Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sorry Yoko if I've Breached copyright but he would've approved... Sometimes I feel like a real, dyed in the wool commie posting all this stuff, and I'm sure there are those who would scream that others have died to let me express my opinion, so I should keep it to, further to my earlier post about the end of empire or something like that, comes this MSNBC / Newsweek piece that I found via Danielle (who got it off Russell Brown whom I usually read but have been a little slack with recently..time constraints etc) which is succinct but sadly seems will only appear in the international run of the mag..not that a US domestic printing would make the slightest difference. We already know about 26% of the US adult population are reasonably well informed and intelligent global citizens, another 28% or so are none of those things (no one who had even the most slender grasp on global realities would even contemplate voting for Bush), the balance didn't bother to vote so they exist on a level below that or simply don't count as we have no idea what they thought or think. I guess those that voted for Bush need to find their freedom cannon fodder somewhere, and I think its a reasonable guess that much of it comes from that mass...I wonder if there are any figures for enlisted soldiers' voting percentages..not who they voted for but what percentage actually voted. My understanding was that it was fairly much compulsory in Iraq but I imagine back home it would be fairly low. Juan Cole has this imaginary moment where Bush tells the truth back in 2002. And then there is this piece of rabid duck & cover scaremongering from the good old DHS

When you can't really function you're so full of fear think you're so clever and classless and free but you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see
To quote Long John (little bit out of context but you get the drift)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

My Piece of Heaven..... Once upon a time, a decade of so ago, I splashed out on the wonderful Rhino doo wop box set...several cds of young black and hispanic, mostly, male vocal groups from the north eastern USA in the fifties. Young street corner hoodlums harmonising like angels for dodgy mafia run record labels and then disappearing into history. I still play it fairly routinely, especially on a winter morning when I need to be enticed out by something warm and spiritual.

The classic male soul / r'n'b group does similar things, but suits a really warm evening more, or a car with the windows down. The Impressions, The Drifters, The Miracles (now that one makes me shiver..just the words "The Miracles" does the trick), Eugene Record's electric Chi-lites, The Temptations (but I didn't really quite get The Four Tops), Delphonics, O'Jays, Ravens, Elgins, Chairmen of the Board, Dramatics...there were dozens, actually hundreds, the list goes on and of the joyous things about soul is the semingly endless supply of new, old, acts to discover. I guess you could successfully argue that some of the early hip acts like the Furious Five, continued the classic tradition .... But, despite the odd exception that proves the rule, the genre has largely died out in recent years.
Which segues nicely into Ten City.....the missing link between The Chords and Carl Craig, courtesy of the genius that was and is Marshall Jeffferson. Ten City remain, 20 years into the genre, the only vocal group to have succesfully made a series of vocal harmony soul albums in the house style. To my mind, house, techno and hip hop are the heirs to the r&b and jazz mantles, the great American rhythmic artforms of the last thirty years. Shamefully much of this is unrecognised in its homeland. Hip hop gets it's rightful due but people like Jefferson, Knuckles, Craig, Pierre, Saunderson and the others, people who have probably exerted more global influence than just about any other living musican, are unknown in the USA. But go anywhere in the world...anywhere at all, even the places where hip hop hadn't penetrated until recent years (Australia is an example) and the repercussions of Detroit and Chicago are felt. As big as the Beatles and Elvis to put it in simple terms..... But I'm heading off on a formless stagger through my thoughts, so back to Ten City. Wonderful, majestic, sensual Ten City. Three guys, two of whom were called Byron for gods sake, who first turned up my turntable back at the Playground. We used to have free access to all the Warner Music 12" samples, there were dozens every week, and amongst those one day in 1987 was one a little different and I really don't think Roger and I quite knew what to make of it. Acid house was about to break and house music was all Roland grooves. This had all that but sitting on top of it...actually, no, soaring above it, were these voices "Devotion" and it didn't hit us until that evening until we tried the thing out on the club system...I think...its a vague memory..that we just looked at each other without saying a word and played it again and again..four times that evening. Then bam bam bam, they came at us.."Right Back to you","That's the Way Love is", "Suspicious", "Where do we Go?", and the albums: every one a monumental merging of all that is wondeful about soul music and house, the intense gospel vocals with acid basslines or shimmering keyboards. I also discovered the intense, exhausting and dark earlier single, "I Can't Stay Away" as Ragtyme (there were two but this is the one), mixed by Ron Hardy & Frankie Knuckles.
And eleven years on from their last release, every damned song still sounds as essential and vital as they did back in the day, in the same way the first Miracles album is so gloriously timeless. But I guess they were The Miracles of their age - the last of the great US soul vocal groups in the grand tradition - and sadly the successsful experiment that was Ten City has never really been repeated.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The stone age man cometh

You really need to look at the rather odd pronouncements of the leader of her majesty’s opposition, Donald Brash, and scratch your head and wonder. Where on earth does this strange man come from? A man who allegedly washes his own socks on hotel basins to save money. What on earth is going through his head as he makes his bizarre and lordly pronouncements from the pulpit every year. Does he truly believe this complete nonsense or is he just saying these things because, like Winston Peters, the ultimate political tart with no personal convictions at all, he thinks they might get him a vote or ten.

