Thursday, 31 December 2009

Jahtari mix

Phlow Jahtari Mixtape

01. disrupt - "Tubby ROM Module (7")" (MP3)
02. Mikey Murka - "Sensi Addict" (MP3)
03. Jahtari Riddim Force - "Depth Charge" (MP3)
04. Ras Amerlock - "Farther East" (MP3)
05. Wheeler - "Breeze Blow" (MP3)
06. disrupt - "Jah Red Gold And Green" (MP3)
07. disrupt - "Bomb 20" (MP3)
08. Tapes - "Ticker Tape" (MP3)
09. disrupt - "Samurai Showdown" (MP3)
10. Jahtari Riddim Force - "Enchantier" (MP3)
11. Illyah & Ltd. Candy - "Fight The Formation" (MP3)
12. Normaa - "Give Thanks To Be Part" (MP3)
13. disrupt - "Blast You To Bits" (MP3)
14. Volfoniq vs Kik The Hypez - "Speak'n'Sex Maaagik Dub" (MP3)
15. Fleur Earth w/ Gringo Starr - "Brennen Euch Ab" (MP3)
16. Blue Vitriol - "Re-Entry Dub" (MP3)
17. Blaze Dem - "Martial World" (MP3)
18. disrupt - "Central Dubbing Unit" (MP3)
19. Bo Marley - "Bauhelm" (MP3)
20. Jahtari Riddim Force - "Loose In Space" (MP3)
21. Dubmood - "Kick De Bucket" (MP3)
22. disrupt - "The Stars My Destination" (MP3)
23. Blue Vitriol - "Breeder" (MP3)
24. disrupt - "International Karate Championship" (MP3)

Drexciya - Sighting in the abyss
Underground Resistance ( 1994 )

My most played artists of the year

(Click to enlarge)

Cause of deaths in the US in 2009

Since we still seem to be having a national freakout over some loser who got on a plane with a bomb in his underwear, which was apparently worthy of a presidential address, it might be a good idea to put the actual danger posed by terrorist attacks in some numerical perspective.
If you count the Ft. Hoot shooting as a terrorist attack, which even the likes of Pantload doesn’t, 16 people have died in the United States as result of terrorism in 2009. The other three deaths include the Little Rock military recruiting office shooting (1), the Holocaust Museum shooting (1), and Dr. George Tiller’s assassination (1), the last two coming at the hands of right-wing extremists.
On the other hand, 45,000 Americans died because they didn’t have health insurance and 600 died from salmonella poisoning.
Clearly, providing health care to all Americans is beyond our capabilities, so when do we launch the $700 billion-a-year War on Salmonella?
(Thanx Fifi!)

Shaikh’s death: how many would 4kg of heroin really kill?

On Christmas Eve this was part of the Chinese statement about the impending execution of Akmal Shaikh:
Akmal Shaikh was convicted and sentenced to death penalty for serious drug trafficking on solid evidence. In fact, 150mg of heroin of high degree of purity would be lethal. The amount of heroin he carried was 4030g, enough to cause 26800 deaths.
Of course, this is misleading claptrap and anyone with a firing neurone will raise an eyebrow at these numbers. It is possible to do a ‘back of an envelope’ calculation of how many deaths 4kg of heroin might cause.
Let’s imagine that the whole 4kg of heroin got through to London. In the UK purity runs at around 40% so by the time the heroin is cut with the usual crap then there might be approximately 10kg to sell. Now, generally heroin is sold in £10 bags and the NTA Treatment Outcome Profile form (used to monitor drug treatment in the UK) regards 0.2g as the equivalent of a street bag. The annual Drugscope survey suggested it is more likely to be about 0.15g but for this simple calculation we’ll stick with 0.2g heroin per bag. So, that gives us 10,000 grams or approximately 50,000 street bags.
I would suggest that a moderate heroin habit might be around 3 bags of heroin daily – that’s pretty middle of the road and possibly on the low side if anything. It would need around 46 users taking 3 bags per day for 365 days to use up the 4kg. Let’s say they eke it out a bit and we will round it up to a nice even 50 users.
The estimated mortality of heroin users is undeniably high. One study in Spain which followed a cohort of heroin users showed an annual mortality of 3.4%. However, a UK cohort study over 22 years in London gave an average annual mortality of 1.84%. For this calculation we’ll go for 2% – I suspect this is probably a bit on the high side; treatments have improved and the first study readily admitted that it had an unusually high mortality.
But we’ll go with it and a mortality of 2% works out at as one death in our notional cohort of 50 users smoking 3 bags daily until the 4kg of heroin is gone.
The statistic presented by the Chinese is clearly misleading. There is a bleak irony in Shaikh’s death by injection and in a stroke the Chinese have doubled the death toll attributable to 4kg of heroin.
Of course, this is all largely a side issue and the arguments around the death penalty seldom dwell on such a trite analysis of the numbers. Perhaps the Chinese (and certainly a large number of Daily Mail readers) may suggest justice is still served if there is a single death that can be blamed on drug smuggling. And I would readily agree that the wider costs of heroin addiction have a much wider impact.
However, we may not agree on how to manage the issue of drugs. If the Chinese are going to bandy around meaningless statistics to justify their tawdry policies then the numbers deserve some scrutiny.
Particularly when they are used to justify a grim act of abject inhumanity.
@'Northern Doctor'

نبرد تن به تن و نفس گیر مردم با گارد ویژه - عاشورا

Picasso toy guitar found in Italy

Italian police have found a toy guitar sculpture created by Pablo Picasso for his daughter Paloma, which had been kept in a shoe box by a businessman.
Rome police tracked the sculpture down to the businessman's apartment in Pomezia, a town south of the capital.
The businessman, who was not named, was charged with fraud and is now on bail.
Picasso gave the piece to an Italian artist, Giuseppe Vittorio Parisi. He then lent it to the businessman, who was to make a glass showcase for it.
The plan was for the priceless piece to go on display at the civic museum in Maccagno, a small town on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy where Parisi was born.
But the piece disappeared after Parisi handed it over two years ago. When Parisi died in January this year his widow told police that it was still in the businessman's hands.
The Little Guitar will now go on display at the museum in Maccagno, Italy's Ansa news agency reports.
An expert is reported to have authenticated the work, which bears the inscription "Paloma".
Celebrated as a pioneer of Cubism, Picasso is widely regarded as one of the 20th Century's greatest artists.

