Wednesday, June 30, 2004SUMMERTIME.. AND THE LIVING IS BUSY...
things are pretty hectic round here at the moment.. having just staged a People's Republic Of Disco backstage at Glastonbury (of which more later) and played a couple of dub sets to random folk, i've got all this to deal with as well:
This Saturday (July 3rd) there's Twisted am Lounge/People's Republic Of Country's
ACID COUNTRY ALL DAYER II
which will see me in my DJ Gram Parsimpsons guise spinning heartbreaking C&W classics between the bands....
then the following weekend there's
PROD IN THE PARK: NOW IS THE SUMMER OF OUR DISCOTENT
as part of Lewisham People's Day in Mountsfield Park in Catford (more details here)
and then - after a quick jaunt to bournemouth to do some more PROD business for my sister's wedding, and a normal PROD on July 24th, there's the highlight of my social calendar this year.
yep, the Unsound Crew are back in London and are getting back into business with an Unsound night at Bar Lorca in Brixton:
which is about the biggest my name has ever been on a flyer!!!!
so that's that for now....
posted by dubversion at 12:34 pm
posted by dubversion at 11:40 am
Tuesday, June 22, 2004Fin
it would appear that after a period of obvious indecision, matt woebot has called it a day. whether he'll emerge elsewhere i don't know, but i dearly hope so.
there's been much talk among the upper echelons of the bloggerati (k-punk, uncarved etc) about the nature of the blogging network/community and how fresh blood is needed and the passing of blogs like woebot should be celebrated not mourned.
but - perhaps because i'm less of a cultural theorist or whatever - i don't see it like that.
i just see the demise of one of the 3 or 4 most brilliant blogs i've ever read. matt woebot seems to be approaching the Wire and others for a print outlet, and i dearly hope he gets one. i don't agree with everything he said -god forbid! - but i learned a lot. a helluva lot. most of what i know about Grime, Sun Ra and London record shops i learned from Woebot. (and i even bought things rather than just downloading them
he has his reasons and i'm sure he'll pop up somewhere else, but i'll miss my daily click on my woebot favourites link to see what he's come up with.
good luck with whatever, matt. sorry for being so valedictory, but you'll be missed. and thank you for letting me know about Sun Ra's Sleeping Beauty. more than anything, thank you for that.
posted by dubversion at 10:46 pm
this time tomorrow, that'll be me.
so whilst i haven't exactly been blogging up a storm of late anyway, i'm off for a week. if you're at Glastonbury, i'll be hosting Dubversion's Reggae Breakfast in Greenpeace's big Cafe Tango on Friday lunchtime and Saturday morning.
or Saturday lunchtime and Friday morning. i get so confused.. i'll also be playing between some bands on various stages, and hosting a People's Republic Of Disco (backstage - let's just say i'm an insurgent force or something and quickly move on!!!)
meanwhile, these things are important:
Paul Morley's Words & Music is a cracking good read.
"If as a teenager you feel music this powerfully, it is very difficult to grow up and grow out of it. You are in fact likely to spend the rest of your life searching for similar experiences, even at ages when other life experiences should have suggested that there is a kind of immaturity in feeling so strongly about what is, after all, merely music, which is merely a form of guesswork about consciousness".
Southern/Country Muscle Shoals soul - this is what i listen to mostly at the moment. Candi Staton, OV Wright, Tony Joe White. beautiful.
i have started seeing a proper psychotherapist and it's wiping me out. not sure i can keep it up. every monday morning after the session i feel physically sick and like i can't trust any of the devices i need to get me through the day.
Johnny Boy's 'You Are The Generation That Bought Most Shoes' is not the Hoxton-finned wankfest one would expect judging by the press and their image. it is in fact an absolutely superlative slice of Phil Spector/Jesus & Mary Chain reverb-drenched loveliness which makes me grin and makes my nipples go hard.
that'll do for now.. see you next week......
posted by dubversion at 9:58 pm
Tuesday, June 15, 2004FREAKZONE
Just found this show on the BBC Radio On Demand service - Freakzone, 6Music, Sundays 10pm-1am.
ok, stuart maconie is as close to intolerable as makes no difference, and a lot of these selections would be a bit old hat to a Kosmische regular or whatever, but for a fairly mainstream-targetted show I think it's got a lot going for it...check last week's playlist...
