Friday, 24 December 2004

george lewis' jazz funeral in new orleans on the tradition label that was it
here's to the poets
some of my '04 faves
[-typically rather pompous and onanistic list+]

bcos am lame i didn't post anything last yr (there was that small matter of the blog shutting down for months) even though i had pages&pages of tedious notes written up on galleries, movies, books, tunes, etc.
i just didn't (even two years back on an old site i recall anal categorising in numerical preferences in 10 or 20-no. blocks for reissues, comps, albums, and singles that actually got me my first link from SR - yay for solipsistic tales..) ~

well this isn't anything really, just a crock, but it's scribbled on one index card in the early hours of this morning by me (juggling calls to India and foolish family business at time so),

spent an astonishing afternoon in the now closed-to-public space that is the Terra museum [web] in downtown Chicago.
the collection of American art was small but exquisite; they have stuff going on {educational linx etc} in France too.

discovering Fred Williams in February (cheers Andrew Graham-Dixon!) was, frankly, revelatory and easily a year highlight
it has to be Dr. Ian Paisley for - on the subject of Republican terrorists destroying their arms - arguing for documentary evidence, saying he wanted photographs and a Sinn Fein (?) suggestion to have clergy witness the process of decommissioning was not good enough.
"the man in his garden" must be able to see them.

that's proper graft that.
you can't pop to the mini-mart or cornershop and purchase that.

it just is.
the golden triumvirate of 'blokes whose first name is their team' are of course all capital fellows (roll call: Millwall Sean, Brummie Dave, the fanatical QPR John, oh perhaps there should be an innumerate mention for the good humoured and wise Scunthorpe Alex) but the honour must go to a pal of our kid, none other than Stuey the Aberdonian {who gets around tho' he lives in Yorkshire}.
he is seeing the Dons at Arbroath in the Cup next month - the ground nearest to the sea in Europe - in Scotland - in January - mm, balmy.
the bloke is a leg and i expect many a tale when he gets my bro and he into Ibrox for the league game between Aberdeen and Glasgow Rangers (Rangers and the Dons getting on so well as any footy fan will tell you)
Altrincham vs Weymouth (Weymuff with their hatred of Yeovil aka Yeovile) in the FA Trophy (the non-league English football FA Cup, in effect) when Alty were definitely underdogs at the end of jan.
basically :-
a three day FUCKING BEANO (the game was incidental, although in beating them two nil we set in place the rot that eventually destroyed Weymouth's title challenge in their own league) in a fine town {via the noble city of Birmingham} - more on the game here - FAR too much drink & banter - one old Weymouth hand said in 30 or 40 years he'd never heard the travelling fans make such a racket [shame we lost to a fairly poor Shrewsbury in the next round at home].
didn't read much of anything, i'm afraid.
the last books i bought were that republished collection of Yann Martell shorts and Gunter Grass, 'Crabwalk', but they were both presents.
haven't a clue but the NYRB was a nice mag (in the year my subs to the Wire finally ran out...)
quite possibly this fairly raucous dive of a sports bar in LaPorte, Indiana, bizarre but entertaining conversation with an American bloke whose son-in-law hails from the south coast of England (Portsmouth), blood glass and booze on the floor, and a soundtrack of, q. q. brilliantly, CRUNK if i recall (& q. possibly DJ Casper)
wonderful stuff
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SO EASY - during the Eastern lash the other week or so - kinda 'had to be there' - but a g. chaucer & son esq. moment and completely appropriate/wondrous/magnifico, really did say it all in a tightly controlled and concise manner like 'Darkness at noon' or Joseph Roth (he looks great in polo shirts also, i mean really great)
well there was all that Korean (and other Asian/elsewhere inna NOTED style) cinema, some arguably approaching transcendental say some, and another good year for English language and continental Europe fare in a uplifting or other good manner (Bill Murray made me cry fwiw, right at the start of 'LiT', wordlessly so) and perhaps i should say a matinee of 'der golem' (see how i'm being a prick who just wants to show how 'clever' he is here, eh eh, still gotta love it) perhaps but (the pretentious pre-amble is allowed when you read the next line)
- and read into this what you will
and not that it should necessarily say anything about oneself (but a mate with a copy and a playstation 2 meant repeated viewings so ho-hum...) - or other inarticulate 'get out of jail' phrasings heh

cinematic 2004 was defined at somedisco, for good or ill, by 'the football factory'

almost endlessly quotable, words and phrases getting reworked in formal and less formal riffs, eminent yeomen and women of the bar filling their boots with its, er, rich prose-poetry (a Sibelius tone-poem if you will)

so really if you don't know what 'the f. factory' (about soccer hooliganism and assorted pathologies) is then fair dos and if you do, remember,

anyone who runs will get properly served up later on
Ted Leo and his boys, Chicago Metro, November (granted the one concert i saw all year IIRC)
good good stuff inc. a song about 2-tone,
i especially liked Ted saying of his drummer (a stout-hearted Philly dweller) he travels better than the Eagles (sports banter is always good)
amusing Irish-American support, the Tossers, proper moshpit (i know i know, some big types too), 'Dirty Old Town' (introduced as a British tune with apologies by the frontman because it wasn't, er, Irish, but still he could have laid it on and noted a song about Salford is an English song but that's just mischief), finished with a fine 'irish rover' and started w' a nice acapella trad' arr' thing about Liverpool (or "Liverpool town" as it's never been called surely?).
the odd noxious anti-English shout from the crowd (certainly you wouldn't want to tolerate anti-Irish sentiment of a similar stripe in a similar situation) aside, main support nearly as enjoyable as Ted's proselytising and literate college rock (and easier to write about...).
of course the 'Irish-American' audience were far less Irish than my left buttock and that merely by dint of my Scottish/English/Roma heritage and coming from the British Isles which is nearer the Emerald Isle than the Midwest, but hey...
either Ted Leo's drummer or the chap from Iron & Wine, as it happens.
there's a joke somewhere in here about a particular lady and a particular footballer who plays for Manchester United Football Club (sorry Plc) but not in a family publication eh now... ...sorry that was probably in bad taste.
certain things to do with the Libertines (my partner being a huge fan helped), "we could have a few decent days and nights", Graham Coxon freakin' out and whatnot, Conor Oberst needing a hug, the postal service/tv on the radio/the shins/even death cab for cutie and the delays all piping up i guess, the NME giving the Manics' Holy Bible a 10 in their re-issues reviews which for old times sake and memory of spare cutting burning fury brought conversational nods of approval, Maroon 5 'This Love', 'Michael' by Franz i guess ('take me out' is grate yes you'll find no arguments here) which and yes for extra-aesthetic reasons which one should shy away from you know (in the strict Paterian sense sez H. Bloom &c) but you know that lineage etc
slash, tiefic etc. whatever gets you through the night etc.
all these indie boys wearing eyeliner don't necessarily suit it (alright, Alex Kapranos does and so too Billie Green Day but otherwise a lot don't, let's be honest), also ties (tho' see above)
MULTIPLE CHOICE album question :=
if you could buy (a) the annie; (b) the girls aloud; (c) gwen stefani
probably (c) bcos (b) can get killer singles acquired and i am woefully ignorant in the actual hearing dept of (a)
getting Wiley's album (which is just quality even just the instrumental shorts which of course tantalise w'out getting it done - was it k-punk who suggested they should see to that with a full-length list of instrumentals) but not 'Showtime'. still.
Joanna Newsom i think?
also lazy to say but i do appreciate what Kanye does fashion-sense. and when Jay Sean (pub factoid: Jay Sean is not on the AMG database, AFAIK, tho' Rishi Rich is to be fair, a little) said that sweatbands really needed to be done away with, i wanted to kiss his forehead.
that commercial for the Boost mobile phone with the Game, Kanye and Ludacris repping for their hoods, Luda especially in form down in Hotlanta and the girls with the really short skirts, that brilliant jump he has, Game low-riding thru the streets of Angels, West holding it down in the House of Illin'
Clive Bell, Hua Hsu, Dave Tompkins (if Matt Ingram is which is prolly unlikely reading this last one don't laff) etc - hmm maybe i miss the wire...
'trick me' or the video for that kidpunk outfit McFly ('room on the third floor' i think?) were both nice but it has to be '99 problems' doesn't it.
just has to be.
not hearing any MIA all year i'm afraid (or Annie)

re-issue style
said Eno and the Kinks off the top of my head
actually pitchfork media has a nice re-issues list, e.g. the DNA/A. Russell/'The Third Unheard'/especially the Trax threefer ohwow {i didn't know 'Critical Beatdown' was in a re-issued fashion) etcetc
but really i think this year it has to belong to (save the cheesy black CD cover)
Ready to Die {even just ignore any remastered bumf and treat it as 'Ready to Die' and it's got to be all up in that shit, well}
compilations style
Candi Staton Honest Jons?
does the first volume of DJ Target's Aim High mix count or is that an album? that was one of the three best album length things of this year i heard this year a lot.
i didn't hear 679's 'run the road' unfortunately (living in a room, on my own, in the back) or regrettably the rephlex grime that Sherburne chanted well for and did k-punk coin "Croydon techno"? was it he?

thee two faves of mine were the college dropout ['family business' makes you tear up] which i love and adore pretty much it must be said, you know more so than any rap album really (though i spent most of the year listening to David Banner's album from 2003, not the screwed and chopped version though just regular it must be admitted)

and the best album-length thing i heard all yr was a compilation cd-r or sumfink of SOCA that silverdollarcircle gave me (i know fuck all about soca but first hearing it tearing around the escarpments and a hilly Cheshire plain, overlooking the port of Liverpool, fields filled with beautiful flowers, was special; there was a bloke on the tram this morning that was the spit of S SDC actually - well enough for a double-take, wearing a Fred Perry trackie top would y'believe)

which was bloody brilliant {i also got some UR mix and some Kompakt mix off the kindly SDC actually which were both quite nice and i recall at the start of the year though they were from last year perhaps that a roots reggae mix off WOEBOT and his superlative 'Brick Door' being played a lot}

stupidly i never bought the junior boys album which is THE biggest gutter actually.

