December 20, 2012

a letter from luzuko

Filed under: luzuko elvis bekwa,poetry,politics — ABRAXAS @ 10:24 pm

grand master

where are instigators of peace?, the poets are dead dead dead in this country of ours and politicians are doing doggystyle at broad daylight , and you guys are just chilling as if everything is okay . death of arts , death of cultu—fuck man i hate the word culture for it is used as ticket to corruption now.

grand master i write this with the spirit of zim ngqawana haunting me , tormenting me about the case in marikana , the slaughter of the innocent , the wreched of the earth..
when i met zim i 2003 i was so upbeat thinking that i know the man and his music so as i was talking to him he almost reiterated what mongezi feza said in uk when he was admitted to hospital which led to him being electrotuded which was disguised as some kind of therapy and ultimately led to his death. he said to the personnel there and i quote him ‘you ain’t gonna know me cause you think you know me’
that was exactly what zim said to me but philosophycally. he said if i want to know and understand him i have to start from the beginning i.e his first notable album , san song

admitting though that i only bought san song , his first notable album 3 months before his passing and even then i did not take much interest in it as i was still blown away by the one you sent me , zimology live in bird’s eye switzerland

then 3 months before the marikana massacre i found my self very much in love with his 1st album san song and 2 songs in particular , ode and migrant workers .

but now i will talk of the song , migrant workers because there are 2 versions of the same song by

grandmaster zim himself., the san song version and vadzimu version. in vadzimu it is only one version , jovial non prophetic , just an easylistening version.
in san song it is this long solemn ‘ nail in the heart ‘ version .telling the story of a migrant worker at home , on a train to the mines leaving his family behind and at the mines with harsh working conditions at the mines . infact it accounts to the bleak testimonial of a migrant worker .

to me it seems as if brother zim has been fighting this battle for the redress of the conditions of migrant workers long before num and amcu and other unions that claim to be on the side of the migrant workers .

now grand master we and the whole world saw what happened in marikana , we and the whole world saw what culture has be demonised for the weak though it is kind of angelic for the powerful.though i wouldn’t like to enter into politics of a status quo for the fear of being ‘contaminated ‘ by this ill discipline and counter-revolutionary contagion we see ghosts and figures ascending onto positions of extreme power while we the masses are aplauding in loud cheers and roars . the question i then ask is what has become of this beloved country . this country of lesego rampolokeng , of lefifi tladi, of koos kombuis and other independant dissidant think tanks .

like zim ngqawana , may god rest his soul , i weep for the migrant workers who died mercilessly in marikana

i will sign out with this old xhosa saying ,, nangona inyoka ifile nje kodwa ithambo layo limhlaba umntu afe

i am tempted to say yingoma yabathwa.

December 11, 2012

sarah jane mary hills – child of ancestors

Filed under: helgé janssen,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 2:49 pm

keep reading this interview and article by helgé janssen here: http://nbtmusic.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/a-synergy-of-expansive-opposites/

December 1, 2012

flames of passion

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 2:51 pm

a radikal remix of david lean’s brief encounter
completed in greyton on 1 december 2012
with music by daniel eppel and handel (sarabande)
text by samuel beckett (rockaby performed by billie whitelaw)
30min 19sec

November 30, 2012

zaide’s 2nd dream of zim

Filed under: 2010 - the exhibition of vandalizim,Zaide Harneker — ABRAXAS @ 11:36 am

I dreamt of him last night – he was wearing his khaki clothes and was desperate to play and play and play – it was dark and he could not find his place where he had to play – he walked away agitated and told me I have to go there to play. Before I left I looked for him to say goodbye. He held me (his t-shirt was wet from the sweat) and just held me. My sister Merunisa turned to me and said: Zai i am sorry, i cannot manage to record the music on the memory stick.

This is the second time i dream of him in relation to music – the first time he was happy because he had his instruments and was playing – he wore white then

November 22, 2012

roger lucey – No Easy Walk to Freedom (Composed in 1984 Recorded 1986)

Filed under: Lizabé Lambrechts,music,music and exile symposium,politics — ABRAXAS @ 12:42 pm

THE HIDDEN YEARS MUSIC ARCHIVE presents – NO EASY WALK TO FREEDOM – composed by Roger Lucey in 1984 Crown Mines Johannesburg; a dedication to the leaders on ROBBEN ISLAND. This was the first of a few versions, performed & recorded here by TIGHTHEAD FOURIE & THE LOOSE FORWARDS with LOS BALLAS TRIOS at The Free Peoples Concert in 1986 & filmed by ROGER HARRIS; compiled & edited in November of 1986 by MIRANDA HARRIS & DAVID MARKS with borrowed ‘news’ events (go on… sue us!!) from the early to mid-1980’s, filmed for ‘foreign’ TV only, by news cameramen ROGER LUCEY, ROGER HARRIS, CRAIG MATHEWS & others… TV news footage that was banned from broadcasting or distribution in the RSA at the time. TIGHTHEAD FOURIE & THE LOOSE FORWARDS were a band of closet C&W fans, dressed to kill, as it were. ROGER LUCEY as TIGHTHEAD FOURIE – in the ANC Colours (Vocals & Guitar); The LOOSE FORWARDS: JONNY BLUNDELL as RAY STADIG – (Lead Guitar); DAVID MARKS was LOURENCO MARQUES in UDF garb; (WARWICK SONY aka BEN ZINE also played Bass guitar on an occasion or two); BRIAN ROTH was Gene Parkering the drumist; LOS BALLAS TRIOS were TERRI LYN COHEN as TERRALENE CONE; PETER DAVIDSON as SLIM GEDAGTE & WILLIAM VON WITT was TENNESSEE FERREIRA. Help 3rd Ear Music preserve our Hidden Years Archive & perhaps put a historic ‘perspective’ to this Hidden History? Given the levels of corruption, greed & racism today, those who served on The Island have clearly been betrayed; so, where are the revolting new-age musicians who sing and say as much today? If nothing else… let’s learn from history! (p)(c) 3rd Ear Music / Hidden Years Music Archive Project – visit www.3rdearmusic.com. ROGER LUCEY’S book BACK IN FROM THE ANGER now available (Jacana Press).

November 21, 2012

THE MENTAL MASK By Ramon dos Santos

Filed under: dick tuinder — ABRAXAS @ 3:47 pm


This is the age of Identities.
Of lifestyle, logo’s and intentions.
This is not the age of ideologies or a belief in something outside the Self.


In the past century Man has fought himself a way from the ideological to the conceptual. And from the conceptual into the virtual.
Now at the beginning of a new millennium, the only logical next step for man is to venture into the Mental.


