Friday, March 31, 2006

Tony Blair

So this week the esteemed Prime Minister of Britain pops into our little land to say a polite hello and thank us for our help in the war.

No not the recent and ongoing wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, but the Second World War - cheers mate it was nothing we sighed...

It turns out this is only the third time ever a British Prime Minister has ever bothered to grace our shores, not bad I guess for a former colony and we shouldn't complain… for that would be impolite.

Yet, it seems every time an Australian opens a suitcase a official delegation from Britain is there to officiate the event yet here we just get the occasional royal visit, usually coinciding with some rugby game.

I'm not a republican - that is I don't and haven't supported the notion of New Zealand severing the last formal ties with our 'motherland' to become a republic, for I like the historical and sentimental attachment to our former masters.

I like the quaintness of being part of something that no longer exists, the British Empire and all that red that used to cover the globe. I even quite like the whole royal family action – as amusing as this is more often than not.

Now after Tony's whistle stop visit I feel insulted and for the sheer knee jerk reaction that this sense of bitterness engenders in me I think, fuck ya, lets become a republic.

Bloody poms...

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Long & The Short Of It

George FM
Monday 2-4pm

Hidden Cameras - Golden Streams (Rough Trade) 2003
Beta Band - It's Not Beautiful (EMI) 1999
Moby - Go (instinct) 1991
BT - Moment Of Truth (Carl Craig remix) (Deep Dish) 1993
Alexandra Robotnik - Problemes D'amour (Sire) 1983
Forgemasters - Track With no Name (Warp) 1989
Human League - Sound Of The Crowd (Virgin) 2002
Soultrust - I Think I Love You (Soultrust) 2006
Black Science Orchestra - Philadelphia #2 (Afro Art) 2000
Inland Knights - Got To Live (Drop Music) 2000
Snoop & JT - Signs (Fingers Acid Dub) (shhhhhh) 2005
Style Of Eye - Go Get Gone (No Assembly Firm rmx) (Doubledown) 2006
Greenskeepers - Man In The House (DJ Fluid rmx) (GK Music) 2005
R Brown - Not Like We Used 2 re-Jack (Guess Who?) 2006
Ion - Everything Changes (Aroma) 2005
The Sexicanz vs Megadank 4200 - Futuristic Funk (Deep Funk) 2006
Tony Senghore - To get Laid (Electrix Soul) 2006
Eclat & Prudo - Free Land (Mood Music) 2006

Best Taken with small children and dirty nappies

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Long & The Short Of It

George FM
Monday 2-4pm

HDU - Lull (Flying Nun) 1998
Beta Band - Inner Meet Me (Regal) 1998
SJD - From A to B or not to be (Greg Churchill remix) (Round Trips Mars) 2005
Casaria Evora - Angola (C2 Remix) (Lucsafrica) 2003
Darryl Mcintosh - Somebody Offers (DM) 2006
Muskat Nus - Misteek Drive (Dirty Dancing) 2006
Missy Elliot - Get Ur Freak On (Superchumbo rmx) (Codeblue) 2001
Funky Lowlives - Time Travellor Man (Freeform Five rmx) (Outer) 2006
DJ Mes - Lie Detector Blues (Del Costa & Pedro Goya rmx) (Aromare) 2006
Soultrust - Free (Darryl Mcintosh rmx) (DM) 2006
Fries & Bridges vs Rice & Beans - Street Fame (Minority Music) 2005
Tony Senghore - To Get Laid (Electrix Soul) 2006
S X'Press - Theme From (Carl Craig rmx) (Rhythm King) 1996
Teifschwarz - On Up (Classic) 2001
Eclat & Prudo - Free land (Moodmusic) 2006
Paul Woolford - Phuck Dat (short version) (Hipster) 2004
Suicide - Cheree (Demon) 1986
Snapper - Buddy (Flying Nun) 1992

Best Taken with a cow and a spoon

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thank You for the Music...

The following is lifted wholesale from a woman blogger who lives in Baghdad.