I guess I’ve thought about this a little bit on and off over the past year, since last year’s Orewa speech (“state of the nation”?..sorry but it makes you sound like a pompous wanker Don..I think you're both of those but far more dangerous than that implies), which really could be summed up in those two overused words “cheekie darkies”, playing on the good old fashioned political truism of joseph average thinking “who the hell do they think they are”, “they” being anyone perceived as getting something for nothing. A little bit of hateful envy always gets a few votes. This year’s speech plays on more of the same, being “bloody bludgers”, but more especially “bloody cheeky darky bludgers”, a good old traditional National Party policy platform since the days of Holyoake and before. Positive, forward looking, policy has never been a strong point for the Nats. And like the earlier lecture, the essense of it is scaremongering with a purpose and little substance.

Which brings me back to Brash. Does he really believe all this negative crap or does he do it to get votes? Don Brash, for all his faults (and if he ever becomes prime minister of our nation, those, god help us all will quickly become evident for all) is simply a good old fashioned conservative ideologue, like Ruth Richardson- cold, determined, driven and unable to see the wood for the ideological trees (and those on the hard left suffer exactly that too). Far more dangerous than the likes of Winston. Conservativism by its nature is a reaction against change, a longing for the good old days when things were better..the good old days which more often than not never actually existed.

Hitler offered this to the German people in the thirties. For Bush et al, it’s a longing for the days where America was great, had done its bit to free the world from the threat of Nazis (most Americans still seem to believe they did it single handedly) and those other “funny looking” (remember when they couldn’t really be a threat because they had bad eyesight) people from the east, was a bastion of decency against the evil empire and TV was good with Mr Ed and other words before they were humiliated by a third world nation in the making in the sixties. That was part of what Gulf War One was about…look we are still great..look..look.

And that is a substantial part of the appeal of Bush, with his grotesque inauguration parade, to the Fox generation now.

Brash too, truly believes there were better days, the days when pregnant daughters were sent up north and their unspoken offspring were adopted out to decent families, when Maori knew their place and paid their dog taxes with pleasure and handed their land over for public works without compensation and white middle class know, good Christian working men, quietly ran a solid crime free nation and kept a close benevolent eye on the natives who weren’t quite up to looking after themselves.

A soulless but righteous society.

But as most of us know, this world never really existed but the myth is enough for the conservative ideologue like Brash, never one to let a little human decency get in the way of an ideological position. And history is often little more conservatives pulling backwards with a dream of a return to their mythical better world, grasping at the past while, hopefully, the rest of the conscious planet is trying to work out how to create some kind of better world, even if we stumble now and again .

Extended Play on George 260105

Jay Dee-Strange Funky Games & Things-Warner Bros-1974 Stetsasonic-Talking All that Jazz (Dominoes Mix)-Breakout-1988 Chi-lites-Are You My Woman-Brunswick-1972 Melba Moore-It’s a Peach Melba (Moxie)-Moxie-2003 Norman Cook-The Invasion Of the Estate Agents-Go Beat-1989 EPMD-You Gots To Chill-Fresh-1986 Gap Band-Big Fun (Serious Dub)-Total Experience-1986 Brenda & The Tabulations-Tabulator (Moxie)-Moxie-2003 Gladys Knight-Love Overboard-MCA-1987 New Young Pony Club-Ice Cream -Tirk-2004 The Rappin Reverend-I Ain’t Into That-Fantasy-1987 Fatback-Lover Undercover-Cotillion-1985 Prins Thomas-Edit #2-Rong-2005 Luther Vandross-She Won’t Talk to me (Acid House Dub)-Epic-1988 Patti Labelle-More Than Materiel-Restricted Access-2004 Ten City-Only Time Will Tell (demo)-East West-1992 House Neegroz-I wanna Say-Nu Groove-1992 Herb Martin-Soul Drums-Ibadan-2004 Ralphi Rosario-An Instrumental Need-Gosa Lo-1992 Ralphi Rosario-You Used To Hold Me (MAW Main Pass)-Strictly Hype-1994 Holland Dozier Holland-Baby Don’t Leave -Invictus-1972 Frankie Goes to Hollywood-Two Tribes (Annihilation mix)-ZTT-1984 Inner City-Ahnonghay (Original Reese mix)-6 x 6-1995 Bam Bam-Where is Your Child-Desire-1988 LCD Soundsystem-Daft Punk is Playing at my House (album mix)-DFA-2004 Prins Thomas-Edit # 1-Rong-2005 S2-Slide-UR-2005 Lazyboy-Police Dogs Bonfire (Linus Loves mix)-Sunday Best-2005 Prins Thomas-Edit # 4-Rong-2005

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

OOOPS If there is any doubt that Osama Bin Laden or whoever or whatever he may be is winning, and controlling, his battle against "the great satan"... and must be eternally grateful for the US presidential election result.... you only need to look at stories like this