Ever since the ape stopped being a reptile and stood up and became Us, man’s perception has always been the subject of fashion.


The notion of fashion is the only thing that really separates us from other creatures. We are subject to fashion because we can SEE time. No other creature can SEE time like us. They might sense it. Feel it. Even hear it subconsciencely in whispering winds, but it cannot see time like us. So no other creature but us can see the difference between this and last year’s fashion and thus has no need for it.


Fashion is next to many other things the result of boredom. Boredom is the result of being able to see time.


Fashion has also been the number one engine behind civilization and progress. On occasions, in history, it became fashionable to be smart. To think and act accordingly. We now live in a time though in which the fashion is to be stupid. To not think and act accordingly.


As the universe expanded through time, so did man’s brain. On scale, the human brain expanded with the speed of light.


During the last century, while the universe kept expanding at its steady pace, REALITY has exploded into multiple big-bangs of facts, images, recorded time and space.


Also. With every picture taken, with every sound recorded, reality doubles. For even if this picture is one of the smallest detail, the humblest grain of sand, we cannot think this grain free from its surroundings, and thus not free of the reality it represents.
So with every picture taken of a reality of which already pictures have been taken, reality quadruples. This gigantesque multiplication of realities has already long ago reached its perceptional limit. And so it became fashionable not to think.


The more we copy reality in art or thought, the less reliable she becomes.


Our immediate surroundings resemble the outskirts of the universe: neither can be comprehended without either a filter or a key. As we do not possess the key, and are not too keen on becoming mad, we adjust a filter, and thus we become stupid and insensitive. This is called maturing.


To block out the ever changing and ever brighter light of reality, man has adjusted many different filters in the last century. We have changed the ideological filter for the conceptual one. And exchanged the latter for a virtual sunblock.
But no filter is strong enough to block out entirely the burning light of exploding realities. So in order not to go collectively insane, as we are well busy trying to do, we have to search for the mental key.


To get hold of this mental key man has to develop a third half of the brain. A bridge between both sides of the brain. A bridge between the alpha and the omega of an infinite number of big-bangs.


The Big-Bang was not a moment in time, or the beginning of time. The Big-Bang is a continuous proces. It IS time.


Perception is a parasite of the senses.
As reality doubles, so does perception.


Perception defines who we are. Or who we think we are. Or who other people think we are. In any case: if perception doubles, so does our identity. We are no longer one. We have never been just One. “Being oneself” is either a technical, psychological and philosophical impossibility or just a plain lie.


A true philosopher questions the manifestations of reality. And thus, a true philosopher does not think with his mind.
For his mind is full of fixed ideas that do not reperesent reality, but a mental mask blocking the true philosopher’s view and thoughts.
A true philosopher therefore, like a true artist, thinks with his eyes and genitals.


You cannot think about writing and write at the same time. You cannot make music and think about making music at the same time.
The writing IS the thinking.
The music IS the thought.


All art is recorded thinking.


All art is pain, in search of its cause.


I can be anyone I choose to be. In fact I am many. I can say fart and kill and tender things on the side and see no conflict in their assembly.


As morality is tightly connected to the notion of identity and perception, it changes as the latter two change. The fact that we are more than one identity suggests that we also have more than one set of morals. This cannot be. For a moral is always on its own. Therefore, once we recognize our other identities and let them grow, we have to abandon every notion of morality.


This is how we will learn to understand the universe. For there are no conflicts in the universe. There are no opposites, and no ‘forces’ or counterforces. There is no morality in super-nova’s.
The true universe is what is Not. The vacuüm. The stuff we are, mainly, made of.
Only the tiniest percentage of the space we occupy with our bodies is not one hundred percent vacuüm.


Imagine two bottles. One is filled with wine. The other only carries the tiniest – actually invisible – drop of wine.
When the question is aked: “Which one of these two is a bottle of wine?” everyone will give the obvious and correct anwser.
Yet, when the same question concerns the so-called reality that surrounds us, we choose the empty bottle.


In making art, in searching for the lost bonds with the universe, we learn to recognize the vacuüm as the main substance of reality.


This leads to the inevitable conclusion that there has never been, nor ever will be, a big bang. We were never on our marks, ready and set to go. There is no beginning, for there is no time.


All that I had to say about the artworks in this book, and the mental masks by which they were seen for the first time, I have said.
It should be noted though that, just as each person cages a million identities, each word is the prison of a million thoughts.

November 8, 2012

the corpse-grinders of berlin – episode 17

Filed under: acéphale — ABRAXAS @ 7:57 pm

He went into a bar and took a seat at the counter. Sitting there with a drink he thought about the differences between men and women again. Although men had the reputation to be monsters (Frankenstein monsters, to be precise) actually the women he had known turned out to be more cold-blooded than the men. The women he knew often used relationships in order get something else- a sense of security, a child, money, etc. The men tended to be naive and romantic. In any case, he felt that almost all women carried a disparity between their outward expression and their inner truth.

While sitting at the bar he started talking to a Latvian girl, whose name was Liana. She was pretty. When he found out that she was a student he hesitated to ask her what she was studying. He decided to go ahead and ask, what the hell, maybe he would be surprised. “Economics”, she replied. The same old answer. This instantly killed the spirit of the conversation. He was bewildered. How can such beauty succumb to the terminally boring world of finance? He metaphorically backed up. He studied her features a bit longer and tried to imagine her twenty years older. Yes, it fit. Youth, he knew, could be such a clever disguise.

When he finally got back to his bed and fell asleep it was like he had been hit on the head with a sledgehammer, merciless and forgiving.

The next morning he had coffee at a plastic white table at a cafeteria in the middle of a socialist housing block. The air stank and the people were rude. Somehow here, where there was absolutely nothing that he could identify with, there was more of a chance at defining a meaningful freedom than in the vast symbiosis of the west.

After breakfast he went to the open market by the train station, which was very primitive- almost Asian in its dusty wilderness. People selling vegetables and fruits and contraband caviar and cigarettes. He located the central bus station and bought a ticket for his final destination: a small village near the Baltic Sea called Edole. He bought cigarettes, beer and bread for the five hour bus ride.

As the bus rampaged at an insanely fast speed through the bumpy country roads, the sun finally broke through filling the bus with flickering shafts of light. The driver was blaring Latvian pop music on his portable radio which he had taped to the dashboard. Looking out at the blazing gold of the wheat fields the man thought to himself: people give up a lot to live in the city- they give up the stars, the air, the soul of things. This creates a huge void in their life, which they try to fill up with all kinds of shit. The seduction of mankind.

helgé janssen reviews rowan stuart’s debut album “light in cages”

Filed under: helgé janssen,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 5:04 pm

Light in Cages – album launch Zack’s, Wilson’s Wharf 28 October.