Her's is a enlightening and sobering insight into one persons life in this beseiged city.

This particular post really got to me, for obvious reasons

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Thank You for the Music...

When I first heard about the abduction of Christian Science Monitor journalist Jill Carroll a week ago, I remember feeling regret. It was the same heavy feeling I get every time I hear of another journalist killed or abducted. The same heavy feeling that settles upon most Iraqis, I imagine, when they hear of acquaintances suffering under the current situation.

I read the news as a subtitle on tv. We haven't had an internet connection for several days so I couldn't really read about the details. All I knew was that a journalist had been abducted and that her Iraqi interpreter had been killed. He was shot in cold blood in Al Adil district earlier this month, when they took Jill Carroll... Theysay he didn't die immediately. It is said he lived long enough to talk to police and then he died.

I found out very recently that the interpreter killed was a good friend- Alan, of Alan's Melody, and I've spent the last two days crying.

Everyone knew him as simply 'Alan', or "Elin" as it is pronounced in Iraqi Arabic. Prior to the war, he owned a music shop in the best area in Baghdad, A'arasat. He sold some Arabic music and instrumental music, but he had his regular customers - those westernized Iraqis who craved foreign music. For those of us who listened to rock, adult alternative, jazz, etc. he had very few rivals.

He sold bootleg CDs, tapes and DVDs. His shop wasn't just a music shop- it was a haven. Some of my happiest moments were while I was walking out of that shop carrying CDs and tapes, full of anticipation for the escape the music provided. He had just about everything from Abba to Marilyn Manson. He could provide anything. All you had to do was go to him with the words,"Alan- I heard a great song on the radio... you have to find it!" Andhe'd sit there, patiently, asking who sang it? You don't know? Ok- was it a man or a woman? Fine. Do you remember any of the words? Chances were that he'd already heard it and even knew some of the lyrics.

During the sanctions, Iraq was virtually cut off from the outside world.We had maybe four or five local tv stations and it was only during the later years that the internet became more popular. Alan was one of those links with the outside world. Walking into Alan's shop was like walking into a sort of transitional other world. Whenever you walked into the store, great music would be blaring from his speakers and he and Mohammed, the guy who worked in his shop, would be arguing over who was better, Joe Satriani or Steve Vai.

He would have the latest Billboard hits posted on a sheet of paper near the door and he'd have compiled a few of his own favorites on a 'collection' CD. He also went out of his way to get recordings of the latest award shows- Grammys, AMAs, Oscars, etc. You could visit him twice and know that by the third time, he'd have memorized your favorites and found music you might be interested in.

He was an electrical engineer- but his passion was music. His dream was to be a music producer. He was always full of scorn for the usual boy bands - N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, etc. - but he was always trying to promote an Iraqi boy band he claimed he'd discovered,"Unknown to No One". "They're great- wallah they have potential." He'd say. E. would answer, "Alan, they're terrible." And Alan, with his usual Iraqi pride would lecture about how they were great, simply because they were Iraqi.

He was a Christian from Basrah and he had a lovely wife who adored him- F. We would tease him about how once he was married and had a family, he'd lose interest in music. It didn't happen. Conversations with Alan continued to revolve around Pink Floyd, Jimmy Hendrix, but they began to include F. his wife, M. his daughter and his little boy. My heart aches for his family- his wife and children...

You could walk into the shop and find no one behind the counter- everyone was in the other room, playing one version or another of FIFA soccer on the Play Station. He collected those old records, or 'vinyls'. The older they were, the better. While he promoted new musical technology, he always said that nothing could beat the soundof a vintage vinyl.

We went to Alan not just to buy music. It always turned into a social visit. He'd make you sit down, listen to his latest favorite CD and drink something. Then he'd tell you the latest gossip- he knew it all. He knew where all the parties were, who the best DJs were and who was getting married or divorced. He knew the local gossip and the international gossip, but it was never malicious with Alan. It was always the funny sort.