'tipsy' - j-kwon (even if he did claim, perhaps hopefully jokingly, in an interview he didn't know who Raekwon was! alright, j-kwon was only born in the mid-80's but my young cousin was a toddler at the height of the Blur/Oasis feud and he's heard of Lionel Richie and Marvin Gaye etc....)
'see it in a boy's eyes' - jamelia
'toxic' - britney
'overnight celebrity' - twista
'dirt off your shoulder/99 problems' - jay-z
'yeah' - usher & co.
'some girls (dance with women)' - jc chasez
'leave (get out)' - jojo
'the show' - girls aloud
'some girls' - rachel stevens
'lose my breath' - destiny's
'babycakes' - 3 of a kind
'my neck, my back' - khia (cheatingly included because it was released in the UK this year although it was first enjoyed in the USA last year)

didn't buy the fwd. riddim unfortunately.
George Lewis - new orleans jazz thing name escapes me - in a bargain bin - billy bargain

Kanye West, soca, singles as per, DJ Target and grime, older 80's Anglo-pop/rap/reggae/funk/soul/African nearly to detriment of anything else.

right it's my last day at work for some time i'm spending most of tomorrow sat on an airplane (you know that Tom Cruise film where he's a hitman in LA? you know how it got generally slated? well silent if you've not got the money for headphones on a plane it looks great although i guess you could say the same of much product but still) you know to go be with the lovely companion (of which i shall not drone on)

shout to all bloggers

have it on NYE wherever you do
just have it
god i love blissblog [here on IDM &c]

{TBH, my fave ever Planet Mu release or the one that means the most to me is frankly, remaining above larger or more well thought of affairs, is Paradinas/Spatula's 'Full Sunken Breaks' - i used to just rinse that focker bigstyle)
and another list that does matter is that musical obituaries one that The Rambler posted {in a small, small way i guess a link is a homage ja - huh you think somedisco?!}
best publication list yet - popjustice singles [still not heard that Kylie choon]

a mate of Jon, and in the guardian (well you know it's got to be good) - hurei

Thursday, 23 December 2004

well alright but we do know Lil' Wayne is signing to Def Jam ('rumours only' coff-coff eh but you can see it)

he's still only, like, 21 an that


i just love it
actually you know in his marvellous marvellous list Jess admits he is a rap rockist and just has never recovered from NYC being knocked off its perch well in a recent issue of Vibe (Ashanti cover) there was a fascinating article about radio play in the hot100 sense and about 70% of songs were from the South or the Midwest now on the US stations with a slimmer remainder from the east coast or the west coast so it's the south of course mostly but also the midwest running things at the moment so there we have it but there again it's perhaps not surprising about the paucity (vocab ?) of the left coast given Guerilla Black is repping for there at the mo and isn't the jury still out on him
i don't know
comment or links to three webmags, a blog, a mag

Sherburne on Dark on IDM

i think Pitchfork deserve credit for putting Iron & Wine in their top 50 albums even if The Arcade Fire is a bit too much (though as American indie goes, the Animal Collective are OK i guess). the first two lines of their thoughts for Estelle's '1980' are a bit unfair and perhaps also lazy tho' the same writer loves 'Toxic' so one shouldn't be mean&pompous... [Simon has it]; - 'Strict Machine' into 'Some Girls' too mind gets brainstormed but again that writer likes Annie so one shouldnt etc, but damn there's some good choons in that write-up.

i think Stylus deserve credit for their fine editorialising on lists (and there's a certain rugged charm in putting C-Lo, Stina Nordenstam and John Frusciante above Girls Aloud in their albums chart; i wuv that comment from Nick Southall that "The lettering on FF t-shirts is always backwards. This is because their fans spend an inordinate amount of time observing themselves in mirrors.")

i think Dusted deserve credit entirely for their solid year in review, not least such pieces as Ben Tausig on Ethiopiques: Volume 17 and Matt Wellins' faves.

i don't think the NME deserve any credit for their capsule in the most recent edition about ten things to come out of the ODB's death. tongue in cheek or whatever and presumably over-sensitivity on this part and if you don't know what one means then you won't get any more bored here but
[again i know this is to simplify and create crude problems and juvenile finger-pointing where there is a world of complexity and differences of opinion to be cherished but it was uncomfortable reading that one of their most rock'n'roll moments of the year was 50 Cent getting bottled at Reading: yeah, a load of mostly affluent white camping kids throwing receptacles of urine at ghettoed African-Americans but eh oh i suppose you wouldn't put tv on the radio high up the bill at an rnb festival]

Geeta means Von's here, which is indeed rather nice.

[partial] edited highlights

- jewels, bangles, baubles, bracelets and smelly stuff
- rather good Neruda anthologies/Pessoa/political thought/Saramago/'Latin American' studies &c
- some bargains to be had in the country, roots reggae and free jazz sections
- staff (well, some of the males in my experience) of both the DANCE and INDIE/ROCK variety wanting to abuse solitary English travellers with good cheer and questions of soccer inc. a genuine interest in reactions back in the day to England losing to the USA at the 1950 World Cup
- free and good (tracky, likes Carls Craig & Cox, quite meaty) mix cd-rs off the techno boy behind the counter who was all about his forthcoming Motor City allnighter with a certain Mr Hawtin
overheard at the water cooler:

First bloke: My wife's coming tomorrow
Second bloke {w'out missing a beat}: Too much information mate.
Xmas sitcoms

there can be few finer moments in their history than that bit in the Blackadder effort where - on the tale of the Crucifixion - the Prince Regent describes it as

that terribly depressing one about the chap who gets born on Christmas Day, shoots his mouth off about everything under the sun, and then comes a cropper with a couple of rum coves on top of a hill in Johnny Arab land.

"you mean Jesus, sir"
Barabas a rum cove, love it {note also the absolutely perfect timing with which that episode ends}.

Friday, 17 December 2004

speaking of the newspapers i think this past week or so that ol' slum dunk presenting funk carioca [mr bongo] is the first piece of plastic and digipack jewelled case compact technology that all the main UK press (call it overground, call it Delingpole in the Telegraph, call it Marcus Dunk in the Express, call it David Mellor in the Mail on Sunday, call it what you want) has reviewed that could qualify as favela funk or whatever you want to call it.
so at least four people that wouldn't have known - and after the Love Shack burnt down! - have been alerted to Marcello's rather good (OK, frankly brilliant) top ten albums thanks to my badgering and i'm still peakin off the Jess list.

it's {probably} just my prejudices ["probably" : - who am i kidding? shyeah right!] aligning with his but damn right to all the boo urns for dance-punk and electro (but you're so cool electro, oh yes we're still cool), the bigs up for Infinite Livez and Lil Jon (this year's Neptunes is right tho', innit, although if you only read the likes of the NME, Guardian, or [free commuter] Metro you'd think it were Kanye...) and DJ Target and Ted Leo and Futureheads [the actual noise that has made me happier than any other this year is quite possibly the l/c shouting WE COULD HAVE A FEW DECENT DAYS AND NIGHTS]

and TBquiteH i don't think any sentence in 2004 has made more sense to me than 'was anyone honestly waiting...the new Chingy?' {sorry Chingy, i like your videos but let's get down to tacks}

Thursday, 16 December 2004

Geeta on Justus Köhncke
I very much hope the Government won't appeal - that would be a callous act
an editorial in yesterday's Daily Express commenting about legal opinion on events at the military base in Darul Dhyafa last September where hotel worker Baha Mousa was allegedly tortured to death by British troops was particularly foolish and embarrassing.

something else that's a bit embarrassing (for the UK govt) - as well as long overdue - is this.
coupled with this it's not been the best couple of weeks for the Home Office (ahem).

Wednesday, 15 December 2004

"Other Music Yuletide Special ...

!! FREE ENTRY !! Well, it is Christmas.

Kelham Island Tavern, 62 Russell Street,
Sheffield S3 8RW (see below for venue details)

MARTIN ARCHER (reeds etc)

New York-based Japanese percussionist, has recorded with
Assif Tsahar, Billy Bang, Peter Kowald etc.