I first came across Rowan Stuart when he opened for a Jaspar Lepak gig @ St. Clements in Musgrave Road more than a year ago. He had already become well known via Cynosure a “quirky fun-pop-rock band” in the words of Rowan himself. At St. Clements, he had a way with creating guitar loops and backing beats that grew the sound beyond he and bassist Jared Collison’s stage presence. All the while Rowan’s eyes would dart around: audience to guitar, drum beat/loop to audience, microphone to foot pedals….as if he was looking for something unfathomable, seemingly out of reach. At the same time he was having fun experimenting before a highly appreciative audience. But quite clearly the glint in Rowan’s eye (a single eye peering through the curtain of his fringe) was searching for a greater challenge.

Light in Cages – Rowan’s solo project alias transmuting into a band for performances – literally burst onto the Durban rock scene @ Zack’s on a rainy Sunday night. Heading the line up was multitalented Rowan (lyricist, vocals, lead guitar, synth programming); Jared (bass); and Jude Kendrick (drums). I sensed immediately that there had been a shift in Rowan, a shedding, displaying a masterful command of his performance that was grounded, driving, inimitable. He has been hard at work, realigning his planets and taking stock of his life, allowing his lyrics and songs to speak for themselves. As such, this break-away venture bares all the courage of self-exploration within a context of philosophical portent. But I also sensed there is a lot more in dynamo Rowan – in perfect voice, a voice with a range of which great legends are made – that wants to kick ass. He certainly has rock star looks and style, wearing black shirt, black skinny-jeans and hipster black and white checked belt. Long time collaborator Jared was solid on bass, complimenting Rowan with confident ease. Newcomer Jude gave a vigorous and beat-perfect performance on drums.

There is certainly light – and darkness – with immense intelligence in the lyrics, which are most epic. The melodies are haunting and memorable. There is magnificence in the musical arrangements that are many-layered, which I see (given time) being performed with full orchestral accompaniment. Time will prove just how far ‘Light in Cages’ has raised the bar in this genre and as such this is indeed an exciting and much needed addition to South Africa’s rock scene.

The CD cover is a direct link to this projects name: a man in a state of ecstatic abandonment with light emanating from his chest cavity, and who is surrounded by a bleak landscape swathed in darkness. The immediate impact is of a soul trapped in a human body yet forever free. It is of note too, that while the rib cage is an ‘entrapment’ it is also a flexible protection.

The CD has been expertly produced and recorded by Rowan with Brent Quintin mixing and mastering. The talents of Sidney Rash were used on drums, with Rowan completing the range of backup musical instruments: bass, guitars, programming.
I have at least two best best favourite tracks: “Symphony” and “The Labyrinth”.

Here are the lyrics courtesy of Rowan:


They say that we were once beasts
Who rose from the ground
We were bound and displeased

They say our thirst never died
As we grew in our numbers
So we grew in our pride

I say that beasts we may be
But blessed with the ability to better are we

So come on, come on baby please
Won’t you close your box of vanities
Cause there’s a symphony
It’s called Humanity
And every note, every beat
Is an angel reborn

If we choose to live and let live
To create and to wonder
And take less than we give

We can break from these cages of skin
Becoming humane and not merely human

So come on, come on baby please
Won’t you close your box of vanities
Cause there’s a symphony
It’s called Humanity
And every note, every beat
Is an angel reborn

La la la la

There’s a symphony
There’s a symphony oh oh
It’s called humanity
Called humanity oh oh
There’s a symphony
There’s a symphony oh oh

So come on, come on baby please
Won’t you close your box of vanities
Cause there’s a symphony
It’s called Humanity
And every note, every beat
Is an angel reborn
Is an angel reborn

There’s a symphony
Called humanity
And every note, every beat
Every note, every beat
Every note, every beat
Is an angel reborn



Curse of birth or gift of the divine
Sworn to walk this trying maze of mine

I’d just watch the sky to stay strong
And dreaming between the stars
I’d forge on

Cause I could never stop this search, it is my fate
To walk the labyrinth

And every time you tear me down I’ll recreate
Myself inside of it
The labyrinth
It’s in my veins now

Whispers and stirring bones
Of those before
So few find the prize
We die for

But I could never stop this search, it is my fate
To walk the labyrinth

And every time you tear me down I’ll recreate
Myself inside of it
The labyrinth
It’s in my veins now

This is rock music at its fledging best! If Rowan were a fine artist, I would call this the world’s first rock instillation art piece!

It is going to be interesting to see if Rowan will succeed in enticing people to buy into his music rather than into his name or image, or whether there is a calling of which he himself is as yet unaware. After all rock music is very much about lifestyle and performance that marries and drives home its liberating message.

On its own, the CD is an astounding achievement. Get your copy now!

Visit Light in Cages web site at: http://www.lightincages.com/fr_music and get a free download of a track.
You can also visit the Facebook page at:

mick raubenheimer reviews Kyle Shepherd’s – South African History !X

Filed under: mick raubenheimer,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 2:22 pm

At once an interrogation of and meditation on the obscure roots of South Africana, Shepherd’s third studio album, helmed for the most part by his quartet (with Shane Cooper on bass duties, Jonno Sweetman on drums and Buddy Wells on tenor sax), is dynamic and hugely evocative. Although consisting for the most part of original compositions, the album predominantly evokes shards and strokes of traditional (South) African musics – from San trance music, to Boeremusiek and Vastrap, to a gloriously fun reworking of Afrikaans folk song ‘Bobbejaan klim die berg’.

Acknowledged by Shepherd as being a kind of response to the hidden, or obscured, history of that curious beast, South Africa, ‘South African History !X’ has a strong presence of the San and Khoi-Khoi cultures – appropriately so, as these two peoples were the first inhabitants of this corner of the continent. Musically the album is rich, dense even, but also playful – a questing, inquisitive spirit tempered by impossible longing.

Shepherd and his cadre are becoming masters at reading one another’s musical moods and possibilities, making for texturally steeped beauty. Also features the late great Zim Ngqawana.

Powerful stuff.

November 6, 2012

landscape #9

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 8:30 pm

music – p.i.l.
vocal – Jana Smit
edited greyton, october 2012

October 23, 2012

the corpse-grinders of berlin – episode 20

Filed under: acéphale — ABRAXAS @ 9:42 am

The next day was grey. When it came to the time of departure everyone suddenly became concerned about his welfare. They gave him address and telephone numbers to call in Riga if things went bad. In fact he wasn’t feeling the best at this moment. The vodka ritual of the night before had given him the distinct feeling that his head had been pulled off and replaced incorrectly.