The most important thing about Alan was that he never let you down. Never. Whatever it was that you wanted, he'd try his hardest to get it. If you became his friend, that didn't just include music- he was ready to lend a helping hand to those in need, whether it was just to give advice, or listen after a complicated, difficult week.

After the war, the area he had his shop in deteriorated. There were car bombs and shootings and the Badir people took over some of the houses there. People went to A'arasat less and less because it was too dangerous. His shop was closed up more than it was open. He shut it up permanently after getting death threats and a hand grenade through his shop window. His car was carjacked at some point and he was shot at so he started driving around in his fathers beaten-up old Toyota Cressida with a picture of Sistani on his back window, "To ward off the fanatics..." He winked and grinned.

E. and I would stop by his shop sometimes after the war, before he shut it down. We went in once and found that there was no electricity,and no generator. The shop was dimly lit with some sort of fuel lampand Alan was sitting behind the counter, sorting through CDs. He was ecstatic to see us. There was no way we could listen to music so he and E. sang through some of their favorite songs, stumbling upon the lyrics and making things up along the way. Then we started listening to various ring tones and swapping the latest jokes of the day. Before we knew it, two hours had slipped by and the world outside was forgotten, an occasional explosion bringing us back to reality.

It hit me then that it wasn't the music that made Alan's shop a haven- somewhere to forget problems and worries- it was Alan himself.

He loved Pink Floyd:

Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
Did you ever wonder why we
Had to run for shelter when the
Promise of a brave, new world
Unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?
Did you see the frightened ones?
Did you hear the falling bombs?
The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on.
Goodbye, blue sky
Goodbye, blue sky.
Goodbye. Goodbye.

(Goodbye Blue Sky - Pink Floyd)

Goodbye Alan...

- posted by river @ 10:05 PM

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Long & The Short Of It

George FM
Monday 2-4pm

Jaymz Nylon Feat Mooney - I Know A Place (Shades Of Black rmx) (Out of the Loop) 2001
Neon Heights - Cannonball (Afro Art) 2001
Stacy Kidd feat Mike Dixon - Dreams (Huddtraxx) 2006
Ivan & Fiona - Dub Theory (Jah Love Records) 2006
DJ Mes - Lie Detector Blues (Del Costra & Pedro Goya rmx) (Aromani) 2006
R Brown - Not Like We USed 2 Be Re-Jack (Guess Who?) 2006
Eclat & Prudo - Free LAnd (Mood Music) 2006
Derrick Carter - Technology ?? (White) 2006
Tony Senghore - Signs Of Love (Electrix Soul) 2006
Funky Lowlives - Time Travellor Man (Freeform Five rmx) (Outer Rec) 2006
The Sexicanz vs megadank 2400 - Futuristic Funk (Deep Funk) 2006
Outthere Brothers - Whip That Pussy (Cajual) 1994
One Fingered Pocket feat Princess Superstar - On the Dancefloor (Ampibius) 2006
Tony Senghore - To Get Laid (Electrix Soul) 2006
Jully Black - Sweat Of Your Brow (Hodges rmx) (Aroma) 2006
Lil Mark - Isjazz redo (Greenhouse) 2006
Greenskeepers - Go (No Assembly Firm rmx) (GK Music) 2005

Best taken with cups of tea and sandwiches

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Where were you when the lights went out?

"Why? Why cannot we abide by the rules of war we rightly demand that others should obey? And why do we journalists - yet again, war after war - collude in this immorality by turning a ruthless and cruel and illegal act into a 'new twist' or into 'time-sensitive material'? Wars have a habit of turning normally sane people into cheerleaders, of transforming rational journalists into nasty little puffed up colonels. But surely we should all carry the Geneva Conventions into war with us, along with the history books. For the only people to benefit from our own war crimes will be the next generation of Saddam Husseins."

