Jeff Jones – 1946-2023

Jay Jeff Jones, playwright, poet, and contributor to International Times, has died aged 77.

Jay Jeff Jones was born in in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1946. His parents, Nelson and Lila Fay Jones, both hailed from Cherokee ancestry. Raised in and around San Francisco, Jay joined the Hell’s Angels in the early 1960, riding his Harley Davidson around the city. As a teenager, he hung around North Beach, acting with the Mime Troupe, later working as a copy boy for the San Francisco Examiner. Frank Herbert, author of Dune, was one of his bosses.

            Jay headed for London in 1966, where, as he recalled, he “did the starving writer routine.” He published short stories in Transatlantic Review, where he struck up a friendship with Heathcote Williams, and also wrote for alternative and underground magazines, among them International TimesCozmic Comix, and Running Man. With Fran, a ballet dancer whom he married in 1968, he headed to British Columbia the following year, a move precipitated by his refusal to fight in the Vietnam War. Returning to the UK in late 1969, Jay lived in Manchester, Heptonstall (West Yorkshire,) and Dartmouth. In 2014, he and Fran returned to Heptonstall, their final home.

            Jay earned a living as an advertising copyeditor, a job at which he excelled, but his passion lay in the arts, with a particular interest in the transatlantic underground scene. In the early 1970s while living in Manchester, he struck up a lifelong friendship with the author and publisher Michael Butterworth, editor of Corridor magazine. Jay became the magazine’s publicity director and book reviewer, also contributing a column under the by-line Ace Space. When Corridor was relaunched as Wordworks in 1975, he became the journal’s Associate Editor.  He reviewed books, including William Burroughs’s The Wild Boys and John Fowles’s The Ebony Tower. He also contributed poetry, including “Howl, Now,” which was also published in International Times (March 1977). With Butterworth, he wrote Punk Planet, a space-rock novel that baffled publishers, eluding publication—but they had more success with the short story, “The Harme Oates Effect,” a tale about space junk that was published in Science Fiction Monthly (1975).

            In 1977, Jay was editor of New Yorkshire Writing, a quarterly magazine with a circulation of around 45, 000. The magazine nearly folded when Jeff Nuttall’s short story, “Dream Piece” was published in issue 6 after it offended the Rotherham Town Councillor, who took umbrage with the sexual content of the story, demanding that the arts funding should be rescinded. Encouraged by Williams to develop an underground comix strip about The Doors front man, Jay wrote a play, The Lizard King, about the last thirty-six hours of Jim Morrison’s life. Performed in New York, London, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee from 1981, The Lizard King was an original and critically acclaimed take on the singer’s last days in Paris.

            In 2016, I co-curated an exhibition about Jeff Nuttall with Jay in Manchester, which drew in one hundred and twenty-five thousand visitors. This was the first of half a dozen collaborations, including a smaller exhibition of Nuttall’s work in Flat Time House, London. Other projects including co-editing a volume of Nuttall’s out-of-print novellas and co-editing a fiftieth edition of Bomb Culture. Quietly erudite, and with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the counterculture and avant-garde, he was also an accomplished poet and essayist. As Butterworth put it recently, Jay “was a major figure who was beginning to consolidate his work and achieve wider recognition when his life was so tragically cut short.” During the last few years, Jay published several poems in International Times accompanied by Martin Sudden’s arresting illustrations. Jay’s recent projects include a short book, The Wind Pours by like Destiny: Sylvia Plath, Asa Benveniste, and the Poetic Afterlife and the poems, Silenian Odes for Cold Turkey Press. One of those poems, “Passion,” ends as follows:

As the old sun began
to swallow itself
and bog mist cloak the wires
they gathered their mess
and headed back down
into a previous future
and the valley’s
unbearable lights.

 

Jay Jeff Jones, February 18th,1946-May 21st, 2023 is survived by his wife, Fran, and their son, Wesley.

 

Douglas Field

 

.

 

 

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

 ASSOCIATIVE DRIFTS from RODDY MAUDE-ROXBY

 

I first became aware of Roddy Maude-Roxby in the late 60’s, when he was part of the ground-breaking improvisation team ‘Theatre Machine’ which, along with companies like the People Show, was one of my favourites. Decades later, I was to work with Roddy on the BBC Saturday morning show ‘Parallel 9’ where, as part of a company of five, we would improvise various character storylines. Not quite on a par with ‘Theatre Machine’ but challenging, nevertheless.

