Monday, February 28, 2011

and the band played on

the titanic's maiden voyage, 1912. with the tragedy of the ocean liner sinking, the mythology of human omnipotence over the natural world was dealt a savage blow. ultimately the titanic was seen as an impenetrable symbol of man's domain. of the superiority of the west. the inheritance of the disaster was an increased cynicism & ability of the masses to question the status quo & what lay previously in the untouchable realm. despite where they fell in the socio-economic class system.

and the band played on... under the direction of lead violinist wallace hartley following orders from the captain to maintain calm the band in what is now legend, continued to play rousing tunes on deck designed to dissolve panic.

"alexander's ragtime band", and "nearer god to thee" are remembered by survivors. it is still debated what the last song was that the band stalwartly performed before the atlantic ocean swallowed them up. an eerie theme song of death & survival as these heroes played instruments with their last breaths as others surrendered, sliding off the increasingly acute deck & the lucky rest watched on in disbelief from adjacent bobbing lifeboats.

the question i am confronted with now is, were they indeed heroes? did the captain make the best decision in how to crowd control the situation. obviously in hindsight wisdom is cheap & although i have no desire to disrespect their memories, what would have happened if the band had not played on? there are at least two obvious scenarios:

1. absolute mayhem could have occurred & if so, probably less people would have survived in the bedlam which would have occurred to scramble onto the insufficient number of lifeboats which were available. collective panic as evidenced in crushes has often been attributed to deaths in public spaces.

this is a very popular belief which carries across most crowd control models. there's a strong argument for any leader to maintain order in a time of chaos. through whatever means or channels available.

artificial systems break down we are told when there is transparency. but what of natural systems: we are part of the animal kingdom after all, aren't we [we can have this debate later]? do instincts at a time like this prevail? the subconscious can breakthrough social conditioning to enable what we conceive to be superhuman endeavor when uncaged.

scientific research on human behavior & the mass psychology of disasters & emergency evacuations yields often conflicting results. hypotheses of crowd panic have been disproved from case studies including the london bombings which demonstrated that crowd behavior in emergencies is both socially structured and mutual co-operation is the norm rather than exception.

2. george bernard shaw publicly argued after the titanic sinking whether the band playing on gave the people on board a false sense of security ultimately creating an artificial surreality to the scenario. thereby reducing urgency. perhaps more could have survived.

there were arguments at the time over vilified bernard shaw's apparent tastelessness questioning the romantacised vision of leaders' heroism when there were gross oversights in executive decisions which had inevitably led to the disaster.

"Though all the men must be heroes, the Captain must be a super-hero, a magnificent seaman, cool, brave, delighting in death and danger, and a living guarantee that the wreck was nobody's fault, but, on the contrary, a triumph of British navigation." - george bernard shaw, 1912
  
mass panic is potentially a myth. could the common proliferation of such a belief be a subversive method of mind control?

if there's a risk, should the people know? and who makes this decision. we see this moral dilemma increasingly introduced as the hollywood mafia leak these vital themes through disaster/invasion films in the last few years. there's a visible trend. 

let's take 2012.. do the people have a right to know once the few & powerful have scrambled about in order to preserve themselves & in turn what they deem valuable? what if it potentially jeopardises the survival of the species... what would/did noah do?


let's think about this logically. say the world is going to end in 2012: and everyone knows, not just some shadow government types. what do you think that's going to do to the inherent structure of society? not even then when disaster is nigh, what about now?

noone's going to go to work anymore, forget buying the latest gucci sunglasses or upgrading your whiteware... this is going to really hurt the people who sit at the top of the money tree [banks/royals]. mass consumerism of non-essentials will fall into a shallow grave where it rightly belongs & focus will be redirected, en masse. right now the banks theoretically need our money & our fragmented distraction more than ever. for their exit/entry strategy. they're like mercenary, dairy farmers, milking out every last drop.

not only that, the government that you think you voted for will have a revolution on its hands. the illusion of choice will falter. not all of us are going to go & get perpetually stoned or suicidal. although there will be a significant percentage. if you breakdown the control mantra of "conform, obey, consume" something terrible could occur beyond the projected hysteria. people will start to think, and independently work together. who does this NOT benefit?

