Egypt can turn off the Internet but it can’t stop satellite TV, Twitter or ham radio operators.
Al Jazeera is reporting that state security is trying to enter the building where their Cairo bureau is located. NPR’s Andy Carvin tweeted, “Al Jazeera streaming live video from their office window; police are banging on the door trying to get them to stop.” Followed by a quote from Al Jazeera, “We’ve been streaming live for 5 hrs and the police are clearly not happy about it.” The Raw Story reports that the station may be shut down, but the live feed from Al Jazeera English is still streaming, with reporters breaking the news from Egyptian state media that Mubarak has ordered police reinforcement for the curfew set from 6 p.m. local time, now in place, through to 7 a.m. on Saturday. “It’s not having any effect.”
Here’s raw video that was posted on Youtube five hours ago. It gives you a sense of just how massive the protests in Cairo are. It was shot by Mohamed Ibrahim Elmasry, “a professor emeritus of computer science at a Canadian university who is in Cairo.”
Riot police are firing off tear gas canisters but it’s not stopping the protesters. The will of the people is awe inspiring.
While Mortals Sleep is the newest anthology of the late Kurt Vonnegut’s unpublished short fiction. Think of it as the eagerly-awaited third volume of his worthwhile ephemera, sitting alongside of 2008’s Armageddon in Retrospect and 2009’s Look at the Birdie. The new book collects work from the great author and satirist’s youth that were never published and material either rejected by magazines or else never submitted in the first place.
The 16 previously unpublished short stories of this collection, taken from the beginning of Vonnegut’s career, show a young author already grappling with themes and ideas that would define his work for decades to come. “Girl Pool” features typist Amy Lou Little, employee of the Kafkaesque Montezuma Forge and Foundry Company, who is tasked with transcribing a plea for help she receives on her Dictaphone from an escaped, dying murderer hiding somewhere in the works of the company’s cavernous factory. The tale reveals Vonnegut investigating one of his recurring themes: the isolation brought by technology and the necessity for basic humanity in the workplace. The title story melds a sentimental meditation on the true meaning of Christmas with elements of the mystery genre as a hard-nosed reporter stalks the story of stolen nativity scene characters. While these early stories show an author still testing the boundaries of his craft and obsessions, Vonnegut’s acute moral sense and knack for compelling prose are very much on display. In the foreword, Dave Eggers calls Vonnegut “a hippie Mark Twain,” which perfectly captures an essential truth about this esteemed author.
Below, Vonnegut “grades” his own novels, with Charlie Rose.
To celebrate the engagement of Prince William of Wales to Ms. Catherine Elizabeth Middleton, Crown Jewels Condoms of Distinction has commissioned a unique heritage edition Royal Wedding Souvenir boîte de capotes.
Combining the strength of a Prince with the yielding sensitivity of a Princess-to-be, Crown Jewels condoms promise a royal union of pleasure. Truly a King amongst Condoms.
Includes a collectable portrait of the Royal Couple as they might appear on their wedding day – exclusively created for Crown Jewels.
One pack (3 condoms) goes for £5.00 and a three pack (9 condoms) is £13.50.
Estimated Weight of Pregnant Female: 275lb/125kg/62flbn*
*Flibbon(flbn) has been theorized as a rudimentary unit of weight developed within Sasquatch culture.
Estimated Foot Size: 1.5ft/1.48168Pc
Estimated Weight of Infant: 15.4lb/7kg/3.27flbn
Estimated Area of Sasquatch Vagina in Hectares: .000025hec
Gestation Period: approximately fourteen months
The North American Sasquatch is a megafaunal bipedal hominoid, also known as “Bigfoot”, “Nuk-luk” or “Woolybooger”. The male Sasquatch unceremoniously abandons the female immediately upon impregnation. This leaves the female to fend for herself during the intense seventy-two hour labor period. The standard birthing posture is upright, scientifically referred to as “Inverted Supine” or “Gravity-Fed Style”. Traditionally a tree serves as the midwife; seizing it by its trunk, the female is provided with ample protection, leverage, and stability. Once the female’s water breaks(approx. six gallons in volume) she seeks out a secluded deciduous tree, its trunk an average of three feet in diameter, thick enough to support the expecting mother and her firm embrace. Typically the female Sasquatch tends to avoid trees of the coniferous variety when making her choice. There are two theories behind this: One, is that the sap/tar secretions are a nuisance during the already complicated birthing process, and two, is in order to avoid exposure to pine nuts, which are considered toxic to the Sasquatch newborn.
Sasquatch Birth Journal 2 was recently screened at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
I grew up in Tunisia. For me, like I’m sure each country is for every kid, it was the center of the universe. I truly believed that everything revolved around Tunisia. People from all over the world literally did pilgrimage to it, whether for religious reasons (during Lag Ba’omer, a Jewish holiday that takes place after the celebration of Passover, Jews from all over the world come in masses to Ghriba synagogue, home of the world’s oldest Sefer Torah), or more commonly for touristic reasons during the summer when Tunisia becomes a Mecca for beach-goers and sun-lovers.
