kagablog

September 2, 2012

hasty

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

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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.

August 21, 2012

the corpse-grinders of berlin – episode 28

Filed under: acéphale,literature — ABRAXAS @ 2:55 pm

In the afternoon they drove to a small village in the countryside near Bratislava. They parked the car and from there they climbed a steep hill until they reached the ruins of an old castle. For a long time they sat on the broken walls, silently looking out at the saffron coloured rays of the sun falling upon the dark green forest.

What modern philosophers use such areas as an inspiration for their thoughts? And if they don’t, then where do their thoughts derive from? Insulated and caught in a psychotic urban death cell. Deleuze jumps out the window, not even a very inspiring manner of suicide. Debord fires a bullet through his heart in utter solitude. But Nietzsche was different, he knew that he needed to visit powerful places as a source for his know-ledge. His philosophy wasn’t separated from his vitality.

And Bataille – the period when he was inspired by Laure and he took his theory into practice, has been largely ignored. People either pretend that it didn’t exist, or they deal with it with a kind of uneasy nervousness. A philosopher just can’t start performing strange Dionysian rituals in the forests. Official scholars will burn you at the public stake if you turn your back on a sterile academics and try to find a way to live your philosophy in everyday life. But of course in the end this revenge is just a persecution of their own guilt, an awareness of their own weakness. It was clear to Pierre that the expression “intellectual integrity” was a contradiction in terms.

There are those who speak and there are those who live what they speak.

From the ruins he watched as the shadows moved slowly across the scenery. Soon the valley was engulfed in shade. Once again he was struck by the sensation that the earth was positioned between two opposing planets, two destinies- the sun and the moon, between light and death.

A soft white half-moon in a sky of infinite blue, the walls of the shattered castle burst into a fiery orange.

His harsh judgement like an ass-priest, without even a God to back him.

Instead of our anti-hero turning to stone, his love turns to marble and fades away.

One doesn’t enter history by doing something famous at a particular moment, he thought to himself. It isn’t that easy. One only enters history by an action which speaks of the eternal.

Sitting in a cafe he listened to rock music. Rock was another disaster brought on by the 60s. It was the climax of a certain kind of love which burned itself out through a lack of authenticity. Hypocrisy hadn’t reached such a high level since perhaps the Inquisition. The new dark ages, splashed with colour and bright lights.

In the city of Bratislava he saw midgets and giants. He saw people without eyes, legs, arms, and faces. All of this of course held a certain charm for him.

August 14, 2012

usa readers of the kagablog can buy the forest and the zoo now

Filed under: kaganof — ABRAXAS @ 8:28 am

order it here: http://www.othermusic.com/perl-bin/OM/CD_Search.cgi?ID=8960073.19842&search_type=artist&search_op=EQ&keyword=KAGANOF%20ARYAN

August 8, 2012

the president’s patient

Filed under: south african cinema — ABRAXAS @ 5:07 pm

FILM CHALLENGES THE WORLD TO RETHINK

Sonrise Films has just wrapped up the shooting of The President’s Patient, a motion picture that challenges society to take a fresh look at itself and rethink some of its embedded prejudices against people who look and behave different. The film is written by artist cum journalist Goodenough Mashego (Cast the First Stone) and directed by King Shaft Moropane who has co-written and directed scores of other films, music videos, advertisements and has done corporate film projects.

The President’s Patient is based on the story of Monde, a homeless mentally disturbed man who prowls the streets of Newtown pushing his trolley searching for friendship and camaraderie. One day Monde finds himself on the scene of an attempted assassination on a new minister with radical ideas.

Unbeknown to him he is thrust into the centre of a five day manhunt headed by a team of special agents from three security branches, Organised Crime, Crime Intelligence and State Security Agency. The team looking for him deploys state of the art tools in their hunt. However, unknown to the Lieutenant heading the team, it has been deeply compromised.


king shaft maropane directs the president’s patient

As a consequence every move they make is replicated by the two ruthless assassins whose instructions from their boss Ismail Soobramoney is not to leave Joburg until ‘the madman is killed’. Monde has no clue of what he witnessed. And the hunt becomes more interesting.

The film was wholly shot in Newtown, excerpt for a few scenes which were done at Constitution Hill and the Gauteng Film Office.

The President’s Patient is an M-Net Mzansi Magic commissioned film which will raise awareness about the importance of not judging a book by its cover as a twist in the film will reveal the circumstances surrounding Monde’s homelessness and the family left behind.

It stars Regina Dube, Paul Mzaca, Momelezi Ntshiba, Thabo Monareng, Napo Masheane, Mofenyi Malepe, Motlatsi Mahloko and a very popular Alexandra township artist named Prince Twala, known as the Prince of Newtown.

To express his faith in this film director/producer King Shaft joked that “if this film does not bring lots of awards and gets the proper acclaim you might either find me working as a grocery store till operator or at the post office licking stamps”.

King Shaft was contracted to shoot three films by the pay-channel and The President’ Patient is his second in the series. Mashego, a Mpumalanga native whose company Tenworkers Media co-produced the film wrote the script is a 360 degrees artist who has two poetry books to his name, blogs incessantly, is a literary editor, a literature judge, a practising journalist, political analyst, music producer and equally a filmmaker.

The President’s Patient, is a groundbreaking love story told with passion and zest. It will be screened by Mzansi Magic soon.

August 6, 2012

dave chislett – Growing a Pair

Filed under: dave chislett,poetry — ABRAXAS @ 5:49 pm

I have been writing poetry since I was 10 years old, but it took 30 years, 5 other books published and the invention of Facebook for me to carry this aspect of my writing out into the public eye. Why was this? Well, because poetry doesn’t sell, because intellectualism is not exactly flavour of the month, because it seems almost archaic and well, because I wasn’t sure I was actually any good at it!

Getting Started

When I saw Michelle McGrane posting work up on Facebook on an ad hoc basis, I was intrigued. Then when I read the comments I began to understand something very important. It really didn’t matter what I thought. I t mattered how people felt, and it mattered that I put it out there. So I started publishing poems to Facebook.

I admit, I got a big carried away and posted at least one poem per day for over 18 months. It was a surprising and fun filled adventure! People loved poems I was uncertain of, said nothing about the ones I considered among my best work. There were comments, laughs and most importantly, enjoyment.