"infallible intuition ... a brilliant percussion improvisor,
capable of a wide range of sounds and qualities ... His work
dances full of thought with an overall easy clarity and
earthy groundedness." - Maria Klein, Boss-Improv

"Discussing all that beauty would take more roses than would
fill this space" - Stu Vandermark, Cadence Jazz Magazine

Tatsuya will perform a solo set, followed by a duet
with Sheffield improv maestro Martin Archer.



The pub is near to both the Shalesmoor tram stop and bus
stops served by numbers 13, 14, 81, 81A, 82, 87 etc. The
web site includes a link to a map of the immediate area.

It's also been deemed the best pub in Yorkshire, by CAMRA!

The other room in the pub will be hosting a traditional music
session, just in case you have non-improv-liking friends."
[actually this is still] a good idea
back then WoP was the astronaut's notepad of course (taps pipe on sideboard, stirs dying embers, trails last of stew from whiskers)
oh 4 x 4


i geddit

oh mrs grime
how your children so good



when Matt Ingram recently wrote "It's with great sadness that I reflect that that small part of my brain where I'd go looking for the blogging thrill, the part of my cortex which glows in excitement when I ponder the fun I'm going to have writing here, feels like a spent ember. If this particular neck of the woods had a demi-semi-historic moment it lay between the dominance of NYPLM and the ascendancy of the mp3 blogs, pretty much coinciding with the rise of blissblog."
it really struck a chord with me.

it was at Luke's suggestion this blog was started and in the early days of this blog's existence the quartet of blogs i really looked up to were WoP, blissblog, heronbone and woebot, soon followed by an appreciation for lots of your other faves (naming no names but if i've ever read a music blog then i keep it up so that's loads of folk, though admittedly mostly of an continental Euro-Brit Isles-Aussie-Yank-Canuck flavour).
of course more recently there's hundreds and hundreds of ace music blogs you can check, all over the place, but on what you might call the 'familiar with the (peerless) dj martian/freaky trigger [i certainly read a recent Tom Ewing lament w' a sympathetic eye]/peking_o cathy's favourites/people who've heard of so and so or etc' list {well i do, that is my blogging fix save a few politics blogs etc such as my boy Harm}

i don't want to sound like a brown-noser above btw!

but anyway, er,

but hundreds of brilliant music blogs on many different areas abounding is still something good and even though i've been personally really unenthusiastic about blogging for ages and ages (and even though this blog itself was never anything it did at least use to have more energetic and longer and more frequent posts etcetc) now i'd like to think the incomparable Erase The World might have jolted me awake with his round-up of the other day,
especially the sentence

Someone even said, I overheard him in a popular indie dive, saying that The Zombies were a better band! The Zombies!...go boil your head and hang out in Mono less, you vegan cunt

which just made me crease up/

so, er, yeah,

big up your chests

Friday, 10 December 2004

are the people that matter listening to what Shelter have to say?

are they fuck.
here's a must-read from Alexis Petridis [what other morsels in the graun review this morn: Rob Da Bank was a teenage goth!]

Thursday, 9 December 2004

he would sport crimson
when i was 18 i had a Dimebag Darrell poster on the wall of my room.
the damson and purple hair streaks and the big smile made for a cheerful face.
from Texan titty bars and enjoying his bourbon to the appreciation of barbecued food and providing much of the crunch in 'Walk' Dimebag clearly knew what he was on about.

here then, was a bloke who could play guitar.

(there was an Anselmo interview in Metal Hammer once which memorably described as "horseshit" some demos he and some buddies had made when they were messing around, with Anselmo on drums. he was always interested in the New Orleans sludge scene.
now there went a band)

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

I'm not caught up in politics
I'm no black activist on a so-called scholar's dick


Sunday, 5 December 2004

the personalised landscape painting of Cecily Sash, "a white South African," informs Trustram, lest we forget there are some decent white South Africans.

er yeah, thanks for that mate

Friday, 3 December 2004

i didn't know it was 20 years ago today and yesterday but then 'there is a victim every day'

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

reading Simon's piece on 679's grime comp, firstly in the editor cut to be fully invigorated, i was reminded why - like a fair few by the numbers music publications (i bet that man 86400 is with me on this) - i've not got a massive amount of time for the OMM.
it's not the smug little pen portraits or the general lameness/one's-trumpetness of such asides as, re. grime, we were far from lagging behind the times, but a 65-year old grandfather had beaten us [let's be fair, you and Peelie were lagging behind 1Xtra and the blogs though], i don't really know what it is.

it's all just too much, er, much.

anyway, back to blissbog and the night advertised sounds rather tasty; for a Chi spin on UKG saw an interesting flyer {front, back, more details here} t'other day, bit intrigued by the flyer line-up (no one didn't make it), "speed garage and 4x4", "grime/sublow and 4x4", what is that 4x4, house?
i dinnae understand (tho' DJ Sushi is known as a Stateside UKG head it's true).

oh, btw, if you're into fanzines then this from the same site sounds niiiice

out of other rote mags (as, you know, opposed to always good ones like URB or songlines or the wire yea despite its faults), i think my fave recent moments in some of them include a recent Q if only for a notable/funny Stipe interview (in which he gets in a huff cause they rudely ask about his orientation), a Spin from last summer (July, if memory serves), in which someone compares M.O.P.'s 'Ante Up' to Carmina Burana, and seeing Dele Fadele wax lyrical about Go Betweens re-issues in the NME was nice, for memory's sake anyhoo.
i must admit, re. the NME, although slash is nice and all, not being someone who is overly enthused to hear which male member of the NME staff is making it with which bassist from which London guttersnipe punk outfit at the mo, the last genuinely exciting NME moment (i apologise for repeating myself) for me was quite possibly a frankly inspirational and really rather good review of that Big Youth threefer Blood & Fire once put out, by Dele Fadele (and that release is a few years old now i think), so...

speaking of Big Youth, the wonderful Simon SDC has a fab tee shirt with the mug of said chap on it that his mate made and i want one

having said that, the re-issues page here, on some Ali Farka Toure products, i know it's a honest mistake but "How very November 1967. But this was their masterpiece, and deserves its lavish repackaging, complete with outtakes, albeit no original acid blotter."
er, Ali being a solo artist, but hey nevermind...

Monday, 29 November 2004

mind, Lil' Jon is working with Twista right now.

(also, D12 get all their Crunk Juice from Trader Joe's)

Friday, 26 November 2004

there's lots of snow in rural Indiana and it's fucking cold
kinda interesting Lil' Jon video (presumably for his latest choon, given it was no.2 on m2's hip-hop countdown tonight) with a cameo of a Kanye lookalike, clearly indulging in a lil' bit of ribbing re. the boi from the Chi


South no luv for the Midwest??

Wednesday, 24 November 2004

Melanie McFadyean on a "pile-up of shameful contradictions" at the Home Office

Sunday, 21 November 2004

Spanish press in one-eyed twattery shockah

Monday, 15 November 2004

one more thing


hail to the Matt
a friend of mine sent me a txt msg yesterday that went

'remembering the Ol Dirty one by spinning some of that shit.
at least he went doing something he did best'

which is, eh, maybe you think it's a bit of a lame sentiment, but eh you know


Gary Younge makes some valuable points here whilst this is good [some sensible views on the Gbagbo regime from M. Chirac] and this is timely reading.


gone fishing - the wide and noble Shannon - thence to visit my lover in the Chi, via Philly {if a proper, juicy cheesesteak is ate there will be reports and mayhaps pictures} ///

Sunday, 14 November 2004

really <333-ing e crunk right now
Diana Hulton - 'Resister'

i feel awful now btw for being so rude about Ally Fogg after they drew everyone's attention to a superb exhibition of South African art at Salford Museum and Art Gallery.

RIP the ODB, one of the greats.

the NME once called the ODB the most rock'n'roll person on earth, but that's not really it, just a beautiful human bean, with a fine and lovely heart and spirit from accounts.

god what am i saying, don't be a twat, a person a person, a person

not been this upset since Ray Charles passed, so the Stones shining a light may have to help tonight.

oh 'return to the 36 chambers' you had some balls.

you know when you don't want to believe it...
god i'm inarticulate


you know when you wish you were eloquent.

rest in peace
He is a poet of great intelligence and great ecstasy; his poetry wouldn’t have survived without both.

- Adam Zagajewski on Czeslaw Milosz.
Ninety-five per cent of the houses were destroyed. Seven hundred of my family and friends were killed. We fought and killed because we had to. We beat the Soviets and our forefathers beat the British twice. So many people died.
It is very hard for some mujahedin; they have known nothing but war.

- Izatullah Atif Rooz.

Saturday, 13 November 2004

Perceptive and fine essay (first volume of two; the second nearly as enjoyable) on John Clare by James Fenton, touching on his interests in folk music, botany and ornithology, as well as his verse.
Blake was brave by instinct and choice, Clare believed, and did you know Clare collected around 260 tunes?
ineffably great.