Rowland S. Howard - Interview (October 2009)

Audio interview originally broadcasted October 23rd 2009 on 95bFM.

Rowland S. Howard - Shut Me Down (Live ATP Mt. Buller 10/01/09)

The Young Charlatans - Shivers

 By the end of 1977, the "supergroup" Young Charlatans had formed in Melbourne out of the ashes of earlier bands. Ollie Olsen, Rowland S. Howard (guitar, later in The Birthday Party), Jeff Wegener (drums, former member of The Saints, later in the Laughing Clowns) and Janine Hall (later in The Saints). The band recorded the first version of the Howard song "Shivers" (made famous by the Boys Next Door).

Music to the (ringing) ears: New therapy targets tinnitus

tinnitus ringing music therapy treatmentLoud, persistent ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus, can be vexing for its millions of sufferers. This perceived noise can be symptomatic of many different ills—from earwax to aging—but the most common cause is from noise-induced hearing loss, such as extended exposure to construction or loud music, and treating many of its underlying neural causes has proven difficult.
But many people with tinnitus might soon be able to find refuge in the very indulgence that often started the ringing in the first place: music.

A new music-based therapy has shown promise in helping reduce the ringing's volume in tinnitus sufferers within a year, according to a study published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Tinnitus loudness can be significantly diminished by an enjoyable, low-cost, custom-tailored notched music treatment," wrote the researchers, who were led in part by Christo Pantev at the Institute for Biomagnetism and Biosign Alanalysis at Westfalian Wilhelms-University in Munster, Germany. 
The treatment is based on behavioral training theories that posit that the auditory cortex, which is responsible for perceiving the sound and has been shown to be distorted in the areas where a specific frequency is "heard," might gradually be trained to reorganize, correcting for its maladaptive distortion.
In the small study, eight subjects with tinnitus listened to their music of choice that had been specially edited—or "notched"—to remove the frequency that corresponded to their tinnitus level. Another eight subjects with tinnitus listened to their preferred music that had random "placebo" frequencies removed, and another seven individuals with tinnitus received no treatment.
Those in the two music groups listened for an average of about 12.4 hours per week, and the individuals in the tinnitus-tuned section found that "tinnitus loudness was significantly reduced," the authors reported. The other two groups showed no change.
The researchers propose that the therapy might work by re-wiring parts of the auditory cortex that have become over-active to instead tune into surrounding—but different—tones. Another possibility is that with deprivation, these specially tuned auditory neurons would undergo "long-term depression," causing them to become less active overall.
The therapy might also get a boost from the simple pleasure of listening to good music. "Joyful listening to music activates the reward system of the brain and leads to release of dopamine, which plays an important role in cortical reorganization," noted the authors. Just so long as that music is at a reasonable volume, of course."
Surprisingly as someone who loves standing right in front of the speakers at gigs and likes my music loud, this is something that I don't suffer from...

The Phantom's Revenge - When Mr Hyde Killed Dr Jekyll (Barletta / Markus Lange / ...rmx)

This is the preview of the new PHANTOM'S REVENGE track called "when mr hyde killed dr jekyll" that will be out on G POINT MUZIK in january 2010.
check the forums to download the promos.

Interview w/ Robert Hood

Tim Hart (Steeleye Span) RIP

Tim Hart, a founding member of the British folk-rock group Steeleye Span, has died of lung cancer, his daughter said Wednesday.
Hart, 61, died Dec. 24 in La Gomera in Spain's Canary Islands, where the Briton had lived since retiring from the music scene, Sally Hart told The Associated Press.
He had returned to La Gomera three weeks ago after spending a year in Britain receiving treatment, she said.
"In the last few days he became very weak, and had chest pains. His body had suffered greatly from the cancer treatment," she said.
Hart was a star of the 1960s folk scene in Britain, first gaining fame in a musical partnership with singer Maddy Prior in 1966. The duo recorded two albums of "Folk Songs of Olde England," with the versatile Hart backing their singing on guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, banjo and violin.
In 1971, Hart and Prior joined with Ashley Hutchings, who had left the Fairport Convention to form a new band. The new project, at Hart's suggestion, was named Steeleye Span after a character in a Lincolnshire folk song, "Horkstow Grange."
Hart left Steeleye Span in 1983, but appeared at a charity concert with the group in 1995. Last year, he appeared with Prior at a BBC concert in London.
Living on La Gomera, Hart developed his interest in photography. He called the island "my inexhaustible subject" and did his own pictures for his English language guide to the island, published in 2004.
"In what now feels like a previous life, I once spent 16 years as a member of the English folk-rock band Steeleye Span," Hart wrote on his Web site.
"As the Everly Brothers so rightly sang we did it for the stories we could tell. But after a few years of traveling too fast around the world I got myself a camera, a Pentax Spotmatic, in order to provide a more substantial, and accurate, archive of memories," he wrote.
Hart is survived by his wife Connie, and a daughter and son from a previous marriage. Funeral arrangements were not announced.

Nite Jewel - What Did He Say?