Pizzicato Five – One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Barbie Dolls
FEATURED ALBUM – GROTESQUE
The Fall – The Container Drivers
The Concretes – You Can’t Hurry Love
Faust – It’s A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl
Gong - Master Builder
SPECIALIST CORNER – JOE MEEK
Joe Meek & The Blue Men - Dribcots Space Boat
The Tornados – Jungle Fever
Glenda Collins – Thou Shalt Not Steal
Joe Meek & The Blue Men - The Bublight
I Am Kloot – Proof
Arthur Russell – That’s Us/Wild Combination
Loretta Lynn & Jack White – PortlandOregon
FEATURED ALBUM – GROTESQUE
The Fall – Pay Your Rates
Rick Wakeman – Catherine Howard
Trachtenburg Family Sideshow Players – Fondue Friends in Switzerland
Magma – Kohntarkosz Pt 1
Iggy & The Stooges – Search & Destroy
Nectarine Number Nine – Leonardsfoamkremolacone
126.96.36.199’s – Guitar Date
New Order – Turn The Heater On (session)
Lightening Bolt – DraculaMountain
David Shire – The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three
Spiritualised – Medication
P.J. Harvey - Shame
Sparklehorse – Eyepennies
Orbital – Halcyon
Focus – Eruption
Client ft Pete Doherty – Down To The Underground
FEATURED ALBUM – GROTESQUE
The Fall - The NWRA
Half Cousin – Canned Laughter
Giya Kancheli – Film Music
Julian Cope – Safesurfer
lovely stuff. for the most part, anyway...
posted by dubversion at 7:35 pm
Wednesday, June 09, 2004St Agnes Place
i transcribed this from last week's Time Out for another purpose, so i thought i should blog it for posterity's sake. a saddening account of the struggle against eviction by the folk of St Agnes Place, provided by an anonymous member of that community:
St Agnes place is the oldest and largest multi-ethnic community of its kind, created as a radical solution to the housing crisis in the 1970s when a group of activists rescued, defended and renovated a street of derelict and condemned properties.
Home to people passing through and to permanent families alike, as well as being the Rastafarian International Headquarters, St Agnes Place has flourished for the past 29 years as a dissident community and is now seriously under threat of being destroyed. Both my parents squatted when I was a kid, and we came here at the end of 1976 when the occupation against a threatened demolition of the houses had begun. I was three years old: for almost all my life, St Agnes Place has been a home for me. Lambeth Council had compulsorily purchased all the houses on the street with the intention of knocking them down to create parkland. They demolished six houses and a listed Georgian building before the squatters could stop them. They also sent in council workers to damage the remaining homes and make them uninhabitable. They smashed up bathrooms and toilets, removed water and gas pipes, took out floorboards and roof tiles and filled drains with cement.
Squatters defended these houses with their lives by climbing on to the rooftops, where buildings were hit with a ball and chain. They eventually managed to get an injunction against the council to bring the demolition to a halt. The community then set about fixing the damage that had been done, and rebuilt the houses, using their own money and skills. The aim of this activism was very simple: to provide housing for ordinary people. And let’s not forget that the council, which now wants to sell off the properties for an enormous profit, would not be able to do so had they not been saved by the squatters.
It was amazing what they achieved in creating an autonomous community where people had a real sense of self-determination. For me, growing up in St Agnes, it was always a vibrant and happy place. I learnt so much from growing up here. The fact that we weren’t from the same background or culture did not matter – we were all in it together. And no matter how mad or different you felt the other people in the street were, it wasn’t a problem; you just got on with it, and in fact it was better because of it.
Things aren’t so different now. People have come and gone, but the community is just as interesting and diverse as it was then. The Rasta community has flourished and created a positive and supportive environment for black people to maintain their culture. They organise a whole range of local activities including a music studio, a café, their own football association, drumming workshops, yoga classes, discussion groups and talks on Rastafarian history and culture.