He got into the Mercedes with one Dutchman and the Russian driver. For the Dutchman the Slavic show of feelings and companionship was too much. He confessed to the stranger that he was afraid of all the emotions. He was almost shaking. It was unknown territory for the northern European pale-ass. At this moment he understood the irony, that in fact, those who build walls out of fear can function much better in this society than he ever could. In the end it was always the same conclusion though: he was a real shit.

As they approached Riga the driver decided that he wanted to go to a banya. They pulled up to a harbour where there was a black banya- which meant that it was one in the old Russian style. The air by the river was clear and fresh. Back to the shimmering cry of seagulls. Standing at the edge of the docks the seagulls swirled all around him.

The banya was an ancient exotic ritual which bordered on masochism. Red hot stones which carefully rip away the layers of the world. It was here that men of all different backgrounds could meet as equals, all of society and its laws are suspended temporarily in this sweat lodge. There was a mix of criminals (with their huge tattoos), businessmen (with their lack of charisma), workers (with their muscles) and Mafia types (with their big golden chains).

They said the ritual was developed to move the blood, and it included self-flagellation with birch and oak branches. They would all of a sudden start whipping themselves into a frenzy, the branches burning like flames in the ultra hot sauna.

When they were finished the three of them were totally broken, left in a kind of daze where it was even difficult to utter a single word. Of course they finished the entire ritual with a large glass of vodka.

Later that night he was walking down the Caka iela, past the prostitutes, and he felt his hunger grow. He needed to fuck again, to touch and be touched. But then suddenly it all became a weird mix, a kind of cultural nausea, as it always does in this fucked-up society. It happened when he came across an old woman in utter poverty living in the streets. Her face black with soot, she paced in circles trying to keep warm.

In the morning he went out to his favourite cafe, which could barely be called a cafe, lacking any of the charm necessary to function under the illusion of commerce. My God, how could anyone drag themselves here each morning and then go to work in some dreary shit-hole afterwards? There he had breakfast with an old woman who had lavender hair and a businessman who looked like a pig drained of all its blood.

It was a terrible day, raining endlessly. He walked through all of it. He went to the open market which was a swamp, he walked the streets alone. He especially liked the wooden houses, appearing as if they had suddenly come out of the set of some cowboy film. The Jugendstijl gates, the huge piercing faces mounted on the sides of buildings, staring down like guardians of the past. The hand painted cinema posters. The shops which were open all night. It rained all night long, through all of it. He walked until he couldn’t walk anymore, and then he had to walk back. He came back to his building around three in the morning, climbing the wet and rotting art-deco staircase with its distorted shadows thrown up against the walls like the mise-en-scene of some German expressionist film from the 20s.

While he was walking down the street the next day a Latvian grabbed him wildly and asked him, “Quick, do you have an aim in life?” It was a good question, because most people don’t. He answered instantly. “To write poetry and to find someone to love.”

During the nights he would walk the streets of the old town, listening to Latvian rock music. He was drinking bottles of beer on the street corners, but of course he would never meet a girl on the street. Girls want to meet guys with money, the guys in the bars.

Once in the middle of the night he found a guy, blind drunk, laying in the street. Someone went up and slapped him hard to see if he was still alive. The guy responded with a very faint moan. People just left him. The guy was wearing a designer‘s suit, and the stranger was surprised that nobody went for his wallet.

Here there was no history as it is known in the west. Here history was always entangled with mystery and inexplicable events. Stories of astrological clock-makers going blind, monks that were bricked up alive behind church walls, black cats and so forth were blended in with historical data. This was the case to such an extent that a so-called factual history of causes and effects would now be impossible to reconstruct.

The toilet in his apartment was the most brutal he had ever witnessed. The pipes were all held together with wet scotch tape and the walls seemed like they had been painted with shit.

In the morning he put on his vest and parted his hair, like some dinosaur.

October 22, 2012

helge janssen reviews ” Anarchy in KZN – the Far Canal – the Winston 17 October “

Filed under: helgé janssen,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 1:04 pm

Event: Acoustic Wednesday @ the Winnie.

Ten years ago I decided that I had had enough of films that presented yet another boy-meets-girl permutation in an endless attempt to reinvent heterosexual relevance. Not that I am *heterophobic or anything like that, its just that it has all become so very boring. For some strange reason last night, at the revamped under-new-management-Winston, I found myself thinking the same thing with regards to topics bands love to sing about.

Emerging bands in the subculture need to catch a wake-up…out there is a revolution…..a revolution of the working classes. Leaders lead by doing nothing while getting huge salaries……then dodging accountability, and the last thing we need to hear about is the luxury of a yet another failed heterosexual relationship in any one of its myriad of angst-driven rigmaroles – unless of course that relationship is reflective of the politico/social context at large. Mainstream media is full of it….and they don’t need any encouragement. So get with the plot. It is now. And if you don’t know it yet, you simply do not have the right friends on Facebook! (Lol)

Enter the Far Canal, an anarchic antidote – the name-reference to stagnant toxic backwater! From clipping a stapler to tinking a tin can dynamic front-man Bill Harsia (Justin Lagesse – vocals/percussion, previously of The Kiff, with Ty Phoid, Jon van den Berg – acoustic guitarist of the La Els and the Wilderness Act) grabbed whatever bit of disorder he could salvage and used it to pry open a few minds! From then on it was pure freefall as innovation and cutting edge prose gripped the rapt audience. The drive and spiritedness emitting from Bill Harsia, emphasized no doubt by the fact that this was Ty Phoid’s final gig before leaving the country, underscored the urgency of this set. Not that I could always hear what was being said – pity…..that sound system needs a bit of tweaking when it comes to the spoken word – but caught enough of the poetry to realise that Far Canal were synchronistically reading my thoughts exactly! Or should that be the other way round? It is not easy to find the right chemistry required for this level of dynamic cutting edge performance so one hopes that Bill Harsia will succeed in finding a suitable conspirator/s…..he is 100% on the beat!

Here is some fascinating insight into the mind of Bill Harsia which I was delighted to have inboxed:

#1) Traffrica (The Robot Song)

I’ve got a robot
I’ve got a robot
I haven’t got a lot
but I’ve got a robot [x2]…and it

…gets me attention
gets me a mention
gets me less stress
and it gets me less tension

I’ve got a robot
It jams the flow
It calls the shot
It controls the show

Gets me a spot light
Under the red light
I’m the rotting tooth in realities bite

I’ve got a robot
It controls the rolls
I dish out the karma
I collect the tolls

…It goes go go, whoa whoa X3.. And it goes stop.