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Rowland S. Howard - one of the last interviews

Walking into a South Melbourne record company office to meet Rowland S(tuart) Howard is an odd experience, made even stranger by a sign on the upstairs boardroom reading, “Please be quite (sic)”, in big capital letters. It’s an intern’s boo-boo apparently, but makes the sight of Howard sitting at the end of a long polished wood table surrounded by industry memorabilia less jarring.
Framed against the fluorescent colours of a signed poster for the Sound Relief benefit concert, Howard looks as calm and dapper as ever in his usual dark suit jacket. There are magazines and books stacked neatly within easy reach, to see him through any dead patches in a long day of press interviews. Coffee is brought and the doors swing shut with a muted thud.
We start by talking about his involvement in the recent We’re Livin’ On Dog Food documentary, a companion to the DVD release of Richard Lowenstein’s 1986 classic Dogs In Space, where Howard is a striking and articulate presence, in both past and present.
“I don’t actually know where Richard (Lowenstein) got that old footage of Ollie [Olsen] and I from,” he admits, “but I guess the reason there seems to be a lot of me in there is that he thought I said pertinent things, or possibly amusing things. I was really surprised by the amount of backstabbing that went on in the documentary when I saw the finished product.”
I thought some of it was kind of subtle.
Really? Well, the Primitive Calculators weren’t terribly subtle, and I wasn’t terribly subtle about them. If I’d known the final version of the film was going to be like that, I would have let loose a bit more, put the boot in.
You didn’t have a great deal to do with Dogs In Space, apart from one of your songs being sung in it. Does it feel odd to have become associated with it now?
No, not really. The documentary is a film about a thing that I was a part of, no matter how peripherally. Or maybe those people were on the periphery of a scene that I was part of? I think that it became weaker when it concentrated more on The Ears, rather than being about the scene in general. And there were some people in there, like Alannah Hill, who I don’t think had any business being included. She didn’t even arrive in Melbourne until 1980 or so.
There has been some talk, on the back of Dog Food, and The Ears reunion show, that Wirlywirld should come out of retirement.
That’s not going to happen, there’s no way. Ollie’s exceedingly entrenched in his world of techno these days.
Fair enough. Looking at Pop Crimes now, after a big introductory background spiel, the press release goes on to say, “It’s a history Rowland would gleefully put a match to.” Is that really the case?
Hmm, yeah. I wasn’t quite sure about that either. I mean, some of the stuff – most of the stuff – that I’ve done, I’m really proud of. But I don’t like the fact that so many of the interviews I do dwell so much on the past. It’s frustrating, I get interviewed all the time by people who haven’t heard anything that I’ve done since the Birthday Party or whatever.
“No longer do I look out from the stage and just see a bunch of ageing ex-junkies.”
How did you go about assembling the band for the album? I’m guessing you knew JP Shilo through producing his band The Hungry Ghosts.
Yes, I’ve known John for a while. Originally I was going to get Brian Hooper to play bass again, but he was over in Europe, doing a tour of his own. I’d always intended to have John on the album, just as somebody who always has something interesting to contribute. He approaches things from a less than obvious point of view. He suggested that he could play bass, and it seemed like an interesting idea, so we went with that. And Mick, I just think he’s a great drummer. He’s one of the few drummers I can think of who plays his drums like they’re a musical instrument, and really thinks about what’s the best thing for the song, rather than how he can just make his part encroach in it more.
And it was just the three of you during recording?
Yes, it was just us, just guitar bass and drums, with John also adding some organ and violin.
The sound and feel of the album is very distilled, very concentrated. And the first few lines of ‘Pop Crimes’ and ‘Golden Age Of Bloodshed’ are very dense lyrically as well.
Well, with those two songs in particular, I was trying to write a different kind of song than I normally would. As opposed to just writing about things that I’ve directly experienced, I was writing from a more global point of view, about the world that we live in now and that apocalyptic kind of feel to things that are around. I tried to get that across in those songs, and I was really happy with both of them.
Everything on the album is written in the first person, which makes them very direct.
Yes, I’m not somebody who writes about characters, or who tries to distance myself from the topic of the song by interjecting somebody between myself and the song’s lyrics or message.
Is it a bit of a balancing act, between those ideas and the pop feel of something like ‘(I Know A Girl Called) Jonny’, which has an almost girl-group feel to parts of it?
Yeah, it’s really just … I mean, I always try and have a element of pop to things, running through things, because I think that great pop music can be really fantastic. And for ‘Girl Called Jonny’ especially, I thought it would be great to do a song with Jonnine [Standish, from HTRK], because she’s got a very similar aesthetic to mine, and a similar sense of mischief. We both like to subvert the form of the music.
I’ve seen people at live shows be puzzled by you doing Talk Talk’s ‘Life’s What You Make It’. It doesn’t seem an obvious choice for you, the way that perhaps the other cover on the album [‘Nothin’, by Townes van Zandt] does.
Well, again, something that I like to try and do is take songs that are thought of in one particular way, or in one context, and show that there can be a lot more to them. And you know, ever since I first heard that song, I’d thought you could do it like it was something off ‘Funhouse’, it’s got that huge bassline and it’s just this big sort of grinding thing.
And, of course, at those same live shows I’ve been noticing the make up of the crowd has been changing. They seem to be getting younger.
It’s very gratifying. I get lots of messages on MySpace from young people, from 16 years olds. And when I play live, nobody calls out for ‘Shivers’ any more, because they are too young to have any kind of historical attachment to it. It doesn’t mean anything to them. It’s peculiar in a way, it just seemed to happen of it’s own accord. And it’s great, because no longer do I look out from the stage and just see a bunch of ageing ex-junkies, or whatever.
Yes, I can imagine that would get depressing.
Well, yes, but I think that kind of thing – calling out for old songs – is more of a problem for the audience than for the performer. But then it becomes a problem for the performer, when you have people coming to see you, and they just want you to remain the same forever.
But then you can’t have been “rediscovered”, because you’ve never really been away.
There is definitely a lot more interest in me, and what I’m doing at the moment, much more than there has been for a long time. And considering that I haven’t really done anything major for quite a while, it’s pretty strange.
Given that you are firmly in the present, then, do you listen to much current music, or go out to see much played live?
No. I never go and see new bands these days. The only recent Australian band that I’ve liked are HTRK, I think they’re a fantastic band. If they stick around for long enough they could achieve something really amazing.
Do you listen to CDs?
I listen to very few CDs, very few recent CDs. Most of my inspiration for writing tends to come from literature or film, rather than music. Although having said that, I must admit that I am really slack about listening to new things, it’s something that seems to happen to a lot of people, especially musicians, that when they reach a certain age, they become less and less interested in what other people are doing musically.
I guess what I’m reaching for – without wanting to put you on the spot at all – is your take on the way things stand today, based on the perspective of your 30 or so years of being involved in music.
Well … I think that it’s pretty much the same as it’s always been. Unfortunately music is still dominated by people who have no interest in really doing anything but rocking. When I went to Japan back in July [for Fuji Rock], I was introduced to Fall Out Boy, who are a particular bugbear of mine, and of course they didn’t have the faintest idea who I was, which naturally I was quite pleased about. But I’d have to say that I see them as being typical of a lot of bands, in the sense that the only purpose of their lyrics is to be there as something to hang a melody on. And they’re all very collegiate at heart too.
And this is the world you are about launch a new album into. At least you’ve got some quality acts [DZ in Sydney, Kes Band and The Dacios in Melbourne] as supports.
Yes, they were recommended to me by other people. As I said earlier, I don’t really keep up with what’s going on. John [Shilo] does, though, he knows a lot, so he came up with some suggestions. The live band for these shows is going to include Brian [Hooper], by the way, so it’ll be me, Mick, John and Brian.
And on that note – disregarding a bit of stray chatter that doesn’t bear repeating — it feels like we are done.