What is very difficult to gauge, when we consider Clare, is the impact of ephemeral publishing such as these handkerchiefs, and broadsides, chap-books, newspapers, and magazines.
i was glad that Robin got Michael Gove in there
1999’s Venus Beauty Institute.
A film about women.
i'd like to hear more of Vakill, one of the Windy City's more interesting emcees, indeed more Molemen fullstop would be good
This is a nice little Sun Ra page
Pop Life's [O. Wang] playlist
Pop Life's [D. Walmsley] jungle/grime take
Geeta in a bar (and Dan Selzer!)
Oliver, piping up, shouting the odds (he's right about Vanunu, eh)
i'm off for the tie!fic {soon}
Samantha Power wrote a good article profiling Roméo Dallaire in a recent NYRB.

it's not available to read on the site but if you're arsed you could pay four sheets (US) to buy it for a bit, here
you may remember when i said 'babycakes' was the single of my year some weeks ago.

well i've not heard that for ages so my goldfish-like attention span has clearly let me down again reader(s)!

for example, i've been absolutely rinsing my CD copy of 'lose my breath' (1.97, music zone) all weekend, perhaps excessively so (though i'm currently hammering that jojo choon - incidentally she did a very enjoyable performance of leave right now on totp some weeks ago, in front of some i think it were Floridian swimming pool with some buff boys dancing with her - it's scary to think she essentially resembles lindsay lohan's jailbait sister as lindsay herself is only, what? 12? 13?).

'babycakes', top tune mind.

i must also admit to quite liking the most recent single efforts from gwen stefani, the libertines and especially kings of leon (not too sure about the dancey stylings of the magnetic fields tho, or rather the free commuter paper metro's decision to give it 5 stars but 'lose my breath' "only" 3 stars...also what was their Ally Fogg on about during their recent Dizzee Ras touring shows previews, he moves away from standard grime templates by incorporating Eastern melodies, global palettes {not to mention Cap'n Sensible, admittedly} and such, does she not hear all the shakuhachi stylings on age-old grime releases, has she not read about Wiley emerging from Sterns' arms-laden?

clearly not
i admit i was a bit miffed by that,
especially as we've pronounced wednesday grime day where i work [the other four week days are deliberately absurd fusions of genre-names, you know the score])
oh, i think loaf is spot on - i tried it myself, didn't get very far, so went down the pub instead (for a very good pint of boddies)

Friday, 12 November 2004

right, i'm nearly done piping up in tabloid-style language about alleged Republican terrorist leaders but would just like to observe - real tabloid style - that here lies a work of brilliance
that's a shame
reports of the new OutKast album are very intriguing.

it will be fascinating to see what the apparently stripped down back to basics sound that 10 the Hard Way will be showcasing will do -

[must admit, i'm one of these cliched fans that quite possibly prefers 'Aquemini' above all else, though hearing Stankonia last night for the first time in ages made me remember just why i love it so much]

- in terms of sales and whatnot, it'll be especially interesting to see if some of the newer fans the boys picked up in the wake of their globe-straddling last LP will stick with 'em...

there's a thoughtful, provocative, and sobering letter in the guardian this morning.

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

The ones who passed away are still waiting for justice. Their eyes are still open and they are looking for it.

- Anonymous official at a Choeung Ek memorial, outside Phnom Penh.

Tuesday, 9 November 2004

Which ones will be killed in street fights or in the camps?
Which ones will join the Nazis?

Monday, 8 November 2004

oh, also, if you want to help, there's The Citizens Foundation - good, good people
[of all the hundreds of slums in Karachi you had to barrel into mine?!?]


It was so peaceful and we did not encounter German resistance for five hours. Then all hell broke loose.
Desmond Wiggins, 80.

Sunday, 7 November 2004

We realised what a cock-up it was pretty soon. It started with the RAF bombing a mental hospital because they were told it was a German camp. When the real Germans came across us, they threw everything at us – tank shells, mortars, flame-throwers, you name it. We did not have the firepower to match them.
Of course I remember losing my sight. I was told to lead some guys up into some woods from where we were getting a lot of flak. I was carrying a Bren gun and there was this almighty explosion. I rolled over and then it was as if someone had thrown a lot of grit into my eyes.
I rubbed them, apparently that was a mistake, because then a lot of blood started pouring out.

-Corporal Ray Sheriff, 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, 83-year old Arnhem veteran.
following the nine French peacekeepers (and one American aid or relief worker) being killed near Bouake yesterday i'm a bit puzzled by M. Chirac's insistence that the warplanes be destroyed.
apparently five of the country's military choppers will be destroyed also (said an official in Paris, according to the papers), leaving the Ivorian airforce with one item to call their own.

i can, er, appreciate the thinkingbehindthisreaction to such a calamitous tragedy, but, er, well, it's leaving the Ivorians a bit short eh...


Mark Steyn is truly obsessed with falling European birth rates; it seems he'll pipe up about it anywhere given half a chance (witness article mentioning same in today's Telegraph).

speaking of today's Telegraph, here's a sentence one doesn't type very often:

i was rather impressed with Michael Howard's interview conduct.

there again, he was being sensible in the face of the Telegraph's sloganeering and baiting on law and order issues.
quite nice lo-fi/ragged and_or fey Americana/hardcore (punk)/rock etc comp CD-R done for me by an indie colleague.
trklisting as follows:
1. American Football ‘Never Meant’
2. At the Drive-In ‘Initiation’
3. Cap’n Jazz ‘Oh Messy Life’
4. Modest Mouse ‘The World at Large’
5. Embrace (no, not those lot) ‘Dance of Days’
6. Fugazi ‘Cashout’
7. Josh Rouse ‘Straight to Hell’
8. Mates of State ‘I Have Space’
9. Minor Threat ‘Straight Edge’
10. Owen ‘Good Deeds’
11. Metronomes ‘Cub’
12. Pretty Girls Makes Graves ‘This is our emergency’
13. Rites of Spring ‘Hain’s Point’
14. Black Flag ‘I’m The One’
15. The Thermals ‘No Culture Icons’
16. These Arms Are Snakes ‘Diggers of Ditches Everywhere’
17. Very Secretary ‘Feeling Cheated’
18. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy ‘The Way’
19. Clinic ‘Distortions’
20. Interpol ‘Specialist’
21. Sufjan Stevens ‘The Dress Looks Nice on You’
22. Wheat ‘Don’t I Hold You’
23. Lullabye for the Working Class ‘The Man Vs. The Tide’

my favourite CD of recent weeks has been – shout to those in the know – the quite delightful Goin’ Crazy With The Blues: 19 tracks plotting a wonderful coverage of various roaring Twenties hits from Prague’s Original Syncopated Orchestra.
it really is adorable stuff, some of it so effervescent the music positively zings.

i did, however, listen to Duran Duran and Human League albums back to back the other day.

perhaps i’m spending too much time in TopShop.
although Amnesty are currently debating whether to drop their neutral position over the use of arms (Human Rights Watch have every intention of staying neutral).

they really shouldn't.
An asylum seeker from Somalia was murdered a few months after being deported by the Dutch authorities.
The UK has also forcibly returned Somali asylum applicants to southern Somalia, despite the lawlessness which results in frequent killings of civilians.

(Amnesty International UK)

Saturday, 6 November 2004

pub team would not be a harsh description

Friday, 5 November 2004

I watch him in the kitchen, and I think of how much it hurts to love somebody. How deep the hurt is, how almost unbearable. It's not the love that hurts; it's the possibility of anything happening to the object of your love. Like, I would not want Dennis to lose his mind. But I'd be much more fearful of me losing my mind, because then he'd be the one left alone.

Just like I want him to die first, so that he doesn't have to lose me and then be alone. Or if I do have to die first, I want to find him another boyfriend beforehand, I want to hand-pick somebody and then get to know this person and make sure he's up to the task. I imagine there would be paperwork involved, with serious consequences if he breached the contract in any way. Love, unconditional. Or else you will lose your 401(k) plan, and your credit report will be forever destroyed, and there will be prison time.

So then I stop myself from thinking these thoughts because it's like tearing at a wound, opening it wider when it's trying to heal. Or actually, it's more like inflicting the wound yourself with a paring knife.

What's painful and wonderful about loving somebody is loving their small things, like the way he is able to smile when he sips his wine, the way his hands fall down at his sides, fingers slightly cupped, or the way he is conducting the orchestra on the radio. Or now, the way he is lighting candles, just now this one in front of me. This is the one he lit first, actually. The one in front of me. Even though there was one on the way, he passed that one, lit it next.

The truth is, Dennis has no bad qualities and no faults. When he's working late and I'm alone, or sometimes when we're in bed together, the lights off, I try and make even a small list in my mind of his faults: Things I Put Up With Out of Love. But I haven't been able to think of a single thing that I am not able to first overlook and then come to cherish. Even the fact that he sometimes loses things has led to a treasured nickname: Mittenclips.

Because sometimes, he misplaces things: keys, his wallet, our car once. But his face, when he sees that he's done this -- where are my keys? -- it's the most precious crestfallen face, and I tell him, "Have you checked the pockets on that jacket you wore last night?" And I check the bathroom and the floor under the sofa and all the unlikely but possible places for lost things to be. And we always, always manage to find whatever was missing.

Unconditional love. That's what this is. I love him, as is, fully. I've had to stop arm wrestling with the facts. Why me? Didn't I already have a big love once? And lost it? So why should I get it again? I've had to stop trying to look for cracks and flaws to prove that it's not as good as it seems. Because it's as good as it seems. Even when we fight, we fight inside the container of good.