Change, change, change, change… I need your change of direction…at this intersection

Turn,turn, turn
Turn away from mass extinction, self extermination

Don’t bleat to the beat of the global elite
Don’t let them dictate the beat

I’ve got a robot and it…

…gets me attention
gets me a mention
Gets me less stress
and it gets me less tension

The penny has dropped,
I’ve made up my mind
I’m leaving my robot
robot behind

Out of the cold
into the light
Out of the hold
of industrial might

I’ve got a robot
I’ve got a robot
I haven’t got a lot
but I’ve got a robot

…and it goes go go, whoa, whoa X8…and it goes stop.

#2) Belly of the Beast

You are the poison in the belly of the beast

…and in the uprising
you are the yeast
…and we rise up above the breadline to the feast

And we rise up

You can kiss me upon the apocalypse
And you can kiss the apocalypse goodbye
You can kiss me when the epoch clips
You can kiss me when the power tips
Cause you can rise up X3

Your are a fist fill of catalyst

…and you shake shake shake at the capitalist.

…and you open up
open up minds

And we open up…OPEN UP!



Bang on the starter gun

This rats not gonna run

Cause in the mind the race is won
It’s all in the mind hey

Give me 1 day and I’ll take Monday
Monday is my Number 1 day

Give me 1 day and I’ll take Monday
Monday is my fun day

It’s all in the mind hey, that’s why…

When I’m in a spin
I Spin an inner revolution

forgive the sin mop up mental pollution…and I

Bang on the hum drum
With a little hum
Helps me overcome the system

Bang on the hum drum
With a little hum
Get’s me at peace with the outcome

Giving it stick when I’m stuck in the grind,
Cause that’s when I break it down all refined


Break it down, break it down
Flip it upside-down

Flip it up, flip it around, flip it upside down.
Can’t fault any of that! Sheer inspiration! Yay!

At the end of the evening Lucia Nomafu Nokonwabisa Gcingca took over the DJ dex: a computer with a selectable play-list. I first encountered Lucia (Loopy) some 5 years ago as she walked into the frame while I was making a spur of the moment documentary of the 16th June 2007 gig called Killing for the Kids at the Winston. She spontaneously began spouting thoughts on the function of poetry and meanings of lyrics. I was astounded as she was as drunk as the lord! She has since become the infamous bass player for Fruit and Veggies. At the dex she proved to have a real feel for the music she selected, and gave us an amazing sample of her taste.

The Winston has undergone a revamp and have new owners Mathew and Luke Olivier! These brothers have the right attitude and the changeover has been handled most deftly, with a youthful collaboration to keep the legacy of the venue very much alive.
* homophobic – my iMac computer registered this word as a spelling error. On doing a spell check I discovered that this word does not exist in the generic Oxford Dictionary installed on this computer!

October 19, 2012

harvey stapleton: the gaucho amigo

Filed under: kaganof — ABRAXAS @ 2:32 pm

I met Harvey Stapleton in 1979 when he was working at a shop called Keogh Coins in Durban. I used to work there in the stamp department. Harvey worked mainly buying and selling gold coins, Krugerrands etc. He rode a motorbike and always had wild long hair. He had a great sense of humour and we shared music tastes. He loved jazzy, sophisticated sounds and I remember very clearly when Steely Dan’s GAUCHO album was released Harvey came into the shop with immense delight brandishing the album. We used to argue a lot about the value of lyrics in music – he was a great believer in the idea that lyrics did not mean a thing and the words only had value because they held the melody line together.

He was very verbally gifted and we would enjoy playing with people’s names, making acronyms out of sentences etc. He always used to call a beer a reeb and so forth.

When I left South Africa to avoid being conscripted into the apartheid army Harvey drove me to the airport. He was a very supportive friend. The photo you see on the blog was taken at the airport, I was flying from Durban to Joburg and from there out the country into exile. I did not see Harvey again until 1993, a full ten years later. At that time he had opened a gold coin business of his own and was operating out of the first floor of a building in Smith street, Durban. I visited him then and we talked a lot about the condition of the country, he said to me “This country is going down the tubes.”

That was the last time I saw Harvey. I remember him as an extremely supportive friend. He did not have to agree with you in order to support you. That’s real friendship. I had no idea that he had passed away. I would appreciate knowing more about that.

I remember him so well singing this verse from Gaucho, he really loved that album and this song in particular:

Who is the gaucho amigo
Why is he standing
In your spangled leather poncho
And your elevator shoes
Bodacious cowboys
Such as your friend
Will never be welcome here

christine lucia on joshua pulumo mohapeloa and the heritage of african song

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 2:21 pm

the full text of this essay was published in the journal of international library of african music, 2011

October 18, 2012

mick raubenheimer reviews wrong-eyed jesus

Filed under: mick raubenheimer,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 6:05 pm

Classic Albums: Jim White – ‘Wrong-eyed Jesus! (The mysterious tale of how I shouted)’

‘Way down South I know a girl who is blind/ She walks alone along a lonely highway each day/ She dreams that one day a man will pull up in a car/
He’ll open up the door; she’ll climb in and he will say:/ “Hey babe, whatcha know? I hope you’re ready to go./ Coz today is a perfect day, for chasing tornadoes.”

Swampland gospel.

Country music has always had a wayward heart. Lonely, a little deranged. Tremblingly hunkered down in the pew to atone for the previous night’s ‘incident’. It is possibly this thorny truth – the hungry, desperate heart of the genre – that has led to it turning up the floodlights roundabout the late Seventies, reinventing itself as the grotesquely sweet and earnest Country Cabaret strummed by the likes of Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Billy Ray Cyrus and all those other bright-mouthed, Can-Canning gals and okes, effectively turning the genre into a Honky Tonk Disneyland.

Said floodlights might have cast the shadows off stage, but it also amplified them; occasioned them to multiply in fertile periphera.

The Man in Black, Johnny Cash, had of course always been around, to keep the dark and broken flame afire, but since the onslaught of mainstream candy-coated Country most people are forgiven for thinking the genre begins and ends with airbrushed barn dances beneath a winking moon.
Nestled in an unlikely Country music section – sticking out like a sore thumb between the smile-strained faces of Mister and Missus Country – Jim White’s quietly auspicious debut, 1997’s ‘Wrong-eyed Jesus!,’ weirdly glows. The cover and booklet are strewn with offbeat and sinister biblical references; inside, the songs are disheveled by beauty.

Born in 1957 in Pensecola Florida, White grew up in the deep American South, enduring a childhood he acknowledges as having been wildly hypocritical, even schizophrenic . Bloody bar brawls and bible verses and wife beatings and gospel choirs and hurricanes and drought and lung-belching alcoholics and molested children and Revelations and drugs and lynchings and crimson faced, Bible-thumping preachers all cluttered together in the same space, vying for breath.