I still don’t know if I am any good as a poet, but as for the rest, I don’t care. The net result of this process was that, in July 2012 I published For You Or Someone Like You, my debut poetry collection. It holds 90 poems, drawn from that prolific 18-month Facebook period. There is no overriding theme other than what was on my mind at the time. Although if you look harder you can discern four or five recurring ideas through the body of work.

Selling Poetry

I built a website and started trying to sell the book before it was printed. I sold a few. I still have offers up on that site, you can go out for dinner with me, you can have a writing coaching session, and I can even play you a private show. It’s all on http://www.foryouorsomeonelikeyou.com/?page_id=26

From that website, you can also buy a limited edition CD. It consists of ten tracks. The songs are all poems of mine that various well-known artists have converted into music and recorded. The album includes songs by Rambling Bones, Shannon Hope, Shotgun Tori, Rob McLennan (NFOH), Paul Riekert (Battery 9) and Trenton Birch (Trenton and The Free Radical).

Poetry for me is a deeply personal exercise. But I am very post-modern about it, hence all these bells and whistles. I have set it free in a way. I look ward to meeting you! You can buy the book and CD direct from the website by clicking here: http://www.foryouorsomeonelikeyou.com/?page_id=26

I hope to meet you at a show someday!

dave chislett

August 5, 2012

the rules of noise

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 4:29 pm

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noise is post-music
noise is the phoenix of music moving beyond music
noise iterates what music never can, because noise is unruled
ergo: noise rules!

55. Deadbeat at Dawn – Jim Van Bebber

Filed under: film,on murder as a fine art — ABRAXAS @ 12:19 pm


this review first published here: http://www.mortado.com/gravemusic/index.php/Movie-Reviews/deadbeat-at-dawn-1987.html

July 30, 2012

Chris Marker obituary by ronald bergan

Filed under: film,film as subversive art — ABRAXAS @ 6:23 pm

Ronald Bergan
guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 July 2012 12.57 BST

The essay film, a form pitched between documentary and personal reflection, exploring the subjectivity of the cinematic perspective, has now become an accepted genre. Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet, Jean-Luc Godard, Errol Morris and Michael Moore are among its main recent exponents, but Chris Marker, who has died aged 91, was credited with inventing the form.

Marker’s creative use of sound, images and text in his poetic, political and philosophical documentaries made him one of the most inventive of film-makers. They looked forward to what is called “the new documentary”, but also looked back to the literary essay in the tradition of Michel de Montaigne. Marker’s interests lay in transitional societies – “life in the process of becoming history,” as he put it. How do various cultures perceive and sustain themselves and each other in the increasingly intermingled modern world?

He was born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve, most likely in Neuilly-sur-Seine, on the outskirts of Paris, although one source gives the place of birth as Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia – a legend that Marker did nothing to dispel. His pseudonym is said to have been taken from the Magic Marker pen.
Prix Jean Vigo On 1954 Alain Resnais And Chris Marker Chris Marker, left, with Alain Resnais. The pair collaborated on the propaganda film Far from Vietnam. Photograph: Getty Images/Gamma-Keystone

Marker fought in the French Resistance and supposedly with the American armed forces during the second world war. He emerged from the Parisian Left Bank intellectual climate, coming under the influence of two postwar figures, André Malraux and André Bazin, working with the latter on the theatre section of the magazine Travail et Culture, then under the aegis of the French Communist party.

He wrote a novel, Le Coeur Net, published in 1950 and translated the following year as The Forthright Spirit; a book of criticism on the playwright and novelist Jean Giraudoux; poems and short stories; and film reviews for Cahiers du Cinéma. But it was his lucid and committed leftwing documentaries, all of which he wrote and many of which he photographed, made from 1955 to 1966, that established him as a major film-maker. It was during this period that the poet Henri Michaux proclaimed: “The Sorbonne should be razed and Chris Marker put up in its place.”

“I write to you from a far-off country,” begins Marker’s Lettre de Sibérie (Letter from Siberia, 1958), which uses cartoons, texts and voiceover. In the film, Marker questions the objectivity of documentaries by repeating one sequence three times, each with a different commentary. Depending on the commentary, Soviet workers building a road were either “unhappy”, “happy” or “noble”.

The passionate and influential Cuba Si! (1961) contains two interviews with Fidel Castro. It ends with the Bay of Pigs fiasco, which took place in April 1961, during the editing of the film, which had been shot a few months previously. The anti-American tone of the ending caused the French government to ban the film until 1963, but Marker published the text and stills before then. However, this could not amply communicate the expert use of sound, image and text that makes his films so special.

Marker brought the same foreigner’s eye view to bear on his own city in Le Joli Mai (1963), which he compiled from 55 hours of interviews with the people of Paris (boiled down to around two and a half hours) with a linking commentary spoken by Yves Montand (replaced by Simone Signoret in the English version). The interviews assume the form of a dialectic during which Marker’s tone is often ironic and judgmental. For example, when one interviewee says he wants material success, Marker remarks that his view of life is “a trifle limited”.

Marker’s La Jetée (The Pier, 1962), a roughly 30-minute post-third world war story, is made up entirely of stills, except for one brief moving shot of a woman opening her eyes. This futuristic photo-novel film, semi-remade by Terry Gilliam as 12 Monkeys in 1995, abstracts cinema almost to its essence in bringing to life the story of a post-apocalyptic man obsessed with an image from his past.

Set against the backdrop of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Le Mystère Koumiko (The Koumiko Mystery, 1965) consists of a series of conversations with an attractive, French-speaking Tokyo resident named Koumiko Muraoka. Through her, and modern Tokyo, Marker is able to comment on the loss of identity in the face of globalism. Koumiko considers her own features too Japanese, while the director interprets the aesthetics of contemporary Japanese fashion as a subconscious desire to neutralise Asiatic features and erase the otherness that attracts Marker himself to the culture (and to the heroine).

In 1966, Marker set up a company, Société pour le Lancement des Oeuvres Nouvelles, to produce new work. It financed Loin du Vietnam (Far from Vietnam, 1967), a timely propaganda piece with contributions directed by Godard, Agnès Varda, Alain Resnais, Joris Ivens and Marker himself.