Around two years ago Lambeth started legal proceedings against 12 of the houses. By the middle of last summer, they had gained repossession orders on them. Nine of those did not even make it to court to argue the cases, but were simply bullied out by Lambeth with the threat of huge legal costs. The three that did pursue their cases all lost and were left legal fees each exceeding £100,000 – one amounted to nearly £350,00. One man suffered a heart attack.
On October 24 2003, the 12 houses were set to be evicted. Most of the residents left, even though they did not get rehoused. Only a few were offered temporary accommodation due to the ages of their children. The rest were told to report to the Homeless Persons Unit. The rest of the community, with the support of activist groups, then defended the houses and maintained a continuous occupation that is still going on. None of the houses has been taken back by the council yet. As far as we know, Lambeth’s intention is to sell off the properties in private auctions as it did with Oval Mansions – another squatted community of 167 families which went for £5.6 million and is now being privately developed.
The extraordinary street has been doing the job of the council for the last three decades. Providing homes for thousands of people over the years, with no cost to the taxpayer and no reliance on housing benefit. But squatting is rarely seen like that. The tabloid press usually presents it as a world of freeloading, but St Agnes Place has always been about making proper use of houses that would otherwise be left derelict and wasted. While all the good housing stock is being sold off privately, people on waiting lists get shoved into crowded estates or hostels. For the council, it all seems a matter of making money, not helping a community. It has done nothing to help this neighbourhood. Lambeth likes to project a multi-cultural image, and yet it is threatening a place that is considered sacred to Rastafarian people.
Squatting has changed from being an ancient civil right to a modern criminal offence. Dissident lifestyles are being eradicated and people who don’t fit in can be criminalised. Alternative living hardly exists anymore and free thinking is on the way out. It’s a trap. They want you in a box, stamped and tagged and chipped. But even in that box, if you start to go under watch out because you could be criminalised too.
The housing system makes people a lot of money. I worked with the homeless in hostel and day centres for six years so I know what it’s about. At management level, you can make a good career for yourself in this sector without ever changing a thing. The average rent in a hostel is more than you would pay for a furnished 2-bedroom flat in zone 2. Some hostels are dirtier and more dangerous than the streets, but people don’t have the choice because they can be nicked for sleeping rough. Recent years have seen a massive property boom at the same time as a rise in homelessness. It seems obvious to me that the former has fed greedily off the latter.
At St Agnes Place we have tried to protest against this. Lambeth will come again to try to evict us, this time with more force. If they succeed, it will mark the end of an era. This neighbourhood is one of the last stands of an alternative lifestyle in Britain. It is also our home. I do not intend to go without a fight.
there's a benefit/celebration Okkupational Hazard Party on Saturday June 12th:
i'm going to see Sparks in the evening, but i'll be there in the day. go show some support.....
posted by dubversion at 8:34 pm
Friday, June 04, 2004The Bureau Of Public Secrets
The Bureau Of Public Secrets is great little resource of Situationist/60s radical texts and detourned images. i particularly like this sticker for defacing ads:
posted by dubversion at 2:23 pm
Thursday, June 03, 2004GOOD AIDS
just knocked off a disgruntled letter of complaint to the Independent about their obituary (written by Paul Levy) of Private Eye founder Nicholas Luard, which they printed last week (late because i've been on my hols).
look at this:
"Francesca... the eldest of (Luard's) 3 daughters, was diagnosed HIV positive and died of AIDS aged 29.... She wasn't a drug user and had only had a few boyfriends - it seemed unjust as well as horrific"
Dear Sir or Madam
I noted that Paul Levy (in his obituary for Nicholas Luard in the Independent dated May 28th) found it ‘unjust as well as horrific’ that Luard’s daughter Francesca died of an AIDS related illness in light of the fact that ‘she wasn’t a drug user and had had only a few boyfriends’.
Are we to conclude from this that if she had been more promiscuous or – heaven forfend – had at some point taken drugs, that despite still being horrific, her sad passing would have been in some way ‘just’? I’m sure the friends and family of victims of AIDS who in Levy’s eyes ‘deserved’ their tragic ends will be very reassured to find out that Chris Morris’ satirical distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ AIDS actually has at least one adherent.