The impact of this grotesquary on White’s sensitive consciousness seems to have been profound, bruising him into a roaming loner who toyed with, then dropped, several unrelated fates (White is said to have been, at various times, homeless, a fashion model, a professional surfer, a preacher, a boxer and a NY City cab driver), before David Byrne’s funky indie label Luaka Bop offered him a friendly record deal.

And the Sun went down on the Moon.

“Long about an hour before sunrise/ 
she drags his body down to the edge of the swollen river/ 
wrapped in a red velvet curtain/ 
stolen from the movie theatre where she works.”

White’s debut arrived fully formed. Like his wild, mythologized childhood (the liner notes also contain a shocking, illuminating 12-page account of a string of brutishly dazzling and disturbing co-incidences from a season of his youth) the album entertains unlikely bedfellows – suggestions of Jazz; glinting, broken plucks of guitar; unexpected flashes of Soul; majestic flourishes; funky drum backdrops; ghosted vocals echoing themselves out of rhythm… melancholy and a collection of devils, and occasional, thrilling choruses from divine entities. The songs contain scatterlings and outcasts, beggars and rapists and innocents and killers and dreamers in its narrative menagerie. It is a world to get lost in, and, thankfully, White somehow succeeds in coating these often terrible scenes with a gorgeous musical sheen, so that one feels safe even whilst bathing in darkness and moonshine.

At its essence, its array of stylistic influences aside, ‘(The mysterious tale of how I shouted) Wrong-eyed Jesus!” ‘ is country music. Honest, original, un-glossed Country. Music from a haunted, broken Americana soil. Perverse and gifted and otherworldly.
Get it, like, yesterday.

[first published in Muse magazine]

October 17, 2012

herman hesse on what is worthwhile in art

Filed under: art — ABRAXAS @ 3:06 pm

Where art is concerned, I know that, just as in any time in the past, every true poem or painting, every measure of true music is paid for in equal measure with life, with suffering, with blood. Nothing has changed in the world except that which has always been on the surface and easily mutable: public opinion and moral standards. Fortunately, the serious worker can protect himself against these completely: it takes a little denial and asceticism, but it is very worthwhile.



Filed under: Andre sc,art — ABRAXAS @ 11:53 am

‘Æsthesia’ presents a progression from the realism of photography, to almost
painterly-abstract computationally produced portraits and landscapes.

Many of the pieces are composed of multiple photographic layers – in some cases literally more than a thousand. The ‘Composer Series’ gives us a distinctive composite portrait of the ‘average’ composer from each era of Western Classical Music while ‘State of Head’ combines the faces of South Africa’s last six presidents into a haunting portrait of the presidency, capturing some of the transformation from PW Botha to Jacob Zuma.

According to Clements: ‘Æsthesia’ is about perception and sensation, literally sense-ability. ‘Æsthesia’, in contrast to anaesthesia and numbness, is like an essence of aesthetics and the sublime that we all crave in culture and life.

‘Æsthesia’ will be opened by Millard Arnold at 12:00 on Saturday 27 October at Res Gallery, Unit 4, Chester Court, 140 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg. The show will run until February 2013.

Bridge (Phase 6)
801 x 1260 mm Pigment Print on 901 x 1360 mm Cotton Archival Paper

October 11, 2012

my lord bargain

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joel assaizky – music and all instruments
kaganof – vocal and lyrics
recorded in parkhurst at the a nul dubh studio, 2005

September 17, 2012

KREIDLER – Rote Wüste VIDEO-EDIT (official video)

Filed under: music,susanne giring — ABRAXAS @ 4:47 am

music: KREIDLER from »DEN« (Cd, Lp, digital download, Bureau-b), October 2012
film: Heinz Emigholz »Northfield from THE AIRSTRIP, Decampment of Modernism Part III« produced
 by Pym Films

asleep in transit

Filed under: helgé janssen,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 4:44 am

Wide-awake in a starry sky: Asleep in Transit – Jackie Horner, Helen Joseph Road, Glenwood, Durban. 09 September 2012

This five member band, formed as a duo almost two years ago, presented the Jackie Horner pub with an acoustic set as a threesome: singer/percussion Irena Buzdugan, acoustic guitarist Allister Christie, and bassist Joshua Woolf. Vlad Buzdugan (synthesizer) and Chris McNabb (drums) were otherwise engaged.

Like the proverbial live-wire, Irina Buzdugan’s beautiful voice weaves its way around the acoustic and bass guitars, slithers through the notes sparking their intention, explores range and depth, tempo and space, stretches, evolves – holds time itself -with an ease of expression that belies its depth of persuasion. As such, Irina locates the melody outside of and between the driving rhythms with intuitive jazzy-verve. This creates space for melodic invention that is the casting point of strength of this band. With charisma to match, her exotic beauty is alluring and mesmerising, while the two guitarists wouldn’t be out of place in a vogue photographic shoot either! Allister has a natural alto voice that entwines Irina’s in an harmonic, shamanic echo-chorus – and at other times he leads – that is as pleasing as it is surprising. With his acoustic guitar, at times banjo-like, sometimes upbeat in a blue-grass kind of way, Allister forms and informs the essential fulcrum through which the performers anchor their focus while allowing space for each musician to explore their potential unhindered.

Joshua is reinventing the bass guitar: at times driving the songs rhythm, at others leading with an electric guitar-like riff, or happy to simply accentuate and prolong the dramatic use of a deep and warm bass reverb in sudden contrast to the dancing higher notes, he is always inventive. And yet, these bass guitar melodies do exactly what a bass guitar is meant to do: heighten the countering rhythm, and add depth to instrument structure.

Of particular note too is the arrangement of the songs. These have well thought out deceptively simple layers of melodies that dance around the primary rhythms sustaining aural intrigue progressively adding depth and range to the dramatic context. These performers are not afraid to play with time, and have an equable performance style which belies the poignancy in their message. The songs are thought provoking, memorable and accessible. I had a strong sense of lateral thinking infusing their creative processes. This allows for maximum individual input within an infrastructure of mutual respect. Listen to “Brother, Sister” or “What a mess we must appear” which are both melancholic AND upbeat and will have you smiling!

What a Mess We Must Appear:
“why’d you burn all the buildings?
I just don’t get it
why can’t you tell your smoke from fire?
I heard I’m dying tonight
and I think I just found out why..”

This rich tapestry with its counter-point surprises forms the essential drive and interest that becomes the expansive whole of ‘Asleep in Transit’. As such they have produced a unique alternative Durban sound. From this showing this band could neatly slot into the international circuit and they definitely have what it takes to rise to the top.

They might be ‘asleep in transit’ but they are very much wide-awake in transmission!

