Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Straight Outta Compton



hat tip to the ninja

At least someone's doing well

Oceans of Blood and Profits for the Mongers of War

By Robert Fisk

November 28, 2010 The Independent

Since there are now three conflicts in the greater Middle East; Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel/"Palestine" and maybe another Lebanese war in the offing, it might be a good idea to take a look at the cost of war.

Not the human cost - 80 lives a day in Iraq, unknown numbers in Afghanistan, one a day in Israel/"Palestine" (for now) - but the financial one. I'm still obsessed by the Saudi claim for its money back after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Hadn't Saudi Arabia, King Fahd reminded Saddam, financed his eight-year war against Iran to the tune of $25,734,469,885.80? For the custodian of the two holy places, Mecca and Medina, to have shelled out $25bn for Saddam to slaughter his fellow Muslims was pretty generous - although asking for that extra 80 cents was surely a bit greedy.

But then again, talking of rapacity, the Arabs spent $84bn underwriting the Anglo-American operation against Saddam in 1990-91 - three times what Fahd gave to Saddam for the Iran war - and the Saudi share alone came to $27.5bn. In all, the Arabs sustained a loss of $620bn because of the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait - almost all of which was paid over to the United States and its allies. Washington was complaining in August 1991 that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait still owed $7.5bn. Western wars in the Middle East, it seemed, could be fought for profit as well as victory. Maybe Iraq could have brought us more treasure if it hadn't ended in disaster. At least it would help to have paid for America's constant infusion of cash to Israel's disastrous wars.

According to Israeli historian Illan Pappé, since 1949, the US has passed to Israel more than $100bn in grants and $10bn in special loans - more than Washington hands out to North Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Over the past 20 years, $5.5bn has been given to Israel for military purchases. But for sheer self-abuse, it's necessary to read of the Midas-like losses in the entire Middle East since just 1991 - an estimated $12,000,000,000,000. Yup, that's a cool $12trn and, if you don't believe me, take a look at an unassuming little booklet that the "Strategic Fortnight Group" published not long ago. Its statistic caught a few headlines, but was then largely forgotten, perhaps because it was published in faraway Mumbai rather than by some preposterous American "tink-thank" (as I call them). But it was funded by, among others, the Norwegian and Swiss foreign ministries. And the Indians are pretty smart about money, as we know as we wait in fear of its new super-economy.

So since there may soon be a new Israel-Hizbollah war, let's get an idea of the astronomical costs of all those F-16s, missiles, "bunker-busters", Iranian-made rockets, smashed Lebanese factories, villages, towns, bridges, power stations, oil terminals - we will not soil ourselves with Lebanon's 1,300 pathetic dead or Israel's 130 pathetic dead in the 2006 war for these are mere mortals - not to mention the losses in tourism and trade to both sides. Total losses for Lebanon in 2006 came to an estimated $3.6bn, for Israel $1.6bn - so Israel won hands down in terms of money, even if its rabble of an army screwed everything up on the ground. But among those who paid for this were American taxpayers (funding the Israelis) and European taxpayers, Arab potentates and the crackpot of Iran (funding Lebanon). So the American taxpayer destroys what the European taxpayer rebuilds. It's the same in Gaza; Washington funds the weapons to blow up EU-funded projects and the EU rebuilds them in time for them to be destroyed again. But boy oh boy, in the Lebanese war, US arms manufacturers make a packet - and so, to a lesser extent do the Iranian and Chinese missile dealers.

Let's break down the 2006 Lebanon war figures. Bridges and roads: $450m. Utilities: $419m. Housing: $2bn. But military "institutions": a paltry $16m. Hizbollah apparently spent $300m. Overall, rebuilding came to $319m, infrastructure repairs to $454m, oil spill costs to $175m. Just for sadistic fun, you can add forest fires ($4.6m), displaced civilians ($52m) and Beirut airport ($170m). But the biggest cost of all? Tourism, at $3-4bn. Now Israel. Tourism lost $1.4 bn, "government and emergency services" $460n, businesses $1.4bn, compensation paid out $335.4m, forest fires $18m. What have the Israeli army and Hizbollah got against forests? In all, the Israeli losses amounted to 1.5 per cent of GDP, the Lebanese 8 per cent of GDP.

And just look at the Middle East "arms race" - the jockeys being the arms manufacturers, the punters being the countries of the region and, of course, their "huddled masses". Saudi Arabia, as the Mumbai report said, leaps in a decade between 1996 and 2006 from $18bn to $30bn a year - it's just negotiating a $60bn deal with the US - and Iran from $3bn to $10bn. Israel has gone from $8bn to $12bn. In fact, there's an interesting correlation between Israel's state-of-the-art democratically minded missile-firings between 2000 and 2007 - 34,050 - and Hamas's evil, terrorist-inspired missile firings: a rather piffling 2,333.