Le Train en Marche (The Train Rolls On, 1971) was a documentary focusing on the director Alexander Ivanovich Medvedkin, and his CineTrain of the 1930s, on which film crews travelled through the Soviet Union making documentaries. Using archive footage and photographs, Marker illustrates how the CineTrain functioned as the means by which films could include and educate the masses in Russia at the start of the revolution. More than 20 years later, after the fall of Soviet communism, Marker returned to Medvedkin in Le Tombeau d’Alexandre (The Last Bolshevik, 1992). The film is a series of video letters to Medvedkin (who died in 1989) and provides a broader, incisive meditation on the nature of reality, fiction, art, ideology and history.

Taking an even wider perspective was his 1977 film Le Fond de l’Air est Rouge (a slogan from the May 1968 protests). It was given the English title The Grin Without a Cat. Divided into two 90-minute parts, it tells the story of the New Left activist movement, from its birth as a byproduct of the Vietnam war to the CIA’s ousting of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, which sounded the death knell for ideological hope. For Marker, truth is always a matter of an individual’s point of view: history does not exist apart from through our personal experience and interpretation of it.

“You never know what you’re filming until later,” remarks one of the film’s many narrators, summing up Marker’s distinctive way of working both within the moment and out of it. In Sans Soleil (Sunless, 1983), a fictional cameraman (a Marker surrogate) tries to make sense of the cultural dislocation he feels in Japan, West Africa and Iceland. Using diverse images, letters, quotes and musings, Marker continued to extend the limits of the documentary, making use of new video technology and image-processing by Hayao Yamaneko, credited with special effects. The result is a film that Marker described as like “a musical composition, with recurrent themes, counterpoints and mirror-like fugues”.

“I remember that month of January in Tokyo, or rather, I remember the images I filmed of the month of January in Tokyo,” says the narrator. “They have substituted themselves for my memory. They are my memory … the act of remembering is not the opposite of forgetting.”

Apart from the Medvedkin documentaries, Marker made further films on directors. AK (1985), profiling the location shooting of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran on the slopes of Mount Fuji, included an interview with its 75-year-old director. This reverential impression of the Japanese master at work is revealing about Kurosawa’s methods and his relations with his crew. Marker also uses the subject for his own brand of poetic-philosophical celluloid essay on the Japanese and on the making of a film. For the French TV programme Cinéastes de Notre Temps, Marker paid homage to Andrei Tarkovsky in Une Journée d’Andrei Arsenevitch (One Day in the Life of Andrei Arsenevich, 2000).

In the 1990s, Marker expanded into multimedia installation work such as Zapping Zone for the Pompidou Centre. In the film Level Five (1997), he made use of the new video technology and paid homage to Resnais’ films on memory and the unconscious. Gradually, a woman called Laura (named after the eponymous heroine of the Otto Preminger film) attempts to reconstruct a true historical event through information derived from a global virtual network known as Optional World Link (or Owl, a wry reference to Marker’s production company Argos Films and its emblematic mascot).

That decade, Marker, always the innovator, made a CD-Rom called Immemory, composed of stills, film clips, music, text and fragments of sound. It is over 20 hours long and can be viewed in many different ways.

Throughout his career, Marker, who was notoriously secretive about his private life, was rarely interviewed or photographed, often responding to requests for his photograph with a picture of a cat – his favourite animal.

• Chris Marker (Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve), film director, born 29 July 1921; died 30 July 2012

first published here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jul/30/chris-marker?newsfeed=true

July 18, 2012

moscow circus

Filed under: derek davey,music,politics — ABRAXAS @ 12:48 pm

In 1992 a performance called the Moscow Circus premiered at the Grahamstown National Festival of the Arts. The cast included singer/songwriter Vusi Mahlasela, poet Lesego Rampolokeng, the punk/industrial band Live Jimi Presley and dancer/arsonists Chetanya Alexander and Angela Macpherson. The crew was put together by Hannalie Coetzee, who was managing Vusi, Lesego and the Presleys at the time. Some of the Lesego songs were written by Warrick Sony and adapted for the show.

They performed at the Power Station on the outskirts of the Grahamstown precinct, a vast, picturesque, face-brick freezing venue; sacks were stuffed into the windows to seal them and charcoal braziers were set among the audience. Each night the line-up was Jennifer Ferguson, The Moscow Circus, James Phillips and The Lurchers, then Lloyd Ross playing World Music for the after-party – every night an unforgettable experience.

Recently some footage shot by Lloyd was dug out from his archive and given to the Presleys. There are some truly amazing shots, and the sound is top quality, despite the fact that the tapes were so old that they frequently stuck together and broke as he digitised them.

1992 was smack in the middle of Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990 and the first multi-racial elections in South Africa in 1994. It was an extremely troubled time, characterized by massive, ongoing township violence, ANC-Inkatha battles, attempts by the right-wing to destabilise the power-sharing process, the mysterious and deadly 3rd force etc. If you watch The Bang Bang Club you will realise just how close this country came to not becoming a democracy and sliding into total anarchy. The Moscow Circus reflects this zeitgeist, for instance referring to the “violins” that refused to stop playing in the townships.

If anyone has memorabilia from this period – photos, videos, posters, programmes etc – please scan and forward to me. My aim is to put together a short documentary based on the footage of this show, from 20 years ago.

derek davey
psychaderek@yahoo.co.in

July 9, 2012

nick cave and tracy pew, london venue july 1982

Filed under: kagaportraits,music — ABRAXAS @ 8:53 pm

Tracy Franklin Pew (19 December 1957 – 7 November 1986) was an Australian musician: he was the bass guitarist for The Birthday Party from 1975 to its disbandment in June 1983. He was subsequently a member of The Saints and worked with former The Birthday Party band mates’ group, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. As a member of The Birthday Party, Pew became associated with their “prodigious consumption of drugs and alcohol”. At a 1980 performance by James Freud, Pew expressed his disapproval by throwing dog faeces at the singer-guitarist. In 1982 Pew was imprisoned for ten weeks in HM Prison Won Wron on charges relating to driving under the influence of alcohol. Pew died on 7 November 1986 of a brain haemorrhage after head injuries sustained during an epileptic seizure, he was aged 28.

read more about tracy pew here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracy_Pew

Ralph Steadman: Another Freak in the Freak Kingdom – interview by sarah claire picton

Filed under: art,sarah claire picton — ABRAXAS @ 2:37 pm

Mickey and Mallory, Bonny and Clyde, Butch and Sundance… it seems that great murderers hunt in pairs. And so do Gonzo artists. Ralph Steadman was Hunter S. Thompson’s illustrator, collaborator and friend. He captures the essence of Thompson’s words with his iconic cartoons and paintings, adding a visual counterpoint to the dark and sardonic music of the duo’s journey.