Since those BBC days, I have marvelled at Roddy’s singular ‘mask’ shows, and witnessed how influential his diverse talents have been, and continue to be, as this two-part exhibition shows. 1) His ‘Paintings’ showing at London’s POSK Gallery. 2) His ‘Drawing Books, Objects, and Film’ at 9, Lower Mall, London W6, a Thameside Grade II listed house where renowned director George Devine once lived and is now owned by the Royal Court Theatre.

On the first floor of Lower Mall, was a darkened room, with very comfortable armchairs, where a wonderful film of Roddy’s artistic journey, from childhood to present day, played on continuous loop, allowing visitors to join the viewing at any time. With some black and white archive footage mixed in with colourful recollections of his alter-ego masked poet ‘Henry Wainscote, we learn how this Royal Art College contemporary of Peter Blake, David Hockney, and more, forged his way through the London theatre scene, Broadway, and even Disney’s ‘The Aristocats’ – playing the voice of Edgar the Butler. Even now, he receives autograph requests, and always adds a hand drawn sketch of his Disney character.

The film, by Tom Chick, and featuring artist Marcia Farquhar in discussion with Roddy, covers his work with the likes of film director Mike Nichols (in a stage version of ‘The Knack’), and with Royal Court director Peter Gill (in Joe Orton’s ‘Erpingham Camp’). Alongside his more commercial work, Roddy continued to create his own ‘Mask’, ‘Improvisational’, and ‘Performance Art’ work, together with his painting, sculpting, and poetry projects. All these elements are covered, in a fun and humorous way, by the various guises Roddy assumes. By the end of the film, or to wherever it began, we have good insight into his extensive catalogue of creativity. And so, to the top floor……

Here, his many drawing books are on display, and they are truly magical. I almost wanted to smash the glass to turn some of the hidden pages, but fear of attack from his extraordinary army of nearby figurines halted such thoughts. There are a lot of intriguing sculpted objects, one of my favourites being a pair of espadrille-style shoes with numerous ghost-like images embedded amidst the sea waves, suggesting previous owners, perhaps, or something more sinister. Nothing is definite, possibilities and/or interpretations are endless, that is what makes this body of work so mesmerising, both in its minimalism and its enormity. Sadly, the happening at Lower Mall has now ended, but watch out, for it will return, I’m sure.

The ‘Paintings’ at the POSK Gallery, 238 King Street W6 ORF, continues until July 15th. These are a mixture of art upon art painted on recycled materials, and line and dot drawings combined with photographic imagery. Again, like his life-long pursuit of improvisational happenings, this exhibition displays how, even in his more conventional art, the unexpected happens in the blink of an eye. Just as you think you have seen all, something else appears to change your perspective of the whole. Each image asks a question and although one may struggle to find the answer sometimes, there is a silent conversation I found myself happily participating in. This is quite a small exhibition room but a slow walk around the art-filled walls, delving into the fascinating world of a unique one-off, proves to be a stimulating and fulfilling moment in time.

As you read this, I think it will be the last Saturday of the current showing at the POSK Gallery, so, if you are not doing anything today, get down there and treat yourself to some exceptional artwork. From 2.00pm-4.00pm Roddy will also be running an impromptu mask event. Do Go!

Meanwhile, visit Roddy’s new website, and keep an eye out for future happenings:

https://roddymauderoxby.com/

Finally, if you can get hold of a copy of his new book ‘A Selection’, I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Kevin Short

Posted in homepage | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Blood Gold and Oil

https://riversidestudios.co.uk/see-and-do/blood-gold-and-oil-73758/

 

From the Arab Revolt of World War One, a modern hero is constructed: The brilliant, flawed figure of Lawrence of Arabia. His legacy is as complex as his psyche.

A museum. Present day. A curator puts the finishing touches to her final exhibition while its subject – seemingly summoned by the passion of the archaeologist – searches for a way out. 

Produced for the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, BLOOD GOLD AND OIL scrapes away at the topsoil of TE Lawrence’s continued celebrity and interrogates all that lies beneath. Was he a brilliant military commander? Certainly. A Freedom fighter? He’d definitely like to think so. An agent of British colonialism? Could be.

During the course of the play, a real living exhibition is carefully pieced together with an array of genuine World War One artefacts on loan from the National Civil War Centre in Newark and Imperial War Museum. The finds were from a 2013 archaeological dig in Jordan where playwright Jan Woolf was a writer in residence and dug the play out of the ground.

 

“A profound and serious play where politics and psychology, authenticity and fable, artefacts and abstractions combine to epose a bitter truth to (the) British Public (…) This is vitally relevant subject matter and nourishment for a discerning audience” **** – The Morning Star

 

“Woolf is writing her way back to a place where she can confront the revered by bringing him into battle, not only with his past but the future (…) And so the play shimmers (…) This, then, is play as purpose, and more; play as evocation.”