Rowland S. Howard RIP

MELBOURNE musician Rowland S. Howard has lost his battle with liver cancer.

He passed away this morning, aged 50.
Howard was waiting for a liver transplant and had cancelled recent shows due to illness.
The influential guitarist came to prominence as a member of Melbourne punk band the Boys Next Door who became The Birthday Party, fronted by Nick Cave.
Howard wrote their iconic hit Shivers, and his guitar skills would inspire a generation to come.
The guitarist was also a member of bands including Crime and the City Solution and These Immortal Souls.
His second solo album, Pop Crimes, was released in October to critical acclaim.
His final gig was at the Prince of Wales in October to launch the album.
In an interview with Rolling Stone to promote the album Howard spoke of his years of poor health.
Howland appeared in this year’s Melbourne punk scene documentary We’re Living on Dog Food, released with the DVD of Australian film Dogs in Space.

To HerrB (Tscha Bum)

Passen Sie auf sich selbst mein Freund auf...

Andy Serkis brings Ian Dury back to life

Spending time with Andy Serkis can be unnerving. The 45-year-old screen and theatre actor himself is the epitome of kindly decorum. And yet his wide, expressive eyes — round, rheumy and limpid blue — are forever at the mercy of his big screen alter ego, Gollum from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Flickers of that ancient balding hobbit repeatedly pass across the features of the London-born Serkis (the latter was digitally morphed into the former for the movies). Thus conversations about his career, his relationship with his Iraqi father or his anti-war protest at the 2003 Oscars reverberate with eerie visual echoes. “We wants it!” whispers the ghost of Gollum, somewhere in the ether. “We needs it! Must have the precious!”
Similarly, a grimace here and curious furrow there, and you spot the formidable primate star of the 2005 blockbuster King Kong living too in that same expansive facial range — the digital Kong was also a bespoke Serkis creation.
Later he will rail against the Luddites who dismiss these computer-enhanced turns, crying: “Wake up! These are acted performances, all driven by my facial muscles!” But for now Serkis, who was once in danger of becoming a pixelated punchline, is relishing the fact that he’s finally taking flesh-and-blood centre stage. Thanks to an incendiary career-defining role in the red-raw musical biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Serkis will soon be recognised, without resorting to hyperbole, as one of the greatest actors of his generation. It has already scooped him a Best Actor nomination at this Sunday’s British Independent Film Awards.
“I think that a lot of things have come together with this role," he says, black-clad and bestubbled, sipping spring water in a discreet London hotel and contemplating the break of a lifetime. “There’s a lot that floats my boat in terms of Ian’s style, Ian’s persona and Ian’s artistic endeavour