Steadman’s award-winning work includes political cartoons, book illustrations and countless examples of his life-long scribbled homage to whimsy. He failed Art at the same school that now has a Ralph Steadman Creative Suite, and unveiled the plaque himself. His life breaks the rules with the same joyful defiance that his art does. He explains: ‘Gonzo is the essence of irony. You dare not take it seriously. You have to laugh.’

Sarah Claire Picton sits down to share a breakfast of champions with Steadman.

What have you been working on ink-wise?

A book of extinct boids of planet oith.

Could you explain the symbolism of reptiles in your work?

Reptiles always seem cunning and unpredictable. I just don’t trust them… but I quite like Kermit the Frog and his lovely song ‘Why are there so many songs about Rainbows and what’s on the Other Side?’

They sell your art and literature but ban your designs for beer. Would that be a Banzo act?

I wrote a poem about that art ban about Raging Bitch India Pale Ale in Michigan:
‘Summink the matter with Michigan
Being a bit of a bitch again
When all I want is to be Rich again
While the people drink the good beer’

Profits are up and wages are down. Will America survive this Depression?

Of course it will! We’ve been on this planet for over 10 000 years already… in one form or another. We are Homo Erectus. We stood up and walked straight. Isn’t that enough evidence?

What’s your take on the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement?

They are the new population of Great Britain. Folks have had enough of being pushed around.

You’ve worked with Oddbins and Flying Dog Breweries for many years. Do you have a personal interest in the brewing and distilling process?

I used to grow one hundred vines of Pinot Grigio, but it became another career and thus too much. I love drinking white wine but I love drawing more.

Have you had any feedback from children regarding the classics that you have illustrated, like Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and Animal Farm? How do you find your voice when illustrating an iconic children’s story?

Funny thing: I’ve never received any child’s correspondence with regards to Alice. I probably treated it as an adult book, which in many ways it is. The parodies and metaphors are sometimes quite alarming, and the Jabberwock is too threatening for a twenty-first century child. Then again, ‘kids’ stuff’ on SKY can be pretty scary. Even Ben 10.

Did you ever imagine that the time you spent and the work you did with Hunter S. Thompson would be so widely followed – even working its way into history books and inspiring as yet unjaded dreamers?

When I met Hunter back in 1970, I knew I had met a weird one… but I reckoned he was the reason I went to America: to find some reason and rhyme for my work. I wanted to change the world… for better or worse… and I am glad there is Gonzo.

What is Gonzo all about to you?

Bill Cordosa came up with the word after our first collaboration in Kentucky. He lived in Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge. Of course he didn’t know where it came from… but it needs new troops to re-interpret and push it.

What’s your stance on hallucinogens?

I never used them except for that one time in the Kentucky Derby and in Nigel Finch’s Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood. I was curious about the pills Hunter kept popping. It was Psylocybin. It freaked me out and I never touched drugs again.

Had any Coca leaves recently?

No, but I have some Coca Tea from Peru.

How do you compare drug consumption of today to that of the ‘70s?

Leave the shit alone! Alcohol (or Alcohoho) is good and sociable. You can survive on that… but you can’t survive on nuthin’.

Do you vote?

Yes. For a local candidate when I can see the whites of his eyes.

Does the head pendant that Hunter S. Thompson gave you still hang around your neck and does it ward off evil spirits?

All evil spirits are held at bay and had better not fuck with my piece of mind. I still wear a necklace I bought from a Navajo in Santa Fe. I wear it every day next to Hunter’s gift. And a welsh trinket from my daughter Sadie.

Words like ‘creativity’ and ‘originality’ are loosely tossed about. What do the mean to you?

A whole new generation are just recreating what we did. Fuck those people. It’s time they found something of their own.

Have you been in love and is there such a thing?

Not quite sure… but it fucked up my first marriage.

What’s with the flower in the logo for Hunter’s ‘Sheriff of Aspen’ campaign?

His deep compassion for the human race.

Do you ever feel afraid?

From the moment I wake up.

Do you remember what you were doing when you heard that Hunter S. Thompson had committed suicide?

I was waking up and the phone rang. It was a friend in Kentucky, Joe Petro the Third. They always have to have descendants. He said: ‘Take your phone of the hook. Hunter just put a bullet from a Magnum .44 through his brain. It’s the death of fun, Ralph.’
Hunter always said to me that he would feel trapped in this life if he didn’t know that he could commit suicide at any moment. He was the greatest person I ever met in my life.

You wrote the song Weird and Twisted Nights with him?

Hunter gave me his lines over the phone from Owl Farm in Colorado. ‘Ah… but never mind the nights, my love. It never happened anyway.’ That became the chorus.

Who represented the Savage Beast back then? And who represents it now?

Hunter always thought that I was the ‘crazy’ one. Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner agreed that I was crazier than Hunter. Oh dear.

Do you still write songs?

I have a bunch of songs and occasionally I play this and that on the ukulele, but I rarely touch the guitar now… though I keep looking at it.

What did you and Hunter listen to in the car?

Hunter always drove and chose the music. We both liked Jim Morrison.

Word association time: Red.
Beige.
Voyeur.
Uninterested.
Humanity.
Where?
Beauty.
My wife Anna.
Vulgar.
People.
Art.
Picasso and me.
Reality.
Picasso and other people.
God.
Dog.

Any last thoughts?

The only thing of value is the thing I cannot say. Wittgenstein.