george orwell's much cited novel, 1984 described a totalitarian society in which government had almost total control over the people. this commentary has become a prophetic bible of benchmark as increasingly our society under the guise of increased freedoms reminiscent of orwellian party slogans "freedom is slavery" is a mirror for that world which we now live in.


in order to cement absolute control, order can be created by the few from chaos. in fact chaos is an effective vehicle in order to exact change & control. david rockefeller apparent author of the new world blueprint is the champion of such a mentality. as is zorg [the fifth element]. personally i prefer both. nataraj is my personal icon. but then i love to dance.


there are many questions & anomalies in this world. a lot does not add up. far-fetched science fiction or not? there is a galactic sized black hole known as black ops in the immense US budget which transcends international boundaries. and that's only the beginning. the rabbit hole runs so very deep into the very fabric of history & our collective concept of news-fed/text book reality forcing us to question everything we think we know.



for example does an organisation like wikileaks actually promote transparency? as it appears to. or is it too an agent of intended chaos creating order to ultimately benefit those we think it is decrying. is it all a well choreographed farce? could julian assange be the puppet of a much more insidious marionette? could my pin-up boy be a wolf in sheep's clothing. or an unwitting pawn...

wikileaks has been connected to globalist george soros, 35th richest man in the world according to forbes list of billionaires. that's quite a patron. a controversial billionaire whose path is one of polarity. is it because he's an atheist, apparently left wing, promotes a war against fox news? we could potentially be best friends & i could certainly use a sugar daddy *cutely waves*. 

so the red flag is that he wants a global financial economy. i've barely got two cents to rub together, so i'm not sure i know what that really means [my uni education is in philosophy, political science & marketing not economics & i never keep receipts] but i can deduce some negative ramifications easily enough. perhaps there are positives for the people too? we know the spin doctors will assure us so. 

the deal breaker would be if he is in bed with the rothschilds & rockefellers sometime figureheads of the so-called 13 families. soros is rumored as being an anti-semitic jew but post world war rumours are cheap & plentiful. if true that would certainly put him in the same ballpark of his filthy rich brethren exploiting their own people with some insidious possibly shared goal. like a new world order. but without scratching the surface there's not enough to surmise. and then the bilderberg connection comes up. oh oh... can you say illuminati without a tom hanks accent?

a likely outcome of the progression of chaos to anarchy through to an eventual reformation of new government systems [perhaps just one] is typically more not less post-governmental control & complete loss of individual liberties. with so many possible agendas & rampant disinformation who can you believe? certainly not politicians. at least we know that much.


if there were answers which would change your reality in an unpleasant way would you want to know or would you prefer to go on eyes wide shut kubrick style & be gently dehumanised [as long as it doesn't hurt]? do you prefer to stay sleeping & not follow neo by taking the red pill & wander into the dark expanse of wonderland. sleep is nice. which colour pill would you take?

this is a serious philosophical question as i consider complete redirection. i've been warned by a close friend that despite a shared belief of our distorted reality, that we make ourselves unnecessary targets in doing so. thereby directly impacting the quality of our lives. 

but only if it's real right? otherwise i'm just another crazy freak. that's OK, i like egg. but if it is real... WHOA, isn't there a compulsion, a moral obligation to do something real in response? at least to investigate what all the fuss is about...

this is an underground conundrum which has affected thousands all over the globe. the zeitgeist speaks despite many of us not being especially expertly qualified to field & spar with skeptics or the establishment. but still there is an increasing sense of urgency, and the need to lend voice. like neo in the matrix we can feel something is not right. regardless of evolutionary opinion, we are animals & our instincts although smothered have been repeatedly demonstrated to have life-saving merit.

what if it were possible to galvanise people to find truth, even a series of truths to break through the enveloping blanket of fear? to bring the many folds into this crowd-sourced cause to uncover perhaps not one truth because like the world there are many which bind us all. in mono-culturism, in one world order: new or old only the hierarchy benefits, before they too ultimately fall. what is mightier than the sword? both the pen AND the sword. words & action rule.