–  The International Times

 

“Douglas Clarke-Wood as TE Lawrence effortlessly commands the stage as TE Lawrence”

– London Pub Theatres

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Discovery: Street lighting disrupts pollinating insects

 

UK Centre for Hydrology and Ecology
Aug 2021

HOME

Street lighting disrupts pollinating moths

Street lights change the natural behaviour of moths and disrupt nocturnal pollination, new research shows.

The study, led by a team from Newcastle University, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Butterfly Conservation, revealed a shift in moth activity in street-lit areas from vegetation level to lamp-post height and the impact this is having on their ability to pollinate flowers.

The role played by moths in plant pollination has been largely overlooked as previous studies have focused on daytime pollinators, such as bees. Now the team says more research is needed to understand the effect of street lighting on moth populations and their importance as pollinators.

The new study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, was led by PhD student Callum Macgregor. He said, “We all know moths are attracted to light – some people might grumble about finding them flitting around in the bathroom or banging against the window.

“Where there are street lights, our research indicates that the moths are being attracted upwards, away from the fields and hedgerows. This is likely to cause disruption of night-time pollination by moths, which could be serious for the flowers which rely upon moths for pollination, and of course there could be negative effects on the moths themselves as well.”

“Where there are street lights, our research indicates that the moths are being attracted upwards, away from the fields and hedgerows.” Callum Macgregor

Dr Michael Pocock of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, a co-author of the paper, said, “Street lighting at night is important for road safety and people’s security but our research is just the latest piece of evidence showing the unintended negative effects of street lighting on wildlife.

“It indicates that the blanket of street lighting that covers many countries not only affects moths but has effects which cascade across ecosystems.”

Like the more well-known pollinators, bees and butterflies, moth populations in the UK and Europe are in severe long-term decline, with artificial night lighting one potential cause. It is only recently, however, that the crucial role played by moths in plant pollination has been fully appreciated.

Capturing and counting moths in lit and unlit areas of farmland in Oxfordshire, the team found that moth abundance at ground level was halved in lit areas but flight activity at the height of the street light was nearly doubled. Species richness was also reduced at ground level, with 25% fewer species in lit areas compared to those areas where there was no street lighting.

Analysing the presence of pollen on the captured moths, the team found that 1 in 4 of the insects were carrying pollen (from at least 28 plant species) so the halving of moth activity at ground level at lit sites could be affecting nocturnal pollination.

Co-author Dr Darren Evans from Newcastle University, said, “There is a great deal of concern at the moment about our falling pollinator populations and the knock-on effect on plant pollination. Our research suggests that it’s a process that is being damaged on two fronts – night and day – and together the impact could be significant.”

Richard Fox, from partner organisation Butterfly Conservation and also a co-author, added, “Moths are an important part of the UK’s biodiversity, as pollinators of wild flowers and as food for many birds and predators. However, the total abundance of moths in Britain has decreased by over a quarter since the 1960s with likely knock-on effects on many other organisms. The role of artificial light in causing moth declines remains unclear, but this new research indicates effects not just on moths but on the whole ecosystem.”

The impact of street lighting on our ecosystem

Globally, there are now an estimated 300 million street lights. The current study focused on the high pressure sodium street lamp found on most streets in Britain but the team is now investigating the impact of replacing these with LED lights. They recommend that, before replacement road lights are widely introduced, policy-makers should investigate their wider impact on natural systems.

The research was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. The study is available as an open access paper.

Additional information

Newcastle University issued a press release for this story. Callum also wrote a blog post on the research for The Conversation.

Full paper reference: The dark side of street lighting: impacts on moths and the disruption of nocturnal pollination. Callum Macgregor, Darren Evans, Richard Fox and Michael Pocock. Global Change Biology 2016. doi: 10.1111/gcb.13371
Staff page of Dr Michael Pocock, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

 

 

Public Health England issues LED street lighting warning
03/04/2018

Public Health England has warned that high levels of blue light in LED street lighting can be uncomfortable and are ‘known to cause damage to the retina’.

The executive agency of the Department of Health also suggested that ‘daylight-running lights on cars’ can mean that older drivers ‘will be dazzled by oncoming vehicles with the risk that they may not see hazards until too late’ – a problem exacerbated by fog.
LED street lights have been used to replace older forms of street lighting across the UK as they are much cheaper to run, easier to control and can have less light dispersal.

However John O’Hagan of Public Health England warned that social and health factors should be considered, as well as financial.

