Fantastic! Vintage interview with Dangerous Minds pal Mick Farren (seen here with ex-wife Joy) conducted by John Peel!
Here the legendary Mr. Farren discusses how “the authorities” would pressure printers not to deal with the International Times or the underground press as a means of suppressing it. Towards the end, he sketches out how an underground economy would work. What a thrill to see this. Imagine if rock stars today were this smart!
As bewildered analysts on the sidelines wring their hands over “what’s next in Egypt,”Al Jazeera continues to very simply shame the American news media with regards reporting on the region’s issues.
Jane Dutton, the host of the network’s “Inside Story” show, does what we used to call actual insightful reporting by bringing into AJ’s Cairo studio Egyptian activists Gigi Ibrahim, Amr Wakd and Wael Khalil and, remotely, Tunisian graduate student activist Fidi Al Hammami. And while these kids may represent a somewhat elite and educated part of the thousands on the streets, Al Jazeera goes a long way here beyond the usual news formula of interviewing either excited guys in the middle of a protest yelling at the camera or annoyingly hedging news “contributors.”
At around the 18-minute mark, Khalil makes the crucial remark that puts the American punditry’s narcissistic agonizing into perspective: “We don’t need the US.” In short, Uncle Sam, the EU and the international community are rather irrelevant to this struggle. The paradigm’s changed, and the old powers need to get over themselves.
Mutamassik (meaning “stronghold” and “tenacity” in Arabic) is the nom de tune of Giulia Lolli, a half-Italian/half-Egyptian composer and DJ with a background that’s reflected in her splintered internationalist musical style. Born in Italy and raised in the American Rustbelt, Lolli went to New York City in time to swoop quickly in and out of the illbient scene of the mid-‘90s before heading out to Cairo, and finally landing up in what she terms a “CAVEmen-style” existence with her husband, Brooklyn guitarist Morgan Craft, and child in Tuscany.
Lolli has described her music as “Sa’aidi Hardcore & Baladi Breakbeats: Egyptian & Afro-Asiatic Roots mixed with the head-nod of hip-hop & the bass and syncopation of hardstep.” (The term “Sa’aidi” can refer to people of Upper [central-eastern] Egypt, and can also be interpreted as “ascending”; “Baladi” refers to traditional, oft-rural Arabic folk music.)
With that said, That Which Death… sees Lolli lay down a ritualized heavily percussive base over which she smears rumbling bass tones, cranky cello, evocative samples and scratches, various electronic instrumentation, and her own subliminal vocals to create an otherworldy brand of liberationist marching music.
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…
I’m perhaps a little bit late on this one, but this has to be the single funniest clip of a Tea bagger having his ass handed to him on a silver platter that I have ever seen. I snickered derisively throughout this as Hardball host Chris Matthews hangs Tea Party Express founder Sal Russo out to dry on a hook for the world to see. To be fair, Russo was cast in the unenviable role of having to intellectually defend gross misstatements of historical fact by Rep. Michele Bachman, who just makes shit up that sounds good, or that seems to bolster her other misstatements of fact, as she goes along. A tough act to follow. But he tried! What a fool he looks trying.
Russo keeps trying to maneuver it so he can repeat one of his Tea party talking points, but Matthews will have none of it. Bachmann, it’s obvious to almost anyone with an IQ over 50, is a complete buffoon and yet she is the de facto spokesperson for Sal’s organization. And he can’t make even a single valid point to defend her! It gets even funnier as it goes on and Joan Walsh really rips Russo a new one as well.
I like “Balloonhead” as a name for Bachmann, too. I hope it sticks!
Note to Russo: Matthews treated you with the respect that you deserved, which is to say: none. You might want to reconsider making TV appearances where you are called upon to defend something which is intellectually indefensible (and you even know it, beforehand!). This is what’s gonna happen anytime you venture out of the FOX News echo-chamber with your lame-o talking points, buddy. You got no game, Russo. None. Do you really need to see yourself on TV so badly that you’re willing to look this bad?