the 2000 cochabamba water wars were an inspiration to people all over the world, not just bolivians, in that seemingly impenetrable corporate greed could be fought & vanquished when the people come together. the world bank still maintains that free access to "a public service like water leads to an abuse of the resource".

a recurrent theme in alien & disaster films is a cause which brings about the unification of people in order to overthrow an oppressor be it a catastrophe natural or otherwise: government, an invader, an idea if its very nature threatens our survival.

can it happen outside of the movies? or a random assortment of web pages on the internet from a mishmash of unlikely satellite characters... is conspiracy theory real?

the greatest attack strategy for the debunkers of conspiracy theory is what it is by definition. and so theoretically the most outlandish & unbelievable is possibly existing right before our very noses, marching proudly in der f├╝hrer's inherited socks. we don't see the pulsing billboard's fine-print. the message between the lines. what lines?

propaganda really works. ask leni riefenstahl. we love big brother. the system protects us, the lambs' shepherd. yes, i would like fries with that, thanks for asking.


can purpose-filled revolution have the longevity & ability to maintain controlled focus outside of a burgeoning mob mentality after the initial shock subsides. to then perhaps supplant old leaders with new wolves in sheep's clothing or otherwise become once more corrupted by an archaic system in a hopeless cycle of rinse repeat? do the people ever really win?

ten years on, the people of cochabamba are still hungry, thirsty and poor. the infrastructure, or the lack of it afterwards failed them & the disparity between the haves & have nots continues.

they were not equipped to follow through. they did successfully demonstrate the ability to organise themselves, effectively resist oppression & to overcome fear and in doing so offer a beacon of hope to those still trapped within the status quo. but was it only allowed to happen because the big long-term picture was apparent to the power brokers? is anything as it seems?


sounds pretty hard. would we rather stick our heads back into the liquefied sand & numbly follow the signs, fix the fence, work for the man, pay the mortgage, gleefully take that three week holiday once a year, eventually succumbing to profitable [for some] pharmaceutically & engineered cancers whilst ignoring the underlying meaning of it all.

if any of this was even true how could it possibly be combated? all that power controlling flow of communications, money, information in the world. a david & goliath scenario with much worse stacked odds. i only hope that right now the NSA are sorting out my accounts [you might want to keep that IOU -- it's for a ferrari].

what kind of heroes does this world need? isn't the greater good as deemed by aristotle still greater than the individual, the common good, the polis, or was he being pimped out too... could all our voices together bleed into one super-sized spandex suit? service to others not self: is this too a programmable trait or closer to what could be the beauty or the essence of humanity, if we can even know who or what we truly are. 

or should we just mindlessly keep dancing to the beat of "nearer god to thee" & let the ship slowly sink?


NB. all images here have been indiscriminately lifted from the interwebs. there could be copyright issues. use with tenderness.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

absentee survivor guilt

 photo: copyright AP?

this week is like one epic post-apocalyptic train-wreck. christchurch earthquake has irrevocably impacted my life. my crippling guilt & shame are so immense. why? because i'm not even there.

 photo: copyright - TVNZ still - AP

but still the ensuing devastation seeing the city of my greatest "coming of age" stories, my heritage, the pain of chasing my friends & family down via social media, interwebs, phone, etc watching the ongoing decimation & also enduring resilience of my people and all the others who have selflessly come has attacked my very core. nothing will ever be the same again. an emotional mirror not dissimilar to september 11.

deadlines have fallen & crashed at my feet as the compulsion to know everything & to keep abreast of developments & throw energy into the hope well so as to increase the likelihood of a miracle, the constant updates or lack of has been... draining. torturous even. here i sit in front of a computer in my humble film studio aptly supplied by power, with a fresh glass of fresh tap water, the ability to eat anything i want & with all facilities at my disposal. what's wrong?

survivor guilt from catastrophes is well documented. it's a well recognised subgroup of PTSD - post traumatic stress disorder. first officially recognised with those who'd lived through concentration camps & the holocaust - the downside of the elation of living is potentially overshadowed by this sensation experienced by many, after the initial shock recedes. think of schindler's breakdown in schindler's list.