There's a host of other goodies in this appalling list of financial and social horrors. On 11 September 2001, just 16 people were on America's "no-fly" list; by December, it was 594. By August 2008, it had reached an astonishing 100,000. At present rate, the US "terrorist watch list" will reach two million souls in two years' time. Since 1974, UN peacekeepers on the Golan Heights have cost $47.86m while the UN has forked out $680.93m for its forces in southern Lebanon since 1978.

So coming soon to a war near you; oceans of blood, bodies torn to shreds, of course. But bring your credit card. Or a cheque book. It's big business. And there may be profits.

Friday, November 26, 2010

RIP Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson


Throbbing Gristle founder Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson died "peacefully" in his sleep on Nov 24 at the age of 55 in his Bangkok home.

Born in Leeds, England, the industrial music pioneer was also a founding member of Coil and Psychic TV after Throbbing Gristle disbanded in 1981, as well as recording solo work under the name The Threshold HouseBoys Choir. Most recently he founded Soisong in 2007 with Ivan Pavlov.

The news was made official today when Throbbing Gristle bandmates Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter tweeted: "Our dearest beautiful Sleazy left this mortal coil as he slept in peace last night. words cannot express our grief." Other artists, like Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor also took to Twitter to express their grief: "I awake to sad news. RIP Peter Christopherson - friend and huge inspiration."

-snip-

Christopherson was also a noted graphic designed and video director -- as part of the design collective Hipgnosis, he created iconic album like Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and his music videos included Nine Inch Nails' 'Wish' and Rage Against the Machine's 'Bulls on Parade.'

Music and drinking at supperclub prior to Michael Mayer















Come for a drink prior to Michael Mayer (or just a drink if you're not headed to that), music from Bn1, Micarl, Bob Daktari, and Jason George.

Supperclub, beresford square, auckland cbd

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

and then they finally filled the pool

and the children of Grey Lynn including bob leapt and screamed for joy


The next few months will now come with wall to wall screaming at home

nice

great things

I am so digging the Walking Dead... a damn decent zombie story.

Best thing to not be currently screening on me telly...

Quite enjoying Madmen too

Summer glazed look on

Saturday, November 20, 2010

let me out

re-engage with music

Silence is Golden - or for at least one day of the year it is

Author, prankster and founder of the KLF Bill Drummond explains why he won't be listening to any music at all on 21 November - and why you might want to try it too

From the Guardian

All music is shite.' Discuss.


Some years ago I walked into HMV Oxford Street. I wandered around rack upon rack of thousands upon thousands of CDs. There must have been every form of music that ever existed there. I wanted something new. Something that would make me go, 'Yeah, this is it. I've never heard anything like this in my life.' There have been so many times when I have read a review of an album telling me how great it was so I would go out and buy it, only to get it home to find it sounded like something I had already heard. There was nothing in HMV Oxford Street for me.

So I went home and searched every corner of the web for something new, fresh, exciting. Something that would make me hear music in a different way. Something that would open a door to a room in my head which I had never been in before. But even in those furthest corners I could find nothing that did this.

Maybe it's just an age thing. Maybe it is just that my palate is jaded. So many men, and I guess women too, who get to my stage in life are happy enough slating all modern music, happy to press the nostalgia buttons. But I can't stand that. And it's not because the new artists don't mean what they play, it's just that, to my ears, they all begin to sound like vaguely updated versions of something that has gone before. Do I just accept this as a part of the ageing process? The sagging flesh, the thinning hair I have to accept, but this? No! No! and NO!

Although I stopped making music, to all intents and purposes, in 1992 and have even stopped listening to it for great chunks of time since then, I have never stopped thinking about music. Thinking things like 'All music is shite' or that we are in this rut so deep with music, it's like we have spent all our lives at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, unaware of the world beyond.

I have tried different tactics to re-engage with music. In 2002 I decided to listen only to albums made by artists who had never released an album before. As soon as a second one came out, I would stop listening to them.

My old CD collection was stacked up at one end of the bench in my workshop, hundreds of them. There they sat, all alphabetically ordered, ready, waiting and willing to be played, an arm's length from where I was sitting. At times over the months while I was trying to get on with work I would hear them in my head: 'Bill, Bill, just one listen. You know you want to. What harm would it do?' In January 2003 temptation got the better of me. Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys broke my resolve. I put it on. Music never sounded so good. I was defenceless in the face of the emotions triggered in me. After that it was the Byrds' Greatest Hits. At full volume.

I had a problem that needed confronting. There was no 12-step programme to deal with stuff like this. I would ditch the old regime, replace it with an equally hardline one: for the rest of the year I would only listen to music by bands, soloists or composers whose names began with B. I assumed I would work my way through the alphabet finishing off with A in 26 years. Come the following Christmas, I had developed the idea. Using a home-made lottery system of a carrier bag containing 25 scraps of paper with a letter of the alphabet written on each one, minus B, the next year's listening was decided. It was artists beginning with P. This year, 2006, is my fourth; the letter is G. This approach, I assumed, would give music a value no price tag could ever do. If I didn't listen to Beethoven's late string quartets - or whatever - in the chosen year, I might not live long enough to have another chance. I have ended up listening to a lot of music that I would have never otherwise listened to, but something is still missing. That said, I'm committed to working my way through the alphabet.