Robert Fisk days after the liberation/occupation of Baghdad

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Long & The Short Of It

George FM
Monday 2-4pm

Soul Ascendents - Secret Agent (Nuphonic) 1998
Tica - Rock The Casbah (Nuphonic) 2001
Gary Clail - Two Theives (on U Sound) 1989
Fun Boy three - The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum (Chysalis) 1982
Red Snapper - I Stole Your Car (Warp) 2000
Peter Chemis - Stiff Mix (Mango) 1987
Singers & Players - Holy Scripture (On U) 1988
Mark Rae - Lobster (Grand Central) 2002
Soane - The Tonic (in music) 2004
Lil Louis - Do You Luv Me (london) 1992
Soultrust vs Dwele - I Think I Love You (Lelos Summer mix) (Soultrust) 2006
Fingers Inc - Never No More Lonely (Trax) 1998
Brothers Johnson - Stomp (Justin Harris re-dub) (shhh) 2005
Freeform Five - Perspex Sex (Ewans hi nrg rmx) (Classic) 2002
The Sexicanz vs Megadank 2403 - Futuristic Funk (Deep Funk) 2006
The Sound Republic - When I Get Paid (wes! When I get Jazz rmx) (DAE) 2006
Style Of Eye - Go Get Gone (No Assembly Firm rmx) (Doubledown) 2006
Frankie Knuckles w Jamie Principle - Baby Wants To Ride (Trax) 1987
The Clash - This Is Radio Clash (Columbria) 1981
Fad Gadget - Sleep (Electro induced Original) (Mute) 1984
Sly Dunbar - Seaseme Street (Virgin) 1979

Best taken with knobbly knees and walk socks

Friday, March 03, 2006

The only weapon that can save the world is non-violence

So said Mohandas Gandhi.

Yet when it comes to all things nucelar and the nation he once lead, many seem to have ignored or forgotten the many words this great man said on the matter of nuclear weapons.

Enter George Bush and the proposed Nuclear dreams he holds for India and the US

"India is one of only four countries that have refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)—a treaty endorsed by 188 nations. Thumbing its nose at the world, India has conducted nuclear tests and has developed what experts believe to be 50 to 100 nuclear weapons. Under the terms of the NPT, the export of nuclear technology is banned to nations that don’t accept international inspections of their nuclear programs. In addition, U.S. law prohibits the transfer of nuclear technology to a country that rejects full international safeguards. U.S. law also bans such technology transfer to a non-NPT country that has conducted nuclear test explosions.

Thus, if the President were to give any weight to Gandhi’s ideas, international treaty obligations, or U.S. law, he would not be working to provide India with the same nuclear-capable technology that he so vigorously condemns in Iran—a country, by the way, that has signed the NPT, has undergone inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and has not conducted any nuclear weapons tests."

History News Network

There is a lot of hurdles at home Mr Bush must by pass before this deal can be done, changing some laws for example. Here I hope the democractic nature of the US system defeats what I can only see as a real dumb idea.

Back at home the nights are starting to get a little colder, already we've had the annual reports that our hydro lakes are low, that we may face a energy crisis over winter but don't worry power prices have already gone up and it seems little real progress has been made to do much to alleviate the distribution problems we face with our energy needs (read we can generate enough power to meet our needs, its moving it around that seems to be the major problem currently).

As we head back into this annual debate and news items, I expect the Nuclear card to once again raise its head. Now we don't need Nuclear energy in New Zealand, at least not in the forseeable future, we do need major infrastructure upgrades to our power networks, yet for us to ever go the way of Nuclear power it has always been said it would take 25 years, the bulk of which is time needed to change the average New Zealander's attitudes to Nuclear energy.

With this in mind I guess we're at around year 5

Nuclear power may just be the power source the world comes to rely on in future generations (where not already needed and used), yet I have faith in our worlds scienctists to find a better, safer, cheaper more efficient alternative that will hopefully mean our little nation need never go the way of Nuclear power nor many others for that matter.

In the meantime I hope no nation offers us support for any of the nuclear dreams our energy chiefs hold, for chances are we would be more than open to the offer, perhaps not this year, probably not next but eventually our fear of blackouts will mean the public will accept anything to keep the telly on during cold nights.

Which reminds me I must get a heater for this winter....