And yet the movie never once abandons its emotional heart. At times it is dangerously moving. The wayward Dury, for instance, sits at the bedside of his heartbroken son Baxter (Bill Milner), and attempts a tough-love life lecture. “Don’t be like me, son. Be like you. Remember, we’re all on our own in this life!”
To which the son stares open-eyed at the father and replies the sweetest, softest: “No, Dad. I’m here.”
It is impossible to overstate just how fully Serkis inhabits the role. A self-confessed research nut, he spent three years of pre-production slowly and wholly becoming Dury. He perfected the singer’s baritone stage growl so precisely that he re-recorded a slew of Dury’s hits with the latter’s backing band, the Blockheads. “It’s quite scary,” says Blockhead Chaz Jankel. “He can now mimic Ian with 100 per cent accuracy.”
Physically, too, to capture the extreme gait of the severely disabled Dury, Serkis began walking with a heavy Seventies-era calliper attached to his leg. And he spent six insane months in the gym working out only on the right side of his body, to leave his left side fragile and weak. He admits that though the results onscreen are convincing, the methods have left him in pain. “I’ve got a dodgy back at the best of times, but the weight of that calliper, throwing it about every day, it shoves your body off-centre. And it made this massive weird muscle develop in my groin. I’m still recovering from it all.”
The emotional work was also intense. Dury confidantes far and wide, including his widow Sophie, son Baxter and daughter Jemima were closely consulted on a script that initially seemed, to Serkis and the screenwriter Paul Viragh at least, indecently unforgiving. “We had this early meeting with Jemima and Baxter where we showed them a first draft of the script,” Serkis says. “They both just sighed, shook their heads and eventually said: ‘He was much more of a c*** than that!’ ”
Furthermore, there are subtle biographical bonds between Dury and Serkis that feed the symbiosis of man and myth on-screen. Both men, for example, were art school students who fancied themselves as painters before settling on successful secondary careers — Dury as a singer, Serkis as an actor. Both were outsiders by virtue of their childhoods, Dury because of his disability and Serkis because of his Iraqi background (he suffered schoolyard racism). And both, most tellingly, were profoundly troubled by the painful reality of absentee fathers.
“I always mourn the fact that I never got to know my father, or spent more time with him,” says Serkis, who freely admits that he is “obsessed” by this one defining relationship in his life. He says that his childhood in Ruislip, in Surrey, growing up with his mother and four siblings, was happy but nonetheless marked by the absence of his father, a doctor who had chosen to live and work permanently in Baghdad while remaining married. His father eventually returned to the family home in 1990, on the eve of the first Gulf War, and is now 90. The time for reconciliation, Serkis says, has simply passed. “He’s 90,” he says, haltingly and with a defeated look. “It’s hard, it’s really hard. It’s unfathomable now. It's like, where do you begin? So much has gone on. So much.”
Never a stage brat or a childhood show-off, he found solace in hill-walking and the “isolation of the wilderness”, and chose to study painting at Lancaster University because it was close to the climbable peaks of the Lake District. Acting, he says, was an accident. Forced to chose a subsidiary course during his first year he opted for drama studies but, after playing a wildcard hostage-taker in Barrie Keefe’s play Gotcha, he found himself “addicted to the immersion in character, the psychology, the ability to express what I wanted to express”.
Tutored in the strong tradition of socialist theatre in the Northwest he became a regular fixture at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, where he met his future wife, the actress Lorraine Ashbourne, during a production of She Stoops to Conquer. The pair were married in 1991 and have three children: Ruby, 11, Sonny, 9, and Louis, 5. The socialist grooming, he says, was key to his life, his politics and his understanding of acting as a “service” to society. “I’m not just there to be gawped at,” he says. “I’m trying to change things.”
He talks about his desire to “needle” the audience, to provoke it. And certainly, in his best screen roles — from the excitable Potts in Mojo to Ian Brady in Longford to Gollum to Dury — he has an arresting ability to subvert expectations and somehow extract sympathy for the devil. “It’s something in me,” he says. “It might be fighting for the underdog, but I need to challenge an audience’s preconceptions.”
This fighting talk has spread beyond movie sets, too. He famously, on the Oscar night red carpet, three days after the start of the second Gulf War and in front of 33 million US viewers, unfurled a bright red and yellow banner that read: “No War for Oil.”
“It was nerve-wracking,” he says, remembering a night when Hollywood, aside from the lone protesting voice of Michael Moore (“Shame on you, Mr President!”) put its self-preservation ahead of its politics. “It was risky, there was a lot of security around, but America had just invaded Iraq — somebody had to do something. It was my first and possibly my last experience of going to the Oscars.”
On reflection, the London-based Serkis says that his subsequent fears of being ostracised by the Hollywood mainstream were ill-founded. On the contrary, he is currently the darling of the industry’s power elite and will soon be starring as, “the rambunctious, blustery, dipsomaniac Captain Haddock” in Steven Spielberg’s Tintin adaptation, as well as reprising the role of Gollum in the long-awaited two-part adaptation of The Hobbit. Of the latter role, he says that he’s excited to “get back into Gollum mode and revisit him. There’s still so much more to mine.”
For now, though, he is a man still functioning in the shadow of Ian Dury and the Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll experience. He speaks of the project with the punch-drunk love of someone who’s gone deep down for the sake of his art. Widespread recognition is on the way. A Bafta is a dead cert. An Oscar nomination at a push (don’t mention the war!). But none of that matters. What’s important, Serkis says, increasingly impassioned, is being the best father he can be, is planning hill walks with his family and is “finding out who I am through these f***ing characters that I play”.
And right there, in the gritted teeth of frustration, he could be Dury. And probably is. Still flipping back and forth from an impossibly potent character who screams, at the height of his powers: “I’m not here to be remembered! I’m here to be alive!” Either way, Andy Serkis, former big screen special effect, has truly arrived.
'Sex, Drugs, Rock'n'Roll' opens on Jan 8th in the UK

Now Iran turns its fury on Britain

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei further upped the ante at home, branding senior opposition members "enemies of God" who deserved to be executed. And in what human rights groups and diplomats described as another "ominous development", Iranian police told leading opposition members that they could no longer guarantee their safety outside their homes.
Among those to receive the warning was Mehdi Karroubi, who came fourth in June's disputed presidential election and whose car was smashed up by government supporters at the weekend. His son, Taghi, said his father was effectively under "house arrest".The office of Iran's Supreme Leader, who possesses ultimate authority in the country, said: "Those who are behind the current sedition in the country ... are mohareb [enemies of God] and the law is very clear about punishment of a mohareb." Under Iran's Islamic law the sentence for mohareb is execution. The influential parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani joined in the call for punitive action, exhorting: "Identify them, arrest them and firmly punish those who insulted religion."
Tens of thousands of supporters loyal to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rallied in the centre of Tehran yesterday, vowing to "sacrifice their lives" and "fight the enemies". In such an incendiary atmosphere, opposition figures say that the official threats from the government are tantamount to a call to violence. Mohammadreza Naqdi, the head of the Basiji militia who led the bloody post-election crackdown, has already been openly vowing retribution against "traitors".
There were reports of fresh clashes between demonstrators and security forces at a Tehran university and in the central city of Shiraz, although these could not be independently confirmed.
Meanwhile, the government continued its raids on the opposition. Security forces have already been accused of targeting family members. The nephew of the opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi, who lost the disputed poll to Mr Ahmadinejad, was among eight killed on Sunday, the bloodiest of the past 10 days of protest.
Yesterday Mr Mousavi's brother-in-law, Shapour Kazemi, was detained, and Shirin Ebadi, the human rights lawyer who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said that her sister had been arrested in an attempt to silence her. "This arrest is illegal because my sister is a dentist, she is not in any way active in human rights or politics ... and she didn't participate in any protests," Ms Ebadi told French radio. "She is detained for the sake of me."
It remains unclear how many people are now in custody. The opposition website Jaras estimated that more than 900 people had been arrested in marches that began following the death of the senior dissident cleric, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri on 19 December. The government puts the number between 300 and 400.
With the protests showing no sign of subsiding, the government fell back on its popular line of defence, blaming "Western hands".
"Trying to overthrow the system will reach nowhere... designers of the unrest will soon pay the cost of their insolence," the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement. "The opposition... is backed by foreign enemies."
The British ambassador to Tehran was summoned to the foreign ministry to answer charges of interfering. Iranian anger had been fuelled by Foreign Secretary David Miliband's public condemnation of the crackdown, although Washington, Berlin and Paris have been similarly critical. Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, warned: "Britain will receive a punch on the mouth if it does not stop its nonsense."
The tension between Iran and Western powers is only likely to increase as the end-of-year deadline looms for Tehran to accept a deal to send low-enriched uranium abroad to be converted, and thus prove it is not interested in developing a nuclear weapon. Washington has said it is already considering next steps if the deal fails.
Last night, there were unconfirmed reports that Iran was trying to import 1,350 tonnes of purified uranium ore from Kazakhstan in violation of UN sanctions already in place. A summary of an intelligence report, obtained by the Associated Press, said that Tehran was willing to pay $450m for the shipment.