As I got older I realized it wasn’t really the center of the universe. I discovered we were categorized as a Third World country, and since both my parents are revolutionary syndicated journalists (my father was jailed during the 1978 manifestations), I learned pretty quickly that we were living in a dictatorship, that the media is censored and freedom of speech is virtually non-existent. Sure we ranked highly among African and Arab countries, and women enjoyed a freedom unheard of in the neighboring countries, and for decades that was the thread of dignity we, people of Tunisia, hung onto. But that wasn’t enough, not if we wanted our kids to be proud of being Tunisians.
It took long enough, but Tunisians rid themselves of their fears—fears of the government, but most importantly fears of leaving their comfort-zone and the apparent safety and security our country was famous for. And they marched into the streets simultaneously, first to express their anger and discontent, then to ask for reforms and, well…jobs! Then, finally, to demand and ultimately impose a radical change—a historic one, too. For the first time in history, an Arab people has ousted its president and dictator without foreign help or the use of force.
And on that Friday, the 14th of January, the eyes of the whole world were on Tunisia. On that historic day, Tunisia was and forever will remain an idol and an inspiration for the tired and the poor, the weak and the oppressed, anyone who has ever dreamt about liberty while living under dictatorship. On that historic day, Tunisia WAS the center of the universe. I couldn’t help remembering all those revolutionary rap songs I wrote, all those cliched phrases that even I was starting to get tired of: “Power to the people,” “We can change our destiny,” etc.—and smile. Finally it was relevant, finally it made sense.
The battle is far from won, but we know the challenges awaiting us, and we will work them out as a united free people in a democratic way. Because now that we tried the taste of freedom, we are never giving it up again.
Thank you people of Tunisia for making her once again the center of the universe.
Here’s the video for Firas’s recently released tune, “Tunisian Revolution,” with a translation from the Arabic below:
[The chorus is sampled from “Homma Min Wehna Min” (“Who are They and Who are We”), a song by revolutionary Egyptian composer Sheikh Imam.]
If the people one day decided to live*
then it’s as if they decided to walk on water.
Hands are cuffed, my “masters”’s needle has sewn our lips
nothing left but the weaponized pencil
and my fist.
The night they arrested my heartbeat…**
Long live my country
he who betrayed it will live in it
and he who isn’t among its wealthiest won’t.
The people have been subdued, robbed,
heroes been put down, burnt down,
riches have been accumulated and disappeared.
Underneath us the fire is burning,
and above us the wealthy are living,
and we’re stuck in the middle.
If the people one day decided to live,
start digging graves and preparing burial shrouds.
Blood is screaming inside our veins,
we die and they live, dear country.
If the people one day decided to live,
then destiny has to obey
and the shackles have to be broken
and the dark night has to end.
- CHORUS -
Who are they?
U won’t see them but u will feel their shackles
Who are they?
The ones that deafened hearing people
and muted the talkative until we became like statues,
steered like a herd.
Who are they?
They’re the ones who dried the ink out of our pens,
Who are they?
They’re the ones that made the flag cry.
Who are they
and who are we?
Where are they?
In fortified castles.
Where are we?
In destroyed shacks.
Their sons enjoy our misfortune,
our sons get beaten in universities,
Their sons get the highest positions,
our sons hang from coffee shop to coffee shop, from bar to bar
are unemployed, with diplomas…
*A take on Tunisian national anthem by Abul-Qasem Alchebbi:
“If the people one day decided to live
then destiny has to obey
and the shackles has to be broken
and the dark night has to end”
**Refers to the famous 1984 Egyptian TV film The Night They Arrested Fatma, a drama about a young woman who became radicalized during the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.
After the jump: the video (with English subtitles) that helped get Tunisian rapper The General arrested…
“Horizontal Ascension” is an early recording by Television from a 1974 rehearsal, when Richard Hell was in the band. It appears on the bootleg Poor Circulation.The title “Horizontal Ascension” was ” ...lifted from an Elevators album’s esoteric notes,” and as Richard Hell recalled:
“I was in the band for a year…But the peak of my participation in it probably came at about three or four months…It sounds more like what the Neon Boys sounded like than like Marquee Moon-era Television. As great as the guitar playing is on Marquee Moon, the original band was more to the point. It’s more like…it came at a time when music was really…boring, you know? It was a return to the values of the Kingsmen and the Sonics and Them and the Velvet Underground. It still had this really beautiful guitar talent — ecstatic, explosive guitar — going on as well as this lyrical quality, but it was more driving and crazed.”
Founding member (along with his partner Cosey Fanni Tutti) of Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey (now Carter Tutti), inventor of the Gristleizer and seminal influence on both the electronic and industrial scenes, today is Chris Carter’s birthday.
Which gives me the perfect excuse to mention his recent The Spaces Between album re-issue. His first ever solo album, it was originally released in 1980 on cassette only. In 2010 it was issued on vinyl for the first time ever by Optimo Music (the same Optimo who supplied the excellent ambient-not-ambient mix I posted at the start of the week). It has been trimmed down from 15 tracks to 6, and now includes the track “Climbing” which was not on the original album.