still i feel like a fake. or a phony, as holden caulfield would say. it's not like i'm actually there off my fat ass. it's cringe-worthy that i've spent the week blocking out my clashing & banging sydney life. instead almost 24/7 i've been projecting my energy into the peoples' life-force far-off in christchurch whose souls lie trapped under the rubble. captivated by the real-life drama.

i suppose absentee survivor guilt is a manifestation offered by the ubiquitiousness of our modern day media. first we saw the gulf war televised, 9-11, new orleans... these days we have disasters on demand. second degree trauma or universal consciousness is no less real.

 photo: copyright getty images

in many ways despite not experiencing the horror of the actual shakes those from afar have the ability to tap into the 360 degree visual impact more than others who are actually present in outlying suburbs etc cut-off without electricity or communications. the images & heart-wrenching emotions are splattered all over our televisions, computer monitors & iPads on the hour every hour. and sometimes more. click refresh faster. the degree of connection is amplified. 

we watched a guy in order to be extracted from a broken building having his legs sawn off with a hacksaw for crissakes. and someone else had to do it. that wasn't "house", that was real.

 photo: copyright REUTERS

we are driven to reduce what it means to be human. it is the invisible thing which drives & binds us to one another. tragically it often takes an event of such horror to supercede segregative fear & suspicion and become brothers & sisters in supporting arms.

although this has been an immensely crushing time it's also incredibly inspiring watching the constant heroism for the sake of others not self which has become a matter of course for all those involved. we've all seen the stories. most of us have cried. some haven't stopped.

 photo: copyright iain mcgregor/REUTERS

although many of us absentees are not physically there manning soup kitchens, pulling bodies or bricks from the rubble, sweeping liquefied silt off streets or lending a shoulder to cry on, we are spiritually present. guilt can be harnessed as an excellent mobilizer of productive action. and action leads to resolution which is universally craved. like kinetic energy it must transfer and be passed on into useful energy otherwise it eats the souls of the living & the generations who follow. the scars of trauma are more than skin-deep.

 photo: copyright john grainger, the daily telegraph

us absentee survivors who cannot be there offer solidarity in support; financially & emotionally, a union of strength, to stand proud bearing a beacon of hope for those who are at ground zero who will often understandably run short of all these. to go on. the people need us. the power of love is a formidable force indeed. it is our humanity.

NB. thank you to air new zealand who are still offering compassionate airfares for those to get in or out. and all the other companies who have come to the fore to provide the building blocks for the people to grieve, heal and in time grow.

PS. survivor guilt is a crippling & very serious mental condition which can be terminal in worst cases. please look after those around you & seek medical attention if it persists. we all have to look after each other.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

hope slowly fades

 photo: copyright - RP

with the christchurch earthquake death count currently at 75 & due to escalate considerably today as search teams transition from rescue to recovery mode, the start of the release of identified bodies names with permission from their respective families begins. prime minister john keys has announced that it is the public interest in order to understand the scale of this disaster the names of the dead must be shared.

according to the person finder tool by google, 8800 records have been tracked thus far.

but still people all over the world especially those directly connected to the estimated 300 missing cling to hope beyond hope that the rubble will yield life. despite technology, sniffer dogs & estimates that the wreckage is unsurvivable. i'm still firmly holding out for a miracle. stranger things have happened.

photo: copyright nine news

text messages came out of the CTV building long after it collapsed. there were people alive in there. whether they survived smoke asphyxiation or eventually succumbed to shock, injuries and have lost consciousness or access to oxygen only time will tell. but it is certainly of the essence. i firmly believe that there is life in there.

it has been heartbreaking to watch & the sense of overpowering helplessness to watch the abandonment of the search of the CTV at certain stages over the last 24 hours. i don't want to criticize the decision because we're all aware of the risks involved but if it was my loved one in there - i'd be picking up rocks until my fingers bled off. and probably be in jail right now. like we've already seen to one impassioned standerby come rescuer.

UPDATE FEB 24 12:52NZT:
glimmer of hope after alleged contact within CTV!!!!!!

UPDATE: FEB 24 13:51 NZST: 
police say 238 people are missing & up to 120 are trapped in the rubble of the CTV.