Can you imagine how Russo felt after this taping? Ouch. HIs ass must’ve hurt.
The Ultimate Collection Of Bad Michele Bachmann Quotes (BuzzFeed)
Charles has created a superb blog Archived Music Press, which contains scans of old copies of the UK’s N.M.E. and Melody Maker from 1987-1996, featuring articles on Public Enemy, The Happy Mondays, Radiohead, Pulp, Kurt Cobain and many more. As Charles explains:
I recently retrieved a large pile of old N.M.E. and Melody Makers from a dusty attic. Most of my copies are from around 1987 to 1996. Somehow can’t bring myself to throw them out so I thought I’d start scanning in some of the more interesting covers, reviews and articles at a decent resolution so they can be linked to, read, printed and generally preserved for posterity. I figure someone’s bound to have a use or interest in this stuff if I keep at it. If I feel particularly inclined I might write a few words about the musician, band or journalist.
It’s also my way of saying thank you to all the people who’ve taken the trouble to upload material I’ve gratefully found on the web over many years. All pages will be scanned full size at 150dpi. In simple terms this means you’ll be able to re-produce any page you find here to good quality on A3 size paper.
Huh ? Rapture must be nigh because I’m pretty sure I’m not hallucinating the uber-horrible right wing Jeezer supremo making total sense on the wisdom of pot decriminaliztion in this clip which was broadcast today.
It caused nausea and vomiting when first shown at the Cinephone, Oxford Street, in London. Some of the audience demanded their money back, others hurled abuse and shouted “That’s sick,” and ““Its disgusting.” This was the idea, as writer William Burroughs and producer, Antony Balch wanted to achieve a complete “disorientation of the senses.”
Balch had a hard-on for the weird, unusual and sometimes depraved. It was a predilection born from his love of horror films - one compounded when as a child he met his idol, Bela Lugosi, the olde Austro-Hungarian junkie, who was touring Britain with the stage show that had made him famous, Dracula. Film was a love affair that lasted all of Balch’s life.
He also had a knack of making friends with the right people at the right time. In Paris he met and hung out with the artist Brion Gysin and druggie, Glaswegian Beat writer, Alexander Trocchi, who was then writing porn and editing a literary mag called Merlin, along with the likes of Christopher Logue. Through them, Balch met the two men who changed his life, Burroughs and Kenneth Anger.
Anger helped Balch with his ambitions as a cinema distributor, getting him a copy of Todd Browning’s classic Freaks, which was banned the UK, at that time. Balch paid Anger back when he later released his apocalyptic Invocation of My Demon Brother as a support feature.
Burroughs offered Balch something different - the opportunity to collaborate and make their own films. This they did, first with Towers Open Fire, an accessible montage of Burroughs’ routines, recorded on a Grundig tape recorder, cut-up to Balch’s filmed and found images of a “crumbling society.” Put together stuff like this and the chattering classes will always take you seriously. But don’t doubt it, for it was good.
But it was their second collaboration, Cut Ups which for me is far more interesting and proved far more controversial. Cut Ups was originally intended as a documentary called Guerilla Conditions, and was filmed between 1961 and 1965 in Tangiers and Paris. It included some footage from Balch’s aborted attempt to film the unfilmable Naked Lunch. The finished material was collated and then conventionally edited - but the process didn’t stop there, no. For Balch divided the finshed film into four sections of equal length, and then...
‘WikiRebels’ offers some insight to Wikileaks and Julian Assange. Inexplicably, I can’t find any information on this documentary other than its Youtube description:
Rough-cut of first in-depth documentary on WikiLeaks and the people behind it! From summer 2010 until now, Swedish Television has been following the secretive media network WikiLeaks and its enigmatic Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.
Reporters Jesper Huor and Bosse Lindquist have traveled to key countries where WikiLeaks operates, interviewing top members, such as Assange, new Spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson, as well as people like Daniel Domscheit-Berg who now is starting his own version - Openleaks.org.”