‘Local authorities have been replacing mercury and sodium street lights with LEDs. If this is done purely on the basis of energy efficiency and cost, it is possible to end up with installations that may not be fit for purpose,’ he wrote in the chief medical officer’s annual report.

‘Some streetlight luminaires have LED sources that can be seen physically projecting below the luminaire, becoming a glare source or light pollution. The light spectrum may be enriched in the blue, which may be beneficial for keeping drivers alert, but many people will find the light uncomfortable. High levels of blue light are known to cause damage to the retina in the eye. This only tends to be a problem for blue LEDs and not for white-light LED sources containing a blue LED and a yellow phosphor.’

He pointed out that LEDs can be provided in a range of colour temperatures and that ‘warmer colours are likely to be more appropriate for populated areas’.

Mr O’Hagan said: ‘Some of the LED sources assessed by Public Health England and others vary in illuminance at a frequency of 100 hertz. At the extreme, the LEDs switch on and off 100 times per second. This is of concern for a number of reasons.’

In such circumstances ‘rotating machinery, which could include the blades on a food mixer, may appear to be stationary if the rotation rate matches the modulation rate or is a multiple of it’.

He added this frequency can also result in headaches, migraines and feelings of malaise in those sensitive to this light modulation.

“There are number things that should be considered,” said Marshall.

(1) Radiation action spectra are not absolutes and the wave breaks between the UV and visible are not in themselves absolutes. Action spectra tend to be Gaussian.

(2) While people accept the potential hazards of ultraviolet and protect eyes with specific filtration in for example in intraocular lenses there has never been a clinical trial demonstrating efficacy. I.e. there is no evidence-based medicine. However, few if any ophthalmologist will put a lens in without a UV block. But remember no evidence of efficacy.

(3) Short wavelength blue light is more hazardous than any other portion of the visible spectrum and is taken into account with special calculations in all the world’s laser/light protection documents. The so-called blue light hazard peaks at 441 nm. This initiates two forms of light damage based on two different absorption systems. Type I is very Low level exposures over very long periods depend upon absorption within the photoreceptor cells and type II is short exposures dependent upon absorption in the retinal pigment epithelium. There is no doubt among safety experts under certain circumstances short wavelength blue is hazardous to the retina.

(4) Blue light is attenuated in the normal eye by progressively accumulating yellow pigment in the cornea and more importantly the lens and the luteal pigment (peak absorption 448 nm, i.e. proximal to the peak of the blue light hazard) in the macular. Remember also there are no ” blue photoreceptor cells” in the foveola. From an evolutionary standpoint in terms of vision short wavelength blue is not a requirement for good visual acuity, remember Fovial tritanopia!

 

Climate News

LED streetlights decimating UK insect population, study finds

LED lights have a knock-on effect to other species, including hedgehogs, and songbirds

Samuel Webb

Whiter outdoor LED lights are harmful to insect populations
(Douglas Boyes)

LED streetlights are decimating the UK insect population, a study has found
The ‘eco-friendly’ lights are even more harmful to insect populations than the traditional sodium bulbs they are replacing, researchers from the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) found.

The Independent

 

LED lights in your house can cause irreversible damage to the eyes, French health authority warns

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7032303/amp/LED-lights-irreversibly-damage-eyes-French-health-authority-warns.html

 

 

,

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

From FABRIC

dipped  in clean soft water  light and compact  rogue and vagabond  switching  
between cotton  and silk  picking  forms of weaving  twisted into  returns  to be woven   thrown into thread  and figured cloth  on credit and contract  

options  between the beats  correction  it’s a call  come back  correct  there is also the ability to think  contracts and contracts 

outrageous and void  option  between the pictures  this is a profession  return  to raise that  a way of thinking

sugar dip  from a boiling spring  it is the gateway  and it is a liar and a liar   change  and therein are silk silks  and after you have fabricated a lie against Allah  credit and contract

in other things  remove  in the case of the vagabond  for the young people in the midst of cotton  as well as silk
picked
the types of fighting
let’s get into it
I’m going to go back
let’s take a look at
it’s put in the thread
a number of clothing
forms of creation thrown into the pit
and guess

types of seeds (edit)  to be transmitted  the up-to-the-go  it’s all good  am I happy  patience  knitting shapes  twisted  to restore  crouching  in soft water
cotton neutral  flower  swap  pick  thrown in line  and figured cloth  with a cloth counted  on debt and cooperation

has sunk  light and small  a conman and a god  1000000000000  dropped in line  is marked  white soft  transfer  centre of thread  please choose  weaving type twisted inside  optic  falling into  transition  exit  change  located  in the middle  became an object

it’s back  beeping

we’re passing by  picking  woven shapes  its coming back  suffocating  in clean soft water  light and  bad and scary  bind by name  dip  switch  shrinkage  a bit inside thrown into the thread think fabric

sewing  spark  seizures and vaginal syndrome   climbs up   is stomach  flammable   between cotton and silk selection  fist  return  pain  throw  light and tight  and stray  clover  home  silk  whim fabric twisted  thrown into the sea  the patterned dress