Somehow, through the flip of a coin, I ended up here. Feeling like somebody at the top of the heart-lung transplant recipient list. Damaged but invigorated and fucking lucky.

from Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs
'I'm sorry mother.

I could not resist this delicious cobra.'
a sincere apology

gosh i've been a sour-spirited and inaccurate little moaner the last few days haven't i?
huge amounts of the most contrite brown-nosing must be sent to the guardian journo after my wrong-headed and mean attack on his article from wednesday.
it really isn't good enough.
simply unacceptable.

Manchester Matters: Fri.05.Nov

the likes of Van Morrison, the Chemicals, Joss Stone and Anastacia might all be playing in town tonight, but look at this
- Kenny Dixon Jr's first ever Mancunian date


in the interests of balance, i should perhaps point out that they've a lo-fi champ playing the same venue 24 hours later

- indie in rude health,
what a contrast to the moribund blah haemorrhagic blah revolutionary ideals quashed in dead ends blah compromised and faded inert junk blah of 'dance music' eh
chilling words from the Prime Minister
txt from a friend sent the other evening (round about midnight)

I'm watching a clarinetist and a guy in a nappy play 30s jazz hits. They are astonishing. I wish, more than anything, you were here.


Thursday, 4 November 2004

belated congratulations to President Karzai by the way
(oh, this blog is read by some of the top boys in Kabul, didn't you know?)

say what you like about Mark Steyn (we do round our way) but he called Mr Daschle losing Dakota Sud ages ago
here are some things that have recently happened in southern Thailand

Wednesday, 3 November 2004

has there been a general election then Mr Blackadder?

[oh, OK, go Barack go etc]

Alexis Petridis dance music dead blah blah - lots of strawmen, irrelevant or wrong side avenues, and the general foolish plucking at thin air Petridis can be solid at (grime abstruse, better stop listening to it
and you've got bad taste for liking 'call on me' tsk)


'twas announced a few days ago that
Bolton, northwest England {among others} welcomes African refugees in landmark programme - tad dispiriting the council leader had to point out "This group of people are not asylum seekers; they have been specially pre-selected on the basis of need and have already been granted full refugee status by the government" but one must be realistic about that...

but also
superb anti-European headline in the Daily Express this morning


i especially enjoyed that the front page got in that "pop-star Michael Jackson" dangled his baby from the balcony of same hotel

Tuesday, 2 November 2004

currently feeling

lex 'fourteen days'

Monday, 1 November 2004

here's that ENSAAF report, Twenty Years of Impunity

Thursday, 28 October 2004

David Blunkett saying Asian families should speak English at home. I wonder if he says that to the Brits who buy second homes in Spain. Do they have to speak Spanish? How about his Labour friends in Tuscany? Do they speak Italian? The man has no sense of history and proportion.
Ken Loach.
David Aaronovitch on the subject of Adam Curtis and that BBC documentary series
it was, in fact

drag KINGS


thee best

went to Hull for a day over the weekend which was quite good (friend was 23, old git!).

had the most astoundingly tasty balti bhuna (before getting to Hull, and watching the Everton match in a Manchester pub had one only okay pint of Landlord and one superb pint of London Pride and a great meal of mixed leaf salad, curly fries, and a delicious delicious lovely goats cheese/roasted peppers/pesto fancy bready thing) and drank in some okay bars, including that one associated with the only i suppose half-way cool in a sack-assed metropolitan sense contemporary music thing/label [contemporary on the music front because of course there is the small matter of the Housemartins] to come from the Humber area, which is downtempo type Pork Recordings (their in-house bar in central Hull is called the Lamp and is okay).
was confused by a flyer i saw there with the fine Larkin face advertising some bar-night they were doing in London soon, did 93 Feet East used to be at 93 Shoreditch (or whatever 'famed' street it is; you'll excuse my provincial cloth-eared-ness) cause this bar the flyers advertised was 91-95 on that same street whatever it is i forget but it was some place i'd never heard of [shouting the odds on one's ignorance]

chatted to a fabulously sozzled Finnish fisherman, stuck between screens showing football (Liverpool-Charlton; there are a lot of non-native {i mean Hullites, non-native to Liverpool, but i'm assuming glory years etc} Liverpool fans in Hull you notice) and rugby league (it is Hull).

went to surely one of the better/biggest clubs in Hull, Pozition, many rooms and floors, quite nice actually, when we did dance it was on the r'n'b floor, which was actually quite good.

unfortunately my friend got battered outside and has had to have reconstructive surgery on his face/forehead but is joking about it now and getting called Scarface so eh.

i love these small towns like Hull, i think there is something magical about Hull in particular, looking out east, the end of the world for its inhabitants once, Russians in the docks, John Prescott's constituency in east Hull, officially containing the most deprived ward in all Yorkshire [as long as you don't regard the Tees area as being N Yorks which of course it really was, but there we go, let's not count] (about the 50th most deprived ward in all England, out of over 8,000: of course the most deprived wards in England are unhealthily concentrated in Manchester, Merseyside and Middlesbrough).

across to the dykes, fabled folk tales and container ports of the Dutch lands, down the German industrial arteries, thinking of all the blind sailors and rheumy miners in coal-faces, looking over to Copenhagen cafe society, sweeping out over the endless steppes and once a host of yurts with Russian/Siberian resolve and that history and
always always the Polish forests with their brooding secrets and bloody past.

then into Ukraine and stop there, square the circle, official men, guns, it's all going dark,
everything's going dark.

yes it's never dull in Hull.
as fatal shots are fired in Yala and deadly bombs are detonated in Narathiwat, PULO has vowed They will pay for what they have done, their cities will burn
David Fullbrook w' a little analysis here
Zimbabwe Election Support Network
big up yr chests

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

'having sex. er...VISITING MY MOTHER'


and true-

Drag queens are my new favourite people

so, so right...
in the wake of the latest monstrous tragedy to smite southern Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra has tried conciliation but has also appeared in somewhat - frankly - blase mood
whilst, even after assurances on general human rights issues across Thailand, Amnesty International remains concerned.


whatever the machinations of Glazer with ref. to Man United (and while i respect Robin enormously and believe there might be something in his observations, the coalition was too broad, the brushstrokes too diverse, even the Mancunia battlers themselves too bubbling with differences, for any stinging points about the usual suspects to truly hit home for me; saying that, of course, as one astute commentator pointed out, if Glazer had refinanced any theoretical loan with index-linking and ticket prices had stayed the same for the ordinary fan, only rising for the prawn sandwich brigade, then some would have surely been converted: irrelevancies about the burning of American flags, petty vandalism and other such regrettable criminality aside, the strident tone of some of the Glazer opposition was perhaps too much for many moderates to stomach?) we can surely be glad Mr Thaksin's interest in Liverpool was stopped (a bid possibly with public money!; now that's cheap).

i'm no economist, but can you imagine the uproar if Gordon Brown made an impromptu announcement one day
We're raiding Treasury coffers to get Tony an executive box at the Seahawks

the press would have a field day, Andy Marr would probably do a glowing piece but we'd have Michael Howard pointing out, of course, he's a Bengals fan.

you can picture the scene
Nick Robinson: Chancellor, why Seattle?

Gordon Brown: Oh you know, it's the right time, we think

NR: Yes, but here we are, you are, you are, er, essentially taking from the public purse to get the Prime Minister an executive box at a grid-iron stadium. I mean, why?

GB: Well, Tony's always been a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, of course.
And he enjoys Frasier.

Blunkett to set up a review of the laws on murder, proclaims the BBC news website ticker (alas, no details yet as i type).

perhaps the new proposals centre on just charging the nearest asylum seeker with the offence, as long as they're within, say, ooh, a 50 mile radius.

could cut down on paperwork and might win some votes.

yeah that'll probably be it.

Tuesday, 26 October 2004

Jelly Roll's style:


great to see and hear the godlike Andy Kershaw [Radio 3 mini-site] discussing his friend on the television news tonight

i suppose my favourite ever John Peel moment came during one of his shows about, ooh, six or seven years ago now maybe (?) when he played some outfit and he said 'they were awful' or 'that was awful' when he actually said 'they were Awful' or...&c
then he pointed out in that lovelylovely avuncular tone of his that the band weren't awful and that wasn't him "editorialising", they were in fact "called" Awful.


Saturday, 23 October 2004

“The Grizzly Bear, Bunny Hug, Texas Tommy, and Turkey Trot are stages in an evolution toward the fast dances of the 1920’s.”

Friday, 22 October 2004

Dave Godin adored music and someone else who adores music is Simon silverdollarcircle.

Stacey Pullen in Fabric at 6am could have the potential to be awesome (every household should boast a copy of The Theory of Silent Phase) so whilst it's a shame he disappointed, i've been reading and re-reading Si's totally compelling and rather good review of the night for days now.

Wednesday, 20 October 2004

RIP Dave Godin

Tuesday, 19 October 2004

that's one word for it

Monday, 18 October 2004

good piece by Tim Judah recently (‘Uganda: The Secret War’, The New York Review of Books, Vol. L1, No. 14, pp.62-4) about the LRA, and its bloodthirsty leader, Joseph Kony, a vicious fanatic notorious for claiming he is guided by spirits.

what i didn’t know, however, was the identity of some of the spirits. one, apparently, is called Who You Are, another Juma Oris, a third a woman called Selindi and another, supposedly an American spirit called Ali Salango.
as Judah grimly notes “all agreed that a man possessed by spirits is bound to be unpredictable and may be impossible to deal with”.