It was in 2004 that I began to suspect that my problem lay not so much with the music as the form in which all music now seems to exist. Almost every piece of recorded music since recorded music began 110 years ago is just a click away. And once we have got it we can listen to it where and whenever we want. We can have this non-stop soundtrack as we sit on the bus, do the shopping, go on holiday. And whether it's music from Bali, Bach's Cantatas or the latest R&B, the experience is somehow the same. Yeah, I know we have had Walkmans for 20-odd years, but back then it seemed liberating; now it seems constricting. It has nothing to do with the genre and everything to do with the fact that it's just there on tap. Maybe I want music that is to do with place and time and occasion; music that we can only ever hear if we travel to one specific place at one special time. This does not mean Pink Floyd at Live8.

Live music, too, has had the same effect on me. The experience is one-dimensional. You buy a ticket, go to a place, watch it performed on a stage, you clap, or even scream, enjoy yourself, you get your money's worth, you go home. But you weren't part of the music; you were just consuming it in bite-size chunks as defined by those who have decreed how these things should be done.

I know these traditions are as much determined by the economics of bringing musicians from all quarters of the world to your local club or concert hall but that doesn't stop me from wanting more, something else in a different shape. There were all sorts of other things going on in my head about music and experiments. I wanted to take in the making of music itself in the hope that it might exist away from the consumable formats of recorded music and away from the concert platform. I even have fantasies about waking up to find that all music has disappeared from the world. We can't even remember what it sounded like. We knew we had music, we knew it was important to us. In my fantasy we would have to start making music again from a year zero situation, with nothing but our voices. As I said, just a fantasy.

I decided I needed a day I could set aside to listen to no music whatsoever. Instead, I would be thinking about what I wanted and what I didn't want from music. Not to blindly - or should that be deafly - consume what was on offer. A day where I could develop ideas. This day I would call No Music Day.

St Cecilia is the patron saint of music. I have no idea why and I am not interested in finding out. But her Saint's Day is on 22 November. This is the day we are supposed to celebrate music, thank God for its existence. I decided that No Music Day should be on the day before St Cecilia's Day, using the same principles as having Halloween the day before All Saints' Day or Mardi Gras on the day before Lent kicks in.

I registered the domain name nomusicday.com and then put together one of the posters I do. The website was up and live a couple of weeks before 21 November 2005. Its format is simple. It exists mainly as a place where people can register that they will be observing No Music Day and to document how, and why, they will be doing so. I did next to nothing to promote the site, but it seemed to hit a nerve and a few thousand people stumbled upon it and many left their comments. This year I wanted to raise awareness a notch. I approached the art radio station ResonanceFM (resonancefm.com) to see if they would observe it. They were eager for the challenge. The other thing I've done is to write this text you are reading.

Maybe my perceived impasse about what music can be, and how we can experience it, is something singular to me caused by where I'm at in my life and what I've been through. But if the idea of No Music Day resonates with you in some other way that reflects where you are at in life and in your relationship with music, make use of it. Where this will lead to and what purpose it serves, I am still unsure. But from now on, 21 November this and every other year will be No Music Day. Visit http://www.nomusicday.com/ and register your observance.

· Postscript. As for all music being shite, if that's the way you feel, we've only ourselves to blame.

Black Mahogani

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This might explain some of my recent posts

Wednesday Night People

Apple + the Beatles + Big Announcement =






Sure this will make some fans days and dent their wallets something... but outside of that?

Yep companies building for the future

nope

yawn

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 08, 2010

Places I've lived

So I stopped by the Mount over the weekend to refresh my mental image of how godaweful the place looks these days... all them cheap apartment blocks and tacky made over houses... ugh

The veiw to sea is still stunning and the day was hot and cloudless... a perfect Novemeber day.

But even the veiw to sea at the main beach was hampered by ugliness, the green in the photo is some sort of green weed/slime

Its a surf beach... how the hell does weed accumulate like that?

It stunk too

Don't you want my love

love it



















hat tip to mel

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Things that make me go hmmmmm

Ian M Banks... new culture novel - tis like the bestest summer gift I wasn't expecting

The Walking Dead... fantastic pilot so excited by this series...

The Now Show, my fave current affairs comedy

BSG Blood & Chrome new webispodes planned.... make it a series and we'll be over the moon

Carl Craig.... loaded the pod up with a few of his tunes and I can't leave them alone

Upcoming shows by... The Fall... Swans... Moodymann

Civ 5... my fave incarnation of this game since version 2

Star Wars Empire At War (Ultimate Empire At War Mod).... an oldie but a goodie... epic space battles and mindless fun

Sunshine

Tuesday, November 02, 2010