Apocalypse Now..Ride Of The Valkyries

Crash Ensemble at the Samuel Beckett Theatre Dublin 2007

A short video extract taken from the premiere of Donnacha Dennehy's Grá agus Bás in February 2007 at the Samuel Beckett Theatre.
Grá agus Bás by Donnacha Dennehy was commissioned by Trinity College, Dublin, and performed by Sean-Nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, the Crash Ensemble and conductor Alan Pierson at the Samuel Beckett Theatre on 10 February 2007.
Inspired by the moments of ecstasy (both luscious and dark) within a number of particular Sean-Nós songs, the work uses these as a collective point of departure for a journey exploring the themes of love and death in a non-narrative context. 
(My thanx to Brian for turning me onto his brother's music - I hope that yr head doesn't hurt as much as mine LOL!)

Smoking # 44

Lio by Mark Tatulli


 ...that this time of the year can be a very difficult time for lots of people for a number of reasons...

Sometimes random acts of senseless kindness can make YOU feel a whole lot better too!

If things get too tough, for whatever reason you can always ring Direct Line if you are in Melbourne.
1800 888 236 (24 hours)
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
if you are a young person.
Believe me there are people who will listen to you out there.

Stop the bullets. Kill the gun

Simone Maynard

Simone Maynard
Simone will hopefully be having another Melbourne exhibition in the latter half of 2010.
Repeated Theme Recurring Dream 
2010 Calendar available for one more week 

119 years ago

U.S. had early information of a terror plot

The United States government had intelligence about a possible Al Qaeda attack around the holidays and had more information about where the suspect had been and what some of his plans were, an official said.
Some of the information at the time was partial or incomplete and it was not obvious that it was connected, the official said, but in retrospect it now appears clear that had it all been examined together it would have pointed to a pending attack involving the Nigerian suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Mr. Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to carry out a bombing on a Detroit-bound flight Christmas Day.
The official said the administration is “increasingly confident” that Al Qaeda had a role in the planned attack, as the group’s Yemeni branch has publicly claimed.
President Obama alluded to the intelligence in a statement he issued Tuesday. “Had this critical information been shared, it could have been compiled with other intelligence and a fuller, clearer picture of the suspect would have emerged,” the president said. “The warning signs would have triggered red flags and the suspect would have never been allowed to board that plane for America.”
In his statament, Mr. Obama blamed a “systemic failure” in the nation’s security apparatus for the attempted bombing of a passenger jet on Christmas Day and vowed to identify the problems and “deal with them immediately...

Clive Stafford Smith: China has made a mockery of justice

In the wake of Akmal Shaikh's horrific execution, it is perhaps worth discussing the position taken by the Chinese in more depth. Cast aside for one moment the unassailable case that we made for his mental illness, and assume that Shaikh was truly guilty, and that the Chinese courts delivered something other than the mockery of justice that we encountered.
How would we then assess their claim – made officially through the Chinese embassy on Christmas Eve – that executing Shaikh was necessary because "150mg of heroin of high degree of purity would be lethal. The amount of heroin he carried was 4,030g, enough to cause 26,800 deaths." Is this a sensible approach to the societal scourge of drug abuse, or is it a faintly ridiculous statement that undermines China's claim to have a rational drugs policy?
The latest available figures suggest that there were 632.3 metric tonnes of heroin produced worldwide in 2004. This is no doubt a low estimate. As of 2009, heroin production is still going up according to the UN, and will not fall until demand is reduced.
But let's accept the figure: 632.3 tonnes of the stuff could, under the Chinese arithmetic, cause 4.2bn deaths each year. This would be roughly 62% of the entire world population. Given that this is more than 240 times the total number of heroin users worldwide, it is clear that the Chinese are being hyperbolic, rather than sensible.
Such exaggeration in a matter of life or death speaks unfavourably of the "cautious approach" that the Chinese claim to be taking on capital punishment, along with their "careful reforms". If a hurried and inadequate investigation by Reprieve has exposed these kinds of flaws in Shaikh's case, what of the other people executed by China without the slightest hint of public scrutiny? China was responsible for at least 1,718 executions in 2008, more than four each day. How many of them had strong claims of innocence as well?
It is hardly surprising that the Chinese wish to keep their judicial system cloaked in secrecy. The Chinese Emperor lives on, it seems, and he still wears no clothes.
Instead of killing a mentally ill man like Shaikh, the Chinese might like to follow the advice of the UN, and focus on prevention. Sadly, if predictably, the Afghan war has dramatically increased heroin supplies. Whatever else one says about the Taliban, they are credited with reducing heroin production by 94%, but by 2006 the New York Times reported that heroin production had reached record levels. So much for the Afghan war being crucial to our government's goal of protecting people on the streets of London.
So the Chinese are not the only irrational ones, but they certainly established a new nadir last night. Until governments start adopting sensible policies, they are hardly likely to solve society's problems.