Which ever way you dress this up – as clumsy journalism, shocking judgementalism or sheer callousness – it’s unacceptable, and not the kind of thing I expected to find in your pages.
unfuckinbelievable that the comment slipped past the editors...
posted by dubversion at 9:38 pm
Tuesday, June 01, 2004REGGAE FI RODOS
on the outskirts of Lindos, the village i stayed in on Rodos last week, there was a decrepit mausoleum, a 3 hour round trip from the village across barren, bleak rocky terrain. all mean looking goats, wizened sheep and snakes. my kind of landscape.
nobody about, quite creepy really. it was the coolest day and i went towards dusk. the abandoned windmill - middle ground in the pic - looked fascinating but a bit menacing. when i came up close it was pitch black inside so i tentatively moved towards it.
....maybe the three black furious looking billy goats that came running at me as i approached were more scared of me than i was of them, but it's difficult to credit. it's the nearest i've come to actually soiling myself in fear in my life...
having gathered myself, i scrambled up to the mausoleum itself. amazing views across the cliffs and coastline of Rodos and all the way to Turkey if you squinted.
an amazing place...
i've got a HUGE and angry rant about Brits abroad, but i'll save it till i feel less agitated.
in the meantime, props to John Eden and Paul 'Grievous Angel' Meme for the superb mixes (Shake The Foundations Vol2 and Nervous Ragga respectively) that accompanied me on the trek. VC's incomparable 'By His Deeds' is a mighty powerful thing to listen to in somewere quite so barren and beautiful.
posted by dubversion at 7:59 pm
it's ten years today since my dad died. he'd have been 59 this year.
it's easier now, mostly. but sometimes i just want to break stuff and scream at people and tear my teeth out.
he died of various cancers at 48, despite having never been a smoker or a drinker or anything else.
when i was a kid i believed that when people got old or near to death, some chemical or some mindset would kick in, making them accepting and calm and wise, ready to utter calming, graceful things at the end.
it appears not to be the case. my dad gripped the arms of the chair he died in, gritted his teeth, truly raged against the dying of the light. he died angry. really fucked off.
for my part, i waited till i was fairly sure he couldn't hear me till i told him i loved him. which is something that i'm ashamed of to this day.
there's been loads of death round me lately, in fact there always has been - i've been to 20 or more funerals already - close friends, family, colleagues. and when i see people going through what i went through i want to say something helpful but i can't. because i'm buggered if i can THINK of anything helpful. save perhaps 'now, of all times, don't expect too much of yourself.'
i'm still waiting for my psychotherapy referral to get processed. apparently i've never dealt with the grief. what the fuck does that mean anyway? it hurts, it will always hurt, and that's the deal. i'm not sure what else there is to it.
i couldn't cry for fucking months, not a thing. then i found this, by Billy Bragg of all people, and it provided the kind of push-button release in my brain that made it possible:
TANK PARK SALUTE
Kiss me goodnight and say my prayers
Leave the light on at the top of the stairs
Tell me the names of the stars up in the sky
A tree taps on the window pane
That feeling smothers me again
Daddy is it true that we all have to die
At the top of the stairs
I closed my eyes and when I looked
Your name was in the memorial book
and what had become of all the things we planned
I accepted the commiserations
Of all your friends and your relations
But there's some things I still don't understand
You were so tall
How could you fall?
Some photographs of a summer's day
A little boy's lifetime away
Is all I've left of everything we've done
Like a pale moon in a sunny sky
Death gazes down as I pass by
To remind me that I'm but my father's son
I offer up to you
I offer up to you
This tank park salute
i had to help organise the funeral. i picked 3 elvis tunes. when they lowered the coffin it was American Trilogy, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. showbiz must be in our blood.
then i had to shake hands with people i didn't know or didn't care about and invite them back to my father's house and let these people drink his sherry and laugh and joke and i honestly wanted to kick their supercilious fucking faces in.
what the fuck.
posted by dubversion at 7:47 pm