WHAT a boon! You can download their debut album FREE here: http://soundcloud.com/asleep-in-transit/sets/asleep-in-transit-ep

web site: http://www.asleepintransit.com

Durban is exploding with musical talent!

dax butler – drink in everything

Filed under: joel assaizky,music — ABRAXAS @ 4:34 am


This Johannesburg-based multi-instrumentalist has been making music since the ’70s.

Drink in Everything, his solo debut as singer-songwriter, is easy listening for a relaxed weekend afternoon. Its nine tracks boasts meaningful, thought-provoking lyrics and stand-out tracks are Global Warming, Cellar Song and Morning Star.

If you like music by the likes of Bob Dylan, Paolo Nutini and Tom Waits, go grab this gem by a local artist whose voice will haunt you long after the final track.
released 01 September 2012

Dax Butler – Acoustic guitar, Vocals

Willem Moller – Electric guitars, bass & drums

Terence Scarr – Violin, Viola

Tonia Selley – Percussion, background vocals

Lutz – Piano,organ

Peter Jaspan – Tenor and alto saxophones

Andrew Donaldson – Mandolin

Maya-Rose Torrao – Background vocals

Rhys Johnstone – Background vocals

Brakpan Man produced and mixed by Joel Assaizky

Richard Bruins – Lap steel guitar

Joel Assaizky – Bass guitar

Photography – Kim Torrao

Sleeve design – Nicholas Hauser/ Johnny Mahala

Mixed By Willem Moller

Mastered By Joel Assaizky

buy it here: http://daxbutler.bandcamp.com/

Steve Fataar with the Jack Mantis Band

Filed under: helgé janssen,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 4:00 am

@ Jack Rabbits, Morningside, Durban.

Four Magicians, one voice: KABOOM!

This was the first time I had visited Jack Rabbits in Morningside. It is situated within a cement and leafy façade, and were it not for the cars parked outside, one could quite easily have driven right past it. Under superb management from Suzette Colbert, the décor is rustic with wooden tables and chairs, an upstairs, a canopy area and a deck. There was a complete cross-section of clientele which is always a good sign. The bar staff were efficient and friendly. This was the open mike Tuesday night where the Jack Mantis Band had welcomed an opportunity to add an unscheduled gig to their current tour of South Africa.

Domenico Benigno hit a bit of a glitch setting up his keyboards via the Apple Mac laptop. In the meantime Jack Mantis (acoustic guitar, vocals), the drummer Emile Hoogenhout, and whizman Steve Fataar (electric guitar) began this jamming session respectfully unfazed by the refusal of the electrical cables/plug-in points to co-operate. As they began playing, searching for each other through their instruments an immediate harmony and synergy was established – an essential threshold from which this path of blues/rock/folk exhibition was to be launched. Very soon the sounds began spiraling gently ever higher and I had a sudden image of the Wandering Albatross – a bird with the largest of wingspans that can glide for hours without need to flap its wings – soaring. And then hey presto! The cables came alive and the keyboardist without hesitation slotted into his niche….and that Albatross suddenly caught an uplift! The sound technician must be congratulated at this point because there were none of the expected sound pops and bursts to interrupt focus.

And then the Doors….I felt that the doors to perception were being gently prized open….as the blues, folk and jazzy combinations created an inventive excitement that lured one in. Each of these four magicians created their own Bohemian path ultimately leading to the same point: much like life really – where there are so many ways to achieve an end. It is this expansiveness of vision that resonates within the Jack Mantis Band reflecting a very unique South African achievement. With the sensitive ingenuity of Domenico creating melody and ever searching for the extended edges of alertness with which to infuse his gift and with Jack’s creativity stimulating the essential musical dialogue the audience were kept mesmerized. Steve Fataar needs no introduction to the South African music scene and his ever inventive drive and openness to participate with and thus give impetus the music platform in Durban is comendable.

“It’s time….it’s time to recognize each other….” intoned Jack in his deep earthy voice through one of the tracks…..and the band then morphed into their last song of the night – a fifteen-minute inventive “Hit the Road Jack”.

And then….we all glided back to earth which had shifted somewhat.

Catch the Jack Mantis Band at a venue near you! They are not to be missed!

Remaining dates – but check FB or the press for additional gigs:

16th September The Red Herring (Noordhoek) Solo with Tim Parr 1pm
21st September – Alma Café (Rosebank) Unplugged 8:30 pm

September 3, 2012

the corpse-grinders of berlin – episode 24

Filed under: acéphale — ABRAXAS @ 9:42 am


He arrived back in Berlin in the morning and spent the day looking for a way to get the hell out again as soon as possible. After a lot of hassles he was able to organise a ride to Bratislava in two days.

He sat in Cafe M in the approaching autumn weather listening to French rap music. He read the Herald Tribune for about five minutes and then threw it down again. The first thing he noticed on his return was that he didn’t like people’s eyes here. They were dishonest.

He made a phone call to Amsterdam. He called an old girlfriend who tried to console him. She said nice things. “I’m nothing but an ass-hole, pining away for some impossible love,” Pierre told her. They talked awhile and then said goodbye, and then he was suddenly transported back to the busy intersection in Friedrichshein. Alone again amid the nauseating farts of automobiles. He stood there and looked at the dead street corner. Jesus, Berlin was sure a city of ugly street corners. It was also a city of apothekers and travel agencies. Never had he seen so many drugstores in a city before, except possibly in Brussels. Pills and vacations. A paradise of headaches.

In a cafe, sitting next to the window, he watched as the waitress poured his wine into a cheap glass. Pierre believed that wine should always be drunk from crystal. The materials of this world were becoming more and more insensitive, less and less aesthetic. What people called progress these days had only to do with the victory of mass-production and had nothing to do with the true quality of things.

Reality could be as harsh as any serial killer.

But at least serial killers chose their victims without discrimination. Reality on the other hand had a way of coming down hardest upon those who should be given a break. That Christ was crucified wasn’t a flaw or exception, it was a reality principle.

“The meek shall inherit the world”. Well, as a revolutionary Christ might have been brilliant, but as a prophet he was shit.

It’s true, Pierre thought to himself, what Jean Genet said: “Only violence will stop man’s brutal ways.”
A very unpopular point of view, he realised, in the sheepish pacifism of the present software world.

The Germans he met shit upon history. Maybe this was because Germany had shit upon history so well in the 1940s. In any event they did at least become scatological and poke at it with a stick from time to time, but only to reject it again. They were smeared and blurred by distraction and by envy and guilt, and especially by the avoidance of guilt. An inbreed predilection for catastrophe.

