As they Pulled Me Out of the Oxygen Tent ………..
This is really a post without a home, a series of, to quote myself, unrelated thoughts about nothing in particular.
I’ve spent the past two days crawling around unventilated sawdust and grime filled factories in central Java, in temperatures about the mid forties, chalk in hand, inspecting furniture.
And my wonderful Brigid is still there.
And I miss her tonight.
Last night I was in a bar in Jogja, about ten feet from the President of Singapore, a Mr Nathan, who was on his way to meet the Sultan, I’m told. Most taxi drivers in Singapore will tell you he is little more than a puppet, a façade for the real king boss, the omni-present Mr Lee, who now has “retired” but rules through his son, the Prime Minister. Taxi drivers allegedly reflect the pulse of public opinion globally but, really, tend, I think, to talk rather more than listen and are a little less reliable than their reputation would have you believe. Still, scratch the surface in
Friendly, polished dictators have always been popular with American politicians of all shades. I stood reasonably close to another a few weeks back as he exited, with help from a selection of unamused goons, from his car. I rushed into the hotel, saying loudly to Brigid….”Suharto is here”, then, after a glare from the concierge, thought better of it.
It’s not everyday you stand next to a military dictator, a man allegedly responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of half a million or more. We didn’t get to chat….
He was quite short..at least age had shrunk him. Impressive he was not.
I had a quick squizz today around the editorials in the
Perhaps I need to lighten up a little. My current reading doesn’t help. Having finished Martin Short’s biography of Mao, feeling so completely insignificant and struggling to balance his evil with his genius, I’ve now plunged into William Taubman’s intriguing biography of Nikita Khrushchev, a man, whom all reason tells me, should never have been more than a sycophantic cog in the Soviet machine but ended up bringing the planet closer to Armageddon than any man before or after; and, the massive tome from one of the hard right’s great bogey men, Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilization. I looked at this for weeks, fondled it in
I want to understand you see….
I’ve been listening to Elvis Costello’s live My Flame Burns Blue and I don’t know what to make of it, whether I like it or feel it’s another string to those who decry the mans decline. The ego of Costello irks me somewhat these days, his opinion of himself is clearly increasingly inflated and I think, perhaps he should leave the jazz-lite to his wife, although his take here of his Almost Blue is vastly superior to Diana’s. Its all in the voice and Costello has that over her. I hate Diana Krall’s voice with an irrational passion.
Maybe because I’m such a big fan, and a completist…I buy, or con from record companies, everything, although not in every format as I used to…I’ve listened to this quite a bit in recent days and there are moments, and it grows here and there but only just. And to be honest, with the possible exception of God Gives Me Strength, the originals of all his own tracks herein are vastly superior. I guess he has every right to make this record, I’ll give him that, and I’m not demanding a return to 1980, but it feels mostly like pointless bar, albeit a big bar with an Orchestra, fluff sadly. I’m far more excited by the prospect of the forthcoming collaboration with Allen Toussaint, due in the next couple of months they say.