UPDATE FEB 24 13:11 NZST:
queensland urban search & rescue team's team have detected scratching sounds amongst the rubble with their audio devices.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

beached as - donate to christchurch


across the tasman we're not only sending rescue teams & police to kiwi aid. the creators of infamous youtube sensation "beached as" have created a special episode in support of the stricken christchurch earthquake cause. 

there are many ways to lend support in the face of tragedy. in the grimmest hours, it's a welcome escape to break the stress & crack a lighthearted smile, albeit briefly.

seaside town goes slipside

here's where yesterday's christchurch/lyttleton earthquake struck. to get a sense of the ongoing physical rollercoaster cantabrians are experiencing, go here & change the settings to the last 24 hours of the earthquake which struck at 12:51 [NZDT] on February 22, 2010. something akin to being in a cocktail shaker. on auto acceleration.

photo: copyright the press

photo: copyright associated press

above are current photos gleaned from the interwebs of canterbury seaside suburb brighton [south & new] after the 6.3 christchurch earthquake yesterday. 

 photo: new brighton beach copyright juneh via webshots

this is where my nana nora lives in new zealand. childhood walks to the beach to be invigoratingly dumped by merciless waves onto endless straights of biting sand with my grandfather, coupled with obsessive sea shell collection & racing back to the house for the best pavlova ever pervade early consciousness.

i would deliver elaborately scripted performances with my sister to emotionally coerced relatives & undertake table tennis tournaments at christmas, & escape from the dullness of parental control with walks across the road to the domain [where later i had an epic & somewhat infamous magic mushroom patch]. these are all fond memories. thankfully i have since heard that our grandmother is OK & was rescued by nearby relations.

liquefaction is particularly bad in this area & also in that of nearby bexley. liquefaction as seen in the christchurch september 04, 2010 earthquake is the result of massive shaking & separation of particles and water in the earth. it is a major contributing factor to ongoing damage during & post tremors. eye witnesses have described mini geysers which open up through the earth, erupt and pour an endless sea of stinking liquid mud.



UPDATE: liquefaction now threatens the very stability of the hotel grand chancellor, christchurch's tallest hotel which visibly moved three metres earlier today on an angled slump as it began to sink. it lies within the cordoned off area adjacent to the pancaked CTV building. this further complicates the rescue effort.

photo: cnr manchester & high street - copyright martin hunter/getty images

i have since heard that my close friends & family have survived this quake. at least physically. one of my oldest friend's who i had grave concerns for & spent the day feeling physically ill about knowing he was most likely at a pre-existing red-stickered [declared unstable > 2010 earthquake] zone in ground zero [high street shops] texted me last night:

 photo: embassy on high street >2010 quake - copyright destination shopping christchurch NZ

"I'm alive. Very close call. The building I was in collapsed. Had to climb down tree."

there's always a flipside. so many stories of horror & trauma are balanced with miraculous tales which reinforce the power of survival & freedom of spirit. what does matter are not the historic buildings, pathways or the crippling economics but the preservation of identity & ability to go on. to survive and evolve. theoretically the spirit of the people will rise. it's amazing what hardship humanity can endure.

 photo: copyright @samsuth1 on twitpic

may the universe protect those who lie still trapped today in pancaked spaces and impossible voids; especially those in the CTV,  pyne gould guinness, the cathedral, & other crumpled buildings. may you be rescued in time.

for those seeking loved ones google has set up a people finder.

love and light to all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

another earthquake shatters christchurch

photo: copyright martin hunter/getty images

today has been hijacked by the earthquake [6.3] which has devastated my home town of christchurch, new zealand. epicentre estimated 10kms south east of the CBD [under lyttleton] & less than 5kms deep. the damage has been significantly greater than that of the earthquake of september 04, 2010.

deepest thoughts and love for all my friends, family, and fellow cantabrians. it has been so intensely traumatic here i can only imagine the degree of horror for those at ground zero. my thought are with my still missing friends.

 photo: copyright richard cosgrove/the press

65 confirmed dead already & expected to rise much more. christchurch's mayor, bob parker at this stage cautiously estimates that it could double. possibly hundreds of others still trapped in buildings with many people who are still alive & trapped expected to stay where they are overnight, fighting for their lives as darkness looms & resources are stretched.

