I’ve been to Saturn / I sat on the rings
Sitting under a Sanur sunset, with the odd smell of a cremation wafting past me as I write, coming from the large ceremony a road away from here, a few thoughts came to mind, a few things that may or may not need to be said but I will anyway.
Firstly, and most importantly, Brigid and I watched the complete sixth season of The Sopranos this week in three rather intense sittings (four actually but one of those was trying to get the Thai DVDs to work). And loved it I did. I’m a fan and thought that the strange mixture of dark humour, and unease for the reality of what they are actually doing, worked better than it has for a long time. My unease was accentuated by the violent homophobia portrayed by many of the characters and by the way the bigotry played out. Whilst the situation is vastly different, the sentiment implied by Ian Wishart in his attacks on Peter Davis, the completely innocent husband of Helen Clark, is not. Whether or not Mr Davis (who I know vaguely but my wife and her family know well) is gay or not is largely beside the point. It is my belief that he is not, but that is completely irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that Wishart saw fit to use the man’s sexuality as a valid way to attack him, and via him, his wife. And that the media, from this distance at least, seems not to have called into question such a tactic, beyond simple distaste.
Now correct me if I am wrong, but some years back,
But barely a murmur from the righteous defenders of the nation’s morals and the likes of the NZ Herald and TVNZ, unless I’ve missed it. The RNZ interview I heard skirted around the issue, in the assumption that if Wishart had any proof then he had some right to pursue this story. But regardless of whether he did or did not have any evidence the real issue here is that this is implied queer bashing. Sadly however institutionalised homophobia, as illustrated by the Christchurch Crèche and Phillip Sturm cases is an unquestioned part of the NZ landscape in the 21st Century.
And the line between what Wishart is doing and what happened to Vito in The Sopranos is a very thin one. I for one am ashamed to carry the same passport as the man.
On a completely different tack, in Thailand I bought a bunch of jazz CDs, I’m on a blue key spin right now and decided that I needed some of my old favourites, which I have on vinyl in Auckland, with me now. So I did the correct thing, rather than download or buy the multitude of pirated copies available, I went into one of
Amongst the bunch were two on Blue Note (read EMI), Thelonious Monk’s timeless Genius of Modern Music Vol.1, a collection of old 78s released almost sixty years back; and a Sonny Rollins collection of fifties masters. So, innocently, I put the Monk in the laptop, and waited. Nothing, not even the recognition of a piece of laser read plastic. No disc it said. Damn, I thought, faulty disc. So I tossed the Rollins in. And the same thing. I followed it with a Coltrane on Impulse which read and copied to my iTunes without any issue, then two others that had no problem at all either. And it dawned on me…I’d been suckered by EMI, bless them, and their customer friendly copy protection system. I can’t believe I was so stupid. I’d been screwed; I’d been ripped off by this monolith in their efforts to prevent me, or someone else ripping them off. And this on fifty year old recordings which may or may not still be subject to copyright. And they wonder why it is all turning to shit. Since this happened a year or so ago with the live Kraftwerk album, I’d made it a policy not to buy anything on EMI, but in the Thai heat and with the sheer joy and anticipation at hearing these again, I forgot. Fortunately I found both albums on the net and downloaded the things immediately, as I will now do as a matter of policy with anything EMI releases, rather than paying money for something I don’t receive.
But why is it that everyone I mention
So, all good apart from making one shitty mistake….trusting the Rough Guide to Bangkok. We live in
But, yes, more shopping and more markets, and it felt good to be in place where in infrastructure vaguely works, and the rubbish was at controllable levels. Where the traffic lights go as they are meant…and I think if I had to live anywhere else in the future that would perhaps be it.
But not right now…
Anyway my old buddy Norman Jay, MBE, is coming to Bali this weekend, so that's a reason to be excited
Songs for the sunset:
The Clash…Armagideon Time…the live version from the wonderful From Here to Eternity that lazily lopes and skanks along with less tension or anger than the studio take, and makes me miss Joe Strummer all over again
Fetus Productions…What’s Going On…I came very close to releasing an earlier version of this some years back, recorded at Harlequin Studios about 1979 with Simon Alexander and Jed Town’s massed overdubbed 12 string guitars under Jed’s wonderfully plaintiff and fragile voice. It was a work of sheer beauty and I don’t know why it didn’t come out. Maybe one day, but in the mean time, this later version will do just fine..
Fuckpony…Freaky Stories of Earth…band name of the year and a killer few minutes of Lil Louis inspired sensual deep house off their album, easily my most listened to record in the last couple of months. Gorgeous, and, dare I say it, timeless..
Duke Ellington & John Coltrane….In a Sentimental Mood…about as conservative as the ‘trane ever got, his album with Ellington ain’t no blistering Live at The Village Vanguard (the first heavy metal record) but it has it’s moments and is perfect for a languid Balinese afternoon (even if the smoke from the dearly departed is in the air). And the Duke’s solo half way through is quite something in a quiet way…