Judah makes a convincing case, incidentally, with his figures and whatnot that In recent months the world press has concentrated on the Darfur region of Sudan, calling it the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” In fact this claim is incorrect, although the situation in Darfur is indeed horrifying. He notes how “the Ugandan conflict has been going on a lot longer, fewer people may have died in Darfur than in northern Uganda, and almost twice as many Ugandans have been forced to flee their villages as have non-Arab Sudanese in Darfur”.
It might seem crass discussing almost a hierarchy of suffering but Judah’s point is nimbly made.
That point is observing the links between the two tragedies – via a third of civil war – given Kampala’s sponsorship of the SPLA, and seedy Khartoum’s sponsorship of the wicked LRA.
only read an open letter from Irene Khan to South Korean politicians - here - this morning; concerning the National Security Law, it is sobering
i've long felt the Telegraph's Con Coughlin to be, frankly, something of an overly hawkish buffoon.

but, of course, this has always just been my prejudiced reading of his sometimes fantastical approach to journalism, so it's not something you mention very often.

so it's good to read LENIN'S TOMB wading into Mr Coughlin, and showing his working
to one of those country pubs yesterday, in the middle of nowhere, then a walk round various piles and astonishing rural views.

Old Speckled Hen, Greenall's Mild, Scrumpy Jack on tap (an intriguing sounding Bulgarian red, whose name escapes me, also got my attention), the Speckled Hen eventually on form.
food robust and hearty, with a surprisingly delicate sweet trolley, and an A to Z of ice cream flavours.

olde worlde maps of 'Chesshyre' on the walls, plenty of brass, engravings of workers hunkering down on flagstone floors, flagons nearby, images of threshing, stuffed pheasants, rifles above fireplaces, not to be exchanged for "a thousand Wetherspoons" as one mate put it.

i'd still rather have had the Saturday night the lovely companion did...
Lukashenko in vote rigging row - no, get away
believe it or not, but this guardian article on Western Sahara [James Baker's summer resignation, the security council poised for action] is the first i can remember seeing in a mainstream newspaper on the conflict for ages

Friday, 15 October 2004


Thursday, 14 October 2004

there's a smashing recipe here for poblano rellenos with mole verde
+Quintana Roo crabs+
one for Marcello perhaps
~tarantula nebula~
impeccable opening two sentences from Timothy Garton Ash

Wednesday, 13 October 2004

In the UK they are active in urban centres - mostly London, Manchester, Glasgow and Hull.
The three main groups are the 14K, which is strongest in Birmingham and the north of England, Shui Fong (also known as Wo On Lok), which is dominant in London, Glasgow and the south coast, and Wo Shing Wo, which has its powerbase in Manchester.

oh, this is a really nice Robert Johnson page

Tuesday, 12 October 2004

Paris will host first ever Koons retrospective - fur&feathers to no doubt fly!

Saturday, 9 October 2004


- The Hard Parties, various Michigan locations, 1993
Hard, Harder and Hardest. Reacting to the fluffiness of the nascent scene these were ultra-intense affairs.

> Spastik, Detroit, 1994
The first to cover everything in black plastic. Dancing in a pitch-black void you are truly consumed by, and lost in, the music.

> Jak 1 & Jak 2, Detroit, 1995
No advance word whatsoever and the Hawtin debut of The System (one moment when Hawtin couldn’t focus on his records because his eyeballs were wobbling and people were throwing up off the wall of bass inspired the Plastikman track ‘Sickness’).

- Jak O’Lantern, Windsor, Ont., 1995
More black plastic, orange snow fencing on the ceiling and a generator that needed cooling with water all night.

- Consumed, Pontiac, MI, 1998
Venue: old Masonic temple. Themed rooms and mikes that recorded conversations upon entering, playing back your own talk as one climbed the stairs.

Friday, 8 October 2004

1. Ali Farka Toure, Ali Farka Toure, Mango/World Circuit, 1988.

1. Timbarma (traditional)
2. Singya
3. Nawiye (traditional)
4. Bakoytereye
5. Tchigi Fo
6. Amandrai
7. Kadi Kadi
8. Yulli
9. Bakoye (adapted from Arabic praise song)
10. Amandrai [live]

Ten tracks of elongated vocals and unfussy instrumentation that pack an emotional punch; sounds this good should perhaps be criminalised.

i adore how he holds it on ‘Singya’.

Thursday, 7 October 2004

an official study has said there have been over 50,000 killings in communal violence in Plateau state in under three years.

Wednesday, 6 October 2004

an Amnesty International UK press release detailing their ("extremely rare") decision to make a written submission to the House of Lords, concerning detention without charge.

the full text of the submission is here.
Human Rights Watch, and others: Thailand's war on drugs sinks to new low
yesterday evening, at about 7.30 british time, channel 4 news broadcast previously embargoed footage shot from inside the cockpit of a USAF fighter jet flying over Iraq.

the pentagon had confirmed to channel 4 news the footage was genuine and belonged to them - and had, indeed, sent an email overnight the previous night to channel 4 news assuring them it was not 'recent' footage, rather footage dating from April 2004 - and the audience doubtless watched with interest as the cameras rolled.

the fighter pilot asked colleagues if he was to proceed with the target and was told to proceed (a man from Jane's was later worrying over what he called the short length of time it took to make such a crucial decision; Jane's not a publication known for its firebrand pacifists).

as the bomb or missile or crateload of anvils or whatever it was, was released, the viewer shortly after saw a very large explosion on the city streets.

immediately after blowing to bits about thirty other human beings the pilot was clearly heard to remark oh dude.

a local medic and representative of Doctors for Iraq told channel 4 news the dead were civilians, "women and children", trying to take cover, running down a street from the strafing of American snipers.

Tuesday, 5 October 2004

the only bright spot in this dismal story is the detail that Italian officials quoted by AFP news agency said they were allowing arrivals from Eritrea, Somalia and Ethiopia access to the asylum process.
also on the BBC Online site, an archived piece about the 'little Senegal' on the outskirts of Brescia.
LENIN'S TOMB on 'Trying the genocidaires'
"US 'hyping' Darfur genocide fears"

Monday, 4 October 2004

Thursday, 30 September 2004

some depressingly idiotic commentary at this BBC message board.

via The Rambler, Obsidian Wings asks everyone to post a link to their take on attempts by Republican lawmakers in the USA to, essentially, legalise torture.

The provision Rep. Markey referred to is contained in Section 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, the "9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act of 2004," introduced by House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). The provision would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue new regulations to exclude from the protection of the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, any suspected terrorist - thereby allowing them to be deported or transferred to a country that may engage in torture.

absolutely incredible.

Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, and over 68 others: Europe must do more about people trafficking.

some days ago, it was reported that a deal had been made between the Italian and Libyan governments on curbing flows of migrants into Italy (Libya being a common staging post for many, mostly African, migrants attempting to reach Italy).

i wonder if Silvio Berlusconi has read this op-ed, written by Kenneth Roth and Julia Hall of HRW, which raises many pressing issues around the 'Fortress Europe' debate.
the part about Libya's continued deportation of Eritrean nationals was especially interesting.

meanwhile Herr Schily, the German Interior Minister, is bringing a new, energised and decidedly unwholesome approach to the already dubious off-shore 'processing centre' proposal.
interesting Telegraph article from the 26th of the month, by Tom Parfitt:

It was just after 5pm on Saturday two weeks ago when Anzor Machiev, Alikhan Vitaev and a third friend from their Chechen town approached a junction with the main Grozny road in their battered Lada.

At the crossroads, several vehicles with blacked-out windows were waiting. As the Lada braked, six figures in camouflage and masks got out and unleashed a hail of automatic gunfire into the car. Then they calmly walked up to the wreck and fired a "control shot" into the head of each of the unarmed victims to ensure that he was dead.

A handful of stunned taxi drivers watched as the attackers - thought to be security forces loyal to Moscow - lingered for a moment before driving away, leaving the bodies sprawled on the road.

A month after the Beslan school siege in North Ossetia, in which more than 340 people died at the hands of mostly Chechen militants, Russia's reign of terror appears to be continuing in neighbouring Chechnya.

The people of Sernovodsk - a ramshackle former spa town of 15,000 inhabitants, 25 miles west of the Chechen capital, Grozny - say that execution, torture and kidnap are a familiar part of their lives.

Since the Beslan attack, they have noticed a military build-up in the once prosperous holiday destination for Soviet functionaries. Less than a week after the siege ended in a bloodbath, a unit of 100 Omon (police special forces) troops was dispatched from Perm, in western Russia.

President Vladimir Putin came to power with a promise to resolve the Chechnya problem by force. After the 1994-96 war with Moscow, Chechen rebels made a fresh bid for independence in 1999 - a campaign quashed by Mr Putin to popular acclaim.

Although Moscow insists that its activities in Chechnya are part of a continuing "anti-terror operation", many locals say that the reverse is true. The Russian forces' brutal treatment of civilians is a driving force behind young men and women's decision to seek revenge by joining separatist terrorist groups.