July 7, 2012

kenyan singers in hate speech trial

Filed under: censorship,music,politics — ABRAXAS @ 3:48 pm

first published here: http://mg.co.za/article/2012-07-04-kenyan-musicians-hate-speech

jitsvinger @national arts festival

Filed under: afrikaaps — ABRAXAS @ 3:41 pm

first published here: http://www.iol.co.za/tonight/music/diverse-sounds-prove-music-to-crowds-ears-1.1334074#.T_g8HHChOGp

July 6, 2012

74. Summer of Sam – Spike Lee

Filed under: film,on murder as a fine art — ABRAXAS @ 2:41 pm

Summer of Sam (1999)
NYT Critics’ Pick
FILM REVIEW; Red Hot Buttons in Lee’s Steaming ‘Sam’
By JANET MASLIN
Published: July 2, 1999

Spike Lee’s fiery ”Summer of Sam” has as much to do with the summers of 1989 and 1999 as it does with the tabloid fevers of 1977, which are so electrifyingly rekindled here. It was in 1989 that the film of Mr. Lee’s that ”Summer of Sam” most resembles, ”Do the Right Thing,” arrived on the wave of sensationalism and outrage that continue to swamp some of his best efforts. So here he is fielding complaints about having bruised the tender feelings of David Berkowitz, the .44-caliber killer whose murderous rampage and purple prose brought New York City to the boiling point 22 years ago.

Mr. Lee didn’t make up Mr. Berkowitz’s crimes. And he didn’t make them central to his furiously enthralling ”Summer of Sam,” either. What may surprise anyone following the publicity maelstrom around the director’s latest effort is that its Son of Sam aspects, while fiendishly vivid, are only the backdrop for a film that is much more lurid in other regards. ”Summer of Sam” pushes sexual hot buttons even more emphatically, to the point where it also pushes the envelope for raw talk and raunchy eroticism on screen.

That may be standard practice for the summer of 1999, but it still invites some second thoughts. In a season when Austin Powers has schoolchildren kidding about Swedish penis enhancers and the casual props for ”Wild Wild West” include bondage gear and a severed head, it’s time to wonder how much the traffic will bear. Our notions of prurience require some rethinking when an otherwise routine thriller like ”The General’s Daughter” cashes in on a naked, spread-eagled corpse. That’s an image far more obscene than anything the hilarious, willfully filthy ”South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut” has to offer.

Just as ”South Park” earns its smut streak by treating both the foul-mouthed and the self-righteous with a wicked satirical edge, ”Summer of Sam” earns its steam heat. That was, first of all, a legitimate sign of the times. The director plunges his audience headlong into a pre-AIDS libidinous frenzy sweeping enough to encompass disco, punk, drugs, screaming headlines and hysterical prejudices, none of this made any less frenzied by the specter of a killer on the loose. The so-called Son of Sam is used as a deranged catalyst, seen writhing in black socks and boxer shorts as he howls at the dog next door. It’s some measure of the film’s own pressure-cooker madness that David Berkowitz no longer seems like the most tortured soul onscreen as ”Summer of Sam” reaches its savage finale.

Set in a xenophobic, embattled Bronx neighborhood where non-Italian-Americans are regarded with deep suspicion, ”Summer of Sam” shares the ”Do the Right Thing” affinity for local color. That the color is white this time makes surprisingly little difference to Mr. Lee’s approach. These characters roam the neighborhood, affect macho posturing and endlessly shoot the breeze just as the filmmaker’s Bedford-Stuyvesant characters did. And they become embroiled in a story with similar slow-building but unstoppable momentum, as that scorching summer’s craziness starts to tear old friendships apart.

In a raging, startlingly visceral performance, John Leguizamo plays Vinny, a blend of sexual insatiability and status quo. Vinny hews loyally to the community’s provincial attitudes, but he also has a libido that’s spinning him out of control. Like every major character in just about any of Mr. Lee’s films, he is thinly conceived but wildly vibrant anyhow, especially when the story pits him against Ritchie (Adrien Brody), a boyhood friend who has taken on rebellious affectations.

You could say that the tension between them boils down to nothing more interesting than a schism between punk and disco. (Like all of Mr. Lee’s fiction films, this one is steeped in pop cultural references and a hugely effective musical score.) Or you could just sit back and watch two tough, furious actors making their moves.

The film’s interesting if tricky conceit is to give each of them, and many of the other figures in a busy screenplay written by Mr. Lee, Victor Colicchio and the actor Michael Imperioli, some kind of double life. These dichotomies rivet attention even when they’re hackneyed, like Vinny’s Madonna-whore cheating on his wife, Dionna (Mira Sorvino), or farfetched, like Ritchie’s allegedly heterosexual yen for the world of gay porn.

Credible plotting doesn’t always come easily to Mr. Lee, but wild verve does; this film, like the dazzling but many-tentacled ”He Got Game” before it, makes up in fury much of what it lacks in form. It overflows with lurid, posturing characters who define the limits of the small world in which they live.

Mr. Lee’s love-hate relationship with cultural stereotypes remains alive and well. He brings the same jokey familiarity to this film that he has to his Brooklyn stories. And for every blunt, dead-end detail (there is quite literally a ”Dead End” sign here, flanked by the colors of the Italian flag), there’s a sharp one, like the addict in this waterfront neighborhood who tries to sell broken lobsters at cut rates. If many of the particulars and much of the talk here are exceptionally coarse, that too is a well-established part of Mr. Lee’s arsenal. ”Summer of Sam,” which easily accommodates a brief scene at Plato’s Retreat and the knock-down, drag-out marital fight that follows it, is intent on making this a long, hot summer in more ways than one.

Ms. Sorvino is radiant and poignant as Vinny’s disco queen with her own double life as a girlish waitress; Jennifer Esposito makes a tough foil for Ritchie; Bebe Neuwirth turns the local beauty parlor into her personal den of iniquity, and Patti LuPone vamps frighteningly as Ritchie’s slatternly mother. But ”Summer of Sam” unfolds in what is very much a man’s world.

And there are more than a couple of Michaels (Rispoli and Imperioli) linking it to ”The Sopranos,” or to the Martin Scorsese ambience it vaguely echoes. But Mr. Lee’s Italian-American world and the mounting anger that consumes it are consistent enough with his earlier work to be his own more than anyone else’s. Ben Gazzara (as a cool mobster), Anthony LaPaglia (as a detective), Ken Garito and Brian Tarantino are among those who bring it to life, with Michael Badalucco seen briefly as the eerie killer.

”Summer of Sam” is loaded with visual energy thanks to Ellen Kuras’s bold, inventive cinematography, a nonstop array of tricks (time to give those lengthening, distorting lenses seen in ”Crooklyn” a rest), and editing that’s sometimes abrupt, sometimes formidable. Two standout montages edited to suit hard-hitting, emblematic Who songs (from ”Who’s Next”) perfectly capture the blazing chaos of the season in hell that Mr. Lee recalls.