Akmal Shaikh execution draws scathing criticism from Amnesty International

Akmal Shaikh
Akmal Shaikh. Photograph: Reprieve/PA
Amnesty International has joined a chorus of criticism of China over the execution by lethal injection of Akmal Shaikh, a British convicted drug smuggler said by friends and family to have been mentally ill.
Amnesty said Shaikh's execution again highlighted the "injustice and inhumanity of the death penalty, particularly as it is implemented in China". Amnesty estimates China executes at least three times as many people as every other country put together.
Sam Zarifi, Amnesty's Asia programme director, said: "Much information about the death penalty is considered a state secret but Mr Shaikh's treatment seems consistent with what we know from other cases: a short, almost perfunctory trial where not all the evidence was presented and investigated, and the death penalty applied to a non-violent crime.
"Under international human rights law, as well Chinese law, a defendant's mental health can and should be taken into account, and it doesn't seem that in this case the Chinese authorities did so.
"It's simply not enough for the Chinese authorities to say 'we did the right thing, trust us'. Now there can be no reassessment of evidence, no reprieve after a man's life has been taken.
"The UK, the EU and the rest of the world should continue to press the Chinese government to increase the transparency surrounding the death penalty in China and to improve the due process offered all defendants, particularly those facing charges punishable by death."
Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the human rights group Reprieve, which supported Shaikh's family through the case, said: "Sad to say I have watched six people die in execution chambers, and it is as ghastly as it is pointless. Is the world somehow a better place today because China refused to show compassion for an obviously ill man? Of course not. China's refusal to even allow a proper medical evaluation is simply disgusting."
Sally Rowen, the legal director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: "The death of Akmal Shaikh is a sad indictment of today's world and particularly of China's legal system. Akmal was a gentle man who suffered from a tormenting illness; he slipped through the cracks of society and was betrayed and deliberately killed by one of the most powerful nations on earth. We at Reprieve are sickened by what we have seen during our work on this case."
Through Reprieve, Akmal's family issued a statement: "The family express their grief at the Chinese decision to refuse mercy; thank all those who tried hard to bring about a different result – including Reprieve, the FCO, those who attended the vigil, and the organisers of the Facebook group who garnered more than 5,000 members in a few short days; and ask the media and public to respect their privacy as they come to terms with what has happened to someone they loved."
Philip Alston, a UN special rapporteur, told Radio 4's Today programme that the refusal to allow doctors to assess Shaikh's mental health was "clearly in violation not only of Chinese law but also international law".
"International law points very strongly in the direction of only carrying out the death penalty for crimes which have led to deaths," he said.
He said China "has made noises and made some efforts in terms of specific measures" to improve judicial processes around the death penalty, such as requiring all such sentences to be ratified by the supreme court. But he rejected the view that China deserved credit for tackling the drugs trade.
"It's not the people who are profiting, it's the idiots who are picked on and gullible enough to engage in this sort of behaviour [who are punished]. It is time for the international community to mount a much more concerted effort to put an end to these sorts of executions, and not only to react when one individual cases arises which is particularly troubling to us."
David Cameron, the Conservative leader, backed the efforts of Gordon Brown and other ministers to secure a reprieve. "I deplore and deeply regret the fact that the Chinese authorities have executed Akmal Shaikh and did not heed the pleas for clemency made in his case by the British government, by the opposition parties, by his family and by others.
"There were serious concerns about Mr Shaikh's mental health. It is appalling that these concerns were not independently assessed during the more than two years Mr Shaikh was in custody and taken properly into account in the judicial process.
"We supported the government in the efforts they have made and I join with them in sending my sympathy to Mr Shaikh's family and friends."
Mental health campaigners condemned the execution. Robert Westhead, a spokesman for the bipolar organisation MDF, said: "How a society treats people affected by mental illness is always a good indicator of how civilised it is.
"The way the Chinese authorities have stubbornly failed to take account of this poor man's severe mental illness shows that China is still stuck in the dark ages. This execution is medieval rough justice gone badly wrong."
Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said: "The execution of Mr Shaikh is a brutal and sad day for the rights of mentally ill people everywhere. The Chinese authorities showed not only lack of compassion for a sick person but a profound ignorance about how a mental illness such as bipolar disorder can affect a person's sense of reality."
In a blogpost on the Foreign Office website, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, acknowledged there was "massive public support" in China for Shaikh's execution. "I oppose capital punishment in all circumstances. Along with every EU country it is banned in Britain. But not every country agrees. That's their prerogative … this is not about who hates drug running the most. We all do. It is about whether a man with a mental health condition has become an additional victim of the deadly trade.
"We have said many times we welcome the economic rise of China and believe its integration into the world system is one of the great opportunities of the 21st century, not just one of the challenges. Events like those of today will only fuel the argument of those who say this is an impossible dream and that the value systems are just too different.
"I don't believe that. But it is a reminder of how different can be our perspective. We need to understand China (and the massive public support for the execution). They need to understand us."

Exile's blog of the year: Memoires of a Heroinhead

"On the 28th October 1975 my mother gave birth to a heroinhead – that was/is me. My father was a young Glaswegian junkie nicknamed Puggy. I was born with heroin in my veins. 7 years after my birth, my father was brutally murdered by infamous British serial-killer Dennis Nilsen. My mother had a breakdown and turned to alcohol... I turned to solitude, vandalism, and violence. At the age of 13 the educational system gave up on me. At 14 I started smoking weed and by 15 I was taking LSD & speed. At 17 I tried Subutex (a heroin substitute) I felt like I had found God. By 24 I was a smack & crack addict and a year later I was injecting. Today I live in Lyon, France and am still a Heroinhead. This is me & these are my memoirs..."
And you thought you had it bad?
Shane's blog is just the most amazingly well written blog out there. Someone really should offer him a book deal. The words will make you laugh and cry (often at the same time).
And from first hand experience I know that there is a life to be had away from the handcuffs of heroin addiction, but I also know that only the user themselves can choose when it is time to give it up.
I know that a lot of you out there will also be put off by the thought that you are going to be reading the inane ramblings of some 'junkie lowlife', but get past that and prepare to read some of the most eloquent & exceptional writing in the blogosphere.