photo: copyright @charlottebellis/twitter

temporary triage centres are scattered in parks throughout the city centre as NZ hospitals are cleared to make room for incoming victims. emergency accommodation & food centres have been created in local schools and around the city area.

the CBD has been evacuated with fears of more buildings due to crumble as further aftershocks continue. the airport has been closed. the city has completely crumbled in major pockets, the cathedral spire gone with the people who were in it at the time...

 photo: copyright www.adelaidenow.com.au 

i've been hooked on the livefeed courtesy of nine MSN via TV3 in NZ for most of the day, other deadlines forgotten.

news is scarce of beautiful lyttleton, port, birthplace of my mother and site of the epicentre but rumours abound that both it & beach suburb new brighton to the north [home of my grandmother] are now unliveable.

Monday, February 21, 2011

where the wild roses grow

the ultimate death ballad: a source of great inspiration. a homecoming.

haiku: viscous kool aid green

viscous kool aid green
how does your garden grow?
without monsanto

chemical cocktail
human waste the conduit
which others must live


Friday, February 18, 2011

patterns in nature: water lines

 dragonflies play on the water's surface as the spent sun slowly falls into myall lake. further off a pepsi bottle silently bobs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the many incarnations of love

 copyright: chris knox?

it took a new zealander to write what is quite possibly the best love song ever.

i ♥ chris knox.

this is another of my all-time favorite songs.

also by chris with his formative all-round DIY "dunedin sound" band "tall dwarfs"... an inimitable era in kiwi music: they hey day of flying nun. post toy love + trend forerunners the enemy.


chris knox has been an ongoing unreckonable force in the NZ music scene. in 2009 he suffered a severe stroke & has been in rehabilitation since. 

his slow but steady recovery is something of a miracle, but still the devestating impact of his health issues reach out & cast a dark shadow over his quality of life, creativity, family, friends & fans. last i heard he could still not use his voice to speak. others have spoken for him.

love affairs brim with many chapters. some more meaningful than others to others.

...before they end. and only the hollowness remains. 

the spring has not run dry yet old friend. in times of old, i have danced like a wild young thing in reverence at your annointed feet, sucking up the magic source. your brand of love, passion & insight will never die. it will live on in us.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

[almost ky safe] chasing butterflies


i've had midnight to dawn spine shivers courtesy of goddess, maria callas & her ilk. she saw out my evening & begins the day again. ah, if only i could sing. but through her, the fantasy breathes.

sadly i'm going to quote pretty woman. yes, the movie. forgive me but, my discovery of opera was a bit like richard gere introducing julia roberts to the wonder which is this illustrious form. we [the opera & i] became one despite justifiably always being the last off the karaoke cab rank] fused & i wept & laughed like a baby my first time. i probably didn't look as attractive as julia.
GERE
People's reactions to opera the first time they see it
is very dramatic.
They either love it or they hate it.
If they love it, they will always love it.
If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it,
but it will never become part of their soul.


the first opera i ever saw was puccini's madama butterfly. it absolutely blew my mind. all the elements i love in the threatrical form: visual beauty, a fuck-off love story, conflict, social commentary, poetic sacrifice were all there. i was always going to love aronofky's black swan as well, despite the problems with it. same reason. oh, and it's aronofsky.

nothing beats a tear-jerking tragedy which reeks of realism. i've seen poor little butterfly a handful of times since, but with a semi-decent sound system & volume pumped it's pretty good at home/work too. one can surreptitiously rock a kimono, skin prickles complete & sing to passerbyers on the street with exaggerated expression. the volume thankfully drowns out my input.



arriving home late last night fueled on forbidden vodka cocktails pushed on by my reunited bestie, i went from detox to retox in one foul swooping see-saw movement. what came next was a degustation of puccini's finest very loud for a couple of hours. sorry princess rae rae.

 tamaki miura - copyright: www.kinouya.com


youtube really is an excellent enabler of such obsessive flash-in-the-pan fetishes. what did we do before? the above version is by tamaki miura, the original soprano who puccini cast as butterfly/cio cio-san in 1904.