”Summer of Sam” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It includes strong profanity, sexual situations, frequent references to oral and anal sex and intermittent brutal but quick glimpses of violence.

SUMMER OF SAM

Directed by Spike Lee; written by Mr. Lee, Victor Colicchio and Michael Imperioli; director of photography, Ellen Kuras; edited by Barry Alexander Brown; music by Terence Blanchard; production designer, Therese DePrez; produced by Mr. Lee and John Kilik; released by Buena Vista Pictures. Running time: 145 minutes. This film is rated R.

WITH: John Leguizamo (Vinny), Adrien Brody (Ritchie), Mira Sorvino (Dionna), Jennifer Esposito (Ruby), Michael Rispoli (Joey T), Bebe Neuwirth (Gloria), Patti LuPone (Helen), Mike Starr (Eddie), Anthony LaPaglia (Det. Lou Petrocelli), Ken Garito (Brian), Brian Tarantino (Bobby Del Fiore), Roger Guenveur Smith (Det. Curt Atwater), Ben Gazzara (Luigi), Jimmy Breslin (himself), Michael Badalucco (Son of Sam), Spike Lee (John Jeffries) and John Turturro (voice of Harvey the Black Dog).

first published here: http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9401E7DB143DF931A35754C0A96F958260

henkjan honing – iedereen is muzikaal

Filed under: music — ABRAXAS @ 12:54 pm

order it here: http://www.musiccognition.nl/x/Iedereen_is_muzikaal.html

July 1, 2012

Classic Albums: Herbie Hancock – Thrust.

Filed under: mick raubenheimer,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 7:39 pm

Haters can hate, but that molten decade sprung between the mid-Sixties and mid-Seventies was a smorgasbord of innovation and adventure in music.

While the heady spirit of freedom – and hyper-stimuli of psychedelics – didn’t exactly wreak genius upon the average human mind (whose imaginative reach crested at tie-dye shirts, living in tepees, and emancipating body hair), artists went and dove over the edges of all kinds of edges.

Music, for one, would never be the same; nor, perhaps, ever be as rampantly inspired.

Most of us know what cliffs and rainbows were scaled in the woodlands of Rock music, but Jazz was turning into something of a chameleonic panther – hunting in stark, steaming forests slivered with stars and explosions of light.

As per usual, it was Miles who’d taken the brazen first steps into electric instrumentation (a big taboo at the time). After that, the floodgates heaved open.

Leading the Fusion campaigns were rhythmic polymath Tony Williams’ Lifetime, John McLaughlin’s solar flare Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea’s Return To Forever and Hancock’s uber-funky Headhunters. The latter was the only one to eschew the electric guitar – that then seemingly crucial part of the electric equation.

Golden flights.

By the late Sixties Herbie Hancock was already a legend in the Jazz world. At the age of 23 Hancock had joined Miles Davis’ new band, which history would dub Davis’ Second Great Quintet. Davis was looking to freshen up his sound again, and in 1963 launched said new band featuring young up-and-comers Ron Carter on bass, 17-yr old Tony Williams on drums, and Hancock on keys.

This rhythm section went on to reach unheard-of sophistication and originality, helping shape the Post-Bop movement. During his period in the quintet Hancock also released solo albums ‘Empyrean Islands’ and ‘Maiden Voyage’, two of the most popular Jazz albums of that decade.

Fired from the quintet in ‘68, “for returning late from his honeymoon” (a rather unsympathetic ground for dismissal, although typical of the sometimes icy Davis), Hancock started focusing on his own music, which would increasingly incorporate mainstream elements into his otherwise challenging compositions.

Following the peak of his experimental thrust, with the three commercially disappointing ‘Mwandishi’ albums, Hancock decided to ground his then-stratospheric explorations, rooting them in the earthy foundation of Funk. It was a brilliant move.

The result, in 1973, was ‘Headhunters’, a hip-swanging, finger-snapping Jazz Funk outing, which crossed over into the mainstream Billboard charts. This was followed by ‘Thrust’, which, across its four monstrously tight, yet galaxy traversing epics, seemed to perfectly meld the alchemic reaches of Jazz sophistry with the dizzying musks of Funk.

Like Darth Vader.

The best of Funk has a lot in common with the best of Cheese (well, for those brave of palate; the others can stick to Fourplay and cheddar) – they contain layers of intrigue, and something almost a little bit off. It’s got Whiff.

If ‘Headhunters’ was embraced by the hip mainstream for its melodic, even rhythmic accessibility, ‘Thrust’ ventured deeper into the vines and stars.

In the cd-reissue’s liner notes, drummer Mike Clark (who created that impossibly groove-infested drumbeat for album opener ‘Palm Grease’, and burns throughout) recalls being invited to join one of Fusion’s most exciting and rhythmically daunting groups, and waxes appropriately lyrical. He speaks of ‘the zone’ and meditation, of telepathy with bassist Paul Jackson Jr. He speaks of ‘higher levels’, and at one point describes Hancock striding into rehearsal with a long black overcoat, looking “like Darth Vader”, before swishing down to sit behind the keyboards and letting ‘em rip.

The four tracks on ‘Thrust’ are blistering sonic events. Even the relative ballad, that gorgeous dream ‘Butterfly’, crackles with energy.

As beautiful and cool as the melodies weaving from Hancock’s hands and flautist Bennie Maupin’s mouth are, it’s the rhythms (inter-clasped/ sidestepping/ inventing beats like some kind of flexible, temporal Rubick’s cube) that both root the album and let it flourish into Space.

Higher level stuff.

*******

June 27, 2012

interactions: a strategy of difference and repetition – south african premiere 1 july during national arts festival

Filed under: 2012 - Interactions: A Strategy of Difference — ABRAXAS @ 1:47 pm

shot, produced, edited, sound recorded & mixed and directed by aryan kaganof
music by afrikaaps and brian eno

book tickets here: http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/the-bowl-interactions/

June 26, 2012

Eugène’s Dream (3:24 min)

Filed under: anton krueger,poetry,south african theatre — ABRAXAS @ 5:48 pm

by Anton Krueger (2006)

Appearing daily at The Arts Lounge
17a Somerset Street, Grahamstown
for the duration of the festival,
(28 June-7 July, 2012).