The Story of slow moving river
Bayou journey
What’s the cotton
The Story of
What’s the
Blissful
Rosy Efficient Unwavering Dapper
What’s the statement
What’s the line
What’s the factory
Created Agreements and agreements

christened in clean water  a native and a concubine  light and strong  The Day of The Lord   said among the wheat  and the wheat  The Son of God  a type of carrying  turned  into The Book  transistor between cotton  bye bye silk  aqueous roots  woven in  thrown out  of the fold  thrown into a room  with textured fabric under contract  lest  nomadic and nomadic  to write  to give  to intervene  change  1000 100 100 walking  voting  clothing  recoveries weaving  discing the machine  drinking alcohol in clean water

water immersed in water  in the case of pure water  alteration in the midst of silk  replay ::  survival  it’s twisted return  on a thread and a piece of disseminated work  lending and contracting  between the depths of the silk  select the weaving plans

 

 

Patricia Farrell

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Everything, Nowhere and Meanwhile



from ‘Ten Dispatches About Place’

3
Month by month, millions leave their homelands. They leave because there is nothing there, except their everything, which does not offer enough to feed their children. Once it did. This is the poverty of the new capitalism.
     After long and terrible journeys, after they have experienced the baseness of which others are capable, after they have come to trust their own incomparable and dogged courage, emigrants find themselves waiting on some foreign transit station, and then all they have left of their home continent is themselves: their hands, their feet, shoulders, bodies, what they wear and what they pull over their heads at night to sleep under, wanting a roof.

5
Extensive areas which were once rural places are being turned into zones. The details of the process vary according to the continent – Africa or Central America or Southeast Asia. The initial dismembering, however, always comes from elsewhere and from corporate interests pursuing their appetite for ever more accumulation, which means seizing natural resources (fish in Lake Victoria, wood in the Amazon, petrol wherever it is to be found, uranium in Gabon, etc.), regardless of to whom the land or water belongs. The ensuing exploitation soon demands airports, military and paramilitary bases to defend what is being siphoned off, and collaboration with the local mafiosi. Tribal war, famine and genocide may follow.
     People in such zones lose all sense of residence: children become orphans (even when they are not), women become slaves, men desperadoes. Once this has happened, to restore any sense of domesticity takes generations. Each year of such accumulation prolongs the Nowhere in time and space.

6
Meanwhile – and political resistance often begins in a meanwhile – the most important thing to grasp and remember is that those who profit from the present chaos, with their embedded commentators in the media, continuously misinform and misdirect. Their declarations will get nobody anywhere.
     Yet, at the same time, the information technology developed by the corporations and their armies so they could dominate their Nowhere more speedily, is being used by others as a means of communication throughout the Everywhere they are struggling towards.
     The Caribbean writer Edouard Glissant puts this very well: ‘. . . the way to resist globalization is not to deny globality, but to imagine what is the finite sum of all possible particularities and to get used to the idea that, as long as a single particularity is missing, globality will not be what it should be for us.’
     We are establishing our own landmarks, naming places, finding poetry. yes, in the Meanwhile poetry is to be found.

 

John Berger (June 2005)

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

Winter Wait

With their most tender touches, snowflakes
Have painted the whole night white
Including the darkest corner in sight
                          Even within a forgotten dream

Except the plum tree, standing alone there
                    Under the eastern sky, whose
Flowers are blooming boldly against
The entire season, more vibrant than blood

 

 

 Changming Yuan

 

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment

No future


Never mind the bollocks here are the Sex Pistols
Rotten, Vicious, Jones and Cook with a tuneless racket
for a fucking bunch of cowboys.

Humped and twisted in splenetic rage
Rotten stalked the stage like Richard III,
spitting anarchy, no feelings, fascist regime.

That night everyone was arse and airs, including you and me.
Something was going down but what? The Sex Pistols
had shot their wad: that’s what. Last ever gig.

Rotten reverted to Lydon, Vicious untimely died, and you,
my peacock, feathered off leaving me with a dust sleeve:
Never mind the bollocks.

 

 

Joan Byrne

Winterland, San Francisco, 14 January 1978

 

.

Posted in homepage | Tagged | Leave a comment