Here’s what Optimo Music have to say:
Originally recorded between 1974 and 1978 at Industrial Records studio in London ‘The Space Between’ album was first released as a 90 minute cassette in 1980 on Throbbing Gristle’s Industrial Records label. It wasn’t until 1991 that it was again released by Mute Records on CD. Although tracks from ‘The Space Between’ have appeared on numerous compilations since its release, the album has never been available on vinyl until now.
This new vinyl edition on Optimo Music, now retitled ‘The Spaces Between’, doesn’t include all the tracks of the original album but has been enhanced and remastered from the original two-track master tapes and has new cover artwork especially for this release. All tracks have been remastered by Chris Carter in 2009 for this release.
Chris Carter - Interloop
Chris Carter - Solidit
The Spaces Between is available to buy on vinyl and download from Boomkat in the UK. Chris & Cosey are in the middle of re-issuing their back catalog too, but I will save that for another post.
Ah, nothing like a bit of hyper-kinetic thrash punk to kick off your weekend! Lightning Bolt are rumored to be bringing out a new album this year, but seeing as it took four years between their last two (2005’s Hypermagic Mountain and 2009’s Earthly Delights) I wouldn’t hold your breath. I love these guys anyway, it’s like pure energy in a can. One drummer, one bassist, and Krakatoa erupting under your feet.
If you’ve never been to one of their shows (or even if you have), then watch this clip to get a taste of how truly insane they can be. Setting up on the floor, in the round, the audience are just as much a part of the show as the band. Both feed off each other’s energy, and while it seems basic, the band members (both called Brian) are incredibly skilled musicians. This clip should be watched in its entirety for full effect, but if you can’t take the thrash, just skip to 1:50 for the magic flying glasses moment.
Bonus: here’s one of my favourite LB tracks “Two Towers” - talk about raw power! It takes a minute to kick in…
Thanks to YouTube commenter pizzaROX for the headline!
In 1973 when I first heard The Wailers’ debut album “Catch A Fire” my world shifted on its axis and I started loving rock and roll again. Reggae resurrected something in me that had lay dormant since Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison died - a sense that music was mystical, transformative and sexy. The Wailers created powerful songs with infectious hooks delivered with passionate energy and the spirit of rebellion in under five minutes. I was inspired to start my own reggae band, The Ravers: five white guys playing reggae in country bars in Colorado.
Bob Marley and Peter Tosh changed the course of my life. Patti Smith, The Clash and The Ramones sealed the deal. The Ravers were now the only reggae playing punk band in the Rocky Mountains. Yeah, it was strange. In 1977 we relocated to New York City and never looked back. I had caught the fire.
In this soulful video, The Wailers rehearse “Stir It Up” during their “Catch A Fire” recording sessions in L.A. in 1973.
Bob Marley : vocal, guitar, percussion
Peter tosh : vocal, guitar, percussion
Joe Higgs: Harmony vocal and percussion
Carlton Barrett: drums
Aston “Family Man” Barrett : Bass
Earl"Wya” Lindo Keybords
“I’ll push the wood, then I blaze ya fire, then I’ll satisfy your heart’s desire.”
There is no other human on earth who looks like, moves, speaks and acts like Udo Kier—and many of the world’s top film directors are intimately aware of this. Frequently cast to give a film that extra indefinable oooompfh, Udo nails it every time, with a mixture of camp, chills, commitment, charm and sex! His penetrating blue eyes are like laser beams aimed through the soul; his gravitas can skew either warmly funny or deadly serious; his physical appeal is that of a sensual dark overlord; his that-guy-ness—electrifying, as his appearance in over 200 film/TV roles, from arthouse to grindhouse, have inspired a deeply devoted cult. This Teutonic two-headed titan of both top-shelf cinema classics and trashy exploitation fare has simply been one of our favorite on-screen performers for forever—and besides, how could Von Trier, Fassbinder, Herzog, Paul Morrissey, Rob Zombie, Argento, Carpenter, Van Sant, Wenders, Michael Bay, Guy Maddin and Uwe Boll all be wrong?
Tonight, we’re thrilled to welcome Udo for a lively discussion about his wild and prolific filmography, an oodles-of-Udo presentation of some of his greatest movie moments, and two incredibly rare films: the legendary 2002 short film Mrs. Meitlemeihr (which features Udo as Adolf Hitler hiding out in post-war London…in drag!), and 1996’s United Trash. Directed by Udo’s good friend, the late Christoph Schlingensief (a director whose outrageously outré is-it-art-or-is-it-exploitation satirical style made Kier his perfect frequent collaborator), the film is an incredible holyfuckingshit masterpiece not to be missed. And it stars Kitten Nativdad! Seriously, don’t miss this. JUST ADDED: the evening’s show will also feature the world premiere of new short films directed by Guy Maddin that star Udo, ones filmed simultaneously with Guy’s new feature Keyhole!