Eugène Marais’ seminal poem “Diep Rivier” (1926) is a lyric suffused with lament. Within its unsettling, tortured beauty one finds
clues to the poet’s addiction to morphine. It’s also eerily prescient of his suicide, speaking of his endless longing (“die groot verlange”),
of the blade of love wedged into his heart (“Die lem van liefde wroegend in my hart”), and of the pain which will be eased by the embrace
of the dark river (“In jou omhelsing eindig al my smart”). The last lines exhort the river to rise, to come quickly (“Kom snel”), to wash away
the pain of love.

But “Eugene’s Dream” turns this darkest of poems inside out. Here the murky river seeps through the pores of the individual’s shell, and
flows, brooding, through the valley of a strenuously pixelated Pretoria. Instead of referencing an inner emotional landscape, the poem
becomes about the mass, about the social structure embodied within the architecture of the city. This is a cityscape dominated by the
looming presence of the Reserve Bank, the highest building in the capital city. The building towers over all the other constructions, dwarfing
mosques, temples, and churches.

In this video you won’t see the famous historical sites synonymous with the capital city; no Voortrekker Monument or Union Buildings.
Instead, the viewer is thrown into a wild melange of ugly urban constructions from the 1970’s, juxtaposed with the Hindu temple in
Marabastad and the mosque in the city centre. These images are woven together with scenes from a farm outside Pretoria – the windswept
silhouettes of trees, the dark pit of a barren spring, a sick rose – creating an hallucinatory vision of instability within the shadow
of the tower.

In this way the dark river of dread becomes equated with the flow of money, with the imposing behemoth of the Reserve Bank, flowing
through a multitude of social streams, buffered against a swirling melee of contesting systems of value, over which it, eventually,
presides. A dark tower. Mordor. A temple to Moloch.

With music and voices by Werner Mouton & Brendon Roelofse.

DIEP RIVIER

O, Diep Rivier, O Donker Stroom,
Hoe lank het ek gewag, hoe lank gedroom,
Die lem van liefde wroegend in my hart?
– In jou omhelsing eindig al my smart;
Blus uit, O Diep Rivier, die vlam van haat; –
Die groot verlange wat my nooit verlaat.
Ek sien van ver die glans van staal en goud,
Ek hoor die sag gedruis van waters diep en koud;
Ek hoor jou stem as fluistering in ’n droom,
Kom snel, O Diep Rivier, O Donker Stroom.

June 25, 2012

interactions: a strategy of difference and repetiton – south african premiere on 1 july during national arts festival

Filed under: 2012 - Interactions: A Strategy of Difference — ABRAXAS @ 5:20 pm


featuring jerry pooee, artistic director of the windybrow theatre

shot, produced, edited, sound recorded & mixed and directed by aryan kaganof
music by afrikaaps and brian eno

book tickets here: http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/the-bowl-interactions/

June 23, 2012

interactions: a strategy of difference and repetiton – south african premier on 1 july during national arts festival

Filed under: 2012 - Interactions: A Strategy of Difference — ABRAXAS @ 4:57 pm


featuring ismail mohamed, artistic director of the national arts festival

shot, produced, edited, sound recorded & mixed and directed by aryan kaganof
music by afrikaaps and brian eno

book tickets here: http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/the-bowl-interactions/

POLIS

Filed under: anton krueger,south african theatre — ABRAXAS @ 10:19 am

A series of five extraordinary performance art events on the National Arts Festival Main Stage.

Performance Art meets Thinkfest. A collaboration between international artists and local academics.

Includes: historical battle re-enactment with a blazing cannon, a pole dancer, a monk, a boxer, a runner, a blind woman, a child, a geographer, a general, metaphysical traders, live installations, performance games, opera, films, live music, artworks, confessional booths, and loads of innovative inter-disciplinary debate involving leading intellectuals from Departments of History, Politics, Anthropology, Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Drama and Music.

Limited seating: only 45 tickets are available per show. Secure your seat at computicket: http://online.computicket.com/web/

The POLIS Series consists of five completely different events:

Tuesday 3 July 18:00
Arena: Arenas are spaces where forces contend and events unfold. Historical re-enactment, and museum exhibits frame Elizabeth Salt’s pursuit up a pole, as six leading Grahamstonian intellectuals discuss the vexing question of “what is to be done?”

Wednesday 4 July 18:00
Cell: The cell is the arena divided; a place of captivity and meditation. Via the route of, Narrative Therapy, Trudy Meehan finds a way into the personal story of a boxer and an ex-convict, while a monk relates the story of his cell.

Thursday 5 July 18:00
Spring: Springs have always been places of temporary gathering. Penny Bernard, a sangoma with a doctorate in Anthropology speaks on the springs of Grahamstown and the sources of knowledge in the dreamworld as children in hammocks dream our future into being.

Friday 6 July 18:00
Border: The border separates and secures identity. Grahamstown’s past and present borders have created a landscape fraught with real politic. What is the border’s effect on senses of self, mobility and other? Jeff Peires and Julia Wells talk about the fraught borders of these spaces in a terrain criss-crossed by visual and metaphoric conflict.

Saturday 7 July 18:00
Market: Public sites of exchange are crucial meeting points for South Africa’s newly democratized citizens. A real market surrounds the chapel, where some are selling wares, and some trading in more esoteric fare. Inside the chapel a sacred space allows votive symbolic offerings. Economists Gavin Keeton and Geoff Antrobus discuss Grahamstown’s money in the world at large, with a guest appearance by Lesego Rampolokeng.

See the whole series: 3 July – 7 July, 18:00 – 19:00 in the Nun’s Chapel. R40.00 a shot. It’s nothing.

http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/the-polis-series/

June 22, 2012

interactions: a strategy of difference and repetition – south african premiere during national arts festival (1 july 2012)

Filed under: 2012 - Interactions: A Strategy of Difference — ABRAXAS @ 1:23 pm


featuring moenier adams (afrikaaps)

shot, produced, edited, sound recorded & mixed and directed by aryan kaganof
music by afrikaaps and brian eno

book tickets here: http://www.nationalartsfestival.co.za/show/the-bowl-interactions/

June 20, 2012

The Road Blog – AK & the Bald Spots

Filed under: derek davey,music — ABRAXAS @ 2:53 pm

The Joburg leg of the Sweet Like A Lemon Tour featuring AK & The Bald Spots, the Indie rock band from Mpbombela, takes in two dates. The first is at the Troyeville Hotel on Friday the 22nd June and the second is at Amuse Cafe in Linden on Saturday the 23rd.