On U Sound update from Adrian Sherwood's MySpace page

GREETINGS AND BEST WISHES FOR A HEALTHY 2010 Released in January (at long last) is AFRICAN HEADCHARGE ... "ViSION OF A PSYCHEDELIC AFRICA" onucd distributed via Cargo uk, available now>>> Also available Jan,2010 is IAN KING -"PANIC GRASS AND FEVER FEW". this is an ONU Production released on the Fledg'ling record label. This is a unique English folk album and we are very proud of it>>> Due for imminent release is ... "DUBSETTER" by LEE"Scratch"PERRY and ADRIAN SHERWOOD.This is a new Dub album from The Upsetter and myself and it will be on vinyl and cd (late March)... "THE MIGHTY UPSETTER" will also be made available on vinyl at the same time>>> Just completed and mastered is an album by singer/songwriter/artist JEB LOY NICHOLS -"LONG TIME TRAVELLER" this is truly wonderful and features live rhythms recorded during last summer and classic re modelled ONU/Radics/Dub Syndicate rhythms>>> DUE ( long overdue, soon come) is "THE ROYAL VARIETY SHOW" (the best of..) DUB SYNDICATE a double cd of pure gems>>> Currently in production and scheduled for release hopefully before the summer is, "DUB ... NO FRONTIERS" this is a true epic . It is a fresh and original 16 track double vinyl/cd release of all women vocalists from around the world , all singing in non English it is a labor of love and is becoming one of my proudest productions it features vocals in Chinese,German,Arabic,Eritrean,Italian,Polish,Samoan,French, Japanese,Russian and more in progress.>>> "Suck on this planet of noise" Currently in production and well underway is "LET THE ROBOTS MELT" - ONUSOUNDSYSTEM featuring Primal Scream w.Lee Perry,Dennis Bovel,Pempy,John McClure,Carl Barat,Mark Stewart,Deeder Zaman,New Age Steppers and more,a truly wonderful sheet of noise "Listen up real close now">>> Also currently in production for a 2010 release is a new NEW AGE STEPPERS album (the first for 25 years !) Recordings were done in Jamaica last year and hopefully it will be finished soon>>> also well underway is, "CRISPY HORNS MEET ROOTS RADICS AND DUB SYNDICATE" a classic new dub/horns album>>> Also work is well underway on GHETTO PRIEST - "SACRED GROUND" this is the Onu follow up to "Vulture Culture" the debut Priest album from a few seasons back.GP returns on ONU with a slamming new set ! >>> And also DEEDER ZAMAN brand new album from the original Asian Dub Foundation front man. and also SKIP "Little Axe"McDONALD a brand new authentic collision of Blues meets Dub live rhythms with Style Scott and the crew with Skip on Dobro in true Blues National style this is well underway and sounding "proper" >>> Also in our studio (and their own) LSK is working on new tracks BROTHER CULTURE has voiced new tracks and also my daughter DENISE SHERWOOD is producing herself {and sometimes with dad and other "family"} check her on her myspace >>> DECEMBER 2010 MARKS 30 YEARS SINCE THE RELEASE OF the 7' single "FADE AWAY" by NEW AGE STEPPERS cw "Learn a Language" by LONDON UNDERGROUND - However early 1981 saw ONU SOUND's first album releases, so we are planning to put on events all round the world throughout 2011 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the label. we will also issue a box set with music dvds , a book and many other goodies so hopefully after such a long wait,for those intersted there will be lots of things to buy (or copy) and lots of live shows to catch. Also a new Adrian Sherwood album will be released 2011 >>> Thanks for all the positive messages and its good to make contact with so many old and new friends
Best wishes

New Order's Factory Records singles remastered

Aorto at the very wonderful 'Everything On My iPod' blog alerted me to this site where
£50 Note and brunorepublic have remastered all 20 New Order singles released on Factory Records.
A true labour of love but boy have they done a great job.
As they say:
"The purpose of this blog is to archive the work of Joy Division and New Order during their tenure on the legendary Factory Records from Manchester, England. While the stories of both bands have been documented thoroughly in book, film, and CD/box set formats, many of their recordings from 1978-1990 remain unreleased on any other format than the original (now out-of-print) vinyl singles.
The concept for Recycle was proposed by the late Rob Gretton, who was the manager of both bands until his death from a heart attack in 1999. He wanted to release a comprehensive singles box similar to what The Clash, Blondie, and Depeche Mode have done, with each disc collecting all the A-sides, B-sides, and remixes of each single, and house them in miniature sleeves with faithfully restored/reproduced artwork. When Gretton died, the project died with him.
Although London Records/Rhino is about to roll out 2-disc deluxe editions of the five studio albums New Order recorded for Factory, there's not enough room on the bonus discs to collect everything together, and as many of you may know, the first rollout of these discs was a huge disaster, plagued with horrible mastering and culling many tracks from vinyl, despite being promoted as remastered. Most of the master tapes are missing, and it's taken the label almost a year to fix the problems and get remanufactured discs into the stores.
New Order was such a singles band that it seems criminal not to give them the singles box treatment. Substance isn't even in print anymore, so it's back to the basics. Sourcing from my personal collection and working closely with a friend who is an audio restoration expert (along with input from a small circle of other superfans), I'll be posting Recycle as a virtual box set of 20 singles, from 1981's Ceremony to 1990's World In Motion, providing detailed notes and anecdotes along the way."

Don't forget you can find the Cabaret Voltaire produced New Order demos recorded at Western Works on the 7th September 1980
(While you are there check out the other New Order rarities.)