butterfly has become a staple for opera companies for good reason. it's probably one of the more visually & aurally accessible & utterly intoxicating operas for laypeople like myself who don't really know a tenor from a baritone. it's linear story composition with uncomplicated core themes resonates with the masses. it's simply heartachingly beautiful on every level.

if you haven't seen it, do. for those in oz, opera australia have another madama butterfly production nearing the end of the season in sydney. la boheme opens april in melbourne, then july in sydney.  i haven't seen this season's butterfly but my friends who have & wax rhetoric after breaking open their opera seal for the first time.

according to gere's edward as he confides to roberts' vivian, they will always love it.

epilogue:


see how i sneakily slipped this in here? now with hebrew subtitles! what's not to love?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

not black and/or white

 img: copyright king hokum records

i was lucky enough to be introduced to this man & his music on a feature film i recently worked on. one of his songs forms the sound design foundation in various torturous & ecstatic incarnations brought to life with great musical artistry.


there's an absolute kitschlike aspect to the resurrection of the old blues style which C.W stoneking champions: self-coined/rebranded "hokum blues". some would call it inauthentic or exploitative, that a white man would work so hard to sound black.

where does the line start & stop when political correctness meets a commercial sell-out meets artistic homage? is a spade still a spade... do you have to come from the west to sing country? or the US ghettos to rap? or have been born < 1940s to enjoy 50s rockabilly revivalism, tattoos & pin-up girls...

imitation is the best form of flattery. perhaps black is just the colour of C.W.'s soul. it's conceivable that it is a curious ancient thing which channels the voices of old rather than bandwagon hopping in search of an identifiable market buck. regardless of original intent: his sound, begged, borrowed or stolen simply works.

it has been said that C.W.'s "shtick is within half a centimetre of a black & white minstrel show". it's an interesting point & an obvious one to make. in respect to backlash to the heinous australian television show "hey, hey, it's saturday" red faces debacle, what would harry connick jnr do? 

it's not like his [connick jnr or stoneking] sound or anyone else's isn't derivative. as artists we draw inspiration from everywhere, often hidden places beyond two or three dimensions. we're all plagiarists. context & motivation are everything. for some. however, lovers of the TV show fat pizza aren't only people who operate on an ironic level. many avid followers are the satirized. 

i'd hazard C.W.'s motivation comes from the highest place: love. that he reveres this medium is without question. whether he's a switched-on charlatan or not, i share his obsession & am thankful he keeps it alive.

ultimately the man should be able to speak for himself. in odd breaks here, he does. does he ever remove the mask? his camera response to the question about his initials is coy yet guarded. the performer is performing. shock horror! perhaps after all he does not fuck his wife like a black man.

here's lanie lane with her tribute song to C.W.

once i have time i'll cut another version which was filmed at peat's ridge festival last year, where i saw her perform [& promptly fell in love with] & dedicate this song to C.W.

seems that we both dance like gyrating ghost brides to his swinging tried & tested hokum [TM] beat.

Monday, February 14, 2011

and while we're at it...

just because.


PS. i love these guys. punk rock will never die.

what do i get?

introducing the buzzcocks: my chosen representatives for the day.

i have crabs

it's a hot humid february morning already in the mid north coast, NSW. the sun has only just risen.

waking in the cloistered confines of a tent, the sense of urgency to be cleansed is overwhelming. i can hear the call of the sea from where i am uncomfortably sprawled on the yoga mat. it is glued to my skin.

the beach is a one minute run over the dunes. save for souvenir tracks which lie in the wake of the park ranger, the beach appears to be empty.

after lying on the sand savoring the fresh saltiness of a morning swim, i roll over. the sensation of being watched is overwhelming. but it's not the hills that have eyes... it's the sand!

there are little sand crabs everywhere. timidly peeking out they scuttle forth to clean out freshly fallen sand from their burrows. like proud housewives they dance in unison timorously flicking debri from subterranean homes with industrious efficiency.

naturally i become quite excited. the only bummer is, i don't really have the right lens on me. the crabs are shy. whenever i move they hide. i snap away like a happy little sniper regardless, squealing like a little pig.

who's worse: me or the gull? quite the dilemma.

i leave. the deserted beach stares at me mockingly. a thousand pairs of eyes on my back.