Friday, June 24, 2005

Memo from Sanur

a)God I dislike the Buddha Bar albums. When I tossed together my audio hate list a couple of weeks back this was clearly a major omission. I think my credibility was more or less shot to pieces by my admission about Elvis anyway, so what the hell.

The Buddha Bar, the bloody Buddha Bar, volumes one to fifty three or whatever, is everywhere here in Bali and I hate it with a vengeance. To be honest I despise any faux pseudo-chill-out styled new age-ish nonsense with a passion. I guess I just like music with a backbone and my punk legacy screams shite every time I hear Café Del Crap or whatever. Sadly every café, bar, restaurant, bar or western orientated warung in this paradise seems to think that playing a Buddha Bar CD gives them an air of sophistication.


Don’t get me wrong, passionate, soulful dubbed out downbeat forms are an addiction for me as much as the noisier forms of electronic music (as I type I’m getting tingles from Gregory Isaac’s sublime Slum), I just can’t deal with the fake, overpriced, badly packaged, sub-world-music plastic that is the Buddha Bar series…and the fact that it’s thrust at me daily.

b)Gordon Bennett…why am I saying this? I’m sitting in paradise, surrounded by boundless beauty, by wonderful people who really understand the word “smile”, by restaurants serving exquisite food that we can only dream of in enzild, by Indonesia, which I love so much as a country. I guess it’s the one flaw in this little dream…I miss my music so bloody much and I KNOW I have a whole bunch of new stuff sitting waiting for me in Auckland that I can’t get my hands on right now. Like the remixes of the new Juan MacLean single and the new Arnold Jarvis / Franck Roger collaboration and a killer new collection of songs from the sixties inspired by Phil Spector that I’m gagging to hear…despite the fact that he’s currently sporting the worst haircut since that twat from A Flock Of Seagulls, and may well have put a bullet into some girl. I guess I’ll have to wait a while…but it’s not easy. I wonder if I can convince Singapore Air that an SL1200 is legitimate carry on luggage.

c)Talking of convictions and Bali, thank god all that Corby stuff is going away. I mean, I feel sorry as hell for the girl, especially now the Knight in Shining Armour, Ron Bakir, seems to be asking her for half a million dollars as a payback, which is not that surprising when you look at him, and the parents and the obvious culture, or lack thereof, they come from. Yep, I feel for the girl, 20 years (or more if the prosecutor and Indonesian public opinion gets their way) is one hell of a long time, but she knew what she was doing (and nothing I’ve seen to offer anything resembling reasonable doubt…even most Australian legal voices opine that she would’ve been convicted under domestic law). But I guess what really offends me is the reaction from Australia. Firstly, the overwhelmingly anti-Indonesian explosion ignores the fact that she was, if innocent, the victim of an Australian drug ring…nothing to do with Indonesia. But the truly offensive thing is the racism so implicit in the reaction in Australia, from their rather odious Prime Minister downwards. The, as one poll had it, 90 odd percent of Australians who felt that she had been wrongly convicted seem to have made an assumption that, as a non-white, non Christian nation, Indonesia is incapable of dealing fairly with this…that the system is inherently inferior to the system practiced in English speaking “civilized” nations. Ignoring of course the thousands of years of developing civilization in this part of the world (and if you want, or need, to add a European element to it, four hundred years of Dutch, Portuguese and English contact…long before the penal colony of 1788). At Denpasar airport the other night it was sad, and funny, to watch the terrified arriving Ockers off the Brisbane flight with all their bags wrapped in sealed plastic. I wouldn’t be surprised if good old Ron had the wrapping concession at Brisbane Airport.

Of course the Australian legal system is impeccably corruption free….

What bought this on was the fat sweating slob outside an ugly RFL bar in Kuta wearing a “Free Schapelle you Bastards” T-Shirt and the thought of the ingrained racism I always have trouble dealing with in Australia. How dare they?

d)I miss New Zealand a little (but not that’s more about certain people than the place, and there are people I miss all over the world, like my best buddy Mark in Sydney), but what I’m not missing is the ingrained aggression in much of the culture. The violence implied in conversation, in encounters, in written form…not physical violence, although there is that too...Auckland is a very heavy place at times, five minutes driving tells you that…but simply the day to day way many people approach their fellow humans. I don’t know whether it’s the Rugby (although I suspect it’s a big part of it) or the immature society or the booze or the weather but you can feel the unnecessary tension whenever you make contact. Scary, but I feel it as I get off an aircraft in NZ…bang into the paranoid unfriendliness of New Zealand Customs….

e) Fortunately a few days back here knocks that on the head….