He had the sensation that the world was narrowing down on him. He could no longer believe in many of the things he was naive about earlier in his life. How is one, in all this clutter, to keep a wide horizon, like the one has in one’s childhood? He thought about fleeing to the countryside. But there was always the problem of money. Almost the entire planet had been monopolised by it, everything was subject to its reign. It had become the blood of this civilization. Blood-money. Shoot someone and coins fall out.

That night he went to the Kumpelnest 3000, perhaps the only bar left on this desolated planet that he still really liked. He took a couple drinks. He knew the guy behind the bar, a big black transvestite from Amerika. He talked to some one from San Diego about the apocalypse. It was getting grim.

Then his old lover, the one who smashed him, walks in and pretends not to notice him. His shit-German girlfriend. He was happy to see her again in a bittersweet way. He would never stop loving her, he realised. In fact the phenomenon of the disappearance of love or love into hatred was incomprehensible to him. Once love was there in his soul it was there for good, no matter how painful.

I have been watching you as you stand
With wide open eyes, at my door
And a razor in your hand
Washing your heart out
On a rocky shore
Insanely pounding mist out of marble.

Broken pussy of Saint Lucy
Blue eyes disarrayed in the dusk
Too many coins shine of bankruptcy these days
And too many gifts caste shades of theft
Stay by my side, glittering
Ardour of a broken line.

His amie damnée was dancing in the middle of the bar, curving and swaying in the soft red light. He watched her. She was with another guy of course, an endless string of guys. She was able to fuck almost anyone. It didn’t matter what he looked like, or what a shit character he had. The whore of Babylon.

She glowed under exterminating circumstances.

Through this brutal haze he asked her to sing a song.
“You always go too far!” she snapped .
“You‘re right,” he answered, “and that’s what actually makes you Bataille, and makes me Laure.”

September 2, 2012


Filed under: cal harding,literature — ABRAXAS @ 4:07 pm

For reasons too dull to go into, I find myself on one of my routine
late-night perambulations. Single again, embittered. I once had a
passable future, but that evaded me. I had all the characteristics of
a human being – flesh, blood, skin, hair – but my depersonalization
was so intense, had gone so deep, that my normal ability to feel
compassion had been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful
erasure. I was simply imitating reality, a rough resemblance of a
human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning.

As I blah blah dusty streets blah blah empty houses full of stopped
clocks, a quaint cobblestoned alley inhales me. Novel and unexpected,
it’s undecorated by crisp packets, broken bottles, cigarette ends,
disposable nappies, television sets, computers, chairs, lightbulbs,
guns, CDs, electrical fires, dead friends, refrigerators, painful
memories, typewriters, musical instruments, car parts and inhalers.

I canter down the alley, charmed deeper into its belly, and hear
footsteps. Stride lengthens, awareness sharpens, heartbeat quickens.
The stranger’s pace increases constantly to match my own until we’re
both running. The cobblestone seems to distend into infinity.

Not this time. Oh no. No way. I’m not fucking stupid. I’m waking up
and yes, everything’s okay. No it’s not. I’m still here, still being
chased. Yes, chased.

At the apogee of our pace, an opening to the side appears. I duck into
it and wait. The footsteps amplify as I prepare my attack. This road
doesn’t go anywhere, but that doesn’t matter… I fumble for the
pocket knife in my back pocket and open the blade.

Camouflaged by shadows, I leap out at my pursuer. With ebullient
self-possession, I stab the anonymous figure repeatedly. The darkness
and shadows obscure everything but the distinct sounds of perforated
flesh, spurting blood, and doomed gurgling.

The figure slumps lifelessly at my feet, and I turn to run. I can’t
imagine his dead thoughts. His remains are grainy and bad quality, an
old VHS tape that no-one will see.

Disintegration – I seem to be taking it in stride.

Certain now that I am no longer pursued, my pulse slows in sync with my pace.

Something up ahead, though. Another figure. He canters down the alley.
Did he see what happened? Does he know? I must know. I must follow. My
pace increases to match his.

I’m not proud of everything I’ve done. Sometimes things just get out of hand.

August 29, 2012

the corpse-grinders of berlin – episode 26

Filed under: acéphale — ABRAXAS @ 6:02 pm


When he left Berlin for Slovakia he was pretty much destroyed. He felt wretched. Too much drinking, too many cigarettes. And he had barely slept in days. All he could do at this point was let go.

He found himself in a car with three others. It was a bright September day. They talked about Carravaggio, and about Ezra Pound’s incarceration by the Americans in Pisa. In the car he was forced to listen to pop music all day long. For him this world was laughable, but it was a laugh which carried with it the end of the world. There were so many different kinds of music which touched and ignited the soul and instead people chose to listen to the same pop songs endlessly.

Eventually they entered the familiar Bohemian landscape that he hadn’t experienced for at least seven years. Those hills and fairy-tale forests with their winding roads. And afterwards they drove into the misty gray-green hills of Slovakia which were descending into a deep blue dusk.
Pierre represented the motif of lostness in a world which was too well ordered and blinded by routine and which knew exactly what it wanted. But what it wanted was nothing. Pierre was lost because he knew what he wanted, but what he wanted was something.

In a world of dis-intimacy and disconnection, relationships also suffered. Since the 60s not one of his friends was able to have a long-lasting, meaningful relationship. Everything was in broken pieces. There was no longer any respect, and no longer any tolerance. Everything had taken a different course in history.

A friend once started speculating: “If I’m honest, the number of women in which I have a really meaningful connection to is about 1 in 1000. But I would have to meet that person in a real way, which makes the odds more like 1 to 50,000. And the other person would have to recognise me also, which makes it about 1 to 200,000. And of course the girl would also have to be free, I mean not in a relationship already….1 in 500,000. And she would have to live in the same city….” and he went on like that until he was in the billions. Luckily life is not only at the mercy of statistics, the impossible was still possible. But in the end Pierre had to confess that his friend’s conclusion was quite realistic, it felt like finding someone in this mess of a world seemed almost that difficult. It was obvious to Pierre that most of his friends had just given up and had taken what was available out of desperation- and not out of any real conviction.

At the highway bus stop he stood looking down on the small Slovakian village shrouded in darkness. The church tower lit, the village lights strung throughout the valley. The unbelievable din of crickets vibrating the landscape.

Too much cinema, he was thinking to himself while passing this scenery, attempts to simulate life, and in the end it is only suffocating life. It tries to recreate certain aspects or events, which always ended in a bad imitation. Pierre thought that films should either be busy creating life, like Godard did with his erratic jump cuts, or it should be an abstract reflection on life- as with Bresson or Paradjanov. Either way it was artifice, and not naturalism that struck him with significance. It was a delicate and refined relationship that was maintained and not a simple jerking of the emotions. A bridge should always be crossed in perception in order to preserve the integrity of the viewer.

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