Criminal cases are sometimes opened into the raids but the investigations rarely yield results. In the chaos that has engulfed the republic since its Moscow-backed leader, Akhmad Kadyrov, was assassinated in May, nobody knows which of Chechnya's many fragmented security forces are to blame.

Several units of Mr Kadyrov's personal guard are believed to be working independently as rogue militia. Compounding the chaos, soldiers and police officers - many of them local men, in line with Mr Putin's policy of "Chechenizing" the conflict - often act with impunity.

At the funeral of Mr Vitaev - a 24-year-old construction worker who had been hitching a lift with his two friends - his father summed up Chechens' feelings of desperation.

"If only they just told us why they did it - a criminal act, a blood feud, something," he said. "Then maybe we would be able to accept it with dignity. Like this, we have no idea why he was killed."

His murder on September 11 was more brazen than most. Locals claim that the masked men in uniform usually come under cover of darkness, driving military or police vehicles without registration plates. They rarely say who they are, or give details of their victims' alleged crimes.

In the past year, 17 people have disappeared without trace from Sernovodsk. Security has been stepped up this month in spite of the fact that there has been no heavy fighting in the area for more than four years.

Many local people expect a turn for the worse. "We are sitting on a powder keg," said Dano Gubanova, a lawyer investigating several suspected abductions in the area. Last week a full-scale "cleansing operation" was in progress in the neighbouring village of Assinovskaya, a sign of a fresh crackdown since Beslan.

Troops blocked all roads to the village and young men were taken to a police checkpoint for questioning. Previously, detainees have been hit or tortured during questioning, villagers say. One favoured technique involves forcing a man to drink large amounts of water before beating him around the kidneys.

Rather than deterring Chechens from joining the guerrillas, such treatment often has the opposite effect. "They are only breeding resistance and terrorism," said Baudi Magomaev, the deputy director of the Sernovodsk agricultural college.

His brother Khamidi, a 48-year-old farmer, was dragged from his fields last month by masked men and has not been heard of since. His younger brother, Shadit, disappeared in similar circumstances two years ago. "If someone is accused of something, the security forces could arrest him, charge him, take him to court," said Mr Magomaev, 55, who denies that his brothers were linked to the militants. "Instead, they kidnap men, who are never seen again."

He added: "I was sorry about what happened in Beslan; the way children got treated. But here we also live in fear."

Malika Saidullaeva, 28, a housewife who lives with her extended family in Sernovodsk, still has a scar on her hand where she was shot by a man wearing military fatigues during a night raid by an armed gang last month. Her brother, Imran, did not survive.

During the raid he was shot in the leg, and allegedly responded by stabbing one of his assailants, although the family denies he had a knife. Miss Saidullaeva said that as Imran was being treated later at the local hospital, the armed men - whose leader said he was a senior police officer - came to the ward and killed him.

"He was trying to lift himself up between two beds and one of them just put a Kalashnikov to his chest and fired," said Miss Saidullaeva. Police returned her brother's corpse after 600 people protested at their HQ.

Sultan Irbayev, the Sernovodsk director of the human rights group Memorial said: "Putin is talking of increased security measures but all that will mean is more repression."

At a conference in Chechnya on Friday, pro-Russian Chechen officials made an unprecendented attack on the widespread abuses against civilians. Taus Jabrailov, a senior member of Grozny's pro-Moscow government, denounced "10 years of war which destroyed 80 per cent of the infrastructure, killed thousands of people and trampled on Chechens' rights.

Separatist fighters are accused of assassinating a series of pro-Moscow officials in Chechnya. The more radical rebels have long since switched their energies to launching terror attacks across Russia.
well the Daily Express deserves applause for its part in this necessary and just campaign; let's hope the words of Tikendradal Dewan are heeded too

Tuesday, 28 September 2004

Mark Danner discusses the Schlesinger and Fay investigations into American abuses at Abu Ghraib, whilst Human Rights Watch accuses Indonesian security services of "systematically torturing" Acehnese detainees.
hail the Welsh
a dance with the body

Monday, 27 September 2004

it's not very often that even a Sunday broadsheet will carry an in-depth story about violence in the Niger Delta, so here's - cut and paste due to log-ins - an article from yesterday's Telegraph by Katharine Houreld in Port Harcourt.

incidentally here is the International Maritime Bureau's piracy centre.

On the widescreen television in front of me, Sylvester Stallone is fondling a semi-naked blonde. Sitting to my left on a sofa, staring at the screen, is Alhaji Dobuko Asari - a rebel leader and oil robber baron whose gang violence has turned Port Harcourt, Nigeria's oil-producing capital, into a war zone.

Asari, an Islamic convert who admires Osama bin Laden, has been denouncing the decadence of Western society but in truth his rhetoric is as passionless as Stallone's performance. Only the subject of oil rouses him.

His gang, the Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force, is among the rival armed militias who steal and smuggle oil from the pipelines criss-crossing the mangrove swamps in southern Nigeria.

The country is the sixth largest oil producer within Opec and its light, sweet, "bonny" crude is in high demand worldwide. The Nigerian government, however, estimates that £5.5 million-worth of its crude is tapped by the gangs each week, and sold to international grey marketeers.

In recent weeks, the oil supply has been further jeopardised by vicious fighting between the feuding militias. The government, fearing disruption to the lucrative trade, has retaliated with helicopter gunship attacks on the rebel camps. In all, an estimated 500 people have died in the internecine fighting in the past month alone.

After government troops were sent into Port Harcourt - traditionally a peaceful refuge - on Thursday, the oil giant Shell evacuated more than 250 non-essential members of staff from two facilities in the Niger Delta.

The company, which produces about half Nigeria's daily output of two million barrels of crude, said that output had not yet been affected. But Asari's men vowed to target wells and pipelines unless the government offensive was halted. The threat contributed to oil prices closing at a record high in New York on Friday of $48.88 a barrel.

"We are fighting the government for resource control," explains Asari, who trained in Libya. "The government steals the oil revenues and gives nothing to the people. We give something back, and that's why we have local support." Nigeria's oil revenues will top £15 billion this year but corruption has robbed the country of the money to develop. Life expectancy barely tops 50 and 70 per cent of the population survives on less than 55p a day. Gang membership provides a rare sense of motivation and employment for bored and frustrated youths. "It is like prohibition-era Chicago, except they are smuggling oil instead of alcohol," said one oil industry executive. "If this trend continues, the Niger Delta will be a war zone during elections."

Asari used to be an ally of the local state governor, Peter Odili, and still styles himself as a political leader. He claims that his purloined oil is sent to a crude refinery deep in the mangrove swamps of the Niger Delta and then sold off at a discount to poverty-stricken local people. While they live in rundown shacks around his militia camp, an hour's ride in a speedboat from Port Harcourt, the house in which we meet Asari has all the signs of warlord-luxe.

The camp is teeming with heavily armed men, but weapons are left at the door of the house. There is no running water, but the sitting-room boasts an aquarium of terrapins - the goldfish, Asari tells me, died of over-eating - a cocktail bar in the corner equipped with an extensive range of spirits, and a home cinema system with impressive surround-sound powered by a generator.

Throughout the interview, his six mobile telephones ring in sequence with a funky hip-hop ring tone: on the other end are state and military officials, calling to warn him of an impending government attack. "These are the people I went to school with," Asari explains. Local campaigners against the violence believe that the bonds are even stronger than childhood friendship. Asari's men have received funds from the local government, said one campaigner, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, and many militias originally had political backing.

"Many of the gangs were formed to intimidate political opposition during last year's elections," he said. "But once you give someone a gun, you cannot take it back. After the elections were won, the men turned to crime. The government created this monster and now they must control it."

Asari, who is in his forties, has two wives and six children but has not seen them since he fell out with Mr Odili last year and took up leadership of the volunteer force. The pair squabbled after Asari publicly criticised Nigeria"s president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

His men are polite, well-disciplined and - unusually for Nigeria - did not ask The Sunday Telegraph for money. His speedboat picked us up at a jetty after we had made contact on one of his mobile telephones. Asari does not drink, or allow drugs at any of his camps.

The camp's peaceful atmosphere is in contrast to the violence that has flared across the Niger Delta. Asari claims that helicopter gunships from the country's air force attacked three of his camps south of Port Harcourt last weekend, firing rockets at sites where they believed the militia leader was hiding.

In the fighting between the rival gangs, meanwhile, rockets, grenades and dynamite have been used to destroy ramshackle dwellings. One long-standing feud with a rival militia leader, "Godfather" Ateke Tom, who is said to be funded by the government, left seven dead in a restaurant massacre on September 1. Mr Odili responded by setting up a joint task force involving the navy, army and police, with orders to patrol the waterways 24 hours a day. Still, the violence has worsened.

Asari has responded to the air strikes on his militia camps by declaring 21 "days of rage" against rival gangs and the Rivers State government. Government spokesmen insist that the situation is under control, but residents report that their streets still echo to the sound of gunfire.

A recent report by the International Maritime Bureau says that the gang violence has already made the Niger Delta waterways the most deadly in the world. Further violence threatens to push the oil price - which is nudging towards record levels owing to unrest in the Middle East - even higher.