Both dates are part of a tour that is the minor fulfilment of a dream I’ve had ever since I became a musician in the first bloom of my squeaky voiced and spiky haired youth.I’ve long wanted to take a band on the road and see the world, town by town, and perform music to different people night after night. A romantic image in my mind that somehow remained that way, until now, that is.

So it was that upon completion of the album that took me a few years to write (no deadline in Indie world), I suddenly was in the position to do the thing that I’d long wanted to do: go on a tour with a few bandmates, get out of Smallsville, get a life, hit the road, live the rock ‘n roll dream. It had to be in a crap van that was crammed to the rafters with equipment, and was just barely legal in terms of roadworthiness. Indie rockers together, us against the world, comrades in arms, pursuing an impossible dream. Fame, fortune, and changing the world! Little by little the dream was forgotten and compromised until it became a mere shell of its former self.. Somewhere in the back of my mind, though, a voice began to nag at me, “This is not enough! There’s so much more!” So I decided to make the dream a reality, hence AK & The Bald Spots on the Sweet Like A Lemon Tour. If this is delusion, its a fantasy that does not come cheap by any means. But oh, what joy! Small time is better than no time, as far as I’m concerned.

Substituting youth for wisdom and experience, we still feel music can change the world and bring a sense of unity to the disparate, antagonistic and various communities in the “New” SA. Even if it is one gig at a time, baby steps for sure, but better than sitting back and just doing nothing while the country slowly gorges and devours itself on the hatreds of old. And let’s face it, rock ‘n roll is the best day job in the world – just a case of maximising income streams, creating a market, supplying it, and living happily ever after. That’s the theory anyway. Walking the walk is just a tad more challenging, as many Indie rockers will attest..That’s why we need you, gentle reader, to get to one or both dates in Joburg this weekend. We promise not to disappoint!

Tito Mgwenya, the drummer on Sweet Like a Lemon, the album we’d just finished recdording, mixing and mastering at Echo Studios in Nelspruit, had purchased a vehicle for just such an occasion. We’d often spoken, in recent months, of “getting a band together, and going on the road”.We both sensed the time was getting near.

The opportunity really presented itself after I received a call from Charles Grass (not his real name), a guitarist from Durban who had moved to the Lowveld recently and was looking to start an acoustic duo, for working small venues such as restaurants, pubs, lodges and corporate events. As I’d been doing these kind of gigs for a few months now to supplement my income as a music teacher, I’d started to find great joy in performing songs that I love, always taking the chance to discreetly add my own compositions into the sets. Time to take it to the next level, I thought, so I started booking dates for the band, which consisted of Tito on drums, Charlie on guitar, and myself on guitar and vocals. Jomo Shongwe joined us on bass guitar, but due to his day-job commitments, was unable to travel with us to Joburg.

Charlie and I started practising in the mornings and pretty soon we had a cooking set of tracks together that was nice and tight, including songs off Sweet Like a Lemon and 2005’s Peace and Love. We also worked on some smoking acoustic versions of classics like Are you Gonna Go My Way, Come Together, Ring of Fire, Have You Ever Seen The Rain and Redemption Song – material that both suits my voice and are guaranteed crowd pleasers. I always feel there’s no reason to ever include weak songs in a set. And doing them acoustically means its easier to control the sound in small venues. The Bald Spots were starting to forge an identity.

Our tour started taking shape once a friend of mine in Joburg, Derek Davey expressed some interest in booking gigs for us in Joburg, and perhaps collaborating either with percussion or bass. He booked us the two dates mentioned above, and I booked the others, including Tonteldoos, Kaapsehoop and White River.. Meanwhile, Derek had been learning the basslines to the songs in our set, and was apparently getting them down . …

The Friday night gig in Troyeville ought to be good, but experience tells me to keep my expectations neutral and let the evening unfold in its own way. Derek has played there with his band Them Particles, and the last time I was in Troyeville was at Bob’s Bar, in ’95, giving James Phillips a hug as I had just returned home from a seven-year sojourn overseas. It was the last time I saw him, as he tragically passed away just shortly after that, so I guess James will be on my mind on Friday night. James, this one is for you, my brother…

Linden, the suburb in the North of Joeys where Amuse Cafe is to be found, is an old stomping ground of mine. We lived there when I was in high school in the late seventies, attending DeLa Salle High, the all-boy Catholic school. I have vivid memories of pogoing to the pipe band as they were rehearsing in the schoolyard, and streaking around the block past the swimming pool, as part of some spotty matric celebrations. It’s sure to be something special on Saturday evening when I return to Linden with the Bald Spots. Entrance is R40 for both events, and includes free shot of tequila. Copies of Sweet Like a Lemon will be given away to anyone wearing anything hideously lime-green, and for any other silly reason we can think of. Copies of the album will be on sale too, music starts around 8pm.

Now we’ve just got to get the brakes for Tito’s van sorted out, and its Joburg here we come!

check out the site: www.andrewkay2.bandcamp.com

reverie

Filed under: kaganof short films — ABRAXAS @ 2:30 pm

reverie
produced, shot, edited and directed by aryan kaganof
south africa
hdv
11min
2007
music composed by michael blake
piano played by ms. jill richards

Reverie is a scroll painting, like the Japanese makemono. The scroll painting genre cannot be grasped by a single glance, unlike most easel paintings in the western tradition. It can only be fully seen if there is time to see all of it as the scroll unfolds. This type of painting becomes a time-based form, like a piece of music. Reverie is analagous to the ancient picture scroll, a ribbon without end, almost like a reel of film of a single shot of the landscape as it horizontally unwinds. Not all of the picture can be wholly understood simultaneously by the eye. This perception has to happen sequentially: a single subject pours into the next subject, a fragment develops into the next fragment. Reverie works as a series of relationships in time (rather than just as a comparison of forms), a principle found in the single tracking shot. These shots in time appear to the eye as a flowing together of separate images, or even sequences. Reverie is a sophisticated and dynamic interpretation of the scroll/film analogy.

immanuel stammelman
problems of meaning in the video work of aryan kaganof

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