On the ground, some of the rebel fighters have lost their appetite for battle. "I came from Okrika [Ateke Tom's stronghold] before all this fighting began," said one young recruit. "I just want to go home." His prayers are not likely to be answered.

meanwhile, on Friday, it was reported that security forces had killed 27 militants in Nigeria's north-east.
over the weekend, the death toll may have been revised upwards/
The Rambler goes Warsaw {he's as good away as his beloved Carlisle United, it's true}

Saturday, 25 September 2004

Ali Hamed, 91, does not understand why no one stopped the Janjaweed from driving him from the village he had not left for 80 years.
“I supported all people who have ruled Sudan since the English left, but this regime is full of criminals,” he said. “I hear there is a big government that can attack Omar Bashir. Can you ask them to come and help me?”

Thursday, 23 September 2004

NYLPM gets slashed [sunfair is, of course, the l.c.]

Wednesday, 15 September 2004

Scousers beware

- god help 'em, poor sods; Yoko Ono's at the Biennial, plying her trade~
Racism increasing in Europe: rising anti-Semitism, rising hostility towards Muslims, Gypsies discriminated against, asylum seekers beaten “for sport” in Scotland.

see more from the IHF-HR here.

just a couple of reasons why the USA was completely right to withold aid to the Uzbek government (and, indeed, to be applauded over that - albeit long overdue - decision)~
Mona is Lisa?

Tuesday, 14 September 2004

Jazz at Over The Top,
(78 Kingfield Road, Nether Edge, Sheffield)
(Buses 22 and 8, near Union Pub)

Thursday 16th September
8PM (prompt start)

Mick Beck Presents
A new Trio featuring
Pietro Lusvardi (double bass), Phil Marks (drums), and Mick Beck (tenor sax and bassoon).

Pietro Lusvardi is a Swiss-born, classically trained double bassist who is spending some time in England. He is well established in European and US West Coast jazz circles.

Phillip Marks and Mick Beck are better known in Sheffield as players of free music, but when they combined with two jazz players at the Lescar 18 months ago, their performances of jazz standards and original compositions was a great success. This is their first performance with Pietro (himself a composer).

Come and enjoy yourselves.

£5 waged, £3 unwaged.

For further information, phone Mick Beck on Sheffield 258 4999
Harm unpicks who he'd plump for in the upcoming American presidential elections.

as he notes, it's just a shame he can't legally vote...
thanks for your blog, Luka.

it was great while it lasted and will be sorely missed.

'cohere like a magazine' - oh cool
get y' (basic) facts right, Mr Laughland

Monday, 13 September 2004

i love the Baroque, ambitious, and expansive styles of Bill ‘Be Bop Deluxe’ Nelson.
‘The October Man’ is an especial favourite currently.
Authoritarian? Moi?
not one but two utter bits of gorgeousness at graun arts this morning that simply deserve a link.

firstly, Salgado photographs the Galápagos (i was lucky enough to catch his fine Exodus show [Barbican minisite], in tow with the l.c., at the glorious Chicago Cultural Center last year).

and, also, here's a piece on the Stirling prize nominees (Britain's foremost award for architecture).
i love the story about the Bexley school and the news that the Graz Kunsthaus is an art gallery (works of art inside that!) is just about enough to make one want to move to Graz. granted the relief on the building is a bit modish maybe but all told that's a wonderful design.

Cov's Phoenix Initiative looks quite sparkling too.

hopefully if (when?) the Gherkin wins it will gain some international recognition. i don't know about the global profile of 30 St Mary Axe but it seems finer than any new 'scrapers in, certainly, North America {OK, Asia's where it's at these days but still} and some acknowledgment would be nice (perhaps it is already internationally lauded and i am ignorant, but the green credentials of the building alone are quite cool)

my other blog's a Merc

started this a few weeks ago, following an off-the-cuff SR aside about the micro-scene (well Marcello and Todd B, anyhow) of blogs named for painters.

started solely for the awful title and as a possible space to make observations about food and drink, Publog style, i've only gone and forgotten the password so blogger may as well delete it now (the sidebar linkage is already inaccurate).

oh well oh well.

Sunday, 12 September 2004

foolish and inadequate think piece in the local listing magazine, concerning a discussion of bling.
the ideas and concept behind the term are looked at, with the main thrust of the piece being an argument that many people would possibly buy into, that the exaggerated stance of the most rabidly bling is a turn off.

the garishness of bling now means there’s been a “hoodwinking” of bling, a move away from its origins, from its supposed genesis with “young, black British” (er, late 1990’s New Orleans, anybody?), to the stage where bling is in danger of ossifying into this rather vulgar house of cards.
this is a summary of the piece but right at the end there’s the bemoaning of bling being all aspirational signifiers (and doesn’t this contradict something written seconds earlier?).
given the article was clearly labelled as a think piece-type report, a missed opportunity to seriously debate the economics of this, perhaps?

the fashion pages of the magazine in question, incidentally, are usually rather quirkier alternative and TopShop retro, than urban, but perhaps that’s me being paranoid.
truly superb ‘Letter from Malabo’ [Equatorial Guinea] in a recent edition of the Eye.

their correspondent, rightly, has some harsh words for Riggs Bank of Washington, D.C., ExxonMobil, British law firm Penningtons (Henry Page from Penningtons is supposed to have said, absurdly, that suspects receive fair trials under Obiang’s vicious dictatorship) and, of course, Westminster.

There was only one European country to come out and declare our last election, won by Obiang supporters with the traditional 98 out of 100 seats, to have been free and fair. The same country flew out ballot boxes at the cost of tens of thousands of pounds.
Thanks be to the UK!

interesting piece - under the heading The BBC is the IRA's useful idiot - from (angry Dublin scribe) Kevin Myers in today's Telegraph, reproduced in full below.

I watched BBC television's Silent Witness in weary disbelief last week. In it, our intrepid bone-sleuth Sam Ryan solved a 30-year-old double-murder in Northern Ireland. Needless to say, the secret killings were by RUC men. Better still, the killers had also murdered a colleague - as it happens, Sam's father, Sgt Ryan - because he was about to blow the whistle on them.

Naturally, there were all the improbabilities and implausibilities one might expect from a modern BBC fol-de-rol - for example, when the killers discovered that Sgt Ryan was on their trail, they instantly booby-trapped his car. Of course, day one in the RUC training-course: booby-trapping cars.

The mendacious fatuities of Silent Witness followed hard upon the comparable falsehoods of Waking the Dead, in which the Northern Ireland security forces had been similarly engaged in secret murder.

We really shouldn't be too surprised by anything the BBC does these days: the Dyke legacy has taken a terrible toll, and so there is no point in being angered by what we see on our screens. After all, it's only television, isn't it? Except it's not.

One of the central and abiding problems of Northern Ireland is the role of perception in influencing politics. For the BBC to be subsidising a Sinn Fein version of the history of the Troubles isn't merely wrong in itself, but is profoundly irresponsible, a kind of down payment on further conflict in the future.

Of course, Sinn Fein-IRA would welcome any unsought assistance from that useful idiot, the uncomplaining British licence-payer, and those even more useful idiots, television producers. What happens when Tarquin meets Jolyon in the BBC canteen and they decide to make a really riveting programme about Northern Ireland? Do they think about their duty to history, to the truth, and to the future? Apparently not.

They seem to think their obligation is merely to entertain, even if the result is a Sinn Fein-friendly confabulation which inverts the truth, dishonours the dead, and further adds to the lava-rock of Northern Ireland mythology. That the BBC showed two such programmes so close together suggests either that BBC controllers are not paying attention to what is being broadcast, or they simply don't care.

Northern Ireland was not Chile or Argentina. No one was murdered in custody by the security forces. No one. It just didn't happen. The only "disappeared" of the Irish Troubles were the dozen or so victims of the IRA, the remains of half of whom are still undiscovered. More than 300 RUC men and women were murdered by terrorists in the course of their duties: yet they held the line.

Their reward? Their force has been disbanded, while the IRA remains intact; and now RUC widows and orphans from a long and terrible ordeal must watch as Sinn Fein's propaganda assault on the bravest police force in Europe is reinforced by the BBC.

But, Jolyon and Tarquin might simper: it's only drama. My dears, nothing in Northern Ireland is ever "only"; everything has an impact, incrementally or otherwise. Moreover, how far would you sweeties be prepared to stretch the truth the other way? Would you have the IRA raping Protestant women or deliberately bombing Protestant schools? You squeal, of course not. Why not? Because such things never happened, you trill. Good. So why is it acceptable to tell comparable untruths about the RUC?

We have been here before. After the Troubles of 1916-22, a fictional narrative (as we now say) about those events was eagerly promulgated by Sinn Fein and assisted by the England-hating English Tarquins and Jolyons of their day. This work of fiction abolished IRA atrocities - the murders of alleged informers, of ex-servicemen, of Protestants, and the booby-trapping of dead bodies - and instead painted a picture of the Black and Tans as the sole villains of the time. This has become such a coercively powerful myth that it is now beyond all dissection or analysis.

By Kevin Myers
(Filed: 12/09/2004)